Texts adopted
Thursday, 19 January 2017 - Strasbourg
Indonesia, notably the cases of Hosea Yeimo, Ismael Alua and the Governor of Jakarta
 Central African Republic
 Situation in Burundi
 EU-Kosovo Stabilisation and Association Agreement: procedures for its application ***I
 Imports of textile products from certain third countries not covered by specific Union import rules ***I
 Conclusion of the Agreement continuing the International Science and Technology Center ***
 Objection to a delegated act: Identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies
 Logistics in the EU and multimodal transport in the new TEN-T corridors
 A European Pillar of Social Rights
 Tackling the challenges of the EU Customs Code (UCC) implementation

Indonesia, notably the cases of Hosea Yeimo, Ismael Alua and the Governor of Jakarta
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European Parliament resolution of 19 January 2017 on Indonesia, notably the case of Hosea Yeimo and Ismael Alua and the Governor of Jakarta (2017/2506(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Indonesia, in particular that of 26 February 2014 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Indonesia, of the other part, with the exception of matters related to readmission(1),

–  having regard to the EU-Indonesia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which entered into force on 1 May 2014,

–  having regard to the statement of 23 May 2015 by Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) Federica Mogherini on the prospect of further executions in Indonesia,

–  having regard to the statement of 27 July 2016 by the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson on the planned executions in Indonesia,

–  having regard to the 6th European Union-Indonesia Human Rights Dialogue of 28 June 2016,

–  having regard to the Bangkok Declaration on Promoting an ASEAN-EU Global Partnership for Shared Strategic Goals of 14 October 2016,

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

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia ratified in 2006,

–  having regard to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1987,

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

A.  whereas Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous nation, the third largest democracy, the largest Muslim majority country, with millions of followers of other beliefs, and a diverse society comprising of 255 million citizens of various ethnicities, languages and cultures;

B.  whereas Indonesia is an important partner of the EU; whereas relations between the EU and Indonesia, a G20 member, are strong; whereas the EU and Indonesia share the same values as regards human rights, governance and democracy;

C.  whereas, in the first Ministerial Strategic Dialogue (8 April 2016), the Foreign Minister of Indonesia and the VP/HR jointly declared their decision to ‘move the relationship to a new level of partnership’ between the EU and Indonesia;

D.  whereas on 19 December 2016 Hosea Yeimo and Ismael Alua, two Papuan political activists, were detained and charged with ‘rebellion’ under the Indonesian Criminal Code, following peaceful political activities; whereas Hosea Yeimo and Ismael Alua were released on bail on 11 January 2017; whereas legal proceedings of the case continue; whereas, if convicted, they can face up to life imprisonment;

E.  whereas President Joko Widodo has promised Papuans a change, beginning with ‘an open dialogue for a better Papua’, and has undertaken to stop disproportionate use of force and human rights abuses; whereas the President has visited Papua four times since his election in 2014; whereas he recently ordered the release of a large number of Papuan detainees as a gesture of appeasement;

F.  whereas the Governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, is standing trial, accused by some religious groups of insulting Islam; whereas three rallies calling for Ahok to be jailed, organised by a coalition of Islamist groups called the National Movement to Guard the MUI Fatwa (GNPF-MUI), including Front Pembala Islam (FPI) members, have been staged since October 2016;

G.  whereas freedom of thought, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of religion, the right not to be arbitrarily arrested or detained, and the right not to be tortured are fundamental and inalienable freedoms and rights;

H.  whereas Indonesia resumed capital punishment in 2013 and has executed a number of convicts;

1.  Appreciates the strong relationship between the EU and Indonesia, and repeats the importance of the strong and long-standing political, economic and cultural ties between the two parties;

2.  Is concerned about the growing intolerance in Indonesia towards ethnic, religious and sexual minorities; strongly condemns all acts of violence, harassment and intimidation against minorities, as well as impunity for such acts, and condemns the increased abuse of existing regulations in order to discriminate, prosecute and imprison members of religious minorities, traditional religions, and ethnic and sexual minorities;

3.  Welcomes Indonesia’s insights on countering violent extremism and its experience in this regard, based on the promotion of a tolerant society and interfaith dialogues; notes the efforts of Indonesia to sustain its democracy, respect human rights and recall its ‘unity in diversity’; stresses the need to ensure the protection of all human rights, particularly those of minority and vulnerable groups, ensuring non-discrimination in their exercise of the freedoms of religion or belief, opinion, expression, association and peaceful assembly;

4.  Welcomes the continued European Union – Indonesia Human Rights Dialogue, established in 2010; welcomes the close cooperation between the EU and Indonesia on a wide range of issues; stresses that the EU and Indonesia have agreed to pursue concrete cooperation projects in a wide range of areas, including access to justice and penal policy, the countering of violent extremism, the rights of migrants, business and human rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities and of persons belonging to minorities and vulnerable groups;

5.  Recalls that improving the human rights situation in Indonesia is a priority of the EU-Indonesia PCA;

6.  Welcomes the good state of relations between Indonesia and its neighbours and its active engagement in favour of the UN;

7.  Encourages the Government of Indonesia to take all necessary measures to ensure that the rights of peaceful activists are protected, and to ensure that an enabling environment is created for the realisation of freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful demonstration;

8.  Welcomes the release on bail of Hosea Yeimo and Ismael Alua on 11 January 2017; notes that the legal proceedings of the case will continue; calls on the Delegation of the EU to Indonesia to follow these legal proceedings;

9.  Asks the Indonesian authorities to consider dropping the charges against Hosea Yeimo, Ismael Alua and other prisoners of conscience against whom charges have been brought for peacefully exercising their right of freedom of expression;

10.  Urges the Indonesian and local authorities in Papua to implement immediate and effective measures to ensure the safety and security of peaceful political activists exercising their rights; calls on the authorities to ensure that people in Papua are able freely to express their ideas and opinions without fear of punishment, reprisal or intimidation;

11.  Strongly condemns any act of violence or terror, and conveys its condolences to the families of the victims;

12.  Notes with concern the blasphemy case against Ahok; stresses that freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion are protected under international human rights law;

13.  Calls on the authorities of Indonesia to repeal Articles 156 and 156(a) of the country’s Criminal Code, to remove the blasphemy provisions in the current draft Bill of Revision of the Criminal Code (RUU Revisi KUHP), the Electronic Information and Transactions Law and the rebellion laws (in particular Articles 106 and 110 of the Code), and to bring all laws into conformity with Indonesia’s obligations under international human rights law, specifically on freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion, equality before the law, freedom from discrimination, and the right to expression and public assembly; notes that people may be imprisoned for ‘defamation’ for as long as five years;

14.  Stresses the need for the Indonesian Government to protect Indonesia’s tradition of religious tolerance and pluralism by investigating, arresting and prosecuting individuals or groups who discriminate or commit acts of violence against religious communities;

15.  Is concerned about the intensification of anti-LGBTI rhetoric, which has resulted in numerous threats against, and violent attacks on, LGBTI NGOs, activists and individuals; calls on the government and lawmakers to refrain from further restricting the rights of LGBTI people, and to ensure that their right to freedom of expression and assembly is guaranteed;

16.  Regrets the resumption of the death penalty; calls on the authorities to establish a moratorium on all executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty; expresses its concerns about the case of EU citizen Serge Atlaoui;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of Indonesia, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council.

(1) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0141.

Central African Republic
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European Parliament resolution of 19 January 2017 on the situation in the Central African Republic (2017/2507(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the Central African Republic (CAR), particularly that of 7 June 2016 on Peace Support Operations – EU engagement with the UN and the African Union(1),

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolution 2301 (2016) renewing the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until 15 November 2017, adopted by the Security Council at its 7747th meeting on 26 July 2016,

–  having regard to the UN human rights report of 14 December 2016 and to the statement by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service of 6 January 2017 on the attacks on MINUSCA,

–  having regard to the co-chairing of the Brussels Conference for the Central African Republic on 17 November 2016 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Federica Mogherini, and the President of the CAR, Faustin-Archange Touadéra,

–  having regard to the EU briefing on the CAR of 21 October 2016 by H.E. Ms Joanne Adamson, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, at the United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations,

–  having regard to the report of 22 July 2016 by the UN independent expert designated by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on the situation of human rights in the CAR, and her statement of 16 November 2016 prior to the donor meeting in Brussels,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the CAR of 9 February 2015, 20 July 2015 and 14 March 2016 and of 19 April 2016 on the peaceful holding of the elections in the CAR,

–  having regard to the statement of 8 July 2016 by the Chair of the PBC CAR Configuration at the UN Security Council briefing on the CAR,

–  having regard to the revised Cotonou Agreement,

–  having regard to the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), ratified by the CAR in 2001,

–  having regard to the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict attached to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been signed by the CAR,

–  having regard to the Amnesty International report of 11 January 2017 entitled ‘The long wait for justice: accountability in Central African Republic’,

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

A.  whereas, emerging from violent conflict between the Séléka rebel coalition and the anti-Balaka militia, the Central African Republic has made impressive progress since 2013, with the support of the international community, in achieving a restored constitutional order with the peaceful and successful organisation of elections and completing the political transition;

B.  whereas despite the political progress, the CAR has remained in the grip of instability and sporadic unrest, intensified by violent clashes in a number of locations which have led to multiple population displacements in the west, north and east of the country; whereas the lack of civil liberties, gender inequality, restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and intercommunal tensions also remain serious human rights concerns in the CAR;

C.  whereas the UN mission has up to 10 750 peacekeepers on the ground in the CAR, but some civilians complain that it does not do enough to protect them against dozens of armed groups; whereas the UN human rights report of 14 December 2016 on arbitrary killings cited sexual violence in the CAR;

D.  whereas in December 2016 the MINUSCA mission supported a new dialogue between 11 of the 14 armed groups and the government, as part of an ongoing effort to disarm the factions in the CAR; whereas on 4 January 2017, according to MINUSCA, its peacekeepers on patrol were returning from the town of Koui when they were attacked by about 50 assailants about 60 km (37 miles) west of Obo, and two peacekeepers were killed by unknown insurgents, while a similar attack also took place on 7 January 2017 in the north-west of Bokayi, in which a peacekeeper was killed;

E.  whereas reconstruction of the justice sector is still in its infancy and police capacity continues to be extremely limited, and this, along with the absence of a functioning judicial system, means that little action has been taken to halt or address human rights abuses and bring the perpetrators to justice;

F.  whereas according to Amnesty International, the lack of justice in the CAR is so acute that some victims are forced to live their daily lives alongside their aggressors, since hundreds have escaped in large-scale prison breaks and many accused of the worst crimes have never been arrested; whereas only 8 out of 35 prisons function, and few courts operate outside the capital, Bangui;

G.  whereas since August 2016 an alarming increase in the number of cases of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law perpetrated by the different factions of the ex-Séléka, the anti-Balaka and their affiliates has been recorded in the CAR, the results being at least 100 killings, forced civilian displacement and the destruction of property; whereas rights organisations reported serious fighting in the CAR in late November 2016 between two Séléka groups, which left at least 14 civilians dead and 76 wounded;

H.  whereas according to Vladimir Monteiro, MINUSCA’s spokesperson in Bangui, such attacks are not only carried out on UN peacekeepers, but also target humanitarian actors and the civilian population;

I.  whereas between 28 and 30 November 2016, at least 115 people died as a result of skirmishes erupting between two groups (both Séléka factions – the Popular Front for the Renaissance of the Central African Republic (Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique, FPRC), and the Union for Peace in the Central African Republic (l’Union pour la Paix en Centrafrique, UPC)) over control of roads leading to diamond mines around Kalaga, a town 45 km from Bria, where both factions collect ‘road taxes’, especially in mining areas and on migration routes for Peuhl herders;

J.  whereas in May 2016 the UN’s Fifth Committee adopted a cross-cutting resolution on peacekeeping which welcomed the Secretary-General’s determination to fully implement the zero tolerance policy, reaffirmed the need for enhanced coordination for victim support, and expanded the UN’s policy of transparency for allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA);

K.  whereas on 17 November 2016 the VP/HR, Federica Mogherini, and the President of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, mobilised the international community in order to generate political support and concrete commitments to support the CAR authorities’ ambitious agenda to achieve peace, security and reconciliation across the country, as well as to promote development and economic recovery;

L.  whereas, according to the UN, nearly half the population of the CAR is facing food insecurity and needs humanitarian assistance; whereas 40°% of children under three are chronically malnourished and one in five children will not live to see their fifth birthday;

M.  whereas it is estimated that this year 2,2 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance, including 1,1 million children; whereas at the end of 2016, an estimated 420 000 people were internally displaced and an additional 453 000 had sought refuge in neighbouring countries;

N.  whereas in the last three years the European Union has been the largest donor of assistance to the CAR, having committed over EUR 500 million to the country; whereas with regard to humanitarian aid, the Commission alone has provided EUR 124 million (in addition to EUR 30 million for Central African refugees in neighbouring countries) since December 2013; whereas at the Brussels donor conference on 17 November 2016, the EU announced an additional EUR 409 million in funding to address reconstruction, peacebuilding and humanitarian needs in the Central African Republic;

O.  whereas the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has increased its activities across the eastern CAR, spreading beyond the mining areas, with attacks which have involved looting, arbitrary deprivation of liberty, destruction and confiscation of property affecting civilians, and abductions; whereas according to the LRA crisis tracker, since January 2016, 344 people, including more than 60 children, have reportedly been abducted by the LRA, with thousands of civilians also displaced in the areas where it is operating;

P.  whereas on 15 July 2014 the EU established the first multi-donor EU Trust Fund, called Bêkou and dedicated to the CAR, which contributes to the stabilisation and reconstruction of the country;

Q.  whereas the overall security situation has improved since 2013, in particular in Bangui, but remains fragile, with outbreaks of violence increasing again during recent months; whereas crimes such as murder, torture, sexual violence, theft, abduction, destruction of property and illegal trade and possession of weapons continue throughout the country;

R.  whereas owing to funding constraints, the World Food Programme announced that it would need to make additional cuts to the food it can provide and that by February 2017 distribution could be suspended altogether;

S.  whereas illicit trade and extraction of diamonds and timber fuel the conflict by contributing to the financing of armed groups;

T.  whereas the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) has worked continuously since 2003 to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and peace in the CAR, and continues working in the current post-crisis reconstruction context; whereas the work of the OIF is crucial in strengthening the capacities of the Central African institutions, providing technical support for the implementation of the Special Criminal Court, supporting the establishment of a National Commission on Human Rights, supporting the strengthening of the administrative and legal framework for elections, providing technical support for the implementation of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration and security sector reform (DDR-SSR) programmes, and providing technical support for the Special Criminal Court through the mobilisation of French-speaking magistrates;

1.  Welcomes the efforts undertaken by President Touadéra and his government to foster peace and reconciliation in the Central African Republic, against the background of decades of underdevelopment and fragility and several years of armed conflict; calls on the government of the CAR to further intensify these efforts, in particular concerning dialogue with the armed groups, SSR and DDR, and the restoration of the judicial and penal chains in order to fight against impunity;

2.  Strongly condemns the loss of livelihood and property and the violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law, which include arbitrary killings, sexual violence, inhuman treatment and all forms of attack, as well as aggressions and provocations against the civilian population and peacekeepers; recalls that such targeted attacks may constitute a war crime under international humanitarian law; expresses its sincere condolences to the governments of Morocco and Bangladesh, the families of the victims and MINUSCA; underlines that attacks targeting peacekeepers are unacceptable and against all international norms;

3.  Considers the peaceful holding of the combined elections on 14 February 2016 in the CAR, with a significant voter turnout, as a real success for the political transition process; commends the authorities for their efforts, which have enhanced the credibility and transparency of the elections; welcomes the commitment of MINUSCA and the support provided by Operation Sangaris, which contributed substantially to ensuring that the electoral process passed off peacefully;

4.  Firmly supports the authority of the UN Secretary-General to implement the UN’s policy of transparency (zero tolerance) for allegations of SEA, and welcomes the initiatives he has undertaken thus far in the CAR; calls on the UN member states to ensure that MINUSCA’s Conduct and Discipline and Internal Oversight teams receive the necessary resources to effectively respond to SEA cases and other crimes;

5.  Underlines the paramount importance of security; stresses in this respect the necessity of reforms to transform the CAR’s armed forces into a professional, democratically controlled and ethnically representative army; welcomes the decision of the European Council of 19 April 2016 to establish a military training mission in the CAR (EUTM RCA) to contribute to the country’s defence sector reform; expects that it will help modernise, and improve the effectiveness and inclusiveness of, the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) through strategic advice to the CAR’s Ministry of Defence and the general staff, as well as education and training;

6.  Calls on the Government of the CAR to launch prompt and impartial investigations into all alleged violations of human rights and humanitarian law, appropriately prosecute those responsible – criminals and killers must be brought to justice no matter what group they belong to – and provide adequate redress for victims of violations; firmly supports the swift establishment of a Special Criminal Court (expected to be completed by mid-2017), which needs to be sustainably funded in order to ensure accountability and put an end to the current widespread impunity; welcomes the launch by the UN in December 2016 of the process of recruiting eight international judges;

7.  Deplores the fact that the CAR’s justice system, which was already weak before the civil war, has been badly undermined by continued fighting, which has resulted in many court records being destroyed and legal personnel being forced into exile; calls on the Government of the CAR, with the support of the international community, to invest significantly in its justice system, including rebuilding its courts, police force and prisons; recalls at the same time that only adherence to principles of good democratic and economic governance, following a constructive approach to dialogue in the spirit of the Bangui Forum, guarantees success;

8.  Emphasises in particular the importance of close coordination with the partners involved, in particular the CAR authorities, the European Union, the World Bank and the UN, to ensure good cooperation and complementarity in the efforts under way to restore stability in the CAR; urges that immediate action be taken to counter impunity for war and other crimes and to help rebuild the justice system, since a lack of justice has contributed to an increase in violent clashes in recent months;

9.  Deplores the fact that, owing to a lack of funding, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) runs the risk of soon needing to halt its aid to 150 000 people in the crisis-torn CAR who have been displaced by violence; notes that the food distributed by WFP represents a lifeline for these displaced people, who have lost everything, and that suspending assistance would have a dramatic impact on their lives; urges donors, in this context, to respect their commitments made to the WFP, and to prevent any further deterioration of delivery of humanitarian aid;

10.  Welcomes the scaling-up of the EU’s and Member States’ humanitarian engagement with the CAR in light of the evolving needs; calls on all international donors to support EU humanitarian funding, including the WFP, and to help those affected by the crisis in the CAR, both those inside the country and the refugees in neighbouring countries;

11.  Calls on the CAR to develop national policies and legislative frameworks that adequately protect the human rights of displaced persons, including freedom of movement; also calls on it to adopt lasting solutions for displaced persons and refugees, including voluntary, durable, safe and dignified return to their homes, and local integration or resettlement;

12.  Believes that dialogue remains the only way to ensure lasting peace in the conflict-affected regions of the CAR, and urges the government to respond concretely to the concerns of the international community in resolving the crises by adoption of a proactive approach to providing security for the local population;

13.  Calls on the Government of the CAR, supported by its international partners, to urgently implement its National Plan for Recovery and Peacebuilding, in particular by reinforcing the capacities of the national security forces, by the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of armed groups, and by combating impunity;

14.  Invites the Central African authorities to develop a nationally owned strategy to tackle the phenomena of illicit exploitation and trafficking networks affecting natural resources;

15.  Suggests that the UN create a cell within MINUSCA to fight trafficking in diamonds, timber, gold and ivory and militarised poaching;

16.  Calls on the international diamond companies to stop fuelling the conflict and human rights abuses by purchasing illicitly extracted and traded diamonds from the Central African Republic;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and the authorities of the CAR, the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary-General, the institutions of the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States, the ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly and the EU Member States.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0249.

Situation in Burundi
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European Parliament resolution of 19 January 2017 on the situation in Burundi (2017/2508(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Burundi, in particular its last two resolutions, adopted on 9 July 2015(1) and 17 December 2015(2),

–  having regard to the revised Cotonou Agreement, in particular Article 96 thereof,

–  having regard to Council Decision (EU) 2016/394 of 14 March 2016 concerning the conclusion of consultations with the Republic of Burundi under Article 96 of the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 October 2016 on the future of ACP-EU relations beyond 2020(4),

–  having regard to the resolution of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly of 9 December 2015 on the situation in Burundi,

–  having regard to the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi of 28 August 2000,

–  having regard to the Constitution of Burundi, in particular Article 96 thereof,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG),

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

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the declaration of 21 October 2016 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on behalf of the European Union on South Africa and Burundi and the International Criminal Court (ICC),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2015/1755 of 1 October 2015 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Burundi(5), and to their renewal of 29 September 2016,

–  having regard to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights resolution of 4 November 2016 on the human rights situation in the Republic of Burundi,

–  having regard to the report of 20 September 2016 of the United Nations Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB) established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-24/1,

–  having regard to the report of 17 June 2016 of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Burundi,

–  having regard to the resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on 30 September 2016 on the situation of human rights in Burundi,

–  having regard to the report of 17 May 2016 of the Delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on its fact-finding mission to Burundi of 7-13 December 2015,

–  having regard to the statement of 6 January 2017 by the EEAS spokesperson on the banning of Ligue Iteka in Burundi,

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

A.  whereas Burundi has been undergoing a dramatic political, social and economic crisis since its president, Pierre Nkurunziza, decided, in violation of the Arusha Agreement and the country’s constitution, to run for a third presidential term in April 2015; whereas President Nkurunziza recently made statements in which he did not exclude the possibility of revising the Burundian Constitution with a view to allowing him to run for a possible fourth term from 2020 onwards;

B.  whereas Burundi notified the ICC of its withdrawal from the Rome Statute and the ICC on 19 October 2016 following the decision of the ICC to open a preliminary investigation into violence and human rights abuses in the country;

C.  whereas on 15 November 2016 Ligue Iteka published a report co-written with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) entitled ‘Repression and genocidal dynamics in Burundi’, after a two-year investigation in the country, which provided an update on government repression and massive violations of human rights; whereas, a few weeks later, Ligue Iteka also published several investigative reports on the most serious crimes committed by government forces in Burundi: murders, abductions, forced disappearances, torture, rape and large-scale detentions; whereas these crimes have continued with absolute impunity; whereas by October 2016 five other rights organisations had already been banned, namely the Forum pour le renforcement de la société civile (FORSC), the Forum pour la conscience et le développement (FOCODE), Action chrétienne pour l’abolition de la torture (ACAT), Association burundaise pour la protection des droits humains et des personnes détenues (APRODH) and the Réseau des citoyens probes (RCP);

D.  whereas in November 2016 the FIDH reported more than 1 000 deaths, 8 000 people detained for political reasons, 300 to 800 missing persons, hundreds of cases of torture, hundreds of women made victims to sexual violence, thousands of arbitrary arrests, more than 310 000 people made refugees in neighbouring countries and 61 000 internally displaced persons; whereas the security situation in Burundi poses risks for the stability of the region as a whole;

E.  whereas the government has been tightening its grip on independent media and newspapers, with journalists facing forced disappearance, physical threats and attacks, or judicial harassment; whereas all independent radio stations have been suspended; whereas Reporters sans frontières ranks Burundi 156th out of 180 in their 2016 World Press Freedom Index;

F.  whereas in March 2016 the EU closed consultations under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement and suspended direct financial support to the Burundian administration, concluding that the commitments proposed by the government in terms of human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law were unsatisfactory;

G.  whereas the justice system in Burundi is deeply corrupt and, despite hundreds of people being killed and tortured since the crisis began, many of whom by the police and intelligence services, very few have been brought to justice;

H.  whereas there are fears of an ‘ethnicisation’ of the crisis by the government, and divisive rhetoric by state officials is becoming a common trend, as also mentioned by UN officials;

I.  whereas, according to reports, members of the youth league of the ruling party, the Imbonerakure, arrest, beat and steal possessions from residents, and also use rape as a weapon; whereas they focus their attacks on opposition members, especially members of the National Liberation Forces (FNL); whereas scores of opposition members and perceived opponents have been killed, detained, beaten and tortured in recent months;

J.  whereas on 29 September 2016 the Council renewed the EU’s restrictive measures against Burundi, extending them until 31 October 2017; whereas these measures consist of a travel ban and asset freeze against targeted individuals whose activities have been deemed to undermine democracy or obstruct the search for a political solution to the crisis in Burundi;

K.  whereas mediation efforts continue, with the full support of the African Union, the East African Community, the EU and the UN, in order to promote inter-Burundian dialogue with a view to finding a consensual and peaceful solution to the crisis in Burundi;

1.  Expresses its deep concern at the worsening political and security situation in Burundi; condemns the violence occurring in Burundi since 2015, which has led to death, torture, targeted violence against women, including collective rape, harassment and imprisonment of thousands of people, the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Burundians, arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions, and violations of freedom of the press and of expression, as well as the widespread impunity for such acts; calls for a thorough independent inquiry into the killings and abuses, and for the perpetrators of these acts to be brought to justice;

2.  Reminds the authorities of Burundi of their obligations to guarantee, protect and promote fundamental rights, including the civil and political rights of its citizens such as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, as provided for in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and in other international and regional human rights instruments; reminds Burundi’s Government of its international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in particular regarding respect for fundamental freedoms and the rule of law and the handling of court cases, particularly the right to a fair and impartial trial;

3.  Is deeply worried about the adoption by the National Assembly in Burundi on 23 and 28 December 2016 of two draft laws that establish tighter controls on the actions of domestic and international NGOs; highlights that on 3 January 2017 those laws led to Ligue Iteka being banned from operating in the country; urges the Burundian authorities to reconsider this decision; reaffirms the essential role of civil society and human rights activists in a democratic society; calls on the local authorities to allow them to operate freely and safely;

4.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience; calls for the EU and its Member States to redouble their efforts in supporting and protecting human rights defenders and organisations at risk in the country;

5.  Calls on the Burundian authorities to open up the media without delay, and to allow opposition leaders in exile to return to the country;

6.  Urges the Government of Burundi to resume cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council, and to grant access to OHCHR staff to places of detention; urges the Government of Burundi to respect and guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, in line with their international obligations;

7.  Firmly supports the democratic principles and values, human rights and the rule of law as essential elements of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement and the principles set out in the Arusha Agreement; urges all parties to establish the necessary conditions for rebuilding trust and fostering national unity through an inclusive and transparent national dialogue, including the government, opposition parties and civil society representatives in accordance with the Arusha Agreement and the Burundian Constitution;

8.  Notes with deep concerns that Burundi has formalised its withdrawal from the Rome Statute; recalls that the ICC is a key institution that assists citizens in achieving justice when confronted with the most serious crimes, in instances where it is not possible at national level;

9.  Calls on the UN Security Council and the ICC to quickly open a full investigation into alleged human rights violations in Burundi, including the danger of genocide within its jurisdiction, committed during the recent crisis in the country;

10.  Condemns the adoption of a new law on the creation of a national volunteer corps that would legalise the activities of the violent youth militia ‘Imbonerakure’, widely accused by international human rights organisations and the UN of grave human rights abuses and of operating in a climate of impunity; calls for the immediate disarmament of the militia;

11.  Supports the decision by the Council, after the failure of the discussions launched under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, to suspended direct financial support to the Burundian administration, including budgetary support, while maintaining full financial support for the population and humanitarian aid through direct channels;

12.  Welcomes the targeted sanctions adopted by the EU on 1 October 2015, consistent with the decision taken by the African Union to impose targeted sanctions, including travel restrictions and asset freezes against Burundians responsible for human rights violations and those who obstruct efforts to achieve a political solution to the crisis; calls for the EU to extend such sanctions to all persons whose actions represent a threat to peace and stability in the region, inciting hate and violating the Arusha Agreement;

13.  Expresses concern that the political crises could lead to an ethnic conflict; condemns the listing of people in the Burundian administration and army by their ethnicities; urges all parties to respect the Arusha Agreement;

14.  Welcomes the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Burundi, established in November 2016 to investigate human rights violations and abuses in Burundi since April 2015; urges the Burundi authorities to cooperate fully with the members of the Commission of Inquiry;

15.  Supports the UN Security Council resolution of July 2016 authorising the deployment of a UN police force in Burundi with a view to reducing violence and human rights abuses in the country; urges the African Union’s Peace and Security Council to urgently send a delegation to Bujumbura to meet with President Nkurunziza and pressure him to put a stop to abuses by the security forces;

16.  Calls for the African Union, the UN and the EU to seriously consider the regional dimension and to prevent any further destabilisation in the region; urges the VP/HR to engage with Burundi’s authorities and all other relevant stakeholders and to support, renew and enhance the credibility of the regional mediation efforts by the East-African Community to find a durable solution to the crisis which respects the constitution, the Arusha Agreement and international human rights law through an open and inclusive dialogue;

17.  Is deeply concerned about the growing flow of refugees to neighbouring countries and the alarming humanitarian situation in Burundi; reiterates its support to, and solidarity with, all humanitarian organisations operating on the ground, as well as the neighbouring host countries; further calls for the EU to step up its assistance in the region;

18.  Expresses strong concerns about President Nkurunziza’s announcement of 30 December 2016 that he might run again for a fourth presidential term in 2020;

19.  Is particularly concerned by the dramatic levels of discrimination against, and criminalisation of, LGBTI people in Burundi; calls therefore on the National Assembly and the Government of Burundi to repeal the articles of the penal code which discriminate against LGBTI people;

20.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Burundi, the ACP-EU Council, the Commission, the Council, the East African Community and the governments of its member states, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the institutions of the African Union and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0275.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0474.
(3) OJ L 73, 18.3.2016, p. 90.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0371.
(5) OJ L 257, 2.10.2015, p. 1.

EU-Kosovo Stabilisation and Association Agreement: procedures for its application ***I
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 19 January 2017 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain procedures for applying the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and Kosovo(1) of the other part (COM(2016)0460 – C8-0327/2016 – 2016/0218(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0460),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0327/2016),

–  having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Foreign Affairs,

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 12 December 2016 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0361/2016),

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

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 19 January 2017 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2017/... of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain procedures for applying the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and Kosovo(2) of the other part


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2017/355.)

(1)* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244(1999) and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
(2)*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244(1999) and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

Imports of textile products from certain third countries not covered by specific Union import rules ***I
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 19 January 2017 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2015/936 of the European Parliament and of the Council on common rules for imports of textile products from certain third countries not covered by bilateral agreements, protocols or other arrangements, or by other specific Union import rules (COM(2016)0044 – C8-0022/2016 – 2016/0029(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0044),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 207(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0022/2016),

–  having regard to Article 294(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 8 December 2016 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0311/2016),

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

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it intends to amend its proposal substantially or replace it with another text;

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 19 January 2017 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2017/... of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2015/936 on common rules for imports of textile products from certain third countries not covered by bilateral agreements, protocols or other arrangements, or by other specific Union import rules


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2017/354.)

Conclusion of the Agreement continuing the International Science and Technology Center ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 19 January 2017 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement continuing the International Science and Technology Center (08558/2016 – C8-0214/2016 – 2016/0120(NLE))


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (08558/2016),

–  having regard to the draft Agreement continuing the International Science and Technology Center (12681/2015),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Articles 31(1) and 37 of the Treaty on European Union and Articles 180 and 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0214/2016),

–  having regard to Rule 99(1) and (4) and Rule 108(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0363/2016),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the Agreement;

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

Objection to a delegated act: Identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies
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European Parliament resolution of 19 January 2017 on the Commission delegated regulation of 24 November 2016 amending Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1675 supplementing Directive (EU) 2015/849 by identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies (C(2016)07495 – 2016/3007(DEA))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission delegated regulation (C(2016)07495),

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

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, amending Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directive 2006/70/EC(1), in particular Articles 9(2) and 64(5) thereof,

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1675 of 14 July 2016 supplementing Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council by identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies(2), in particular the Annex thereto,

–  having regard to the joint letter of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of 19 September 2016 regarding Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1675 and the relevant response of Commissioner Jourová of 26 October 2016,

–  having regard to the work performed and conclusions reached so far by the Parliament’s two Special Committees, Committee on Tax Rulings and Other Measures Similar in Nature or Effect and the Inquiry Committee on Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on Commission proposal COM(2016)0450, in particular paragraph 3.8 thereof on the list of high-risk third countries,

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution by the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,

–  having regard to Rule 105(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the delegated regulation, its annex and the amending delegated regulation are meant to identify high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies as regards anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing (AML/CTF), which represent a threat for the EU financial system and for which enhanced customer due diligence measures are necessary at EU obliged entities under Directive (EU) 2015/849 (4AMLD);

B.  whereas the most recent Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1675 supplementing Directive (EU) 2015/849 by identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies has been in force since 23 September 2016;

C.  whereas Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1675 will still remain in force even if the amending delegated regulation is rejected;

D.  whereas the list of countries, including after the amendment introduced in the amending delegated regulation adopted by the Commission on 24 November 2016, matches those identified by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at their 28th plenary meeting from 19 to 21 October 2016;

E.  whereas, as stipulated in Recital 28 of 4AMLD and repeated in the explanatory memorandum (C(2016)4180) to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1675, the Commission assessment is an autonomous process; whereas the Commission is thus free to move beyond FATF standards, either by keeping a third country on its list even if delisted by FATF, or by including additional third countries as long as this is in line with the specific criteria set out in Article 9(2) of 4AMLD;

F.  whereas the Commission assessment is an autonomous process which has to be carried out in a comprehensive and unbiased manner, assessing all third countries based on the same criteria defined in Article 9 of Directive (EU) 2015/849;

G.  whereas the Commission assessment must be a fully independent and non-politicised process;

H.  whereas the Commission, in its letter of 26 October 2016, states that it has to identify high-risk countries exclusively on the grounds listed in Article 9(2) of 4AMLD, only relating to AML and CTF deficiencies;

I.  whereas the evidence gathered by the Parliament’s two Special Committees, Committee on Tax Rulings and Other Measures Similar in Nature or Effect and the Inquiry Committee on Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion indicates that there may indeed be AML/CTF deficiencies as regards several aspects of Article 9(2) in some countries not included in the present list of high-risk third countries;

J.  whereas, in addition, Parliament believes that the list of criteria in Article 9(2) of 4AMLD is non-exhaustive (‘in particular’) and that predicate offences to money laundering, such as tax crimes, fall under these criteria and should be duly taken into account in the autonomous process of the Commission;

K.  whereas Parliament agrees with the point made by the Commission in its letter of 26 October 2016 that tax evasion and money laundering do not indeed always coincide, but disagrees fundamentally with the possibility of an absolute distinction between non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and AML and CTF deficiencies, in particular when it comes to requirements to report suspicious transactions;

L.  whereas Parliament expects the Commission to conduct its own assessment and to avoid relying solely on external information sources;

1.  Objects to the Commission delegated regulation;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and to notify it that the delegated regulation cannot enter into force;

3.  Calls on the Commission to submit a new delegated act which takes account of the concerns set out above;

4.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 141, 5.6.2015, p. 73.
(2) OJ L 254, 20.9.2016, p. 1.

Logistics in the EU and multimodal transport in the new TEN-T corridors
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European Parliament resolution of 19 January 2017 on logistics in the EU and multimodal transport in the new TEN-T corridors (2015/2348(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 September 2015 on the implementation of the 2011 White Paper on Transport: taking stock and the way forward towards sustainable mobility(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 December 2015 on sustainable urban mobility(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 September 2008 on freight transport in Europe(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 September 2007 on freight transport logistics in Europe – the key to sustainable mobility(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013(5) and Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 913/2010(7),

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

–  having regard to the Commission’s communication entitled ‘Accelerating Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy’ (COM(2016)0500),

–  having regard to the Commission’s communication entitled ‘A European strategy for low‑emission mobility’ (COM(2016)0501),

–  having regard to the Commission’s communication entitled ‘Strengthening European Investment for jobs and growth: towards a second phase of the European Fund for Strategic Investments and a new European External Investment Plan’ (COM(2016)0581),

–  having regard to the Commission’s communication of 16 February 2016 entitled ‘An EU strategy for liquefied natural gas and gas storage’ (COM(2016)0049),

–  having regard to the Rotterdam Ministerial Declaration of 20 June 2016 on Implementing the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T)(8),

–  having regard to the issue papers prepared by the European Coordinators on the TEN‑T corridors for the 2016 Rotterdam TEN-T days(9),

–  having regard to the Corridor Work Plans, drawn up by the European TEN-T Coordinators,

–  having regard to Court of Auditors Special Report No 08/2016: Rail freight transport in the EU: still not on the right track(10),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0384/2016),

A.  whereas modern efficient transport and logistics are essential for the effective functioning of the EU’s internal market and important for ensuring competitiveness, creating new business and employment opportunities, protecting the environment and mitigating climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions in transport;

B.  whereas the third goal of the Commission’s White Paper on Transport aims to shift 30 % of road freight over 300 km to more sustainable modes such as rail and waterborne transport by 2030, and more than 50 % by 2050, requiring also the development of appropriate infrastructure; whereas the European transport policy and TEN-T can make an important contribution to achieving the Union’s climate goals and the objectives of the COP 21 Paris Agreement;

C.  whereas a forward-looking EU logistics policy should strive to help the logistics sector maintain its global competitiveness and contribution to the growth of the EU economy in the light of evolving economic, societal and technological trends and trade links worldwide;

D.  whereas the TEN-T policy aims at enabling efficient, smart and sustainable transport, and whereas future-oriented logistics and multimodal transport solutions call in a particular way for cross-sectorial cooperation;

E.  whereas multimodal transport links between ports, airports, multimodal platforms and the core TEN-T corridors and other sections should be prioritised to drive forward the EU’s economy and job creation;

F.  whereas the TEN-T core corridors stimulate synergies through strengthened emphasis on terminals and urban nodes as well as through the integration of intelligent and clean fuel transport systems, and whereas the complementarity access function of the comprehensive network is also vital;

G.  whereas there are still considerable differences between the Member States in the levels of transport efficiency and effectiveness, as they are a reflection of their economic strength, the role of industry in the countries, and their geographic conditions, infrastructure quality and population density;

H.  whereas transport drones present new possibilities for transporting goods in the logistics chain, but whereas, in order to fulfil their potential, a harmonised legal basis and seamless coordination with traditional modes of transport are necessary to guarantee European competitiveness in the future;

I.  whereas the current level of implementation of the priority corridors agreed in the European transport network could considerably benefit the economies of countries that have been severely affected by the economic crisis;

J.  whereas problems have been identified in freight transport linked to differing voltages in cross-border connections;

K.  whereas transport regulation is currently tied to the mode of transport and falls under the remit of different international bodies (such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) or the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO));

EU logistics and the need for additional measures in the TEN-T programme

1.  Highlights the importance of ensuring free movement of persons, goods and services, including by an efficient and sustainable freight transport system, for the development of the internal market, prosperity and the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the EU;

2.  Considers that a seamless EU infrastructure system will only deliver its benefits to the logistics sector, and thereby also to regional development and growth, if implemented and consistent with EU legislation and with the TEN-T policy already adopted; urges the Member States to transpose legislation correctly into national law without hampering the free exchange of goods; calls on the Member States to increase their efforts to apply and abide by European legislation and to refrain from introducing new barriers; urges the Commission to bring to the Court of Justice Member States that delay or alter the implementation of EU law, and to boost the action of all other relevant actors in order to avoid such delays or alterations;

3.  Is concerned about the negative impact on the logistics sector, and thereby also on regional development and growth, of closures of internal borders in connection with the humanitarian and migrant crisis and the terrorist threat in the European Union; calls on the Member States and the Commission to prevent collateral damage on freight flows as much as possible when proposing such measures; calls on the Commission to take disciplinary action against Member States that impede free movement by deliberately preventing freight flows;

4.  Underlines that logistics plays a key role, not sufficiently recognised, in ensuring efficient and sustainable freight transport operations in the EU; highlights the need to formulate a renewed EU strategy for freight logistics,

   taking account of the new TEN-T infrastructure policy,
   aiming to further reduce regulatory, operational and technical barriers,
   designed to ensure optimal use of resources,
   aimed at applying and implementing new technologies and innovative solutions that will strengthen the sector’s performance and accelerate the shift towards a secure and low-carbon transport system,
   aiming to increase connectivity and develop infrastructure in areas where it is missing,
   promoting and supporting the European rail supply industry as well as boosting a European rail reindustrialisation policy, with the win-win perspective of making EU logistics more sustainable and obtaining a better competition position for rail products on the global market,
   taking into account from the outset drones as a future mode of transport,
   promoting continued development of academic research and education n the area transport and logistics, and
   presenting an independent scientific study detailing the extent to which road freight could be transferred to rail and inland waterways by 2030 and by 2050, the costs associated with this, and the extent to which environmental damage such as noise and air pollution can be avoided;

5.  Stresses that the implementation of the TEN-T network, with particular emphasis on cross-border connections and within the time-frames laid down and completed by 2030, will reduce bottlenecks, improve interoperability between the various modes of transport and contribute to delivering integrated multimodal freight transport in the EU; recalls that national planning of the comprehensive network, in line with the core network, needs to be put in place in order to integrate it with national, regional and local infrastructures, which should be completed by 2050 at the latest;

6.  Welcomes the strengthened emphasis, within the core network corridor approach, to enhance the quality of transport nodes and of their last-mile connections, to identify and overcome interoperability barriers, to enhance and innovate ICT solutions and to close any other gap (physical, technical or organisational) that may hamper seamless freight logistics services;

7.  Recalls, in this context, the importance of urban nodes – where a large part of transport modes (ports, airports logistics, hubs, terminals, etc.) are located and where transhipments and last-mile distributions take place – as they are key to the whole logistic chains, requiring greater attention if seamless city logistics are to be ensured; stresses the importance of investments in these urban nodes, as well as of the promotion of rail connections with industrial plants and improved interconnectivity of rail with seaports, inland ports and hinterland hubs; asks the Commission to prioritise these investments in the 2017 review of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF);

8.  Notes that a lack of efficient harmonisation and on-time implementation on the part of Member States, and of fair political cooperation between neighbouring Member States, may hamper cross-border projects; welcomes the increasing interest of the EU institutions to support cross-border infrastructure and facilities, particularly railway cross-border regional links of significant importance and EU added value; stresses that missing links in rail infrastructure in cross-border regions should be tackled in order to allow efficient and successful rail transport; calls on the Commission, the European Coordinators and the other stakeholders involved to pay equal importance to small-scale and larger TEN-T projects and to short-, medium- and long-term benefits that may be generated through such projects; encourages actors to boost short-term wins; encourages the Commission to facilitate and ensure their inclusion in the CEF financing;

9.  Considers that while the comprehensive network is mainly a responsibility of the Member States, in order not to exclude connectivity of certain areas of the EU, both layers of the TEN-T are crucial to EU logistics, bringing capillarity to the core network, and performing last-mile distribution; takes the view that regional networks should not be left outside the European perspective, including in terms of financing and regulatory measures, in particular those measures pertaining to access to the railway network, slot allocation and charges; stresses that missing links in rail infrastructure in cross-border regions should be tackled in order to allow efficient and successful cross-border rail transport;

10.  Points out the key role of multimodality in freight logistics, and calls, therefore, for increased involvement of multimodal platforms in Member States’ planning and in the further development of routes;

11.  Notes that the distribution of a large number of nodes and freight traffic in the TEN-T network follows highly populated areas and dense networks, including cross-border zones that share capacity with passenger traffic; considers it necessary to optimise how freight infrastructure should be shaped in the TEN-T, in particular in highly congested areas, in an effort to include innovative urban logistic strategies; calls on the Commission, in coordination with the European Coordinators, to assess progress in the implementation of the projects and to urge Member States to deliver; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to reassess the methodology and criteria for establishing freight networks and to ensure, in particular, that investments are made in alternative freight routes with less congested nodes, terminals, airports and ports, also taking into consideration environmental protection and noise reduction;

12.  Regrets that Member States’ national infrastructure plans are too often decided without reference to the TEN-T objectives; urges the Commission to examine the reasons for such lack of cooperation and to increase the coordination between the two levels of planning, and suggests adding to the European Semester a chapter on supervising its coherence and clear effectiveness, with appropriate corrective measures; calls on the Commission to prioritise Member State projects that are in line with the TEN-T and that concentrate efforts on those with greater European added value, and to monitor cross-border transport projects; urges the Member States to decide on their national infrastructure plans in accordance with the TEN-T objectives;

13.  Notes that Member States experiencing economic and budgetary difficulties are unable to co-finance freight projects as a result of a strict interpretation of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP); advocates the optimal use of the public and private funding schemes, also in the light of blending the CEF and Horizon 2020 with the European Fund for Strategic Investments and other financial instruments; takes the view that projects carried out as part of the CEF should not be taken into account in calculations of public debt; calls on the Commission to produce a study on whether such a measure would be a suitable means to noticeably increase investments in freight infrastructure;

14.  Considers that an efficient EU logistics system requires further coordination beyond physical connectivity and an operational TEN-T network; calls on the Commission to make logistics an integral part of the Core Network Corridors, to increase its coordination with national, regional and local authorities and, in this context, to focus as well on the interconnectivity between the different corridors and regional and urban freight transport networks; calls on the Commission to strengthen the sphere of action of the TEN-T European coordinators to look beyond the geographical scope of the corridors under their respective responsibility, and to cover horizontal policy issues such as multi-modality and efficient freight logistics; calls on the Commission to evaluate this work on logistics and multimodality in the corridors every two years;

15.  Consider that poor maintenance of the network can affect the sustainability and performance of TEN-T infrastructure; stresses that transport infrastructure needs not only to be renovated and modernised, but also to be regularly maintained; notes with concern that persistent lack of attention by infrastructure managers and Members States to maintenance is reducing the competitiveness of lines (speed restrictions, reliability, safety), in particular in the case of rail, leading sometimes to closure of lines; calls on the Commission and the Member States, together with the EIB, to study new funding schemes to facilitate investments in maintenance of the network;

16.  Asks the Commission to report back regularly to Parliament on the conclusions and measures taken in the Digital Transport and Logistics Forum in order to further support digitalisation of freight transport and logistics; calls for this forum to be continued as long as it remains useful;

17.  Stresses the need to guarantee that planned infrastructure meets the effective needs for sustainable logistics, and that it will not be an unsustainable burden on the environment; stresses, in this regard, that the protection of biodiversity and the achievement of EU conservation objectives should be much better integrated into TEN-T planning and implementation;

Improved simplification and a new framework for digitalisation 

18.  Stresses the urgency of greater simplification of documents and administrative and customs procedures across all modes and across the different stages in logistics chains; calls on the Commission and the Member States, under the ‘better regulation’ agreement, to analyse redundant EU legislation on transport and mobility, to monitor national, regional and local rules that could be in contradiction with EU law and, where such instances are found, to harmonise these rules with EU legislation as soon as possible; calls for a yearly progress report by the Commission on this sector;

19.  Urges the Commission to propose, by the end of 2017, a digital framework for electronic information exchange and transport management in multimodal transport (e-freight) with a view to facilitating a simplified, paperless, seamless, transparent, secured and trusted information flow between businesses, customers and authorities, building on established services (such as SafeSeaNet, RFD, e-Manifest, RIS, TAF, ITS); calls on the Commission to ensure a harmonised application of e-transport documents, anti-fraud systems and cyber-security;

20.  Calls on the Member States to accept electronic transport documents in general, and to ratify and apply the e-CMR protocol without delay;

21.  Underlines the importance of innovation in the use of new technologies, such as digitalisation (e.g. digital freight letters), access to data and data exchange, while maintaining a high level of cyber security and data protection, enabling more efficient transport and logistics solutions, provided interoperability and equal and non-discriminatory access are ensured; calls on the Commission to put forward proposals to ensure the integration, accessibility and protection of data underpinning logistics and freight transport;

22.  Calls, with a view to ensuring non-discriminatory treatment in the digital exchange of information, on the Commission and the Member States to develop a system of investment to provide initial IT training and ongoing refresher training on the platforms used for data exchange;

23.  Stresses the role that research and innovation can play in developing environmentally sustainable and digitised logistics and in ensuring greater interoperability and interconnectivity of IT systems and services;

24.  Highlights the need to further develop information and communication systems, fully deploying the potential of European satellite navigation systems Galileo and EGNOS and related traffic management and information systems in all transport modes and logistics, providing access to all available financial tools to encourage private investment;

25.  Calls on the Member States to ensure swift administrative procedures aimed at speeding up the implementation of TEN-T corridors; asks the Commission to ensure that the rules on SGP, State Aid and financial markets do not hinder investments;

Shaping and investing in the European Transport System with logistics as a focal point

26.  Underlines the need to ensure enough EU funding for the implementation of the TEN-T beyond the present MFF; expects the Commission to present the CEF mid-term review in 2017, proposing a streamlining of measures and resources for the implementation of the priority projects in good time; insists on the ‘use it or lose it’ principle, whereby unspent CEF funds are made available for upcoming calls for proposals; urges the Commission to assess a proposal for a specific call on logistics in 2017, including multimodal transport and freight as well as cargo solutions in urban nodes, including innovative and alternative transport (i.e. drones, cargo vehicles running on alternative fuels, biking, etc.);

27.  Calls on the Commission to urge Member States to make the requisite investments in order to finalise the connections of the EU’s core corridors;

28.  Recalls the importance of urban nodes in the whole logistic chain where an important part of transhipments and last-mile distribution takes place; invites the Member States, the Commission and project promoters to put a focus in TEN-T core network corridors on the coordinated development of projects that promote multi-modality in freight logistics, in particular terminal hubs, logistic platforms and urban nodes, based on actual and future transport demand and properly prioritised as regards local, cross-border and corridor-wide impact;

29.  Considers that reliability, frequency, flexibility, customer orientation, transport time and price are the main factors taken into account by shippers when choosing between the different methods of transport available;

30.  Considers that an efficient logistics system must also be oriented towards future technologies that provide fast, environment-friendly and efficient modes of freight transport; highlights the potential and growing role of automation and autonomation transport for logistics, including automated vehicles, drones and remotely controlled robots;

31.  Calls on the Commission to take fully into consideration automation and its impact in its logistic strategy, ensuring its smooth and efficient integration into the TEN-T, and to support research on, and investment in, the development of these key technologies;

32.  Stresses the potential of automated, autonomous transport as well as of remote controlled aircrafts (drones) for logistics; calls for measures to ensure, when deploying ITS systems in the network, that automated vehicles and systems interact smoothly with conventional vehicles and vulnerable users; is of the opinion that the future development and widespread use of remotely controlled robots and aircraft systems (drones) foresees new, fast, environment-friendly and efficient modes of freight transport; calls on the Commission to devise a new strategy that guarantees that drones can be integrated into the TEN-T programme efficiently, and to produce a guidebook on the matter for the Member States;

33.  Calls on the Commission to take account of the impact that the spread of just-in-time practices is having on the environment, owing to the fact that they increase vehicle traffic;

34.  Stresses the need, not least in view of the gradual move towards a circular economy, to integrate outbound and reverse logistics operations with a view to reducing overall vehicle movement volumes;

Urgent and more efficient integration of transport modes

35.  Stresses the need to concentrate major efforts on the revitalisation of railways and on the strengthening of inland waterways (IWW) as a priority for the EU’s sustainable transport strategy; recognises that railways, in particular, have been losing their market share constantly since the beginning of the economic crisis, and believes, therefore, that the Member States and the Commission should propose new and non-discriminatory initiatives aimed at supporting the development of this sector across Europe;

36.  Calls on the Commission to make rail freight services more competitive by means of fully interoperable and interconnected rail networks and by guaranteeing equal access to companies, and to do the same for inland waterway, sea-river, maritime and air transport, enabling each mode to operate on equal terms, and urges it to promote multimodal and intermodal transport;

37.  Regards the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) as a successful European project for the promotion of freight in the rail sector, and welcomes the efforts to accelerate its deployment by establishing milestones per corridor; is aware of the constraints that affect funding of multinational, multi-level (ERTMS) projects; invites the Commission and the European Investment Advisory Hub to come forward with specific funding solutions to ease access to European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) funding for ERTMS deployment in favour of both infrastructure and locomotive installations;

38.  Considers that interoperability obstacles and constraints will be significantly reduced through the application by all Member States of the Interoperability Directive; underlines that, in addition, soft measures such as interoperable rolling stock (low wagons, multi-gauge locomotives, etc.) can also contribute to alleviating interoperability restrictions; urges Shift2Rail to analyse the EU market, as well as future developments, and to incentivise the availability of soft, multi-operable infrastructure and rolling stock solutions to support multimodal and combined transport;

39.  Points out the need to strengthen combined transport and modernise current EU rules, including those governing intra-Community cabotage and transport documents, so that they are clear, comprehensible and can be implemented by the authorities; welcomes the Commission’s commitment to review Council Directive 92/106/EEC, and urges it to submit the revision without delay;

40.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, without compromising overall safety, to introduce stronger and more effective measures and incentives to encourage rail companies to tackle freight-rail noise, given the adverse health effects of noise pollution, especially as nearly seven million people in the EU are exposed to rail noise levels above the excess exposure threshold, particularly in urban areas; calls, in this regard, on the Commission to introduce freight-rail noise emissions limits;

41.  Considers that the shift to rail and water transport should be incentivised, as they reduce congestion and are less polluting than road traffic;

42.  Notes that inland waterways must play an increasing role in serving seaports as logistics centres, in particular by moving goods to hinterland and linking the European seas;

43.  Welcomes the Commission’s first steps to introduce fuel standards for heavy commercial vehicles (HCVs) and CO2 limits as well as a GHG reduction target for the road freight sector on the basis of the Paris Agreements; is of the opinion that measures that require a revision of the infrastructure and operational standards of the TEN-T network should only be considered when alternatives such as reducing ‘empty returns’, better use and availability of alternative fuels, better logistics and powertrains, could not achieve greater efficiency gains with less impact on the infrastructure and the environment;

44.  Asks the Commission to assess the feasibility of establishing a single standard method for measuring greenhouse gas emissions along the entire supply chain for all modal transport solutions;

45.  Calls on the Commission to foster the development of electric and alternative-powered modes of transport and the necessary infrastructure along the whole TEN-T network, and, especially in town centres, to foster the development of innovative transport schemes involving, for example, the use of electric vehicles and renewable energy sources, and the development of alternative fuels and the necessary infrastructure; stresses that the use of electric light-duty commercial vehicles in last-mile logistics reduces CO2 emissions in general, as well as local pollutant and noise emissions in particular, and thereby makes a positive contribution to urban air quality; stresses, therefore, the need for charging infrastructure at logistics hubs;

46.  Considers that further measures are needed to make road transport more efficient and environmentally friendly in the logistics chain; proposes easing traffic restrictions and ensuring continuity and fully efficient logistics in the core network corridors for HCVs running on clean alternative fuels compliant with the highest emissions, noise, safety and social standards; insists that the core network corridors be extensively provided with, at least, alternative filling stations and safe truck parking areas, including the requisite facilities allowing professional drivers to spend their rest times in decent conditions;

47.  Considers that the uptake of cleaner propulsion systems in freight transport should be reinforced by a coordinated and urgent deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure in TEN-T corridors, in line with EU legislation;

48.  Stresses the importance of improving the provision of, and access to information on, EU multimodal and logistics services, in particular to SMEs that have limited access to this information; calls on the Commission, in cooperation with network operators and Member States, to facilitate the exchange of current agreements, tools, conventions, legislation and best practices on multimodal transport in the EU, and to provide a handbook, to be available on the internet, to support economic operators;

49.  Notes that the digitalisation of services has a role to play in encouraging more environmentally friendly transport solutions; calls, therefore, on the Commission to facilitate, also through a coherent legislative approach at EU level, the access to and sharing of data concerning traffic flows along the corridors and the use of multimodal transport, especially for SMEs, and to secure greater involvement of local operators and public authorities in this sector, in order to improve supply-chain management and make more efficient use of resources and infrastructure, including by pooling best practices; underlines that access to such traffic flow data by actors such as digital map and navigation service providers is fundamental to enabling intermodal transport, more efficient routing, automated driving and intelligent transport systems, as well as ‘platooning’ (grouping various vehicles) in road freight transport, this latter allowing better use of slipstreaming and thereby reducing emissions and increasing the capacity of roads;

50.  Recommends that the fitting of alcohol interlocks – with a small, scientifically based range of tolerance for measurement – to all new types of goods transport vehicles be made compulsory;

Better training and job conditions to attract new professionals

51.  Notes that the working and living conditions of the workforce in the logistic chain have deteriorated substantially in the past years, making this sector less attractive for new generations, in particular for mobile workers;

52.  Notes with concern that the logistics sector is facing a workforce shortage, that technological development will create further challenges in the coming years and that slow adaptation of the workforce to new technologies, including digital technologies, could undermine the sector’s performance; calls on the Commission to identify training and learning needs at EU level, as well as to identify the working conditions, costs and barriers that discourage the workforce from entering the transport sector, and to propose, as a matter of urgency, measures to make it more attractive to young people and to future generations; regards this as an opportunity to increase the proportion of women, including through positive discrimination measures, and of new entrants on the transport labour market, including nationals from third countries; believes, furthermore, that strategic investment in training and better work conditions should include initiatives for knowledge development within the public sector, in order to include freight issues in a better manner in social planning, and the development of demonstration and test arenas, where research and innovation related to freight and logistics can be applied and tested under real conditions;

53.  Calls on the Commission to evaluate the possibility of financial investment in dual and vocational training in the transport sector;

54.  Urges Commission and the Member States to provide sufficient and safe parking space in the TENT-t corridors to avoid increasing security issues with mobile transport workers;

55.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take into consideration Parliament’s recent recommendations on social-economic aspects in the transport sector and on combating unfair practices in the labour market; notes that legislation concerning social and working conditions must respect all fundamental freedoms of the EU and may not restrict fair competition or create any further administrative burden;

Better statistical information on logistics needed

56.  Underlines the need for better intermodal transport and performance statistics for the logistics sector in order to facilitate forecast and review of policy and investment measures, as well as to provide valuable information for operators; calls on the Commission to work with stakeholders to develop an EU-wide framework for multimodal transport and logistics statistical data, including developing new indicators that better reflect real freight trends;

o   o

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0310.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0423.
(3) OJ C 295 E, 4.12.2009, p. 79.
(4) OJ C 187 E, 24.7.2008, p. 154.
(5) OJ L 348, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 348, 20.12.2013, p. 129.
(7) OJ L 276, 20.10.2010, p. 22.

A European Pillar of Social Rights
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European Parliament resolution of 19 January 2017 on a European Pillar of Social Rights (2016/2095(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard Article 9 of the TFEU, which requires the EU to promote a high level of employment, guarantee adequate social protection, fight against social exclusion and ensure a high level of education, training and protection of human health,

–  having regard to Articles 151-156 of the TFEU,

–  having regard to the Declaration of 9 May 1950, which called for ‘the equalisation and improvement of the living conditions of workers’,

–  having regard to the European Social Charter, the Additional Protocol thereto and the revised version thereof, which entered into force on 1 July 1999, in particular Part I, Part II, and Articles 2, 4, 16 and 27 of the latter, on the right of workers with family responsibilities to equal opportunities and equal treatment,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the EU in 2010,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which entered into force in 1990,

–  having regard to the Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers, adopted on 9 December 1989,

–  having regard to the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, which were adopted by the UN in 2015 and which apply to the whole world, including the EU,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010 implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC and repealing Directive 96/34/EC(1),

–  having regard to the conventions and recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe’s European Code of Social Security and the Protocol thereto, a core European minimum harmonisation instrument for social security systems, providing minimum standards and permitting the contracting parties to exceed these standards,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons,

–  having regard to the existing EU legislation, policy coordination mechanisms and financial instruments in the fields of employment, social policy, economic and monetary policy, the internal market, the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital, the European Social Fund, and economic, social and territorial cohesion,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 25-26 March 2010 and 17 June 2010, and to the Commission communication of 3 March 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

–  having regard to the Council recommendations and conclusions on Roma integration,

–  having regard to the Commission Recommendation of 3 October 2008 on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market(2),

–  having regard to the Commission Recommendation of 20 February 2013 entitled ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’(3),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 7 December 2015 on ‘The promotion of the social economy as a key driver of economic and social development in Europe’,

–  having regard to the Employment Equality Directive(4),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Maternity Leave Directive (COM(2008)0637),

–  having regard to the Written Statement Directive(5),

–  having regard to the Fixed-Term Work Directive(6),

–  having regard to the Temporary Agency Work Directive(7),

–  having regard to the Part-Time Work Directive(8),

–  having regard to the Racial Equality Directive(9),

–  having regard to the political guidelines for the Commission, entitled ‘A New Start for Europe: My Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change’ and presented by Jean-Claude Juncker on 15 July 2014,

–  having regard to the report on completing Europe’s economic and monetary union (the ‘Five Presidents’ Report’) of 22 June 2015,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 8 March 2016 launching a consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights (COM(2016)0127) and the annexes thereto,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 June 2016 entitled ‘A European agenda for the collaborative economy’ (COM(2016)0356),

–  having regard to the Commission communications on Roma integration (COM(2010)0133, COM(2011)0173, COM(2012)0226, COM(2013)0454, COM(2015)0299, COM(2016)0424),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 4 October 2016 on the Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative three years on (COM(2016)0646),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 21 March 2014 on the application of Directive 2008/104/EC on temporary agency work (COM(2014)0176),

–  having regard to the EESC Opinion of 17 September 2015 on ‘principles for effective and reliable welfare provision systems’(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2016 on the strategic priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2017(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2013 with recommendations to the Commission on information and consultation of workers, anticipation and management of restructuring(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2015 on maternity leave(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2014 on an EU homelessness strategy(14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2015 on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015(15),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 October 2015 on the application of Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation(16),

–  having regard to the European Commission’s Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality, 2016-2019,

–  having regard to the European Pact for Gender Equality (2011-2020),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 November 2015 on reducing inequalities with a special focus on child poverty(17),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2015 on the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020(18),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 April 2016 on meeting the antipoverty target in the light of increasing household costs(19),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2016 on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with special regard to the Concluding Observations of the UN CRPD Committee(20),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 September 2016 on social dumping in the European Union(21),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2016 on creating labour market conditions favourable for work-life balance(22),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 October 2016 on the need for a European reindustrialisation policy in light of the recent Caterpillar and Alstom cases(23),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 September 2015 on creating a competitive EU labour market for the 21st century: matching skills and qualifications with demand and job opportunities, as a way to recover from the crisis(24),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2016 on skills policies for fighting youth unemployment(25),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 November 2012 on a Social Investment Pact as a response to the crisis(26) and to the Commission’s Social Investment Package of 20 February 2013, including the Commission recommendation entitled ‘Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage’,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Roma(27),

–  having regard to Eurofound’s European Industrial Relation Dictionary,

–  having regard to the Eurofound report of 2014 on ‘Pay in Europe in the 21st century’,

–  having regard to the Eurofound report of 2014 on ‘Access to healthcare in time of crisis’,

–  having regard to the Eurofound report of 2015 on ‘Access to social benefits: reducing non-take-up’,

–  having regard to the Eurofound report of 2015 on ‘New forms of employment’,

–  having regard to the Eurofound report of 2016 on ‘Inadequate housing in Europe: Costs and consequences’,

–  having regard to the forthcoming 2016 Eurofound Sixth European Working Conditions Survey overview report,

–  having regard to the ILO study of 2016 on ‘Building a social pillar for European convergence’,

–  having regard to the work carried out by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), and particularly to its surveys on migrants and minorities and reports on severe labour exploitation, child protection systems and the right to independent living for people with disabilities,

–  having regard to the Court of Justice judgment in Case C-266/14 of 10 September 2015 on the organisation of working time for workers who are not assigned a fixed or habitual place of work,

–  having regard to the Court of Justice judgment in Joined Cases C-8/15 P to C-10/15 P (Ledra Advertising and others) of 20 September 2016, which strengthens the fundamental rights of citizens vis-à-vis the Commission and the European Central Bank in connection with the adoption of Memoranda of Understanding on behalf of the ESM,

–  having regard to the joint analyses by the European social partners BusinessEurope, CEEP, ETUC and UEAPME of October 2007 entitled ‘Key challenges facing European labour markets’ and of July 2015 entitled ‘In-depth employment analysis by the European social partners’,

–  having regard to the joint opinion of the Employment Committee and Social Protection Committee on the European Pillar of Social Rights, endorsed by the Council on 13 October 2016,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0391/2016),

A.  whereas the EU must respond swiftly and visibly to increasing frustration and worry among many people about uncertain life prospects, unemployment, growing inequalities and lack of opportunities, in particular for young people; whereas the public consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights conducted by the Commission until December 2016, has developed into a thorough reflection on the existing social acquis and a wide-ranging discussion among social partners, national governments and parliaments, civil society and the EU institutions on the future and structure of a European social model for the future; whereas this debate can help to draw attention to the EU’s basic values and the fact that Europe has, in a worldwide comparison, advanced labour and social standards and social protection systems; whereas the debate on the European Pillar of Social Rights and the necessary steps to be taken in the follow-up thereto can also help to place the European project on stronger foundations and improve people’s sense of ownership over the process of European integration;

B.  whereas the EU needs to develop further a European social model which is embedded in a social market economy, empowers people and enables sustainable prosperity and high productivity based on solidarity, social justice and equal opportunities, a fair distribution of wealth, intergenerational solidarity, the rule of law, non-discrimination, gender equality, universal and high-quality education systems, quality employment and sustainable job-rich and inclusive growth over the long term, in line with worldwide Sustainable Development Goals – a model that is genuinely aimed at full employment, ensures adequate social protection and quality essential services for all, combats economic inequality, empowers people in vulnerable situations, fights poverty and social exclusion, enhances participation in civil and political life, and improves living standards for all people in the EU, delivering on the objectives and rights set out in the EU Treaties, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Social Charter;

C.  whereas the Commission has committed itself to achieving a ‘social AAA rating’ for the EU and is expected to come forward in the spring of 2017 with a proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights that will promote well-functioning and inclusive labour markets and welfare systems in participating Member States and serve as a compass for renewed upward convergence by (i) updating existing EU legislation, (ii) improving the EU’s framework for economic and social policy coordination, inter alia through social benchmarking of national reform efforts without establishing inefficient parallel structures and (iii) ensuring relevant financial support at national and European levels; whereas Parliament, elected directly by European citizens, has a fundamental responsibility and a role to play in defining and adopting the European Pillar of Social Rights;

D.  whereas economic and social policies are meant to serve people, including by promoting sustainable and socially responsible economic activities on a level playing field, and whereas people are also the most important factor for the competitiveness of a company and the proper functioning of the entire economy;

E.  whereas social dialogue can contribute positively to growth, employment and competitiveness; whereas the Union is obliged to recognise and promote the role of the social partners, facilitate dialogue between them and respect their autonomy, including as regards wage-setting, the right to negotiate, conclude and enforce collective agreements and the right to take collective action in accordance with national law and practices; whereas the European Pillar of Social Rights should encourage social partners and Member States to establish standards higher than those agreed at European level; whereas the Commission consults the social partners on the possible direction of Union action in the social policy field; whereas continuous support is needed for social dialogue at all levels;

F.  whereas it is crucial that companies behave in a socially responsible way, with real regard for sustainability and the interests of society; whereas it is valuable to involve workers in decision making; whereas social economy enterprises, such as cooperatives, provide a good example in terms of creating quality employment, supporting social inclusion and promoting a participatory economy;

G.  whereas fundamental social rights apply to all people in the EU and the existing body of Union legislation regulating labour, product and service markets applies to all Member States; whereas economic integration makes Member States interdependent in terms of their capacity to ensure decent working conditions and maintain social cohesion; whereas a functioning single market requires a solid core of social rights for workers to prevent competition on the basis of labour conditions; whereas the principle of subsidiarity as defined in the Treaties justifies action at Union level by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action; whereas the achievement of the EU’s social objectives also depends on national legislation and on well-developed national social systems; whereas regional differences between wage levels and social security systems are to some extent unavoidable but care should be taken to ensure that they do not create downward pressure on working and living conditions; whereas upward social and economic convergence is very important for the proper functioning of the Union; whereas the Union does not harmonise national social security systems but coordinates them, promotes their development and facilitates efficient social security protection of people exercising their right to free movement; whereas regulatory developments need to keep pace with technological and other innovation in order to provide legal certainty and promote economic development through fair competition; whereas the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights will require multi-level action, cross-sectoral approaches and full involvement of stakeholders; whereas provisions on workers’ rest time should take into account, where applicable, a common weekly day of rest recognised by tradition and custom in the country or region;

H.  whereas European welfare states need to be updated and strengthened to support upward transitions into and within the labour market and to maintain economic security throughout people’s lives; whereas, with the labour market becoming more complex, it is natural that the welfare state also needs to adapt its mechanisms and instruments in order to manage correctly the various social risks arising; whereas this updating process should also improve people’s access to and interaction with the welfare state and facilitate the application of relevant rules, including for SMEs; whereas, however, the role of welfare states is broader than what concerns the labour market; it includes inter alia also the operation of social security systems, the fight against poverty and social exclusion and investment in education, childcare, healthcare, social services and other essential services; whereas ‘social investments’ that support people’s development from early childhood until old age have a crucial role in enabling people to participate fully in a 21st century society and economy; whereas a major effort will be needed to reach the poverty reduction and social inclusion target of the Europe 2020 Strategy; whereas housing is a pressing issue in many Member States and many households are spending a high proportion of their disposable income on housing and energy costs;

I.  whereas ILO Recommendation No 202 provides that social protection floors should comprise at least the following basic social protection guarantees: (a) access to a nationally defined set of goods and services, in particular essential health care, including maternity care, that meets the criteria of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality; (b) basic income security for children, at least at a nationally defined minimum level, providing access to nutrition, education, care and any other necessary goods and services; (c) basic income security, at least at a nationally defined minimum level, for persons in active age who are unable to earn sufficient income, in particular in cases of sickness, unemployment, maternity and disability; and (d) basic income security, at least at a nationally defined minimum level, for older persons; whereas the European Pillar of Social Rights should take this definition into account and seek to ensure that such basics of social protection are fully achieved and preferably exceeded in all Member States; whereas the European Economic and Social Committee has made a useful contribution in this respect by agreeing on principles for effective and reliable welfare systems;

J.  whereas all EU Member States face certain employment and social challenges; whereas the realisation of social rights also depends on policies and instruments supporting territorial cohesion, particularly in regions with serious and permanent natural, demographic or structural economic disadvantages, including regions with low population density and dispersed population or outermost regions; whereas greater strategic investment and support for cohesion is needed in disadvantaged regions with a view to making them more competitive, improving their socio-economic structure and preventing further demographic decline; whereas, with its present macroeconomic framework, the euro area faces specific challenges to the achievement of the employment and social objectives set out in the Treaties; whereas restoring adequate socio-economic security to offset this increased internal flexibility may require considering specific social targets, standards and/or financial instruments at the euro area level;

K.  whereas European labour markets are more often evolving towards ‘atypical’ or ‘non-standard’ forms of employment, such as temporary work, involuntary part-time work, casual work, seasonal work, on-demand work, dependent self-employment or work intermediated by digital platforms; whereas, however, permanent jobs continue to contribute most to employment expansion, growing faster than temporary employment over the past two and a half years(28); whereas demand for labour is becoming more diversified than in the past; whereas in some cases this can be beneficial for productivity, work-life balance, transitions into the labour market and second career opportunities for those who need them; whereas, however, some non-standard forms of employment involve prolonged economic insecurity and bad working conditions, notably in terms of lower and less certain incomes, lack of possibilities to defend one’s rights, lack of social and health insurance, lack of a professional identity, lack of career prospects, and difficulties in reconciling on-demand work with private and family life; whereas a dynamic labour market should ensure that everyone has the chance to use his or her skills and abilities in their working life, based inter alia on healthy and safe working conditions, active labour market policies and on updating competences over the course of a life through regular and lifelong learning; whereas relevant CJEU case law clarifies the concepts ‘employment relationship’ and ‘worker’ for the purpose of applying EU law, without prejudice to national definitions of a ‘worker’ that are established for the purposes of national law in line with the principle of subsidiarity;

L.  whereas active labour market policies, individual responsibility and participation in lifelong learning are important for labour market inclusion, even though unemployment results in most cases from a lack of open job vacancies or other circumstances beyond a person’s control;

M.  whereas people finding themselves in vulnerable situations or suffering more often from discrimination such as women, ethnic minorities, the long-term unemployed, senior citizens and people with disabilities may require additional measures to foster their participation in the labour market and to ensure decent living standards throughout their lives; whereas the EU has committed itself to building a barrier-free Europe for the estimated 80 million people with disabilities in the EU and the EU’s poverty reduction and employment targets will not be reached if people with disabilities are not fully integrated into the economy and society; whereas the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has been ratified by the EU and its principles should therefore be mainstreamed within the Pillar of Social Rights; whereas the negative impact of the crisis on access to healthcare has often come with a delay, and many people have found themselves unable to access healthcare even if services are formally covered, in particular because they cannot afford co-payments or experience waiting lists;

N.  whereas women still face many forms of discrimination in the EU and are still underrepresented in all areas of decision making;

O.  whereas gender equality is enshrined in the EU Treaties and in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and is a core EU value; whereas, nevertheless, women remain underrepresented in the labour market as a whole, with the employment rate for men standing at 75,6 % compared with 64,5 % for women, and overrepresented in part-time work and the lowest-paid sectors, in addition to receiving lower hourly wages, leading to a gender pay gap of 16 % and contributing to a pension gap of 39 %, with significant differences between Member States; whereas gender-based discrimination continues to prevail in recruitment procedures in the Member States, despite women surpassing men in educational attainment;

P.  whereas social rights, services and adequate income are gendered issues, as more women are in low-income jobs, at higher risk of poverty, and more dependent on social services, both public and private, and hold the traditional role of caregiver for both children and older members of the family and the primary responsibility for household needs, resulting overall in lower pensions for women;

Q.  whereas the 2002 Barcelona targets are far from being reached, while the Charter of Fundamental Rights states that children have a right to protection and care, and whereas this has a dramatic impact on female labour market participation, gender equality, work-life balance and female poverty;

R.  whereas Europe can go much further in developing a cluster of sectors focused on supporting people’s health, knowledge and ability to participate in the economy; whereas people-focused services such as education, healthcare, childcare, other care services as well as sport contain an important job creation potential and should not be viewed as a cost to the economy but rather as enabling factors of sustainable prosperity;

S.  whereas a strategic approach is needed to the challenges posed by the ageing and shrinking of the EU’s working-age population, notably as regards future skills shortages and mismatches in the EU labour market and projected evolution of economic dependence ratios, taking into account also third country nationals legally residing in the EU; whereas it is important to promote opportunities for professional mobility, in particular among young people, including those following vocational training through apprenticeships;

1.  Calls on the Commission to build on the review of the social acquis and of EU employment and social policies as well as on the outcomes of the 2016 public consultation by making proposals for a solid European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) that is not limited to a declaration of principles or good intentions but reinforces social rights through concrete and specific tools (legislation, policy-making mechanisms and financial instruments), delivering a positive impact on people’s lives in the short and medium term and enabling support for European construction in the 21st century by effectively upholding the Treaties’ social objectives, supporting national welfare states, strengthening cohesion, solidarity and upward convergence in economic and social outcomes, ensuring adequate social protection, reducing inequality, achieving long overdue progress in reducing poverty and social exclusion, facilitating national reform efforts through benchmarking and helping to improve the functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and of the EU’s single market;

2.  Considers that the European Pillar of Social Rights should also help to ensure proper application of international labour standards and help to update the social acquis; is of the view that standards to be articulated by the European Pillar of Social Rights should apply to all countries participating in the single market in order to maintain a level playing field and that legislation, governance mechanisms and financial instruments relevant for their achievement should apply to all EU Member States; underlines that the Pillar of Social Rights should be taken into account in EU economic policies; finds that the specific constraints of euro area membership call for additional specific social targets and standards to be established and relevant financial support to be considered at the euro area level while remaining open to non-euro area Member States on a voluntary basis; points to the possibility of using the enhanced cooperation mechanism under Article 20 of the TEU if necessary to build a solid European Pillar of Social Rights;

3.  Emphasises that the EPSR should equip people living in the EU with stronger means of keeping control over their lives, enabling them to live a dignified life and realise their aspirations by mitigating various social risks arising over the course of their entire life and empowering people to participate fully in society and be able to adapt to frequent technological and economic changes, including through up-skilling and support for entrepreneurship; underlines that the EPSR should make markets work for shared prosperity, wellbeing and sustainable development in the context of a highly competitive social market economy, aimed at full employment and social progress and making use also of an industrial policy at the EU level; considers that the Pillar should do so by promoting relevant social standards and by empowering national welfare states to maintain social cohesion and equality across the EU through adequate, accessible and financially sustainable social protection systems and social inclusion policies; emphasises that it should also facilitate free movement of workers in a deeper and fairer European labour market; highlights the fact that the EPSR should also contribute to upholding the principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination and equal opportunities through employment and social policies; recommends that the Pillar thus enable effective realisation of existing social rights and that it set out new rights where justified in view of new technological and socio-economic developments; believes that, in these ways, the Pillar will also enhance the legitimacy of the EU;

Updating existing labour and social standards

4.  Calls on the social partners and the Commission to work together to present a proposal for a framework directive on decent working conditions in all forms of employment, extending existing minimum standards to new kinds of employment relationships, based on a thorough impact assessment; considers that this framework directive should improve enforcement of EU law, increase legal certainty across the single market and prevent discrimination by complementing existing EU law and ensuring for every worker a core set of enforceable rights, regardless of the type of contract or employment relationship, including equal treatment, health and safety protection, protection during maternity leave, provisions on working time and rest time, work-life balance, access to training, in-work support for people with disabilities, adequate information, consultation and participation rights, freedom of association and representation, collective bargaining and collective action; underlines that this framework directive should apply to employees and all workers in non-standard forms of employment, without necessarily amending already existing directives; recalls that existing labour rights are applied by Member States in accordance with national and EU law; calls also for more effective and efficient implementation and control of existing labour standards in order to improve the enforceability of rights and tackle undeclared work;

Working conditions

5.  Recognises that a certain variety of employment contracts is useful for efficient matching of workers and employers; recalls, however, the risk of labour market dualism and the danger of people being trapped in insecure contracts without a tangible prospect of upward transitions; stresses the importance of open-ended employment contracts for socio-economic security and points to the benefits which such contracts provide to employers across numerous sectors; supports also promotion of social economy business models; calls on the Commission to broaden the Written Statement Directive (91/533/EEC) to cover all forms of employment and employment relationships; calls for the framework directive on decent working conditions also to include relevant existing minimum standards to be ensured in certain specific relationships, in particular:

   (a) proper learning and training content and decent working conditions for internships, traineeships and apprenticeships in order to ensure that they serve as genuine stepping stones in the transition from education to professional life, as provided for in the Council Recommendation on a Quality Framework for Traineeships, and that they are limited in time and do not replace employment for young people; remuneration should be commensurate with the work provided, the skills and experience of the person and the need to enable interns, trainees and apprentices on the labour market outside educational curricula to make ends meet;
   (b) for work intermediated by digital platforms and other instances of dependent self-employment, a clear distinction – for the purpose of EU law and without prejudice to national law – between those genuinely self-employed and those in an employment relationship, taking into account ILO Recommendation No 198, according to which the fulfilment of several indicators is sufficient to determine an employment relationship; the status and basic responsibilities of the platform, the client and the person performing the work should thus be clarified; minimum standards of collaboration rules should also be introduced with full and comprehensive information to the service provider on their rights and obligations, entitlements, associated level of social protection and the identity of employer; those employed as well as those genuinely self-employed who are engaged through online platforms should have analogous rights as in the rest of the economy and be protected through participation in social security and health insurance schemes; Member States should ensure proper surveillance of the terms and conditions of the employment relationship or service contract, preventing abuses of dominant positions by the platforms;
   (c) limits regarding on-demand work: zero-hour contracts should not be allowed, in view of the extreme uncertainty which they involve;

6.  Acknowledges the declining labour share of total income in Europe over the past decades; emphasises the need for renewed upward social convergence and the gender pay gap to be closed throughout the EU in order to boost demand, enable sustainable and inclusive growth and reduce inequalities; recognises that decent living wages are important as a means of avoiding in-work poverty; calls on the Commission to support actively wider coverage for collective agreements in line with Member States’ national traditions and practices and with due respect for the autonomy of social partners; recommends the establishment of wage floors in the form of a national minimum wage, where applicable, with due respect for the practices of each Member State and after consulting the social partners; calls on the Commission to help to exchange best practices in this regard;

7.  Recalls that the right to healthy and safe working conditions also involves protection against workplace risks as well as limitations on working time and provisions on minimum rest periods and annual leave; urges the Member States to fully implement the relevant legislation; awaits Commission proposals for concrete measures to uphold this right effectively for all workers, including seasonal and contract workers, and comprising also measures to prevent violence against women or harassment; notes that such measures should be based on an impact assessment, reflecting all current knowledge about health and safety risks and taking into account new ways of working associated with digitalisation and other technological developments;

8.  Stresses the importance of the right of collective bargaining and action as a fundamental right enshrined in EU primary law; expects the Commission to step up concrete support for strengthening and respecting social dialogue at all levels and sectors, in particular where it is not sufficiently well developed, while taking into account different national practices; recognises the benefits of involving workers in company management, including in transnational companies, and of their information, consultation and participation, also with a view to making good use of new forms of work organisation, ensuring that work is meaningful and rewarding, and anticipating economic change; calls for monitoring of the application of European legislation on European Works Councils and the information and consultation of workers and for effective measures to ensure that company restructuring takes place in a socially responsible manner;

9.  Emphasises the need for comprehensive, reliable and regularly updated data on the quality of work and employment which can be used for monitoring the quality of work and employment over time and provide evidence for policy making on the topic; calls on Eurofound to further develop its activities in monitoring job quality and working life throughout its European working conditions survey based on its concept of job quality as comprising earnings, prospects, physical environment, social environment, work intensity, skills use and discretion, working time quality; calls on Eurofound to further develop its research on policies, social partner agreements and companies practices which are supportive of better job quality and working lives;

Adequate and sustainable social protection

10.  Points out that social protection rights are individual rights; supports more integrated provision of social protection benefits and quality social services as a way to make the welfare state more understandable and accessible while not weakening social protection; underlines the need for adequate social protection and social investment throughout people’s lives, enabling everyone to participate fully in society and the economy and sustaining decent living standards; points to the importance of informing citizens about social rights and to the potential of accessible e-government solutions, possibly including a European social security card, with strong data protection guarantees, which could improve EU social security coordination and individual awareness, and also help mobile workers clarify and safeguard their contributions and entitlements in home and host countries and facilitate the work of national labour inspectorates; highlights the importance of personalised, face-to-face support, in particular for excluded and vulnerable households;

11.  Agrees with the importance of universal access to timely, good-quality and affordable preventative and curative health care and to medicines; considers this as a right that must be upheld, including in rural areas and cross-border regions; emphasises that all residents must be covered by health insurance; agrees that increased health prevention and disease prevention is an obvious social investment that pays for itself, also through healthier ageing;

12.  Is aware that rising life expectancy and a shrinking workforce pose a challenge to the sustainability and adequacy of pension systems and to intergenerational solidarity; notes that closing the gender pension gap must also be a priority in this regard; reaffirms that the best response is to increase the overall employment rate through employment models linked to full pension insurance coverage and with particular attention being given to the younger generation and those most excluded from the labour market; considers that pensionable ages should reflect, besides life expectancy, other factors to be defined at national level, among them developments in productivity, the economic dependency ratio and differences in job arduousness; recalls the importance of investments in active ageing and of arrangements enabling people who have reached their pensionable age to have the option to continue working at their desired level of intensity while being able to draw partially on their pension if they work less than full-time;

13.  Calls on the Commission to carry out a substantive analysis of the best practice to assist Member States in the calculation of minimum pensions;

14.  Recommends that all workers should be covered by insurance against unemployment or involuntary part-time employment, coupled with job-search assistance and investment in (re)-training in line with the conditions laid down by each Member State in conjunction with the social partners; recalls that adequate unemployment benefits improve the matching process and are therefore useful for productivity, while at the same time playing a key role in preventing and reducing poverty; considers that the EPSR should recommend quality benchmarks for national unemployment insurance schemes, in particular regarding their coverage, activation requirements, a link between duration of support and the average national job-search period, and the quality of support provided by job centres;

15.  Highlights the importance of adequate minimum income schemes for maintaining human dignity and combating poverty and social exclusion, as well as their role as a form of social investment in enabling people to participate in society, and to undertake training and/or look for work; invites the Commission and the Member States to assess minimum income schemes in the European Union, including whether the schemes enable households to meet their needs; invites the Commission and the Member States to evaluate on this basis the manner and the means of providing an adequate minimum income in all Member States and to consider further steps in support of social convergence across the European Union, taking into account the economic and social circumstances of each Member State, as well as national practices and traditions;

16.  Insists that the rights of people with disabilities should be mainstreamed throughout the Social Pillar with a human rights-based approach in line with the EU’s and its Member States’ obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); considers that the provisions should include at least:

   the right to decent and barrier-free work in fully inclusive, open and accessible work environments and labour markets;
   services and basic income security adapted to specific individual needs, allowing a decent standard of living and social inclusion;
   guaranteeing free movement and the transferability of services between EU Member States;
   inclusive education and training, including provisions for adequate digital literacy;
   specific provisions on protection from exploitation and forced labour of persons with disabilities, particularly among persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities or persons deprived of their legal capacity;

17.  Notes with concern that availability and affordability of long-term care remain a major problem across Europe, trapping informal family carers at home and preventing them from pursuing their careers; deplores frequent abuses of carers employed through work agencies or on an informal basis; considers access to quality and affordable long-term care services, including home-based care and independent living schemes, to be a right that should be upheld with the support of adequately qualified professionals employed under decent conditions; believes that adequate public services and assistance should therefore be put in place for households, in particularly those living on low incomes, to avoid institutionalisation and the risk of poverty; repeats its call for legislation on carers’ leave to limit the implications on remuneration and social protection entitlements when workers temporarily need to take care of relatives; calls on the Commission to set out a concrete action plan in this area, including targets on care for elderly persons, persons with disabilities and other dependants, similar to the Barcelona targets, with monitoring tools which should measure quality, accessibility and affordability; calls also for greater sharing and take-up of best practices in this area;

18.  Considers child poverty to be a major issue on which Europe should ‘act big’; stresses the right to universal education, health and social security systems as basic conditions for combating poverty, in particular among children; bearing in mind this objective, calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure the swift implementation of the 2013 recommendation on ‘Investing in children – breaking the cycle of disadvantage’, and for concrete steps to be taken towards a child guarantee in all Member States, so that every child now living at risk of poverty has access to free healthcare, free education, free childcare, decent housing and proper nutrition; points to the necessary connection with programmes offering support and opportunities for parents to come out of social exclusion situations and to integrate the labour market; recognises that these policies require adequate financing at national level and support from the European Structural and Investment Funds;

19.  Calls on the Member States to deliver on the right to adequate housing by ensuring access to quality and affordable housing of adequate size for all, and to prevent and reduce homelessness with a view to its gradual elimination; urges them to enact legislation and/or other measures as needed in order to ensure that access to social housing or adequate housing benefits are provided for those in need, obviously including homeless people and families, and that vulnerable people and poor households are protected against eviction or that adequate alternative housing is provided to them; calls for provision of housing to be combined with relevant social services supporting social and economic inclusion; calls for effective measures to be taken to help young people on low incomes set up their own households; highlights investments in energy-efficient social housing as a win-win for jobs, the environment, reduction of energy poverty and realisation of social rights; calls for greater use of relevant European financial instruments to support urban renewal and affordable, accessible and energy-efficient housing provision and to promote the development of social housing in regions where it is underdeveloped; calls for all forms of criminalisation of poverty, such as measures unfairly sanctioning homelessness or other forms of material deprivation, to be abolished;

20.  Calls for adequate measures, including legislative improvements if necessary upon evaluation, to ensure availability and access for all to good-quality and affordable social services of general interest and other services of general interest or essential services such as water supply, waste management, education, healthcare, e-communications and high-speed broadband, energy, public transport and financial services; highlights the important role of well-equipped and well-staffed public sector providers and of social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations in this context, given that their primary objective is a positive social impact; points also to the important role of social economy enterprises in providing these services and making the labour market more inclusive; calls for the elimination of existing legal uncertainties experienced by public authorities when it comes to financing social services of general interest; supports the use of social criteria in public procurement; recalls that rural areas in particular need continued support in order to modernise their infrastructure and maintain economic dynamism; points also to the importance of financial education that helps to prevent household over-indebtedness and legal aid and other mechanisms that protect and support debtors against predatory practices and provide them with a second chance;

Equal opportunities and access to the labour market

21.  Considers that, in our increasingly digitalised world, low-qualified people not only have diminished employment opportunities, but are also more vulnerable to long-term unemployment and experience greater difficulties in gaining access to services and participating fully in society, a situation which is not only detrimental to the individual but is also highly costly to the economy and society as a whole; supports therefore a Skills Guarantee as a new right for everyone, at every stage of life, to acquire fundamental skills for the 21st century, including literacy, numeracy, digital and media literacy, critical thinking, social skills and relevant skills needed for the green and circular economy, taking into account emerging industries and key growth sectors and ensuring full outreach to people in disadvantaged situations, including those with disabilities, asylum-seekers, long-term unemployed people and underrepresented groups; stresses that education systems should be inclusive, providing good-quality education to the whole population, enabling people to be active European citizens, preparing them to be able to learn and adapt throughout their lives and responding to societal and labour market needs; considers that completion of secondary education should be obligatory in 21st-century Europe and that relevant programmes must be available to give all young people who have dropped out from primary or secondary school a new chance; considers that the Skills Guarantee should involve individualised assessment of learning needs, a quality learning offer and systematic validation of the skills and competences acquired, enabling their easy recognition on the labour market; points to the need to ensure widespread access to broadband in order to enable digital literacy; highlights the Skills Guarantee as an important social investment, requiring proper implementation and adequate financing, also with support from the European Structural and Investment Funds;

22.  Is worried at the spread of socio-economic uncertainty and the deterioration of working conditions for many workers; recognises that many workers in non-standard forms of employment have difficulties in exercising their rights at work or gaining access to social security benefits and that women and migrants are disproportionately affected by this problem; calls on the Commission to monitor closely the implementation and enforcement of the Fixed-Term Work Directive, the Part-Time Work Directive and the Temporary Agency Work Directive; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take steps to improve the portability of social rights acquired in different activities; stresses the importance of ensuring sufficient capacities to provide adequate social protection at Member State level for people in all forms of employment, standard and non-standard employment relationships as well as self-employment; calls on the Commission to propose a recommendation in this regard; considers in particular that:

   (a) Member States should organise social security schemes in such a way as to enable all people in all employment forms, employment relationships and self-employment to accumulate entitlements providing income security in situations such as unemployment, involuntary part-time work, health problems, older age or career breaks for child-raising, other care or training reasons;
   (b) starting from their first entry into the labour market, all people in all employment forms, employment relationships and self-employment should have a personal activity account, easily accessible through personal contact and electronic means, duly taking into account the needs of persons with disabilities, where they could consult their accumulated social entitlements and other social rights, including to lifelong learning, and where they could learn about their portability across countries if applicable; such personal activity accounts should be made available in a cost-effective way and adequate data protection should be ensured;
   (c) digital platforms and other intermediaries should have an obligation to report all work undertaken through them to the competent authorities for the purpose of ensuring adequate contributions and protection through social and health insurance for all workers;

23.  Points out that professional transitions require adequate investment, both in the institutional capacity of public employment services and to assist individual job-search and upskilling at the earliest stage possible; believes proactive employment policies such as training and placement assistance to be worthwhile tools for the reintegration of the unemployed into the labour market, regardless of age; recalls the useful role of the European Social Fund in supporting active labour market policies throughout Europe and of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which supports re-skilling and a return to employment in case of regional economic shocks and large-scale lay-offs; recalls, furthermore, the important role of social security schemes in supporting secure transitions; emphasises that the preservation and portability of social entitlements accumulated during the career and life-cycle should be ensured to facilitate job and professional transitions;

24.  Emphasises that a proactive employment policy implies public support for developing sectors with important employment potential and in many countries also a need to expand the role of public employment services and ensure that they have adequate capacity for direct contact with business, so that re-training and other assistance to jobseekers is provided in line with the profile of the jobseeker and the needs of the local economy; calls for full implementation of the Youth Guarantee for all people under 30, with an emphasis on quality offers and effective outreach to all NEETs, and of the Council recommendation on the long-term unemployed, including through the development of the additional measures required to ensure accessibility of these policies for persons with support needs; stresses the need to take into account the needs of older workers and job seekers and to promote cooperation between younger and older workers; highlights these policies as important structural reforms and social investments that are in need of adequate financing from both European and national levels, including from the European Social Fund, the Youth Employment Initiative and/or other instruments;

25.  Recalls that women are more likely to be subject to uncertain and low-paid employment and to interruptions in their career, and that this has repercussions for their entire lives; considers that decisive progress is urgently needed in the area of gender equality and work-life balance in order to eliminate persisting discrimination; awaits Commission proposals in this area as announced in its 2017 work programme, in particular as regards the following:

   (a) existing mechanisms to ensure equal treatment between men and women should be strengthened, persisting gender gaps in pay and pensions should be closed, and occupational segregation should be reduced; to this end, implementation and enforcement of Directive 2006/54/EC should be monitored and the directive should be revised if necessary; the European Pact for gender equality for 2011-2020 and the Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019 should continue to be pursued, also through annual gender equality reports;
   (b) there is a need for new effective measures at both European and national levels for the reconciliation of professional, private and family life, including legislative proposals as regards maternity leave, paternity leave, parental leave, carers’ leave, access to quality care services and flexible working time arrangements; equal take-up of leave arrangements by men and women across all categories of workers should be encouraged in order to improve women’s access to and position within the labour market, strengthen the role of fathers in bringing up their children and facilitate work-life balance; the Commission should also support Member States in sharing and adopting good practices in this area;

26.  Recalls that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU prohibits any discrimination on grounds such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation; emphasises that all people should enjoy equal opportunities throughout their lives, including when looking for work and at work; highlights the need for proper implementation of the Employment Equality Directive 2000/78/EC and the Racial Equality Directive 2000/43/EC; urges the Member States to step up implementation and the Commission to evaluate the enforcement of existing measures to ensure non-discrimination and equal opportunities and to enhance labour market participation and social integration of under-represented groups; calls on the Commission to propose new concrete recommendations or other measures in this regard if needed; recalls that the Equal Treatment Directive proposed in 2008 and not yet adopted represents a missing element in the legislative framework concerning non-discrimination; draws attention to European and national case law indicating that a duty of reasonable accommodation for all grounds of discrimination should be laid down in EU and national law, provided that this does not impose a disproportionate burden on employers or service providers; calls on the Commission to monitor the legal frameworks and policies of Member States in line with applicable EU legislation to ensure integration, equal treatment and decent working conditions are guaranteed to all people with refugee status; stresses that access to justice and protection should be ensured to all victims of exploitation and discrimination;

Labour mobility

27.  Emphasises that free movement of people is one of the greatest achievements of the EU and that free movement of workers is a cornerstone of the internal market, which plays an important role in enhancing convergence and integration among Member States; underlines that mobility within the EU is an opportunity and a fundamental right whose exercise must be supported, including through a smoothly functioning system of social security coordination; calls for proper implementation and enforcement of EU rules regarding mobility of workers and cross-border provision of services; calls, moreover, for support to be provided for labour mobility through adequate language training at all levels of education, improved comparability of education systems and recognition of professional qualifications, readily available information on the rights and duties of mobile workers, and measures ensuring decent working conditions and effective cooperation among public employment services across Europe; notes that mobility should not be the result of inadequate employment opportunities or inadequate social protection in workers’ home regions as prolonged workforce outflows may hinder economic convergence; points therefore to the importance of cohesion policy and other instruments for territorially balanced economic development; considers that labour mobility should not be abused to undermine host countries’ social standards through fraud or circumvention of law; highlights the fact that mobile workers are usually net contributors to host countries’ public budgets; calls for adequate investments in public services in areas experiencing population increases and points to the support which the European Social Fund can provide in this respect;

28.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to take into account the social impact of mobility on the increasing number of transnational families, e.g. by providing leave opportunities to care for a family member in another country and ensuring the transferability and comparability of education systems in terms of the mobility of school-age children;

29.  Calls on the Member States to make it mandatory for employers to provide an employment contract in a language known by EU mobile citizens, in order to make the labour contract understandable for workers;

Building up the means to achieve results in practice

30.  Calls on the Commission to build on the outcomes of the public consultation and on the EU institutions’ views by putting forward a clear roadmap of concrete measures for full practical implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and full pursuit of the Treaties’ social objectives; highlights the fact that, in order to protect fundamental social rights, provisions such as Articles 8, 9 and 10 of the TFEU should be properly applied, in EU policy making and all actions of the EU institutions, including through social impact assessments;

31.  Calls for a social protocol to be introduced in the Treaties when they are revised, in order to strengthen fundamental social rights in relation to economic freedoms;

32.  Calls on the Member States to sign and ratify the revised European Social Charter and the European Convention on Social Security (ETS No 78); encourages the Commission to examine the steps required for accession of the European Union to the revised Charter and to propose a time-line for this objective;

33.  Calls on the Commission to include gender mainstreaming as an integral part of the EPSR and to include systematic gender impact assessments as part of the fundamental rights compliance assessment;

34.  Is concerned at the persisting negative impact of the prolonged economic crisis which Europe underwent in the first half of this decade and which impacted some countries and regions more than others; considers that the objective of upward economic and social convergence should be underpinned by a set of targets, building on the Europe 2020 strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals, serving to guide the coordination of economic, employment and social policies in the EU and providing a compass for the euro area where special attention to upward economic and social convergence is needed;

35.  Draws attention to the two-way link between social conditions and economic performance; calls for the Europe 2020 targets, the existing scoreboard of key employment and social indicators in the Joint Employment Report and the potential new Convergence Code to be directly and transparently taken into account in formulating country-specific recommendations and the euro area recommendation, as well as in the utilisation of EU instruments; considers that the instruments of the European Employment Strategy and social open method of coordination should also be reinforced to this end; urges a stronger role for the macroeconomic dialogue with social partners in the formulation of the economic policy mix at European level; considers macro-social surveillance to be of great importance in ensuring that economic imbalances are not reduced at the expense of the employment and social situation and preventing a race to the bottom in terms of social standards in the EU; reiterates its call for a European agenda of reforms and investments aimed at strengthening growth potential based on quality jobs and productivity to promote fair, robust, efficient and sustainable welfare systems, and to foster a sustainable transition of Member States’ economies towards greater resource efficiency;

36.  Considers that promoting women’s participation in the labour market and their economic independence is crucial for the purpose of meeting the Europe 2020 target of a 75 % overall employment rate and would boost GDP; calls on the Commission and the Member States, therefore, to strengthen policies and increase investment supporting female employment in quality jobs, particularly in sectors and positions where women are underrepresented, such as in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and green economy sectors, or senior management positions across all sectors;

37.  Notes that women and girls are disproportionately affected by poverty and social exclusion, and calls for a renewed political impetus for an ambitious European anti-poverty strategy and a fresh commitment to meet the European 2020 anti-poverty targets; urges the Member States to outline detailed anti-poverty national strategy plans, and the Commission to emphasise poverty reduction within the European Semester;

38.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to work towards ensuring an appropriate level of social investments which are essential for the cohesion of society and have a clear positive impact on economic growth in the short and long term (e.g. childcare, education, the Youth Guarantee and the Skills Guarantee); considers that the assessment of the quality of public spending should also reflect this concern;

39.  Reiterates its call for joint meetings to be held between the EPSCO and ECOFIN Council formations with a view to promoting better coordinated socio-economic policies, as well as for regular meetings of euro area labour and social affairs ministers serving to improve policy coordination within the Eurozone and properly address social imbalances;

40.  Highlights the fact that current-day phenomena of capital-intensive production and the important contribution of intangible assets to the creation of added value on the one hand, and high rates of inequality, unemployment, the continuing rise in ‘atypical’ work and the declining labour share of total income on the other hand imply a need to broaden the financial base for welfare systems, with fiscal neutrality, in order to provide adequate social protection and quality services for all; considers that this should be done in particular by shifting towards other sources of tax revenue; urges the Member States to evaluate their needs in this respect; recalls that accumulation of social security entitlements through work is an important aspect of decent work and contributes significantly to economic and social stability; points out, however, that the current tax wedge on labour can be reduced while ensuring the sustainability and adequacy of national social security schemes; highlights also the fact that combating tax evasion and avoidance is crucially important for ensuring an adequate level of public investment and the sustainability of welfare systems;

41.  Considers that the European Pillar of Social Rights can only be credible if accompanied by adequate financing at national and European level, ensuring that Member States are able to achieve the commonly agreed objectives; reiterates its call for accelerated implementation of relevant operational programmes and revision of the MFF 2014-2020 where needed in order to cope with the increased needs; calls, in particular, for further strengthening of the Youth Employment Initiative and further steps to ensure easier access to and full use of the European Social Fund, the EGF and the FEAD; considers that these financial instruments should remain available to all the Member States and be reinforced as needed, including as regards education and training, the Skills Guarantee, child poverty and unforeseen new challenges such as labour market integration of refugees; believes that the rule allocating 20 % of national ESF envelopes for the fight against poverty and social exclusion must be upheld;

42.  Calls for further EU support to be provided for institutional capacity-building, e.g. as regards social dialogue, the European network of public employment services, the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information and the platform against undeclared work, which could evolve in the longer term towards a European system of labour inspectorates; points, in this context, to the importance of the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) and ESF support for relevant capacity-building at national level;

43.  Calls on the Commission and the EIB Group to develop further the Investment Plan for Europe in order to strengthen investment in economic recovery, quality job creation, sustainable development and social investment in people’s current and future capacities to engage in the labour market;

44.  Considers that the social impact of economic adjustment within the euro area could be alleviated and upward economic and social convergence strengthened through adequate financing so as to avoid a further deterioration as regards inequalities and the growth potential of Member States and to cope with severe macroeconomic shocks while increasing the competitiveness and stability of Member States’ economies; invites the Commission, the Council and other relevant bodies, therefore, to address this issue in further discussions;

45.  Calls on the Commission to put forward its proposals on the European Pillar of Social Rights on the occasion of the issuing of its announced White Paper on the future of the EU and EMU;

46.  Calls on the Commission, the European External Action Service and the Member States to pursue external action coherent with the European Pillar of Social Rights, in particular by promoting the implementation of the UN conventions and Sustainable Development Goals, the ILO conventions, the relevant G20 conclusions, the relevant Council of Europe conventions and the EU’s trade agreements and strategic partnerships;

47.  Considers that the EPSR should be adopted in 2017 as an agreement between Parliament, the Commission and the European Council, involving the social partners and civil society at the highest level, and should contain a clear roadmap for implementation; invites the Commission to propose mechanisms for adequate involvement of all the relevant stakeholders at all relevant levels in the implementation of the EPSR;

o   o

48.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission and to the parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 68, 18.3.2010, p. 13.
(2) OJ L 307, 18.11.2008, p. 11.
(3) OJ L 59, 2.3.2013, p. 5.
(4) Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16).
(5) Council Directive 91/533/EEC of 14 October 1991 on an employer’s obligation to inform employees of the conditions applicable to the contract or employment relationship (OJ L 288, 18.10.1991, p. 32).
(6) Council Directive 1999/70/EC of 28 June 1999 concerning the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by ETUC, UNICE and CEEP (OJ L 175, 10.7.1999, p. 43).
(7) Directive 2008/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on temporary agency work (OJ L 327, 5.12.2008, p. 9).
(8) Council Directive 97/81/EC of 15 December 1997 concerning the Framework Agreement on part-time work concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC – Annex: Framework agreement on part-time work (OJ L 14, 20.1.1998, p. 9).
(9) Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22).
(10) OJ C 13, 15.1.2016, p. 40.
(11) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0312.
(12) OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 23.
(13) OJ C 353, 27.9.2016, p. 39.
(14) OJ C 482, 23.12.2016, p. 141.
(15) OJ C 407, 4.11.2016, p. 2.
(16) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0351.
(17) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0401.
(18) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0411.
(19) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0136.
(20) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0318.
(21) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0346.
(22) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0338.
(23) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0377.
(24) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0321.
(25) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0008.
(26) OJ C 419, 16.12.2015, p. 5.
(27) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0085, P7_TA(2010)0312, P7_TA(2011)0092, P7_TA(2013)0545, P7_TA(2013)0594, P8_TA(2015)0095.
(28) The Employment and Social Development Quarterly Review, Autumn 2016, European Commission.

Tackling the challenges of the EU Customs Code (UCC) implementation
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European Parliament resolution of 19 January 2017 on tackling the challenges of the Union Customs Code implementation (2016/3024(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code(1) (UCC), and its related delegated act (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446 of 28 July 2015(2)), implementing act (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447 of 24 November 2015(3)), transitional delegated act (Commission delegated regulation (EU) 2016/341 of 17 December 2015(4)) and work programme (Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/578 of 11 April 2016(5)),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions (COM(2013)0884),

–  having regard to the Commission communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe (COM(2015)0192),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 608/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1383/2003(6),

–  having regard to the EU’s ratification of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA),

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

A.  whereas the Customs Union is a cornerstone of the European Union as one of the largest trading blocks in the world, and whereas it is essential for the proper functioning of the single market for the benefit of both EU businesses and citizens;

B.  whereas the Digital Single Market aims at offering better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe;

C.  whereas the Customs Union should further facilitate this access in order to maximise the opportunities of global trade;

D.  whereas complex customs rules and procedures are particularly detrimental to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);

E.  whereas the different customs systems, in particular as regards customs duties and customs clearance, create fragmentation, additional administrative burdens and delays, which cause uncertainty and market disparity, and which may undermine economic operators’ compliance with the Union’s customs legislation;

F.  whereas the substantive provisions of the UCC entered into force on 1 May 2016 and are currently in a transitional period running until 31 December 2020, the date by which all Member States must have their information technology (IT) infrastructure ready to support the electronic flow of customs data;

G.  whereas the Commission has already proposed to Parliament amendments to the EU customs legislation (for example the recently adopted changes as regards goods that have temporarily left the customs territory of the Union by sea or air), and whereas it eventually will continue to do so in the near future;

H.  whereas, owing to the recast technique, the UCC has not been subject to a cost-benefit analysis, and whereas its related delegated act (Delegated Regulation (EU) 2015/2446), implementing act (Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447), transitional delegated act (Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/341) and work programme (Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/578) have not been subject to a prior impact assessment;

I.  whereas effective customs cooperation between the Member States’ customs administrations, with third countries and at multilateral level plays a vital role, owing to the significant trade volumes and to the new challenges for the Customs Union since its creation;

J.  whereas the Commission has further proposed a directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the Union legal framework for customs infringements and sanctions;

1.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to come up with a clear, coherent and ambitious strategy and timeline to ensure that any elements that are necessary for the enforcement of the EU customs systems are covered by appropriate proposals that are aligned with and fit for purpose for the current evolution of global trade and the implementation of the EU trade policy agenda;

2.  Suggests, in particular, stepping up efforts to create more uniform electronic customs requirements and risk-assessment programmes at EU level within the time imparted by the UCC, in order to ensure that the arrival, transit and exit of goods are registered in the EU as effectively as possible – while not compromising security – by interconnecting Member States’ systems to form a coherent electronic system based on the same data model and common movement systems; believes that the Commission should take a proactive approach in this respect, in particular through a co-financing arrangement to ensure the development of interoperable IT systems and to guarantee interoperability with other IT systems for health and animal health certificates;

3.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to cooperate closely with economic operators at every stage of development of the UCC implementation, as well as in the process of amending the UCC delegated acts, and supports the regular consultation process with the Trade Contact Group to this end;

4.  Reminds the Commission of the EU’s commitment to easing the flow of goods across borders, reducing trade costs at borders and enhancing the effective cooperation among Members on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues;

5.  Reminds the Commission of its commitment to creating a genuine Digital Single Market, of which the facilitation of trade from e-commerce should be a key component; stresses that every economic operator should respect standards on customs processes in order to avoid loopholes in customs procedures, and acknowledges that existing simplified customs procedures should not be taken away from economic operators if they are compatible with safety, security and intellectual property rules, for example in the case of the express delivery operators of low-value shipments, who with the UCC provisions will be subject to standard customs processes that could constitute red tape and hamper growth in e-commerce;

6.  Asks the Commission to take the opportunity of the current drafting of implementation measures to address the abovementioned objectives and to swiftly rectify any legal shortcomings, in order to maximise the opportunities of the Customs Union;

7.  Suggests that the Commission clarify that a customs debt through non-compliance can also be extinguished in cases where it may be established by appropriate evidence that there is no attempt at deception, e.g. in the cases of temporary storage and introduction of non-Union goods into the customs territory of the Union;

8.  Calls on the Commission to present by 2017 an interim report thoroughly evaluating the EU customs policy (including a complete review of all problems, overlaps, gaps, inconsistencies and obsolete measures identified, complaints filed with customs authorities and infringements of the UCC which have been the result of the errors and loopholes in Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 and have been rectified since 1 May 2016), and by 2021 a fitness check, including an independent impact assessment, to ensure that the regulatory framework of the EU customs policy, including the new UCC, is effective, proportionate and fit for purpose both for Member States and for trade operators;

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

(1) OJ L 269, 10.10.2013, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 343, 29.12.2015, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 343, 29.12.2015, p. 558.
(4) OJ L 69, 15.3.2016, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 99, 15.4.2016, p. 6.
(6) OJ L 181, 29.6.2013, p. 15.

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