Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Protocol on Matters specific to Railway Rolling Stock ***
 Hague Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements ***
 Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2014/008 FI/STX Rauma – Finland
 Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2014/005 FR/GAD - France
 Seeking an opinion from the Court of Justice on the compatibility with the Treaties of the Agreement between Canada and the European Union on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record data
 The EU and the global development framework after 2015
 Employment and social aspects of the EU2020 strategy

Protocol on Matters specific to Railway Rolling Stock ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 25 November 2014 on the draft Council decision on the approval, on behalf of the European Union, of the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters specific to Railway Rolling Stock, adopted in Luxembourg on 23 February 2007 (15113/2013 – C8-0004/2014 – 2013/0184(NLE))
P8_TA(2014)0054A8-0030/2014

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (15113/2013),

–  having regard to the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters specific to Railway Rolling Stock, adopted in Luxembourg on 23 February 2007(1),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 81(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0004/2014),

–  having regard to Rule 99(1), first and third subparagraphs, Rule 99(2), and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0030/2014),

1.  Gives its consent to the approval of the Protocol;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 331, 16.12.2009, p. 5.


Hague Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 25 November 2014 on the draft Council decision on the approval, on behalf of the European Union, of the Hague Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements (12052/2014 – C8-0222/2014 – 2014/0021(NLE))
P8_TA(2014)0055A8-0034/2014

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12052/2014),

–  having regard to the Hague Convention of 30 June 2005 on Choice of Court Agreements(1),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 81(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0222/2014),

–  having regard to Rule 99(1), first and third subparagraphs, Rule 99(2), and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0034/2014),

1.  Gives its consent to the approval of the Convention;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and to the Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

(1) OJ L 133, 29.5.2009, p. 3.


Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2014/008 FI/STX Rauma – Finland
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2014 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, in accordance with point 13 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management (application EGF/2014/008 FI/STX Rauma, from Finland) (COM(2014)0630 – C8-0214/2014 – 2014/2137(BUD))
P8_TA(2014)0056A8-0043/2014

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2014)0630 – C8‑0214/2014),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (2014-2020) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006(1) (EGF Regulation),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2), and in particular Article 12 thereof,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3) (IIA of 2 December 2013), and in particular point 13 thereof,

–  having regard to the trilogue procedure provided for in point 13 of the IIA of 2 December 2013,

–  having regard to the letter of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs,

–  having regard to the letter of the Committee on Regional Development,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0043/2014),

A.  whereas the Union has set up legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns and to assist their reintegration into the labour market,

B.  whereas the Union’s financial assistance to workers made redundant should be dynamic and made available as quickly and efficiently as possible, in accordance with the Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission adopted during the conciliation meeting on 17 July 2008, and having due regard to the IIA of 2 December 2013 in respect of the adoption of decisions to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF),

C.  whereas the adoption of the EGF Regulation reflects the agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council to reintroduce the crisis mobilisation criterion, to increase Union financial contribution to 60 % of the total estimated cost of the proposed measures, to increase efficiency for the treatment of EGF applications in the Commission and by the Parliament and the Council by shortening the time for assessment and approval, to widen the range of eligible actions and beneficiaries by introducing self-employed persons and young people and to finance incentives for setting up own businesses,

D.  whereas the Finnish authorities submitted application EGF/2014/008 FI/STX Rauma on 27 May 2014 following the dismissal of 577 workers in STX Finland Oy, an enterprise which operated in the economic sector classified under NACE Rev. 2 division 30 ('Manufacture of other transport equipment'),

E.  whereas the application fulfils the eligibility criteria laid down in the EGF Regulation,

1.  Notes that the Finnish authorities submitted the application under the intervention criterion of Article 4(1)(a) of the EGF Regulation, which requires at least 500 workers being made redundant or self-employed persons' activity ceasing, over a reference period of four months in an enterprise in a Member State, including workers made redundant or self-employed persons' activity ceasing in its suppliers and downstream producers;

2.  Notes that the Finnish authorities submitted the application for EGF financial contribution on 27 May 2014, and that its assessment was made available by the Commission on 14 October 2014; welcomes the speedy evaluation period of less than five months;

3.  Notes that the Finnish authorities argue that the global maritime industry has changed dramatically in recent years and that, in this global context, the EU market share in shipbuilding(4) has plummeted from 13 % in 2007 to 5 % in the first three quarters of 2013, while the equivalent share of China, South Korea and Japan combined increased from 77 % in 2007 to 86 % in the first three quarters of 2013; notes that, in addition to this significant expansion by Asia in the shipbuilding market, reduced orders resulting from the economic crisis pushed the European sector into global overcapacity leading to tough competition;

4.  Agrees that these factors are linked to major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation and that the intervention criteria set out in Article 4(1)(a) of the EGF Regulation are met and that, therefore, Finland is entitled to a financial contribution under that Regulation;

5.  Notes that, to date, the shipbuilding sector in broad terms has been the subject of six EGF applications, with one based on trade related globalisation and the other five on the global financial and economic crisis; considers that restructuring in the sector may alleviate the difficulties and that the shipbuilding industry in the different Member States could be supported by guidelines from a European perspective;

6.  Notes that these redundancies will further aggravate the unemployment situation in Southwest Finland, as most of the dismissed workers have a poor standard of education in combination with relatively advanced age, which is likely to increase the risk of prolonged unemployment; is all the more concerned about the effects of this closure on the region as the shipyard and metal industry constitute core economic activities and have historic tradition, making the transition to new economic activities all the more difficult;

7.  Notes that in addition to the 577 redundancies within the reference period, 57 workers dismissed after the reference period of four months are also included in the number of eligible beneficiaries, which amounts in total to 634 persons; of which the number of targeted beneficiaries of the EGF measures is 565;

8.  Notes that the estimated total costs amount to EUR 2 378 000, of which EUR 113 000 is dedicated to implementation, and that the financial contribution of the EGF amounts to EUR 1 426 800, which represents 60 % of the total costs;

9.  Welcomes the fact that, in order to provide workers with speedy assistance, the Finnish authorities decided to initiate the implementation of the personalised services to the affected workers on 15 January 2014, ahead of the final decision on granting the EGF support for the proposed coordinated package and even of the application for a financial contribution from the EGF;

10.  Notes that the Finnish authorities have indicated that the coordinated package of personalised services has been drawn up in consultation with the social partners concerned as well as various other stakeholders and welcomes that consultations continue in the form of a working group convened by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy specifically to address the redundancies at STX Finland;

11.  Notes that the personalised services which are to be provided consist of the following three types of measures for the redundant workers covered by this application: (i) helping them transfer to a new job, (ii) helping them start their own business, and (iii) providing training or education;

12.  Welcomes the establishment of Service Points amongst the proposed actions; appreciates that these points are expected to provide an even more personal and in-depth service than the public employment office;

13.  Notes that a high proportion (41,42 %) of the dismissed workers are between the age of 55 and 64 years; further notes that this age group is at a higher risk of prolonged unemployment and exclusion from the labour market; considers therefore that these workers may have specific needs when it comes to providing them with personalised services;

14.  Welcomes especially the measure entitled "Enterprise survey", by which a survey of jobs in the Rauma region is to be carried out together with businesses and industries in Rauma, so as to produce up-to-date information on enterprises' personnel needs and to steer the targeted workers in the right direction and provide them with the necessary training;

15.  Welcomes the idea that those planning to start a business can experience what it is like to be an entrepreneur by means of a placement in an existing enterprise; notes the potential added value of starting a business after being made redundant for the persons in question and for society as a whole;

16.  Notes that the purpose of the pay subsidies is to ensure that targeted workers hired by new employers do not lose out in the first period of their new employment; considers that such measure could serve as an incentive to searching and engaging in a broader spectrum of new and unfamiliar jobs for the workers;

17.  Recalls that, in line with Article 7 of the EGF Regulation, the design of the coordinated package of personalised services should anticipate future labour market perspectives and required skills and should be compatible with the shift towards a resource-efficient and sustainable economy;

18.  Calls for the European Social Fund (ESF) measures planned within the new ESF programming period to complement the measures proposed and to facilitate the worker's reintegration in future-oriented and sustainable economic sectors;

19.  Recalls that employability depends also on the level of integration in society and therefore calls for special attention to be put on the older and less qualified workers' social accompaniment;

20.  Welcomes that the principles of equality of treatment and non-discrimination will be respected in the access to the proposed actions and their implementation;

21.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

22.  Instructs its President to sign the decision with the President of the Council and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution, including its annex, to the Council and the Commission.

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, in accordance with point 13 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management (application EGF/2014/008 FI/STX Rauma, from Finland)

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision 2014/878/EU.)

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 855.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) measured by production volume.


Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2014/005 FR/GAD - France
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2014 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, in accordance with point 13 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management (application EGF/2014/005 FR/GAD, from France) (COM(2014)0662 – C8-0226/2014 – 2014/2166(BUD))
P8_TA(2014)0057A8-0044/2014

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2014)0662 – C8‑0226/2014),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (2014-2020) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006(1) (EGF Regulation),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2), and in particular Article 12 thereof,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3) (IIA of 2 December 2013), and in particular point 13 thereof,

–  having regard to the trilogue procedure provided for in point 13 of the IIA of 2 December 2013,

–  having regard to the letter of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs,

–  having regard to the letter of the Committee on Regional Development,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0044/2014),

A.  whereas the Union has set up legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns or the global financial and economic crisis and to assist their reintegration into the labour market,

B.  whereas the Union’s financial assistance to workers made redundant should be dynamic and made available as quickly and efficiently as possible, in accordance with the Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission adopted during the conciliation meeting on 17 July 2008, and having due regard to the IIA of 2 December 2013 in respect of the adoption of decisions to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF),

C.  whereas the adoption of the EGF Regulation reflects the agreement reached between the Parliament and the Council to reintroduce the crisis mobilisation criterion, to increase Union financial contribution to 60 % of the total estimated cost of proposed measures, to increase efficiency for the treatment of EGF applications in the Commission and by the Parliament and the Council by shortening time for assessment and approval, to widen the range of eligible actions and beneficiaries by introducing self-employed persons and young people and to finance incentives for setting up own businesses,

D.  whereas the French authorities submitted application EGF/2014/005 FR/GAD on 6 June 2014 following the dismissal of 744 workers in GAD société anonyme simplifiée, an enterprise which operated in the economic sector classified under NACE Rev. 2 division 10 ('Manufacture of food products'),

E.  whereas the application fulfils the eligibility criteria set up by the EGF Regulation,

F.  whereas the local authorities in the Bretagne region were not involved in setting up the personalised services (Cellule de reclassement) to the affected workers, even though they are in charge of vocational training; whereas the local trade union representatives of the main sites concerned were not associated with the negotiation of the measures;

1.  Notes that the French authorities submitted the application under the intervention criterion set out in Article 4(1)(a) of the EGF Regulation, which requires at least 500 workers being made redundant or self-employed persons' activity ceasing, over a reference period of four months in an enterprise in a Member State, including workers made redundant or self-employed persons' activity ceasing in its suppliers and downstream producers;

2.  Agrees with the Commission that the intervention criteria set out in Article 4(1)(a) of the EGF Regulation are met and that, therefore, France is entitled to a financial contribution under that Regulation;

3.  Notes that the French authorities submitted the application for EGF financial contribution on 6 June 2014, and that its assessment was made available by the Commission on 24 October 2014; welcomes the Commission's compliance with the tight deadline of 12 weeks laid down in the EGF Regulation;

4.  Notes that the French authorities argue that GAD, as an abattoir and meat processing enterprise, was caught in the vice between two sets of price pressures, that of farmers struggling to cope with the increased price of feed and that of consumers struggling to cope with reduced income;

5.  Agrees that reduced pig meat consumption in the wake of increased prices and lower purchasing power of consumers is linked to the global financial and economic crisis addressed in Regulation (EC) No 546/2009(4);

6.  Takes the view that the increase of prices for pig feed, which the Union mostly imports from other continents recently plagued by droughts, could be attributed to globalisation;

7.  Believes that other factors played an important role in the company's difficulties, such as unfair competition within the internal market from competitors making an abusive use of the Posting of Workers Directive(5) and the absence of a decent minimum wage in all Members States;

8.  Calls on the Commission to ensure a level playing field within the internal market and the consistency of its legislation and instruments;

9.  Concludes that the factors accounting for the financial difficulties of GAD are diverse, but nevertheless agrees that France is entitled to EGF financial contribution;

10.  Notes that, to date, the 'Manufacture of food products' sector has been the subject of one other EGF application(6), also based on the global financial and economic crisis;

11.  Notes that these redundancies will aggravate the unemployment situation in Bretagne, as employment in this region is dependent on the agro-agricultural sector to a higher extent than the average in France (11 % in Bretagne as opposed to 5 % on average in France);

12.  Notes that, in addition to the 744 redundancies within the reference period, 16 workers dismissed after the reference period of four months are also included in the number of eligible beneficiaries, which amounts in total to 760 persons, the number of targeted beneficiaries of the EGF measures also being 760;

13.  Notes that the estimated total costs amount to EUR 1 530 000, out of which EUR 30 000 is dedicated to implementation, and that the financial contribution from the EGF amounts to EUR 918 000, which represents 60 % of the total costs;

14.  Welcomes the fact that, in order to provide workers with speedy assistance, the French authorities decided to initiate the implementation of the personalised services to the affected workers on 3 January 2014, ahead of the final decision on granting the EGF support for the proposed coordinated package and even of the application for a financial contribution from the EGF;

15.  Notes that the French authorities have indicated that the coordinated package of personalised services has been drawn up after the Central Enterprise Committee of GAD had been informed on 28 June 2013 that it was planned to cut 889 jobs in the enterprise;

16.  Regrets, however, the insufficient involvement of local political authorities and trade unions; suggests, in the framework of a future review of the EGF Regulation, the inclusion of a formal consultation with the local political authorities and trade unions in the file containing the mobilisation request submitted by national authorities to the Commission; deems it necessary to better integrate the EGF to the reconversion programmes and processes of local economic fabrics;

17.  Welcomes that the workers are already being supported with various measures helping them to find new jobs, and that, by 20 May 2014, 108 of them had already found contracts for more than six months and another 66 for less than six months, while three had started their own businesses and almost all of them had opted to remain within the region;

18.  Regrets that the personalised services which are to be provided consist of only one action, to be implemented by a one-stop-shop (Cellule de reclassement) which is run by two contracting agencies; notes that France requests only the funding of this one-stop-shop from the EGF; expresses its concerns with regard to the low amount of funds per worker (approximately EUR 1 200); calls on the French authorities to propose a more ambitious programme including a wider range of measures, such as a reception centre and casework, external experts guidance, thematic workshops, training, training allowances and grants for business creation, in its programmed EGF application for the remaining closing sites of GAD;

19.  Expects the Commission and the French authorities to strictly follow the principle according to which payments to the agencies will be made by instalment and on the basis of results achieved;

20.  Considers that the monitoring of the activity of the agencies by means of regular written reports ensures the appropriate use of the funds to provide participants a personalised career path, sufficient number of job offers and mentoring for business creation within the framework of the one-stop-shop system;

21.  Recalls that the funds have to help the workers and not, in any case, support the agencies;

22.  Welcomes that the contracted agencies are paid according to a scale defined on the basis of the results achieved;

23.  Notes that 17,50 % of the dismissed workers are aged between 55 and 64 years; notes furthermore that this age group is at a higher risk of prolonged unemployment and exclusion from the labour market; considers, therefore, that these workers may have specific needs when it comes to providing them with personalised services;

24.  Welcomes that the principles of equality of treatment and non-discrimination will be respected in the access to the proposed actions and their implementation;

25.  Recalls that, in line with Article 7 of the EGF Regulation, the design of the coordinated package of personalised services should anticipate future labour market perspectives and required skills and should be compatible with the shift towards a resource-efficient and sustainable economy;

26.  Notes that the French authorities did not request funding for preparatory activities, management and information and publicity;

27.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

28.  Instructs its President to sign the decision with the President of the Council and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

29.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution, including its annex, to the Council and the Commission.

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, in accordance with point 13 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management (application EGF/2014/005 FR/GAD, from France)

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision 2014/876/EU.)

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 855.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) Regulation (EC) No 546/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 amending Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006 on establishing the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (OJ L 167, 29.6.2009, p. 26).
(5) Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services (OJ L 18, 21.1.1997, p. 1).
(6)EGF/2014/001 EL/Nutriart, which relates to bakery products.


Seeking an opinion from the Court of Justice on the compatibility with the Treaties of the Agreement between Canada and the European Union on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record data
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2014 on seeking an opinion from the Court of Justice on the compatibility with the Treaties of the Agreement between Canada and the European Union on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record data (2014/2966(RSP))
P8_TA(2014)0058B8-0265/2014

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular paragraphs 6 and 11 thereof,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Agreement between Canada and the European Union on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record data (12652/2013),

–  having regard to the Agreement between Canada and the European Union on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record data (12657/2013),

–  having regard to the Commission communication on the global approach to transfers of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries (COM(2010)0492),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 5 May 2010 on the launch of negotiations for Passenger Name Record (PNR) agreements with the United States, Australia and Canada(1) and of 11 November 2010 on the global approach to transfers of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries(2),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor of 19 October 2010 on the Commission communication on the global approach to transfers of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries(3),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor of 30 September 2013 on the proposals for Council decisions on the conclusion and the signature of the Agreement between Canada and the European Union on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record data(4),

–  having regard to Opinion 7/2010 of the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, adopted on 12 November 2010, on the Commission communication on the global approach to transfers of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to third countries,

–  having regard to Article 16 TFEU and to Articles 7, 8 and 52(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Court of Justice judgment of 9 March 2010 in Case C‑518/07, Commission v Federal Republic of Germany,

–  having regard to the Court of Justice judgment of 8 April 2014 in Joined Cases C‑293/12 and C-594/12, in which the Data Retention Directive was declared invalid,

–  having regard to Rule 108(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the European Union concluded an agreement with Canada in 2005 on the processing of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data on the basis of a set of commitments by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in relation to the application of its PNR programme; whereas with the expiry of the relevant Commission decision on 22 September 2009, the European legal basis for the transmission of PNR data to the CBSA ceased to exist;

B.  whereas the CBSA unilaterally undertook to assure the EU that the commitments would continue in force and effect until a new agreement applied; whereas this was communicated to all the Member States and their data protection authorities;

C.  whereas, following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, the conclusion of new PNR agreements requires the consent of the European Parliament before they can be adopted by the Council;

D.  whereas on 2 December 2010 the Council adopted a decision, together with a negotiating directive, authorising the Commission to open negotiations on behalf of the EU for an agreement with Canada on the transfer and processing of Passenger Name Record data;

E.  whereas on 18 July 2013 the Commission proposed to the Council to take a decision on the conclusion of the agreement;

F.  whereas on 30 September 2013 the European Data Protection Supervisor issued its opinion on the agreement, questioning the necessity and proportionality of PNR schemes and of bulk transfers of PNR data to third countries, as well as the choice of legal basis;

G.  whereas on 5 December 2013 the Council decided to ask Parliament for its consent to the conclusion of the agreement;

H.  whereas the agreement was signed on 25 June 2014;

I.  whereas on 7 July 2014 the Council requested Parliament’s consent to the conclusion of the agreement;

J.  whereas on 8 April 2014 the Court of Justice, in its judgment in Joined Cases C-293/12 and C-594/12, declared the Data Retention Directive to be invalid;

K.  whereas the purpose of the agreement, as stated in Article 1 thereof, is to lay down conditions in accordance with which PNR data may be transferred and used and to stipulate how data will be protected;

1.  Takes the view that there is legal uncertainty as to whether the draft agreement is compatible with the provisions of the Treaties (Article 16 TFEU) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Articles 7, 8 and 52(1)) as regards the right of individuals to protection of personal data; questions, further, the choice of legal basis, i.e. Articles 82(1)(d) and 87(2)(a) TFEU (police and judicial cooperation) rather than Article 16 TFEU (data protection);

2.  Decides to seek an opinion from the Court of Justice on the compatibility of the agreement with the Treaties;

3.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission for information and to take the necessary measures to obtain such an opinion from the Court of Justice.

(1) OJ C 81 E, 15.3.2011, p. 70.
(2) OJ C 74 E, 13.3.2012, p. 8.
(3) OJ C 357, 30.12.2010, p. 7.
(4) OJ C 51, 22.2.2014, p. 12.


The EU and the global development framework after 2015
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2014 on the EU and the global development framework after 2015 (2014/2143(INI))
P8_TA(2014)0059A8-0037/2014

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 8 September 2000,

–  having regard to the report adopted in July 2014 by the UN Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals,

–  having regard to the report adopted on 8 August 2014 by the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing,

–  having regard to the Ministerial Declaration of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, of July 2014,

–  having regard to the United Nations ‘Millennium Development Goals Report 2014’,

–  having regard to the outcome document of the GPEDC High-Level Meeting in Mexico, of April 2014,

–  having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, approved at the Fourth World Conference on Women in September 1995, and the subsequent outcome documents,

–  having regard to the Programme for Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), adopted in Cairo in 1994, and the subsequent +20 review,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 18 December 1979,

–  having regard to the UN ‘Gender Chart 2012’, which measures improvements regarding the gender equality aspects of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),

–  having regard to the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 and to the report of its follow-up Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012,

–  having regard to the 2014 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) entitled ‘Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience’,

–  having regard to the May 2013 report of the UN High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012,

–  having regard to the June 2012 report of the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda to the UN Secretary General, entitled ‘Realising the future we want for all’,

–  having regard to the resolution entitled ‘Keeping the promise: united to achieve the Millennium Development Goals’ adopted by the UN General Assembly at its High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, at its sixty-fifth session in 2010,

–  having regard to the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020,

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

–  having regard to the FAO State of Food Insecurity report,

–  having regard to the declaration and action plan adopted at the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Busan in December 2011,

–  having regard to the UNDP report entitled ‘Beyond the Midpoint: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals’, which was published in January 2010,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the human rights legal framework,

–  having regard to the work of the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda, led jointly by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the UNDP, with support from all UN agencies and in consultation with relevant stakeholders,

–  having regard to the WHO’s Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property of 24 May 2008,

–  having regard to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action,

–  having regard to the 1986 Declaration on the Right to Development,

–  having regard to the EU Code of Conduct on Complementarity and Division of Labour in Development Policy(1),

–  having regard to Article 7 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which reaffirms that the EU ‘shall ensure consistency between its policies and activities, taking all of its objectives into account’,

–  having regard to Article 208 TFEU, which stipulates that ‘the Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries’,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 June 2014, entitled ‘A decent life for all: from vision to collective action’ (COM(2014)0335),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 May 2014, entitled ‘A stronger role of the private sector in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in developing countries’ (COM(2014)0263),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 30 April 2014, a toolbox entitled ‘A right-based approach, encompassing all human rights for EU development Cooperation’ (SWD(2014)0152),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 27 February 2013, entitled ‘A decent life for all: Ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future’ (COM(2013)0092),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 12 September 2012, entitled ‘The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe’s engagement with civil society in external relations’ (COM(2012)0492),

–  having regard to the Commission’s public consultations on the preparation of an EU position, entitled ‘Towards a Post-2015 Development Framework’, which ran from 15 June to 15 September 2012,

–  having regard to the joint statement by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on the European Union Development Policy entitled ‘The European Consensus’(2),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 12 April 2005 entitled ‘Policy Coherence for Development’ (COM(2005)0134), and the conclusions of the 3166th Foreign Affairs Council meeting of 14 May 2012, entitled ‘Increasing the Impact of EU Development Policy: an Agenda for Change’,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 233/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation for the period 2014-2020(3),

–  having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 2 April 2014 on the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly(4),

–  having regard to its position of 2 April 2014 on the proposal for a decision of the E uropean Parliament and of the Council on the European Year of Development (2015)(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 June 2013 on the Millennium Development Goals – defining the post-2015 framework(6),

–  having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 19 May 2014 on a rights-based approach to development cooperation, encompassing all human rights,

–  having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 12 December 2013 on financing poverty eradication and sustainable development beyond 2015,

–  having regard to the Joint ACP-EU Declaration on the Post-2015 Development Agenda of 20 June 2014,

–  having regard to the General Affairs Council conclusions of 25 June 2013 on the Overarching Post 2015 Agenda,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0037/2014),

A.  whereas in 2000 all the relevant stakeholders came together to set the MDGs with a view to achieve concrete development and poverty eradication goals by 2015;

B.  whereas the MDGs have raised awareness of ending global poverty as an urgent challenge and a priority for global action; whereas the level of achievement of MDGs varies, with visible positive effects on reducing extreme poverty, fighting against malaria and tuberculosis, improving access to drinking water, and reducing disparities in primary school enrolments; whereas certain shortcomings of MDGs need to be fully addressed in the definition of the post-2015 framework;

C.  whereas assessments of the progress made in attaining the current MDGs showed that, in the new framework, a strong linkage between poverty eradication, fighting inequalities and the promotion of sustainable development, as well as a single and universal set of goals with differentiated approaches, are crucial;

D.  whereas the urban population is predicted to grow from the present 3,6 billion to over 6 billion and the biggest cities are predicted to grow into megacities with over 100 million inhabitants; whereas excessive urbanisation is undermining the sustainability of development in all its dimensions;

E.  whereas the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo called for access to reproductive and sexual health services, including family planning; recalls, in this regard, that in 2013, an estimated 289 000 women died during pregnancy and childbirth; recalls MDG 5 and the need for women to have access to an effective method of contraception and family planning in order to reduce the number of maternal deaths by almost one third;

F.  whereas poverty reduction is uneven and inequalities between and within countries, which have increased in both developed and developing countries, represent a major development challenge, especially in Low Income Countries (LICs) and Middle Income Countries (MICs); whereas 1,5 billion people are living in poverty with overlapping deprivations in health, education and living standards, notably in conflict-affected and fragile states;

G.  whereas violent conflicts and humanitarian crises continue to have a disrupting impact on development efforts; whereas women are harder hit by military conflicts and crises;

H.  whereas additional efforts are still needed to halve the percentage of people suffering from hunger, as 162 million young children are exposed to malnutrition; whereas hidden hunger can be defined as micronutrient deficiency, which can cause irreversible effects on health and socio-economic consequences linked to the reduction in people’s productivity;

I.  having considered that 2014 is the International Year of Family Farming;

J.  whereas the 1986 Declaration on the Right to Development affirms that development is a fundamental human right; whereas the Declaration commits to a ‘human rights based’ approach, characterised by the realisation of all human rights (economic, social, cultural, civil and political); whereas the Declaration commits equally to strengthening international cooperation;

K.  whereas climate change and environmental degradation threaten poverty reduction by amplifying existing vulnerabilities, with many developing countries still dependent on agriculture and climate-sensitive natural resources, and lacking the capacities to manage climate risks; whereas there is an urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and to achieve a more equitable and sustainable management and governance of natural resources;

L.  whereas gains made towards achieving the MDGs related to health have been greatly based on R&D investments made years earlier; whereas intellectual property rights should not hinder access to affordable medicines;

M.  whereas access to early childhood development, and to education and training of the highest attainable quality for every child, young person and adult is an essential prerequisite for breaking cycles of inter-generational poverty and inequality;

N.  whereas little progress has been made regarding gender equality and the empowerment of women; whereas women often experience discrimination and violence;

O.  whereas globally, women and girls constitute a majority of those living in extreme poverty and whereas gender equality and women’s rights are a necessary condition for the success of the post-2015 global development framework; whereas every day an estimated 800 women in the world die due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth; whereas the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo called for universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights which can be lifesaving;

P.  whereas women make up more than half the number of migrants;

Q.  whereas Africa exports substantially more capital to the world through illicit financial flows in comparison to what it receives in terms of international aid and remittances;

R.  whereas the new sustainable development framework offers an opportunity to secure the broad involvement of civil society organisations, local authorities and national parliaments;

S.  whereas more new and decent jobs need to be created in order to respond to demographic growth on a global scale; whereas the private sector is a major generator of jobs, both in developed and developing countries, and thus can be an essential partner in the fight against poverty when clear accountability mechanisms exist and international regulations on social protection are respected;

T.  whereas aid continues to play a unique role in poverty reduction and as game-changer in developing countries;

U.  whereas domestic resource mobilisation is an important element in the fight against poverty and inequality;

V.  whereas the EU and its Member States are the largest donors of development aid and thus should remain the driving force during the next phase of the negotiations under the UN, promoting in particular the human rights-based approach, based on equality, non-discrimination, participation and inclusion in the design and implementation of the framework;

W.  whereas the Council conclusions of December 2014 will lay down a coherent set of principles and the main lines of the negotiating strategy;

X.  whereas Article 208 of the TFEU establishes that eradication of poverty is the primary objective of EU development policy and establishes policy coherence for development;

I.  The Millennium Development Goals: assessment and new challenges

1.  Underlines that the global landscape has changed in recent years, including shifts in the global economic and political balance, and that although some developing and emerging economies have experienced relevant economic growth, they still face high and increasing levels of inequality; considers that a new approach is needed that embraces global governance, with a strong focus on policy coherence for development and the provision of global public goods;

2.  Recalls that while having the advantage of being straightforward, the MDGs did not address underlying structural factors that lead to poverty and inequality; stresses that the global sustainable development framework after 2015 should be transformative by addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality and thus deliver on the unfinished business of the current MDGs;

3.  Stresses that the MDGs defined in 2000 had many successes in middle-income countries and developing countries, but that progress has been unequal, both within and between countries, therefore these results must be correctly analysed and lessons learnt while shaping the global development framework after 2015;

4.  Recalls that, although the MDGs have made a profound difference in people’s lives, key issues such as human rights violations, inequalities, including gender inequality, armed conflicts and terrorism, climate change, food insecurity, lack of property rights, lack of land rights, migration, limited access to healthcare services and education, demographic changes, resource constraints, the loss of biodiversity, corruption, tax fraud and tax avoidance, unsustainable growth, unemployment, and financial and economic crises still pose extremely complex and interrelated challenges for the next decades, prompting the need to find new development pathways that could lead to inclusive and sustainable development for all;

5.  Emphasises that environmental sustainability is an overriding challenge, where failure is likely to threaten all dimensions of human development; in particular, recalls that environmental degradation represents a huge impediment to fulfilling the objective of eradication of extreme poverty and hunger; recalls, for instance, that persistent inequalities and struggles over scarce resources are among the key drivers of conflict, hunger, insecurity and violence, which in turn are key factors that hold back human development and efforts to achieve sustainable development;

6.  Stresses that the new framework should respond effectively to these challenges and tackle important issues such as respect for the dignity of every human being, justice, equality, good governance, democracy, the rule of law, peace and security, climate change, disaster risk reduction and building resilience, preservation of biodiversity, inclusive and sustainable development, property rights, land rights, health and social protection, education, research and innovation, and the rights of women, children, young people and minorities;

7.  Underlines the fact that the new development framework must be universal in its nature and applicable in all countries, including EU Member States, and hence needs to be relevant and fair for both developed and developing countries, while taking into account different national circumstances, capacities, policies and priorities; stresses that the new responsibilities and burdens generated need to be equally but justly shared between all countries; calls for the EU to indicate which concrete actions and commitments it can suggest to respond domestically and internationally to the principle of universality;

8.  Stresses that mutual accountability and transparency at all levels should be the axis of the new development framework, and that it is important that national governments and other actors, including the private sector, are held accountable for the implementation of the framework;

9.  Calls for the EU to actively lead the process towards the definition of a single, comprehensive and integrated global development framework after 2015 and welcomes the consensus that the new global development agenda needs to strengthen the means of implementation and renew the global partnership for sustainable development;

II.  The need for a renewed global partnership and a strong and cohesive EU position

10.  Calls for the EU to play an active role in shaping a new global partnership which will mobilise action by all countries, including emerging economies, and all relevant stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society organisations, local authorities and national parliaments;

11.  Calls for the EU to adopt a strong, cohesive and unified position in the upcoming inter-governmental negotiations, taking into account the priorities stressed in this resolution;

12.  Endorses the conclusions of the UN OWG; considers, nonetheless, that the framework identified in its conclusions could eventually be clustered, while maintaining the balance between poverty eradication, fighting inequalities and the three dimensions of sustainable development, and not at the expense of the rights-based approach, nor at the expense of the more ambitious and innovative goals;

13.  Stresses that the new global framework should include the appropriate institutional architecture, addressing the main goals of poverty eradication, fighting inequalities and promotion of sustainable development, with clear guidelines for supervision of its implementation, and that this architecture should also address the complexities and the inter-linkages between the different parts of the future framework;

14.  Believes that policy coherence for sustainable development (PCD) is a key tool for the implementation of the post-2015 framework; to this end, calls for the EU to ensure that the necessary guidelines, impact assessments and monitoring and reporting mechanisms make PCD a reality in the framework;

15.  Underlines that the universality of the global development agenda after 2015 implies more demanding commitments for the EU and its Member States; stresses that the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) under the global framework will have to be reflected in both the EU’s external and internal policies;

III.  Priority areas

16.  Recalls that poverty eradication must remain the main priority of the global development agenda after 2015, along with addressing the intertwining pillars of economic, ecological and social sustainability, and a strengthened global partnership;

Poverty eradication, fighting inequalities and sustainable development

17.  Stresses that ending poverty and fighting inequalities, together with sustainable development, should be the underlying theme of the global development framework after 2015; underlines the need for the framework to be people-centred and address the lack of justice by applying a rights-based approach, with the aim of reducing inequalities, within and between countries, as one of the key priorities in the new framework;

18.  Considers that inequality hampers development and poverty reduction efforts; reiterates that poverty eradication, equality and sustainable development are only possible if all vulnerable groups are taken into account and if equitable access, sustainable use of resources and good governance is promoted; calls on the EU and its Member States to support SDG 10, as proposed by the UN OWG, as a stand-alone goal in the new framework;

19.  Underlines the need for a target on ending extreme poverty at the level of USD 2 a day, if the framework is to be truly transformational;

20.  Underlines the fact that the future framework should address the multi-dimensional aspects of poverty and inequality, which go beyond a lack of income but which involve human beings in their dignity and in all their dimensions, including social dimensions; stresses that poverty should not be assessed in accordance with income alone, but also in relation to indicators of well-being, and not just GDP;

21.  Recommends that support be given to state-building by means of increased general and/or sector-specific aid conditional on good governance criteria;

22.  Underlines that in a largely globalised economy, labour’s bargaining power has been reduced through liberalisation, which jeopardises in return fulfilment of the rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Decent Work Agenda; accordingly, urges the EU to frame its trade policy strategy in such a way as to maintain and protect high social and environmental standards, while discouraging any forms of social and environmental dumping;

23.  Stresses that there is an important interconnection between good governance, sustainable development growth and the reduction of social inequalities; underlines the importance of fostering equal opportunities and rights, as well as social dialogue; calls for a broader definition of poverty than that based on GDP alone, encompassing broader measures of progress and well-being;

24.  Highlights the crucial economic and social importance of a strong, stable middle class; stresses the need to involve the middle class more closely in the political process, thus promoting inclusive growth;

25.  Calls for the promotion of ecologically sustainable development in all countries, both developed and developing, by sustainable use of renewable natural resources and by protecting the environment;

26.  Stresses the need to promote sustainable development by balancing regional development, by promoting the development of smaller towns and cities and preventing the excessive growth of big cities;

The human rights-based approach

27.  Welcomes the inclusion of the promotion of a human rights-based and people-centred approach among the Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the UN Open Working Group; expresses concern, however, at the fact that a more ambitious approach has so far not been embraced, and stresses that such an approach is essential for tackling the roots of poverty, social exclusion and inequality;

28.   Stresses the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights of all people, without discrimination on any grounds, starting with the fundamental right to dignity of all human beings, with particular attention to the human rights of women and girls, including the promotion of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as the protection and respect of the rights of migrants and minorities, including LGBTI people and people living with HIV; underlines the importance of respecting and promoting the rights of disabled people in the new framework;

29.  Calls for the EU to emphasise the importance of prioritising within the post-2015 agenda the adoption and implementation of an appropriate legal framework and the fact that national and local policies should fight corruption and impunity, ensuring access to judicial institutions that are impartial and independent and effective remedies for violations of human rights, particularly of marginalised groups, as well as the protection of human rights defenders; stresses that the post-2015 global development framework needs to ensure good governance, democracy and the rule of law;

30.  Calls on the EU to redouble efforts aimed at ensuring, in the upcoming inter-governmental negotiations, that the human rights-based approach (HRBA) and the right to development become the underpinning concepts of the post-2015 global development framework, and, therefore, that the key HRBA pillars of universality and indivisibility, non-discrimination and equality, accountability and rule of law, participation and inclusion are included in the design, implementation and monitoring of the post-2015 development framework; stresses the importance of keeping SDG 16, proposed by the UN OWG, as a stand-alone goal in the new framework;

Conflict prevention, post-conflict recovery, peace-building and promotion of lasting peace

31.  Considers that the global development framework after 2015 should duly reflect the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States and the peace-building and state-building goals agreed in Busan; highlights that special attention is required with regard to fragile states in the new framework; welcomes the fact that the promotion of peaceful societies is one of the priorities of the EU and that it is evolving as an important element of the new framework; also considers that it is imperative to engage in structural, intensive and long-term partnerships that prioritise security sector reform and the establishment of the rule of law and democratic institutions;

32.  Stresses that the new framework needs to address the underlying drivers of conflict and fragility; calls for the European institutions to put in place more responsive procedures in post-conflict situations and adopt a strategy enabling development aid to serve security objectives as effectively as possible;

33.  Strongly condemns the lack of prosecution and punishment in conflicted areas, especially when it comes to sexual violence aimed at women and girls; stresses the need to redouble the efforts towards the protection of civilians affected by armed conflicts, to improve access to psychological support, particularly for women and children, and to strengthen the link between relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRD) in the new global framework;

34.  Recognises the important contribution of women to conflict prevention and peace-building efforts, and thus calls for the promotion of UN Security Council resolution 1325 to ensure participation of women in conflict resolution and democracy building;

Climate-change mitigation, protection of the environment, and disaster-risk reduction

35.  Considers that climate change mitigation and adaptation needs to be effectively mainstreamed in the post-2015 global development framework as a cross-cutting issue in a visible and ambitious manner; supports the wide range of measures to address the effects of climate change and to ensure a better future for the new generation, including phasing out subsidies that are harmful to the environment; underlines that special attention should be given to sustainable energy since it is crucial for climate change mitigation;

36.  Underlines that the mainstreaming process should not lead to the diversion of official development assistance (ODA) to climate policies that do not achieve direct poverty alleviation;

37.  Considers that many poor communities are already facing the consequences of climate change while bearing the least responsibility for it; reiterates the urgent need to take action on reducing emissions, with a focus on carbon-free strategies; stresses that moving towards an energy-efficient and renewable-based economy can lead to gains in poverty eradication; believes that the EU should support universal access to renewable, reliable and affordable energy services;

38.  Welcomes the fact that climate change mitigation and sustainable use of natural resources are strongly present and integrated in the outcome document of the Open Working Group, including the preservation of oceans and seas, as well as preservation of biodiversity and forests;

39.  Emphasises the importance of including in the new framework humanitarian assistance, capacity-building, prevention and bottom-up participatory measures to effectively reduce disaster risk and strengthen resilience; stresses the need to strengthen international assistance, coordination and resources for emergency response, recovery and reconstruction in post-disaster situations;

40.  Recognises the distinctive role of women in contributing to sustainability, and therefore calls for the integration of the gender equality perspective in environmental and climate change policies in order to ensure a reduction in gender inequalities when it comes to access and control of resources for adaptation to climate change;

Food security, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, combating land degradation, water and sanitation

41.  Welcomes the fact that food and nutrition security has emerged as a priority area for the new global development framework and welcomes the inclusion of a stand-alone goal to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture in the OWG outcome document; recognises the specific needs of women farmers related to food security that need to be taken into account while developing the new framework;

42.  Stresses the importance of addressing the linkages with improved productivity of sustainable agriculture and fisheries leading to reduced loss and waste of food, transparent management of natural resources and adaptation to climate change;

43.  Points out that land tenure security for small-scale producers, which takes into account traditional land use rights, both stimulates local economies and increases food security;

44.  Calls for the need to go beyond food security and considers food as a basic human right, in order to be able to set a clear ‘Zero Hunger’ goal and to end the scandal of hunger by 2025; underlines that efforts to eradicate hunger and to end malnutrition, as well as the phenomenon of ‘hidden hunger’, should especially focus on children and lactating women;

45.  Stresses the importance of implementing the Rio+20 commitments on land degradation in all countries and the FAO guidelines on the Right to Food and on Land Tenure; underlines the importance of global good governance in preventing land grabbing;

46.  Stresses the need to strengthen good governance in the land sector and to protect land from the ever growing risk of being grabbed by business consortiums;

47.  Points to the importance of considering universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation and integrated water management; stresses the need to take action in reducing use of hazardous chemicals and preventing pollution;

Health and education

48.  Takes the view that the health sector is crucial to the economic and social development of societies; calls for the EU, therefore, to focus on promoting equitable, universal and sustainable health protection in the new global framework, with a special emphasis on affordable child and maternal health and care, including an ambitious target on eradicating preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths, as well as on ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other communicable diseases;

49.  Recognises health as a human right; highlights the importance of improving universal access to hygiene and to high-quality health care and coverage, including sexual and reproductive health services; calls on the EU to put special emphasis on preventing exclusion and discrimination of the most vulnerable groups with regard to health systems;

50.  Highlights the huge importance of continuing to work on improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene as a cross-cutting issue that affects the attainment of other goals in the post-2015 agenda, including health, education and gender equality:

51.  Stresses that education is the key to developing self-sustainable societies; urges that access to all levels of quality education should be reflected in the new global development framework, and that the framework should also address the issue of access to education in emergency and crisis situations; underlines the need to foster participatory citizenship through the full exercise of civic and political rights as well as building knowledge-based and innovative societies;

52.  Urges the Commission to promote the priority of eliminating inequalities in access to health and education in the post-2015 framework, and to include specific measures to reach the disadvantaged individuals and groups at risk of discrimination;

The central role of women in the global development framework after 2015

53.  Welcomes the fact that the empowerment of women and girls and the importance of gender equality are recognised as priorities in the Open Working Group (OWG) outcome document, taking into account the central role of women in the new global development framework; calls for the EU and its Member States to support the call of the OWG for a stand-alone goal on gender equality while ensuring the integration of gender mainstreaming across all goals, and to promote inclusion of ambitious targets related to the rights of women and girls and the enhanced implementation of these targets;

54.  Reiterates the importance of eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls in the new framework; underlines the importance of eliminating all discriminatory legislation and practices; urges the EU to set the elimination of all forms of violence, such as domestic violence, trafficking, sexual exploitation and sexual harassment, and all harmful practices, including child, early or forced marriage and female genital mutilation, as one of the top priorities in the field of human rights under the new global framework;

55.  Considers that the post-2015 global agenda should convey a clear message regarding the participation of women in decision making processes;

56.  Emphasises the importance of ensuring equal access to employment for both women and men, and equal pay for work of equal value everywhere; recognises the need to safeguard the right of women who have children to remain in employment at the same time;

57.  Underlines the importance of enhancing girls’ access to all levels of education and removing gender barriers to learning;

58.  Stresses the importance of ensuring universal access to health services such as family planning, including sexual and reproductive health and rights;

59.  Points to the need to establish effective specific protection arrangements for migrant women and recognises the importance of the right of women to migrate and integrate themselves into a new culture;

Inclusive and sustainable growth, employment and decent work creation

60.  Underlines that inclusive and sustainable economic growth, accompanied by decent jobs creation and resource efficiency aimed at moving towards a more sustainable consumption and production model, and climate change mitigation, is crucial to the success of the post-2015 framework; considers that defining qualitative indicators will be critical in order to monitor both the degree to which development progress is inclusive and sustainable, and the extent to which the needs of the most deprived and vulnerable groups are being addressed;

61.  Emphasises that it is crucial to monitor the degree to which economic development includes the most deprived and vulnerable groups and to which wages remain in line with increases in productivity; recalls that it is the responsibility of the State to provide basic social services to its citizens, thus contributing to eradicating poverty; considers the establishment of nationally defined social protection floors and minimum wage regulation in developing countries to be essential;

62.  Calls for the EU to promote an enabling environment for entrepreneurship, trade, investment and innovation, which will be conducive to the reduction of inequalities and aimed at strengthening social justice;

63.  Emphasises the need for phasing out child labour in the new global development framework;

64.  Calls for a new global framework that creates a more equitable and sustainable trade scheme based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade; takes the view that Fair Trade is an example of a successful partnership, involving many stakeholders around the world and at different stages along a supply chain, that ensures market access for disadvantaged producers, in particular women, guarantees sustainable livelihoods, respects labour standards, phases out child labour and encourages environmentally sustainable farming and production practices;

65.  Underlines the need for the new global framework to promote a universal, transparent, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the WTO; calls on the EU to reconsider its strategy for sustainable development policies, including fair trade;

66.  Calls for support to the development of green incentives, such as the creation of green jobs;

67.  Underlines the importance of addressing youth unemployment in the new global framework;

The private sector

68.  Stresses that the private sector can be a key driver of inclusive and sustainable growth, when taking into account key development principles such as human rights, labour rights, corporate accountability and transparency mechanisms, social dialogue and environmental commitments; calls for the EU to support the building up of regulatory systems which would reduce overburdening red tape, promote good governance, combat bribery and corruption, and promote job creation; insists upon the need to improve the corporate social responsibility of multinational enterprises, through legally binding rules; under these circumstances, deems that the private sector should be a key driver of inclusive and sustainable economic development;

69.  Calls for transparent and fair rules in accessing local and international markets, giving equal opportunities to all stakeholders involved;

70.  Points out that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should be an important element of the new framework;

71.  Calls for the EU to ensure that all aid flows for the private sector follow development effectiveness principles and ensure that the private sector in developing countries is aimed at lifting people out of poverty;

72.  Welcomes the Council recommendation to place an increased focus on supporting SMEs, by creating a friendly environment for small business owners and facilitating access to finance and training;

73.  Supports in particular further development of the initiative for social entrepreneurship in the field of development cooperation; calls for the creation of novel tools that support better cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises in developed countries and developing countries;

74.  Urges the EU to prioritise tax justice and domestic resource mobilisation in the post- 2015 agenda, as it should play a major role in transforming society, eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities;

Civil society

75.  Recognising the need for a participatory approach in the new framework which should aim to involve actors at all levels, underlines the crucial role which civil society organisations (CSOs), including women’s organisations with regard to the central role of women in global development, play as enablers of development and promoters of universality, equality, inclusiveness, accountability and transparency; stresses the importance of engaging in dialogue with organisations on the ground, and facilitating the direct participation of people and communities;

76.  Stresses the particular role of CSOs in promoting the rule of law, justice, human rights and democratic principles, especially in countries where state-building is in its early stages and state and government capacities are limited;

Local authorities and national parliaments

77.  Underlines the importance of including local authorities and national parliaments in development planning, implementation and financial aid flows; stresses that this would require a truly participatory process, conducted early on in the development phase, and that, with this in mind, decentralised public aid must be recognised and reinforced;

IV.  Mobilising financial resources

78.  Urges Member States to meet their commitment to allocate at least 0,7 % of GNI to ODA, including at least 0,2 % to Least Developed Countries (LDC) and other highly vulnerable states; calls for the EU to take a coherent and comprehensive international approach to financing beyond 2015; reiterates the need to continue to work closely with other donors on developing further innovative financial mechanisms, such as the Financial Transaction Tax;

79.  Stresses the importance of respecting the ownership principle in the context of development; stresses the need to step up the political dialogue between donors and partner countries;

80.  Reminds the Commission and the Member States that ODA has to remain the backbone of the European development cooperation policy aimed at eradicating poverty;

81.  Calls for the EU to evaluate the blending mechanisms in order to ensure they are transparent and accountable and have a clear sustainable development impact; calls on the Commission to publish guidelines that are based on harmonised poverty reduction strategies;

82.  Reiterates its call to make combating corruption, money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance, tax havens, illicit flows of capital and harmful tax structures an overriding priority in financing development; reminds that estimates show that developing countries have lost close to USD 6 trillion in illicit financial flows over the last decade, far exceeding ODA flows for the period, and thus stresses the importance of enhancing transparency and global good governance;

83.  Calls for the EU to facilitate public-private partnerships where possible and to prioritise engaging the experience, expertise and management systems of the private sector, in partnership with public resources;

84.  Calls for the EU to continue to support developing countries in their efforts to increase the mobilisation of public and private domestic resources and to assist them in putting in place just, sustainable and equitable tax systems which would lead to the reduction of poverty and of aid dependency;

V.  Indicators and accountability

85.  Stresses that accessible and disaggregated reliable data is crucial for devising appropriate policies on the new framework and for holding governments and the international community to account;

86.  Underlines the need for strong accountability mechanisms in order to make sure both developed and developing countries fulfil their commitments and tackle effectively the poverty and sustainability challenges that the post-2015 framework will address; underlines that the framework needs to be evidence-based, and include financial targets and robust monitoring and accountability mechanisms at all levels; recalls that the monitoring mechanisms should include a review process based on openness and transparency;

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87.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the European Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the Chair of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.

(1) Council Conclusions 9558/07, 15.5.2007.
(2) OJ C 46, 24.2.2006, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 77, 15.3.2014, p. 44.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0259.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0269.
(6) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0283.


Employment and social aspects of the EU2020 strategy
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European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2014 on employment and social aspects of the Europe 2020 strategy (2014/2779(RSP))
P8_TA(2014)0060B8-0252/2014

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 9 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 March 2014 entitled ‘Taking stock of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2014)0130),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 20 and 21 March 2014,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 June 2010 on the Europe 2020 strategy(1),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 13 November 2013 entitled ‘A Single Market for growth and jobs: an analysis of progress made and remaining obstacles in the Member States – Contribution to the Annual Growth Survey 2014’ (COM(2013)0785),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2011 on the European Platform against poverty and social exclusion(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 July 2014 on Youth Employment(3),

–  having regard to the questions to the Council and to the Commission on Employment and social aspects of the EU2020 strategy (O-000076/2014 – B8‑0035/2014 and O‑000077/2014 – B8‑0036/2014),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution by the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs,

–  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the integrated approach of the Europe 2020 strategy underlines the principle that smart, sustainable and inclusive growth cannot be achieved without reaching all five headline targets;

B.  whereas despite the integrated nature of the Europe 2020 strategy, the social impact of fiscal consolidation measures and the need to preserve an adequate level of social investment as a factor enhancing development and growth has not been sufficiently recognised in other policy areas;

C.  whereas the EU is far from having achieved the employment and poverty reduction headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy;

D.  whereas since the Europe 2020 strategy was put in place in 2010 unemployment levels have continued to rise in some Member States and the unemployment rate for the EU-28 has reached the alarming level of 10,1 % in 2014, with 24,6 million unemployed in the Union and with the number of working poor also on the rise; whereas even worse levels are recorded in the outermost regions, where the average unemployment rate stands at 24 % and the average youth unemployment rate at 51 %(4);

E.  whereas the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion has increased by 10 million since 2008 to over 122,6 million, with one in four citizens affected; whereas differences between Member States are also growing; whereas the average at-risk-of poverty rate in the EU is 24,8%, while the equivalent figure for children (aged up to 18) stands at 28 %, and whereas these figures have risen since the Europe 2020 strategy was put in place in 2010;

F.  whereas for people with disabilities the rate of poverty is 70 % higher than the average, partly owing to limited access to employment;

G.  whereas an additional 16 million citizens in employment are required in order to meet the 75 % employment rate target in 2020;

H.  whereas, according to the latest Commission forecasts, the EU unemployment rate is expected to decrease by only a very negligible amount, to 10,4 %, in 2015;

I.  whereas high unemployment rates in the EU are correlated with its shrinking industrial and manufacturing productive base;

J.  whereas reforms must continue in order to meet citizens’ demands in the employment and social sphere;

K.  whereas divergences in employment rates are growing between Member States and across regions, leading to a polarisation of the EU between core and periphery and thus risking the creation of increased social imbalances in the long term;

L.  whereas Article 174 TFEU states that the EU is to develop and pursue its actions leading to the strengthening of its economic, social and territorial cohesion, including in regions that suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic challenges;

M.  whereas, to tackle the crisis, certain Member States have made severe cuts in public expenditure at the same time as demand for social protection has increased in response to the rise in unemployment; whereas national budget allocations for social security cover have been further stretched as contributions have fallen in the wake of large-scale job losses or wage cuts, thus seriously jeopardising the European social model;

N.  whereas regions that suffer from severe natural or demographic challenges are often characterised by lower employment levels and greater difficulties in accessing public services such as education and healthcare;

O.  whereas youth unemployment levels remain an issue of growing concern, having reached the alarming level of 23,3 % (EU average in 2013), while more than 40 % of young people are on temporary contracts and nearly 25 % are working part-time;

P.  whereas unemployment and youth unemployment are also linked to the absence of effective measures to stimulate public investment in the fields of innovation, research and development, professional qualification and skills, which are drivers of economic growth and triggers for economies of scale;

Q.  whereas in February 2013 the Commission adopted the Social Investment Package;

R.  whereas in the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy, country-specific recommendations aimed at promoting female employment have been addressed to 13 Member States;

S.  whereas the increase in the employment rate for women is in certain Member States mainly due to the increase in part-time work; whereas in full-time equivalent terms only 53,5 % of the female workforce is employed in the EU; whereas in 2012 the part-time employment rate for women was 32,9 % as compared to 8,4 % for men;

T.  whereas the European Social Fund supports efforts to achieve the Europe 2020 targets through actions aimed at fighting unemployment with a special focus on youth; whereas the EUR 300 billion investment package promised by Jean-Claude Juncker should be used to achieve the Europe 2020 targets; whereas particular attention should be paid to poverty reduction and the creation of quality jobs;

U.  whereas the European Council, in its conclusions of 27 June 2014, stressed that the current unemployment level in the EU is unacceptably high and therefore agreed on a Strategic Agenda with a strong focus on jobs, growth and competitiveness;

V.  whereas whilst the EU is on target to reach its early school-leaving targets, there are still large discrepancies between dropout rates in the Member States; whereas reducing school dropout rates will increase the employability of young people;

W.  whereas income inequalities have risen, with the top 20 % earning 5,1 times as much as the bottom 20 % in 2012, this being another indicator of the increasing social divergences within and between Member States; whereas such a rise in inequality risks destabilising societies in Europe and as such has to be tackled by adopting growth‑inducing measures in the field of employment and access to public knowledge and through the creation of quality employment;

X.  whereas specific attention should be paid to gender mainstreaming and policies targeted at women in order to achieve the employment and poverty reduction headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy and close the persisting gender gaps in terms of unemployment and poverty;

Y.  whereas demographic challenges and ageing populations will continue to have an impact on Member States’ ability to achieve the Europe 2020 targets;

Z.  whereas the Commission points to the presence of macroeconomic imbalances and disparities between the labour market performances of Member States, particularly with regard to youth unemployment;

AA.  whereas an increase in economic growth does not, of itself, guarantee more decent jobs, a reduction in poverty or a reduction in social inequality, but requires appropriate policy choices for meeting such goals;

AB.  whereas whilst social, employment, fiscal and economic policies are closely interrelated, the Social Protection (SPC), Employment (EMCO), Economic Policy (EPC) and Economic and Financial (EFC) Committees still deal with these issues in relative isolation, thus hindering integrated policy-making;

1.  Expresses regret that current policies remain focused solely on economic growth without acknowledging the need for an inclusive, rights-based and sustainable approach; stresses that the benefits of growth need to be spread throughout society for it to become sustainable;

2.  Expresses regret that the Annual Growth Surveys and Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs) adopted so far as part of the annual European Semester cycles have not been sufficiently aligned with the Europe 2020 employment, poverty reduction and education targets; regrets that the importance of social security systems as key instruments for stabilising the economy, as well as society, and reducing poverty is not taken sufficiently into account; calls for more determined efforts to guide and coordinate EU policies, so as to help strengthen the Single Market with a view to tackling obstacles to its performance and reaping its potential to boost smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and create jobs; calls on the Commission to ensure that the future CSRs make the achievement of the Europe 2020 targets a priority;

3.  Acknowledges the ongoing work on ‘Beyond Growth’, as exemplified by the efforts of the Italian Presidency, and considers that this should contribute to the review of the Europe 2020 strategy; recalls the position expressed in its resolution of 8 June 2011 on ‘GDP and beyond – measuring progress in a changing world’(5);

4.  Calls for an obligatory principle in the Europe 2020 strategy of bench-learning in the policies of the Member States, especially concerning the European labour market; this would mean implementing efficient monitoring and recording of best-practice models and methods in Europe, focusing on reducing unemployment rates, especially among young people; this should result in benchmarking and ranking of relevant national examples, leading to concrete political consequences being derived from these findings by all Member States;

5.  Calls on the Member States to apply a more ambitious and concrete approach when translating EU targets into their own targets at national level; in particular, calls for employment, poverty reduction and education targets to be broken down by age and gender in order to facilitate benchmarking;

6.  Considers that the achievement of reindustrialisation targets is paramount for the competitiveness of the EU and that the relaunch of a genuine European industrial policy could foster growth and create new high-quality jobs;

7.  Calls for the introduction of a system of dual education, to operate at national or regional level in flexible form, and for the creation of an efficient Employment Service with close links to the European network; calls, furthermore, for the application of genuine lifelong learning (LLL) concepts and measurements on the labour market with a view to boosting the qualification levels of older workers;

8.  Recalls the importance of the social partners when it comes to labour market policies, and stresses that consultation with them should be an integral part of the process; calls, therefore, on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to increase the involvement of the social partners in order to ensure the successful implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy;

9.  Calls for a platform of social partners to combine the interests of employers and employees;

10.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure that any increase in the employment rate is the result of adding to the number of quality jobs within the European economy;

11.  Regrets the fact that the increases in employment rates have partly been the result of precarious forms of employment such as zero-hour contracts, bogus self-employment and involuntary part-time work; is concerned that such jobs do not provide workers with a decent living and adequate labour rights;

12.  Stresses that job quality is important for bringing more people into employment and making it possible for them to work longer, and is therefore a crucial factor for reaching the employment target of the Europe 2020 strategy; considers, therefore, that employment indicators should focus not only on the number of people finding employment, but also on the quality of work, in order to provide a thorough picture of national labour markets;

13.  Considers that all Member States should submit National Reports on their annual progress towards the achievement of the Europe 2020 strategy goals; calls on the Commission, in addition, to provide an annual Progress Report on the implementation of Europe 2020 and all headline targets;

14.  Welcomes the first use of the scoreboard of key employment and social indicators in this year’s cycle; calls for the inclusion of additional indicators such as child poverty levels, access to healthcare and homelessness; asks for an additional analysis of the characteristics of Member States’ subpopulations living in poverty in order to make the policy efforts more concentrated; calls on the Member States and the EU to use the scoreboard as an early-warning mechanism with a view to developing suitable policies;

15.  Calls for a rebalancing within the Strategy of financial and economic priorities with strong social priorities, in order to ensure that social policies are enabled; stresses that employment and social considerations should be put on a par with macroeconomic ones in the procedure of the European Semester; calls, furthermore, for the organisation of joint meetings between the EPSCO and ECOFIN Councils in order to achieve a coherent position;

16.  Considers that the objective of creating quality employment and quality jobs, as well as resource efficiency, must be made more effective and visible in the Europe 2020 flagship initiatives, especially in the Resource-efficient Europe, Innovation Union, Digital Agenda and Industrial Policy initiatives, inter alia through the inclusion of quantifiable employment indicators in the relevant scoreboards;

17.  Considers it important, furthermore, that in future exercises the key employment and social indicators included in the scoreboard should systematically differentiate between men and women;

18.  Calls on the European Council, as a matter of urgency, to complete the reform of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), in particular through ex-ante coordination of future major economic reform plans, social impact assessment and associated solidarity mechanisms; calls for such coordination to be supported by a comprehensive ex-ante and ex-post social and gender impact assessment;

19.  Recalls that, according to Eurofound, the cost of NEETs (in lost income, lost tax revenue and increased spending on welfare transfers) in the EU rose from 153 billion in 2011 to 162 billion in 2012 and that, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a total of EUR 21 billion is needed to contribute to resolving the problem of youth unemployment in the euro area; considers, therefore, that increased EU funding is needed in order to attain the Europe 2020 strategy target of 75 % employment; stresses that frontloading is not fresh money and involves the risk of funding being concentrated at the beginning when take-up is low and running out at times of high take-up, which makes the work of the project beneficiaries on the ground more difficult and unpredictable; considers, furthermore, that there is a need for comprehensive and precise guidelines from the Commission for the Member States and their Public Employment Services on the eligibility of their programmes under the Youth Employment Initiative;

20.  Believes that Member States must be more responsive to labour market needs, notably by ensuring strong links between the world of education and the world of work;

21.  Calls on the Commission to closely align the European Social Fund and other European Structural and Investment Funds to the policy priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy in order to reinforce their role as financial pillars of the strategy;

22.  Stresses that the implementation of the Youth Guarantee needs to be monitored so as to hold Member States responsible for what they signed up for in the Youth Guarantee recommendation;

23.  Encourages Member States, in order to reach the 75 % employment targets, to improve leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills among young people in order to enable new businesses and start-ups to take advantage of new markets and thus realise their growth potential so that young people can become employers and not just employees;

24.  Welcomes the adoption of the Youth Employment Initiative programmes of some Member States; stresses that the sum of EUR 6 billion is not sufficient to deal with the problem of youth unemployment in the EU; calls on the Commission, therefore, to resolve the question of funding after the 2014-2015 period;

25.  Welcomes the announcement by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker concerning a comprehensive investment programme to fight unemployment; stresses the need for increased investments (in infrastructure, research and development, green jobs, innovation and the completion of the internal digital market) that are targeted at keeping and creating jobs in keeping with the Europe 2020 strategy investments and look beyond inputs alone in order also to take account of real policy outcomes; stresses that such investment could, with a view to longer-term benefits, be targeted at high-quality formal and non-formal education infrastructures and at eliminating barriers in order to improve equality of access; encourages linking these investments to concrete employment and poverty-related goals, given that investment in areas such as high-quality public services is also important to meet the goals of an inclusive society;

26.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take special account of the outermost regions, whose natural handicaps, including their remoteness, geographical fragmentation, fragile economies and natural constraints, lead to heightened inequalities as regards access to job opportunities, work placements and training for their populations; stresses that these regions therefore require specific enhanced mechanisms to implement investment programmes in order to meet the Europe 2020 strategy targets and unlock their potential in terms of economic and social development;

27.  Calls on the Member States to focus on sectors with high growth and job creation potential such as the green sector, the white sector and ICT;

28.  Recommends, in the context of a new investment programme dedicated to the fight against unemployment, focusing on combating youth unemployment, which is today one of the most serious problems in the EU; to this end, more funding should be allocated to Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, in order to more efficiently support youth entrepreneurship and youth mobility as an effective means of fighting youth unemployment, poverty and social exclusion;

29.  Calls on the Council, the Commission and the Member States to incorporate a gender pillar into the Europe 2020 framework so as to measure progress on reducing the gender employment gap and enable the policy measures in the Annual Growth Survey to be reflected in the country-specific recommendations;

30.  Reiterates its call for the implementation of the Social Investment Package, including the following: the communication on ‘Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion’; the recommendation ‘Investing in Children – breaking the cycle of disadvantage’; the staff working documents on ‘Evidence on Demographic and Social Trends’, ‘Active Inclusion of People Excluded from the Labour Market’, ‘Social Services of General Interest’, ‘Long-term care in ageing societies’, ‘Confronting Homelessness in the European Union’, ‘Investing in Health’ and ‘Social investment through the European Social Fund’;

31.  Notes that the timetable and procedures of the European Semester have evolved in a way which does not grant Parliament a formal role in the cycle and therefore does not allow it sufficient time for deliberation prior to the Spring European Council;

32.  Calls on the Member States to eliminate unnecessary administrative burdens and bureaucracy for the self-employed, micro-enterprises and SMEs, and to facilitate the conditions for start-up businesses;

33.  Stresses the need to shift the tax burden away from labour towards other forms of sustainable taxation in order to promote growth and job creation;

34.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to promote and improve labour mobility mechanisms, in particular the European Job Mobility Portal EURES and the Public Employment Services, in order to boost employment and youth employment;

35.  Notes that the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy are yet to be achieved, and believes that, with a view to achieving these objectives, stronger measures should be put in place to bridge the present gap; calls on the Commission, therefore, to open a public consultation procedure for the review of the European Semester in order to improve its effectiveness and legitimacy, as part of the mid-term review, given that the Semester process should assist in the delivery of the Europe 2020 strategy;

36.  Expresses regrets that the European Council did not deliberate on the poverty reduction headline target in its preliminary discussion on the assessment of the Europe 2020 strategy on 20 and 21 March 2014;

37.  Calls on the Commission to develop a strategy that would support Member States in tackling homelessness though integrated policies and appropriate social investments;

38.  Stresses that an increase in inequality, as experienced in the EU and documented by the country reporting in the Semester, involves major democratic risks; points to the warnings by the IMF and the ILO that a further rise in inequalities in the EU could destabilise our societies; reiterates its call for more ambitious targets and more precise and objective forms of measurement with a view to reducing inequality, poverty and social exclusion, both within and between Member States, especially in light of the growing social divergences in some Member States;

39.  Calls on the Member States to take urgent measures to reverse the trend of increasing rates of at-risk-of-poverty and social exclusion in order to meet the Europe 2020 headline target of lifting at least 20 million people out of the risk of poverty or social exclusion;

40.  Calls on the Member States to guarantee access to the labour market and adequate social security for the most vulnerable members of society;

41.  Calls on the Commission to take new concrete measures in the fields of education and innovation policies in order to strengthen the complementarity between growth and fighting inequality;

42.  Calls for a sub-target for reducing child poverty to be set in the Europe 2020 mid-term review;

43.  Calls, therefore, for objective indicators of ‘poverty’ to be used for the measurement of Member States’ poverty rates so as to help identify those at risk of exclusion;

44.  Recalls, however, that a poverty indicator provides no direct evidence of the experience of social exclusion, and therefore calls for improved measurement of perceived social exclusion in order to reach a better understanding of the reasons for social exclusion and of which groups are particularly affected;

45.  Recognises that Member States are responsible for achieving the Europe 2020 targets, in line with the subsidiarity principle, with the EU supporting them in their actions; considers that the process has the potential, through peer review and the sharing of best practice, to support Member States in carrying out necessary structural reforms, increasing labour market flexibility and putting in place conditions for businesses to create jobs; stresses, however, the importance of timely Member State action, since non-action would have serious consequences across the EU; calls for the involvement of national parliaments and local and regional authorities in the design and implementation of the National Reform Programmes, including through multi-level governance arrangements;

46.  Regrets the fact that the Multiannual Financial Framework adopted for 2014-2020, with a budgetary allocation of EUR 960 billion, represented the first ever net reduction in the EU budget; considers that the MFF is not sufficient to help achieve the employment and social targets of the Europe 2020 strategy; considers, therefore, the mid-term review of the MFF to be of paramount importance for reshaping the strategic orientation of the EU’s expenditure towards a job-rich economic recovery;

47.  Recalls the role of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs in monitoring effective spending of the European Social Fund (ESF), not least the 20 % available for social inclusion, and how Member States have made effective use of this investment resource for meeting the Europe 2020 targets;

48.  Stresses the need for employment, poverty reduction and education targets to be more precisely monitored and for the more timely production of comparable statistics; calls, therefore, for real-time unemployment figures and ‘at risk of poverty or social exclusion’ indicators, especially at NUTS 3 level, with a view to assessing the actual situation on national labour markets;

49.  Calls on the Commission to establish a specific youth employment target and/or a specific integrated guideline on youth employment on the occasion of the mid-term-review of the Europe 2020 strategy;

50.  Calls for meaningful consultations with civil society, in addition to the social partners, to become a systematic element of the Europe 2020 strategy at all stages of the process; calls on the Commission to produce guidelines for such a procedure;

51.  Stresses that genuine consultation with civil society stakeholders would not only boost the democratic legitimacy of the process and the chances of reforms being acceptable to citizens and successful in their implementation, but could also strengthen the evidence base for the evaluation of reforms; believes that, to this end, the Annual Convention against Poverty and Social Exclusion should be more closely aligned with the European Semester;

52.  Calls on the Commission to take into account the outcome of the ongoing public consultation before publishing concrete proposals for the mid-term review of the strategy; insists equally that Parliament must be consulted on the final decisions before they are adopted;

53.  Calls for a strong ambition to achieve the climate change and energy sustainability targets, as these are integral to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth;

54.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the national parliaments and the European Council.

(1) OJ C 236 E, 12.8.2011, p. 57.
(2) OJ C 153 E, 31.5.2013, p. 57.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0010.
(4) Eurostat, EU Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review, September 2014.
(5) OJ C 380 E, 11.12.2012, p. 81.

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