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Thursday, 13 June 2013 - Strasbourg
Partnership and cooperation agreement with Afghanistan

European Parliament resolution of 13 June 2013 on the negotiations on an EU-Afghanistan cooperation agreement on partnership and development (2013/2665(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous reports and resolutions on Afghanistan, in particular its resolutions of 16 December 2010 on a new strategy for Afghanistan(1), of 15 December 2011 on budgetary control of EU financial assistance to Afghanistan(2) and of 15 December 2011 on the situation of women in Afghanistan and Pakistan(3),

–  having regard to the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Afghanistan, including Resolution 2096 of March 2013,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the International Afghanistan Conferences of 2011 and 2012, including those held in Bonn in December 2011, in Chicago in May 2012, in Kabul in June 2012 and in Tokyo in July 2012,

–  having regard to the statement issued by the EU Delegation to Afghanistan in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Afghanistan on 19 November 2012, concerning the execution of people sentenced to death,

–  having regard to the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers’ decision of 27 May 2013 to extend the EU’s police mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL) until 31 December 2014,

–  having regard to Rule 110(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the EU has been supporting the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan since 2002 and continues to be committed to peaceful transition in Afghanistan, its inclusive and sustainable development and the stability and security of the whole region;

B.  whereas the provision of EU assistance from 2011 to 2013 has focused on key sectors of governance (including the police), agriculture, rural development, health and social protection;

C.  whereas the EU and Afghanistan are about to conclude negotiations on a cooperation agreement on partnership and development (CAPD) which will place EU-Afghanistan cooperation on a new, comprehensive level, with a new legal framework;

D.  whereas Parliament has asked for a five-year action plan for the elimination of opium cultivation through alternative development in Afghanistan;

E.  whereas the EU is supporting the training of police forces and capacity-building in Afghanistan, and whereas since 2007 the EUPOL mission has been supporting a sustainable and effective civil police force which will help in establishing a criminal justice system under Afghan ownership;

F.  whereas, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the number of Afghan citizens addicted to drugs is still increasing, with a major social impact on the population;

G.  whereas despite the active role being played by the EU in supporting counter-narcotics measures, significant results are very limited;

H.  whereas the lack of coordination between donors to Afghanistan and the Afghan Government is undermining the effectiveness of EU contributions to Afghanistan;

I.  whereas, since the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament has played a key role in giving the consent required for new cooperation agreements;

1.  Reaffirms its continued support for the construction of an Afghan state with stronger democratic institutions capable of securing national sovereignty, state unity, territorial integrity and prosperity for the people of Afghanistan; reaffirms that the peaceful future of Afghanistan depends on the building of a stable, secure and economically sustainable state which is free of terrorism and narcotics and is based on the rule of law, strengthened democratic institutions, respect for the separation of powers and a strong parliament, and the guarantee of fundamental rights; appreciates, in this connection, the important contributions made by EU development cooperation and by the EUPOL Afghanistan mission, the extension of which is welcomed;

2.  Welcomes the efforts and progress made in the last decade; reiterates, however, its concern about the security situation and the ongoing violence in Afghanistan, which are resulting in threats to the local population, including women, children, national security forces and international military and civilian personnel;

3.  Urges the Afghan Government to prepare to take over full responsibility for its security following the withdrawal of international forces; calls on the EU and its Member States to step up their efforts to support the military and civilian capacity-building of the Afghan Government and its national security forces in order to establish stability and security as an essential basis for socio-economic development and avoid creating a vacuum once the country assumes full responsibility for its own security after 2014; underlines the risk that the withdrawal of international forces in 2014 may create an economic vacuum;

4.  Supports the negotiations on a cooperation agreement on partnership and development and stresses that it should lead to a more strategic approach and to support for the Afghan authorities during and after the withdrawal of international forces;

5.  Stresses the importance of this new agreement comprising a comprehensive and sustainable approach to addressing the security, economic, governance and development challenges in Afghanistan, which are interconnected;

6.  Calls on the Afghan authorities to commute all death sentences and to reintroduce a moratorium on executions with a view to the permanent abolition of the death penalty;

7.  Considers regrettable the lack of political momentum for the conclusion of the CAPD negotiations; calls, therefore, on the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Afghan Government to conclude them swiftly;

8.  Calls for the EU, within the framework of the new agreement, to continue its efforts to support democratic values, the rule of law, a reliable governance system (including the fight against corruption), an independent judiciary, human rights and the creation of a genuine civil society;

9.  Regrets the fact that despite the EEAS’s obligation to inform Parliament concerning all stages of the negotiations, Parliament has not been properly informed; recalls its new prerogatives in foreign affairs as stipulated in the Lisbon Treaty, and demands full cooperation from the EEAS and the Council on an issue of such major importance;

10.  Points to the need for further socio-economic development and economic diversification; stresses, in this connection, the potential to boost growth by exploiting energy resources and placing a stronger focus on the extractive industry; underlines, however, the need for the extractive industry to operate transparently and the need to apply the standards laid down by the International Extractive Transparency Initiative;

11.  Notes that despite some progress in the field of gender equality and fundamental rights over the last decade, women in Afghanistan are still the most vulnerable segment of society and continue to be subjected to threats, intimidation and violence and to suffer from discriminatory laws; highlights the need – from both a legal and a practical perspective – to integrate women fully into society and ensure their full participation, and to achieve real empowerment of women; strongly condemns the fact that many women are victims of ongoing threats and violence and that in the last few years prominent women in Afghan public life have been murdered or had attempts made on their lives, while the perpetrators have not been brought to justice;

12.  Stresses the need for continuing support for the development of infrastructure in many sectors, including schools, hospitals, transport, energy grids, agriculture and the empowerment of women in Afghanistan, in line with EU development aid even before the 2001 intervention;

13.  Regrets the fact that the EU anti-narcotics initiative has not achieved satisfactory results so far; points out that drug production and trafficking sustain ‘insurgent’ groups and fuel corruption at various levels; stresses that the main focus of action against narcotics should be on supporting income alternatives for farmers; highlights, in this connection, the need for a broader strategy in relation to sustainable rural development and water management;

14.  Recalls that more than 90 % of heroin in Europe originates in Afghanistan and that the costs to public health in European countries run into billions of dollars; notes, however, that opium production is a key social, economic and security issue; regrets the fact that in 2011 opium production rose by 61 % by comparison with 2010, accounting for 9 % of Afghanistan’s GDP in 2011;

15.  Notes that between 2009 and 2011 the US and the international community spent USD 1,1 billion on counter-narcotics measures without achieving any significant impact on production and trafficking; recalls that Parliament has repeatedly called for the establishment of a five-year opium elimination plan with specific deadlines and benchmarks, to be implemented through a dedicated office with its own budget and staff and on the basis of cooperation between the EU, the US and the Russian Federation, the latter being the main victim of Afghan heroin and the world’s largest opium market;

16.  Recalls that between 2002 and the end of 2011 the EU committed a total of approximately EUR 2,5 billion in assistance to Afghanistan, including EUR 493 million in humanitarian assistance; regrets the fact that despite the huge injections of foreign aid the impact has been limited; invites the Court of Auditors to draw up a special report on the effectiveness of EU assistance to Afghanistan over the last decade, similar to the one on the EULEX mission in Kosovo;

17.  Expresses the strongest possible concern about the inefficiency of international financial support and of Afghan government structures, and about the lack of transparency and the limited mechanisms for donor accountability;

18.  Deplores the fact that a significant proportion of European and other international aid money is lost in the course of the distribution chain, and draws attention to the four main ways this happens: waste, excessive intermediary and security costs, overbilling and corruption;

19.  Reiterates that it is crucial to coordinate EU assistance on the basis of a joint approach involving Member States and international actors in a common strategy; welcomes the strategic consensus between the Government of Afghanistan and the international community on a renewed and enduring partnership for the next decade, as stated in the conclusions of the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan and the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework;

20.  Stresses the importance of a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led and -owned approach to reconciliation in Afghanistan for all those who renounce violence, respect the constitution – including its human rights provisions, in particular those relating to the rights of women – and are willing to join in building a peaceful Afghanistan; stresses that the peace process should involve the political opposition, civil society in general and women in particular, and be as inclusive as possible; calls for the role of the High Peace Council in this area to be strengthened and focused more closely on the actual peace process;

21.  Recalls the commitments made by the Government of Afghanistan at the International Afghanistan Conferences in Kabul and Tokyo to strengthen and improve Afghanistan’s electoral process, including through long-term electoral reform, in order to ensure that future elections meet international standards; welcomes the announcement of the date for the 2014 presidential and provincial council elections, along with Afghanistan’s preparations for those elections; stresses the need to mobilise participation, which may depend on the security situation, especially in the southern and eastern provinces; reminds the Afghan authorities of the need for oversight by national and international observers of the national electoral roll and the organisation and monitoring of the voting process in the forthcoming elections; calls for the EU to provide support, at the request of the Afghan authorities, for the organisation of the forthcoming elections;

22.  Stresses the need for regional cooperation which has the objective of promoting stability and security in the wider region; emphasises the need for enhanced cooperation with Russia, Pakistan, Central Asia, India and Iran as part of a regional framework, in order to address the challenges presented by security issues, cross-border trafficking in people and goods, and the fight against the illegal production and trafficking of drugs;

23.  Calls on the EEAS to improve its cooperation with Parliament in relation to EU assistance to Afghanistan, including the progress of negotiations; expects full information on the terms of negotiations and regular reporting once the agreement has been adopted;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of Afghanistan, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

(1) OJ C 169 E, 15.6.2012, p. 108.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0578.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2011)0591.

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