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Procedure : 2018/2097(INI)
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Document selected : A8-0392/2018

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PV 11/12/2018 - 16
CRE 11/12/2018 - 16

Votes :

PV 12/12/2018 - 12.15
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Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 12 December 2018 - Strasbourg
Annual report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy

European Parliament resolution of 12 December 2018 on the annual report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (2018/2097(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Annual Report from the Council to the European Parliament on the Common Foreign and Security Policy,

–  having regard to Articles 21 and 36 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

–  having regard to the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, published by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),

–  having regard to the North Atlantic Treaty,

–  having regard to the joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation of 10 July 2018,

–  having regard to the declaration by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on political accountability(1),

–  having regard to the 2016 Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy,

–  having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 7 June 2017 on a Strategic Approach to Resilience in the EU’s External Action (JOIN(2017)0021),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0392/2018),

A.  whereas the EU’s security environment is now more volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous than at any time since the end of the Cold War, confronted with interstate conflicts, natural disasters, terrorism, failed states, cyber-attacks and hybrid warfare; whereas current EU policies may no longer suffice to promote a stable and prosperous neighbourhood; whereas the EU has a growing responsibility to safeguard its own security while defending its interests and values;

B.  whereas EU external action has a direct impact on our citizens’ lives, both within and outside the European Union, be it by supporting peace, economic cooperation, security and stability within and outside our borders, preventing crises before they happen, managing them to avoid negative spillover effects or facilitating peaceful conflict resolution;

C.  whereas the EU’s population is in decline and forecast to account for just 5 % of the world’s population around 2050, compared to 13 % in 1960;

D.  whereas more than half of the world’s population growth by 2050 is expected to occur in Africa, which is expected to account for 1,3 billion of the additional 2,4 billion people on the planet; whereas the concentration of this growth in some of the poorest countries will lead to a series of new challenges which, if not addressed immediately, will have destructive effects both for the countries in question and for the European Union;

E.  whereas by 2050, China, the US and India may have become the world’s leading economic powers, with even greater political clout, while in a long-term redistribution of economic and political weight, none of the world’s largest economies will be an EU Member State and the European Union will thus face a radically different balance of world power which will require renewed efforts to enhance existing global governance institutions;

F.  whereas the new world order is increasingly characterised by asymmetry, with numerous non-state actors having expanded their influence over the past decade, from NGOs advocating human rights, fair trade and sustainable management of natural resources, to transnational corporations influencing government policy, to social media activists calling for democratic change; whereas international organised criminal groups and terrorist organisations are attempting to undermine democratic principles; whereas, nevertheless, the multilateralism to which Europe is deeply attached is increasingly called into question, yet no emergent state or non-state actor can impose an incontestable world view;

G.  whereas globalisation has increased interdependence, with decisions taken in Beijing or Washington having a direct impact on our lives; whereas, in turn, interdependence has resulted in global public opinion becoming cognisant of the need for transnational solutions to address transnational problems and for multilateral organisations to improve global governance;

H.  whereas almost one-fourth of the world’s population lives in fragile states or societies; whereas these increasingly are a breeding ground for socio-economic inequality which, together with climate change, is an immediate challenge to stability, democracy and peace;

I.  whereas the EU’s aspirational global leadership and influence have been undermined as a result of the financial crisis, its management of the unprecedented migration and refugee crisis, rising Euroscepticism, the proliferation of crises on our doorstep, a lack of consistency in foreign policy, rising scepticism of European public opinion on the projection of force abroad and the lack of effective strategic autonomy of the EU, which has given rise to a tendency to respond to events rather than to shape them; whereas the EU nonetheless remains the world leader in regulatory standards;

J.  whereas some Western democracies have become more vulnerable, protectionist and inward-looking, and are swinging to the extremes at a time when multilateral cooperation is the only way to respond to global challenges effectively; whereas powers such as China or Russia are trying to fill this vacuum and are seeking to challenge, rather than embrace, existing global governance based on international law; whereas the latter states have a different approach to development cooperation which is not linked to improvements in the rule of law or other democratic reforms;

K.  whereas the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran is a significant multilateral achievement on the path towards a stable and peaceful Middle East; whereas President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA and impose secondary sanctions on European companies doing legitimate business with Iran is deeply regrettable and undermines European economic sovereignty, thereby highlighting the EU’s problematic reliance on the dollar trading system; whereas the EU and the Member States have reaffirmed their commitment to the JCPOA and have taken measures to protect legitimate European economic interests;

L.  whereas ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other international terrorist organisations still pose a significant threat to Europe and the nations of the world;

M.  whereas European security is based on the ambition of a common strategic autonomy, as underlined in the Union's Global Strategy; whereas an ambitious, credible and effective common foreign policy must be supported by adequate financial resources and means and must be based on a coherent, timely and consistent approach by the Member States;

1.  Stresses that the time has come for the European Union to take its destiny into its own hands; takes the view that the EU should embrace its role as a fully-fledged, sovereign political and economic power in international relations that helps to resolve conflicts worldwide and shapes global governance; stresses therefore that a genuinely common European foreign and security policy, based on strategic autonomy and its integration, including in terms of capabilities, in the areas of industry and operations, is needed to promote our common interests as well as our principles and values;

2.  Is convinced that no single EU Member State can respond effectively to today’s global challenges on its own; believes that, by pulling their weight together within the EU, the Member States can exert an influence on the world stage that they would not otherwise possess; is convinced that 28 Member States working together towards coherent and unified positions and representing 500 million citizens provide more leverage in international negotiations, in promoting human rights and accountability, and in setting international regulations and political, democratic, environmental, social and economic standards; believes, moreover, that under the protection of the EU social model, globalisation can represent an opportunity for EU citizens and not a threat, an opportunity which needs to be clearly and positively communicated by European and national leaders;

3.  Regrets the fact that the Member States all too often prioritise their national interests, regardless of the possible consequences at a European level, thereby undermining the EU’s unity, consistency and effectiveness, and as a result its credibility as a global player; calls for a better division of responsibilities, greater solidarity and enhanced coordination between the EU and the Member States; recalls the need for the Union’s external policies to be consistent with each other and with other policies with an external dimension as well as for them to be coordinated with international partners; believes that good cooperation among the Member States is essential to safeguard our democracy, our common values, our freedom, and our social and environmental standards; underlines the need to extend cooperation between Member States, partner countries and international organisations;

4.  Recalls that, taking the 28 Member States as a whole, the EU is the world’s largest economy with more than half a billion people, and that the euro is the second most important reserve currency; stresses that based on the collective contributions of EU institutions and individual Member States, the EU is also the world’s leading development aid donor;

5.  Stresses that the European approach to external relations is characterised by:

   promoting and safeguarding universal values such as peace, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including minority rights;
   a commitment to multilateralism and a rules-based international order with the support of the UN system and regional organisations such as the OSCE;
   an emphasis on conflict prevention and management, mediation, peaceful conflict resolution, peacebuilding and institution building;
   the promotion of sustainable development, aid and economic cooperation, fair trade, climate-friendly agreements and alternative sources of energy;

6.  Stresses that the EU should stay true to its principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law as enshrined in the Treaties; emphasises the importance of assessing whether the promotion of these principles in third countries has been successful and evaluating the space for further improvement; stresses that the EU's reputation as a promoter of these principles can only be sustained if it ensures that these exact principles are protected and adhered to within all of its Member States;

7.  Further encourages consideration of the policy of ‘less for less’ for those countries which go into reverse in terms of governance, democracy and human rights; considers that the EU should use its foreign policy instruments more effectively, including trade and development instruments such as bilateral agreements with third countries when breaches of democratic standards and human rights are taking place, ensuring in particular that no agreement is ratified until human rights benchmarks are met; calls on the EU and the Member States to adopt unexplained wealth orders to tackle corruption in third countries; recalls that economic sanctions are a powerful tool of coercive diplomacy; notes that, in certain cases, foreign policy positions adopted by Parliament are not followed up at Union level and insists that the Council and the European External Action Service (EEAS) take these into greater consideration;

8.  Calls on the EEAS, the Commission, the Council and the individual Member States to act strategically by following an integrated approach and by using all the means at their disposal, including trade, development, diplomatic, civilian and military Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) tools, as well as strategic communication and public diplomacy to strengthen the EU’s geopolitical influence and overall image in the world and to protect its interests, including by enhancing the EU's economic sovereignty and strategic autonomy; highlights the complementary role which environmental, cultural, academic and other forms of ‘alternative’ diplomacy may play in this process;

9.  Calls for adequate financial resources to be made available for the EU’s external action under the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) (2021-2027) and for the EU to focus its resources on strategic priorities; recalls the important role of EU external financial instruments in advancing EU foreign policy interests; underlines the importance of strengthening the coherence, effectiveness, responsiveness and flexibility of external financing instruments; stresses the need to adequately involve Parliament in the scrutiny and strategic steering of the instruments; takes the view that the growing challenges in the EU’s neighbourhood and beyond call for significantly higher appropriations for external action and a significant strengthening of civilian CSDP missions;

10.  Calls on the EEAS to develop ‘issue-based coalitions’ with like-minded countries to support and promote a rules-based international order, multilateralism and free and fair trade, and to pursue cooperative solutions to global challenges including the changing balance of power; calls on the EEAS to engage with emerging powers in the provision of global public goods such as peace and security, including by working together on crisis prevention and management operations around the world, climate change mitigation, including sustainable management of natural resources, clean air and water and unpolluted land, as well as the defence and promotion of human rights and financial stability; recalls the importance of inter-parliamentary relations to support these aims;

11.  Condemns the repeated use by Russia of its veto powers in the UN Security Council and considers it to undermine international efforts for peace and conflict resolution; notes that deadlocks within the UN Security Council are impeding action by the international community and preventing crisis resolution; calls once again on the Member States to support reforms in the composition and functioning of the Security Council; emphasises that the EU is committed to strengthening the international role of the UN;

12.  Notes that the EU has played an important role in de-escalating and resolving foreign policy crises, namely when some Member States have taken the lead under the auspices of the Union overall, such as in the Normandy format or the EU3+3 negotiations with Iran; takes the view that, while pursuing increased security and defence cooperation in the long term, the establishment, where deemed appropriate, of ad hoc coalitions of Member States that can intervene swiftly in response to international crises could render EU external action more flexible and responsive in the short term in addressing changing situations, by reducing the pressure of having to achieve universal consensus among the Member States;

13.  Welcomes the EU’s increasing role, including that of its civilian and military CSDP missions in peacekeeping, conflict prevention, strengthening international security and post-conflict reconstruction as a means of securing long-standing peace; recalls the increased success of conflict resolution when women have a formal role in the process and calls for their increased participation in such missions;

14.  Understands that proximity to threats determines policy priorities; calls, nevertheless, on all Member States to respect the principle of solidarity enshrined in the Treaties (Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) and to take the necessary steps to respond jointly to the migration crisis, just as all Member States have responded with solidarity to the challenges posed by an assertive Russia and of China in an economic and security context; further believes that current crises have tested the willingness of Member States to cooperate more effectively to address common challenges; calls for further humanitarian aid and assistance to conflict-affected populations;

15.  Notes that internal and external security are increasingly intertwined; highlights the need to strengthen the EU's internal resilience to external interference and to establish a common strategy with international partners, both when it comes to protecting critical infrastructure as well as the basic institutions and hallmarks of our democracies; supports the Commission and the VP/HR in further improving the EU’s resilience, as part of a risk-reduction strategy, to terrorist attacks, notably jihadist terrorism as one of the main challenges facing public safety in the EU today, radicalisation, illegal migration, repeated use of chemical weapons, propaganda, online and offline disinformation campaigns, Russian attempts to carry out cyberattacks and interfere during elections and referendum campaigns and other hybrid threats which all require rapid, assertive and coordinated counteraction; underlines that all possible measures should be taken to avoid any interference in the 2019 European Parliament elections;

16.  Highlights the fact that the transatlantic partnership is facing a significant number of challenges and disruptions in the short term, yet it remains indispensable for security and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic; regrets the progressive retreat of the US from the multilateral, rules-based world order, namely its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the JCPOA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and the UN Human Rights Council, its halting of funding for UNRWA and various UN agencies and multilateral fora, as well as for peacekeeping operations, and its attacks on the International Criminal Court (ICC); calls on the EU to show unity, firmness and proportionality in its responses to such decisions, to reaffirm its full support for the JCPOA, to ensure tangible economic results with Iran and to protect European companies investing in Iran against US sanctions; calls for the EU, furthermore, to ramp up efforts on climate change diplomacy and to include adherence to the Paris Agreement in any trade and investment agreement;

17.  Stresses that investing in the stability and prosperity of the Western Balkans must continue to be a major priority for the European Union; reiterates that the European perspective for the countries in the Western Balkans must lead to full membership of the countries concerned, provided all criteria are met; highlights that the enlargement process is merit-based, grounded on strict and fair conditionalities in accordance with the strict application of the Copenhagen criteria, and must depend on nothing other than the concrete results achieved by each individual country on issues such as corruption, money-laundering practices, transparency and judicial independence; reiterates the importance, throughout this process, of promoting the reforms necessary for a rules-based, cooperative political and economic international order with a focus on the rule of law, respect for human rights, in particular minority rights, reconciliation and good neighbourly relations, security and migration, socio-economic and sustainable development, transport and energy connectivity, environmental protection and the digital agenda;

18.  Recognises the importance of the stability of the Eastern Neighbourhood for the Union's own stability and encourages the development of ever closer relations with the Eastern Partnership; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to continue using the EU’s transformative power at its eastern borders, strengthening economic and connectivity ties, using trade and association agreements, access to the single market and deepened people-to-people contacts, including through visa facilitation and liberalisation when all requirements are fulfilled, as incentives to foster democratic reforms and the adoption of European rules and standards; calls further on the EEAS to monitor democratic processes in its direct neighbourhood and ensure that democratic progress is not halted or reversed;

19.  Reiterates the EU’s commitment to support its partners’ sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity; underlines the need to address all frozen conflicts in accordance with international law, norms and principles, to increase support to conflict-affected residents, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees and to counter attempts at destabilisation from third countries, in particular Russia; reiterates its condemnation of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Eastern Ukraine; calls for continued efforts to ensure the implementation of the Minsk agreements and calls for the EU sanctions against Russia to be extended until it complies with these agreements; condemns, furthermore, the continued militarisation and deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Georgian occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and calls on Russia to fulfil its obligations under the EU-mediated 2008 Ceasefire Agreement;

20.  Recalls that the Mediterranean is the border between the most unequal regions in the world; reiterates the urgent need to stimulate the fair economic and social development of the Southern Mediterranean basin and Sub-Saharan Africa and to assist countries in tackling the root causes of instability, such as armed conflicts, undemocratic and inefficient governance, corruption and climate change, by creating local economic opportunities, especially for young people and women and notably in the countries of origin of migrants, by engaging with relevant actors on the ground and involving local communities; takes note of Commission President Juncker’s proposal to build a new Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa, his initiative to develop the various European-African trade agreements into one continent-to-continent free trade agreement, which can only be successful if presented as an economic partnership between equals and if an effective business- and investment-friendly environment can be created; urges the EU to use other ENP mechanisms to further increase cooperation between the Union, the Southern neighbourhood partner countries and key regional players, on regional issues such as good governance, security, energy and the fight against climate change; reiterates its support for the EU’s CSDP stabilisation area and calls for its reinforcement;

21.  Stresses that the EU must play a leading role in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, by means of its decisive soft power and the full implementation of all existing association agreements; deeply regrets the decision taken by the US Government to relocate the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; calls for the EU to be a driving force in the recovery of a real peace process in the Middle East that aims for a two-state solution; reaffirms the primacy of the UN-led Geneva process in the resolution of the Syrian conflict, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254; condemns the support of Russia and Iran for the Assad regime, its war crimes and crimes against humanity and calls for the EU and the Member States to do their utmost to put an end to the crimes against the Syrian people and above all the use of chemical weapons against them;

22.  Condemns grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by all sides in Yemen, including the indiscriminate attacks on civilians by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and Houthi rebels; demands an immediate lifting of the blockade of Yemen and calls on all sides to the conflict to resume dialogue under the auspices of the UN and to work towards a sustainable ceasefire; welcomes the decision of the governments of Germany, Denmark and Finland to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia; calls for EU-wide sanctions against those responsible for the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi;

23.  Emphasises that the strengthening of regional security in the Indo-Pacific region is of critical importance to the interests of the EU and its Member States; calls for all parties concerned in the region to solve differences through peaceful means and to refrain from taking unilateral actions to change the status quo, including in the East and South China Seas, in order to safeguard regional security; encourages a quick resumption of bilateral talks between China and Taiwan and reiterates its support for Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organisations, mechanisms and activities; supports measures to deepen relations between the European Union and its Member States and partners in Asia, and encourages economic, diplomatic and security cooperation;

24.  In the aftermath of the recent presidential and parliamentary elections in the region, reaffirms its commitment to continue forging strong relations with Latin American countries (LAC), promoting the defence of democracy, the rule of law and human rights as the cornerstone for deeper integration and cooperation; expresses its grave concern over the lack of respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela; notes with concern the electoral developments in Brazil and expresses hope that the new government will stay true to the path of democracy and the rule of law; commends the efforts of all the parties concerned in the Peace Process in Colombia; reiterates its full support for this Peace Process and its effective implementation;

25.  Believes that, despite their importance, soft power and institution building alone cannot be sufficient to exert influence in a world where power politics and hard power are increasingly significant; believes that the effectiveness of the EU’s foreign policy will ultimately depend, to a large extent, on an effective combination of hard and soft power tools, including open dialogue, on its ability to lead by example and on the resources and capabilities that support it, including adequate financial resources, effective multilateralism, a combination of soft power and credible hard power, the pooling of military capabilities, and the willingness of Member States to cede decision-making in this context as well as to work with NATO and other like-minded countries;

26.  Welcomes the increased defence cooperation between EU Member States and the steps taken to increase the EU’s military autonomy, namely the establishment of a European single command centre in Brussels for EU military training missions, and the removal of obstacles to the deployment of EU battlegroups; believes that the establishment of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) on defence projects and the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) will help the Member States deepen their defence cooperation and spend their defence budgets more effectively; welcomes the proposal of the VP/HR for a European Peace Facility and the new framework for civilian CSDP missions as well as the commitment to move forward with military mobility in order to advance European strategic autonomy, including through the European Intervention Initiative; considers that the development of a strong defence industry strengthens the technological independence of the EU, including through the promotion of a single market for cybersecurity products, for which the EU’s capabilities need to increase;

27.  Believes that the capacity to dispatch civilian experts and military forces to conflicts around the globe with a view to promoting peace and stability is an essential pre-condition for becoming a credible political power that is able to structure the prevention of armed conflict, the enforcement of peace agreements and the stabilisation of fragile post-conflict situations; calls on the EEAS and the Member States to develop sufficient civilian and military capabilities, covering the full spectrum of land, air, space, maritime and cyber capabilities, and to work towards a legally binding instrument on fully autonomous weapons systems in order to defend the objectives of the Treaty; stresses the importance of the ongoing cooperation between the European Union and NATO, as highlighted in the EU Global Strategy and EU-NATO joint declaration; stresses that the further development of the defence union should complement the objectives of EU external relations;

28.  Stresses that developing new formats, such as an EU Security Council, as advocated by Chancellor Merkel and President Macron, and new ways of coordinating more closely within the EU and with international authorities could potentially facilitate a more effective decision-making process for the CFSP; takes the view that, alongside the creation of these structures, mechanisms should be developed to ensure their democratic scrutiny;

29.  Supports a debate within the EU about new formats, including the proposal set out by Commission President Juncker in his State of the Union Address on 12 September 2018 to move to qualified majority voting (QMV) in specific areas of the CFSP where the Treaties currently require unanimity, notably human rights issues, sanctions and civilian missions; encourages the Member States to examine ways in which they can act more effectively in the context of the CFSP and CSDP; believes that the use of QMV would enable the EU to act more resolutely, quickly and effectively; calls on the European Council to take up this initiative by making use of the passerelle clause (Article 31(3) of the TEU); encourages the European Council to consider extending QMV to other areas of the CFSP as part of a wider debate on the use of majority voting for EU policies; recognises the need to look for creative solutions for future cooperation between the European Union and the United Kingdom in the area of CFSP and CSDP, bearing in mind the principles laid down in its resolution of 14 March 2018 on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship;

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

(1) OJ C 210, 3.8.2010, p. 1.

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