Full text 
Procedure : 2012/2050(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0252/2012

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 11/09/2012 - 16
CRE 11/09/2012 - 16

Votes :

PV 12/09/2012 - 7.8
CRE 12/09/2012 - 7.8
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


Texts adopted
PDF 390kWORD 142k
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 - Strasbourg
Annual report from the Council to the European Parliament on the Common Foreign and Security Policy

European Parliament resolution of 12 September 2012 on the Annual Report from the Council to the European Parliament on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (12562/2011 - 2012/2050(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Annual Report from the Council to the European Parliament on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (12562/2011),

–  having regard to Article 36 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 17 May 2006 Part II, Section G, paragraph 43(1),

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

–  having regard to its resolutions of 11 May 2011(2) and 10 March 2010(3) on the 2010 and 2009 CFSP annual reports respectively,

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 July 2010(4) on the European External Action Service,

–  having regard to the declaration by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on political accountability(5),

–  having regard to the statement made by the High Representative to the European Parliament meeting in plenary on 8 July 2010 on the basic organisation of the European External Action Service (EEAS) central administration(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 April 2012 on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World and the European Union‘s policy on the matter, including implications for the EU’s strategic human rights policy,(7)

–  having regard to the Joint Communication of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 12 December 2011 entitled ‘Human rights and democracy at the heart of EU external action – Towards a more effective approach’ (COM(2011)0886),

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008) on women, peace and security, to UN Security Council Resolution 1888 (2009) on sexual violence against women and children in situations of armed conflict, to UN Security Council Resolution 1889 (2009) aiming to strengthen the implementation and monitoring of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and to UN Security Council Resolution 1960 (2010), which created a mechanism for compiling data on, and listing perpetrators of, sexual violence in armed conflict,

–  having regard to Rule 119(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A7-0252/2012),

A.  whereas the EU should develop its foreign policy objectives further and advance its values and interests worldwide with the overall aim of contributing to peace, human security, solidarity, conflict prevention, the rule of law and the promotion of democracy, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, gender equality, respect for international law, support for international institutions, effective multilateralism and mutual respect among nations, sustainable development, transparent and accountable governance, free and fair trade and the eradication of poverty;

B.  whereas in order to achieve these goals the EU should be able to create synergies and develop strategic partnerships with those countries that share the same values and are willing to adopt common policies and engage in mutually agreed actions;

C.  whereas the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty is bringing a new dimension to European external action and will be instrumental in enhancing the coherence, consistency and effectiveness of EU foreign policy and, more broadly, external actions; whereas lessons must be learned from the European Union and its Member States’ past failures in re-shaping its external action, while enshrining human rights and democracy at the heart of its policies and promoting transition in countries with authoritarian regimes , in particular where stability and security concerns have compromised a principled policy of promoting democracy and human rights;

D.  whereas the Lisbon Treaty is creating a new momentum in EU foreign policy, notably providing institutional and operational tools which could enable the Union to take on an international role compatible with its prominent economic status and its ambitions and to organise itself in such a way as to be an effective global player, able to share responsibility for global security and take the lead in defining common responses to common challenges;

E.  whereas the ongoing financial and sovereign debt crisis is deeply affecting the credibility of the European Union in the international arena and undermining the effectiveness and the long-term sustainability of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP);

F.  whereas the new momentum in European external action also requires the EU to act more strategically so as to bring its weight to bear internationally; whereas the EU‘s ability to influence the international order depends not only on coherence among its policies, actors and institutions, but also on a real strategic concept of EU foreign policy, which must unite and coordinate all Member States behind the same set of priorities and goals so that they speak with a strong single voice and show solidarity in the international arena; whereas the EU’s foreign policy must be provided with the necessary means and instruments in order to enable the Union to act effectively and consistently on the world stage;

G.  whereas scrutiny of EU foreign policy, exercised by the European Parliament and national parliaments at their respective levels, is essential if European external action is to be understood and supported by EU citizens; whereas parliamentary scrutiny enhances the legitimacy of this action;


1.  Welcomes the steps taken by the Council, with the support of the Vice-President of the European Commission/ High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), in the 2010 Annual Report, towards mapping the Union’s foreign policy in a forward-looking and strategic policy document;

2.  Believes, however, that the Council‘s Annual Report falls short of the ambitions of the Lisbon Treaty in important ways, which include: not giving a clear sense of medium and longer term priorities or strategic guidelines for the CFSP; not clarifying the policy mechanisms for ensuring coherence and consistency among the different components of foreign policy, including those under the responsibility of the Commission; not addressing important questions on the role of the EEAS and the Delegations in ensuring that the Union’s resources (personnel, financial and diplomatic) are aligned with its foreign affairs priorities; and avoiding a discussion, the holding of which is implied in the new strategies for the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, on how to embed ad hoc Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations (their rationale and end-state) in the political-strategic framework of EU foreign policy priorities for a country or region;

3.  Recalls its Treaty prerogative to be consulted in the CFSP and CSDP spheres, to have its views duly taken into account and to make recommendations; recognises, in this regard, the availability of the VP/HR to Parliament; considers, however, that with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, improvements could be made on informing the competent committee on the outcome of Foreign Affairs Councils as well as in consulting Parliament in order to ensure that its views are duly taken into consideration prior to the adoption of mandates and strategies in the area of CFSP; looks forward to the review of the external assistance instruments and to an outcome that recognises Parliament‘s rights over strategy papers and multiannual action plans, as established in Article 290 of the TFEU; calls, furthermore, for improved provision of information and consultation with Parliament at all stages of the procedure for CFSP Council Decisions on agreements with third countries, especially before deciding to mandate the Commission or the VP/HR to negotiate and sign agreements on behalf of the Union and when it comes to frameworks for the participation of third countries in EU crisis management operations;

4.  Calls on the Council, when drawing up future Annual CFSP Reports, to engage at an early opportunity with the Committee on Foreign Affairs in order to discuss the broad policy framework for the coming year, and the longer-term strategic objectives, and to establish a benchmark for providing European citizens with a clear statement on the evolution, priorities and progress of the European Union‘s foreign policy;


5.  Points out that in the second decade of the twenty-first century there is a growing awareness amongst Europe‘s citizens, and further afield, that only comprehensive approaches that integrate diplomatic, economic, development and – in the last resort and in full compliance with the provisions of the UN charter – military means are adequate for addressing global threats and challenges;

6.  Believes that with the Lisbon Treaty the EU has all the means necessary to adopt a comprehensive approach such as this, whereby all the Union‘s diplomatic and financial resources are used to back common strategic policy guidelines in order to have the greatest possible leverage in promoting the security and economic prosperity of European citizens and their neighbours, as well as fundamental rights; calls, in addition, for the further development of an appropriate mechanism in the EEAS, with the participation of the relevant Commission services, where geographic and thematic expertise are integrated and drive a comprehensive approach to policy planning, formulation and implementation;

7.  Stresses that a comprehensive understanding of CFSP covers all areas of foreign policy, including the progressive framing of a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) that might lead to a common defence, with an emphasis on pursuing coherence and consistency whilst respecting the specificity of each component of external action; reiterates that such an approach to developing EU foreign policy must be based on the principles and objectives established in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union, meaning that EU external action must be inspired by the promotion and protection of EU values, such as the respect for human rights, freedom, democracy and the rule of law; stresses, at the same time, the importance of closer coordination between the internal and external dimensions of the EU‘s security policies, which should be reflected in the external action of the Union;

8.  Notes that 2013 will mark the passing of a decade since the adoption of the European Security Strategy and, consequently, underlines the need to update and consolidate this framework document in accordance with the current international environment;


9.  Underlines the role of political leadership expected of the VP/HR in ensuring the unity, coordination, consistency, credibility and effectiveness of action by the Union; calls on the VP/HR to use to the full and in a timely manner her powers to initiate, conduct and ensure compliance with the CFSP, involving Parliament‘s relevant bodies fully in that endeavour; welcomes the important lead role, on behalf of the international community, played under difficult circumstances by the VP/HR in the negotiations with Iran; takes into account the important historical relationship between European and Iranian peoples; calls for leadership in enhancing the Union’s role in support of the European Neighbourhood, in light of the Arab Spring, particularly the democratic transition processes in the Southern Mediterranean, including through the new European Endowment for Democracy, as well as in the stalled Middle East peace process;

10.  Recognises the essential role of the EEAS (including its Delegations and EU Special Representatives) in assisting the VP/HR in pursuing a more strategic, coherent and consistent political approach to the Union‘s external action; affirms its intention to continue monitoring the geographic and gender balance of staff in the EEAS, including in senior positions, and to assess whether the appointment of Member State diplomats as Heads of Delegation and other key positions is in the interests of the Union, not solely of their Member States; stresses the importance of having a fully functional and efficient EEAS and of strengthening relations between the EEAS, the Commission and the Member States with a view to achieving synergies in the effective implementation of external action and in delivering a single EU message on key political issues;

11.  Stresses that the role of EU Special Representatives (EUSRs) should be complementary to and consistent with the country-specific work of EU Heads of Delegations, and should represent and coordinate EU policy towards regions with specific strategies or security interests that require a continuous EU presence and visibility; welcomes the positive response by the VP/HR to having newly appointed EUSRs and Heads of Delegation appear before Parliament for an exchange of views before taking up their posts; calls for improved reporting and access to political reports from Delegations and EUSRs in order for Parliament to receive full and timely information on developments from the ground, particularly in areas considered to be strategically important or the focus of political concern;

12.  Reiterates its position that important thematic policies previously covered by Personal Representatives should have the full support of the EEAS and appropriate external political representation, and therefore calls for proposals to be put forward such as that for Human Rights;

13.  Welcomes the decision for the appointment of an EU special representative for human rights that should have a substantial mandate to mainstream human rights across CFSP, CSDP and other EU policies and to provide visibility and coherence to the EU‘s action in this field;

14.  Believes that clearly defined strategic guidelines will help tailor the Union’s important but finite financial resources to the ambitions and priorities of the Union’s external action; stresses that a strategic approach such as this should be under democratic control, but that this should not inhibit or slow down the flexibility to respond to changing political circumstances on the ground;

15.  Welcomes the commitment of the Member States in the Lisbon Treaty to play their full role in developing and implementing the EU‘s foreign policy and in ensuring coordination and consistency with other policies of the Union; stresses the importance of the Member States’ solidarity, during a time of economic constraints, when it comes to improving the effectiveness of the Union as a cohesive global actor; notes, in particular, the importance of the Member States‘ making available civilian and military capabilities for the effective implementation of the CSDP; regrets, nevertheless, that on many occasions the bilateral relations of some Member States with third countries still overshadow or undermine the consistency of EU action, and calls, in this respect, for more effort by Member States to align their external policies with the CFSP;

16.  Calls on the VP/HR, while strengthening systematic cooperation between all Member States under the CFSP, to explore fully the possibilities provided by the Lisbon Treaty for enhanced cooperation, including the production of guidelines for the systematic consignment of specific tasks and missions to a coalition of the willing, such as a ‘core group’ of EU states, as well as to start the process that will lead to European Council conclusions on Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of security and defence and on the implementation of the mutual defence clause;


17.  Recalls that the revision of the 2006 Interinstitutional Agreement on budgetary discipline and sound financial management should mark a further step towards greater transparency in the area of CFSP, and the provision of relevant information to the budgetary authority, in accordance with the VP/HR‘s Declaration on Political Accountability; believes, in this regard, that full transparency and democratic scrutiny require separate budget lines for each and every CSDP mission and operation, and for each and every EUSR, accompanied by streamlined but transparent procedures for the transfer of funds from one item to another if circumstances so require; is, at the same time, convinced that the necessary flexibility and reactivity required for the CFSP should not be infringed upon;

18.  Insists that the EU‘s resources available for the implementation of the CFSP should be used as efficiently as possible and, therefore, that the synergy between the external actions of the EU and its Member States should be achieved in both political and budgetary terms;

19.  Considers that the Athena mechanism for financing the common costs of EU-led military and defence operations does not provide a sufficient overview of all the financial implications of missions conducted under the CFSP, and calls, therefore, for a clear list of all expenditures;

20.  Welcomes the greater emphasis on consistency and coherence across the range of the Union‘s financial instruments, for example in the form of the cross-cutting provisions on the EEAS in the proposed regulations for new external relations financial instruments for the period 2014-2020; believes that such an approach will demonstrate the Union’s added value in the pursuit of security and prosperity for the citizens of Europe; stresses, in this regard, that the financial instruments should be used in a complementary manner across the comprehensive range of the Union‘s foreign policy, without duplication;

21.  Stresses the importance of ensuring that the new external relations financial instruments under consideration by Parliament and the Council are tailored and funded adequately to respond to the strategic interests of the Union and that they are adaptable to changing political circumstances; calls, therefore, for the Union‘s budget (the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020) to be properly resourced, in line with the ambitions and priorities of the Union as a global actor, such that it provides a secure and prosperous future for citizens as well as offers the necessary flexibility to cope with unforeseen developments;

22.  Believes that a more joined-up and comprehensive approach to applying the EU’s external relations instruments in support of common political and strategic objectives will deliver more efficient and cost-effective responses to foreign and security policy challenges, and hence more security and prosperity for the citizens of Europe; stresses that in order for Parliament to reassure citizens about the coherence and cost-effectiveness of the external policies and financial instruments of the Union, the powers bestowed upon it by the Treaties (notably under Article 290 TFEU) must be properly reflected in the revision of the financial instruments, and in particular in the use of delegated acts for strategic programming documents;

23.  Takes the view that, in order to be consistent with the Union’s own values, the financial instruments that promote, inter alia, peace-building, security, democracy, the rule of law, good governance and fair societies should be strengthened as they are strategic tools of EU foreign policy and external action in addressing global challenges.

24.  Stresses the importance of ensuring coherence between policy planning, formulation and implementation through an appropriate mix of external financial instruments in the area of foreign affairs; calls, among other things, for continued complementary between the CFSP and the Instrument for Stability in the areas of mediation, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict peace-building, as well as for further work towards complementarity with the geographical instruments for long-term engagement with a country or region; welcomes the introduction of a new Partnership Instrument, as requested by Parliament, which brings important added value to the EU‘s CFSP by providing a financial framework for cooperation of the EU with third countries on objectives which arise from the Union’s bilateral, regional or multilateral relationships but are outside of the scope of the Development Cooperation Instrument;

25.  Believes that such an approach can be aided by the establishment of clear benchmarks, which should be monitored and evaluated by Parliament over the short, medium and long term; calls for benchmarking of the EU’s foreign policy, drawing upon existing strategic programming documents or strategic policy frameworks (such as those in place for the Horn of Africa or the Sahel), including a more systematic and quantifiable definition of policy priorities and objectives, and of the resources to be used, over precise timelines in the short, middle and long term;

26.  Believes that a comprehensive approach to the Union‘s external action necessitates, inter alia, greater alignment and mutual reinforcement of the CFSP and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP); welcomes, in this context, the joint policy response of the Commission and the EEAS to events in the Southern Neighbourhood, exemplified by the ’Joint Communication‘ of 25 May 2011; believes, furthermore, that multilateral structures of the ENP ought to be consolidated and developed more strategically, so as to effectively advance the foreign policy priorities of the Union; contends that, given the centrality of ’effective multilateralism‘ in the Union’s external action, the EEAS and the Commission should explore the viability of the ENP‘s multilateral track to serve as a framework for organising political relations in the wider Europe;


27.  Believes that the strategic interests, objectives and general guidelines to be pursued through the CFSP must be founded upon delivering peace, security and prosperity for the citizens of Europe and beyond, first of all in our neighbourhood, but also further afield, guided by the principles which inspired the creation of the EU itself, including democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, equality and solidarity, and respect for international law and the United Nations Charter, including the exercise of the responsibility to protect;

28.  Continues to support the potential enlargement of the European Union to any European state which respects the Union‘s values and is committed to promoting them, and which is willing and able to fulfil the accession criteria;

29.  Notes that the Union has developed relationships over time with countries and regional organisations that have differing contractual and legal bases, some having been termed ‘strategic’; observes that there is no clear formula for determining the Union‘s choice of a strategic partner and that, when such choices are made, Parliament is neither informed nor consulted; notes that leveraging genuine and accountable bilateral relationships can be an important force multiplier for EU foreign policy, both regionally and within multilateral fora, and that the choice of strategic partners therefore deserves careful reflection in the light of the values and strategic objectives the Union wants to project;

30.  Believes, therefore, that future decisions on strategic partners should carefully be framed in accordance with the foreign policy priorities of the Union, either vis-à-vis a given country or region or in international fora, and that due consideration should be given to ending partnerships that become obsolete or counter-productive; calls, therefore, for a follow-up debate with Parliament on the September 2010 European Council discussion on the strategic partnerships and for Parliament to be regularly informed ahead of decisions on future partnerships, particularly where such partnerships receive financial support from the Union budget or entail a closer contractual relationship with the EU;

31.  Takes the view that, in order for the Union to be effective in delivering peace, security and socio-economic development to citizens in a highly competitive, changing and unpredictable international political order, it is important to focus the Union‘s limited resources on strategic priorities, starting from the challenges closer to home, particularly in the enlargement countries, the neighbourhood, and extending outwards in concentric circles, including, where relevant, the role and relative influence of regional organisations;

32.  Believes that respecting the commitments made in the framework of enlargement, and demonstrating a responsibility for our neighbourhood, will strengthen the credibility of the Union‘s global reach; reconfirms the EU’s commitment to effective multilateralism, with the United Nations system at its core, and stresses the importance of working with other international partners in responding to international crises, threats and challenges;

The Western Balkans

33.  Supports the EU‘s strategies towards the Western Balkans, including the prospect of EU enlargement, promoting democratisation, stabilisation, peaceful conflict resolution and socio-economic modernisation of both individual countries and the region as a whole; notes with concern that political instability, institutional weaknesses, widespread corruption, organised crime and unresolved regional and bilateral issues are hampering further progress of some countries towards EU integration; calls, therefore, on the EU to address these issues more vigorously in the integration process, in line with the UN Charter, as well as to strengthen its central role in the region;

34.  Reiterates its support for improving the accession process of the Western Balkans by making it more benchmark-driven, transparent and mutually accountable and by introducing clear indicators; calls on the EU to make fresh, convincing and genuine efforts in order to revitalise the enlargement process as well as to continue to prioritise the following conditions: constructive political dialogue, good neighbourly relations, economic development, consolidation of the rule of law, including ensuring the freedom of expression and respect for the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, the effective fight against corruption and organised crime, enhancing the effectiveness and independence of the judiciary, improving administrative capacities to enforce acquis-related legislation, tackling inter-ethnic and inter-religious tensions, and addressing the situation of refugees and displaced persons as well as the resolution of open bilateral and regional issues;

35.  Considers it essential, furthermore, for EU foreign policy towards a region with a recent history of inter-ethnic armed conflict to promote a climate of tolerance, respect for the rights of persons belonging to minorities, anti-discrimination policies and legislation, good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation – including through more integrated education systems (intra-regional exchanges of students) – and scientific collaboration, as prerequisites for European stability and as a means of facilitating reconciliation;

36.  Welcomes the reconfiguration of the EULEX mission and its refocusing on the rule of law and the executive mandate; expects it to be fully operational all over the territory of Kosovo, including in the North, and to step up the fight against corruption at all levels, including against organised crime;


37.  Welcomes the Commission‘s positive agenda for EU-Turkey relations; is concerned about the situation in a number of areas, notably as regards freedom of expression, the rule of law, women’s rights in Turkey, the slow progress towards a new civilian constitution and, in addition, the polarisation of Turkish society; encourages Turkey to speed up the reform process; points out that Turkey is not only a candidate country but also an important strategic partner and NATO ally; calls, therefore, for the existing political dialogue with Turkey on foreign policy choices and objectives of mutual interest to be reinforced; stresses the importance of encouraging Turkey to pursue its foreign policy in a framework of good neighbourly relations, close dialogue and coordination with the European Union in order to create valuable synergies and reinforce the potential for a positive impact, particularly regarding the support for the reform process in the Arab world; hopes that the conditions will improve for the opening of further chapters in the membership negotiations (e.g. ratification and implementation of the Ankara Protocol);

The Southern Neighbourhood and the Middle East

38.  Calls for the principles underlying the new ENP approach, as set out by the VP/HR and the Commission in the Joint Communication of 25 May 2011, in particular the ‘more-for-more’, the differentiation and the mutual accountability principles as well as the ’partnership with society’, to be fully operational and for Union assistance to be fully aligned to this new approach; recalls that the Joint Communication ‘Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policy’ of 15 May 2012 lists the following challenges faced by the countries of the region: sustainable democracy, inclusive economic development and growth, mobility, regional cooperation and the rule of law;

39.  Recalls that the Southern Neighbourhood is of vital importance to the European Union, stresses the need to strengthen the partnership between the EU and the countries and societies of the Neighbourhood in assisting the transition to consolidated democracies, and urges that a better balance be struck between pursuing, on the one hand, market-oriented and, on the other, human and social approaches in the EU‘s response to the Arab Spring; calls, therefore, for a greater focus on human rights, the rule of law, employment (especially youth unemployment), education, training and regional development, in order to help alleviate the current social and economic crisis in these countries, and to provide the assistance needed to support the strengthening of good governance and democratic political reforms as well as social and economic development; underlines, in addition, the importance of supporting institutional capacity-building and effective public administration, including for the parliaments of these countries, an independent judicial system, the strengthening of civil-society organisations and independent media, and the formation of pluralist political parties within as secular a system as possible in which women’s rights are fully respected , and where there are marked improvements in the respect of key fundamental rights, such as the right to freedom of religion, in its individual, collective, public, private and institutional aspects;

40.  Reiterates that economic, political, social, cultural or any other type of relations between the EU and the ENP countries must be based on equality of treatment, solidarity, dialogue and respect for the specific asymmetries and characteristics of each country;

41.  Considers that the assessment of overall progress made by partner countries must be based on mutual transparency, and should be based on the level of commitment to reform and on clearly defined, and jointly agreed, benchmarks that set out timetables for the implementation of reforms as provided for in the action plans; these benchmarks should be the basis for regular and, where possible, joint monitoring and evaluation that include a full role for civil society, in order to ensure effective and transparent implementation of policies;

42.  Highlights the importance of the Union for the Mediterranean as an instrument for the institutionalisation of the relations with the Southern Neighbourhood; underlines the need to overcome the paralysis in which this organisation was plunged; welcomes the changes made concerning the European co-presidency, and hopes that the new Secretary General’s dynamism will contribute to push forward the identified projects;

43.  Recalls the EU‘s commitment to the Middle East peace process, and its support for the two-state solution with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security;

44.  Recalls that solving the conflict in the Middle East is a fundamental interest of the European Union, as well as of the parties themselves and the wider region; stresses, therefore, that the need for progress in the peace process is even more urgent due to the ongoing changes in the Arab world;


45.  Supports the Council‘s twin-track approach aimed at finding a diplomatic solution as the only viable approach to the Iranian nuclear issue; reminds that the sanctions are not an end in themselves; urges the EU3+3 and Iran to continue to participate at the negotiating table and calls on the negotiators to forge an agreement; reminds that, in accordance with a central tenet of the NPT, Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and to receive technical assistance for the same objective; is concerned that military action might happen and calls for all sides to work for a peaceful resolution and urges Iran to respect the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the UN resolutions and to cooperate fully with the IAEA;

46.  Furthermore, calls on the Council to consider positive measures, if Iran commits itself to capping uranium enrichment at below 5 %, exporting all stocks of uranium above this level for reprocessing into fuel rods for civilian nuclear purposes, and fully opening all aspects of its nuclear programme to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), so that the IAEA can verify that Iran’s nuclear programme is entirely civilian; calls on the VP/HR and the Council to reopen the diplomatic negotiations on other issues of mutual interest to the EU and Iran, such as regional security, human rights, and the situation in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Persian Gulf; calls on Iran to play a constructive role in regional security;

47.  Calls, therefore, for a sustained and persistent effort by the VP/HR and the Council to demand strongly that Iran respect human rights; stresses the need for EU policy towards Iran to express solidarity with all those resisting repression and fighting for basic freedoms and democracy; insists that an EU presence on the ground could ensure that the Member States, as well as the EU, are properly evaluating the evolution in every field and are communicating with the Iranian authorities; considers that the opening of an EU delegation in Tehran could take place at an appropriate moment in the development of EU-Iranian relations;


48.  Calls on the VP/HR to ensure fast deployment in Libya of enough staff and institutional expertise to assist Libya in meeting its needs, and to respond to Libya’s demands in the fields of capacity building, governance, civil society and development; urges the EU to support the democratic transition in Libya in all fields, and calls on the VP/HR to ensure that the Member States act in a coordinated manner, consistent with EU principles and values and with the strategic interests in meeting Libya‘s needs and requests;


49.  Urges the VP/HR, the Council and the Member States to invest themselves in seeking a solution to the crisis in Syria; calls on the VP/HR to ensure that the Member States act in a united and coordinated manner at the UN Security Council, which constitutes the appropriate forum to discuss a potential international and UN-backed intervention in Syria; urges, furthermore, the VP/HR to step up efforts to exert diplomatic pressure on Russia and China to unblock the stalemate with respect to Syria at the Security Council; calls on the VP/HR and the Commission to explore all ways to provide and reinforce humanitarian assistance in response to needs in those neighbouring countries that, in particular through the influx of refugees, are most affected by the crisis in Syria;

The Eastern Neighbourhood

50.  Recalls that the Eastern Neighbourhood is of strategic importance; calls for greater efforts, and a greater political commitment, to achieve the objectives of the Eastern Partnership – as stated in the Prague Declaration and the Warsaw Summit Conclusions, and recalled in the Joint Communication ‘Eastern Partnership: A Roadmap to the Autumn 2013 Summit’ of 15 May 2012 – including, in particular, accelerating political association and economic integration, and enhancing mobility for citizens in a secure and well-managed environment; is of the opinion that the Union should, in particular, pursue the negotiations on, and conclusions of, association agreements with the Eastern Partners that promote mobility through mobility partnerships and visa dialogues and that ensure continued progress in adoption and implementation of reforms, in close association with the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly; highlights that all decisions shall be accompanied by the allocation of adequate financial resources, and calls for an improvement in addressing these issues within the Partnership for Modernisation;

51.  Regrets, nevertheless, that the overall situation concerning democratic standards and the respect for human rights in the Eastern Partnership countries has hardly made any progress; stresses, furthermore, that the full development of the Eastern Partnership can only take place once all the frozen conflicts are solved; calls, in this respect, for a more active involvement of the EU in the relevant peace-processes with a view to starting credible initiatives aimed at overcoming the current stalemates, facilitating the resumption of dialogue between the parties and creating the conditions for comprehensive and lasting settlements;

52.  Calls for stronger engagement of the EU, in cooperation with regional partners, in the resolution of the ‘frozen conflicts’ taking place on the territories of the Eastern Partnership countries, in particular breaking the deadlock on South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and playing a full role in support of any ensuing peace agreement; believes that the Transnistrian question could be a good test-case for the good will of the regional partners;


53.  Welcomes the multi-dimensional efforts of the Republic of Moldova to get closer to the EU, in particular by making progress in domestic political reforms and by taking substantive and positive steps in the ‘5+2’ negotiations on the Transnistrian conflict;


54.  Underlines that whilst the EU-Ukraine Agreement has been initialled, its signature and ratification can only happen if Ukraine fulfils the necessary requirements, that is, if it ensures respect for minority rights, enforces the rule of law – by strengthening the stability, independence and effectiveness of the institutions that guarantee it – and by showing respect for the rights – and ending the persecution – of the opposition, thus establishing a truly pluralistic democracy; calls on the VP/HR and the Commission to guarantee sufficient financial means to support the additional election monitoring missions planned for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Ukraine; calls on the Ukrainian Parliament to amend the penal code, which dates back to Soviet times, by removing criminal sanctions for clear political acts carried out by state functionaries acting in an official capacity;


55.  Calls on the Belarus authorities to release all political prisoners; calls for the development of relations with the Belarus authorities to be conditional on progress towards respect for the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights; recalls that there cannot be any progress on EU-Belarus dialogue until all political prisoners are released and rehabilitated; welcomes, at the same time, the efforts by the EU and its Delegation in Minsk to reach out to, and engage more with, Belarusian society, i.a. by means of ‘a European Dialogue for modernisation’, facilitated procedures for visa delivery and increased participation by Belarusian citizens in EU programmes;

South Caucasus

56.  Notes the significant progress made in the framework of the Eastern Partnership to strengthen the European Union‘s relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia; calls for further steps to deepen the relations between the EU and the three South Caucasus countries;

Black Sea Strategy

57.  Underlines the strategic importance of the Black Sea region for the Union, and calls again on the Commission and the EEAS to draw up a strategy for the Black Sea region that defines an integrated and comprehensive EU approach to address the challenges and opportunities of the region;


58.  Supports the Union‘s policy of critical engagement with Russia; considers Russia to be an important strategic partner and neighbour, but continues to have concerns regarding Russia’s commitment to the rule of law, pluralist democracy and human rights; deplores, in particular, the continuous intimidation, harassment and arrests of the representatives of opposition forces and non-governmental organisations, the recent adoption of a law on the financing of NGOs, and the increasing pressure on free and independent media; calls, in this regard, on the EU to remain constant in its demands that the Russian authorities meet its responsibilities as member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE; emphasises that strengthening the rule of law in all areas of Russian public life, including the economy, would be a constructive response to the growing discontent expressed by many Russian citizens, and is needed for building a genuine and constructive partnership between the EU and Russia; underlines the willingness of the EU to contribute to the Partnership for Modernisation and to any successor to the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that is linked to Russia‘s progress regarding human rights, rule of law and pluralist democracy;

59.  Takes the view that the recent sentencing of three members of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot to two years in a penal colony for ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’ is part of a clampdown on political dissent and opposition forces that further shrinks Russian democratic space and deeply undermines the credibility of Russia’s judicial system; strongly condemns this politically motivated verdict and expects this conviction to be overturned on appeal, with the release of the three Pussy Riot members;

60.  Believes that the best basis for a closer partnership should be an ambitious and comprehensive new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that includes chapters on political dialogue, trade and investments, energy cooperation, dialogue on human rights, justice, freedom and security areas; emphasises the need for building a genuine partnership between the EU and Russian societies, and welcomes, in this context, the progress achieved in the implementation of the ‘Common steps towards visa-free travel’ agreed on between the EU and Russia;

61.  Calls on the VP/HR and the Council to work with Russia and China to overcome divergences – including within the United Nations Security Council – on the assessment of the situation in Syria, with the common goals of breaking the cycle of violence, avoiding a civil war and finding a lasting peaceful solution in Syria; welcomes the cooperation with Russia in EU3+3 negotiations with Iran to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons;

62.  Calls on Russia to enhance stability, political cooperation and economic development while respecting the sovereign right of each party to make its own security arrangements; urges Russia to respect the territorial and constitutional integrity of regional neighbours and to join the international consensus in the United Nations with respect to emerging democracy;

63.  Emphasises that as Member States set about connecting and integrating their national markets through investments in infrastructure and the approval of common regulations, continuous efforts should also be made to collaborate with Russia in order to identify creative and mutually acceptable measures to reduce discrepancies between the two energy markets;

64.  Is concerned about the recent over-militarisation of the Kaliningrad area which is causing mounting insecurity around the area of the EU;

Central Asia

65.  Supports the EU‘s promotion of a regional approach in Central Asia, which is essential to tackling the regional dimension of issues, including organised crime, trafficking (in drugs, radioactive materials and human beings), terrorism, natural and manmade environmental disasters, and the management of water and energy resources; regrets, nevertheless, the lack of substantial progress, due only partly to the limited financial resources available; calls, therefore, for such engagement to be firm and conditional (’more for more’) on progress in democratisation, human rights, good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, the rule of law and the fight against corruption; underlines that a regional approach should not undermine individual efforts for more advanced states; notes that the EU Cooperation Strategy for Central Asia identifies seven priorities but provides resources that are too limited to have an impact in all policy areas; calls on the EU to define priorities better in accordance with the resources available; recalls the importance of the region in terms of economic cooperation, energy and security, but stresses that it is important to ensure that development cooperation is not subordinated to economic, energy or security interests; underlines, nevertheless, the importance of the EU dialogue with Central Asian countries on regional security matters, in particular in the context of the situation in Afghanistan and a possible escalation in Uzbek-Tajik relations; suggests that the EU looks into possibilities to pool resources with the Member States active in the region;

66.  Notes that the overall situation as regards human rights, labour rights, lack of support for civil society and the status of the rule of law remain worrying; calls for the human rights dialogues to be strengthened and made more effective and result-oriented, with the close cooperation and involvement of civil society organisations in the preparation, monitoring and implementation of such dialogues; calls on the EU and the VP/HR to raise publicly the cases of political prisoners and imprisoned human rights defenders and journalists and to call for the immediate release of all political prisoners and for fair and transparent legal procedures for the others; calls for the Rule of Law Initiative to improve transparency towards civil-society organisations and to include clear objectives to make possible a transparent assessment of its implementation and results;

67.  Notes that the energy- and resource-rich Central Asian countries provide a potentially significant source for the EU‘s diversification of sources and routes of supply; notes that the EU is a reliable consumer and that producer countries need to demonstrate their reliability as suppliers to consumer countries and foreign investors by, inter alia, establishing a level playing field for national and international corporations according to the rule of law; calls on the EEAS and the Commission to continue to support energy projects and promote communication on important goals such as the Southern Corridor and the trans-Caspian pipeline, without neglecting the principles of good governance and transparency as win-win elements in energy cooperation between the EU and partner countries;

68.  Stresses that the exploitation and management of natural resources with regard to, in particular, water are still a matter of contention in the region, and a source of instability, tension and potential conflict; welcomes, in this regard, the Water Initiative launched by the EU in Central Asia, but calls for a more effective and constructive dialogue between upstream mountainous countries and downstream countries, with a view to achieving sound and sustainable ways of dealing with water issues and to adopting comprehensive and long-lasting water-sharing agreements;


69.  Is concerned about the resurgence of violence following the breakdown of peace negotiations; highlights the importance of a sub-regional, Central Asian approach to tackling cross-border trafficking in people and goods, and to fighting the illegal production and trafficking of drugs, a basic source of funding for organised crime and terrorism; calls for improved cooperation among those Member States participating in NATO‘s ISAF mission to ensure that the intervention is efficient; calls for efforts to support the capacity building of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its National Security Forces, and to help the wider population with agricultural and socio-economic development, to be stepped up in order for the country to assume full responsibility for its own security following the completion of the transfer of internal security to the Afghan forces by the end of 2014;

70.  Takes note, with great concern for the affected population, that the military intervention in Afghanistan has not resulted in the building of a viable state with democratic structures, an improvement in living conditions for the majority – in particular for women and girls – or the substitution of narcotics production by other forms of agriculture, but has instead embroiled the country in an unprecedented level of corruption; calls on the EU and the Member States, in view of the accelerated withdrawal of European troops, to prepare, as a priority, a safety plan for those Afghans who have closely supported EU state building efforts, and whose existence could be threatened by the departure of European forces, notably women‘s activists; calls on the EEAS to make an honest evaluation of the EU’s and the Member States’ policy in Afghanistan since 2001 and to present, by the end of the year, a realistic plan of future EU activities in the region;

71.  Emphasises the need for reinforced cooperation with countries like Russia, Pakistan, India and Iran when addressing challenges in Afghanistan, especially those related to drug-trafficking, terrorism and the risk of spillover to neighbouring countries and the region;

The Americas

72.  Strongly believes that the USA is the most important strategic partner for the EU; urges, therefore, the EU to give clear political priority to deepening the transatlantic relations on all levels;

73.  Underlines the utmost importance of transatlantic relations; takes the view that regular EU-US summits would provide an opportunity to identify common objectives, and to coordinate strategies on threats and challenges of global relevance, including, inter alia, economic governance, and on developing a common approach towards the emerging powers; welcomes the report of High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth; considers that the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) and the Transatlantic Legislators Dialogue (TLD) should include a reflection on strategic engagement by the EU and the US with the BRICS and other relevant emerging countries, as well as with ASEAN, the African Union, Mercosur, the Andean Community and CELAC on how to foster regulatory convergence with such countries; underlines the importance of the TEC, as the body responsible for enhancing economic integration and regulatory cooperation, and the TLD, as a forum for parliamentary dialogue and for coordinating parliamentary work from both sides on issues of common concern, especially legislation relevant for the transatlantic market; recalls the need to set up, with no further delay, a Transatlantic Political Council as an ad hoc body for systematic, high-level consultation and coordination on foreign and security policy issues between the EU and the USA in parallel with NATO;

74.  Notes that the USA is progressively shifting its primary attention, political and economic investment and military resources to the Pacific, reflecting the increasing global and regional relevance of China, India and other emerging countries in Asia; notes, furthermore, that Asia should have a more important place on the foreign agenda of the EU and the Member States; calls, therefore, for greater coordination of US and EU policies towards China, India and other emerging countries in Asia in order to avoid a decoupling of their respective approaches to key policies;

75.  Believes that the USA will continue to make a vital contribution to the collective security of the Euro-Atlantic area, and reaffirms the unchangeable and critical relevance of the transatlantic security link; points out that, in the changing geostrategic and economic situation, building stronger European security and defence capabilities represents an important way of strengthening the transatlantic link;

Latin America

76.  Calls for the EU-Latin America political dialogue to be widened at all levels, including the summits of heads of states and the EUROLAT Parliamentary Assembly, as an important tool for the development of political consensus; calls for political commitments made at EU-Latin America summits to be accompanied by the allocation of adequate financial resources; expresses deep concern over the fact that Argentina has recently nationalised a major Spanish-owned petrol company (YPF) and has also made highly unhelpful demarches with regard to the UK‘s Falkland Islands;

77.  Proposes to explore the possibility of closer cooperation, especially economic cooperation, between the Americas and the EU with the goal of a common free trade agreement;

78.  Calls for existing human rights dialogues to be enhanced, with greater involvement on the part of Parliament, and for a dialogue to be launched on strengthening cooperation on important security challenges, not least the devastating impact of organised and narcotics-related crime on state institutions and human security; notes that the 7th EU-LAC Summit of Heads of State and Government, to be held in Chile in January 2013, could be a good opportunity to launch new visions for bi-regional cooperation across a range of political and socio-economic areas;

79.  Stresses that social cohesion should remain a key principle of the development cooperation strategy towards Latin America, on account not only of its socio-economic implications, but also of its importance in terms of consolidating the democratic institutions in the region and the rule of law; notes as well that further development cooperation between the EU and the middle-income countries of Latin America is necessary in order to address the major inequalities still existing in the region; calls for triangular cooperation and South-South cooperation with South American countries to be strengthened;

80.  Calls for further development of triangular cooperation with the Americas on matters of mutual interest, with a view to moving towards a Euro-Atlantic area comprising the EU, the US, Canada and Latin America;

81.  Notes the significant impact of Brazil‘s emergence in the region and globally, combining economic and social programs with democracy, the rule of law and basic freedoms; calls for the reinforcement of the EU-Brazil strategic partnership and political dialogue with a view to supporting the country’s efforts to strengthen institution building in Mercosur and Unasur;

82.  Welcomes the fact that the Association Agreement with Central America will be signed shortly, and will in the European Parliament be subject to the consent procedure; underlines the fact that, as the first comprehensive region-to-region treaty for the EU, it upgrades the relationship, and fosters a regional approach as well as Latin American regional integration; states its intention to closely monitor the implementation of the agreement, and in particular its impact on the situation for human rights and the rule of law in Central America;

83.  Welcomes the fact that the Trade Agreement between the European Union and Colombia and Peru will be signed shortly, and will in the European Parliament be subject to the consent procedure; recalls that this agreement cannot be seen as a definitive framework for the relationship between the EU and these countries, but as one more step towards a global association agreement, leaving the door open for other Andean Community countries to joint;

84.  Notes, therefore, that the EU’s objective is the signing of an Association Agreement with all members of the Andean Community; takes the view that the Association Agreement with MERCOSUR would represent a decisive advance in strategic relations with Latin America, provided that it is based on the principles o free and fair trade and legal certainty of investments, the respect for international, labour and environmental standards and the trustworthy conduct of the partners;

85.  Deplores that the Commission’s proposals for a regulation on a scheme of generalised tariff preferences and the Development Cooperation Instrument ignore the strategic nature of relations with Latin America, as they exclude a significant number of vulnerable countries in this region; recalls that some countries of Latin America are among the most unequal in the world in terms of per-capita earnings, and that persistent inequality occurs in a context of low socio-economic mobility; considers that the message that the EU is sending to the region is very troubling, since, in practical terms, it amounts to a statement that it does not give it the importance that it deserves, in spite of the multiple political and trade commitments made as well as the shared global interests;


86.  Notes that the joint Africa-EU Strategy and its 8 sectors have initially focused on the African Union (AU) and on technical support for institutional capacity building and policies across the range of peace and security, human rights, democracy promotion, the rule of law and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); recalls that, whilst such a comprehensive approach remains valid, the coherence and effectiveness of the strategy have been reduced by the existence of overlapping agreements with multiple partners and the lack of a specific budget for its implementation; in addition there is a pressing need to move beyond institutional capacity building at continental level towards developing a political partnership for peace, security and socio-economic development at regional and sub-regional level; calls for an extension of such political partnerships to include the Regional Economic Communities, not only as a strategy for strengthening the African Union, but also as a means of deepening the EU-Africa partnership at regional and sub-regional level, thus addressing the political, security and economic interests of African and European citizens; deplores the setbacks that coup d‘états, such as those occurred in Mali and Guinea Bissau, triggered in view of the democratic principles and goals advanced by the AU, the EU and the UN; calls for the urgent re-establishment of constitutional order in those countries;

87.  Takes note of the EU strategies for the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region; believes that the structural causes of the conflict in these regions need to be addressed in order to pave the way for a viable peaceful solution of the problems and give a better perspective for the population, which implies ensuring fair access to resources, sustainable development of the regions and a redistribution of wealth; calls for an evaluation of Union polices where considerable development aid and diplomatic resources are deployed to assess the impact on the population; calls also for closer association between the European Parliament, the Pan-African Parliament and regional parliamentary arrangements in order to ensure greater accountability for political and budgetary decisions vis-à-vis the citizens of both continents, and as a basis for measuring and evaluating progress in the implementation of policies; welcomes in particular the Council decision to extend the mandate of EUNAVFOR Atalanta (to include addressing the threat of piracy on shore) as a means of strengthening its comprehensive approach to addressing the specific threat of piracy as well as providing support for the longer-term development of the region;

88.  Is gravely concerned about the tensions between Sudan and South Sudan; calls on both sides to demonstrate political will to resolve their outstanding post-secession issues based on the Roadmap endorsed in the UN Security Council Resolution 2046 (2012) of 2 May 2012; stresses that the long-term stability in the region requires a new unified, comprehensive international strategy, in which the EU would play a role, alongside other global and regional actors, which would focus not only on North-South issues and the situation in Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile, but also on the long-overdue reform process in Sudan and the deepening of democratic reforms in South Sudan;

89.  Recalls its resolution of 25 November 2010 on the situation in Western Sahara; urges Morocco and the Polisario Front to continue negotiations for a peaceful and long-lasting solution of the Western Sahara conflict, and reiterates the right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination, and their right to decide on the status of Western Sahara through a democratic referendum, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions;


90.  Calls for the EU to have a greater and stronger presence in the Asia-Pacific region, in particular by highlighting the achievements of democratic transition in Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation, and by contributing, through its experience and expertise, to the multilateral initiatives in and around ASEAN and to the progressive emergence of increased Trans-Pacific initiatives; takes the view that the EEAS should now make full use of the potential for boosting cooperation between EU and Asia; considers the Bandar Seri Begawan Plan of Action to strengthen the ASEAN-EU enhanced partnership as a relevant first step in this regard; also commends the recent endorsement of the Treaty of Amity as a chance for deepening cooperation, aiming to reach beyond the perspective of trade agreements between the EU and Asian countries; stresses that economic and cultural cross-fertilisation should be given higher priority, in particular by fostering direct investment opportunities and by making access for students and researchers easier and more attractive; notes that this implies a strategic coordination of Member States and EU efforts, as opposed to parallel and competing national policies; notes that in the Asia-Pacific regional security context, including territorial disputes around the South China Sea as well as concerns with North Korea , the EU as a neutral partner should be an active proponent of a stable, peaceful solution based on multilateral institutions;

91.  Calls for the swift commencing of negotiations on the EU-Japan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement;


92.  Welcomes the progress made in the development of the EU-China strategic partnership, including the development of a third pillar, ‘People-to-People Dialogue’, in addition to the economic and security dialogues; emphasises the growing interdependence between the EU’s and China‘s economies, and recalls the significance of the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and influence on the international system;

93.  Notes that the change of leadership in China will be a major test of the country‘s evolution; reiterates its goal of developing a comprehensive strategic partnership with China; calls on the EU and its Member States to be more consistent and strategic in their respective messages and policies, and thereby contribute in a supportive way to an evolution in a positive direction; stresses that this implies eliminating the discrepancies between Member State and EU priorities as regards human rights in China, the human rights dialogue and support for civil-society organisations;


94.  Underlines the need to consolidate the Union’s relations with Japan as a major international actor that shares EU’s democratic values and is a natural partner for cooperation in multilateral fora and on issues of mutual interest; looks forward to the realisation of the comprehensive framework agreement and the Free Trade Agreement;

South and East Asia

95.  Calls for the EU to be more active in South Asia and South East Asia in support of democratic developments and reforms in the area of governance and the rule of law; welcomes, therefore, the commitment to a democratic, secular, stable and socially inclusive Pakistan; welcomes the first EU-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue held in June 2012 and the engagement for constructive discussions on enhancing bilateral cooperation and shared views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, including a more proactive engagement in the fight against terrorism; calls on the EU and its Member States to strengthen relations with India, based on the promotion of democracy, social inclusion, rule of law and human rights, and invites EU and India to swiftly conclude their ongoing negotiations of a comprehensive EU-India Free Trade Agreement, which would stimulate European and Indian trade and economic growth; Calls on the EU and its Member States to support Sri Lankan post-war reconciliation, reconstruction and economic development and, in this regard, urges the Council to support Sri Lanka in the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee (LLRC) report ; welcomes active support of EU for the promotion of democracy in Myanmar;

96.Welcomes the successful conclusion of the presidential and parliamentary elections held in Taiwan on 14 January 2012; commends Taiwan’s continuous efforts to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region; recognises the progress made in cross-Strait relations, especially the improvement of economic links, noting that closer economic ties with Taiwan could improve the EU’s market access to China; urges the Commission and the Council, in accordance with Parliament’s CFSP resolution of May 2011, to take concrete steps to further enhance EU-Taiwan economic relations, and to facilitate the negotiation of an EU-Taiwan economic cooperation agreement ; reiterates its firm support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in relevant international organisations and activities, including the World Health Organisation; recognises that the EU Visa Waiver Program granted to Taiwanese citizens, which entered into force in January 2011, has proven to be mutually beneficial; encourages closer bilateral cooperation between the EU and Taiwan in areas such as trade, research, culture, education and environmental protection;

97.  Calls on the EU to raise awareness of the serious human rights violations, the massive killings and inhuman treatment in the labour and political prison camps in North Korea, and to support the victims of such violations;

Multilateral partners
G-7, G-8 and G-20

98.  Believes that, in light of the increasing relevance of the BRICS and other emerging powers and in light of the multipolar system of global governance that is taking shape, the G-20 could prove a useful and particularly appropriate forum for consensus building that is inclusive, based on partnership and able to foster convergence, including regulatory convergence; takes the view, however, that the G-20 has yet to prove its value in converting summit conclusions into sustainable policies that address critical challenges, not least the control of tax havens and other challenges and threats expressed by the global financial and economic crisis; notes in this respect the potential for the G-8 to play a role in building consensus ahead of G-20 meetings; considers that the existence of the G-8 should also be harnessed in an effort to reconcile positions with Russia so that common challenges can be addressed in a coordinated and effective manner;


99.  Calls for the EU, in affirming that effective multilateralism is a cornerstone of EU foreign policy, to take a leading role in international cooperation and to advance global action by the international community; encourages the EU to further promote synergies within the UN system, to act as a bridge-builder at the UN and to engage globally with regional organisations and strategic partners; expresses its support for the continuation of UN reform; calls for the EU to contribute to sound financial management and budgetary discipline with regard to UN resources;

100.  Calls, therefore, on the EU to press for a comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council in order to reinforce its legitimacy, regional representation and effectiveness; stresses that such a reform process can be irreversibly launched by EU Member States if, consistently with the purposes of the Lisbon Treaty in enhancing EU foreign policy and the role of the EU in global peace and security , they demand a permanent seat for the EU in an enlarged and reformed UNSC; calls on the VP/HR to urgently take the initiative to bring the Member States to develop a common position with that purpose; urges the Member States, until such a common position is adopted, to agree and enact, without delay, a rotation system in the UN Security Council, so as to secure a EU seat in permanence at the UN Security Council;

101.  Considers it important that the UN General Assembly resolution on the EU’s participation in the work of UNGA be fully implemented and that the EU act and deliver in a timely and coordinated fashion on substantive issues; calls on the EU to further improve the coordination of EU Member State positions and interests in the UN Security Council; welcomes the setting up of EU medium-term priorities at the UN, and calls for Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs to be consulted regularly on the annual review and on any implementation; stresses the need for stronger public diplomacy on UN affairs and for the EU’s global role to be communicated in a more effective fashion to the European public;

102.  Strongly believes in the need to build partnerships in the area of conflict prevention, civilian and military crisis management, and peace-building, and, with this in mind, to make the EU-UN Steering Committee more operational in the context of crisis management; calls on the EU and its Member States to generate further progress on the operationalisation of the responsibility to protect principle, and to work with UN partners towards ensuring that this concept becomes part of prevention and post-conflict reconstruction; calls for the elaboration of an interinstitutional ‘Consensus on R2P and a common Conflict Prevention Policy’, in parallel with the already existing ‘Consensus on Humanitarian Aid’ and ‘Consensus for Development’, that could ensure more EU consistency in UN fora on these issues;

103.  Recalls that the comprehensive approach to the EU implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security, adopted by the Council of the European Union of 1 December 2008, recognises the close links between the issues of peace, security, development and gender equality, and should be a cornerstone of the CFSP; stresses that the EU has consistently called for the full implementation of the women, peace and security agenda set in UN Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000) and 1820 (2008), and subsequently reinforced by the adoption of UN Security Council resolutions 1888 and 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010), particularly the need to combat violence against women in conflict situations and the promotion of women‘s participation in peace building; calls on those Members States which have not yet done so to adopt national action plans regarding women, peace and security, and underlines that they should be based on uniform, minimum European standards as regards objectives, implementation and monitoring across the EU;

104.  Underlines the need to develop more effective mediation guidelines and capacities through collaboration between the EU and the UN on mediation capacities, in order to provide adequate resources for mediation in a timely and coordinated manner, including through ensuring women‘s participation in these processes; considers it essential for the implementation of the EU’s human rights policy to develop the UN Human Rights Council’s capacity to address serious and urgent human rights situations, to reinforce the follow-up process on the implementation of recommendations of the Special Procedures and to strengthen the process of the Universal Periodic Review; stresses the need to continue the EU’s support of the International Criminal Court with the aim of contributing to the effective protection of human rights and the fight against impunity;

105.  Calls, with regard to the UN negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), on the EU VP/HR and the Council to work for the highest possible standards of protection of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by setting standards that go beyond those already agreed upon at the EU level and are enshrined in the EU Common Position on Arms Exports; stresses that EU states parties must therefore refrain from accepting lower standards which would undoubtedly be detrimental to the success and effectiveness of the ATT;


106.  Welcomes the commitments made by the EU and NATO to strengthen their strategic partnership, reaffirmed by the Alliance in its new Strategic Concept and at the Chicago Summit, and emphasises the progress made as regards practical cooperation in operations; notes that the current global and European economic crisis has spurred efforts to seek more cost-effective and urgently required operational capabilities in both the EU and NATO; calls, therefore, for the VP/HR to be more proactive in promoting further concrete proposals for organisation-to-organisation cooperation, including through the European Defence Agency (with smart defence, pooling and sharing, and a comprehensive approach as guiding principles, based on the complementarity of the initiatives); calls for an urgent political solution to the blockage on cooperation under the ‘Berlin Plus’ arrangements, which are holding back the prospects for the two organisations to cooperate more effectively;

Council of Europe

107.  Urges the Member States to meet their obligation to conclude rapidly the negotiations on the accession of the EU to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR); underlines the importance of the standards monitoring procedures and findings of the Council of Europe as a major contribution to assessing progress by neighbouring countries in achieving democratic reforms;

108.  Emphasises the fact that the accession of the EU to the ECHR is a historic opportunity to affirm human rights as a both a core value of the EU and a common ground for its relations with third countries, and hopes that it will proceed without unnecessary delay; reaffirms that the EU accession to the ECHR constitutes a significant achievement for further strengthening human rights protection in Europe;


109.  Supports the dialogue on reform of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE, provided that this does not come at the price of weakening existing institutions and mechanisms or affecting their independence; emphasises the need to maintain a balance between the three dimensions of the OSCE, developing them coherently and comprehensively and building on what has already been achieved; stresses, moreover, that security threats and challenges should be tackled through all three dimensions if action is to be truly effective; calls on the OSCE to further strengthen its capacity to ensure respect for, and the implementation of, principles and commitments undertaken by its participating states in all three dimensions, inter alia by enhancing follow-up mechanisms;


110.  Expects the EU to develop a real strategic partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including an open, regular and constructive dialogue, and a structured cooperation, on human rights and democracy as well as on the transition process and crisis management in the Southern Neighbourhood; reiterates, in support of this objective, that the EEAS should devote more human resources to the region and open delegations in the main GCC countries; stresses that human rights, women’s rights, the rule of law and the democratic aspirations of the people in GCC countries, from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, cannot continue to be overlooked in EU’s policies towards the region;

The Arab League

111.  Acknowledges the increasingly important role of regional organisations, in particular the Arab League, but also the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the Economic Cooperation Organisation, and calls on the EU to strengthen cooperation, especially on questions related to transition processes and crisis management in the Southern Neighbourhood; welcomes EU efforts to assist the Arab League in its integration process;

Thematic CFSP priorities
Common Security and Defence Policy

112.  Emphasises that CSDP actions should be embedded in a comprehensive policy targeting countries and regions in crisis, where the EU’s values and strategic interests are at stake and where CSDP operations would provide real added value in terms of promoting peace, stability and the rule of law; stresses, further, the need for a lessons-learnt process that assesses more accurately the successful implementation of each operation and its lasting impact on the ground;

113.  Reiterates its call for the VP/HR, the Council and the Member States to address the numerous issues plaguing civil-military cooperation, from shortages of qualified staff to equipment shortages and imbalances; calls in particular for staff in the fields of justice, civilian administration, customs, dialogue, reconciliation and mediation, so as to ensure that adequate and sufficient expertise can be provided for CSDP missions; calls for the VP/HR to come forward with specific proposals for making up these staffing shortages, in particular in the area of civilian crisis management, conflict prevention, post-crisis reconstruction and the sectors described above;

114.  Welcomes calls for greater pooling and sharing of key military capabilities, improved capacities to plan and conduct missions and operations, and integration of civilian and military missions and operations; highlights the need to continuously improve the performance of CSDP missions and operations, including through evaluation of outcomes, benchmarking, impact assessment, identifying and implementing lessons learned and developing best practices for effective and efficient CSDP action; regrets, however, the political constraints on cooperation that sometimes prevent best practices from creating synergies;

Arms trade

115.  Recalls that the Member States are responsible for more than one third of global arms exports; urges the Member States to comply not only with the eight criteria of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP (the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports) but also with EU development policy principles; calls for the competence on the rules governing arms exports to be transferred to the EU; reminds the Member States that developing countries should first and foremost invest financial resources in sustainable social and economic development, democracy, human rights and the rule of law; urges the VP/HR and the Member States to use the ongoing review of EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP to strengthen the implementation and monitoring of EU criteria for arms exports; deeply regrets the failure of the UN negotiations for a global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in July 2012; calls on the VP/HR and the Member States to bring pressure to bear, as a matter of urgency, on those countries which opposed a robust global ATT; calls for a strong and robust ATT which requires state parties to deny any arms and ammunition export in case there is a serious risk that the arms would be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international human rights law and international human rights, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes;

Conflict prevention and peace-building

116.  Calls for the VP/HR to put forward proposals for boosting the EEAS’ capacities with regard to conflict prevention and peace-building, with particular reference to the Gothenburg Programme, and to further expand the EU‘s capacity to prevent conflict and provide mediation, dialogue and reconciliation capacities alongside its better-resourced crisis management capacities; calls, as a matter of priority, for stock to be taken of EU policies in the area of conflict prevention and peace-building, with a view to the VP/HR reporting back to Parliament on proposals for strengthening the Union’s external capacity and responsiveness in this area; welcomes the proposal by the Commission and the EEAS to introduce a budget line amounting to EUR 500 000 for Conflict Prevention and Mediation Support Services in the EEAS budget for 2013, following the successful completion at the end of this year of a preparatory action proposed by Parliament; calls on the VP/HR to enhance the participation of women in conflict prevention, mediation, dialogue and reconciliation and peace-building mechanisms;

117.  Considers the proposal for an autonomous or semi-autonomous European Institute of Peace with close links to the EU, and which could contribute to strengthening conflict prevention and mediation capacities in Europe, a very promising idea; calls for such an institute to be based on a clearly defined mandate which avoids duplication of existing governmental and non-governmental organisations and which focuses on informal mediation diplomacy and knowledge transfer among and between EU and independent mediation actors; looks forward to the results of the pilot project on a European Institute of Peace launched this year; expects to be fully involved in the discussions leading to the possible creation of such an institute;

Sanctions and restrictive measures

118.  Believes that in its treatment of authoritarian regimes the EU should develop a more consistent policy with respect to the imposition and lifting of sanctions and restrictive measures;

Non-proliferation and disarmament

119.  Calls for the VP/HR to analyse the effectiveness of the European Union in addressing the threat posed by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, a decade after the adoption of the 2003 Strategy Against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and upon the expiration of the extended deadline for the implementation of the 2008 New Lines for Action, with a view to the VP/HR reporting back to Parliament on proposals for strengthening the EU‘s capacity in this policy area;

120.  Calls for the VP/HR to analyse the effectiveness of the European Union in addressing the threat posed by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and other conventional weapons as well as in tackling broader disarmament-related issues since the adoption of the 2005 Small Arms and Light Weapons Strategy and other relevant policy frameworks, including the 2003 EU Common Position on arms brokering and EU arms embargoes, with a view to the VP/HR reporting back to Parliament on proposals for strengthening the EU‘s capacity in this policy area;

European Defence Agency

121.  Reiterates its call on the Member States to increase European cooperation in defence, which is the only feasible way to make sure that European military forces continue to be credible and operational in the face of diminishing defence budgets; notes the progress made under the EU’s pooling and sharing and NATO’s smart defence, and considers it essential that further synergies are achieved by the two organisations; stresses the need to make further progress in the pooling and sharing of assets, and in the potential for synergies in research, development and industrial cooperation in defence matters at Union level; welcomes the initiatives for strengthened cooperation in this area, including the Weimar Plus Initiative;

122.  Recalls, in this context, the essential role of the European Defence Agency (EDA) in developing and implementing an EU capabilities and armaments policy; calls on the Council, therefore, to strengthen the institutional character of the EDA and to unleash its full potential, as provided for in Articles 42 (3) and 45 TEU;

123.  Urges the Council and the Member States to provide the EDA with adequate funding for the full range of its mission and tasks; takes the view that this would best be done by financing the Agency’s staffing and running costs from the Union budget, starting with the forthcoming multiannual financial framework; calls, to that end, on the VP/HR to put forward the necessary proposals;

Energy security

124.  Notes that Article 194 of the Lisbon Treaty specifies that the EU is entitled to take measures at European level to ensure security of energy supply; stresses, in this regard, that in order to enhance energy security, and at the same time strengthen the credibility and effectiveness of the CFSP, it is of the utmost importance to reduce energy dependency from such third countries that do not share, or that act against, EU values; believes that diversification of supply sources and transit routes, and increasing reliance on renewables and clean energy sources and transit routes, is urgent and essential for the EU, which is highly dependent on external sources of energy; notes that the main directions for diversification are the Arctic, the Mediterranean basin and the Southern Corridor from Iraq to Central Asia and the Middle East, and calls on the Commission to prioritise such projects; is concerned by the delays encountered in the completion of the Southern Corridor; highlights the need to achieve energy security through energy diversity, and emphasises the potential of a complementary LNG corridor in the east Mediterranean as a flexible source of energy, and as an incentive for increased competition within the EU internal market; believes that the EU should ensure that a current main source of imports – Russia – complies with internal market rules, the regulations under the Third Energy package and the Energy Charter Treaty; notes the great potential for development and interdependence that transcontinental smart grids for renewable energy linking Europe and Africa could offer;

125.  Notes that in 2011, the Commission proposed setting up an information exchange mechanism on intergovernmental agreements in energy between Members States and third countries; believes that exchanges of best practices and political support from the Commission would also strengthen Member States’ negotiating power; calls on the VP/HR and the Commission to report regularly to Parliament on the setting up and implementation of the mechanism; calls on the Commission to include an ‘energy security clause’ in trade, association and partnership, and cooperation agreements with producer and transit countries, i.e. a code of conduct in the event of disruption of, or unilateral changes to, the terms of supply;

New threats and challenges

126.  Underlines that, in the CFSP, the action against the new generation of challenges for stability and international security such as climate change, international crime and terrorism, cybernetic attacks, proliferation of nuclear and mass destruction weapons, failed states, piracy and pandemics, must have an important place;

The external dimension of the area of Freedom, Security and Justice

127.  Recalls that the external dimension of the area of Freedom, Security and Justice must play an important role in the CFSP; highlights the need of an organised management of the migratory flows that assure the cooperation with the countries of origin and of transit;

Cultural and religious dialogue

128.  Believes that fostering dialogue and understanding between different religions and cultures should be an integral part of our external engagement with third countries and societies and, in particular, of our support for resolving conflicts and promoting tolerant, inclusive and democratic societies;

o   o

129.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of NATO, the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ C 139, 14.6.2006, p. 1.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0227.
(3) OJ C 349 E, 22.12.2010, p. 51.
(4) OJ C 351 E, 2.12.2011, p.454.
(5) OJ C 351 E, 2.12.2011, p.470.
(6) OJ C 351 E, 2.12.2011, p.472.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2012)0126.

Legal notice - Privacy policy