Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 15 January 2019 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Establishing, as part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, the instrument for financial support for customs control equipment ***I
 Conclusion of the EU-Albania status agreement on actions carried out by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in Albania ***
 Protocol to the EU-Kyrgyzstan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (accession of Croatia) ***
 EU-Kyrgyzstan comprehensive agreement
 Autonomous driving in European transport
 Use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road ***I
 Temporary withdrawal of preferences in certain agreements concluded between the EU and certain third countries ***I
 Establishing the 'Customs' programme for cooperation in the field of customs ***I
 Amendment of the European Investment Bank Statute *
 Gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament
 European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy
 Assessing how the EU budget is used for public sector reform
 EU guidelines and the mandate of the EU Special Envoy on the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU
 Gender equality and taxation policies in the EU

Establishing, as part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, the instrument for financial support for customs control equipment ***I
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Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 15 January 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing, as part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, the instrument for financial support for customs control equipment (COM(2018)0474 – C8-0273/2018 – 2018/0258(COD))(1)
P8_TA(2019)0001A8-0460/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1
(1)  The 2 140 customs offices2 that are present over the external borders of the European Union need to be properly equipped to ensure the operation of the customs union. The need for adequate and equivalent customs controls is ever more pressing not only by reason of the traditional function of customs to collect revenue but also increasingly by the necessity to significantly reinforce the control of goods entering and exiting Union’s external borders in order to ensure both safety and security. However, at the same time, those controls on the movement of goods across the external borders should not impair but rather facilitate legitimate trade with third countries.
(1)  The 2 140 customs offices2 that are present over the external borders of the European Union need to be properly equipped to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the customs union. The need for adequate and equivalent customs controls is ever more pressing not only by reason of the traditional function of customs to collect revenue but also increasingly by the necessity to significantly reinforce the control of goods entering and exiting Union’s external borders in order to ensure both safety and security. However, at the same time, those controls on the movement of goods across the external borders should not impair but rather facilitate legitimate trade with third countries, in compliance with the safety and security conditions.
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2 Annex of the Annual 2016 Report of the Customs Union Performance available on: https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/annual-activity-report-2016-taxation-and-customs-union_en.
2 Annex of the Annual 2016 Report of the Customs Union Performance available on: https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/annual-activity-report-2016-taxation-and-customs-union_en.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1 a (new)
(1a)  The customs union is a cornerstone of the European Union, which is one of the largest trading blocks in the world, and is essential for the proper functioning of the single market for the benefit of both businesses and citizens. In its resolution of 14 March 20182a, the European Parliament expressed particular concern regarding customs fraud, which has created a significant loss of income for the Union's budget. The European Parliament reiterated that a stronger and a more ambitious Europe can only be achieved if it is provided with reinforced financial means and called, therefore, for providing continuous support to existing policies, for increasing resources to the Union’ flagship programmes, and for additional responsibilities to be matched with additional financial means.
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2a P8_TA(2018)0075 : The next MFF: Preparing the Parliament’s position on the MFF post-2020
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2
(2)  There is currently an imbalance in the performance of customs control by Member States. This imbalance is due both to geographic differences between Member States and in their respective capacities and resources. The ability of Member States to react to challenges generated by the constantly evolving global business models and supply chains depend not only on the human component but also on the availability of modern and reliable customs control equipment. The provision of equivalent customs control equipment is therefore an important element in addressing the existing imbalance. It will improve equivalence in the performance of customs controls throughout Member States and thereby avoid the diversion of the flows of goods towards the weakest points.
(2)  There is currently an imbalance in the performance of customs control by Member States. This imbalance is due both to geographic differences between Member States and in their respective capacities and resources, as well as to a lack of standardised customs controls. The ability of Member States to react to challenges generated by the constantly evolving global business models and supply chains depend not only on the human component but also on the availability and proper functioning of modern and reliable customs control equipment. Other challenges, such as the surge of e-commerce, the digitalisation of the controls and inspections records, resilience to cyber-attacks, sabotage, industrial espionage and misuse of data, will also increase demand for better functioning of customs procedures. The provision of equivalent customs control equipment is therefore an important element in addressing the existing imbalance. It will improve equivalence in the performance of customs controls throughout Member States and thereby avoid the diversion of the flows of goods towards the weakest points. All the goods entering the customs territory of the Union should be subject to thorough controls in order to avoid “port-shopping” by custom fraudsters. To ensure that the overall strength is increased as well as convergence in the performance of customs control by Member States, a clear strategy related to the weakest points is required.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3
(3)  Member States have repeatedly expressed the need for financial support and requested an in-depth analysis of the equipment needed. In its conclusions3 on customs funding on 23 March 2017, the Council invited the Commission to "evaluate the possibility of funding technical equipment needs from future Commission financial programmes and improve coordination and (…) cooperation between Customs Authorities and other law enforcement authorities for funding purposes".
(3)  A number of Member States have repeatedly expressed the need for financial support and requested an in-depth analysis of the equipment needed. In its conclusions3 on customs funding on 23 March 2017, the Council invited the Commission to "evaluate the possibility of funding technical equipment needs from future Commission financial programmes and improve coordination and (…) cooperation between Customs Authorities and other law enforcement authorities for funding purposes".
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3.https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/22301/st09581en17-vf.pdf
and http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-7586-2017-INIT/en/pdf.
3.https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/22301/st09581en17-vf.pdf
and http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-7586-2017-INIT/en/pdf.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6
(6)  It is therefore opportune to establish a new Instrument for financial support for customs control equipment.
(6)  It is therefore opportune to establish a new Instrument for financial support for customs control equipment that should ensure the detection of practices, such as for example counterfeiting of goods and other illegal commercial practices. Already existing formulas of financial support should be considered.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7
(7)  As customs authorities of the Member States have been taking up an increasing number of responsibilities, which often extend to the field of security and take place at the external border, ensuring equivalence in carrying out border control and customs control at the external borders needs to be addressed by providing adequate Union financial support to the Member States. It is equally important to promote inter-agency cooperation at Union borders as regards controls of goods and controls of persons among the national authorities in each Member State that are responsible for border control or for other tasks carried out at the border.
(7)  As customs authorities of the Member States have been taking up an increasing number of responsibilities, which often extend to the field of security and take place at the external border, ensuring equivalence in carrying out border control and customs control at the external borders needs to be addressed by providing adequate Union financial support to the Member States. It is equally important to promote inter-agency cooperation, while considering cybersecurity, at Union borders as regards controls of goods and controls of persons among the national authorities in each Member State that are responsible for border control or for other tasks carried out at the border.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11
(11)  This Regulation lays down a financial envelope for the Instrument, which is to constitute the prime reference amount, within the meaning of point 17 of 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 management6, for the European Parliament and the Council during the annual budgetary procedure.
(11)  This Regulation lays down a financial envelope for the Instrument, which is to constitute the prime reference amount, within the meaning of point 17 of 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 management6, for the European Parliament and the Council during the annual budgetary procedure. To secure budgetary discipline, the conditions as to how the grants will be prioritised should be clear, defined and based on needs that have been identified for the tasks performed by customs points.
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6Interinstitutional 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 (OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1).
6Interinstitutional 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 (OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1).
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 13 a (new)
(13a)  Customs control equipment financed under this Instrument should meet optimal security, including cybersecurity, safety, environmental and health standards.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 13 b (new)
(13b)  Data produced by customs control equipment financed under this Instrument should be accessed and processed only by duly authorised staff of the authorities, and should be adequately protected against unauthorised access or communication. Member States should be in full control of that data.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 13 c (new)
(13c)  Customs control equipment financed under this Instrument should contribute to providing optimal customs risk management.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 13 d (new)
(13d)  When replacing old customs control equipment by the means of this Instrument, Member States should be responsible for environment friendly disposal of old customs control equipment.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 15
(15)  Most customs control equipment may be equally or incidentally fit for controls of compliance with other legislation, such as provisions on border management, visa or police cooperation. The Integrated Border Management Fund has therefore been conceived as two complementary instruments with distinct but coherent scopes for the purchase of equipment. On the one hand, the instrument for border management and visa established by Regulation [2018/XXX]10 will exclude equipment that can be used for both border management and customs control. On the other hand, the instrument for financial support for customs control equipment established by this Regulation will not only support financially equipment with customs controls as the main purpose but will also allow its use as well for additional purposes such as border controls and security. This distribution of roles will foster inter-agency cooperation as a component of the European integrated border management approach, as referred to in Article 4(e) of Regulation (EU) 2016/162411, thereby enabling customs and border authorities to work together and maximising the impact of the Union budget through co-sharing and inter-operability of control equipment.
(15)  Most customs control equipment may be equally or incidentally fit for controls of compliance with other legislation, such as provisions on border management, visa or police cooperation. The Integrated Border Management Fund has therefore been conceived as two complementary instruments with distinct but coherent scopes for the purchase of equipment. On the one hand, the instrument for border management and visa established by Regulation [2018/XXX]10 will exclude equipment that can be used for both border management and customs control. On the other hand, the instrument for financial support for customs control equipment established by this Regulation will not only support financially equipment with customs controls as the main purpose but will also allow its use as well for additional related purposes such as border controls, safety, and security. This distribution of roles will foster inter-agency cooperation as a component of the European integrated border management approach, as referred to in Article 4(e) of Regulation (EU) 2016/162411, thereby enabling customs and border authorities to work together and maximising the impact of the Union budget through co-sharing and inter-operability of control equipment. To ensure that any instrument or equipment financed by the fund is in the permanent custody of the designated customs point that owns the equipment, the act of co-sharing and interoperability between customs and border authorities should be defined as being non-systematic and non-regular.
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10 COM(2018)0473.
10 COM(2018)0473.
11 Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 on the European Border and Coast Guard and amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 and Council Decision 2005/267/EC (OJ L 251, 16.9.2016, p. 1).
11 Regulation (EU) 2016/1624 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 September 2016 on the European Border and Coast Guard and amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 and Council Decision 2005/267/EC (OJ L 251, 16.9.2016, p. 1).
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 16
(16)  By way of derogation from the Financial Regulation, funding of an action by several Union programmes or instruments should be possible in order to allow and support, where appropriate, cooperation and interoperability across domains. However, in such cases, the contributions may not cover the same costs in accordance with the principle of prohibition of double funding established by the Financial Regulation.
(16)  By way of derogation from the Financial Regulation, funding of an action by several Union programmes or instruments should be possible in order to allow and support, where appropriate, cooperation and interoperability across domains. However, in such cases, the contributions may not cover the same costs in accordance with the principle of prohibition of double funding established by the Financial Regulation. If a Member State has already been awarded or has received contributions from another Union programme or support from a Union fund for the acquisition of the same equipment, that contribution or support should be listed in the application.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 16 a (new)
(16a)   The Commission should incentivise joint procurement and testing of customs control equipment between Member States.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 17
(17)  In view of the rapid evolution of customs priorities, threats and technologies, work programmes should not span over long periods of time. At the same time, the need to establish annual work programmes increases the administrative burden for both the Commission and Member States without it being necessary for the implementation of the Instrument. Against that backdrop, work programmes should in principle cover more than one budgetary year.
(17)  In view of the rapid evolution of customs priorities, threats and technologies, work programmes should not span over long periods of time. At the same time, the need to establish annual work programmes increases the administrative burden for both the Commission and Member States without it being necessary for the implementation of the Instrument. Against that backdrop, work programmes should in principle cover more than one budgetary year. Moreover, to ensure that the integrity of the Union's strategic interests are preserved, Member States are encouraged to consider carefully cybersecurity and the risks to potential exposure of sensitive data outside the Union when tendering for new customs control equipment.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 18
(18)  In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of the work programme under this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council12 .
deleted
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12 Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers (OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13).
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 19
(19)  Although central implementation is indispensable in order to achieve the specific objective of ensuring equivalent customs controls, given the technical nature of this Instrument, preparatory work is required at technical level. Therefore, implementation should be supported by assessments of needs that are dependent on national expertise and experience through the involvement of customs administrations of the Member States. Those assessments of needs should be based on a clear methodology including a minimum number of steps ensuring the collection of the required information.
(19)  Although central implementation is indispensable in order to achieve the specific objective of ensuring equivalent customs controls, given the technical nature of this Instrument, preparatory work is required at technical level. Therefore, implementation should be supported by individual assessments of needs that are dependent on national expertise and experience through the involvement of customs administrations of the Member States. Those assessments of needs should be based on a clear methodology including a minimum number of steps ensuring the collection of the required relevant information.
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 20
(20)  To ensure regular monitoring and reporting, a proper framework for monitoring the results achieved by the Instrument and actions under it should be put in place. Such monitoring and reporting should be based on indicators measuring the effects of the actions under the Instrument. Reporting requirements should include some information on customs control equipment beyond a certain cost threshold.
(20)  To ensure regular monitoring and reporting, a proper framework for monitoring the results achieved by the Instrument and actions under it should be put in place. Such monitoring and reporting should be based on quantitative and qualitative indicators measuring the effects of the actions under the Instrument. Member States should ensure a transparent and clear procurement procedure. Reporting requirements should include detailed information on customs control equipment and procurement procedure beyond a certain cost threshold, and a justification of the expenses.
Amendment 19
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 22
(22)  In order to respond appropriately to evolving policy priorities, threats and technologies, 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 amending the customs control purposes for actions eligible under the Instrument and the list of indicators to measure the achievement of the specific objectives. It is of particular importance that the Commission carries 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 on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016. 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.
(22)  In order to respond appropriately to evolving policy priorities, threats and technologies, 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 amending this Regulation in order to lay down work programmes, amending the customs control purposes for actions eligible under the Instrument and the list of indicators to measure the achievement of the specific objectives. It is of particular importance that the Commission carries out appropriate and fully transparent 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 on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016. 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.
Amendment 20
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 24
(24)  Horizontal financial rules adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on the basis of Article 322 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union apply to this Regulation. These rules are laid down in the Financial Regulation and determine in particular the procedure for establishing and implementing the budget through grants, procurement, prizes, indirect implementation, and provide for checks on the responsibility of financial actors. Rules adopted on the basis of Article 322 TFEU also concern the protection of the Union's budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States, as the respect for the rule of law is an essential precondition for sound financial management and effective EU funding.
(24)  Horizontal financial rules adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on the basis of Article 322 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union apply to this Regulation. These rules are laid down in the Financial Regulation and determine in particular the procedure for establishing and implementing the budget through grants, procurement, prizes, indirect implementation, and provide for checks on the responsibility of financial actors. Rules adopted on the basis of Article 322 TFEU also concern the protection of the Union's budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States, as the respect for the rule of law is an essential precondition for sound financial management and effective EU funding. Funding under this Instrument should respect the principles of transparency, proportionality, equal treatment and non-discrimination.
Amendment 21
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 25
(25)  The types of financing and the methods of implementation under this Regulation should be chosen on the basis of their ability to achieve the specific objective of the actions and to deliver results, taking into account, in particular, the costs of controls, the administrative burden, and the expected risk of non-compliance. This should include consideration of the use of lump sums, flat rates and unit costs, as well as financing not linked to costs as referred to in Article 125(1) of the Financial Regulation.
(25)  The types of financing and the methods of implementation under this Regulation should be chosen on the basis of their ability to achieve the specific objective of the actions and to deliver results, taking into account, in particular, the costs of controls, the administrative burden, and the expected risk of non-compliance. This should include consideration of the use of lump sums, flat rates and unit costs, as well as financing not linked to costs as referred to in Article 125(1) of the Financial Regulation. Improving the implementation and quality of spending should constitute guiding principles for the achievement of the objectives of the Instrument while ensuring optimal use of financial resources.
Amendment 22
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1
1.  As part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, the Instrument has the general objective to support the customs union and customs authorities to protect the financial and economic interests of the Union and its Member States, to ensure security and safety within the Union and to protect the Union from unfair and illegal trade while facilitating legitimate business activity.
1.  As part of the Integrated Border Management Fund and with a view to the long-term aim that all customs controls in the Union are standardised, the Instrument has the general objective to support the customs union and customs authorities to protect the financial and economic interests of the Union and its Member States to promote inter-agency cooperation at Union borders as regards controls of goods and persons, to ensure security and safety within the Union and to protect the Union from illegal trade while facilitating legitimate business activity.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2
2.  The Instrument has the specific objective of contributing to adequate and equivalent customs controls through the purchase, maintenance and upgrade of relevant, state-of-the-art and reliable customs control equipment.
2.  The Instrument has the specific objective of contributing to adequate and equivalent customs controls through the fully transparent purchase, maintenance and upgrade of relevant, state-of-the-art, secure, cyber-resilient, safe, environmental-friendly and reliable customs control equipment. An additional objective is to improve the quality of customs controls throughout Member States to avoid the diversion of goods towards weaker points in the Union.
Amendment 24
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.  The Instrument shall contribute to the implementation of the European Integrated Border Management by supporting interagency cooperation, co-sharing and interoperability of new equipment acquired through the Instrument.
Amendment 25
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1
1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Instrument for the period 2021 – 2027 shall be EUR 1 300 000 000 in current prices.
1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Instrument for the period 2021 – 2027 shall be EUR 1 149 175 000 in 2018 prices (EUR 1 300 000 000 in current prices).
Amendment 26
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2
2.  The amount referred to in paragraph 1 may also cover expenses for preparation, monitoring, control, audit, evaluation and other activities for managing the Instrument and evaluating the achievement of its objectives. It may moreover cover expenses relating to the studies, meetings of experts, information and communication actions, in so far as they are related to the objectives of the Instrument, as well as expenses linked to information technology networks focusing on information processing and exchange, including corporate information technology tools and other technical and administrative assistance needed in connection with the management of the Instrument.
2.  The amount referred to in paragraph 1 may also cover legitimate and verified expenses for preparation, monitoring, control, audit, evaluation and other activities for managing the Instrument and evaluating its performance and the achievement of its objectives. It may moreover cover likewise legitimate and verified expenses relating to the studies, meetings of experts, information and communication actions, exchange of data between involved Member States in so far as they are related to the specific objectives of the Instrument in support of the general objective, as well as expenses linked to information technology networks focusing on information processing and exchange, including corporate information technology tools and other technical and administrative assistance needed in connection with the management of the Instrument.
Amendment 27
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 a (new)
1a.   When the action supported involves the purchase or upgrade of equipment, the Commission shall set up adequate safeguards and contingency measures to ensure that all the equipment purchased with the support of Union programmes and instruments is put to use by the relevant customs authorities in all relevant cases.
Amendment 28
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 3
3.  When the action supported involves the purchase or upgrade of equipment, the Commission shall set up a coordination mechanism ensuring efficiency and interoperability between all the equipment purchased with the support of Union programmes and instruments.
3.  When the action supported involves the purchase or upgrade of equipment, the Commission shall set up a coordination mechanism ensuring efficiency and interoperability between all the equipment purchased with the support of Union programmes and instruments, which shall allow for the consultation and participation of relevant Union agencies, in particular the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. The coordination mechanism shall include the participation and consultation of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency to maximise the Union added value in the field of border management.
Amendment 29
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 3 a (new)
3a.   When the action supported involves the purchase or upgrade of equipment, the Commission shall set up adequate safeguards and contingency measures to ensure that all the equipment purchased with the support of Union programmes and instruments meets agreed standards on regular maintenance.
Amendment 30
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 2
2.  By way of derogation from paragraph 1, in duly justified cases, the actions may also cover the purchase, maintenance and upgrade of customs controls equipment for testing new pieces or new functionalities in operational conditions.
2.  By way of derogation from paragraph 1, in duly justified cases, the actions may also cover the fully transparent purchase, maintenance and upgrade of customs controls equipment for testing new pieces or new functionalities in operational conditions.
Amendment 31
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 3
3.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 14 to amend the customs control purposes set out in point (b) of paragraph 1 as well as Annex 1 where such review is considered necessary.
3.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 14 to amend the customs control purposes set out in point (b) of paragraph 1 as well as Annex 1 where such review is considered necessary and in order to stay up to date with technological developments, changing patterns in smuggling of goods and with new, smart and innovative solutions for customs control purposes.
Amendment 32
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 4
4.  Customs control equipment financed under this Instrument may be used for purposes additional to customs controls, including for control of persons in support of the national border management authorities and investigation.
4.  Customs control equipment financed under this Instrument should primarily be used for customs controls, but may be used for purposes additional to customs controls, including for control of persons in support of the national border management authorities and investigation to comply with the Instrument's general and specific objectives set out in Article 3.
Amendment 33
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 4 a (new)
4a.   The Commission shall incentivise joint procurement and testing of customs control equipment between Member States.
Amendment 34
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.   Funding in excess of that ceiling may be granted in cases of joint procurement and testing of customs control equipment between Member States.
Amendment 35
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 – paragraph 2 b (new)
2b.   The exceptional circumstances referred to in paragraph 2 may include purchasing of new customs control equipment and submitting it to the technical equipment pool of the European Border and Coast Guard. Admissibility of the customs control equipment to the technical equipment pool shall be ascertained in accordance with Article 5(3).
Amendment 36
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
The following costs shall not be eligible for funding under the Instrument:
All the costs related to actions referred to in Article 6 shall be eligible for funding under Instrument, with the exception of:
Amendment 37
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1 – point a a (new)
(aa)  costs relating to training or the upgrading of skills necessary for the use of the equipment;
Amendment 38
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1 – point c
(c)  costs associated with electronic systems, with the exception of software directly necessary to use the customs control equipment;
(c)  costs associated with electronic systems, with the exception of software and software updates directly necessary to use the customs control equipment and with the exception of the electronic software and programming necessary to inter-link existing software with the customs control equipment;
Amendment 39
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1 – point d
(d)  costs of networks, such as secured or unsecured communication channels, or subscriptions;
(d)  costs of networks, such as secured or unsecured communication channels, or subscriptions, with the exception of networks or subscriptions directly necessary to use the customs control equipment;
Amendment 40
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 2
2.  The work programmes shall be adopted by the Commission by means of an implementing act. That implementing act shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 15.
2.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 14, amending Annex 2a in order to lay down work programmes.
Amendment 41
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1 – introductory part
The preparation of the work programmes referred to in paragraph 1 shall be supported by an assessment of needs, which shall consist of the following at a minimum:
The preparation of the work programmes referred to in paragraph 1 shall be supported by an individual assessment of needs, which shall consist of the following:
Amendment 42
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1 – point b
(b)  an exhaustive inventory of available customs control equipment;
(b)  an exhaustive inventory of available and functional customs control equipment;
Amendment 43
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1 – point c
(c)  a common definition of a minimum and an optimal standard of customs control equipment by reference to the category of border crossing points and
(c)  a common definition of a minimum technical standard of customs control equipment by reference to the category of border crossing points;
Amendment 44
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1 – point c a (new)
(ca)  an assessment of an optimal level of customs control equipment by reference to the category of border crossing points; and
Amendment 45
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1 – point d
(d)  a detailed estimate of financial needs.
(d)  a detailed estimate of financial needs depending on the size of customs operations and the relative workload.
Amendment 46
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1
1.  Indicators to report on progress of the Instrument towards the achievement of the general and specific objectives set out in Article 3 are set out in Annex 2.
1.  In compliance with its reporting requirement pursuant to point (e)(i) of Article 38(3) of the Financial Regulation, the Commission shall present to the European Parliament and the Council information on the performance of the Programme. The Commission’s reporting on performance shall include information on both progress and shortfalls.
Amendment 47
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 2
2.  To ensure effective assessment of progress of the Instrument towards the achievement of its objectives, the Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 14 to amend Annex 2 to review or complement the indicators where considered necessary and to supplement this Regulation with provisions on the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation framework.
2.  Indicators to report on the progress of the Instrument towards the achievement of the general and specific objectives in Article 3 are set out in Annex 2. To ensure effective assessment of progress of the Instrument towards the achievement of its objectives, the Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 14 to amend Annex 2 to review or complement the indicators where considered necessary and to supplement this Regulation with provisions on the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation framework in order to provide the European Parliament and the Council with updated qualitative as well as quantitative information on performance of the Programme.
Amendment 48
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 3
3.  The performance reporting system shall ensure that data for monitoring the implementation and results of the Instrument are collected efficiently, effectively, and in a timely manner. To that end, proportionate reporting requirements shall be imposed on recipients of Union funds.
3.  The performance reporting system shall ensure that data for monitoring the implementation and results of the Instrument are comparable and complete as well as collected efficiently, effectively, and in a timely manner. To that end, proportionate reporting requirements shall be imposed on recipients of Union funds. The Commission shall provide the European Parliament and the Council with reliable information on the quality of the performance data used.
Amendment 49
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 4 – point c a (new)
(ca)   the presence and condition five years after commissioning of items of equipment funded from the Union budget;
Amendment 50
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 4 – point c b (new)
(cb)   information on instances of maintenance of the customs control equipment;
Amendment 51
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 4 – point c c (new)
(cc)   information on the procurement procedure;
Amendment 52
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 4 – point c d (new)
(cd)   justification of the expenses.
Amendment 53
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 1
1.  Evaluations shall be carried out in a timely manner to feed into the decision-making process.
1.  Evaluations of actions funded under the Instrument and referred to in Article 6 shall assess the Instrument's results, impact and effectiveness, and shall be carried out in a timely manner to ensure their efficient use in the decision-making process.
Amendment 54
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 2
2.  The interim evaluation of the Instrument shall be performed once there is sufficient information available about the implementation of the Instrument, but no later than four years after the start of the implementation of the Instrument.
2.  The interim evaluation of the Instrument shall be performed once there is sufficient information available about the implementation of the Instrument, but no later than three years after the start of the implementation of the Instrument.
Amendment 55
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 a (new)
The interim evaluation shall present findings necessary to make a decision about a follow-up to the Programme beyond 2027 and its objectives.
Amendment 56
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 3
3.  At the end of the implementation of the Instrument, but no later than four years after the end of the period specified in Article 1, a final evaluation of the Instrument shall be carried out by the Commission.
3.  At the end of the implementation of the Instrument, but no later than three years after the end of the period specified in Article 1, a final evaluation of the Instrument shall be carried out by the Commission.
Amendment 57
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 4
4.  The Commission shall communicate the conclusions of the evaluations, accompanied by its observations, to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.
4.  The Commission shall communicate the conclusions of the evaluations, accompanied by its observations and lessons learned, to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.
Amendment 58
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 4 a (new)
4a.  The Commission shall include annual partial evaluations in its report "Protection of the European Union's financial interests - Fight against fraud".
Amendment 59
Proposal for a regulation
Article 14 – paragraph 2
2.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Articles 6(3) and 12(2) shall be conferred on the Commission until 31 December 2028.
2.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Articles 6(3), 11(2) and 12(2) shall be conferred on the Commission until 31 December 2028.
Amendment 60
Proposal for a regulation
Article 14 – paragraph 3
3.  The delegation of power referred to in Articles 6(3) and 12(2) 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 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.
3.  The delegation of power referred to in Articles 6(3), 11(2) and 12(2) 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 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.
Amendment 61
Proposal for a regulation
Article 14 – paragraph 6
6.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Articles 6(3) and 12(2) shall enter into force if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or by the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and 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.
6.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Articles 6(3), 11(2) and 12(2) shall enter into force if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or by the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and 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.
Amendment 62
Proposal for a regulation
Article 15
Article 15
deleted
Committee procedure
1.  The Commission shall be assisted by the “Customs Programme Committee” referred to in Article 18 of Regulation (EU) [2018/XXX]23 .
2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5 of Regulation (EU) 182/2011 shall apply.
__________________
23 COM(2018)0442.
Amendment 63
Proposal for a regulation
Article 16 – paragraph 1
1.  The recipients of Union funding shall acknowledge the origin and ensure the visibility of the Union funding (in particular when promoting the actions and their results) by providing coherent, effective and proportionate targeted information to multiple audiences, including the media and the public.
1.  The recipients of Union funding shall acknowledge the origin and ensure the visibility of the Union funding (in particular when promoting the actions and their results) by providing coherent, effective and proportionate targeted information to multiple audiences, including the media and the public, thereby showing the Union added value and aiding the data gathering efforts of the Commission in order to enhance budgetary transparency.
Amendment 64
Proposal for a regulation
Article 16 – paragraph 2
2.  The Commission shall implement information and communication actions relating to the Instrument, and its actions and results. Financial resources allocated to the Instrument shall also contribute to the corporate communication of the political priorities of the Union, as far as they are related to the objectives referred to in Article 3.
2.  In order to ensure transparency, the Commission shall regularly provide information to the public relating to the Instrument, its actions and results, referring to, inter alia, the work programmes referred to in Article 11.
Amendment 65
Proposal for a regulation
Annex 1 – column 3 – row 1
Containers, trucks, rail wagons
Containers, trucks, rail wagons and vehicles
Amendment 66
Proposal for a regulation
Annex 1 – column 3 – row 3 a (new)
Vehicles
Amendment 67
Proposal for a regulation
Annex 1 – column 2 – row 5
X-ray backscatter portal
X-ray based backscatter portal
Amendment 68
Proposal for a regulation
Annex 2 – column 2 – row 6 a (new)
Millimetre wave-based security scanner
Amendment 69
Proposal for a regulation
Annex 2 – point 1 a (new)
1a.  Security and Safety
(a)  Degree of compliance with security standards of customs control equipment at all Border Crossing Points, including cybersecurity
(b)  Degree of compliance with safety standards of customs control equipment at all Border Crossing Points
Amendment 70
Proposal for a regulation
Annex 2 – point 1 b (new)
1b.  Health and Environment
(a)  Degree of compliance with health standards of customs control equipment at all Border Crossing Points
(b)  Degree of compliance with environmental standards of customs control equipment at all Border Crossing Points
Amendment 71
Proposal for a regulation
Annex 2 a (new)
Annex 2a
Work programmes
Amendment 72
Proposal for a regulation
Annex 2 b (new)
Annex 2 b
Exceptional circumstances for excess funding

(1) The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committee responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (A8-0460/2018).


Conclusion of the EU-Albania status agreement on actions carried out by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in Albania ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 15 January 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Status Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Albania on actions carried out by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in the Republic of Albania (10302/2018 – C8-0433/2018 – 2018/0241(NLE))
P8_TA(2019)0002A8-0463/2018

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10302/2018),

–  having regard to the draft Status Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Albania on actions carried out by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency in the Republic of Albania (10290/2018),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 77(2), points (b) and (d), Article 79(2), point (c) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0433/2018),

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0463/2018),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

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


Protocol to the EU-Kyrgyzstan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (accession of Croatia) ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 15 January 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union and of the Member States, of the Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement establishing a partnership between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kyrgyz Republic, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union (12564/2017 – C8-0033/2018 – 2017/0185(NLE))
P8_TA(2019)0003A8-0443/2018

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12564/2017),

–  having regard to the draft Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement establishing a partnership between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kyrgyz Republic, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union (12659/2017),

–  having regard to request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 91, Article 100(2), Articles 207 and 209, and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0033/2018),

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0443/2018),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the Protocol;

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


EU-Kyrgyzstan comprehensive agreement
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European Parliament recommendation of 15 January 2019 to the Council, Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the comprehensive agreement between the EU and the Kyrgyz Republic (2018/2118(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0004A8-0450/2018

The European Parliament,

—  having regard to the Council Decision (EU) 2017/... of 9 October 2017 authorising the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to open negotiations on and negotiate, on behalf of the European Union, the provisions that fall within the competence of the Union of a Comprehensive Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Kyrgyz Republic, of the other part (11436/1/17 REV 1),

—  having regard to the Decision of the representatives of the governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 9 October 2017 authorising the European Commission to open negotiations on and negotiate, on behalf of the Member States, the provisions that fall within the competences of the Member States of a Comprehensive Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Kyrgyz Republic, of the other part (11438/1/17 REV 1),

—  having regard to the proposed legal bases for the new comprehensive agreement being Article 37 of the Treaty on European Union, and Articles 91, 100(2), 207 and 209 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

—  having regard to the existing Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the EU and the Kyrgyz Republic in force since 1999,

—  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2011 on the state of implementation of the EU Strategy for Central Asia(1), and of 13 April 2016 on implementation and review of the EU-Central Asia Strategy(2),

—  having regard to its previous resolutions on Kyrgyzstan, including those of 15 January 2015(3), of 8 July 2010(4) and of 6 May 2010(5),

—  having regard to the statement by the VP/HR on the presidential elections in the Kyrgyz Republic of 16 October 2017,

—  having regard to the European Parliament, International Election Observation Mission (IEOM), Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE / ODIHR) conclusions on the presidential elections,

—  having regard to the Declaration adopted by the 13th EU-Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee of 3 May 2018,

—  having regard to the decision of the European Union of 2 February 2016 to grant GSP+ status to the Kyrgyz Republic,

—  having regard to its position of 22 October 2013 on the Council position at first reading with a view to the adoption of a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council providing macro-financial assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic(6),

–  having regard to Rule 113 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0450/2018),

A.  whereas in December 2017, the EU and Kyrgyzstan launched negotiations on a comprehensive agreement, which would replace the current EU-Kyrgyzstan PCA, with the aim of enhancing and deepening cooperation in areas of mutual interest, based on the shared values of democracy, the rule of law and good governance, within a new legal framework;

B.  whereas the comprehensive agreement will require Parliament’s consent for it to enter into force;

1.  Recommends the following to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy:

General principles

Political dialogue and international cooperation

Institutional provisions

Common concerns and interests related to the areas of cooperation addressed by the agreement

   (a) to negotiate and conclude an ambitious, comprehensive and balanced agreement between the EU and Kyrgyzstan, which will replace the PCA of 1999 and provide the basis for strong and lasting relations and the stable, secure and sustainable development of both parties;
   (b) to identify strategic short- and long-term perspectives in the comprehensive agreement and to establish a number of well-identified and structured goals for cooperation with Kyrgyzstan; to put in additional efforts and to deepen the relationship in order to make the EU more visible and more effective in the country and in the region;
   (c) to foster the market economy by delivering tangible social and economic benefits for the citizens of both sides; to uphold the competition rules and legal certainty, including through the reinforcement of independent and transparent institutions;
   (d) to ensure a firm engagement from both sides to respect and advance democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law in full respect of the criteria required for the GSP+ status granted to the Kyrgyz Republic, including the ratification of the relevant international conventions and the effective implementation of the conclusions and recommendations of the relevant monitoring bodies established under those conventions; to facilitate and conduct a regular and results-oriented dialogue on human rights issues of interest to both sides and that should include the authorities and civil society, with the aim of strengthening the institutional framework and public policies; to highlight Kyrgyzstan’s constructive membership of the UN Human Rights Council during the 2016-2018 period and to encourage its further international involvement;
   (e) to contribute to strengthening multilateralism and international cooperation and to develop common approaches to cooperation with Kyrgyz partners in order to promote international security and effectively tackle global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, migration and organised crime, and contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the new National Development Strategy 2018-2040; and, more generally, to contribute to the stabilisation and growth of Central Asia;
   (f) to strengthen political dialogue and sectoral cooperation; to provide for meaningful regular dialogue on all matters of relevance, building on existing formats;
   (g) to step up cooperation in crisis management, conflict prevention, countering terrorism and organised crime, cyber-crime, the prevention of violent radicalisation and cross-border crime, and integrated border management, in full respect for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and in line with the amendments to the Criminal Code; and to ensure that national Law No 150 of 2005 on Countering Extremist Activity is fully in line with international standards;
   (h) to enhance provisions related to trade and economic relations, improving the investment climate and contributing to the diversification of the Kyrgyz economy, serving to mutual advantage and strengthening legal certainty and regulatory transparency; to support good governance, a functioning judiciary and cutting red tape, and using all available measures to promote sustainable economic development in the interests of consolidating and developing the multilateral, rules-based trading system; to contribute to supporting the establishment and development of small and medium-sized enterprises; to enhance EU-Kyrgyz economic and trade relations further with regard to GSP+ status, and to call on Kyrgyzstan to implement the international commitments stemming from this status, in order to foster the economic development of the country;
   (i) to improve cooperation in the fight against corruption, money laundering and tax evasion; to include specific sections outlining clear and strong commitments and measures to combat corruption in all its forms, and to implement international standards and multilateral anti-corruption conventions; to include provisions on good governance in taxation and transparency standards that reaffirm the parties’ commitment to implementing international standards in the fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion;
   (j) to contribute to enhancing Kyrgyz membership of the World Trade Organisation through adequate reforms on foreign investments, customs authorities and access to international markets;
   (k) to improve coordination between the positions of the EU and Kyrgyzstan in international forums;
   (l) to step up the interparliamentary dialogue between Kyrgyzstan and the European Parliament;
   (m) to ensure a strong focus in the agreement on climate change, water management and disaster risk prevention and preparedness due to the high risk of natural catastrophes, including earthquakes; to provide support to Kyrgyzstan in its efforts to protect the environment and its vigorous efforts towards sustainable development;
   (n) to ensure the transmission of the negotiating directives to the European Parliament, subject to confidentiality rules, to enable proper scrutiny by Parliament of the negotiating process, and to consistently comply with the interinstitutional obligations stemming from Article 218(10) TFEU, according to which Parliament must be immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure;
   (o) to share all documents related to negotiations, such as minutes, and draft texts negotiated, as well as to periodically debrief Parliament;
   (p) to ensure respect, at all levels, for the long-standing practice of not provisionally applying the new agreement until Parliament has given its consent;
   (q) to strengthen and expand the existing cooperation enshrined in the current PCA, which had already established the following bodies for cooperation and dialogue:
   the Cooperation Council at ministerial level;
   the Cooperation Committee at senior official level, and Subcommittees on Trade and Investment and on Development Cooperation;
   the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (PCC);
   (r) to reinforce interparliamentary scrutiny within an empowered PCC to be elaborated in the new agreement, particularly in the areas of democracy, the rule of law and the fight against corruption;
   (s) to ensure the involvement of civil society both during the negotiations and the implementation phase of the agreement;
   (t) to ensure the inclusion of terms on the potential suspension of cooperation in the event of the breach of essential elements by either party, including a role for consultation of Parliament in such cases;
   (u) to allocate, both at EU and Member State level, adequate resources for the implementation of the comprehensive agreement, so as to ensure the achievement of all the ambitious objectives set during the negotiations;
   (v) to take into account Kyrgyzstan’s role as one of the few nascent democratic countries in the region, requiring the EU’s long-term political, diplomatic, financial and technical support;
   (w) to pursue efforts to consolidate a functioning parliamentary democracy with a genuine multi-party system and constitutional checks and balances, as well as to ensure parliamentary oversight of the executive branch, as one of the pilot countries for EU democracy support; to relay its concern about the constitutional amendments of 2016, in particular a substantial reinforcement of the prime minister’s powers, the supremacy of the national courts’ rulings over international human rights treaties and the loss of independence of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court; to encourage the involvement of NGOs when developing and reviewing the country’s legislation and policies, in particular with respect to any instruments or mechanisms that directly affect the action of civil society organisations;
   (x) to reaffirm the importance of working systematically to promote the values of democracy and human rights, including freedom of expression, association and assembly and the independence of the judiciary;
   (y) to encourage a favourable environment for journalists and the independent media; to ensure that Kyrgyzstan allows banned foreign human rights workers and journalists to enter the country and continue their work without interference;
   (z) to acknowledge the progress made in relation to the peaceful conduct of and improved transparency in the parliamentary and presidential elections, and to urge the continued implementation of the recommendations made by international electoral observation missions;
   (aa) to urge Kyrgyzstan to reverse any negative authoritarian trends such as the political instrumentalisation of the administration of justice, unfair judicial punishments, unfair and non-transparent trials, interference in media freedom, the impunity of law enforcement agents and the alleged ill-treatment and torture of those held in custody, extraditions to countries where individuals face a risk of torture or ill-treatment, as well as discrimination against minorities and the limitations placed on the freedom of assembly and expression, and to urge Kyrgyzstan to thoroughly investigate all allegations of evidence planting, extortion, torture and ill-treatment; to express concerns that political leaders as well as potential presidential candidates have been jailed on alleged corruption charges;
   (ab) to express dissatisfaction, in this context, with the upholding of the life sentence handed down to human rights activist Azimjon Askarov, who documented the inter-ethnic violence in 2010, and request his immediate release, quash his conviction, rehabilitate him and provide him with reparation;
   (ac) to recall that corruption undermines human rights, equality, trade and fair competition, and deters foreign investments, thereby impeding economic growth, while also diminishing citizens’ trust and confidence in state institutions;
   (ad) to encourage a strong commitment to social progress, good governance, democracy and good inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations, training and education, also as means of strengthening the foundations of stability and security; to continue supporting peace-building and security measures, as well as to increase efforts in fully integrating minorities, following the ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan in 2010, in order to prevent future conflicts;
   (ae) to help to overcome socio-economic problems and obstacles of the type referred to in ILO Recommendation 202; in this context to devote particular attention to young people by promoting academic, youth and cultural exchanges; to pay particular attention to regional development with a special emphasis on the north-south inequalities;
   (af) to support, promote and facilitate further regional cooperation in Central Asia, which is one of the least integrated regions in the world, following the current positive dynamics, inter alia with a view to enhancing the stability and development of Central Asia as a whole; to acknowledge the country’s involvement in EU programmes aimed in this direction as well as the implementation of the EU-Central Asia strategy in the areas of energy, water management and environmental challenges, and in regular political and human rights dialogues with the EU;
   (ag) to reassure that Kyrgyzstan’s membership of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) does not affect the strengthening of its relations with the EU, as proven by the recently ratified EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced PCA;
   (ah) to take into account the development of Kyrgyzstan’s relations with China and Russia; to encourage Kyrgyzstan to diversify its economy with a view to reducing its significant political dependence on these two external actors; to take into account the development of these relations in the context of the implementation of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) strategy; to ensure that countering the propaganda spread by Russian media in the country is significantly enhanced;
   (ai) to contribute to pursuing the easing of the recent diplomatic and economic tensions in the region, including between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan;
   (aj) to support the ongoing improvement of diplomatic relations with Uzbekistan, as well as a constructive dialogue on the management of the scarce water resources in the region;
   (ak) to acknowledge Kyrgyzstan’s security concerns in connection with the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and in responding to increasing radicalisation in the Central Asian region; to provide assistance in relation to returning Islamist foreign fighters and their family members from abroad; to strengthen the regional cooperation with Central Asian countries in relation to the fight against jihadist movements and transnational crime, relying on the implementation of legal, institutional and practical counter-terrorism‑related border control measures and preventive measures against increasing violent religious radicalisation;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council, the Commission and the Vice President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and to the President, Government and Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic.

(1) OJ C 168 E, 14.6.2013, p. 91.
(2) OJ C 58, 15.2.2018, p. 119.
(3) OJ C 300, 18.2.2016, p. 10.
(4) OJ C 351 E, 2.12.2011, p. 92.
(5) OJ C 81 E, 15.3.2011, p. 80.
(6) OJ C 208, 10.6.2016, p. 177.


Autonomous driving in European transport
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European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2019 on autonomous driving in European transport (2018/2089(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0005A8-0425/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 17 May 2018 entitled ‘On the road to automated mobility: An EU strategy for mobility of the future’ (COM(2018)0283),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 30 November 2016 on a European strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems, a milestone towards cooperative, connected and automated mobility (COM(2016)0766),

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2017 on internet connectivity for growth, competitiveness and cohesion: European gigabit society and 5G(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2018 on a European strategy on Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems(2),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A8-0425/2018),

A.  whereas the EU strategy on connected and automated mobility is closely linked to the Commission’s political priorities, notably those of its agendas for jobs, growth and investment, research and innovation, the environment and climate change, clean and safe mobility and transport, road safety and traffic decongestion, the digital single market and the Energy Union;

B.  whereas the rapid pace of technology development, both in the transport industry and in the robotics and artificial intelligence sector, has a significant impact on the economy and society; whereas autonomous vehicles will significantly change our daily life, determine the future of worldwide road transport, reduce transport costs, improve road safety, increase mobility and reduce environmental impacts; whereas the road transport sector could open the door to new services and modes of transport, thus satisfying the growing demand for individual mobility and goods transport, and could even help revolutionise urban planning;

C.  whereas the Commission aims to halve the number of annual road fatalities in the EU by 2020 compared to 2010, in line with the Vision Zero objectives; whereas progress in reducing the total numbers of fatalities and injuries seems to have stagnated recently, considering that in 2016 more than 25 000 people lost their lives on roads in the EU while a further 135 000 were seriously injured; whereas our cities are facing major mobility problems that are being compounded by pollution and climate change;

D.   whereas advanced driver assistance systems such as lane departure warning and automatic emergency brakes have already proven to contribute to road safety and to reducing the numbers of severe accidents;

E.  whereas the overwhelming majority of road accidents are due to human error and, as such, there is an imperative need to reduce the possibilities for such accidents, by requiring the use of advanced vehicle systems which improve safety while maintaining personal mobility;

F.  whereas the positive trend in road safety that the EU has witnessed over the past decade has slowed; whereas road transport is still responsible for the bulk of transport emissions, in terms of greenhouse gases and air pollutants;

G.  whereas transport needs, for both passengers and freight, are increasing all over the world, in a context of greater awareness of the limits of our planet’s resources, and whereas the efficiency of transport will, therefore, become an increasingly crucial issue;

H.  whereas the EU should encourage and further develop digital technologies for automated mobility to offset human error and reduce traffic incidents and road fatalities;

I.  whereas automation and deployment of new technology will increase the safety of transport and transport systems and eliminate some of the human factors involved; whereas in parallel with automation, both the diversity and the condition of transport systems in different Member States should be taken into account; whereas new transport systems need to be built and both new and existing transport systems equipped with adequate safety features before automation can be rolled out;

J.  whereas automation levels exist, levels 1 and 2 already being on the market, but the conditional, high and full automation levels (when a vehicle becomes self-driving) are expected to become available only in 2020-2030, and whereas driver assistance systems are therefore important as an enabling technology on the path towards full automation;

K.  whereas it is necessary to invest both at research stage and at the subsequent development stage in order to improve the available technologies and implement a safe, intelligent transport infrastructure;

L.  whereas several countries around the world (e.g. the US, Australia, Japan, Korea and China) are moving rapidly towards making both connected and automated mobility available on the market; whereas Europe needs to respond much more proactively to the rapid developments in this sector, to encourage initiatives and to promote stringent safety requirements for all traffic participants travelling by sea, waterway, road, air or rail and using mixed-mode transport;

M.  whereas the Commission expects the new market for automated and connected vehicles to grow exponentially, with revenues estimated to exceed EUR 620 billion by 2025 for the EU’s automotive industry and EUR 180 billion for its electronics sector;

N.  whereas the Declaration of Amsterdam (2016) outlines cooperation between the Member States, the Commission and industry in the field of connected and automated driving;

O.  whereas autonomous transport covers all forms of remotely piloted, automated and autonomous means of road, rail, air, sea and inland waterway transport;

P.  whereas the Commission communication on the road to automated mobility constitutes an important milestone in the EU strategy for connected and automated mobility;

Q.  whereas emphasis must be placed on autonomous mobility, given that fully autonomous vehicles will bring noticeable road safety benefits and will be able to operate without connected functionalities; whereas ancillary capabilities and services may still require digital communication;

R.  whereas the roll-out of autonomous vehicles, expected already in 2020, will bring considerable benefits, but also entails a variety of new risks, namely regarding road traffic safety, civil liability and insurance, cybersecurity, intellectual property rights, data protection and data access issues, technical infrastructure, standardisation, and employment; whereas it is impossible to predict the full extent of the long-term impact of autonomous mobility on jobs and the environment; whereas it is of crucial importance to ensure that the EU legal framework is suitable to respond appropriately to those challenges and to increase public awareness and acceptance of autonomous vehicles;

S.  whereas the ethical issues surrounding the use of these technologies make it necessary to develop guidelines for the deployment of artificial intelligence, together with systems to ensure that these ethical issues are addressed coherently;

General principles

1.  Welcomes the Commission communication on the road to automated mobility, which lays out an approach to make the EU the world leader in the deployment of safe systems for automated mobility, increasing road safety and efficiency, combating congestion, reducing energy consumption and emissions from transport, and gradually phasing out fossil fuels;

2.  Recognises the initial steps taken by the Commission and Member States on automated mobility of the future and acknowledges the legislative initiatives regarding the ITS Directive(3) and the proposed revisions of the road infrastructure safety management directive(4) and the general safety of motor vehicles regulation(5);

3.  Affirms the important role of cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) in providing connectivity for Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) level 2, 3 and possibly 4 automated/autonomous vehicles; encourages the Member States and industry to further implement C-ITS, and calls on the Commission to support the Member States and industry in deploying C-ITS services, notably through the Connecting Europe Facility, the European Structural and Investment Funds and the InvestEU programme;

4.  Highlights the innovation potential of all autonomous means of road, rail, waterborne and air transport; underlines the need for European actors to join forces in order to reach and maintain a position as a global leader in autonomous transport; notes that advances in autonomous mobility, particularly in road transport, require the synergistic cooperation of many sectors of the European economy, including vehicle manufacturing and the digital sectors;

5.  Acknowledges the significant potential of automated mobility for many sectors, offering new business opportunities for start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the industry and enterprises as a whole, in particular in terms of the creation of new mobility services and employment possibilities;

6.  Underlines the need for the development of autonomous vehicles that are accessible for persons with disabilities and reduced mobility (PRMS);

7.  Urges the Commission to present a strategy, particularly regarding data, data access and cyber security, as per Parliament’s resolution of 13 March 2018 on a European strategy on C-ITS, ensuring a technology-neutral, market-ready approach; recognises the opportunities presented by the Commission’s upcoming recommendations on access to in-vehicle data and resources;

8.  Affirms the need to explore legislative actions to ensure fair, secure, real-time and technology-neutral access to in-vehicle data for some third party entities; takes the view that such access should enable end users and third parties to benefit from digitalisation and promote a level playing field and security with regard to storage of in-vehicle data;

9.  Notes that similar questions in relation to intellectual property rights and corresponding usage rights will arise in respect of artificial intelligence for the purpose of autonomous mobility as in other areas, such as proprietary or usage rights to code, data and inventions created by the artificial intelligence itself; considers, however, that solutions which are as general as possible should be found to these questions;

10.  Draws attention to the need, when drafting the new legislative framework on the regulation of autonomous mobility, to ensure that any obstacle to furthering technological progress, research and innovation can be overcome;

11.  Points out that the Commission communication on the road to automated mobility lacks analysis of and proposals for autonomous vehicles in all modes of transport; calls on the Commission to ensure mode-specific analyses and strategies, including in the fields of intermodal transport and mobility;

12.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to enlarge their policies on autonomous driving so as also to include collective transport, as well as to expand their vision to cover all modes of transport;

13.  Welcomes the work done at the Council High Level Meetings on autonomous driving and would like to see that work extended also to address modes of transport other than road transport;

14.  Underlines that technical standards for vehicles and infrastructure (e.g. traffic signs, road markings, signalling systems and C-ITS) should be developed and aligned at international, EU and national level, building on existing work and forums to prevent duplication, based on the principles of an open, transparent and technology-neutral approach, increasing road safety, and ensuring seamless cross-border interoperability;

15.  Notes that reliable in-vehicle and route data are fundamental building blocks for the achievement of both autonomous and connected driving in a single European transport area and for competitive services for end users; urges the Commission, therefore, to ensure that obstacles to the use of such data are dismantled and a robust regulatory system in this respect is put in place before 1 January 2020, ensuring the same data quality and availability across Member States;

16.  Notes the urgency of providing legal certainty for both users and stakeholders as regards the conformity of autonomous vehicles with key existing legislation, with particular reference to ePrivacy legislation and the General Data Protection Regulation(6); calls on the Commission to specify which categories of information generated by autonomous vehicles are to be treated as open data and made available in real time, and which are to be treated as confidential;

17.  Highlights the importance of ensuring that users have control over and access to both personal and in-vehicle data produced, collected and communicated by autonomous vehicles; stresses that consumers must be offered a maximum level of cyber protection;

18.  Stresses the expected massive increase in data produced by and gathered and transmitted from autonomous vehicles, and underlines the need to use these data, in particular non-personal and anonymised data, to facilitate the deployment of autonomous vehicles and to further develop innovations within the framework of new mobility solutions; points out that the protection of privacy and sensitive data generated by autonomous vehicles must be an absolute priority;

19.  Underlines that fully autonomous or highly automated vehicles will be commercially available in the coming years and that appropriate regulatory frameworks, ensuring their safe operation and providing for a clear regime governing liability, need to be in place as soon as possible in order to address the resulting changes, including interaction between autonomous vehicles and infrastructure and other users;

20.  Notes that the existing liability rules, such as Council Directive 85/374/EEC of 25 July 1985 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning liability for defective products(7) (the Product Liability Directive) and Directive 2009/103/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 16 September 2009 relating to insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles, and the enforcement of the obligation to insure against such liability(8) (the Motor Insurance Directive), were not developed to deal with the challenges posed by the use of autonomous vehicles and stresses that there is growing evidence that the current regulatory framework, especially as regards liability, insurance, registration and protection of personal data, will no longer be sufficient or adequate when faced with the new risks emerging from increasing vehicle automation, connectivity and complexity;

21.  Takes the view that, in the light of the dynamic technological changes in the sector, there is a need to clarify who should bear the damage in the event of accidents caused by fully autonomous vehicles, and when the level of autonomy is such that the vehicle can operate either fully autonomously or be driven by a driver it must be established beyond a shadow of a doubt who the responsible party is in each specific scenario; stresses that there is a particular need to examine whether the view that a very small proportion of all accidents has so far been attributable to technical factors would justify a shift in liability to the manufacturer which, as a risk factor that is independent of negligence, can be linked simply to the risk posed by bringing an autonomous vehicle onto the market; stresses also that there is a further need to examine whether specific road safety obligations on the part of the vehicle owner and instruction obligations applicable to the driver in each case might adequately compensate for this liability shift; calls, therefore, on the Commission to carry out a thorough assessment, to adapt the current EU legal framework and to introduce, if necessary, new rules on the basis of which responsibility and liability are allocated; calls also on the Commission to assess and monitor the possibility of introducing additional EU instruments to keep pace with developments in artificial intelligence;

22.  Maintains that global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-based technologies and the Galileo project have an important part to play in improving the interaction and interoperability of on-board and network digital systems; calls for the remaining satellites to be finalised and launched as soon as possible, so that the European Galileo positioning system can be used as the default positioning system in automated vehicles;

23.  Notes that universal access to automated mobility technologies will not be possible without access to high-speed internet and 5G networks; regrets that there are regions where the roll-out of the current generation of 4G networks is still lagging behind expectations, especially in rural areas;

Road transport

24.  Recalls the new safety rules contained in the guiding principles for human machine interface proposed in the GEAR 2030 final report;

25.  Underlines the need for road safety legislation at United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), EU and national level to be primed to support technological innovations and autonomous driving as soon as possible, so as to reduce human error, traffic incidents and road fatalities;

26.  Underlines the importance of adopting an ambitious new General Safety Regulation for motor vehicles, given the short-term life-saving potential of the mandated installation of new vehicle safety technologies, which will, furthermore, also be used for the deployment of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) in the future;

27.  Recalls that the development of CAVs has largely been driven by the technology push; stresses the need to study and acknowledge the human and societal aspects of CAV development and ensure that their deployment fully respects societal, human and environmental values and goals;

28.  Urges the Commission and the Member States, bearing in mind the importance of mobility in the EU, to reach a common position and to cooperate in order for the EU to take and maintain a leading role in the international technical harmonisation of automated vehicles within the framework of the UNECE and the Vienna Convention, in particular in all discussions by the UNECE World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (Working Party 29) and the Working Party on Automated/Autonomous and Connected Vehicles (GRVA);

29.  Underlines that market surveillance procedures related to automated vehicles throughout their lifetime should be as standardised, transparent and verifiable as possible, including cross-border testing performed on open roads and in real driving conditions as well as periodic roadworthiness tests;

30.  Underlines the need for clear legislation, that is regularly reviewed, updated where necessary, and harmonised, obligating the installation of event data recorders in line with the revised General Safety Regulation in order to improve accident investigations and to clarify and enable the tackling, as soon as possible, of issues of liability; notes that these event data recorders are necessary to determine the responsibilities of the different actors involved in the event of an accident;

31.  Highlights the necessity of incorporating safeguard systems right from the transition phase, during which automated vehicles will coexist with vehicles with zero connectivity and zero automation; stresses the importance of driver assistance systems as a step towards fully automated driving, in order even now to prevent road accidents by means of active safety systems or mitigate the seriousness of accidents by means of passive safety systems;

32.  Calls on Member States to provide safe, high-quality road infrastructure, which will facilitate the use of automatic and autonomous vehicles;

33.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that all systems that include digitally communicated road traffic information are interoperable;

34.  Underlines the emerging concerns over user complacency when using vehicles that require a degree of driver intervention; calls for better clarification of the definition and differentiation of requirements of ‘vehicles with advanced driver-assistance systems’ (SAE levels 1 to 3) compared with ‘automated vehicles’ (SAE levels 4 to 5) in road safety legislation, and for further studies to be conducted on the feasibility and safety of level 3 automated vehicles, especially regarding the issue of signalling the need for intervention to the driver and dangers that can arise from any delays in intervening;

35.  Calls on the Commission to lay down clear ethical guidelines for artificial intelligence;

36.  Calls on the Commission to develop responsibility criteria and safeguard systems to protect people, in order to provide a coherent approach to the ethical issues surrounding autonomous systems for automated vehicles;

37.  Stresses that ethical aspects of self-driving vehicles need to be addressed and resolved by the legislator before these vehicles can be fully accepted and made available in traffic situations; emphasises, therefore, that automated vehicles need to undergo a prior assessment to address these ethical aspects;

38.  Highlights the congestion challenges to urban mobility expected to result from a widespread uptake of autonomous vehicles; considers that autonomous vehicles and solutions such as car sharing and ride hailing should contribute to addressing these challenges; calls on authorities to develop policies to ensure that autonomous vehicles improve travel options, including public transport and other solutions, for all citizens;

39.  Stresses that platooning has a promising future, as it saves fuel and energy and improves road safety, and therefore calls on Member States, the Commission and the industry to implement the measures set out in the Declaration of Amsterdam; calls on the Commission to propose a regulatory framework to promote vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity for highly and fully automated vehicles (e.g. platooning), especially in long-haul road transport;

40.  Argues that both passive and active safety features in autonomous vehicles have an important role in reducing the number of collisions, and injuries and fatalities resulting from collisions, since collisions may still occur, especially during the intermediate mixed-traffic stage; calls on the Commission and Member States to increase road safety;

41.  Underlines the risks pertaining to a growing trend of mixed traffic featuring both traditional and autonomous vehicles, thus calling for more on-site tests in order to support future-proof research and development by public and private enterprises and bodies, but also to provide concrete data helping to duly adapt civil liability rules;

42.  Underlines that a possible solution to address the existing gaps and shortcomings could be the setting up of a no-fault insurance framework for damage resulting from autonomous vehicles;

43.  Stresses that, as stated in its resolution of 16 February 2017 on civil law rules on robotics(9), there should be no limitation of liability regarding the nature and extent of the damage to be compensated in order to guarantee adequate victim protection;

Air transport

44.  Highlights the recently adopted EASA Regulation(10) on the updated aviation safety rules which include, among other things, provisions offering a sound legal basis for the first-ever set of comprehensive EU rules for all kinds of civil drones; recalls how very necessary the adoption of the EASA Regulation was, given that new technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are also appearing in European skies, and that it required the adaptation of the current EU regulatory framework and diverging national rules;

45.  Urges the Commission also to present without delay detailed rules for automated aircraft, which require specific and tailor-made specifications, given that a single UAV and operational approach is not appropriate to ensure the safe integration of automated aircraft into airspace shared with manned aircraft; recalls that UAVs will need safe, and where appropriate, certified intelligence systems, as well as a specific air space management environment; stresses that such rules applicable to UAVs should also take into account the nature and risk of the operation or activity, the operational characteristics of the unmanned aircraft concerned and the characteristics of the area of operations, such as population density, terrain characteristics, and the existence of buildings and other sensitive infrastructure;

46.  Points to the importance of protecting personal data when automated aircraft are used in the aviation sector;

47.  Recalls the 2016 Warsaw Declaration on Drones as a lever for jobs and new business opportunities; reiterates the importance of the planned actions to develop the EU drone ecosystem, which are expected to be in place by 2019, and to build on the guiding principles of the Riga Declaration;

48.  Points to the importance of coordinated development of technologies and operating concepts that will enable aircraft to be safely integrated for the purposes of air traffic management services in line with the aims of U-Space, a programme run by the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SESAR JU); acknowledges the activities carried out to date by the SESAR JU, which should continue to be supported;

49.  Recalls that funding for current research and experimentation programmes concerning UAVs, such as U-Space, will have to be increased in future budgeting periods; notes that these experiments, which have made it possible to test the deployment of a large fleet of UAVs in real-life conditions while ensuring maximum safety in air-traffic management and the attendant security conditions, could serve as an example for experiments on autonomous surface vehicles;

50.  Notes that it is necessary to create suitable test areas for autonomous aircraft technologies, including drones, in order to provide safe conditions for simulating new technological solutions before their final implementation;

Sea and inland waterway transport

51.  Underlines the potential and added value of autonomous ships, especially on inland waterways and in short-sea shipping, which can lead to a decrease in the number of accidents at sea and on waterways, most of which stem from human error;

52.  Underlines the potential of automation to eliminate a portion of human error and to allow personnel on the bridge more time for optical observation, especially in narrow sea lanes and port areas; stresses, however, that information exchange and communication are imperative to safety, especially in close proximity with other ships, and therefore that bridges need to be kept staffed;

53.  Welcomes the work of the PIANC working group on smart shipping and the International Network for Autonomous Ships;

54.  Calls on the Commission to outline and define the levels of automation for both inland and sea navigation and common standards, including for ports, in order to harmonise and stimulate the uptake of autonomous vessels in interaction with automated and non-automated users and infrastructure;

55.  Emphasises the importance of developing and expanding digital hubs and interconnected Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) corridors by means of up-to-date terminal facilities and efficient electronic traffic management systems, such as River Information Services and the RhinePorts Information System (RPIS), in order to achieve a fully multimodal autonomous transport system;

56.  Calls on the Commission to develop a comprehensive strategy with the aim of stimulating further automation in inland shipping, its infrastructure, fairways and traffic management and the development of automated ports, taking into account the position of inland ports as multimodal hubs when preparing the Digital Inland Waterway Area (DINA);

57.  Calls for more support for and promotion of cross-border test areas, as well as for more projects like NOVIMAR and Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks (MUNIN), co-funded by the EU under its Seventh Framework Programme and Horizon 2020 to further develop autonomous shipping and automated infrastructure technology in the EU;

58.  Stresses that the standards applicable to vessels must be developed with, and aligned with those of, the International Maritime Organisation in order to establish an international legal framework for the safe operation of ships;

Rail transport

59.  Calls on the Commission, in consultation and coordination with the industry and other stakeholders, to create common protocols and standards enabling autonomous train and light-rail systems;

60.  Calls for improvements to the framework conditions for autonomous vehicles in rail transport and for the transition to a digital rail sector to be accelerated; notes that the European Train Control System (ETCS) serves as the basis for automation in the rail sector, which is achieved by linking the ETCS to automatic train operation (ATO); urges the Commission to accelerate and prioritise the deployment of the ETCS in existing and future EU funding schemes;

61.  Emphasises the importance of digital interlockings as an important new milestone to foster the digitalisation of railway infrastructure, and calls on the Commission and Member States to support this deployment;

62.  Calls on the Commission to continue the Shift2Rail programme with a view to providing for further developments towards a digital rail network and fully automated train operation, including the development of a standard for ATO over ETCS and of cybersecurity;

63.  Underlines the growing challenges to urban mobility related to congestion, as well as the opportunities afforded by rail-based automated public transport systems to tackle those challenges; calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote and support projects addressing those challenges through rail-based automated public transport innovations;

Consumer rights and competitive conditions

64.  Calls on the Commission to create comprehensive rules setting out the responsibilities and rights of manufacturers, drivers and operators at every level of automation across all modes of transport; underlines that those responsibilities need to be communicated to drivers or operators in a clear, self-explanatory manner through commercial labelling or other forms of communication; considers it essential to ensure the safety of vehicles and their regular maintenance throughout their life cycle and points out the enabling role of fair market access to in-vehicle data and resources for relevant stakeholders in this regard;

65.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that all systems in autonomous vehicles are designed in such a way as to enable vehicle owners or users to choose freely between competing service providers, without having to rely solely on the services offered by the vehicle manufacturer;

66.  Stresses the need to guarantee fair market access for independent automotive service providers in the area of the servicing and repair of autonomous vehicles; recalls that entities of this kind, in particular, parts manufacturers, small workshops and service centres, are an important competitive element in the automotive market and have a positive impact on the availability and prices of these services;

67.  Notes that in a digitised automotive services market, direct and timely access to data and functions in the vehicle will determine whether the market for automated and combined mobility services will be subject to fair competition; recalls that independent operators play a very important role throughout the automotive supply chain;

68.  Predicts that competition on the single market in the autonomous vehicle servicing industry could be put at risk if manufacturers make it difficult for independent repairers to access the systems installed in these vehicles; stresses that this market segment should be subject to the provisions of Commission Regulation (EU) No 461/2010(11);

69.  Stresses that consumers should be informed in advance about the vehicles they purchase and the repair services they can access;

70.  Takes the view that the switch to automated vehicles, besides its positive impact on road safety, fuel consumption, the environment and the creation of new employment in the telecommunication and automotive sectors, might also lead to job losses in the transport sector and have negative consequences on the insurance sector, which must be tackled as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition;

Research and educational needs

71.  Stresses the need to develop key autonomous technologies (e.g. formalisation and simulations of the human brain and cognition when driving, environmental perception systems and artificial intelligence) in the EU to keep up with global competition and create new jobs;

72.  Emphasises the fact that once available on the market, automated vehicles will have a deep impact on the distribution and consumption of goods; considers, therefore, that there is an urgent need to assess this impact and ensure measures to support the affected sectors and people;

73.  Calls for initiatives to map and address issues of changes in employment supply and demand in view of the need for new and specialised skills both in vehicle production and professional use through educational reconversion (for instance, courses and training sessions), with a view to facilitating the transition towards new forms of mobility;

74.  Urges the Commission, together with the Member States, to propose initiatives promoting the skills, education and training needed to keep the EU at the forefront of the autonomous transport sector; emphasises that it is important for Member States to take into account these newly arising trends in their educational programmes in order to respond to the need for a highly qualified and skilled workforce in the different transport sectors;

75.  Recalls the EUR 300 million dedicated under Horizon 2020 to research and innovation programmes on automated vehicles from 2014 to 2020 and recommends that these programmes be continued and extended for all modes of transport in the next multiannual financial period for 2021-2027 (Horizon Europe);

76.  Stresses the important role of collaborative research in ensuring the swift advancement of transport automation through the involvement of the entire innovation ecosystem;

77.  Calls on the Commission to establish a Joint Undertaking along the same lines as Shift2Rail for rail transport and CleanSky for the aeronautics industry, so as to create an industry-driven strategic initiative on autonomous transport, which should be compelling for EU citizens, make significant commercial sense, leverage the EU’s research and innovation potential on the basis of the wide collaboration of the industrial, public and academic spheres, and foster the development and deployment of technologies in a harmonised and interoperable manner, in order to create a globally scalable multi-modal transport system for autonomous transport;

78.  Stresses the need for real-life testing sites across the EU in order to thoroughly test and develop new technologies; urges each of the Member States to designate, by 2020, urban and extra-urban areas where autonomous research vehicles can be tested in real-life traffic conditions, while safeguarding road safety in those areas, and to ensure that EU cross-border and interoperable testing frameworks are created;

79.  Points out that some EU citizens have expressed distrust of automated mobility; stresses, therefore, that legislators must address the ethical dimension in order to improve public acceptance in this respect; calls for investment in extensive research on artificial intelligence and on other dimensions of automated mobility;

80.  Calls for extensive research on the long-term effects of autonomous transport on issues such as consumer adaptation, societal acceptance, physiological reactions, physical responses and social mobility, reducing accidents and improving transport in general;

81.  Urges all stakeholders, including vehicle manufacturers, component suppliers and software and design services, as well as the Member States and authorities involved, to cooperate in fostering innovation, in ensuring investment in infrastructure fit for automated mobility, both on highways and on city roads, and in facilitating cross-border testing; highlights the need to increase investment in adjusting current infrastructure, building new infrastructure and improving the connectedness of European roads; points out that a distrust of European citizens towards automated driving can be observed and that awareness campaigns to increase their confidence should be put in place; calls for investment in extensive research on artificial intelligence and on the ethical dimension of autonomous and connected transport;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 307, 30.8.2018, p. 144.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0063.
(3) OJ L 207, 6.8.2010, p. 1.
(4) COM(2018)0274.
(5) COM(2018)0286.
(6) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 210, 7.8.1985, p. 29.
(8) OJ L 263, 7.10.2009, p. 11.
(9) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 239.
(10) OJ L 212, 22.8.2018, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 129, 28.5.2010, p. 52.


Use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 15 January 2019 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2006/1/EC on the use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road (COM(2017)0282 – C8-0172/2017 – 2017/0113(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0006A8-0193/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0282),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 91(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0172/2017),

–  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 6 December 2017(1),

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A8-0193/2018),

1.  Adopts its position at first reading hereinafter set out(2);

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 15 January 2019 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) .../... of the European Parliament and of the Council on amending Directive 2006/1/EC on the use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0113


(Text with EEA relevance)

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 91(1) 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(3),

After consulting the Committee of the Regions,

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(4),

Whereas:

(1)  Directive 2006/1/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(5) provides for a minimum level of the market opening for the use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road.

(2)  The use of hired vehicles can reduce the costs of undertakings carrying goods on their own account or for hire and reward and at the same time increase their operational flexibility. It can therefore contribute to an increase in the productivity and competitiveness of the undertakings concerned. Moreover, as hired vehicles tend to be younger than the average fleet, they are also may often be safer and less polluting. [Am. 1]

(3)  Directive 2006/1/EC does not enable undertakings to fully benefit from the advantages of using hired vehicles. That Directive allows Member States to restrict the use by their undertakings established within their territories, of hired vehicles with a maximum permissible laden weight of more than six tonnes for own account operations. Moreover, Member States are not required to allow the use of a hired vehicle on their respective territories if the vehicle has been registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws in a Member State other than the one of establishment of the undertaking hiring it. [Am. 2]

(4)  In order to enable undertakings to benefit to a greater extent from the advantages of using hired vehicles, it should be possible for them to use vehicles hired in any Member State, not only the one of their establishment. That would make it easier for them to meet in particular short-term, seasonal or temporary demand peaks or to replace defective or damaged vehicles.

(4a)  Member States should not be allowed to restrict the use on their respective territories of a vehicle hired by an undertaking duly established on the territory of another Member State, provided that the vehicle is registered and complies with operating standards and safety requirements, or put into circulation in compliance with the laws of any Member State and authorised to be operated by the Member State of establishment of the undertaking responsible. [Am. 3]

(5)  The level of road transport taxation still differs considerably within the Union. Therefore, certain restrictions, which also indirectly affect the freedom to provide vehicle hiring services, remain justified in order to avoid for the purpose of avoiding fiscal distortions. Consequently, Member States should have the option to limit the length of time a vehicle hired in a Member State other than the one of establishment of the undertaking hiring it can be used, subject to the conditions laid down in this Directive within their respective territories, the length of time an established undertaking can use a hired vehicle registered or put into circulation in another Member State. They should also be allowed to limit the number of such vehicles being hired by an undertaking established within their territories. [Am. 4]

(5a)  In order to enforce these measures, the information on the registration number of the hired vehicle should be provided in the Member States’ national electronic registers as established by Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council(6). Competent authorities of the Member State of establishment that are being informed of the use of a vehicle which the operator has hired and which is registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws in another Member State should inform the competent authorities of that other Member State thereof. Member States should use the Internal Market Information System (IMI) to that end. [Am. 5]

(6)  In order to allow own account transport operations to be conducted more efficiently, Member States should no longer be allowed to restrict the possibility to use hired vehicles for such operations.

(6a)   In order to maintain operational standards, meet safety requirements and ensure decent working conditions for drivers, it is important for carriers to have guaranteed access to assets and direct support infrastructure in the country in which they are performing their operations. [Am. 6]

(7)  The implementation and effects of this Directive should be monitored by the Commission and be documented by it in a report at the latest. Any three years after the date of transposition of this Directive. The report should take due account of the impact on road safety, on tax revenues and on the environment. The report should also assess all infringements of this Directive, including cross-border infringements. The need for future action in this area should be considered in light of that report. [Am. 7]

(8)  Since the objectives of this Directive cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States alone but can rather, by reason of the cross-border nature of road transport and of the issues this Directive is intended to address, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in line with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In line with the principle of proportionality, this Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives.

(9)  Directive 2006/1/EC should therefore be amended accordingly,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Article 1

Directive 2006/1/EC is amended as follows:

(1)  Article 2 is amended as follows:

(a)  paragraph 1 is amended as follows:

(i)  the introductory sentence is replaced by the following:"

"Each Member State shall allow the use within its territory of vehicles hired by undertakings established on the territory of another Member State provided that:";

"

(ii)  point (a) is replaced by the following:"

"(a) the vehicle is registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws of a any Member State, including operating standards and safety requirements;"; [Am. 8]

"

(b)  the following paragraph 1a is inserted:"

"1a. Where the vehicle is not registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws of the Member State where the undertaking hiring the vehicle is established, Member States may limit the time of use of the hired vehicle within their respective territories. However, Member States shall in such a case allow its use for at least four months in any given calendar year." [Am. 9]

"

(2)  Article 3 is replaced by the following:"

"Article 3

1.   Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that their undertakings established within their territories may use hired vehicles for the carriage of goods by road under the same conditions as vehicles owned by them, provided that the conditions laid down in Article 2 are satisfied. [Am. 10]

1a.  Where the vehicle is registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws of another Member State, the Member State of establishment of the undertaking may:

   (a) limit the time of use of the hired vehicle within its respective territory provided that it allows the use of the hired vehicle for at least four consecutive months any given calendar year; in which case the contract of hire may be required not to last longer than the time limit set by the Member State;
   (b) limit the number of hired vehicles that can be used by any undertaking, provided that they allow the use of at least a number of vehicles corresponding to 25% of the overall goods vehicle fleet owned by the undertaking on 31 December of the year preceding the request for authorisation; in which case an undertaking that has an overall fleet of more than one and less than four vehicles, shall be allowed to use at least one such hired vehicle. [Am. 11]

1b.  Member States may exclude from the provisions of paragraph 1 own account transport operations carried out by vehicles with a total permissible laden weight of more than 6 tonnes." [Am. 28 and 34]

"

(2a)  the following Article 3a is inserted:"

“Article 3a

1.  The information on a hired vehicle´s registration number shall be entered in the national electronic register as defined in Article 16 of Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009*.

2.  Competent authorities of the Member State of establishment of an operator that are informed of the use of a vehicle which that operator has hired and which is registered or put into circulation in compliance with the laws of another Member State shall inform the competent authorities of that other Member State thereof.

3.  The administrative cooperation provided for in paragraph 2 shall be by means of the Internal Market Information System (IMI), established by Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012**.

________________

* Referring to Article 16 of Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 taking into account the extension of the information to be recorded as proposed by the Commission.

** OJ L 316, 14.11.2012, p. 1.” [Am. 12]

"

(3)  the following Article 5a is inserted:"

"Article 5a

By ... [OP: please insert the date calculated 53 years after the deadline for transposition of the Directive], the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation and effects of this Directive. The report shall include information on the use of vehicles hired in a Member State other than the Member State of establishment of the undertaking hiring the vehicle. The report shall pay particular attention to the impact on road safety, and on tax revenues, including fiscal distortions, and on the enforcement of cabotage rules in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council*. On the basis of this report, the Commission shall assess whether it is necessary to propose additional measures." [Am. 13]

________________

* Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 on common rules for access to the international road haulage market (OJ L 300, 14.11.2009, p. 72)

"

Article 2

1.  Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by ... [OP: please insert 20 months after the date calculated 18 months following the of entry into force of this Directive] at the latest. They shall communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions without delay. [Am. 14]

When Member States adopt those provisions, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their official publication. Member States shall determine how such reference is to be made.

2.  Member States shall communicate to the Commission the text of the main provisions of national law which they adopt in the field covered by this Directive.

Article 3

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

Article 4

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at ...,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) OJ C 129, 11.4.2018, p. 71.
(2) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 14 June 2018 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0264).
(3) OJ C 129, 11.4.2018, p. 71.
(4) Position of the European Parliament of 15 January 2019.
(5)Directive 2006/1/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 January 2006 on the use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road (codified version) (OJ L 33, 4.2.2006, p. 82).
(6) Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing common rules concerning the conditions to be complied with to pursue the occupation of road transport operator and repealing Council Directive 96/26/EC (OJ L 300, 14.11.2009, p. 51).


Temporary withdrawal of preferences in certain agreements concluded between the EU and certain third countries ***I
PDF 127kWORD 49k
Resolution
Text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 15 January 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council implementing the safeguard clauses and other mechanisms allowing for the temporary withdrawal of preferences in certain agreements concluded between the European Union and certain third countries (COM(2018)0206 – C8‑0158/2018 – 2018/0101(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0007A8-0330/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0206),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 207(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0158/2018),

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

–  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 5 December 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 International Trade (A8‑0330/2018),

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

2.  Approves the joint statement by Parliament and the Commission annexed to this resolution, which will be published in the L series of the Official Journal of the European Union together with the final legislative act;

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

4.  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 15 January 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council implementing bilateral safeguard clauses and other mechanisms allowing for the temporary withdrawal of preferences in certain trade agreements concluded between the European Union and third countries

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0101


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2019/287.)

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

JOINT STATEMENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COMMISSION

The European Parliament and the Commission agree on the importance of close cooperation concerning the implementation of the Agreements listed in the Annex to the Regulation (EU) 2019/287 of the European Parliament and the Council of 13 February 2019(1) implementing the safeguard clauses and other mechanisms allowing for the temporary withdrawal of preferences in certain agreements concluded between the European Union and certain third countries. To that end they agree that where the European Parliament adopts a recommendation to initiate a safeguard investigation, the Commission will carefully examine whether the conditions under the Regulation for ex-officio initiation are fulfilled. Where the Commission considers that those conditions are not fulfilled, it will present a report to the committee responsible of the European Parliament including an explanation of all the factors relevant to the initiation of such an investigation.

(1) OJ L 53, 22.2.2019, p. 1.


Establishing the 'Customs' programme for cooperation in the field of customs ***I
PDF 205kWORD 73k
Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 15 January 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the ‘Customs’ programme for cooperation in the field of customs (COM(2018)0442 – C8-0261/2018 – 2018/0232(COD))(1)
P8_TA(2019)0008A8-0464/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1
(1)  The Customs 2020 programme set up under Regulation (EU) No 1294/201318 and its predecessors have significantly contributed to facilitating and enhancing customs cooperation. Many of the activities in the customs area are of a cross-border nature, involving and affecting all Member States, and therefore they cannot be effectively and efficiently delivered by individual Member States. A customs programme at Union level, implemented by the Commission, offers Member States a Union framework to develop those cooperation activities, which is more cost-efficient than if each Member State were to set up individual cooperation frameworks on a bilateral or multilateral basis. It is therefore appropriate to ensure the continuity of Union financing of activities in the field of customs cooperation by establishing a new programme in the same area, the Customs programme.
(1)  The Customs 2020 programme, established by Regulation (EU) No 1294/201318 and its predecessors have contributed significantly to facilitating and strengthening customs cooperation. Many of the customs activities are of a cross-border nature, involving and affecting all Member States and therefore cannot be effectively and efficiently implemented by each Member State alone. A Union-wide customs programme implemented by the Commission provides Member States with a framework at Union level to develop such cooperative activities, which is more cost-effective than if each Member State set up an individual cooperation framework at bilateral or multilateral level. The customs programme also plays an essential role in safeguarding the financial interests of the Union and of the Member States by ensuring the effective collection of customs duties and thus representing an important source of revenue for the Union and national budgets, also by focusing on IT capacity building and increased cooperation in the field of customs. Furthermore, harmonised and standardised controls are necessary in order to track illegal cross-border flows of goods and fight fraud. It is therefore appropriate and in the interest of efficiency to ensure the continuity of the Union's financing activities in the field of customs cooperation by establishing a new programme in the same field, the ‘Customs’ programme (‘the Programme’).
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18 Regulation (EU) No 1294/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing an action programme for customs in the European Union for the period 2014-2020 (Customs 2020) and repealing Decision No 624/2007/EC, OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 209.
18 Regulation (EU) No 1294/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing an action programme for customs in the European Union for the period 2014-2020 (Customs 2020) and repealing Decision No 624/2007/EC, OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 209.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1 a (new)
(1a)  For 50 years, the customs union, implemented by national customs authorities, has been a cornerstone of the Union, one of the largest trading blocks in the world. The customs union is a significant example of successful Union integration, and is essential for the proper functioning of the single market for the benefit of both businesses and citizens. The European Parliament, in its resolution adopted on 14 March 2018, entitled ‘The next MFF: Preparing the Parliament’s position on the MFF post-2020’, expressed particular concern regarding customs fraud. A stronger and a more ambitious Union can only be achieved if it is provided with reinforced financial means, continuous support for existing policies, and increased resources.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2
(2)  The customs union has evolved considerably over the last fifty years and customs administrations now successfully perform a wide variety of tasks at borders. Acting together, they work to facilitate trade and reduce red tape, collect revenues for national and Union budgets and protect the public against terrorist, health, environmental and other threats. In particular, with the introduction of an EU-wide Common Risk Management Framework19 and customs control of movements of large amounts of cash to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, customs assume a front line position in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. Given that broad mandate, customs is now effectively the lead authority for the control of goods at the Union’s external borders. Against that backdrop, the Customs programme should not only cover customs cooperation but extend its support to the mission of customs authorities at large, as set out in Article 3 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013, i.e. the supervision of the Union's international trade, the implementation of the external aspects of the internal market, of the common trade policy and of the other common Union policies having a bearing on trade, as well as the security of the supply chain. The legal basis will therefore cover customs cooperation (Article 33 TFEU), internal market (Article 114 TFEU) and commercial policy (Article 207 TFEU).
(2)  The customs union has evolved considerably over the last 50 years, and customs administrations are now successfully fulfilling a wide range of border tasks. Working together, they strive to facilitate ethical and fair trade and reduce bureaucracy, collect revenue for national and Union budgets, and help to protect the population against terrorist, health and environmental threats, as well as other threats. In particular, by introducing a common framework19 for customs risk management at Union level and by controlling large amounts of cash flows to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, the customs authorities take a leading role in the fight against terrorism, organised crime and unfair competition. Given their extensive mandate, the customs authorities are now in reality the main authorities for the control of goods at the Union's external borders. In this context, the Customs programme should not only cover customs cooperation but also provide support for the wider customs mission as provided for in Article 3 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013, namely the supervision of the Union's international trade, the implementation of the external aspects of the internal market, the common commercial policy and other Union common policies having an influence on trade and the security of the supply chain. The legal basis of this Regulation should therefore cover customs cooperation (Article 33 TFEU), the internal market (Article 114 TFEU) and commercial policy (Article 207 TFEU).
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19 https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/general-information-customs/customs-risk-management/measures-customs-risk-management-framework-crmf_en
19 https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/general-information-customs/customs-risk-management/measures-customs-risk-management-framework-crmf_en
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3
(3)  In providing a framework for actions that has as objective to support the customs union and customs authorities, the Programme should contribute to protecting the financial and economic interests of the Union and its Member States; protecting the Union from unfair and illegal trade while supporting legitimate business activity; ensuring the security and safety of the Union and its residents; and facilitating legitimate trade, so that businesses and citizens can benefit from the full potential of the internal market and of global trade.
(3)  The Programme should, as a general objective, assist the Member States and the Commission by providing a framework for actions that aims to support the customs union and customs authorities with the long-term objective that all customs administrations in the Union work together as closely as possible; contribute to protecting the financial and economic interests of the Union and its Member States; protect the Union from unfair and unlawful commercial practices, while encouraging legitimate business activities, guaranteeing the security and safety of the Union and its residents, thereby enhancing consumer protection; and facilitate legitimate trade so that businesses and citizens can benefit from the full potential of the internal market and world trade.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 a (new)
(3a)  As it has become evident that some of the systems referred to in Article 278 of the Union Customs Code can only be partially deployed by 31 December 2020, which implies that non-electronic systems will continue in use beyond that date, and in the absence of legislative amendments that extend that deadline, companies and customs authorities will be unable to perform their duties and legal obligations as regards customs operations, one of the primary specific objectives of the Programme should be to assist the Member States and the Commission to set up such electronic systems.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 b (new)
(3b)  Customs management and control is a dynamic policy area, facing new challenges generated by constantly evolving global business models and supply chains, as well as changing consumption patterns and digitalisation, such as e-commerce, including the internet of things, data analytics, artificial intelligence and block chain technology. The Programme should support customs management in such situations and enable the use of innovative solutions. Such challenges further underline the need to enforce cooperation between customs authorities and the need for a uniform interpretation and implementation of the customs legislation. When public finances are under pressure, the volume of world trade increases and fraud and smuggling are a growing concern; the Programme should contribute to tackling those challenges.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 c (new)
(3c)  In order to ensure maximum efficiency and to avoid overlaps, the Commission should coordinate the implementation of the Programme with related Union programmes and funds. This includes in particular the Fiscalis Programme, the EU anti-fraud Programme and Single Market Programme, as well as with the Internal Security Fund and Integrated Border Management Fund, the Reform Support Programme, the Digital Europe Programme, the Connecting Europe Facility and the Council Decision on the system of Own Resources of the European Union, as well as the implementing regulations and measures.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 d (new)
(3d)  With regard to the potential withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union, the financial envelope of the Programme does not take into account the costs resulting from the signing of the withdrawal agreement and the potential future relationship between the United Kingdom and the Union. The signing of that agreement, the disengagement of the United Kingdom from all existing customs systems and cooperation, and the lapsing of its legal obligations in this area, could lead to additional costs, which cannot be precisely estimated at the time of establishment of the Programme. The Commission should therefore consider reserving sufficient resources to prepare for those potential costs. However, those costs should not be covered by the envelope of the Programme, as the budget provided for in the Programme will only be sufficient to cover the costs which could realistically be foreseen at the time of establishment of the Programme.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5
(5)  In order to support the process of accession and association by third countries, the Programme should be open to the participation of acceding and candidate countries as well as potential candidates and partner countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy if certain conditions are fulfilled. It may also be open to other third countries, in accordance with the conditions laid down in specific agreements between the Union and those countries covering their participation to any Union programme.
(5)  In order to support the process of accession and association of third countries, the Programme should be open to the participation of acceding and candidate countries as well as potential candidates and partner countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy, if all conditions are met. It may also be open to other third countries under the conditions provided for in specific agreements between the Union and the countries concerned on the participation of those countries in any Union programme, if that participation is of interest to the Union and if it has a positive impact on the internal market without affecting consumer protection.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6
(6)  Regulation (EU, Euratom) [2018/XXX] of the European Parliament and of the Council21 (the Financial Regulation) applies to this Programme. It lays down rules on the implementation of the Union budget, including the rules on grants, prizes, procurement and reimbursement of external experts.
(6)  The Programme should be covered by Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council21 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Financial Regulation’). The Financial Regulation provides for the rules for the implementation of the Union budget, including the rules on grants, prizes, procurement and reimbursement of external experts.
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21 COM(2016)0605
21 Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012 (OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1).
Amendment 11
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7
(7)  The actions which applied under the Customs 2020 programme have proven to be adequate and should therefore be maintained. In order to provide more simplicity and flexibility in the execution of the Programme and thereby better deliver on its objectives, the actions should be defined only in terms of overall categories with a list of illustrative examples of concrete activities. Through cooperation and capacity building, the Customs programme should also promote and support the uptake and leverage of innovation to further improve the capabilities to deliver on the core priorities of customs.
(7)  The actions which applied under the Customs 2020 programme and have proven to be adequate should therefore be maintained, while others that have proven to be inadequate should be terminated. In order to provide greater simplicity and flexibility in the execution of the Programme and thereby better deliver on its objectives, the actions should be defined only in terms of overall categories with a list of illustrative examples of concrete activities. Through cooperation and capacity building, the Programme should also promote and support the uptake and leverage of innovation to further improve the capabilities to deliver on the core priorities of customs.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8
(8)  Regulation [2018/XXX] establishes, as part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, a Customs Control Equipment Instrument22 (‘CCE Instrument’). In order to preserve the coherence and horizontal coordination of all cooperation actions relating to customs and customs control equipment, it is appropriate to implement all of them under one single legal act and set of rules, being this Regulation. Therefore, the CCE Instrument should only support the purchase, maintenance and upgrade of the eligible equipment while this Programme should support all other related actions, such as cooperation actions for the assessment of equipment needs or, where appropriate, training in relation to the equipment purchased.
(8)  Regulation [2018/XXX] establishes, as part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, a Customs Control Equipment Instrument22 (‘CCE Instrument’). In order to preserve the coherence and horizontal coordination of all cooperation actions relating to customs and customs control equipment, it is appropriate to implement all of them under one single legal act and set of rules, that act and those rules being this Regulation. Therefore, the CCE Instrument should only support the purchase, maintenance and upgrade of the eligible equipment, while this Programme should support all other related actions, such as cooperation actions for the assessment of equipment needs or, where appropriate, training in relation to the equipment purchased.
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22 Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing, as part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, the instrument for financial support for customs control equipment
22 Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing, as part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, the instrument for financial support for customs control equipment
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 10
(10)  Considering the importance of globalisation, the Programme should continue to provide the possibility of involving external experts within the meaning of Article 238 of the Financial Regulation. Those external experts should mainly be representatives of governmental authorities, including from non-associated third countries, as well as representatives of international organisations, economic operators or civil society.
(10)  Considering the importance of globalisation, the Programme should continue to provide for the possibility of involving external experts within the meaning of Article 238 of the Financial Regulation. Those external experts should mainly be representatives of governmental authorities, including from non-associated third countries, as well as academics and representatives of international organisations, economic operators or civil society.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11
(11)  In line with the Commission's commitment to ensure the coherence and simplification of funding programmes, set out in its Communication of 19 October 2010 entitled 'The EU Budget Review23', resources should be shared with other Union funding instruments if the envisaged actions under the Programme pursue objectives that are common to various funding instruments, excluding however double financing. Actions under the Programme should ensure coherence in the use of the Union's resources supporting the customs union and customs authorities.
(11)  In line with the Commission's commitment to ensure the coherence and simplification of funding programmes, set out in its Communication of 19 October 2010 entitled 'The EU Budget Review23, resources should be shared with other Union funding instruments if the envisaged actions under the Programme pursue objectives that are common to various funding instruments, taking into account that the amount allocated to the Programme is calculated without taking into account that there could be unforeseen expenses, excluding however double financing. Actions under the Programme should ensure coherence in the use of the Union's resources supporting the customs union and customs authorities.
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23 COM(2010)0700
23 COM(2010)0700
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11 a (new)
(11 a)   The purchase of software that is needed to perform tight border controls should be eligible for funding under the Programme. Furthermore, the purchase of software that can be used in all Member States should be encouraged in order to facilitate exchange of data.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 12
(12)  Information Technology (IT) capacity building actions are set to attract the greatest part of the budget under the Programme. Specific provisions should describe, respectively, the common and national components of the European electronic systems. Moreover, the scope of actions and the responsibilities of the Commission and the Member States should be clearly defined.
(12)  Information Technology (IT) capacity building actions are set to attract a greater part of the budget under the Programme. Specific provisions should describe, respectively, the common and national components of the European electronic systems. Moreover, the scope of actions and the responsibilities of the Commission and the Member States should be clearly defined. In order to ensure coherence and coordination of IT capacity-building actions, the Programme should provide that the Commission develops and updates a Multiannual Strategic Customs Plan ('MASP-C'), with the aim of creating an electronic environment which ensures consistency and interoperability of the customs systems in the Union.
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 14 a (new)
(14a)  In line with the findings contained on the two special reports adopted recently by the European Court of Auditors in the field of customs, namely special report No 19/2017 of 5 December 2017 entitled ‘Import procedures: shortcomings in the legal framework and an ineffective implementation impact the financial interests of the EU’, and special report No 26/2018 of 10 October 2018 entitled ‘A series of delays in Customs IT systems: what went wrong?’, the actions undertaken within the ‘Customs’ programme for cooperation in the field of customs should aim at tackling the shortcomings signalled.
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 14 b (new)
(14b)  On 4 October 2018 the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the fight against customs fraud and the protection of the Union’s own resources. The conclusions contained in that resolution should be taken into account during the actions implemented in the framework of the Programme.
Amendment 19
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 20
(20)  The types of financing and the methods of implementation under this Regulation should be chosen on the basis of their ability to achieve the specific objectives of the actions and to deliver results, taking into account, in particular, the costs of controls, the administrative burden, and the expected risk of non-compliance. This should include consideration of the use of lump sums, flat rates and unit costs, as well as financing not linked to costs as referred to in Article 125(1) of the Financial Regulation.
(20)  The types of financing and the methods of implementation under this Regulation should be chosen on the basis of their ability to achieve the specific objectives of the actions and to deliver the best results, taking into account, in particular, the costs of controls, the administrative burden, and the expected risk of non-compliance. This should include consideration of the use of lump sums, flat rates and unit costs, as well as financing not linked to costs as referred to in Article 125(1) of the Financial Regulation.
Amendment 20
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1
1.  The Programme has the general objective to support the customs union and customs authorities to protect the financial and economic interests of the Union and its Member States, to ensure security and safety within the Union and to protect the Union from unfair and illegal trade, while facilitating legitimate business activity.
1.  With a view to achieving the long-term aim that all customs administrations in the Union work together as closely as possible, and in order to guarantee the security and safety of the Member States and to protect the Union against fraud, unfair and unlawful commercial practices, and at the same time, promote legitimate business activities and a high level of consumer protection, the general objective of the Programme is to support the customs union and the customs authorities in protecting the financial and economic interests of the Union and its Member States..
Amendment 21
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2
2.  The Programme has the specific objective to support the preparation and uniform implementation of customs legislation and policy as well as customs cooperation and administrative capacity building, including human competency and the development and operation of European electronic systems.
2.  The Programme has the following specific objectives:
(1)   to support the preparation and uniform implementation of customs legislation and policy as well as customs cooperation;
(2)  to assist with IT capacity building, which consists in developing, maintaining and operating the electronic systems as referred to in Article 278 of the Union Customs Code, and enabling a smooth transition to a paperless environment and trade in line with Article 12 of this Regulation;
(3)  to finance joint actions, which consist in cooperation mechanisms enabling officials to carry out joint operational activities under their core responsibilities, share experience in the customs field and join efforts to deliver on customs policy;
(4)  to enhance human competencies, supporting the professional skills of customs officials and empowering them to fulfil their role on a uniform basis;
(5)  to support innovation in the area of customs policy.
Amendment 22
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.  The Programme shall be consistent with and exploit any synergies with other Union action programmes and funds with similar objectives in related fields.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2 b (new)
2b.  The implementation of the Programme shall respect the principles of transparency, proportionality, equal treatment and non-discrimination.
Amendment 24
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2 c (new)
2c.  The Programme shall also support the continuous evaluation and monitoring of the cooperation between customs authorities with a view to identifying weaknesses and possible improvements.
Amendment 25
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1
1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme for the period 2021 – 2027 shall be EUR 950 000 000 in current prices.
1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme for the period 2021 – 2027 shall be EUR 842 844 000 in 2018 prices (EUR 950 000 000 in current prices).
Amendment 26
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2
2.  The amount referred to in paragraph 1 may also cover expenses for preparation, monitoring, control, audit, evaluation and other activities for managing the Programme and evaluating the achievement of its objectives. It may moreover cover expenses relating to studies, meetings of experts, information and communication actions, in so far as they are related to the objectives of the Programme, as well as expenses linked to information technology networks focusing on information processing and exchange, including corporate information technology tools and other technical and administrative assistance needed in connection with the management of the Programme.
2.  When necessary and duly justified, the amount referred to in paragraph 1 may also cover expenses for preparation, monitoring, control, audit, evaluation and other activities for managing the Programme and evaluating its performance and the achievement of its objectives. It may moreover cover expenses relating to studies, meetings of experts, information and communication actions by the Commission addressed to Member States and economic operators, in so far as they are related to the objectives of the Programme, as well as expenses linked to information technology networks focusing on information processing and exchange, including corporate information technology tools and other technical and administrative assistance needed in connection with the management of the Programme , in so far as such activities are required for the achievement of the objectives of the Programme.
Amendment 27
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.  The Programme shall not be used to cover costs relating to the potential withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union. The Commission shall reserve upon its own assessment resources in order to cover the costs relating to the disengagement of the United Kingdom from all Union customs systems and cooperation, and the lapsing of its legal obligations in this area.
Before reserving those resources, the Commission shall make an estimate of the potential costs, and shall inform the European Parliament once data relevant for that estimate become available.
Amendment 28
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point c – introductory part
(c)  other third countries, in accordance with the conditions laid down in a specific agreement covering the participation of the third country to any Union programme, provided that the agreement:
(c)  other third countries, under the conditions laid down in a specific agreement on the participation of a third country in any Union programme, provided that the agreement:
Amendment 29
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point c – indent 2
–  lays down the conditions of participation in the programmes, including the calculation of financial contributions to individual programmes and their administrative costs. These contributions shall constitute assigned revenues in accordance with Article [21(5)] of Regulation [2018/XXX] [the new Financial Regulation];
–  establishes the conditions for participation in the programmes, including the calculation of financial contributions to individual programmes and their administrative costs. These contributions shall constitute assigned revenue in accordance with Article 21(5) of the Financial Regulation;
Amendment 30
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 2
2.  Actions complementing or supporting the actions implementing the objectives referred to in Article 3 of Regulation (EU) [2018/XXX] [CCE instrument] shall also be eligible for funding under this Programme.
2.  Actions complementing or supporting the actions implementing the objectives referred to in Article 3 of Regulation (EU) [2018/XXX] [CCE instrument] and/or complementing or supporting the actions implementing the objectives referred to in Article 2 of Regulation (EU) [2018/XXX] [Anti-Fraud Programme] shall also be eligible for funding under this Programme.
Amendment 31
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1 – point b
(b)  project-based structured collaboration;
(b)  project-based structured collaboration, such as collaborative IT development by a group of Member States;
Amendment 32
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1 – point d
(d)  human competency and capacity building actions;
(d)  human competency and capacity building actions, including training and exchange of best practices;
Amendment 33
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 1 – point e – point 3 a (new)
(3a)   monitoring activities; 
Amendment 34
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 4
4.  Actions consisting in the development and operation of adaptations or extensions to the common components of the European electronic systems for cooperation with third countries not associated to the Programme or international organisations shall be eligible for funding when they are of interest to the Union. The Commission shall put in place the necessary administrative arrangements, which may provide for a financial contribution from the third parties concerned to these actions.
4.  Actions consisting in the development, deployment, maintenance and operation of adaptations or extensions to the common components of the European electronic systems for cooperation with third countries not associated to the Programme or international organisations shall be eligible for funding when they are of interest to the Union. The Commission shall put in place the necessary administrative arrangements, which may provide for a financial contribution from the third parties concerned to these actions.
Amendment 35
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 – paragraph 1
1.  Wherever beneficial for the achievement of the actions implementing the objectives referred to in Article 3, representatives of governmental authorities, including those from third countries not associated to the programme pursuant to Article 5, representatives of international and other relevant organisations, of economic operators and organisations representing economic operators and of civil society may take part as external experts to actions organised under the Programme.
1.  Wherever beneficial for the achievement of the actions implementing the objectives referred to in Article 3, representatives of governmental authorities, including those from third countries not associated to the Programme pursuant to Article 5, academics and representatives of international and other relevant organisations, of economic operators and organisations representing economic operators and of civil society may take part as external experts to actions organised under the Programme.
Amendment 36
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 – paragraph 3
3.  The external experts shall be selected by the Commission based on their skills, experience and knowledge relevant to the specific action, avoiding any potential conflict of interest.
3.  External experts shall be selected by the Commission on the basis of their competence, experience in the field of application of this Regulation and their relevant knowledge of the specific action being taken, avoiding any potential conflict of interest. The selection shall strike a balance between business representatives and other civil society experts, as well as take into account the principle of gender equality. The list of external experts shall be regularly updated and made accessible to the public.
Amendment 37
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1
1.  Grants under the Programme shall be awarded and managed in accordance with Title VIII of the Financial Regulation.
1.  Grants under the Programme shall be awarded and managed in accordance with Title VIII of the Financial Regulation, and specifically with the principles of sound financial management, transparency, proportionality, non-discrimination and equal treatment.
Amendment 38
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 – paragraph 1
1.  By derogation to Article 190 of the Financial Regulation, the Programme may finance up to 100 % of eligible costs of an action.
1.  By way of derogation from Article 190 of the Financial Regulation, the Programme may finance up to 100% of the eligible costs of an action according to the relevance of the action and the estimated impact.
Amendment 39
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 1
1.  The Commission and the Member States shall ensure jointly the development and operation, including the design, specification, conformance testing, deployment, maintenance, evolution, security, quality assurance and quality control, of the European electronic systems listed in the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Customs referred to in Article 12.
1.  The Commission and the Member States shall jointly ensure the development and operation of the European electronic systems listed in the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Customs referred to in Article 12, including its design, specification, conformance testing, deployment, maintenance, evolution, modernisation, security, quality assurance and quality control.
Amendment 40
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 2 – point b
(b)  the overall coordination of the development and operation of European electronic systems with a view to their operability, inter connectivity and continuous improvement and their synchronised implementation;
(b)  the overall coordination of the development and operation of European electronic systems with a view to their operability, cyber-resilience, inter­connectivity and continuous improvement and their synchronised implementation;
Amendment 41
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 2 – point e a (new)
(ea)   an efficient and swift communication with and between Member States with a view to streamlining the governance of the Union’s electronic systems;
Amendment 42
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 2 – point e b (new)
(eb)   a timely and transparent communication with the stakeholders concerned with the implementation of IT systems at Union and Member States level, in particular about delays in the implementation of and spending relating to Union and national components. 
Amendment 43
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 3 – point d
(d)  the regular provision to the Commission of information regarding the measures taken to enable their respective authorities or economic operators to make full use of European electronic systems;
(d)  providing the Commission with regular information on the measures taken to enable the authorities or economic operators concerned to make full and effective use of the European electronic systems;
Amendment 44
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
1.  The Commission shall draw up and keep updated a Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Customs listing all tasks relevant for the development and operation of European electronic systems and classifying each system, or part thereof, as:
1.  The Commission shall draw up and update a Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for the customs field listing all the tasks relevant for the development and operation of European electronic systems and classifying each system or part of a system as:
Amendment 45
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1 – point a
(a)  a common component: a component of the European electronic systems developed at Union level, which is available for all Member States or identified as common by the Commission for reasons of efficiency, security and rationalisation;
a)  a common component: a component of European electronic systems developed at Union level, which is available to all Member States or identified by the Commission as being common for reasons of efficiency, security of rationalisation and reliability;
Amendment 46
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1 – point b
(b)  a national component: a component of the European electronic systems developed at national level, which is available in the Member State that created such a component or contributed to its joint creation;
(b)  a national component: a component of the European electronic systems developed at national level, which is available in the Member State that created such a component or contributed to its joint creation, for instance as part of a collaborative IT development project by a group of Member States;
Amendment 47
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 3
3.  Member States shall notify the Commission of the completion of each task allocated to them under the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Customs referred to in paragraph 1. They shall also regularly report to the Commission on progress with their tasks.
3.  Member States shall notify the Commission of the completion of each task allocated to them under the Multi-Annual Strategic Plan for Customs referred to in paragraph 1. They shall also regularly report to the Commission on progress with their tasks and where applicable about foreseeable delays in their implementation.
Amendment 48
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 5
5.  No later than 31 October of each year, the Commission shall, on the basis of the annual reports referred to in paragraph 4, establish a consolidated report assessing the progress made by Member States and the Commission in the implementation of the plan referred to in paragraph 1 and make that report public.
5.  No later than 31 October of each year, the Commission shall, on the basis of the annual reports referred to in paragraph 4, establish a consolidated report assessing the progress made by Member States and the Commission in the implementation of the plan referred to in paragraph 1, including information on necessary adaptations of or delays with the plan, and make that report public.
Amendment 49
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 1
1.  The Programme shall be implemented by multiannual work programmes referred to in Article 108 of the Financial Regulation.
1.  The Programme shall be implemented by multiannual work programmes referred to in Article 110 of the Financial Regulation. The multiannual work programmes shall in particular set out the objectives to be pursued, the expected results, the method of implementation and the total amount of the financing plan. They shall also set out in detail a description of the actions to be financed, an indication of the amount allocated to each action and an indicative implementation timetable. The multiannual work programmes shall be, communicated to the European Parliament where applicable.
Amendment 50
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 2
2.  The multiannual work programmes shall be adopted by the Commission by means of implementing acts. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 18(2).
2.  The multiannual work programmes shall be adopted by the Commission by means of implementing acts and communicated to the European Parliament and the Council. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 18(2).
Amendment 51
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.   The multiannual work programmes shall build on lessons learned from previous programmes.
Amendment 52
Proposal for a regulation
Article 14 – paragraph 1
1.  Indicators to report on progress of the Programme towards the achievement of the specific objectives set out in Article 3 are set in Annex 2.
1.  In compliance with its reporting requirements pursuant to point (h) of Article 41(3) of the Financial Regulation, the Commission shall present to the European Parliament and the Council information on the performance of the Programme. Reporting on performance shall include information on both progress and shortfalls.
Amendment 53
Proposal for a regulation
Article 14 – paragraph 2
2.  To ensure effective assessment of progress of the Programme towards the achievement of its objectives, the Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 17 to amend Annex 2 to review or complement the indicators where considered necessary and to supplement this Regulation with provisions on the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation framework.
2.  Indicators for reporting on the performance of the Programme towards the achievement of the specific objectives provided for in Article 3 are set out in Annex 2. To ensure effective assessment of progress of the Programme towards the achievement of its objectives, the Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 17 to amend Annex 2 to review or complement the indicators where considered necessary and to supplement this Regulation with provisions on the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation framework in order to provide the European Parliament and the Council with updated qualitative as well as quantitative information on the performance of the Programme.
Amendment 54
Proposal for a regulation
Article 14 – paragraph 3
3.  The performance reporting system shall ensure that data for monitoring programme implementation and results are collected efficiently, effectively, and in a timely manner. To that end, proportionate reporting requirements shall be imposed on recipients of Union funds.
3.  The performance reporting system shall ensure that the data for the monitoring of the implementation and the results of the Programme are comparable and complete as well as collected in an efficient, effective and timely manner. To this end, proportionate and relevant reporting requirements shall be imposed on the recipients of Union funds. The Commission shall provide the European Parliament and the Council with reliable information on the quality of the performance data used.
Amendment 55
Proposal for a regulation
Article 15 – paragraph 2
2.  The interim evaluation of the Programme shall be performed once there is sufficient information available about the implementation of the Programme, but no later than four years after the start of the programme implementation.
2.  The interim evaluation of the Programme shall be carried out as soon as sufficient information on its implementation is available, but no later than three years after the start of the programme implementation.
Amendment 56
Proposal for a regulation
Article 15 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.   The interim evaluation shall present findings necessary to make a decision about a follow-up to the Programme beyond 2027 and its objectives.
Amendment 57
Proposal for a regulation
Article 15 – paragraph 3
3.  At the end of the implementation of the Programme, but no later than four years after the end of the period specified in Article 1, a final evaluation of the Programme shall be carried out by the Commission.
3.  At the end of the implementation of the Programme, but no later than three years after the end of the period referred to in Article 1, the Commission shall carry out a final evaluation of the Programme.
Amendment 58
Proposal for a regulation
Article 15 – paragraph 4
4.  The Commission shall communicate the conclusions of the evaluations, accompanied by its observations, to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.
4.  The Commission shall present and communicate the conclusions of the evaluations, accompanied by its observations and lessons learned, to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.
Amendment 59
Proposal for a regulation
Article 16 – paragraph 1
Where a third country participates in the programme by a decision under an international agreement or by virtue of any other legal instrument, the third country shall grant the necessary rights and access required for the authorizing officer responsible, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the European Court of Auditors to comprehensively exert their respective competences. In the case of OLAF, such rights shall include the right to carry out investigations, including on-the-spot checks and inspections, provided for in Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).
Where a third country participates in the programme by a decision under an international agreement or by virtue of any other legal instrument, the third country shall grant the necessary rights and access required for the authorizing officer responsible, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the European Court of Auditors and the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) to comprehensively exert their respective competences. In the case of OLAF and the EPPO, such rights shall include the right to carry out investigations, including on-the-spot checks and inspections, provided for in Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council1a and in Council Regulation (EU) 2017/19391b.
__________________
1a Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 September 2013 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1073/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (Euratom) No 1074/1999 (OJ L 248, 18.9.2013, p. 1.)
1b Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1939 of 12 October 2017 implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (‘the EPPO’) (OJ L 283, 31.10.2017, p. 1.)
Amendment 60
Proposal for a regulation
Article 19 – paragraph 1
1.  The recipients of Union funding shall acknowledge the origin and ensure the visibility of the Union funding (in particular when promoting the actions and their results) by providing coherent, effective and proportionate targeted information to multiple audiences, including the media and the public.
1.  The recipients of Union funding shall acknowledge the origin and ensure maximum visibility of the Union funding (in particular when promoting the actions and their results) by providing coherent, effective and proportionate targeted information to multiple audiences, including the media and the public.
Amendment 61
Proposal for a regulation
Article 19 – paragraph 2
2.  The Commission shall implement information and communication actions relating to the Programme, and its actions and results. Financial resources allocated to the Programme shall also contribute to the corporate communication of the political priorities of the Union, as far as they are related to the objectives referred to in Article 3.
2.  The Commission shall implement information and communication actions on the Programme, on the actions financed under the Programme, and on the results achieved by those financed actions. The financial resources allocated to the Programme shall also contribute to the institutional communication of the Union's political priorities in so far as they are linked to the objectives set out in Article 3.

(1)The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committee responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (A8-0464/2018).


Amendment of the European Investment Bank Statute *
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 15 January 2019 on the proposal for a Council decision amending the Statute of the European Investment Bank (13166/2018 – C8-0464/2018 – 2018/0811(CNS))
P8_TA(2019)0009A8-0476/2018

(Special legislative procedure – consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal of the European Investment Bank to the Council to amend the Statute of the European Investment Bank (13166/2018),

–  having regard to Article 308 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8‑0464/2018),

–  having regard to Rule 78c of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0476/2018),

1.  Approves the proposal;

2.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

3.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to substantially amend the text approved by Parliament;

4.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission, the European Investment Bank and the national parliaments.


Gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament
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European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2019 on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament (2018/2162(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0010A8-0429/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which lay down the principle of gender equality as a core value of the Union,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Articles 8 and 19 thereof,

–  having regard to Article 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which contains specific provisions on the horizontal principle of gender equality, and Article 6 TEU, which recognises that the Charter has the same legal value as the Treaties,

–  having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR),

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

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 1979,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) of 11 May 2011,

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 November 2016 on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women(1),

–  having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995, to the subsequent outcome documents adopted at the United Nations Beijing +5 (2000), Beijing +10 (2005) and Beijing +15 (2010) special sessions and the outcome document of the Beijing +20 review conference,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 10 February 2010 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2009(2), of 8 March 2011 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2010(3), of 13 March 2012 on equality between women and men in the European Union – 2011(4), of 10 March 2015 on progress on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2013(5), and of 14 March 2017 on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2014-2015(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2003 on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 January 2007 on gender mainstreaming in the work of the committees(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 April 2009 on gender mainstreaming in the work of its committees and delegations(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 May 2009 on gender mainstreaming in EU external relations and peace-building/nation-building(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2012 on women in political decision-making(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2015 on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post-2015(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 February 2016 on the new Strategy for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in Europe post-2015(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 March 2016 on Gender Mainstreaming in the work of the European Parliament(14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 October 2017 on combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU(15),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2018 on measures to prevent and combat mobbing and sexual harassment at the workplace, in public spaces, and in political life in the EU(16),

–  having regard to the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the Union, laid down in Council Regulation (EEC, Euratom, ECSC) No 259/68(17), and in particular Articles 1(c) and (d) thereof,

–  having regard to the Women in the European Parliament brochure of 2018,

–  having regard to the European Parliament Human Resources Annual Report 2017, published in August 2018,

–  having regard to the guidelines on gender-neutral language in the European Parliament,

–  having regard to the report of Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Chair of the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity, to the Bureau of the European Parliament entitled 'Gender Equality in the European Parliament Secretariat – state of play and the way forward 2017-2019', adopted at the Bureau meeting of 16 January 2017,

–  having regard to the 2017-2019 roadmap for the implementation of the report entitled 'Gender Equality in the European Parliament Secretariat – state of play and the way forward 2017-2019',

–  having regard to the Action plan for the promotion of gender equality and diversity in the European Parliament Secretariat for the period 2014-2019,

–  having regard to the mandate of the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity,

–  having regard to its guidelines on equality for members/recruiters of selection panels,

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 19 July 2017 entitled 'A better workplace for all: from equal opportunities towards diversity and inclusion' (C(2017)5300)(18) and its Diversity and Inclusion Charter(19),

–  having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document of 3 December 2015 entitled 'Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019' (SWD(2015)0278)(20),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023(21),

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission of 19 November 2013 on gender mainstreaming, annexed to the European Parliament's legislative resolution on the draft Council regulation laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014–2020 attached to the multiannual financial framework (MFF)(22),

–  having regard to the Inter-Parliamentary Union report of 2011 entitled ‘Gender-sensitive Parliaments: A Global Review for Good Practice’ published in 2011,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0429/2018),

A.  whereas the principle of gender equality is a core value of the EU and is enshrined in the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights; whereas Article 8 TFEU states that the European Union shall, through all its activities, aim at eliminating inequalities, promote gender equality and combat discrimination when defining and implementing its policies and activities;

B.  whereas gender equality, in general, is central to the protection of human rights, the functioning of democracy, respect for the rule of law, economic growth, social inclusion and sustainability and the integration of a gender dimension is relevant to all policy areas of EU competence;

C.  whereas the right to equality and the guarantee of non-discrimination are bedrock principles underpinning gender mainstreaming; whereas gender mainstreaming means addressing the rights, perspectives and well-being of women, girls, LGBTIQ people and people of all gender identities;

D.  whereas progress in achieving gender equality in the EU is not only stagnating across the whole of the Union, but is also suffering significant setbacks in some Member States;

E.  whereas the Istanbul Convention stresses the importance of changing mentalities and attitudes in order to break out of the continuum of all forms of gender-based violence; whereas education at all levels and for persons of all ages on equality between women and men, on non-stereotype gender roles and on respect for personal integrity, is therefore required in this regard;

F.  whereas insufficient funds and human resources are being allocated to ensure real progress in gender mainstreaming of the EU’s policies, programmes, initiatives and actions;

G.  whereas the population of the European Union consists half of women and half of men, but the composition of the European Parliament reflects a severe female under-representation as only 36,1 % of MEPs are female; whereas this gap is further emphasised by the composition of Parliament’s Bureau, which is made up of 7 women and 13 men; whereas gender-balanced representation and diversity in Parliament’s bodies contribute to breaking down stereotypes, reduce discrimination and increase the level of democratic representation of EU citizens and the legitimacy of Parliament’s decisions;

H.  whereas of Parliament’s senior management appointments (Directors-General and Directors), only 11 % were women in 2016 and 33 % were women in 2017;

I.  whereas Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 aspires to ‘achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’ by 2030 and is a cross-cutting objective of all 17 SDGs; whereas gender mainstreaming is a tool for effective, long-lasting and sustainable equitable development with a positive impact in terms of meeting poverty reduction goals; whereas, however, there is only very slow progress on gender equality and minimal change in many countries worldwide(23), including in Europe; whereas implementation of SDG 5 has had mixed results within and across the EU Member States and whereas the proportion of women in national parliaments and in decision-making positions is still far from equal to that of men(24);

J.  whereas gender impact assessments are necessary to evaluate and identify the likelihood of any given decision having negative consequences for the state of gender equality; whereas it is consequently essential to analyse budgets from a gender perspective in order to provide information on the different effects any budget allocation and distribution may have on gender equality and to increase transparency and accountability;

K.  whereas gender mainstreaming is considered to be an effective and globally accepted strategy aimed at achieving gender equality and combating discrimination by reorganising, improving, developing and evaluating policy processes so that the gender equality perspective is incorporated in all policies, regulatory measures and spending programmes, and at all levels and stages by the actors involved in policy making; whereas gender mainstreaming provides key tools for the systematic consideration of the differences between the conditions, situations and needs of all in policies and actions, and the advancement of gender equality and promotion of equal rights and a gender-balanced representation at different administrative, political, social and economic levels and in decision-making;

L.  whereas greater interinstitutional cooperation on gender mainstreaming between Parliament, the Council and the Commission is needed in order to ensure that gender perspectives can be introduced in all phases of the Union’s budget, policies, programmes and initiatives, which would facilitate Parliament’s own gender mainstreaming work;

M.  whereas the gender mainstreaming amendments adopted by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and tabled for adoption in other committees are an effective tool for ensuring that gender equality is given due consideration in Parliament’s reports and resolutions;

N.  whereas gender budgeting in the form of planning and programming contributes to the advancement of gender equality and the fulfilment of women’s rights and is one of the key tools used by policy makers to promote gender equality, but nevertheless is still not systematically applied by any of the EU institutions;

O.  whereas according to the latest available data(25),women constitute 59 % of Parliament staff but are still under-represented in all ranks of management; whereas the number of women in senior management has even decreased since June 2017 and the number of women in middle management roles has increased only slightly;

P.  whereas the 2017 report on gender equality by Parliament Vice-President Dimitrios Papadimoulis established three targets for women’s representation in middle and senior management, to be achieved by 2019: 30 % at Director-General level, 35 % at Director level and 40 % at Head of Unit level, and whereas the subsequent roadmap outlines how to achieve these targets;

Q.  whereas in order to promote gender mainstreaming in the work of Parliament’s committees and delegations, a Member responsible for gender mainstreaming is appointed in each committee and in the Conference of Delegation Chairs, who shares experiences and best practice in the Gender Mainstreaming Network;

R.  whereas ensuring coherence between their internal human resources policies and their external actions in the field of promotion of gender equality and LGBTIQ rights is essential to the credibility of Parliament and the other EU institutions;

S.  whereas, since 2014, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure have stipulated that the diversity of Parliament must be reflected in the composition of the bureau of each parliamentary committee and that it shall not be permissible to have an all-male or all-female bureau;

T.  whereas senior management posts in Parliament are attributed solely by the Bureau of the European Parliament;

U.  whereas gender mainstreaming of the European Parliament must pay due attention to the rights, perspectives and well-being of LGBTIQ people and people of all gender identities; whereas although Parliament attaches increased importance to LGBTIQ issues, LGBTIQ activists have relatively low visibility and a weak voice;

V.  whereas there is a need to recognise the social and political value of women’s organisations and women’s spaces, of their history and their work, and of their key role in preventing gender-based violence and promoting gender equality, women’s self-determination and intercultural dialogue; whereas there is no conscious gender mainstreaming without places able to produce women’s self-determination and authority and to fight against violence against women;

W.  whereas the legitimacy of women in the political sphere is still sometimes challenged, and whereas women are victims of stereotypes which discourage them from engaging in politics, a phenomenon that is particularly conspicuous wherever women in politics are less represented;

X.  whereas women in the EU have the same political and civil rights as men, but nevertheless frequently face social, societal or economic inequalities;

Y.  whereas gender equality contributes to more comprehensive debate and better decision-making as it can bring to the table all-inclusive points of view;

Z.  whereas institutions must be responsible for avoiding vertical and horizontal gender segregation;

AA.  whereas Parliament has long years of commitment to promoting gender equality and whereas the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality has the responsibility to implement and further develop gender mainstreaming in all policy sectors;

AB.  whereas Parliament must continue to combat sexual harassment and implement agreed measures;

AC.  whereas Parliament has a number of different bodies in charge of developing and implementing gender mainstreaming and promoting gender equality and diversity both at the political and administrative levels such as the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, the Gender Mainstreaming Network, the Equality and Diversity Unit, the Committee on Equal Opportunities and Diversity (COPEC), égalité, the association of LGBTI+ staff of the EU institutions, the Advisory Committee for prevention and protection at work and the Group of Equality and Diversity Coordinators; whereas, however, there is no clear coordination or coherence between these bodies;

AD.  whereas gender mainstreaming is a process that requires specific skills and knowledge, as well as commitment, and as such it is effective only if accompanied by awareness raising and capacity building activities in the institutions and among staff;

AE.  whereas Parliament already committed itself in 2003 to adopting and implementing a policy plan for gender mainstreaming with the priority of integrating the gender perspective in the work of the committees and delegations, with concrete tools for the promotion, increased awareness and implementation of the gender mainstreaming principle in their daily work;

General remarks

1.  Reaffirms its strong commitment to gender equality both in the content of EU policies, initiatives and programmes and across the Union’s political, budgetary, administrative and executive levels;

2.  Calls for the new MFF, like the last MFF, to be accompanied by a joint declaration by Parliament, the Commission and the Council, committing them to ensure that the annual budgetary procedures applied for the MFF integrate, as appropriate, gender-responsive elements, taking into account the ways in which the overall financial framework of the Union contributes to the objective of achieving equality and ensures gender mainstreaming;

3.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to present a genuine European Equality Strategy in the form of a communication that contains clear and, as far as possible, quantifiable objectives and to have this translated into all official EU languages in order to ensure greater distribution and understanding for citizens and social and economic actors;

4.  Considers that Parliament should create and foster a culture of diversity and inclusion and a safe working environment for everyone, and that cross-cutting measures to ensure the well-being of all staff and MEPs should go hand in hand with targeted measures to achieve gender-balanced representation both at administrative and political level;

5.  Insists that gender mainstreaming can also mean introducing specific actions targeted at women or at men to tackle persistent inequalities or changing mainstream policies to accommodate a diversity of circumstances for individuals or groups;

6.  Applauds male and female role models for gender equality as well as initiatives both in the Parliament administration and at political level which actively contribute to gender equality and equal opportunities; further encourages the promotion of different role models for overcoming all kinds of gender stereotypes;

7.  Stresses that achieving gender equality is not a women’s issue, but one that should involve the whole of society;

8.  Regrets the fact that Parliament’s visual communication sometimes uses gender stereotypes as well as stereotypes based on sexual orientation and gender identity; recalls, in this respect, the importance of representing and promoting gender equality in communication materials in all policy sectors;

9.  Recalls that mainstreaming gender covers policy choices, the decision-making process, procedures and practices as well as implementation, monitoring and evaluation; stresses, therefore, that in order to comprehensively assess the state of play of gender mainstreaming in Parliament, not only policy content, but also gender representation in the administration and in decision-making should be taken into account;

10.  Expresses concern that female representation in Parliament’s key decision-making positions at the political and administrative levels remains low and that Parliament needs to ensure that the allocation of decision-making positions is evenly spread between genders;

11.  Regrets the lack of coherence and coordination between the various bodies working on gender equality and diversity in Parliament; reiterates its call to improve internal coordination in order to achieve a higher degree of gender mainstreaming, including in staff recruitment, the organisation of work, working decisions and procedures;

12.  Applauds Parliament’s decision to honour Simone Veil, the first woman President of an EU institution and a staunch promoter of women’s rights, notably legal abortion and reproductive rights, by renaming the Equality and Diversity Award after her, as a means of highlighting and recognising good practice and role models in equal opportunities within the European Parliament Secretariat; recommends increasing the visibility and ensuring greater awareness of this important award;

13.  Stresses the importance of dialogue with external stakeholders such as civil society women’s organisations, grassroots women’s rights and gender equality groups, women’s movements, international institutions, academia and national parliaments in developing tools and collecting data; recalls that their mobilisation is important in improving EU gender mainstreaming processes and in fostering reciprocal exchanges to promote best practice;

Gender mainstreaming tools

14.  Calls for effective measures to ensure genuine equality between men and women in the European Parliament; emphasises in this context that, above all, measures to counteract sexual harassment are of paramount importance; highlights in particular the need for awareness raising and training measures;

15.  Welcomes the revised guidelines on gender-neutral language in the European Parliament, published in July 2018, which now better reflect linguistic and cultural developments and provide practical advice in all official EU languages on the use of gender-fair and inclusive language; recalls that Parliament was one of the first international organisations to adopt multilingual guidelines on gender-neutral language in 2008; recalls the importance of building broad public acceptance of the guidelines and invites all Members of the European Parliament, as well as officials, to promote and apply these guidelines consistently in their work;

16.  Recognises the work of the Gender Mainstreaming Network, welcomes the inclusion of representatives of the Conference of Delegation Chairs to the gender mainstreaming network and calls for further development of this network;

17.  Welcomes the fact that most of the parliamentary committees have adopted action plans on gender mainstreaming for their work and that many have already presented them to the Gender Mainstreaming Network; calls, therefore, on the remaining few committees to follow suit; notes, however, the heterogeneity of these plans and the lack of implementation thereof; calls for the adoption of a common gender action plan for the European Parliament which should, at least, contain provisions regarding equal gender representation in all parliamentary work and all of Parliament’s bodies, the introduction of a gender perspective in all its policy activities and in its working organisation and the use of gender-neutral language in all documents; requests that the Rules of Procedure be amended accordingly;

18.  Regrets that in the last reform of the Rules of Procedure, procedures to implement gender mainstreaming were not included;

19.  Welcomes the progress made over recent years in adopting gender action plans in most of Parliament’s committees;

20.  Calls for closer cooperation among the parliamentary committees aimed at bringing a real gender dimension to their reports and stresses the importance for all parliamentary committees of showing respect for the competences of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, both by accepting the gender mainstreaming amendments tabled by the Committee and by working together to avoid conflicts of competences;

21.  Reiterates the importance of the application of gender budgeting at all levels of the budgetary process; deplores the absence of gender budgeting mechanisms in the EU institutions, despite a strong commitment to them; urges Parliament’s responsible bodies to incorporate the gender perspective and use gender indicators when drafting and adopting Parliament’s estimates, and throughout the discharge process;

22.  Welcomes Parliament’s resolution of 26 October 2017 on combating sexual harassment and abuse in the EU; emphasises that sexual harassment is a serious crime that goes underreported in most cases, an extreme form of gender-based discrimination and one of the biggest obstacles to gender equality; welcomes the Bureau decision of 2 July 2018 to revise the functioning of the Advisory Committee dealing with harassment complaints concerning Members of the European Parliament and its procedures for dealing with complaints, while strongly approving Article 6 which states that two expert advisers – one medical officer from the Medical Service and one member of the Legal Service – shall be appointed by the Secretary-General, as well as the addition of Article 34a to the Implementing Measures for the Statute for Members of the European Parliament, concerning the financial consequences of a proven case of harassment of an accredited parliamentary assistant (APA);

23.  Welcomes the new measures, as called for in Parliament’s resolution of 26 October 2017, against harassment taken by Parliament, which entered into force on 1 September 2018, namely:

   (a) to provide the Advisory Committee with a dedicated and permanent Secretariat, attached to the Secretariat of the Bureau and Quaestors, with more and specialised, regularly trained staff, dealing exclusively with harassment matters;
   (b) to allow a second APA representative to participate in the meetings of the Committee, as a full member, in order to address the issues of the restrictive quorum and the APA representative’s workload;
   (c) to ensure that Parliament’s Rules of Procedure (Articles 11 and 166) include new penalties for harassment as well as a ‘Code of Appropriate Behaviour for Members of the European Parliament in Exercising Their Duties’, that a declaration be developed and signed by each Member when taking up office and submitted to the President, that each Member reads the Code and confirms that he or she will abide by its principles, and that all declarations (signed or unsigned) be published on Parliament’s website;
   (d) to provide better information to accredited parliamentary assistants regarding the possibility of having all their legal expenses covered by Parliament and of being supported throughout the process;

24.  Nevertheless strongly regrets the slow and inadequate progress in the implementation of other crucial recommendations of Parliament’s resolution; demands that full and undivided attention be given by Parliament’s President and administration to the full implementation of all requested measures, in particular by means of the 2017-2019 roadmap on ‘preventive and early support measures to deal with conflict and harassment between Members and APAs, trainees or other staff’, which should be revised as soon as possible to adequately include at least the following demands of the resolution with a clear timeline for implementation:

   (a) provide mandatory training for MEPs and staff;
   (b) establish a task force of independent, external experts to be convened with a mandate to examine the situation of sexual harassment in the European Parliament and the functioning of its two harassment committees;
   (c) strengthen the anti-harassment committees by merging them into one sole committee with a variable composition depending on the case under examination and including experts such as lawyers and doctors as standing members of the committee;

25.  Calls on the Commission in this context to further monitor the regular application and implementation of Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation(26), which provides for a shift of the burden of proof in cases of gender discrimination;

26.  Repeats its call on the European Parliamentary Research Service to carry out regular detailed qualitative and quantitative research on the progress of gender mainstreaming in Parliament and the functioning of the organisational structure dedicated to it, as well as to develop gender impact assessments and gender-based analysis; calls for increased, systematic and periodic collection of gender-disaggregated data and statistics in policy and programme impact assessments as well as in the policy making process in order to analyse the advancement of gender equality, to give an accurate map of gender gaps, to assess achievements or regression and to inform evidence-based decision-making;

27.  Reiterates its call for mandatory training on respect and dignity to be organised for all MEPs and staff and in any case at the start of the new mandate;

28.  Recalls the importance of building gender mainstreaming capacity within all the EU institutions by making sure that training provided is gender sensitive and by providing for specific training programmes on gender equality in all policy sectors; expresses its full support for developing targeted and regular gender mainstreaming training, and for specific training programmes for women with leadership potential; encourages the Directorate-General for Personnel to provide gender mainstreaming training for Members, assistants and staff of the European Parliament, and Parliament’s political groups to provide gender mainstreaming training for their staff;

29.  Welcomes the Gender-sensitive Parliaments Tool developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) to assist the European Parliament, national and regional parliaments in assessing and improving their gender sensitivity; calls on Parliament’s administration and political groups to ensure adequate follow-up of the findings of the assessment and evaluation;

30.  Calls on the EIGE to regularly submit information to the parliamentary committees and to the Commission in order to underline the gender perspective in all areas of policy making and to make available the data and tools it has developed, including on gender budgeting as placed on the gender mainstreaming platform, as part of a broader capacity-building exercise, addressed also to staff and parliamentary assistants;

Political level

31.  Commends the appointment in 2016 of the standing rapporteur on gender mainstreaming in the European Parliament and the standing rapporteur’s active involvement in the work of the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity; recommends, therefore, that Parliament maintain this position for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term;

32.  Believes that stronger interinstitutional relations in the field of gender mainstreaming can help develop gender-sensitive EU policies; regrets that no structured cooperation on gender mainstreaming has yet been established with other institutional partners, such as the Commission, the Council and the EIGE;

33.  Points to the importance of increasing the presence of the under-represented gender, often women, on electoral lists; strongly encourages the European political parties and their party members to ensure a gender-balanced representation of candidates for elections to the European Parliament in 2019 by means of zipped lists or other methods such as parity lists; commits itself to balance between men and women at all levels;

34.  Calls on Parliament’s political groups for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term to ensure a gender-balanced composition of the bodies governing the European Parliament and recommends that they put forward both male and female Members as candidates for the positions of President, Vice-President and Bureau Member, and the Chairs of committees and delegations, in view of achieving this goal;

35.  Recommends that Parliament’s political groups for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term each elect two Members, one male and one female, for the position of group co-President;

36.  Encourages Parliament's political groups for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term to take into account the goal of achieving equal gender representation when nominating Members to all committees and delegations, and especially to nominate a gender-equal number of parliamentarians as members and substitutes of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, in order to encourage the involvement of men in gender equality policy;

37.  Suggests exploring ways to establish a women’s network within Parliament, integrating national networks, since formal or informal networks not only improve work processes but are also a key element in providing information, mutual support and coaching, as well as delivering role models;

38.  Encourages Parliament’s political groups to adopt a gender mainstreaming strategy to ensure that their proposals take into account their impact on gender equality;

39.  Invites the Secretary-General and the Bureau to apply the same principle for the attribution of senior management posts as for the attribution of Head of Unit posts, i.e. to make it compulsory that shortlists include three suitable candidates with at least one candidate of each gender, while stating that, if all else is equal (e.g. qualifications, experience), the under-represented gender should be preferred; notes that if these requirements are not fulfilled, the post should be re-advertised;

40.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms the misogynistic language used on several occasions in the plenary chamber; welcomes the sanctions imposed by the President of the European Parliament and confirmed by the Bureau against a Member of the European Parliament for remarks made during the plenary session of 1 March 2017 undermining the dignity of women; is concerned by the decision of the General Court of the European Union of 31 May 2018 to annul the decision of the President and of the Bureau, based both on interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Rules of Procedure and on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights concerning Article 10 of the ECHR (freedom of speech); urges its committee competent for issues concerning the Rules of Procedure to revise the applicable rules with a view to ensuring respect and dignity in the plenary chamber at all times and, in particular, to add a clause requiring Members in parliamentary debates to refrain from adopting language that incites hatred or discriminates on grounds of gender, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or social origin, genetic characteristics, language, religion or belief, political or other opinions, membership of a national minority, disability, age or sexual orientation, and to impose exemplary sanctions in the event of non-compliance with this clause;

41.  Welcomes the availability of professional training courses on unconscious bias and harassment, stresses that such training courses should pay particular attention to gender equality and LGBTIQ issues and be made mandatory for managers and selection board members, and strongly encouraged for all other staff;

42.  Commends the Commission’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, published in 2017; urges Parliament to use this good example, to fully embrace diversity management and to recognise, value and include staff of different sexual orientations or gender identities;

Administrative level

43.  Welcomes the report by Dimitrios Papadimoulis entitled ‘Gender Equality in the European Parliament Secretariat – state of play and the way forward 2017-2019’ and the roadmap for implementing the report; commends the progress on the implementation of the concrete actions of the roadmap and its clear timeline for specific measures regarding management, professional training, awareness raising on gender equality, work-life balance measures and the regular monitoring of gender balance through statistics; calls for progress to be sped up in order to reach the gender equality targets set for 2019;

44.  Urges the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity to perform a two-yearly structural, point by point assessment of the implementation of the roadmap on gender equality based on a presentation by DG PERS;

45.  Is concerned that despite strong institutional and political statements, gender equality objectives are not explicitly stated in Parliament budget documents nor taken into account at all stages of the budget process;

46.  Suggests that DG PERS produce a questionnaire to be filled out by women, especially those in middle management, on a voluntary basis, enquiring as to their motivation, professional obstacles and opportunities with a view to better understanding the barriers to applying for senior management posts;

47.  Welcomes the yearly report on human resources drawn up by Parliament;

48.  Recalls that as regards the use of measures to improve work-life balance, acceptance by managers and, if relevant, equal take-up by both partners should be specifically encouraged; notes that public awareness of work-life balance in Parliament should be further raised through workshops, training courses and publications; addresses the fact that Members and staff should be well-informed that measures for improving work-life balance, such as maternity/paternity leave, parental leave, carer’s leave and flexible working arrangements, would help achieve gender equality in Parliament, encourage better sharing of caring responsibilities between women and men, improve the quality of women’s employment and their well-being, and have long-term impacts on social and economic development;

49.  Recommends that Parliament’s Directorate-General for Communication include a stronger and more active gender perspective in its reporting of Parliament’s policy-making and especially in preparing the campaign for the European elections in 2019;

50.  Commends the progress made in the Parliament Secretariat on improving gender equality in senior and middle management positions, but notes that despite the fact that the majority of Parliament officials are women, their representation in senior or middle management positions is still very low: at the end of 2017, 15,4 % of Directors-General, 30,4 % of Directors and 36,2 % of Heads of Unit in the Parliament Secretariat were women; recalls, therefore, that when choosing between applicants with the same profile (experience, qualification, etc.) the under-represented gender should be preferred;

51.  Asks for knowledge or experience on gender mainstreaming to be considered as an asset in calls for staff and selection of staff;

52.  Calls on the secretariats of Parliament’s committees to assist their Members in ensuring a gender-balanced composition of the speakers in committee hearings by proposing a gender-balanced list of experts;

53.  Stresses that in order to achieve real progress on improving gender equality in the Parliament Secretariat and political groups, a cultural shift is needed to change conceptual and behavioural attitudes, with the further development of a culture of equality in the Secretariat;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 224, 27.6.2018, p. 96.
(2) OJ C 341 E, 16.12.2010, p. 35.
(3) OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 65.
(4) OJ C 251 E, 31.8.2013, p. 1.
(5) OJ C 316, 30.8.2016, p. 2.
(6) OJ C 263, 25.7.2018, p. 49.
(7) OJ C 61 E, 10.3.2004, p. 384.
(8) OJ C 244 E, 18.10.2007, p. 225.
(9) OJ C 184 E, 8.7.2010, p. 18.
(10) OJ C 212 E, 5.8.2010, p. 32.
(11) OJ C 251 E, 31.8.2013, p. 11.
(12) OJ C 407, 4.11.2016, p. 2.
(13) OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 35.
(14) OJ C 50, 9.2.2018, p. 15.
(15) OJ C 346, 27.9.2018, p. 192.
(16) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0331.
(17) OJ L 56, 4.3.1968, p. 1.
(18) https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/communication-equal-opportunities-diversity-inclusion-2017.pdf
(19) https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/diversity-inclusion-charter-2017-07-19-en.pdf
(20) https://ec.europa.eu/anti-trafficking/sites/antitrafficking/files/151203_strategic_engagement_en.pdf
(21) https://rm.coe.int/prems-093618-gbr-gender-equality-strategy-2023-web-a5/16808b47e1
(22) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0455.
(23) ‘The Global Gender Gap Report 2016’, World Economic Forum, 2016, http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2016/
(24) ‘Sustainable development in the European Union – monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context’, Eurostat, 2018, https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/3217494/9237449/KS-01-18-656-EN-N.pdf/2b2a096b-3bd6-4939-8ef3-11cfc14b9329
(25) Report entitled ‘Women in the European Parliament’, European Parliament, 8 March 2018, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/publications/2018/0001/P8_PUB%282018%290001_EN.pdf
(26) OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23.


European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy
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European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2019 on the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy (2018/2222(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0011A8-0393/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council Decision amending Decision 2007/198/Euratom establishing the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy and conferring advantages upon it (COM(2018)0445),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2007/198/Euratom establishing the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy and conferring advantages upon it(1),

–  having regard to the Report of the European Court of Auditors of 13 November 2017 on the annual accounts of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy for the financial year 2016, together with the Joint Undertaking’s reply,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 June 2017 on the EU contribution to a reformed ITER project (COM(2017)0319),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A8-0393/2018),

A.  whereas fusion could play a key role in the future European and global energy landscape as a potentially inexhaustible, safe, climate-friendly, environmentally responsible and economically competitive source of energy;

B.  whereas fusion is already delivering concrete opportunities for industry and is having a positive effect on jobs, economic growth and innovation, with a positive impact beyond the fields of fusion and energy;

C.  whereas the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy coordinates scientific and technological research and development activities in the field of fusion;

D.  whereas Europe has from the start played a leading role in the ITER project, developed in close collaboration with the non-European signatories to the ITER Agreement (the US, Russia, Japan, China, South Korea and India), and whereas the European contribution, channelled through the Joint Undertaking, represents 45 % of the construction costs of the project;

E.  whereas the Commission proposal to amend Council Decision 2007/198/Euratom aims to secure funding for continued European participation in the ITER project for the whole duration of the next multiannual financial framework in order to guarantee continuity for the project aiming at key scientific breakthroughs in the development of fusion for civil use, which should ultimately facilitate the production of safe, viable energy that meets the objectives of the Paris Agreement;

1.  Welcomes the Commission proposal for a Council Decision amending Decision 2007/198/Euratom establishing the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy and conferring advantages upon it, which will provide the basis for the financing of the activities of the Joint Undertaking for the period 2021-2027 under the Euratom Treaty;

2.  Regrets the fact that the Council has not consulted Parliament on that proposal and welcomes the Commission’s stated intention, as part of the State of the Union 2018, to consider ‘options for enhanced qualified majority voting and for a possible reform of the Euratom Treaty’; expects that such a reform would necessarily lead to co-legislative powers for Parliament;

3.  Recalls the delay in the construction of the experimental reactor, as it was originally planned that ITER should be constructed by 2020, but in 2016 the ITER Council approved a new timetable for reaching First Plasma in December 2025, the earliest technically possible date for the construction of ITER;

4.  Stresses that the Euratom contribution to the Joint Undertaking for the period 2021-2027 should not be exceeded;

5.  Stresses that in order to avoid successive upward revisions of the projected cost of the project, to avoid delays in the expected dates of operational milestones and to ensure the highest possible degree of schedule reliability, the ITER Organisation should include reasonable contingency provisions in any revised schedule; supports, in this regard, the contingency provisions of up to 24 months in terms of schedule and 10-20 % in terms of budget proposed by the Commission;

6.  Welcomes the new approach to risk management taken by the ITER Organisation and encourages the ITER Council to further reduce the number of subcommittees, streamline their functions and eliminate overlaps;

7.  Calls on the Council to approve the Commission proposal while introducing the following modifications:

   indicate the Euratom contribution to the Joint Undertaking in both constant and current prices,
   use, for clarity purposes, the word ‘Euratom’ instead of ‘Community’ throughout the text,
   include clear provisions regarding the committees assisting the Governing Board of the Joint Undertaking, in particular the Administration and Management Committee, the Procurement and Contracts Committee, and the Technical Advisory Panel, as regards their composition, permanent or temporary status, number of meetings and method of remuneration of their members,
   evaluate and eliminate overlapping responsibilities between the Administration and Management Committee and the Technical Advisory Panel with regard to project plans and work programmes,
   introduce provisions regarding the contributions of the ITER host state,
   include in Annex III (‘Financial Regulation: General Principles’) a requirement to lay down, in the Financial Regulation of the Joint Undertaking, rules and procedures for the evaluation of in-kind contributions,
   include provisions in Article 5 and Annex III enabling the Joint Undertaking to receive funding in the form of financial instruments in connection with blending operations implemented in accordance with the future InvestEU Programme,
   clarify the role and contribution of the United Kingdom in the light of its Euratom status, particularly with regard to potential participation in ITER,
   include provisions regarding synergies and cooperation between ITER and the Euratom Research and Training Programme for the period 2021-2025,
   consider cooperation with small and medium-sized private disruptive players, such as start-ups experimenting with new approaches and technologies, in the research programme and the network of organisations designated in the field of scientific and technological fusion research,
   clarify the provisions concerning the annual reports and assessments drawn up by the Joint Undertaking,
   include in the proposal a recommendation to investigate the possible further use of the materials currently being used in the ITER project;

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

(1) OJ L 90, 30.3.2007, p. 58.


Assessing how the EU budget is used for public sector reform
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European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2019 on assessing how the EU budget is used for public sector reform (2018/2086(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0012A8-0378/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the study entitled ‘Public Sector Reform: How the EU budget is used to encourage it’ published by its Directorate-General for Internal Policies in 2016(1),

–  having regard to the Europe 2020 strategy,

–  having regard to the current EU funding period (2014-2020) and the Commission’s proposal for the new multiannual financial framework (2021-2028),

–  having regard to the agreement reached by the co-legislators in July 2018 to increase the budget of the Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP),

–  having regard to Article 197 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control and the opinion of the Committee on Regional Development (A8-0378/2018),

A.  whereas public administration in the Member States is fundamental to the implementation of the EU budget and, when it works effectively, can help to deliver modern systems that improve prosperity and welfare in the EU;

B.  whereas the new multiannual financial framework (MFF) proposal does not include a dedicated objective for public administration as it currently stands;

1.  Notes that public administration competences are spread across various Commission services and that this complicates the effective coordination of competent services, EU-funded programmes and initiatives; calls for all technical assistance programmes to be coordinated more closely so as to avoid overlap and ensure that measures will not be so ineffective as to cancel out all the Commission’s efforts to promote the combined use of funds with a view to exploiting synergies; calls on the Commission to improve its systems for the exchange of good practices in order to help the Member States implement best practice without imposing policies geared towards wage devaluation and socially unsustainable reforms;

2.  Calls on the next Commission President to assign responsibility for issues relating to better public administration and governance to one Commissioner;

3.  Is of the opinion that effective public sector reform is essential in helping Member States adapt to changing circumstances, increase resilience to prevent future crises, expand eGovernment and improve the delivery of services throughout the EU, especially with regard to new technology and IT systems, and that it would greatly assist in the reduction of waste and exposure to waste, and the loss or fraudulent use of Union funds; calls, therefore, for funding also to be provided in future programming periods for operations to deploy eGovernment in keeping with the principles and priorities set out in the EU eGovernment Action Plan;

4.  Notes that, especially in regions lagging behind, it often proves difficult to gain access to, or use, funding, owing to red tape, administrative capacity issues or irregularities; hopes, therefore, that Member States will pursue internal reforms aimed at giving more tangible effect to the principle of sound administration and expediting judicial proceedings;

5.  Notes that the EU budget provides approximately EUR 9 billion in support to EU Member States for public administration reform; encourages the Commission to match this financial support with the targeted sharing of knowledge, experience and good practices among Member States;

6.  Calls on the Commission to step up cooperation with Member States in order to support regions lagging behind, enhancing capacity and administrative governance;

7.  Calls for measures to encourage the implementation of programmes that promote the development and implementation of human resource strategies, for example through exchanges of best practice among Member States, also involving leaders and other senior figures;

8.  Points out that specific operational programmes and other EU funding resources have frequently been found to overlap in many respects, and calls for proposals to be put forward; hopes, accordingly, that assistance will be improved so as to make for coordination, complementarity and simplification;

9.  Underlines the importance of ensuring that operational programmes are implemented in the most effective and user-friendly manner possible; considers it essential that Member States refrain from adding rules that complicate the use of funds for the beneficiary;

10.  Notes that the Commission has neither a standardised and shared assessment framework for public administration nor a method of systematic data collection; notes with concern that as a result of the lack of these tools, the Commission produces incomplete analyses of issues across the Member States; proposes the reintroduction of a chapter dedicated to public administration and governance in the Annual Growth Survey;

11.  Calls on the Commission to assess the administrative capacity of development policy implementation machinery in advance and, for projects of particular strategic importance, to encourage the use of national bodies and agencies capable of enhancing and speeding up the implementation of programmes and individual operations;

12.  Believes that the MFF should be used to incentivise programmes that deliver better public administration and governance, in particular to help Member States in times of economic downturn, recognising that in such circumstances reforms in the area of public administration systems can help the Member States affected;

13.  Welcomes the fact that proposals have been put forward in the next MFF in order to avoid programme overlaps and encourage further simplification;

14.  Encourages the Commission to develop, in cooperation with the Member States, a dedicated assessment framework that captures the quantitative and qualitative aspects of high-quality public administration, and to build its own analytical capacity; points to the need to determine the weaknesses of each Member State and, using the available resources, promote measures to overcome problems by tightening up the criterion of ex ante conditionality and setting targets;

15.  Proposes that the Commission enhance policy dialogue with Member States by ensuring the establishment of a dedicated forum;

16.  Proposes setting aside time in its parliamentary calendar for a structured dialogue with national parliaments on the issues associated with improving public administration across the EU; calls for the EU to improve the monitoring and assessment of the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds under thematic objective 11 by incorporating specific indicators to gauge progress in terms of meeting the EU targets and priorities for public administration reforms;

17.  Welcomes the development of a benchmark to assess the public administration capacity of EU candidate countries to take on the responsibilities of EU membership; hopes that Member States will pursue internal reforms aimed at giving even more tangible effect to the principle of sound administration;

18.  Notes that the European Public Sector Award (EPSA) is co-funded by the Commission and some Member States, bringing together the best, most innovative and most efficient performers in the European public sector; is of the opinion that the Commission should ensure more learning and information exchange, and aim for a wider reach across Europe;

19.  Considers that, within public administrations, innovation processes should be promoted so as to make for better connectivity, digitalisation and quality digital services for citizens, businesses and public authorities, while constantly keeping step with the rapid development of new technologies in the areas concerned; welcomes the fact that the new proposal for a Common Provisions Regulation (CPR) provides future beneficiaries with the information necessary to enable them to use the systems as rapidly as possible;

20.  Recognises that the engagement of local administration is a prerequisite for the achievement of EU-level objectives in this area; draws attention to the Tallinn Declaration proposal of ‘enhancing the joint governance structures with local and regional authorities’ at national level(2);

21.  Welcomes the existing networks(3) that bring together Member State representatives – particularly those receiving EU funding – in order to improve public administration through the sharing of best practices and mutual learning;

22.  Takes the view that the existing networks could significantly improve their performance by setting more ambitious objectives and developing more proactive approaches such as benchlearning, combining Member State self-assessment with an enhanced peer review system;

23.  Believes that high-quality public administration is an essential pre-condition for achieving EU policy objectives under the MFF and elsewhere; stresses the importance of good communication and political awareness in building trust and stimulating positive reform actions and programmes;

24.  Believes continuous assessment to be necessary in order to ascertain whether cohesion policies are complying with the principle of additionality and complementarity in relation to operations financed with ordinary resources, and, not least, to ensure that cohesion policies do not become a substitute for ordinary national resources;

25.  Notes that, although ESI Fund resources for the regional implementation plan (RIP) have increased quantitatively during the last programming period, monitoring could be improved in order to assess the impact that this funding is having on the RIP;

26.  Calls for the continuation of the work of the Commission’s Working Groups responsible for assisting Member States’ national authorities to better implement cohesion policy funds in those Member States that are lagging behind in terms of absorption of ESI Fund resources;

27.  Stresses the importance of the reform support programme, and hopes that it will be enhanced in the upcoming programming period, by spelling out its role as a facilitator rather than a source of technical assistance, and that it will also be improved in terms of effectiveness and efficiency, and without reducing the cohesion budget by the amounts currently proposed by the Commission in the MFF 2021-2027;

28.  Notes that, while it has no direct legal competences in the administrative sector, the EU does have a beneficial effect on public administration in Member States and, in particular, plays an indirect role by laying down administrative standards in the acquis communautaire, enabling best practices to be exchanged across the Union, and providing budget instruments to support and encourage public administration reform by boosting administrative capacity and the efficiency of administrations and fostering innovation in the public sector;

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

(1) Study – ‘Public Sector Reform: How the EU budget is used to encourage it’, European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department D – Budgetary Affairs, 2016.
(2) https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/ministerial-declaration-egovernment-tallinn-declaration
(3) The European Public Administration Network (EUPAN); the Thematic Network on Public Administration and Governance (PAG), and other platforms and networks with a specific focus on justice, anti-corruption, digitalisation, public procurement, etc.


EU guidelines and the mandate of the EU Special Envoy on the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2019 on EU Guidelines and the mandate of the EU Special Envoy on the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU (2018/2155(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0013A8-0449/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the international legal protection of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief guaranteed by Article 18 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 18 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief, Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Articles 10, 21 and 22 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Comment No 22 of 30 July 1993 on Article 18 of the 1948 UDHR and to its Resolution 16/18 of 12 April 2011 on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatisation of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular Articles 2 and 21 thereof,

–  having regard to Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 21 February 2011 on intolerance, discrimination and violence on the basis of religion or belief,

–  having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, adopted on 25 June 2012 by the Council, and the 2015-2019 EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines of 24 June 2013 on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief,

–  having regard to its recommendation of 13 June 2013 on the draft EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief(1),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 20 January 2011 on the situation of Christians in the context of freedom of religion(2), 4 February 2016 on the systematic mass murder of religious minorities by the so-called ‘ISIS/Daesh’(3), and 14 December 2017 on the situation of the Rohingya people(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 July 2015 on ‘The EU’s new approach to human rights and democracy – evaluating the activities of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) since its establishment’(5), and in particular its paragraphs 27 and 28,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 14 December 2016(6) and 23 November 2017(7), respectively on the Annual Reports for 2015 and 2016 on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter, with regard to 2015 in particular paragraph 14 of the 2016 resolution, and with regard to 2016 in particular paragraph 8 of the 2017 resolution,

–  having regard to the Rabat Plan of Action, published on 5 October 2012 by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence,

–  having regard to the mandate of the Special Envoy on the promotion of freedom of thought, conscience and religion outside the EU,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 235/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2014 establishing a financing instrument for democracy and human rights worldwide(8),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 19 May 2014 on a rights-based approach to development cooperation, encompassing all human rights, and to the Commission staff working document of 30 April 2014 entitled ‘Tool-box – A rights-based approach encompassing all human rights for EU development cooperation’ (SWD(2014)0152),

–  having regard to the granting of the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Saudi blogger and activist Raif Badawi in 2015 for his remarkable efforts to foster open discussion of religion and politics in his country; having regard to his continued detention following his sentencing to 10 years in jail, a thousand lashes and a large fine for supposedly ‘insulting Islam’,

–  having regard to the case of the Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi, who was imprisoned and sentenced to death for blasphemy, and to her recent acquittal,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0449/2018),

A.  whereas freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, as referred to commonly within the EU framework and in this resolution, as the right to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) is a human right inherent to all human beings and a fundamental right of individuals on a par with all others, which should be subjected to no kind of discrimination, as enshrined by international and European founding texts, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; whereas everyone has the right to respect for all human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, without discrimination on grounds of race, ethnicity, ability, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or absence of religious beliefs; whereas, under Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union, the Union's actions on the international scene shall be guided by the principles that have led to its creation; whereas, under Article 2 of the Treaty, the Union is founded on societies in which pluralism and tolerance prevail;

B.  whereas the principle of the separation of church and state is a prime constitutional principle worldwide and in Europe;

C.  whereas the European Parliament has defined secularism as strict separation between religious and political authority, which implies rejection of any religious interference in the functioning of public institutions and of any public interference in religious affairs, except to uphold the rules governing the preservation of public safety and order (including respect for the freedom of others) and to guarantee to all, whether believers, agnostics or atheists, the same freedom of conscience;

D.  whereas FoRB implies the right of the individual to choose what to believe or not to believe, the right to change or abandon one’s religion and convictions without any constraints, and the right to practise and manifest the thought, conscience, religion and belief of one’s choice, whether individually or in community and whether in private or in public; whereas the manifestation of thought, conscience, religion or belief can be expressed in worship, observance, practice and teaching; whereas FoRB entails the right of believers’ and non-believers’ communities to preserve or quit their ethos and to act in accordance with it, and the entitlement for religious, secular and non-confessional organisations to have recognised legal personality; whereas protecting individuals adhering to any religion or none and effectively addressing violations of FoRB, such as discrimination or legal restrictions based on religion or belief, are primordial conditions to ensure that individuals may enjoy FoRB on an equal basis;

E.  whereas theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief are also protected under Article 18 ICCPR; whereas holding or not holding a religion or belief is an absolute right and may not be limited under any circumstances;

F.  whereas all human rights and fundamental freedoms are indivisible, interdependent and interrelated; whereas FoRB includes and is dependent on elements of many other human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, and together plays an important role in the fight against all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief;

G.  whereas freedom of religion must cease at the point where its practice would violate the rights and freedoms of others, and whereas the practice of a religion or pursuit of a conviction can never, under any pretext, justify violent extremism or mutilation, nor can it give anyone free rein to act in ways detrimental to the inherent dignity of the individual;

H.  whereas respect for FoRB directly contributes to democracy, development, the rule of law, peace and stability; whereas violations of FoRB are widespread, affect people in all parts of the world, encroach on the dignity of human life, and give rise to or exacerbate intolerance, often constituting early indicators of potential violence and conflicts; whereas states must exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and punish acts of violence, or the threat thereof, against persons based on their religion or belief, as well as ensuring accountability should such violations occur;

I.  whereas according to Article 21 TEU, the EU promotes and defends the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms and respect for human dignity as part of the guiding principles of its foreign policy;

J.  whereas religious restrictions and antagonisms, generated by governments or societies, still persist in many countries; whereas certain religious minorities have faced heightened threats and persecution from state and non-state actors; whereas human rights defenders around the world fighting for FoRB are coming under increasing threat and attack;

K.  whereas, in pursuit of the objective of advancing freedom of thought, conscience and religion through the EU’s foreign policy, the Council adopted in June 2013 the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and in May 2016, the Commission appointed the first Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of thought, conscience and religion outside the EU, for a one-year mandate which has since been twice renewed on a yearly basis;

L.  whereas the EU has promoted FoRB, at international level and through multilateral fora, in particular by taking the lead on thematic resolutions on FoRB in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and supporting the mandate of and engaging with the UN Special Rapporteur on FoRB, but also through cooperation with like-minded third countries;

M.  whereas the promotion of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including through civil society support for the protection of the rights of believers and non-believers and those of individuals belonging to religious and belief minorities in particular, support for human rights defenders (HRDs) and the fight against discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, and the promotion of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, represent a funding priority under the 2014-2020 European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR); whereas the European Development Fund (EDF) and EU financial instruments such as the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) and the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) have also supported projects that are conducive to improving the environment for freedom of thought, conscience and religion;

1.  Stresses that freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, as commonly referred to within the EU framework and in this resolution, as freedom of religion or belief (FoRB), is a universal human right, a value of the EU and an important and undeniable pillar of dignity, greatly impacting on all individuals, their personal identity and development and on societies; underlines that individuals must be allowed the freedom to organise their personal life in accordance with their own convictions; stresses that the right to FoRB includes the rights not to believe, to espouse theistic, non-theistic, agnostic or atheistic views and the right to apostasy; affirms that FoRB must be duly protected, promoted and safeguarded by all actors as well as enhanced through interreligious and intercultural dialogue, in line with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the values of the European Union as laid down in the TEU and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; underscores the duty of states to guarantee FoRB and treat all individuals equally, without any discrimination based on religion or belief, in order to preserve peaceful, democratic and pluralistic societies that are respectful of diversity and beliefs;

2.  Expresses its deep concern that recent years have seen a dramatic rise in violations of FoRB worldwide and persecution of believers and non-believers; condemns the instrumentalisation of religious issues for political ends, and violence, harassment or social pressures against any individual or group of people on grounds of thought, conscience, religion or belief; condemns persecution of and attacks against ethnic, and religious groups, non-believers, atheists and any other minorities, and persecution of women and girls, and of individuals based on their sexual orientation; condemns forced conversions and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, as well as forced marriages and certain other practices associated with or perceived as manifestations of a religion or belief, and calls for immediate accountability for such violations; stresses that violations of FoRB are frequently at the root of or increasingly exacerbate wars or other forms of armed conflict, resulting in violations of humanitarian law, including mass murders or genocide; stresses that violations of FoRB undermine democracy, impede development, and negatively affect the enjoyment of other fundamental freedoms and rights; emphasises that this obligates the international community, the EU and its Member States to reaffirm their determination and strengthen their actions in promoting FoRB for all;

3.  Stresses that, in accordance with Article 21 TEU, the EU and its Member States have pledged to enhance respect for human rights, as a principle guiding EU foreign policy; strongly welcomes the fact that the 2013 EU Guidelines mainstream the promotion and protection of FoRB into EU foreign policy and external actions, and in this regard calls for further strengthening activities aimed at awareness-raising and implementation of the Guidelines;

4.  Stresses that, in accordance with Article 17 TFEU, the EU is committed to maintaining open, transparent and regular dialogue with churches and with religious, philosophical and non-confessional organisations; highlights the effects of these dialogues with regard to respect for other human rights; stresses that such interreligious and intercultural dialogues are often met by greater openness by some of the EU’s international partners and create a starting-point for progress in other areas;

5.  Stresses the importance of reaching out to non-believers in countries where they cannot organise and cannot benefit from freedom of assembly;

EU strategy to promote and protect FoRB through international relations and cooperation

6.  Welcomes the enhancement of the promotion of FoRB in EU foreign policy and external actions over recent years, in particular through the EU Global Strategy for foreign policy and security and the 2015-2019 EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy; welcomes the fact that this enhancement is being met with an increased commitment on the part of many partner countries to comply with the respective Articles 18 of the UDHR and ICCPR;

7.  Takes note of the creation of the post of Special Envoy for the promotion of FoRB outside the EU in 2016 by the President of the Commission, in response to the resolution of Parliament of 4 February 2016; considers the appointment of the Special Envoy as an important step forward and a clear recognition of FoRB within the human rights agenda of EU foreign policy and external actions, both bilateral and multilateral, and within development cooperation; encourages the Special Envoy to continue his engagement and cooperation and complementarity of actions with the EU Special Representative for Human Rights on this issue, including the promotion of the EU Guidelines; positively notes the active support of the Commissioner on International Cooperation and Development and DG DEVCO for the Special Envoy;

8.  Stresses the importance of linking up efforts to promote FoRB and inter- and intra-religious, interfaith, inter-convictional, intercultural and interphilosophical dialogues with the prevention of religious extremism on a complementary and mutually reinforcing basis, as a way to uphold freedom of religion and belief in the world, in particular within neighbouring and other countries with which the EU has special relations; underlines that non-confessional, humanist and secular organisations also play a key role in preventing religious extremism;

9.  Calls for increased cooperation to prevent persecution of minorities on grounds of thought, conscience, religion or belief, to create conditions for peaceful coexistence in societies marked by diversity, and to ensure ongoing dialogue between religious leaders and actors, scholars, churches and other faith-based organisations, non-believers’ groups, national human rights institutions, human rights defenders, women’s rights and youth organisations, civil society representatives and the media; calls on the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the EU Delegations to identify with their various interlocutors a set of common objectives to advance FoRB through human rights dialogue;

10.  Considers that religious illiteracy, as well as the lack of knowledge and recognition of the role that religions play for a large part of humankind, fuel bias and stereotypes that contribute to increase tensions, misunderstanding and disrespectful and unfair treatment related to attitudes and behaviour of large parts of the population; stresses the importance of education for preserving and building FoRB worldwide and fighting intolerance; calls on those in positions of responsibility in communications media and social media to contribute positively and respectfully to public debates, avoiding negative biases and stereotypes towards religions and believers, and to exercise their freedom of expression in a responsible manner as required by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights;

11.  Deplores the fact that some countries have, enforce or seek to introduce penal laws providing for the punishment of blasphemy, conversion or apostasy, including the death penalty; deplores the fact that these laws aim generally to limit FoRB and freedom of expression and are often used as a form of oppression of minorities, as well as of political oppression; also draws attention to the situation of some other countries facing or being at risk of conflicts in which religious issues are a driver or are instrumentalised; calls for the EU to increase its political commitment to prioritise in its foreign policy efforts towards all countries concerned with a view to the repeal of such discriminatory laws and putting an end to the repression of human rights defenders and the shrinking of civil society space on religious grounds; urges the EU to include a human rights dialogue covering respect for FoRB in all negotiations undertaken with a view to the conclusion of any agreements with non-EU countries;

12.  Condemns the continued detention of Sakharov Prize laureate Raif Badawi after an unlawful trial, and urges the Saudi authorities to proceed to his immediate and unconditional release;

13.  Calls on the Pakistani authorities to secure the safety of Asia Bibi and her family;

Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU

14.  Welcomes the fact that the Special Envoy has developed effective working networks within the Commission as well as with the Council, the European Parliament, and other stakeholders; calls on the Special Envoy to report annually on the countries visited and his thematic priorities;

15.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to carry out a transparent and comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness and added value of the position of the Special Envoy in the process of the renewal of his or her mandate; calls on the Council and the Commission, on the basis of this assessment, to adequately support the Special Envoy’s institutional mandate, capacity and duties, by exploring the possibility of a multi-year term subjected to annual review and by developing working networks within all relevant EU institutions;

16.  Stresses that the Special Envoy’s duties should focus on promoting freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, and the rights to non-belief, apostasy and the espousal of atheistic views, also paying attention to the situation of non-believers at risk; recommends that the role of the Special Envoy could include competences such as: enhancing the visibility, effectiveness, coherence and accountability of the EU’s FoRB policy outside the EU; providing the European Parliament, the Council, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security and the Commission with an annual progress report and a comprehensive report on the Special Envoy’s mandate at the end thereof; and working in close cooperation with the Council Working Group on Human Rights (COHOM);

17.  Commends the work done by the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, including on FoRB; stresses that when developing institutional mandates it is important to avoid duplication of duties and competences between the Special Envoy and the EU Special Representative for Human Rights;

18.  Notes that a number of Member States have recently created new posts of responsibility for FoRB, whose role is akin to the Special Envoy’s; underscores the need for a consistent approach that encompasses the rights of all religious communities as well as non-believers; encourages cooperation between the Special Envoy and the national officials in charge of FoRB outside their country, as well as with COHOM and the European Parliament; calls for enhanced cooperation and joint and mutual effort between the EU Delegations and the Member States’ embassies, in order to ensure a consistent and united voice in the promotion of FoRB outside the EU and support communities and individuals facing violations of FoRB;

19.  Recommends considering the possibility of setting up an informal advisory working group consisting of representatives of Member States’ FoRB and other relevant institutions as well as European Parliament representatives and experts, scholars and representatives of civil society, including churches and other faith-based organisations as well as non-confessional organisations;

20.  Recommends that the Special Envoy further develop cooperation with counterparts outside the EU, in particular by working in close cooperation with and supporting the work of the EU Special Representative for Human Rights and the different UN Special Rapporteurs and in particular the rapporteur on FoRB, as well as exploring the possibility of EU-UN joint initiatives on discrimination against religious groups and minorities as well as non-believers and people who change religion or criticise or leave a religion, also formulating common proposals on how to put an end to such discrimination; notes the proposal to establish an official annual UN-led international day commemorating the victims and survivors of religious persecution;

EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief

21.  Considers that the EU Guidelines present a clear set of political lines, principles, norms and themes for priority actions, as well as a toolkit for monitoring, assessing, reporting and démarches by EU representatives in third countries, that constitute a solid strategic approach for the EU and its Member States enabling them to exert an effective role in promoting freedom of thought, conscience and religion outside the EU;

22.  Calls as a matter of urgency for the effective implementation of the EU Guidelines on FoRB in order to make the EU more influential in advancing FoRB worldwide; stresses that understanding how societies may be shaped and influenced by ideas, religions and other forms of culture and belief, including non-belief, is instrumental to better comprehending the promotion of FoRB in EU foreign policy and international cooperation; calls for equal attention to be paid to the situation of non-believers, atheists and apostates facing persecution, discrimination and violence;

23.  Calls for the strengthening of knowledge on FoRB and welcomes, in this respect, the efforts made to date by the EEAS and the Commission to provide training in the area of literacy in and history of religion and belief as well as on the situation of religious minorities and non-believers to EU officials and national diplomats, while respecting the principles of pluralism and neutrality; stresses, however, the need for broader and more systematic training programmes which would raise awareness of and increase the use of the EU Guidelines among the EU’s and Member States’ officials and diplomats and strengthen cooperation with the Special Envoy; recommends that academics, churches and religious communities and associations in their full diversity, as well as non-confessional organisations, human rights and civil society organisations, be involved in this training process; calls on the Commission and the Council to provide adequate resources to such training programmes;

24.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to ensure a FoRB-dedicated chapter in the EU Annual Reports on Human Rights and Democracy in the World, as well as progress reports in respect of the implementation of the EU Guidelines, to be communicated to Parliament and the Council; notes that the EU Guidelines provide for an evaluation of their implementation by COHOM after a period of three years, and that no such evaluation has been communicated or made public; calls for the evaluation to be made public without delay; considers that the evaluation should highlight best practices, identify areas for improvement, and provide concrete recommendations on implementation, in accordance with a specified timeline and milestones and subject to regular annual evaluation; calls for the evaluation to be included in the EU Annual Reports on Human Rights and Democracy in the World;

25.  Underlines the responsibilities fulfilled by human rights focal points, including in relation to FoRB, within all EU Delegations and CSDP Missions; calls for adequate resources to be allocated to those delegations and missions so as to allow them to carry out their work of monitoring, assessing and reporting human rights situations of concern, including those relating to respect for FoRB;

26.  Recalls the importance of the Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategies (HRDCSs), which tailor EU action to each country’s specific situation and needs; calls for adequate attention to be paid to issues related to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, with lines for EU action being drawn up so that they can be tackled under the HRDCSs wherever respect for freedom of thought, conscience and religion is endangered; reiterates its call for Members of the European Parliament to be given access to the content of HRDCSs;

EU actions on freedom of thought, conscience and religion in multilateral fora

27.  Welcomes the EU commitment to promoting FoRB in multilateral fora, in particular within the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE and with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); supports, in this respect, EU cooperation with the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; recommends continuing the EU practice of taking the lead on resolutions In the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council on FoRB and seeking to build alliances and defend common positions with third countries and international organisations; calls on the EU and the OIC to consider preparing a joint resolution on FoRB within the UN framework;

EU financial instruments

28.  Expresses its satisfaction that FoRB is identified as a priority of the European Instrument of Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR); notes the increase of EIDHR funding allocated to FoRB-related projects since the adoption of the EU Guidelines; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to ensure that EU diplomatic work for the promotion of human rights, including FoRB and EIDHR-funded projects, is mutually reinforcing, and to respect the principles of pluralism, neutrality and fairness in allocating funds; stresses that FoRB can also be supported by other instruments than human rights-oriented funds, among others those dedicated to the conflict prevention dimension or to education and culture; calls on the Commission and the Council to maintain sufficient funding for FoRB-related projects under the EU external financial instruments, within the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027; calls for the EIDHR to be given the means to finance the protection or exfiltration of freethinkers and human rights activists who are threatened or persecuted in their country of origin;

29.  Calls for an effort to ensure transparency in the allocation of funding and to monitor the use thereof by religions and their activities;

30.  Stresses that the EU’s policies in the fields of peace, security and conflict prevention and development and cooperation face challenges, for which solutions can be devised with the participation of, among others, churches, religious leaders, academics, religious and belief communities and associations and both faith-based and non-confessional organisations, all being an important part of civil society; acknowledges the importance of being mindful of the diversity of churches, religious and belief communities and associations and faith-based and non-confessional organisations which perform actual development and humanitarian work for and with communities; calls on the Council and the Commission to incorporate, where relevant, objectives and activities relating to the promotion and protection of FoRB into the programming of funding instruments linked to those policies, namely the EDF, the DCI, the ENI, the IcSP and the IPA, as well as any other instruments that may be set up in the relevant areas after 2020;

o
o   o

31.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EEAS, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the United Nations.

(1) OJ C 65, 19.2.2016, p. 174.
(2) OJ C 136E, 11.5.2012, p. 53.
(3) OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 77.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0500.
(5) OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 130.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0502.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0494.
(8) OJ L 77, 15.3.2014, p. 85.


Gender equality and taxation policies in the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2019 on gender equality and taxation policies in the EU (2018/2095(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0014A8-0416/2018

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to Articles 8, 10, 11, 153 and 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Articles 23 and 33 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 16 June 2016 on gender equality (00337/2016),

–  having regard to the European Pact for gender equality for the period 2011-2020 annexed to the Council conclusions of 7 March 2011 (07166/2011),

–  having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), in particular Article 14 thereof prohibiting discrimination,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the UN report of 15 January 2016 entitled ‘Final study on illicit financial flows, human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ by the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of states on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) of 18 December 1979,

–  having regard to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995, and to the subsequent outcome documents adopted at the UN Beijing +5 (2000), Beijing +10 (2005) Beijing +15 (2010) and Beijing +20 (2015) special sessions,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), and Article 3 thereof, defining ‘gender’ as ‘the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men’, and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Pará) of 1994,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 70/1 of 25 September 2015 entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’,

–  having regard to the key conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on gender equality, including the Equal Remuneration Convention (No 100), the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No 111), the Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention (No 156) and the Maternity Protection Convention (No 183),

–  having regard to the joint submission to CEDAW presented by the Centre for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), Alliance Sud, the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law, Public Eye and the Tax Justice Network entitled ‘Swiss Responsibility for the Extraterritorial Impacts of Tax Abuse on Women’s Rights’, which highlights the disproportionate tax burden on women, particularly women on low incomes and women in developing countries, that results from the loss of public revenue due to cross-border tax abuse,

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

–  having regard to the Commission’s Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth,

–  having regard to the Commission’s 2018 European Semester country reports,

–  having regard to the Commission’s 2017 report on equality between women and men in the European Union,

–  having regard to the Commission report entitled ‘Taxation Trends in the European Union – Data for the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway, 2018 Edition’,

–  having regard to the Commission report of 8 May 2018 on the development of childcare facilities for young children with a view to increasing female labour participation, striking a work-life balance for working parents and bringing about sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe (the ‘Barcelona objectives’) (COM(2018)0273),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services,

–  having regard to the proposal for a Council Directive of 18 January 2018 amending Directive 2006/112/EC as regards rates of value added tax (COM(2018)0020),

–  having regard to the Gender Equality Index of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE),

–  having regard to the 2015 UN Women report entitled ‘Progress of the world’s women 2015-2016. Transforming economies, realising rights’,

–  having regard to the 2005 Final Report of the Group of Specialists of the Council of Europe on Gender Budgeting, which defines gender budgeting as a ‘gender-based assessment of budgets incorporating a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process and restructuring revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality’,

–  having regard to the 2015 study of the European Parliament Research Service entitled ‘Bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies in the European Union - I - Assessment of the magnitude of aggressive corporate tax planning’,

–  having regard to the concluding observations of the CEDAW Committee on extraterritorial obligations regarding the gender impact of illicit financial flows and corporate tax avoidance on Switzerland of 2016 and on Luxembourg of 2018(1),

–  having regard to the 2016 policy briefing of the Institute of Development Studies entitled ‘Redistributing Unpaid Care Work – Why Tax Matters for Women’s Rights’,

–  having regard to the study of April 2017 by Parliament’s Policy Department C: Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs entitled ‘Gender equality and taxation in the European Union’,

–  having regard to the April 2018 UN Women report entitled ‘Gender, taxation and equality in developing countries’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 September 2012 on the role of women in the green economy(2),

–  having regard to the OECD Report on the Implementation of the OECD Gender Recommendation (June 2017) and the Tax and Benefit Models 2015,

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2015 on the EU Strategy for equality between women and men post 2015(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 April 2016 on women domestic workers and carers in the EU(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 May 2016 on poverty: a gender perspective(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2017 on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2014-2015(6),

–  having regard to its recommendation of 13 December 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion(7),

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

–  having regard to the joint deliberations of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (A8-0416/2018),

A.  whereas Articles 2 and 3 of the TEU acknowledge non-discrimination and equality between women and men as two of the core values and aims on which the EU is founded; whereas Articles 8 and 10 of the TFEU oblige the European Union to aim at eliminating inequalities, promoting gender equality and combating discrimination when defining and implementing its policies and activities; whereas the Charter of Fundamental Rights contains rights and principles that refer to the prohibition of direct and indirect discrimination (Article 21(1)) and equality between men and women (Article 23 ); whereas the rights stipulated in the Charter are directly relevant for Member States when implementing Union law (Article 51);

B.  whereas across the European Union women remain underrepresented in the labour market with the overall employment rate of women still being almost 12 % lower than that of men; whereas in the EU 31,5 % of working women work part-time compared with 8,2 % of working men;

C.  whereas it is of utmost importance to address the gender employment gap and to narrow the gender pension gap, which stands at nearly 40 % in the EU on average and stems from accumulated inequalities throughout the course of women’s lives and their periods of absence in the labour market;

D.  whereas the gender pay gap in the EU stands at 16 % meaning that women in the EU, across the economy, earn on average 16 % less per hour than men do;

E.  whereas the cumulative effect of the multiple gaps affecting women (gender pay and employment gaps, career and childcare breaks, and full-time versus part-time work) contributes substantially to the gender pay gap and gender pension gap, resulting in a higher risk of exposure to poverty and social exclusion for women, with negative impacts also extending to their children and families;

F.  whereas the Beijing Platform for Action emphasises the need to analyse from a gender perspective different policies and programmes, including those related to taxation, and to adjust them where needed to promote a more equitable distribution of productive assets, wealth, opportunities, income and services;

G.  whereas CEDAW requires that families be based on the principle of equality, justice and individual fulfilment for each member, treating women equally to men also in tax law, as individuals and autonomous citizens rather than as dependants of men;

H.  whereas Member States, as signatories to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, have committed to comply with the obligation to mobilise the maximum resources available in order to have funds available to progressively realise economic, social and cultural rights;

I.  whereas personal income tax regulations, which implicitly disadvantage women regarding access to and conditions of employment or employer-provided pensions, may violate Article 14 of Directive 2006/54/EC(8) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment(9);

J.  whereas the Commission staff working document ‘Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality (2016-2019)’ identifies key areas for gender equality, including taxation policies, but lacks binding provisions or a call for commitment to gender mainstreaming at Member State level;

K.  whereas taxation policies may have explicit or implicit gender biases; whereas an explicit bias means that a tax provision directly targets either men or women in a distinct way, while an implicit bias means that the provision nominally applies equally to all but in reality there is discrimination as the policy interacts with behaviour/income patterns that impact genders differently; whereas most Member States have abolished tax regulations that explicitly differentiate between men and women but implicit tax biases are still prevalent throughout the EU as tax regulations interact with socioeconomic realities;

L.  whereas policy choices to raise and redistribute revenues can impact women’s income and economic security disproportionately and reduce their access to quality public services, undermining their ability to exercise their economic and social rights and progress towards gender equality;

M.  whereas the lack of a gender perspective in EU and national taxation policies reinforces current gender gaps (employment, income, unpaid work, pension, poverty, wealth, etc.), creates disincentives for women to enter and remain in the labour market, and reproduces traditional gender roles and stereotypes;

N.  whereas the design of tax policies is an essential feature of the Europe 2020 strategy; whereas the main focus of the European Semester remains ensuring compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact and whereas gender aspects tend to be disregarded in priorities and recommendations, particularly those relating to taxation;

O.  whereas regressive changes in the taxation of labour, corporations, consumption and wealth, observable in recent decades across the Member States, have resulted in a weakening of the redistributive power of tax systems and contributed to the trend in rising income inequality; whereas this structural change in taxation has shifted the tax burden towards low-income groups, and therefore women in particular, on account of the unequal distribution of income between women and men, the small share of women among top-income earners, the above-average consumption ratios for women as regards basic goods and services and the comparatively high share of labour income and small share of capital income in women’s total income(10);

P.  whereas women in particular may suffer from economic inequalities because of the unequal distribution of income between women and men, the small share of women among top-income earners, and the comparatively high share of labour income and small share of capital income in women’s total income(11);

Q.  whereas on average corporate tax rates have fallen dramatically since the 1980s, from above 40 % to 21,9 % in 2018, while in contrast, the rate of consumption taxes (of which VAT is a large component) has increased since 2009, reaching 20,6 % in 2016(12);

R.  whereas current macroeconomic policies should better reflect the importance of unpaid care and domestic work and whereas evidence shows that 80 % of care in the EU is provided by unpaid informal carers, 75 % of whom are women; whereas certain taxation policies, underfunded public services and access to social services disproportionately affect low-income groups, and especially women, as they often fill the gaps in caregiving, education and other kinds of family support, typically without remuneration, perpetuating women’s disproportionate responsibility for care; whereas it is the poorest and most vulnerable women in EU countries who face the double burden of informal care work and low paid precarious work(13);

S.  whereas almost all Member States have dualised their income tax systems by applying a higher marginal tax rate to the income of the second earner and by introducing uniform tax rates for most types of capital income; whereas the disproportionately high tax burden for second earners in most Member States as a result of the direct progressive tax schedules applied to labour incomes is one of the main disincentives for women’s participation in the labour market(14), in addition to other joint tax and benefit provisions and the costs and lack of universal childcare services;

T.  whereas the levels of the inactivity trap (currently at 40 %) and the low-wage trap, which disproportionately affect women and discourage them from full participation in employment, are determined to a significant degree by direct tax provisions, in addition to the loss of benefits;

U.  whereas in some Member States families can still have tax reductions when having a dependent spouse, allowances for married couples and/or tax credits for sole-earner couples, which perpetuate asymmetries with single-parent families, single parents being mostly women, and fail to recognise the diversity of family situations existing in the EU; whereas such tax advantages usually disincentivise married women from accessing the labour market and directly or indirectly provoke the reallocation of women’s time from paid to unpaid work;

V.  whereas the impact of taxation on gender gaps concerning corporate wealth, personal wealth and property is an under-developed area of research and there is an urgent need to ensure that gender-disaggregated data in these areas is available;

1.  Calls on the Commission to support gender equality in all taxation policies and to issue specific guidelines and recommendations to Member States in order to eliminate tax-related gender biases and to ensure that no new tax, spending laws, programmes or practices that increase market or after-tax income gender gaps are established;

2.  Stresses that, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as defined in Article 5(3) of the TEU, Member States are free to set the rules for their tax policies, provided they comply with EU rules; stresses, furthermore, that EU decisions on tax matters require unanimous agreement by all Member States;

3.  Calls on the Commission to promote EU ratification of the CEDAW Convention, as it did for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is doing for the Istanbul Convention;

4.  Encourages the Commission to enhance the status of the Strategic Engagement for Gender Equality by adopting it as a communication(15) and to include clear objectives and key actions to enhance equality between women and men through a sectoral analysis, including taxation aspects, of all EU actions; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that EU legislation against indirect and direct gender discrimination is properly implemented and its progress systematically monitored, in order to ensure that men and women are equal actors;

Direct taxation

Personal income taxation

5.  Notes that tax policies have varying impacts on different types of households (dual-earner households, female and male single-earner households, etc.); underlines the negative consequences of failing to incentivise women’s employment and their economic independence and draws attention to the high gender pension gap resulting from joint taxation; stresses that tax systems should no longer be based on the assumption that households pool and share their funds equally and that individual taxation is instrumental to achieving tax fairness for women; considers it essential that men and women become equal earners and equal carers; urges all Member States to phase in individual taxation while ensuring full preservation of all financial and other benefits linked to parenthood in current joint taxation systems; acknowledges that transition periods towards such an individual taxation system may be necessary in some Member States; calls, during these transition periods, for the elimination of all tax expenditures based on joint income and notes the need to ensure that all tax benefits, cash benefits and in-kind government services are given to individuals in order to ensure their financial and societal autonomy;

6.  Takes note of the Commission communication of 20 November 2017 entitled ‘EU Action Plan 2017-2019 – Tackling the gender pay gap’ (COM(2017)0678), which recognises eight areas for action and calls on the Member States to step up their efforts to tackle the gender pay gap effectively in order to improve the economic situation of women and safeguard their economic independence;

7.  Notes that the net personal average tax rates for second earners with two children stood at 31 % on average for the EU OECD members and 28 % for all OECD countries in 2014; calls on the Commission to continuously monitor and strengthen the application of the equal pay for equal work and work of equal value principle between women and men in Member States, to ensure that inequalities are eradicated in both the labour market and taxation sectors; calls on the Commission and the Member States to tackle horizontal and vertical segregation in the labour market by eliminating gender inequalities and discrimination in employment and, in particular through education and awareness-raising, encouraging girls and women to take up studies, jobs and careers in innovative growth sectors, including in ICT and STEM subjects;

8.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that tax incentives related to employment and self-employment do not discriminate on the basis of gender and to consider tax incentives and other fiscal benefits or services for second earners and single parents; calls on the Member States furthermore to look at different ways of tackling the issue of women’s underrepresentation in the labour market and to address potential economic disincentives for second earners entering the labour market; notes that gender bias may occur also in work-related tax deductions and exemptions, such as favourable tax treatment of extra working hours, which benefit mostly professions that are currently occupied by men;

9.  Calls on the Member States not to reduce the progressive nature of their personal income tax systems, for example by attempting to simplify personal income taxation;

10.  Calls for personal income tax (structure of rates, exemptions, deductions, allowances, credits, etc.) to be designed to actively promote equal sharing of paid and unpaid work, income and pension rights between women and men, and to eliminate incentives that perpetuate unequal gender roles;

11.  Considers that, owing to labour market inequalities, women may be disproportionately affected by certain tax policies; believes that the appropriate way to tackle this problem is through the reform of labour market instruments to address the issue of women’s economic independence; calls for the Member States and the Union institutions to promote studies on the effects of the gender gap on the pensions and financial independence of women, taking account of issues such as the ageing population, gender differences in health conditions, and life expectancy, the fact that family structures have changed and the number of single-occupancy homes has risen, and differences in women’s personal situations;

Corporate taxation

12.  Calls for the Member States identified in the European Semester for their aggressive tax planning provisions to amend their legislation and close these provisions as soon as possible(16); is concerned by the risk that, while working on coordinating their corporate tax bases, Member States may find new provisions to facilitate aggressive tax planning by corporations, leaving it to Member States to find other sources of taxation (including consumption taxes), which have a disproportionate effect on women;

13.  Calls on the Member States to rationalise the tax incentives or breaks they give to corporations, to ensure that these incentives and tax breaks mostly benefit small enterprises and favour real innovation, and to assess ex ante and a posteriori the potential impact of these incentives on gender equality;

Taxation of capital and wealth

14.  Notes that corporation and wealth taxes play a crucial role in reducing inequality through redistribution within the tax system and in providing revenues to fund social provisions and social transfers;

15.  Notes that unavailability, prohibitive costs and lack of sufficient infrastructure offering quality childcare services remain a significant barrier to, primarily, women’s equal participation in all aspects of society, including employment; calls on the Member States to enhance tax policies to improve the availability and accessibility of affordable, high-quality childcare services, through tax incentives in order to reduce the obstacles for women to taking up paid employment and contribute to a more equal distribution of paid and unpaid work within households, and thus minimise gender pay and pension gaps; emphasises that these policies should allow women’s integration in the labour market and particularly focus on low-income families, single-parent families and other disadvantaged groups;

16.  Calls on Member States to fully implement Council Directive 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services, which, among other matters, addresses and prohibits discrimination based on sex in the provision of financial goods and services in insurance and related fields; calls for data to be collected in order to obtain precise information regarding possible gaps in the implementation process; stresses that, property ownership is subject to the subsidiarity principle and that there is no property ownership law in the EU that would discriminate against women or men, as the right to property lies with the owner;

17.  Deplores the fact that, overall, the contribution of wealth-based taxes to overall tax revenues has remained rather limited, at 5,8 % of overall tax revenues in the EU-15 and 4,3 % in the EU-28(17);

18.  Deplores the fact that the share of taxes on capital has shown a declining trend since 2002 as a consequence, inter alia, of the general tendency of no longer applying the regular personal income tax schedule to capital incomes, but rather taxing them at relatively moderate flat rates, observable in many Member States(18);

Indirect taxation

19.  Notes that the share of consumption taxes rose in the Union from 2009 to 2016; notes that VAT typically accounts for between two thirds and three quarters of consumption taxes in the Member States and that VAT has reached a share of about one fifth of overall tax revenues on average in the EU(19);

20.  Notes that gender bias occurs where tax legislation intersects with gender relations, norms and economic behaviour; notes that VAT exerts a gender bias because of women’s consumption patterns, which differ from those of men as they purchase more goods and services with the aim of promoting health, education and nutrition(20); is concerned that this, combined with women’s lower income, leads to women bearing a larger VAT burden; calls on the Member States to provide for VAT exemptions, reduced rates and zero-rates for products and services with positive social, health and/or environmental effects, in line with the ongoing revision of the EU VAT Directive;

21.  Considers period poverty to be an ongoing issue in the EU, with Plan International UK estimating that 1 in 10 girls cannot afford sanitary products; regrets that female hygienic products, and care products and services for children, elderly people or people with disabilities, are still not considered as basic goods in all Member States; calls on all Member States to eliminate the so-called ‘care and tampon tax’ by making use of the flexibility introduced in the VAT Directive and applying exemptions or 0 % VAT rates to these essential basic goods; recognises that a reduction in price due to an exemption of VAT on these products would have an immeasurable benefit for young women; supports the movements undertaken to promote widespread sanitary supply availability and encourages Member States to provide complementary feminine hygiene supplies in certain (public) spaces such as schools, universities and homeless shelters, and for women from low-income backgrounds, with the aim of eradicating period poverty completely across EU public bathrooms;

Impact of tax evasion and avoidance on gender equality

22.  Notes that tax evasion and tax avoidance are major contributors to gender inequality in the Union and globally as they limit the resources available to governments to increase equality at national and international level(21);

23.  Recalls its recommendations of 13 December 2017 following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion(22), and those from previous special committees (TAX and TAX2) drawn up with a view to fighting tax evasion and avoidance in the EU; calls on the Member States to adopt public country-by-country reporting, an EU CCCTB and a revised interest and royalties directive as soon as possible;

24.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote gender-equal taxation reforms in all international fora, including the OECD and the UN, and to support the creation of a UN intergovernmental tax body with universal membership, equal voting rights and equal participation of women and men; stresses that this body should be well equipped to develop specific gender taxation expertise;

25.  Notes that double taxation treaties between Member States and developing countries do not usually promote source taxation, therefore benefiting multinational corporations at the expense of mobilisation of domestic resources by developing countries; notes that the lack of domestic resource mobilisation prevents fully financed public services such as healthcare or education in these countries, which disproportionately impacts women and girls; urges the Member States to mandate the Commission to review existing double taxation treaties so as to examine and address these problems, and to ensure that future double taxation treaties include gender equality provisions in addition to general anti-abuse provisions;

26.  Calls on the TAX3 special committee to include a gender perspective in the formulation of its recommendations;

Gender mainstreaming in tax policies

27.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to carry out regular gender impact assessments of fiscal policies from a gender equality perspective, focusing on the multiplier effect and implicit bias to ensure that neither direct nor indirect discrimination feature in any fiscal policies in the EU;

28.  Calls on the Member States to share best practices on the design of their labour markets and taxation systems to help reduce gender pay and pensions gaps, which may therefore promote more fairness and equality in tax treatment between men and women;

29.  Reminds the Commission that since the Lisbon Treaty incorporated the Charter of Fundamental Rights into primary law, it has a legally binding obligation to promote gender equality in its policies and actions;

30.  Recognises that many advocacy and civil society groups feel marginalised from discussions about taxation policy due to a lack of expertise, and that industry and financial groups are thus over-represented in budgeting consultative processes in many Member States; calls for the Member States to address this issue by providing education on budgetary processes in addition to opportunities for genuine consultation with civil society;

31.  Calls on the Commission to meet its legal obligation to promote gender equality, including in its assessments of fundamental tax policy design; underlines that reviews of Member States’ tax systems within the European Semester, as well as country-specific recommendations, require thorough analyses in this regard;

32.  Calls on the Commission to use the priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy to tackle structural weaknesses in Europe’s economy, address the gender pay and pensions gap, improve the EU’s competitiveness and productivity and underpin a sustainable social market economy which benefits all women and men;

33.  Recalls its position on the proposal for a directive on public country-by-country reporting(23), which proposes ambitious measures to enhance tax transparency and public scrutiny of multinational enterprises, as this would allow the wider public to have access to information about the profits made, subsidies received and taxes paid in the jurisdictions where they operate; recommends placing comprehensive gender analysis at the heart of all existing and future levels of research and policies on tax justice with a view to achieving greater tax transparency and accountability; urges the Council to reach a common agreement on the proposal to enter into negotiations with the other institutions in order to adopt a public country-by-country reporting requirement, one of the key measures to find greater transparency on tax information of companies for all citizens; recalls the need for Member States to conduct regular spillover analyses of the material impact of these measures, including analyses of the gender biases of tax policies, of their ability to raise domestic revenues to finance women’s rights, on other Member States and developing countries, while acknowledging that some work has taken place in this regard in the framework of the Platform on Tax Good Governance;

34.  Notes that gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but that achieving it would contribute to more inclusive and sustainable growth; emphasises that gender budget analysis would allow for improved information on the distributional impact of public investment on men and women; calls on the Commission and the Member States to implement gender budgeting in a way that explicitly tracks what proportion of public funds are targeted at women and that ensures that all policies for mobilising resources and allocating expenditure promote gender equality;

35.  Calls on the Commission to promote best practices on taxation policies that take gender impact into account and promote gender equality, particularly in terms of taxation of household income and VAT; calls on the Commission to include a gender analysis in its annual Taxation Trends in the European Union report;

36.  Recalls that despite the joint statement on gender mainstreaming annexed to the 2014-2020 MFF Regulation, no significant progress has been made in this area, and that the Commission took no account of its implementation in the MFF mid-term review; calls for the annual budgetary procedures to evaluate and integrate the impact of EU policies on gender equality (gender budgeting); expects a renewed commitment by Parliament, the Council and the Commission to gender mainstreaming in the next MFF, and its effective monitoring, including during the MFF mid-term revision, by taking due account of the principle of equality between women and men enshrined in Article 8 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

37.  Calls on the Member States to uphold their legal obligation under the Charter of Fundamental Rights to promote gender equality when implementing EU law and when implementing national policies that are governed by EU law;

38.  Underlines that further research and better collection of gender-disaggregated data are required as regards gender-differentiated distributional and allocative effects of the taxation system; calls, in particular, on the Member States to collect tax data on an individual basis and not only on a household basis, and to close the gender data gaps on consumption patterns and the use of reduced rates, on the distribution of entrepreneurial income and related tax payments and on the distribution of net wealth, capital income and related tax payments;

39.  Regrets that the majority of Member States fail to collect or evaluate individualised income tax data and that many Member States still collect the data at household level only through joint tax provisions;

40.  Encourages the Member States to design an adequate tax-benefit incentive structure across policy measures that encourages migrant women to (re)engage in training or take unemployment;

o
o   o

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

(1) CEDAW/C/CHE/CO/4-5, paragraphs 40-43 (Switzerland 2016); CEDAW/C/LUX/CO/6-7, paragraphs 10, 15, 16 (Luxembourg 2018).
(2) OJ C 353E, 3.12.2013, p. 38.
(3) OJ C 407, 4.11.2016, p. 2.
(4) OJ C 66, 21.2.2018, p. 30.
(5) OJ C 76, 28.2.2018, p. 93.
(6) OJ C 263, 25.7.2018, p. 49.
(7) OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 132.
(8) OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 23.
(9) European Parliament Policy Department C, Gender equality and taxation in the European Union, 2017.
(10) European Parliament Policy Department C, Gender equality and taxation in the European Union, 2017.
(11) European Parliament Policy Department C, Gender equality and taxation in the European Union, 2017.
(12) European Commission, DG Taxation and Customs Union, Taxation Trends in the European Union - Data for the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway - 2018 Edition.
(13) Institute of Development Studies, Redistributing Unpaid Care Work – Why Tax Matters for Women’s Rights. Policy Briefing. Issue 109. January 2016.
(14) European Parliament Policy Department C, Gender equality and taxation in the European Union, 2017.
(15) As called for in the Council conclusions on Gender Equality of 16 June 2016.
(16) European Commission, European Semester: Country Reports, 7 March 2018.
(17) European Parliament Policy Department C, Gender equality and taxation in the European Union, 2017.
(18) European Parliament Policy Department C, Gender equality and taxation in the European Union, 2017.
(19) European Parliament Policy Department C, Gender equality and taxation in the European Union, 2017.
(20) La Fiscalidad en España desde una Perspectiva de Género (2016) - Institut per a l’estudi i la transformació d ela vida quotidiana / Ekona Consultoría.
(21) UN 'Final study on illicit financial flows, human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of states on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, 2016.
(22) OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 132.
(23) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0284.

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