Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 18 December 2014 - Strasbourg
Persecution of the democratic opposition in Venezuela
 Mauritania, in particular the case of Biram Dah Abeid
 Sudan: the case of Dr Amin Mekki Medani
 Non-objection to a delegated act: Ex ante contributions to resolution financing arrangements
 Conclusion of the Association agreement with Georgia
 Association Agreement with Georgia ***

Persecution of the democratic opposition in Venezuela
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European Parliament resolution of 18 December 2014 on the persecution of the democratic opposition in Venezuela (2014/2998(RSP))
P8_TA(2014)0106RC-B8-0375/2014

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Venezuela, including those of 24 May 2007 on the Radio Caracas TV channel case in Venezuela(1), 23 October 2008 on political disqualifications in Venezuela(2), 7 May 2009 on the case of Manuel Rosales(3), 11 February 2010 on Venezuela(4), 8 July 2010 on Venezuela, in particular the case of Maria Lourdes Afiuni(5), 24 May 2012 on the withdrawal of Venezuela from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights(6), and 27 February 2014 on the political situation in Venezuela(7),

–  having regard to the press statements by the spokesperson of EU High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton of 28 March 2014 and 15 April 2014 on the situation in Venezuela,

–  having regard the opinion of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions of the Commission on Human Rights of the UN General Assembly of 26 August 2014,

–  having regard to the Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of 20 October 2014 on the detention of protesters and politicians in Venezuela,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Venezuela is a party,

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

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the economic crisis, high rates of corruption, the chronic shortage of basic goods, the violence and political divisions have triggered peaceful protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro since February 2014, which are still ongoing; whereas the protestors have been met with disproportionate use of force and violence by the police, members of the National Guard and violent and uncontrolled armed pro-government groups; whereas according to local and international organisations over 1700 protesters are awaiting trial and more than 69 remain jailed, and at least 40 people have been killed in the protests, while their murderers remain unaccountable; whereas the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights confirms that it has received reports of more than 150 cases of ill-treatment during detention, including torture; whereas, according to several sources, persecution of the democratic opposition by the security forces is still continuing;

B.  whereas freedom of expression and the right to take part in peaceful demonstrations are cornerstones of democracy and are recognised in the Venezuelan Constitution; whereas equality and justice for all are impossible without respect for the fundamental freedoms and rights of every citizen; whereas there are numerous reports confirming that the media are being subjected to increasing censorship and intimidation; whereas during the 70th General Assembly of the American Press Association (IAPA) in Santiago (Chile), that organisation declared that Venezuela is putting independent media under greater pressure and has urged Venezuela to respect freedom of expression and warned of the further loss of democratic freedom;

C.  whereas opposition leader Leopoldo López was arbitrarily detained on 18 February 2014 on charges of conspiracy, instigating violent demonstrations, arson and damage to property; whereas since his detention he has suffered physical and psychological torture and undergone solitary confinement; whereas opposition mayors Daniel Ceballos and Vicencio Scarano, as well as police officer Salvatore Lucchese, have been arrested for failing to end protests and civil rebellion in their cities, and have been sentenced to several years in prison; whereas opposition congressmen Juan Carlos Caldera, Ismael García and Richard Mardo are facing investigations and trial proceedings aimed at their suspension and disqualification from Congress;

D.  whereas student leaders such as Sairam Rivas, President of the Students’ Centre of the School of Social Work at the Central University of Venezuela, Cristian Gil and Manuel Cotiz have been unjustly held on premises belonging to the Bolivarian Intelligence Service for more than 120 days and have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment in connection with the protests that took place between February and May 2014, having been accused of the offences of instigating crimes and using minors to commit crimes;

E.  whereas on 20 October 2014, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, voiced concern at the detention of protesters and called for the release of all those detained for exercising their right to peaceful protest; whereas on 8 October 2014 the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention described the detention of Leopoldo López as illegal, arbitrary and politically motivated, and called for the release of López and all those who remain arbitrarily detained;

F.  whereas the Venezuelan Government has a particular responsibility to comply with the rule of law and international law, bearing in mind that it has been a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council since 16 October 2014;

G.  whereas the remarks in the recent report of the UN Committee against Torture on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela explicitly expressed concern at the prevailing impunity, torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners, excessive use of force, acquiescence and complicity with the actions of pro-government armed groups, arbitrary detention and the absence of fundamental procedural guarantees; whereas this report called for the immediate release of all those held in arbitrary detention, including Leopoldo López and Daniel Ceballos, who were arrested for exercising their right to express themselves and protest peacefully, and furthermore expressed concern at the attacks on journalists and human rights activists, extrajudicial executions and the complete lack of an independent judiciary;

H.  whereas José Miguel Insulza, Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), has called for the release of those imprisoned for their participation in the protests; whereas the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has expressed deep concern over the situation with respect to freedom of association and freedom of expression in Venezuela;

I.  whereas the decision of Venezuela to withdraw from the American Convention on Human Rights took effect on 10 September 2013; whereas as a result of this action citizens and residents of Venezuela cannot bring any complaint before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights;

J.  whereas in March 2014 María Corina Machado, the Member of the National Assembly who had obtained the largest popular vote in Venezuela, was unlawfully and arbitrarily removed from office, deprived of her mandate and expelled from Parliament by the President of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, who accused her of treason because she had spoken out against the massive and systematic violation of human rights in Venezuela before the Permanent Council of the OAS;

K.  whereas in the course of her political and parliamentary activity María Corina Machado was subjected to a series of criminal proceedings, political persecution, threats, intimidation, harassment and even physical violence from government supporters inside the Chamber of the National Assembly; whereas she was recently charged with attempting to assassinate President Maduro and may face up to 16 years in prison;

L.  whereas the judiciary has failed to function as an independent branch of government; whereas this judicial system cannot be expected to carry out impartial investigations or to pass fair judgments on allegations against the opposition;

M.  whereas only respect for fundamental rights and freedoms and constructive and respectful dialogue conducted in a spirit of tolerance can help the country emerge from this serious crisis and overcome future difficulties;

N.  whereas a negotiation about the protests between the government and the opposition, called ‘Mesa de Diálogo’, was initiated in April 2014 but was unfortunately interrupted a month later without having achieved any success;

O.  whereas Venezuela is the country with the largest energy reserves in Latin America; whereas the people of Venezuela are suffering from a grave shortage of basic commodities, food prices have doubled and food rationing has started; whereas oil prices continue to drop significantly, deepening the economic downturn and threatening the country’s fragile oil-dependent economy;

P.  whereas the state’s failure to maintain law and order has led to Venezuela becoming one of the most violent countries in the world; whereas the ongoing political and economic crisis in Venezuela has contributed to a surging murder rate and citizen insecurity, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime;

1.  Is deeply concerned at the worsening situation in Venezuela and condemns the imprisonment of peaceful protesters, students and opposition leaders; urges the immediate release of those arbitrarily detained prisoners, in line with the demands made by several UN bodies and international organisations;

2.  Strongly condemns the political persecution and repression of the democratic opposition, the violations of freedom of expression and of demonstration, and the existence of media and web censorship;

3.  Strongly condemns the use of violence against protesters; expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims; calls on the Venezuelan authorities to investigate these crimes and to hold those responsible fully accountable with no margin of impunity;

4.  Encourages all parties to pursue peaceful dialogue reaching out to all segments of Venezuelan society, in order to define points of convergence and allow political actors to discuss the most serious problems facing the country; calls on all parties concerned to avoid further escalation of violence, and reminds the Government of Venezuela that a constructive dialogue is impossible as long as opposition leaders are still arbitrarily held in jail;

5.  Calls on the Venezuelan authorities to immediately disarm and dissolve the uncontrolled armed pro-government associations and groups, putting an end to their impunity;

6.  Reminds the Government of Venezuela of its responsibility to ensure that all trials conform to international standards; recalls that respect for the principle of separation of powers is fundamental in a democracy and that the justice system cannot be used by the authorities as a means of political persecution and repression of the democratic opposition; calls on the Venezuelan authorities to withdraw the unfounded charges and arrest warrants against opposition politicians and to ensure the security of all citizens in the country, regardless of their political views or affiliations;

7.  Calls on the Government of Venezuela to comply with its own constitution and its international obligations with respect to the independence of the judiciary, the rights of freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly and political pluralism, since these are cornerstones of democracy, and to ensure that people are not penalised for exercising their rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression;

8.  Calls on the Government of Venezuela to respect human rights, to conduct effective investigations into alleged human rights violations, and to enable an environment in which human rights defenders and independent non-governmental organisations can carry out their legitimate work of promoting human rights and democracy;

9.  Asks the EEAS and the EU Delegation, as well as the Member States’ delegations, to continue to observe the investigations and the trial hearings of opposition leaders;

10.  Calls on the Government of Venezuela to enter into a strong and open dialogue on human rights with the European Union;

11.  Calls on the EU, its Member States, and High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini to call for the immediate release of the protesters who have been arbitrarily arrested since the start of the protests;

12.  Recalls its demand for an ad hoc European Parliament delegation to be sent to assess the situation in Venezuela and hold a dialogue with all sectors involved in the conflict, as soon as possible;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government and National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly and the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States.

(1) OJ C 102 E, 24.4.2008, p. 484.
(2) OJ C 15 E, 21.1.2010, p. 85.
(3) OJ C 212 E, 5.8.2010, p. 113.
(4) OJ C 341 E, 16.12.2010, p. 69.
(5) OJ C 351 E, 2.12.2011, p. 130.
(6) OJ C 264 E, 13.9.2013, p. 88.
(7) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0176.


Mauritania, in particular the case of Biram Dah Abeid
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European Parliament resolution of 18 December 2014 on Mauritania, in particular the case of Biram Dah Abeid (2014/2999(RSP))
P8_TA(2014)0107RC-B8-0382/2014

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Mauritania, including those of 14 June 2012 on human rights and the security situation in the Sahel region(1) and of 22 October 2013 on the situation of human rights in the Sahel region(2),

–  having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 17 March 2014 on the implementation of the EU strategy for security and development in the Sahel,

–  having regard to the statement of 25 June 2014 by the spokesperson of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the presidential elections in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania,

–  having regard to Article 1 of the Mauritanian Constitution, which ‘guarantees equality before the law to all of its citizens without distinction as to origin, race, sex, or social condition’,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ratified by Mauritania in 1986), Article 5 of which expressly prohibits slavery, and to Mauritania’s accession to international instruments which prohibit contemporary forms of slavery, namely the Slavery Convention of 1926 and the amending protocol thereto, and the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery of 1956,

–  having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 (the Cotonou Agreement),

–  having regard to the concluding observations on Mauritania of 24 July 2014 of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women,

–  having regard to International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 105 on the abolition of forced labour,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Biram Dah Abeid, the son of freed slaves, is engaged in an advocacy campaign to eradicate slavery; whereas in 2008 he founded the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (Initiative pour la Résurgence du Mouvement Abolitionniste); whereas this organisation is seeking to draw attention to the issue and to help take specific cases before courts of law; whereas Biram Dah Abeid was awarded the United Nations Human Rights Prize for 2013;

B.  whereas on 11 November 2014, Biram Dah Abeid, a leading Mauritanian anti-slavery activist and founder of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement, was arrested following a peaceful anti-slavery march; whereas Biram Dah Abeid has been charged with calling for a demonstration, participating in a demonstration and belonging to an illegal organisation, and whereas some reports suggest that he is at risk of facing the death penalty; whereas the death penalty is still provided for in the Mauritanian Criminal Code, is not restricted to the most serious crimes, and is imposed following convictions based on confessions obtained under torture;

C.  whereas other anti-slavery campaigners have also been arrested and detained, bringing the total number of imprisoned activists from the Mauritanian Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement to 17; whereas it is alleged that during the arrests the Mauritanian gendarmerie used excessive force, including beatings with batons, physical dragging along the floor and humiliation techniques, which included forcing detainees to strip naked; whereas there are also allegations of prison guards having attempted to coerce some of the activists into signing confessions;

D.  whereas Biram Dah Abeid was voted runner-up in the 2014 Mauritanian presidential elections; whereas his reputation has made him a prime target for the Mauritanian authorities; whereas his arrest and those of his colleagues represent a crackdown on political opposition as well as civil society;

E.  whereas, although officially abolished in 1981 and criminalised in 2007, the practice of slavery persists in Mauritania; whereas according to the Global Slavery Index 2014, Mauritania is the biggest offender, with the highest proportion of its population (up to 4 %) enslaved; whereas some figures estimate the prevalence of slavery at up to 20 %; whereas the recently adopted Slavery Act does not cover all forms of slavery in Mauritania, excluding all forms of serfdom, for example;

F.  whereas slavery in Mauritania is explicitly racialised, with slaves almost universally drawn from the (black) Haratin community, which comprises between 40 % and 60 % of the Mauritanian population, as well as from other communities, as acknowledged by the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery; whereas the Haratin, even those not in slavery, are frequently denied access to higher-status work or prominent positions in public life;

G.  whereas slavery is usually hereditary, and babies born to enslaved women are frequently considered to be the property of a master’s family for their whole lives; whereas female slaves are routinely subjected to sexual violence; whereas most slaves are denied a formal education and are taught that their destiny is to belong to their masters, thus perpetuating so‑called psychological slavery; whereas women slaves require their masters’ permission to marry; whereas many slaves are born as the product of rape; whereas even slaves who have been released have few opportunities to find meaningful employment;

H.  whereas Mauritania has ratified conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement;

1.  Condemns strongly the arrest and ongoing detention of anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid and his fellow campaigners, and calls for their immediate release; expresses concern about reports of violence used against some of the activists, and urges the Mauritanian authorities to prosecute those officials who have been involved in the abuse and torture of prisoners;

2.  Calls upon the Mauritanian Government to stop using violence against civilians who participate in peaceful public protests and media campaigns in support of Biram Dah Abeid, to cease its crackdown on civil society and political opposition, and to permit anti‑slavery activists to pursue their non-violent work without fear of harassment or intimidation; urges the Mauritanian authorities to allow freedom of speech and assembly, in accordance with international conventions and Mauritania’s own domestic law;

3.  Condemns strongly all forms of slavery, and specifically the reported high prevalence of slavery, slavery-related practices and the trafficking of human beings within Mauritania; welcomes the Mauritanian Government’s criminalisation of slavery, the existence of a special court for slavery and the government’s announcement in March 2014 of the introduction of a roadmap for the abolition of slavery;

4.  Notes with regret that there has only been one prosecution for slavery; calls on the Mauritanian Government to end all forms of slavery, to enact anti-slavery laws and to pass legislation aimed at amending or repealing discriminatory legislation, including the discriminatory provisions of its penal, personal status and nationality codes; stresses that allegations of slavery and slavery-like practices should be investigated and prosecuted effectively;

5.  Calls on the Mauritanian authorities to raise awareness in terms of people’s attitudes and beliefs regarding slavery at all levels of society; encourages strongly the Mauritanian authorities to help change social attitudes towards race and slavery, particularly as regards the Haratin population; stresses that discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, especially in the realms of education and employment, should be outlawed; calls also on the Mauritanian authorities fully to dismantle the caste-based system of enslavement, in particular in respect of women in domestic work;

6.  Urges the development of universal formal education, so that current and former slaves, as well as their children, can improve their literacy and become equipped with the tools to find meaningful employment; notes that all Mauritanian citizens should be entitled to own land, particularly when they have occupied and cultivated it for generations, a right which Biram Dah Abeid and the Mauritanian Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement are proposing as the key means to end the cycle of slavery; encourages the Mauritanian Government, in this connection, to ratify ILO Convention 169, which recognises the forms of land use of indigenous peoples;

7.  Underlines the importance of a fruitful relationship between the EU and Mauritania, with the aim of contributing to democracy, stability and development in the country; stresses that Mauritania is a significant partner in the EU strategy for security and development in the Sahel;

8.  Urges the Vice-President/High Representative, the European External Action Service and the Member States to step up their efforts to address slavery in Mauritania, specifically by ensuring a clear and workable foreign affairs and human rights policy which is in line with the EU strategic framework on human rights and democracy, and by promoting a human rights dimension as part of the EU’s Sahel strategy and in dialogues with the Mauritanian Government, including in the context of formal bilateral agreements;

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the Member States, the Mauritanian authorities, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the UN Human Rights Council, the Economic Community of West African States, the Arab League and the African Union.

(1) OJ C 322 E, 15.11.2013, p. 94.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0431.


Sudan: the case of Dr Amin Mekki Medani
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European Parliament resolution of 18 December 2014 on Sudan: the case of Dr Amin Mekki Medani (2014/3000(RSP))
P8_TA(2014)0108RC-B8-0389/2014

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Sudan,

–  having regard to the report of 18 September 2013 by the UN Human Rights Council Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan,

–  having regard to the EU statement of 15 July 2014 on the release of political detainees in Sudan,

–  having regard to the EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Sudan of 11 November 2014,

–  having regard to the report of 4 September 2014 by the UN Human Rights Council Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan,

–  having regard to the Agreements on the National Dialogue and Constitutional Process signed in Addis Ababa on 4 September 2014,

–  having regard to the ‘Sudan Call’ declaration on the ‘Establishment of a State of Citizenship and Democracy’,

–  having regard to Sudan’s national human rights plan adopted in 2013, based on the principles of universality and equality of all people,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2014 on the EU and the global development framework after 2015(1),

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

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

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

–  having regard to the Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, UN Doc. E/CN.4/1996/39 (1996),

–  having regard to the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 6 December 2014, the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested Dr Amin Mekki Medani, a renowned human rights activist and former President of the Sudan Human Rights Monitor (SHRM), at his house in Khartoum;

B.  whereas there are serious concerns for the safety of Dr Medani, who is 76 years of age and in poor health; whereas the NISS allegedly refused to allow him to take his medication with him when he was arrested;

C.  whereas Dr Medani symbolises a strong commitment to human rights, humanitarianism and the rule of law, having held high-level positions within a range of different national and international institutions, including the Sudan judiciary, the democratic transitional government of Sudan (as Cabinet Minister for Peace), and the UN; whereas he has represented victims of violations and has persistently spoken out against abuse of power, and was awarded the ‘Heroes for Human Rights Award 2013’ by the EU Delegation in Sudan for his local and international efforts in promoting human rights;

D.  whereas Dr Medani was arrested shortly after his return from Addis Ababa, having signed the ‘Sudan Call’ on behalf of civil society organisations – a commitment to work towards the end of the conflicts raging in different regions of Sudan and towards legal, institutional and economic reforms; whereas Farouk Abu Issa, leader of the opposition National Consensus Forum, and Dr Farah Ibrahim Mohamed Alagar were arrested in a similar manner, on 6 and 7 December 2014 respectively, following their involvement with the ‘Sudan Call’;

E.  whereas the declaration, which commits signatories to end wars and conflicts, was signed by representatives from political and opposition parties, including the National Umma Party, the National Consensus Forces and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF); whereas this declaration is an extension of the Paris Declaration of 8 August 2014, signed by the SRF and the National Umma Party, the latter represented by Sadiq Al Mahdi;

F.  whereas Dr Medani’s arrest is representative of the repressive policies exercised by the Sudanese authorities to prevent legitimate peaceful political debate, which they have used to restrict freedom of opinion, expression and association, and is yet another example of unlawful arbitrary detention exercised by the NISS;

G.  whereas governments have the prime responsibility to address the political, economic and social concerns of their citizens; whereas conflict between government and citizens must be solved by political means through negotiations;

H.  whereas Sudan is at a critical period of political dialogue, for which figures such as Dr Medani are very much needed to bring their expertise to the reform process;

1.  Strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest and detention of Dr Medani and other peaceful activists as an unlawful breach of their peaceful and legitimate political and human rights activities; calls for their immediate and unconditional release;

2.  Remains concerned about the ongoing detention and condition of opposition party members, youth activists, human rights defenders and journalists in Sudan; urges the Government of Sudan to guarantee the peaceful exercise of the freedoms of expression, association and assembly; calls on the Sudanese authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment and intimidation against human rights defenders and political activists and to comply with the relevant international norms and standards;

3.  Calls on the Sudanese authorities to restore and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms under international law, including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, women’s rights and gender equality; emphasises the importance of an independent, impartial and accessible judiciary to enhance respect for the rule of law and the fundamental rights of the population;

4.  Calls on the Sudanese Government to review its National Security Act, which allows the detention of suspects for up to four and a half months without any form of judicial review, and also calls on the Sudanese Government to reform its legal system in accordance with international human rights standards;

5.  Welcomes the signing of the Agreements on the National Dialogue and Constitutional Process urging all groups to renounce violence as a means for political change and committing to national dialogue and negotiation without delay; stresses the importance of the National Dialogue process, which is the best opportunity to make progress towards national peace, reconciliation and democratic governance in Sudan;

6.  Remains deeply concerned, nevertheless, at the ongoing conflicts in Sudan, notably in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and the accompanying violations of humanitarian and human rights law, together with a serious humanitarian emergency, which continue to cause enormous human suffering and internal displacements, and pose a risk to regional stability;

7.  Reiterates, in line with the National Dialogue, that there should be meaningful dialogue with participation of the opposition parties and civil society, including women’s groups; stresses that the dialogue should include stakeholders from all of Sudan’s regions and reflect the full ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of Sudan;

8.  Encourages all parties to address Sudan’s internal conflicts, issues such as socio-economic marginalisation, unequal distribution of resources, political exclusion and lack of access to public services through the National Dialogue, including identity and social equality of all groups; supports, in this context, new and inclusive governance arrangements, a definitive constitution and a roadmap for the holding of national elections;

9.  Underlines the fact that the National Dialogue will only succeed if carried out in an atmosphere where the freedoms of expression, the media, association and assembly are guaranteed; calls, therefore, for all political prisoners to be released and arbitrary detention practices immediately stopped; calls on the Sudanese Government to abolish the death penalty, which is still in force, and to commute death sentences to appropriate alternative sanctions;

10.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to continue their support for dialogue between Sudan and South Sudan and neighbouring countries, to implement the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement in full, as well as the 2012 Addis Ababa Agreements, and to address any outstanding issues;

11.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to support the National Dialogue, the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and the Joint UN-African Union Special Representative in Darfur, and commends President Mbeki for his efforts to promote a genuine National Dialogue;

12.  Expresses its concern about the continuing and frequent violations of women’s rights in Sudan, particularly under Article 152 of the Penal Code; exhorts the Sudanese authorities to sign without delay and ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;

13.  Calls on the Government of Sudan, the opposition and the armed movements to use the momentum of the National Dialogue to demonstrate the leadership necessary to put Sudan on a path to peace, prosperity and justice; underlines, once again, the importance of fighting impunity;

14.  Expresses concern about the worsening humanitarian situation in numerous regions of Sudan, and in particular the access restrictions still imposed on international humanitarian agencies and organisations; calls, once again, on the Government of Sudan and on armed movements to guarantee safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to all areas by humanitarian agencies, in particular to conflict-affected areas, in line with international humanitarian principles;

15.  Denounces the government’s NGO bill, which restricts the ability of NGOs to deliver much-needed humanitarian relief to Sudan and compounds the already difficult circumstances NGOs face in the country – an increasingly worrying trend of harassment and interference targeting humanitarian workers, as well as crackdowns on civil society and democratic freedoms;

16.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to continue its commitment to supporting Sudan and the Sudanese people in their transition to an internally reformed democracy;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government of Sudan, the African Union, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0059.


Non-objection to a delegated act: Ex ante contributions to resolution financing arrangements
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European Parliament decision of 18 December 2014 to raise no objections to the Commission delegated regulation of 21 October 2014 supplementing Directive 2014/59/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 May 2014 with regard to ex ante contributions to resolution financing arrangements (C(2014)07674 – 2014/2923(DEA))
P8_TA(2014)0109B8-0381/2014

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission delegated regulation (C(2014)07674),

–  having regard to the Commission’s letter of 18 November 2014 asking Parliament to declare that it will raise no objections to the delegated regulation,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs to the Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs of 16 December 2014,

–  having regard to Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Directive 2014/59/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 establishing a framework for the recovery and resolution of credit institutions and investment firms and amending Council Directive 82/891/EEC, and Directives 2001/24/EC, 2002/47/EC, 2004/25/EC, 2005/56/EC, 2007/36/EC, 2011/35/EU, 2012/30/EU and 2013/36/EU, and Regulations (EU) No 1093/2010 and (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (1), and in particular Articles 103(7) and (8) and 115(5) thereof,

–  having regard to the recommendation for a decision by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs,

–  having regard to the agreement within the Council on the implementing Regulation specifying uniform conditions of application of Regulation (EU) No 806/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to ex-ante contributions to the Single Resolution Fund (COM(2014)0710),

–  having regard to Rule 105(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Article 130 of Directive 2014/ 59/EU (the BRRD Directive) requires Member States to apply the national measures necessary to comply with that Directive from 1 January 2015;

B.  whereas in order to apply the Directive, Member States must ensure that contributions are raised at least annually from the relevant credit institutions and investment firms (‘the institutions’) authorised in their territory (Article 103(1) BRRD Directive);

C.  whereas those contributions are to be adjusted to the risk profile of institutions in accordance with the criteria specified in a Commission delegated act;

D.  whereas Article 103(7) of the BRRD Directive empowers the Commission to adopt delegated acts in order to specify the notion of adjusting contributions in proportion to the risk profile of the institutions, taking into account certain criteria enumerated in that article;

E.  whereas on 21 October 2014, in order to satisfy the latter empowerment, the Commission adopted the Commission delegated regulation supplementing Directive 2014/59/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 May 2014 with regard to ex ante contributions to resolution financing arrangements;

F.  whereas this delegated regulation may only enter into force at the end of the scrutiny period of Parliament and the Council, if no objection has been expressed either by Parliament or the Council, or if before the expiry of that period both Parliament and the Council have informed the Commission that they will not object; whereas the scrutiny period is set under Article 115(5) of the BRRD Directive as three months from the date of notification, i.e. until 21 January 2015, and it may be extended by a further three‑month period;

G.  whereas the smooth and timely implementation of the BRRD framework by 1 January 2015 requires that the national resolution authorities start calculating and collecting the contributions to the resolution financing arrangements as soon as possible and in any event by 1 January 2015; whereas this calculation and collection is to be carried out in accordance with the abovementioned delegated regulation;

H.  whereas the delegated regulation should therefore enter into force in 2014, before the expiry of the scrutiny period referred to in recital F;

I.  whereas the agreement within the Council on the implementing regulation specifying uniform conditions of application of Regulation (EU) No 806/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to ex-ante contributions to the Single Resolution Fund, reached after an informal involvement of Parliament, is consistent with the above delegated regulation;

1.  Declares that it has no objections to the delegated regulation;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 173, 12.6.2014, p. 190.


Conclusion of the Association agreement with Georgia
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European Parliament non-legislative resolution of 18 December 2014 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part (09827/2014 – C8-0129/2014 – 2014/0086(NLE)2014/2816(INI))
P8_TA(2014)0110A8-0042/2014

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (09827/2014),

–  having regard to the Association Agreement (‘Agreement’) of 27 June 2014 between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part (17901/2013),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 217 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and paragraphs 7 and 8, second subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0129/2014),

–  having regard to the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008, mediated by the EU and signed by Georgia and the Russian Federation, and the implementation agreement of 8 September 2008,

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration of the Prague Eastern Partnership Summit of 7 May 2009, the Warsaw Eastern Partnership Summit of 30 September 2011, and the Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit of 29 November 2013,

–  having regard to the EU-Georgia visa facilitation and readmission agreements that entered into force on 1 March 2011,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 November 2011 containing the European Parliament’s recommendations to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS on the negotiations between the EU and Georgia on the Association Agreement(1),

–  having regard to the Joint Staff Working Document on Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in Georgia – Progress in 2013 and recommendations for action (annual Progress Report) of 27 March 2014 (SWD(2014)0072),

–  having regard to its position at first reading of 11 December 2013 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Neighbourhood Instrument(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2014 on Russian pressure on Eastern Partnership countries and in particular destabilisation of eastern Ukraine(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2014 on assessing and setting priorities for EU relations with the Eastern Partnership countries(4),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly report of 5 September 2014 on the functioning of democratic institutions in Georgia,

–  having regard to the work of Thomas Hammarberg as EU Special Adviser on Constitutional and Legal Reform and Human Rights in Georgia, and his report and recommendations ‘Georgia in Transition. Report on the human rights dimension: background, steps taken and remaining challenges’ of September 2013, and the report of 10 July 2014 on the follow-up mission,

–  having regard to its position of 16 April 2014 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part, on a Framework Agreement between the European Union and Georgia on the general principles for the participation of Georgia in Union programmes(5),

–  having regard to the Association Agenda (‘Agenda’) which will substitute the ENP Action Plan,

–  having regard to Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 18 December 2014 on the draft decision(6),

–  having regard to Rule 99(1), second subparagraph, of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0042/2014),

A.  whereas there is strong national and cross-party consensus in Georgia in favour of integration with the West, including with the EU and NATO; whereas, according to a recent study by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, 69 % of the population of Georgia approve the signing of the association agreement with the European Union; whereas such consensus should pave the way towards defusing the current polarisation of the political landscape and create the necessary conditions for a constructive dialogue between majority and minority forces;

B.  whereas the 2012 parliamentary and 2013 presidential elections in Georgia were conducted smoothly and in line with European standards; whereas the peaceful and democratic handover of power after these elections represented a first in Georgia’s recent history and could serve as an example for the entire region;

C.  whereas Europe should show its solidarity with the countries that regained their independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its support for their sovereignty;

D.  whereas Russia continues to occupy the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, in violation of the fundamental norms and principles of international law; whereas ethnic cleansing and forcible demographic changes have taken place in the areas under the effective control of the occupying forces, which bear the responsibility for human rights violations in these areas, including violations of the rights to free movement, people-to-people contacts and education in one’s native language;

E.  whereas since the Rose revolution, Georgia has made significant progress in terms of reforms and strengthening its relations with the EU; whereas as a result of the progress made on reforms which promote human rights and democracy, Georgia has benefitted from an additional financial allocation under the Eastern Partnership Integration and Cooperation programme; whereas the signing of the Association Agreement also constitutes a strong acknowledgement of this progress while also recognising Georgia’s ambition and commitment to a European path;

F.  whereas the signing of the Association Agreements between the European Union and Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine took place on 27 June 2014 on the occasion of the European Council meeting in Brussels; whereas the ratification by the European Parliament of the Association Agreement with Georgia, following the ratification of the agreements with the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, brings to a close an entire process while opening a new chapter in relation to the desire and determination of these countries to come closer to the European Union;

G.  whereas within the ENP the Eastern Partnership has created a meaningful political framework for deepening relations, accelerating political association and furthering economic integration between the EU and Georgia, which are linked by strong geographical, historical and cultural ties, by supporting political and socio‑economic reforms and facilitating approximation towards the EU;

H.  whereas regional frameworks, including the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly and the EU Black Sea Synergy, constitute additional forums in which to share experiences, information and best practices as regards the implementation of the Association Agenda;

I.  whereas the EU stresses the right of Georgia to join any international organisation or alliance, while respecting international law, and reiterates its firm belief in the principle that no third country has a veto over the sovereign decision of another country on such matters;

J.  whereas Parliament fully supports visa liberalisation for Georgia as an immediate sign of closer EU-Georgia relations and a direct benefit for the population;

K.  whereas the conclusion of the Agreement is not an end in itself, but part of a broader process to bring the country into the European mainstream legally, economically, politically and socially and, to this end, implementation is essential;

L.  whereas the EU-Georgia Association Agreement – especially its section on trade negotiated within the framework of the Eastern Partnership in 2012 and 2013 – is, inter alia, one of the most ambitious free trade agreements that the EU has ever negotiated with a third country;

M.  whereas the creation of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the EU and Georgia represents one of the most significant mutual benefits of the Agreement; whereas the importance of trade for growth, job creation, prosperity and stability is indisputable;

N.  whereas by establishing a DCFTA with the EU Georgia will, in order to enhance its access to the EU market, need to make binding commitments vis-à-vis adapting its laws and standards so as to respect common norms and values;

O.  whereas the EU will benefit from smoother commercial flows and better investment conditions in Georgia;

P.  whereas the DCFTA includes several provisions aimed at reforming Georgia’s trade legislation and trade-related policies in line with, and on the basis of, the EU acquis, which will lead to the modernisation of the country’s economy and an improved and more predictable business environment, including for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);

Q.  whereas by granting GSP+ preferences to Georgia, the EU has afforded substantial benefits to the country’s economy;

R.  whereas the provisional application of the Association Agreement, which started on 1 September 2014, contributes to the swifter implementation of the Association Agenda;

S.  whereas the active engagement of Georgia and a commitment to shared values and principles, including freedom, equality, democracy, pluralism, the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights, inspired by a common vision of the unique value of each person, are essential to take the process forward and make the implementation of the Agreement a success, and to ensure that it has a sustainable impact on the development of the country;

T.  whereas stronger political and economic ties will bring greater stability, security and prosperity to the whole European continent; whereas stronger ties with the EU should not exclude or cut off Georgia from its traditional, historical, political and economic ties with other countries in the region but, on the contrary, should create the conditions which would allow the country to benefit fully from all of its potential;

U.  whereas Georgia is an important part of the common energy market supply chain that brings energy resources from the Caspian Sea region to the EU;

1.  Welcomes warmly the signature of the Association Agreement as constituting a significant step forward in EU-Georgia relations and embodying a commitment to the path of political association and economic integration; welcomes the financial assistance granted to Georgia in 2014 in accordance with the principle of ‘more funds for more reform’; stresses that the ratification of the Agreement is not the final goal in itself and that full implementation thereof in as short a timeframe as possible is key;

2.  Welcomes the rapid, unanimous ratification of the Agreement by the Georgian Parliament and calls on the Member States also to proceed swiftly with its ratification;

3.  Notes that, under Article 49 TEU, Georgia – like any other European state – has a European perspective and may apply to become a member of the Union provided that it adheres to the principles of democracy, respects fundamental freedoms and human and minority rights, and ensures the rule of law;

4.  Stresses that the Agreement covers the entire internationally recognised territory of Georgia, and that it is for the benefit of the whole population and serves as a framework for sustainable development and democracy in Georgia;

5.  Calls on Georgia to ensure that reforms are anchored and deeply rooted in the institutional framework in order to build a society characterised by pluralism, non‑discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men;

6.  Underlines, in this regard, the importance of a cross-party constructive dialogue for the adoption of the basic reforms and obligations which stem from the Association Agreement, in the spirit of a consensual European choice; calls on the Georgian political forces to avoid the ‘winner takes all’ approach that has characterised the previous governments, in order to overcome the long-standing polarisation of Georgian society;

7.  Welcomes the Association Agenda which creates a practical framework to achieve the overriding objectives of the Agreement and should be the guiding framework for the development of EU-Georgia relations;

8.  Stresses that both Georgia and the EU should be involved in the implementation of the Agenda, and that the priorities set out therein should receive appropriate technical and financial support so that Georgia has the means to continue its democratic and economic reforms; calls on the Commission and the Member States to coordinate their assistance and to use the priorities of the Agenda as guiding principles when programming financing for Georgia;

9.  Calls on the parties to identify training needs to ensure that Georgia is able to carry out the obligations of the Agreement and the Agenda;

10.  Reaffirms its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and calls for the applicability and benefits of the Agreement to the entire internationally recognised territory of Georgia to be ensured; calls, in this connection, for the EU to continue to engage actively in conflict resolution, through the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia, co-chairing the Geneva Talks, and through the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM); encourages more decisive efforts as regards the revision of the restrictive aspects of the law on occupied territories in order to maximise the benefits of the Agreement and the DCFTA;

11.  Calls on Russia to respect fully the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, as well as the inviolability of its internationally recognised borders, to reverse its recognition of the separation of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and to end its occupation thereof, and to reciprocate the commitment to the non-use of force vis-à-vis Georgia; condemns, in this regard, the conclusion of the ‘alliance and strategic partnership’ treaty between the occupied territory of Abkhazia and Russia; views this as a step taken by Russia to conclude the full annexation of Abkhazia; expresses further concern that a similar ‘treaty’ may be concluded with the occupied territory of Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia as well; in this regard, calls on the Russian Federation to withdraw the so called ‘treaty’ and comply with its obligations under the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement;

12.  Welcomes recent reforms by the Georgian authorities designed to further strengthen the stability, independence and effectiveness of institutions responsible for guaranteeing democracy (particularly that of the judicial institutions), the rule of law and good governance, and as regards consolidating the system of protection for human rights and fundamental freedoms; reiterates the importance of ensuring that all three branches of power remain separated; calls for the effective use of the checks and balances system, together with oversight mechanisms;

13.  Notes the efforts by the Georgian authorities in the area of democratic reforms, including tackling the reform of the judiciary, and the need to investigate properly and fully all allegations of violations of human rights; reiterates that justice-sector reform in Georgia remains a priority for both Georgia and the European Union; recognises the fundamental principle of equality before the law and the guarantee of procedural rights; emphasises the need to build up an enforcement record of cases of prosecutions and convictions against which progress can be measured; calls for the unification of jurisprudence in order to ensure a predictable judicial system and public trust; recalls that the effective implementation of the justice sector reform strategy should be continued;

14.  Stresses that all prosecutions must be transparent, proportionate and free from political motivation, and should adhere strictly to investigatory procedures and due process and be conducted in full respect of the principles of a fair trial, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights; remains concerned about the lack of accountability of the prosecutor’s office and the blurred criteria according to which prosecutors and investigators are appointed; recalls that integrity and professionalism must be the key criteria in filling such positions;

15.  Stresses the need for the Georgian authorities to seek to bring about national reconciliation; expresses concern that numerous officials who had served under the previous government and some members of the current opposition have been charged with criminal offences and are imprisoned or placed in pre-trial detention; expresses concern, also, about the potential use of the judicial system to fight against political opponents, which could undermine Georgia’s European course and the efforts of the Georgian authorities in the area of democratic reform; recalls that the existence of a valuable political opposition is paramount to the creation of a balanced and mature political system, to which Georgia is aspiring;

16.  Acknowledges that accusations of cases of so-called selective justice have had a negative impact; calls on the Georgian authorities to avoid instrumentalising the justice system as a tool of political retribution; calls on all political forces in Georgia to take the utmost care to avoid accusations in the future, while pursuing a serious fight to rule out corruption and the misuse of public office;

17.  Welcomes the OSCE/ODIHR "Trial Monitoring Report Georgia" issued on 9 December 2014 and calls on the Georgian government to seriously undertake efforts to meet the shortcomings identified therein;

18.  Welcomes the work carried out by Thomas Hammarberg as the EU Special Adviser and his report ‘Georgia in Transition’, and the report of 10 July 2014 on the follow-up visit; calls on the Georgian authorities to implement fully the recommendations contained in the reports;

19.  Highlights the fact that the presidential elections of October 2013 were considered by the election observation mission of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) in a largely positive light and as the best in Georgia’s post‑independence history, building on the encouraging steps of the 2012 parliamentary elections; notes, in this regard, the participation of Parliament’s Election Observation Delegation;

20.  Encourages the European Union to ensure synergies between the various opportunities for support afforded by the European Endowment for Democracy, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, the Instrument for Stability and the Civil Society Facility in order to bolster the democratic process in Georgia;

21.  Calls on the Georgian authorities to continue the fight against organised crime, corruption, fraud, and money laundering at all levels and in all spheres of life, and to develop a fully functioning, properly staffed, independent judiciary, inter alia, to increase public trust in the judiciary and to defend the licit economy; stresses, furthermore, the importance of the depoliticisation of the public administration in order to make it more efficient and free from political interference;

22.  Recognises Georgia’s determination and achievements in building a free society based on the rule of law, democracy and social pluralism; draws attention to the strong support for this process within Georgian society; highlights the importance of anti-discrimination legislation in securing equal rights and protection for all minorities, in particular for ethnic, religious and LGBT minorities; welcomes the adoption of the law on anti-discrimination by the Georgian Parliament, and calls for the full observation and implementation thereof in the letter and spirit of EU legislation and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; notes that this is an important step in the visa liberalisation process; encourages the Georgian authorities to conduct information campaigns on the subject;

23.  Takes note of the steps taken by Georgia against Islamophobia and homophobia, in line with its international commitments; stresses, however, the need to bring perpetrators of violent acts of Islamophobia and homophobia to justice in an effective way;

24.  Welcomes the work carried out by Georgia in implementing the visa facilitation and readmission agreements; welcomes, also, the significant progress made in the visa dialogue; supports the timely introduction of a visa-free regime for Georgia once all of the conditions have been met as a tangible positive development for the benefit of Georgian citizens;

25.  Calls on the Georgian Government to create a favourable environment for free media which promotes the freedom of expression and media pluralism, and to allow the media to report independently and objectively without political or economic pressure; calls, in this regard, for the full implementation of the law on transparency of media ownership;

26.  Encourages the government to continue to make progress as regards the rule of law and access to justice by adopting the new Juvenile Justice Code in line with international standards to promote access to justice for all children; stresses the need for urgent reforms of the social protection system to reduce the growing social inequalities that affect children in particular, as reflected by the increasing percentage of children who are living below the national poverty line (27 % in 2013 compared to 25 % in 2011) and in extreme poverty (6 % vs 3,9 % among the general population), surviving on less than USD 1,25 per day;

27.  Notes positively the adoption of the new labour code, and stresses the need to implement it and to continue improving labour standards and social dialogue in order to comply with the labour rights and standards set out by the International Labour Organization;

28.  Commends Georgia’s determination to pursue closer economic ties with the EU by undertaking deep and difficult economic reforms;

29.  Congratulates Georgia on having been able to sustain external pressure, inter alia from Russia, and redirect its exports towards new markets, and encourages Georgia to continue on this path also in the future; condemns the policy of economic pressure employed by Russia against Georgia prior to and after the signature of the DCFTA in June 2014;

30.  Believes strongly that the DCFTA will have a long-term beneficial effect on Georgia’s economy and will thus contribute to raising the quality of life of its citizens;

31.  Notes with satisfaction the ratification of the agreement by the Georgian Parliament on 18 July 2014, which triggered the provisional application of the DCFTA as from 1 September 2014;

32.  Calls on the Parliaments of the Member States to ratify the Association Agreement, including the DCFTA, as soon as possible, so that all economic and trade provisions of the Agreement can enter into force in full without delay;

33.  Underlines the fact that the success of the DCFTA will be dependent on the thorough implementation by both parties of the commitments set out in the Agreement; calls, in this respect, for the EU to provide Georgia with all necessary assistance, also with a view to alleviating the short-term costs for Georgia; invites the Member States to share with Georgia their know-how in the field of economic reforms and approximation;

34.  Believes that parliamentary scrutiny is a fundamental condition for democratic support for EU policies; calls on the Commission, therefore, to facilitate the regular and detailed monitoring of the implementation of the DCFTA by the European Parliament in a timely manner;

35.  Calls on the Commission to monitor closely the implementation of the DCFTA in order to prevent social and environmental dumping, especially during the transition period for some sectors;

36.  Calls on the Commission to step up the provision of assistance and expertise to civil society organisations in Georgia in order to enable them to provide for the internal monitoring of, and greater accountability for, the reforms and commitments that the government has undertaken, particularly under the Agreement and the Agenda;

37.  Calls on the Georgian Government to cooperate with civil society organisations and NGOs through consistent dialogue;

38.  Welcomes Georgia’s active participation in the crisis management operations under the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy and calls on the European External Action Service (EEAS) to invite Georgia to the relevant exercises and training sessions;

39.  Highlights the essential role of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia and of the EUMM in contributing to security and stability in the areas adjacent to the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and calls for the prolongation of its mandate beyond 2016; calls also for the EU to ensure that it is given an adequate budget to carry out its mandate;

40.  Finds regrettable, in this regard, the lack of substantial progress in the Geneva talks despite the efforts of the Georgian authorities to engage constructively to address all security and humanitarian concerns in the conflict areas; calls for a more effective role for the EU in the process; condemns the process of the so-called borderisation along the administrative border line with Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, which has led to the expansion of the area of occupied territories, to the detriment of Georgia, and which has had devastating humanitarian consequences for the local population and is hindering confidence building;

41.  Supports the positive steps taken by the Georgian Government towards the improvement of relations with Russia; calls on Russia, as an important actor in the region, to engage constructively in finding a peaceful resolution to the conflicts and particularly with the Geneva Talks, which were mandated to monitor the implementation of the cease-fire agreement of 12 August 2008 between Russia and Georgia; believes that all of the provisions of the ceasefire agreement must be fully respected by both sides, particularly the commitment by Russia to withdraw all of its military forces and the provision which states that Russia must guarantee the EUMM full, unlimited access to the breakaway territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia; stresses the need for the safe and dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their places of permanent residence;

42.  Stresses the importance of enhancing people-to-people contacts at all levels in the conflict areas in order to create the necessary conditions for a sustained dialogue and further promote confidence building with a view to stepping up the peace process and achieving reconciliation between the parties;

43.  Reiterates its conviction that the association process is not a threat to Russia’s political and economic interests and finds it regrettable that the Russian leadership regards it as such; points out that each country has every right to make its own political choices, but that the EU’s engagement with the Eastern partners aims to spread prosperity and increase political and social stability, from which all countries in the region will gain;

44.  Points out that the entry into force of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, the likely inclusion of Armenia in the Customs Union, and the fact that Azerbaijan remains outside the main economic blocs, including the WTO, could disrupt traditional economic relations in the region; fully supports the progressive differentiation provided for within the Eastern Partnership framework – insofar as it matches the partners’ varying levels of ambition and capacity – but nonetheless believes that a regional approach is essential for the EU to contribute effectively to the stability and economic development of the South Caucasus; calls, therefore, on the Commission to assist the countries of the region in dealing with the possible problems which may arise from such a situation and help Georgia to make renewed efforts to promote new forms of cooperation in the South Caucasus;

45.  Draws attention to the crucial position of Georgia as regards the development of the Southern Corridor and the transit of oil and gas pipelines that could be of strategic importance for European energy security; calls, in this regard, for EU environmental standards to be fully respected in the construction of energy infrastructure; stresses, furthermore, the importance of diversifying energy sources with regard, in particular, to renewables, and of aligning climate‑change policies and targets with those of the EU;

46.  Calls on the Commission to assist and monitor closely the Georgian authorities in their investment programme for the construction, rehabilitation and reconstruction of hydropower plants, urging them to comply fully with EU standards and norms with regard, in particular, to the environmental impact assessment of the larger plants;

47.  Stresses the importance of its cooperation with the Parliament of Georgia as a way to monitor the implementation of the Agreement and the Agenda; believes that the entry into force of the Agreement and the creation of the new institutional framework for cooperation, which includes the Association Council, calls for a similar upgrade of the situation at parliamentary level; believes, therefore, that it is necessary to create a specific EU-Georgia parliamentary association committee, considering the varying scope of relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan;

48.  Calls on Georgia to provide comprehensive information related to the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part, to Georgian society, including the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in cooperation with the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia and the EUMM;

49.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of Georgia.

(1) OJ C 153 E, 31.5.2013, p. 137.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0567.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0457.
(4) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0229.
(5) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0404.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0111.


Association Agreement with Georgia ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 December 2014 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part (09827/2014 – C8-0129/2014 – 2014/0086(NLE))
P8_TA(2014)0111A8-0041/2014

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (09827/2014),

–  having regard to the draft Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part (17901/2013),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 217 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), Article 218(7) and Article 218(8), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0129/2014),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 November 2011 containing the European Parliament's recommendations to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS on the negotiations of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement(1),

–  having regard to its non-legislative resolution of 18 December 2014(2) on the draft decision,

–  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 Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0041/2014),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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

(1) OJ C 153 E, 31.5.2013, p. 137.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0110.

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