Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 14 June 2018 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Russia, notably the case of Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov
 Human rights situation in Bahrain, notably the case of Nabeel Rajab
 Situation of Rohingya refugees, in particular the plight of children
 Structural and financial barriers in the access to culture
 Proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions ***I
 Use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road ***I
 Objection to a delegated act: Fisheries conservation measures for the protection of the marine environment in the North Sea
 Georgian occupied territories 10 years after the Russian invasion
 Negotiations for a new EU-ACP Partnership Agreement
 Monitoring the application of EU law 2016

Russia, notably the case of Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov
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European Parliament resolution of 14 June 2018 on Russia, notably the case of Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov (2018/2754(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0259RC-B8-0288/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia, in particular its resolution of 16 March 2017 on the Ukrainian prisoners in Russia and the situation in Crimea(1),

–  having regard to the statement of 25 May 2018 by the Spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) on the cases of several detainees in or from the illegally-annexed Crimea and Sevastopol,

–  having regard to the exchange of views in the Foreign Affairs Council on Russia of 16 April 2018,

–  having regard to the Order of 19 April 2017 of the International Court of Justice on the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by Ukraine in the case concerning Application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Ukraine v Russian Federation),

–  having regard to Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which provide that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and to which the Russian Federation is a party,

–  having regard to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998,

–  having regard to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War,

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

A.  whereas the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, who opposed the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia, was arrested in May 2014 in connection with alleged activities conducted in Crimea; whereas he was treated as Russian citizen despite holding Ukrainian citizenship;

B.  whereas in the case of Oleg Sentsov there have been allegations of torture and severe mistreatment leading to the illegal extraction of depositions that have subsequently been given legal value;

C.  whereas on 25 August 2015 Oleg Sentsov was sentenced by a court the jurisdiction of which the EU does not recognise, in breach of international law and elementary standards of justice;

D.  whereas Oleg Sentsov, who currently serves out a sentence in Russia’s northernmost prison in Labytnangi, Yamalo-Nenets, announced an indefinite hunger strike on 14 May 2018;

E.  whereas the number of political prisoners in Russia has increased significantly in recent years; whereas the Human Rights Centre Memorial, which was awarded the Sakharov Prize in 2009, published a list on 29 May 2018 with the names of 158 political prisoners;

F.  whereas Oyub Titiev, the Chechnya office director at the Human Rights Centre Memorial, was arrested by local police on 9 January 2018 and charged with drug possession; whereas these charges have been denied by Mr Titiev and denounced as fabricated by NGOs and other human rights defenders;

G.  whereas the arrest of Oyub Titiev is part of a worrying trend of arrests, attacks, intimidations and discreditations of independent journalists and human rights defenders;

H.  whereas human rights defenders and civil society actors, particularly Crimean Tatars, have faced threats, intimidation and arrests;

I.  whereas the use of torture, and cruel and degrading treatment has been reported in various cases; whereas to date, these allegations have not been investigated in an appropriate way; whereas torture has been used to obtain confessions and support false evidence of guilt;

J.  whereas many of the prisoners and detainees have faced harsh and inhumane conditions in prisons, causing physical and psychological risks to their health; whereas there are prisoners who require urgent medical attention and treatment;

K.  whereas restrictive Russian legislation regulating political and civil rights has been extended to temporarily occupied Crimea, resulting in the drastic curtailment of the freedoms of assembly, expression, association, access to information, and religion, as well as in credible reports of intimidation, enforced disappearances and torture;

L.  whereas arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, censorship and bans on peaceful gatherings have become an everyday reality in Crimea; whereas several Crimean Tatars have been arrested, are under investigation or prosecuted; whereas Crimean lawyers providing legal assistance to these arrestees, human rights defenders reporting on cases of politically-motivated enforced disappearance in Crimea and journalists reporting on the situation of Crimean Tatars have also been targeted;

M.  whereas occupation authorities in Crimea have systematically and deliberately suppressed freedom of speech in Crimea, pushing out independent media and creating obstacles to the work of professional journalists; whereas on 22 March 2018, citizen journalist and Crimean Tatar activist Nariman Memedeminov, who covered wrongdoings of occupation authorities, was detained by Russian security forces and arrested on the grounds of wrongful accusations; whereas on 21 May 2018, Russian security forces detained another citizen journalist, Server Mustafaiev, after a search in his house in Russia-occupied Crimea, in particular on religious grounds;

N.  whereas Russia loses a substantial number of cases in the European Court of Human Rights and fails to implement the judgments delivered;

O.  whereas the Russian Federation, as a full member of the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations, has committed itself to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights; whereas, as a result of numerous serious violations of the rule of law and the adoption of restrictive laws in recent years, there are grave concerns about Russia’s compliance with its international and national obligations; whereas the European Union has repeatedly offered additional assistance and expertise to help Russia to modernise and abide by its constitutional and legal order, in line with Council of Europe standards;

P.  whereas according to the Russian law on ‘foreign agents’, NGOs that receive foreign funding and are engaged in ‘political activity’ must apply for inclusion on a special government list of foreign agents subject to additional and close scrutiny by the government, and are required to state in all publications, press-releases and reports that these have been produced by a foreign agent;

Q.  whereas, in reaction to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the hybrid war launched against Ukraine, the EU has adopted a series of step-by step restrictive measures against Russia;

1.  Demands that the Russian authorities immediately and unconditionally release Oleg Sentsov and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia and on the Crimean peninsula; recalls that currently there are in total more than 70(2) Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and in occupied Crimea;

2.  Demands the immediate and unconditional release of Oyub Titiev, Director of the Human Rights Centre Memorial in the Chechen Republic, and all other political prisoners in the Russian Federation;

3.  Demands that the Russian authorities cease the intimidation and harassment of the Human Rights Centre Memorial, its staff and other human rights defenders, and allow them to carry out their human rights work;

4.  Underlines that the treatment of all prisoners must meet international standards and that all detainees should have access to legal counsel, to their families, to their diplomatic representatives and to medical treatment; stresses that the Russian authorities and judicial personnel bear full responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of those detained, especially in Crimea, in line with the Fourth Geneva Convention;

5.  Reminds Russia of the importance of full compliance with its international legal obligations, as a member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and with the principles of fundamental human rights and the rule of law enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

6.  Stresses that freedom of assembly in the Russian Federation is granted under Article 31 of the Russian Constitution and under the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Russia is a signatory, obliging the Russian authorities to respect this freedom;

7.  Urges the Russian authorities at all levels to recognise the crucial role of human rights defenders as pillars of democracy and watchdogs of the rule of law, and to publicly condemn all attacks against human rights defenders, particularly in the Chechen Republic;

8.  Expresses its solidarity with the Ukrainian filmmaker, political activist and political prisoner Oleg Sentsov, who began a hunger strike on 14 May 2018 to press for the release of illegally detained compatriots, and is concerned about the effects of the hunger strike on Oleg Sentsov’s health; recalls that Oleg Sentsov, who was arrested in Crimea shortly after Russia took control over the Black Sea peninsula in 2014 and then sentenced on the basis of testimony received under torture, is now serving a 20-year sentence on multiple terrorism charges in a high-security prison camp in the Yamal Nenets region in Russia’s far north;

9.  Deplores the fact that another convict in the case, Oleksandr Kolchenko, has been sentenced to ten years in prison;

10.  Notes that another illegally detained Ukrainian citizen, Volodymyr Balukh, is on hunger strike since 19 March 2018;

11.  Calls on the responsible Russian authorities and medical services to give these imprisoned individuals proper medical attention and to respect medical ethics, including by not imposing force feeding or any unwanted treatment that may amount to torture and other forms of ill treatment;

12.  Expresses its deep concern that many of the Ukrainian political prisoners, such as Mykola Karpiyuk, Volodymyr Prysych, Oleksiy Chirniy and Yevhen Panov, have been seriously tortured;

13.  Expresses its deep concern regarding the worrying trend of arrests, attacks, intimidations and discreditations of independent journalists and human rights defenders working in Russia, in particular in Chechnya; highlights the significance of civil society and of organisations such as Memorial, and the message that civil society activists everywhere must be free to exercise their most basic rights of freedom of thought and expression; calls on the Chechen and Russian authorities to abide by their domestic legislation and international commitments and uphold the rule of law;

14.  Expresses serious concern about the climate of impunity that allows these acts to take place, and calls for the development of legal and other measures to prevent, monitor and effectively prosecute perpetrators of such violence, in cooperation with civil society; underlines the fact that Russia and its Government carries the ultimate responsibility for investigating these acts, bringing the perpetrators to justice and protecting all Russian citizens from unlawful abuse;

15.  Draws attention to the fact that Russian authorities in occupied Crimea detained several Crimean Tatars in May 2018, including Sever Mustafayev, Edem Smailov and family members of the political prisoner Nuri Primov;

16.  Condemns Russia’s violations of international law in occupied Crimea, including the enforcement of Russian legislation, the heavy militarisation of the Crimean peninsula, which threatens the regional security, and the massive and systematic human rights violations targeting, in particular, ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars;

17.  Welcomes the release of Crimean Tatar leaders Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov, who were sentenced to prison by Russian courts in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territory of Crimea in September 2017, and who were allowed by the Russian authorities to leave the peninsula on 25 October 2017; extends its gratitude to all those who worked for their release, including Russian human rights organisations such as Memorial;

18.  Reminds the Russian authorities that in their de facto capacity as occupying power exercising effective control over Crimea, they are fully responsible for the protection of Crimean citizens from arbitrary judicial or administrative measures, and, in the same capacity, they are bound by international humanitarian law to ensure the protection of human rights on the peninsula;

19.  Emphasises that Russian courts, whether military or civilian, are not competent to judge acts committed outside the internationally recognised territory of Russia, and points out that judicial proceedings in such cases cannot be regarded as legitimate;

20.  Reiterates its serious concerns about the ‘foreign agent’ law and the way it is being implemented; considers that the definition of ‘political activity’ carried out by NGOs that accept foreign funding is so broad as to allow, in practice, government control over just about any organised activity relating to public life;

21.  Urges Russia to ensure unconditional and unimpeded access to international human rights observers and monitoring missions; calls on international organisations such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe to monitor the human rights situation in Crimea more closely and to take appropriate measures;

22.  Calls on the European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights to pay continuous attention to the human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula and in the non-government controlled areas of eastern Ukraine;

23.  Calls on the Council and the Member States to remain firm and united in their commitment to the agreed sanctions against Russia and to prolong them, and to consider targeted measures against the individuals responsible for the detention and trial of the political prisoners;

24.  Underlines that is important that the Delegation of the European Union to Russia and the embassies of EU Member States monitor the trials of human rights defenders;

25.  Calls on the Presidents of the Council and the Commission, as well as on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), to continue to follow the cases of non-compliance of international legal obligations closely and to raise these issues in different formats and meetings with Russia;

26.  Reiterates its call on the VP/HR, and on the EEAS, to ensure that all cases of persons prosecuted for political reasons are raised in EU-Russia human rights consultations, when resumed, and that Russia’s representatives in these consultations are formally requested to respond in each case and to report back to Parliament on their exchanges with the Russian authorities;

27.  Urges the VP/HR and the EEAS to ensure that the Union seeks every opportunity, within the boundaries of Russian domestic law, to continue to engage with and support Russian civil-society organisations, including those working to promote the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law;

28.  Calls on the EU to make a statement to condemn human rights violations in Russia and the attempt to hide them under the cover of the FIFA World Cup;

29.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0087.
(2) The non-exhaustive list includes: Teimur Abdullaiev, Uzeir Abdullaiev, Taliat Abdurakhmanov, Rustem Abiltarov, Zevri Abseitov, Muslim Aliiev, Refat Alimov, Kiazim Ametov, Ernes Ametov, Ali Asanov, Marlen Asanov, Volodymyr Balukh, Ali Bariev, Enver Bekirov, Memet Belialov, Oleksii Bessarabov, Rustem Vaitov, Resul Velilyaev, Valentyn Vygovskii, Pavlo Hryb, Mykola Dadeu, Konstatin Davydenko, Bekir Dehermendzhi, Mustafa Dehermendzhi, Emil Dzhemadenov, Arsen Dzhepparov, Dmitrii Dolgopolov, Volodymyr Dudka, Andriy Zakhtei, Ruslan Zeitullaiev, Server Zekiriaiev, Timur Ibragimov, Rustem Ismailov, Yevgenii Karakashev, Mykola Karpiyuk, Stanislav Klykh, Andriy Kolomiiets, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Oleksandr Kostenko, Emir-Usein Kuku, Hennadii Limeshko, Serhii Litvinov, Enver Mamutov, Nariman Memedeminov, Remzi Memetov, Emil Minasov, Igor Movenko, Seiran Muradosilov, Seiran Mustafaiev, Server Mustafaiev, Yevhen Panov, Nuri Primov, Volodymyr Prysych, Ismail Ramazanov, Fevzi Sagandzhi, Ferat Saifullaiev, Aider Saledinov, Seiran Saliiev, Enver Seitosmanov, Oleg Sentsov, Oleksii Sizonovich, Vadym Siruk, Edem Smailov, Oleksandr Steshenko, Oleksii Stohniy, Renat Suleimanov, Anna Sukhonosova, Roman Sushchenko, Roman Ternovsky, Ruslan Ametov, Asan Chapukh, Oleksii Chirnii, Hlib Shablii, Mykola Shiptur, Dmytro Shtyblikov, Oleksandr Shumkov, Viktor Shur.


Human rights situation in Bahrain, notably the case of Nabeel Rajab
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European Parliament resolution of 14 June 2018 on the human rights situation in Bahrain, notably the case of Nabeel Rajab (2018/2755(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0260RC-B8-0281/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions of 6 February 2014 on Bahrain, in particular the cases of Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Ibrahim Sharif(1), of 9 July 2015 on Bahrain, in particular the case of Nabeel Rajab(2), of 4 February 2016 on Bahrain: the case of Mohammed Ramadan(3), of 7 July 2016 on Bahrain(4), of 16 February 2017 on executions in Kuwait and Bahrain(5), and of 3 October 2017 on addressing shrinking civil society space in developing countries(6),

–  having regard to the statements by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service of 17 June 2015 on the sentencing of Al-Wefaq Secretary-General Ali Salman in Bahrain, of 11 July 2017 on the sentencing of Mr Nabeel Rajab by a Bahraini court and of 6 June 2018 on the sentencing of the Bahraini human rights defender Mr Nabeel Rajab,

–  having regard to the statement of 22 November 2017 by the Chair of its Subcommittee on Human Rights,

–  having regard to the meeting of the EU-Bahrain informal human rights working group of 15 May 2018,

–  having regard to the statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of 11 September 2017 on the situation in Bahrain,

–  having regard to the statement of the UN Committee Against Torture of 12 May 2017,

–  having regard to the Bahraini Constitution adopted in February 2002, notably Chapter 3 thereof, to Article 364 of the Bahraini Penal Code and to the Bahraini Citizenship Act of 1963,

–  having regard to the November 2011 report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI),

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders, on human rights dialogues with third countries, on the death penalty, on torture, and on freedom of expression online and offline,

–  having regard to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Arab Charter on Human Rights, to all of which Bahrain is a party,

–  having regard to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in particular Article 15 thereof,

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

A.  whereas on 5 June 2018, Bahrain’s High Court of Appeal ruled to uphold the five-year prison sentence against leading human rights defender Nabeel Rajab for ‘disseminating false rumours in time of war’ (Article 133 of the Bahraini Criminal Code), ‘insulting a neighbouring country’ (Article 215) and ‘insulting a statutory body’ (Article 216) in relation to tweets he posted on alleged torture in Bahrain’s Jaw prison and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition air strikes in Yemen; whereas these charges are based on provisions that criminalise the right to freedom of expression, protected under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bahrain ratified in 2006; whereas Mr Rajab is now expected to pursue a final appeal before Bahrain’s Court of Cassation;

B.  whereas Mr Rajab was due to be released this month after completing a two-year prison sentence, in degrading prison conditions amounting to ill-treatment, for TV interviews he gave in 2015 and 2016 on restrictions of freedom of the press in Bahrain; whereas prior to his arbitrary arrest in June 2016, Nabeel Rajab had been prohibited from travelling and served a two-year prison sentence between 2012 and 2014 in relation to his exercise of the right to freedom of expression and assembly; whereas the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled in 2013 that he had been arbitrarily detained for his role in helping to lead and organise demonstrations in Bahrain; whereas he has been subjected to unjust trial processes;

C.  whereas in addition to this new five-year sentence, Nabeel Rajab could face further prison time for up to 14 other outstanding cases the government reportedly maintains against him, including additional charges of ‘spreading false news and statements and malicious rumours that undermine the prestige of the state’; whereas, furthermore, on 12 September 2017, the government accused him of ‘spreading false news’, ‘inciting hatred against the regime’ and ‘inciting non-compliance with the law’ over social media;

D.  whereas Mr Rajab has suffered as a result of poor prison conditions, which have severely affected his physical health; whereas his family have also reported that he is confined to his cell for 23 hours every day as a form of punishment, causing his health to seriously deteriorate over time; whereas the prison administration reportedly appeared to be interfering with Mr Rajab’s medical treatment on purpose;

E.  whereas the case of Nabeel Rajab has become a symbol for human rights defenders and respect of freedom of expression in Bahrain, and his case runs counter to the Government of Bahrain’s own commitments; whereas he is just one of a number of individuals to be subjected to arbitrary detention and prosecution for exercising freedom of expression and assembly;

F.  whereas in May 2017 the UN Committee against Torture addressed the numerous and consistent allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of persons deprived of liberty, in particular of those arrested under terrorism charges, and expressed its deep concern regarding the cases of Nabeel Rajab, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Naji Fateel, Hussain Jawad, Abdulwahab Hussain and Abduljalil al-Singace;

G.  whereas there has been a significant increase in executions and death sentencing following the breaking of a seven-year moratorium in February 2017, amid continued allegations of torture and ill-treatment; whereas Bahrain has resumed the trial of civilians before military courts, following a constitutional amendment adopted in April 2017; whereas the authorities restored arrest and investigation powers to the National Security Agency, despite its record of torture and abuse;

H.  whereas the situation in Bahrain has become critical as regards freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly; whereas the increased crackdown on human rights defenders and peaceful opposition activists includes prison sentences, exile, travel bans, revocation of citizenships or severe threats and intimidation as a result of their peaceful work;

I.  whereas the Council of Representatives and the Shura Council of Bahrain have approved an amendment to the Law on the Exercise of Political Rights that will prevent independent political participation in the 2018 elections;

J.  whereas in 2016 the largest Bahraini political opposition society, Al-Wefaq, was suspended, and had its assets frozen and website blocked within Bahrain, by the Bahraini regime; whereas the group’s headquarters were raided, leading to the group being charged with ‘chronic disregard for the Kingdom’s constitution and contest of its legitimacy’ and ‘calls for foreign interference’, as well as ‘promotion of violence and support to terrorist organisations’;

K.  whereas on 31 May 2017, a Bahraini court ordered the dissolution of Bahrain’s opposition group the National Democratic Action Society (Waad); whereas on 26 October 2017, the High Appeal Court of Bahrain upheld the appeal court ruling to dissolve Waad;

L.  whereas on 15 May 2018 Bahrain’s High Criminal Court revoked the citizenship of 115 people amid reports of torture and due process abuses in an unfair mass trial; whereas the threat of or the actual revocation of citizenship is being used as a means of political repression; whereas numerous individuals in Bahrain, mainly from the Shia segment of the population, have had their citizenship revoked, including children, in direct violation of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child;

M.  whereas a number of internal bodies have been set up, since the 2011 protests and following the conclusions of the BICI report, to monitor governmental abuses, but are not effective and independent enough; whereas the lack of independence of these bodies reportedly causes a lack of accountability within the Bahraini Government and security forces; whereas this has fostered a culture of impunity that undermines democratic reform attempts and serves to further destabilise the country;

N.  whereas the EU considers close cooperation with civil society and human rights defenders (HRDs) in third countries to be one of its main priorities in advancing human rights and tackling human rights violations;

1.  Calls for the immediate release of all those detained solely for their peaceful human rights and political activities; calls for an end to all acts of violence, harassment, intimidation, including at judicial level, and censorship of human rights defenders, political opponents, protesters, civil society actors and their relatives within and outside the country by the state authorities, security forces and services; condemns the ongoing crackdown on fundamental democratic rights, notably freedom of expression, association and assembly, political pluralism, peaceful dissent and the rule of law in Bahrain;

2.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Rajab, for any remaining charges against him to be dropped, and for the authorities to ensure that, pending his release, he is not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment and has regular access to his family, lawyers of his choice and adequate healthcare; condemns the detention of Nabeel Rajab, which violates, among other things, his right to freedom of expression and his freedom of movement;

3.  Calls on the Bahraini authorities to abide by their international obligations and commitments to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders and critics of the authorities, including in the context of the 2018 elections, in which the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are guaranteed; reminds the Bahraini Government of its responsibility to ensure the security and safety of all citizens irrespective of their political views, affiliation or confession;

4.  Deplores the poor prison conditions in the country and the use of torture by Bahraini security and prison personnel; urges the Bahraini authorities to refrain from all torture, cruel and degrading treatment of detainees, to investigate fully all allegations of violation of basic rights of prisoners and torture and to bring the perpetrators to justice;

5.  Reminds the Bahraini authorities that Article 15 of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment prohibits the use of any statement made as a result of torture as evidence in any proceedings; calls for the immediate ratification by Bahrain of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture;

6.  Strongly condemns the high number of death sentences passed in the country and calls for an official moratorium on all executions; calls for a review of all death sentences to ensure that the trials in question adhered to international standards;

7.  Calls on the authorities to amend the constitution to put an end to the use of military trials to try civilians;

8.  Condemns the mass stripping of citizenship that is being used as a means of reprisal and urges the Bahraini authorities to overturn the decision and abide by international obligations and norms;

9.  Calls on the Bahraini authorities to immediately lift the travel ban against human rights defenders and insists that the authorities guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Bahrain are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities, nationally and internationally, without hindrance, intimidation or harassment;

10.  Encourages the Government of Bahrain to aim for stability through reforms and inclusive reconciliation in an environment in which legitimate and peaceful political grievances can be expressed freely, especially in light of the upcoming elections to the Council of Representatives scheduled for October 2018; condemns, in this respect, the attacks on opposition voices and civil society in Bahrain, including the suspension of opposition society Al-Wefaq, the dissolution of the opposition group Waad and the banning of the members of these dissolved groups from participating in the forthcoming elections; considers these actions to be contrary to the principles of democratic pluralism and free and fair elections, and in contradiction of international agreements and the constitution of Bahrain; calls on all parties to engage in a genuine national dialogue in order to relaunch a peaceful and meaningful national reconciliation process;

11.  Calls on the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the Council and the Member States to systematically raise the concerns about the violation of human rights in Bahrain and to consider the introduction of targeted measures against those responsible for grave human rights violations;

12.  Urges the EU and its Member States to continue to make reference to Bahrain in the EU and Member States’ statements under item 4 in the upcoming sessions of the UN Human Rights Council;

13.  Calls on the Government of Bahrain to cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteurs (notably on torture, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and belief, independence of judges and lawyers, and human rights defenders) and to issue a standing invitation in their favour; urges the Bahraini authorities to allow international NGOs and journalists freedom of access to Bahrain, including for the purposes of making contact with detained human rights defenders;

14.  Regrets the fact that surveillance technologies are being exported by European companies to Bahrain, and emphasises the need for the EU export control authorities to take human rights criteria into account before granting an export licence to a third country; calls on all EU Member States to strictly observe the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, and in particular to halt all transfers of weapons, surveillance and intelligence equipment and material that can be used by Bahrain in its ongoing crackdown on human rights;

15.  Regrets the reiterated refusal of Bahrain to receive an official delegation of its Subcommittee on Human Rights; calls on the Bahraini authorities to allow an official delegation of Members of the European Parliament to visit the country on mission, with the aim of meeting with public authorities and civil society representatives;

16.  Regrets the fact that the EU Delegation’s Chaillot Prize for the Promotion of Human Rights in the Gulf Cooperation Council Region was awarded in 2014 to the Bahrain National Institution for Human Rights, which has repeatedly justified the human rights violations undertaken by the Bahraini Government, including the imprisonment of Nabeel Rajab;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council; calls for this resolution to be translated into Arabic.

(1) OJ C 93, 24.3.2017, p. 154.
(2) OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 151.
(3) OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 42.
(4) OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 130.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0044.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0365.


Situation of Rohingya refugees, in particular the plight of children
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European Parliament resolution of 14 June 2018 on the situation of Rohingya refugees, in particular the plight of children (2018/2756(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0261RC-B8-0292/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Myanmar and on the situation of the Rohingya,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Bangladesh,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 20 June 2016 on EU strategy with Myanmar/Burma,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 26 February 2018 on Myanmar/Burma,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child, adopted by the Council on 6 March 2017,

–  having regard to the statement of 30 March 2016 by Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on the entry into office of the new Government of the Union of Myanmar,

–  having regard to the joint press release on the fourth EU-Myanmar Human Rights Dialogue of 5 March 2018,

–  having regard to the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and to the 1967 Protocol thereto,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–  having regard to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness,

–  having regard to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Global 2014-24 Action Plan to End Statelessness of November 2014,

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

–  having regard to the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State of August 2017,

–  having regard to the Charter of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN),

–  having regard to the UN Security Council Report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence released on 23 March 2018,

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

A.  whereas 720 000 Rohingya children in Bangladesh and Myanmar are in dire need of humanitarian assistance and protection;

B.  whereas Rakhine State in Myanmar has been home to close to 1,3 million Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim minority group facing repression and continued serious human rights violations, including threats to life and security, denial of the rights to health and education, forced labour, sexual violence and limitation of their political rights; whereas Rohingya Muslims are considered to be the world’s most persecuted minority and the largest stateless group;

C.  whereas since August 2017 more than 900 000 Rohingya, 534 000 of them children, have fled the violence against them and have sought refuge in Bangladesh while fearing for their lives; whereas it is estimated that around 1 000 Rohingya children under the age of five were killed in the violence in Myanmar; whereas, according to ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), 28 300 Rohingya children have lost at least one parent, while an additional 7 700 have reported having lost both parents, putting the number of lost parents as high as 43 700;

D.  whereas more than 14 000 children under the age of five are suffering from severe acute malnutrition; whereas Rohingya children have experienced or witnessed traumatic events, including in many cases the loss of one or both parents, separation from their families, physical abuse, psychological distress, malnutrition, illness, sexual exploitation and witnessing crimes against humanity in Rakhine State, including the systematic burning of homes, physical attacks and rape perpetrated against Rohingya;

E.  whereas the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, has described the Myanmar government operations as a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’ and a ‘cynical ploy to forcibly transfer large numbers of people without possibility of return’;

F.  whereas crises often impact women and girls more severely and in different ways than men and boys by reinforcing, perpetuating and exacerbating pre-existing persistent gender inequalities, gender-based violence and discrimination;

G.  whereas the Myanmar military are using rape as a tool in their campaign of ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State; whereas sexual violence is used to divide entire communities and deter women and girls from returning to their homes; whereas in the camps rape victims may have to face social exclusion by their communities; whereas the UN Human Rights Council has requested information on the responsibility of the Myanmar military concerning widespread rape of Rohingya women and girls;

H.  whereas many refugees are women who are pregnant or have small children and have travelled miles on foot, arriving at the displacement camps in a condition of sickness arising from mental and physical stress, starvation and injury;

I.  whereas nine months after the beginning of the assaults on the Rohingya by Myanmar soldiers and militiamen, aid agencies predict that as many as 48 000 babies are expected to be born in the refugee camps;

J.  whereas there is very limited access to healthcare for women and children in the refugee camps in Bangladesh; whereas pregnant women and mothers should receive the critical maternal healthcare services they need, including prenatal care, safe delivery, newborn care, breastfeeding support, and ongoing reproductive healthcare;

K.  whereas Rohingya children and women are highly exposed to the risk of being trafficked into prostitution, as well as to the risk of sexual harassment and violence in the refugee camps in Bangladesh; whereas lost Rohingya children in the refugee camps are the most vulnerable and are likely to become victims of human trafficking;

L.  whereas the Rohingya children do not have sufficient access to formal education; whereas only very young Rohingya children are receiving basic education through informal classrooms in the refugee camps, with older children having little or no access to formal schooling;

M.  whereas the monsoon season has begun in Bangladesh and the situation is expected to deteriorate significantly; whereas at least 200 000 people in the refugee camps are at immediate risk of flooding and landslides; whereas there are grave threats to lives, shelter, and food and water supplies; whereas there is a high risk of the spread of diseases including cholera and hepatitis during monsoon flooding; whereas very few Rohingya refugees have had access to medical assistance or vaccinations prior to arriving in Bangladesh;

N.  whereas Myanmar has so far refused to allow a fact-finding mission of the UN Human Rights Council to enter the country, and has barred the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, rejecting nearly all allegations of atrocities committed by its security forces in Rakhine;

O.  whereas the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) affirms that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, in particular genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, must not go unpunished; whereas in April 2018 the ICC prosecutor asked the court to rule on whether the ICC can exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportations of Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh; whereas a ruling affirming the ICC’s jurisdiction could pave the way for it to investigate Myanmar for crimes against humanity or deportation;

P.  whereas in March 2017 China and Russia blocked the adoption of a resolution by the UN Security Council on the situation of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar;

Q.  whereas the absence of any realistic prospect of safe and voluntary return and the lack of political progress in resolving the crisis in Myanmar suggest that this situation will not be resolved in the short term and therefore requires a sustainable approach, especially addressing children’s rights and needs;

R.  whereas a tripartite memorandum of understanding was signed between Myanmar, the UNHCR and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on 6 June 2018; whereas the UNHCR stated that that conditions are not yet conducive to voluntary return;

S.  whereas in May 2018 the Commission released EUR 40 million in humanitarian aid to provide life-saving support to vulnerable Rohingya civilians and host communities in Bangladesh and across Rakhine State; whereas this comes on top of the EUR 51 million mobilised in 2017;

T.  whereas in March 2018 the UN launched an appeal for USD 951 million to aid the Rohingya refugees for the rest of 2018, but only around 20 % of that target sum has been received to date;

1.  Strongly condemns the attacks in Myanmar against the Rohingya, which according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights amount to ethnic cleansing; is deeply concerned at the increasing gravity and scale of human rights violations, including killings, violent clashes, destruction of civilian property and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians; urges the Myanmar military and security forces to immediately cease the killings, harassment and rape directed against the Rohingya people and the burning of their homes;

2.  Urges the Government of Myanmar to allow full unhindered access to Rakhine State for international observers and human rights and humanitarian relief organisations, including the UN and international NGOs, notably the UN Fact-Finding Mission established by the UNHCR in March 2017, in order to ensure independent and impartial investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by all parties;

3.  Recalls the need for medical and psychological assistance to be provided in the refugee camps, particularly tailored for vulnerable groups including women and children; calls for greater support services for victims of rape and sexual assault; insists that all women and girls should have access to information and services on sexual and reproductive health, including contraception and safe abortion;

4.  Welcomes the antenatal and post-natal support being provided by agencies and organisations; recalls the importance of establishing registration facilities and certificates for newborn babies, in order to ensure they have documentation, guarantee legal rights and access to basic services, and support family tracing, in line with the commitments made by the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that all births occurring within its territory are registered; recalls that maintaining the family unit is crucial if these children are to access their rights;

5.  Notes with great concern the lack of sufficient educational provision for the Rohingya children in the refugee camps; calls on the authorities of Bangladesh to guarantee the Rohingya children full and sufficient access to quality education in their own language; points out the risk of a lost generation for the entire community if the necessary measures to ensure proper education of children are not taken; underlines the importance of allowing full access to education as it can be provided in school facilities by UN agencies and NGOs, so that all children can develop their potential;

6.  Is extremely concerned at the high incidence in the camps of forced prostitution, human trafficking and sexual violence, including child marriage, partner violence and sexual exploitation and abuse; urges the authorities of Bangladesh and Myanmar to ensure, in cooperation with the UNHCR, the security of the Rohingya refugees on their territory, notably by stepping up the fight against trafficking and child prostitution and breaking the existing network;

7.  Commends the efforts undertaken by the government and people of Bangladesh to provide refuge and security to Rohingya refugees, and encourages them to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the refugees coming from Myanmar; calls for further international support to those communities hosting the refugees, including by addressing domestic social, educational, economic and healthcare challenges; insists on the importance of listening to and involving women in the design of humanitarian and resilience-building measures by all stakeholders;

8.  Insists that the Government of Myanmar must guarantee the safe, voluntary and dignified return, on a basis of full UN oversight, to those who want to returnto their land; urges the governments of both Myanmar and Bangladesh to fully respect the principle of non-refoulement;

9.  Welcomes the memorandum of understanding agreed between Myanmar, the UNHCR and the UNDP on 6 June 2018 as a first concrete step towards the full involvement of the UN agencies in the repatriation process; stresses, however, the importance of making the agreement publicly available as soon as possible;

10.  Stresses the importance of ensuring that humanitarian actors can provide emergency services, including for sexually transmitted diseases and sexual violence; urges all donors to increase funding so as to make available the full range of maternal healthcare services;

11.  Welcomes the UN campaign to end statelessness by 2024; recalls that the Rohingya are an integral part of the population of Myanmar and must therefore be recognised as such in law, as recommended by the Advisory Commission;

12.  Recalls that the financial responsibility for assisting the refugee population cannot fall disproportionately on Bangladesh; calls on the international community and international donors to urgently step up their engagement and make the necessary funding available in order to continue providing the necessary humanitarian aid and assistance and to effectively support Rohingya women and children, with particular regard to pregnant women, children and victims of rape, as well as to support the local and hosting communities in Bangladesh;

13.  Welcomes the Council’s adoption on 26 April 2018 of a framework for targeted measures against officials responsible for serious human rights violations and strengthening the EU’s arms embargo; urges that the EU and its Member States enforce all measures without further delay; further calls on the UN Security Council to impose a global comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar, suspending all direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer, including transit and transhipment, of all weapons, munitions and other military and security equipment, as well as the provision of training or other military and security assistance;

14.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to consider consequences in the context of the trade preferences Myanmar enjoys, including considering launching an investigation under the mechanisms provided for in the Everything But Arms provision;

15.  Calls on the EEAS and the Member States to seek accountability in multilateral fora for those responsible for committing crimes in Myanmar; takes note of the ICC Chief Prosecutor’s request to the court’s judges to confirm the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of deportation of Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh; urges that the EU and the EU Member States take the lead in the UN Security Council and table a dedicated resolution referring the entire situation in Myanmar/Rakhine State to the ICC; urges that the EU Member States take the lead in the UN General Assembly and the UΝ Human Rights Council and ensure the urgent establishment of an international, impartial, and independent mechanism to support investigations into alleged atrocity crimes;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Myanmar, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the Government and Parliament of Bangladesh, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Human Rights Council.


Structural and financial barriers in the access to culture
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European Parliament resolution of 14 June 2018 on structural and financial barriers in the access to culture (2017/2255(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0262A8-0169/2018

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–   having regard to Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

–   having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Articles 22 and 25 thereof,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2011 on unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2013 on promoting the European cultural and creative sectors as sources of economic growth and jobs(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2016 on a coherent EU policy for cultural and creative industries(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 April 2008 on cultural industries in Europe(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2007 on the social status of artists(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2011 on the cultural dimensions of the EU’s external actions(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 February 2004 on the role of schools and school education in maximising access to culture(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2016 entitled ‘Towards a Digital Single Market Act’(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 September 2015 entitled ‘Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe’(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2016 on the role of intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and education in promoting EU fundamental values(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 April 2008 on a European agenda for culture in a globalising world(11),

–  having regard to its position of 1 June 2017 on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC, as regards rates of value added tax applied to books, newspapers and periodicals(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 5 May 2010 on the communication ‘Europeana – the next steps’(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2011 on mobility and inclusion of people with disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020(14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 30 November 2017 on implementation of the European Disability Strategy(15),

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 March 2017 on the implementation of Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Creative Europe Programme (2014 to 2020) and repealing Decisions No 1718/2006/EC, No 1855/2006/EC and No 1041/2009/EC(16),

–   having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and in particular Article 30 thereof on participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport,

–   having regard to Goal 11 of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, signed in September 2015, which proposes making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,

–  having regard to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on 20 October 2005,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro Convention) of 27 October 2005,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Creative Europe Programme (2014 to 2020) and repealing Decisions No 1718/2006/EC, No 1855/2006/EC and No 1041/2009/EC(17),

–  having regard to the Council Resolution of 16 November 2007 on a European Agenda for Culture(18),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 23 December 2014 on a Work Plan for Culture (2015-2018)(19),

–  having regard to the EU Work Plan for Culture for the period 2015-2018,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 18 and 19 May 2015 on cultural and creative crossovers to stimulate innovation, economic sustainability and social inclusion(20),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 31 May 2016 on the role of Europeana for the digital access, visibility and use of European cultural heritage(21),

–  having regard to the Council Resolution of 6 May 2003 on accessibility of cultural infrastructure and cultural activities for people with disabilities(22),

–  having regard to the joint communication by the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 8 June 2016 to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations’ (JOIN(2016)0029),

–  having regard to the Commission report on the implementation of the European Agenda for Culture (COM(2010)0390),

–  having regard to the Commission Green Paper of 27 April 2010 entitled ‘Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries’ (COM(2010)0183),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European Year of Cultural Heritage (2018) (COM(2016)0543),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 26 September 2012 entitled ‘Promoting cultural and creative sectors for growth and jobs in the EU’ (COM(2012)0537),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 18 December 2012 on content in the Digital Single Market (COM(2012)0789),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 July 2014 entitled ‘Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe’ (COM(2014)0477),

–  having regard to the 2012 report by the working group of the EU Member States’ experts on access to culture,

–  having regard to the results of Eurobarometer surveys Nos 399, ‘Cultural access and participation’, and 466, ‘Cultural heritage’,

–  having regard to the results of the Eurostat statistical surveys (‘Culture statistics’) for 2016,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0169/2018),

A.  whereas Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits’, and whereas access to culture and opportunities for creative expression are important for the existence of a democratic society founded on freedom of expression and equality;

B.  whereas the Faro Convention recognises the right to cultural heritage and calls for the development of innovative ways to manage heritage so that public authorities can cooperate with other actors, including associations and private individuals;

C.  whereas Article 22 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union calls for respect for cultural diversity and Article 25 recognises the right of the elderly to participate in cultural life;

D.  whereas culture has a strong impact on the promotion, understanding and development of solidarity between European and trans-European communities;

E.  whereas the constitutions of most EU Member States directly or indirectly refer to culture and access to it;

F.  whereas the EU can complement and encourage cultural policies, while under Article 167 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) authorities at national, regional and local level remain the main bodies in charge of cultural policies in the EU, in accordance with the subsidiarity principle;

G.  whereas any kind of barrier that obstructs access and full participation for individuals or communities in cultural processes and cultural ecosystems inhibits the development of truly democratic and inclusive societies;

H.  whereas culture gives European citizens greater opportunities to develop personal, social, creative and intercultural skills;

I.  whereas, according to UN estimates, half the world’s population, namely 3,5 billion people, currently live in cities; whereas by 2030 nearly 60 % of the world’s population will live in urban areas; whereas it is therefore necessary to lay down strategies with effective policies to resolve the issues still present and to ensure enough time to make changes in order to create truly inclusive urban spaces;

J.  whereas Recommendation 2006/962/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning(23) includes cultural awareness and expression among the basic competences necessary for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment;

K.  whereas the Commission communication of 10 May 2007 entitled ‘A European Agenda for Culture in a Globalising World’ (COM(2007)0242) stressed the need to facilitate access to culture and cultural works, as well as to promote cultural diversity;

L.  whereas the future of cultural innovation in the EU depends on investment in creative resources, knowledge and talent;

M.  whereas the Work Plan for Culture (2015-2018) adopted by the Council in December 2014 identifies as priorities accessible and inclusive culture and the promotion of cultural diversity;

N.  whereas one of the objectives of the EU and its Member States should be the reduction of social and economic inequalities in order to promote an inclusive society in which everyone can participate; whereas a strong, dynamic and diversified cultural sector is fundamental to an inclusive society;

O.  whereas participation in cultural activities is a means of creating a sense of belonging to a society; whereas the construction of a social identity is closely linked to cultural participation; whereas participation in cultural activities could contribute to higher self-esteem and a better quality of life, particularly for individuals who are experiencing some kind of marginalisation as a result of unemployment or illness or for any other reason;

P.  whereas an inclusive cultural sector is one which allows everyone the same opportunities to participate and develop their creative skills, regardless of their socio-economic, cultural or religious background or of any disability;

Q.  whereas in many regions, public libraries and community cultural institutions are frequently visited by citizens and are often the sole access points for information and culture, particularly in rural or remote regions;

R.  whereas new digital technologies could have an influence on the management of the cultural sector, dialogue and the creation of new audiences, and the dissemination of cultural activities;

S.  whereas new digital technologies and online platforms offer crucial opportunities for increasing levels of participation and cultural creation;

T.  whereas people from third countries are under-represented in different cultural areas in the EU; whereas this also affects people with a disability;

U.  whereas the report of the working group of the EU Member States’ experts on access to culture(24) defines access in terms of enabling new audiences to benefit from the available cultural offer; whereas this implies reaching new audiences or citizens and bringing them closer to cultural heritage and other cultural resources;

V.  whereas digital technologies have changed the ways in which people access, produce, disseminate and use cultural content;

W.  whereas the Europeana platform, which was launched in 2008, has become a common European cultural project that facilitates digital access to Europe’s cultural heritage;

X.  whereas one of the specific objectives of the Creative Europe programme is to reach new audiences and improve access to cultural and creative works in the Union and beyond, with particular focus on children, young people, people with disabilities and under-represented groups;

Y.  whereas initiatives exist at Community level and in the Member States aimed at providing better access to cultural infrastructure and cultural activities for people with disabilities;

Z.  whereas the diversity of tax procedures and systems within the EU creates difficulties for the mobility of artists and of cultural workers in general, by generating excessive red tape which is often disproportionate to the actual, modest revenue resulting from their activities;

AA.  whereas the development of reliable, comparable and up-to-date cultural statistics, which are the basis of sound cultural policymaking, is one of the cross-cutting priorities of the Work Plan for Culture 2015-2018, which underlines the economic potential of the cultural and creative industries and their impact on social wellbeing;

AB.  whereas access to qualitative research and comparative data resources enables the effective monitoring and analysis of the cultural, economic and social impact of cultural policies;

AC.  whereas culture helps to promote a society based on knowledge and the sharing of experiences and world history;

AD.  whereas around 8,4 million people are employed in the EU’s cultural sector (accounting for 3,7 % of the total workforce)(25), and whereas their potential in terms of economic growth is still only incompletely realised;

AE.  whereas those who endeavour through cultural production to contribute to the expression of their identity and to widen and sustainably develop access to culture face difficulties and challenges;

Cultural access and participation

1.  Stresses that it recognises access to culture as a fundamental right of all citizens, in accordance with Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognises participation in cultural life as one of the fundamental human rights; points out, furthermore, that this right is enshrined in the Faro Convention, which recognises the right to participate in cultural life, and promotes the role of cultural heritage in building peaceful and democratic societies; calls, therefore, on the signatory Member States to speed up the process of ratification, and on other states which are not signatories to sign the Convention, taking up the unique opportunity provided by the European Year of Cultural Heritage;

2.  Points to the importance of a holistic application of the concept of accessibility and its value as a tool for ensuring that every person who is a user of culture and cultural locations and initiatives is taken into consideration in the broadest and fullest sense and that, as a result, account is taken of the specific needs of people with disabilities, with a view to ensuring that they enjoy equal opportunities, true social inclusion and active participation in society;

3.  Stresses the undeniable importance of an active and accessible cultural sector for the development of an inclusive society and the strengthening of a common core of universal values and active European citizenship, which are fundamental to enable citizens to fruitfully and meaningfully participate in public life, while at the same time promoting Europe’s cultural heritage and developing European cultural and linguistic diversity; calls, therefore, on the Member States, and on the Union within its sphere of competence, to develop and implement the necessary specific measures in order to guarantee access to and participation in cultural life;

4.  Encourages inclusion and diversity as an integral part of planning, organisational development and recruitment in the cultural sector at European, national and regional level; also encourages Member States to carry out systematic monitoring of the measures that are directed towards this objective;

5.  Recalls the importance of the EU’s role in promoting and facilitating better coordination of cultural policies at all levels; notes that only on this basis will it be possible for operators across the EU to develop a comprehensive and effective policy to promote access to and participation in culture, and to frame culture as an essential element of the European integration project;

6.  Considers access to culture and cultural participation as a cross-cutting issue, and therefore stresses the importance of coordinating cultural policy with other policy areas such as education, social, economic, regional, foreign, digital and media policies;

7.  Recommends that Member States develop a cultural action strategy aimed at children and young people;

8.  Recognises the promotion and achievement of inclusive and meaningful access to culture as one of the priorities on the political agenda, and calls for the mainstreaming of accessibility and cultural participation aspects into other policy areas, as this will not only make a positive contribution to those areas, but will also have an impact on cross-sectoral and synergistic cooperation in the spirit of Article 167 TFEU;

9.  States that the compendium of national cultural policies as designed and managed by the Council of Europe and a platform of experts has been a very useful tool for cultural policies in Europe and beyond; regrets, however, that since 2011 there has been little progress on data collecting and, especially, data analysis, and therefore recommends that the Council proceeds with a review of present content, including also the local and regional levels of cultural policies;

10.  Highlights that the concepts of access to culture and participation in culture are closely connected; notes that strategies for strengthening cultural access and participation should be implemented through the identification of under-represented groups and the designing and implementing of initiatives or programmes aimed at increasing their participation and removing existing barriers;

11.  Stresses the need to gather information on the participation of disabled people in cultural activities;

12.  Regrets that financial barriers still prevent citizens, especially those belonging to the most disadvantaged groups, from fully enjoying their fundamental right to participate in cultural life and access to culture, and that this hinders the effective realisation of that fundamental right;

13.  Recalls the importance of developing platforms for the sharing and exchange of experiences at regional, national and European level;

14.  Stresses the importance of guaranteeing a quality cultural offer to all citizens as a basis for promoting active, democratic and inclusive citizenship;

Financial barriers

15.  Stresses that steady and continuous public funding plays a fundamental role in ensuring a vibrant cultural scene and remains an indispensable instrument for supporting cultural activities in the EU so that they can achieve their economic potential, for contributing to sustainable growth and social cohesion, and for financing cultural infrastructure; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States, within their respective spheres of competence, to devote an appropriate part of their budgets to public support for culture and to strengthen synergies with the ERDF and other cultural support funds, including programmes facilitating research and innovation and the available cohesion policy tools;

16.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that public funding of culture is not reduced, regardless of possible future economic difficulties that a Member State might be facing;

17.  Regrets that economic downturns have usually resulted and still too often result first and foremost in cuts in public spending on culture and have a negative impact on budgets for cultural activities;

18.  Recalls that investment in the cultural and creative sectors is a means of unlocking the significant and still undervalued potential of those sectors to foster cultural diversity and social innovation, while at the same time generating sustainable economic prosperity and quality jobs, and that such investment also has a direct impact on the development of new skills, digitisation, entrepreneurship, innovation and the formulation of new business models, as well as strengthening the competitiveness of the European cultural and creative sectors, seizing possibilities and gaining access to new international opportunities, markets, and audiences; considers, therefore, that the private sector plays a key role that is complementary to public investment, and calls on the Member States to consider implementing legislative measures that provide for a tax credit for contributions of money by private entities to support culture;

19.  Points out that fragmentation, low added value and the activities of numerous self-employed men and women in the creative sector, recalling that these activities are generally regarded as interesting pursuits, must not result in the cultural/creative industry being a model for poorly paid work or work with poor social cover; proposes, therefore, developing robust review processes for good work in the creative sector;

20.  Stresses that public access to cultural goods and services and support for cultural production and expression strengthen the creative economy, contributing to a country’s development;

21.  Points out that the lack of funding of cultural industries would be reduced by means of tax incentives for private sponsorship;

22.  Draws attention to the problems over international income taxation that artists all over Europe have to face, and therefore recommends a standard model that will be of benefit to employees and self-employed individuals and which will prevent double taxation;

23.  Calls for investment in micro-businesses in order to encourage creativity and innovation, thus promoting regional and local development;

24.  Stresses that the high price of cultural goods and services is one of the barriers to participation in culture highlighted by respondents to the Eurobarometer and Eurostat surveys(26); strongly recommends that in this context Member States and regions undertake actions targeting specific audiences, particularly students, large families and the elderly, with the aim of removing financial barriers to access;

25.  Stresses that high insurance costs for exhibition objects and performances are also responsible for high entrance or ticket prices for museums, theatres and galleries and often make it impossible for smaller structures to develop their programmes in accordance with their audiences and ambitions, a situation resulting in an ever-growing gap between smaller structures that are close to their audience, and bigger, internationally recognised institutions;

26.  Stresses the role that appropriate fiscal policies for the cultural and creative sectors can play in enhancing access to culture and participation in culture; notes, however, that indirect support for cultural heritage through the introduction of reduced VAT rates cannot replace direct subsidies; calls for better coordination of national cultural policies and VAT rates, as a tool to stimulate cultural participation;

27.  Recalls the importance of Member States looking into the possibility of a more coherent taxation policy as regards revenues, for cultural workers and artists who spend short periods of time in different countries and can thus be subject to different rules and administrative procedures for every single performance, workshop or residence; suggests that a minimum of harmonisation to support artists’ and cultural workers’ mobility should be considered a priority in order to encourage diversity of creation and culture throughout the EU and beyond, instead of creating barriers in the form of red tape that is out of proportion to the actual revenues obtained from cultural work;

28.  Encourages the Member States and public institutions to invest in the decentralisation of the exhibition of cultural activities, whether through building infrastructure in remote regions or through different temporary cultural exhibitions; encourages private cultural institutions to also invest in geographic decentralisation;

29.  Welcomes the proposal to amend the VAT Directive which would allow Member States to apply the same VAT rate to e-publications and printed publications; considers that the distinction between VAT rates applied to physical and electronic publications is anachronistic and unsustainable in the digital age; calls on the Council to adopt the Commission’s proposal on this matter without undue delay;

30.  Stresses the importance of conciliation between private and professional life to accessing, enjoying and participating in different cultural activities;

Educational barriers and challenges

31.  Stresses that educational level is one of the most important factors having a significant impact on the level of participation in culture; stresses that a higher level of education translates into a higher level of participation in cultural events(27); stresses that the humanities, language learning in schools and cultural education are an integral part of general education, as they help reduce social disparities, and thus require the same funding as STEM subjects;

32.  Stresses that knowledge is conceived as a product of cultural interactions that influence and reflect individuals who incorporate cultural imprinting;

33.  Encourages an interactive and inclusive community-based approach to developing cultural and educational policies in order to increase cultural interest and participation, promote Europe’s cultural heritage and develop European cultural and linguistic diversity;

34.  Notes that lack of interest is one of the most frequently mentioned barriers to cultural participation among respondents to Eurostat and Eurobarometer surveys(28); stresses, in this context, that supporting demand, understood as building interest and understanding of culture through formal, non-formal and informal education, should be a priority task in terms of increasing access to and participation in culture;

35.  Recommends the mainstreaming of the European Student Card and that free access to EU cultural institutions should be added to its benefits;

36.  Recalls the fundamental role of schools and families as key platforms for bringing young people into contact with culture and shaping cultural needs and competences; calls on the Member States to take steps towards the greater integration of cultural and artistic education into school curricula, in both formal and informal education;

37.  Stresses the importance of Member States, in close collaboration with regional and local authorities and by means of funding and/or subsidies, ensuring music lessons in state schools;

38.  Recommends that the Member States consider education as one of the most important cultural activities, since promoting demand means, above all, providing people with the skills and knowledge to allow them to appreciate the arts; recalls that cultivating interest in culture is more effective if done at a young age, and considers that culture should accordingly be given more space on school curricula and that more human resources and materials should be made available in order to reach this objective; calls for schools to be given funding for visits to museums and other cultural institutions, since this will simultaneously promote interest in culture and youth participation and provide additional resources for cultural institutions;

39.  Stresses the importance of state education systems in introducing children to the diversity of the world of culture, thus helping to train new audiences and to disseminate culture; also stresses the importance of different cultural institutions developing partnerships with local schools at local, regional and national level;

40.  Encourages the Member States and regional and local authorities to support out-of-school cultural education programmes intended for everyone, and particularly for underprivileged children and young people, through programmes aimed at introducing them to different artistic expressions or at helping them become more aware of the existing cultural heritage;

41.  Stresses the role of local cultural institutions, including cultural centres and libraries, as key actors in overcoming barriers to accessing and participating in culture; calls, therefore, on the Member States to actively support such cultural institutions;

42.  Calls for a greater appreciation and understanding of the social role of public libraries and cultural community institutions, particularly in rural or remote regions, not only through increasing public funding, but also through forming partnerships and providing them with the adequate ICT and human resources with access to training, thus turning them into institutions that can improve people’s lives and encourage local development;

43.  Highlights that establishing partnerships is fundamental in attracting potential audiences for artistic activities and that this could be achieved, for instance, through cooperation with organisations representing students, migrants or disabled people so as to appropriately respond to their interests and needs;

44.  Stresses the importance of supporting initiatives at national, regional and local level that promote contact, collaboration and the exchange of experiences between traditional arts, cultural institutions and different multicultural or minority organisations, as well as between professional and amateur cultural sectors;

45.  Recommends the development of a coherent strategy for supporting educational projects proposed by cultural institutions; stresses that these projects are tools supporting and building awareness, cultural competences and intercultural knowledge, thus serving as a starting-point for the long-term involvement of the public in cultural activities;

46.  Encourages the Member States to set up leisure-time programmes for young people in cultural institutions;

47.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt measures to ensure more widespread access to cultural institutions and to develop a comprehensive European strategy concerning access to public spaces, particularly relating to culture in the urban built environment, as in the cases of museums, theatres, cinemas, libraries, concert halls, etc.;

48.  Calls on the Member States to encourage the creation of study or internship grants for students related to state or private educational networks, in cultural or cultural management institutions;

Structural barriers

49.  Draws attention to the often lower cultural participation rates among the rural population, which are structurally conditioned(29), and, in this context, to the role of small local cultural centres, transport infrastructure and support for sustainable cultural tourism in facilitating access to cultural institutions;

50.  Stresses that the European cultural heritage is unique in the world for its diversity and richness, and highlights that cultural tourism has a huge potential for contributing to a sustainable economy as well as fostering social cohesion and inclusion; calls, therefore, on the Member States to increase their efforts and investments in order to develop a sustainable and long-term cultural tourism policy;

51.  Calls for greater investment in the cultural sector in order to boost local economies and promote cultural tourism; notes that cultural tourism, in synergy with science, the primary sector and artisanal and industrial centres, as well as mobility, are decisive factors in creating a closer and more humanistic Europe;

52.  Suggests greater investment in access to culture for the outermost, mountain and remote regions, in order to create decentralised cultural opportunities;

53.  Notes the need for further action to improve access to a cultural infrastructure with no technological or physical barriers and to cultural activities and media for people with disabilities; calls on the Member States and the Commission, within their respective spheres of competence, to continue to work towards the integration of people with disabilities through culture and to make efforts to remove existing barriers;

54.  Recognises the need for participative methods of managing cultural heritage based on an approach that focuses on local communities, in order to intercept demand and involve larger sections of the public, taking particular account of young people, people with disabilities and under-represented and marginalised groups;

55.  Asks the Member States and the cultural institutions that depend on them to ensure a cultural offer that is accessible to everyone, with specific measures for certain population groups, such as children and young people, the elderly, disabled people or migrants, among others;

56.  Highlights the need for greater investment by the Member States in the implementation of the universal touch reading and writing code (the Braille system) in a wide variety of cultural infrastructures and technologies; calls for greater investment in the production of audio books, magazines and newspapers, and the use of sign language in theatre productions;

57.  Points out the need to remove obstacles to the mobility of artists and cultural professionals, primarily tax obstacles; stresses the impact of these activities on expanding Europe’s cultural offer; commends the Creative Europe programme for contributing to the success of cultural mobility and professionals in the sector and for encouraging the dissemination of quality cultural events and projects;

58.  Recalls that barriers to access to culture are more apparent at local level, which is why there should be greater investment in different cultural mobility projects with a view to enabling the development and cohesion of local communities;

59.  Calls on the Commission to consider the mobility of European artists and artists from third countries as an asset for the promotion of peace, the sharing of visions and the deconstruction of social and cultural stereotypes;

60.  Recalls that language barriers can have an adverse effect on cultural demand, and calls, therefore, for greater multilingualism in cultural productions;

61.  Recommends that the Member States undertake the necessary measures to facilitate transport and access to cultural institutions for disabled people and people with reduced mobility;

Digital barriers and challenges

62.  Is convinced that digital tools, when properly used and implemented and where accompanied by a consistent level of digital literacy, can help to overcome barriers to access to culture caused by factors including unfavourable geographical location, disability, social background, language and lack of time or financial resources; points out that, without this entailing disinvestment in the geographic decentralisation of cultural activities, digital tools can also be a means of overcoming social or mental barriers; considers, therefore, that in this context digital education should form part of the learning process from an early age, so as to develop adequate knowledge and skills;

63.  Recommends that the Commission draw up a consistent digital strategy aimed at cultural infrastructures and activities in order to strengthen their capacities;

64.  Notes the problem of digital exclusion and stresses the need to combat it; recalls, in this context, that digitisation requires cultural and educational institutions and the recipients themselves to acquire new competences, skills and knowledge; stresses, in particular, the need to build capacity for the use of new digital technologies in cultural institutions and to adapt them to the challenges of technological change;

65.  Stresses that the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material in Europe should be implemented on a basis of full respect for creators and intellectual property rights; considers that, in this regard, intellectual property rights should not hamper the general public goal of increasing access to, and favouring the dissemination of, creative content, information and knowledge; insists further on the urgent need to settle a secure digital environment enabling artists and creators to be duly remunerated for their work, and to ensure a fair remuneration for cross-border access;

66.  Calls on the Commission to continue giving priority to innovative approaches to audience development and audience involvement, including through new technologies, within the framework of EU programmes, in particular the Creative Europe programme and its subsequent iterations;

67.  Calls on the Member States to take audience development into account in their cultural and digital strategies, and to support the use of digital technologies in order to facilitate access to cultural content;

68.  Recognises the contribution made by the Europeana platform and the Member States’ institutions to the digitisation and accessibility of cultural content; calls, in the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, for ongoing support and better resources for the project and the promotion of public access to digital cultural heritage resources and services; demands a real restructuring of the site to better comply with advanced technologies, as well as a genuine communication policy that is in line with the richness of the content gathered on the site;

69.  Emphasises the need to collect and manage cultural data in the context of digital recipients, so as to enable cultural organisations to better understand the needs of recipients and to develop a coherent approach to the digital audience;

70.  Notes that cultural content plays a leading role as regards the acceptance by the wider public of the new technologies concerned and the development of the e-skills and media literacy levels of Europe’s citizens;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 377 E, 7.12.2012, p. 142.
(2) OJ C 93, 9.3.2016, p. 95.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0486.
(4) OJ C 247 E, 15.10.2009, p. 25.
(5) OJ C 125 E, 22.5.2008, p. 223.
(6) OJ C 377 E, 7.12.2012, p. 135.
(7) OJ C 98 E, 23.4.2004, p. 179.
(8) OJ C 11, 12.1.2018, p. 55.
(9) OJ C 316, 22.9.2017, p. 88.
(10) OJ C 11, 12.1.2018, p. 16.
(11) OJ C 247 E, 15.10.2009, p. 32.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0233.
(13) OJ C 81 E, 15.3.2011, p. 16.
(14) OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 9.
(15) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0474.
(16) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0062.
(17) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 221.
(18) OJ C 287, 29.11.2007, p. 1.
(19) OJ C 463, 23.12.2014, p. 4.
(20) OJ C 172, 27.5.2015, p. 13.
(21) OJ C 212, 14.6.2016, p. 9.
(22) OJ C 134, 7.6.2003, p. 7.
(23) OJ L 394, 30.12.2006, p. 10.
(24) Report entitled ‘Policies and good practices in the public arts and cultural institutions to promote better access to and wider participation in culture’, October 2012.
(25) Eurostat, Culture statistics – cultural employment (2017), http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Culture_statistics_-_cultural_employment
(26) Eurobarometer 399.
(27) Eurostat, Culture statistics, 2016 edition, pp. 116-136; Eurostat data from 2015 – EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC).
(28) Eurobarometer 399, Eurostat (data from 2015 EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC)).
(29) Eurostat (data from 2015 EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC)).


Proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions ***I
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Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 June 2018 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on a proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions (COM(2016)0822 – C8-0012/2017 – 2016/0404(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0263A8-0395/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0822),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Articles 46, 53(1) and 62 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0012/2017),

–  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 Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the German Bundestag, the German Bundesrat, the French National Assembly, the French Senate and the Austrian Federal Council, asserting that the draft legislative act does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 31 May 2017(1),

–  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 April 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 Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0395/2017),

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 14 June 2018 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2018/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on a proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions

P8_TC1-COD(2016)0404


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive (EU) 2018/958).

(1) OJ C 288, 31.8.2017, p. 43.


Use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road ***I
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Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 14 June 2018 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2006/1/EC on the use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road (COM(2017)0282 – C8-0172/2017 – 2017/0113(COD))(1)
P8_TA(2018)0264A8-0193/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a directive
Recital 2
(2)  The use of hired vehicles can reduce the costs of undertakings carrying goods on their own account or for hire and reward and at the same time increase their operational flexibility. It can therefore contribute to an increase in the productivity and competitiveness of the undertakings concerned. Moreover, as hired vehicles tend to be younger than the average fleet, they are also safer and less polluting.
(2)  Such use of hired vehicles can reduce the costs of undertakings carrying goods on their own account or for hire and reward whilst increasing their operational flexibility. That use of hired vehicles can therefore contribute to an increase in the productivity and competitiveness of the undertakings concerned. Moreover, since hired vehicles tend to be younger than the average fleet, they may often be safer and less polluting.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a directive
Recital 3
(3)  Directive 2006/1/EC does not enable undertakings to fully benefit from the advantages of using hired vehicles. That Directive allows Member States to restrict the use by their undertakings of hired vehicles with a maximum permissible laden weight of more than six tonnes for own account operations. Moreover, Member States are not required to allow the use of a hired vehicle on their respective territories if the vehicle has been registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws in a Member State other than the one of establishment of the undertaking hiring it.
(3)  Directive 2006/1/EC does not enable undertakings to fully benefit from the advantages of using hired vehicles. That Directive allows Member States to restrict the use, by the undertakings established within their territories, of hired vehicles with a maximum permissible laden weight of more than six tonnes for own account operations. Moreover, Member States are not required to allow the use on their respective territories of a hired vehicle that has been registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws in a Member State other than the one of establishment of the undertaking hiring it.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a directive
Recital 4 a (new)
(4 a)  Member States should not be allowed to restrict the use on their respective territories of a vehicle hired by an undertaking duly established on the territory of another Member State, provided that the vehicle is registered and complies with operating standards and safety requirements, or put into circulation in compliance with the laws of any Member State and authorised to be operated by the Member State of establishment of the undertaking responsible .
Amendment 4
Proposal for a directive
Recital 5
(5)  The level of road transport taxation still differs considerably within the Union. Therefore, certain restrictions, which also indirectly affect the freedom to provide vehicle hiring services, remain justified in order to avoid fiscal distortions. Consequently, Member States should have the option to limit the length of time a vehicle hired in a Member State other than the one of establishment of the undertaking hiring it can be used within their respective territories.
(5)  The level of road transport taxation still differs considerably within the Union. Therefore, certain restrictions, which also indirectly affect the freedom to provide vehicle hiring services, remain justified for the purpose of avoiding fiscal distortions. Consequently, Member States should have the option to limit, subject to the conditions laid down in this Directive and within their respective territories, the length of time an established undertaking can use a hired vehicle registered or put into circulation in another Member State. They should also be allowed to limit the number of such vehicles being hired by an undertaking established within their territories.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a directive
Recital 5 a (new)
(5a)  In order to enforce these measures, the information on the registration number of the hired vehicle should be provided in the Member States’ national electronic registers as established by Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009. Competent authorities of the Member State of establishment that are being informed of the use of a vehicle which the operator has hired and which is registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws in another Member State should inform the competent authorities of that other Member State thereof. Member States should use the Internal Market Information System (IMI) to that end.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a directive
Recital 6 a (new)
(6a)   In order to maintain operational standards, meet safety requirements and ensure decent working conditions for drivers, it is important for carriers to have guaranteed access to assets and direct support infrastructure in the country in which they are performing their operations.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a directive
Recital 7
(7)  The implementation and effects of this Directive should be monitored by the Commission and be documented by it in a report. Any future action in this area should be considered in light of that report.
(7)  The implementation and effects of this Directive should be monitored by the Commission and be documented by it in a report at the latest three years after the date of transposition of this Directive. The report should take due account of the impact on road safety, on tax revenues and on the environment. The report should also assess all infringements of this Directive, including cross-border infringements. The need for future action in this area should be considered in light of that report.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 1 – point a – point ii
Directive 2006/1/EC
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point a
(a)  the vehicle is registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws of a Member State;
(a)  the vehicle is registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws of any Member State, including operating standards and safety requirements;
Amendment 9
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 1 – point b
Directive 2006/1/EC
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – point b
(b)  the following paragraph 1a is inserted:
deleted
‘1a. Where the vehicle is not registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws of the Member State where the undertaking hiring the vehicle is established, Member States may limit the time of use of the hired vehicle within their respective territories. However, Member States shall in such a case allow its use for at least four months in any given calendar year. ’
Amendment 10
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 2
Directive 2006/1/EC
Article 3 – paragraph 1
Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that their undertakings may use hired vehicles for the carriage of goods by road under the same conditions as vehicles owned by them, provided that the conditions laid down in Article 2 are satisfied.
1.   Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that undertakings established within their territories may use hired vehicles for the carriage of goods by road under the same conditions as vehicles owned by them, provided that the conditions laid down in Article 2 are satisfied.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 2
Directive 2006/1/EC
Article 3 – paragraph 1 a (new)
1a.  Where the vehicle is registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws of another Member State, the Member State of establishment of the undertaking may:
(a)  limit the time of use of the hired vehicle within its respective territory provided that it allows the use of the hired vehicle for at least four consecutive months any given calendar year; in which case the contract of hire may be required not to last longer than the time limit set by the Member State;
(b)  limit the number of hired vehicles that can be used by any undertaking, provided that they allow the use of at least a number of vehicles corresponding to 25% of the overall goods vehicle fleet owned by the undertaking on 31 December of the year preceding the request for authorisation; in which case an undertaking that has an overall fleet of more than one and less than four vehicles, shall be allowed to use at least one such hired vehicle.”
Amendment 12
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 2 a (new)
Directive 2006/1/EC
Article 3 a (new)
(2a)  the following Article 3 a is inserted
“Article 3a
1.  The information on a hired vehicle´s registration number shall be entered in the national electronic register as defined in Article 16 of Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009*.
2.  Competent authorities of the Member State of establishment of an operator that are informed of the use of a vehicle which that operator has hired and which is registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws of another Member State shall inform the competent authorities of that other Member State thereof.
3.  The administrative cooperation provided for in paragraph 2 shall be by means of the Internal market Information System (IMI), established by Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012**.
__________________
* Referring to Article 16 of Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 taking into account the extension of the information to be recorded as proposed by the Commission.
** OJ L 316, 14.11.2012, p. 1.”
Amendment 13
Proposal for a directive
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 3
Directive 2006/1/EC
Article 5 a – paragraph 1
By [insert the date calculated 5 years after the deadline for transposition of the Directive], the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation and effects of this Directive. The report shall include information on the use of vehicles hired in a Member State other than the Member State of establishment of the undertaking hiring the vehicle. On the basis of this report, the Commission shall assess whether it is necessary to propose additional measures.
By ... [3 years after the deadline for transposition of this amending Directive], the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation and effects of this Directive. The report shall include information on the use of vehicles hired in a Member State other than the Member State of establishment of the undertaking hiring the vehicle. The report shall pay particular attention to the impact on road safety, and on tax revenues, including fiscal distortions, and on the enforcement of cabotage rules in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009. On the basis of this report, the Commission shall assess whether it is necessary to propose additional measures.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a directive
Article 2 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 1
Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by [insert the date calculated 18 months following the entry into force] at the latest. They shall communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions without delay.
Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by ... [20 months after the date of entry into force of this Directive]. They shall communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions without delay.

(1) The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committee responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (A8-0193/2018).


Objection to a delegated act: Fisheries conservation measures for the protection of the marine environment in the North Sea
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European Parliament resolution of 14 June 2018 on the Commission delegated regulation of 2 March 2018 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/118 establishing fisheries conservation measures for the protection of the marine environment in the North Sea (C(2018)01194 – 2018/2614(DEA))
P8_TA(2018)0265B8-0299/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission delegated regulation (C(2018)01194),

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

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC(1), and in particular Articles 11(2) and 46(5) thereof,

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/118 of 5 September 2016 establishing fisheries conservation measures for the protection of the marine environment in the North Sea(2),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution by the Committee on Fisheries,

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

A.  whereas Member States are required to achieve good environmental status for marine waters by 2020, in line with Article 1(1) of Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive)(3), while Article 2(5)(j) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 requires the common fisheries policy to contribute to this goal;

B.  whereas the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), in the conclusions to its relevant scientific advice(4), voiced a number of concerns as regards the effectiveness of the proposed measures for protected species and habitats and seafloor integrity; whereas those concerns have not been fully reflected in the recitals to the delegated regulation under review;

C.  whereas the STECF also noted in its scientific advice that the figures relating to the fishing activity in question on which the proposed measures are based are from 2010-2012 and could therefore be outdated;

D.  whereas the unquantified number of vessels that would be covered by the partially temporary exemptions under Articles 3b, 3c and 3e of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/118, as amended by the delegated regulation under review, could well have an impact on the effectiveness of the proposed measures;

E.  whereas the definition of ‘alternative seabed-impacting fishing gear’ set out in point 2 of Article 2 of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/118, as amended by the delegated regulation under review, needs to be further specified; whereas if it covers electric pulse fishing such a definition would be in contradiction with the mandate for negotiations adopted by Parliament on 16 January 2018(5) in the ordinary legislative procedure for the adoption of a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conservation of fishery resources and the protection of marine ecosystems through technical measures(6);

F.  whereas the impact of the proposed ‘alternative seabed-impacting fishing gear’ could still be significantly higher than that of other, partially prohibited gear (Danish and Scottish seines);

G.  whereas the review and reporting clause of the proposed delegated act does not apply to the newly proposed zones and their management, thus rendering impossible a transparent evaluation of the effectiveness of the measures, especially on newly tested alternative seabed-impacting gear;

1.  Objects to the Commission delegated regulation;

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

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

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

(1) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 22.
(2) OJ L 19, 25.1.2017, p. 10.
(3) OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, p. 19.
(4) Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) (2017), 54th Plenary Meeting Report (PLEN-17-01).
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0003.
(6) Legislative procedure 2016/0074(COD).


Georgian occupied territories 10 years after the Russian invasion
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European Parliament resolution of 14 June 2018 on Georgian occupied territories 10 years after the Russian invasion (2018/2741(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0266RC-B8-0275/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008, mediated by the EU and signed by Georgia and the Russian Federation, and the implementation agreement of 8 September 2008,

–  having regard to its resolution of 21 January 2016 on Association Agreements / Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2017 on the Annual Report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy(2),

–  having regard to the joint declarations of the Eastern Partnership Summits, notably that agreed in 2017 in Brussels,

–  having regard to the joint communications from the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) on the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), notably the report of 18 May 2017 on the implementation of the ENP review (JOIN(2017)0018), the joint staff working document of 9 June 2017 entitled ‘Eastern Partnership – 20 Deliverables for 2020: Focusing on key priorities and tangible results’ (SWD(2017)0300), and the 2016 communication entitled ‘A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign And Security Policy’,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in the Eastern Neighbourhood and, in particular, its recommendation of 15 November 2017 to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS on the Eastern Partnership, in the run-up to the November 2017 Summit(3),

–  having regard to the deployment of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia on 15 September 2008,

–  having regard to the report of the 2009 Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia, headed by Heidi Tagliavini,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Georgia is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first Georgian democratic republic, founded in 1918, and rightly prides itself on its contemporary achievements;

B.  whereas the EU strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders;

C.  whereas 10 years after the Russian military aggression in Georgia of August 2008, the Russian Federation still continues its illegal occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, undermining international law and the rules-based international system; whereas the so-called integration and alliance treaties signed between Russia and Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2014 and 2015 were clear violations of international law, OSCE principles and Russia’s international commitments; whereas the European Union does not recognise the framework of the so-called elections and a referendum held by Russia-backed separatists in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2016 and 2017;

D.  whereas the EU remains firmly committed to a peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict in full compliance with the fundamental norms and principles of international law;

E.  whereas Russia constantly reinforces its illegal military presence in Georgia’s occupied territories by constructing new bases, bringing in new troops and equipment, and conducting military exercises;

F.  whereas Russia continues to be in breach of its international obligations and refuses to fully implement the EU-mediated ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008;

G.  whereas Russia continues to isolate Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia from the rest of the country by closing additional crossing points, putting in place physical barriers along the administrative boundary line (ABL) and conducting a campaign aimed at eradicating Georgian culture;

H.  whereas this line is slowly but steadily being moved deeper into Tbilisi-controlled territory in a process known as a ‘borderisation’, in some places coming very close to critical infrastructure such as motorways and gas pipelines;

I.  whereas hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and refugees forcibly expelled from the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia as a result of several waves of ethnic cleansing continue to be deprived of their fundamental right to a safe and dignified return to their homes;

J.  whereas basic human rights, including freedom of movement and residence, the right to property and the right of access to education in the native language, are being violated in the occupied regions of Georgia; whereas illegal detentions and kidnappings continue to take place;

K.  whereas the Russian Federation, as a power exercising effective control over the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, bears full responsibility for severe violations of human rights and for the humanitarian situation on the ground;

L.  whereas the 2008 invasion was Russia’s first major open attack on the European order; whereas it was later followed by others, including the annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine;

M.  whereas the Georgian internally displaced persons Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria and Davit Basharuli were illegally deprived of their lives as a result of brutal actions by the occupying Russian regimes in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali;

N.  whereas the International Criminal Court (ICC) has opened an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the conflict;

O.  whereas a joint ad-hoc visit to Georgia on 12 August 2008 of Central and Eastern European leaders – Lech Kaczyński, President of Poland, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, Valdas Adamkus, President of Lithuania, Ivars Godmanis, Prime Minister of Latvia and Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine – is widely seen as a major factor that stopped the Russian advance towards Tbilisi when troops were only 50 km from the Georgian capital, and facilitated the brokering of the ceasefire by the French presidency of the Council of the EU;

P.  whereas the Russian Federation continues to deny the EUMM access to the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia in violation of the EU-mediated ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008, thus hampering the mission’s ability to fully implement its mandate;

1.  Reaffirms its unequivocal support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia; acknowledges that the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and the 1990 OSCE Charter of Paris represent the cornerstones of a peaceful European continent;

2.  Reiterates that sovereignty, independence and the peaceful settlement of disputes are key principles of the European security order; stresses that the resolution of conflicts in Georgia is essential to enhancing the security and stability of the European continent as a whole; considers that these conflicts and the continuing occupation of Georgian territories remain a potential threat to the sovereignty of other European countries;

3.  Demands that the Russian Federation reverse its decision to recognise the so-called independence of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia; condemns the decision by Venezuela, Nicaragua, Syria and Nauru to recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and calls for this recognition to be withdrawn;

4.  Stresses the need for the Russian Federation to unconditionally fulfil all the provisions of the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008, in particular the commitment to withdrawing all its military forces from the territory of Georgia;

5.  Demands that the Russian Federation cease its occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, as well as the inviolability of its internationally recognised borders and that it stop the de facto integration of both regions into Russian administration;

6.  Confirms the EU’s strong commitment to contributing to the peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict, by using all the instruments at its disposal as part of a comprehensive approach, including its Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, its co-chairmanship of the Geneva International Discussions, the EUMM in Georgia and the policy of non-recognition and engagement;

7.  Urges the Government of Georgia to continue to cooperate with the ICC by facilitating investigations by the ICC Office of the Prosecutor, as well as ensuring that the ICC Registry can fulfil its mandate in terms of outreach and victim participation;

8.  Calls on the Russian Federation to allow the EUMM unconditional access to the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia as per its mandate; recalls that the EUMM is the only permanent international presence on the ground, providing impartial information on the situation along the ABL, and calls for the extension of its mandate beyond 14 December 2018;

9.  Calls on the Russian Federation to cease further borderisation of the ABL, which it is seeking to achieve by installing barbed wire fences and other artificial barriers; calls also for an end to the encroachment into territory controlled by the Georgian Government and further extension of the ABL, intentionally hindering people-to-people contact and isolating the population of both occupied regions;

10.  Condemns the deliberate destruction of dozens of Georgian villages and Georgian churches in the occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, as well as the deliberate attempt to erase traces of Georgian culture and history in the occupied territories, and condemns contrary and divisive initiatives such as the so-called referendum of 2017 approving a name change of Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia;

11.  Calls on the Russian Federation to adhere to the principle of peaceful conflict resolution, by reciprocating Georgia’s unilateral commitment to the non-use of force, as affirmed by the President of Georgia in his speech to the European Parliament of 23 November 2010;

12.  Welcomes the new peace initiative of the Government of Georgia entitled ‘A Step to a Better Future’, aimed at improving the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people residing in the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and fostering people-to-people contact and confidence building between divided communities;

13.  Reminds the Russian Federation, as an occupying power, of its obligations towards the population and that it must cease violations of human rights, restrictions on freedom of movement and residence, discrimination on grounds of ethnicity, and infringement of the right to property and access to education in the native language in the occupied territories of Georgia;

14.  Moreover, calls on the Russian Federation to end impunity and ethnically motivated crimes in the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and to remove any obstacles to ensuring that the perpetrators of the illegal killing of Georgian internally displaced persons Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria and Davit Basharuli are brought to justice;

15.  Welcomes the adoption by the Parliament of Georgia of the bi-partisan resolution which establishes a blacklist of perpetrators and persons responsible for the cover-up of such violations (Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list) and calls on the Member States and the Council to blacklist and impose national and EU-wide sanctions on those who appear or who may appear on the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list;

16.  Urges the Russian Federation to allow the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees to their homes and to ensure unimpeded access on the ground for international human rights monitoring mechanisms;

17.  Reiterates its condemnation of the subversive policies of propaganda, disinformation and social media infiltration aimed at weakening democracy and society in Georgia by discrediting institutions, manipulating public opinion, spreading false narratives, feeding social tensions and fostering a general mistrust of the media; denounces, in this context, the information warfare being conducted by Russia, using its state controlled media outlets to deliberately plant false news in order to influence domestic politics and undermine the European integration processes;

18.  Stresses that the international community must take a consistent, coordinated, united and firm stance against Russia’s occupation and annexation policy as the only means to ensure peaceful conflict resolution in Georgia and prevention of similar conflicts in the neighbourhood;

19.  Calls for the EU institutions to adopt an approach consistent with that of the European Parliament and the policies of the national parliaments of the Member States by using clearer and more precise terms in defining Russian aggression in Georgia as occupation by the Russian Federation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia;

20.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the governments and parliaments of the Eastern Partnership countries and the Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation.

(1) OJ C 11, 12.1.2018, p. 82.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0493.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0440.


Negotiations for a new EU-ACP Partnership Agreement
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European Parliament resolution of 14 June 2018 on the upcoming negotiations for a new Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (2018/2634(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0267B8-0274/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 (the Cotonou Agreement), and to its revisions of 2005 and 2010(1),

–  having regard to the Georgetown Agreement of 1975 setting up the ACP Group, and to its revision of 1992(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 October 2016 on the future of ACP-EU relations beyond 2020(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2016 on increasing the effectiveness of development cooperation(4),

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation of 12 December 2017 for a Council Decision authorising the opening of negotiations on a Partnership Agreement between the European Union and countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (COM(2017)0763),

–  having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 22 November 2016 on a renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (JOIN(2016)0052),

–  having regard to the joint consultation paper of the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 6 October 2015 entitled ‘Towards a new partnership between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries after 2020’ (JOIN(2015)0033),

–  having regard to the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development and the outcome document adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015 entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, and to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

–  having regard to the joint statement of 7 June 2017 by Parliament, the Council, the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, and the Commission on the New European Consensus on Development – Our World, Our Dignity, Our Future,

–  having regard to the opinions of the European Economic and Social Committee of 7 December 2017 on a renewed partnership with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, and of 12 May 2016 on the future of the EU’s relations with the ACP Group of countries,

–  having regard to the 7th and 8th Summits of ACP Heads of State and Government held in Malabo (13-14 December 2012) and Port Moresby (4 May 2016) respectively,

–  having regard to the 103rd and 105th ACP-EU Joint Council of Ministers meetings held in Dakar (26-27 April 2016) and Brussels (3-4 May 2017) respectively,

–  having regard to the EU-African Union Summit held in Abidjan on 29-30 November 2017,

–  having regard to the report of the ACP Eminent Persons Group of March 2016 on the future of the ACP beyond 2020,

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 October 2015 on the role of local authorities in developing countries in development cooperation(5),

–  having regard to the declaration of the 8th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government of the ACP Group of States of 1 June 2016,

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 February 2015 on the work of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly(6) and to the resolutions adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly,

–  having regard to the declaration of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly of 21 December 2016 on the parliamentary dimension of the post-Cotonou ACP-EU relations(7),

–  having regard to the statement by the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly of 9 December 2015 on the future of ACP-EU relations(8),

–  having regard to Articles 208 and 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making,

–  having regard to the questions to the Council and the Commission on the upcoming negotiations for a new Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (O-000043/2018 – B8‑0025/2018 and O-000044/2018 – B8‑0026/2018),

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

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

A.  whereas the strength and acquis of the Cotonou Agreement are based on a number of unique characteristics, such as its legally binding nature, its comprehensiveness – with its three pillars of development cooperation, political cooperation, and economic and trade cooperation – and its large budget in the form of the European Development Fund (EDF);

B.  whereas the ACP-EU partnership has played an important role in progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), despite the EU’s failure to reach the objective of allocating 0,7 % of its gross national income (GNI) to official development assistance (ODA);

C.  whereas the ACP-EU partnership has made a significant contribution to the eradication of poverty, to the integration of ACP States into the global economy, and as a more effective global player in multilateral trade and climate negotiations;

D.  whereas the ACP-EU partnership has improved market access for ACP States and EU Member States and promoted greater mutual understanding of positions, values and norms through political dialogue among them;

E.  whereas although the ACP-EU partnership contributed greatly to the advancement of the MDGs, progress towards the objectives of poverty eradication and integration of ACP States into the world economy has been insufficient to date, given that half the ACP States are still among the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) and that together they account for less than 5 % of global trade and around 2 % of global GDP;

F.  whereas the establishment of the African Union, the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, the Joint Caribbean-EU Partnership Strategy and the EU-Pacific Strategy exemplify the EU’s increasingly regional approach to addressing issues of common interest and concern, such as peace and security, terrorism and migration;

G.  whereas peace, security and political stability are prerequisites for sustainable development;

H.  whereas the common foundation and regional compacts must take into account regional and continental specificities, in line with the principles of subsidiarity and complementarity;

I.  whereas the ACP has identified three pillars for negotiation, namely:

   Trade, investment and services,
   Development cooperation, science and technology, and research and innovation,
   Political dialogue and advocacy;

J.  whereas political dialogue on essential elements, as referred to in Articles 8 and 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, is a concrete and legal means of upholding the common values of the ACP-EU partnership and promoting democracy, good governance and human rights, which are fundamental for sustainable development;

K.  whereas there is a clear need to ensure that human rights conditionality is maintained and political dialogue strengthened in the new agreement;

L.  whereas, despite the clear recognition of the role of national parliaments, local authorities, civil society and the private sector in the 2010 revision of the Cotonou Agreement, their participation in deliberations on ACP-EU policies and activities, including in programming, follow-up and evaluation processes, has been limited;

M.  whereas political dialogue has largely been used at a late stage of political crises and not as a preventative measure;

N.  whereas civil society organisations are facing increasingly restrictive legislation and other obstacles that limit their activities and space;

O.  whereas technical capacity in many ACP states for handling matters in the area of taxation is a constraint on both domestic revenue mobilisation and participation in international tax cooperation;

P.  whereas the EDF is financed through direct contributions from EU Member States and is not subject to normal EU budgetary rules; whereas Parliament does not have any power over the EDF budget other than in granting discharge for disbursements already made, nor does it have formal scrutiny rights over EDF programming;

Q.  whereas the reinforcement of the parliamentary dimension of the ACP-EU partnership and the strengthening of its consultative role should be key elements of the new partnership;

R.  whereas the frequency and variety of ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) meetings has enabled consistent dialogue between the European Parliament and ACP Members, thus consolidating its legitimacy and strengthening parliamentary diplomacy; whereas the JPA has been used as a model of parliamentary diplomacy in various political fora;

1.  Welcomes the main aspects and overall architecture of future cooperation between the ACP Group of States and the European Union proposed by the Commission in its recommendation for a Council Decision authorising the opening of negotiations on a future Partnership Agreement;

2.  Insists that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDGs and the European Consensus on Development must be at the heart of the renewed ACP-EU partnership;

3.  Welcomes the fact that attainment of the SDGs is considered a key objective, but regrets the lack of concrete implementation measures in the proposed compacts; stresses the need to mainstream cross-cutting issues such as environmental sustainability, climate change objectives, gender issues and social justice into all policies, plans and interventions across the future agreement;

4.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission’s proposal for a new partnership agreement is open to external partners;

5.  Recalls that the very first SDG is the eradication of poverty, which remains a key problem in most ACP States; stresses, therefore, that the fight against poverty must remain a central element of the future agreement;

6.  Notes that the Commission has largely taken into account Parliament’s view and that the common foundation and regional compacts will be legally binding to an equal extent, as requested by Parliament;

7.  Recalls that the future partnership agreement will include the principles of equity, mutual respect and mutual interest;

8.  Insists that the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement – respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, democratic principles and the rule of law, and good governance – be maintained as the basis for cooperation post-2020 and be part and parcel of the foundation agreement and the regional compacts and protocols; calls on the Commission and the Council to explicitly include, in the human rights part of the mandate, freedom from discrimination on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights, as set out in the 1995 Beijing Platform of Action and the outcomes of the review conferences;

9.  Stresses the need to address the question of human rights and governance on the basis of existing international legal instruments, laws, principles and mechanisms established by regional and pan-African governance bodies, with a view to strengthening ownership;

10.  Recalls that the future partnership between ACP States and EU Member States must incorporate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and should contribute to its implementation at all levels;

11.  Calls on EU and ACP negotiators to include in the common foundation part of the agreement a clear provision on the full implementation by all parties of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;

12.  Insists on the need to ensure coherence between the principles laid down in the common foundation and the regional priorities defined in the compacts, and stresses that the foundation should include explicit reference to accountability, monitoring and review mechanisms in the case of non-compliance; underlines that the accountability of the parties towards citizens and civil society should also be ensured, and that the joint institutions should provide for mechanisms to enable civil society and citizens to report cases of breaches of human rights obligations and other essential elements;

13.  Reiterates to all parties to the negotiations that political dialogue is a fundamental part of the Cotonou Agreement and that it must remain a central and legal pillar in the overarching framework and at the regional level of the new agreement;

14.  Underlines that political dialogue is an integral part of the partnership and a valuable basis for improving the situation of the peoples of the partner countries; calls, therefore, for improved monitoring of the human rights situation in these countries and stresses that monitoring must be inclusive, transparent and participatory; stresses the importance of ensuring meaningful involvement of civil society in the dialogue at all levels;

15.  Recalls that the political dialogue must be balanced and based on mutual respect;

16.  Stresses that EU and ACP cooperation should provide for a peer review mechanism for monitoring progress and gaps in implementing the SDGs on a regular basis, involving parliaments, local authorities and civil society, and regular evaluation of and public reporting on respect for human rights and other essential elements; believes that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs requires legitimacy, proximity, subsidiarity and a high level of participation by local authorities and non-state actors if it is to be effective; calls for better communication and dialogue in order to deepen the relationship between ACP and EU countries;

17.  Reiterates that Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) constitute a basis for regional cooperation and are instruments for development and regional integration; calls, therefore, for their full integration into the new ACP-EU Agreement;

18.  Calls for the enhancement of the political clout of the ACP-EU partnership on the global scene, so that partners can be more effective global players;

19.  Calls for clear provisions in the future agreement that regulate the role and responsibilities of the private sector; stresses, in particular, the need for enterprises involved in development partnerships to abide by the principles of corporate social responsibility throughout the lifecycle of projects, including by respecting the UN Global Compact, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation core labour standards, environmental standards and the UN Convention Against Corruption; highlights the need for both EU and ACP states to draw up national plans to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the due diligence provisions in particular;

20.  Recalls that the mobilisation of domestic resources through taxation is the most important source of revenue for financing sustainable development; regrets that measures to combat illicit financial flows and tax evasion are not given a prominent place in the draft mandate; calls on the negotiating parties to include in the new agreement ambitious provisions on financial and technical assistance to developing countries to cope with emerging global standards on fighting tax evasion, including the automatic exchange of information, information on beneficial ownership of companies and on public country-by-country reporting of multinationals to stop base erosion and profit shifting, based on G20 and OECD models; calls on the parties, furthermore, to commit to supporting the creation of a legally binding UN intergovernmental body on tax cooperation;

21.  Regrets that the draft negotiating mandate envisions no provisions on ensuring a sustainable development dimension for agriculture, despite the huge challenges faced by ACP farmers as a result of climate change; calls on the negotiating parties to include support schemes for sustainable agricultural practices in the new agreement;

22.  Calls for increased civil society involvement in political dialogue, programming and implementation and support for capacity-building by civil society; underlines the importance of involving civil society in the political dialogue, particularly in the case of local groups directly affected by policies; underlines, in this regard, the threat of shrinking space for civil society in some countries and the need to include groups such as minorities, young people and women that are unable to organise their interests or that are not recognised by their government despite a legitimate democratic interest;

23.  Stresses that the engagement of civil society should be built around recognition of the different roles it plays, and that its role as a fully-fledged actor in the agreement should be scaled up;

24.  Underlines that the principles of effective development cooperation need to be fully incorporated into the new ACP-EU partnership agreement and that provisions to ensure country ownership, a focus on results, the inclusiveness of the development process, transparency and mutual accountability must be cornerstones of the agreement and the regional protocols; underlines the need to ensure a geographically balanced approach to aid allocation with a substantial focus on least developed and fragile states; considers that making aid allocation conditional on cooperation with the EU on migration issues is not compatible with agreed development effectiveness principles;

25.  Stresses that the renewed EU and ACP cooperation/partnership should ensure more effective joint action to tackle the various challenges facing the world today, such as combating terrorism and organised crime;

26.  Reiterates that the future agreement must provide an opportunity to enhance commitments and respect for policy coherence for development (PCD), and should include mechanisms to systematically monitor PCD; recalls, in this regard, the role played by the EU delegations in the promotion of PCD and stresses the need for them to conduct dialogues on a regular basis at country level;

27.  Underlines the importance of crowding in private sector investment, facilitating the long-term development of local capital markets and levering limited ODA budgets to maximise impact and finance the SDGs;

28.  Reiterates the importance of strengthening the parliamentary dimension of the future agreement, guaranteeing real consultative power for the future overarching JPA and ensuring that it provides for open, democratic and comprehensive parliamentary dialogue; requests that its legal and operational autonomy be guaranteed; demands that the JPA be closely associated with the implementation of the agreement and regularly consulted in all matters of importance to the partnership; believes that the JPA should be fully involved in the negotiations for the future partnership;

29.  Calls for further efforts to improve JPA scrutiny of development programming;

30.  Is convinced that regular meetings are needed, at least annually, at ACP-EU level to ensure the continuity and stability of the partnership and to allow for regular reporting on, and peer reviews of, progress towards the SDGs and respect for human rights and other essential elements of the agreement, as called for by Parliament;

31.  Recommends, therefore, that the JPA be aligned with the new regional structure, keeping the focus on the work in the regional fora and closely involving the national and regional parliaments; considers that the ACP-EU Council and the JPA should meet regularly, but less frequently than at present, in plenary session, in the EU and an ACP State alternately, but that the session should not be dependent on the Council being convened; calls on the EU Member State holding the EU Council presidency to involve itself more deeply in the preparation, organisation and hosting of JPA sessions;

32.  Requests that meetings between EU and ACP Members of Parliament at the level of the regional compacts be held at least once a year in each region and be complemented by a multi-stakeholder forum involving non-state actors, including civil society, young people and the private sector;

33.  Is convinced that the Pan-African Parliament needs to become a strong pillar within the future EU-Africa compact, notably vis-à-vis and alongside the future EU-Africa council; calls, in this respect, on the Commission and its ACP counterparts to publish textual proposals on the parliamentary dimension and role of the Pan-African Parliament at an early stage of the negotiations and to consult with the Pan-African Parliament and the European Parliament respectively in this regard;

34.  Recalls that Parliament must be kept informed fully and immediately at all stages of the negotiating procedure, in line with Article 218(10) TFEU, and reiterates the need to agree on improved practical arrangements for cooperation and information sharing throughout the full life-cycle of international agreements; invites the Council and the Commission, furthermore, to inform the JPA fully and promptly about the negotiations;

35.  Calls on the Council of the European Union to publish the mandate as adopted by the Council; calls on the ACP Group of States to do likewise for its mandate.

36.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the ACP Council, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the African Union Commission, the Pan-African Parliament and the Bureau of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

(1) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/intcoop/acp/03_01/pdf/mn3012634_en.pdf
(2) http://www.wipo.int/edocs/trtdocs/en/acp/trt_acp_3.pdf
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0371.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0437.
(5) OJ C 349, 17.10.2017, p. 11.
(6) OJ C 310, 25.8.2016, p. 19.
(7) OJ C 170, 30.5.2017, p. 36.
(8) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/intcoop/acp/2015_acp2/pdf/1081264en.pdf


Monitoring the application of EU law 2016
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European Parliament resolution of 14 June 2018 on monitoring the application of EU law 2016 (2017/2273(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0268A8-0197/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and in particular Articles 1, 2 and 3 thereof,

–  having regard to the Commission’s 33rd Annual Report on monitoring the application of EU law (2015) (COM(2016)0463),

–  having regard to the Commission’s 34th Annual Report on monitoring the application of EU law (2016) (COM(2017)0370),

–  having regard to the Commission report entitled ‘EU Pilot Evaluation Report’ (COM(2010)0070),

–  having regard to the Commission report entitled ‘Second Evaluation Report on EU Pilot’ (COM(2011)0930),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 October 2016 entitled ‘Monitoring the application of Union law: 2014 Annual Report’(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 21 December 2016 entitled ‘EU law: Better results through better application’ (C(2016)8600),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 March 2002 on relations with the complainant in respect of infringements of Community law (COM(2002)0141),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 April 2012 on updating the handling of relations with the complainant in respect of the application of Union law (COM(2012)0154),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 March 2014 on a new EU Framework to strengthen the Rule of Law (COM(2014)0158),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 May 2015 entitled ‘Better regulation for better results – An EU agenda’ (COM(2015)0215),

–  having regard to the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission(2),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2001/470/EC of 28 May 2001 establishing a European Judicial Network in civil and commercial matters(3),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission of 13 April 2016 on better law-making(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 September 2015 on the 30th and 31st annual reports on monitoring the application of EU law (2012-2013)(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2016 with recommendations to the Commission on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2016 for an open, efficient and independent European Union administration(7) and its resolution of 15 January 2013 with recommendations to the Commission on a Law of Administrative Procedure of the European Union(8);

–  having regard to the Commission communications of 27 May 2016 on delivering the benefits of EU environmental policies through a regular Environmental Implementation Review (COM(2016)0316) and of 3 February 2017 entitled ‘The EU Environmental Implementation Review: Common challenges and how to combine efforts to deliver better results’ (COM(2017)0063),

–  having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights,

–  having regard to Rules 52 and 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the Committee on Petitions (A8-0197/2018),

A.  whereas Article 17 of the TEU defines the fundamental role of the Commission as ‘guardian of the Treaties’;

B.  whereas Article 2 of the TEU stipulates that the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities; and whereas proper implementation of EU law is therefore essential to achieving the EU policy goals defined in the Treaties and secondary legislation; whereas Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) gives the Union the task of eliminating inequalities and promoting equality between men and women through all its activities;

C.  whereas, according to Article 2 of the TEU and Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFREU), equality between women and men is one of the core values on which the EU is founded, and whereas, in all its activities, the Union shall aim to combat all forms of discrimination, eliminate inequalities and promote equal opportunities and equal treatment;

D.  whereas Article 3 of the TEU stipulates that the aims of the Union are, inter alia, to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples and to work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment, and that the Union shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child;

E.  whereas, according to settled case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the Member States must supply the Commission with clear and precise information on the way in which they transpose EU directives into national law; and whereas, according to the Joint Political Declaration of 28 September 2011 between the Commission and the Member States(9) and the Joint Political Declaration of 27 October 2011 of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission(10), Member States may, when notifying national transposition measures to the Commission, also be required to provide documents explaining how they have transposed directives into national law;

F.  whereas pursuant to Article 4(3) of the TEU and Articles 288(3) and 291(1) of the TFEU, the Member States have the primary responsibility for transposing, applying and implementing EU law correctly and within the time limits set, and for providing sufficient remedies to ensure effective legal protection in the fields covered by EU law;

G.  whereas the correct application of EU law guarantees the benefits of Union’s policies to all European citizens and a level playing field for businesses;

H.  whereas, following the adoption in December 2016 of its communication entitled ‘EU law: Better results through better application’, the Commission has decided to concentrate on cases where Member States fail to communicate transposition measures, where those measures incorrectly transpose directives, or where Member States fail to comply with a judgment of the CJEU (under Article 260(2) of the TFEU), seriously damage EU financial interests or encroach on EU exclusive powers;

I.  whereas according to Article 6(1) of the TEU, the CFREU has the same legal value as the Treaties, and is addressed to the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union and to the Member States when they are implementing Union law (Article 51(1) of the CFREU);

J.  whereas EU Pilot procedures are intended to make for closer and more coherent cooperation between the Commission and the Member States so as to remedy breaches of EU law at an early stage through bilateral dialogue in order, wherever possible, to avert the need to resort to formal infringement proceedings;

K.  whereas it is necessary – in response to the current democratic deficit and with reference to its resolution of 25 October 2016 with recommendations to the Commission on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights – to establish a new mechanism providing a single and coherent framework and building on existing instruments and mechanisms, which should be applied in a uniform manner to all EU institutions and all Member States;

L.  whereas, however, under the new policies adopted by the Commission to ensure compliance with EU law, the aim of the EU Pilot is not to prolong the infringement procedure, which is itself a means of entering into problem-solving dialogue with a Member State;

M.  whereas, in order to ensure a more strategic and effective approach to enforcement in dealing with infringements, the Commission has decided, as indicated in its communication entitled ‘Better results through better application’, to launch infringement procedures without relying on the EU Pilot mechanism unless recourse to it is deemed useful in a given case;

N.  whereas in 2016, the Commission received 3 783 new complaints reporting potential breaches of EU law, with Italy (753), Spain (424) and France (325) being the Member States against which the most complaints were filed;

O.  whereas, according to Article 258(1) and (2) of the TFEU, the Commission shall deliver a reasoned opinion to a Member State when it considers that the latter has failed an obligation under the Treaties, and may bring the matter before the CJEU if the Member State in question does not comply with the opinion within a deadline set by the Commission;

P.  whereas in 2016, the Commission launched 847 new infringements procedures for late transposition of directives;

Q.  whereas in 2016, 95 infringement cases were still open, in response to which the CJEU ruled on the failure to comply on the part of the Member States involved;

R.  whereas in its resolution of 25 October 2016 on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, Parliament requested that the Commission submit by September 2017, on the basis of Article 295 of the TFEU, a proposal for the conclusion of a Union Pact for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (EU Pact for DRF) in the form of an interinstitutional agreement laying down arrangements facilitating the cooperation between the Union institutions and the Member States in the framework of Article 7 of the TEU;

S.  whereas the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission provides for sharing of information concerning all infringement procedures based on letters of formal notice, but does not cover the informal EU Pilot procedure which precedes the opening of formal infringement proceedings;

T.  whereas Article 41 of the CFREU defines the right to good administration as the right of every person to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions, and whereas Article 298 of the TFEU stipulates that, in carrying out their missions, the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union shall have the support of an open, efficient and independent European administration;

U.  whereas in its communication of 3 February 2017 on the EU Environmental Implementation Review (EIR), the Commission claims to have laid out a structured and comprehensive dialogue with the Member States about the implementation of EU environmental legislation, and offers, without prejudice to its enforcement powers under the EU Treaties, to facilitate the Member States’ efforts through a new dedicated framework;

V.  whereas Article 157 of the TFEU allows, and its Article 19 enables, legislation to combat all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of gender;

W.  whereas the EU and its Member States have committed themselves, in Declaration No 19 annexed to the Final Act of the Intergovernmental Conference which adopted the Treaty of Lisbon, ‘to combat all kinds of domestic violence […], to prevent and punish these criminal acts and to support and protect the victims’;

X.  whereas EU legislation against trafficking in human beings, in particular women and children, has been adopted on the basis of Articles 79 and 83 of the TFEU; whereas the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme finances, among other things, measures contributing to the eradication of violence against women;

Y.  whereas a number of EU directives, in particular those focused on gender equality, are not being implemented properly in a number of Member States, leaving people of different genders unprotected against discrimination in the areas of access to employment, goods and services;

Z.  whereas gender-based discrimination intersects with other types of discrimination, including discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnicity, religion, disability, health, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and/or socio-economic condition;

AA.  whereas 33 % of women in the EU have experienced physical and/or sexual violence and 55 % have been sexually harassed, 32 % in the workplace; whereas women are particularly vulnerable to sexual, physical and online violence, cyber bullying and stalking; whereas more than half of female murder victims are killed by a partner or relative; whereas violence against women is one of the world’s most widespread human rights violations, regardless of the age, nationality, religion, education or financial and social status of the victim, representing a major hindrance to equality between women and men; whereas the phenomenon of femicide is not decreasing in Member States;

AB.  whereas the EU LGBT survey found that lesbian, bisexual and transgender women face a huge risk of discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity; whereas 23 % of lesbians and 35 % of transgender persons have been physically/sexually attacked or threatened with violence at home or elsewhere (in the street, on public transport, at the workplace, etc.) at least once in the last five years;

AC.  whereas the application and enforcement of EU gender equality law in the Member States has been found to entail specific problems related to the transposition and application of the relevant directives, such as substantive deficiencies in legislation and its inconsistent application by national courts;

AD.  whereas institutions and mechanisms for gender equality are often marginalised in national governmental structures, being divided between different policy areas and hampered by complex mandates as well as lacking adequate staff, training and data and sufficient resources, and experiencing insufficient support from political leaders;

AE.  whereas, according to the comparative analysis of non-discrimination law in Europe published in 2017 by the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, in the vast majority of countries serious concerns still persist around perception and awareness, as individuals are often not informed of their rights to protection against discrimination or of the existence of protection mechanisms; whereas, according to this analysis, with regard to the enforcement of the EU anti-discrimination directives, further issues of concern have arisen, such as the lack of (or too restrictive) legal standing of organisations and associations as regards engaging in proceedings on behalf, or in support of, victims of discrimination, and restrictive application of the shift of the burden of proof, as well as a number of barriers to effective access to justice, and these are acting as obstacles that effectively hinder citizens from being able to fully enjoy and protect their rights deriving from the provisions of anti-discrimination law;

AF.  whereas the Gender Equality Index 2017 of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) shows only marginal improvements, making it clear that the EU remains far from achieving gender equality, with the overall score now being 66,2 out of 100, just four points higher than ten years ago;

AG.  whereas, as regards the sphere of decision-making, the aforementioned gender equality data show an improvement of almost ten points over the past decade, with the score now standing at 48,5, but this area still has the lowest attainment score of all; whereas this adverse figure primarily reflects the uneven representation of women and men in politics and points to a democratic deficit in EU governance;

AH.  whereas the Eurofound report on the gender employment gap estimates that this gap is costing the EU around EUR 370 billion per year, corresponding to 2,8 % of EU GDP;

AI.  whereas, according to Eurofound’s Working Conditions Survey, the composite indicator of paid and unpaid working time shows that when paid and unpaid working hours are computed, women work longer hours;

AJ.  whereas, despite the EU’s commitment to gender equality in decision-making, the management boards of the EU agencies are seriously lacking in gender balance, and show persisting patterns of gender segregation;

AK.  whereas the feminisation of poverty is a fact in the EU, and whereas the proper and full application and enforcement of EU equality and gender equality laws should go hand in hand with policies targeting the very high rates of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion among women; whereas the lack of equality policies and the deficient implementation of gender and equality law further endangers women and increases the risk of poverty and social marginalisation by excluding them from the labour market;

AL.  whereas proper implementation of the existing legislation is essential for advancing equality between women and men; whereas even though the recast Directive 2006/54/EC clearly prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination, and despite the fact that women attain on average a high level of education, the gender pay gap still stood at 16,3 % in 2015;

AM.  whereas the principle of gender equality needs to be an essential part in the monitoring of the application of existing EU legislation;

AN.  whereas the collection of data, if possible disaggregated by gender, is substantially important for evaluating the progress made so far in the application of EU law;

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s decision(11) to respond to infringements promptly, and supports its efforts to resolve implementation problems informally; calls on the Commission to improve the EU Pilot problem-solving system;

2.  Expresses its concern at the increase in the total number of infringement procedures in 2016, making the figure for such cases the highest to have been recorded in the past five years;

3.  Welcomes the Commission’s 2016 Annual Report on monitoring the application of EU law, and notes that, according to this report, the four fields in which the greatest number of transposition infringement proceedings were opened against Member States in 2016 were the environment, justice and consumers, taxation, and the internal market;

4.  Recalls that the right to petition Parliament is a cornerstone of European citizenship, as enshrined in Articles 20 and 227 of the TFEU and Article 44 of the CFREU, ranking second in importance to citizens according to recent surveys; underlines the importance of petitions as a means for citizens and residents to feel involved in the activities of the Union and to express their concerns about instances of misapplication or violation of EU law and on potential lacunae, while at the same time highlighting these deficiencies in the hope of a rapid and effective solution to the problems raised; shares the view of the Commission that the work done to ensure the effective enforcement of existing EU law needs to be recognised as being of equivalent importance to the work devoted to developing new legislation; calls on the Commission to improve, in this respect, its handling of petitions addressed by providing timely and in-depth answers;

5.  Draws attention to the study commissioned by Parliament’s Committee on Petitions to Policy Department C entitled ‘Monitoring the implementation of EU law: tools and challenges’, and welcomes its concrete recommendations to Parliament for action; draws attention to the recently published study commissioned to Policy Department C entitled ‘Effective Access to Justice’, following the recurrent allegations that emerged from the handling of several petitions; endorses the Commission’s proposal to foster judicial training in EU law for the different Member States in order to ensure consistency in the rulings and thus equal enforcement of rights across the Union;

6.  Welcomes the increased transparency and the provision of more statistical information in the Commission report of 2016, when compared to previous reports; regrets the fact, however, that it does not provide any precise information on the number of petitions that have led to the initiation of EU Pilot or infringement procedures, and asks the Commission to provide this specific piece of information; notes with regret that neither Parliament nor the petitioners are involved in these procedures; reiterates its call on the Commission to share with Parliament information on all EU Pilots opened and infringement procedures initiated in order to improve transparency, reduce the time frame for dispute settlement through the Committee on Petitions, build trust in the EU project and, ultimately, enhance the legitimacy of the EU Pilot procedure, especially where infringement procedures are concerned; invites the Commission to systematically communicate its decisions and the different steps taken by the College of Commissioners and to publish the agenda and the main outcomes of package meetings; acknowledges the CJEU’s ruling on cases C-39/05 P, C-52/05 P and C-562/14 P of May 2017, according to which documents within the EU Pilot procedure should not be disclosed publicly if there is a risk that such disclosure would affect the nature of the infringement procedure, alter its progress or undermine the objectives of that procedure; calls on the Commission to disclose documents exchanged with the Member States when this risk ceases to exist, namely after EU pilot procedures are closed; supports, in this regard, the suggestion of the European Ombudsman on the timeliness and transparency of EU Pilot pre-infringement cases; stresses the importance of keeping all actors concerned informed, and of bringing more transparency to the EU Pilot processes; regrets the lack of commitment shown by the Commission when responding to the concerns raised in EU Pilot procedures by MEPs and calls on the Commission to inform the Committee on Petitions of any significant new steps of the investigation and ongoing dialogue with Member States when open petitions are concerned; reiterates its call on the Commission to include in its annual report the rate of implementation of both EU regulations and directives;

7.  Considers that the large number of infringement procedures shows that ensuring the timely and correct application of EU legislation in the Member States remains a serious challenge and priority, bearing in mind the new, more strategic and effective approach to enforcement adopted by the Commission for 2016; considers that some of those infringements could be the result of the lack of resources dedicated to public administration in some Member States;

8.  Underlines the fact that the number of new complaints is at its highest since 2011, representing a 67,5 % increase over the past year, with a record number of 3 783 new complaints and a decrease in rates of resolution, that, in addition, 1 657 infringement cases remained open at the end of 2016, while 986 infringement cases were opened in 2016, among which 847 concern late transposition; notes with concern that 95 infringement cases are still open after a Court ruling because the Commission considered that the Member States concerned had not yet complied with the judgements under Article 258 of the TFEU, and that, overall, the areas of ‘employment’ and ‘justice and consumers’ are the most affected, followed by the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs, taxation and customs, and the environment;

9.  Welcomes the fall in the number of new EU Pilot files opened in 2016 (790 compared with 881 in 2014) and the fact that this number has reached the lowest level since 2011, even though the Commission does not undertake any EU Pilot procedures in the event of late transposition of directives; notes, however, that the resolution rate fell slightly compared with 2015 (from 75 % to 72 %); asks the Commission to provide clarification on its priority-setting with regard to its enforcement policy, according to which it states that it will focus its enforcement action where it can make a real difference, and on its policy priorities when pursuing cases that reveal systemic weakness in a Member State’s legal system;

10.  Notes that the Commission’s commitment to be more strategic in enforcing EU law recently led to the closure of infringement cases for political reasons; calls on the Commission, therefore, to explain the considerations behind such decisions in future monitoring reports;

11.  Stresses that most EU Pilot files that have led to formal infringement procedures mainly concerned policy areas pertaining to the environment, the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs, energy, and taxation and customs; notes as well that Hungary, Germany, Spain and Poland had the highest number of EU Pilot files pursued through infringement procedures;

12.  Recognises that the primary responsibility for the correct implementation and application of EU law lies with the Member States, but points out that this does not absolve the EU institutions of their duty to respect primary EU law when they produce secondary EU law, even more so in the field of the rule of law and fundamental rights with regard to the CFREU;

13.  Points out that the proper implementation and application of EU law is essential for delivering EU policy in terms of the principle of equality between women and men, as enshrined in the Treaties, and for encouraging and fostering mutual trust between public institutions, both at EU and national level, as well as between institutions and citizens, recalling also that trust and legal certainty both serve as a basis for good cooperation and the effective application of EU law;

14.  Is concerned that that there are still significant shortcomings in the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation in some Member States, particularly in the areas of waste management, waste water treatment infrastructure and compliance with air quality limit values;

15.  Underlines the important role that social partners, civil society organisations, European citizens and other stakeholders play in monitoring and reporting shortcomings in the transposition and application of EU law by Member States; welcomes, therefore, the greater responsiveness among citizens about the implementation of EU legislation, including the crucial role of whistle-blowers in the private and public sector; stresses that EU citizens, as of right, must be the first to be made aware in a clear, effectively accessible, transparent and timely manner whether and which national laws have been adopted in transposition of EU laws, and which national authorities are responsible for ensuring they are correctly implemented;

16.  Notes the importance attached by the Commission to the timely and correct transposition of EU law into national legislation, and the existence of clear internal framework provisions requiring Member States to accord priority to this objective, so as to avoid infringements of EU law, while ensuring that individuals and undertakings are able to benefit from the effective and efficient implementation thereof;

17.  Points out, however, that unrealistic deadlines for the implementation of legislation may make it impossible for Member States to comply, implying tacit acceptance of late implementation; urges the EU institutions to agree on a more realistic timetable for the implementation of regulations and directives, taking due account of the time needed for verification and consultation; considers that the Commission should submit reports, summaries and legislative revisions on the dates agreed on by the co-legislators and in line with the legal provisions applicable;

18.  Points out that there were 70 directives to transpose in 2016, up from 56 in 2015; expresses concern at the sharp increase in the number of new late transposition infringements from 543 to 847; regrets that, at the end of 2016, 868 late transposition infringement cases were still open, a 67,5 % increase compared to the 518 cases open at the end of 2015;

19.  Expresses concern that, as in 2015, the Member States failed to deliver on all their commitments to provide explanatory documents together with the measures they had taken to transpose directives into national legislation; considers that, in view of the uneven quality of many of the explanatory documents submitted, the Commission should provide more assistance to Member States in preparing them and in drawing up correlation tables;

20.  Underlines the fact that failure to ensure timely and correct transposition of the existing EU legislation – addressing the principles of equal opportunities for and equal treatment of men and women in matters of education, employment and occupation, equal pay for equal work, and equal treatment of women and men in access to and supply of goods and services – as well as of the existing provisions to improve work-life balance and to end all forms of violence against women and girls, ultimately deprives citizens and businesses of the benefits to which they are entitled under EU law;

21.  Emphasises the fact that the EU has been set up as a Union based on the rule of law and respect for human rights (Article 2 of the TEU); notes that, in implementing EU legislation, Member States must comply fully with the fundamental rights enshrined in the Treaties and in the CFREU; reiterates that careful monitoring of the acts and omissions of Member States, and of EU institutions, is of the utmost importance;

22.  Reiterates its concern at the number of petitions to Parliament and complaints to the Commission concerning issues supposedly resolved by the Commission;

23.  Highlights the importance of safeguarding the integrity of the EU legal order, which includes primary and secondary legislation and soft law; calls, for this reason, for the timely adoption of the legislative and non-legislative initiatives required to make the European Pillar of Social Rights a reality for citizens; calls on the Commission to exert the most transparency and coherence possible in its efforts to create a new framework dedicated to the proper implementation of EU legislation, such as the EIR; calls on the Commission to consider creating such a framework specifically dedicated to fair and balanced development, employment, social affairs and inclusion affairs in relation to the European Pillar of Social Rights;

24.  Reiterates its call on the Commission, following its resolution of 25 October 2016, to submit a proposal for the conclusion of a Union pact for democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (EU Pact for DRF), thus effectively bundling its relevant annual thematic reports with the outcome of existing monitoring mechanisms and periodic assessment tools, to be presented in due time; recalls that the Commission, as Guardian of the Treaties in full respect for the principles of good and effective administration laid down by Articles 298 of the TFEU and Articles 41 and 47 of the CFREU, has a duty to monitor and assess the correct implementation of Union law, and the respect given the principles and objectives enshrined in the Treaties, by the Member States and all the Union institutions and bodies, and to respect its commitment to actively help Member States transpose and implement certain directives and regulations; recommends, therefore, that this task be taken into consideration within the aforementioned DRF policy cycle from 2018 onwards, its relevant annual thematic reports – with the outcome of existing monitoring mechanisms and periodic assessment tools –to be presented in due time;

25.  Recalls that, on several occasions, Parliament has called on the Commission to monitor, direct and support the implementation of environmental legislation and policies more proactively;

26.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment to actively help Member States transpose and implement European legislation by preparing implementation plans for certain directives and regulations;

27.  Considers that, given that it is jointly responsible for ensuring the implementation and enforcement of EU law in accordance with the Interinstitutional Agreement and its relevant function of political control over the Commission conferred by Article 14 of the TEU, Parliament should be automatically notified about every EU Pilot opened and infringement initiated, and should be granted adequate access to documents relating to these two kinds of procedures, particularly when they arise from petitions, while respecting the necessary confidentiality provisions for the successful handling of cases;

28.  Proposes that Member State representatives be more present during discussions of petitions in the Committee on Petitions;

29.  Notes the unsatisfying level of application of EU law among Member States, as illustrated by the high number of complaints sent to the Commission and the important flow of petitions addressed to Parliament; welcomes the intention of the Commission, as expressed in its communication of December 2016 to increase its use of preventive tools such as package meetings, implementation guidelines, experts groups AND specialised networks (including the SOLVIT network), and to support capacity-building in the Member States to enforce EU law; calls on the Commission to use the provisions of Article 197 of the TFEU to implement this renewed enforcement policy in full partnership with Member States and the European institutions; calls on the Commission to improve its handling of petitions addressed by providing timely and in-depth answers;

30.  Notes that while 95 infringement cases are still open, and while the CJEU has ruled on Member States’ failure to comply, in only three of these cases have the Commission brought the matter before the Court pursuant to Article 260 of the TFEU; considers that it is of utmost importance to ensure full and timely execution of the Court’s decisions and, when necessary, to make full use of the provisions of Article 279 of the TFEU to prevent any undermining of EU law and of the CJEU’s authority; calls on the Commission to address this situation and to report regularly to Parliament on progress made in this regard;

31.  Highlights the fact that all EU institutions are bound by the EU Treaties and the CFREU(12);

32.  Recommends that any inter-parliamentary debate on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights shall include civil society and civic participation, e.g. through petitions transmitted to Parliament and the European Citizens Initiative;

33.  Stresses that memoranda of understanding concluded between EU institutions and Member States are not considered EU acts pursuant to Article 288 of the TFEU;

34.  Stresses the crucial importance of efficiency, transparency and accountability in the drafting and application of EU law by the EU institutions; emphasises in particular the principle of democratic accountability – and the role that Parliament plays in ensuring it – as well as the right of EU citizens to justice and good administration, as stipulated in Articles 41 and 47 of the CFREU; points out that these rights and principles require citizens to be given adequate easy access to drafts of the legal acts that concern them; recalls that these same rights and principles should also be of paramount importance to the Member States when proposing draft acts aiming at implementing EU law;

35.  Calls on the Commission to enhance, where possible and necessary, EU financial resources, such as the European Social Fund, dedicated to ‘enhancing institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders and efficient public administration’ with a view to promoting social welfare and economic development, and to enhance the effectiveness of beneficial legislation; calls on the Commission to make full use of Article 197 of the TFEU to help enhance the capacity of the Member States to implement and enforce EU law;

36.  Calls on the Commission to develop instruments designed to help Member states recognise transposition problems, address them at an early stage of the infringement procedure and find joint solutions;

37.  Recalls that the legislation giving rise to the most flagrant infringement proceedings is the result of directives; recalls that regulations are directly and compulsorily applicable in all the Member States; calls, therefore, on the Commission to make use of regulations as far as possible whenever it considers issuing legislative proposals; considers that such an approach could mitigate the risk of over-regulation;

38.  Recalls that preliminary rulings help clarify the manner in which the law of the European Union is to be applied; considers that recourse to this procedure allows for a uniform interpretation and implementation of EU legislation; calls, therefore, on the Commission to follow more effectively the fulfilment of the obligation of national courts to seek a preliminary ruling by the CJEU, as stated in Article 267 of the TFEU; encourages, therefore, national courts, in the event of doubt, to refer questions to the CJEU and thereby prevent infringement proceedings;

39.  Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to its control over the implementation of Council Directive (EU) 2016/1164 of 12 July 2016 laying down rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market(13), and to launch infringement proceedings where necessary, particular vigilance given to incorrect or bad application;

40.  Welcomes the Commission’s continued efforts to enforce EU environmental rules in order to ensure a level playing field for all Member States and economic operators, and to address shortcomings in the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation, including by resorting to infringement proceedings if necessary; underlines, however, the known limitations in the effectiveness of EU environmental rules and, in particular, the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD); calls on the Commission to take note of Parliament’s resolution of 26 October 2017(14) on the implementation of the ELD; points out that, in certain Member States, the right to a healthy environment is being undermined by shortcomings in the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation, particularly when it comes to the prevention of damage to air and water, waste management and wastewater treatment infrastructure; stresses that full implementation of EU environmental legislation could save the EU economy EUR 50 billion each year in, above all, health costs and direct costs to the environment;

41.  Emphasises that the EU’s acquis also comprises international agreements concluded by the EU; notes with serious concern that EU environmental rules may not be in compliance with the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (‘the Aarhus Convention’)(15) by not granting sufficient access to justice to environmental organisations and members of the public; calls, therefore, on the Commission to pay attention to the findings and recommendations of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee(16) and of the Council position of 17 July 2017(17), and to explore ways and means to comply with the Aarhus Convention in a way that is compatible with the fundamental principles of the Union legal order and with its system of judicial review;

42.  Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to the implementation of measures adopted in the area of asylum and migration, so as to ensure that they comply with the principles enshrined in the CFREU, to work with the Member States to overcome any difficulties they may encounter in that implementation and to launch the necessary infringement proceedings where relevant; notes with concern that certain Member States are disregarding their obligations with regard to asylum and migration, in particular where relocation of asylum seekers is concerned; underlines the need to address the lack of solidarity between some Member States with regard to asylum and migration, so that all Member States meet their obligations; calls on the Member States to tackle the rise in trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation or sexual exploitation;

43.  Calls on the Commission to respond effectively to the developing migration and security situation and to enforce the European Agenda on Migration and the related implementation packages efficiently; asks the Member States to implement the Return Directive (2008/115/EC)(18) correctly and to report regularly on the implementation of the European Agenda on Migration;

44.  Calls on the Commission to check the compatibility of the zero-hour contracts with EU employment legislation, including the Part-Time Workers Directive as many petitions have been received in 2016 relate to precarious work;

45.  Welcomes the fact that the report acknowledges the role of Parliament in calling the Commission’s attention to shortcomings in the application of EU law in Member States by means of parliamentary questions and petitions; points out that closer scrutiny by national parliaments of their respective governments, when the latter are involved in the law-making process, will foster more effective application of EU law, as envisaged in the Treaties;

46.  Expresses concern that, given the incongruent translations of many directives into the EU’s official languages, it is likely that different language versions result in disparate interpretations of the respective texts and in differences in their transposition in the Member States; deplores the fact that such differences in the transposition and legal interpretation of directives may not be uncovered systematically, but only when clarified by rulings of the CJEU;

47.  Recalls that national parliaments have an essential role to play in both the pre-legislative scrutiny of draft EU legal acts and the post-legislative scrutiny of the correct implementation of EU law by the Member States; calls on national parliaments to pursue this role proactively;

48.  Considers that, in line with the Commission’s efforts to produce better and more effective EU legislation, the application of the subsidiarity and proportionality principles should always be taken into account;

49.  Reiterates its call for the creation, within the relevant Directorates-General (DG IPOL, DG EXPO and DG EPRS), of an autonomous system for ex-post assessment of the impact of the main EU laws adopted by Parliament under codecision and in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure;

50.  Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to its control over the implementation of EU legislation laying down rules against corruption practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market, and to take the appropriate measures to tackle such phenomena;

51.  Reminds the Member States and the EU institutions that ensuring timely and proper application of the legislation in the Member States remains a priority for the EU; stresses the importance of upholding the principles of conferral, subsidiarity and proportionality, pursuant to Article 5 of the TEU, as well as the principle of equality before the law, with a view to better monitoring of the application of EU law; recalls the importance of raising awareness of the provisions of the existing directives tackling various aspects of the principle of equality between women and men and of delivering on it in practice;

52.  Encourages the EU institutions to fulfil at all times their duty to respect primary EU law when establishing the provisions of secondary EU and soft law, developing policies and signing agreements or treaties with institutions outside the EU, to assist Member States by all means available in their efforts to transpose EU legislation in all areas and to respect the values and principles of the Union, especially with respect to recent developments in Member States;

53.  Agrees with the Commission’s view that individual complainants play an essential role in identifying wider problems with the enforcement and application of EU law affecting the interests of citizens and businesses;

54.  Stresses that the lack of a coherent and comprehensive set of codified rules of good administration across the Union makes it difficult for citizens and businesses to easily and fully understand their rights under Union law; emphasises, therefore, that codifying rules of good administration in the form of a regulation setting out the various aspects of the administrative procedure – including notifications, binding time limits, the right to be heard and the right for every person to have access to his or her file – is tantamount to reinforcing citizens’ rights and transparency; believes that this regulation would bring more accessibility, clarity and coherence to the interpretation of existing rules, for the benefit of citizens and businesses and of the administration and its officials;

55.  Recalls that in its resolutions of 15 January 2013 and 9 June 2016, Parliament called for the adoption of a regulation on an open, efficient and independent EU administration under Article 298 of the TFEU, and notes that this request has not been followed up by a Commission proposal; calls, therefore, once again on the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal on a European law of administrative procedure, taking into account the steps taken so far by Parliament in this field;

56.  Stresses that the inadequate integration of environmental considerations into other policy areas is one of the root causes of poor implementation of environmental legislation and policy;

57.  Underlines the need to maintain a high level of environmental protection, as well as of health and food safety;

58.  Stresses that effective enforcement of EU rules in the fields of health, food safety and the environment is important for European citizens since it influences their day-to-day lives and serves the general interest;

59.  Calls on the Commission to monitor closely environment-related infringement cases with a cross-border dimension, especially in the area of clean air legislation, including correct transposition and application of EU law in future Member States; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to inform complainants in an appropriate, transparent and timely manner of the arguments provided by the states concerned in reaction to the complaint;

60.  Notes that the number of infringement proceedings concerning the environment fell in 2016 compared with 2015, but is concerned that there was an increase in the number of procedures in the area of health and food safety, and calls on the Commission to bring particular attention to bear on this point;

61.  Highlights the fact that equality between women and men is a core principle of the EU that needs to be mainstreamed in all policies;

62.  Underlines the fundamental role of the rule of law in terms of providing legitimacy to any form of democratic governance; stresses that this is a cornerstone of the Union legal order and, as such, is consistent with the concept of a Union based on the rule of law;

63.  Recalls that the principle of equality – in terms of equal pay for equal work – has been enshrined in the European Treaties since 1957 (see Article 157 of the TFEU), and highlights the fact that Article 153 of the TFEU allows the EU to act in the wider area of equal opportunities and equal treatment in matters of employment and occupation;

64.  Notes with appreciation that the CJEU’s broad interpretation of the concept of equal pay for equal work, as articulated in its rulings and in its extensive case law on the relevant article, has certainly broadened the possibilities of combating both direct and indirect gender discrimination as regards pay, and of narrowing the gender pay gap, but stresses that more remains to be done to eliminate the persisting gender pay gap in the EU;

65.  Is deeply saddened that the introduction of legal principles outlawing inequality in pay between men and women has not proved sufficient on its own to eradicate the persisting gender pay gap; stresses that recast Directive 2006/54/EC requires that the Member States ensure that all provisions of collective agreements, wage scales, wage agreements and individual employment contracts that are contrary to the principle of equal pay shall be or may be declared null and void, or may be amended;

66.  Stresses that both the Member States and the Commission should pay attention to the implementation of EU law, especially the provisions concerning equality in terms of payment; reiterates the importance of mainstreaming the principle of equality between women and men in a number of EU directives and considers alternative instruments to be valuable tools for the correct implementation of EU law; recalls the importance of raising awareness of the provisions of the existing directives tackling various aspects of the principle of equality between women and men and of delivering it in practice; highlights that collective bargaining may allow for the further application of EU law on equal pay for equal work between women and men, parental leave, working conditions and working hours, including a weekly common day of rest, to achieve work-life balance for women and men and to improve their situation on the labour market;

67.  Recalls its resolution of 15 January 2013 calling for the adoption of an EU regulation on a European law of administrative procedure under Article 298 of the TFEU; notes with disappointment that the Commission has failed to follow up on Parliament’s call on it to submit a proposal for a legislative act on a law of administrative procedure;

68.  Recognises the importance of collecting data, if possible disaggregated by gender, for evaluating the progress made in advancing women’s rights;

69.  Regrets the shortcomings of the Commission’s approach to animal welfare, ignoring as it does the serious inconsistencies reported by a large number of citizens who have exercised the right of petition; reiterates its call for the launching of a new strategy at EU level to bridge all the existing gaps and ensure full and effective protection of animal welfare through a clear and comprehensive legislative framework that fully meets the requirements of Article 13 of the TFEU;

70.  Calls on the Commission to examine thoroughly the petitions relating to the differing quality of food products from the same brand in different Member States; urges the Commission to put an end to unfair practices and to ensure that all consumers are treated equally;

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0385.
(2) OJ L 304, 20.11.2010, p. 47.
(3) OJ L 174, 27.6.2001, p. 25.
(4) OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
(5) OJ C 316, 22.9.2017, p. 246.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0409.
(7) OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 126.
(8) OJ C 440, 30.12.2015, p. 17.
(9) OJ C 369, 17.12.2011, p. 14.
(10) OJ C 369, 17.12.2011, p. 15.
(11) OJ C 18, 19.1.2017, p. 10.
(12) Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 20 September 2016 in Joined Cases C-8/15 P to C-10/15 P, Ledra Advertising Ltd (C-8/15 P), Andreas Eleftheriou (C-9/15 P), Eleni Eleftheriou (C-9/15 P), Lilia Papachristofi (C-9/15 P), Christos Theophilou (C-10/15 P), Eleni Theophilou (C-10/15 P) v European Commission and European Central Bank (ECLI:EU:C:2016:701).
(13) OJ L 193, 19.7.2016, p. 1.
(14) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0414.
(15) OJ L 124, 17.5.2005, p. 4.
(16) ACCC/C/2008/32 (EU), Part II, adopted 17 March 2017.
(17) OJ L 186, 19.7.2017, p. 15.
(18) OJ L 348, 24.12.2008, p. 98.

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