Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 - Strasbourg
Mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Latvia
 EU development assistance in the field of education
 Energy efficiency ***I
 Governance of the Energy Union ***I
 Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources ***I
 Multiannual plan for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks ***I
 The rule of law in Romania
 Minimum standards for minorities in the EU
 Digitalisation for development: reducing poverty through technology

Mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Latvia
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 13 November 2018 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Latvia (COM(2018)0658 – C8-0416/2018 – 2018/2230(BUD))
P8_TA(2018)0440A8-0357/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0658 – C8‑0416/2018),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund(1),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2), and in particular Article 10 thereof,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3), and in particular point 11 thereof,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Regional Development,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0357/2018),

1.  Welcomes the decision as a sign of the Union’s solidarity with Union citizens and the regions hit by the natural disaster;

2.  Stresses the urgent need to release financial assistance through the European Union Solidarity Fund ('the Fund') to the regions affected by the natural disaster in the Union in 2017;

3.  Supports Member States using European structural and investment funds for the reconstruction of the affected regions; invites the Commission to support and rapidly approve the financial reallocation of the partnership agreements requested by Member State to this end;

4.  Calls on Member States to utilise the financial contribution from the Fund in a transparent way, guaranteeing a fair distribution throughout the affected regions;

5.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

6.  Instructs its President to sign the decision with the President of the Council and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

7.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution, including its annex, to the Council and the Commission.

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Latvia

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2018/1859.)

(1) OJ L 311, 14.11.2002, p. 3.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.


EU development assistance in the field of education
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European Parliament resolution of 13 November 2018 on EU development assistance in the field of education (2018/2081(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0441A8-0327/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which stipulates that ‘[e]veryone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages’,

–  having regard to the document entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015, which recognises that equity, inclusion and gender equality are inextricably linked to the right to education for all,

–  having regard to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 4: ‘Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning’, and to the 2015 Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action for the Implementation of SDG 4, which states that ‘gender equality is inextricably linked to the right to education for all’,

–  having regard to Recommendation No 36 (2017) of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women General on the Right of Girls and Women to Education,

–  having regard to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 27 July 2015,

–  having regard to United Nations Human Rights Council resolution 35/L2 of 22 June 2017, entitled ‘The right to education: follow-up to Human Rights Council resolution 8/4’,

–  having regard to the 2002 Commission Communication entitled ‘Education and training in the context of poverty reduction in developing countries’ (COM(2002)0116),

–  having regard to the 2010 Commission working document on strengthening and improving education in the developing countries, entitled ‘More and Better Education in Developing Countries’ (SEC(2010)0121),

–  having regard to the 2018 Commission Communication entitled ‘Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises’ (COM(2018)0304),

–  having regard to the Charlevoix Declaration on quality education for girls, adolescent girls and women in developing countries, adopted by the G7 on 9 June 2018,

–  having regard to the European Consensus on Development and the EU Code of Conduct on Division of Labour in Development Policy (COM(2007)0072),

–  having regard to its resolution of 31 May 2018 on the implementation of the Joint Staff Working Document (SWD(2015)0182) – Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations 2016-2020(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2018 on enhancing developing countries’ debt sustainability(2),

–  having regard to the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report published in 2017, entitled ‘Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments’,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development (A8-0327/2018),

A.  whereas education is a fundamental human right and is central to the achievement of all the SDGs; whereas education prevents the transmission of poverty between generations and plays a pivotal role in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment; whereas the rights that should be respected in education go beyond mere arithmetical equality and include promotion of genuine gender equality in and through education;

B.  whereas the Commission’s latest communication on education in developing countries dates back to 2002 and was updated only in 2010 by a working document;

C.  whereas education aid accounted for 8,3 % of total development aid in 2009; whereas this share had fallen to 6,2 % by 2015; whereas for the Union and its Member States this share fell from 11 to 7,6 % over the same period;

D.  whereas the aid allocated to basic education by the Union and its Member States decreased by 33,9 % between 2009 and 2015, i.e. more than education aid in general (15,2 %);

E.  whereas in 2015, 264 million children and young people of primary or secondary school age were not enrolled in school;

F.  whereas at the end of 2017 there were more than 25,4 million refugees around the world, 7,4 million of whom were primary school-age children, and whereas 4 million of those children did not have access to any form of primary education; whereas in countries affected by fragility and conflicts there are 37% more girls than boys out of primary school, and whereas young women are nearly 90% more likely to be out of secondary school than their male counterparts in countries not affected by conflict;

G.  whereas the UN Sustainable Development Goals Report (2017) states that, in 2011, only around one quarter of schools in sub-Saharan Africa had electricity and fewer than half had access to drinking water; whereas sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest percentage of trained teachers in both primary and secondary education;

H.  whereas support for education in developing countries has previously focused too much on the quantity of students enrolled and not enough on the quality of the education provided; whereas the aim of SDG 4 is to deliver quality education for all by 2030;

I.  having regard to the difficulties experienced by some businesses in developing countries in finding staff with the skills that they require;

J.  whereas the efforts made since 2016, welcome though they are, have not been sufficient to clear the backlog and must therefore be continued over time and increased;

K.  whereas, according to UNESCO, support for education in low-income countries and lower middle-income countries would need to be increased sixfold if SDG 4 is to be achieved by 2030; whereas, according to the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, education aid must reach USD 89 billion by 2030, as against USD 12 billion today;

Placing education at the centre of development

1.  Is convinced that education aid must be a priority, because education is a fundamental right, but also because it is essential for the achievement of the other SDGs: for economic development and reducing inequalities, for gender equality, to help girls and women to become self-sufficient, for the social inclusion of persons with a disability and for health, democracy and the rule of law and conflict prevention;

2.  Deplores, therefore, the fact that education aid is not a priority for international donors; urges that education be placed at the centre of the development policies of the European Union and its Member States;

3.  Acknowledges that achieving SDG 4 calls for massive investment in education systems; takes the view that this investment will first have to be made by developing countries, but that international aid will continue to be indispensable to bridge the gap in funding;

4.  Calls on the Commission to update its communication on education and training in the context of poverty reduction in developing countries, which dates back to 2002, and its working document of 2010; considers that the new communication will need to set out a plan for achieving SDG 4 by 2030;

5.  Calls on the Union and its Member States to devote 10 % of their official development assistance (ODA) to education by 2024, and 15 % by 2030;

6.  Observes that the greater efforts needed on the part of developing countries to promote fair tax systems and combat illegal financial flows and increases in ODA will not be sufficient to bridge the funding gap; calls, therefore, for the creation of innovative funding instruments which leverage and are aligned with existing funding mechanisms and initiatives, in order to bolster national education systems;

7.  Is following with interest the proposal made by the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity to set up an International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd), provided that it genuinely complements and does not replace current efforts; considers that this initiative should be pursued in synergy with the work of the Global Partnership for Education; considers that particular attention should be paid to the creditworthiness of eligible countries before funding is granted;

8.  Notes that the EU’s 20 % ODA target for social inclusion and human development, which covers basic social services, including health and education, is imprecise and does not make proper monitoring of expenditure possible; calls for the quantified targets to be included in the next Multiannual Financial Framework;

Tackling the priorities

9.  Recalls that basic learning, including digital literacy, is a prerequisite for skills development and induction into working life, that girls’ education is a key lever for achieving the SDGs, for health and well-being and for the establishment of peaceful societies, and that the least developed countries (LDCs) are suffering most from a lack of funding, although they are the countries where investment generates the greatest human, social, economic and health benefits;

10.  Recalls that empowering vulnerable groups is critical to ending poverty; insists that all persons, irrespective of sex, ethnicity, language, religion, political or other opinion, as well as persons with a disability, migrants and indigenous peoples, should have access to inclusive, equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities;

11.  Considers, therefore, that the European Union’s education aid must first and foremost cater for two priorities: quality, inclusive basic education, and enhanced support for the LDCs;

12.  Stresses, in particular, the importance of SDG 4.1, whose aim is a full, quality12-year primary and secondary education cycle, provided free of charge for all; reiterates that education should be a key pillar of the Africa-EU partnership, in keeping with the strategic priorities approved at the 2017 European Union-African Union summit; considers that the condition of being ‘free of charge’ should apply not only to schooling itself, but also to hidden costs, such as school supplies, transport and food; Takes the view that States should consider scholarship schemes to provide schooling for the most disadvantaged children; points out that it is important to guarantee pluralism and freedom of choice for parents; insists, nevertheless, that the European Union and the Member States, in accordance with SDG 4.1 and Article 26 of the UDHR, must not use ODA to support private, commercial educational establishments, which do not uphold the Union’s principles and values;

13.  Calls on the Union and its Member States to devote at least half of their education aid to basic education by 2030;

14.  Calls, further, for at least 40 % of education aid from the EU and Member States to be channelled to the LDCs;

15.  Calls for particular attention to be paid to equality between girls and boys in school, a vital factor in achieving sustainable development and the upholding the principle of leaving no one behind; calls on the EU to promote inclusive, quality education, in order to remove barriers to girls’ access to, participation in and completion of education; recalls the objective that 85 % of new EU programmes should have gender equality as their primary objective, or as a significant objective, by 2020; calls, lastly, for support to shape education systems which address the needs of students with a disability and other minorities and vulnerable groups, taking account of specific local circumstances;

16.  Welcomes the Commission’s adoption of its communication on education in emergencies and protracted crises and the objective of devoting 10 % of the Union’s humanitarian aid to education from 2019;

17.  Recalls that the education of refugee or displaced children must be regarded as a priority from the very outset; emphasises the importance of supporting countries affected by fragility and conflict to improve the resilience of their education systems and guarantee access to quality education - including secondary education - for refugee children and young refugees, internally displaced children and their host communities;

18.  Stresses the need for a more integrated - i.e. involving all stakeholders - rapid, systematic and effective response to education needs in emergencies, in line with the principle of linking emergency aid, rehabilitation and development;

19.  Notes that some targeted countries are unable or unwilling to meet the basic needs of their population, including educational needs; calls for the most suitable civil society partner to be identified and for good practices employed in the field by NGOs and other actors to be enhanced and scaled up;

20.  Recalls the importance of secondary and technical education and vocational training for youth employability and sustainable development; considers that the latter must lead to decent jobs and be geared to countries’ development requirements and the needs of businesses, in coordination with them and, as far as possible, financed by them; draws attention to the existence of projects by means of which the private sector supports training centres, and calls on the Commission to consider how the development of such initiatives could be funded; points out that the EU’s External Investment Plan could be used to achieve these objectives, and calls for the strategic involvement of civil society organisations (CSOs) in planning and implementation in this field;

21.  Is concerned about the phenomenon of the ‘brain drain’; notes that some Member States allocate more than half their education aid to meeting the costs of schooling on their territory; considers that increases in education aid must lead to this proportion being reduced; calls on Member States to explore and employ good practices and experiences, such as academic and professional exchanges; considers that multiple-entry visas would enable the students involved to update their knowledge and promote circular mobility; calls, at the same time, for incentives or measures to be introduced which encourage students to work in the economic or governmental sector of their home country after their return for a minimum period, so that the knowledge acquired primarily benefits the partner countries;

22.  Notes that good teaching is critical for learning; notes with concern that the quality and availability of teacher training, the scarcity of textbooks and equipment and class size remain serious problems, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa; emphasises that efforts must be made to improve the initial and in-service training of teachers, with a focus on their pedagogical knowledge and skills, and their recruitment, remuneration and working conditions, not least in order to encourage them to stay and pass on their knowledge to future generations; calls for more exchange programmes between teachers from developing countries and from EU Member States, e.g. through Erasmus+;

23.  Notes the massive investment needed in school infrastructure and equipment, in particular in rural or underpopulated areas, to ensure equal access to education for all, without discrimination;

24.  Stresses the importance of new technologies as a way of improving access to education and its quality, particularly for the dissemination of knowledge, training, teacher development and pedagogy and the management of educational establishments; emphasises the need to seize the opportunity offered by digitalisation to bring knowledge and modern teaching methods to developing countries; draws attention to the fact that these new technologies must support educational efforts, rather than replacing them and lowering teaching standards; calls for better assessment of the impact of technological investment on learning outcomes; emphasises the need to improve digital skills in order to promote the empowerment of women and girls;

25.  Calls for increased efforts to address the challenges of digital exclusion through education and training in essential digital skills and initiatives to facilitate the use of ICTs; calls, further, for digital literacy to be introduced in school curricula at all levels of education in developing countries, so that pupils can acquire the skills needed to improve access to information;

26.  Points out that education must pave the way for the next generation to live fully productive lives in a world which will have been changed by robotisation and automation; takes the view that, in order to meet the expectations of both job-seekers and businesses, the training available must genuinely make people more employable and that, if that aim is to be achieved, partnerships with the private sector in the field of vocational education should not be ruled out; stresses, in that connection, the importance of flexibility and skills, and also of life skills and social skills, in education; is convinced that, in addition to academic knowledge, at school children need to acquire thinking skills, so that they can ask the right questions, and creative skills, so that they can put ideas into action, and that lifelong learning should prepare them for lifelong action;

27.  Stresses the link between education and health; observes that school medicine and health education, in addition to promoting learning, are a way of reaching out to large sections of society; emphasises the need to develop a comprehensive, integrated approach to sex education for girls and boys that addresses health issues, such as HIV, family planning and pregnancy, and also helps to achieve broader outcomes, such as improving access to education for girls; stresses the importance of care providers in offering psycho-social support, especially in conflict-hit countries, in order to improve young children's resilience;

28.  Encourages States to arrange for young children to receive at least one year of free pre-primary schooling, in accordance with SDG 4.2;

29.  Reiterates that an enabling environment, including the involvement of parents, nutritional aspects, health and safety and access to electricity, water and proper sanitation, is a prerequisite for quality education, so that boys and girls can genuinely benefit from school and completion rates, especially in primary education, improve;

Improving the quality of aid

30.  Considers that assessments of education systems, including education provided by non-State institutions, of the quality of teaching and of learning outcomes are a prerequisite for any improvement in the effectiveness of aid; calls on the Commission and the Member States to finance research, aggregation of data and reliable, technical, non-discriminatory and independent assessment tools;

31.  Considers it vital to improve coordination of donors in local groups for education, in order to prevent duplication of and even conflict between aid efforts; calls on Member States to make more systematic use of joint programming and delegation; recalls that development aid must not be subordinated to a strategy geared to wielding influence;

32.  Emphasises that governments have an obligation to ensure that their people enjoy the right to education; stresses, therefore, the need to ensure that duty bearers at all levels can deliver services for all and establish equitable, accessible and non-discriminatory national education institutions, strategies and plans with genuine ownership, and based on significant consultation and strategic involvement of key stakeholders, including civil society, with specific objectives and monitoring mechanisms, continuous assessments and inspections, a clear and transparent demarcation of responsibilities, and allocation of resources subject to independent monitoring; encourages the adoption of national regulatory frameworks for the establishment and operation of education services;

33.  Emphasises the importance of the predictability of aid and its ownership by the partner States; points out, in that connection, that budget support and aid from multilateral organisations are the most effective ways of meeting these requirements;

34.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to give priority to sectoral budget support where possible, subject to strict criteria, including good governance, and extensive checks, in particular to prevent corruption; recalls that beneficiary third countries undertake to reimburse payments in the event of serious irregularities; advocates involving civil society in the monitoring of financing agreements; stresses the need to establish a monitoring mechanism to determine whether development aid has been misused and impose penalties accordingly, including the reallocation of financial resources in order to increase support for countries which employ more effective practices in this field;

35.  Encourages the Commission and Member States to promote the role of local authorities and CSOs in the preparation and implementation of education support programmes, including in the framework of budget support;

36.  Notes that only one-third of education aid is channelled through multilateral bodies, as against two-thirds in the field of health; calls, therefore, on the Commission and Member States to increase their funding for the Global Partnership for Education and the Education Cannot Wait Fund; takes the view that, in its next Strategic Plan for the years after 2020, the Global Partnership should be put in a position to extend its programming period from three to six years to facilitate more stable and predictable funding, which is particularly necessary in order to strengthen national education systems;

o
o   o

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

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0239.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0104.


Energy efficiency ***I
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Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 13 November 2018 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (COM(2016)0761 – C8-0498/2016 – 2016/0376(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0442A8-0391/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0761),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 194(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0498/2016),

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

–  having regard to Protocol No 1 on the role of national parliaments in the European Union,

–  having regard to Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality,

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

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

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 29 June 2018 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0391/2017),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 13 November 2018 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2018/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency

P8_TC1-COD(2016)0376


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive (EU) 2018/2002.)

(1) OJ C 246, 28.7.2017, p. 42.
(2) OJ C 342, 12.10.2017, p. 119.
(3) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 17 January 2018 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0010).


Governance of the Energy Union ***I
PDF 124kWORD 55k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 13 November 2018 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Governance of the Energy Union, amending Directive 94/22/EC, Directive 98/70/EC, Directive 2009/31/EC, Regulation (EC) No 663/2009, Regulation (EC) No 715/2009, Directive 2009/73/EC, Council Directive 2009/119/EC, Directive 2010/31/EU, Directive 2012/27/EU, Directive 2013/30/EU and Council Directive (EU) 2015/652 and repealing Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 (COM(2016)0759 – C8-0497/2016 – 2016/0375(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0443A8-0402/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0759),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) as well as Article 192(1) and Article 194(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0497/2016),

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

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

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

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 29 June 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 joint deliberations of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (A8-0402/2017),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 13 November 2018 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2018/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, amending Directive 94/22/EC, Directive 98/70/EC, Directive 2009/31/EC, Regulation (EC) No 663/2009, Regulation (EC) No 715/2009, Directive 2009/73/EC, Council Directive 2009/119/EC, Directive 2010/31/EU, Directive 2012/27/EU, Directive 2013/30/EU and Council Directive (EU) 2015/652 and repealing Regulation (EU) No 525/2013

P8_TC1-COD(2016)0375


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2018/1999.)

(1) OJ C 246, 28.7.2017, p. 34.
(2) OJ C 342, 12.10.2017, p. 111.
(3)This position replaces the amendments adopted on 17 January 2018 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0011).


Promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources ***I
PDF 124kWORD 56k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 13 November 2018 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast) (COM(2016)0767 – C8-0500/2016 – 2016/0382(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0444A8-0392/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure – recast)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0767),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 194(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0500/2016),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs on the proposed legal basis,

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

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

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 28 November 2001 on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal acts(2),

–  having regard to the letter of 20 October 2017 from the Committee on Legal Affairs to the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy in accordance with Rule 104(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  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 26 June 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 Rules 104, 59 and 39 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on Development, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the Committee on Petitions (A8-0392/2017),

A.  whereas, according to the Consultative Working Party of the legal services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the Commission proposal does not include any substantive amendments other than those identified as such in the proposal and whereas, as regards the codification of the unchanged provisions of the earlier acts together with those amendments, the proposal contains a straightforward codification of the existing texts, without any change in their substance;

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out(3), taking into account the recommendations of the Consultative Working Party of the legal services of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission;

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 13 November 2018 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2018/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

P8_TC1-COD(2016)0382


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive (EU) 2018/2001.)

(1) OJ C 246, 28.7.2017, p. 55.
(2) OJ C 77, 28.3.2002, p. 1.
(3) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 17 January 2018 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0009).


Multiannual plan for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks ***I
PDF 249kWORD 77k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 13 November 2018 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multi-annual plan for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks (COM(2017)0097 – C8-0095/2017 – 2017/0043(COD))
P8_TA(2018)0445A8-0337/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0097),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and 43(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0095/2017),

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

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries and the position in the form of amendments of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0337/2018),

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 13 November 2018 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) .../... of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multi-annual plan for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea and the fisheries exploiting those stocks

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0043


THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 43(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee(2),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(3),

Whereas:

(1)  The common fisheries policy (CFP) should contribute to the protection of the marine environment, to the sustainable management of all commercially exploited species, and in particular to the achievement of good environmental status in the marine environment by 2020 in accordance with Article 1(1) of Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(4), and favourable conservation status for species and habitats in accordance with Council Directive 92/43/EEC(5) and Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(6). [Am. 1]

(1a)   At the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development held in New York in 2015, the Union and its Member States committed themselves, by 2020, to effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks, in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics. [Am. 2]

(2)  Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(7) establishes the rules of the CFP in line with the international obligations of the Union. The objectives of the CFP are, inter alia, to ensure that fishing and aquaculture activities are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable in the long term, to apply the precautionary approach to fisheries management, and to implement the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management. [Am. 3]

(2a)  In accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, fisheries management based on the best available scientific advice requires harmonised, reliable and accurate data sets. [Am. 4]

(3)  Scientific advice from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) and from the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean’s Scientific Advisory Committee (GFCM — SAC) has indicated that the exploitation of anchovy and sardine stocks in the Adriatic Sea exceeds the levels required to achieve the maximum sustainable yield (MSY).

(3a)  The Adriatic Sea is an important sub-area within the Mediterranean, accounting for around one-third of the total landings value. [Am. 5]

(4)  Despite being managed under both an international management plan under the GFCM and national management plans adopted under Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006(8), Adriatic anchovy and sardine stocks continue to be overexploited and the current management measures are considered to be insufficient to achieve MSY by 2020. Member States and stakeholders have expressed support for the development and implementation of management plans for these two stocks at Union level.

(4a)   The management plans implemented and the technical measures introduced in 2016 are due to produce effects on the stocks and have to be analysed and taken into consideration when establishing the multiannual plan for the pelagic stocks in the region. [Am. 6]

(4b)   The introduction of a minimum escapement approach requires changes to the biological sampling and research protocols which will take time, therefore requiring a transition period before it can be implemented. [Am. 99]

(5)  Current management measures for small pelagics in the Adriatic Sea concern access to waters, control of fishing effort, and technical measures to regulate gears' usage. Scientific advice has indicated that controlling catches is the most appropriate means of adapting fishing mortality and it would be a more effective management tool for small pelagics(9). [Am. 7]

(6)  To achieve the objectives of the CFP, a number of conservation measures are to be adopted as appropriate in any combination thereof, such as multi-annual multiannual plans, and technical measures, fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities. [Am. 8]

(6a)   The Adriatic Sea small pelagic fishery, especially in the Geographical Sub-Areas 17 and 18, has a very important socio-economic impact for the Member States’ coastal community’s livelihood and future. [Am. 9]

(6b)   In line with the principles and objectives of the CFP and pursuant to Article 18 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, regionalisation should be used to adopt and implement measures that take into account the specificities of each fisheries area and safeguard their environmental conditions. [Am. 10]

(6c)   Fishing opportunities should be allocated in accordance with the principles laid down in Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, using transparent and objective criteria, including those of an environmental, social and economic nature. Fishing opportunities should also be fairly distributed across the various fisheries segments, including traditional and small-scale fisheries. Moreover, Member States should provide incentives to fishing vessels deploying selective fishing gear or using fishing techniques with reduced environmental impact. [Am. 11]

(7)  Pursuant to Articles 9 and 10 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, multiannual plans are to be based on the best available scientific, technical and economic advice and contain objectives, quantifiable targets with clear timeframes, conservation reference points, objectives for conservation and technical measures for the implementation of the landing obligation, as well as measures designed to avoid and reduce unwanted catches as far as possible, and safeguards. [Am. 12]

(8)  The objective of the multiannual plan should be to contribute to achieving the objectives of the CFP, and especially reaching restoring and maintaining MSY for the fish stocks concerned above biomass levels capable of producing MSY, implementing the landing obligation, achieving a sustainable fisheries sector and providing an effective management framework. [Am. 13]

(8a)   This Regulation should not be considered as a precedent for other multiannual plans in the Mediterranean Sea unless otherwise provided. [Am. 14]

(8b)   A multiannual plan should always find a balance between the achievable result, taking into consideration the timeframe, and the socio-economic impact. [Am. 15]

(9)  Moreover, Article 15 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 introduced a landing obligation, including for all catches of species which are subject to minimum sizes as defined in Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006. By way of derogation from Article 15(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1392/2014(10) established a three year discard plan providing for a de minimis exemption from the landing obligation for anchovy, sardine, mackerel and horse mackerel in the Adriatic Sea. In order to implement the landing obligation, it is appropriate to extend the validity of the measures laid down in Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1392/2014, by including its respective provisions in the multiannual plan.

(10)  In line with the ecosystem-based approach and in addition, this plan should also contribute to the fisheries-related descriptor of achievement of good environmental status, as laid down in Directive 2008/56/EC, and qualitative descriptors 1, 4 and 6 contained in Annex I to the Directive are to be considered in the framework of fisheries management. This plan should also contribute to the achievement of favourable conservation status for habitats and species as required by Directive 2009/147/EC and Directive 92/43/EEC respectively. [Am. 16]

(11)  Article 16(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 requires that fishing opportunities be fixed in accordance with the targets set out in the multiannual plans. [Am. 17]

(12)  It is appropriate to establish the target fishing mortality (F) that corresponds to the objective of reaching and maintaining MSY as ranges of values which are consistent with achieving maximum sustainable yield (FMSY). Those ranges, based on best available scientific advice, are necessary in order to provide flexibility to take account of developments in the scientific advice, to contribute to the implementation of the landing obligation and to take into account the characteristics of mixed fisheries. The FMSY ranges have been calculated by STECF and (11). Based on this plan they are derived to deliver no more than a 5 % reduction in long-term yield compared to MSY(12). In addition, the upper limit of the range is capped, so that the probability of the stock falling below Blim is no more than 5 %. [Am. 18]

(13)  For the purposes of fixing fishing opportunities, there reaching the objectives of the multiannual plan, the target for each of the species should be a threshold for FMSY ranges in normal use and, provided that the stock concerned is considered to be in a good state, a higher limit for certain cases SSBpa. It should only be possible to fix fishing opportunities up to the a higher limit target if, on the basis of scientific advice or evidence, it is necessary for the achievement of the objectives laid down in this Regulation in mixed fisheries or necessary to avoid harm to a stock caused by intra- or inter-species stock dynamics, or in order to limit the year-on-year variations in fishing opportunities where one of the stocks of small pelagics is below SSBlim. [Am. 19]

(14)  Where the targets relating to MSY are not available, the precautionary approach should apply.

(15)  For stocks for which they are available and For the purpose of the application of safeguard measures, it is necessary to establish conservation reference points expressed as MSY Btrigger and Blim for anchovy and sardine stocks SSBlim and SSBpa for small pelagics. Should the stocks fall below MSY Btrigger, fishing mortality should be reduced below FMSY SSBlim, appropriate remedial measures should be adopted to contribute to the rapid return of the stock concerned to levels above SSBpa. [Am. 20]

(16)  Further safeguard measures should be implemented in case the stock size falls below the Blim reference point. Safeguard measures should include the reduction of fishing opportunities and specific conservation measures when scientific advice indicates that a stock is under threat. Those measures should be supplemented by other measures, as appropriate, such as Commission measures in accordance with Article 12 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 or Member States measures in accordance with Article 13 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013. [Am. 21]

(17)  For stocks where the reference points are not available, the precautionary principle should apply. In the specific case of stocks taken as by-catches, in the absence of scientific advice on the levels of minimum spawning biomass of such stocks, specific conservation measures should be adopted when scientific advice indicates that remedial measures are needed. [Am. 22]

(18)  In order to enable the implementation of the landing obligation established by Article 15(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, the plan should provide for additional management measures, in particular measures to gradually eliminate discards, to count fish below the minimum conservation reference size and to minimise, and where possible eliminate, the negative impacts of fishing activities on the marine environment. Such measures should be laid down by means of delegated acts. [Am. 23]

(18a)  A joint recommendation by Croatia, Italy and Slovenia (Adriatica High-Level Group) and a study on technical characteristics of purse seine nets and their impact on bottom communities were submitted to, and revised by, independent experts and STECF. It is therefore appropriate to provide for a derogation from the second subparagraph of Article 13(3) of and point 2 of Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006. [Am. 24]

(19)  The deadline for submitting joint recommendations from Member States having direct management interest should be established, as required by Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013.

(19a)   When scientific advice indicates that recreational fisheries have a significant impact on the fishing mortality of a particular stock, the Council should take them into account. To that effect the Council should be able to set a total allowable catch (TAC) for commercial catches which takes into account the volume of recreational catches and/or to adopt other measures restricting recreational fisheries such as bag limits and closure periods. [Am. 25]

(20)  The plan should also provide for certain accompanying technical, as well as temporal and spatial measures to be adopted, by means of delegated acts, and taking into account the best available scientific advice, in order to contribute to achieving the objectives of the plan, in particular as regards the protection of juvenile fish or to improve selectivity. [Am. 26]

(20a)   Artisanal fishing gear based on historical practices established in fishing communities should be safeguarded when defining the technical measures resulting from the multiannual plan or delegated acts adopted pursuant to it. [Am. 27]

(21)  With a view to ensuring full compliance with the measures laid down in this Regulation, specific control measures should be adopted to complement those provided for in Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009(13).

(21a)   In order to enable the industry to cope with the fishing effort reduction measures and the consequent reduction in income for businesses and for seafarers, there should be arrangements for priority access to appropriate support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council(14). [Am. 28]

(21b)   In order to ensure an implementation which is consistent with the socio-economic impacts, it is therefore desirable, on the one hand, to grant derogations from the time limits for temporary cessation measures as referred to in Article 33 of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014, extending it only to the vessels covered by this multiannual plan and, on the other hand, to allow reopening of and access by the same vessels to the permanent cessation measures provided for in Article 34 of that Regulation. [Am. 29]

(22)  Recognising that in the Adriatic Sea vessels targeting small pelagics tend to carry out short fishing trips, the use of prior notification as required under Article 17 of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 should be adapted so that the prior notifications are submitted at least one and a half half an hour before the estimated time of arrival at port. However, considering the limited effect of fishing trips involving very small quantities of fish on the stocks concerned, it is appropriate to establish a threshold for such prior notifications, when these vessels retain on board at least 1 tonne of anchovy or of sardine small pelagics. [Am. 30]

(23)  Recognising that electronic control tools ensure a better and more timely control of the fisheries, in particular of the spatial distribution of fishing activities and of the exploitation of the stocks, the use of vessel monitoring system and of electronic logbook, as required, respectively, under Articles 9 and 15 of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 should be extended to all fishing vessels of an overall length of eight metres.

(24)  Thresholds should be established for catches of anchovy and sardine small pelagics above which a fishing vessel is required to land in a designated port or a place close to the shore, in accordance with Article 43 of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009. Moreover, when designating those ports or places close to the shore, Member States should apply the criteria provided for in Article 43(5) of that Regulation in such a way as to ensure effective control. [Am. 31]

(25)  In order to adapt to the technical and scientific progress in a timely and proportionate fashion and to ensure flexibility and allow evolution of certain measures, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission in respect of supplementing this Regulation as regards remedial measures for the conservation of mackerel and horse mackerel, implementation of the landing obligation and technical measures. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that those consultations be conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making(15). In particular, to ensure equal participation in the preparation of delegated acts, the European Parliament and the Council receive all documents at the same time as Member States' experts, and their experts systematically have access to meetings of Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts. [Am. 32]

(26)  In accordance with Article 10(3) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, provisions should be established for the periodical assessment by the Commission of the adequacy and effectiveness of the application of this Regulation. Such assessment should follow and be based on a periodic evaluation of the plan that is based on scientific advice. The plan should be evaluated three years after the date of entry into force of this Regulation and every five years thereafter. That period allows for the full implementation of the landing obligation, and for regionalised measures to be adopted, implemented and to show effects on the stocks and fishery. It is also a minimum required period by scientific bodies. [Am. 33]

(27)  In accordance with Article 9(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, prior to drafting the plan, its likely economic and social impact was assessed(16).

(27a)   In order to support fishermen in the implementation of the measures provided for in this Regulation, Member States should make the widest possible use of the measures available under Regulation (EU) No 508/2014. It is appropriate to clarify that temporary cessation measures that have been adopted in order to attain the objectives of this Regulation can be deemed eligible for support under Regulation (EU) No 508/2014, in order to take into account the socio-economic aspects of this Regulation. Furthermore, it is appropriate to grant a derogation, for vessels affected by this multiannual plan, from the periods during which support can be granted as well as from the cap on the financial contribution from the EMFF for temporary cessation measures laid down in Regulation (EU) No 508/2014, [Am. 34]

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

Subject-matter and scope

1.  This Regulation establishes a multiannual plan for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea.

2.  This Regulation shall apply to the stocks of anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) and sardine (Sardina pilchardus) in the Adriatic Sea ("the stocks concernedsmall pelagics") and for to the fisheries exploiting targeting these stocks. It For the purpose of implementing the landing obligation established in Article 15 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, this Regulation shall apply also to by-catches of mackerel (Scomber spp.) and horse mackerel (Trachurus spp.) in the Adriatic Sea caught when fishing for either or both of the stocks concerned small pelagics. [Am. 35]

Article 2

Definitions

1.  For the purposes of this Regulation, the definitions laid down in Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 and Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 shall apply.

2.  In addition, the following definitions shall apply:

(a)  ‘Adriatic Sea’ means GFCM Geographical Sub-Areas 17 and 18;

(b)  ‘GFCM Geographical Sub-Area’ means General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) Geographical Sub-Area as defined in Annex I to Regulation (EU) No 1343/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council(17);

(ba)  ‘Targeting’ means account of at least 50 % of sardine or anchovy of the catch in live weight; [Am. 37]

(c)  ‘Small pelagic stocks pelagics’ means the stocks listed in Article 1(2) of this Regulation and any combination thereof of sardine (Sardina pilchardus) and anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus); [Am. 38]

(ca)  “Best available scientific advice" refers to publicly available scientific advice that is supported by the most up-to-date scientific data and methods which has either been issued or peer-reviewed by an independent Union or international scientific body that is recognised at Union or international level such as the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) and the GFCM, and meet the requirements of Article 25 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013. [Am. 104]

(d)  ‘Range of FMSY’ means a range of values where all levels of fishing mortality within the scientifically indicated boundaries of that range, in situations of mixed fisheries and in accordance with scientific advice, result in the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the long term under existing average environmental conditions without significantly affecting the reproduction process for the stocks concerned; [Am. 39]

(da)  ‘Fishing day’ means any continuous period of 24 hours, or any part thereof, when a fishing vessel is engaged in fishing activity, such as searching for fish, shooting, setting, towing, hauling of a fishing gear, taking catch on board, transhipping, retaining on board, processing on board, transferring, caging, fattening and landing of fish and fishery products, as defined in point 28 of Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013; [Am. 40]

(db)  ‘SSBlim’ means the spawning stock biomass reference point below which remedial management action is to be taken to ensure that the stock is rebuilt to a level where it is within safe biological limits; [Am. 41]

(dc)  ‘SSBpa’ means the precautionary spawning stock biomass reference point below which management action is to be taken to ensure that the stock is rebuilt to a level where it is within safe biological limits; [Am. 42]

(e)  ‘MSY Btrigger’ means the spawning stock biomass reference point below which specific and appropriate management action is to be taken to ensure that exploitation rates in combination with natural variations rebuild stocks above levels capable of producing MSY in the long term. [Am. 43]

(f)  'Fishing opportunity' means a quantified legal entitlement to fish, expressed in terms of catches and/or fishing effort.

Article 3

Objectives

1.  The multiannual plan shall contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the common fisheries policy listed in Article 2 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, in particular by applying the precautionary approach to fisheries management, and shall aim to ensure that exploitation of living marine biological resources restores and maintains populations of harvested species above levels which can produce MSY. [Am. 45]

2.  The multiannual plan shall provide an effective, simple and stable management framework for the exploitation of small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea.

2a.   The multiannual plan shall take into account the socio-economic aspects when it is developed or changed, in accordance with Article 2(5) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013. [Am. 47]

3.  The multiannual plan shall contribute to the elimination reduction of discards by avoiding and reducing, as far as possible, unwanted catches, and to the implementation of the landing obligation established in Article 15 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 for the species which are subject to it and to which this Regulation applies. [Am. 48]

4.  The multiannual plan shall implement the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management in order to ensure that negative impacts of fishing activities on the marine ecosystem, particularly threatened habitats and protected species including marine mammals, seabirds and reptiles, are minimised, and where possible eliminated. It shall be coherent with Union environmental legislation, in particular with the objective of achieving good environmental status by 2020 as set out in Article 1(1) of Directive 2008/56/EC, and with the targets and rules laid down in Directives 2009/147/EC and 92/43/EEC. [Am. 49]

5.  In particular, the multiannual plan shall aim to:

(a)  ensure that the conditions described in descriptor 3 set out in Annex I to Directive 2008/56/EC are fulfilled; and

(b)  contribute to the fulfilment of other relevant descriptors set out in Annex I to Directive 2008/56/EC in proportion to the role played by fisheries in their fulfilment.

5a.   Measures under the plan shall be taken in accordance with the best available scientific advice. [Am. 50]

CHAPTER II

SOCIO-ECONOMIC TARGETS, SAFEGUARDS AND SPECIFIC MEASURES [Am. 51]

Article 4

Targets for anchovy and sardine small pelagics [Am. 52]

1.  The target fishing mortality reference points for small pelagics shall be achieved as soon as possible and on a progressive, incremental basis, by 2020 for the stocks concerned, and it shall be maintained thereafter within the ranges above the values set out in Annex I and in line with the objectives laid down in Article 3(1). [Am. 53]

2.  Fishing opportunitiesManagement measures for small pelagics shall comply with the target fishing mortality ranges reference points set out in Annex I, column A to this Regulation. [Am. 54]

3.  Notwithstanding paragraphs 1 and 2, fishing opportunities may be fixed at management measures may target levels corresponding to lower levels of fishing mortality higher values than those set out in Annex I, column A if:

(a)  on the basis of scientific advice or evidence, it is necessary for the achievement of the objectives laid down in Article 3 in the case of mixed fisheries;

(b)  on the basis of scientific advice or evidence, it is necessary to avoid serious harm to a stock caused by intra- or inter-species stock dynamics; or

(c)  one of the stocks of small pelagics is below the reference point set out in Annex I, column B. [Am. 55]

4.  Notwithstanding paragraphs 2 and 3, fishing opportunities for a stock may be fixed in accordance with the fishing mortality ranges set out in Annex I, column B, provided that the stock concerned is above the minimum spawning biomass reference point set out in Annex II, column A:

(a)  if, on the basis of scientific advice or evidence, it is necessary for the achievement of the objectives laid down in Article 3 in the case of mixed fisheries,

(b)  if, on the basis of scientific advice or evidence, it is necessary to avoid serious harm to a stock caused by intra- or inter-species stock dynamics, or

(c)  in order to limit variations in fishing opportunities between consecutive years to not more than 20 %. [Am. 56]

4a.   When scientific advice indicates that recreational fisheries have a significant impact on the fishing mortality of a particular stock, the Council shall take them into account and may limit recreational fisheries when setting fishing opportunities in order to avoid exceeding the total target of fishing mortality. [Am. 57]

Article 4a

Socio-economic objectives

In order to take into account the socio-economic objectives set out in point (f) of Article 2(5) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, when applying the technical and conservation measures provided for in this Regulation, Member States shall make extensive use of the relevant measures set out in Regulation (EU) No 508/2014. [Am. 58]

Article 5

Safeguards

1.  The conservation reference points expressed as minimum and limit spawning stock biomass levels to shall be applied in order to safeguard the full reproductive capacity of the stocks concerned are set out in Annex II. [Am. 59]

1a.   Three years after the application of the management measures referred to in Article 6(1a), scientific research shall verify the effectiveness of the measures taken, particularly on the stocks to which this Regulation applies and on the fisheries exploiting those stocks. [Am. 60]

2.  When scientific advice indicates that the spawning stock biomass of either of the stocks concerned small pelagics is below the minimum spawning stock biomass reference point set out in Annex II I, column A B, all appropriate remedial measures shall be adopted to ensure contribute to the rapid return of the stock concerned small pelagics to levels above those capable of producing MSY the reference point set out in Annex I, column A. In particular, by way of derogation from Article 4(2) and 4(4) in line with Article 4(3), fishing opportunities for the stocks concerned management measures shall be fixed at a level consistent with a fishing mortality that is reduced below the range set out in Annex I, column A to this Regulation, adjusted taking into account the decrease in biomass of that stock. [Am. 61]

3.  When scientific advice indicates that the spawning stock biomass of either of the both small pelagics stocks concerned is below the limit spawning stock biomass reference point (BlimSSBlim) as set out in Annex II I, column B, further remedial measures shall be taken to ensure contribute to the rapid return of the stock concerned two stocks to levels above the level capable of producing MSY the reference point set out in Annex I, column A. In particular, those remedial measures may include, by way of derogation from Article 4(2), paragraphs 2 and 4, suspending the targeted fishery for the stock concerned and the other adequate reduction of fishing opportunities management measures. [Am. 62]

Article 6

Specific conservation measures

1.  When scientific advice indicates that remedial action is required for the conservation of the small pelagic stocks referred to in Article 1(2) of this Regulation, or, in the case of anchovy and sardine, pelagics or when the spawning biomass of either of these stocks for a given year is below the conservation reference points set out in Annex II I, column A B to this Regulation, the Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 16 of this Regulation and Article 18 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 regarding: .

(a)  characteristics of the fishing gear, in particular mesh size, construction of the gear, size of the gear or use of selectivity devices to ensure or improve selectivity;

(b)  use of the fishing gear and depth of gear deployment, to ensure or improve selectivity;

(c)  prohibition or limitation to fish in specific areas to protect spawning and juvenile fish or fish below the minimum conservation reference size or non-target fish species;

(d)  prohibition or limitation on fishing or the use of certain types of fishing gear during specific time periods, to protect spawning fish or fish below the minimum conservation reference size or non-target fish species,

(e)  minimum conservation reference sizes, to ensure the protection of juveniles of marine organisms;

(f)  other characteristics linked to selectivity. [Am. 63]

1a.  Notwithstanding paragraph 1, in order to achieve the targets set out in Article 4, the following measures shall apply for the years 2019–2022:

(a)  in 2019 the catch limit for small pelagics shall be set at the level of catch in 2014; starting from 2020, catch limits for small pelagics shall be gradually reduced each year for the Member State concerned by 4 % in comparison to the previous year until 2022; however, the reduction shall not apply if in the preceding year the total catch for each Member State concerned is more than 2 % below the 2014 catch level;

(b)  the fishing effort of fishing vessels targeting small pelagics shall not exceed 180 fishing days per year and 20 fishing days per month, with a maximum of 144 fishing days per year targeting sardine and a maximum of 144 fishing days per year targeting anchovy;

(c)  spatio-temporal closures shall be implemented each year in order to protect nursery and spawning areas; such closures, for different types of fishing gears, shall cover the entire distribution of small pelagics in the Adriatic Sea, for periods of not less than 15 continuous days and up to 30 continuous days; those closures shall take place during the following periods:

(i)  for sardine, from 1 October to 31 March, and

(ii)  for anchovy, from 1 April to 30 September;

(d)  additional closures for vessels of an overall length of over 12 metres, separately for each type of fishing gear, shall be implemented for not less than six months; such closures shall cover at least 30 % of the area which has been identified as a nursery area or an area important for the protection of early age classes of fish (in territorial and inner sea);

(e)  the overall fleet capacity of trawlers and purse seiners actively fishing for small pelagic stocks shall not exceed the registered fleet capacity of the active fleet in 2014 in terms of gross tonnage (GT) and/or gross registered tonnage (GRT), engine power (kW) and number of vessels. [Am. 70]

1b.  Notwithstanding paragraph 1a, in order to ensure stability and limit variations in management measures, the duration of the closures referred to in points (c) and (d) thereof shall not vary by more than 10 % between consecutive years. [Am. 71]

Article 6a

Technical measures

1.  For the purposes of this Regulation, the second subparagraph of Article 13(3) of and point 2 of Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 shall not apply.

2.  For the purposes of this Regulation, the maximum length of surrounding nets (purse seines and seines without purse line) shall be restricted to 600 metres with a net drop of maximum 1/3 of length. [Am. 72]

CHAPTER III

PROVISIONS LINKED TO THE LANDING OBLIGATION

Article 7

Provisions linked to the landing obligation for small pelagic caught in the Adriatic Sea

The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 15 of this Regulation and Article 18 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 concerning: [Am. 73]

(a)  exemptions from the application of the landing obligation for species for which best available scientific evidence advice demonstrates high survival rates, taking into account the characteristics of the gear, the fishing practices and the ecosystem, to facilitate the implementation of the landing obligation; [Am. 74]

(b)  de minimis exemptions to enable the implementation of the landing obligation; such de minimis exemptions shall be provided for cases referred to Article 15(5)(c) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 and in accordance with the conditions set out therein; and

(c)  specific provisions on documentation of catches, in particular for the purpose of monitoring the implementation of the landing obligation.

(d)  the fixing of minimum conservation reference sizes, to ensure the protection of juveniles of marine organisms. [Am. 75]

CHAPTER IV

REGIONALISATION

Article 8

Regional cooperation

1.  Article 18(1) to (6) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 shall apply to measures referred to in Articles 6 and 7 of this Regulation.

2.  For the purpose of paragraph 1 of this Article, Member States having direct management interest may submit joint recommendations in accordance with Article 18(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 for the first time not later than twelve months after the entry into force of this Regulation and thereafter 12 months after each submission of the evaluation of the multiannual plan in accordance with Article 14 of this Regulation. They may also submit such recommendations when deemed necessary by them, in particular in the event of an abrupt change in the situation for either of the stocks to which this Regulation applies. Joint recommendations in respect of measures concerning a given calendar year shall be submitted no later than 1 June of the previous year.

3.  The empowerments granted under Articles 6 and 7 of this Regulation shall be without prejudice to powers conferred to the Commission under other provisions of Union law, including under Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013.

CHAPTER V

CONTROL AND ENFORCEMENT

Article 9

Relationship with Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009

The control measures provided for in this Chapter shall apply in addition to those provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, save where otherwise provided for in this Chapter.

Article 10

Prior notification

1.  By way of derogation from Article 17(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, the prior notification referred to in that Article shall be made at least one and a half half an hour before the estimated time of arrival at port. The competent authorities of the coastal Member States may, on a case-by-case basis, give permission for an earlier entry into port. [Am. 76]

2.  The prior notification obligation shall apply to masters of Union fishing vessels retaining on board at least one tonne two tonnes of anchovy or one tonne two tonnes of sardine. Those quantities shall be calculated after deduction of the catches referred to in Article 15(11) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013. [Am. 77]

Article 11

Vessel monitoring system

1.  For the purposes of this Regulation, the application of the provisions laid down in Article 9(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 shall be extended to fishing vessels of eight metres length overall or more, engaged in targeted small pelagic fishery in the Adriatic.

2.  The exemption laid down in Article 9(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 shall not apply to vessels engaged in targeted small pelagic fisheries in the Adriatic in accordance with this Regulation, irrespective of their length.

Article 12

Electronic completion and transmission of fishing logbooks

1.  For the purposes of this Regulation, the obligation to keep an electronic fishing logbook and to send it by electronic means at least once a day to the competent authority of the flag Member State laid down in Article 15(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 shall be extended to masters of Union fishing vessels of eight metres length overall or more engaged in targeted fishing for anchovy or sardine.

2.  The exemption laid down in Article 15(4) of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 shall not apply to masters of vessels engaged in targeted fishing for anchovy or sardine, irrespective of their length.

2a.   By way of derogation from Article 15(2) of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, the masters of all Union vessels of an overall length of equal to or more than 12 metres shall send the information referred to in Article 14 of that Regulation before the start of landing operations. [Am. 78]

Article 13

Designated ports

The threshold applicable to the live weight of species from the respective stock subject to the multiannual plan, above which a fishing vessel is required to land its catches in a designated port or a place close to the shore as set out in Article 43 of Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 shall be:

(a)  2 000 kg of anchovy;

(b)  2 000 kg of sardine.

CHAPTER VI

REVIEW

Article 14

Evaluation of the multiannual plan

FiveThree years after the date of entry into force of this Regulation, and every five years thereafter, the Commission shall ensure an evaluation of the impact of the multiannual plan on the stocks to which this Regulation applies and on the fisheries exploiting those stocks. The Commission shall submit the results of this evaluation to the European Parliament and to the Council and shall, if appropriate, submit a proposal to amend this Regulation. [Am. 80]

CHAPTER VII

PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS

Article 15

Exercise of the delegation

1.  The power to adopt delegated acts is conferred on the Commission subject to the conditions laid down in this Article 18 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013. [Am. 81]

2.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Articles 6 and 7 shall be conferred on the Commission for a period of five years from ... [the date of entry into force of this Regulation]. The Commission shall draw up a report in respect of the delegation of power not later than nine months before the end of the five-year period. The delegation of power shall be tacitly extended for periods of an identical duration, unless the European Parliament or the Council opposes such extension not later than three months before the end of each period.

3.  The delegation of power referred to in Articles 6 and 7 may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of the power specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force.

4.  Before adopting a delegated act, the Commission shall consult experts designated by each Member State in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-making.

5.  As soon as it adopts a delegated act, the Commission shall notify it simultaneously to the European Parliament and to the Council.

6.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Articles 6 and 7 shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and to the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by two months at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.

Article 15a

Support from the EMFF

1.  Temporary cessation measures adopted in order to achieve the objectives of the multiannual plan shall be deemed as temporary cessation of fishing activities for the purposes of points (a) and (c) of Article 33(1) of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014.

2.  By way of derogation from Article 33(2) of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014, until 31 December 2020 the maximum duration of support under that Regulation shall be of nine months, for fishing vessels subject to the spatial and temporal closures provided for in this Regulation.

3.  In order to ensure the implementation of paragraph 2 of this Article, by way of derogation from Article 25(3) of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014, it shall be possible to increase the total financial contribution from the EMFF above the cap of 15 % set out in that Article.

4.  Priority shall be given, in the implementation of actions provided for in Article 30 of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014, to fishermen affected by the implementation of the measures contained in this multiannual plan.

5.  Until 31 December 2020, and by way of derogation from the deadline set out in Article 34(4) of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014, vessels which have ceased all fishing activities as a result of the measures to reduce the fishing effort referred to in this Regulation may be eligible for support for permanent cessation as referred to in Article 34 of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014. [Am. 82]

CHAPTER VIII

FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 16

Entry into force

This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Done at ...,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX I

Target reference points

(as referred to in Article 4 Articles 4 and 5) [Am. 86]

Stock

Target fishing mortality range consistent with achieving maximum sustainable yield (FMSY) Target reference points for small pelagics

Column A

Column B

Anchovy

0.23 – 0.30SSBpa

0.30 – 0.364SSBlim

Sardine

0.065 – 0.08

0.08 – 0.11SSBlim

[Am. 87]

ANNEX II

Conservation reference points

(as referred to in Article 5)

Stock

Minimum spawning stock biomass reference point (in tonnes) (MSY Btrigger)

Limit biomass reference point (in tonnes) (Blim)

Column A

Column B

Anchovy

139 000

69 500

Sardine

180 000

36 000

[Am. 84]

(1) OJ C 288, 31.8.2017, p. 68.
(2)OJ C 288, 31.8.2017, p. 68.
(3)Position of the European Parliament of 13 November 2018.
(4)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) (OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, p. 19).
(5) Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7).
(6) Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds (OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7).
(7)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 (OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 22).
(8)Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 of 21 December 2006 concerning management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea, amending Regulation (EEC) No 2847/93 and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1626/94 (the Mediterranean Regulation) (OJ L 36, 8.2.2007, p. 6).
(9)Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) Assessment of Mediterranean Sea stocks - part 2 (STECF-11-14).
(10)Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1392/2014 of 20 October 2014 establishing a discard plan for certain small pelagic fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea (OJ L 370, 30.12.2014, p. 21).
(11) Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea. Mediterranean assessments part 1 (STECF-15-14). 2015. [Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, EUR 27492 EN, JRC 97707, 52 pp.] [The second part of this reference seems to be mistaken. OPOCE, please check.]
(12)Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea. Mediterranean assessments part 1 (STECF-15-14). 2015. [Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, EUR 27492 EN, JRC 97707, 52 pp.] [The second part of this reference seems to be mistaken. OPOCE, please check.]
(13)Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Union control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, amending Regulations (EC) No 847/96, (EC) No 2371/2002, (EC) No 811/2004, (EC) No 768/2005, (EC) No 2115/2005, (EC) No 2166/2005, (EC) No 388/2006, (EC) No 509/2007, (EC) No 676/2007, (EC) No 1098/2007, (EC) No 1300/2008, (EC) No 1342/2008 and repealing Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1627/94 and (EC) No 1966/2006 (OJ L 343, 22.12.2009, p. 1).
(14) Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2328/2003, (EC) No 861/2006, (EC) No 1198/2006 and (EC) No 791/2007 and Regulation (EU) No 1255/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 149, 20.5.2014, p. 1).
(15) OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
(16)Impact Assessment…[include reference when published].
(17)Regulation (EU) No 1343/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on certain provisions for fishing in the GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean) Agreement area and amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 concerning management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea (OJ L 347, 30.12.2011, p. 44).


The rule of law in Romania
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European Parliament resolution of 13 November 2018 on the rule of law in Romania (2018/2844(RSP))
P8_TA(2018)0446B8-0522/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the EU Treaties, and in particular to Articles 2, 3, 4,6 and 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

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

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR),

–  having regard to the Constitution of Romania,

–  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 its debate on democracy and justice in Romania held on 2 February 2017,

–  having regard to its debate on threats to the rule of law arising from the reform of the Romanian justice system of 7 February 2018,

–  having regard to its debate on the rule of law in Romania of 3 October 2018,

–  having regard to the exchange of views held on 1 October 2018 with the Commission First Vice-President, Frans Timmermans, in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs,

–  having regard to the hearing held on 22 March 2017 in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on democracy and justice in Romania,

–  having regard to the joint statement of 24 January 2018 by Commission President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans on the latest developments in Romania,

–  having regard to the joint opinion of the Venice Commission of 16 March 2018 on Romania’s draft law No 140/2017 on amending Governmental Ordinance No 26/2000 on Associations and Foundations,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Venice Commission of 20 October 2018 on amendments to Romania’s law No 303/2004 on the statute of judges and prosecutors, law No 304/2004 on judicial organisation, and law No 317/2004 on the Superior Council of Magistracy,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Venice Commission of 20 October 2018 on amendments to Romania’s Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, laws also affecting law No 78/2000 on preventing, detecting and sanctioning acts of corruption and law No 304/2004 on judicial organisation,

–  having regard to the ad hoc report on Romania of 11 April 2018 by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO),

–  having regard to the Commission’s report of 15 November 2017 under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism on progress in Romania,

–  having regard to the adoption of three laws reforming the judiciary by the Romanian Parliament in December 2017, amending law No 303/2004 on the status of judges and prosecutors, law No 304/2004 on judicial organisation and law No 317/2004 on the Superior Council of Magistracy; having regard to the adoption of amendments to the Criminal Code in June 2018 and to the Criminal Procedure Code in July 2018,

–  having regard to Resolution 2226/2018 and Recommendation 2134/2018 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE),

–  having regard to the decision of the Romanian Constitutional Court of 20 October 2018 ruling that 64 of the 96 changes to the Criminal Procedure Code are unconstitutional; having regard to the Constitutional Court’s declaration of 25 October 2018 that 30 of the amendments to the Criminal Code are incompatible with the Constitution,

–  having regard to the repeated mass protests since January 2017 against corruption and in favour of the rule of law, including the ‘Diaspora at Home’ mass protest on 10 August 2018 in Bucharest, which left hundreds of people needing medical treatment following violent intervention by the police,

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

A.  whereas the European 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 these values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail (Article 2 of the TEU);

B.  whereas Article 6(3) of the TEU confirms that fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the ECHR and as arising from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, constitute general principles of Union law;

C.  whereas the EU operates on the basis of the presumption of mutual trust that Member States act in conformity with democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, as enshrined in the ECHR and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights;

D.  whereas the independence of the judiciary is enshrined in Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 6 of the ECHR, and is an essential requirement of the democratic principle of the separation of powers;

E.  whereas in its report on Romania of April 2018, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) expressed serious concern about certain aspects of the laws on the status of judges and prosecutors, on the judicial organisation and on the Superior Council of Magistracy as adopted by the Romanian Parliament, as well as on draft amendments to the criminal legislation; whereas GRECO questions the legislative process, fears the impact on judicial independence and suggests implicit violation of anti-corruption standards;

F.  whereas the Venice Commission, in its opinion No 924/2018 of 20 October 2018, which was limited to ‘certain, particularly controversial aspects of the drafts’, concluded that ‘although welcome improvements have been brought to the drafts following criticism and a number of decisions of the Constitutional Court, there are important aspects introduced by the three drafts, which could result in pressure on judges and prosecutors, and ultimately, undermine the independence of the judiciary and of its members and, coupled with the early retirement arrangements, its efficiency and its quality, with negative consequences for the fight against corruption’, seeing those aspects as likely to ‘undermine public confidence in the judiciary’(1);

G.  whereas the Venice Commission concluded in its opinion No 930/2018 of 20 October 2018 that it was ‘necessary and appropriate for the Romanian Parliament to undertake a reform of the criminal codes in order to implement Constitutional Court decisions and relevant EU directives’, and that many of the amendments ‘will seriously impair the effectiveness of the Romanian criminal justice system in the fight against various forms of crime, including corruption-related offences, violent crimes and organised criminality’(2);

H.  whereas in its joint opinion No 914/2018 of 16 March 2018 the Venice Commission welcomed the fact that ‘during the meetings in Bucharest, the initiators of the draft law have indicated their readiness to amend the draft law in several aspects’, and called on the Romanian authorities to give consideration to its main recommendations, namely that the ‘new reporting and disclosure requirements foreseen by the draft law, including the sanctions of suspension of activities and dissolution in case of non-compliance, are clearly unnecessary and disproportionate and should be repealed’, and that the detailed publication of financial reports every six months and the indication of the source of income, irrespective of the amount, coupled with the sanction of disbandment, will have ‘a chilling effect on civil society’ and will enter into conflict with ‘the freedom of association and the right to respect for private life’(3);

I.  whereas the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has called on Romania to reject the recently proposed draft laws imposing additional financial reporting obligations on NGOs, to amend them in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR), and to submit them to broad public consultation before adoption(4);

J.  whereas on 19 July 2018 the Commission referred Romania to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to incorporate the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive into national law; whereas on 24 October 2018 the Romanian Parliament adopted the ‘draft law on combating money laundering and terrorist financing’;

K.  whereas there is an ongoing debate with regard to the role of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) and its alleged interference with the activities of the Romanian judiciary, raising questions as to the possible extent and modalities of such interference; whereas the Venice Commission concludes in its opinion of 20 October 2018 that a ‘thorough review of the legal rules on the control of the intelligence services seems necessary’;

L.  whereas a petition to revise the Romanian Constitution in order to restrict the definition of family to a marriage between a man and a woman was initiated in May 2016; whereas numerous human rights groups voiced their concern that the proposal might lead to a breach of international human rights standards and increase homophobic discrimination in Romania; whereas the revision was endorsed in parliament with a two-thirds majority; whereas the referendum on the matter failed to reach the required 30 % turnout target;

M.  whereas Romania ranks 25th out of the 28 EU Member States regarding legislation, hate speech and discrimination against LGBTI people, according to the Annual Review of the Human Rights Situation of LGBTI People in Europe 2018 published by the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe);

N.  whereas the European Union is committed to respect freedom and pluralism of the media, as well as the right to information and freedom of expression; whereas whistleblowing is an essential part of investigative journalism and press freedom and, according to the Commission communication of 23 April 2018 on strengthening whistleblower protection at EU level (COM(2018)0214), in the majority of Member States, whistleblowers are only protected in very limited situations; whereas the public watchdog functions of the media are crucial for upholding these rights and for the protection of all other fundamental rights;

O.  whereas Reporters without Borders have drawn attention to the attempts to turn Romanian media into political propaganda tools, and have raised concern about political censorship in the media(5);

P.  whereas Article 12 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights stipulates that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association at all levels, in particular in political, trade union and civil matters;

Q.  whereas the reports of violent intervention by the Romanian police during the protests on 10 August 2018 have raised serious concerns as regards proportionality of the use of force and breaches of the fundamental rights of protesters, resulting in ongoing investigations of Romanian law enforcement authorities;

R.  whereas corruption remains a challenge in the EU; whereas the nature and scope of corruption may differ from one Member State to another, but it harms the EU as a whole and its economy and society, hampers economic development, undermines democracy, and damages the rule of law;

S.  whereas the Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) was removed from office on 9 July 2018, against the opinion of the Judicial Council following a Constitutional Court ruling limiting the powers of the President; whereas, by contrast, the Venice Commission stated in its opinion of 20 October 2018 that it would be important to ‘strengthen the independence of prosecutors and maintain and increase the role of institutions such as the President and the CSM [Superior Council of Magistracy], able to balance the influence of the Minister [of Justice]’; whereas on 24 October 2018 the Minister of Justice demanded the dismissal of the Prosecutor-General, accusing him of exceeding his authority;

1.  Stresses that it is fundamentally important to guarantee that the common European values listed in Article 2 of the TEU are upheld in full, and that fundamental rights as laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union are guaranteed;

2.  Is deeply concerned at the redrafted legislation relating to the Romanian judicial and criminal legislation, regarding specifically its potential to structurally undermine the independence of the judicial system and the capacity to fight corruption effectively in Romania, as well as to weaken the rule of law;

3.  Condemns the violent and disproportionate intervention by the police during the protests in Bucharest in August 2018; calls on the Romanian authorities to ensure a transparent, impartial and effective investigation into the actions of the riot police;

4.  Calls on the Romanian authorities to put in place safeguards in order to assure a transparent and legal basis for any institutional cooperation and avoid any interference that circumvents the checks and balances system; calls for parliamentary control over the intelligence services to be reinforced;

5.  Urges the Romanian authorities to counter any measures which would decriminalise corruption in office, and to apply the national anti-corruption strategy;

6.  Strongly recommends reconsideration of the legislation on the financing, organisation and functioning of NGOs with regard to its potential intimidating effect on civil society and its entry into conflict with the principle of freedom of association and the right to privacy; believes it should be brought fully into line with the EU framework;

7.  Urges the Romanian Parliament and Government to fully implement all recommendations of the European Commission, GRECO and the Venice Commission, and to refrain from conducting any reform which would put at risk respect for the rule of law, including the independence of the judiciary; urges continued engagement with civil society, and stresses the need to address the issues referred to above on the basis of a transparent and inclusive process; encourages proactively seeking evaluation by the Venice Commission of the legislative measures at stake before their final approval;

8.  Calls on the Romanian Government to cooperate with the European Commission, pursuant to the principle of sincere cooperation as set out in the Treaty;

9.  Reiterates its regret that the Commission decided not to publish the EU Anti-Corruption Report in 2017, and strongly urges it to resume its annual anti-corruption monitoring in all Member States without delay; invites the Commission to develop a system of strict indicators and easily applicable, uniform criteria to measure the level of corruption in the Member States and evaluate their anti-corruption policies, in line with Parliament’s resolution of 8 March 2016 on the Annual Report 2014 on the Protection of the EU’s Financial Interests(6);

10.  Advocates strongly a regular, systematic and objective process of monitoring and dialogue involving all Member States, in order to safeguard the EU’s basic values of democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law and involving the Council, the Commission and Parliament, as proposed in its resolution of 25 October 2016 on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (the DRF Pact)(7); reiterates that this mechanism should consist of an annual report with country-specific recommendations(8);

11.  Calls on the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, to monitor the follow-up given to the recommendations by the Romanian authorities, while continuing to offer full support to Romania in finding adequate solutions;

12.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the President of Romania.

(1) Venice Commission Opinion No 924/2018 of 20 October 2018 (CDL-AD(2018)017).
(2) Venice Commission Opinion No 930/2018 of 20 October 2018 (CDL-AD(2018)021).
(3) Venice Commission Joint Opinion No 914/2018 of 16 March 2018 (CDL-AD(2018)004).
(4) Resolution 2226/2018 and Recommendation 2134/2018 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
(5) https://rsf.org/en/romania
(6) OJ C 50, 9.2.2018, p. 2.
(7) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 162.
(8) See: European Parliament resolution of 13 December 2016 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2015 (OJ C 238, 6.7.2018, p. 2).


Minimum standards for minorities in the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 13 November 2018 on minimum standards for minorities in the EU (2018/2036(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0447A8-0353/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Articles 10, 21 and 22 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(1) (Racial Equality Directive),

–  having regard to the Copenhagen criteria and to the body of Union rules that a candidate country must fulfil if it wishes to join the Union (the acquis),

–  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948,

–  having regard to UN Resolution A/RES/60/7 adopted by the General Assembly on 1 November 2005 on the Holocaust Remembrance,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and its Protocols, especially Protocol No 12 on non-discrimination,

–  having regard to the Fundamental Rights Report 2018 of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and to the FRA’s Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II),

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and to its Optional Protocol (A/RES/61/106), adopted on 13 December 2006,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages,

–  having regard to Resolution 1985 of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, adopted in 2014, on the situation and rights of national minorities in Europe,

–  having regard to Resolution 2153 of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, adopted in 2017, on promoting the inclusion of Roma and Travellers,

–  having regard to Resolution 2196 of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, adopted in 2018, on the protection and promotion of regional or minority languages in Europe,

–  having regard to Resolution 424 of the Council of Europe’s Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, adopted in 2017, on regional and minority languages in Europe today,

–  having regard to Recommendation 1201 of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, adopted in 1993, for an additional protocol on the rights of minorities to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to the Declaration of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the rise of Anti-Gypsyism and racist violence against Roma in Europe, adopted on 1 February 2012,

–  having regard to Guideline Number 5 on the Relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union, adopted at the Third Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government in Warsaw on 16 and 17 May 2005,

–  having regard to the OSCE 1990 Copenhagen Document and to the numerous thematic recommendations and guidelines on minority rights issued by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights,

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 February 2018 on protection and non-discrimination with regard to minorities in the EU Member States(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2017 on ‘Fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism’(3),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2016 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 April 2015 on the occasion of International Roma Day on ‘Anti-Gypsyism in Europe and EU recognition of the memorial day of the Roma genocide during World War II’(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2013 on endangered European languages and linguistic diversity in the European Union(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 June 2005 on protection of minorities and anti- discrimination policies in an enlarged Europe(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2017 on ‘The EU Citizenship Report 2017: Strengthening Citizens’ Rights in a Union of Democratic Change’(9),

–  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(10),

–  having regard to the judgements and case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), in particular case T-646/13 (Minority SafePack - one million signatures for diversity in Europe v Commission), and to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR),

–  having regard to the reports and surveys of the FRA, such as the report entitled ‘Respect for and protection of persons belonging to minorities 2008-2010’, as well as other relevant reports by national, European and international organisations and NGOs on the matter,

–  having regard to the activities and findings of the Intergroup for Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages of the European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0353/2018),

A.  whereas the rights of persons belonging to minorities are an integral part of human rights, which are universal, indivisible and independent; whereas protecting and promoting minority rights is essential for peace, security and stability and for promoting tolerance, mutual respect, understanding and cooperation among all persons living on a given territory;

B.  whereas the EU is a mosaic of cultures, languages, religions, traditions and history forming a community of diverse citizens united by their common core values; whereas this richness of Europe is not a given and should be protected and nurtured;

C.  whereas approximately 8 % of EU citizens belong to a national minority and approximately 10 % speak a regional or minority language; whereas persisting harassment, discrimination - including multiple and intersectional discrimination - and violence limit the ability of people to fully enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms, and undermine their equal participation in society;

D.  whereas the protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities can help build a sustainable future for Europe and contribute to guaranteeing respect for the principles of dignity, equality and non-discrimination; whereas the benefits are not limited to minorities, since this protection and promotion will bring stability, economic development and prosperity to all;

E.  whereas the Treaty of Lisbon introduced the term ‘persons belonging to minorities’ into EU primary law, the first-ever explicit reference in the history of EU law; whereas Article 2 of the TEU states that ‘the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the primacy of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities’ and that ‘these values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail’; whereas these values are shared by all Member States and must be upheld and actively promoted by the EU and each Member State individually in all their policies, both internally and externally in a consistent way; whereas these rights deserve to be accorded the same treatment as the other rights enshrined in the Treaties;

F.  whereas the EU Treaties, following the approach of international law in this respect, do not define the term ‘minorities’; whereas Article 17 of the TEU states that the Commission must ensure the application of the Treaties;

G.  whereas Article 19 of the TFEU holds that the Council, acting unanimously, in accordance with a special legislative procedure and after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, may take appropriate action to combat discrimination;

H.  whereas the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union made the notion of ‘national minorities’ a term of EU law; whereas Article 21 of the Charter explicitly underlines that discrimination is prohibited; whereas special attention should be paid to the protection of the fundamental rights of those in the most vulnerable situations;

I.  whereas in defining Union citizenship, Article 9 of the TEU expressly states that the Union shall observe the principle of equality of its citizens, who shall receive equal attention from its institutions, bodies, offices and agencies;

J.  whereas the FCNM and the Language Charter are major achievements of the international minority protection system and important international standard-setting tools for States Parties; whereas the effect of the agreements concerned is weakened by a slow ratification process, by the reservations entered by the Parties and by a lack of powers of scrutiny, which makes them dependent on the goodwill of states; whereas the systematic non-implementation of judgments, decisions and recommendations also leads to a normalisation of non-compliance with the two international instruments;

K.  whereas best practices already in use in Member States should be taken into account when developing common European minimum standards to protect the rights of persons belonging to minorities, as in Italy (Alto Adige/South Tyrol) or Germany (Schleswig-Holstein);

L.  whereas the rights of persons belonging to minorities are guaranteed by both multilateral and bilateral international agreements and are enshrined in the constitutional systems of many Member States, and respect for them is an important prerequisite for assessing the rule of law;

M.  whereas the Racial Equality Directive represents a key legal measure for combating ethnic and racial discrimination; whereas several Member States have still not fully implemented it; whereas Article 5 of that Directive states that, with a view to ensuring full equality, the principle of equal treatment shall not prevent any Member State from maintaining or adopting specific measures to prevent or compensate for disadvantages linked to racial or ethnic origin;

N.  whereas the motto of the European Union is ‘United in diversity’, as adopted in 2000 and underlining respect for diversity as one of the founding values of the European Union;

O.  whereas the Copenhagen criteria are part of the EU accession criteria; whereas one of the three Copenhagen criteria clearly requires countries to guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and respect for and protection of minorities; whereas there is no further monitoring of minority rights once a candidate country becomes a Member State;

P.  whereas experience shows that pre-accession countries are more willing to respect the Copenhagen criteria; whereas as a consequence of the lack of an adequate framework to guarantee the fulfilment of these criteria after accession, serious backsliding can be experienced in Member States following EU membership; whereas the EU still lacks common standards at Union level for minority protection for Member States;

Q.  whereas at present the Union has tools of only limited efficacy to respond to systematic and institutional manifestations of discrimination, racism and xenophobia; whereas, in spite of numerous calls on the Commission, only limited steps have been taken to ensure effective protection of persons belonging to minorities;

R.  whereas strong rule of law mechanisms and processes need to be developed to ensure that Treaty principles and values are upheld throughout the Union; whereas respect for the rights of persons belonging to minorities is a constituent part of these values; whereas effective mechanisms should exist to close the remaining gaps; whereas such mechanisms should be evidence-based, objective and non-discriminatory, should respect the principles of subsidiarity, necessity and proportionality, should apply to both Member States and Union institutions, and should be based on a graduated approach, including both a preventative and a corrective arm; whereas Parliament has affirmed its support in this respect, in its resolution of 25 October 2016 with recommendations to the Commission on the establishment of a EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, and this could be central to a coordinated European approach to governance, something which is currently lacking;

S.  whereas languages are an integral part of European identity and the most direct expression of culture; whereas respect for linguistic diversity is a fundamental value of the EU, as laid down in, for instance, Article 22 of the Charter, and in the preamble to the TEU, which refers to ‘drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law’;

T.  whereas linguistic diversity is an important part of a region’s cultural wealth; whereas 40 to 50 million people in the EU speak one of its 60 regional and minority languages, some of which are at serious risk; whereas the decline of minority languages is perceptible across Europe; whereas languages that are spoken by small communities and have no official status are even more exposed to the risk of extinction;

U.  whereas an estimate one person in a thousand uses a national sign language as their first language; whereas these languages should be awarded official status;

V.  whereas in inclusive societies, individual identity as well as national identity are important and neither excludes the other; whereas the national legislative systems of the Member States important gaps with regard to minorities and represent a low level of harmonisation and symmetry;

W.  whereas Europe’s cultural heritage is rich and diverse; whereas cultural heritage enriches the individual lives of citizens; whereas Article 3 of the TEU affirms that ‘the Union shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced’; whereas ‘persons belonging to minorities that have been living in Europe for centuries’ contribute to this rich, unique and diverse heritage and are an integral part of the European identity;

X.  whereas there are high discrepancies across Member States in the recognition of minorities and the respect of their rights; whereas minorities across the EU still face institutionalized discrimination and are the subject of derogatory stereotypes and even their acquired rights are often curtailed or selectively applied;

Y.  whereas there is a difference between the protection of minorities and anti-discrimination policies; whereas non-discrimination is not enough to stop assimilation; whereas effective equality goes further than refraining from discrimination and means guaranteeing minorities the enjoyment of their rights, such as the right to identity, language use and education, cultural and citizenship rights, etc., on a par with the majority;

Z.  whereas the rise of xenophobic violence and hate speech in the European Union, often promoted by far-right forces, affects and targets persons belonging to minorities;

AA.  whereas EU citizens belonging to minorities expect more to be done on a European level for the protection of their rights, as attested by the large number of petitions submitted to the European Parliament in this regard;

AB.  whereas the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Minority SafePack’ has collected 1 215 879 signatures across the EU, showcasing the will of these EU citizens to strengthen the legislative framework governing minority policies at the EU level;

AC.  whereas there is considerable room for improvement of the way in which the protection of minority rights is effectively put into place in the EU; whereas the legitimacy of the democratic institutions is based on participation and representation of all groups in society, including persons belonging to minorities;

1.  Recalls that Member States have an obligation to guarantee minorities the full enjoyment of their human rights, whether as individuals or as a community;

2.  Recalls that while protection of minorities is a part of the Copenhagen criteria, both for the candidate countries and for the Member States, there is no guarantee that candidate states will stick to the commitments undertaken under the Copenhagen criteria once they became Member States;

3.  Notes that the EU still lacks effective tools to monitor and enforce the respect of minority rights; regrets that in the field of minority protection the EU has either taken for granted the assumption that its Member States comply with minority rights or has relied on external monitoring instruments, such as those of the UN, the Council of Europe or the OSCE;

4.  Notes that compliance with the Copenhagen criteria by states before and after their accession to the EU must be subject to constant monitoring and to a constant dialogue within and between Parliament, the Commission and the Council; stresses the need for a comprehensive EU protection system for minorities, accompanied by a robust monitoring mechanism;

5.  Recalls that, in accordance with Article 17(1) of the TEU, the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, has the legitimacy and authority to ensure that all the Member States are upholding the rule of law and other values referred to in Article 2 of the TEU; considers, therefore, that the measures taken by the Commission to carry out the task and to ensure that the conditions which existed before a Member State’s accession are still being fulfilled do not violate the sovereignty of the Member States;

6.  Recalls that within existing international standards every Member State has a right to define persons belonging to national minorities;

7.  Recalls that there is no common EU standard for minority rights in the EU, nor a common understanding of who can be considered a person belonging to a minority; notes that there is no definition of minorities in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, nor in the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM); underlines the need to protect all national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, regardless of definition, and stresses that any definition should be applied in a flexible manner, as de facto inclusion of beneficiaries under the protection of minority rights often forms part of an evolutionary process that may eventually lead to formal recognition; recommends that, with respect to the principles of subsidiarity, proportionality and non-discrimination, a definition of a ‘national minority’ should be based on the definition laid down in Recommendation 1201 of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (1993) for an additional protocol on the rights of minorities to the European Convention on Human Rights, i.e. a group of persons in a state who:

   reside on the territory of that state and are citizens thereof;
   maintain long-standing, firm and lasting ties with that state;
   display distinctive ethnic, cultural, religious or linguistic characteristics;
   are sufficiently representative, although smaller in number than the rest of the population of that state or of a region of that state;
   are motivated by a concern to preserve together that which constitutes their common identity, including their culture, their tradition, their religion or their language;

8.  Recalls Guideline Number 5 on the Relations between the Council of Europe and the European Union as adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Council of Europe, meeting in Warsaw on 16 and 17 May 2005, which states that the European Union ‘shall strive to transpose those aspects of Council of Europe Conventions within its competence into European Union law’;

9.  Notes that parts of the provisions of the FCNM and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (the ‘Language Charter’) fall within the competences of the EU, and recalls the FRA’s conclusion that although the Union does not have overall legislative competence to rule on the protection of national minorities as such, it ‘may rule on a variety of issues that affect persons belonging to national minorities’;

10.  Considers that there is a need for a legislative proposal on minimum standards of protection of minorities in the EU, following a proper impact assessment and in line with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality applying to the Member States, with the aim of improving the situation of minorities and protecting already existing rights in all Member States while avoiding double standards; considers, while respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, that such standards should start out from those already codified in international law instruments and should be firmly embedded in a legal framework guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights across the EU and accompanied by a functioning monitoring mechanism; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that their legal systems guarantee that persons belonging to a minority are not discriminated against, and to take and implement targeted protection measures;

11.  Recalls that protection of minority rights is a part of the proposal for the conclusion of a Union Pact for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights (DRF Pact); recalls, in this regard, the request made in its resolution of 25 October 2016 on an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, and reiterates its call on the Commission to submit a proposal for the conclusion of a DRF Pact; calls on the Commission to mainstream minority rights into all possible subparts of the EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights;

12.  Encourages the Commission to set up an organ at Union level (either within existing structures or a separate body) for the recognition and protection of minorities in the EU;

13.  Welcomes the successful registration of and collection of signatures under the European Citizens’ Initiative entitled ‘Minority SafePack’, which calls for a European framework for the protection of minorities; encourages the Commission to explore ways forward by which the interests and needs of minorities could be better represented at EU level;

14.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to safeguard the right of persons belonging to minorities to preserve, protect and develop their own identity, and to take the necessary steps to promote the effective participation of minorities in social, economic and cultural life and in public affairs;

15.  Recalls that EU citizenship is gained through nationality of a Member State, which is regulated by national laws; recalls that in the context of access to national citizenship, Member States should be governed by the principles of EU law, such as those of proportionality and non-discrimination, which are both well elaborated in the case law of the CJEU; whereas Article 20 of the TFEU provides that any person who holds the nationality of a Member State is also a citizen of the Union, with the rights and obligations enshrined in the Treaties and the Charter; recalls that according to the Treaties every EU citizen must receive equal attention from the EU institutions;

16.  Recalls its deep concern regarding the numbers of stateless Roma in Europe, a situation which leads to the total denial of their access to social, educational and healthcare services and pushes them to the very margins of society; calls on the Member States to abolish statelessness and ensure the enjoyment of fundamental human rights by all;

17.  Encourages the Member States to take effective measures to remove any barriers to accessing the healthcare system by persons belonging to minorities; notes that minority groups have less access to health services and health information; encourages the Commission and the Member States to ensure that minorities have access to healthcare, both physical and mental and without discrimination;

18.  Calls on the European Union to accede to, and the Member States to ratify the FCNM and the Language Charter and to respect the principles laid down in those documents; calls on the Member States and the Commission to refrain from acts that go against those principles; stresses that while creating minimum standards for minorities in the EU, the institutions and the Member States must refrain from adopting laws and administrative measures that weaken or derogate from the rights of persons belonging to minorities;

19.  Reaffirms that indigenous people, in the exercise of their rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind and have the right to the dignity and diversity of their culture, traditions, histories and aspirations, which must be appropriately reflected in education and public information; encourages those Member States that have not yet done so to ratify the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (ILO Convention No 169) and to implement it in good faith;

20.  Considers that common European minimum standards to protect the rights of persons belonging to minorities should be developed in the EU, following the procedural principles of good neighbourliness and friendly relations and ensuring cooperation both between Member States and with neighbouring non-EU countries, on the basis of the implementation of international standards and norms; considers that the adoption of common European minimum standards should not diminish the already existing rights and standards protecting persons belonging to minorities; recalls the need to implement the commitments adopted and principles developed in the framework of the OSCE, particularly in its thematic recommendations and guidelines; recalls that the Commission has already taken those standards into account in the context of the Copenhagen criteria during the accession negotiations; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to apply the same standards to all EU Member States;

21.  Stresses that non-discrimination policies alone do not solve the issues minorities are faced with and do not prevent their assimilation; notes that persons belonging to minorities are in a special category with regard to the right to remedy and have specific needs that must be met if they are to be ensured full and effective equality, and that it is necessary to respect and promote their rights, including the right to freely express, preserve and develop their cultural or linguistic identity, in keeping with the identity, values and principles of the country in which they live; encourages the Commission to promote regular monitoring of linguistic and cultural diversity in the EU;

22.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to continue supporting and funding the collection of reliable and robust equality data, in consultation with minority representatives, in order to measure inequalities and discrimination; calls for effective EU-wide monitoring of the situation of national and ethnic minorities; considers that the FRA should carry out enhanced monitoring of discrimination against national and ethnic minorities in Member States;

23.  Recognises the important role of civil society and non-governmental organisations in minority protection, combating discrimination and promoting minority rights; encourages the Commission and the Member States to promote sufficient funding and support for those organisations;

24.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to safeguard the protection of minorities within minorities and tackle the inequalities within inequalities, since people belonging to minorities often face multiple and intersectional discrimination; asks the Commission and the Member States to conduct research in order to address the complex issue of multiple and intersectional discrimination;

Combating discrimination, hate crime and hate speech

25.  Is concerned about the alarming increase of hate crime and hate speech, motivated by racism, xenophobia or religious intolerance, directed at minorities in Europe; calls on the EU and the Member States to step up the fight against hate crime and discriminatory attitudes and behaviour; calls on the Commission and the FRA to continue their work on monitoring hate crime and hate speech in the Member States aimed against minorities, and to report regularly on cases and tendencies;

26.  Condemns unequivocally all forms of discrimination on whatever grounds and all forms of segregation, hate speech, hate crime and social exclusion, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to clearly condemn and sanction the denial of atrocities against national and ethnic minorities; reiterates its position expressed in its resolution of 25 October 2017 on ‘Fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism’; recalls that all European citizens should receive equal assistance and protection regardless of their ethnic or cultural origin; calls on the Commission to create a European framework and on the Member States to draw up specific national plans to tackle xenophobic violence and hate speech against persons belonging to minorities;

27.  Stresses that Member States should promote friendly and stable relationships between each other, and encourages them to maintain an open and supportive dialogue with neighbouring countries, especially in border regions where several languages and cultures may be present;

28.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to introduce awareness-raising activities that sensitise the EU population to diversity, and to promote all peaceful forms of manifestation of minority cultures; encourages the Member States to include the history of national and ethnic minorities and to promote a culture of tolerance in their schools as part of their curricula; encourages the Commission and the Member States to launch cultural dialogues, including but not exclusively in schools, concerning the different forms and faces of hate against minority groups; encourages the Member States to ensure that non-discrimination, as well as the history and rights of people belonging to minorities, are mainstreamed as components of their national education system;

29.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to launch anti-hate speech campaigns, to set up anti-hate crime units within police forces based on awareness of the challenges facing different minority groups and carry out in-service training, and to guarantee that persons belonging to minorities enjoy equality before the law and ensure that they have equal access to justice and procedural rights;

30.  Considers that the Commission and the Member States must ensure that persons belonging to minorities can exercise their rights without fear; in this respect, encourages the Member States to include mandatory education in human rights, democratic citizenship and political literacy in their school curricula at all levels; encourages the Commission and the Member States to provide mandatory training for duty-bearers, who are key to the correct implementation of EU and Member State legislation and who have to be equipped to serve all citizens employing a human rights-based approach; calls on the Commission and the Member States to address intersectional discrimination, both in their policies and through their funding programmes;

31.  Encourages the Member States, with a view to creating mutual trust, to set up national truth and reconciliation commissions in order to acknowledge the persecution, exclusion and disownment of persons belonging to minorities through the centuries, and to document these issues; calls on the Member States to clearly condemn and sanction the denial of atrocities against persons belonging to minorities, and encourages them to hold and honour major commemoration days of minority groups at state level, such as the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day; encourages them to establish institutions displaying the history and culture of minority groups and to support them both financially and administratively;

32.  Considers active and meaningful social, economic, political and cultural participation by minority groups to be key; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to design strategies featuring both proactive and reactive measures on the basis of real, systematic consultations with minority group representatives, and to involve them in the running, monitoring and evaluation of mainstream programmes and projects launched at all levels, including at the local level, in order to ensure that they are inclusive and non-discriminatory;

33.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure full and thorough implementation, application and enforcement of the Racial Equality Directive, and encourages them to engage in awareness-raising campaigns regarding anti-discrimination legislation; believes Member States should ensure that sanctions are sufficiently effective, proportionate and dissuasive, as required by the Directive; calls on the Commission to properly monitor the implementation of the Directive;

34.  Regrets that the proposed Equal Treatment Directive from 2008 (COM(2008)0426) is still pending for approval by the Council; reiterates its call on the Council to adopt its position on the proposal as soon as possible;

National and ethnic minorities

35.  Notes that national and ethnic minorities are groups of persons belonging to minorities who have been living on the same territory and sharing a common identity, in some instances as a result of border changes, in others as a result of living a long time in an area, whereby they have managed to preserve their identity; calls on the Commission and the Member States to protect the cultural and linguistic identity of national and ethnic minorities, and to create conditions for the promotion of that identity; points to the important role that regional and local authorities in the EU can play in protecting national and ethnic minorities, and considers that administrative reorganisation and territorial redistricting must not have negative consequences for them; encourages Member States to provide financial resources for the implementation of minority rights from the central budget, so as not to burden local budgets;

36.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to guarantee equal opportunities for national and ethnic minorities to participate in political and social life; encourages Member States to adopt electoral systems and laws facilitating the representation of national and ethnic minorities; calls on the Member States to take immediate corrective measures to stop discriminatory birth registration, to carry out birth registration of members of minority groups without discrimination, and to ensure that the ID cards issued are non-discriminatory;

37.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to carry out a coherent analysis of current policies on minorities, in order to clarify strengths and challenges and to secure compliance with the rights of national and ethnic minorities;

38.  Calls on the FRA to draft an opinion on how to create means to protect and promote the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, in line with CJEU judgement in case T-646/13;

Cultural rights

39.  Stresses that cultural activities are essential areas for preserving the identity of national and ethnic minorities, and that the preservation of the traditions of minorities and the expression of artistic values in the mother tongue are particularly important when it comes to preserving European diversity; notes that maintaining the cultural heritage of minorities is a common interest of the EU and the Member States; encourages the Commission and the Member States to support, enhance and promote the cultural rights of minorities;

40.  Recalls that an understanding of what is meant by ‘culture’ is essential in order to define the scope of minority rights in this respect; notes that, in a broad sense, culture amounts to the sum total of the material and non-material activities and achievements of a given community and to that which distinguishes it from others; stresses that cultural rights should include the right to participate in cultural life, the right to enjoy culture, the right to choose to belong to a group, language rights, and the protection of cultural and scientific heritage;

41.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to recognise the contribution of national and ethnic minorities to the cultural heritage of the Union, to reinforce dialogue with the representatives of and persons belonging to minorities, and to identify and implement coordinated policies and actions for the sustainable management of the preservation and development of their culture; encourages the Member States to guarantee an adequate degree of institutionalisation of practices on the national level so as to protect cultural rights;

42.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to involve and support national and ethnic minorities and persons belonging to them in fostering knowledge and skills which are necessary in order to safeguard and sustainably manage and develop cultural heritage and which should be handed down to future generations; encourages the Commission and the Member States to establish and maintain substantive cultural funds for persons belonging to minorities, at both horizontal and vertical levels, in order to ensure effective, transparent and equitable support for the cultural life of minority communities;

43.  Highlights the fact that the media play a central role with regard to cultural and linguistic rights; recalls that the ability to access, receive and publish information and content in a language one can fully understand and communicate in is a precondition for equal and effective participation in public economic, social and cultural life; notes in this regard that special attention must be paid to the needs of persons belonging to national and ethnic minorities living in border, rural and remote areas; expresses concern over the underfunding of media outlets that publish or broadcast in regional or minority languages; encourages the Commission and the Member States to provide appropriate funding to organisations or media outlets representing minorities in order to contribute to the preservation of minorities’ cultural identities and enable them to share their views, language and culture with the majority;

44.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the media can operate independently, to promote the use of minority languages in media, and to take into account national and ethnic minorities when licensing media services, including assigning TV and radio broadcasters; calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide appropriate funds to organisations representing minorities, with a view to fostering their sense of belonging to and identification with their respective minority groups, as well as to bring their identities, languages, histories and cultures to the attention of the majority;

45.  Recalls the fundamental role of the public media in promoting such content, particularly in the context of democratic scrutiny by local or regional authorities; encourages the Commission to create the legal and regulatory conditions to ensure freedom of service, passage and reception of audiovisual content in regions where minorities live, so that they can watch and listen to content in their mother tongue, with the latter being broadcast cross-border without being geoblocked;

46.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure by appropriate means that audiovisual media services do not contain any incitement to violence or hatred directed against people belonging to minorities; highlights that the media play an important role in covering violations of minority rights and that if unreported the daily realities confronting minorities remain invisible;

47.  Encourages the Member States to refrain from political and legal acts and policies that aim to prescribe restrictive measures, such as subtitling and/or translation obligations and mandatory quotas for programmes in official languages; encourages the Commission and the Member States to enable and promote the presence of regional or minority-language media, also on online interfaces; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure appropriate funding or grants for organisations and media representing national and ethnic minorities, in view of their regional specificities and needs;

48.  Calls on the Member States, in light of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, to enhance and promote their minority cultures, thereby encouraging the dissemination of their history and traditions and ensuring that the communities concerned do not remain isolated;

49.  Stresses that the development of any cultural heritage policy should be inclusive, community-based and participatory, involving consultation and dialogue with the minority communities concerned;

Right to education

50.  Notes that education has a key role in socialisation and identity development and remains the main tool to revitalise and maintain endangered minority languages; stresses that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to education in a minority language; stresses that the continuity of mother-tongue education is vital to the preservation of cultural and linguistic identity; notes that when it comes to minority language education there is no one single best-practice model that is suitable for all national and ethnic minorities; notes the need for special attention to be paid to people using sign language;

51.  Recalls that Article 14 of the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities recommends that the States Parties endeavour to ensure, as far as possible and within the framework of their education systems, that persons belonging to national minorities have adequate opportunities to be taught the minority language concerned or to receive instruction in that language, without prejudice to the learning of the official language or to teaching in that language;

52.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States in their further actions to create suitable tools for achieving promotion and support of the official use of languages spoken by national and ethnic minorities in the territories where they live, at local or regional level and in conformity with the principles of the FCNM and the Language Charter, while ensuring that the protection and encouragement of the use of regional and minority languages is not to the detriment of the official languages and the obligation to learn them;

53.  Expresses its regret that some Member States have not yet ratified the Language Charter and that even so, some of those which have ratified it do not implement it effectively; is disappointed by the fact that in some Member States existing rights are either not implemented or flouted outright;

54.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to ensure that, in line with international norms, persons belonging to national and ethnic minorities have their rights guaranteed and adequate opportunities ensured as regards receiving education in a minority language as well as instruction in their mother tongue, in both public and private educational institutions; encourages the Member States to formulate appropriate education policies and to implement those which are best suited to the needs of national and ethnic minorities, including through specific educational programmes or through special curricula and textbooks; encourages the Member States to provide funding for teacher training in order to ensure effective instruction in minority languages, and to incorporate best practices in teaching foreign languages into the methodology for teaching official languages when it comes to curricula for schools which provide education in a minority language; stresses that Member States should promote the teaching of both the regional or minority languages and the official language using appropriate methods;

55.  Encourages Member States to ensure that those who speak a regional or minority language as their mother tongue have the opportunity to learn the official language sufficiently, by incorporating good practice from the teaching of foreign and second languages into the methodological approach adopted for teaching the official language of the state;

56.  Stresses that those belonging to minorities should also learn the language, history and culture of the majority population, and that pupils belonging to the majority population, as well as the general public, should be made acquainted with the history and culture of minorities and given the opportunity to learn minority languages;

57.  Encourages the Member States to promote the production of textbooks that meet the requirements of the speakers of regional or minority languages, or, should that prove impossible, facilitate the use of textbooks from other countries published in those languages, in cooperation with the educational regulatory bodies of the countries where the languages concerned are used;

58.  Emphasises the importance of mother-tongue higher education and of training specialists with knowledge of specific terminology, especially in regions having large numbers of speakers of the language concerned; highlights the critical need to instruct medical doctors in minority languages;

59.  Encourages Member State governments to include minority representatives in deliberations on the organisation of their education systems;

60.  Encourages the Member States to define preferential thresholds for the learning of regional or minority languages, so as to ensure equity in education; encourages the Commission and the Member States to promote the right of people belonging to national or ethnic minorities living in areas with substantial numbers of such minorities, including rural areas or areas with widely scattered settlements, to receive education in a minority language, notably in their mother tongue, if there is sufficient demand; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that educational reforms and policies do not restrict the right to receive education in a minority language;

61.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to promote the availability of integrated support at a vertical level for minority and regional languages in education systems, specifically by creating, in Member State education ministries as well as within the Commission, units responsible for incorporating minority and regional language education in school curricula; encourages Member States to promote a continuous learning line for minority languages, from pre-school to tertiary education;

62.  Stresses that the training of teachers and access to textbooks and learning material of good quality are essential preconditions for ensuring quality education for students; considers that curricula, educational materials and history textbooks should provide a fair, accurate and informative portrayal of the societies and cultures of minority groups; notes that a widely recognised problem regarding minority language education that needs to be addressed is the insufficient availability of high-quality teaching materials and properly skilled minority language teachers; notes that the multidimensional teaching of history should be a requirement in all schools, whether in minority or majority communities; notes the importance of developing teacher training in order to fit with teaching needs at different levels and in different types of school;

63.  Underlines that teaching minority languages contributes to mutual understanding between majorities and minorities and brings communities closer together; encourages Member States to apply positive measures in order to ensure the proper representation of minorities in education, as well as in public administration and executive agencies at national, regional and municipal levels;

64.  Encourages the Commission to strengthen the promotion of programmes focused on the exchange of experiences and best practices concerning education in regional and minority languages in Europe; calls for the EU and the Commission to put greater emphasis on regional and minority languages in the future generation of the Erasmus+, Creative Europe and Europe for Citizens programmes under the new multiannual financial framework (MFF);

65.  Deeply regrets the fact that in some Member States pupils belonging to minorities are not integrated in mainstream educational establishments but are placed in special schools on the grounds that they are not sufficiently proficient in the language of instruction; recalls that education in a minority language or the fact of belonging to any particular minority cannot be used as an excuse to segregate children on grounds of identity; calls on the Member States to refrain from such segregation and to take adequate measures to enable such pupils to attend classes in mainstream schools; encourages Member States to consider the introduction of topics on fundamental human rights and minority rights in particular in the school curricula, as a means of promoting cultural diversity and tolerance through education;

Language rights

66.  Notes that language is an essential aspect of cultural identity and the human rights of minorities; stresses the need to promote the right to use a minority language, both in private and in public and without discrimination, in areas where there are substantial numbers of persons belonging to minorities, to ensure that languages can be passed on from one generation to the next, and to protect linguistic diversity within the Union; calls on the Commission to strengthen its plan to promote the teaching and use of regional languages, as a potential means of tackling language discrimination in the EU, and to promote linguistic diversity; recalls that promoting knowledge of minority languages by people who are not members of the minority concerned is a way to foster mutual understanding and recognition;

67.  Stresses that in its resolution of 11 September 2013 on endangered European languages and linguistic diversity in the European Union(11) Parliament recalled that the Commission should pay attention to the fact that, with their policies, some Member States and regions are endangering the survival of languages inside their borders, even if those languages are not in danger in the European context; calls on the Commission to examine the administrative and legislative obstacles that exist to the practice of the languages concerned;

68.  Notes that in addition to its 24 official languages, the EU is home to 60 other languages which are also part of its cultural and linguistic heritage and which are spoken in specific regions or by specific groups by 40 million people; notes that the multilingualism of the European Union is unique at the level of international organisations; notes that the principle of multilingualism is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which obliges the EU to respect linguistic diversity and to support Europe’s rich linguistic and cultural heritage by promoting language learning and linguistic diversity;

69.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to allow and promote, in the context of administrative authorities and public service organisations, the use of regional or minority languages in practice, in line with the principle of proportionality, e.g. in relations between private individuals and organisations on the one hand, and public authorities on the other; encourages Member States to make information and public services available in these languages, including on the internet, in areas with substantial numbers of people belonging to national and ethnic minorities;

70.  Encourages the Member States to foster access to minority and regional languages by means of funding and support for translation, dubbing and subtitling activities and the codification of appropriate and non-discriminatory terminology in the administrative, commercial, economic, social, technical and legal registers;

71.  Encourages municipal authorities in the areas concerned to ensure the use of regional and minority languages; encourages Member States to use as guidelines the good practices already existing at national level;

72.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to promote the use of regional or minority languages at local and regional level; with this aim in mind, actively encourages municipal authorities to ensure the use of the languages concerned in practice;

73.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to ensure that in areas with substantial numbers of inhabitants belonging to national minorities, safety and security marking and labelling, important mandatory instructions and public announcements of import to citizens, whether provided by the authorities or the private sector, as well as place names and topographical designations, are written in their correct form and are available in the languages commonly used in a given region, including on signs indicating entry into or exit from urban areas and on all other road signs providing information;

74.  Notes that the visual representation of regional and minority languages – road signs, street names, the names of administrative, public and commercial institutions, etc. – is essential to promoting and protecting national and ethnic minority rights, as it reflects, and contributes to, the vital use of regional and minority languages, encouraging persons belonging to national and ethnic minorities to use, preserve and develop their specific linguistic identity and language rights, express their multi-ethnic local identity, and strengthen their sense of ownership as members of groups living in a local or regional community;

75.  Calls on the Member States to refrain from or abolish legal practices that impede the accession of minorities to the full spectrum of professions exercised in a given state; calls on the Member States to guarantee adequate access to legal and judicial services; stresses that representatives of minorities should be explicitly informed regarding the procedures to be followed under national law where their rights as persons belonging to a minority have been violated;

76.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to recognise that every person belonging to a national minority has the right to use his or her surname (patronym) and first names in the minority language and the right to their official recognition, including in the context of freedom of movement in the EU;

77.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to take action to remove administrative and financial obstacles that could hinder linguistic diversity at European and national level and impede the enjoyment and implementation of the language rights of persons belonging to national and ethnic minorities; urges the Member States to put an end to linguistically discriminatory practices;

Conclusion

78.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a common framework of EU minimum standards for the protection of minorities; recommends that this framework should contain measurable milestones with regular reporting, and should consist, as a minimum, of:

   the drafting of guidelines reflecting good practices within the Member States, in cooperation with different stakeholders involved in minority rights protection;
   a Commission recommendation, taking into consideration existing national measures, subsidiarity and proportionality;
   a legislative proposal for a directive, to be drafted following a proper impact assessment, in line with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality as applying in the Member States and based on the aforementioned points, on minimum standards for minorities in the EU, including clear benchmarks and sanctions;

79.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the framework includes data collection, as well as fieldwork-based, financial and quality-oriented monitoring and reporting methodologies, since these elements strengthen effective evidence-based policies and can contribute to improving the effectiveness of the strategies, actions and measures taken;

o
o   o

80.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the candidate countries, the OSCE, the OECD, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.

(1) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0032.
(3) OJ C 346, 27.9.2018, p. 171.
(4) OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 55.
(5) OJ C 238, 6.7.2018, p. 2.
(6) OJ C 328, 6.9.2016, p. 4.
(7) OJ C 93, 09.03.2016, p. 52.
(8) OJ C 124 E, 25.5.2006, p. 405.
(9) OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 11.
(10) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 162.
(11) OJ C 93, 9.3.2016, p. 52.


Digitalisation for development: reducing poverty through technology
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European Parliament resolution of 13 November 2018 on digitalisation for development: reducing poverty through technology (2018/2083(INI))
P8_TA(2018)0448A8-0338/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 208, 209, 210, 211 and 214 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  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 European Consensus on Development - ‘Our world, our dignity, our future’(1), adopted in May 2017,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 October 2015 entitled ‘Trade for All: Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy’ (COM(2015)0497),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 2 May 2017 entitled ‘Digital4Development: mainstreaming digital technologies and services into EU Development Policy’ (SWD(2017)0157),

–  having regard to the Digital Single Market for Europe (DSM) strategy adopted in May 2015,

–  having regard to the European External Investment Plan,

–  having regard to the Commission report to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the implementation of the Trade Policy Strategy, ‘Trade for All – Delivering a Progressive Trade Policy to Harness Globalisation’ (COM(2017)0491),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2017 entitled ‘Towards a digital trade strategy’(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2015 on preparing for the World Humanitarian Summit: Challenges and opportunities for humanitarian assistance(3),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 May 2014 entitled ‘A Stronger Role of the Private Sector in Achieving Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in Developing Countries’ (COM(2014)0263),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on ‘Digital for Development’ of November 2017,

–  having regard to the 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, held in Buenos Aires (Argentina) from 10 to 13 December 2017,

–  having regard to the UN International Telecommunication Union’s initiatives in support of Developing Countries (ITU-D),

–  having regard to the World Trade Organisation’s Information Technology Agreement (ITA),

–  having regard to the ministerial declaration made in Cancún in 2016 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on the digital economy,

–  having regard to the joint declaration made by the ICT ministers of the G7 at their meeting held in Takamatsu (Japan) on 29 and 30 April 2016,

–  having regard to the ‘eTrade for All’ initiative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD),

–  having regard to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol (A/RES/61/106),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Development (A8-0338/2018),

A.  whereas the European Consensus on Development 2017 highlights the importance of information and communications technologies and services as enablers of inclusive growth and sustainable development;

B.  whereas the Commission’s Digitalisation for Development strategy (D4D) covers economic growth and human rights, health, education, agriculture and food security, basic infrastructure, water and sanitation, governance and social protection, as well as cross-cutting goals in terms of gender and the environment;

C.  whereas digital technologies offer a potential for ensuring sustainability and environmental protection; whereas, however, the production of digital equipment uses certain rare metals with low recyclability and limited accessible reserves, and electronic and electric waste represents an environmental and health challenge; whereas, according to a joint study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Interpol(4), Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is a priority area of environmental criminality;

D.  whereas according to the 2017 update of the World Bank database Identification for Development Global Dataset (ID4D), an estimated 1.1 billion people worldwide cannot officially prove their identity, including their birth registration, and of those 78 % live in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia; whereas this is a major barrier to achieving target 16.9 of the SDGs, but also to being an actor in and benefiting from the digital environment;

E.  whereas the SDGs explicitly mention digital technologies in five of the goals (SDG 4 on education; SDG 5 on gender equality; SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth; SDG 9 on infrastructure, industrialisation and innovation; and SDG 17 on partnerships);

F.  whereas the SDGs stress that providing universal and affordable access to the internet for people in least developed countries (LDCs) by 2020 will be crucial for fostering development, as the development of a digital economy could be a driver of decent jobs and inclusive growth, export volumes and export diversification;

G.  whereas according to UNCTAD, digitisation is increasingly giving rise to monopolies and poses new challenges for antitrust and competition policies of both developing and developed countries(5);

H.  whereas in its overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society(6), the UN General Assembly committed to harnessing the potential of ICTs in order to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other internationally agreed development goals, noting that ICTs could accelerate progress across all 17 SDGs;

I.  whereas connectivity remains a challenge and a concern lying at the root of various digital divides in both access to and use of ICTs;

J.  whereas the speed at which the digital economy is unfolding, and the significant gaps that exist in developing countries with regard to the digital economy in terms of development of secure national policy, regulations and consumer protection, point up the urgent need to upscale capacity-building and technical assistance to developing countries, and especially to LDCs;

K.  whereas digital literacy and skills are key enablers for social and personal improvement and progress, as well as for promoting entrepreneurship and building strong digital economies;

L.  whereas digitalisation should also help improve the delivery of humanitarian relief and resilience, disaster risk prevention and transitional support, linking humanitarian aid and development aid in fragile and conflict-affected contexts;

M.  whereas more than half of the world’s population is still offline, and progress has been slow towards achieving the SDG 9 target of significantly increasing access to ICTs and striving to provide universal and affordable access to the internet in LDCs by 2020;

N.  whereas a huge increase in mobile services is occurring across the planet and the numbers of mobile users are now surpassing the numbers of people having access to electricity, sanitation or clean water;

O.  whereas humanitarian innovation must be consistent with the humanitarian principles (humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence) and the dignity principle;

P.  whereas humanitarian innovation must be conducted with the aim of promoting the rights, dignity and capabilities of the recipient population, and it should be possible for all members of a crisis-affected community to benefit from innovation without discriminatory barriers to use;

Q.  whereas risk analysis and mitigation must be used to prevent unintentional harm, including harm affecting privacy and data security and impacting on local economies;

R.  whereas experimentation, piloting and trials must be undertaken in conformity with internationally recognised ethical standards;

The need to support digitalisation in developing countries

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s D4D strategy, insofar as it mainstreams digital technologies into EU development policy, which should aim at contributing to the achievement of the SDGs; insists on the importance of enhancing an SDG-centred digitalisation; recalls that the digital revolution presents societies with a whole set of new challenges, bringing both risks and opportunities;

2.  Reiterates the huge potential of digital technology and services in the achievement of the SDGs provided that action is taken to address the disruptive effects of technologies, such as automation of jobs impacting on employability, digital exclusion and inequality, cybersecurity, data privacy and regulatory issues; recalls that any digital strategy must be fully in line with and contribute to the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably with reference to SDG 4 on quality education, SDG 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, and SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure; recalls that if the SDGs are to be achieved by 2030, a strengthened global, national, regional and local partnership is needed between governmental, scientific, economic and civil society actors;

3.  Points out that, despite the increase in internet penetration, many developing countries and emerging economies lag behind in benefiting from digitalisation, many people still have no access to ICTs, and major disparities exist both between countries and between urban and rural areas; recalls that digital technology remains a tool and not an end, and considers that given financial constraints priority should be assigned to the most effective means of achieving the SDGs, and that in some countries, even though digitalisation may be useful, it is still necessary to ensure the fulfilment of basic human needs, notably in terms of access to food, energy, water and sanitation, education and health, as highlighted by the UN report on the SDGs of 2017; considers, however, that the conditions for digital development must be provided for at the design stage of infrastructure, even if implementation takes place at a later stage;

4.  Stresses the imperative that any digital trade strategy must be fully in line with the principle of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD), which is essential for achieving the SDGs; underlines that access to internet connectivity and digital payment methods that are reliable and compliant with international standards, with legislation protecting consumers of online goods and services, intellectual property rights, rules protecting personal data and tax and customs legislation appropriate to electronic commerce are pivotal to enabling digital trade, sustainable development and inclusive growth; notes in this regard the potential of the Trade Facilitation Agreement to support digital initiatives in developing countries to facilitate cross-border trade;

5.  Calls for the development of an action plan for technical innovation for humanitarian assistance, to ensure compliance with the legal and ethical principles laid down in documents such as the New European Consensus on Development - 'Our world, our dignity, our future' and ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’;

6.  Underlines that all aspects of humanitarian innovation should be subject to evaluation and monitoring, including an assessment of primary and secondary impacts of the innovation process; stresses that ethical review and risk analysis should be undertaken prior to embarking on humanitarian innovation and digitalisation projects, and should incorporate external or third-party experts where appropriate;

7.  Calls for the implementation in EU external action of the principles embodied in the Digital Single Market for Europe (DSM) strategy, through support for EU partners’ regulatory frameworks;

8.  Calls for sufficient funding under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 to enable the streamlining of digital technologies into all aspects of development policy;

9.  Notes that the introduction of digital technology in developing countries has often outpaced the establishment of state institutions, legal regulations and other mechanisms that could help manage new challenges that arise, notably regarding cybersecurity; stresses the importance of deepening collaboration between researchers and innovators at interregional level, encouraging research and development activities that promote scientific progress and the transfer of technology and know-how; calls for digitalisation to be featured prominently in the future post-Cotonou agreement as an enabler of inclusive and sustainable development, in accordance with the negotiation guidelines;

10.  Calls for further joint actions in digital infrastructure cooperation, as this should become one of the key activities in the EU’s partnerships with regional organisations, particularly the African Union; points to the importance of technical assistance and transfer of expertise to institutions that are developing digital policies at national, regional and continental levels;

11.  Calls for digitalisation to be incorporated into Member States’ national strategies for development;

12.  Calls for a more concerted and holistic cross-sectoral effort from the international community, including non-state actors such as representatives of civil society, the third sector, private companies and academia, to ensure that the shift towards a more digital economy leaves no one behind and contributes to the achievement of the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, guaranteeing access to digital technologies and services to all economic actors and citizens and avoiding an excess of different approaches that would create incompatibilities, overlaps or gaps in legislation; calls for the improvement of political articulation between the EU, the Member States and other relevant actors, with a view to enhancing coordination, complementarity and the creation of synergies;

13.  Points out that technology, artificial intelligence and automation are already replacing some low and mid-skilled jobs; calls on the Commission to promote an SDG-centred digitalisation and stresses that state-funded social protection floors are essential in addressing some disruptive impacts of new technologies, in order to overcome the changes in global labour markets and the international division of labour, affecting especially low-skilled workers in developing countries;

14.  Calls on the private sector to responsibly contribute to D4D through technology and innovation, expertise, investment, risk management, sustainable business models and growth, which should include prevention, reduction, repair, recycling and reuse of raw materials;

15.  Regrets that less than half of all developing countries have data protection legislation, and encourages the EU to provide technical assistance to the relevant authorities in drafting such legislation, relying in particular on its experience and its own legislation, which is internationally recognised as a model of its kind; stresses the need to take into account the cost that may be involved in standardising such legislation, particularly for SMEs; observes that because of the cross-border nature of digital technology data protection legislation should not vary too much, since that would lead to incompatibilities;

16.  Calls on all stakeholders to collect, process, analyse and disseminate data and statistics at local, regional, national and global levels in order to ensure a high level of protection of data, in accordance with the relevant international standards and instruments and so as to pursue the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; notes that accurate and timely collection of data ensures adequate monitoring of implementation, adjustment of policies and intervention where necessary, as well as evaluation of results achieved and their impact; recalls, however, that while the ‘data revolution’ makes it easier, faster and cheaper to produce and analyse data from a wide range of sources, it also raises huge security and privacy challenges; stresses, therefore, that innovations in data collection in developing countries should not replace official statistics but complement them;

17.  Deplores the persistent digital divides existing within each country relating to gender, geography, age, income, ethnicity, and health condition or disability, among other factors of discrimination; insists, therefore, that international development cooperation should work towards greater advancement and inclusion of persons who are disadvantaged or in vulnerable situations, while promoting the responsible use of digital tools and an adequate awareness of possible risks; calls for support for innovation that is adapted to local needs and the transition to knowledge-based economies;

18.  Calls, therefore, for increased efforts to address the challenges of digital exclusion through education and training in essential digital skills, as well as initiatives to facilitate the appropriate use of ICTs and the utilisation of digital tools in the implementation of participative methodologies, in accordance with age, personal situation and background, including elderly people and persons with disabilities; notes that international development cooperation could build on digital technologies geared to better integration of disadvantaged groups on condition that they have access to digital technologies; welcomes the initiatives such as the Africa Code Week, which contribute to the empowerment of the young African generation by fostering digital literacy; stresses the importance of e-learning and distance learning in reaching remote areas and people of all ages;

19.  Calls for the introduction of digital literacy in curricula at all levels of education, from primary school to university, in developing countries, with a view to the acquisition of the skills needed to improve access to information; believes, however, that ICT tools and new technologies should not substitute real teachers and schools, but should be used as a means of improving access to education and enhancing its quality; stresses that new technologies are a key tool for the dissemination of knowledge, the training of teachers and the management of establishments; insists also on the need for enhanced local training centres (including programming schools), to train developers and to encourage the creation of digital solutions and applications corresponding to local needs and realities;

20.  Highlights that bridging the digital divide implies deployment of and access to infrastructure, especially in rural and remote areas, that is adequate in terms of high-quality coverage and is affordable, reliable and secure; notes that the main causes hampering connectivity include poverty and lack of essential services, together with underdeveloped terrestrial networks, lack of enabling public policies and regulatory frameworks, high taxation of digital products and services, low market competition and absence of an energy grid;

21.  Expresses its concern regarding technological dependence on a small number of operators, and especially on GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon), and calls for alternatives to be developed to promote competition; notes that this aim could be pursued in partnership between the EU and Africa;

22.  Recalls that developing countries are far from being immune to cyber-attacks and underlines the risks of disruption of economic, political and democratic stability if digital security is not guaranteed; calls on all stakeholders in the digitally connected world to take active responsibility by adopting practical measures to promote greater cybersecurity awareness and know-how; points out, to this end, the importance of developing human capital at all levels in order to reduce threats to cybersecurity through training, education and increased awareness, and of establishing appropriate criminal law and transnational frameworks to combat cybercrime, as well as participating actively in international fora such as the OECD Global Forum on Digital Security;

23.  Recalls the potential of digitalisation for reducing disparities in social inclusion, for access to information and for reducing economic marginalisation in peripheral areas;

Digitalisation: a tool for sustainable development

24.  Welcomes the EU’s External Investment Plan promoting investment in innovative digital solutions for local needs, financial inclusion and decent job creation; points out that digitalisation is an important investment opportunity and that, on a basis of working together with European and international financial institutions and the private sector, blending would therefore constitute an important tool for leveraging financial resources;

25.  Calls on the Commission to launch new initiatives with a special focus on developing digital infrastructure, promoting e-governance and digital skills, strengthening the digital economy and fostering SDG-centred start-up ecosystems, including funding opportunities for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), to enable them to interact digitally with multinational enterprises and to access global value chains;

26.  Calls on the Commission to further mainstream digital technologies and services into the EU’s development policy, as outlined inter alia in the D4D agenda; underlines the need to promote the use of digital technologies in specific policy areas, including e-governance, agriculture, education, water management, health and energy;

27.  Calls on the Commission to increase investment in digital infrastructure in developing countries, in order to bridge the significant digital divide in a development-effective and principle-based manner;

28.  Recalls that MSMEs in developing countries make up the majority of businesses and employ the majority of manufacturing and service sector workers; reiterates that facilitating well regulated cross-border e-commerce can have a direct impact on improving livelihoods, fostering higher living standards and boosting employment and economic development; reaffirms the contribution that such endeavours could make to gender equality, since a great number of these companies are owned and run by women; stresses the need to reduce legal, administrative and social barriers to entrepreneurship, particularly with regard to women; calls for digitalisation to be used also to promote education and capability-building for entrepreneurship in developing countries, while also creating a favourable environment for start-ups and innovative companies;

29.  Stresses the need to stem trade in minerals whose exploitation finances armed conflicts or involves forced labour; recalls that coltan is the basic raw material for many electronic devices (e.g. smartphones) and that the civil war that has engulfed the Great Lakes region of Africa, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, due to its exploitation and extraction and illegal trade in it has resulted in more than eight million deaths; calls for an end to the exploitation of children in coltan mines and to illegal trading in coltan, in order to bring about a situation in which it is extracted and marketed in an acceptable way which also benefits the local population;

30.  Points out that as the largest sector of the African economy, agriculture can potentially benefit from digital technologies; highlights that digital platforms can be used in developing countries to inform farmers about market prices and link them with potential buyers, as well as to provide practical information about growing methods and market trends, weather information, and warnings and advice about plant and animal diseases; underlines, however, in a context where agriculture is becoming more and more knowledge-intensive and high-tech, that digital agriculture can also have a huge social and environmental disruptive effect in developing countries, as access to the latest technology may remain restricted to big and industrialised farms active in the export market and cash crops, while limited knowledge and skills could marginalise further small-scale farming in developing countries;

31.  Insists that EU funding for agriculture in developing countries must be in line with the transformative nature of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Climate Agreement, and consequently with the conclusions of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) and the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food; stresses that this implies the recognition of the multifunctionality of agriculture and a rapid shift from monoculture cropping based on the intensive use of chemical inputs towards a diversified and sustainable agriculture, based on agro-ecological farming practices and strengthening local food systems and small-scale farming;

32.  Points out that ICT tools can be used for information dissemination which can be crucial during both natural and technological disasters and emergencies, as well as in fragile and conflict-affected areas; highlights that digital technologies can enable low-income communities and other vulnerable communities to have access to quality basic services (e.g. health, education, water, sanitation and electricity), as well as to humanitarian relief and other public and private services; highlights the importance of the fight against online disinformation (fake news), and emphasises the need for specific programmes focusing on media literacy as a tool to tackle these challenges;

33.  Underlines that technological innovation in humanitarian assistance is a priority, most especially in the context of forced displacements, for contributing to sustainable solutions that bring stability and dignity to people’s lives and may facilitate the humanitarian development nexus; welcomes global initiatives to facilitate humanitarian innovation, such as the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation (GAHI), the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF) and UN Global Pulse, and calls for the EU to promote open data and strongly support the global communities of software developers and designers who are building practical open technology with a view to solving international development and humanitarian problems;

34.  Stresses that digital technologies such as SMS and mobile phone applications can provide affordable new tools for circulating important information, which could be used by poor or isolated people and people with disabilities; notes the potential of mobile phone technology, which may have advantages including lower access costs due to increasing network coverage, user-friendliness and falling costs of calls and text messages; recalls equally, however, that mobile phones generate health and environmental risks, notably due to extraction of mineral resources and increasing levels of electronic and electric waste; underlines that digitalisation has the potential to either boost or undermine democracy, and calls on the EU to duly reflect upon these risks with a view to controlling the misapplication of digital technologies, when promoting the use of technological innovation in development aid, and also to promote internet governance;

35.  Stresses the importance of building a sustainable ecosystem for the digital economy in order to reduce the ecological impact linked to digitalisation by developing an efficient use of resources in both the digital and energy sector, notably by prioritising the circular economy; calls for the External Investment Plan (EIP) to support producer responsibility, concretely by supporting SMEs which develop reuse, repair and refurbishment activities and incorporate take-back schemes into their business activities with the aim of removing the hazardous components used in Electric and Electronic Equipment (EEE); calls for enhancement of consumer awareness of the environmental effects of e-devices and for the effective addressing of business responsibility in the production of EEE; stresses likewise the need to support electronic and electric waste statistics and national e-waste policies in developing countries, so as to help minimise e-waste production, prevent illegal dumping and improper treatment of e-waste, promote recycling, and create jobs in the refurbishment and recycling sector;

36.  Acknowledges that digital technologies provide the energy sector with innovative tools to optimise the use of resources; however, recalls that digital technologies have a significant ecological footprint, as a consumer of energy resources (digital CO2 emissions are estimated to account for 2-5 % of total emissions) and metals (such as silver, cobalt, copper and tantalum), calling into question their long-term sustainability; reasserts the need to shift patterns of production and consumption in order to combat climate change;

37.  Acknowledges the potential role of digital technology in promoting democracy and citizens’ participation in decision-making;

38.  Stresses the importance of creating and implementing state-run digital information platforms which increase opportunities for people at large to inform themselves fully about their rights and the services that the state makes available to its citizens;

39.  Stresses that e-government applications contribute to making public services faster and cheaper to access, improve consistency and citizen satisfaction, facilitate the articulation and activities of civil society, and increase transparency, thus contributing significantly to promoting democratisation and fighting corruption; stresses the vital role of technology and digitalisation for effective fiscal policy and administration, enabling an effective increase in domestic resource mobilisation and helping fight tax fraud and tax evasion; insists that it is imperative to create secure digital identities, as this could help determine the numbers of those in need of certain basic services;

40.  Calls for exploitation of the opportunities afforded by digital technology as a means of improving registration of children in registers of births, deaths and marriages; stresses that UNICEF estimates that, in sub-Saharan Africa alone, 95 million children remain unregistered at birth(7) and therefore have no birth certificate, and that this fact prevents the children concerned from being legally recognised, so that their existence as members of society goes unrecorded from birth and through into adult life, which distorts countries' demographic data, with significant consequences for the assessment of the needs of populations, particularly in terms of access to education or healthcare;

41.  Acknowledges the central role of digital technology in management of health services, emergency response to epidemics, dissemination of public health campaigns, public access to health services, as well as in the training of health workers, the support and promotion of basic research, and the development of health and e-health information services; calls, therefore, on policymakers to introduce the appropriate policy and regulatory frameworks to scale up e-health projects; asks the Commission to provide the necessary financial resources in this regard;

42.  Welcomes the 'DEVCO Academy' on-line programme, which makes it possible to train people from the EU's partner countries on-line; calls for the further development of training programmes for local leaders and the establishment of procedures for applying for EU subsidies, so that those partners can gain a clearer picture of expectations, aims and conditions and thus improve the prospects of gaining acceptance for their projects; stresses that such initiatives, provided they are easily accessible, efficient and relevant, would have a positive impact on the absorption of aid and on the image of the EU among its partners;

o
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43.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the European External Action Service.

(1) OJ C 210, 30.6.2017, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 22.
(3) OJ C 399, 24.11.2017, p. 106.
(4) UNEP-Interpol study, ‘The Rise of Environmental Crime: a growing Threat to Natural Resources, Peace, Development and Security’, 2016.
(5) UNCTAD, ‘South-South Digital Cooperation for Industrialisation: A Regional Integration Agenda’ (2017).
(6) UN General Assembly, GA/RES/70/125.
(7) https://www.unicef.org/french/publications/files/UNICEF_SOWC_2016_French_LAST.pdf

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