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Wednesday, 15 February 2017 - Strasbourg
EU-Mongolia Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation (Resolution)

European Parliament non-legislative resolution of 15 February 2017 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Mongolia, of the other part (08919/2016 – C8-0218/2016 – 2015/0114(NLE)2016/2231(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (08919/2016),

–  having regard to the draft Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Mongolia, of the other part (07902/1/2011),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Articles 207 and 209 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0218/2016),

–  having regard to the signature of the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation (or ‘Partnership and Cooperation Agreement’ – PCA) on 30 April 2013 in Ulaanbaatar, in the presence of the Vice-President of the European Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Catherine Ashton,

–  having regard to the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation between the European Economic Community and its Member States and Mongolia, which entered into force on 1 March 1993,

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 15 November 2005 on the proposal for a Council decision on an amendment to the Agreement establishing the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), enabling the Bank to finance operations in Mongolia(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 April 2016 on implementation and review of the EU-Central Asia Strategy(2),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 16 December 2015(3) and 14 March 2013(4) on EU-China relations, and in particular to recital Y of the latter resolution,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 June 2015 on the state of EU-Russia relations(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2012 on Parliament’s position on the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council(6), and in particular to paragraph 30 thereof,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2013 on the recommendations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference regarding the establishment of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction(7), and in particular to recital F thereof,

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 October 2016 on nuclear security and non-proliferation(8),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 15 February 2017 on the draft decision(9),

–  having regard to the inclusion of Mongolia in the EU General Preferential Scheme’s Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP+),

–  having regard to the long-standing relations between the delegations of the European Parliament and the State Great Khural (the Mongolian parliament), and in particular to the joint statement of the 10th Interparliamentary Meeting (IPM) held on 17 February 2015 in Ulaanbaatar,

–  having regard to the chairing of and hosting by Mongolia of the 11th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Summit, held in Ulaanbaatar on 15-16 July 2016, and of the 9th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP) meeting, held in Ulaanbaatar on 21-22 April 2016, and to the respective declarations adopted by both meetings,

–  having regard to the active role of Mongolia in the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, including the hosting of its Autumn Meeting of 15-18 September 2015 in Ulaanbaatar,

–  having regard to Mongolia’s election to the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2016-2018, and to its declared aspiration to become a UN Security Council member in 2022,

–  having regard to the Mongolian chairmanship of the Community of Democracies in 2012-2013, and of the ‘Freedom On-line’ coalition in 2015,

–  having regard to the preliminary findings and conclusions of the international election observation mission to the parliamentary elections of 29 June 2016 in Mongolia, involving the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) and the European Parliament,

–  having regard to the address given to the plenary of the European Parliament on 9 June 2015 by the President of Mongolia, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj,

–  having regard to the various mutual high-level meetings and visits, including that of November 2013 by the President of the European Commission, José Barroso, to Mongolia,

–  having regard to Mongolia’s ‘third neighbour’ foreign policy, involving relations with the EU, the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Iran, the countries of Central Asia and others,

–  having regard to Mongolia’s strategic partnerships with Russia and China,

–  having regard to Mongolia’s observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO),

–  having regard to the regular high-level trilateral meetings held between Mongolia, Russia and China and between Mongolia, Japan and the US,

–  having regard to the initiatives to integrate different economic projects in the region, including China’s Silk Road Economic Belt, Russia’s Trans-Eurasian Belt Development, and Mongolia’s Prairie Road,

–  having regard to Mongolia’s Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme with NATO, agreed in 2012,

–  having regard to Mongolia’s declaration of September 2015 of its intention to pursue permanent neutrality status,

–  having regard to Mongolia’s self-declared nuclear weapon-free status, recognised by the UN in September 2012,

–  having regard to Mongolia’s International Cooperation Fund, aimed at sharing experiences with other countries undergoing democratic transformation, such as Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan,

–  having regard to the trust-building efforts including the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security, involving North Korea, as well as the Forum of Asia,

–  having regard to the concluding observations of the UN Committee against Torture on the second periodic report of Mongolia adopted in August 2016,

–  having regard to Rule 99(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0383/2016),

A.  whereas Mongolia can serve as a democratic model not only for the region’s other emerging democracies, but also for the regimes with more authoritarian tendencies;

B.  whereas the European Communities established diplomatic relations with Mongolia on 1 August 1989;

C.  whereas the EU and Mongolia enjoy friendly relations based on political, societal, economic, cultural and historical ties;

D.  whereas the EU and Mongolia have many converging positions regarding most major international challenges, and Mongolia plays a constructive role in international relations, especially in multilateral organisations;

E.  whereas EU relations with Mongolia are mainly focused on development cooperation projects aimed at enabling the country to steer the ongoing rapid transformation towards a socially inclusive and economically sustainable development of its society;

F.  whereas Mongolia is interested in developing relations with the EU further and expanding the existing cooperation beyond development cooperation; whereas the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement underlines the growing importance of EU‑Mongolia relations based on shared principles such as equality, mutual benefit, democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and formally opens up the possibility for both sides to develop new fields of cooperation in areas such as not only business, trade, development, agriculture, environment, energy, modernisation of the state, but also education, culture and tourism;

G.  whereas the development of the EU’s relations with Mongolia is still within the responsibility of the EU Delegation in Beijing; whereas currently Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Italy have established their own embassies in Ulaanbaatar;

General provisions

1.  Appreciates the friendly and constructive relations between the EU and Mongolia;

2.  Recognises Mongolia’s specific geographical position between China, Russia and the countries of Central Asia and North-East Asia, with their great potential for the global economy, its importance for stability within the region, its regionally rather exceptional established democratic credentials, and the constructive role it plays by assisting and facilitating peaceful solutions to the conflicts and confrontation in the region and by promoting regional economic integration;

3.  Recognises that the democratic transformation which commenced in the 1990s is continuing consistently; acknowledges the tangible progress made in terms of socio-economic reforms; takes note, nevertheless, of the challenges that exist in the areas of sustainable development and economy, finance, good governance, fighting corruption, social security and environmental protection and political polarisation and are compounded by an increasingly testing international environment;

Institutional framework and diplomatic representation

4.  Welcomes the deepening and expanding nature of the EU-Mongolia relationship, as manifested in the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation (PCA), which takes in areas including political dialogue and human rights, trade and development assistance, as well as cooperation in the fields of agriculture and rural development, energy, climate change, research and innovation and education and culture, which are of great importance for economic diversification and resolving the current economic problems, as well as for the long-term transformation of an originally nomadic society;

5.  Welcomes the establishment of a Joint Committee to accompany, pursuant to Article 56 of the agreement, the implementation of the PCA, and encourages it to report regularly to both the European Parliament and the Mongolian Parliament;

6.  Urges the three Member States which have not yet done so to speedily finalise their national ratification processes in order to allow the long overdue conclusion and entry into force of the PCA;

7.  Emphasises the need to further enhance the parliamentary dimension of EU‑Mongolia relations; regrets the absence from the PCA text of articles that would establish a Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (PCC) under the PCA to undertake democratic scrutiny of the implementation of the agreement and to enhance political dialogue between the two parliaments; encourages negotiations, therefore, on a new protocol to remedy the situation to take place as soon as s possible, subject to Article 57 of the PCA on future cooperation, as urged previously by the Mongolian and European Parliaments in the Joint Statement of the 10th IPM;

8.  Is concerned at the fact that diplomatic relations with Mongolia are currently still being run from the EU Delegation to China; urges the Council and the VP/HR to turn the European Union Liaison Office in Ulaanbaatar into a fully fledged EU Delegation, a measure that is of the utmost importance with a view to facilitating political dialogue and cooperation on human rights and democracy, boosting capacity to implement and oversee EU assistance projects, and promoting trade in goods and services, as well as exchanges of people and cultural exchanges;

Democracy, the rule of law, good governance and human rights

9.  Welcomes Mongolia’s efforts to consolidate democratic progress and the rule of law, including multi-party elections, more independent media and a vibrant civil society; welcomes, from this point of view, the participation of Mongolia in the Community of Democracies;

10.  Underlines that respect for freedom of the media and freedom of expression are essential to further consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Mongolia; encourages the Mongolian authorities to address issues related to reports of politically motivated interference in media work and to refrain from penalising and restricting government-critical offline and online media; encourages the Mongolian Parliament to codify such fundamental rights explicitly and to implement them under strong scrutiny;

11.  Is convinced that the democratic transformation of Mongolia could produce a positive spillover effect in the region, in which complex transformation processes are taking place, and that Mongolia could in this sense constructively contribute to the stability and common wellbeing of the region; calls on the EU to take this into account when programming regional cooperation, especially with the countries of the Central Asian region, as well as the wider region;

12.  Praises the fact that general respect for electoral rules was demonstrated on the occasion of the recent elections; calls on the Mongolian authorities to address the recommendations made by the OSCE/ODIHR following the parliamentary elections of 29 June 2016, including stabilisation of the electoral law, restrictions on campaigning, media independence, and impartiality and comprehensiveness of the information available to voters;

13.  Expresses interest in sending a European Parliament observation mission to the presidential elections scheduled for mid-2017;

14.  Encourages Mongolia to address the outstanding challenges of respect for independence of the judiciary;

15.  Welcomes the recently started legislative efforts to strengthen the legal basis for the fight against pervasive corruption, which brings with it the real and great risk of undermining the social cohesion of the country, as well as efforts to address human rights and social conflicts; encourages Mongolia to adopt substantial reforms and to implement them in a timely manner; refers in this context to its own experience whereby people convicted of corruption must be held consistently responsible; recommends that the country strengthen its cooperation with the EU, the OSCE and the UN on dealing with corruption; is convinced that active involvement in implementing international recommendations on corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the economic productive sector and the public and administrative life of Mongolia could play a positive and substantive role in these undertakings;

16.  Recognises the country’s commitments and legal framework with a view to suppressing trafficking in human beings, but remains concerned about the concrete situation, and urges Mongolia to implement fully the 2012 anti-trafficking law and the related national plans;

17.  Is pleased that an agreement between the EU and Mongolia has been reached in principle and that preparatory work is underway to launch a regular EU-Mongolia Human Rights Dialogue in 2017;

18.  Welcomes the fact that, after ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Mongolian Parliament adopted in December 2015 a revised Criminal Code, which, among other important legal reforms such as the prohibition of torture, abolishes the death penalty for all crimes; notes that the newly elected Parliament has postponed the implementation of the revised Criminal Code and encourages the Mongolian authorities to implement this important reform without further delay;

19.  Notes Mongolia’s progress in improving its legal framework in line with international human rights obligations, institutional reform, including its Independent National Human Rights Commission, and efforts aimed at capacity-building and human rights awareness-raising, and the continued commitment to address remaining challenges related to the protection and promotion of universal human rights standards, such as those highlighted at the 2015 second UN Universal Periodic Review (UN-UPR), including preventing and investigating all allegations of torture, protecting women’s and children’s rights, as well as those of prisoners’;

20.  Expresses concern over reports of cases of arrest without a legal warrant, and torture and impunity inside Mongolian jails; joins the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) call for effective measures to guarantee that all detained persons are afforded in practice all fundamental legal safeguards in accordance with international standards; calls on Mongolia to follow up on its commitment to establish an independent mechanism to investigate allegations of torture and ill‑treatment promptly and effectively;

21.  Commends the project supported by the EU in support of LGBTI rights in Mongolia; is nevertheless worried by the ongoing discrimination and harassment committed against the LGBTI community;

22.  Recommends Mongolia, in accordance with the already ratified Convention on the Rights of the Child, to legally ban corporal punishment not only in educational establishments, but entirely, and to address with specific and targeted measures the non-declining rates of violence against children, the economic exploitation of children, and incidents causing death or severe injuries involving children; calls on all relevant EU institutions for assistance with this issue;

23.  Recommends strengthening the situation in the area of health and safety by implementing ILO Convention C176, as well as the other ILO Safety and Health Conventions not yet ratified;

24.  Supports Mongolia’s continued and honest efforts to progressively eradicate all forms of child labour, and to guarantee the rights of the child;

25.  Welcomes Mongolia’s legal framework for realising equal rights for women and men adopted in 2011, and the progressive elimination of discrimination against women;

Sustainable development

26.  Welcomes the substantial progress made by Mongolia since the 1990s in economic development and poverty reduction in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); supports Mongolia in its pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in line with the principles of aid effectiveness and transparency;

27.  Recognises that deepened regional economic integration will open up opportunities for Mongolia in terms of a more prosperous future and economic success, takes note of the fact that Mongolia is simultaneously looking for economic alliances and partners that would allow it to fully exploit its cooperation potential by respecting at the same time its legitimate national political and economic interests, the long-standing commitment to multidirectional diplomacy, traditional identity and lifestyle or the democratic foundations of Mongolian society;

28.  Is concerned, nevertheless, at the fact that in some areas poverty is becoming entrenched and that the reported economic boom of 2010-2012 did not contribute sufficiently to poverty reduction in the country;

29.  Encourages Mongolia in its efforts to achieve sustained economic growth; expresses its concern at the sharp slowdown in GDP growth, which in 2011 stood at record levels (17,3 %) but was only 2,3 % in 2015, with the 2016 figure forecast to be 1,3 %; is concerned that the budget deficit, which has risen to 20 % of GDP, may have a negative impact on poverty alleviation, as well as on the social inclusiveness and cohesion of the social protection system;

30.  Welcomes the fact that EU development assistance to the country for 2014-2020 has been more than doubled – standing at EUR 65 million, in comparison with the 2007‑2013 figure of EUR 30 million – with a focus on improved economic governance and vocational training for better employment opportunities; encourages Mongolia’s participation in regional programmes financed by the EU; notes the relatively good implementation of EU projects and programmes assisting Mongolia’s development and modernisation;

31.  Emphasises the importance of a continuous administrative reform focusing mainly on building up a highly professional administration at both national and local level; encourages the EU institutions to help Mongolia with developing the necessary resources and expertise, in the interest of better equipping the country to face the challenges of the complex economic and societal transformation processes and to increase the absorption capacity for EU funds in the country;

32.  Calls for more exchange opportunities for students and academics under the Erasmus+ and Marie Skłodowska-Curie programmes and for people-to-people contacts, including for artists, to be broadened between the EU and Mongolia; calls on the EU to include research and innovation in its fields of cooperation with Mongolia;

33.  Welcomes Mongolia’s timely deposition on 21 September 2016 of the ratification instrument of the Paris Agreement on climate change; is concerned that the combined effects of climate change, the extensive growth of livestock farming, a dramatic increase in migration from the countryside to the capital, as well as the massive use and rapid exploitation of natural resources such as water and soil for the official and unofficial mining of copper, coal and other raw materials, has led to a drastic deterioration in the environmental situation of Mongolia, an increasing risk of water conflicts with its neighbours and a growing occurrence of climatic phenomena such as the ‘dzud’, characterised by cycles of long droughts and harsh winters and resulting in a massive loss of livestock, wildlife and biodiversity in general; invites the Mongolian government to intensify efforts for the diversification of its economy, and calls on the EU to assist this process with dedicated activities and preventive and other measures, for example in the context of closer coordination of the environmental policies of the two sides; calls on the Mongolian authorities and parliament, as well as on all the EU Member States, to cooperate and to contribute to a substantial strengthening of the international climate regime within the scope of the Marrakesh COP22 undertakings;

34.  Welcomes Mongolia’s ratification of and compliance with all the relevant GSP+ conventions on environmental protection and climate change; urges Mongolia, however, to comply with its reporting obligations under the UN Conventions on Environmental Protection and Climate Change (CITES, Basel and Stockholm Conventions) and to enforce the country’s environmental legal framework;

35.  Points out that in 2014 extractive industries in Mongolia accounted for 17 % of GDP and 89 % of the country’s total exports; welcomes in this context the active participation of Mongolia in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which aims to make this sector more accountable and transparent;

36.  Underlines that the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine is the single largest mining project, which from 2020 is set to account for a third of Mongolia’s GDP, and that Tavan Tolgoi is the world’s largest undeveloped coal mine; welcomes the public debates held on the environmental impact of mining and the public participation in resources management at local levels;

37.  Encourages Mongolia to develop, for the benefit of its own citizens, the exploitation of its natural resources, in particular of rare minerals, as they have an ever-increasing value in the digital industry; points to the supporting role the EU could play in granting technological and financial aid towards such independent mineral extraction;

38.  Is of the opinion that investing in future technologies and digitalisation could help bridge the development gap between different regions in Mongolia and diversify the economy; encourages the EU and the Member States to intensify cooperation in the area of digitalisation and new technologies;

39.  Acknowledges the significant challenges of combating drug trafficking; recommends that the EU assist with strengthening public institutions and resources to address these issues;

Trade and economic relations

40.  Notes that the EU has become Mongolia’s third-biggest trading partner, and that Mongolian goods already enter the EU market virtually tariff-free under the current Generalised Scheme of Preferences;

41.  Welcomes the inclusion of Mongolia in the GSP+ scheme;

42.  Notes that European investment in Mongolia has so far remained limited, owing to the insecure business environment and lack of information;

43.  Encourages the EU and Mongolia to intensify their trade and investment relations, including promotion by means of information and awareness-raising, in accordance with the legal provisions of the PCA; stresses that such an intensification should be in line with, and fully respect, the obligations resulting from the international conventions on labour standards, good governance, human rights and environmental standards;

44.  Urges, in this context, a further development of the activities of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Mongolia;

45.  Emphasises the importance of a stable business and legal environment for an increase in investment from the EU;

46.  Takes note of the decline in foreign direct investment (FDI) related to the mining sector that dominates the economy, which remains a key divisive factor;

47.  Urges Mongolia, with the help of foreign investment and a more transparent legal environment, to diversify its economy in order to help avoid vulnerability to volatile mineral markets; welcomes, in this context, the new legislation on FDI;

48.  Encourages further integration of Mongolia into the global and regional economy, within frameworks such as the Prairie Road, the Silk Road/‘One Belt One Road’ or the Trans-Eurasian Belt, in accordance with the strategic interests and priorities of the country; asks the EU to consider participation in infrastructural and investment programmes, including in the mining sector, in the region;

Regional and global challenges and cooperation

49.  Recognises the pivotal role Mongolia can play between the dynamic economies of China, Russia, South Korea and Japan and the Central Asian countries, and at the same time as an intermediary between Europe and the East Asian region;

50.  Highlights Mongolia’s ‘third neighbour’ foreign policy concept, which includes relations with the EU, balanced against constructive and intense relations with its influential strategic partners and direct neighbours Russia and China;

51.  Takes note of Mongolia’s friendly, and also economically competitive, relations with the other countries in the region;

52.  Notes that Mongolia is seriously evaluating the impact of potential membership of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU); is concerned that such a move might hinder further political and trade relations with the EU;

53.  Congratulates Mongolia on its successful role in chairing the 2016 ASEM and ASEP meetings in Ulaanbaatar, on the solidification of the parliamentary dimension, and on strengthening the partnership between the two regions based on universally acknowledged principles of equality, mutual respect and the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms; welcomes Mongolia’s proposal to set up an ASEM Center, including a virtual/online facility;

54.  Welcomes the fact that Mongolia has declared itself a nuclear-weapons-free zone, as officially recognised by the UN; welcomes, in particular, the constructive and active role it plays in multilateral fora in promoting cooperation towards global nuclear disarmament, as well as its signing up to the Humanitarian Pledge(10);

55.  Welcomes the mutual commitment to promoting international peace and security, and, in this context, welcomes Mongolia’s active role in international multilateral mechanisms such as the UN and the OSCE, and its contribution to initiatives in support of peace and stability in Northeast Asia and beyond, such as the Ulaanbaatar Dialogue on Northeast Asian Security (UBD);

56.  Notes Mongolia’s contribution to UN peacekeeping around the world, and its provision of training facilities for such missions, together with increasingly seeking in parallel a strengthening of the political and diplomatic opportunities and responsibility of the UN to prevent and solve conflicts;

57.  Welcomes Mongolia’s close alignment with the EU in its negotiating and voting positions in the United Nations and other multilateral fora; in this context, underlines the importance of Article 8 of the PCA on international cooperation;

58.  Recognises Mongolia’s role in promoting respect for human rights as a new member of UNHRC in 2016-2018, and calls for close EU cooperation with Mongolia in the preparation and implementation of UNHRC’s work;

59.  Welcomes Mongolia’s ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and encourages Mongolia to ratify the Kampala Amendments, which provided in a timely fashion a definition and a procedure for jurisdiction of the Court over the crime of aggression;

60.  Commends Mongolia’s efforts to promote democracy, the rule of law and human rights in countries close to Mongolia’s neighbourhood aspiring to democratic change; calls on the EU also to involve Mongolia and to seek synergies on an ad hoc basis in regional programmes within Central Asia focusing on such developments;

61.  Praises Mongolia’s role in bringing together academics from both Koreas, China and Russia, as well as for hosting reunions of families split by the division of the Korean peninsula;

62.  Supports Mongolia’s declared aspiration to become a UN Security Council member in 2022;

o   o

63.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the VP/HR, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the Government and State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia.

(1) OJ C 280 E, 18.11.2006, p. 49.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0121.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0458.
(4) OJ C 36, 29.1.2016, p. 126.
(5) OJ C 407, 4.11.2016, p. 35.
(6) OJ C 249 E, 30.8.2013, p. 41.
(7) OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 97.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0424.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0032.

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