Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 17 April 2018 - StrasbourgFinal edition
EU-Lebanon Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation: participation of Lebanon in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) ***
 EU-Mauritius Fisheries Partnership Agreement: fishing opportunities and financial contribution ***
 EU-Norway Agreement concerning additional trade preferences in agricultural products ***
 A European strategy for the promotion of protein crops
 Inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework ***I
 Binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement ***I
 Statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations ***I
 Energy performance of buildings ***I
 Implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme
 Gender equality in the media sector in the EU
 Empowering women and girls through the digital sector
 Implementation of the Development Cooperation Instrument, the Humanitarian Aid Instrument and the European Development Fund
 Enhancing developing countries’ debt sustainability
 Strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU

EU-Lebanon Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation: participation of Lebanon in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 17 April 2018 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Union and the Republic of Lebanon setting out the terms and conditions for the participation of the Republic of Lebanon in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) (11967/2017 – C8-0344/2017 – 2017/0199(NLE))
P8_TA(2018)0092A8-0352/2017

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (11967/2017),

–  having regard to draft agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Union and the Republic of Lebanon setting out the terms and conditions for the participation of the Republic of Lebanon in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) (11928/2017),

–  having regard to Decision (EU) 2017/1324 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2017 on the participation of the Union in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) jointly undertaken by several Member States(1),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 186 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0344/2017),

–  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 Industry, Research and Energy (A8-0352/2017),

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 the Republic of Lebanon.

(1) OJ L 185, 18.7.2017, p. 1.


EU-Mauritius Fisheries Partnership Agreement: fishing opportunities and financial contribution ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 17 April 2018 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Mauritius (12476/2017– C8-0445/2017 – 2017/0223(NLE))
P8_TA(2018)0093A8-0053/2018

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12476/2017)

–  having regard to the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Mauritius (12479/2017);

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a) and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0445/2017),

–  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 Fisheries and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0053/2018),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the Protocol;

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


EU-Norway Agreement concerning additional trade preferences in agricultural products ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 17 April 2018 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of an Agreement in the form of an exchange of letters between the European Union and the Kingdom of Norway concerning additional trade preferences in agricultural products (13357/2017 – C8-0434/2017 – 2017/0259(NLE))
P8_TA(2018)0094A8-0126/2018

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (13357/2017),

–  having regard to the draft Agreement in the form of an exchange of letters between the European Union and the Kingdom of Norway concerning additional trade preferences in agricultural products (13471/2017),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 207(4), first subparagraph and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a) (v), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0434/2017),

–  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 International Trade (A8-0126/2018),

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 Kingdom of Norway.


A European strategy for the promotion of protein crops
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European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2018 on a European strategy for the promotion of protein crops – encouraging the production of protein and leguminous plants in the European agriculture sector (2017/2116(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0095A8-0121/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 March 2011 on ‘The EU protein deficit: what solution for a long-standing problem?’(1),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 14 September 2016 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union (‘Omnibus regulation’) (COM(2016)0605) and the amendment thereto seeking to include a request to the Commission to publish a ‘protein plan’ by the end of 2018(2),

–  having regard to the European Soya Declaration submitted to the Agriculture Council on 12 June 2017 by Germany and Hungary and subsequently signed by 14 Member States(3),

–  having regard to Council Decision 93/355/EEC of 8 June 1993 concerning the conclusion of a Memorandum of understanding on certain oil seeds between the European Economic Community and the United States of America within the framework of the GATT(4),

–  having regard to the document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015 entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, in particular Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2, 12 and 15 included therein,

–  having regard to the decision of the UN General Assembly at its 68th session to officially declare 2016 International Year of Pulses (IYP), under the auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)(5),

–  having regard to the study commissioned by Parliament’s Policy Department B at the request of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, entitled ‘The Environmental Role of Protein Crops in the new Common Agricultural Policy’(6),

–  having regard to the hearing held at Parliament on improving European plant protein supplies,

–  taking into consideration the Danube Soya Declaration of 19 January 2013,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0121/2018),

A.  whereas the European Union is suffering from a major deficit in vegetable proteins due to the needs of its livestock sector, which is dependent on feed imports from third countries, a situation which has regrettably seen little improvement despite the many announcements of intentions and initiatives on this topic over more than 15 years, and despite the use of co-products from biofuel production in animal feed; whereas the EU’s current situation, marked by the importation of vegetable proteins (mainly soya) from South America, is unsustainable and demonstrates that we should be taking more energetic action, notably to enhance the sustainability of these imports;

B.  whereas it is vital to reduce the Union’s massive dependency on imports of protein crops, which are mainly used for animal feed; whereas in addition to the environmental impact in soya producing regions, the current situation carries major risks especially for the EU livestock sector, as price volatility on international markets has substantially increased;

C.  whereas Parliament has on a number of occasions spoken about proteins and the need for a European protein plan, but whereas its initiatives have not led to real effects likely to change Europe’s dependence on others for its supply of vegetable proteins;

D.  whereas because of the outbreak of the BSE crisis a European ban was rightly imposed on the use of animal meal in feed(7), but this has had the effect of sharply increasing imports of soya from Latin America;

E.  whereas, consequently, the Union devotes only 3 % of its arable land to protein crops and imports more than 75 % of its vegetable protein supply, mainly from Brazil, Argentina and the United States;

F.  whereas livestock sectors in the Union are extremely sensitive to price volatility and distortion of competition and are dependent on imports of affordable and high quality vegetable protein, which poses a real challenge for European farms;

G.  whereas European protein crops generate oleaginous by-products which can contribute to the circular economy and be valuable for human consumption, renewable energy or the production of green chemicals; whereas the co-production of proteins and by-products in Europe makes it possible to reduce imports of both GMO proteins and biofuels which contribute to deforestation;

H.  whereas the issue of vegetable protein used in animal feed has too often been analysed with a focus on protein-rich matter, linked to our deficit in vegetable proteins and to the search for raw materials to supplement farm animals’ diets;

I.  whereas it is necessary to adopt a more comprehensive analysis of the vegetable protein issue in Europe so as to equip ourselves with a long-term strategy and maximise the number of instruments at our disposal for boosting the effectiveness of action to reduce our dependence on imported vegetable proteins; whereas this strategy is a tool in the transition towards more sustainable agri-food and farming systems;

J.  whereas proteins, like energy, are an essential component of our food and can be provided in plant or animal form;

K.  whereas vegetable proteins are at the core of the challenges of food security and sovereignty (for food and feed), environmental protection, global warming and renewable energy; whereas they are essential to life and are present in all foods consumed by both humans and animals;

L.  whereas the total European production of protein-rich matter rose from 24,2 to 36,3 million tonnes (+50 %) between 1994 and 2014, but at the same time consumption increased from 39,7 million tonnes to 57,1 million tonnes (+44 %); whereas the Union’s overall protein deficit (20,8 tonnes in 2014) is therefore increasing; whereas the world market in vegetable proteins, connected with the market in soya and soya meal, has grown considerably over the past 50 years, and whereas consumption of these raw materials has surged in all Member States, with soya consumption rising from 2,42 million tonnes in 1960 to almost 36 million tonnes today; whereas the EU livestock sector is heavily dependent on imports of soya beans and meal from third countries, especially from South America; whereas demand for soya within the EU uses an area of almost 15 million ha, 13 million ha of which are in South America;

M.  whereas the cultivation of protein crops generates a significant added value for the environment, which is not endangered by the related use of plant protection products;

N.  whereas in recent years China has become the world’s largest importer of soya and has launched its own genuine and non-transparent security of supply strategy, located outside traditional market mechanisms and based on production contracts with the world’s largest soya supplier, Brazil, and massive investment there, at the expense of the environment, in production, processing (crushing) and port transport infrastructure; whereas this internationalisation strategy on the part of the Chinese agri-food industry could impact the current soya and oilseed market supplies of the EU, which is also a major customer of Brazil, and endanger the stability of the markets of the Union;

O.  whereas the majority of soya imported, in particular from the Americas, is from genetically modified crops, and whereas European consumers distrust this technology; whereas there is growing interest in local non-GMO products and increasing concern about the carbon footprint of imports; whereas within the EU many soya bean producers and processors, animal feed producers, and representatives of the food industry (meat producers, milk and egg producers and other users of soybeans), trade chains and other relevant institutions support sustainable, certified GMO-free systems of soya bean production;

P.  whereas to meet the EU’s food needs, European agriculture has undergone a transformation, under the common agricultural policy (CAP); whereas it has intensified and agricultural produce and raw material markets have opened up, which has increased the EU’s dependence on imports of vegetable proteins from the Americas; whereas globalisation has brought a convergence of dietary habits and farm specialisation, giving rise to large-scale movements of inputs over long distances for the production of proteins, whether synthetic nitrogen fertilisers or protein-rich raw materials for livestock feed, with an impact on the environment and the climate;

Q.  whereas the production of protein crops, particularly soya, imported for the production of animal feed is one of the key drivers of land use change and is a major driver of global deforestation in many regions outside Europe; whereas increased cultivation of European protein crops could provide an important complement to measures to promote agricultural commodity supply chains without deforestation; whereas addressing the global challenge of deforestation and forest degradation has become even more important in the light of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change;

R.  whereas the nitrogen needed to feed plants and manufacture vegetable proteins, with the exception of leguminous crops, is today mainly provided by synthetic nitrogenous fertilisers, which are costly and energy-intensive to produce, generate pollution of both water and air resources and have a high ecological footprint due to the large amounts of fossil fuels consumed during the production process; whereas this does not contribute to the goal of the circular economy and making more efficient use of our resources and waste streams; whereas in these circumstances, the question of proteins needs to be rethought, from production right through to consumption, in terms of productive and environmental performance, based on more satisfactory management of the nitrogen cycle, including the use and development of organic nitrogen fertilisers such as recycled nutrients from organic waste streams like animal manure;

S.  whereas in order to reduce the EU’s dependency on imports of vegetable proteins, it is necessary to focus not only on protein-rich crops which address the needs of ruminants and non-ruminants, but also on all other crops (including in forage and grassland areas) which, while they have a lesser protein content, are extensively cultivated throughout the Union; whereas there are many benefits to pasture-based grazing for ruminants, including reduced farm input costs;

T.  whereas there will not be any increase in vegetable protein production without improvement of the profitability of such plants and there is a need today for the implementation of a strategic, effective and ambitious vegetable protein supply plan to support the sustainable development of European agriculture; whereas such a plan requires the mobilisation of several EU policies, first and foremost the CAP;

U.  whereas in recent decades the Union has used three main levers to support the objective of European protein independence, namely voluntary coupled aid for protein and oilseed crops, EU biofuels policy and the conditionality of 30 % of direct support introduced by the last reform of the CAP in relation to the implementation of greening measures, including the obligation to devote 5 % of arable land to ecological focus areas (EFAs) and the decision to allow nitrogen-fixing crops and catch crops;

V.  whereas the interest of farmers in nitrogen-fixing and protein-rich crops has increased significantly because they help farmers to meet requirements under the greening policy, and whereas this interest will encourage plant breeders to resume or increase their activities related to these crops;

W.  whereas over the period 2000-2013 the measures introduced by the CAP did not by themselves succeed in reversing the declining trend or stagnation of protein production in Europe, but whereas since 2013 the combination of such support together with the greening measure authorising the cultivation of protein crops in EFAs has led to a sharp increase in the production of protein crops in the EU;

X.  whereas the political agreement on the CAP reached by Parliament, the Council and the Commission in 2013 envisages the possibility of growing nitrogen-fixing crops on EFAs;

Y.  whereas research has shown that feed manufacturers often add more protein to food than is considered necessary and whereas efficiency gains can be made by means of more precise determination of the protein content required by the target species;

Z.  whereas owing to the small share of protein crop cultivation in the EU, the number of vegetable protein research programmes is falling, matched by a decline in training, innovation and the acquisition of practical experience in the EU; whereas the effectiveness of innovation should be enhanced and protein research policy stepped up, but whereas this would only succeed if backed by medium- to long-term political commitments; whereas protein research policy should also include locally adapted home grown leguminous crops;

AA.  whereas supporting plant breeding activities will be important for the development of new varieties of protein crops that can contribute to higher EU protein production; whereas effective plant breeding activities require a sufficiently funded long-term research policy and a suitable regulatory environment that encourages innovation;

AB.  whereas the Commission has already funded, and is in the process of funding, a number of relevant projects, including those under the heading ‘SFS-44-2016 – A joint plant breeding programme to decrease the EU’s and China’s dependency on protein imports’; whereas appropriate communication, dissemination and exploitation of the results of such projects should be ensured so that future policy decisions in this field are based on evidence;

AC.  whereas the cost of soya has roughly doubled in real-terms since 2007;

1.  Takes the view that it is time to implement a major strategic European vegetable protein production and supply plan based on the sustainable development of all the crops grown throughout the EU; further takes the view that this change implies a substantial alteration of our production systems to meet the livelihood requirements of farmers and the requirements of the circular economy and sustainable farming production, based on principles such as agroecology and other environmentally-friendly practices, including low-input ruminant feeding strategies based on both permanent pasture and temporary grasslands on arable land;

2.  Calls on the Commission to take immediate actions aimed at avoiding any reduction in the current production level of protein crops, taking into due account the environmental benefits deriving from the conventional cultivation of nitrogen-fixing crops in EFAs;

3.  Observes that protein crops can be beneficial for the environment due to their potential to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere; adds that these benefits include reducing use of fossil fuel-based fertilisers, improving soil quality and fertility, and in rotation, reducing disease levels from continuous monocropping and protecting and enhancing biodiversity; emphasises, moreover, that biological nitrogen fixing by these crops can help to reduce input costs and the possible negative environmental effects associated with the overuse of fertilisers;

4.  Calls for the establishment of a European platform, supported by the European Crops Market Observatory making it possible to: identify European protein cultivation areas by crop category and location, create technical references that are accessible to all farmers, determine European protein production capacities in order to facilitate marketing and catalogue all public- and private-sector research carried out into proteins;

5.  Recommends focusing on all vegetable protein sources, thus on crops used both in food and feed, and on regulatory support for the development and marketing of new plant-based proteins; believes, moreover, that more research should be carried out into alternative protein sources;

6.  Acknowledges that soya production in South America is a major factor in land-use change and causes multiple ecological problems such as the pesticide contamination of groundwater, soil erosion, water depletion and deforestation leading to a devastating loss of biodiversity; recognises that soya production has negative social and health consequences in producer countries, aggravated by weak land tenure rights, land grabbing, forced expulsion and other human rights abuses;

7.  Recalls that the BSE crisis in the 1990s and the ban on using processed animal proteins in animal feed, as established in Regulation (EC) No 999/2001, has increased demand for plant-based protein in Europe; notes that alternative European protein feed sources, such as fishmeal, are used in the European fish farming sector;

The multiple objectives of the plan

8.  Takes the view that this plan must maximise sustainable biomass production in relevant agricultural areas by developing permanent plant cover, some of which can be devoted to protein supply;

9.  Considers it necessary to look in particular at the potential of leguminous crops, whether grain or forage legumes, as this family of plants presents several agricultural, economic and environmental benefits, their key advantages being that they fix nitrogen from the air by means of a symbiotic system, which reduces the need for synthetic nitrogenous fertilisers, and require very little pesticide use; emphasises that leguminous crops leave behind a good soil structure for the next crop thanks to their legacy of nitrogen, which can increase yields by between 10 and 20 %; points out that rotation benefits soil quality, reduces disease levels and supports biodiversity;

10.  Highlights in addition that in crop rotation systems including leguminous crops, the reproductive cycles of pests and pathogens are interrupted, thus reducing plant disease levels and the need to apply pesticides; notes that an additional benefit is that biodiversity is also increased by breaking up year-on-year monocultures;

11.  Recommends supporting, in particular under the CAP, the cultivation of soya in the EU by making it profitable and competitive, as new varieties are currently opening up fresh possibilities for some regions where the crop can adapt, but notes that this should not overshadow the cultivation of other grain protein crops (lupins, faba beans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, broad beans, etc.); believes this wide variety would make it possible to maximise protein production in all regions of Europe, depending on local climatic conditions;

12.  Calls for greater attention to be paid to the management of grassland and clover crops which, given the extensive areas they occupy, make a major contribution to meeting protein needs for animal feed (only ruminants); notes that leguminous crops like clover can progress well in grassland;

13.  Recommends that vegetable protein crops such as soya, alfalfa, broad beans, peas and crops such as clover, sainfoin and many other legumes be reintroduced into large-scale cultivation and forage systems;

14.  Sees the need to develop local and regional protein production and processing chains by establishing groups of farmers and by creating closer links between arable crop farmers and livestock farmers (supply and exchange contracts, building of decentralised small to medium-sized ‘green protein’ bio-refining plants), to exchange knowledge on suitable legume varieties, rotations and soils; deems it useful, to that end, to assist, via the CAP, operators taking risks by entering short supply chains for protein-based food and feed; highlights the importance of direct contracts between growers and animal feed producers;

15.  Encourages the promotion of the production of high quality varieties of GMO-free vegetable proteins with clear traceability and labelling (with regard to both their place of production and the methods used), in response to the increasing interest of European consumers in GMO-free products;

16.  Considers it necessary to support greater self-sufficiency of farms in animal feed at both farm and regional level and for ruminants as well as for monogastric animals, including through on-farm feed production;

17.  Considers it desirable to minimise harvest losses and residual streams and increase nutritional value by improving harvesting, storage and processing systems (drying, wrapping, etc.);

18.  Takes the view that in order to enhance vegetable protein production it is necessary to increase the profitability of these crops and to develop practices such as crop rotation (over a minimum of three years) and under-sowing for leguminous crops, and increase the mixing of varieties and crops in the pulse (clover/rape, triticale/peas, etc.) and forage (grass, clovers, meslins, etc.) production sectors, in order to shift towards a more sustainable agri-food system, supporting a shift from input-intensive crop monocultures within and outside the EU towards a diversified agroecological system;

19.  Calls for research work to begin on: suitability for use in rotations and mixed cropping; selection of new varieties and species that give flexibility to farmers to adapt to climate change; resilience to stress; crop mixing; improvement of yields; protein content and digestibility of animal feed (sprouted seeds, rapeseed, etc.); increasing resistance of plants to diseases; the germination biology of weeds as a function of weed control; feed conversion; and biostimulants; highlights the need for farmers to have a coherent toolbox including management practices, techniques and plant protection products to combat pests and other factors that may negatively impact crop yield and growth;

20.  Calls for heavy investment in research including varietal research to improve the agronomic performance of these crops, make protein crops economically attractive, since they may suffer by comparison with the margins obtainable from other crops, deliver more crop varieties, in order to secure yields, solve the agronomic issues that are limiting protein crop cultivation and ensure that volume is sufficient, this being essential for structuring production and distribution chains; highlights that it is also necessary to develop protein crops that are more adapted to the European climate, improve their protein value and to ensure security for investments in order to foster research;

21.  Recommends greater use of precision agriculture, in particular via digitalisation, in order to adjust plant inputs and animal feed rations as accurately as possible, so as to limit waste and some types of pollution, and also recommends making greater use of mechanical weed control systems;

22.  Intends to promote: the acquisition of new knowledge; knowledge transfer; basic and continued training; and support for all other types of applied innovation and research into both human food and animal feed;

23.  Calls for support to be given to all forms of innovation and applied research by pooling experience and knowledge and by drawing in particular on local stakeholders offering innovative solutions;

24.  Calls for sustainability criteria for feed imports in order to ensure a sustainable production of protein plants in third countries which does not lead to negative environmental or social impacts;

25.  Highlights the important role that dietary education can play in shaping food demands; stresses the need for the adoption of dietary guidelines at either EU or Member State level aimed at promoting a healthy diet while addressing the environmental concerns linked to food production;

26.  Regards it as essential to step up technical support for farmers and advisory services with a view to promoting the sustainable production of grain and forage protein;

Instruments of the plan

27.  Takes the view that this plan calls for the mobilisation and coordination of several EU policies: the CAP; research policy; environmental and climate action policies; energy policy; the neighbourhood policy and trade policy;

28.  Considers it important for the CAP to support protein crop cultivation by means of different measures such as the voluntary coupled payment – which should not be restricted to crops and regions, in difficulty in order to give scope for more action – and the greening payment, and by means of the second pillar, particularly through agro-environmental measures on organic and other types of farming, investment quality, the Farm Advisory System (FAS), training and of course innovation via the EIP; highlights the fact that the introduction of a coupled payment has driven protein crop production in some Member States;

29.  Believes that useful lessons should be learnt from the recent ban on the use of pesticides in EFAs, even though, in 2016, they accounted for 15 % of Europe’s arable land (eight million hectares) and almost 40 % of these areas are used for nitrogen-fixing or catch crops; takes the view that as part of the process of making use of all usable agricultural areas, provided for under the vegetable protein autonomy plan, EFAs may be used for protein production both within conventional farming – with integrated pest management, taking into account the fact that farmers growing these crops in EFAs in conventional agriculture do not always have the assurance of being able to react to pest invasions – and organic farming, given that in order to replace soya imports into the EU, the equivalent of nearly 17 million hectares would have to be under soya in the EU; considers that ecological focus areas are furthermore essential for boosting biodiversity, which is under threat, and for our food security, since, in particular by improving pollination, biodiversity can increase the yields of neighbouring crops, which may be protein crops, by some 20 %;

30.  Recommends an adjustment to greening arrangements in connection with maintaining permanent grassland in order to take account more effectively, in particular regions, of the specific characteristics of alfalfa, either alone or in grass mixes, on temporary grassland that is more than five years old, that time span limit meaning that the grassland concerned will be classified as permanent, as defined in law, thus restricting ploughing up after the five-year period, even though replanting would enable a large volume of feed protein to be produced with greater protein autonomy for the holdings concerned;

31.  Welcomes the fact that, in the context of the omnibus revision of the common agricultural policy, Parliament obtained a revaluation of the conversion coefficient for nitrogen-fixing crops from 0,7 to 1 in compensation for the ban on the use of pesticides in EFAs;

32.  Is of the opinion that a European protein strategy should take into account the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive, the dual use of proteins and the role of their by-products, wastes and residues in the circular economy, and encourage crop rotation and diversification and the utilisation of fallow land in accordance with greening measures under the CAP;

33.  Considers it important that the future CAP take account of additional proposals to support the cultivation of vegetable proteins, such as proposals for three-year-minimum rotation systems on arable land to have a leguminous component; in that regard, highlights that Member States where wet weather diseases are prominent may need a longer rotational period; also considers it particularly relevant to create an ecosystem payment that is more flexible than the greening payment so as to recognise the benefits of leguminous and oilseed crops for biodiversity, including for the feeding of pollinators, provide risk-taking mechanisms for innovators and open up a proteins sub-priority in the rural development policy;

34.  Stresses the need to introduce new instruments to help increase the supply of plant proteins, in particular soya, and to ensure equitable implementation across all the Member States;

35.  Believes that the current research in the field of a strategy for protein crops is fragmented and lacks focus; calls for research and development efforts, particularly public research, to be stepped up into under-developed protein crops suitable for both human food and animal feed which are of little or no interest to private investors, and alternative proteins such as insect protein and algae; calls for greater cooperation between public and private research institutions; underlines the need for a regulatory framework that supports research and innovation programmes in order to achieve increased and competitive protein production;

36.  Recommends increased investment in industrial and agricultural research projects that focus on boosting the quality and diversity of functional proteins for human consumption;

37.  Takes the view that it is necessary to secure our autonomy in soya supplies by cooperating more closely with our neighbourhood, and to diversify the sourcing sustainability of non-EU-produced proteins, notably from the EU’s neighbours which have opted for Europe and which produce soya that could be brought into the EU via the Danube; calls for those imports to meet the same social and environmental standards as apply to intra-EU production and admits that GMO-free soya cultivation is welcomed to meet consumers’ demands;

38.  Recognises that today’s agricultural practices are unthinkable without soya, that this highly important legume had, in the recent past, almost vanished from European cultivation, and that soya cultivation rose from 17 million tonnes in 1960 to 319 million tonnes in 2015;

39.  Calls for adjustments to the second pillar of the CAP to provide better recognition of and remuneration for the contribution of crops that feed pollinators at critical times of the season (early flowering plants in spring) and their role in fighting pollinator decline;

40.  Supports the establishment of transparent product labelling systems based on certified production standards, such as the Danube Soya and Europe Soya standards;

41.  Takes the view that although the 1992 Blair House Agreement is still in force, it is de facto obsolete and should not hamper the sustainable development of protein crop growing in Europe;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 58.
(2) See the report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union and amending Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002, Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1305/2013, (EU) No 1306/2013, (EU) No 1307/2013, (EU) No 1308/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, (EU) No 652/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Decision No 541/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (A8-0211/2017).
(3) General Secretariat of the Council, 10055/17, Brussels, 7 June 2017.
(4) OJ L 147, 18.6.1993, p. 25.
(5) Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), International Year of Pulses (IYP): Nutritious Seeds for a Sustainable Future.
(6) IP/B/AGRI/IC/2012-067 (PE 495.856).
(7) Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 laying down rules for the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (OJ L 147, 31.5.2001, p. 1).


Inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework ***I
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Resolution
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 17 April 2018 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework and amending Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change (COM(2016)0479 – C8-0330/2016 – 2016/0230(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0096A8-0262/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0479),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 192(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0330/2016),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 14 December 2016(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 23 March 2017(2),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 20 December 2017 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 the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinions of the Committee on Development, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0262/2017),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out(3);

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it replaces, substantially amends or intends to substantially amend its proposal;

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 17 April 2018 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2018/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry in the 2030 climate and energy framework, and amending Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 and Decision No 529/2013/EU

P8_TC1-COD(2016)0230


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2018/841.)

(1) OJ C 75, 10.3.2017, p. 103.
(2) OJ C 272, 17.8.2017, p. 36.
(3) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 13 September 2017 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0339).


Binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement ***I
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Resolution
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 17 April 2018 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions by Member States from 2021 to 2030 for a resilient Energy Union and to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement and amending Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change (COM(2016)0482 – C8-0331/2016 – 2016/0231(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0097A8-0208/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0482),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 192(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0331/2016),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 14 December 2016(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 23 March 2017(2),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 17 January 2018 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 the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0208/2017),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out(3);

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it replaces, substantially amends or intends to substantially amend its proposal;

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 17 April 2018 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2018/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions by Member States from 2021 to 2030 contributing to climate action to meet commitments under the Paris Agreement and amending Regulation (EU) No 525/2013

P8_TC1-COD(2016)0231


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2018/842.)

(1) OJ C 75, 10.3.2017, p. 103.
(2) OJ C 272, 17.8.2017, p. 36.
(3) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 14 June 2017 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0256).


Statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations ***I
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Resolution
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 17 April 2018 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations (COM(2017)0481 – C8-0307/2017 – 2017/0219(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0098A8-0373/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0481),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 224 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0307/2017),

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

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 June 2017 on the funding of political parties and political foundations at European level(1),

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 7 March 2018 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 Constitutional Affairs and the position in the form of amendments of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A8-0373/2017),

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

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it replaces, substantially amends or intends to substantially amend its proposal;

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 17 April 2018 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014 on the statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0219


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/673.)

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0274.


Energy performance of buildings ***I
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Resolution
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 17 April 2018 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (COM(2016)0765 – C8-0499/2016 – 2016/0381(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0099A8-0314/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0765),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 194(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0499/2016),

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

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee, of 26 April 2017(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 13 July 2017(2),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 31 January 2018 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 Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0314/2017),

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

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if it replaces, substantially amends or intends to substantially amend its proposal;

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 17 April 2018 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2018/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings and Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency

P8_TC1-COD(2016)0381


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive (EU) 2018/844.)

(1) OJ C 246, 28.7.2017, p. 48.
(2) OJ C 342, 12.10.2017, p. 119.


Implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme
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European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2018 on the implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme (2017/2030(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0100A8-0059/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Decision No 1386/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’(1) (the ‘7th EAP’),

–  having regard to Articles 191 and 192 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, relating to preserving, protecting and improving the quality of human health and the environment,

–   having regard to the Paris Agreement, Decision 1/CP.21 and the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC, held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December 2015,

–   having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their interconnected and integrated nature,

–  having regard to the European Environment Agency’s report of December 2016 entitled ‘Environmental indicator report 2016 – In support to the monitoring of the 7th Environment Action Programme’,

–   having regard to the European Environment Agency’s report of November 2017 entitled ‘Environmental Indicator Report 2017 – In support to the monitoring of the 7th Environment Action Programme’,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 3 February 2017 entitled ‘The EU Environmental Implementation Review: Common challenges and how to combine efforts to deliver better results’ (COM(2017)0063), and the 28 accompanying country reports,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 27 May 2016 entitled ‘Delivering the benefits of EU environmental policies through a regular Environmental Implementation Review’ (COM(2016)0316),

–   having regard to its resolution of 16 November 2017 on the EU Environmental Implementation Review (EIR)(2),

–   having regard to its resolution of 9 July 2015 on resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 2 February 2016 on the mid-term review of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy(4),

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2017 on an Action Plan for nature, people and the economy(5),

–   having regard to its recommendation of 4 April 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into emission measurements in the automotive sector(6),

–   having regard to the European Environment Agency’s report entitled ‘SOER 2015 – The European environment – state and outlook 2015’,

–   having regard to the European Environment Agency’s report of 19 May 2015 entitled ‘State of Nature in the EU’,

–  having regard to the European Implementation Assessment study of November 2017 on the ‘Mid-term review of the implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme (2014-2020)’ carried out by the European Parliamentary Research Service, including its annexed study,

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 April 2012 on the review of the 6th Environment Action Programme and the setting of priorities for the 7th Environment Action Programme – A better environment for a better life(7),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 November 2016 entitled ‘Next steps for a sustainable European future’ (COM(2016)0739),

–   having regard to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 20 September 2011 entitled ‘Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe’ (COM(2011)0571),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 29 November 2017 entitled ‘The Future of Food and Farming’ (COM(2017)0713),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as Article 1(1)(e) of, and Annex 3 to, the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 12 December 2002 on the procedure for granting authorisation to draw up own-initiative reports,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0059/2018),

A.  whereas the 7th EAP sets legally binding objectives in the fields of environment and climate change to be achieved by 2020; whereas it also sets out a long-term vision for 2050;

B.  whereas the 7th EAP does not contain a mid-term review clause; whereas the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety on the implementation of the 7th EAP is an opportunity to assess this EAP’s progress and to make evidence-based recommendations for the further implementation of the current EAP and any future EAPs; whereas this report should go beyond restating well-known problems, and should focus on proposing solutions for achieving the goals laid down in the 7th EAP;

C.  whereas the Commission is working on an evaluation report, the focus of which will be on the structure and strategic role played by the 7th EAP; whereas that report is intended, in particular, to check whether the agreed framework is helping to deliver the nine priority objectives in a smart manner;

D.  whereas the EU has strong environmental legislation, the weak and ineffective implementation thereof is a long-standing problem; whereas these implementation gaps threaten sustainable development, have adverse trans-boundary impacts on the environment and human health and entail important socio-economic costs; whereas, moreover, the implementation gaps undermine the EU’s credibility;

E.  whereas progress towards the 2020 objectives has so far been mixed: it is unlikely that objective 1 (protecting natural capital) will be met, but likely that some of the sub-objectives under objective 2 (low carbon economy and resource efficiency) will be met; it is uncertain whether objective 3 (reducing environmental pressures and risks to human health) will be met;

F.  whereas the continuing failure to implement legislation and integrate specialised knowledge into policy-making in areas such as air quality, environmental noise and exposure to chemicals poses severe health threats and reduces quality and length of life for EU citizens;

G.  whereas the most recent data published by the European Environment Agency confirms the general trends described above for each thematic objective but also reports a slowing of progress in some areas; whereas, in some cases, such as greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency, the outlook for achieving the sub-objectives remains unchanged by these new trends;

H.  whereas it is now uncertain whether the target for ammonia emissions will be met and unlikely that the land take target will be met;

I.  whereas much uncertainty exists with regard to implementation owing to a lack of indicators and the limitations of existing indicators; whereas knowledge gaps continue to hinder progress on three levels: understanding of risk; formation of appropriate policy to manage and reduce risk; and monitoring of the effectiveness of policies;

J.  whereas knowledge often exists but is not used in policy-making or transferred to the parties responsible for implementation; whereas this is often due to a lack of political will and competing interests which are not perceived to be consistent with the EAP or environmental policy goals in general; whereas continued economic growth is also dependent on a clean environment;

K.  whereas synergy between the high-level instruments of Union policy and the EAP needs to be improved in order to achieve the objectives of the programme;

L.  whereas there is inadequate funding at some levels for the proper implementation of the 7th EAP; whereas funding at EU level has sometimes failed to deliver the expected results and this has, in multiple cases, been the result of poorly administered financing rather than a lack of money;

M.  whereas the scope of the 7th EAP is relevant to current needs in the field of environmental policy, although many stakeholders recommend the addition of new sub-objectives to increase the programme’s relevance in the future;

N.  whereas stakeholders also express a preference for a less complex, more focused EAP;

O.  whereas there is general support for an 8th EAP;

Main conclusions

1.  Considers that the 7th EAP has added value and a positive influence on environmental policies at EU and Member State level, with benefits for citizens, nature and economic stakeholders;

2.  Reiterates that the 7th EAP has a clear long-term vision for 2050 in order to provide a stable environment for sustainable investment and growth, within the planet’s ecological limits;

3.  Welcomes the positive past trends in regard to numerous sub-objectives of the 7th EAP and the encouraging outlook for some of the 2020 objectives;

4.  Stresses, however, that there is still great potential for improvement and calls on the Commission and the competent authorities in the Member States for increased political will at the highest level to implement the 7th EAP;

5.  Regrets that the priority objective to protect, conserve and enhance the Union’s natural capital are unlikely to be met; notes with concern, furthermore, that the targets of the EU’s 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and the Convention on Biological Diversity will not be met without immediate, substantial and additional efforts;

6.  Notes that there has been some progress in certain areas for priority objective 2, in particular for climate and energy related targets; notes, however, that more must be done on resource efficiency; reiterates the potential of the Ecodesign Directive(8) and the Ecolabel Regulation(9) to improve the environmental performance and resource efficiency of products throughout their lifecycle, by addressing, inter alia, product durability, reparability, re-usability, recyclability, recycled content and product lifespan;

7.  Regrets that the sub-objective of achieving good quality status of surface water bodies by 2020 will not be achieved owing to the pressure exerted by pollution, interventions in the morphology of watercourses and excessive consumption due to the large amounts of water drawn off for the generation of hydroelectric power;

8.  Underlines that the objectives of the 7th EAP are minimum targets, and that considerable additional efforts are needed to achieve the aims of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);

9.  Recalls that the EU and its Member States are all signatories to the Paris Agreement, and therefore committed to its objectives, and that they have submitted a Nationally Determined Contribution delivering 40 % economy-wide greenhouse gas emission reductions in the Union by 2030; underlines the need to fully integrate the 2030 target and the long-term net-zero emissions goal into all Union policies and funding programmes; calls on the Commission to keep the climate and energy framework targets under review, in the context of the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue and the five-yearly global stocktakes, and to prepare a mid-century zero emissions strategy for the EU, providing a cost-efficient pathway towards reaching the net-zero emissions goal adopted in the Paris Agreement;

10.  Notes that there is considerable uncertainty regarding the progress towards objectives for human health and well-being; underlines that knowledge gaps and limited indicators hinder policy development and monitoring;

11.  Welcomes existing initiatives which contribute to reducing knowledge gaps, including: the ‘Driving Force – Pressure – State – Exposure – Effects – Action’ (DPSEEA) model for understanding the drivers which disrupt ecosystem services; ‘human biomonitoring’ (HBM) for estimating exposure of human populations to contaminants and the possible health effects thereof; and the ‘Information Platform for Chemical Monitoring’ (IPCheM);

12.  Is concerned that specialised knowledge and scientific evidence are not always appropriately considered in policy-making or transferred to the parties responsible for implementation; highlights the examples of bioenergy, palm oil, plant protection products, endocrine disrupters, food production and consumption, GMOs, urban planning and design, air and noise pollution, and urban food waste as areas where scientific evidence of risks to human health and the environment has been sidelined in public and political debates; believes that broad scientific knowledge, as well as adherence to the precautionary principle in the absence of sufficient scientific data, should guide responsible political decision making; recalls the importance of the scientific advice of EU agencies in that context; underlines that other guiding principles in EU environmental law and policy include the polluter-pays principle, preventative action, and tackling environmental damage at source;

13.  Condemns the Commission’s failure to meet deadlines set out by law for drafting harmonised hazard-based criteria for the identification of endocrine disruptors and for reviewing Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009(10) (‘Cosmetics Regulation’) with regard to endocrine disruptors; calls on the Commission to immediately review the Cosmetics Regulation with regard to endocrine disruptors without any further delays; regrets that the failure to make sufficient progress on endocrine disruptors poses health risks to citizens and hinders the achievement of priority objective 3 of the 7th EAP;

14.  Regrets the lack of progress on developing a Union strategy for a non-toxic environment, the promotion of non-toxic material cycles and reducing exposure to harmful substances including chemicals in products; highlights the fact that further efforts are needed to ensure that, by 2020, all relevant substances of very high concern, including substances with endocrine-disrupting properties, are placed on the REACH candidate list, as laid down in the 7th EAP; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the combination effects of chemicals are effectively addressed in all relevant Union legislation as soon as possible, with a special emphasis on risks to children arising from exposure to hazardous substances; welcomes the Commission strategy on plastics and calls for its swift implementation; reiterates, in this context, that the promotion of non-toxic material cycles is essential for the sound development of a functioning secondary raw materials market;

15.  Underlines that the lack of integration of environmental concerns into other policy areas is one of the root causes of implementation gaps in environmental legislation and policy; considers that synergies between other high-level EU policy instruments (such as the common agricultural policy (CAP), the common fisheries policy (CFP), the structural funds and the cohesion policy) and improved coherence between high level political priorities remain fundamental to achieving the objectives of the 7th EAP; calls for the Commission and Council, in all their formations, to improve the policy coordination and integration of the objectives of the 7th EAP; underlines, furthermore, the need to integrate all outstanding aspects of the 7th EAP into high level instruments, including the European Semester;

16.  Underlines that the potential for establishing new financial mechanisms for biodiversity conservation with a view to reaching the 2020 targets is limited due to the timeframe of the current multiannual financial framework (MFF); calls, in this connection, for the maximum use of resources within the current MFF, including LIFE, CAP and Structural Funds and calls on the inclusion of new financial mechanisms for biodiversity conservation in the next MFF;

17.  Welcomes the improvements in the CFP and cohesion policy, which have increased coherence with the 7th EAP; regrets, however, that despite improvements to the regulatory framework the CFP continues to suffer from poor implementation; recalls the importance of healthy fish stocks;

18.  Recognises that the CAP has progressively integrated environmental concerns but still presents challenges to the achievement of the EAP’s objectives, particularly as regards resource-intensive production and biodiversity; recalls that the CAP has the challenging task of preventing environmental degradation caused by inappropriate agricultural practices (such as unsustainable biofuels), unsustainable agricultural intensification and land abandonment, while providing better quality and increased quantities of food and agricultural raw materials to the ever-growing world population; stresses that further initiatives and support for environmentally sustainable farming methods, including crop rotation and nitrogen fixing plants, are essential and need to consider agriculture and farmers as part of the solution;

19.  Underlines that protecting and enhancing food security in the long term by preventing environmental damage and moving towards a sustainable food system which provides food at reasonable prices for consumers should be key priorities of a reformed CAP; highlights that these objectives can only be achieved by sustainable management of natural resources and policy intervention which ensures the protection of ecosystems;

20.  Recalls that, in the context of climate change and a growing world population, the rising demand for diets rich in animal protein is exerting significant environmental pressures on agricultural land and increasingly fragile ecosystems; underlines also that diets with excessive amounts of animal fat are increasingly linked to the non-communicable disease burden;

21.  Recalls the Commission’s 2016 commitment to mainstream the SDGs into EU policies and initiatives; acknowledges that this commitment lacks a clear strategy and concrete proposals for institutional structures and a governance framework to ensure the mainstreaming of the SDGs into EU policies, legislative proposals, implementation and enforcement; considers it important for the EU to be fully committed, as a pioneer, to attaining the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and sustainable development; underlines, furthermore, that the 7th EAP is a key instrument for the implementation of the SDGs;

22.  Notes the high quality of drinking water in the EU; expects the revision of Directive 98/83/EC(11) (‘Drinking Water Directive’) to provide the necessary updates to this legal framework; encourages the Commission and the Member States to further integrate the EU’s water objectives into other sectoral policies under the EAP, in particular the CAP;

23.  Welcomes the improvements brought by some EU-funded projects, but regrets the missed opportunities to deliver better results as highlighted by the European Court of Auditors (ECA); underlines that the post-2020 MFF must be oriented towards sustainable development and mainstreaming of environmental policy in all funding mechanisms and budgetary lines; emphasises the need to increase green investment, innovation and sustainable growth using new financing tools, both public and private, and different approaches to current investment policy such as the phasing out of environmentally harmful subsidies in order to achieve the long-term vision of the 7th EAP; considers that clearly defined sustainability criteria and performance-based objectives should apply to all EU structural and investment funds; calls for a more efficient and targeted use of the current MFF and the funds under the cohesion and regional development policies, and for the aforementioned problems referred to by the ECA to be urgently addressed; calls for the Commission and the Member States to support the continuation of and a possible increase in the earmarking of EU budget resources for environment- and climate change-related action;

24.  Regrets the persistent shortcomings in the treatment of urban waste water in various regions of Europe; underlines the potential of wastewater treatment and reuse to alleviate water stress situations, reduce direct water withdrawals, produce biogas and guarantee better management of water resources particularly through irrigation for agriculture; looks forward to the legislative proposal on the reuse of waste water, which will be presented by the Commission in early 2018;

25.  Notes that the biggest environmental threats to health are most evident in urban areas but also affect peripheral areas and suburban agglomerations, and that by 2020, 80 % of the population is expected to be living in urban and suburban areas; highlights the fact that emissions of atmospheric pollutants, combined with inadequate planning and infrastructure, have dramatic economic, social, public health and environmental consequences; notes that air pollution already causes more than 400 000 premature deaths in the EU(12) and that health-related external costs range from EUR 330 billion to EUR 940 billion;

26.  Notes that at least 10 000 premature deaths in the EU are caused by noise-related illnesses and that in 2012 approximately a quarter of the population of the EU was exposed to levels of noise in excess of the limit values; calls on the Member States to prioritise the monitoring of noise levels in line with Directive 2002/49/EC(13), so as to ensure that the applicable limit values for indoor and outdoor environments are respected;

27.  Acknowledges the progress on reducing certain atmospheric pollutants, particularly in urban areas, but regrets the persistent problems with air quality, to which emissions from road transport and agriculture are a significant contributory factor; acknowledges the ‘mobility package’ presented by the Commission in November 2017 and the European Strategy for Low Emission Mobility presented in 2016, which could pave the way for low-emission mobility within the Union;

28.  Welcomes the progress made on the circular economy package legislation; urges all parties to strive to reach an agreement with ambitious targets;

Recommendations

29.  Calls on the Member States to assess their progress towards the objectives of the 7th EAP and to reorient their actions where necessary; urges the Member States to make the results publicly available;

30.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that any new legislative proposals fully implement the objectives and measures of the 7th EAP;

31.  Calls on the Commission to ensure the active inclusion of civil society organisations in the assessment of the implementation of EU environmental legislation;

32.  Requests that the relevant EU institutions and agencies prioritise research and close knowledge gaps in the following areas: environmental thresholds (tipping points), the circular economy paradigm, the combined effects of chemicals, nanomaterials, hazard identification methods, the impacts of microplastics, the interaction between systemic risks and other health determinants, soil and land use and invasive alien species;

33.  Welcomes the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) as a positive mechanism to improve implementation of EU environmental legislation and policy, which can contribute to the monitoring of the implementation of the 7th EAP, as already stressed in its resolution of 16 November 2017 on the EU Environmental Review; considers that the EIR should fully involve all the relevant stakeholders, including civil society, and should cover the full scope of the EAP’s thematic priority objectives;

34.  Calls for the Union and the Member States quickly and definitively to abandon environmentally harmful subsidies;

35.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase and coordinate efforts to promote the development and validation of alternative methods to animal testing so that they contribute to the achievement of priority objective No 5 of the 7th EAP;

36.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to do more to improve the cognitive and scientific bases of the EU’s environmental policies, increasing the accessibility of data for citizens and fostering public involvement in scientific research;

37.  Calls for the EU institutions, as well as national and regional governments where appropriate, to make full use of available specialist knowledge about risks to the environment and human health when making and monitoring policies;

38.  Calls for an improved pesticide authorisation system in the EU, based on peer reviewed scientific studies and full transparency on the degree of human and environmental exposure and health risks; calls for improved standards for the monitoring of pesticides and targets for reducing their use; takes note of the Commission communication of 12 December 2017 on the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Ban glyphosate and protect people and the environment from toxic pesticides’ (C(2017)8414);

39.  Calls for sufficient material and human resources to be provided so that EU agencies can conduct their missions and provide the best scientific data, analysis and evidence;

40.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that long-term actions with a view to reaching the objective of a non-toxic environment are identified by 2020;

41.  Asks the relevant EU agencies and the Commission to increase the quantity and quality of indicators used to monitor progress; calls on the Commission and the Member States to cooperate in the production and collection of new data to create new indicators and improve existing ones;

42.  Calls for the issue of implementation to feature as a recurring item in trio-Presidency priorities and programmes, that it be discussed at the Environment Council at least once a year, perhaps through a dedicated Implementation Council, and that this be complemented by another forum in which Parliament and the Committee of the Regions would also be involved; calls for joint Council meetings to address the implementation of cross-sectoral, horizontal issues and common challenges, as well as emerging issues with possible cross-border impacts;

43.  Calls for the full implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to be stepped up without delay;

44.  Calls for infrastructure projects, particularly those related to TEN-T, to fully consider environmental impacts at regional and project level; notes that coherence between different environmental policies is also relevant; stresses the importance of taking the environment and biodiversity into account in infrastructure projects for renewable hydroelectric and marine power generation;

45.  Urges the Member States to make greater efforts to preserve the use and integrity of fresh water reserves, given the uncertainty surrounding the possibility of achieving the sub-objective set out in this regard in the 7th EAP; calls on the Member States to remedy as a matter of priority the poor state of surface waters as the objectives in this area are unlikely to be met by 2020; calls on the competent authorities in the Member States to tackle the pressures on water bodies, by eliminating the causes of water pollution at source, establishing areas where it is forbidden to draw off water for hydroelectric purposes and ensuring the maintenance of ecological flows along rivers; calls on the Commission not to delay in drawing up the conformity assessment for the second cycle of river basin management plans adopted by the Member States under the Water Framework Directive;

46.  Urges further reform of the CAP to align sustainable food production and environmental policy targets, including biodiversity targets, in order to safeguard food security now and in the future; underlines the need for a smart agricultural policy with strong commitment to deliver public goods and ecosystem services related to soil, water, biodiversity, air quality, climate action and the provision of landscape amenities; calls for an integrated policy with a more targeted and ambitious yet flexible approach, where the granting of support to the agricultural sector is linked to both food security and the delivery of environmental outcomes; calls on the Member States to recognise agroforestry as ecological focus area in accordance with Article 46 of Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013(14); calls on the Commission to ensure that environmentally beneficial farming practices are afforded appropriate support in any future revision of the CAP;

47.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to increase the uptake of solutions to environmental challenges, especially where technical solutions exist but are not yet fully deployed, such as reduction of ammonia in agriculture;

48.  Calls on the Commission to significantly improve the volume, use and administration of EU funds for the EAP’s objectives; calls for better monitoring, transparency and accountability; calls for the mainstreaming of climate and other environmental issues in the EU budget;

49.  Calls on the Commission to develop, without delay, a comprehensive, overarching framework strategy on the implementation of the SDGs in the EU, addressing all policy areas and including a review mechanism to assess progress of implementation; requests the Commission to establish an SDG check of all new policies and legislation and to ensure full policy coherence in the implementation of SDGs;

50.  Calls on the Commission to guarantee the enforcement of existing EU law and ensure Member States’ full compliance with the objectives of 7th EAP by utilising all tools at its disposal, e.g. infringement procedures;

51.  Welcomes the existing special reports and performance audits of the ECA and invites the ECA to further analyse other areas relevant to the EAP which have not been included in the work programme thus far;

52.  Calls on the Commission and the competent authorities in the Member States to provide appropriate guidance so that EU funds are more accessible, including for local projects, particularly as regards green infrastructure, biodiversity, and the Birds and Habitats Directives;

53.  Calls on the Member States to ensure full implementation of the air quality legislation; calls on regional authorities to provide a supporting framework, particularly with regard to urban planning and local policy-making, in order to improve health outcomes in all areas, and in particular the worst-affected ones;

54.  Urges the competent national and regional authorities to adopt plans comprising credible measures to put an end to the problem of exceeding the daily and annual limit values set by EU legislation on fine and ultra-fine particles in agglomerations where air quality is poor; highlights the fact that this is essential to achieve priority objectives Nos 2, 3 and 8 of the 7th EAP;

55.  Proposes the following actions to improve air quality in urban areas: establishment of low-emission zones; promotion of car-sharing and ride-sharing facilities and services; phasing-out of preferential tax treatment for highly polluting vehicles; introduction of ‘mobility budgets’ for employees as an alternative to company cars; application of parking policies which reduce traffic volumes in congested areas; improvement of infrastructure to encourage cycling and increase multi-modal connections and to improve cycling safety; establishment of pedestrian zones;

56.  Calls for enhanced urban planning and development at the appropriate governance levels to adapt infrastructure for electric and clean vehicles as soon as possible, e.g. by installing charging infrastructure, and to deliver environmental and health benefits such as reducing the heat island effect and increasing physical activity, e.g. by increasing green infrastructure and recovering abandoned or degraded industrial areas; recognises that these measures would improve air quality, combat diseases and premature mortality caused by pollution, and enable progress to be made towards zero-emission mobility;

57.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure fair intermodal competition and a shift to sustainable transport modes;

58.  Calls on the Commission to come forward, by 2019 at the latest, with an overarching Union Environmental Action Programme for the period after 2020, as required by Article 192(3) of the TFEU; highlights the importance of transparency and democratic accountability when monitoring EU policy; stresses, therefore, that the next EAP should include measurable, results-based midway milestones;

59.  Calls on the next Commission to dedicate a priority area of the next legislative term to sustainable development, environmental and climate protection in general and the objectives of the 7th EAP and a forthcoming 8th EAP in particular;

º

º º

60.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Court of Auditors, the European Environment Agency, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 171.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0450.
(3) OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 65.
(4) OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 2.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0441.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0100.
(7) OJ C 258 E, 7.9.2013, p. 115.
(8) Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products (OJ L 285, 31.10.2009, p. 10).
(9) Regulation (EC) No 66/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the EU Ecolabel (OJ L 27, 30.1.2010, p. 1).
(10) Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic products (OJ L 342, 22.12.2009, p. 59).
(11) Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption (OJ L 330, 5.12.1998, p. 32).
(12) EEA Report No 13/2017 of 11 October 2017 on ‘Air quality in Europe 2017’.
(13) Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise (OJ L 189, 18.7.2002, p. 12).
(14) Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing rules for direct payments to farmers under support schemes within the framework of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 637/2008 and Council Regulation (EC) No 73/2009 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 608).


Gender equality in the media sector in the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2018 on gender equality in the media sector in the EU (2017/2210(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0101A8-0031/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 11 and 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3(3), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to 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(1),

–  having regard to Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive)(2),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 26 April 2017 for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU (COM(2017)0253),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal on the third medium-term Community action programme on equal opportunities for women and men 1991-1995 (COM(90)0449),

–  having regard to the resolution of the Council and the representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 5 October 1995 on the image of women and men portrayed in advertising and the media(3),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 7 June 2000 entitled ‘Towards a Community framework strategy on gender equality (2001-2005)’ (COM(2000)0335),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 9 June 2008 on eliminating gender stereotypes in society,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 24 June 2013 on advancing women’s roles as decision-makers in the media,

–  having regard to the European Pact for Gender Equality (2011-2020), adopted by the Council in March 2011,

–  having regard to the Roadmap for equality between women and men 2006-2010 of 1 March 2006 (COM(2006)0092),

–  having regard to the Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015 of 21 September 2010 (COM(2010)0491),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 3 December 2015 on Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019 (SWD(2015)0278),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 July 1997 on discrimination against women in advertising(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 September 2008 on how marketing and advertising affect equality between women and men(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2013 on eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2016 on gender equality and empowering women in the digital age(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2016 on creating labour market conditions favourable for work-life balance(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 September 2016 on application of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (‘Employment Equality Directive’)(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 June 2017 on the need for an EU strategy to end and prevent the gender pension gap(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2017 on working conditions and precarious employment(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 October 2017 on women’s economic empowerment in the private and public sectors in the EU(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2017 on combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU(13),

–  having regard to the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 10 July 2013 on gender equality and media,

–  having regard to Recommendation 1555 of 24 April 2002 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Image of women in the media,

–  having regard to Recommendation 1799 of 26 June 2007 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on The image of women in advertising,

–  having regard to the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 27 September 2017 to member States on gender equality in the audiovisual sector,

–  having regard to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) study of 2013 entitled ‘Review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the EU Member States: Women and the Media – Advancing gender equality in decision-making in media organisations’,

–  having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and its annexes thereto, adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in September 1995,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe report of 2013 entitled ‘Media and the image of women’,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (A8-0031/2018),

A.  whereas equality between women and men is a core principle of the European Union, as enshrined in the Treaties in Article 8 of TFEU stating that, in all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality between women and men; whereas EU policies to promote gender equality have helped to make life better for many European citizens;

B.  whereas the media act as a fourth power, have the capacity to influence and, ultimately, shape public opinion; whereas the media are one of the cornerstones of democratic societies and, as such, have a duty to ensure freedom of information, diversity of opinion and media pluralism, to promote respect for human dignity and to combat all forms of discrimination and inequality by, among other things, portraying diversified social role models; whereas, therefore, media organisations have to be sensitised;

C.  whereas the fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, recognised the importance of the relationship between women and the media in achieving equality between women and men, and incorporated two strategic aims into the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA):

   (a) to increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making in and through media and new technologies of communication;
   (b) to promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women by the media;

D.  whereas the portrayal of women and men in the media may convey unequal representation in various contexts, including political, economic, social, academic, religious, cultural, and sports contexts – with men appearing mainly in active social roles and women being confined to more passive roles; whereas of all the stereotypes affecting the image of women and men, the prime example is the sexualisation of the female body, which can be seen most clearly in the tabloid press and in advertising; whereas the eroticisation of violence and objectification of women in the media have a negative effect on the fight for the eradication of violence against women; whereas gender stereotypes are often combined with other stereotypes involving discrimination on any grounds;

E.  whereas the media have a significant impact on cultural gender norms and on how social representations associated with both women and men are formed and evolve, and influence the audience with stereotyped body images and ideas of masculinity and femininity, for example, the representation of women in advertising and the way products target potential consumers tend to perpetuate traditional gender norms; whereas in cases where the media continue to present stereotyped representations of women and men, including those of LGBTI individuals, people very often view these depictions as legitimate, thus making it difficult or impossible to call them into question;

F.  whereas in modern-day societies the advertising industry plays a major role within the media landscape, as it communicates by using images and ideas that appeal to our emotions and can hence shape our values, attitudes, and perceptions of the world; whereas, by conveying a distorted gender image, advertising may resort to sexism and replicate discriminatory practices; whereas an advertisement may be considered discriminatory or sexist if a gender is portrayed in a degrading and insulting way or as less capable, intelligent or as inferior;

G.  whereas new technologies are transforming traditional media business models; whereas the audiovisual sector is a highly important industry of economic value which alone directly employs over one million people in the EU; whereas, in order to cope with the new online communication and multimedia systems, the necessary adjustments have to be made to the oversight of the arrangements at national level, as well as to self-regulation schemes without prejudice to the outcome of the negotiations on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive;

H.  whereas the perspective of both women and men should be taken into account equally in order to achieve a complete and diversified picture of every facet of social reality; whereas it is important not to lose out on women’s potential and skills in communicating information, facts and opinions about the challenges faced by women in the media, while acknowledging that women cannot be treated as a homogenous group;

I.  whereas the continued projection of negative and degrading images of women in media communications – electronic, print, visual and audio – must be changed; whereas gender inequalities are also created and replicated through the language and images disseminated by the media; whereas children are confronted with gender inequalities at a very young age through role models promoted by television series and programmes, discussions, games, video games and advertisements; whereas gender roles are shaped mostly during childhood and adolescence with an impact throughout life; whereas the education and training of media professionals are powerful tools for combating and eradicating stereotypes, raising awareness and promoting equality;

J.  whereas women constituted 68 % of journalism and information graduates in the EU-28 in 2015(14), while employment data for the EU-28 over 2008-2015 show that the percentage of women employed in the media sector on average is continuously languishing at around 40 %;

K.  whereas, moreover, the share of women in decision-making in media in the EU-28 in 2015 was still below the gender balance zone (40-60 %) at just 32 %, while the share of women as board presidents was a mere 22 %(15);

L.  whereas gender pay and pension gaps are a persistent problem in the EU, and are evident in different economic sectors, including in the media, where the gender pay gap is 17 %;

M.  whereas women continue to face a glass ceiling in the media and might not have equal opportunities for promotion or career advancement owing to a variety of factors, including the procedures of an organisational culture which is often unfavourable to a work-life balance with a competitive environment characterised by stress, inflexible deadlines and long working hours; whereas women have less decision‑making power in setting the news agenda due to their underrepresentation in senior management positions;

N.  whereas media organisations in the Member States can establish their own equality policies, which leads to a wide spectrum of practices in the EU: from very comprehensive policy frameworks covering media content and providing for a balanced representation of men and women in decision-making bodies, to there being no such policy in place;

O.  whereas research has shown that only 4 % of news coverage is against stereotypical portrayal; whereas women account for just 24 % of the people we hear or read about in the news(16); whereas around 37 % of stories from both online and offline news sources are reported by women, a situation which has demonstrated no prospect of improvement in the past 10 years(17); whereas women are mostly asked to provide a popular opinion (41 %) or personal experience (38 %) and are seldom quoted as experts (just 17 % of stories); whereas research has also shown that less than one in five experts or commentators are women (18 %)(18);

P.  whereas women are disproportionately under-represented in the news and information media and are even less visible in the domains of sport, politics, the economy and finances, notwithstanding the variety of media outlets across the Member States; whereas the women of history are almost entirely absent from related media content, such as biographical documentaries;

Q.  whereas female participation on an equal level with men in reporting content and serving as information sources is crucial not only for reasons of representation, but also for reasons of equal opportunities and the full recognition of their expertise and knowledge; whereas, within the European media landscape, there are obstacles to engaging in a responsible approach to gender equality given the financial constraints and working conditions, including job insecurity and the levels of professional experience, combined with the growing speed of information and commercial considerations;

R.  whereas there are women in the media working at a top professional level, including renowned film makers, journalists and reporters, who, although performing equally well as men, are more exposed to gender-based violence and workplace discrimination and may not be given the same level of appreciation as their male counterparts;

S.  whereas women engaging in social media are encountering increasing levels of harassment; whereas this harassment has the potential to silence women’s voice and weakens their participation in society; whereas data collected globally shows that half of the women employed in the media have experienced sexual abuse, one quarter of them have experienced acts of physical violence and three quarters have experienced intimidation, threats or abuse(19); whereas there is increasing concern about cyber violence against women and girls and it is estimated that one in ten women in the EU have experienced some form of cyber violence since reaching the age of 15; whereas there is a lack of data and research on cyber violence against women and girls at EU level; whereas psychological and sexual harassment are human rights violations; whereas the media and national and international regulators should lay down rules, including sanctions to be applied by media organisations, to deal with these matters;

T.  whereas female investigative journalists in particular are often subjected to violence and the target of deadly attacks, as evidenced by the cases of Veronica Guerin or Daphne Caruana Galizia;

U.  whereas according to a study by the European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA)(20), only one in five films in the seven European countries examined is directed by a woman, and the vast majority of funding resources go into films that are not directed by women, even though approximately half of all film school graduates are women;

V.  whereas media companies should adopt self-regulation systems and codes of conduct setting out procedural rules and criteria on careers and media coverage to safeguard and promote gender equality; whereas self-regulation and conduct codes of this kind should be drawn up in collaboration with the industry’s trade unions, pursuing a clear policy on gender equality;

Women’s presence in the media

1.  Highlights the fact that although women in this field at graduate level constitute a substantial workforce, they are underrepresented in management and top-level positions; considers that both public and private media services have a responsibility to ensure equality between women and men and prevent any discrimination; calls on the Member States to develop policy incentives to reduce barriers to women’s access to management posts and leadership in media organisations;

2.  Regrets the fact that the representation of women in public service media in the EU is low on average, in both strategic and operational high-level posts and on boards (in 2017: 35,8 % for executive posts, 37,7 % for non-executive posts and 33,3 % as board members)(21);

3.  Recalls that, with a view to monitoring the critical areas of the BPfA relating to women in media, the EIGE developed the following indicators:

   the proportion of women and men in decision-making posts in media organisations and on the boards of media organisations in the EU,
   the proportion of women and men on the boards of media organisations in the EU,
   policies to promote gender equality in media organisations;

4.  Recalls that while the Audiovisual Media Services Directive states that its objectives ‘cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States and can be better achieved at Union level’, it contains no reference to equal representation in media organisations;

5.  Notes that despite being insufficiently represented in them at present, women are still more likely to be recruited or promoted to high-level positions in public service media than in private media organisations(22);

6.  Calls on the Member States and media organisations to support and develop incentive measures, including quotas, for the equal representation of women and men in decision-making posts, and for the effective monitoring of such efforts to be given greater prominence in these organisations; calls on the Commission to step up its efforts to unblock the Directive on Women on Boards, which has been on hold in the Council since 2013;

7.  Takes note of the long tradition of employing both freelance and permanent staff which exists in the media sector and of its continued digitisation which has led to reductions in traditional circulation and advertising revenue, which has an impact on the type of employment contracts offered in the sector; points out, furthermore, that women are over-represented in many atypical forms of work across the labour market; notes that the increasing pressures on the media sector to maintain its economic viability is likely to lead to a growing number of these forms of contracts;

8.  Considers that stereotypes can lead to a negative social environment for women and can contribute to gender discrimination in the workplace; notes the importance of a positive social environment in helping workers to deal with high levels of work intensity;

9.  Recalls that media organisations are at liberty to determine roles for their employees, both men and women, but urges them to do so with the utmost respect for personal dignity and professional quality; observes, in this context, worrying instances of female reporters deemed more suitable for television journalism for their perceived attractiveness to the audience, and being subsequently replaced by younger colleagues as they get older;

10.  Condemns, furthermore, the widespread occurrence of sexual harassment and other types of abuse, especially in online gaming and social media, and encourages media companies to create safe environments that are responsive to any instances of harassment; calls, therefore, for different measures, including awareness‑raising, internal rules on disciplinary sanctions for offenders, and psychological and/or legal support for victims of these practices, to prevent and combat bullying and sexual harassment at work as well as in online environments;

11.  Strongly condemns attacks against female journalists fearlessly reporting on major political and criminal issues, and calls for the greatest possible efforts be made to ensure the protection and safety of all journalists;

12.  Urges public and private media organisations to adopt internal polices such as equal opportunities and diversity policies which include anti-harassment measures, maternity or parental leave schemes, flexible working arrangements that support work-life balance allowing women and men to benefit equally from parental leave and encouraging men to take up paternity leave, ensuring the fair distribution of childcare, as well as mentorship and management training programmes, the use of teleworking and flexible working arrangements for both women and men on a voluntary basis and without prejudice to career advancement;

13.  Calls on the media to respect the right of women and men to benefit from maternity, paternity, or parental leave; points out that no pregnant woman should be discriminated against on account of her condition and no woman should be refused employment because she might decide to become pregnant; encourages media organisations and regulatory authorities to disclose the gender pay gap, to establish pay transparency obligations and to implement the equal pay for equal work principle through binding measures;

14.  Suggests that media organisations establish databases of women experts in a number of areas, particularly those in which women are underrepresented, with a view to utilising them, when appropriate; encourages furthermore, the collection of sex-disaggregated data on all possible media content;

15.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision-making through media and new technologies of communication;

16.  Considers that all media workers could benefit from the general advancement of conditions for women in the workplace; considers, however, that such improvement has not been sufficient and that inequalities remain; stresses the need for Member States and the Commission to promote and ensure the principle of equal pay in accordance with Article 157 TFEU, including by combatting the gender pay and pension gap, reducing precarious work(23), ensuring accessibility to affordable and quality childcare and better work-life balance policies, and ensuring collective bargaining rights;

17.  Reiterates that the media must, as a matter of urgency, implement the policy of equal pay for equal work, including pay transparency obligations, while enabling women to enjoy the same promotion and training opportunities and any other additional benefits on equal terms with men;

18.  Notes the positive role of women’s councils and women’s equality officers in workplaces; calls for gender equality to be promoted as a cross-cutting human resources policy within the media; considers that achieving equality for women at all levels, and particularly decision-making levels, in the media requires an employee-centred culture and a gender-sensitive senior management team; recommends that national regulatory bodies and media organisations follow the Commission Recommendation 2014/124/EU on strengthening the principle of equal pay between men and women through transparency(24), draw up guidance on fair selection procedures, establish comprehensive equality policies, covering media content and providing for women’s advancement in decision-making bodies, and set up internal procedures dealing with harassment in the workplace; calls on the Commission to continue to monitor the proper application and enforcement of Directive 2006/54/EC which reverses the burden of proof for cases of discrimination on grounds of sex;

Media content and women

19.  Stresses the role of the media as an agent of social change and its influence in the shaping of public opinion and calls on the Member States to promote content on gender equality in public media; points out that until now any regulatory action on sexism and stereotypical gender portrayals in media content has been a competence of the Member States; recalls the prohibition of sex-based discrimination in media under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive; stresses, furthermore, that while regulatory action is subject to due considerations of the principle of freedom of expression, editorial freedom should not, under any circumstances, serve to encourage or legitimise degrading portrayals of women and LGBTI people; urges the Member States, in safeguarding the aforementioned freedoms, to regulate access to video games with harmful online content, and to pornography on the internet;

20.  Stresses that economic arguments cannot be an excuse for the perpetuation of gender stereotyping in media content;

21.  Stresses that violent and sexist media content is negatively affecting women and their participation in society; expresses concern about certain commercial audiovisual communications that are causing psychological or physical damage to children and young people; urges the relevant stakeholders and authorities to address the issue of advertising that indirectly encourages eating disorders such as anorexia, and to take other steps to protect particularly vulnerable persons, including girls and young women, against such content;

22.  Urges that media content, including advertising, related to family planning, sexual and reproductive rights, maternal and child health, and education be aimed at both men and women;

23.  Stresses the importance of fostering media literacy and providing all relevant stakeholders with gender-sensitive media education initiatives so as to encourage young people to develop critical thinking skills, and to help them to identify and speak out against sexist portrayals and discrimination, gender‑based violence, cyber-bullying, hate speech and violence motivated by a person’s gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or sex characteristics.; underlines the need for preventive measures including encryption and parental control with a view to ensuring safer internet usage and digital and media literacy; draws attention to the fact that stereotypes in advertising and in other media products have a potential impact on children’s socialisation and, subsequently, the way they view themselves, their family members and the outside world; points out that advertising can be an effective tool in challenging stereotypes, such as gender stereotypes and stereotypes against LGBTI people; calls therefore, for a greater focus on professional training and education activities as a way to combat discrimination and promote gender and LGBTI equality;

24.  Recommends that soft measures such as gender equality plans or guidelines should be given even more prominence in media organisations and advises that these protocols set the standards for the positive portrayal of women in advertising, news, reporting, production or broadcasting and cover all sensitive content areas such as the depiction of power and authority, expertise, decision-making, sexuality, violence, diversity of roles and the use of non-sexist language; encourages, furthermore, public and private media to mainstream gender equality in all their content and to adopt equality plans in order to reflect social diversity;

25.  Recommends that regulations issued by authorities competent for media and communication set out the criteria guaranteeing stereotype-free portrayals of women and girls and that they include the possibility of removing or suspending offensive content; further recommends that specialist organisations such as national equality bodies and women’s NGOs are involved in the monitoring of the implementation of these regulations;

26.  Points out that Member States must ensure, by all appropriate means, that the media, including online and social media, as well as advertising, is free from any incitement to violence or hatred directed against any person or group of persons; underlines the need to collect gender-segregated data and to conduct research, in cooperation with the EIGE, to address cyber violence, online sexual harassment, threats, sexist remarks and hate speech against women and girls, including those who are LGBTI; stresses that special attention needs to be paid to training on how the media report on cases of gender-based violence, including violence against LGBTI people; suggests that continuous training on gender depictions in media content be made available for media professionals, including those in leadership positions; recommends that gender equality be reflected in the teaching modules in undergraduate and postgraduate journalism and communication courses;

27.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to promote self-regulation and co-regulation in the media through codes of conduct;

Examples of good practice

28.  Notes with enthusiasm the various examples of good practice that can be observed in all Member States, including: media campaigns, specific legislation, awards or anti-awards for stereotypical and sexist advertising, databases of women experts, training courses for industry professionals, and media organisations’ equality plans, codes of conduct and equal opportunity and diversity policies, and the minimum thresholds set for representation of the sexes in the governing bodies of media regulators;

29.  Encourages the Member States to support campaigns such as the Belgian Expertalia tool, the Czech ‘Sexist Piggy’ awards or the Swedish #TackaNej (‘No, thanks’) initiative, among others; invites the Member States to hold regular information and awareness‑raising campaigns about gender-based discriminatory content in the media, and to report regularly on gender equality trends in the media; calls on the Commission to earmark special funding for sub-programmes focusing on the advancement of women in the media industry and to support media associations and networks in putting in place public and sectoral awareness‑raising campaigns; further calls on the Commission to establish an EU award for students in the media field for work related to gender equality;

30.  Invites civil society organisations to draw up communication strategies, not just for traditional media, but also for online media, in order to widen the scope for influencing and monitoring the media agenda;

Further recommendations

31.  Calls on the Member States, in conjunction with equality bodies, to fully implement the existing legislation addressing gender equality, and to encourage regulatory bodies to pay attention to the presence and advancement of women and to non-stereotypical media content; encourages the Member States to carry out regular evaluations of the above‑mentioned areas and to develop, if this has not yet been done, legislation focusing on non-stereotypical media content; emphasises the role of Member States in making better use of existing resources in the media within their remit to perform their public service role while reflecting a more gender‑balanced and democratic society;

32.  Calls on the Commission to conduct further research into the participation of women in senior positions in the media; commends the EIGE for its work in the field and calls on it to continue to develop and monitor the relevant set of indicators, including but not limited to women’s presence in decision-making, their working conditions and gender equality in media content, while extending its attention to the new social media technologies in order to develop methodologies to prevent gender-based violence and harassment in social media;

33.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support and promote women’s organisations which are active in the sphere of promoting gender equality in the media, including organisations which support women and girls who are victims of gender-based violence, intersectional discrimination or sexual harassment;

34.  Calls on the Member States to implement action programmes which ensure women’s involvement in the design and implementation of effective and efficient gender-sensitive policies and programmes within media organisations;

35.  Calls on the Member States to develop programmes to improve women’s skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects that are important for careers in the media sector with a more technical focus, such as sound and audiovisual technicians; stresses the importance of vocational education and training in diversifying career choices and introducing women and men to non-traditional career opportunities to overcome horizontal and vertical exclusion;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23.
(2) OJ L 95, 15.4.2010, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 296, 10.11.1995, p. 15.
(4) OJ C 304, 6.10.1997, p. 60.
(5) OJ C 295 E, 4.12.2009, p. 43.
(6) OJ C 36, 29.1.2016, p. 18.
(7) OJ C 66, 21.2.2018, p. 44.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0338.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0360.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0260.
(11) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0290.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0364.
(13) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0417.
(14) UNESCO OECD Eurostat (UOE) joint data collection, available from: http://eige.europa.eu/gender-statistics/dgs/indicator/ta_educ_part_grad__educ_uoe_grad02
(15) EIGE, Gender Equality Index 2017.
(16) https://www.womenlobby.org/IMG/pdf/factsheet_women_and_media.pdf
(17) Lenka Vochocová, FEMM public hearing ‘Gender equality in the media sector in the EU’, 26 June 2017, recording available at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/video?event=20170626-1500-COMMITTEE-FEMM
(18) Global Media Monitoring project, regional report for Europe (2015), available at http://cdn.agilitycms.com/who-makes-the-news/Imported/reports_2015/regional/Europe.pdf
(19) International Federation of Journalists’(IFJ) campaign on gender-based violence at work, https://www.ifj-stop-gender-based-violence.org/
(20) ‘Where are the women directors in European films? Gender equality report on female directors (2006-2013) with best practice and policy recommendations’, http://www.ewawomen.com/en/research-.html
(21) Gender Equality in Power and Decision-Making. Review of the Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the EU Member States, 2017 (Source: EIGE Gender Statistics Database – Women and Men in Decision-Making).
(22) European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE): Review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the EU Member States: Women and the Media – Advancing gender equality in decision-making in media organisations (2013).
(23) See European Parliament resolution of 4 July 2017 on working conditions and precarious employment.
(24) OJ L 69, 8.3.2014, p. 112.


Empowering women and girls through the digital sector
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European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2018 on empowering women and girls through the digital sector (2017/3016(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0102B8-0183/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3(3), second subparagraph, of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Article 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted at the 4th World Conference on Women in 1995, and, in particular, the area of concern ‘Women and the Media’,

–  having regard to the outcome document of 16 December 2015 of the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society,

–  having regard to the Commission’s Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 6 May 2015 entitled ‘A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe’ (COM(2015)0192), and the mid-term review on its implementation entitled ‘A Connected Digital Single Market for All’ (COM(2017)0228),

–  having regard to Pillar II of the Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy, which is aimed at creating the right conditions and a level playing field and environment for digital networks and innovative services to flourish, and Pillar III, which supports an inclusive digital society, in which citizens have the right skills to seize the opportunities brought about by the internet and boost their chances of getting a job,

–  having regard to the Education and Training 2020 framework,

–  having regard to the Commission study ‘ICT for work: Digital skills in the workplace’ and the Commission communication of 10 June 2016 entitled ‘A New Skills Agenda for Europe: Working together to strengthen human capital, employability and competitiveness’ (COM(2016)0381),

–  having regard to the in-depth analysis entitled ‘Empowering women on the Internet’, published by its Directorate-General for Internal Policies in October 2015(1),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 1 October 2013 entitled ‘Women active in the ICT sector’,

–  having regard to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) study of 26 January 2017 entitled ‘Gender and Digital Agenda’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 May 2012 with recommendations to the Commission on application of the principle of equal pay for male and female workers for equal work or work of equal value(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 March 2013 on eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2013 on the Digital Agenda for Growth, Mobility and Employment: time to move up a gear(4), and, in particular, the Grand Coalition on Digital Skills and Jobs,

–  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(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2016 on gender equality and empowering women in the digital age(6),

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on empowering women and girls through the digital sector (O-000004/2018 – B8‑0010/2018),

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

A.  whereas digitalisation has revolutionised and fundamentally changed the way people access and provide information, communicate, socialise, study and work, creating new opportunities to participate in public and political discussions, education and the labour market, opening up new prospects for a self-determined life, and having enormous economic potential for the European Union and beyond; whereas digitalisation not only has an impact on markets, but also on society as a whole;

B.  whereas the information society, driven by information and communication technologies (ICTs), brings with it huge opportunities for generating and distributing wealth and knowledge;

C.  whereas all around the globe, women as a demographic group are less likely to be online than men; whereas 68 % of men and 62 % of women use computers and the internet on a regular basis; whereas 54 % of men, compared to 48 % of women, use the internet on mobile devices; whereas 33 % of men install software onto the devices themselves, compared to only 18 % of women; whereas 41 % of men use online radio and television, compared to 35 % of women; whereas 47 % of men use online banking, compared to 35 % of women; whereas 22 % of men sell goods on the web, compared to only 17 % of women; whereas 20 % of men buy goods online, compared to 13 % of women;

D.  whereas digital models of communication have contributed to the creation of conditions conducive to the increased dissemination of hate speech and threats against women, with 18 % of women in Europe having suffered some form of cyber harassment since reaching adolescence; whereas the number of threats, including death threats, towards women has increased; whereas social awareness of digital forms of violence remains insufficient; whereas various forms of online violence have not yet been fully taken account of by the legal framework;

E.  whereas only 2 % of all women in the labour market are employed in technical, professional and scientific jobs, compared to 5 % of men; whereas only 9 % of developers in Europe are women, only 19 % of senior managers in the ICT and communications sectors are female (compared with 45 % in other service sectors) and women represent just 19 % of entrepreneurs in these sectors (compared with 54 % in other service sectors);

F.  whereas there is a significant gender gap in access to professional and educational opportunities in relation to information and communication technologies and to computer skills;

G.  whereas sexism and gender stereotypes constitute a serious obstacle to equality between women and men, and further widen the gender gap in the digital sector, making it difficult for women to develop fully their capacities as users, innovators and creators;

H.  whereas jobs, not only within the ICT sector, increasingly require some degree of e-skills and digital literacy, and this trend will likely be amplified in the future with a broader spectrum of digital skills needed for the majority of occupations and vacancies;

I.  whereas improving digital skills and IT literacy presents a unique opportunity to improve work-life balance by increasing access to education and training and facilitating the inclusion in the labour market not only of women and girls, but also of people with special needs, such as persons with disabilities, and of the inhabitants of rural and remote areas far from urban centres; whereas digitalisation of the workplace may bring some challenges which need to be addressed; whereas increasing the number of women in ICT, one of the highest paying sectors, could contribute to their financial empowerment and independence, resulting in the reduction of the total gender pay gap and the enhancement of women’s financial independence; whereas only around 16 % of the almost eight million people working in ICT in Europe are women;

J.  whereas digitalisation offers new opportunities for entrepreneurship for women, including small‑scale digital entrepreneurship, which in many cases does not require significant initial capital, as well as enterprises pursued within the framework of the social economy, which enhance social inclusion; whereas there is a need to support female digital entrepreneurship as it is one of the fastest growing and prospering sectors in the economy, offering numerous opportunities for innovation and growth, and women constitute only 19 % of entrepreneurs in this field;

K.  whereas the entry of more women into the ICT sector would boost a market in which labour shortages are foreseen, and in which the equal participation of women would lead to a gain of around EUR 9 billion in EU GDP each year; whereas women remain heavily underrepresented in ICT degree programmes, where they constitute only around 20 % of graduates in the field, with only 3 % of all female graduates holding a degree in ICT; whereas women face numerous difficulties in integrating into and staying in the ICT sector; whereas the male-dominated working environment, with only 30 % of the workforce being female, contributes to the trend of many women leaving the ICT sector within a few years of completing their university degrees; whereas women’s participation in the digital labour market decreases with age; whereas women under 30 with a degree in ICT make up 20 % of the ICT sector, compared to 15,4 % of women aged between 31 and 45 and 9 % of women over 45;

L.  whereas the study entitled ‘Women active in the ICT sector’ estimates that there will be 900 000 unfilled positions in the ICT sector in Europe by 2020; whereas the ICT sector is growing rapidly, creating around 120 000 new jobs every year;

M.  whereas the ICT sector is characterised by a particularly high degree of vertical and horizontal segregation, as well as a gap between women’s educational qualifications and their positions in the ICT sector; whereas less than 20 % of ICT entrepreneurs are women; whereas the majority (54 %) of women in ICT jobs occupy lower paid and lower skill-level positions, and only a small minority of them (8 %) occupy high-skill software engineering positions; whereas women are also underrepresented in decision-making within this sector, with only 19,2 % of employees in the ICT sector managed by women, compared with 45,2 % of employees elsewhere;

N.  whereas women aged 55 and over are at particular risk of unemployment and labour market inactivity, with the average EU employment rate for women aged between 55 and 64 being only 49 % in 2016, compared with 62 % for men; whereas a low level of IT literacy and e-skills further amplifies this risk; whereas improving and investing in the digital competences of women aged 55 and over would boost their employment opportunities and offer a degree of protection against exclusion from the labour market;

O.  whereas according to 2014 Eurostat data, more women (42,3 %) than men (33,6 %) go on to higher education, yet women are present in greater numbers in the humanities than in scientific fields; whereas only 9,6 % of women students in tertiary education study ICT-related degrees, compared to 30,6 % of men; whereas women remain largely underrepresented in initiatives such as the EU Code Week, ICT for Better Education, the Startup Europe Leaders Club and the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, which are aimed at further fostering e-education and e-skills;

P.  whereas low participation on the part of women and girls in ICT-related education, and later in employment, is the result of a complex interplay of gender stereotyping that starts at the early stages of life and education and continues into professional careers;

1.  Calls on the Commission to exploit and better target the Digital Agenda and the Digital Single Market Strategy with a view to addressing the serious gender gap within the ICT sector and fostering the full integration of women into the sector, particularly in relation to technical and telecommunication professions, and to foster the education and training of women and girls in ICT and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects;

2.  Welcomes the actions to support the integration and participation of women in the information society included in the Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019; calls on the Commission to implement the actions aimed at reducing the gender pay, earnings and pension gaps, thus fighting poverty among women, and to put a premium on promoting female employment in the ICT sector, fighting gender stereotypes and fostering gender equality at all levels and in all types of education, including in relation to gendered study subject choices and careers, in line with the priorities set out in the Education and Training 2020 framework;

3.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to work in a spirit of open cooperation within the Strategic Framework for Education and Training 2020 on finding solutions and sharing best practices on early digital education, including e-skills and coding, which are inclusive for girls, as well as, at the later stages of education, on programmes aimed at increasing the share of women who decide to pursue STEM subjects and graduate with STEM degrees, as this would allow women to gain complete access to electronic services on an equal footing with men, and to profit from the employment opportunities for engineers and IT specialists that are predicted;

4.  Calls for the EU and the Member States to develop, support and implement the actions promoted by the UN and its bodies, in particular in the framework of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), including in the context of school curricula, in order to strive for women’s empowerment in the digital age at European and global level;

5.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to address the gender gap in the ICT sector by stressing the business case for diversity and by creating additional and stronger incentives for both companies and women such as providing role models, mentoring programmes and career paths, in order to increase the visibility of women; encourages Member States to support and take action on, among other things, the development of online content that promotes gender equality, the promotion of access to and the use of ICT as tools to combat gender discrimination in areas such as gender violence, and the attainment of work-life balance;

6.  Welcomes the EU’s Action Plan 2017-2019 on tackling the gender pay gap (COM(2017)0678); highlights the need to strengthen compliance with the principle of equal pay for equal work for women and men anchored in the TEU, and calls on the Commission to implement the initiatives included in Action II of the Plan aimed at attracting more women into STEM professions, which, according to the EIGE, could lead to a closure of the gender wage gap by 2050 due to the higher productivity of STEM jobs;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to make funds available and to improve access to existing funds in order to promote and support women entrepreneurs, particularly in the framework of the digital transformation of industry, to ensure that any company, irrespective of its size, the sector it operates in or its location in Europe, can benefit from digital innovations; stresses, in this context, that digital innovation hubs, which are key to facilitating the digital transformation, should put a specific focus on women entrepreneurs and start-ups owned by women; calls on the Commission to fully and comprehensively address the gender gap within the process of digitalisation;

8.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support lifelong learning as well as training and schemes which help participants to adapt better or to prepare for a potential change of career path in accordance with the growing demand for e-skills in many different sectors, paying particular attention to women aged 55 and over, in particular those with caregiver responsibilities, and women who have taken a break from their career or are re-entering the workplace, in order to ensure that they are not left behind in the increasingly rapid shift towards digitalisation, and in order to safeguard them from exclusion from the labour market;

9.  Underlines the effectiveness of using the internet for campaigns, forums and boosting the visibility of female role models, which accelerate gender equality; urges the Commission and the Member States to promote women’s networks online, as they involve a bottom-up approach to women’s empowerment;

10.  Calls on the Commission to foster the creation of networks among civil society and professional media organisations in order to empower women to play an active part and to recognise their specific needs in the media sector;

11.  Stresses the key role of civil society in internet governance; calls on the Commission and the Member States to engage constructively with and support digital civil society organisations;

12.  Encourages all authorities and civil society players to support the introduction and implementation of e-services, e-skills and digital forms of work that can boost the work-life balance in our societies, while making sure that a double burden on women is avoided; calls on the Commission and the Member States to identify the opportunities and challenges of digitalisation, also with regard to working conditions, such as unstable forms of employment and work‑related mental health problems;

13.  Underlines the importance of ensuring gender mainstreaming in the education sector by promoting digital literacy and the participation of women and girls in ICT education and training through the inclusion of coding, new media and technologies in education curricula at all levels, as well as extra-curricular, informal and non-formal education, and in all types of education and training, including for teaching staff, in order to reduce and remove digital skills gaps, and to encourage girls and young women to embark on careers in the sciences and ICT; points to the importance of constant dialogue with the social partners in order to overcome the gender gap in this field;

14.  Encourages the Member States to introduce age-appropriate ICT education at the early stages of school, with a particular focus on inspiring girls to develop an interest and talents in the digital field, and urges the Commission and the Member States to promote STEM education for girls from a young age, given that girls move away from STEM subjects at an earlier stage of their educational path due to the gender stereotypes surrounding these subjects, a lack of role models, and segregation in activities and toys, resulting in an underrepresentation of women in these subjects at university, which extends into the workplace;

15.  Encourages the Member States and the Commission to promote, in particular by means of information and awareness-raising campaigns, the participation of women in business sectors that are stereotypically considered ‘male’, as in the case of digitalisation; stresses the need to organise awareness-raising, training and gender-mainstreaming campaigns for all the actors involved in digitalisation policy; underlines the need to support the acquisition of e-skills by women in sectors that are not ICT‑intensive, but will require digital skills and competences in the near future;

16.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, as well as businesses, to promote gender equality in ICT by collecting gender-disaggregated data on the use of ICT, developing targets, indicators and benchmarks to track the progress of women’s access to ICT, and to promote examples of best practice among ICT companies; calls on the EIGE to compile data on how digital services can be better employed for the benefit of women and gender equality;

17.  Underlines the importance of identifying the challenges posed by the use of ICT and the internet to commit crimes, issue threats or perpetrate acts of harassment or violence against women; urges policymakers to address these issues properly, and to see to it that a framework is put in place to ensure that law enforcement agencies are able to deal with digital crimes effectively; calls on the Commission and the Member States to guarantee the protection of girls from advertising in the digital environment that could incite them to behaviour harmful to their health;

18.  Calls for the EU institutions and the Member States to run campaigns in order to raise women’s awareness of the benefits of ICT, as well as the risks involved, and to provide them with the necessary education and knowledge on how to protect themselves online;

19.  Calls for the EU institutions, agencies and bodies, as well as the Member States and their law enforcement agencies, to cooperate and take concrete steps to coordinate their actions to counter the use of ICT to commit crimes related to trafficking in human beings, cyber-harassment and cyber-stalking, given that they are often cross‑border in nature and that EU-level coordination is vital in order to prosecute these crimes; invites the Member States to review their criminal law to ensure that new forms of digital violence are defined and acknowledged;

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

(1) In-depth analysis – ‘Empowering women on the Internet’, European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department C – Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, October 2015.
(2) OJ C 264 E, 13.9.2013, p. 75.
(3) OJ C 36, 29.1.2016, p. 18.
(4) OJ C 93, 9.3.2016, p. 120.
(5) OJ C 349, 17.10.2017, p. 56.
(6) OJ C 66, 21.2.2018, p. 44.


Implementation of the Development Cooperation Instrument, the Humanitarian Aid Instrument and the European Development Fund
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European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2018 on the implementation of the Development Cooperation Instrument, the Humanitarian Aid Instrument and the European Development Fund (2017/2258(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0103A8-0118/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 3(5) and 21 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 208 to 211 and 214 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, adopted at the High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in 2011 and renewed at the High-Level Meeting in Nairobi in 2016,

–  having regard to the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, held in Sendai (Japan) from 14 to 18 March 2015,

–  having regard to the UN resolution entitled ‘Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York on 25 September 2015, and to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals included therein,

–  having regard to the World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May 2016, and the ‘Grand Bargain’ agreement reached by some of the biggest donors and aid providers,

–  having regard to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement(1) signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, as revised on 25 June 2005 and 22 June 2010,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2013/755/EU of 25 November 2013 on the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Union(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 of 20 June 1996 concerning humanitarian aid(3),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(4),

–  having regard to the Internal Agreement between the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of the European Union, meeting within the Council, on the financing of European Union aid under the multiannual financial framework for the period 2014 to 2020, in accordance with the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, and on the allocation of financial assistance for the overseas countries and territories to which Part Four of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union applies (‘the Internal Agreement’),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2015/322 of 2 March 2015 on the implementation of the 11th European Development Fund(5),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2015/323 of 2 March 2015 on the financial regulation applicable to the 11th European Development Fund(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 233/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation for the period 2014-2020(7),

–  having regard to the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid of 2007(8),

–  having regard to the new European Consensus on Development of 7 June 2017(9),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 19 June 2017 on EU engagement with civil society in external relations,

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2016 on increasing the effectiveness of development cooperation(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2016 entitled ‘EU Trust Fund for Africa: the implications for development and humanitarian aid’(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on the EU 2015 Report on Policy Coherence for Development(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 October 2013 on local authorities and civil society: Europe’s engagement in support of sustainable development(13),

–  having regard to the European Court of Auditors’ Special Report No 18/2014 on EuropeAid’s evaluation and results-oriented monitoring systems,

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 15 December 2017 entitled ‘Mid-term Review Report of the External Financing Instruments’ (COM(2017)0720), and the related staff working documents, ‘Evaluation of the Development Cooperation Instrument’ (SWD(2017)0600) and ‘Evaluation of the 11th European Development Fund’ (SWD(2017)0601),

–  having regard to the External Evaluation of the 11th European Development Fund (final report of June 2017), commissioned by the Commission from a team of external contractors,

–  having regard to the External Evaluation of the Development Cooperation Instrument (final report of June 2017), commissioned by the Commission from a team of external contractors,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 February 2018 on a new, modern Multiannual Financial Framework for a European Union that delivers efficiently on its priorities post-2020 (COM(2018)0098),

–  having regard to the ‘Coherence report – Insights from the External Evaluation of the External Financing Instruments’ (final report of July 2017), commissioned by the Commission from a team of external contractors,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as Article 1(1)(e) of and Annex 3 to the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 12 December 2002 on the procedure for granting authorisation to draw up own-initiative reports,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0118/2018),

A.  whereas since the adoption of the External Financing Instruments (EFIs), the international and EU policy framework has changed significantly with the adoption of landmark instruments such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, and the Agenda for Humanity; whereas the EU played a leading role in the negotiations of these instruments;

B.  whereas the Treaty of Lisbon, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), together with the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, the new European Consensus on Development and the Busan effective development principles, determine the EU strategy on development cooperation and humanitarian aid; whereas, in addition, the Council has adopted a Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, which deals inter alia with development cooperation;

C.  whereas according to Article 214 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, humanitarian assistance must be delivered in accordance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality and guided by a needs-based approach; whereas humanitarian aid must not be a crisis management tool;

D.  whereas development policy should complement EU foreign policy and migration management, while ensuring that development funding is used only for development-related objectives and purposes and not to cover expenses related to the achievement of different objectives, such as border control or anti-migration policies;

E.  whereas the main objective of the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) is to reduce and, in the long term, eradicate poverty in developing countries that do not benefit from funding under the European Development Fund (EDF), the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) or the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), to provide thematic support for civil society organisations and local authorities in partner countries in the area of development-related global public goods and challenges, and to support the strategic partnership between Africa and the EU; whereas the DCI is the main geographic instrument in the area of development cooperation in the EU budget, with EUR 19,6 billion in allocations for the period 2014-2020;

F.  whereas the main objective of the EDF is to reduce and, in the long term, eradicate poverty in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region and achieve the sustainable development of overseas countries and territories (OCTs); whereas the EDF is the main EU development cooperation instrument, with EUR 30,5 billion allocated to the 11th EDF for the period 2014-2020;

G.  whereas the main objective of the Humanitarian Aid Instrument (HAI) is to provide assistance, relief and protection to people affected by natural or manmade disasters and similar emergencies, placing the focus on the most vulnerable victims regardless of nationality, religion, gender, age, ethnic origin or political affiliation, and in accordance with real needs, international humanitarian principles and the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid;

H.  whereas the HAI extends beyond the core task of lifesaving operations to include relief for those affected by longer-lasting crises, short-term rehabilitation and reconstruction work, disaster preparedness and addressing the consequences of population movements;

I.  whereas effective development cooperation calls for innovative approaches, giving donors the ability to respond quickly to local situations, work with local organisations and support local businesses and entrepreneurs, especially in the poorest and most fragile countries; whereas the EU’s audit system must give donors the flexibility to take on a reasonable amount of risk in such projects, enhancing the EU’s ability to react quickly and deliver effective aid;

J.  whereas the EU is the world’s leading donor of development and humanitarian aid; whereas through this assistance the EU champions efforts to reduce poverty and to promote global and EU interests and fundamental values;

K.  whereas the African Union-EU Summit held in Abidjan on 29 and 30 November 2017 confirmed the will to establish a genuine, modernised, globalised and ambitious partnership, creating the political and economic conditions for real equality;

L.  whereas there has been an exponential increase in the number of development cooperation agreements concluded with third countries, including China, Russia, Turkey, Brazil and India;

M.  whereas reinstating and extending the so-called global gag rule and cutting funds to organisations that provide women and girls with family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights services is of serious concern;

N.  whereas third-country governments have real expectations when it comes to swift action, effectiveness and addressing the urgent need to maintain sound development cooperation partnerships; whereas there is a need to develop open and productive economies in partner countries, while taking into account new circumstances and new economic stakeholders in the international arena;

O.  whereas given the lack of UK involvement beyond 2020, Brexit will entail a reduction in the EU budget of between 12 and 15 %;

P.  whereas the EDF and DCI evaluations confirm that using the different geographic and thematic instruments in a coherent manner is indeed possible;

Q.  whereas the evaluation of the 11th EDF states that ‘there is a real threat that EDF will be pushed into responding to agendas that distance it from its primary objective of poverty alleviation, which are difficult to reconcile with the EDF’s core values and compromise what it does well’, that ‘despite consultations, government and [civil society organisation] views (with some notable exceptions such as in the Pacific region), have rarely been taken account of in programming choices’ and that ‘the EDF11 programming thus used a top-down approach to apply the concentration principle but at the cost of the Cotonou Agreement’s central principle of partnership’;

R.  whereas according to the 11th EDF evaluation, by April 2017, nearly EUR 500 million from the EDF reserve had been disbursed to support the Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) department, nearly EUR 500 million had been allocated in emergency support to individual countries and EUR 1,5 billion had been disbursed to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa; whereas the EDF also contributes to the new European Fund for Sustainable Development;

S.  whereas the DCI evaluation states that ‘the DCI remains overall relevant and fit for purpose, both when it was adopted and at the mid-point of its implementation. It is broadly in line with new policy documents (e.g. the new European Consensus on Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) although implementing certain priorities, could be difficult in its current format’;

T.  whereas at the time of the adoption of the EFIs 2014-2020 Parliament expressed a preference for a distinct EFI dedicated to development cooperation and called for the ring-fencing of development funds should the EDF be budgetised;

U.  whereas with reference to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the EDF evaluation states that ‘compared to standard EDF projects, the shortened preparation and approval time, the indirect involvement of the EU in project implementation and the fact that these projects originate from EU priority concerns rather than as a response to [partner countries’] long-term objectives, all raise concerns over the likely effectiveness and sustainability of EU [Emergency Trust Fund for Africa] projects and over the ability of the EU to closely monitor their implementation’;

V.  whereas the financial flow from the Union to countries benefiting from financial instruments for development is lower than the remittances made privately by the diaspora from those same countries living in Europe;

W.  whereas despite having received billions of euros from the EDF for years and despite the Commission’s serious concerns about its financial management, the African Peace Facility was not part of the EDF evaluation; whereas the African Peace Facility has not been evaluated since 2011;

X.  whereas according to their respective evaluations and the Commission mid-term review report on the EFIs, the overall effectiveness and long-term impact of the DCI and the EDF in meeting their objectives is difficult to measure owing to serious limitations in defining adequate evaluation and monitoring systems and in assessing the role played by external factors, and to the breadth of the countries and themes concerned; whereas according to the evaluators, blending only mobilises additional resources in 50 % of cases;

Y.  whereas Parliament has been faced with very short deadlines for the scrutiny of draft implementing measures; whereas these deadlines do not take proper account of the characteristics of parliamentary activities; whereas at times this has been compounded by the fact that Parliament was sent draft implementing measures after the deadline or before recess periods, which restricted even further its ability to adequately exercise its scrutiny powers;

Z.  whereas the EU has recognised the importance of partnerships with civil society organisations (CSOs) in external relations; whereas this includes involvement of CSOs in programming and implementing EFIs;

Facts and findings of the mid-term review of implementation of the DCI, EDF and HAI

General considerations

1.  Welcomes the fact that evaluations of the DCI, EDF and HAI show that these instruments’ objectives were largely relevant to the policy priorities at the time of their design and that they are generally fit for purpose and aligned with the values and objectives of the SDGs; points out that the annual funding gap for attainment of the SDGs is USD 200 billion;

2.  Notes that some countries where EDF and DCI geographic programmes operate have experienced progress in poverty reduction and human and economic development over the last ten years, while for others the situation remains critical;

3.  Notes with satisfaction that the DCI and EDF priorities are aligned with the SDGs’ values and objectives, owing to the instrumental role that the EU has played in their adoption, and that this fact has largely facilitated and simplified the mid-term review of these instruments;

4.  Notes that in their first years of implementation, the DCI and the EDF have enabled the EU to respond to new crises and needs thanks to the broad nature of the instruments’ objectives; notes, however, that a multiplication of crises and the emergence of new political priorities have put financial pressure on the DCI, the EDF and the HAI, have stretched these instruments to their limits and have led to the decision to set up new ad hoc mechanisms such as trust funds, which are surrounded by serious concerns, namely over transparency, democratic accountability and their disconnection from development objectives; recalls the recently adopted European Fund for Sustainable Development, which was created to provide further leverage capacity;

5.  Is satisfied with the increased internal coherence within the DCI and the EDF, largely due to high-quality assessments, harmonised decision-making processes and sector concentration;

6.  Notes that there are cases in which budget support is still criticised for its lack of appropriateness and efficiency, when it is actually a form of support that corresponds to a modern concept of cooperation that fits in very well with genuine development partnerships, makes partner-country ownership possible and has the advantage of being flexible and efficient; calls, therefore, for action to be taken to strengthen the political and institutional partnership that promotes the granting of budget support, while insisting on effective economic governance and respect for democratic values; points out that development cooperation policy must be implemented in a manner that takes account of the wishes of the countries and populations that need it, ensuring their participation in the decision-making process and that they assume responsibility for its transparent and efficient application;

7.  Notes the fact that a large number of countries have become upper-middle income countries (UMICs), with the result that they have graduated from bilateral cooperation under the DCI or receive reduced bilateral cooperation grants under the EDF, since development aid coupled with successful national policies may lead to positive outcomes; recalls that poverty and development are multidimensional, and that maintaining GDP as the unique development indicator is insufficient; notes also that since the majority of the world’s poorest people live in middle-income countries, in which inequalities persist, withdrawing aid to middle-income countries abruptly might undermine the achievement of the SDGs; insists, therefore, on the need to continue supporting these countries in this delicate phase on their path to greater development;

8.  Underlines the need to ensure that development aid is used in accordance with its original purpose, with due consideration of aid and development effectiveness principles; reiterates that EU development cooperation should be aligned with partner countries’ plans and needs;

9.  Emphasises that under no circumstances should the EU’s short-term (security or migration) domestic interests drive its development agenda, and that aid and development effectiveness principles should be fully respected and applied to all forms of development cooperation;

10.  Notes that the Commission has concluded that coherence among instruments could be enhanced through streamlining; highlights that no reference is made to such a finding in any of the different evaluations;

11.  Is worried by the evaluators’ findings concerning the lack of monitoring and evaluation systems, which makes it difficult to measure results; highlights, on the other hand, the numerous positive findings related to EU development policies of audits carried out by the European Court of Auditors (ECA); recalls the observations made by the ECA in its Special Report No 18/2014 on EuropeAid’s evaluation and results-oriented monitoring systems; calls on the Commission to use this occasion to further improve its results framework system in accordance with the recommendations made by the ECA;

12.  Is surprised by the discrepancy between the evaluation results and the conclusions drawn by the Commission in its mid-term review; regrets that the serious problems of the instruments’ lack of partnership and the risk of shifting the focus away from poverty alleviation are not addressed at all in the Commission’s conclusions despite this being a key element of the evaluation;

13.  Is concerned about the lack or limited nature of the data available; notes that the absence of a monitoring and evaluation system beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the SDGs makes it impossible to measure changes accurately, for example with regard to the instrument’s flexibility or the level of consistency with other instruments;

14.  Notes, in addition, that the lack of a funding chapter that is explicitly designed to encourage political debate, with particular reference to support for political parties, is not conducive to achieving sustainable development targets;

15.  Calls for reporting to be improved by automatically producing statistics and indicators;

16.  Regrets that the Commission has not seized the opportunity presented by the mid-term review to adapt its policies to the requirements set out in the new European Consensus on Development on support to small-scale and sustainable agroecological farming; notes that, on the contrary, proposed measures include even more support to large-scale farming and agro-businesses;

DCI

17.  Stresses that the DCI’s relevance lies primarily in its flexibility to respond to unforeseen events as regards the choice of programming and implementation methods and with regard to reallocations within and between instruments and to the use of reserve funds; highlights that flexibility in the multi-annual programming has also allowed for the adaptation of the length of the programming period to the situation on the ground, for a swift reallocation of funding in case of major changes, and for the use of special measures;

18.  Welcomes the fact that evaluations have underlined the strategic relevance of the DCI’s thematic programme, in particular its ability to promote global actions on public goods;

19.  Takes note of the simplification, harmonisation and broader implementation modalities introduced in Regulation (EU) No 236/2014 on common rules for the implementation of the EFIs, which has brought about more effectiveness in the DCI; stresses that Regulation (EU) No 233/2014 establishing the DCI does not provide details on a monitoring and evaluation system for measuring the instrument’s performance; is extremely concerned about the fact that the implementation procedures, some of them originating from the Financial Regulation, are still perceived as lengthy and burdensome, which discredits the EU and increases the appeal of approaches taken by certain countries which are seen as relying to a much lesser extent on formalities and conditions; recalls, in this context, that some of these procedures stem from the Financial Regulation, and not from the EFIs, while other requirements are based on the application of fundamental principles of development cooperation, such as partnership and ownership;

20.  Notes that Commission working documents show that amounts paid are fairly low compared with amounts committed; emphasises that this is a major problem where ‘competition’ for development assistance is concerned; calls, therefore, for better communication on funding options, to ensure that the EU’s partners are informed; calls for training on compiling EU files to be provided for local stakeholders, including civil servants, to ensure that they are in the best position to fulfil the criteria and therefore increase their chances of making successful project applications; notes that such training could also be geared towards improving responses to calls for projects from other international organisations;

21.  Is concerned that the mid-term evaluation of the DCI points to the risk of a perceived lack of compliance with the requirement to allocate at least 20 % of assistance under the DCI to basic social services such as health, and to secondary education and other social services, when these needs are essential to the development of these countries; is also concerned by the inadequate support given to national health systems, as well as the lack of data concerning results achieved in relation to education funding; reiterates the commitment made in the new European Consensus on Development to allocate at least 20 % of EU official development assistance (ODA) to social inclusion and human development;

22.  Is satisfied with the objectives and results of the thematic programme dedicated to CSOs and local authorities, and calls for its retention in future instruments; is gravely concerned, however, at the shrinking space awarded for CSOs and local authorities in the programming and implementation phases of the programmes, and calls for a strengthened role for these bodies, including as service providers, as well as for more tailor-made cooperation modalities and a more strategic approach; underlines that the development of these countries can only be fully achieved through cooperation with legitimate local authorities;

23.  Encourages the Commission to implement policies that encourage the involvement of the African diaspora as key development stakeholders;

EDF

24.  Notes that the EDF has played an important role in addressing poverty eradication and the attainment of the SDGs; notes, however, that evidence of progress is weaker at regional level and that the EDF has not consistently established solid synergies and coherence across its national, regional and intra-ACP cooperation programmes;

25.  Regrets that the mid-term review did not cover the African Peace Facility, which has not been properly evaluated for years; considers that in times where more and more political emphasis is placed on the security-development nexus, evidence-based policymaking is key;

26.  Welcomes the fact that the EDF has proven to be fit for purpose in a fast-changing environment thanks to a reduced planning cycle, streamlined procedures and improved budget management; notes, however, that it is still not fully adapted to a changed context and that the procedures continue to be somewhat rigid and burdensome;

27.  Notes that the very different needs and nature of the groups of ACP countries and OCTs covered by the EDF raise questions over the one-size-fits-all approach that characterises the choice of procedures and modalities, and ultimately over the territorial scope of the EDF; recalls the need for a new and genuine partnership among equals, with human rights as the main focus;

28.  Notes that the EDF faced pressure to tackle an increasing number of political demands, such as security and migration, which are difficult to align with the EDF’s core values and the principles of the EU’s development and cooperation policy, namely poverty eradication;

HAI

29.  Is satisfied that the HAI has achieved its objective of providing aid in emergency situations on a basis of full respect of public international law, while ensuring that humanitarian aid is not instrumentalised and that the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence are respected;

30.  Notes that the number of humanitarian crises and disasters dealt with by the HAI has significantly increased in the last few years, which has led to the full use of the Emergency Aid Reserve and to the need to use additional funds, and that this situation is not likely to improve in the short to medium term given the growing number of crisis situations affecting many areas all over the world; notes that this points to the need for a substantial increase in the Emergency Aid Reserve and for a swifter and more flexible use of all available resources;

31.  Considers that people and communities should remain the core targets and stakeholders of the HAI, and that a flexible, coordinated, context-specific approach that takes on board the views of local governments and authorities, as well as local communities, religious development-oriented organisations, and civil society actors, should be adopted in all circumstances; underlines that many of these organisations, including Europe-based diaspora organisations, carry out valuable work in several critical areas and can provide added value to humanitarian aid;

32.  Recalls that unsafe abortion is listed by the World Health Organisation as one of the five leading causes of maternal mortality; recalls the internationally declared legal basis for the right to sexual and reproductive health and rights for victims of sexual violence and people in conflicts;

Recommendations for the remaining implementation period

33.  Stresses that the DCI, the EDF and the HAI should be implemented in the light of the new international and EU policy framework, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Agenda for Humanity;

34.  Recalls that the SDGs must be achieved worldwide through the joint efforts and partnership of all international actors, including developing and developed nations and international organisations; stresses that, at EU level, this calls for internal and external policies designed and implemented in a joint, coherent and coordinated fashion, in accordance with Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) principles; considers that PCD must be a major factor in the definition and implementation of the EFIs and in the adoption of other EU policies and instruments by reason of the interconnection between internal and external EU policies; takes the view, however, that overall coherence between instruments should be further improved, in particular by improving coherence and coordination between geographic and thematic programmes and by achieving greater coordination and complementarity with other EU policies;

35.  Is worried that UMICs that have graduated from the EDF and the DCI may be faced with a funding gap that places them in a situation of vulnerability; calls on the Commission to reflect on the consequences, to consider measures to prevent negative effects, and to facilitate UMICs’ access to EFIs tailored to their needs, with a view in particular to stepping up efforts to enhance good governance by combating corruption, tax fraud and impunity, ensuring respect for the rule of law and the holding of free and fair elections, ensuring equal access to justice, and addressing institutional weaknesses; acknowledges the work carried out by EUROsociAL in this area; stresses, however, the need to prioritise the allocation of grants to the least developed countries (LDCs) which are prone to instability, face significant structural impediments to sustainable development and therefore depend heavily on international public finance;

36.  Takes the view that EFIs should continue to directly support both EU and local CSOs, local communities, local and regional governments and local authorities in partner countries and their partnerships with European local and regional governments, and systematically facilitate their active participation in multi-stakeholder dialogues on EU policies and on all programming processes across all instruments; considers, furthermore, that the EU should promote the role of CSOs as watchdogs both in and outside the EU and support decentralisation reforms in partner countries; welcomes, in this context, the Commission’s intention to deepen and consolidate ongoing work to build partnerships and dialogue with civil society working in development and to enhance the engagement in dialogue and involvement of networks of CSOs in EU policymaking and processes; recalls that the EU should support democratic consolidation by identifying mechanisms to support the activities of organisations in third countries, so as to contribute to the stabilisation and improvement of institutional standards for the management of public goods;

37.  Confirms its determination to monitor the fulfilment of the EU commitment to provide continued support for human development in order to improve people’s lives, in line with the SDGs; recalls that, in the case of the DCI, this results in the need to allocate at least 20 % of assistance to basic social services, with a focus on health and education, and to secondary education; is concerned, therefore, that at a time when doubts persist over the achievement of the 20 % human development objective, the Commission is shifting funds away from human development towards investment;

38.  Calls for the strict application of preconditions allowing for the effective use of budget support and for a more systematic monitoring of this aid modality in partner countries, so as to improve accountability, transparency, aid effectiveness, and the alignment of budget support with its objectives;

39.  Warns against abusive recourse to trust funds, which threatens the specificity of EU development cooperation policy; insists that they should be used only when their added value compared with other aid modalities is guaranteed, especially in emergency situations, and that their use should always be fully in line with aid effectiveness principles and development policy’s primary objective: poverty eradication; is concerned at the fact that contributions from Member States and other donors to trust funds have been below expectations, with negative consequences for their effectiveness; recalls the need for parliamentary scrutiny of these funds; is seriously worried about the findings of the EDF evaluation on the effectiveness of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa;

40.  Recalls that the Commission should ensure transparency when trust funds are used, inter alia by providing Parliament with regular information updates and ensuring its proper involvement in relevant governance structures, in accordance with the applicable EU legislation; recalls, moreover, that trust funds must apply the full range of development effectiveness principles, should be consistent with long-term development priorities, principles and values, national and EU country strategies and other relevant instruments and programmes, and that a monitoring report assessing this alignment should be published biannually; reiterates that, to that end, the aim of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa is to address the root causes of migration by promoting resilience, economic opportunities, equal opportunities, security and development;

41.  Recalls that the budget for EU external action has constantly been mobilised and reinforced, exhausting all available margins in order to tackle the increasing number of crises; is of the view that in this context of multiple crises and uncertainty the EFIs need to have sufficient flexibility to be able to adjust swiftly to changing priorities and unforeseen events, and to deliver rapidly on the ground; recommends, to this end, a smart use of the EFI reserve or the unused funds, more flexibility in the multiannual programming, an appropriate combination of funding modalities and greater simplification at implementation level; stresses, however, that greater flexibility should not be achieved at the expense of aid effectiveness and predictability, long-term geographic and thematic priorities, or commitments to uphold reforms in partner countries;

42.  Calls on the Commission to implement the HAI in a way consistent with the humanitarian principles, the commitments agreed in the Grand Bargain at the World Humanitarian Summit, and the conclusions of the ECA Special Report No 15/2016(14); calls on the Commission, in particular, to increase transparency in the strategic programming and funding selection procedure, pay due attention to the cost-efficiency of actions, without compromising humanitarian aid objectives and the willingness to help the most vulnerable and while maintaining the capacity to sustain the humanitarian imperative by reaching the most vulnerable and operating where needs are most pressing, improve monitoring during implementation, allocate greater funding for national and local responders, cut bureaucracy through harmonised reporting requirements, and make provision on a multiannual basis in terms of strategy, programming and funding, so as to ensure greater predictability, flexibility, rapidity and continuity in humanitarian response;

43.  Insists that humanitarian aid should continue to be allocated to population groups in crisis areas, and that humanitarian actors should have unfettered access to victims in conflict areas and fragile countries to enable them to carry out their activities;

44.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that, in addition to immediate response to humanitarian crises, the HAI, together and in complementarity with the DCI and the EDF and in the light of the humanitarian-development nexus, builds up resilience to future shocks by promoting early warning and prevention strategies and structures, provides longer-term sustainable development benefits in line with the need to link relief, rehabilitation and development, and keeps a focus on forgotten crises with full respect for the principle of leaving no one behind;

45.  Notes that complementarity between development instruments and the HAI must be improved, in particular in the context of the humanitarian-development nexus, the new strategic approach to resilience and the EU’s commitment to disaster risk reduction and preparedness, without undermining their respective objectives and mandates;

46.  Recalls that development complements humanitarian aid with a view to the prevention of shocks and crises;

47.  Calls for the recognition of the specificity of humanitarian aid in the EU budget, which entails the need to secure the Emergency Aid Reserve as a flexible instrument for responding to new crises with sufficient funds;

48.  Takes the view that the EU delegations should be more involved in development cooperation programming choices under the different EFIs they manage; considers that this would also allow for improved complementarity and synergies, and for increased alignment with needs and partner country ownership;

49.  Insists on adequate staffing at Commission and European External Action Service (EEAS) headquarters and in EU delegations, in terms of both numbers and development and humanitarian aid expertise;

50.  Is unsatisfied with the very short deadline allowed for Parliament’s scrutiny of draft implementing measures under the DCI; urges the Commission to modify the Rules of Procedure of the DCI and Humanitarian Aid Committees by December 2018 so that Parliament and the Council are given more time to exercise their scrutiny powers adequately;

51.  Urges the Commission and the EEAS to increase and improve donor coordination through joint programming and joint implementation with other Member States and donors, aligned with partner countries’ national development programmes, under the leadership of and coordinated by the EU delegations;

52.  Calls for Parliament to have increased political scrutiny over the 11th EDF programming documents as a means to enhance transparency and accountability;

Recommendations for the post-2020 architecture of the DCI and the EDF, and for the future implementation of the HAI

53.  Reiterates the autonomy of the EU’s development and humanitarian policies, which are based on specific legal bases recognised in the Treaties and establish values and objectives that are specific, should not be subordinated to the EU’s geopolitical strategy, and should always be aligned with development effectiveness principles and, in the case of humanitarian aid, the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence;

54.  Stresses the absolute necessity of maintaining separate development and humanitarian aid instruments respecting key development principles, in the light of the EDF and DCI evaluation findings concerning the lack of partnership and the threat to the central objective of poverty alleviation within the new framework of shifting policy priorities;

55.  Recalls that the EDF, the DCI and the HAI are characterised by positive budget execution and are key to demonstrating international solidarity, while contributing to the credibility of the EU on the global stage; considers that, irrespective of possible structural changes or mergers with regard to these instruments, including the possible budgetisation of the EDF, the overall appropriations for the next MFF should be increased, while the ODA criteria should not be diluted, and that the future architecture of the EFIs should include a more transparent inclusion of trust funds and facilities guided by the key principles of democratic ownership and development effectiveness, as well as a possible continuation of the External Investment Plan, based on an evaluation demonstrating its development additionality and human rights, social and environmental impact;

56.  Invites the Council, the Commission and the European Investment Bank to conclude an interinstitutional agreement with Parliament on transparency, accountability and parliamentary scrutiny on the basis of the policy principles set out in the new European Consensus on Development, given the shift in aid modalities from direct grants to trust funds and blended finance, including through the European Fund for Sustainable Development;

57.  Stresses the positive image that the international community has of the EU as a cooperative global actor, which nonetheless risks being tainted by red tape and bureaucratic delays; is of the view that this contributes to the EU’s soft power in international relations, which calls for a strong and autonomous development policy after 2020 with differentiated development instruments;

58.  Stresses that the reduction and, in the long term, eradication of poverty, together with the implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement and the protection of global commons, should constitute the primary objectives of the EU’s development policy and instruments, with special attention paid to those most at risk;

59.  Stresses that the post-2020 architecture of the DCI and the EDF and the implementation of the HAI must be aligned with the EU’s international commitments, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, and the EU policy framework, including the new European Consensus on Development, the new Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy and the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid;

60.  Considers that the architecture of the new EFIs should take into account the proven good functioning of the current EFIs, ODA eligibility and the need to deliver on the SDGs;

61.  Considers that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the global dimension of many SDGs call for a new political approach, whereby all political actors, from both developing and developed countries, must endeavour to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs through consistent and coordinated internal and external policies, and considers that the new EFIs post-2020 and the new European Consensus on Development will be instrumental to this end;

62.  Is convinced of the importance of promoting a human rights- and principle-based approach to development, thereby promoting democratic principles, fundamental values and human rights worldwide; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to adequately combine assistance under the EFIs and political dialogue, both bilaterally and in the framework of regional and global organisations, in order to promote these principles, values and rights;

63.  Considers it vital to include horizontal and cross-sectoral environmental protection and the opportunities offered by environmental policies in all development policies; regrets the insufficient progress made in terms of mainstreaming democracy, human rights and gender equality; urges, furthermore, that the Paris Agreement commitments be fully reflected in future instruments and programmes, accompanied by adequate monitoring; considers, therefore, that the fight against climate change should play an increasingly important role in development cooperation;

64.  Considers it necessary to conduct a ‘lessons learned’ exercise in order to identify the shortcomings in, and improve, the coordination of EU EFIs with the financing instruments of other international institutions, so as to create synergies and maximise the impact of the financing instruments in developing countries;

65.  Considers it necessary to increase the current levels of EU ODA in the future architecture of the EFIs post-2020 and to develop a clear timeline, so as to enable the EU to honour its collective commitment to provide 0,7 % of Gross National Income (GNI) in ODA and allocate 0,2 % of ODA/GNI to the least developed countries; welcomes, in this context, the recent Commission communication on the new MFF; reminds Member States of the need to respect their commitment to contribute 0,7% of their GNI in ODA; recalls the need to implement the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee recommendations on reaching an average grant element in total ODA of 86 %;

66.  Is of the view that, without prejudice to increased flexibility and/or reserves, the post-2020 architecture of EFIs should continue to make provision for a mix of both geographic and thematic multiannual programmes, allowing for development actions on different scales; considers support to the regional cooperation and integration of partner countries to be an important factor which is necessary in order to eradicate poverty and promote long-term sustainable development;

67.  Stresses that the EU’s external development action must be based on an appropriately balanced combination of flexibility and predictability of development assistance, on a basis of sufficient funding; acknowledges, at the same time, that predictability of development assistance can be achieved, inter alia, through well-functioning established early warning systems, primarily in the most vulnerable and least resilient countries;

68.  Is of the view that the transfer of funds between objectives and for changing priorities within an instrument should only take place on the basis of real needs of partner countries, without compromising the principles and objectives of the instrument and with adequate involvement of the monitoring authority; calls, in particular, for a clear distinction between ODA-eligible funding and other, non-ODA-eligible funding; strongly rejects any transfer of funds earmarked for DACable activities to programmes that cannot be accounted for as ODA; emphasises the need for ODA targets in EFI regulations to safeguard this;

69.  Is of the view that the post-2020 architecture of EFIs should include a number of benchmarks and strict ring-fenced earmarking, as well as mainstreaming commitments to ensure sufficient funds for key priorities;

70.  Considers that unforeseen needs should be covered by sizeable contingency reserves in the different EFIs, and that uncommitted or de-committed funds relating to a given year should be transferred to the contingency reserves for the following year;

71.  Recalls the need to maintain a robust and independent instrument for humanitarian aid, as called for by the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid; considers that a separate reserve specifically for humanitarian aid should be maintained to take account of the fact that, owing to increasing needs worldwide, the Emergency Aid Reserve has been activated constantly during the current MFF period; recalls that while repeatedly acknowledging the efforts of the Commission to respond to increasing challenges, Parliament has regularly highlighted the need to increase funding for humanitarian aid and has insisted on closing the widening gap between commitments and payments and on increasing the effectiveness and reactivity of humanitarian and development assistance available under the EU budget;

72.  Highlights that any gain in terms of financial flexibility and simplification should not be achieved at the expense of less monitoring and scrutiny capacity on the part of the co-legislator, which would jeopardise the principles of accountability and transparency; stresses the need for transparency in the funds’ allocation criteria and in all phases of programming; is of the opinion that the new EFI architecture should be flexible and modern, allowing for the optimisation of resources and producing development results for partner countries;

73.  Stresses that financial flexibility in the new EFIs should also extend to in-country flexibility to award small grants to local CSOs, businesses and entrepreneurs on a discretionary basis; considers that the Commission should review its current auditing requirements in respect of development aid in order to allow an increased risk profile for small-scale, in-country grants;

74.  Highlights that development policy and humanitarian objectives should not be subjugated either to donor countries’ and the EU’s security objectives or to border controls and migration flow management; considers, in this vein, that ODA should be used primarily to alleviate poverty and that actions and programmes that are solely aligned with the national security interests of donors should therefore not be funded using development finance; considers it necessary, at the same time, to support the resilience of partner countries with the aim of creating favourable conditions for sustainable development;

75.  Considers that, in the future MFF, expenditure for pursuing the EU’s internal objectives under the headings of migration, asylum and internal security, on the one hand, and geared to supporting the implementation of the new European Consensus on Development, on the other, must be kept separate; takes the view that to merge these two distinct headings would be to run the risk of further instrumentalising EU aid, including by making it conditional on cooperation in the field of migration;

76.  Proposes, in this context, that societal and state resilience be further strengthened through development aid, and that more financial and political means be dedicated to conflict prevention, disaster preparedness and to taking early action in the face of both conflicts and natural disasters;

77.  Calls on the Commission not to base funding allocations to partner countries and cooperation modalities solely on GDP, but on a broad range of criteria taking into account inclusive human development, human rights and levels of inequality;

78.  Reiterates its request for EDF budgetisation as a main tool to ensure coherence between development and other EU policies and to enhance Parliament’s budgetary scrutiny; reiterates that EDF budgetisation would bring advantages such as stronger democratic legitimacy and scrutiny of the instrument, better absorption capacity and enhanced visibility and transparency, leading to more clarity on EU spending in this field, as well as an increase in the efficiency and development effectiveness of EU development aid; recalls that parliamentary debates on development policy assist citizens in the implementation of EU spending on development aid;

79.  Underlines that EDF budgetisation should be accompanied by guarantees to prevent any transfer of former EDF funds to other budget lines and that it should take into account any third-country donors; underlines, furthermore, that the African Peace Facility should remain outside the EU budget and within the framework of a dedicated instrument;

80.  Stresses that budgetisation of the EDF should be accompanied by a proportional increase in the agreed EU budget ceiling, so that it leads neither to a cut in the EU’s financial commitment to the ACP countries nor to an overall decrease in EU development assistance in the post-2020 MFF;

81.  Considers that the open-ended nature of the HAI has led to positive outcomes; recommends, therefore, keeping separate instruments and budgets for humanitarian and development action, while also keeping strong, strategic links between these two areas;

82.  Underlines the importance of reinforcing democratic legitimacy in the post-2020 architecture and the need to rethink the decision-making procedure; stresses that in this new post-2020 architecture, the co-legislators should be empowered to exercise fully their scrutiny power at both legal and political level, throughout the design, adoption and implementation phases of the instruments and their implementing programmes; underlines that sufficient time must be allowed for this purpose;

83.  Is of the view that the potential for cooperation with Member States in the design and implementation phases of development programmes, notably through joint programming and based on, and synchronised with, national development programmes, should be fully exploited;

84.  Calls for a mid-term assessment and review of the post-2020 architecture of EFIs to further improve their management, look at ways to achieve greater coherence and simplification, and ensure continued relevance and alignment with the effective development principles; calls for full involvement of stakeholders in this exercise;

o
o   o

85.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Vice-President/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.
(2) OJ L 344, 19.12.2013, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 163, 2.7.1996, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(5) OJ L 58, 3.3.2015, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 58, 3.3.2015, p. 17.
(7) OJ L 77, 15.3.2014, p. 44.
(8) OJ C 25, 30.1.2008, p. 1.
(9) OJ C 210, 30.6.2017, p. 1.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0437.
(11) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0337.
(12) OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 2.
(13) OJ C 208, 10.6.2016, p. 25.
(14) European Court of Auditors, Special Report No 15/2016, ‘Did the Commission effectively manage the humanitarian aid provided to populations affected by conflicts in the African Great Lakes Region?’, 4 July 2016.


Enhancing developing countries’ debt sustainability
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European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2018 on enhancing developing countries’ debt sustainability (2016/2241(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0104A8-0129/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the section of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda concerning debt and debt sustainability(1),

–  having regard to the UN Secretary-General’s reports of 22 July 2014, 2 August 2016 and 31 July 2017 on external debt sustainability and development,

–  having regard to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) principles for responsible sovereign lending and borrowing,

–  having regard to the UNCTAD Roadmap towards Sustainable Sovereign Debt Workouts (April 2015),

–  having regard to the G20 Operational Guidelines for Sustainable Financing,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 68/304 of 9 September 2014, entitled ‘Towards the establishment of a multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring processes’,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 69/319 of 10 September 2015 on basic principles on sovereign debt restructuring processes,

–  having regard to the Guiding Principles on Foreign Debt and Human Rights drawn up by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2015 on financing for development(2), in particular paragraphs 10, 26, 40, 46 and 47 thereof,

–  having regard to the studies released by the ‘Global Financial Integrity’ research body on the estimated scale and composition of illicit financial flows,

–  having regard to the Belgian anti-vulture funds law of 12 July 2015 (‘Moniteur belge’ of 11 September 2015),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development (A8-0129/2018),

A.  whereas addressing the sovereign debt problems of developing countries is an important element in international cooperation and can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries;

B.  whereas achievement of the SDGs in developing countries requires massive investment, the annual funding gap being currently estimated at around USD 2,5 trillion(3);

C.  whereas loans are a possible source of development funding; whereas loans must be responsible and predictable; whereas their cost must be fully offset by returns on investment, and debt-related risks must be carefully evaluated and measures taken to deal with them;

D.  whereas the debt crisis affecting the developing countries in the 80s and 90s and a large-scale debt relief campaign prompted the launch by the IMF and the World Bank of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), helping them to move closer to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;

E.  whereas the HIPC and MDRI initiatives are not sufficient to put an end to the debt crisis;

F.  whereas these initiatives, accompanied by the commodity price boom, have improved the financial situation of many developing countries, while exceptionally low interest rates since the 2008 financial crisis have also contributed to debt sustainability; whereas, however, commodity prices have fallen since 2008; whereas a new debt crisis has begun in impoverished countries, with Mozambique, Chad, Congo and The Gambia unable to pay;

G.  whereas debt crises triggered by falling commodity prices and volatile capital flows represent an ongoing threat to debt sustainability, especially in developing countries; which continue to be dependent on commodity exports;

H.  whereas there has been an increase in the number of developing countries classified by the IMF and the World Bank as burdened with unsustainable debt or presenting a high or medium risk, with most of the low-income countries now belonging to one or other of these categories;

I.  whereas, according to the IMF, the median level of debt in sub-Saharan Africa rose sharply, from 34 % of GDP in 2013 to 48 % in 2017;

J.  whereas several countries, including Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia, have debt levels at or above 50 % of GDP, and whereas this constitutes a significant debt burden, when one considers the low tax base in most African countries;

K.  whereas debt service as a percentage of government spending has considerably increased since 2013, and whereas this substantially reduces opportunities for public investment;

L.  whereas the global public debt landscape has undergone profound changes in recent decades, with the emergence of private investors, together with China, which are taking centre stage;

M.  whereas the composition of developing country debt has evolved in line with the growing importance of private creditors and trading conditions and increased exposure to financial market volatility, which has an impact on the sustainability of debt; whereas, while debt denominated in the national currency effectively eliminates exchange-rate risks, such an option may prove to be unfavourable or untenable where backed by insufficient domestic capital reserves;

N.  whereas threats to debt sustainability include not only deteriorating terms of trade, natural and man-made disasters, adverse trends and volatility on international financial markets, but also irresponsible lending and borrowing, the mismanagement of public finances, the misuse of funds, and corruption; whereas more effective mobilisation of domestic resources offers strong prospects of improved debt sustainability;

O.  whereas it is necessary to help boost the capacities of tax administrations and the transfer of knowledge in partner countries;

P.  whereas, while the UNCTAD principles for responsible sovereign lending and borrowing and the G20 operational guidelines for sustainable financing are undeniably useful for the formulation of regulatory framework provisions, priority must be given to ending irresponsible practices through the introduction of transparent principles, binding and enforceable deterrents and also, where justified, penalties;

Q.  whereas national debt sustainability depends not only on debt stock but also on other factors, such as explicit and implicit financial guarantees (contingent liabilities) issued by the countries concerned; whereas public-private partnerships often entail related guarantees, possibly accompanied by significant risks of future bank bailouts;

R.  whereas debt sustainability analysis should not focus solely on economic considerations, such as the prospects for future economic growth of the debtor State and its ability to service its debts, but must take into consideration the impact of the debt burden on the country’s capacity to respect all human rights;

S.  whereas the increasing use of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in developing countries under the EU External Investment Plan and the G20 Compact with Africa could add to state indebtedness; whereas PPP investors are protected by bilateral investment treaties, notably their investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanisms, that enable investors to litigate against the host states;

T.  whereas odious debts contracted by regimes parties to facilitate corrupt practices or transactions known by creditors to be illicit are resulting in a substantial burden for the people, particularly those who are most vulnerable;

U.  whereas the transparency of loans made to the governments of developing countries is essential for ensuring accountability of lending; whereas a lack of transparency was a key factor in aiding the irresponsible loans made to Mozambique, which were arranged without serious checks on the ability of the country to repay them and subsequently hidden from the financial markets and the people of Mozambique;

V.  whereas odious debt is defined as a debt incurred by a regime to finance actions that go against the interests of the citizens of the state, of which the creditors were aware, and whereas this is as such a personal debt of the regime which incurred it from creditors who were well aware of the borrower’s intentions; whereas, however, there is a lack of consensus with regard to the concept of odious debt, owing to strong opposition on the part of certain creditors;

W.  whereas the mobilisation of domestic resources is being hampered by tax evasion and harmful tax competition and by the transfer of transnational corporate profits in particular; whereas the OECD base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) initiative is a welcome but insufficient response to this situation; whereas there is a need to set-up an intergovernmental body for tax cooperation under the auspices of the UN to enable developing countries to participate equally in the global reform of existing international tax rules, as called for by Parliament in its resolution of 6 July 2016 on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect(4);

X.  whereas illicit financial flows from developing and emerging countries, estimated at USD 1 trillion annually, are a constant drain on their resources, in particular those necessary for the pursuit of the SDGs; whereas they lead to external borrowing and undermine debt repayment capacity;

Y.  whereas the fulfilment of Agenda 2030 and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda entails considering new SDG financing options, such as the setting-up of financial transaction taxes and a foreign currency transaction tax; whereas, according to the estimations of the Bank for International Settlement (BIS), a foreign currency transaction tax of 0,1 % would easily finance the SDGs in all low-income countries (LICs) and lower middle-income countries (LMICs)(5);

Z.  whereas there is a need to tackle illicit financial flows in order to eliminate them definitively by 2030, inter alia by combating tax evasion and by stepping up international cooperation through measures to facilitate the disclosure of tax data to competent authorities and tax transparency in countries both of origin and of destination;

AA.  whereas existing debt service default proceedings for countries differ fundamentally from insolvency proceedings for businesses falling within national jurisdictions, since no provision is made for impartial arbitration before a court of law; whereas short-term loans, subject to terms and conditions and disbursed in tranches, are provided by the IMF, whose mission is to ensure the stability of the international financial system; whereas the Paris Club of creditor states only makes decisions on debt relief with regard to official bilateral lending by its members; whereas the London Club of private creditors only makes decisions on commercial bank loans by its members; whereas there is no permanent forum for coordinated decision making on debt restructuring by all creditors to a country in debt distress;

AB.  whereas the IMF remains the principal forum for discussing issues relating to the restructuring of sovereign debt, with significant influence over the EU and its Member States;

AC.  whereas vulture funds targeting distressed debtors and interfering with the debt restructuring process should not receive legal or judicial support for their pernicious activities, and whereas further action must be taken in this regard;

AD.  whereas, although debt relief has provided low-income countries with new opportunities, it must be noted that it is a one-off intervention to restore debt sustainability which does not address the root causes of unsustainable debt accumulation, and whereas challenges such as corruption, weak institutions and vulnerability to external shocks must be addressed as a priority;

1.  Points out that responsible and predictable credit facilities are an essential means of ensuring a dignified future for developing countries; underlines, conversely, that sustainable debt is a precondition for achieving Agenda 2030; notes, however, that debt financing should merely be a complement and second-best option to non debt-creating instruments such as tax and tariff income and ODA, since debt financing has inherent and substantial crisis risks which require that adequate institutions for the prevention and resolution of debt crises are put in place;

2.  Emphasises that access to international financial markets enables developing countries to raise funds with a view to achieving development goals;

3.  Notes with concern that lending to impoverished countries increased dramatically from 2008; fears a cycle of new debt crisis; stresses the need for more transparency, better regulation of lenders and tax justice and for steps to be taken to enable countries to be less dependent on commodity exports;

4.  Points out that borrowing is an important way of supporting investment, which is vital in order to achieve sustainable development, including the SDGs;

5.  Takes the view that credit facilities are inextricably linked to other forms of development funding, including earnings from trade, tax revenue and remittances from migrants to developing countries, as well as official development aid; recalls, in particular, that domestic resource mobilisation through taxation is the most important source of revenue for financing sustainable development; urges the EU, to this end, to step up its capacity building assistance in developing countries in order to curb illicit financial flows, support an efficient, progressive and transparent tax system in line with good governance principles and increase its assistance to combat corruption and recover stolen assets;

6.  Is concerned at the substantial increase in both private and public debt in many developing countries and the harmful effect thereof on their ability to finance investment expenditure for health, education, the economy, infrastructure and combating climate change;

7.  Points out that structural adjustment plans that were developed in the 1990s for over-indebted countries have seriously compromised the development of basic social services and undermined the ability of those countries to assume the essential responsibilities they have as sovereign nations to maintain security;

8.  Stresses that debt relief measures must not be liable to impede the provision of basic services and impair respect for all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, and development in the recipient State;

9.  Considers that responsibility for spiralling (external) debt rests primarily with the politicians governing the countries in question, but that debtors and creditors must share the responsibility for preventing and resolving unsustainable debt situations; stresses, more broadly, the co-responsibility of debtors and creditors to prevent and resolve debt crisis through more responsible lending and borrowing;

10.  Points out that blending could cause a debt bubble, notably in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean countries, leaving such countries with limited revenues to service their debt; calls on donors, accordingly, to give the bulk of their aid to least developed countries (LDCs) in the form of grants; reiterates that any decision to promote the use of PPPs through blending in developing countries should be based on a thorough assessment of these mechanisms, particularly in terms of development and financial additionality, transparency and accountability, and on the lessons learned from past experience; asks that the review of the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) include clear criteria on debt sustainability;

11.  Highlights the importance of defining safeguard mechanisms to prevent contingent government liabilities from undermining the debt sustainability of developing countries; in particular, urges multilateral development banks to conduct ex ante fiscal risk impact assessments of PPP projects (taking into account the full fiscal risks over the lifetime of PPP projects), so as not to undermine the debt sustainability of developing countries; takes the view that the IMF and the World Bank should include all PPP costs in their Debt Sustainability Analysis;

12.  Considers that the rules or instruments currently in force are either inadequate or, to varying degrees, insufficiently binding;

13.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to actively combat tax havens, tax avoidance and illicit financial flows, which merely increase the debt burden of developing countries, to cooperate with developing countries in order to combat aggressive tax avoidance, and to seek ways to help developing countries withstand pressures to engage in tax competition, which would damage the mobilisation of domestic revenue for development;

14.  Takes the view that, where the misuse of public funds is identified by the authorities, creditors ought to trigger warning measures, and where those are not effective, impose sanctions to suspend or even require that loans be repaid before the terms under which they were granted expire;

15.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support developing countries in promoting the public availability of data on their sovereign debt and to support social education in this area, since detailed information on the state of public finances is rarely available to civil society in developing countries;

16.  Calls for legislation to be drawn up to prevent the granting of loans to manifestly corrupt governments and to sanction any creditors that knowingly give them loans;

17.  Calls on the Commission to draw up, in coordination with all major international actors and the countries concerned, a white paper with a genuine strategy designed to save developing countries from excessive debt by adopting a multilateral approach, specifying the rights, duties and responsibilities of all concerned and considering the institutional provisions best suited to ensuring an equitable and sustainable approach to the debt problem; advocates the drafting of a code of conduct on credit management for institutional, political and private stakeholders;

18.  Notes that most of the sustainable development goals can be viewed in terms of human rights and, as such, are an end in themselves when it comes to combating poverty, whereas debt redemption, on the other hand, is merely a means to an end;

19.  Endorses the guiding principles on foreign debt and human rights formulated by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, under which the right to achievement of the sustainable development goals should take priority over debt repayment; calls on Member States of the European Union to promote the systematic use of human rights impact assessments as part of debt sustainability assessments undertaken by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank;

20.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to adhere to these principles in their bilateral lending and when acting within international financial institutions;

21.  Notes that IMF-World Bank debt sustainability assessments (DSA) are usually used by lenders to guide their lending; stresses the need to address their pitfalls, most notably the monitoring of external private debt and the lack of integration of human rights;

22.  Urges development stakeholders to assess the impact of debt servicing on the financing capacity of heavily indebted countries in the light of the SDGs, for which results must be achieved by 2030, taking precedence over the rights of those creditors that knowingly make loans to corrupt governments;

23.  Supports UNCTAD’s recommendation to set up an African Commodity Price Stabilisation Fund in order to reduce the need to resort to borrowing when commodity prices fall;

24.  Calls on the Member States and other relevant creditor countries to provide more financing for SDG investments and to keep their long-standing promise to provide 0,7 % of their GNI as official development assistance; calls on them to provide this financing in the form of grants rather than loans where evaluation reports indicate that achievement of the SDGs is being compromised on a long-term basis by dwindling public finances; urges creditor countries, in addition, to establish innovative and diversified new sources of finance to achieve SDGs, such as a foreign currency transaction tax and a financial transaction tax, that can contribute to each country’s debt sustainability, particularly at times of financial crisis;

25.  Is concerned about the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) revision of ODA reporting criteria, particularly for private sector instruments, as broadened reporting criteria create incentives for the use of certain aid modalities, most notably loans and guarantees; notes that, while these discussions are ongoing, donors are currently already allowed to report certain loans and guarantees as ODA without an agreed set of rules in place; stresses the need to build in safeguards on transparency and indebtedness;

26.  Stresses that transparency should be promoted in order to enhance the accountability of the actors concerned; emphasises the importance of sharing both data and processes related to sovereign debt workouts;

27.  Endorses the principles set out by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development for responsible credit policy, which highlight in particular the shared responsibility of creditors and borrowers (UNCTAD Principles on Promoting Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing), as well as the need for parliamentary control, which is an essential component of public funding operations, and calls on the European Union to support the implementation of the UNCTAD Principles; believes that UNCTAD Principles on Promoting Responsible Lending and Borrowing should be turned into legally binding and enforceable instruments;

28.  Deems that transparency and accountability are essential to supporting responsible sovereign lending and borrowing; calls, to this end, on the Member States to build on commitments made in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the G20 Operational Guidelines on Sustainable Financing to make lenders more responsible for their loans, on the basis of the existing principles of transparency and accountability that prevail in the extractive industries (EITI Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative), and to promote the public availability of data on sovereign debt, including contingent liabilities through the collation of this data in a centralised public registry; calls on the Member States to systematically publish information on their lending activities to developing countries;

29.  Stresses the need to agree on international binding rules to address odious and illegitimate debts; takes the view, therefore, that debt restructuring should be supported by an independent debt audit as a way to distinguish illegitimate and odious loans from other loans; stresses that illegitimate and odious loans should be cancelled;

30.  Deplores the refusal by the Member States in 2015, following the adoption of Council Common Position of 7 September 2015(6), to approve UN General Assembly Resolution 69/319 on basic principles on sovereign debt restructuring processes, which was nevertheless adopted by majority vote in the UN General Assembly on 10 September 2015;

31.  Stresses the importance of the consistency of action taken at IMF level and in the UN context and of coordination of positions among Member States in the best possible way;

32.  Stresses the need to resolve debt crisis in a fair, speedy and sustainable manner through the setting-up of an international debt workout mechanism, that builds on the UNCTAD roadmap on sovereign debt work out and the so-called Stiglitz Commission’s idea of establishing an International Debt Restructuring Court (IDRC);

33.  Calls on the Member States to act on the mandate adopted in UN General Assembly Resolution 69/319 of 10 September 2015 in order to:

   (a) create early warning mechanisms based on reporting of a broader deterioration in debt sustainability, which would help to identify the risks and vulnerabilities of heavily indebted countries at an early stage;
   (b) allow, in coordination with the IMF, the establishment of a multilateral legal framework for the orderly and predictable restructuring of the sovereign debts of states in order to prevent them from becoming unsustainable and to achieve greater predictability for investors; calls for fair representation of developing countries in the decision-making bodies of international financial institutions;
   (c) ensure that the EU supports developing countries in the fight against corruption, criminal activities, tax avoidance and money laundering;

34.  Calls for the Commission and the Member States to work in international fora and together with the private sector to develop a regulatory framework that will ensure full transparency of the conditions governing loans to developing countries and ownership of these loans, such as the Transparent Lending Covenant being discussed by some financial institutions;

35.  Regrets the pressure put on states such as Tunisia to encourage them not to conduct public audits of the origins and conditions of their debts; calls for the EU to work with other donors and international institutions such as the IMF to protect and encourage the right of states to conduct public debt audits;

36.  Urges the adoption of a rule applicable in cases of impending insolvency, under which courts could deprive creditors of the right to claim debts if the loan in question was taken out by the state in breach of the law established by its national parliament;

37.  Calls on the Member States to adopt, on the Commission’s initiative, a regulation based on the Belgian law on combating vulture fund debt speculation;

38.  Calls on institutional and private creditors to agree to a debt moratorium in the aftermath of a natural disaster or acute humanitarian crisis, including the occasional arrival of large numbers of immigrants, in order to enable a debtor country to devote all its resources to securing a return to normality;

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

(1) See pp. 27-29.
(2) OJ C 353, 27.9.2016, p. 2.
(3) World Investment Report 2014. Investing in the SDGs: An Action Plan, UNCTAD 2014, pp. 140-145.
(4) OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 79.
(5) Revisiting Debt Sustainability in Africa. Background Paper for UNCTAD’s 2016 Economic Development in Africa Report: ‘Debt Dynamics and Development Finance in Africa’.
(6) Doc. 11705/15.


Strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 17 April 2018 on strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion in the European Union: the 7th report of the European Commission (2017/2279(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0105A8-0138/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Articles 4, 162, 174 to 178 and 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1301/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Regional Development Fund and on specific provisions concerning the Investment for growth and jobs goal and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1304/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Social Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1081/2006(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1300/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the Cohesion Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1084/2006(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on specific provisions for the support from the European Regional Development Fund to the European territorial cooperation goal(5),

–  having regard to the Commission’s report of 9 October 2017 entitled ‘My region, my Europe, our future: The 7th report on economic, social and territorial cohesion’ (COM(2017)0583),

–  having regard to the Pact of Amsterdam establishing the Urban Agenda for the EU, agreed at the informal meeting of EU ministers responsible for urban matters held on 30 May 2016 in Amsterdam,

–  having regard to the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 15 December 2015(6),

–  having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights, proclaimed on 17 November 2017 in Göteborg by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 25 April 2017 on ‘Making Cohesion Policy more effective, relevant and visible to our citizens’(7),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 15 November 2017 on ‘Synergies and simplification for Cohesion Policy post-2020’(8),

–  having regard to the Commission’s White Paper of 1 March 2017 on ‘The future of Europe – Reflections and scenarios for the EU-27 by 2025’ (COM(2017)2025),

–  having regard to the Commission’s reflection paper of 26 April 2017 on ‘The social dimension of Europe’ (COM(2017)0206),

–  having regard to the Commission’s reflection paper of 10 May 2017 on ‘Harnessing globalisation’ (COM(2017)0240),

–  having regard to the Commission’s reflection paper of 31 May 2017 on ‘Deepening Economic and Monetary Union’ (COM(2017)0291),

–  having regard to the Commission's reflection paper of 28 June 2017 on ‘The future of EU finances’ (COM(2017)0358),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 10 April 2017 entitled ‘Competitiveness in low-income and low-growth regions: report on the regions whose development is lagging behind’ (SWD(2017)0132),

–  having regard to the Commission working paper entitled ‘Why regional development matters for Europe’s economic future’(9),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 February 2018 on ‘A new, modern Multiannual Financial Framework for a European Union that delivers efficiently on its priorities post-2020’ (COM(2018)0098),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 24 October 2017 on ‘A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU's outermost regions’ (COM(2017)0623),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 11 May 2017 entitled ‘The future of Cohesion Policy beyond 2020: For a strong and effective European cohesion policy beyond 2020’(10),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 25 May 2016 on the Commission communication ‘Investing in jobs and growth – maximising the contribution of European Structural and Investment Funds’(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 September 2015 entitled ‘Investment for jobs and growth: promoting economic, social and territorial cohesion in the Union’(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 September 2015 on the urban dimension of EU policies(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 May 2016 entitled ‘New territorial development tools in cohesion policy 2014-2020: Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) and Community-Led Local Development (CLLD)’(14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2017 entitled ‘The right funding mix for Europe’s regions: balancing financial instruments and grants in EU cohesion policy’(15),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2016 on Cohesion Policy and Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3)(16),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2016 entitled ‘European Territorial Cooperation – best practices and innovative measures’(17),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 entitled ‘Investing in jobs and growth – maximising the contribution of European Structural and Investment Funds: an evaluation of the report under Article 16(3) of the CPR’(18),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 June 2017 on building blocks for a post-2020 EU cohesion policy(19),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 June 2017 on increasing engagement of partners and visibility in the performance of European Structural and Investment Funds(20),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2017 entitled ‘Promoting cohesion and development in the outermost regions of the EU: implementation of Article 349 TFEU’(21),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 October 2017 on the Reflection Paper on the Future of EU Finances(22),

–   having regard its resolution of 13 March 2018 on lagging regions in the EU(23),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2018 entitled ‘The next MFF: Preparing the Parliament’s position on the MFF post-2020’(24),

–  having regard to the conclusions and recommendations of the High Level Group monitoring simplification for beneficiaries of ESI Funds,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Regional Development and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0138/2018),

A.  whereas cohesion policy aims to promote harmonious and balanced development of the whole Union and its regions, leading to a strengthening of its economic, social and territorial cohesion, in a spirit of solidarity and with the aim of promoting sustainable growth, employment, social inclusion and reducing disparities between and within regions, as well as the backwardness of the least-favoured regions, in accordance with the Treaties;

B.  whereas the 7th Cohesion Report shows that regional disparities are narrowing again, but that the picture is highly uneven, whether measured by GDP per head, employment or other indicators, and that certain disparities persist, or are shifting or growing, between and within regions and Member States, including inside the euro area;

C.   whereas the 7th Cohesion Report contains worrying information about unemployment rates, including youth unemployment rates, which in many regions have not reverted to the levels seen before the crisis, and about competitiveness, poverty and social inclusion;

D.  whereas 24 % of Europeans, or almost 120 million people, are poor, living at risk of poverty or being severely materially deprived and/or living in households with low work intensity; whereas the numbers of working poor are increasing and the numbers of unemployed young people continue to be high;

E.  whereas unemployment and youth unemployment in the Union have been falling gradually since 2013, but are still above 2008 levels at 7,3 % and 16,1 % respectively (December 2017)(25), with considerable differences between and within Member States, and especially in some of the Member States most affected by the financial crisis; whereas regional disparities have started to narrow; whereas the differences in unemployment rates between Member States are still significant, ranging from 2,4 % in the Czech Republic and 3,6 % in Germany to 16,3 % in Spain and 20,9 % in Greece, according to the latest figures(26); whereas hidden unemployment – the phenomenon of unemployed people who are willing to work but are not actively searching for employment – stood at 18 % in 2016;

F.  whereas the 7th Cohesion Report draws attention to the great diversity of regions and territories, including within current categories of regions, owing to their specific circumstances (ultraperipherality, sparse population, low income, low growth, etc.), making a tailored territorial approach essential;

G.  whereas one of the key pieces of new information provided by the 7th Cohesion Report concerns the identification of certain regions described as being caught in the ‘middle-income trap’, which risk being left behind, stagnating or falling behind;

H.  whereas the 7th Cohesion Report emphasises the existence of pockets of poverty, the risk of territorial fragmentation and the widening of infraregional disparities, including in more prosperous regions;

I.  whereas the 7th Cohesion Report states that ‘the impact of globalisation, migration, poverty and a lack of innovation, climate change, energy transition and pollution is not limited to less developed regions’;

J.  whereas while cohesion policy has played a substantial role in the recovery of the EU economy through the promotion of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, public investment in the EU is still below its pre-crisis level, with major gaps in some of the Member States most affected by the crisis, as it fell from 3,4 % of GDP in 2008 to 2,7 % in 2016;

K.   whereas the 7th Cohesion Report clearly presents the outcomes of cohesion policy in terms of growth, jobs, transport, energy, the environment and education and training, as evidenced in the 2014-2020 programing period by the support lent to 1,1 million SMEs, leading directly to the creation of a further 420 000 new jobs, helping more than 7,4 million unemployed find a job, and additionally helping over 8,9 million people to gain new qualifications, thus making the policy the glue that holds Europe together;

The added value of cohesion policy

1.   Considers it crucial that cohesion policy in the new programming period should continue to adequately cover all European regions and remain the European Union’s main public investment instrument based on long-term strategy and perspectives, with a budget commensurate with existing and new challenges, and ensuring the fulfilment of the basic goals of the policy; stresses that a concentration of cohesion policy exclusively on the least developed regions would hinder progress on the political priorities of the Union as a whole;

2.  Emphasises that cohesion policy provides European added value by contributing to European public goods and priorities (such as growth, social inclusion, innovation and environmental protection), as well as to public and private investment, and that it is a fundamental tool for achieving the Treaty objective of combating disparities with a view to the upward adaptation of living standards and reducing the backwardness of the least favoured regions;

3.  Reiterates its strong commitment to shared management and the principle of partnership, which should be maintained and strengthened for post-2020, as well as to multi-level governance (MLG) and subsidiarity, which contribute to the added value generated by cohesion policy; stresses that the added value of this policy stems primarily from its ability to take into account national development needs along with the needs and specificities of different regions and territories, and to bring the Union closer to its citizens;

4.  Emphasises that European added value is strongly reflected in European territorial cooperation (ETC) in all its dimensions (cross-border, transnational and interregional cooperation, both internal and external), as contributing to the overall economic, social and territorial cohesion objectives, as well as to solidarity; reiterates the call for an increase in its share of the budget allocated to cohesion policy, while improving coordination between different programmes to avoid overlaps; recalls the importance of the implementation of macroregional strategies for the achievement of the cohesion policy objectives;

5.   Notes that the implementation of cohesion policy in a region can generate externalities and direct and indirect spillover benefits in all of the EU, thanks inter alia to the increased trade generated, strengthening the single market; points out, however, that these benefits vary considerably from one Member State to the other, depending in particular on geographic proximity and the structure of the Member States’ economies;

6.  Underlines the need to develop a ‘cost of non-cohesion policy’ methodology in order to provide additional quantifiable evidence on the European added value of cohesion policy, following the example of the work done by the European Parliament on the ‘cost of non-Europe’;

The territorial dimension

7.  Notes that urban areas combine, on the one hand, major growth, investment and innovation opportunities and, on the other, various environmental, economic and social challenges, inter alia because of the concentration of people and the existence of pockets of poverty, including in relatively prosperous cities; stresses, therefore, that the risk of poverty or social exclusion remains a key challenge;

8.  Emphasises that efforts to consolidate the territorial dimension of cohesion policy require greater attention to be paid to peri-urban and rural problems, with reference to expertise of the local authorities and a particular focus on medium-sized towns in each Member State;

9.  Stresses the importance of supporting rural areas in all their diversity, by valuing their potential, encouraging investment in projects that support local economies as well as better transport connectivity, accessibility and very high-speed broadband, and assisting those areas in meeting the challenges they face, namely rural desertification, social inclusion, lack of job opportunities, entrepreneurship incentives and affordable housing, population loss, the destruction of city-centre communities, areas without healthcare, etc; stresses, in this respect, the importance of the second pillar of the CAP in promoting sustainable rural development;

10.  Calls for greater account to be taken of certain specific territorial characteristics, such as those of the regions mentioned in Article 174(3) TFEU, such as island, mountain, rural, border, northernmost, coastal or peripheral regions, when investment priorities are set; underlines the importance of creating tailor-made strategies, programmes and actions for these different regions, or even exploring the possible launch of new specific agendas, following the example set by the Urban Agenda for the EU and the Pact of Amsterdam;

11.  Recalls that the particular structural social and economic situation of the outermost regions justifies specific measures, including with regard to their conditions of access to the ESI Funds, in accordance with Article 349 TFEU; stresses the need to perpetuate all the derogations intended to compensate for their structural disadvantages, as well as to improve the specific measures for these regions by adjusting them whenever necessary; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU of 15 December 2015 as the basis for ensuring that Article 349 TFEU is properly applied as regards the conditions governing access to the Structural Funds; suggests in particular extending the specific allocation for the outermost regions to the social component, maintaining the current level of Union cofinancing in those regions, and better tailoring the thematic concentration; underlines the potential of outermost regions as, for example, privileged areas for the implementation of experimental projects;

12.  Considers that the introduction of integrated strategies for sustainable urban development has been a success and should therefore be strengthened as well as replicated in other sub-regional territories, for example by establishing an integrated territorial approach alongside the thematic objectives, but without prejudice to thematic concentration; underlines the importance of community-led local development, strengthening the ability of cohesion policy to involve local actors; stresses the need to explore the possibility of introducing the preparation of national and regional operational programmes based on integrated territorial strategies and smart specialisation strategies;

The ‘middle-income regions’: fostering resilience and preventing vulnerable territories from falling behind

13.  Underlines that the ‘middle-income regions’ have not grown at the same rate as either the low-income regions (which still need to catch up with the rest of the EU) and the regions with very high income, as they face the challenge referred to as the ‘middle-income trap’, because of their excessively high costs in comparison with the former and excessively weak innovation systems in comparison with the latter; notes, moreover, that these territories are characterised by struggling manufacturing industries and by their vulnerability to the shocks caused by globalisation and the resultant socio-economic changes;

14.  Is convinced that a major challenge for future cohesion policy will be to provide appropriate support to the middle-income regions, in order, inter alia, to create an investment-friendly climate, and that cohesion policy must both reduce disparities and inequalities and prevent vulnerable regions from falling behind, by taking the different trends, dynamics and circumstances into account;

15.  Calls on the Commission to address the challenges faced by the middle-income regions which are characterised by a low growth rate compared to the EU average, in such a way as to promote the overall harmonious development of the Union; recalls that, in order to support these regions and offer solutions to their problems, the future cohesion policy should properly cover, support and include them in the next programming period, including through the creation and implementation of tailor-made strategies, programmes and actions; recalls, in this context, the importance of complementary indicators in addition to GDP in order to offer a more precise picture of the socio-economic conditions of these specific regions; considers that more attention should be paid to the early identification of vulnerabilities, so as to enable cohesion policy to support regions’ resilience and prevent the development of new disparities in all types of regions;

16.  Welcomes the Commission’s launch of a pilot project to provide tailored support geared to the specific challenges facing regions in industrial transition; calls on the Commission to draw lessons from the pilot project, and expects to see the envisaged results as soon as possible; believes that smart specialisation strategies have the potential to offer, through a holistic approach, better support to these regions in their development strategies and, more generally, promote differentiated implementation at regional level, but could also be supported through additional cooperation and exchange of knowledge and experience among the regions; welcomes actions such as the Vanguard Initiative for using smart specialisation strategy to boost growth and industrial renewal in priority areas in the EU;

17.  Stresses that social and fiscal convergence help foster cohesion while improving the functioning of the single market; takes the view that divergent practices in this area may run counter to the objective of cohesion and are liable to cause further problems for territories which are lagging behind or are the most vulnerable to globalisation, and draws attention to the continuous need for less developed regions to catch up with the rest of the Union; considers that cohesion policy could contribute to the promotion of social and fiscal convergence (alongside economic and territorial convergence) by providing positive incentives; underlines in this regard the possibility of relying, for instance, on the European Pillar of Social Rights; calls on the Commission to take better account of this aspect in the European Semester so that the social dimension of cohesion policy is better integrated with economic policy, while also properly involving local and regional authorities in order to increase the efficiency of the process and reinforce ownership of it;

Fields of action

18.  Supports a strong thematic concentration on a limited number of priorities linked to major European political objectives, while allowing managing authorities more flexibility in drawing up their territorial strategies on the basis of needs and potential, after inclusive local and regional consultation in the preparation of partnership agreements; stresses that employment (including youth unemployment), social inclusion, fighting poverty, supporting innovation, digitalisation, support for SMEs and start-ups, climate change, the circular economy and infrastructure should constitute priority areas for cohesion policy in future;

19.  Welcomes the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which represents a step forward in building a social Europe; reiterates its commitment to the ESF as a strong integrated part of the ESI funds, and to the Youth Guarantee, the Youth Employment Initiative and the European Solidarity Corps, in view of their role in meeting the challenges of employment, economic growth, social inclusion, learning and vocational training;

20.  Emphasises that future cohesion policy should focus more on protecting and supporting communities and territories adversely affected by globalisation (plant relocations, job losses) and also by similar intra-EU trends; calls for coordination between the Structural Funds and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in relevant cases to be explored, in order to cover, among other things, intra-EU relocations;

21.  Notes that vulnerability to climate change varies widely from one region to another; considers that the ESI Funds should be used as effectively as possible to help the EU meet its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement (COP21), e.g. with reference to renewable energies, energy efficiency or exchange of good practices, in particular in the housing sector, and to take into account the UN Sustainable Development Goals; insists that funding under the solidarity instruments for use in the event of natural disasters should be made available as rapidly as is possible under the circumstances, and always in a coordinated manner;

22.  Calls for the ESI Funds to be used to address, in a sustainable manner, the demographic challenges (ageing, population loss, demographic pressure, inability to attract or retain adequate human capital) which are affecting European regions in a variety of specific ways; stresses in particular the need to provide adequate support to territories such as certain outermost regions;

23.  Stresses that a specific post-2020 financing mechanism must be created under Article 349 TFEU to integrate migrants in the outermost regions, which have to cope with greater migratory pressure owing to their specific characteristics, and thus contribute to their sustainable development;

24.  Is of the opinion that the EU funds must respect the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and should continue to foster deinstitutionalisation;

25.  Stresses the potential of further investments in culture, education, heritage, youth, sport and sustainable tourism to create jobs, including in particular quality jobs for young people, as well as growth, and to improve social cohesion while also combating poverty and discrimination, which is of particular importance with respect, for example, to the outermost, rural and remote regions; supports the development of cultural and creative industries that are closely linked to innovation and creativity;

Post-2020 programming framework

26.  Stresses that the 7th Cohesion Report highlights the need to take account of indicators complementary to per capita GDP, which should remain the main indicator, for the purpose of allocating funds and offering a more precise picture of socio-economic conditions, in line with the challenges and needs identified, including at sub-regional level; notes the importance of taking as a basis data which are of high quality, reliable, up-to-date, structured and available; requests, therefore, the Commission and Eurostat to provide the greatest detail and geographical disaggregation possible in statistics of relevance for cohesion policy so as to adequately reflect the needs of the regions in the process of programming; supports the use of social, environmental and demographic criteria, in particular the unemployment rate and the youth unemployment rate;

27.  Advocates stepping up integrated approaches, and strongly emphasises that the ESF must remain an integral component of European regional policy, by virtue of its essential cohesion dimension;

28.  Underlines that grants should remain the main cohesion policy funding instrument, but acknowledges that financial instruments can be an effective lever and that they should be promoted if they generate added value and on the basis of an appropriate ex ante assessment; stresses, however, that their use must not become an end in itself, that their effectiveness hinges on many factors (nature of the project, of the territory or of the risk) and that all regions, regardless of their level of development, must be free to determine the most appropriate method of financing; would oppose any binding targets for the use of financial instruments;

29.  Calls for the conditions governing the use of financial instruments to be simplified and for the coordination of these instruments with grants to be facilitated with a view to complementarity, efficiency and territorial realities; emphasises the importance of administrative capacity and quality of governance, as well as of the complementary role played by national development banks and institutions in implementing financial instruments tailored to local needs; regards it as essential to harmonise the rules on financial instruments as much as possible, however they are managed; proposes, in addition to the already existing financial instruments for cohesion policy, promoting participatory financial instruments as well;

30.  Believes that a link between cohesion policy and the guarantee of an environment conducive to investment, effectiveness and the proper use of funds is also helpful for the achievements of the cohesion policy objectives, while stressing that cohesion policy is not meant to be reduced to an instrument for serving priorities without reference to its objectives; stresses the need to apply the agreed position on the Stability and Growth Pact regarding flexibility for cyclical conditions, structural reforms and government investments; believes that the measures linking the effectiveness of the ESI Funds to sound economic governance, as outlined in Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013, should be carefully analysed, including through the involvement of all stakeholders; is of the opinion that the Commission should consider adjustments to how the cohesion policy and the European Semester are linked in order to strengthen the latter’s territorial and social dimension, and take account of other factors which contribute to the achievement of cohesion objectives, such as real convergence; calls on the Commission, in this context and in the framework of the European Semester, to look into regional and national cofinancing under the ESI Funds and its impact on national deficits;

31.  Calls for the smart specialisation strategies to be intensified as a novel avenue to pursue investment in long-term growth potential in a context of rapid technological change and globalisation; acknowledges the usefulness of ex ante conditionalities, but stresses that in some cases they have been a source of complexity and delays in the development and launching of programming; takes note of the Court of Auditors’ observations on ex ante conditionalities in its Special Report 15/2017; calls on the Commission to consider reducing, where appropriate, the number of ex ante conditionalities and, in this field, to improve compliance with the principles of proportionality and subsidiarity, making maximum use of existing strategic documents which could fulfil future ex ante conditionalities; underlines that ex ante conditionalities should be closely related to the effectiveness of investments, while ensuring equal treatment for all Member States;

32.  Notes that the quality and stability of public administration, for which good education, training and locally available advisory assistance are preconditions, remains a decisive factor for regional growth and the effectiveness of the ESI Funds; emphasises the need to improve the quality of governance, and to ensure that sufficient technical assistance is available, as these have a serious impact on the sound implementation of cohesion policy, and can vary substantially in Member States, as is especially visible in, for example, lagging regions; calls on the Commission, in particular, to evaluate the future JASPERS programme in the light of the recommendations of the European Court of Auditors;

33.  Supports a shift in cohesion policy towards a greater focus on results and content, moving away from an accounting-based approach towards one which focuses on performance and allows managing authorities more flexibility as to how to achieve targets, while respecting the principles of, inter alia, partnership, transparency and accountability;

34.  Considers it imperative to keep up the fight against fraud, and urges zero tolerance of corruption;

A simplified cohesion policy

35.  Calls on the Commission to take account of the recommendations of the High Level Group on Simplification in its future legislative proposals;

36.  Stresses the need to provide a framework which guarantees legal stability through simple, clear and predictable rules, particularly as regards management and auditing, in order to ensure a proper balance between performance and simplification objectives; calls, in the next programming period, for a reduction in the volume of legislation and guidelines (with caution, so as to provide, in close cooperation with stakeholders, the necessary continuity of rules and procedures, which the interested subjects and managing authorities are familiar with); calls for the relevant documents to be translated into all the EU languages and for any retrospective application and interpretation of rules to be avoided as much as possible; calls for a unified legal framework and guidelines on cross-border projects;

37.  Stresses, at the same time, the need to avoid over-regulation and to make operational programmes genuine strategic documents which are more concise and more flexible, establishing a simplified procedure for their targeted modification during programming (e.g. in case of natural disasters), in order to adequately respond to changing global realities and regional demand;

38.  Calls for a genuine single set of rules to be introduced for the ESI Funds, including the further harmonisation of common rules for instruments contributing to the same thematic objective; considers it necessary to streamline procurement procedures under the Funds and to accelerate state aid procedures where compliance is required; supports consistent treatment of European funds under direct management and cohesion funds where state aid is concerned in a more coherent manner, and, more generally, harmonised rules for European instruments aimed at the same beneficiaries; stresses the importance of greater complementarity between cohesion policy and the future EU research programme, in order to cover the full cycle from basic research to commercial applications; considers that thematic concentration should be preserved in order to enable synergies between different funding sources at project level;

39.  Takes note of the establishment of a task force on subsidiarity and proportionality, and looks to that working group to make practical proposals to improve compliance with the two principles in the context of cohesion policy; supports ensuring the application of these principles with a view to a genuine MLG which requires appropriate empowerment for local and regional authorities as well as other stakeholders;

40.  Regrets that the Commission has not come up with a more integrated evaluation of cross-cutting policies, while synergies between different European policies have not been reported; asks for ambitious strategies, financing and actions which will increase synergies with other EU funds and attract complementary financial support; stresses the need to further optimise the synergies between the ESI Funds and other instruments, including the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), as well as with the other centrally managed programmes such as Horizon 2020, which is complementary to cohesion policy in supporting research and innovation;

41.  Calls for requirements in respect of the programming, implementation and monitoring of the ESI Funds in future to be based on the principles of differentiation and proportionality, grounded in transparent and fair criteria and in accordance with the amounts allocated to programmes, the risk profile, the quality of administration and the level of financing by recipients;

42.  Regards it as essential that the relationship between the Commission and the managing authorities should evolve towards a ‘contract of confidence’; recalls, in this context, the importance of having an adequate and functioning MLG framework; calls on the Commission to build on the work already done in the area of sound public finance management, introducing the principle of a new label to reward managing authorities which have demonstrated their ability to comply with the rules; calls, in relation to monitoring, for greater reliance on national and regional rules where their effectiveness has been verified and validated;

43.  Calls for the single audit principle to be strengthened, for the implementation of e‑cohesion to be speeded up and for the use of simplified and standardised costs to be adopted across the board, since, among other things, this has proven easier to implement and has not given rise to any errors; stresses the potential of digitalisation as regards monitoring and reporting activities; is of the opinion that the exchange of expertise should be facilitated by establishing a knowledge-sharing portal to exchange good practices;

44.  Calls on the Commission to put forward ideas for improving the response of cohesion policy to unforeseen events, and reiterates, in this context, its call for the creation of a reserve of a nature such as to give the regions additional flexibility without jeopardising the long-term goals of the operational programmes;

Challenges and prospects

45.  Is extremely concerned at the scenarios recently presented by the Commission, concerning the cuts to the cohesion policy budget that might be made under the next MFF and which would exclude many regions from the scope of cohesion policy; wishes to see an ambitious budget commensurate with the challenges facing the regions, and calls for cohesion policy not to be made an adjustment variable; points out that the coverage of all EU regions is a ‘red line’ for the European Parliament; stresses that the theory of ‘economic development clubs’ confirms the importance of differentiated support for all European regions, including regions with a very high income, which must remain competitive with their global competitors;

46.  Considers that cohesion policy can help to meet new challenges, such as security or the integration of refugees under international protection; stresses, however, that cohesion policy cannot be the solution to all crises, and opposes the use of cohesion policy funds to cover short-term financing needs outside the policy’s scope, recalling that it is aimed at the socio-economic development of the EU in the medium and long term;

47.  Notes the positive results of EFSI, which, however, must invest even more transparently and purposefully; stresses that cohesion policy and EFSI are based on different concepts and objectives which in certain cases can be complementary, but that one cannot be a substitute for the other, irrespective of the level of development of the regions, especially as EFSI, unlike the Structural Funds, is predominantly loan-based; recalls the importance of making an appropriate distinction between EFSI and cohesion policy, as well as identifying clear opportunities for their combination;

48.  Reiterates its commitment to long-term programming; considers that the only viable alternative to the current period of seven years is an MFF period of 5+5 years, with a mid-term review; calls on the Commission to draw up a clear proposal setting out the methods for the practical implementation of a 5+5 financial framework;

49.  Calls for every effort to be made to avoid delays in programming for the new period, in order to prevent late payments and decommitments which hamper positive results of cohesion policy; stresses the importance of submitting all documents relating to the future legal framework on time in all the official languages, so as to ensure fair and timely information for all beneficiaries;

50.  Calls for measures to improve communication to the European citizens, thus raising public awareness of the concrete achievements of cohesion policy; calls on the Commission to enhance the role of the managing authorities and of project promoters who employ innovative local communication methods to inform people about the results of the use of the funds in the territories; emphasises the need to improve information and communication not only downstream (the ESI Funds’ achievements), but also upstream (financing possibilities), particularly in relation to small project organisers; calls on the Commission and the Member States to establish mechanisms and broad institutionalised platforms for cooperation in order to ensure better visibility and awareness-raising;

51.  Notes that some European regions are particularly exposed to the impact of Brexit; stresses that the future cohesion policy must minimise the negative impact of Brexit on other European regions, and calls for detailed consideration to be given to the possibility of continuing partnerships in the context of territorial cooperation;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 320.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 289.
(3) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 470.
(4) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 281.
(5) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 259.
(6) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 15 December 2015, Parliament and Commission v Council, C-132/14 to C-136/14, ECLI:EU:C:2015:813.
(7) Doc. 8463/17.
(8) Doc. 14263/17.
(9) Iammarino, S., Rodríguez-Pose, A., Storper, M. (2017), ‘Why regional development matters for Europe’s economic future’, Working Papers 07/2017, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission.
(10) OJ C 306, 15.9.2017, p. 8.
(11) OJ C 303, 19.8.2016, p. 94.
(12) OJ C 316, 22.9.2017, p. 132.
(13) OJ C 316, 22.9.2017, p. 124.
(14) OJ C 76, 28.2.2018, p. 2.
(15) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0222.
(16) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0320.
(17) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0321.
(18) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0053.
(19) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0254.
(20) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0245.
(21) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0316.
(22) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0401.
(23) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0067.
(24) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0075.
(25) http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/8631691/3-31012018-BP-EN.pdf/bdc1dbf2-6511-4dc5-ac90-dbadee96f5fb
(26) http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/8701418/3-01032018-AP-EN/37be1dc2-3905-4b39-9ef6-adcea3cc347a

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