Index 
Texts adopted
Wednesday, 26 October 2016 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Non-objection to a delegated act: regulatory technical standards for risk-mitigation techniques for certain OTC derivative contracts
 General budget of the European Union for 2017 - all sections
 The MFF mid-term revision
 Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2016/003 EE/petroleum and chemicals
 Accessibility of websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies ***II
 Protective measures against pests of plants ***II
 European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2016 priorities
 Trans fats

Non-objection to a delegated act: regulatory technical standards for risk-mitigation techniques for certain OTC derivative contracts
PDF 250kWORD 44k
European Parliament decision to raise no objections to the Commission delegated regulation of 4 October 2016 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories with regard to regulatory technical standards for risk-mitigation techniques for OTC derivative contracts not cleared by a central counterparty (C(2016)06329 – 2016/2930(DEA))
P8_TA(2016)0410B8-1124/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission delegated regulation (C(2016)06329),

–  having regard to the Commission’s letter of 4 October 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 13 October 2016,

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

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories(1) (European Market Infrastructure Regulation – EMIR), and in particular Article 11(15) thereof,

–  having regard to Article 13 of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority), amending Decision No 716/2009/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2009/78/EC(2), of Regulation (EU) No 1094/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority), amending Decision No 716/2009/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2009/79/EC(3) and of 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(4),

–  having regard to the draft regulatory technical standards submitted by the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs – the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority) on 8 March 2016 pursuant to Article 11(15) of Regulation (EU) No 648/2012,

–  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 25 October 2016,

A.  whereas EMIR lays down clearing and bilateral risk-management requirements for over-the-counter (OTC) derivative contracts, reporting requirements for derivative contracts and uniform requirements for the performance of activities of central counterparties (CCPs) and trade repositories;

B.  whereas Article 11(15) of EMIR provides that the ESAs shall develop common draft regulatory technical standards (RTSs) specifying the risk-management procedures, including the levels and type of collateral and segregation arrangements required for compliance with Article 11(3) of EMIR, the procedures to be followed by the counterparties and the relevant competent authorities when applying exemptions under Article 11(6) to (10) of EMIR and the applicable criteria referred to in Article 11(5) to (10) of EMIR, including in particular what should be considered as a practical or legal impediment to the prompt transfer of own funds and repayment of liabilities between the counterparties;

C.  whereas Article 11(15) of EMIR empowers the Commission to adopt those RTSs, depending on the legal nature of the counterparty, in accordance with Articles 10 to 14 of either Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 (the EBA Regulation), Regulation (EU) No 1094/2010 (the EIOPA Regulation) or Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 (the ESMA Regulation);

D.  whereas the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) released their joint global framework establishing margin requirements for non-centrally cleared derivatives in September 2013, and revised it in March 2015;

E.  whereas the ESAs submitted the draft RTSs to the Commission on 8 March 2016;

F.  whereas the Commission notified the ESAs on 28 July 2016 of its intention to endorse the draft RTSs subject to a number of changes in accordance with Article 10(1) of the EBA, EIOPA and ESMA Regulations;

G.  whereas the ESAs submitted a formal opinion, in accordance with Article 10(1) of the EBA, EIOPA and ESMA Regulations, and revised draft RTSs to the Commission on 8 September 2016;

H.  whereas the Commission adopted the delegated regulation on 4 October 2016;

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

J.  whereas the scrutiny period provided for under Article 13(1) of the EBA, EIOPA and ESMA Regulations is three months from the date of notification of the RTSs; whereas this scrutiny period therefore expires on 4 January 2017;

K.  whereas the calendar of implementation of the margin requirements for non-centrally cleared derivatives was agreed at international level (BCBS and IOSCO); whereas the Union, while having missed the agreed date of 1 September 2016 for the first stage of implementation, can still have its rules in place in time for the second deadline of 1 March 2017, when a large number of financial counterparties and non-financial groups should start exchanging margins;

L.  whereas an early non-objection should therefore be declared as soon as possible with a view to allowing the Union to fulfil its international commitment and to allowing counterparties to prepare for the new requirements with sufficient prior notice; whereas such an approach will contribute to providing legal certainty for market participants in both the Union and third countries as soon as possible;

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 201, 27.7.2012, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 12.
(3) OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 48.
(4) OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 84.


General budget of the European Union for 2017 - all sections
PDF 417kWORD 64k
European Parliament resolution of 26 October 2016 on the Council position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017 (11900/2016 – C8-0373/2016 – 2016/2047(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0411A8-0287/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 106a of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2014/335/EU, Euratom of 26 May 2014 on the system of own resources of the European Union(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and repealing Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 1605/2002(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(3) (the “MFF Regulation”),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(4) (IIA),

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the Mid-term review/revision of the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020 (COM(2016)0603),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2016 on general guidelines for the preparation of the 2017 budget, Section III - Commission(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 April 2016 on Parliament’s estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2017(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2016 on ''Preparation of the post-electoral revision of the MFF 2014-2020: Parliament's input ahead of the Commission's proposal''(7),

–  having regard to the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017, which the Commission adopted on 18 July 2016 (COM(2016)0300),

–  having regard to the position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2017, which the Council adopted on 12 September 2016 and forwarded to Parliament on 14 September 2016 (11900/2016 – C8‑0373/2016),

–  having regard to Rule 88 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets and the opinions of the other committees concerned (A8-0287/2016),

A.  whereas in a situation of scarce resources, greater importance should be attached to the need to observe budgetary discipline and to use funds efficiently and effectively;

B.  whereas the dialogue between Parliament and the Commission provided for in Article 318 TFEU should stimulate a performance-oriented culture within the Commission, including increased transparency and enhanced accountability;

Section III

General overview

1.  Stresses that budget 2017 has to be considered in the wider context of the mid-term revision of the multiannual financial framework (MFF); stresses the need to ensure a balance between long-term priorities and new challenges and underlines therefore that budget 2017 has to be in line with the EU2020 targets, which represent its main orientation and overarching priority;

2.  Reiterates its firm conviction that, in the particular current context, initiatives such as the suspension of the ESI funds by the Commission, as provided for by Article 23(15) of Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 (Common Provisions Regulation - CPR)(8), are not only unfair and disproportionate, but also politically unsustainable;

3.  Stresses that Parliament's reading of the 2017 budget fully reflects the political priorities adopted by an overwhelming majority in its abovementioned resolution of 9 March 2016 on general guidelines and its abovementioned resolution of 6 July 2016 on the “Preparation of the post-electoral revision of the MFF 2014-2020: Parliament’s input ahead of the Commission’s proposal”;

4.  Emphasises that peace and stability are core values that need to be maintained by the Union; considers that the Good Friday Agreement, which has proven vital to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, must be protected; underlines the need for specific measures to ensure support for the regions which will be particularly affected in the case of a negotiated exit from the Union following the invocation by the United Kingdom of Article 50 TEU, in accordance with the expressed will of its citizens;

5.  Highlights that the Union is currently facing a number of serious emergencies and new challenges, which could not be foreseen at the time that the MFF 2014-2020 was set-up; is convinced that increased financial resources need to be deployed from the Union budget, in order to meet the political challenges and allow the Union to deliver answers and effectively respond to those crises as a matter of utmost urgency and priority; considers that a strong political commitment is needed to secure fresh appropriations in 2017 and until the end of the programming period for this purpose;

6.  Stresses the need for the 2017 budget to meet the needs of the migration challenge and slow economic growth following the economic crisis; notes that funding should be boosted for research and infrastructure projects as well as for fighting youth unemployment;

7.  Recalls that while Parliament immediately approved the additional financing needed for tackling the current refugee and migratory challenges while continuing with the support of sustainable development goals, it has always insisted that that challenge should not take precedence over other important Union policies, in particular the creation of decent and quality employment and the development of enterprises and entrepreneurship for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth; notes that the Heading 3 ceiling is vastly insufficient to provide for appropriate funding for the internal dimension of the current refugee and migratory challenges and insists on the need to adopt a comprehensive and human rights-based approach linking migration with development and guaranteeing the integration of migrant workers and asylum seekers and refugees as well as priority programmes, such as culture programmes; stresses that, in order to ensure the necessary additional funding in this field, an unprecedented resource to the MFF special instruments, including the full use of the Flexibility Instrument, as well as the substantial mobilisation of the "last resort" Contingency Margin, was proposed by the Commission in the 2017 Draft Budget (DB), and accepted by the Council;

8.  Reiterates its position that requests for additional funding needed for addressing the current refugee and migratory challenge should not be deployed to the detriment of the Union’s existing external action, including its development policy; repeats that the setting-up of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRT), Trust Funds, and any other ad-hoc instruments cannot be financed by cuts to other existing instruments; is concerned that the establishment of ad-hoc instruments outside the Union budget could threaten the unity of the budget and circumvent the budgetary procedure, that requires the involvement and scrutiny of the European Parliament; strongly questions whether the Heading 4 ceiling (Global Europe) is sufficient to provide a sustainable and effective response to the current external challenges, including the current refugee and migratory challenges;

9.  Reiterates its conviction that the Union budget should find ways of financing new initiatives which are not to the detriment of existing Union programmes and policies and calls for the identification of sustainable means to finance new initiatives; is concerned that the Preparatory Action for defence research, which will amount to EUR 80 million over the next three years will be squeezed under the current budget of the MFF; is convinced that with an already underfinanced Union budget, additional efforts for operations, administrative costs, preparatory actions and pilot projects in relation to the common security and defence policy also need additional financial input from Member States; considers that the current MFF mid-term review/revision should be used by Member States in that respect; underlines the need to clarify the long-term funding of common defence research;

10.  Recalls that the Union ratified the COP 21 agreement and needs to dedicate part of its financial resources to respecting its international commitments; notes that, according to the Statement of Estimates for the financial year 2017, the budget is expected to allocate 19,2 % of expenditure to that aim; strongly encourages the Commission to pursue that track so to apply the 20 % target, in line with the Commission’s commitment to mainstream climate action in the current MFF;

11.  Calls on the Commission to present, under the 2017 budget and with adequate appropriations, an initiative aimed at providing public transport vouchers to young Europeans selected on the basis of a competition. A key objective of such an initiative would be to assess the feasibility and potential impact of a more generalised scheme in favour of, in particular, youth mobility, EU youth outreach and the promotion of equal opportunities;

12.  Reverses all cuts proposed by the Council to the DB; fails to understand the reasoning behind the proposed cuts and contests Council’s declared intention of recreating artificial margins in some headings such as subheading 1a (Competitiveness for Growth and Jobs) and Heading 4 (Global Europe), particularly considering that margins would in any way be too small to react to unforeseen circumstances or crises;

13.  Notes that the Council's reading failed to predict the actual execution of the Union budget for the last five years and that, taking all amending budgets into account, considerably more funds were needed in each of the final budgets; therefore calls on the Council to adjust its position in the conciliation committee in order to provide adequate funding for the 2017 budget immediately from the beginning;

14.  Announces that, for the purpose of adequately financing those pressing needs, and considering the very tight MFF margins in 2017, Parliament will finance the reinforcements above the DB by the exhaustion of all margins available and an increased recourse to the Contingency Margin;

15.  Compensates in full all cuts related to the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) in the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and Horizon 2020 for a total of EUR 1 240 million in commitments for 2017 via new appropriations to be obtained through the mid-term revision of the MFF; insists on the need to provide an effective response to youth unemployment across the Union; therefore increases the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) by an additional EUR 1 500 million in commitment appropriations to enable its continuation; considers that the appropriate additional financing for these important Union programmes should be decided in the framework of the mid-term revision of the MFF;

16.  Expects that the Council will share this approach and that an agreement will easily be reached in conciliation, allowing the Union to rise to the occasion and effectively respond to the challenges ahead;

17.  Sets the overall level of appropriations for 2017 at EUR 160,7 billion and EUR 136,8 billion in commitment and payment appropriations respectively;

Subheading 1a – Competitiveness for growth and jobs

18.  Notes that subheading 1a is once again severely affected by the Council's reading with 52 % of the overall Council cuts in commitments falling within this heading; questions therefore how the Council's political priority on jobs and growth is reflected in this reading;

19.  Strongly disagrees with these cuts in a heading that symbolises the European added value and delivers more growth and jobs for citizens; consequently decides to reverse all cuts made by the Council;

20.  Delivering on the commitment taken in June 2015 to minimise to the maximum the budgetary impact of the creation of the EFSI on Horizon 2020 and CEF in the framework of the annual budgetary procedure, decides to fully restore the original pre-EFSI profile of the Horizon 2020 and CEF lines that were cut for the provisioning of the EFSI Guarantee Fund; stresses the importance of the Union's biggest research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020, which transforms great ideas into products and services, thus stimulating growth and jobs; demands the corresponding additional commitments appropriations of EUR 1,24 billion above the DB; expects an overall agreement on this pressing matter to be reached in the framework of the mid-term revision of the MFF; points out that EFSI should be improved in order to be fully efficient and effective by ensuring that the additionality principle is respected, by improving the geographical and sectorial balances and by improving transparency in the decision-making process;

21.  In line with its continued priorities for Jobs and Growth and after careful assessment of their absorption capacity so far, decides to propose some selective increases above the level of the DB for the COSME, Progress, Marie Curie, European Research Council, Eures and Erasmus+ programmes; notes that such increases can be financed within the available margin of this subheading;

22.  As a result, increases the level of commitment appropriations for subheading 1a above the DB by EUR 45 million (excluding EFSI, pilot projects and preparatory actions);

Subheading 1b – Economic, social and territorial cohesion

23.  Underlines that around one third of the annual Union budget is targeted at economic, social and territorial cohesion; underlines that cohesion policy is the Union’s main investment policy and a tool for reducing disparities between all regions of the Union, and that it plays an important role in the delivery of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth;

24.  Disapproves of Council's proposed cuts of EUR 3 million in commitments and, more importantly, EUR 199 million in payments under subheading 1b, including on support lines; calls on the Council to explain how those cuts are compatible with its objective of providing “necessary appropriations enabling the smooth implementation of the new programmes in the fourth year of the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020”; recalls that the level of payments proposed by the Commission under this heading is already 23,5 % lower than in the 2016 budget; stresses, in this respect, that any additional cuts in payments cannot be justified or accepted;

25.  Calls for an impact evaluation of Union policies based on impact assessment reports in order to determine to what extent they managed, inter alia, to reduce economic disparities, develop competitive and diversified regional economies and boost sustainable growth and jobs;

26.  Is alarmed by the significant delays in the implementation of the European Structural and Investment Fund cycle, which is likely to have a serious detrimental effect on the timely achievement of results on the ground but risks also to lead to the reconstitution of a new backlog of unpaid bills in the second half of the current MFF; urges the Member States concerned to promptly designate the remaining managing, paying and certifying authorities and tackle all other causes of delay in the implementation of the programmes; notes the Commission’s proposals for more simplification in this field and considers that every effort should urgently be made by Member States to ensure that the programmes reach full swing; calls consequently for more synergies and complementarity between public investment policies by the Member States budgets and the Union budget and those aimed at promoting the growth and sustainable employment creation which is the cornerstone for the Union;

27.  Takes note of the Commission’s proposal on the establishment of the Structural Reform Support Programme with a financial envelope of EUR 142 800 000 and underlines that this funding should be allocated with a view to strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion;

28.  Regrets that the Commission has not proposed any commitment appropriations for the YEI in 2017 as a result of its frontloading in the years 2014-2015; reiterates its strong support for the continuation of the YEI; decides, as a first step and in line with the Regulation on the European Social Fund(9) which foresees the possibility of such a continuation, to increase the YEI by EUR 1 500 million in commitment appropriations and EUR 500 million in payment appropriations to provide an effective response to youth unemployment, drawing lessons from the results of the Commission's evaluation of the implementation of the YEI; notes that, in line with Parliament’s requests, an overall agreement on the appropriate additional financing of the YEI for the remainder of this programming period should be reached in the context of the upcoming mid-term revision of the MFF; urges Member States to do their utmost to speed up the implementation of the Initiative on the ground, for the direct benefit of young Europeans;

29.  Decides to restore the DB in both commitments and payments for the lines cut by the Council; increases commitment appropriations for subheading 1b by EUR 1 500 million and payment appropriations by EUR 500 million above the DB for the YEI, and by EUR 4 million for commitments and 2 EUR million for payments for the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived, thus exceeding the current ceiling for commitments by EUR 1,57 billion;

30.  Underlines that subheading 1b bears the biggest part of the current outstanding commitments (RAL), which stood at EUR 151 119 million at the beginning of September 2016, and risks jeopardizing the implementation of new programmes;

31.  Stresses the important contribution of cohesion policy with regard to the effective implementation of gender budgeting; calls on the Commission to support measures to establish appropriate tools in order to achieve gender equality, such as incentive structures using the Structural Funds to encourage gender budgeting at the national level;

Heading 2 – Sustainable growth: natural resources

32.  Notes that the Council reduced Heading 2 by EUR -179,5 million in commitment appropriations and EUR -198 million in payment appropriations, on administrative support lines, on operational technical assistance lines (such as the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the LIFE programme), on operational lines under the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF), which is essential to maintain agriculture in living territories, and on decentralised agencies; notes that the biggest cuts in payments are borne by rural development; considers that the Amending Letter should remain the basis for any reliable revision of EAGF appropriations; restores the DB levels accordingly;

33.  Believes that the Union budget must prioritise initiatives that will facilitate a real greening of the economy;

34.  Anticipates the presentation of the Amending Letter for the emergency support package in particular for the dairy sector and decides to express its strong support for the agricultural sector in the Union; increases therefore the appropriations by EUR 600 million above the DB, in order to tackle the effects of the dairy sector crisis and the effects of the Russian embargo on the milk sector;

35.  Welcomes the allocations for research and innovation related to agriculture under Horizon 2020, to secure sufficient supplies of safe and high quality food and other bio-based products; underlines the need to prioritize projects that involve primary producers;

36.  Reiterates that CAP appropriations should not be used to support the breeding or rearing of bulls for lethal bull fighting activities; urges the Commission to submit without further delay the necessary legislative changes to give effect to this request, already stated in the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2016;

37.  Emphasises that the implementation of the new Common Fisheries Policy entails a paradigm shift in fisheries management both for Member States and for fishermen and recalls, in this regard, the difficulties encountered in previous financial years when appropriations were reduced;

38.  Regrets, however, against this background and while welcoming the increase of EUR 30,9 million in commitments in the DB for the LIFE programme, that, this year again, the LIFE programme, with a total funding of EUR 493,7 million, constitutes a share of only 0,3 % of the whole DB;

39.  Highlights the previous problems entailed by the lack of payment appropriations for the LIFE programme, which impeded and delayed its proper implementation;

40.  In line with its EU2020 targets and with its international commitments to tackle the climate change, decides to propose an increase above the level of the DB for the LIFE + programme;

41.  Increases therefore commitment appropriations by EUR 619,8 million and payment appropriations by EUR 611,3 million (excluding pilot projects and preparatory actions), leaving a margin of EUR 19,4 million below the ceiling for commitments in Heading 2;

Heading 3 – Security and Citizenship

42.  Underlines that Parliament continues to put the current migration challenge at the top of its agenda; welcomes the Commission’s proposal of an additional EUR 1,8 billion above what had initially been programmed for 2017 to tackle the migration challenge in the Union; notes that the big deviation of the original programming advocates in favour of an upwards adjustment of the Heading 3 ceilings; stresses that the Commission proposes to finance those reinforcements largely through the mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument (for EUR 530 million, thereby fully exhausting the funding available for this year) and the Contingency Margin (for EUR 1 160 million); given the unprecedented level of funding for migration-related expenditure (totalling EUR 5,2 billion in 2017 in Headings 3 and 4 and the mobilisation of the European Development Fund) and the proposals for applying flexibility on the table, does not request further reinforcements for migration-related policies; at the same time, will resist any attempts to reduce funding for Union actions in this field;

43.  Reiterates that budgetary flexibility has its limits and can only be a short-term solution; is strongly convinced that a forward-looking and brave answer in the face of these long-term refugee and migratory challenges, that involves the entire continent and shows no signs of abating, points to an upwards adjustment of the ceiling of Heading 3; considers that all recent budgetary decisions to secure fresh appropriations in this field have actually shown the need for a revision of this ceiling;

44.  In the context of the current security and migration challenges, welcomes the increase in the funding of AMIF (EUR 1,6 billion) and ISF (EUR 0,7 billion); considers that the increase for AMIF increases the need to ensure a fair and transparent distribution of annual funding between the different programs and objectives of the fund and a better readability on how these financial resources will be spent;

45.  Notes that a new Instrument for emergency support within the Union was adopted on 15 March 2016, with an indicative envelope of EUR 700 million over three years (2016-2018), and has already led to immediate results on the ground in the form of emergency support measures in response to the humanitarian needs of a large number of refugees and migrants arriving in the Member States; however, reiterates its position that in the future a more sustainable legal and budgetary framework should be envisaged in order to allow for humanitarian aid to be mobilised within the Union; insists on holding a regular dialogue with the Commission on the functioning and financing, present and future, of this Instrument, based on full transparency of information and impact assessment reports;

46.  In the face of increased threat levels in several Member States, the concurrent challenges of migration management, the fight against terrorism and organised crime and the necessity for a coordinated European response, requests funding for additional staff for Europol, with the aim of establishing a 24/7 counter-terrorism cell providing Member States' competent authorities with intelligence responses; considers that such an increase would also improve the fight against human trafficking (with a special focus on unaccompanied minors), the fight against cybercrime (new EC 3 Staff) and reinforce the human resources at the Italian and Greek hotspots; recalls that Europol currently has only 3 staff members at their disposal to be deployed to 8 permanent and additional non-permanent Hot-Spots in Italy alone; considers this number to be too low for Europol to be able to fulfil their tasks in terms of fight against human trafficking, terrorism and other serious cross-border crime;

47.  Welcomes the creation of a new budget line to provide funding for the victims of terrorism; supports resources being made available to tackle the broad areas of need of victims, including physical treatments, psycho-social services and financial support; believes that too often the needs of innocent victims of terrorism are either forgotten, or considered secondary, when measures to tackle the terrorist threat are proposed;

48.  Condemns the Council’s cuts of a total of EUR 24,3 million in commitment appropriations to numerous programmes in the areas of culture, the media, citizenship, fundamental rights and public health ; considers the cutting of culture programmes in order to free funds for the current refugee and migratory challenges to be a detrimental sign by the Council; deplores that many of those cuts seem to have been applied in an arbitrary manner and disregard excellent implementation rates; is of the opinion that even small cuts risk jeopardising the achievement of programme outcomes and the smooth implementation of Union actions; therefore restores all lines to the level of the DB;

49.  Insists on the need to reinforce funding for a number of actions under the Creative Europe and Europe for Citizens programmes that have long been underfunded; strongly believes these programmes are more relevant than ever, both in terms of boosting the contribution of the cultural and creative industries to job creation and growth and encouraging citizens’ active participation in Union policy making and implementation; fails to understand how the Council can justify reducing funding for SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors, when the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility, for which funding had already been backloaded, has only just been launched in June 2016 and constitutes an excellent illustration of an innovative solution to a significant market failure by building capacity and offering credit risk protection to financial intermediaries building loans in the cultural and creative sectors;

50.  Highlights that the Union programmes in the field of culture, education, youth and citizenship present clear European added value, additionalities and synergies with integration policies for migrants and refugees; invites the Union institutions, therefore, to respond with the appropriate increases in funding of directly managed programmes, such as Creative Europe, as well as for the relevant budget lines in the Structural and Investment Funds;

51.  Notes that the necessary budgetary guarantees for the preparatory activities of the implementation of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage must be provided for;

52.  Recalls that the Union Civil Protection Mechanism represents a cornerstone of Union solidarity; underlines that the Union plays an ‘enabling role’ to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States in the prevention of, preparedness for, and response to disasters; notes the slight increase in the commitments for this programme;

53.  Welcomes the creation of a budget line for an EU Search and Rescue Fund, which is to cover search and rescue activities carried out by the Member States and coordinated at the Union level, in particular in the Mediterranean; is of the opinion that creating a dedicated Fund constitutes a more adequate solution than continuously increasing the budgets of Frontex or the newly created European Border and Coast Guard;

54.  Welcomes the creation of a budget line for supporting the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) which is a newly created instrument aiming at involving citizens in the Union decision-making process and deepening European democracy; is of the opinion that the level of commitment appropriations as proposed in the DB is too low; decides to increase that budget line;

55.  Welcomes the increase in funding for communication of the Commission Representations, Citizens’ dialogues and ‘Partnership’ actions with appropriations for 2017 amounting to EUR 17,036 million in commitment appropriations and EUR 14,6 million in payment appropriations, as these concern initiatives to reach out to European citizens, gain their trust and foster their understanding of Union politics and policies;

56.  Underlines the need to provide the Joint Transparency Register Secretariat with sufficient and adequate administrative and financial means in order to fulfil its tasks, following the adoption of the new Interinstitutional Agreement on the Transparency Register.

57.  Notes that its reading (excluding pilot projects and preparatory actions) exceeds the ceiling of Heading 3 by EUR 71,28 million in commitment appropriations, while increasing payment appropriations by EUR 1 857,7 million; given the absence of a margin already at the DB level, proposes to finance these reinforcements under the ceiling, while at the same time mobilising the Contingency Margin for a number of essential migration-related expenditure items;

Heading 4 – Global Europe

58.  Notes that, in light of the ongoing refugee and migratory challenges, the Union’s external action is faced with ever growing funding needs which greatly exceed the current size of Heading 4; therefore, strongly questions whether Heading 4 ceilings are sufficient to provide for appropriate funding for the external dimension of the refugee and migratory challenges; deplores, that in order to fund new initiatives such as the FRT, the Commission chose in its DB to cut other programmes such as the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP); stresses that this should not come at the cost of policies in other areas; therefore, decides to mitigate, to a great extent, a shift of important financial resources from two instruments which amongst other things address the root causes of migratory flows; recalls that the primary objective of the Union's development policy must remain the reduction of poverty; regrets that appropriations for humanitarian aid and for the Mediterranean strand of the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) are below those approved in the 2016 budget, despite their obvious relevance in tackling the large number of external challenges; deplores the unjustified cuts made by the Council;

59.  Decides, therefore, to reverse all Council’s cuts in Heading 4; decides also to reinstate the 2016 levels for the ENI Mediterranean lines and for humanitarian aid; furthermore decides to mitigate the cuts made by the Commission in the DCI and the IcSP; considers it essential to maintain the Union’s pivotal role and the level of financial support in supporting the Middle East Peace Process, the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA as well as ENI Eastern Partnership lines; underlines the importance of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights;

60.  Decides to increase macro-financial assistance which had been significantly cut compared to 2016; believes that a higher funding level than proposed will be required to ensure that all future requests for loans can be accommodated;

61.  Lends its full support to the FRT and proposes to frontload to 2016 part of the Union budget contribution planned in 2017 due to its good implementation record and the large margins still available in the 2016 budget; calls, therefore, for reinforcing IPA II by EUR 400 million via an amending budget for 2016 and to mobilise the Contingency Margin accordingly; puts the same amount in reserve in the 2017 budget pending a comprehensive agreement on an alternative financing for the FRT, which would alleviate the unprecedented pressure put on other external financing instruments;

62.  Notes with concern that, despite their topical nature and significant size, EU Trust Funds as well as the FRT are virtually invisible in the Union budget; calls for them to be incorporated in a way that is more transparent and more respectful of the unity of the Union budget and of the prerogatives of the budgetary authority, and creates new budget lines to that end; also calls on the Commission to provide evidence that the use of financial instruments under the Trusts Funds does not result in diverting appropriations from the objectives under their initial legal bases; notes that the objective of leveraging national contributions on top of the Union budget has so far notoriously failed; highlights in that respect that, in future calls for a Union budget contribution to the Trust Funds, the Parliament will only agree to them once a comparable amount of Member States’ contributions has been delivered; invites, therefore, Member States to live up to their commitments as soon as possible;

63.  Notes that the guarantee fund for external actions, which covers defaults on loans and loan guarantees granted to non-Member States or for projects in non-Member States, has, according to the Commission report on guarantees covered by the general budget (COM(2016)0576), additional financial needs in order to reach the target amount, which consequently led to a provisioning of EUR 228,04 million being inserted in the DB; is concerned that these requirements put additional pressure on the already very tight ceilings in Heading 4;

64.  Welcomes the Commission’s budgetary proposals in relation to the new Migration Partnership Framework and the External Investment Plan; expresses its concerns, however, about the creation of potential new 'satellites' outside the Union budget; reiterates the need to keep full parliamentary scrutiny over the Union budget; strongly insists on the respect of the principle of the unity of the budget; is convinced that the new priority should not be financed to the detriment of existing Union projects; believes that additional flexibility should be mobilised in order to provide an ambitious framework to promote investment in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood equipped with adequate, fresh appropriations;

65.  Reiterates its request that the budget line for EU Special Representatives be transferred, in a budget-neutral manner, from the CFSP budget to the administrative budget of the EEAS in order to further consolidate the Union's diplomatic activities;

66.  As a result, increases the level of commitment appropriations for Heading 4 above the DB by EUR 499,67 million in commitment appropriations and by EUR 493,2 million in payment appropriations (excluding pilot projects and preparatory actions and including the transfer of EU Special Representatives to the EEAS budget);

67.  Deems it necessary to increase appropriations for the Turkish Cypriot Community budget line (+EUR 3 million) for the purpose of contributing decisively to the continuation and intensification of the mission of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus and of supporting the bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, thus promoting trust and reconciliation between the two communities;

Heading 5 - Administration; Other headings - administrative and research support expenditure

68.  Considers that Council’s cuts are unjustified and harmful and restores the DB for all Commission administrative expenditure, including administrative and research support expenditure in Headings 1 to 4;

69.  Decides, in the light of recent revelations and in order to regain the confidence of Union citizens and the credibility of the Union institutions, to hold 20 % of appropriations of the Temporary Allowances for former Members in reserve until the Commission enforces a stricter Code of conduct for Commissioners to prevent conflict of interests and the revolving doors;

70.  Considers that interinstitutional administrative cooperation is a source of efficiency as know-how, capacities and resources developed for an institution can be made available to others; therefore asks to establish a system which limits administrative burdens to the necessary minimum, ensures the appropriate quality of services, provides the main responsible institution with the necessary budgetary means and incentivises the cooperation of the other institutions by limiting their share to the marginal costs caused by the cooperation and as such aligning sound financial management decisions on level of the institutions with the overall sound financial management of the budget;

Agencies

71.  Endorses, as a general rule, the Commission's estimates of the budgetary needs of agencies; notes that the Commission has already considerably reduced the initial requests of most agencies; Considers, therefore, that any further cuts proposed by the Council would endanger the proper functioning of the agencies and would not allow them to fulfil the tasks they have been assigned;

72.  Welcomes the budget increase for the efficient JHA agencies, especially those involved with migration and security; stresses that these agencies must be sufficiently resourced (including for investing in new technologies) and staffed when their mandates are increased;

73.  In the context of the current security challenges, and, bearing in mind the necessity for a coordinated European response, considers that some of these increases are not sufficient and decides to reinforce the appropriations for the European Police Office (Europol), the European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit, the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems (EU-LISA) and the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA);

74.  In detail, stresses the need for sufficient human and material resources for Europol's newly established European Counter Terrorism Center, EC3 and IRU, including with regards to joint operational planning and threat assessment in order to strengthen a coordinated approach between the Member States to fight organised crime, cybercrime and internet related crime, terrorism and other serious crime; asks for additional funding for joint investigation teams;

75.  Recalls the planned improvement and interoperability of the different JHA information systems announced by the Commission in its communication of 6 April 2016 on "the future framework for stronger and smarter information systems for border management and internal security"; urges to foresee the need for appropriate resources for those technical solutions to be implemented swiftly and efficiently;

76.  Welcomes the inclusion in the 2017 budget of the adequate resources to support the long term transformation of Frontex into a European Border and Coast Guard agency and the transformation of EASO into a fully-fledged asylum agency; stresses that, while the resources for the European Border and Coast Guard seem adequate for now, the future needs of the agency in terms of operational resources and staff will have to be closely monitored so that the agency does not lag behind reality;

77.  In view of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Europe’s southern neighbourhood, the increased number of asylum seekers, and mainly the intention to reinforce its mandate further than the Commission's proposal, decides furthermore to increase the 2016 budget appropriations for the European Asylum Support Office;

78.  Reiterates its disagreement with the Commission's and the Council's approach to staffing of the agencies, and therefore modifies a substantial number of establishment plans; underlines once more that each agency should cut 5 % of posts over 5 years as agreed in the IIA, but that new posts that are needed to fulfil additional tasks due to new policy developments and new legislation since 2013 have to be accompanied by additional resources and need to be counted outside the IIA staff reduction target; emphasises therefore again its opposition to the concept of a redeployment pool amongst agencies, but reaffirms its openness to free posts by means of achieving efficiency gains between agencies through increased administrative cooperation or even mergers where appropriate and through pooling certain functions with either the Commission or another agency;

79.  Stresses that substantial operational and personnel savings could be achieved if agencies operating from more than one place (ENISA, eu-LISA, ERA) were limited to one seat only; is of the opinion that current operational needs of those agencies make such change feasible; underlines that moving the European Banking Authority (EBA) away from London and merging it with at least one of the two other Supervisory Authorities could lead to considerable savings in the costs of the two agencies; invites the Commission to put forward a proposal in this respect;

Pilot projects and preparatory actions (PP-PAs)

80.  Having carried out a careful analysis of the pilot projects and preparatory actions submitted as regards the rate of success of the on-going ones, excluding initiatives already covered by existing legal bases and taking fully into account the Commission's assessment of the projects' implementability, decides to adopt a compromise package made up of a limited number of PP-PAs, also in view of the limited margins available and the ceilings for PP-PAs;

Special instruments

81.  Recalls the importance of the Emergency Aid Reserve (EAR) in providing a rapid response to specific aid requirements for third countries for unforeseen events and its earlier call for a substantial increase in its financial envelope, as part of the revision of the MFF; notes that its very quick consumption in 2016, likely to use up all possibilities of carry-over, is an indication that this special instrument will prove to be insufficient to address all additional needs in 2017; increases therefore its appropriations to reach an annual allocation of EUR 1 billion, pending a decision on the annual allocation of the EAR to be taken in the context of the mid-term revision of the MFF;

82.  Restores the DB for Reserves for the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and the European Union Solidarity Fund in order to ease the mobilisation of these special instruments;

Payments

83.  Voices concern over the significant decrease in payments appropriations in the DB as compared with the 2016 budget; notes that this reveals implementation delays which are not only worrying for the delivery of Union policies but also entail the risk of rebuilding a backlog of unpaid bills at the end of the current programming period; considers that this matter should be tackled as part of the revision of the MFF; regrets, furthermore, the Council’s cuts in payments, despite the comfortable margins available below the ceilings;

84.  Stresses that, at the request of Parliament, a payment plan has been agreed with the aim of reducing the backlog of outstanding cohesion policy-related payment claims for 2007-2013 to a 'normal' level of EUR 2 billion by the end of 2016; points out that at least EUR 8,2 billion of unpaid bills were identified at the end of 2015 for 2007-2013 in the field of cohesion policy, a figure which is expected to fall below EUR 2 billion by the end of 2016; believes that a joint payment plan for 2016-2020 should be binding, developed and agreed between the three institutions; insists that such a new payment plan should be based on sound financial management and provide for a clear strategy to meet all payment needs in all headings until the end of the current MFF, and to avoid a 'hidden backlog' caused by an artificial slowdown in the implementation of certain multiannual programmes and other mitigating measures, such as the reduction of pre-financing rates;

85.  Decides to restore the DB in payments on all lines cut by the Council and reinforces payment appropriations on all those lines which are amended in commitment appropriations;

Performance-based budgeting

86.  Recalls that in its resolution of 3 July 2013 on the Integrated Internal Control Framework(10) Parliament shared the view expressed by the Court of Auditors that it makes no sense to attempt to measure performance without having budgeted on the basis of performance indicators(11), and calls for the establishment of a performance-based public budgeting model in which each budget line is accompanied by objectives and outputs measured by performance indicators;

87.  Welcomes the Programme Statements of operational expenditures attached to the DB as they partially respond to the request made by Parliament concerning objectives, outputs and indicators; notes that such statements complement the usual activity-based budgeting method with some performance data;

88.  Insists that with a view to simplifying the internal management tools of the Commission, Directors-General should stick to the political objectives and indicators contained in the Programme Statements of operational expenditure when adopting their management plans and annual activity reports, and that the Commission should draft its Article 318 TFEU evaluation report on this basis;

Other sections

Section I – European Parliament

89.  Maintains unchanged the overall level of its budget for 2017, as adopted by the plenary on 14 April 2016 at EUR 1 900 873 000; incorporates the budgetary neutral technical adjustments to reflect into the budget its recent decisions and releases the reserve on the transport of Members, persons and goods budget line;

90.  Approves the changes in its establishment plan and corresponding budgetary appropriations to respond to additional needs of the political groups; fully compensates these reinforcements by reducing the appropriations in the contingency reserve and fitting out of premises budget line;

91.  Recalls its political decision to exempt the political groups from the 5 % staff reduction target, as underlined it its resolutions on the budgets 2014(12), 2015(13) and 2016(14);

92.  Reduces the establishment plan of its General Secretariat(15) for 2017 by 60 posts (1 % staff reduction target), in accordance with the agreement of 14 November 2015 reached with the Council on the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2016; recalls that the budgetary impact of this measure was already taken into account in the estimates;

93.  Reduces further its establishment plan by 20 posts to reflect the end of the transfer of posts foreseen in the cooperation agreement with the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions; stresses that as these posts were not budgeted, no appropriations need to be reduced on Parliament’s side;

94.  Encourages the Secretaries-General of the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee to work together on possible further arrangements for the sharing of back office functions and services between the three institutions; calls on the Secretaries-General to also undertake a study on whether synergies in back office functions and services can also be made between the Parliament, the Commission and the Council;

95.  Maintains in its establishment plan for 2017 the new 35 posts, as requested in the DAB 3/2016 for the reinforcement of the security of the institutions; exempts these posts from the 5 % staff reduction target as they corresponds to new activities for the Parliament;

96.  Reiterates that the implementation of the staff reduction target should not jeopardize the proper functioning of the Institution and the exercise by the Parliament of its core powers, nor alter its legislative excellence, or the quality of the working conditions for members and staff;

97.  In light of the multiple problems encountered in this year's internal budgetary procedure, concludes that the overhaul of Chapter 9 and relevant parts of other chapters of its Rules of Procedure is inevitable in order to achieve what Parliament called for in its resolution of 14 April 2016 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2017, i.e. that "any relevant information should be presented to Members of the Bureau and the Committee on Budgets at every stage of the procedure in a timely and intelligible manner and with the necessary level of detail and breakdowns in order to enable the Bureau, the Committee on Budgets and the political groups to conduct proper deliberations and base decisions on a comprehensive picture of the state and needs of Parliament's budget";

98.  Pursuant to paragraph 15 of its abovementioned resolution of 14 April 2016 on Parliament's estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2017, requires that the method of establishment of the budget of the Parliament on the basis of the current needs and not on the basis of a system of coefficients is used for the first time during the budgetary procedure for the financial year 2018;

99.  Recalls that the administration committed to submit a medium- and long term budgetary planning, including a clear distinction between investments and operating expenditure relating to the functioning of the institution, including the compulsory statutory obligations; expects therefore that 2018 preliminary draft estimates would be presented in the same format;

100.  Recalls the 2013 Fox-Häfner report(16), which estimated the costs of the geographic dispersion of the Parliament to be between EUR 156 million and EUR 204 million and equivalent to 10 % of the Parliament's budget; notes the finding that 78 % of all missions by Parliament statutory staff arise as a direct result of the Parliament's geographic dispersion; emphasises that the report also estimates the environmental impact of the geographic dispersion to be between 11,000 to 19,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions; reiterates the negative public perception caused by this dispersion and calls therefore for a roadmap to a single seat and a reduction in the relevant budget lines;

101.  Regrets that, despite numerous calls by the Committee on Budgets, the mid-term and long-term strategy for Parliament buildings is not available for informed committee deliberations;

Section IV - Court of Justice

102.  Regrets that the Council raises the standard abatement rate from 2,5 % to 3,8 % which is equivalent to a reduction of -EUR 3,4 million and in contradiction with the extremely high rate of occupation of posts of the Court (98 % at the end of 2015); readjusts therefore the standard abatement rate to the DB level allowing the Court to accomplish its mission in a context of the continuous increase in the judicial caseload;

103.  Decides furthermore to restore the DB regarding an additional six budget items cut by the Council across Titles I and II of the Court’s budget which would impact particularly strongly the priorities of the Court in the linguistic and security fields;

104.  Expresses its dissatisfaction with the unilateral statement of the Council and the related appendix on the 5 % staff reduction in the Council’s position on the 2017 DB according to which the Court still needs to reduce its establishment plan by 19 posts; underlines that those 19 posts correspond to the 12 and 7 posts duly granted by Parliament and the Council in the 2015 and 2016 budgetary procedures respectively to address additional needs and insists therefore that those 19 posts should not be given back, the Court having already duly achieved its 5 % staff reduction requirement by suppressing 98 posts during the period 2013-2017;

Section V - Court of Auditors

105.  Restores the standard abatement rate to its initial level of 2,6 % in order to allow the Court of Auditors to meet its needs in respect of the establishment plan;

106.  Restores an additional five budget items cut by Council for the Court of Auditors to implement its work programme and deliver the planned Audit Reports;

107.  Partially restores the DB regarding three budget items in line with proposals for savings identified by the Court of Auditors itself;

Section VI - European Economic and Social Committee

108.  Restores the standard abatement rate to its initial level of 4,5 % in order to allow the European Economic and Social Committee to meet its needs and cope with the continued reduction of staff in the context of the cooperation agreement between Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of February 2014;

109.  Reinstates the 12 posts and related appropriations cut by the Commission in the DB in accordance with the abovementioned cooperation agreement , thus reflecting the actual number of posts transferred from the European Economic and Social Committee to Parliament;

110.  Decides further to adjust the item concerning the supplementary services for the translation services to the level estimated by the institution itself and thereby partially compensating for the transfer of 36 posts from the European Economic and Social Committee to Parliament in line with the abovementioned cooperation agreement;

Section VII - Committee of the Regions

111.  Reinstates the eight posts and related appropriations cut by the Commission in the DB in accordance with the abovementioned cooperation agreement, thus reflecting the actual number of posts transferred from the Committee of the Regions to Parliament;

112.  Furthermore reinstates the appropriations cut by the Commission in its DB related to the office expenses and IT allowances of the Members of the Committee to the level estimated by the Committee to ensure sufficient financing for the office expenses and IT allowances of the Members of the Committee of the Regions;

113.  Regrets the cuts on the budget item “fitting-out premises” by the Commission in its DB and decides to restores the item to the level estimated by the Committee itself to respond to increased security needs, to keep the buildings in good shape and in compliance with legal obligations and to improve energy efficiency;

114.  Finally reinstates the appropriations related to the communication activities of the political groups revised down by the Commission in the DB to ensure adequate funding of the communication activities of the Committee’s political groups;

Section VIII - European Ombudsman

115.  Notes that the Council has decreased the DB of the Ombudsman by -EUR 195 000; underlines that this reduction would impose a disproportionate burden on the very limited budget of the Ombudsman and would have major impact on the institution's capacity to serve the European citizens effectively; restores therefore all the budget lines cut by Council in order to enable the Ombudsman to fulfil her mandate and commitments;

Section IX - European Data Protection Supervisor

116.  Notes with regret that the Council has decreased the DB of the European Data Protection Supervisor by -EUR 395 000; points out that this is in sharp contrast with the additional task conferred upon the institution by Parliament and the Council and would jeopardise the institution’s capacity to serve the European institutions effectively; restores therefore all the budget lines cut by Council to enable the European Data Protection Supervisor to fulfil his obligations and commitments;

Section X- European External Action Service

117.  Restores all lines cut by the Council;

118.  Decides furthermore to create a Strategic Communication Capacity budget item in line with the European Council conclusions of March 2015 and equip the EEAS with adequate staff and tools to face the challenge of disinformation from third states and non-state actors;

119.  Welcomes the written commitments of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to address the existing imbalances in the EEAS staffing in terms of share of Member States diplomats and EU statutory staff in certain positions and to present a review of the EEAS human resources policy in the course of 2017; calls on the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to inform Parliament of the steps taken by spring 2017 at the latest, in advance of the start of the next budgetary procedure;

o
o   o

120.  Is convinced that the Union budget can contribute to addressing effectively not only the consequences but also the root causes of the crises that the Union is currently facing; takes the view, however, that unforeseen events with a Union-wide dimension should be tackled by pooling efforts and putting additional means at Union level rather than by calling past commitments into question or reverting to the illusion of purely national solutions; stresses, therefore, that flexibility provisions are there to enable such a joint and speedy response and should be used to the full in order to make up for the tight constraints of the MFF ceilings;

121.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution, together with the amendments to the draft general budget, to the Council, the Commission, the other institutions and bodies concerned and the national parliaments.

(1) OJ L 168, 7.6.2014, p. 105.
(2) OJ L 298, 26.10.2012, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(4) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0080.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0132.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0309.
(8) Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 320).
(9) Regulation (EU) No 1304/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Social Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1081/2006 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 470).
(10) OJ C 75, 26.2.2016, p. 100.
(11) Contribution of Kersti Kaljulaid at the hearing on the integrated internal control framework organised by CONT on 22 April 2013.
(12) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0437.
(13) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2014)0036.
(14) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0376.
(15) As a political decision on excluding the political groups from this calculation has been taken, this reduction is being applied to the Secretariat-General's part of the establishment plan.
(16) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0498.


The MFF mid-term revision
PDF 251kWORD 49k
European Parliament resolution of 26 October 2016 on the mid-term revision of the MFF 2014-2020 (2016/2931(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0412B8-1173/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 311, 312 and 323 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(1), and in particular Article 2 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2015/623 of 21 April 2015 amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2),

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

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2016 on the preparation of the post-electoral revision of the MFF 2014-2020: Parliament’s input ahead of the Commission’s proposal(4),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 14 September 2016 for a Council Regulation amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020 (COM(2016)0604) and the accompanying document SWD(2016)0299,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 14 September 2016 for an amendment of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management COM(2016)0606,

–  having regard to the statement by the Commission of 25 October 2016 on the mid-term revision of the MFF,

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on Budgets,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

1.  Stresses the European Parliament’s constant concern regarding the insufficiency of resources available under the current multiannual financial framework (MFF); points to the number of new crises and priorities that have emerged over the past years, notably the migration and refugee crisis, external emergencies, internal security issues, the crisis in agriculture, the funding of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and the persistent high level of unemployment, especially among young people; points also to the recent ratification by the EU of the agreement on climate change;

2.  Underlines, after conducting a review of the functioning of the MFF in the first half of this programming period as presented in its resolution of 6 July 2016, that an adequate response to those challenges requires a substantial amount of additional funding from the EU budget that could not have been fully provided in the first years of the current perspective owing to the scarce financial resources available under the current MFF; stresses that the EU budget must match the political commitments and strategic objectives of the European Union; recalls in this context Article 311 TFEU, which states that ‘the Union shall provide itself with the means necessary to attain its objectives and carry through its policies’;

3.  Believes that the revision of the multiannual financial framework provides a unique opportunity to respond to the budgetary difficulties currently jeopardising the credibility of the European Union; calls on the Council, therefore, to assume its responsibility to align words and deeds, and to ensure a realistic, credible, coherent and sustainable EU budget for the remaining years of the current perspective; considers that the revision must aim to ensure a balance between fulfilling long-term political priorities of the Union and responding to the new emerging challenges; reiterates its position of principle that new political initiatives should not be financed to the detriment of existing programmes and policies; highlights the need for an EU budget that is more transparent and accessible for European citizens, in order that they may regain trust in the European project;

Framework for prompt negotiations on the MFF revision

4.  Recalls that a compulsory post-electoral revision of the MFF was one of Parliament’s key demands in the negotiations on the establishment of the current financial framework; welcomes, therefore, the Commission’s decision to propose a revision of the MFF Regulation and of the IIA, after conducting a review of the functioning of the 2014-2020 MFF, as provided for in Article 2 of the MFF Regulation; believes that this proposal represents a good starting point for negotiations;

5.  Reaffirms that its MFF resolution of 6 July 2016 constitutes its mandate for the upcoming MFF negotiations, including all aspects of the MFF mid-term revision, as well as important elements relating to the post-2020 MFF;

6.  Stresses the necessity for all modifications agreed on during this revision to be implemented without delay and integrated already into the EU budget 2017; urges the Council to respond constructively and swiftly to the Commission proposal and to provide its presidency with a negotiating mandate without further delay; is ready to engage promptly in meaningful negotiations with the Council on the MFF mid-term revision in the context of the conciliation procedure on the Budget 2017, and on the basis of a commonly agreed calendar and specific negotiation modalities; regrets that, while the budgetary conciliation is about to start, the Council is not yet ready to open negotiations on the MFF; reaffirms its intention to reach agreement on both files before the end of 2016;

Parliament’s response to the Commission proposal: towards an ambitious agreement on the MFF revision

7.  Takes a positive stance towards the proposed modifications of the MFF package, notably on flexibility; regrets, however, that the Commission did not propose an upwards revision of the current MFF ceilings, which would provide a clear and sustainable solution to the financing of the estimated needs of EU policies until the end of this period; stresses Parliament’s position that the ceilings of Headings 1a (Competitiveness for Growth and Jobs), 1b (Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion), 3 (Security and Citizenship) and 4 (Global Europe) are insufficient and should be revised upwards if the Union is to confront the challenges and fulfil its political objectives;

8.  Recalls, in particular, Parliament’s demands on a full offsetting of the EFSI-related cuts affecting Horizon 2020 and Connecting Europe Facility, a continuation of the Youth Employment Initiative at the same level of appropriations annually as in 2014 and 2015, and a sizeable increase in the resources available to tackle the migration and refugee crisis under Headings 3 and 4; views positively the overall package of additional targeted reinforcements proposed by the Commission, which can be financed within the margins available until the end of this period, but stresses that this proposal falls short of meeting Parliament’s expectations in the areas in question;

9.  Notes that the Commission proposal relating to figures and estimated at EUR 12,8 billion includes different components; highlights especially the top-ups of Horizon 2020 and CEF-Transport (EUR 0,4 billion each), Erasmus+ and COSME (EUR 0,2 billion each) and the Youth Employment Initiative (EUR 1 billion), which amount to a total of EUR 2,2 billion in fresh appropriations; notes that a number of legislative proposals presented by the Commission in parallel with the MFF mid-term revision (extension of EFSI, External Investment Plan including the migration partnership framework, and Wifi4EU) amount to a further EUR 1,6 billion; recalls that, when presenting the Draft Budget 2017, the Commission already incorporated a EUR 1,8 billion reinforcement for migration and updated its financial planning by EUR 2,55 billion in Heading 3 as a result of ongoing legislative procedures; points furthermore to the fact that part of the proposed financial reinforcements in Heading 1a and Heading 4 are already reflected in Amending Letter 1/2017; notes, finally, that the technical adjustment of cohesion policy envelopes amounting to EUR 4,6 billion is the result of a technical exercise by the Commission and has already been granted as part of the technical adjustment of the financial framework for 2017;

10.  Believes that mobility of young people is essential in increasing European consciousness and identity, especially against the threats of populism and the spread of misinformation; regards as a political imperative the need to further invest in European youth through the EU budget; advocates the implementation of new initiatives such as the recently proposed programme ‘18th birthday interrail pass for Europe’, which would consist in granting every European citizen a free interrail pass when turning 18; requests that, in the context of the MFF mid-term revision, the appropriate funding for this proposal be secured;

11.  Is determined to settle in an unequivocal way the issue of budgeting the payments of the MFF special instruments; recalls the unresolved conflict of interpretation between the Commission and Parliament on the one hand, and the Council on the other, which has been in the forefront of all annual budgetary negotiations in the current MFF; reiterates its conviction that payment appropriations resulting from the mobilisation of special instruments in commitment appropriations should also be counted over and above the annual MFF payment ceilings; considers that, on the basis of the Commission’s analysis and forecast, the current MFF payment ceilings can only be sustained if the matter is resolved along these lines;

12.  Expresses its serious concern over the current delays in implementing EU programmes under shared management, as demonstrated notably in the DAB 4/2016, which reduces the budgeted payment level for 2016 by EUR 7,3 billion; expects that such delays will lead to a major accumulation of payment requests towards the end of the current MFF; recalls that, in the budgetary year 2015, outstanding commitments returned to their previous high levels, and that amounts to be funded from future budgets rose to EUR 339 billion; firmly believes that every effort should be made to avoid building up a backlog of unpaid bills and a new payment crisis like the one that was observed during the previous period; strongly advocates, for this purpose, a new, binding payment plan for the period 2016-2020, to be developed and agreed between the three institutions; considers, moreover, that the full use of the Global Margin for Payments, deprived of any annual capping, is an absolute prerequisite for facing this challenge;

13.  Reiterates its longstanding position that any surplus resulting from the under-implementation of the EU budget or from fines should be budgeted as extra revenue in the EU budget with no corresponding adjustment of the gross national income (GNI) contributions; regrets that the Commission did not include this element in its proposal for the MFF mid-term revision;

14.  Stresses that flexibility provisions proved to be essential in the first years of the current MFF to finance the response to the migration and refugee crisis and the new political initiatives beyond what the strict MFF ceilings could allow; welcomes, therefore, the Commission proposal to further extend these provisions; supports, in particular, the removal of the limitations in size and scope of the Global Margin for Commitments, as requested also by Parliament; notes that the new annual amounts proposed for the Flexibility instrument and for the Emergency Aid Reserve are close to the actual levels reached in 2016 as a result of carry-overs, while Parliament’s request amounted to twice as much (EUR 2 billion and EUR 1 billion respectively);

15.  Emphasises that the effective execution of the EU budget represents the highest priority for Parliament; particularly welcomes the Commission’s proposal to make available again in the EU budget decommitted appropriations resulting from the non‑implementation of the actions for which they were originally earmarked, and stresses that this was one of the main demands of Parliament in its MFF resolution of 6 July 2016; underlines that these decommitments are actually appropriations that have already been authorised by the budgetary authority with the intention of being fully executed and that they cannot therefore be looked upon as a new or additional burden for national treasuries;

16.  Endorses the Commission’s proposal for the establishment of an EU Crisis Reserve as an instrument to react rapidly to crises, as well as to events with serious humanitarian or security implications; considers that the mobilisation of this special instrument in the event of a crisis will provide a clear and effective solution to the additional financing needed; agrees with the Commission proposal to use decommitted appropriations, but argues that these cannot constitute the only source of financing for this instrument;

17.  Reiterates the core principle of the unity of the EU budget, which is undermined by the multiplication of multinational funds; asks, therefore, for this principle to be quickly applied and, in the meantime, for Parliament to be enabled to exercise the necessary parliamentary control over these funds;

18.  Considers that the ongoing revision of the IIA provides an excellent opportunity to ensure that the voting requirements for mobilisation of the MFF special instruments are harmonised and aligned with those that apply to the adoption of the general budget of the Union; requests that the relevant provisions be modified accordingly;

Parallel legislative proposals

19.  Fully shares the Commission’s intention of simplifying the financial rules and considers this element to be an important part of the MFF mid-term revision; notes, to this effect, the Commission proposal for a full revision of the Financial Regulation, as well as modifications to 15 sectorial Regulations; stresses that the simplification should aim at improving and rationalising the implementation environment for beneficiaries; commits to work towards a successful outcome in this spirit, in an appropriate timeframe;

20.  Notes that the legislative proposals on the extension of EFSI, the External Investment Plan (including the migration partnership framework) and the Wifi4EU, which were presented by the Commission at the same time as the proposals on the MFF mid-term revision, will be decided by Parliament and Council under the ordinary legislative procedure;

Towards the post-2020 MFF

21.  Points out that the MFF mid-term revision should also be the start of a consensus-building process leading to the post-2020 MFF; stresses that firm commitments should be taken in that context, notably to address the reform of the own-resources system, including the introduction of new own resources that can significantly reduce the share of GNI contributions to the EU budget, and the phasing-out of all forms of rebate, as well as to align the duration of the MFF with the political cycles of the institutions;

o
o   o

22.  Calls on the Commission to provide the budgetary authority with all relevant information on the budgetary implications for the current MFF of the UK referendum of 23 June 2016 and, subsequently, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, without prejudice to the outcome of the upcoming negotiations between the two parties;

23.  Emphasises that peace and stability are core values that need to be maintained by the Union; considers that the Good Friday Agreement, which has proved vital to peace and reconciliation, must be protected; underlines the need for specific measures and programmes to ensure support for the regions particularly affected in the event of a negotiated exit from the EU upon the invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the other institutions and bodies concerned, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(2) OJ L 103, 22.4.2015, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0309.


Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: application EGF/2016/003 EE/petroleum and chemicals
PDF 262kWORD 67k
Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 26 October 2016 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (application from Estonia – EGF/2016/003 EE/petroleum and chemicals) (COM(2016)0622 – C8-0389/2016 – 2016/2235(BUD))
P8_TA(2016)0413A8-0314/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0622 – C8‑0389/2016),

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

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

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

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

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0314/2016),

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

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

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

D.  whereas Estonia submitted application EGF/2016/003 EE/petroleum and chemicals for a financial contribution from the EGF following redundancies in the economic sector classified under the NACE Revision 2 Division 19 (Manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products) and Division 20 (Manufacture of chemicals and chemicals products); whereas Estonia is not divided into NUTS-level 2 regions and whereas 800 out of 1 550 redundant workers eligible for the EGF contribution are expected to participate in the measures;

E.  whereas the application was submitted under the intervention of Article 4(2) of the EGF Regulation derogating from the criteria set out in point (b) of Article 4(1) of that Regulation, which requires that at least 500 workers be made redundant over a reference period of nine months in enterprises operating in the same economic sector defined at NACE Revision 2 Division and located in one region or two contiguous regions defined at NUTS 2 level in a Member State;

F.  whereas in the face of the recent turbulence in the global oil market, the general decrease in Europe’s international trade position for fertilisers (to the benefit of China’s producers) and low-cost gas regions outside Europe, Eesti Energia AS, Nitrofert AS and Viru Keemia Grupp AS have closed down plants or reduced production resulting in the collective termination of work contracts;

G.  whereas Estonia decided to combine the redundancies in one regional application as the redundancies happened at the same place, during the same timeframe and involved redundant workers with very similar backgrounds;

1.  Agrees with the Commission that the conditions set out in Article 4(2) of the EGF Regulation are met and that, therefore, Estonia is entitled to a financial contribution of EUR 1 131 358 under that Regulation, which represents 60 % of the total cost of EUR 1 885 597 for personalised services consisting of support for formal studies, payment of the cost of training, training cost reimbursement for employers, labour market training, work practice, debt counselling, psychological counselling, study allowances relating to participation in formal studies, scholarships, transport and accommodation benefits for Estonian language training;

2.  Welcomes the very first EGF application tabled by Estonia; believes that the EGF could be a particularly valuable tool to help workers from countries with small economies and more vulnerable Union economies;

3.  Notes that the Commission respected the deadline of 12 weeks from receipt of the completed application from the Estonian authorities, on 6 July 2016, until finalising its assessment on compliance with the conditions for providing a financial contribution, on 28 September 2016, and notified it to Parliament on the same day;

4.  Notes that the Union gradually lost its top position in world chemicals sales to China, which increased its share from 9 % to almost 35 % in the same timeframe; recalls that the production of mineral fertilisers is highly energy intensive (gas prices make up to 80 % of total production costs); notes that due to falling oil prices, Estonian exports of mineral fuels decreased by 25 % during the first two months of 2016 compared to the same period a year earlier; notes that a high concentration of industries in Estonia are dependent on oil and gas prices;

5.  Points out that the impact of the redundancies on the local and regional economy and employment is expected to be significant;

6.  Welcomes Estonia’s decision to combine two economic sectors in one regional application, as the redundancies happened in the same region, as this will reduce the administrative burden and make it possible to organise joint measures for workers made redundant in both sectors;

7.  Welcomes the fact that a regional development strategy has been designed, which is outlined in the Ida-Virumaa Action Plan for 2015-2020(4), with logistics and tourism identified as potential growth sectors; acknowledges the fact that infrastructure projects have been launched in order to boost growth and to form a base for diversifying the economic structure;

8.  Notes that the relatively low number of redundant workers expected to participate in the measures (800 out of 1 550) can be explained by the desire to target the most vulnerable workers on the job market and also the fact that some workers had declared that they were not available to participate in the measures foreseen by Estonia; notes the relatively high percentage of non-Union citizens (63,3 %) as targeted beneficiaries;

9.  Notes that the EGF co-funded personalised services for the redundant workers include payment of the cost of formal studies, training cost reimbursement for employers, labour market training, Estonian language training, work practice and counselling; takes note that Estonia has provided the required information on actions that are mandatory for the enterprise concerned by virtue of national law or pursuant to collective agreements and has confirmed that a financial contribution from the EGF will not replace such actions;

10.  Notes that Estonia further declares that the coordinated package of measures is compatible with the shift towards a resource-efficient and sustainable economy and shows great potential to facilitate it, which is in line with Article 7 of the EGF Regulation;

11.  Welcomes the consultations with stakeholders, including trade unions, employers’ associations, enterprises and public employment services, that took place at the national and regional level to draw up the co-ordinated package of personalised services;

12.  Notes that actions under Article 7(4) of the EGF Regulation, namely preparatory activities, management, information and publicity and control and reporting, represent a rather high share of the total costs (7,7 %);

13.  Recalls the importance of improving the employability of all workers by means of adapted training and the recognition of skills and competences gained throughout a worker's professional career; expects the training on offer in the coordinated package to be adapted not only to the needs of the dismissed workers but also to the actual business environment;

14.  Notes that the income support measures will constitute 27,25 % of the overall package of personalised measures, below the 35 % maximum set out in the EGF Regulation; further notes that those measures are conditional on the active participation of the targeted beneficiaries in job-search or training activities;

15.  Notes that the costs of technical assistance account for a relatively high percentage of the total costs; considers this to be justified in view of this being Estonia’s first EGF application;

16.  Notes that Estonia confirms that the eligible actions do not receive assistance from other Union financial instruments; reiterates its call on the Commission to present a comparative evaluation of those data in its annual reports in order to ensure full respect for existing regulations and that no duplication of Union-funded services can occur;

17.  Notes that these actions were drafted in line with the identified needs in the regional development strategy in Estonia and are compatible with the shift towards a resource efficient and sustainable economy;

18.  Asks the Commission to assure public access to the documents related to EGF cases;

19.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

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

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (following an application from Estonia – EGF/2016/003 EE/petroleum and chemicals)

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2016/2099.)

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 855.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4)https://www.siseministeerium.ee/sites/default/files/dokumendid/Arengukavad/ida-virumaa_tegevuskava_2015-2020_26.02.15.pdf


Accessibility of websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies ***II
PDF 238kWORD 38k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 October 2016 on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies (09389/1/2016 – C8-0360/2016 – 2012/0340(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0414A8-0269/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council position at first reading (09389/1/2016 – C8‑0360/2016),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 22 May 2013(1),

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–  having regard to its position at first reading(2) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2012)0721),

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

–  having regard to Rule 76 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0269/2016),

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 271, 19.9.2013, p. 116.
(2) Texts adopted of 26.2.2014, P7_TA(2014)0158.


Protective measures against pests of plants ***II
PDF 241kWORD 42k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 October 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 protective measures against pests of plants, amending Regulations (EU) No 228/2013, (EU) No 652/2014 and (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directives 69/464/EEC, 74/647/EEC, 93/85/EEC, 98/57/EC, 2000/29/EC, 2006/91/EC and 2007/33/EC (08795/2/2016 – C8-0364/2016 – 2013/0141(COD))
P8_TA(2016)0415A8-0293/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: second reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council position at first reading (08795/2/2016 – C8‑0364/2016),

–  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 Austrian Federal Council, 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 10 December 2013(1),

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–  having regard to its position at first reading(2) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2013)0267),

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

–  having regard to Rule 76 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation for second reading of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0293/2016),

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 170, 5.6.2014, p. 104.
(2) Texts adopted of 15.4.2014, P7_TA(2014)0382.


European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2016 priorities
PDF 278kWORD 56k
European Parliament resolution of 26 October 2016 on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2016 priorities (2016/2101(INI))
P8_TA(2016)0416A8-0309/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 121(2) and 136 thereof,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 18 May 2016 on the 2016 country-specific recommendations (COM(2016)0321),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 28 and 29 June 2016 (EUCO 26/16),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 February 2016 on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: Annual Growth Survey 2016(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 7 April 2016 entitled ‘2016 European Semester: Assessment of progress on structural reforms, prevention and correction of macroeconomic imbalances, and results of in-depth reviews under Regulation (EU) No 1176/2011’ (COM(2016)0095),

–  having regard to the Commission reports entitled ‘Annual Growth Survey 2016’ (COM(2015)0690), ‘Alert Mechanism Report 2016’ (COM(2015)0691) and ‘Draft Joint Employment Report’ (COM(2015)0700), to the Commission recommendation for a Council Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area (COM(2015)0692), and to the Commission proposal of 26 November 2015 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of the Structural Reform Support Programme for the period 2017 to 2020 (COM(2015)0701),

–  having regard to the Five Presidents’ Report of 22 June 2015 entitled ‘Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 June 2015 on the review of the economic governance framework: stocktaking and challenges(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 December 2011 on the European Semester for Economic Policy Coordination(3),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 January 2015 entitled ‘Making the best use of the flexibility within the existing rules of the Stability and Growth Pact’ (COM(2015)0012),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2015/1017 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2015 on the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the European Investment Advisory Hub and the European Investment Project Portal and amending Regulations (EU) No 1291/2013 and (EU) No 1316/2013 – the European Fund for Strategic Investments(4),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 26 November 2014 entitled ‘An Investment Plan for Europe’ (COM(2014)0903),

–  having regard to the Commission Green Paper of 18 February 2015 entitled ‘Building a Capital Markets Union’ (COM(2015)0063),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 17 June 2015 entitled ‘A Fair and Efficient Corporate Tax System in the European Union: 5 Key Areas for Action’ (COM(2015)0302),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 5 February 2013(5) and 15 September 2016(6) on improving access to finance for SMEs,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Regional Development and the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0309/2016),

A.  whereas the Commission’s spring 2016 forecast indicates expected growth rates of 1,6 % for the euro area and 1,8 % for the EU in 2016;

B.  whereas Europe still faces a major investment deficit, and the need is to increase internal demand and correct macroeconomic imbalances, while further increasing investment in the EU;

C.  whereas unemployment in general (and structural unemployment in particular) in the EU remains one of the main challenges that Member States are facing, as it currently stands at a very high rate (10,5 million long-term unemployed in the EU); whereas even if the numbers have improved slightly compared with previous years, youth unemployment and unemployment rates overall in the European periphery are still significantly higher than the average rate in the EU as a whole;

D.  whereas falling oil prices and slow economic growth at the start of 2016 appear to be additional factors in dragging down the inflation rate to below zero levels;

E.  whereas political developments such as the result of the UK’s referendum and relations with Russia, as well as uncertainties in global economic developments, have further served to inhibit investment;

F.  whereas the influx of refugees into Member States has also strained investment in the Member States;

G.  whereas the European Semester recommendations to Member States have a similar responsiveness rate among Member States as the unilateral OECD recommendations (29 % vs 30 % in 2014);

H.  whereas the European Parliament, in its resolution on the Annual Growth Survey 2016, while emphasising the need for a specific focus on the euro area, welcomed the improved policy mix; moreover, it stressed the importance of increased investment, sustainable reforms and fiscal responsibility aiming to further promote higher growth levels and the recovery in Europe;

Europe’s challenge in the context of the global economic slowdown

1.  Notes with concern that the EU economy will grow less than expected on the basis of the European economic spring forecast 2016, as GDP in the eurozone is expected to increase by only 1,6 %, reaching 1,8 % by 2017

2.  Stresses that the challenges in the EU are linked to the deteriorating international environment, the failure to implement sustainable reforms and the divergences in the economic and social performance in different parts of the Union; underlines the need to improve growth, cohesion, productivity and competitiveness; considers that lack of sustainable investment and the shortcomings in completing the single market are depriving the EU of its full growth potential;

3.  Welcomes the Commission’s focus in its 2016 country-specific recommendations (CSRs) on the three main priorities to further strengthen economic growth: supporting investment for innovation, growth and job creation, pursuing socially balanced structural reforms and encouraging responsible public finances; stresses, however, that the Commission should do more to bolster fiscal sustainability in line with the Stability and Growth Pact, while making full use of its flexibility clauses, in line with the Commission communication of 13 January 2015 (COM(2015)0012);

4.  Recognises the importance of coherence between cohesion policy instruments and the wider economic governance framework, with a view to supporting the recovery efforts needed to achieve compliance with the European Semester rules; underlines, however, that the legitimacy of cohesion policy derives from the Treaties, and that this policy is the expression of European solidarity, having as its main objectives strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU by reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions, financing investment linked to Europe 2020 goals and bringing the EU closer to its citizens; is therefore of the opinion that measures linking the effectiveness of ESI Funds with sound economic governance should be applied judiciously and in a balanced way, but only as a last resort, and that their effects should be reported; recalls, moreover, that the application of such measures should always be justified, transparent and take into consideration the economic and social circumstances of the Member State concerned, in order to avoid restricting regional and local investments, which are absolutely essential for the Member States’ economies, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as these investments maximise growth and job creation and stimulate competitiveness and productivity, especially in times of strong pressure on public expenditure; as regards the cases of the two Member States that were the subject of Council decisions of 12 July 2016, which triggered sanctions under the excessive deficit procedure on the basis of Article 126(8) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), points to the Commission proposal of 27 July 2016 and the subsequent Council decision of 8 August 2016 to cancel the fines which could have been imposed, taking into account the Member States’ reasoned requests, the challenging economic environment, both countries’ reform efforts and their commitments to comply with the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact; believes, in this context, that the proposal to suspend part of the 2017 commitments for the ESI Funds under the measures linking their effectiveness to sound economic governance should take into consideration the views of Parliament, expressed during the Structured Dialogue;

5.  Welcomes the Commission’s continuing approach of limiting the number of recommendations and its effort to streamline the semester by covering mainly key priority areas of macroeconomic and social relevance when setting the policy objectives for the next 18 months; reiterates that this facilitates the implementation of recommendations on the basis of the comprehensive and meaningful range of existing economic and social benchmarks; stresses that a reduction in the number of recommendations should also lead to a better thematic focus; stresses the need to reduce economic disparities and achieve upward convergence between Member States;

6.  Fully supports the efforts made to ensure greater national ownership in the formulation and implementation of CSRs as an ongoing reform process; considers that, in order to increase national ownership and foster the effective implementation of CSRs, and in view of the fact that local and regional authorities have to implement more than half of CSRs, these should be clearly articulated around well-defined and structured priorities at European level, involving national parliaments, regional and local authorities where appropriate; reiterates that, in view of the distribution of powers and competences in various Member States, delivery on the Country-Specific Recommendations might improve with the active participation of local and regional authorities and, to this end, supports the proposal of a code of conduct for the involvement of the local and regional authorities in the European Semester as suggested by the Committee of the Regions; calls on the Member States to ensure a proper democratic scrutiny of their National Reform Programmes in their respective national parliaments;

7.  Stresses that Europe’s long economic crisis has highlighted the strong need to facilitate investment in areas such as education, innovation and research and development, while enhancing the EU`s competitiveness by pursuing sustainable structural reforms to boost quality job creation, implementing responsible fiscal policies to create a better environment for jobs, businesses (especially SMEs) and investment; notes the impact of the European Fund for Strategic Investment after one year of functioning; stresses the importance of reinforcing the take-up of the EFSI in less developed and transition regions and the truly additional character of its investments while stepping up efforts to develop Investment Platforms, including at regional level;

8.  Underlines that the still-too-high unemployment rates, especially for youth unemployment, show that the capacity to create quality employment in several Member States is still limited, and emphasises that further action is needed, in consultation with the social partners and in accordance with national practices, in order to step up investment in skills, make labour markets more inclusive and reduce social exclusion and growing inequalities in income and wealth, while maintaining sound budgetary management; notes that support measures to facilitate access to financing, particularly for SMEs, is vital if the continuing high unemployment in many Member States is to be tackled effectively;

9.  Stresses that the current economic situation, which combines liquidity surplus with interest rates at the zero lower bound (ZLB), weak demand prospects, and restricted investment and spending by households and companies, requires the implementation of the renewed policy mix put forward by the Commission in order to create growth; notes that monetary policy alone is insufficient to stimulate growth when investments and sustainable structural reforms are lacking;

Priorities and objectives of the 2016 recommendations

10.  Highlights the Commission’s recommendation for three Member States to exit the excessive deficit procedure (EDP); agrees with the Commission that large and consistent current account surpluses hint at a need to stimulate demand and investment, in particular long-term investment, in order to cope with the challenges of the future regarding transport and communications, the digital economy, education, innovation and research, climate change, energy, environmental protection and the ageing population; calls on the Commission to continue to encourage responsible and sustainable budgetary policies that underpin growth and recovery in all Member States by putting more emphasis on investment and efficient public expenditure, and supporting sustainable and socially balanced structural reforms;

11.  Notes that further measures are needed to increase financing opportunities, notably for SMEs, and to reduce non-performing loans (NPLs), in the euro area and in conformity with EU legislation, in order to make bank balance sheets sounder and thereby increase the ability of banks to lend to the real economy; emphasises the importance of completing step-by-step and implementing the Banking Union and developing the Capital Markets Union in order to create a stable environment for investment and growth and avoid fragmentation of the euro area financial market;

12.  Underlines the fact that investment has so far lagged behind and failed to lead to sustainable and inclusive growth in the EU and to contribute to the improvement of the business environment; considers that monetary policy needs to be accompanied by appropriate fiscal policies aimed at improving growth in the EU, in line with the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact, including its flexibility clauses; notes that investments at sub-national government level have decreased strongly in recent years, but nevertheless still account for around sixty per cent of public investment in the EU; underlines that investment policy instruments such as the EFSI and ESIF require properly calibrated blending and complementarity between them in order to enhance the value added of Union spending by attracting additional resources from private investors; stresses, therefore, that the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) should involve local and regional authorities when putting together the structural reform project in question;

Policy responses and conclusions

13.  Emphasises the need to improve the EU’s overall capacity to grow, create and sustain quality jobs and thus to tackle high levels of unemployment by creating a regulatory framework that is supportive of growth; considers that migration could play a role in compensating for the negative effects of the ageing population, depending on the ability of the Member States to better use migrants' skills and to adapt labour migration management systems to labour market needs;

14.  Highlights the importance of inclusive educational systems that foster innovation and creativity and teach skills relevant to the labour market, with particular reference to vocational education; notes that an appropriate trade-off, avoiding a race to the bottom in wages and employment standards, should be maintained between economic, social and human costs in accordance with the EU values of solidarity and subsidiarity, meanwhile keeping the focus on investment in human capital, research and development, the upgrading of educational systems and vocational education, including lifelong learning; considers that well-designed policies are needed to promote innovation, research and development in order to foster productivity, create steady sustainable growth and help address current structural challenges, thereby closing the innovation gap with other economies;

15.  Invites the Commission to give priority to measures that reduce the obstacles to greater investment flows and trade, which arise at EU level from a lack of clarity regarding the strategies that are to be followed, especially in the following fields: energy, transport, communications and the digital economy; notes the effect on bank lending in the wake of the adoption of the banking union, and at a national level, from cumbersome legal systems, corruption, lack of transparency in the financial sector, outdated bureaucracy, inadequate digitalisation of public services, misallocation of resources, the presence of barriers to the internal market in the banking and insurance sectors, and educational systems that remain out of synch with the requirements of the labour market and the completion of the single market;

16.  Deplores the fact that with regard to the Europe 2020 strategy, in which for the first time fighting poverty was part of an EU programme, the goal of reducing the scale of poverty in the Union will not be reached; considers that the goal of fighting poverty should be included right from the inception of EU policies;

17.  Underlines the importance of avoiding an excessive tax wedge on labour, given that excessive taxation diminishes incentives for the inactive, the unemployed, second earners and low-wage earners to return to employment;

18.  Takes note of the ongoing discussion between the Commission and the Member States on the methodology for the calculation of the output gap;

19.  Points out that efforts should be made to remove the remaining barriers to investment in the Member States and allow for a more suitable mix oriented towards policies fostering sustainable growth, including a genuine focus on research and development spending; believes that public and private support for research and higher education institutions are crucial factors for a more competitive European economy and that the weakness or absence of this infrastructure places certain countries at a massive disadvantage; stresses that there is no one-size-fits-all ideal EU innovation policy prescription but that in order to close the innovation-capacity divide in the EU, sufficiently differentiated innovation policies in Member States which build on the success stories that have already been attained are to be recommended;

20.  Welcomes the Agreement of the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015 and calls on the Member States and the Commission to implement it;

Sectoral contributions to the European Semester 2016

Employment and Social Policies

21.  Considers that the Council and the Commission should aim to achieve that the fiscal consolidation processes are accompanied by measures that help to reduce inequalities, and highlights that the European Semester process should help to provide answers to existing and emerging social challenges, thus ensuring a more effective economy; points out that social investments in human capital must constitute core complementary action, since human capital is one of the factors of growth and a motor of competitiveness and development; requests that major structural reforms advocated by CSRs be accompanied by a social impact assessment regarding their short-term, medium-term and long-term effects with the aim of better understanding the social, economic and employment consequences, especially the impact on job creation and economic growth;

22.  Underlines that unemployment, and in particular youth unemployment, remains an overriding problem for European societies, and that according to the Commission unemployment has continued to gradually decrease, but remains above 2008 levels, with 21,2 million unemployed in April 2016 and huge differences among Member States; points out the need of qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the employment created, in order to avoid an increase of employment rates as a mere consequence of precarious employment or of a decrease in the labour force; notes that despite producing results in skills and knowledge, some Member States’ education and training systems do not perform internationally and present growing skill shortages, which contributes to the fact that 39 % of companies still have difficulties in finding staff with the required skills; insists that in the CSRs greater priority is given to overcoming structural imbalances on the labour market, including long-term unemployment and mismatch of skills, and underlines the need to further invest in and develop education and training systems, providing society with the tools and capacities to readapt to changing labour market demands;

23.  Points out that between 2008 and 2014 the numbers of people in the EU at risk of poverty and social exclusion rose by 4,2 million, reaching a total of over 22 million (22,3 %); notes that the Commission has stated that ‘most of the Member States are still facing the acute social legacy from the crisis’; calls for a stronger effort from the Commission and the Member States to reduce poverty, social exclusion and growing inequalities, in order to tackle the economic and social disparities between Member States and within societies; is of the opinion that combating poverty and social exclusion and reducing inequalities should be one of the priorities reflected in the CSRs, as being fundamental to achieving lasting economic growth and a socially sustainable rhythm of implementation;

24.  Recalls that, as stated by Parliament, socially responsible reforms must be based on solidarity, integration, social justice and a fair distribution of wealth, a model that ensures equality and social protection, protects vulnerable groups and improves living standards for all citizens;

25.  Believes that economic growth should guarantee a positive social impact; welcomes the introduction of the three new headline employment indicators in the macroeconomic scoreboard; reiterates the call for these to be placed on an equal footing with existing economic indicators, thereby guaranteeing that internal imbalances are better assessed and making structural reforms more effective; calls, in this sense, in order to avoid a selective application, for them to be allowed to trigger in-depth analyses, and for better understanding of the cause-effect linkage between policies and actions; proposes introducing a social imbalances procedure in the design of the CSRs so as to prevent a race to the bottom in terms of social standards, building on effective use of the social and employment indicators in macroeconomic surveillance; takes the view that in case of placing employment and economic indicators on an equal footing it should go hand in hand with upgrading the role of the EPSCO Council in the European Semester;

26.  Considers that the introduction of the three employment indicators shows that the European Employment Strategy, including the Employment Guidelines, is playing an important role in the EU economic governance process, but that more efforts need to be made, notably through the introduction of social indicators;

27.  Recognises that the Commission has initiated work on the establishment of a European Pillar of Social Rights, but recalls the need to deliver the results of the consultation process and to move forward with new effective steps which seek to deliver a deeper and fairer EU and should play an important role in addressing inequality; highlights, in this regard, the Five Presidents’ Report, which calls for greater, economic and social convergence, but recognises that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions; believes, in this sense, that each common policy should be adapted to each Member State; considers that European action should also address inequalities and income differences within Member States, and must do more than simply address the situation of those in greatest need;

28.  Recognises that the European Semester now has a stronger focus on employment and social performance; while respecting the Member States’ competences, calls on them to take urgent action to ensure decent work with a living wage, access to an adequate minimum income and social protection (which has already reduced the poverty rate from 26,1 % to 17,2 %) and quality public services, and advocates the development and establishment of a proper sustainable social security system; calls on the Commission to offer support and exchange of best practices with Member States in order to improve administrative capacity at national, regional and local level, since this is a key challenge for relaunching long-term investment and ensuring job creation and sustainable growth;

29.  Stresses that the provision and management of social security systems are a Member State competence which the Union coordinates but does not harmonise;

30.  Recognises that setting of wages is a Member State competence which must be respected in line with the principle of subsidiarity;

31.  Takes note of the fact that youth unemployment has decreased, but points out that it is still at incredibly high levels, with more than 4 million persons aged under 25 unemployed in the EU, 2,885 million of them in the euro area; regrets that more than three years after the launch of the Youth Employment Initiative, the results of the implementation of the Youth Guarantee are so uneven, and sometimes ineffective; calls on the Commission to present in October 2016 a thorough analysis of its implementation which can serve as the basis for the continuation of the programme;

32.  Recalls that in many Member States unemployment benefits are decreasing year after year, as a result of, among other factors, long-term unemployment, therefore increasing the number of people living under the poverty and social exclusion threshold; calls for the guaranteeing of adequate unemployment benefits enabling people to live with dignity and actions to ensure the smooth integration of these people in the labour market;

33.  Stresses the fact that the imbalances in pension systems are basically the consequence of unemployment, wage devaluation and labour precarisation; calls therefore for reforms which guarantee adequate financing for a strong first pension pillar which ensures decent pensions, at the very least at a level over the poverty threshold;

34.  Recalls once again that the free movement of people is fundamental to enhancing convergence and integration between European countries;

35.  Notes the increased number of recommendations (to five Member States) on minimum income regimes; however, taking into account that broad income inequalities are detrimental not only for social cohesion but also for sustainable economic growth (as both the IMF and the OECD have recently stated), calls on the Commission to deliver on the promise made by President Juncker in his inaugural address to provide an adequate income for all Europeans through a European minimum income framework to cover basic living costs, while respecting national practices and the subsidiarity principle;

36.  Is concerned at the increase in income inequalities linked partially to inefficient labour market reforms; calls on the Commission and the Member States to implement measures to improve job quality so as to reduce labour market segmentation, combined with measures raising minimum wages to a decent level and strengthening collective bargaining and the position of workers in wage-setting systems in order to reduce wage dispersion; warns that in recent decades corporate management has been receiving a greater share of economic benefits while workers’ wages have stagnated or have been reduced; considers that this excessive dispersion in wages increases inequalities and damages the productivity and competitiveness of companies;

37.  Is concerned at the fact that long-term unemployment is still high, standing at 10,5 million in the EU, and recalls that the integration of the long-term unemployed into the labour market is crucial to guarantee the sustainability of social protection systems, as well as for their self-confidence; therefore regrets the lack of action by the Member States in terms of implementing the Council recommendation on the integration of the long-term unemployed into the labour market; reiterates its call on the Commission to support efforts to create inclusive lifelong learning opportunities for workers and jobseekers of all ages and to take measures as soon as possible to improve access to EU funding, as well as mobilising additional resources where possible;

38.  Considers that social protection, including pensions and services such as healthcare, child care and long-term care, remains essential for balanced and inclusive growth, for a longer working life, for creating employment and for reducing inequalities; therefore calls on the Commission and the Member States to boost policies which guarantee the sufficiency, adequacy, efficiency and quality of social protection systems throughout the life cycle of a person, guaranteeing a decent life, fighting inequalities and boosting inclusion with the aim of eradicating poverty, especially for those excluded from the labour market and for the most vulnerable groups;

39.  Highlights the obstacles and barriers, both physical and digital, which persons with disabilities still encounter today; hopes that the Disability Act launched by the Commission will be promptly implemented and will focus effectively on specific measures to promote inclusion and access;

Internal Market

40.  Welcomes the large number of CSRs that support a well-functioning and integrated single market, including financing and investment opportunities which support businesses, and SMEs in particular, and help create jobs, e-government, public procurement and mutual recognition, including mutual recognition of qualifications; stresses that enforcement is key if the impact from these policy areas is to be felt; considers it crucial, in this regard, that the Commission pay as much attention as possible, in connection with CSRs, to introducing long-term reforms which have a significant impact, especially in relation to social investments, employment and training;

41.  States that the single market is a backbone of the EU economy, and stresses that an inclusive single market, with enhanced governance which favours better regulation and competition, is a crucial instrument to improve growth, cohesion, employment and competitiveness and to preserve the confidence of the business sector and consumers; calls on the Commission, therefore, to monitor the progress made by the Member States, and reiterates the importance of the formal inclusion of the single-market pillar in the European Semester so as to enable continuous monitoring of single-market indicators, allowing for systematic follow-up and assessment of Member States’ progress on CSRs;

42.  Welcomes the Commission’s determination to address the lack of tax coordination within the EU, in particular the difficulties faced by SMEs as a result of the complexity of differing national VAT regulations; calls on the Commission to assess the feasibility of further coordination and, in particular, to assess the possibility of a simplified VAT approach in the digital single market;

43.  Condemns the barriers which still exist, or have been created, that hinder a well-functioning and integrated single market; draws attention, in particular, to the partial transposition and implementation of the Services Directive by many Member States, and calls on the Commission to enforce more effectively what Member States have signed up to under EU law; recalls the Commission’s commitment to use infringement procedures, if necessary, to ensure the full implementation of legislation for the single market in goods and services and in the digital sphere;

44.  Points out that the system relating to the recognition of professional qualifications is underpinned by the principles of reciprocal trust between legal systems and reciprocal checking of the quality of the qualifications; notes that further action is required to better implement mutual recognition of professional qualifications; stresses that proper enforcement and better regulation are essential, given the fragmentation of the single market, which restricts economic activity and consumer choice, and should cover all business sectors and apply to existing and future legislation; welcomes the exercise of mapping regulated qualifications and professions, which will create an interactive public database that can aid Member States’ National Action Plans;

45.  Regrets that CSRs continue to point to deficiencies in public procurement such as the lack of competition and transparency, with 21 Member States failing to fully transpose the legislative package, resulting in distortions in the market; calls on the Commission to act swiftly to ensure that Member States meet their legal obligations by taking the necessary infringement procedures; calls on the Commission to systematically monitor in an efficient and transparent manner that administrative procedures do not create a disproportionate burden on business or prevent SMEs from participating in public procurement;

46.  Supports the Member States in their endeavours to modernise public administration services, in particular through e-government, and calls for better cross-border cooperation, simplification of administrative procedures and interoperability of public administrations to the benefit of all businesses and citizens, and at the same time calls on the Commission, where digitalisation of public services is financed from the EU budget, to engage in more effective monitoring of the appropriate use of the funds;

o
o   o

47.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Presidents of the Council, the Commission, the Eurogroup and the ECB, and to the national parliaments.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0058.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0238.
(3) OJ C 165 E, 11.6.2013, p. 24.
(4) OJ L 169, 1.7.2015, p. 1.
(5) OJ C 24, 22.1.2016, p. 2.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0358.


Trans fats
PDF 177kWORD 51k
European Parliament resolution of 26 October 2016 on trans fats (TFAs) (2016/2637(RSP))
P8_TA(2016)0417B8-1115/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the provision of food information to consumers(1) and, in particular, Article 30(7) thereof,

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 3 December 2015 regarding trans fats in foods and in the overall diet of the Union population (COM(2015)0619),

–  having regard to the Joint Research Centre’s report entitled ‘Trans fatty acids in Europe: where do we stand? A synthesis of the evidence: 2003-2013’,

–  having regard to the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) scientific opinion of 2009 providing dietary intake recommendations for TFAs,

–  having regard to the WHO publications ‘The effectiveness of policies for reducing dietary trans fat: a systematic review of the evidence’(2), ‘Eliminating trans fats in Europe – A policy brief’(3) and ‘Effects of trans-fatty acid intake on blood lipids and lipoproteins: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis’(4),

–  having regard to the questions to the Council and to the Commission on trans fats (TFAs) (O-000105/2016 – B8‑1801/2016 and O-000106/2016 – B8‑1802/2016),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

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

A.  whereas trans fatty acids (TFAs) are a particular type of unsaturated fat;

B.  whereas, while TFAs are naturally found in foods obtained from ruminants, such as dairy products and meat, and in some plants and products of vegetable origin (leeks, peas, lettuces and rapeseed oil), they are mainly found in industrially produced partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (plant oils that are altered with added hydrogen atoms and used in frying and baking, and in manufactured foods to extend shelf life);

C.  whereas, as a result, TFA intake is mostly linked to consumption of industrially produced partially hydrogenated oils used by the industry in a wide range of drink and food products (both pre-packed foods and non-pre-packed foods, such as food sold loose and food served at catering and food services);

D.  whereas EFSA concluded in 2010 that TFAs from ruminant sources have similar effects to those from industrial products;

E.  whereas ruminant fat contains 3-6 % TFAs;

F.  whereas human consumption of naturally occurring TFAs from ruminants is generally low, and whereas the WHO indicates that these naturally occurring TFAs are unlikely to pose a risk to health in current real-world diets owing to the comparatively low intake;

G.  whereas this resolution concerns only industrially produced fatty acids;

H.  whereas many restaurants and fast-food outlets use TFAs to deep-fry foods because they are inexpensive and can be reused many times in commercial fryers;

I.  whereas additional TFAs are added or formed during the preparation of some foods (such as biscuits, cakes, salty snacks and deep-fried foods);

J.  whereas frequent consumption of industrially produced partially hydrogenated vegetable oils has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (more than any other long-term factor), infertility, endometriosis, gallstones, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity and some cancers;

K.  whereas the European authorities should take all necessary measures to combat the causes of obesity;

L.  whereas high TFA intake increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease (more than any other nutrient on a per-calorie basis) – a disease that is conservatively estimated to account for some 660 000 deaths annually in the EU, or some 14 % of overall mortality;

M.  whereas EFSA recommends that ‘TFA intake should be as low as is possible within the context of a nutritionally adequate diet’(5);

N.  whereas the WHO recommends more specifically that consumption of TFAs should be less than 1 % of daily energy intake(6);

O.  whereas the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded in June 2015 that partially hydrogenated oils are not ‘generally recognised as safe’ for use in human food;

P.  whereas, despite limited availability of EU-wide data, a recent study compiling data from nine EU countries reports that the average daily intake of TFAs is below 1 % of daily energy intake, but higher intakes exist within specific sub-populations in some of those Member States(7);

Q.  whereas analysis of the most recent publicly available data confirms that, despite a reported reduction of TFAs in certain foods, there are still a number of foods with high levels of TFAs, i.e. above 2 g of TFAs per 100 g of fat (such as biscuits or popcorn with some 40-50 g of TFAs per 100 g of fat, and non-pre-packed foods such as bakery products) in some EU food markets;

R.  whereas international studies show that policies aimed at restricting the TFA content of food entail reducing TFA levels without increasing total fat content; whereas such policies are feasible, achievable and likely to have a positive effect on public health;

S.  whereas the fact that unfortunately only one in three consumers in the EU has knowledge about TFAs shows that labelling measures have failed to be effective and that action needs to be taken to raise awareness through the education system and media campaigns;

T.  whereas EU legislation does not regulate the content of TFAs in foodstuffs, nor does it require its labelling;

U.  whereas Austria, Denmark, Latvia and Hungary have legislation in place which limits the content of TFAs in foodstuffs, while most of the other Member States have chosen voluntary measures, such as self-regulation, dietary recommendations or composition criteria for specific traditional products;

V.  whereas there is evidence that Denmark’s introduction of legal limits for industrial TFAs, which brought in a national limit of 2 % of trans fat in oils and fats in 2003, was successful, significantly reducing deaths caused by cardiovascular disease(8);

W.  whereas checking the ingredient list of pre-packed foods for partially hydrogenated oils is the only way in which consumers can identify products that may contain TFAs; whereas under current EU rules consumers may be confused about the difference between partially hydrogenated oils (containing TFAs, among other fatty acids) and fully hydrogenated oils (containing only saturated fatty acids and no TFAs), as Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 requires this information to be given in the ingredients list of pre-packed foods;

X.  whereas recent studies have shown that people with higher socioeconomic status have healthier diets than people with lower socioeconomic status and that this gap has been increasing in line with the increase in social inequalities;

Y.  whereas, in particular, TFAs tend to be used in cheaper foods and, given that people with lower incomes are more exposed to cheaper foodstuffs with higher TFA content, the potential for widening health inequalities is increased;

Z.  whereas appropriate decisions should be taken at EU level in order to reduce intake of industrial TFAs;

AA.  whereas health organisations, consumer groups, healthcare professionals’ associations and food companies have urged(9) the Commission to come up with a legislative proposal that restricts the amount of industrial TFAs in food to a level similar to that set by the Danish authorities (i.e. 2 g of TFAs per 100 g of fat);

1.  Recalls that the issue of TFAs is a priority for Parliament, and reiterates its concern regarding the risks that TFAs pose to human health;

2.  Highlights the fact that the US has already announced that food manufacturers will have to remove partially hydrogenated oils from products sold on its domestic market from mid-2018, in the light of the conclusion from 2015 that trans fats are not generally recognised as safe;

3.  Recalls evidence that TFA limits can bring rapid and significant health benefits; highlights in this context the success of the experience in Denmark, which brought in a national limit of 2 % of TFAs in oils and fats in 2003;

4.  Emphasises that most of the EU population – in particular the most vulnerable people – lack information about TFAs and the health consequences of their consumption, which can preclude consumers from making empowered choices;

5.  Is concerned that vulnerable groups, including citizens with lower education and socioeconomic status, and children, are more inclined to eat food with higher TFA content;

6.  Acknowledges that all existing TFA reduction strategies appear to be associated with significant reductions in TFA levels in food, and regrets the lack of a harmonised EU approach to TFAs; emphasises that individual actions by Member States will create a patchwork of regulations, possibly resulting in different effects on health from one Member State to another and, moreover, hampering the smooth functioning of the single market and innovation in the food industry;

7.  Believes that action should not therefore be taken solely at the national level and that EU measures are necessary if the average intake of TFAs is to be considerably reduced;

8.  Points out that, according to the WHO(10), a trans-fat labelling policy is likely to be the most costly measure to implement effectively, while the financial impact of banning trans fats has been minimal in countries that have implemented such bans, given the low implementation and monitoring costs;

9.  Believes that the lack of awareness among consumers regarding the adverse health impact of TFAs renders mandatory TFA labelling an important but insufficient tool compared with mandatory limits in the attempt to reduce TFA intake among EU citizens;

10.  Points out further in this respect that a TFA labelling strategy only affects certain foods, leaving unpackaged foods or restaurant food unaffected;

11.  Calls on the Commission to establish as soon as possible an EU legal limit on industrial TFAs (as both an ingredient and a final product) in all food in order to reduce their intake among all population groups;

12.  Requests that such a proposal be made within two years;

13.  Requests that such a proposal be accompanied by an impact assessment evaluating the industrial reformulation costs that would be incurred by a mandatory limit and the potential for these costs to be passed on to consumers;

14.  Notes, in this regard, the Commission’s announcement that it would conduct a thorough impact assessment in order to evaluate the costs and benefits of different threshold options, and asks the Commission to specifically take into consideration the effect on SMEs;

15.  Calls on the food industry to prioritise alternative solutions that comply with health and environmental standards, such as the use of improved oils, new procedures for the modification of fats or combinations of substitutes for TFAs (fibres, cellulose, starches, protein mixtures, etc.);

16.  Calls further on the Commission to collaborate with the Member States with a view to increasing nutritional literacy, encouraging and enabling consumers to make healthier food choices and engaging with the industry to encourage the healthy reformulation of their products;

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

(1) OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 18.
(2) Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2013; 91:262–269H.
(3) http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/288442/Eliminating-trans-fats-in-Europe-A-policy-brief.pdf?ua=1
(4) http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/246109/1/9789241510608-eng.pdf
(5) EFSA Journal 2010; 8(3):1461.
(6) http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/42665/1/WHO_TRS_916.pdf?ua=1 pg89, WHO/FAO technical report series 916
(7) Mouratidou et al. ‘Trans Fatty acids in Europe: where do we stand?’, JRC Science and Policy Reports 2014; doi:10.2788/1070.
(8) Brandon J. et al. ‘Denmark’s policy on artificial trans fat and cardiovascular disease’, Am J Prev Med 2015.
(9) http://www.beuc.eu/publications/open_letter_industrially_produced_tfas_freeeu.pdf
(10) Eliminating trans fats in Europe: A policy brief, page 6.

Legal notice - Privacy policy