Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 9 June 2016 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Non-objection to a delegated act: regulatory technical standards for the appropriate arrangements, systems and procedures for disclosing market participants conducting market soundings
 Cambodia
 Tajikistan: situation of prisoners of conscience
 Vietnam
 Promoting free movement by simplifying the acceptance of certain public documents ***II
 Transfer to the General Court of jurisdiction at first instance in EU civil service cases ***I
 A regulation for an open, efficient and independent European Union administration
 Competitiveness of the European rail supply industry

Non-objection to a delegated act: regulatory technical standards for the appropriate arrangements, systems and procedures for disclosing market participants conducting market soundings
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European Parliament decision to raise no objections to the Commission delegated regulation of 17 May 2016 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to regulatory technical standards for the appropriate arrangements, systems and procedures for disclosing market participants conducting market soundings (C(2016)02859 – 2016/2735(DEA))
P8_TA(2016)0273B8-0691/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission delegated regulation (C(2016)02859),

–  having regard to the Commission’s letter of 18 May 2016 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 31 May 2016,

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

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on market abuse (market abuse regulation) and repealing Directive 2003/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directives 2003/124/EC, 2003/125/EC and 2004/72/EC(1) (‘the Market Abuse Regulation’), and in particular the third subparagraph of Article 11(9) thereof,

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

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

–  having regard to the fact that no objections have been raised within the period laid down in the third and fourth indents of Rule 105(6) of its Rules of Procedure, which expired on 8 June 2016,

A.  whereas Article 39(2) of the Market Abuse Regulation provides that a number of its provisions, including Article 11(1) to (8), are to apply from 3 July 2016 and, in line with that, Article 7(1) of the delegated regulation also provides that it is to apply from the same date;

B.  whereas Article 11(9) of the Market Abuse Regulation empowers ESMA to develop draft regulatory technical standards (RTS) to determine appropriate arrangements, procedures and record-keeping requirements for persons to comply with the requirements laid down in paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and 8 of that Article; whereas Article 11(9) of the Market Abuse Regulation empowers the Commission to adopt those RTS in accordance with Articles 10 to 14 of Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council(2) (‘the ESMA Regulation’);

C.  whereas the Commission adopted the delegated regulation on 17 May 2016 in order to satisfy the latter empowerment; whereas the delegated regulation contains important details on the procedures to be followed by market participants when carrying out market soundings;

D.  whereas the delegated regulation may only enter into force at the end of the scrutiny period of the Parliament and the Council if no objection has been expressed either by the Parliament or the Council, or if, before the expiry of that period, both the Parliament and the Council have informed the Commission that they will not object;

E.  whereas the scrutiny period provided for under Article 13(1) of the ESMA Regulation is three months from the date of notification of the RTS, unless the RTS adopted by the Commission are the same as the draft RTS adopted by ESMA, in which case the scrutiny period would be one month;

F.  whereas some changes have been introduced into the draft RTS adopted by ESMA, such as the addition of two new recitals as well as a number of changes to Article 3 and Article 6(3) and to the provision on entry into force and application; whereas, in light of these changes, the delegated regulation cannot be considered to be the same as the draft RTS adopted by ESMA, within the meaning of the second subparagraph of Article 13(1) of the ESMA Regulation; whereas, therefore, the three-month period for objection applies, as provided for under the first subparagraph of Article 13(1) of the ESMA Regulation, meaning that such period would expire on 17 August 2016;

G.  whereas the smooth and timely implementation of the market abuse framework by 3 July 2016 requires that the market participants and competent authorities make the necessary arrangements and put the appropriate systems in place as soon as possible, and in any event by 3 July 2016, and this should be done in accordance with the delegated regulation;

H.  whereas the delegated regulation should therefore enter into force by 3 July 2016 at the latest, before the expiry of the scrutiny period on 17 August 2016;

I.  whereas the provisions of the delegated regulation in substance are consistent with the objectives of Parliament as expressed in the Market Abuse Regulation and during the subsequent informal dialogue as part of the preparatory work for the adoption of the delegated regulation, and in particular with the Parliament’s intention to provide competent authorities with a full set of records of all information revealed in the course of a market sounding;

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. 1.
(2) Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Securities and Markets Authority), amending Decision No 716/2009/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2009/77/EC (OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 84).


Cambodia
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European Parliament resolution of 9 June 2016 on Cambodia (2016/2753(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0274RC-B8-0753/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Cambodia, notably those of 26 November 2015 on the political situation in Cambodia(1), of 9 July 2015 on Cambodia’s draft laws on NGOs and trade unions(2) and of 16 January 2014 on the situation of rights defenders and opposition activists in Cambodia and Laos(3),

–  having regard to the local EU statement of 30 May 2016 on the political situation in Cambodia,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia of 20 August 2015,

–  having regard to the UN Human Rights Council resolution of 2 October 2015 on Cambodia,

–  having regard to the UN Human Rights Committee’s concluding observations of 27 April 2015 on the second periodic report of Cambodia,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948,

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

–  having regard to the 2008 EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,

–  having regard to the 1997 Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the Kingdom of Cambodia,

–  having regard to the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 8 March 1999 on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

–  having regard to the statement of 1 April 2016 by the UN Special Rapporteur urging Cambodia to strengthen protection of women and indigenous peoples’ rights,

–  having regard to the joint statement by civil society organisations of 2 May 2016 condemning the charging of human rights defenders,

–  having regard to the International Labour Organisation Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise,

–  having regard to the Cambodian Constitution, in particular Article 41 thereof, in which the rights and freedoms of expression and assembly are enshrined, Article 35 on the right to political participation and Article 80 on parliamentary immunity,

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

A.  whereas in the last few months there has been a steady increase in the number arrests of members of the political opposition, human rights activists and representatives of civil society;

B.  whereas Prime Minister Hun Sen has been in power for over 30 years; whereas Sam Rainsy, the president of the leading opposition party, the CNRP, remains in self‑imposed exile driven by previous prosecutions on trumped-up politically motivated charges, and whereas acting CNRP president, Kem Sokha, is under investigation; whereas on 22 April 2016 a Phnom Penh court prosecutor announced that CNRP president Sam Rainsy would face trail in absentia on further politically motivated charges, starting on 28 July 2016;

C.  whereas on 20 November 2015 Sam Rainsy was summoned by a court to appear for questioning in relation to a post published on his public Facebook page by an opposition senator, Hong Sok Hour, who has been under arrest since August 2015 on charges of forgery and incitement after posting a video on Sam Rainsy’s Facebook page containing an allegedly false document relating to the 1979 border treaty with Vietnam;

D.  whereas on 3 May 2016 the Phnom Penh Municipal Court summoned Kem Sokha regarding a charge of criminal defamation, along with MPs Pin Ratana and Tok Vanchan, notwithstanding the fact that they enjoy immunity;

E.  whereas on 12 May 2016 the well-known political analyst Ou Virak was also summoned on charges of defamation after expressing his opinion about the Kem Sokha case;

F.  whereas on 2 May 2016 politically motivated charges were brought against Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda and Yi Soksan (three senior human rights advocates from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)), former ADHOC staffer Ny Chakrya, who is deputy secretary-general of the country’s National Election Committee (NEC), and UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR) staffer Soen Sally, and whereas they could receive sentences of up to 10 years’ imprisonment;

G.  whereas National Assembly opposition member Um Sam An was stripped of his parliamentary immunity and arrested on 11 April 2016 on trumped-up accusations of ‘incitement to cause chaos in society’ in connection with his non-violent views on Cambodia-Vietnam relations; whereas he was subsequently held by the Counter‑Terrorism police, indicted for trial and remanded in detention on these charges;

H.  whereas on 26 April 2016 the Phnom Penh court indicted Rong Chhun, a former trade union leader who is currently a member of the NEC, for trial on trumped-up politically motivated charges of incitement to violence provoked by the government security force’s suppression of strikes by workers in late December 2013 and early January 2014; whereas two important elections are due to be held (communal elections in 2017 and parliamentary elections in 2018), and whereas applying pressure on the NEC is a method used by the government to influence these elections;

I.  whereas on 9 May 2016 eight people protesting peacefully against the arrests of the ADHOC staff members, including Ee Sarom, director of the NGO Sahmakun Teang Tnaut, Thav Khimsan, deputy director of the NGO LICADHO, and a Swedish and German advisor to LICADHO, were arrested and set free shortly afterwards; whereas on 16 May 2016 the same happened to five peaceful demonstrators;

J.  whereas the EU is Cambodia’s largest partner in terms of development assistance, with a new allocation for the 2014-2020 period of EUR 410 million; whereas the EU supports a wide range of human rights initiatives carried out by Cambodian NGOs and other civil society organisations; whereas Cambodia is highly dependent on development assistance;

K.  whereas on 26 October 2015 a group of pro-government protesters in Phnom Penh brutally assaulted two MPs from the opposition CNRP, Nhay Chamrouen and Kong Sakphea, and threatened the safety of the private residence of the National Assembly’s First Vice-President; whereas reports suggested that police and other state security forces looked on while the attacks took place; whereas arrests have been made concerning these attacks, but whereas human rights NGOs in Cambodia have expressed their concerns that the actual assailants are still free;

L.  whereas, despite widespread criticism from civil society and the international community, the promulgation of the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) has given state authorities arbitrary powers to shut down and block the creation of organisations defending human rights, and has already begun to deter human rights defence work in Cambodia and to impede civil society action;

M.  whereas, since the approval of the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) in 2015, the authorities have refused permission for large-scale public advocacy events led by NGOs, and whereas in recent months events held in conjunction with World Habitat Day, International Human Rights Day, International Women’s Day and International Labour Day have all been disrupted to varying extents by police forces, as have other demonstrations;

N.  whereas the Cambodian Senate adopted the Law on Trade Unions on 12 April 2016, imposing new restrictions on workers’ right to association and granting arbitrary new powers to government authorities to repress the exercise of that right by trade unions;

1.  Expresses its deep concerns about the worsening climate for opposition politicians and human rights activists in Cambodia, and condemns all acts of violence, politically motivated charges, arbitrary detention, questioning, sentences and convictions in respect of these individuals;

2.  Deplores the escalation of politically motivated charges and judicial harassment of human rights defenders and activists, and in particular the politically motivated charges, sentences and convictions relating to the legitimate work of activists, political critics and human rights defenders in Cambodia;

3.  Urges the Cambodian authorities to revoke the arrest warrant for, and drop all charges against, opposition leader Sam Rainsy and CNRP members of the National Assembly and Senate, including Senator Hong Sok Hour; calls for the immediate release of the five human rights defenders still in preventive custody, namely Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony and Ny Chakra, for these politicians, activists and human rights defenders to be allowed to work freely without fear of arrest or persecution, and for an end to political use of the courts to prosecute people on politically motivated and trumped-up charges; calls on the National Assembly to reinstate Sam Rainsy, Um Sam An and Hong Sok Hour immediately and to restore their parliamentary immunity;

4.  Urges the Cambodian authorities to drop all politically motivated charges and other criminal proceedings against ADHOC and other Cambodian human rights defenders, to cease all threats to apply repressive LANGO provisions, together with all other attempts to intimidate and harass human rights defenders and national and international organisations, and to release immediately and unconditionally all those jailed on politically motivated and trumped-up charges;

5.  Urges the Government of Cambodia to recognise the legitimate and useful role played by civil society, trade unions and the political opposition in contributing to Cambodia’s overall economic and political development;

6.  Encourages the government to work towards strengthening democracy and the rule of law and to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, which includes fully complying with the constitutional provisions concerning pluralism and freedom of association and expression;

7.  Recalls that a non-threatening environment of democratic dialogue is essential for political stability, democracy and a peaceful society in the country, and urges the government to take all necessary measures to ensure the security of all democratically elected representatives of Cambodia, irrespective of their political affiliation;

8.  Welcomes the reform of the NEC through an amendment to the Constitution following the July 2014 agreement between the Cambodian People’s Party) CPP and the CNRP on electoral reforms; highlights the fact that the NEC now consists of four CPP representatives, four CNRP representatives and one representative of civil society;

9.  Calls on the government to ensure full and impartial investigations with the participation of the UN, leading to the prosecution of all those responsible for the recent brutal attack on the two CNRP members of the National Assembly by members of the armed forces and for military and police use of excessive force to suppress demonstrations, strikes and social unrest;

10.  Calls on the Cambodian authorities to drop all charges against former trade union leader and NEC member Rong Chhun;

11.  Calls on the Member States, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Commission to set out clear benchmarks for the forthcoming elections in Cambodia, consistent with international law on freedom of expression, association and assembly, and to publicly communicate these benchmarks to the Cambodian authorities and the opposition; calls on the EEAS to make the amount of EU financial assistance dependent on improvements in the human rights situation in the country;

12.  Expresses its concerns regarding the new Trade Union Law; urges the government to repeal the Trade Union Law, the LANGO and similar laws which are restricting fundamental freedoms and threatening the exercise of human rights; urges the government to ensure that all legislation relevant to human rights is in compliance with the Constitution of Cambodia and international standards;

13.  Urges the Cambodian Government to cease all forced evictions and land grabbing and to ensure that any evictions are conducted in full accordance with international standards;

14.  Highlights the importance of an EU Election Observation Mission and its contribution to fair and free elections; calls on the NEC and the relevant government authorities to ensure that all eligible voters, including migrant workers and detainees, have access to, and time to take advantage of, registration opportunities;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice‑President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and National Assembly of Cambodia.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0413.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0277.
(3) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0044.


Tajikistan: situation of prisoners of conscience
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European Parliament resolution of 9 June 2016 on Tajikistan: situation of prisoners of conscience (2016/2754(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0275RC-B8-0755/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 7, 8 and 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 September 2009 on the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Tajikistan, of the other part(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2011 on the state of implementation of the EU Strategy for Central Asia(2),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 22 June 2015 on the EU Strategy for Central Asia,

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 April 2016 on implementation and review of the EU‑Central Asia Strategy(3),

–  having regard to the EU statement of 18 February 2016 to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) criminal proceedings in Tajikistan,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the visit to Tajikistan by the EU Special Representative for Central Asia of 18 September 2015,

–  having regard to the statement of 3 June 2016 by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the Tajikistan Supreme Court’s sentencing of deputy leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party to life imprisonment,

–  having regard to the preliminary observations issued by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression on 9 March 2016 at the end of his visit to Tajikistan,

–  having regard to the Universal Periodic Review recommendations made to Tajikistan at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council of 6 May 2016,

–  having regard to the EU-Tajikistan annual Human Rights Dialogues,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, guaranteeing freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the right of individuals to respect for their personal, private and family life and the right of equality, and banning discrimination in the enjoyment of those rights,

–  having regard to the Regional Conference on Torture Prevention of 27 to 29 May 2014 and to the Regional Conference on the Role of Society in the Prevention of Torture of 31 May to 2 June 2016,

–  having regard to Tajikistan’s Action Plan of August 2013 for the implementation of the recommendations issued by the Committee against Torture,

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

A.  whereas on 17 September 2009 the European Parliament gave its assent to a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the European Community and the Republic of Tajikistan; whereas the PCA was signed in 2004 and came into force on 1 January 2010; whereas, in particular, Article 2 thereof states that ‘[r]espect for democratic principles and fundamental and human rights [...] underpin the internal and external policies of the Parties and constitute an essential element of this Agreement’;

B.  whereas since 1992 EU-Tajikistan cooperation has expanded to a wide range of areas, including human rights and democracy, which are the very basis of any partnership;

C.  whereas the EU has a vital interest in stepping up political, economic and security cooperation as well as sustainable development and peace cooperation with the Central Asian region via a strong and open EU-Tajikistan relationship based on the rule of law, democracy and human rights;

D.  whereas well-known businessman and government critic Abubakr Azizkhodzhaev has been detained since February 2016 after raising critical concerns about corrupt business practices; whereas he has been charged under Article 189 of Tajikistan’s Criminal Code with inciting national, racial, regional or religious hatred;

E.  whereas members of Tajikistan’s political opposition have been systematically targeted; whereas in September 2015 the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) was banned after being linked to a failed coup earlier that month led by a general, Abdukhalim Nazarzoda, who was killed along with 37 of his supporters; whereas the authorities have already arrested approximately 200 IRPT members;

F.  whereas in February 2016 the Supreme Court began hearing cases against 13 members of the Political Council of the IRPT, as well as four other individuals associated with the party, who had been charged with ‘extremism’ offences because of their alleged involvement in attacks of September 2015; whereas many IRPT members have been arrested and face criminal proceedings without the guarantee of a fair trial; whereas Zaid Saidov, a businessman and well-known opposition figure, was sentenced to 29 years in prison in prosecutions linked to his having run for office in the November 2013 presidential elections; whereas Umarali Kuvatov was killed in Istanbul in March 2015 and another activist, Maksud Ibragimov, was stabbed and kidnapped in Russia before being returned to Tajikistan and sentenced in July 2015 to 17 years’ imprisonment;

G.  whereas on 2 June 2016 the Supreme Court in Dushanbe sentenced Mahmadali Hayit and Saidumar Hussaini, deputy leaders of the banned IRPT, to life imprisonment on charges of having been behind an attempted coup in 2015; whereas 11 other IRPT members were sentenced to imprisonment; whereas three relatives of the leader of the IRPT, Muhiddin Kabiri, have been jailed for failure to report an unspecified crime; whereas the court proceedings were not transparent and violated the rights of the accused to a fair trial;

H.  whereas several lawyers who applied to act as defence attorneys for IRPT defendants have received death threats and have been arrested, detained and imprisoned; whereas the arrests of Buzurgmehr Yorov, Nodira Dodajanova, Nuriddin Mahkamov, Shukhrat Kudratov and Firuz and Daler Tabarov raise major concerns about compliance with international standards relating to the independence of lawyers, closed trials and limited access to legal representation; whereas several journalists have also been detained, harassed and intimidated; whereas freedom of speech, access to the media, and political and ideological pluralism, including in the area of religion, must be recognised in accordance with the constitution of Tajikistan;

I.  whereas the 2015 Law on the Advokatura has required a complete re-certification of the defence bar and has introduced a number of restrictions on who can practise law, and is thus conducive to possible interference in the independence of lawyers’ work;

J.  whereas recent amendments to the Law on Public Associations, which came into force in 2015, hinder the operation of civil society by imposing financial disclosure of NGOs’ funding sources;

K.  whereas in its statement the European Parliament election observation delegation for the parliamentary elections in Tajikistan of 2 March 2015 highlighted significant shortcomings;

L.  whereas the press, websites, social media and internet providers in Tajikistan operate in a restrictive environment where self-censorship is widespread; whereas the government uses restrictive media legislation and regulations to curb independent reporting and frequently blocks online media outlets and social media networks;

M.  whereas in February 2015 the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment raised concerns about ongoing torture, ill-treatment and impunity in the follow-up report to his February 2014 mission to Tajikistan;

N.  whereas Tajikistan’s corruption index ranking remains worryingly high;

O.  whereas the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is an important financing tool aimed at supporting the rule of law, good governance and human rights in the country and the region;

P.  whereas on 22 May 2016 Tajikistan held a referendum on constitutional changes that allow incumbent president Emomali Rahmon to run for re-election indefinitely;

1.  Calls for the release of all those imprisoned on politically motived charges, including Abubakr Azizkhodzhaev, Zaid Saidov, Maksud Ibragimov, IRPT deputy leaders Mahmadali Hayit and Saidumar Hussaini, and 11 other IRPT members;

2.  Urges the Tajik authorities to quash the convictions of, and to release, attorneys and lawyers, including Buzurgmehr Yorov, Nodira Dodajanova, Nuriddin Mahkamov, Shukhrat Kudratov and Firuz and Daler Tabarov;

3.  Stresses the importance of relations between the EU and Tajikistan and of strengthening cooperation in all areas; highlights the EU’s interest in a sustainable relationship with Tajikistan in terms of political and economic cooperation; stresses that political and economic relations with the EU are deeply linked to the sharing of values relating to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as envisaged in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement;

4.  Is highly concerned about the increasing detention and arrest of human rights lawyers, political opposition members and their relatives, restrictions on media freedom and internet and mobile communications, and the limitation of religious expression;

5.  Urges the authorities of Tajikistan to give defence attorneys and political figures fair, open and transparent trials, to provide substantive protections and procedural guarantees in accordance with Tajikistan’s international obligations and to authorise the reinvestigation by international organisations of all reported violations of human rights and dignity; calls for all those imprisoned or detained to be granted access to independent legal services, together with the right to meet their family members regularly; recalls that, for every sentence issued, clear evidence must be presented to justify the criminal charges brought against the defendant;

6.  Calls on the Tajik Government to allow opposition groups to operate freely and to exercise the freedoms of assembly, association, expression and religion, in accordance with international human rights norms and the constitution of Tajikistan;

7.  Emphasises that the legitimate fight against terrorism and violent extremism should not be used as a pretext to suppress opposition activity, hinder freedom of expression or hamper the independence of the judiciary; recalls that the fundamental freedoms of all Tajik citizens must be guaranteed, and the rule of law upheld;

8.  Calls on the Tajik parliament to take into account the views of independent media and of civil society in its consideration of the proposed amendments to the Law on the Media regarding media licences; calls on the Tajik authorities to cease blocking news websites;

9.  Calls on the Tajik authorities to comply with international law, in particular with regard to the Law on Public Associations and the Law on the Bar and the Practice of Law; calls on the Tajik Government to ensure that all lawyers, including those defending human rights activists, IRPT members, victims of torture and clients accused of extremism, are able to conduct their work freely, without fear of threats or harassment;

10.  Welcomes a number of positive steps taken by the Tajik Government, such as the decriminalisation of defamation and insult in 2012, and calls for proper implementation of the country’s Criminal Code; welcomes the signing of the legislation introducing amendments to the Criminal Procedural Code (CPC) and the Law on Detention Procedures and Conditions for Suspects, Accused Persons and Defendants, and calls on the Tajik authorities to ensure that these legislative provisions are implemented without delay;

11.  Welcomes the annual EU-Tajikistan Human Rights Dialogues, which should also address the content of this resolution; underlines the importance of effective and result-oriented human rights dialogues between the EU and the Tajik authorities as a tool to facilitate the relaxation of the political situation in the country and the launch of comprehensive reforms;

12.  Calls for the EU, and in particular the European External Action Service, to monitor closely the implementation of the rule of law in Tajikistan, especially the right to association and the right to form political parties, in the context of the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2020, to raise concerns with the Tajik authorities where necessary, to offer assistance and to report regularly to Parliament; calls on the EU Delegation in Dushanbe to continue to play an active role;

13.  Encourages the authorities of Tajikistan to ensure proper follow-up to, and implementation of, the Universal Periodic Review recommendations;

14.  Expresses deep concern about the widespread use of torture, and urges the Tajik Government to implement its Action Plan of August 2013 for the implementation of the recommendations issued by the Committee against Torture;

15.  Takes note of the conclusions of the observation mission sent by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe for the parliamentary elections of 1 March 2015 in Tajikistan, which state that those elections ‘took place in a restricted political space and failed to provide a level playing field for candidates’, and calls on the Tajik authorities to address in due time all the recommendations set out in those conclusions;

16.  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 European External Action Service, the Council, the Commission, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the UN Human Rights Council, the Government of Tajikistan and the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon.

(1) OJ C 224 E, 19.8.2010, p. 12.
(2) OJ C 168 E, 14.6.2013, p. 91.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0121.


Vietnam
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European Parliament resolution of 9 June 2016 on Vietnam (2016/2755(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0276RC-B8-0754/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Vietnam,

–  having regard to the statement of 18 December 2015 by the Spokesperson of the European External Action Service on the arrest of lawyer Nguyễn Văn Đài,

–  having regard to the statement of the EU Heads of State or Government of 7 March 2016,

–  having regard to the press statement of the Spokesperson of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 13 May 2016 in Geneva on Turkey, The Gambia and Vietnam,

–  having regard to the declaration of 3 June 2016 by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, which has been endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Dubravka Šimonović, and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention,

–  having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Vietnam signed on 27 June 2012 and to the annual EU-Vietnam human rights dialogue between the EU and the Government of Vietnam, which was last held on 15 December 2015,

–  having regard to the EU guidelines on human rights,

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

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Vietnam acceded in 1982,

–  having regard to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to which Vietnam has been a state party since 1982,

–  having regard to the UN Convention against Torture, which was ratified by Vietnam in 2015,

–  having regard to the Universal Periodic Review Outcome of Vietnam by the UN Human Rights Council of 28 January 2014,

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

A.  whereas the EU considers Vietnam to be an important partner in Asia; whereas 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of EU-Vietnam relations; whereas these relations have broadened rapidly from trade and aid to a more comprehensive relationship;

B.  whereas Vietnam has been a one-party state since 1975, with the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) allowing no challenge to its leadership and having control of the National Assembly and the courts;

C.  whereas the Vietnamese authorities have cracked down heavily in response to a series of demonstrations taking place throughout the country in May 2016, which were organised following an ecological catastrophe that decimated the nation’s fish stocks;

D.  whereas a Vietnamese lawyer and human rights activist, Lê Thu Hà, was arrested on 16 December 2015, at the same time as a prominent fellow human rights lawyer, Nguyễn Văn Đài, who was arrested for conducting propaganda against the state; whereas on 22 February 2016 human rights defender Trần Minh Nhật was attacked by a police officer at his home in Lâm Hà district, Lâm Đồng Province; whereas Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức, who was imprisoned in 2009 after a trial with no meaningful defence, received a sentence of 16 years followed by five years under house arrest; whereas there is serious concern for the deteriorating health of Buddhist dissident Thích Quảng Độ, who is currently under house arrest;

E.  whereas independent political parties, labour unions and human rights organisations are banned in Vietnam, with official approval needed for public gatherings; whereas some peaceful protests have been heavily policed, with high-profile activists kept under house arrest, while other demonstrations were broken up or prohibited outright from taking place;

F.  whereas wide-ranging police measures to prevent and punish participation in demonstrations have resulted in a range of human rights violations, including torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment, as well as violations of the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of movement; whereas conditions of detention and treatment of prisoners are harsh, with reports of at least seven deaths in police custody in 2015 with suspicions of possible police torture or other forms of ill-treatment;

G.  whereas, despite accepting 182 of the 227 recommendations put forward by the UN Human Rights Council at its June 2014 periodic review, Vietnam rejected recommendations such as the release of political prisoners and people detained without charge or trial, legal reform to end political imprisonment, the creation of an independent national human rights institution and other steps aimed at promoting public participation; whereas, however, Vietnam has recently allowed international human rights groups to meet with representatives of the opposition and government officials for the first time since the end of the Vietnam War;

H.  whereas Vietnam persists in invoking vaguely worded ‘national security’ provisions in the criminal code such as ‘anti-state propaganda’, ‘subversion’ or ‘abuse of democratic freedoms’ in order to incriminate and silence political dissidents, human rights defenders and perceived government critics;

I.  whereas in May 2016 a BBC correspondent, Jonathan Head, was allegedly prohibited from covering President Obama’s visit to Vietnam and stripped of accreditation, without being given an official reason; whereas Kim Quốc Hoa, the former editor-in-chief of the newspaper Người Cao Tuổi, had his journalist’s licence revoked in early 2015 and was later prosecuted under Article 258 of the criminal code for abusing democratic freedoms, after the newspaper exposed a number of corrupt officials;

J.  whereas Vietnam ranks 175th out of 180 in Reporters without Borders’ 2016 World Press Freedom Index of 2016, with the print and broadcast media being controlled by the CPV, the military or other government bodies; whereas Decree 72 of 2013 further restricts speech on blogs and social media, with Decree 174 of 2014 enforcing harsh penalties on social media and internet users who voice ‘anti-state propaganda’ or ‘reactionary ideologies’;

K.  whereas freedom of religion or belief is repressed and many religious minorities suffer from severe religious persecution, including members of the Catholic Church and non-recognised religions such as the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, several Protestant churches and members of the ethno-religious Montagnard minority, as observed by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief during his visit to Vietnam;

L.  whereas in April 2016 Vietnam adopted a Law on Access to Information and an amended Press Law which restrict freedom of expression and reinforce censorship, as well as regulations banning demonstrations outside courts during trials;

M.  whereas Vietnam’s ranking in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index fell from 42nd in 2007 to 83rd in 2015, and whereas the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women criticised the Vietnamese authorities for failing to grasp the ‘concept of substantive gender equality’; whereas despite some progress, domestic violence, trafficking in women and girls, prostitution, HIV/AIDS and violations of sexual and reproductive rights remain problems in Vietnam;

N.  whereas the Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement aims to establish a modern, broad-based and mutually beneficial partnership, based on shared interests and principles such as equality, mutual respect, the rule of law and human rights;

O.  whereas the EU has commended Vietnam for continued progress in socio-economic rights, while expressing persisting concerns at the situation of political and civil rights; whereas, however, at the annual human rights dialogue the EU raised the issues of restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of the media and freedom of assembly;

P.  whereas the EU is Vietnam’s biggest export market; whereas the EU together with its Member States is the largest provider of official development assistance to Vietnam, and whereas there will be an EU budget increase for this purpose of 30 % to EUR 400 million in 2014-2020;

1.  Welcomes the strengthened partnership and the human rights dialogue between the EU and Vietnam; applauds Vietnam’s ratification last year of the UN Convention against Torture;

2.  Calls on the Government of Vietnam to put an immediate stop to all harassment, intimidation, and persecution of human rights, social and environmental activists; insists that the government respect these activists’ right to peaceful protest and release anyone still wrongfully held; asks for the immediate release of all activists who have been unduly arrested and imprisoned such as Lê Thu Hà, Nguyễn Văn Đài, Trần Minh Nhật, Trần Huỳnh Duy Thức and Thích Quảng Độ;

3.  Expresses strong concerns about the increasing levels of violence perpetrated against Vietnamese protesters expressing their anger over the mass deaths of fish along the country’s central coast; asks for the publication of the results of the investigations into the environmental disaster and for those responsible to be held accountable; calls on the Government of Vietnam to respect the right to freedom of assembly in line with its international human rights obligations;

4.  Condemns the conviction and harsh sentencing of journalists and bloggers in Vietnam such as Nguyễn Hữu Vinh and his colleague Nguyễn Thị Minh Thúy, and Đặng Xuân Diệu, and calls for their release;

5.  Deplores the continuing violations of human rights in Vietnam, including political intimidation, harassment, assaults, arbitrary arrests, heavy prison sentences and unfair trials, perpetrated against political activists, journalists, bloggers, dissidents and human rights defenders, both on- and offline, in clear violation of Vietnam’s international human rights obligations;

6.  Expresses concerns at the consideration by the National Assembly of a Law on Associations and a Law on Belief and Religion which are incompatible with international norms of freedom of association and freedom of religion or belief;

7.  Urges Vietnam to further strengthen cooperation with human rights mechanisms and improve compliance with treaty body reporting mechanisms; reiterates its calls for progress in the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations;

8.  Repeats its calls for the revision of specific articles in the Vietnamese criminal code that are used to suppress freedom of expression; considers it regrettable that none of the 18 000 prisoners granted amnesty on 2 September 2015 were political prisoners; condemns Vietnam’s detention and prison conditions, and demands that the Vietnamese authorities guarantee unrestricted access to legal counsel;

9.  Urges the Government of Vietnam to establish effective accountability mechanisms for its police forces and security agencies, with a view to stopping abuse against prisoners or detainees;

10.  Calls on the authorities to put an end to religious persecution and to amend their legislation on the status of religious communities in order to re-establish the legal status of non-recognised religions; calls on Vietnam to withdraw the fifth draft of the Law on Belief and Religion, which is currently under debate in the National Assembly, and to prepare a new draft that conforms to Vietnam’s obligations under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; calls for the release of religious leaders, including Pastor Nguyễn Công Chính, Trần Thị Hồng and Ngô Hào;

11.  Requests that Vietnam combat discrimination against women by introducing anti-trafficking legislation and by taking effective steps toward curbing domestic violence and violations of reproductive rights;

12.  Commends Vietnam for its leading role in Asia on the development of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights, in particular the recently adopted law on marriage and family which allows same-sex wedding ceremonies;

13.  Calls on the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights to examine the situation concerning the state of human rights in Vietnam, with a special focus on freedom of expression, and to make recommendations to the country;

14.  Calls on the Vietnamese Government to issue a standing invitation to UN Special Procedures, and in particular invitations to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders;

15.  Calls for the EU to increase its political dialogue on human rights with Vietnam under the Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement;

16.  Asks the EU Delegation to use all appropriate tools and instruments to accompany the Government of Vietnam in these steps and to support and protect human rights defenders; underlines the importance of human rights dialogue between the EU and the Vietnamese authorities, especially if this dialogue is followed by real implementation; stresses that this dialogue should be effective and results-oriented;

17.  Acknowledges the efforts of the Vietnamese Government in strengthening EU-ASEAN relations and its support for EU membership of the East Asia Summit;

18.  Commends Vietnam’s achievement of a significant number of Millennium Development Goals, and calls on the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign affairs and Security Policy to provide continued support to the Vietnamese authorities and to non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations in the country in the framework of the post-2015 Development Agenda;

19.  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 governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and National Assembly of Vietnam, the governments and parliaments of the ASEAN member states, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


Promoting free movement by simplifying the acceptance of certain public documents ***II
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 9 June 2016 on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on promoting the free movement of citizens by simplifying the requirements for presenting certain public documents in the European Union and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 (14956/2/2015 – C8-0129/2016 – 2013/0119(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0277A8-0156/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council position at first reading (14956/2/2015 – C8-0129/2016),

–  having regard to the reasoned opinion submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the Romanian Senate, asserting that the draft legislative act does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 11 July 2013(1),

–  having regard to its position at first reading(2) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2013)0228),

–  having regard to Article 294(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs on the proposed legal basis,

–  having regard to Rules 76 and 39 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0156/2016),

1.  Approves the Council position at first reading;

2.  Notes that the act is adopted in accordance with the Council position;

3.  Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council, in accordance with Article 297(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

4.  Instructs its Secretary-General to sign the act, once it has been verified that all the procedures have been duly completed, and, in agreement with the Secretary-General of the Council, to arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

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

(1) OJ C 327, 12.11.2013, p. 52.
(2) Texts adopted of 4.2.2014, P7_TA(2014)0054.


Transfer to the General Court of jurisdiction at first instance in EU civil service cases ***I
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Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 9 June 2016 on the draft regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the transfer to the General Court of the European Union of jurisdiction at first instance in disputes between the Union and its servants (N8-0110/2015 – C8-0367/2015 – 2015/0906(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0278A8-0167/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the request from the Court of Justice submitted to Parliament and the Council (N8-0110/2015),

–  having regard to the second subparagraph of Article 19(2) of the Treaty on European Union, Article 256(1), the first and second paragraphs of Article 257 and the second paragraph of Article 281 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and Article 106a(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, pursuant to which the draft act was submitted to Parliament (C8‑0367/2015),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs on the proposed legal basis,

–  having regard to Article 294(3) and (15) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 256(1), the first and second paragraphs of Article 257 and the second paragraph of Article 281 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and Article 106a(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community ,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2015/2422 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2015 amending Protocol No 3 on the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union(1), and in particular recital 9 thereof,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Commission (COM(2016)0081)(2),

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 18 May 2016 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Rule 59 and 39 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (A8-0167/2016),

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

2.  Recalls the importance of gender balance among the judges at the Court of Justice of the European Union;

3.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Court of Justice, the Commission and the national parliaments.

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 9 June 2016 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2016/... of the European Parliament and of the Council on the transfer to the General Court of jurisdiction at first instance in disputes between the European Union and its servants

P8_TC1-COD(2015)0906


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2016/1192.)

(1) OJ L 341, 24.12.2015, p. 14.
(2) Not yet published in the Official Journal.


A regulation for an open, efficient and independent European Union administration
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament resolution of 9 June 2016 for an open, efficient and independent European Union administration (2016/2610(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0279B8-0685/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 225 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 298 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which provides that the right to good administration is a fundamental right,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on an open, efficient and independent European Union administration (O-000079/2016 – B8-0705/2016),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2013 with recommendations to the Commission on a Law of Administrative Procedure of the European Union(1),

–  having regard to Rules 128(5), 123(2) and 46(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

1.  Recalls that, in its resolution of 15 January 2013, Parliament called pursuant to Article 225 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) for the adoption of a regulation on an open, efficient and independent European Union administration under Article 298 TFEU, but despite the fact that the resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority (572 in favour, 16 against, 12 abstentions), Parliament’s request was not followed up by a Commission proposal;

2.  Invites the Commission to consider the annexed proposal for a regulation;

3.  Calls on the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal to be included in its work programme for the year 2017;

4.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission.

Proposal for a
REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
for an open, efficient and independent European Union administration

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 298 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure,

Whereas:

(1)  With the development of the competences of the European Union, citizens are increasingly confronted with the Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, without always having their procedural rights adequately protected.

(2)  In a Union under the rule of law it is necessary to ensure that procedural rights and obligations are always adequately defined, developed and complied with. Citizens are entitled to expect a high level of transparency, efficiency, swift execution and responsiveness from the Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. Citizens are also entitled to receive adequate information regarding possibility to take any further action in the matter.

(3)  The existing rules and principles on good administration are scattered across a wide variety of sources: primary law, secondary law, case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, soft law and unilateral commitments by the Union’s institutions.

(4)  Over the years, the Union has developed an extensive number of sectoral administrative procedures, in the form of both binding provisions and soft law, without necessarily taking into account the overall coherence of the system. This complex variety of procedures has resulted in gaps and inconsistencies in these procedures.

(5)  The fact that the Union lacks a coherent and comprehensive set of codified rules of administrative law makes it difficult for citizens to understand their administrative rights under Union law.

(6)  In April 2000, the European Ombudsman proposed to the institutions a Code of Good Administrative Behaviour in the belief that the same code should apply to all Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies.

(7)  In its resolution of 6 September 2001, Parliament approved the European Ombudsman’s draft code with modifications and called on the Commission to submit a proposal for a regulation containing a Code of Good Administrative Behaviour based on Article 308 of the Treaty establishing the European Community.

(8)  The existing internal codes of conduct subsequently adopted by the different institutions, mostly based on that Ombudsman’s Code, have a limited effect, differ from one another and are not legally binding.

(9)  The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon has provided the Union with the legal basis for the adoption of an Administrative Procedure Regulation. Article 298 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides for the adoption of regulations to assure that in carrying out their mission, the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union have the support of an open, efficient and independent European administration. The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon also gave the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (“the Charter”) the same legal value as the Treaties.

(10)  Title V (“Citizens’ Rights”) of the Charter enshrines the right to good administration in Article 41, which provides that every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union. Article 41 of the Charter further indicates, in a non-exhaustive way, some of the elements included in the definition of the right to good administration such as the right to be heard, the right of every person to have access to their file, the right to be given reasons for a decision of the administration and the possibility of claiming damages caused by the institutions and its servants in the performance of their duties, and language rights.

(11)  An efficient Union administration is essential for the public interest. An excess as well as a lack of rules and procedures can lead to maladministration, which may also result from the existence of contradictory, inconsistent or unclear rules and procedures.

(12)  Properly structured and consistent administrative procedures support both an efficient administration and a proper enforcement of the right to good administration guaranteed as a general principle of Union law and under Article 41 of the Charter.

(13)  In its Resolution of 15 January 2013 the European Parliament called for the adoption of a regulation on a European Law of Administrative Procedure to guarantee the right to good administration by means of an open, efficient and independent European administration. Establishing a common set of rules of administrative procedure at the level of the Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies should enhance legal certainty, fill gaps in the Union legal system and should thereby contribute to compliance with the rule of law.

(14)  The purpose of this Regulation is to establish a set of procedural rules which the Union’s administration should comply with when carrying out its administrative activities. These procedural rules aim at assuring both an open, efficient and independent administration and a proper enforcement of the right to good administration.

(15)  In line with Article 298 TFEU this Regulation should not apply to the Member States’ administrations. Furthermore, this Regulation should not apply to legislative procedures, judicial proceedings and procedures leading to the adoption of non-legislative acts directly based on the Treaties, delegated acts or implementing acts.

(16)  This Regulation should apply to the Union’s administration without prejudice to other Union’s legal acts which provide for specific procedural administrative rules. However, sector-specific administrative procedures are not fully coherent and complete. With a view to ensuring overall coherence in the administrative activities of the Union’s administration and full respect of the right to a good administration, legal acts providing for specific administrative procedural rules should, therefore, be interpreted in compliance with this Regulation and their gaps should be filled by the relevant provisions of this Regulation. This Regulation establishes rights and obligations as a default rule for all administrative procedures under Union law and therefore reduces the fragmentation of applicable procedural rules, which result from sector-specific legislation.

(17)  The procedural administrative rules laid down in this Regulation aim at implementing the principles on good administration established in a large variety of legal sources in light of the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. Those principles are set out here below and their formulation should inspire the interpretation of the provisions of this Regulation.

(18)  The principle of the rule of law, as recalled in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), is the heart and soul of the Union’s values. In accordance with that principle, any action of the Union has to be based on the Treaties in compliance with the principle of conferral. Furthermore, the principle of legality, as a corollary to the rule of law, requires that activities of the Union’s administration are carried out in full accordance with the law.

(19)  Any legal act of Union law has to comply with the principle of proportionality. This requires any measure of the Union’s administration to be appropriate and necessary for meeting the objectives legitimately pursued by the measure in question: where there is a choice among several potentially appropriate measures, the least burdensome option has to be taken and any charges imposed by the administration not be disproportionate to the aims pursued.

(20)  The right to good administration requires that administrative acts be taken by the Union’s administration pursuant to administrative procedures which guarantee impartiality, fairness and timeliness.

(21)  The right to good administration requires that any decision to initiate an administrative procedure be notified to the parties and provide the necessary information enabling them to exercise their rights during the administrative procedure. In duly justified and exceptional cases where the public interest so requires, the Union’s administration may delay or omit the notification.

(22)  When the administrative procedure is initiated upon application by a party, the right to good administration imposes a duty on the Union’s administration to acknowledge receipt of the application in writing. The acknowledgment of receipt should indicate the necessary information enabling the party to exercise his or her rights of defence during the administrative procedure. However, the Union’s administration should be entitled to reject pointless or abusive applications as they might jeopardize administrative efficiency.

(23)  For the purposes of legal certainty an administrative procedure should be initiated within a reasonable time after the event has occurred. Therefore, this Regulation should include provisions on a period of limitation.

(24)  The right to good administration requires that the Union’s administration exercise a duty of care, which obliges the administration to establish and review in a careful and impartial manner all the relevant factual and legal elements of a case taking into account all pertinent interests, at every stage of the procedure. To that end, the Union’s administration should be empowered to hear the evidence of parties, witnesses and experts, request documents and records and carry out visits or inspections. When choosing experts, the Union’s administration should ensure that they are technically competent and not affected by a conflict of interest.

(25)  During the investigation carried out by the Union’s administration the parties should have a duty to cooperate by assisting the administration in ascertaining the facts and circumstances of the case. When requesting the parties to cooperate, the Union’s administration should give them a reasonable time-limit to reply and should remind them of the right against self-incrimination where the administrative procedure may lead to a penalty.

(26)  The right to be treated impartially by the Union’s administration is a corollary of the fundamental right to good administration and implies staff members’ duty to abstain from taking part in an administrative procedure where they have, directly or indirectly, a personal interest, including, in particular, any family or financial interest, such as to impair their impartiality.

(27)  The right to good administration might require that, under certain circumstances inspections be carried out by the administration, where this is necessary to fulfil a duty or achieve an objective under Union law. Those inspections should respect certain conditions and procedures in order to safeguard the rights of the parties.

(28)  The right to be heard should be complied with in all proceedings initiated against a person which are liable to conclude in a measure adversely affecting that person. It should not be excluded or restricted by any legislative measure. The right to be heard requires that the person concerned receive an exact and complete statement of the claims or objections raised and is given the opportunity to submit comments on the truth and relevance of the facts and on the documents used.

(29)  The right to good administration includes the right of a party to the administrative procedure to have access to its own file, which is also an essential requirement in order to enjoy the right to be heard. When the protection of the legitimate interests of confidentiality and of professional and business secrecy does not allow full access to a file, the party should at least be provided with an adequate summary of the content of the file. With a view to facilitating access to one’s files and thus ensuring transparent information management, the Union’s administration should keep records of its incoming and outgoing mail, of the documents it receives and measures it takes, and establish an index of the recorded files.

(30)  The Union’s administration should adopt administrative acts within a reasonable time-limit. Slow administration is bad administration. Any delay in adopting an administrative act should be justified and the party to the administrative procedure should be duly informed thereof and provided with an estimate of the expected date of the adoption of the administrative act.

(31)  The right to good administration imposes a duty on the Union’s administration to state clearly the reasons on which its administrative acts are based. The statement of reasons should indicate the legal basis of the act, the general situation which led to its adoption and the general objectives which it intends to achieve. It should disclose clearly and unequivocally the reasoning of the competent authority which adopted the act in such a way as to enable the parties concerned to decide if they wish to defend their rights by an application for judicial review.

(32)  In accordance with the right to an effective remedy, neither the Union nor Member States can render virtually impossible or excessively difficult the exercise of rights conferred by Union law. Instead, they are obliged to guarantee real and effective judicial protection and are barred from applying any rule or procedure which might prevent, even temporarily, Union law from having full force and effect.

(33)  In order to facilitate the exercise of the right to an effective remedy, the Union’s administration should indicate in its administrative acts the remedies that are available to the parties whose rights and interests are affected by those acts. In addition to the possibility of bringing judicial proceedings or lodging a complaint with the European Ombudsman, the party should be granted the right to request an administrative review and should be provided with information about the procedure and the time-limit for submitting such a request.

(34)  The request for administrative review does not prejudice the party’s right to a judicial remedy. For the purpose of the time-limit for an application for judicial review, an administrative act is to be considered final if the party does not submit a request for administrative review within the relevant time-limit or, if the party submits a request for administrative review, the final administrative act is the act which concludes that administrative review.

(35)  In accordance with the principles of transparency and legal certainty, parties to an administrative procedure should be able to clearly understand their rights and duties that derive from an administrative act addressed to them. For these purposes, the Union’s administration should ensure that its administrative acts are drafted in a clear, simple and understandable language and take effect upon notification to the parties. When carrying out that obligation it is necessary for the Union’s administration to make proper use of information and communication technologies and to adapt to their development.

(36)  For the purposes of transparency and administrative efficiency, the Union’s administration should ensure that clerical, arithmetic or similar errors in its administrative acts are corrected by the competent authority.

(37)  The principle of legality, as a corollary to the rule of law, imposes a duty on the Union’s administration to rectify or withdraw unlawful administrative acts. However, considering that any rectification or withdrawal of an administrative act may conflict with the protection of legitimate expectations and the principle of legal certainty, the Union’s administration should carefully and impartially assess the effects of the rectification or withdrawal on other parties and include the conclusions of such an assessment in the reasons of the rectifying or withdrawing act.

(38)  Citizens of the Union have the right to write to the Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies in one of the languages of the Treaties and to have an answer in the same language. The Union’s administration should respect the language rights of the parties by ensuring that the administrative procedure is carried out in one of the languages of the Treaties chosen by the party. In the case of an administrative procedure initiated by the Union’s administration, the first notification should be drafted in one of the languages of the Treaty corresponding to the Member State in which the party is located.

(39)  The principle of transparency and the right of access to documents have a particular importance under an administrative procedure without prejudice of the legislative acts adopted under Article 15(3) TFEU. Any limitation of those principles should be narrowly construed to comply with the criteria set out in Article 52(1) of the Charter and therefore should be provided for by law and should respect the essence of the rights and freedoms and be subject to the principle of proportionality.

(40)  The right to protection of personal data implies that without prejudice of the legislative acts adopted under Article 16 TFEU, data used by the Union’s administration should be accurate, up-to-date and lawfully recorded.

(41)  The principle of protection of legitimate expectations derives from the rule of law and implies that actions of public bodies should not interfere with vested rights and final legal situations except where it is imperatively necessary in the public interest. Legitimate expectations should be duly taken into account where an administrative act is rectified or withdrawn.

(42)  The principle of legal certainty requires Union rules to be clear and precise. That principle aims at ensuring that situations and legal relationships governed by Union law remain foreseeable in that individuals should be able to ascertain unequivocally what their rights and obligations are and be able to take steps accordingly. In accordance with the principle of legal certainty, retroactive measures should not be taken except in legally justified circumstances.

(43)  With a view to ensuring overall coherence in the activities of the Union’s administration, administrative acts of general scope should comply with the principles of good administration referred to in this Regulation.

(44)  In the interpretation of this Regulation, regard should be had especially to equal treatment and non-discrimination, which apply to administrative activities as a prominent corollary to the rule of law and the principles of an efficient and independent European administration,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

Subject matter and objective

1.  This Regulation lays down the procedural rules which shall govern the administrative activities of the Union’s administration.

2.  The objective of this Regulation is to guarantee the right to good administration enshrined in Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union by means of an open, efficient and independent administration.

Article 2

Scope

1.  This Regulation applies to the administrative activities of the Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies.

2.  This Regulation shall not apply to the activities of the Union’s administration in the course of:

(a)  legislative procedures;

(b)  judicial proceedings;

(c)  procedures leading to the adoption of non-legislative acts directly based on the Treaties, delegated acts or implementing acts.

3.  This Regulation shall not apply to the administration of the Member States.

Article 3

Relationship between this Regulation and other legal acts of the Union

This Regulation shall apply without prejudice to other legal acts of the Union providing for specific administrative procedural rules. This Regulation shall supplement such legal acts of the Union, which shall be interpreted in coherence with its relevant provisions.

Article 4

Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation, the following definitions apply:

(a)  ‘Union’s administration’ means the administration of the Union’s institutions, bodies, offices and agencies;

(b)  ‘administrative activities’ means those carried out by the Union’s administration for the implementation of Union law, with the exception of the procedures referred to Article 2(2);

(c)  ‘administrative procedure’ means the process by which the Union’s administration prepares, adopts, implements and enforces administrative acts;

(d)  ‘member of staff’ means an official within the meaning of Article 1a of the Staff Regulations and a servant as defined in indents 1 to 3 of Article 1 of the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Union.

(e)  ‘competent authority’ means the Union institution, body, office or agency or the entity therein or the holder of a position within the Union’s administration which according to the applicable law is responsible for the administrative procedure;

(f)  ‘party’ means any natural or legal person whose legal position may be affected by the outcome of an administrative procedure.

CHAPTER II

INITIATION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE

Article 5

Initiation of the administrative procedure

Administrative procedures may be initiated by the Union’s administration on its own initiative or by an application of a party.

Article 6

Initiation by the Union’s administration

1.  Administrative procedures may be initiated by the Union’s administration on its own initiative, pursuant to a decision of the competent authority. The competent authority shall examine the particular circumstances of the case before taking the decision whether to initiate the procedure.

2.  The decision to initiate an administrative procedure shall be notified to the parties. The decision shall not be made public before the notification has taken place.

3.  The notification may be delayed or omitted only when it is strictly necessary in the public interest. The decision to delay or to omit the notification shall be duly reasoned.

4.  The decision to initiate an administrative procedure shall indicate:

(a)  a reference number and the date;

(b)  the subject matter and purpose of the procedure;

(c)  the description of the main procedural steps;

(d)  the name and contact details of the responsible member of staff;

(e)  the competent authority;

(f)  the time-limit for the adoption of the administrative act and the consequences of any failure to adopt the administrative act within the time-limit;

(g)  the remedies available;

(h)  the address of the website referred to in Article 28, if such a website exists.

5.  The decision to initiate an administrative procedure shall be drafted in the languages of the Treaties corresponding to the Member States in which the parties are located.

6.  An administrative procedure shall be initiated within a reasonable time after the date of the event that would be the basis of the procedure. It shall in no case be initiated later than 10 years after the date of that event.

Article 7

Initiation by application

1.  Administrative procedures may be initiated by a party.

2.  Applications shall not be subject to unnecessary formal requirements. They shall clearly indicate the name of the party, an address for notification, the object of the application, the relevant facts and reasons for the application, a date and place and the competent authority to which they are addressed. They shall be submitted in writing, either on paper or by electronic means. They shall be drafted in one of the languages of the Treaties.

3.  Applications shall be acknowledged in writing. The acknowledgement of receipt shall be drafted in the language of the application and shall indicate:

(a)  a reference number and the date;

(b)  the date of receipt of the application;

(c)  a description of the main procedural steps;

(d)  the name and contact details of the responsible member of staff;

(e)  the time-limit for the adoption of the administrative act and the consequences of any failure to adopt the administrative act within the time-limit;

(f)  the address of the website referred to in Article 28, if such a website exists.

4.  Where an application does not comply with the one or more of requirements set out in paragraph (2), the acknowledgment of receipt shall indicate a reasonable deadline for remedying the error or producing any missing document. Pointless or manifestly unfounded applications may be rejected as inadmissible by means of a briefly reasoned acknowledgement of receipt. No acknowledgement of receipt shall be sent in cases where successive applications are abusively submitted by the same applicant.

5.  If the application is addressed to an authority which is not competent to deal with it, that authority shall transmit it to the competent authority and shall indicate in the acknowledgment of receipt the competent authority to which the request has been transmitted or that the matter does not fall within the competence of the Union’s administration.

6.  When the competent authority proceeds with an administrative procedure, Article 6(2) to (4) shall apply where appropriate.

CHAPTER III

MANAGEMENT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE

Article 8

Procedural rights

The parties shall have the following rights related to the management of the procedure:

(a)  to be given all relevant information related to the procedure in a clear and understandable manner;

(b)  to communicate and to complete, where possible and appropriate, all procedural formalities at a distance and by electronic means;

(c)  to use any of the languages of the Treaties and to be addressed in the language of the Treaties of their choice;

(d)  to be notified of all procedural steps and decisions that may affect them;

(e)  to be represented by a lawyer or some other person of their choice;

(f)  to pay only charges that are reasonable and proportionate to the cost of the procedure in question.

Article 9

Duty of careful and impartial investigation

1.  The competent authority shall investigate the case carefully and impartially. It shall take into consideration all relevant factors and gather all necessary information to adopt a decision.

2.  With the purpose of gathering the necessary information, the competent authority may, where relevant:

(a)  hear the evidence of parties, witnesses and experts,

(b)  request documents and records,

(c)  carry out visits and inspections.

3.  Parties may produce evidence that they deem appropriate.

Article 10

Duty to cooperate

1.  The parties shall assist the competent authority in ascertaining the facts and circumstances of the case.

2.  The parties shall be given a reasonable time-limit to reply to any request of cooperation, taking into account the length and complexity of the request and the requirements of the investigation.

3.  Where the administrative procedure may lead to a penalty, the parties shall be reminded of the right against self-incrimination.

Article 11

Witnesses and experts

Witnesses and experts may be heard at the initiative of the competent authority or proposed by the parties. The competent authority shall ensure that it chooses experts that are technically competent and not affected by a conflict of interest.

Article 12

Inspections

1.  Inspections may be carried out where a legislative act of the Union establishes a power to inspect and where this is necessary to fulfil a duty or achieve an objective under Union law.

2.  The inspections shall be carried out in accordance with the specifications laid down and within the limits set by the act that mandates or authorises the inspection as regards the measures that can be taken and the premises which can be searched. Inspectors shall exercise their power only on production of a written authorisation showing their identity and position.

3.  The authority responsible for the inspection shall give notice to the party subject to the inspection of the date and starting time of that inspection. That party shall have the right to be present during the inspection and to express opinions and ask questions related to the inspection. Where it is strictly necessary in the public interest, the authority responsible for the inspection may delay or omit such notification on duly reasoned grounds.

4.  During the inspection, parties present shall be informed, insofar as possible, of the subject matter and purpose of the inspection, the procedure and rules governing the inspection and the follow-up measures and possible consequences of the inspection. The inspection shall be carried out without causing undue inconvenience to the object of the inspection or the person possessing it.

5.  Inspectors shall draw up without delay a report of the inspection, summarising the contribution of the inspection to achieving the purpose of the investigation and noting the essential observations made. The authority responsible for the inspection shall send a copy of that inspection report to the parties entitled to be present during the inspection.

6.  The authority responsible for the inspection shall prepare and conduct the inspection in close cooperation with the competent authorities of the Member State in which the inspection takes place, unless the Member State itself is the subject of the inspection, or this would endanger the purpose of the inspection.

7.  In carrying out an inspection and when drawing up the inspection report, the authority responsible for the inspection shall take account of any procedural requirements laid down in the national law of the Member State concerned which specify the admissible evidence in administrative or judicial proceedings of the Member State in which the inspection report is intended to be used.

Article 13

Conflict of interests

1.  A member of staff shall not take part in an administrative procedure, in which he or she has, directly or indirectly, a personal interest, including, in particular, any family or financial interest, such as to impair his or her impartiality.

2.  Any conflict of interests shall be communicated by the member of staff concerned to the competent authority, which shall take the decision whether to exclude such person from the administrative procedure, having regard to the particular circumstances of the case.

3.  Any party may request that a member of staff be excluded from taking part in an administrative procedure on the ground of conflict of interests. A reasoned request to that effect shall be submitted in writing to the competent authority, which shall take a decision after hearing the member of staff concerned.

Article 14

Right to be heard

1.  The parties shall have the right to be heard before any individual measure which would adversely affect them is taken.

2.  The parties shall receive sufficient information and they shall be given adequate time to prepare their case.

3.  The parties shall be given the opportunity to express their views in writing or orally, if necessary, and if they so choose, with the assistance of a person of their choice.

Article 15

Right of access to the file

1.  The parties concerned shall be granted full access to the file, while respecting the legitimate interests of confidentiality and of professional and business secrecy. Any limitation to this right shall be duly reasoned.

2.  Where no full access to the entire file can be granted, the parties shall be given an adequate summary of the content of those documents.

Article 16

Duty to keep records

1.  For each file, the Union’s administration shall keep records of its incoming and outgoing mail, of the documents it receives and of the measures it takes. It shall establish an index of the files it keeps.

2.  Records shall be kept with full respect to the right to data protection.

Article 17

Time-limits

1.  Administrative acts shall be adopted and administrative procedures shall be concluded within a reasonable time-limit and without undue delay. The time-limit for the adoption of an administrative act shall not exceed three months from the date of:

(a)  the notification of the decision to initiate the administrative procedure if it was initiated by the Union’s administration, or

(b)  the acknowledgment of receipt of the application if the administrative procedure was initiated by application.

2.  If no administrative act can be adopted within the relevant time-limit, the parties concerned shall be informed thereof and of the reasons justifying the delay and they shall be provided with an estimate of the expected date of adoption of the administrative act. Upon request, the competent authority shall respond to questions concerning the progress of the consideration of the matter.

3.  If the Union’s administration does not acknowledge receipt of the application within three months, the application shall be deemed to be rejected.

4.  Time-limits shall be calculated in accordance with Regulation (EEC, Euratom) No 1182/71 of the Council(2).

CHAPTER IV

CONCLUSION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE

Article 18

Form of administrative acts

Administrative acts shall be in writing and shall be signed by the competent authority. They shall be drafted in a clear, simple and understandable manner.

Article 19

Duty to state reasons

1.  Administrative acts shall clearly state the reasons on which they are based.

2.  Administrative acts shall indicate their legal basis, the relevant facts and the way in which the different relevant interests have been taken into account.

3.  Administrative acts shall contain an individual statement of reasons relevant to the parties’ situation. If that is not possible due to the fact that a large number of persons are concerned, a general statement of reasons shall be sufficient. In that case, however, any party who expressly requests an individual statement of reasons shall be provided with it.

Article 20

Remedies

1.  Administrative acts shall clearly state that an administrative review is possible.

2.  Parties shall have the right to request an administrative review against administrative acts adversely affecting their rights and interests. Requests for administrative reviews shall be submitted to the hierarchical superior authority and, where that is not possible, to the same authority which adopted the administrative act.

3.  Administrative acts shall describe the procedure to be followed for the submission of a request for administrative review, as well as the name and office address of the competent authority or the responsible member of staff with whom the request for review has to be submitted. The act shall also indicate the time-limit for submitting such request. If no request is submitted within the time-limit, the administrative act shall be deemed final.

4.  Administrative acts shall clearly refer, where Union law so provides, to the possibility of bringing judicial proceedings or lodging a complaint with the European Ombudsman.

Article 21

Notification of administrative acts

Administrative acts which affect the rights and interests of the parties shall be notified in writing to them as soon as they are adopted. Administrative acts shall take effect for a party upon notification to that party.

CHAPTER V

RECTIFICATION AND WITHDRAWAL OF ACTS

Article 22

Correction of errors in administrative acts

1.  Clerical, arithmetic or similar errors shall be corrected by the competent authority on its own initiative or following a request by the party concerned.

2.  The parties shall be informed before any correction is implemented and the correction shall take effect upon notification. If this is not possible due to the large number of parties concerned, the necessary measures shall be taken to ensure that all parties are informed without undue delay.

Article 23

Rectification or withdrawal of administrative acts which adversely affect a party

1.  The competent authority shall rectify or withdraw, on its own initiative or following a request by the party concerned, an unlawful administrative act which adversely affects a party. Rectification or withdrawal shall have retroactive effect.

2.  The competent authority shall rectify or withdraw, on its own initiative or following a request by the party concerned, a lawful administrative act which adversely affects a party if the reasons that led to the adoption of that specific act no longer exist. Rectification or withdrawal shall not have retroactive effect.

3.  Rectification or withdrawal shall take effect upon notification to the party.

4.  Where an administrative act adversely affects a party and at the same time is beneficial to other parties, an assessment of the possible impact upon all the parties shall be drawn up and the conclusions included in the reasons of the rectifying or withdrawing act.

Article 24

Rectification or withdrawal of administrative acts which are beneficial to a party

1.  The competent authority shall, on its own initiative or following a request by another party, rectify or withdraw an unlawful administrative act which is beneficial to a party.

2.  Due account shall be taken of the consequences of the rectification or withdrawal on parties who legitimately could expect the act to be lawful. If such parties would incur losses due to reliance on the lawfulness of the decision, the competent authority shall evaluate if those parties are entitled to compensation.

3.  Rectification or withdrawal shall have retroactive effect only if done within a reasonable time. If a party could legitimately expect the act to be lawful and has argued that it should be upheld, the rectification or withdrawal shall not have retroactive effect with regard to that party.

4.  The competent authority may rectify or withdraw a lawful administrative act which is beneficial to a party on its own initiative or following a request by another party if the reasons that lead to the specific act no longer exist. Due account shall be taken of legitimate expectations of other parties.

5.  Rectification or withdrawal shall take effect upon notification to the party.

Article 25

Management of corrections of errors, rectification and withdrawal

The relevant provisions in Chapters III, IV and VI of this Regulation shall also apply to the correction of errors, rectification and withdrawal of administrative acts.

CHAPTER VI

ADMINISTRATIVE ACTS OF GENERAL SCOPE

Article 26

Respect for procedural rights

Administrative acts of general scope adopted by the Union’s administration shall comply with the procedural rights provided for in this Regulation.

Article 27

Legal basis, statement of reasons and publication

1.  Administrative acts of general scope adopted by the Union’s administration shall indicate their legal basis and shall clearly state the reasons on which they are based.

2.  They shall enter into force as from the date of publication by means directly accessible to those concerned.

CHAPTER VII

INFORMATION AND FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 28

Online information on rules on administrative procedures

1.  The Union’s administration shall promote the provision of updated online information on the existing administrative procedures in an ad-hoc website, wherever possible and reasonable. Priority shall be given to application procedures.

2.  The online information shall include:

(a)  a link to the applicable legislation,

(b)  a brief explanation of the main legal requirements and their administrative interpretation,

(c)  a description of the main procedural steps,

(d)  the indication of the authority competent to adopt the final act,

(e)  the indication of the time-limit for the adoption of the act,

(f)  the indication of remedies available,

(g)  a link to standard forms that may be used by parties in their communications with the Union’s administration within the procedure.

3.  The online information set out in paragraph (2) shall be presented in a clear and simple way. Access to that information shall be free of charge.

Article 29

Evaluation

The Commission shall submit a report on the evaluation of the functioning of this Regulation to the European Parliament and the Council before [xx years after the entry into force].

Article 30

Entry into force

This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety.

Done at,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 17.
(2) Regulation (EEC, Euratom) No 1182/71 of the Council of 3 June 1971 determining the rules applicable to periods, dates and time limits (OJ L 124, 8.6.1971, p. 1).


Competitiveness of the European rail supply industry
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European Parliament resolution of 9 June 2016 on the competitiveness of the European rail supply industry (2015/2887(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0280B8-0677/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission ‘Europe 2020: a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission ‘A stronger European industry for growth and economic recovery’ (COM(2012)0582),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission ‘For a European industrial renaissance’ (COM(2014)0014),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission ‘Trade for All – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ (COM(2015)0497),

–  having regard to the Commission White Paper ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system’ (COM(2011)0144),

–  having regard to the Study from the Commission ‘Sector Overview and Competitiveness Survey of the Railway Supply Industry’ (ENTR 06/054),

–  having regard to the European Parliament study ‘Freight on Road: Why EU shippers prefer truck to train’,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on the competitiveness of the European rail supply industry (O-000067/2016 – B8‑0704/2016),

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

The specific nature and strategic relevance of the European rail supply industry for a European industrial renaissance

1.  Stresses that the European rail supply industry (RSI), which encompasses the manufacture of locomotives and rolling stock, and track, electrification, signalling and telecommunication equipment, as well as maintenance and parts services, and which includes numerous SMEs, as well as major industrial leaders, employs 400 000 employees, invests 2,7 % of its annual turnover in R&D and accounts for 46 % of the world RSI market; stresses that the railway sector overall, including operators and infrastructure, is responsible for more than 1 million direct and 1,2 million indirect jobs in the EU; points out that these figures are a clear indication of the importance of RSI for European industrial growth, jobs and innovation, and of its contribution to the achievement of the 20 % reindustrialisation target;

2.  Emphasises the specific nature of this sector, which is characterised in particular by the manufacture of equipment with a lifespan of up to 50 years, high capital intensity, a significant dependence on public procurement and the obligation to comply with very high safety standards;

3.  Recalls the essential contribution of rail in mitigating climate change and in coping with other mega-trends such as urbanisation and demographic change; urges the Commission, therefore, to support the targets for a modal shift to rail, for both passenger and freight, as formulated in the 2011 White Paper on transport with concrete policy steps and targeted investment; points out that, in line with the results of COP 21 and the EU’s 2030 climate and energy targets, a shift towards rail and other types of sustainable, energy-efficient, electrified transport is necessary in order to achieve the targeted decarbonisation of transport; asks the Commission against this background to take advantage of the upcoming Communication on Transport Decarbonisation to propose new measures to support the development of energy-efficient technologies for the RSI;

4.  Observes that, as a world market leader in technology and innovation, the rail supply industry has a key role to play in attaining the Commission’s 20 % industrialisation target;

5.  Notes that the European rail supply industry can rely on a number of favourable factors – not only the good environmental performance of this mode of transport, but also a large market and the ability to facilitate mass transport; notes, however, that today the sector is facing triple competition: intermodal, international, and sometimes even intra-company;

Maintaining global leadership of the European rail supply industry

6.  Points out that the annual growth rate of the accessible RSI international markets is expected to be 2,8 % until 2019; stresses that while the EU is largely open to competitors from third countries, third countries have several barriers in place that discriminate against the European RSI; stresses that third-country competitors, especially from China, are expanding rapidly and aggressively into Europe and other world regions, often with strong political and financial support from their country of origin (e.g. generous export credits outside the scope of OECD rules); stresses that such practices may constitute unfair competition which threatens jobs in Europe; highlights, therefore, the need for a fair and level playing field in global competition and for reciprocal market access in order to avert the risk of job losses and to safeguard industrial know-how in Europe;

7.  Stresses that even within the European rail market, many EU companies, especially SMEs, find it difficult and costly to operate across borders because of the fragmentation of the market, both administratively and technically; believes that achieving the objective of establishing a single European railway area will be crucial to maintaining the European RSI’s global dominance;

A renewed European rail industry innovation agenda

8.  Recognises the rail supply industry as a key industry for Europe’s competitiveness and capacity for innovation; urges that measures be taken to ensure that Europe maintains a technological and innovative advantage in this sector;

9.  Welcomes the decision to establish the ‘Shift2Rail’ (S2R) Joint Undertaking and the recent launch of the first calls for proposals; asks for swift and timely implementation of all S2R R&D activities as soon as possible; criticises the fact that SME participation in S2R is low, which is partly due to the high cost and complexity of the instrument; urges the governing board to analyse the involvement of SMEs in the second call for Associated Members and to improve on it and consider specific calls for SMEs; asks the Commission to ensure that the provisions of the regulation regarding balanced SME and regional representation are complied with;

10.  Stresses that capacity for innovation, investment in research and development, defragmentation of the market and clustering are essential bases for preserving the international competitiveness of Europe’s rail supply industry;

11.  Asks the Commission to fully mobilise the various EU funding instruments, to explore and exploit additional sources of financing for S2R and to seek for synergies between different EU funds and with private investments; in this context calls on the Commission to exploit additional EU funding instruments for rail technology outside of S2R (e.g. dedicated rail research calls in Horizon 2020 outside of S2R, InnovFin, CEF, Structural Funds, EFSI), including via an S2R pilot scheme that matches EU funding with structural and other EU innovation funds;

12.  Asks the Commission to work with the sector to ensure the best use of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) – and in particular the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) – for supporting rail R&D projects at regional level; encourages it also to focus on the future of RSI beyond 2020;

13.  Stresses that clusters are an important tool for bringing together relevant stakeholders at local and regional level, including public authorities, universities, research institutes, the RSI, the social partners and other mobility industries; calls on the Commission to come up with a Cluster Strategy for Growth by December 2016; asks the Commission and the Member States to increase their support for innovation projects developed by rail clusters and other initiatives that bring together RSI SMEs, larger companies and research institutes at local, regional, national and European level; observes that there will need to be scope for public financing of clustering; notes in this connection the possibilities afforded by new financing instruments (EFSI etc.);

14.  Believes that the Commission should consider the setting up of a forum at European level that would bring together established companies, start-ups and spin-offs which have innovative ideas for the rail sector, especially in the field of digitalisation, with a view to exchanging best practice and facilitating partnerships; believes that the Commission should consider ways to incentivise collaboration between large companies and SMEs in RSI-relevant research projects;

15.  Believes that one focus of research activities should be digitalisation to increase the performance of rail and to lower its operational costs (e.g. automation, sensors and monitoring tools, interoperability, for example through ERTMS/ETCS, use of space technologies, including in cooperation with the ESA, use of big data and cybersecurity); believes that a second focus should be on increasing resource- and energy-efficiency, for instance through more lightweight materials and alternative fuels; believes that a third focus should be on advancements which make rail transport more attractive and accepted (e.g. improved reliability and noise reduction, seamless multimodal transport, integrated ticketing); stresses that innovation efforts must not neglect the infrastructure, which is a vital element of rail competitiveness;

16.  Calls for swift implementation of an integrated e-ticketing system coordinated with other transport modes and other potential services provided by single-ticket operators;

17.  Draws attention to the pressing need to produce modern rail, tram and other track within the single market, together with all the necessary ancillary equipment;

18.  Asks the Commission to ensure the protection of the intellectual property rights of European rail suppliers internationally – in accordance with the recommendations of the European Parliament’s resolution of 9 June 2015 on a strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries(1);

Getting the right skills for a future-proof rail supply industry

19.  Calls for a European training and education strategy that brings together RSI companies, research institutes and social partners to jointly investigate which skills are needed for a sustainable and innovative RSI; believes that a feasibility study towards a potential European Sectoral Skills Council on Rail should be launched in this context; calls on the Member States or regional bodies concerned to create a framework for providing ongoing training, in the form of an individual right to training which ensures that their skills pool is aligned with growing demand in the sector and is adaptable to a new market or, in the event of redundancies, transferable to another industrial sector;

20.  Points out that, owing to an ageing workforce, the RSI lacks skilled labour; welcomes, therefore, every effort to promote lifelong learning and technical skills; calls for a campaign to increase the visibility and attractiveness of the RSI with young engineers (e.g. through ESF funding); highlights the fact that the sector has a particularly low rate of female employment, and stresses, therefore, that such a campaign should pay special attention to redressing this imbalance; calls on the Commission to encourage social dialogue in order to facilitate social innovation and foster quality long-term employment in order to contribute to the attractiveness of the sector for skilled personnel;

21.  Considers that the teaching of appropriately selected skills is an indispensable investment for the purpose of maintaining the global leadership in technology, and capacity for innovation, of the European rail supply industry in the long term;

Supporting SMEs

22.  Considers that access to finance is one of the main challenges for SMEs in the RSI; stresses the added value of COSME and the Structural Funds in helping SMEs gain access to funding, including in the form of guarantee and equity facilities, and highlights the need for a strengthened promotion of these instruments; welcomes the focus of EFSI on SMEs and mid-caps, but stresses that the fund now has to deliver on its promise, and points out that alternative sources of financing should be explored as well; welcomes the SME instrument under Horizon 2020, but stresses the problem of over-subscription and a low success rate; asks the Commission to tackle this problem during the midterm review of Horizon 2020; calls on the Commission to promote better absorption of EU financial instruments and funds available to SMEs;

23.  Highlights that SMEs in the RSI often depend on one company; stresses that SMEs refrain from expansion because of a lack of resources and increased risks involved in cross-border business; calls on the Commission to develop Sector Groups on Rail in the framework of the Enterprise Europe Network, which could advise and train RSI SMEs on different innovation funding schemes, grants, internationalisation and on how to find and address potential business partners and partners with whom to apply for EU-funded joint research projects;

24.  Asks the Commission to exploit further the existing support programmes for SME internationalisation and to give them more visibility among European RSI SMEs in the context of synergies between different EU funds; calls on the Commission to further develop training programmes on accessing specific foreign markets and to communicate such programmes widely to RSI SMEs;

25.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to consider all options for support to RSI SMEs, including in the framework of a possible targeted review of the Small Business Act, paying special attention to the needs of industrial sub-sectors such as the RSI, where the involvement of high added value SMEs is particularly important;

26.  Is concerned about slow payments to SMEs in the RSI; asks the Commission to monitor the correct implementation of the Late Payment Directive (2011/7/EU);

Improving the European market environment for suppliers and encouraging the demand for rail products

27.  Welcomes the adoption of the technical pillar of the fourth Railway Package and asks for its speedy implementation as a key enabler for a real single market for rail products; stresses that increased interoperability and a stronger role for the European Railway Agency (ERA) will facilitate the harmonisation of the network and therefore have the potential to bring down costs for the development and authorisation of rolling stock and the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS) trackside; points out the need to provide the ERA with sufficient human and financial resources to realise its new extended tasks; considers that the political pillar of the fourth Railway Package will determine the competitiveness of transport operators and, more generally, of buyers;

28.  Stresses the need for a full, effective and uniform implementation of the rail network for competitive freight regulation, benefiting both passengers and industry;

29.  Asks the Commission to re-evaluate the market definitions and the current set of EU competition rules to take into account the evolution of the global rail supply market; calls on the Commission to identify how these definitions and rules would need to be updated to address the problems of mergers on the global market, such as the CNR-CSR merger, and to allow for strategic partnerships and alliances on the part of the European RSI;

30.  Calls for further European standardisation in the railway sector driven by stakeholders (including the European RSI) under the leadership of CEN/CENELEC; hopes that the new Joint Initiative on Standardisation proposed by the Commission will play a key role in this respect; emphasises the importance of getting more SMEs involved in European standardisation;

31.  Calls for swift implementation of the 2014 EU public procurement directives; reminds Member States and the Commission that these directives oblige contracting authorities to base tendering decisions on the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) principle, focusing on life-cycle costs and environmentally and socially sustainable products and thus contributing to preventing wage and social dumping, as well as potentially strengthening the regional economic structure; calls on the Commission and the Member States to generally promote the whole life-cycle cost analysis as standard practice in long-term investments, to give guidance to contracting authorities and to monitor its application; calls on the Commission and the Member States to remind contracting authorities of the existence of a provision, in the context of the revised European Framework on Public Procurement, which makes it possible to reject bids if more than 50 % of the value is added outside the EU (Article 85 of Directive 2014/25/EU);

32.  Calls on the Commission to monitor non-European rail investment in EU Member States and to guarantee compliance with European public procurement legislation, for example the legislation on abnormally low tenders and unfair competition; invites the Commission to make inquiries concerning potential non-European candidates who submit tenders in the EU while receiving government subsidies from third countries;

Boosting investment in rail projects

33.  Expects existing EU funding instruments (e.g. CEF, Structural Funds) to be used to the full so that demand is stimulated for rail projects (including EU funding instruments for investment outside the EU such as the Pre-accession Assistance and European Neighbourhood Instrument); highlights the importance of a successful implementation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) as one tool to mobilise private capital for the rail sector, and calls for further exploration of how private investments can be put in motion for rail projects; sees an important role for public development banks at national and European levels in supporting the RSI; asks the Commission to work with the multilateral development banks to help public authorities and private agencies to invest in the most sustainable and energy-efficient railway equipment around the world; asks the Commission and the EIB to intensify advisory support to rail projects through the newly established European Advisory Hub under EFSI, in order to help them attract investment; believes that the railway sector in Europe will continue to depend heavily on public investment; urges the Member States and public authorities, therefore, to invest significantly in their mainline and urban railway systems and, where possible, to increase absorption rates of cohesion funds for rail projects; calls, however, in view of this dependence and the strain on public finances in many European countries, for all means possible – whether regulatory or budgetary – to be put in motion to mobilise private capital on behalf of the railway sector;

34.  Points out that the complexities in the rail sector make it difficult for lenders to understand risk and hence to lend cheaply; asks the Commission to develop a Rail Supply Industry Finance Forum with the aim of increasing engagement and knowledge‑sharing by the RSI with the financial sector, thus improving banks’ understanding of the sector and thereby their comprehension of risk and of reducing the cost of finance;

35.  Believes that maintenance and modernisation of existing rail equipment should not be neglected; asks the Commission and the Member States to encourage the replacement of old equipment with modern and sustainable products on a larger scale;

36.  Welcomes the EU support for the online platform ‘Urban Mobility Observatory’ (Eltis) enabling best-practice exchange on urban systems in metropolitan areas; asks the Commission to strengthen exchange of best practices on different financing options for sustainable urban mobility systems and to promote them via its forthcoming European Platform on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans;

37.  Asks the Commission to help with further harmonised deployment of the ERTMS, in cooperation with the ERA, within the EU and to promote ERTMS outside the EU;

38.  Welcomes efforts in deploying Galileo and European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) services and applications in the rail sector; recognises in this context the role of European GNSS Agency and its successful management of the projects under the FP7 and Horizon 2020 programmes;

Strengthening the global competitiveness of the rail supply industry

39.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that future trade agreements (including the ongoing negotiations with Japan, China and the USA) and the revisions of existing trade agreements include specific provisions which significantly improve market access for the European RSI, especially with respect to public procurement, including tackling the problem of increased localisation requirements and ensuring reciprocal access to foreign markets for the RSI; calls on the Commission to ensure a level playing field for market operators from inside and outside Europe;

40.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that EU trade policy is more consistent with industrial policy, so that trade policy takes account of the needs of European industry and the new generation of trade agreements does not lead to fresh relocations and further deindustrialisation in the EU;

41.  Urges the Commission to strive to lift the major non-tariff barriers impeding access by the European rail industry to foreign markets, including barriers to investment (particularly obligations related to joint ventures), and discrimination and lack of transparency in public procurement procedures (particularly increasingly onerous requirements concerning local content);

42.  Stresses the relevance and the impact that the negotiations on the ‘international public procurement instrument’ and the revision of the regulations on trade defence instruments are having on the European RSI, and calls on the Council and the Commission to take this into consideration and to work closely with the European Parliament to reach a swift agreement on these instruments; asks the Commission to take into consideration the impacts which the recognition of market economy status for state-run or other non-market economies could have on the functioning of trade defence instruments and the competitiveness of the European RSI;

43.  Asks the Commission for a coherent EU trade strategy which ensures compliance with the principle of reciprocity, particularly in relation to Japan, China and the USA, and support for further internationalisation of RSI, especially SMEs, including through the promotion of European standards and technologies at international level, such as the ERTMS, and by looking into how to better protect the intellectual property rights (IPRs) of the European RSI (e.g. through a broader promotion of the IPR Helpdesk);

44.  Asks the Commission to help eliminate all tariff and non-tariff barriers, simplify business procedures for SMEs in the RSI and ensure the phasing-out of all restrictive business practices in third-country markets; asks the Commission to take action to facilitate the issuance of work visas for European SME employees temporarily seconded to third countries so as to reduce the number of business transactions that SMEs must carry out;

45.  Points out that certain third countries are creating unacceptable trade distortions by providing disproportionate levels of support to their exporters via the financial conditions provided to potential customers; calls on the Commission in this regard to persuade the Chinese Government to sign up to the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits and its specific chapter on rail infrastructure; asks the Commission to step up work at the same time on new global guidelines on export credits within the International Working Group on Export Credits (IWG);

Improving strategic political support for the sector

46.  Calls on the Commission to publish a communication on a coherent EU industrial policy strategy aiming at the reindustrialisation of Europe and based on, inter alia, sustainability and energy- and resource-efficiency; asks the Commission to outline in its document its strategy on important industrial sectors, including the RSI; considers it important to include ideas on how to keep a high level of vertical manufacturing in the EU;

47.  Asks the Commission to organise a high-level industrial dialogue on the RSI with the participation of the relevant Commissioners, Members of the European Parliament, Council, Member States, rail industry, trade unions, research institutions, the European Railway Agency and European Standardisation Organisations; points out that a regular RSI industrial dialogue would enable a structured discussion at European level on the horizontal challenges for the sector and the effects of EU policies on the competitiveness of the RSI;

48.  Asks the Commission to ensure that policy that impacts the competitiveness of the EU RSI is the result of effective communication and coordination among the administrations of the different policy areas involved;

49.  Believes that political support from the Council is necessary for the strengthening and development of European RSI; calls, therefore, on the Competitiveness Council to put the European RSI concretely on its agenda;

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50.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0219.

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