Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 12 March 2019 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Request for waiver of the immunity of Monika Hohlmeier
 Request for waiver of the immunity of Jean-Marie Le Pen
 Request for waiver of the immunity of Dominique Bilde
 Extending Rule 159 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure until the end of the ninth parliamentary term
 Electronic freight transport information ***I
 EU-Vietnam Voluntary Partnership Agreement on forest law enforcement, governance and trade ***
 EU-Vietnam Voluntary Partnership Agreement on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (resolution)
 Protocol amending the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data ***
 Authorising Member States to become party to the Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated safety, security, and service approach at football matches and other sports events ***
 Protocol amending the EU-China Agreement on Maritime Transport (accession of Croatia) ***
 EU-Egypt Euro-Mediterranean Agreement (accession of Croatia) ***
 EU-Turkmenistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement
 Implementing decision on the launch of automated data exchange with regard to DNA data in the United Kingdom *
 Exchange of information on third country nationals and European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) ***I
 Centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third country nationals and stateless persons (ECRIS-TCN) ***I
 European Solidarity Corps programme ***I
 EU Cybersecurity Act ***I
 Unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the food supply chain ***I
 European citizens’ initiative ***I
 Import of cultural goods ***I
 Protection of personal data in the context of elections to the European Parliament ***I
 Security threats connected with the rising Chinese technological presence in the EU and possible action on the EU level to reduce them
 State of EU-Russia political relations
 Building EU capacity on conflict prevention and mediation

Request for waiver of the immunity of Monika Hohlmeier
PDF 120kWORD 44k
European Parliament decision of 12 March 2019 on the request for waiver of the immunity of Monika Hohlmeier (2019/2002(IMM))
P8_TA(2019)0135A8-0165/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Monika Hohlmeier, forwarded on 27 November 2018 by the public prosecutor’s office in Coburg (Germany) in connection with a preliminary police investigation, and announced in plenary on 14 January 2019,

–  having regard to the waiver by Monika Hohlmeier of her right to be heard under Rule 9(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, and Article 6(2) of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage,

–  having regard to the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 12 May 1964, 10 July 1986, 15 and 21 October 2008, 19 March 2010, 6 September 2011 and 17 January 2013(1),

–  having regard to Article 46 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany,

–  having regard to Rule 5(2), Rule 6(1) and Rule 9 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report by the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0165/2019),

A.  whereas the public prosecutor’s office in Coburg has forwarded a request for waiver of the immunity of Monika Hohlmeier, Member of the European Parliament elected for the Federal Republic of Germany, in connection with an offence within the meaning of Article 142 of the German Criminal Code; whereas, in particular, the proceedings relate to leaving the scene of an accident;

B.  whereas, at around 15:00 on 4 September 2018, Monika Hohlmeier attempted to park her car in a car park in Lichtenfels (Germany); whereas the front of her vehicle hit the back of another car parked there, causing an estimated EUR 287,84 of damage; and whereas Monika Hohlmeier then left the scene of the accident without arranging to pay for the damage;

C.  whereas Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the privileges and immunities of the European Union stipulates that Members of the European Parliament ‘shall enjoy, in the territory of their own State, the immunities accorded to members of their parliament’;

D.  whereas Article 46 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany stipulates that a Member may not be called to account or arrested for a punishable offence without the approval of the Bundestag unless he or she is apprehended while committing the offence or in the course of the following day;

E.  whereas it is for Parliament alone to decide, in a given case, whether or not to waive immunity; whereas Parliament may reasonably take account of the position of the Member in order to decide whether or not to waive his or her immunity(2);

F.  whereas the alleged offence has no clear or direct bearing on the performance by Ms Hohlmeier of her duties as a Member of the European Parliament and does not constitute an opinion expressed or vote cast in the performance of those duties within the meaning of Article 8 of Protocol No 7 on the privileges and immunities of the European Union;

G.  whereas, in this case, Parliament has found no evidence of fumus persecutionis, i.e. a sufficiently serious and precise suspicion that the proceedings have been brought with the intention of causing the Member political damage;

1.  Decides to waive the immunity of Monika Hohlmeier;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision and the report of its committee responsible immediately to the competent authority of the Federal Republic of Germany and to Monika Hohlmeier.

(1) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 12 May 1964, Wagner v Fohrmann and Krier, 101/63, ECLI:EU:C:1964:28; judgment of the Court of Justice of 10 July 1986, Wybot v Faure and others, 149/85, ECLI:EU:C:1986:310; judgment of the General Court of 15 October 2008, Mote v Parliament, T-345/05, ECLI:EU:T:2008:440; judgment of the Court of Justice of 21 October 2008, Marra v De Gregorio and Clemente, C-200/07 and C-201/07, ECLI:EU:C:2008:579; judgment of the General Court of 19 March 2010, Gollnisch v Parliament, T-42/06, ECLI:EU:T:2010:102; judgment of the Court of Justice of 6 September 2011, Patriciello, C-163/10, ECLI: EU:C:2011:543; judgment of the General Court of 17 January 2013, Gollnisch v Parliament, T-346/11 and T-347/11, ECLI:EU:T:2013:23.
(2) Judgment of the General Court of 15 October 2008, Mote v Parliament, T-345/05, EU:T:2008:440, paragraph 28.


Request for waiver of the immunity of Jean-Marie Le Pen
PDF 128kWORD 45k
European Parliament decision of 12 March 2019 on the request for waiver of the immunity of Jean-Marie Le Pen (2018/2247(IMM))
P8_TA(2019)0136A8-0167/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Jean-Marie Le Pen, forwarded on 5 September 2018 by the Ministry of Justice of the French Republic on the basis of a request made by the Prosecutor-General at the Paris Court of Appeal, and announced in plenary on 22 October 2018, in connection with a case pending before the Examining Magistrates pertaining to a judicial investigation on grounds of alleged offences of breach of trust, concealment of breach of trust, fraud by an organised group, forgery and the use of forged documents, and concealed work by concealment of employees, in relation to the employment conditions of parliamentary assistants,

–  having heard Jean-François Jalkh, replacing Jean-Marie Le Pen, in accordance with Rule 9(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, and Article 6(2) of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage,

–  having regard to the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 12 May 1964, 10 July 1986, 15 and 21 October 2008, 19 March 2010, 6 September 2011 and 17 January 2013(1),

–  having regard to Article 26 of the Constitution of the French Republic,

–  having regard to Rule 5(2), Rule 6(1) and Rule 9 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0167/2019),

Α.  whereas the Examining Magistrates at the Paris Regional Court have requested the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of Jean-Marie Le Pen in order to hear him in connection with alleged offences;

Β.  whereas the request for waiver of immunity of Jean-Marie Le Pen relates to alleged offences of breach of trust, concealment of breach of trust, fraud by an organised group, forgery and the use of forged documents, and concealed work by concealment of employees, in relation to the employment conditions of assistants of Members of the European Parliament affiliated to the Front National;

C.  whereas a judicial investigation was launched on 5 December 2016 following a preliminary investigation initiated after a denouncement by the then President of the European Parliament on 9 March 2015 regarding a certain number of parliamentary assistants of Members of the European Parliament affiliated to the Front National;

D.  whereas during a search conducted at the headquarters of the Front National in February 2016, a number of documents were seized in the office of the treasurer of the Front National, which bore witness to the party’s desire to make ‘savings’ through the European Parliament’s defrayal of the remuneration of employees of the party by virtue of their capacity as parliamentary assistants;

E.  whereas the Front National’s establishment plan, published in February 2015, listed only 15 Members of the European Parliament (of a total of 23), 21 local parliamentary assistants and 5 accredited parliamentary assistants (of a total of 54 assistants); whereas a number of parliamentary assistants declared that their place of employment was the headquarters of the Front National in Nanterre, in some cases indicating that they were employed there full time, though residing between 120 and 945 km from the declared place of employment; whereas, at this stage in the investigation, it emerged that 8 parliamentary assistants carried out virtually no parliamentary assistance work, or did so only as a very small part of their overall duties;

F.  whereas the investigations also revealed circumstances that made it seem unlikely that the parliamentary assistants concerned were genuinely performing duties connected with the European Parliament, notably:

   EU parliamentary assistants’ employment contracts interspersed between two Front National employment contracts,
   EU parliamentary assistants’ employment contracts for the European Parliament and for the Front National running concurrently,
   employment contracts for the Front National concluded for periods immediately following periods covered by EU parliamentary assistants’ employment contracts;

G.  whereas the investigation revealed that in his capacity as Member of the European Parliament, Jean-Marie Le Pen employed a parliamentary assistant in 2011, but the parliamentary assistant in question told investigators that he had worked on the election campaign of another Member of the European Parliament during the period concerned; whereas Jean-Marie Le Pen arranged for the payment of parliamentary assistants’ salaries to three other people, although they had done virtually no work whatsoever in that capacity;

H.  whereas the investigation also revealed that in his capacity as President of the Front National at the time of the alleged offences, Jean-Marie Le Pen established a system, brought to light by the European Parliament, of using EU funds to pay for some of the Front National’s employees through parliamentary contracts with people who, in reality, worked for the party, thereby infringing the EU rules in force;

I.  whereas the Examining Magistrates consider it necessary to hear Jean-Marie Le Pen;

J.  whereas Jean-Marie Le Pen refused to enter an appearance in response to the summonses served by the investigators on 21 June 2018 and did the same when served with a summons by the Examining Magistrates in July 2018, invoking his parliamentary immunity;

K.  whereas with a view to carrying out the questioning of Jean-Marie Le Pen in connection with the charges brought against him, the competent authority lodged an application for his immunity to be waived;

L.  whereas, pursuant to Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Members of the European Parliament enjoy, in the territory of their own state, the immunities accorded to members of their parliament;

M.  whereas Article 26 of the French Constitution states that ‘No Member of Parliament shall be arrested for a serious crime or other major offence, nor shall he be subjected to any other custodial or semi-custodial measure, without the authorisation of the Bureau of the House of which he is a member. Such authorisation shall not be required in the case of a serious crime or other major offence committed flagrante delicto or when a conviction has become final’;

N.  whereas there is no evidence of nor any reason to suspect fumus persecutionis;

1.  Decides to waive the immunity of Jean-Marie Le Pen;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision and the report of its committee responsible immediately to the Minister of Justice of the French Republic and to Jean-Marie Le Pen.

(1) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 12 May 1964, Wagner v Fohrmann and Krier, 101/63, ECLI:EU:C:1964:28; judgment of the Court of Justice of 10 July 1986, Wybot v Faure and others, 149/85, ECLI:EU:C:1986:310; judgment of the General Court of 15 October 2008, Mote v Parliament, T-345/05, ECLI:EU:T:2008:440; judgment of the Court of Justice of 21 October 2008, Marra v De Gregorio and Clemente, C-200/07 and C-201/07, ECLI:EU:C:2008:579; judgment of the General Court of 19 March 2010, Gollnisch v Parliament, T-42/06, ECLI:EU:T:2010:102; judgment of the Court of Justice of 6 September 2011, Patriciello, C-163/10, ECLI: EU:C:2011:543; judgment of the General Court of 17 January 2013, Gollnisch v Parliament, T-346/11 and T-347/11, ECLI:EU:T:2013:23.


Request for waiver of the immunity of Dominique Bilde
PDF 128kWORD 45k
European Parliament decision of 12 March 2019 on the request for waiver of the immunity of Dominique Bilde (2018/2267(IMM))
P8_TA(2019)0137A8-0166/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Dominique Bilde, forwarded on 19 October 2018 by the Ministry of Justice of the French Republic on the basis of a request made by the Prosecutor-General at the Paris Court of Appeal and announced in plenary on 12 November 2018, in connection with a case pending before the Examining Magistrates pertaining to a judicial inquiry on grounds of alleged offences of breach of trust, concealment of breach of trust, fraud by an organised group, forgery and the use of forged documents, and concealed work by concealment of employees, in relation to the employment conditions of assistants,

–  having heard Jean-François Jalkh, replacing Dominique Bilde, in accordance with Rule 9(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, and Article 6(2) of the Act of 20 September 1976 concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage,

–  having regard to the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 12 May 1964, 10 July 1986, 15 and 21 October 2008, 19 March 2010, 6 September 2011 and 17 January 2013(1),

–  having regard to Article 26 of the Constitution of the French Republic,

–  having regard to Rule 5(2), Rule 6(1) and Rule 9 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0166/2019),

Α.  whereas the Examining Magistrates at the Paris Regional Court have requested the waiver of the parliamentary immunity of Dominique Bilde in order to hear her in connection with alleged offences;

Β.  whereas the request for waiver of the immunity of Dominique Bilde relates to alleged offences of breach of trust, concealment of breach of trust, fraud by an organised group, forgery and the use of forged documents, and concealed work by concealment of employees, in relation to the employment conditions of assistants of Members of the European Parliament affiliated to the Front National;

C.  whereas a judicial investigation was launched on 5 December 2016, following a preliminary investigation initiated after a denouncement by the then President of the European Parliament on 9 March 2015 regarding a certain number of parliamentary assistants of Members of the European Parliament affiliated to the Front National;

D.  whereas during a search conducted at the headquarters of the Front National in February 2016, a number of documents were seized in the office of the treasurer of the Front National, which bore witness to the party’s desire to make ‘savings’ through the European Parliament’s defrayal of the remuneration of employees of the party by virtue of their capacity as parliamentary assistants; whereas, at this stage in the investigation, it emerged that eight parliamentary assistants carried out virtually no parliamentary assistance work, or did so only as a very small proportion of their overall duties;

E.  whereas it emerged that Dominique Bilde’s full-time parliamentary assistant from 1 October 2014 to 31 July 2015 was one of the assistants who carried out virtually no parliamentary assistance work; whereas in the Front National’s establishment plan published in February 2015, the job title of Dominique Bilde’s parliamentary assistant was ‘national planning officer’, and he worked in the Policy Watch and Planning Unit under the responsibility of another Member of the European Parliament; whereas his contract as a parliamentary assistant was followed by two contracts in connection with the activities of the Front National for the period from August 2015 to 31 December 2016; whereas during the period covered by his contract as a parliamentary assistant, he also performed the following duties: Secretary-General of the Collectif Marianne, Secretary-General of the Collectif Mer et Francophonie and candidate in the March 2015 departmental elections in the department of Doubs;

F.  whereas the European Parliament suspended payment of the parliamentary assistance expenses related to the contract of Dominique Bilde’s parliamentary assistant;

G.  whereas the Examining Magistrates consider it necessary to hear Dominique Bilde;

H.  whereas Dominique Bilde refused to answer the questions put by the investigators when she was heard by them in August 2017, and refused to appear before the Examining Magistrates at a hearing preparatory to her being charged with breach of trust which was due to be held on 24 November 2017, invoking her parliamentary immunity;

I.  whereas, with a view to carrying out the questioning of Dominique Bilde in connection with the charges brought against her, the competent authority lodged an application for her immunity to be waived;

J.  whereas, pursuant to Article 9 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union, Members of the European Parliament enjoy, in the territory of their own state, the immunities accorded to members of their parliament;

K.  whereas Article 26 of the French Constitution states that ‘No Member of Parliament shall be arrested for a serious crime or other major offence, nor shall he be subjected to any other custodial or semi-custodial measure, without the authorisation of the Bureau of the House of which he is a member. Such authorisation shall not be required in the case of a serious crime or other major offence committed flagrante delicto or when a conviction has become final’;

L.  whereas there is no evidence of nor any reason to suspect fumus persecutionis;

1.  Decides to waive the immunity of Dominique Bilde;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision and the report of its committee responsible immediately to the Minister of Justice of the French Republic and to Dominique Bilde.

(1) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 12 May 1964, Wagner v Fohrmann and Krier, 101/63, ECLI:EU:C:1964:28; judgment of the Court of Justice of 10 July 1986, Wybot v Faure and others, 149/85, ECLI:EU:C:1986:310; judgment of the General Court of 15 October 2008, Mote v Parliament, T-345/05, ECLI:EU:T:2008:440; judgment of the Court of Justice of 21 October 2008, Marra v De Gregorio and Clemente, C-200/07 and C-201/07, ECLI:EU:C:2008:579; judgment of the General Court of 19 March 2010, Gollnisch v Parliament, T-42/06, ECLI:EU:T:2010:102; judgment of the Court of Justice of 6 September 2011, Patriciello, C-163/10, ECLI: EU:C:2011:543; judgment of the General Court of 17 January 2013, Gollnisch v Parliament, T-346/11 and T-347/11, ECLI:EU:T:2013:23.


Extending Rule 159 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure until the end of the ninth parliamentary term
PDF 116kWORD 43k
European Parliament decision of 12 March 2019 extending Rule 159 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure until the end of the ninth parliamentary term (2019/2545(RSO))
P8_TA(2019)0138B8-0147/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 342 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Council Regulation No 1 of 15 April 1958 determining the languages to be used by the European Economic Community(1),

–  having regard to Council Regulations (EC) No 920/2005(2) and (EU, Euratom) 2015/2264(3),

–  having regard to the Code of Conduct on Multilingualism adopted by the Bureau on 16 June 2014,

–  having regard to its decision of 26 February 2014(4) extending the applicability of Rule 159 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure until the end of the eighth parliamentary term and the subsequent decisions of the Bureau extending the derogation from Rule 158 until the end of this term,

–  having regard to Rules 158 and 159 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas, pursuant to Rule 158, all Parliament’s documents are to be drawn up in the official languages, and all Members have the right to speak in Parliament in the official language of their choice, with interpretation being provided into the other official languages;

B.  whereas, under Rule 159, derogations from Rule 158 are permissible until the end of the eighth parliamentary term if and to the extent that, despite adequate precautions having been taken, the linguists required for an official language are not available in sufficient numbers; whereas, with respect to each official language for which a derogation is considered necessary, the Bureau, on a proposal from the Secretary-General and having due regard to the temporary special arrangements adopted by the Council on the basis of the Treaties concerning the drafting of legal acts, is required to ascertain whether the conditions are fulfilled and to review its decision every six months;

C.  whereas Council Regulations (EC) No 920/2005 and (EU, Euratom) 2015/2264 provide for a gradual restriction of the derogation in respect of Irish and, in the absence of another Council Regulation stating otherwise, the lapse of that derogation as from 1 January 2022;

D.  whereas, despite all adequate precautions, capacity in Croatian, Irish and Maltese is not expected to be such as to allow a full interpretation service in those languages from the beginning of the ninth parliamentary term;

E.  whereas, despite sustained and continuous interinstitutional efforts and considerable progress, the number of qualified translators is still expected to be so limited as regards Irish that, for the foreseeable future, full coverage of that language under Rule 158 cannot be assured; whereas, pursuant to Council Regulations (EC) No 920/2005 and (EU, Euratom) 2015/2264, a growing number of legal acts has to be translated into Irish, which reduces the possibility to translate other parliamentary documents into that language;

F.  whereas Rule 159(4) provides that, on the basis of a reasoned recommendation from the Bureau, Parliament may decide, at the end of the parliamentary term, to extend that Rule;

G.  whereas, in the light of the foregoing, the Bureau has recommended that Rule 159 be extended until the end of the ninth parliamentary term;

1.  Decides to extend Rule 159 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure until the end of the ninth parliamentary term;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and the Commission for information.

(1) OJ 17, 6.10.1958, p. 385.
(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 920/2005 of 13 June 2005 amending Regulation No 1 of 15 April 1958 determining the language to be used by the European Economic Community and Regulation No 1 of 15 April 1958 determining the language to be used by the European Atomic Energy Community and introducing temporary derogation measures from those Regulations (OJ L 156, 18.6.2005, p. 3).
(3) Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2015/2264 of 3 December 2015 extending and phasing out the temporary derogation measures from Regulation No 1 of 15 April 1958 determining the languages to be used by the European Economic Community and Regulation No 1 of 15 April 1958 determining the languages to be used by the European Atomic Energy Community introduced by Regulation (EC) No 920/2005 (OJ L 322, 8.12.2015, p. 1).
(4) OJ C 285, 29.8.2017, p. 164.


Electronic freight transport information ***I
PDF 265kWORD 79k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on electronic freight transport information (COM(2018)0279 – C8-0191/2018 – 2018/0140(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0139A8-0060/2019

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0279),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Articles 91, 100(2) and 192(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0191/2018),

–  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 17 October 2018(1),

–  after consulting the European Committee of the Regions,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A8-0060/2019),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 12 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) .../… of the European Parliament and of the Council on electronic freight transport information

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0140


(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, Article 100(2) and Article 192(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(2),

After consulting the Committee of the Regions,

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

Whereas:

(1)  The efficiency of freight transport and logistics is vital for the growth and competitiveness of the Union economy, the functioning of the internal market and the social and economic cohesion of all regions of the Union. [Am. 1]

(1a)  The purpose of this Regulation is to reduce the costs of processing transport information between authorities and economic operators, to improve the enforcement capabilities of the authorities and to encourage the digitalisation of the freight transport and logistics. [Am. 2]

(2)  The movement of goods is accompanied by a large amount of information which is still exchanged in paper format, among businesses and between businesses and the public authorities. The use of paper documents represents a significant administrative burden and an additional cost for logistic operators and related industries (such as trade and manufacturing), in particular for SMEs, and has a negative impact on the environment. [Am. 3]

(2a)  Effective and efficient enforcement of the rules is a prerequisite for fair competition in the internal market. Further digitalisation of enforcement tools is essential in order to free up enforcement capacity, reduce unnecessary administrative burdens on international transport operators and in particular SMEs, better target high-risk transport operators and detect fraudulent practices. This digital, "smart" enforcement necessitates all relevant information to become paperless and be available for competent authorities in electronic form. Therefore, the use of electronic transport documents should in the future become the rule. Furthermore, in order to provide enforcement officials, including those performing roadside checks, with a clear and complete overview of the transport operators being checked, they should have direct and real-time access to all relevant information, so as to be able to detect infringements and abnormalities quicker and more efficiently. [Am. 4]

(3)  The absence of a uniform legal framework at Union level requiring public authorities to accept relevant freight transport information, required by legislation, in electronic form, is considered to be the main reason for the lack of progress towards the simplification and greater efficiency made possible by available electronic means. The lack of acceptance by public authorities of information in electronic form affects not only ease of communication between them and operators but, indirectly, also hampers the development of simplified business-to-business electronic communication across the Union and will lead to an increase in administrative costs, especially for SMEs. [Am. 5]

(4)  Some areas of Union transport law require competent authorities to accept digitised information, but this concerns by far not all relevant Union legislation. To reduce administrative burdens and to make controls and countering infringements more efficient, it should always be possible to use electronic means to make regulatory information on freight transport available to the authorities throughout the territory of the Union and in respect of all relevant phases of transport operations conducted within the Union. Furthermore, that possibility should apply to all regulatory information, in all transport modes. Member States should accept electronic transport documents in general, and ratify and apply the e-CMR protocol without delay. Therefore, authorities should communicate electronically with the economic operators concerned as regards regulatory information and make their own data digitally available, in line with applicable law. [Am. 6]

(5)  Member States’ authorities should therefore be required to accept information made available electronically whenever economic operators are obliged to make information available as proof of compliance with requirements laid down in Union acts adopted in accordance Title VI of Part Three of the Treaty or, given the similarity of the situations, with Union legislation on the shipments of waste. The same should apply where a Member State’s national legislation dealing with matters governed by Title VI of Part Three of the Treaty requires the provision of regulatory information identical, in whole or in part, to information to be provided under such Union legislation.

(5a)  In order to reduce administrative burden and to free up scarce enforcement capacity, economic operators should be required to provide electronically regulatory information to Member States’ competent authorities and Member States’ competent authorities should communicate electronically with the economic operators concerned as regards the provision of regulatory information. [Am. 7]

(6)  Since this Regulation is only intended to facilitate and encourage the provision of information between economic operators and administrative bodies, specifically, by electronic means, it should not affect the provisions of Union or national law determining the content of regulatory information and, in particular, should not impose any additional regulatory information requirements. While Since this Regulation is intended to allow compliance with regulatory information requirements through electronic means rather by means of paper documents, it should enable the development of European Platforms in order to exchange and easily share the information. It should not otherwise affect the relevant Union provisions on requirements regarding the documents to be used for the structured presentation of the information in question. The provisions of Union legislation on shipments of waste containing procedural requirements for the shipments as should equally remain unaffected by this Regulation. This Regulation should also be without prejudice to the provisions on reporting obligations set out in Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(4) or in implementing or delegated acts adopted under its terms. However, the Commission should assess if the provisions regarding the content of regulatory information requirements regarding the transport of goods on the territory of the Union need to be adapted in order to improve the enforcement capabilities of the competent authorities. [Am. 8]

(7)  The use of electronic means for the exchange of information in accordance with this Regulation should be organised in a way that ensures security and respects the confidentiality of sensitive commercial information.

(8)  In order to enable operators to provide relevant information in electronic form in the same way in all Member States, it is necessary to rely on common specifications, to be adopted by the Commission. Those specifications should ensure data interoperability for the various data sets and subsets concerning the relevant regulatory information, and determine common procedures and detailed rules for access and processing of that information by the competent authorities.

(9)  In defining those specifications, due account should be taken of relevant data exchange specifications laid down in relevant Union law, and in relevant European and international standards for multimodal data exchange, including the GDPR provisions. Investments made by economic operators and therefore already existing mode specific data models should also be taken into account, as well as the principles and recommendations set out in the European Interoperability Framework(5), which provides an approach to the delivery of European digital public services commonly agreed by the Member States. Furthermore, the proper engagement of all relevant stakeholders is important in the development and preparation of those specifications. Due care should also be taken that these specifications remain technology neutral and open to innovative technologies. [Am. 9]

(10)  This Regulation should establish the functional requirements applicable to information and communication technology based platforms which could be used by economic operators to make available the regulatory freight transport information in electronic format (eFTI) to the competent authorities (eFTI platforms). Conditions should also be established for third party eFTI platform services providers (eFTI services providers).

(11)  To build the confidence of both the Member States authorities and the economic operators as regards the compliance of the eFTI platforms and eFTI services providers with those requirements, the Member States competent authorities should put in place a certification system underpinned by accreditation in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council(6). Due to the relatively long implementation period the Commission should assess if technologies like the blockchain technology could guarantee a similar result as the certification system while substantially bringing down costs for economic operators and Member States. [Am. 10]

(12)  In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of the obligation to accept the regulatory information made available in electronic format pursuant to this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council(7). [Am. 11]

(13)  In particular, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission to establish a common data set and subsets in relation to the respective regulatory information requirements covered by this Regulation, as well as common procedures and detailed rules for competent authorities for the access to and processing of that information where the economic operators concerned make this information available electronically, including detailed rules and technical specifications. [Am. 12]

(14)  Implementing powers should also be conferred on the Commission to establish detailed rules for the implementation of the requirements for eFTI platforms and for eFTI services providers. [Am. 13]

(15)  In order to ensure the proper application of this Regulation, 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:

   to amend Part B of Annex I, in order to incorporate the lists of regulatory information requirements in Member States’ legislation notified to the Commission by the Member States in accordance with this Regulation;
   to amend Part A of Annex I to take into account any delegated or implementing acts adopted by the Commission which establish new Union regulatory information requirements in relation to the transport of goods;
   to amend Part B of Annex I to incorporate any new provision of relevant national legislation which introduces changes to the national regulatory information requirements, or lays down new relevant regulatory information requirements falling under the scope of this Regulation notified to the Commission by the Member States in accordance with this Regulation;
   to supplement certain technical aspects of this Regulation, namely as regards the rules for certification of eFTI platforms and eFTI services providers;
   to establish common procedures, technical specifications and detailed rules for competent authorities for the access to and processing of the respective information requirements covered by this Regulation, as well as detailed rules for the implementation of the requirements for eFTI platforms and for eFTI services providers. [Am. 14]

(16)  It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that those consultations be conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making(8). 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.

(17)  Since the objectives of this Regulation, namely to ensure a uniform approach to acceptance by Member State authorities of freight transport information made available electronically, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather, by reason of the need to establish common requirements, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives.

(18)  Processing by electronic means of personal data required as part of freight transport regulatory information should be carried out in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council(9).

(19)  The Commission should carry out an evaluation of this Regulation. Information should be collected in order to inform this evaluation, and to assess the performance of the legislation against the objectives it pursues.

(20)  This Regulation cannot be effectively applied before the delegated and implementing acts provided for in it have entered into force. This Regulation should therefore apply with effect from ... [please insert the date], in order to give the Commission time to adopt those acts.

(20a)  The Commission should start immediately to work on the necessary delegated acts in order to avoid further delays and to ensure that economic operators and Member States have enough time to prepare. [Am. 15]

(21)  The European Data Protection Supervisor was consulted in accordance with Article 28(2) of Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council(10) and delivered an opinion on ... [please insert the date](11),

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Chapter I

General provisions

Article 1

Subject matter and scope

1.  This Regulation establishes a legal framework for the electronic communication of regulatory information related to the transport of goods on the territory of the Union, including its interoperability. For that purpose, this Regulation: [Am. 16]

(a)  lays down the conditions under which Member States’ competent authorities are required to accept regulatory information when made available provided electronically by economic operators concerned; [Am. 17]

(aa)  lays down the conditions under which the economic operators concerned are required to make regulatory information electronically available to the Member States´ competent authorities; [Am. 18]

(ab)  lays down the conditions under which Member States’ competent authorities have to communicate electronically with the economic operators concerned as regards the provision of regulatory information; [Am. 19]

(b)  lays down rules for the provision of services related to making regulatory information available electronically by the economic operators concerned.

2.  This Regulation applies to regulatory information requirements set out in Union acts laying down the conditions for the transport of goods on the territory of the Union in accordance with Title VI of Part Three of the Treaty, or laying down the conditions for the shipments of waste and regulatory information requirements for the transport of goods set out in international conventions applicable in the Union. In respect of the shipment of waste, this Regulation does not apply to controls by customs offices, as provided for in the applicable Union provisionss provisions. The Union acts to which this Regulation applies and the corresponding regulatory information requirements are listed in part A of Annex I. [Am. 20]

This Regulation also applies to regulatory information requirements set out in Member States’ law dealing with matters governed by Title VI of Part Three of the Treaty and requiring the provision of information identical, in whole or in part, to the information to be provided pursuant to regulatory information requirements referred to in the first subparagraph.

The national legislation and the corresponding regulatory information requirements referred to in the second subparagraph shall be listed in part B of Annex I, in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 2(b).

3.  By ... [one year from the date of entry into force of this Regulation] at the latest, the Member States shall notify the Commission of the provisions of national legislation and corresponding regulatory information requirements referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 2, to be included in part B of Annex I. The Member States shall also notify the Commission of any new provision of national legislation subsequently adopted, covered by the second subparagraph of paragraph 2, and which introduces changes to those regulatory information requirements or lays down new relevant regulatory information requirements, within a month from the adoption of such provision.

Article 2

Adaptation of Annex I

The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 13, concerning the amendment of Annex I in order to:

(a)  include a reference to any delegated or implementing acts adopted by the Commission, which establish new regulatory information requirements in relation to Union legal acts governing the transport of goods in accordance with Title VI of Part Three of the Treaty;

(b)  incorporate references to national legislation and regulatory information requirements notified by Member States in accordance with Article 1(3);

(ba)  incorporate references to other Union legal acts governing the transport of goods, which establish regulatory information requirements; [Am. 21]

(bb)  incorporate references to international conventions applicable in the Union establishing regulatory information requirements directly or indirectly related to the transport of goods. [Am. 22]

Article 3

Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation, the following definitions apply:

(1)  'regulatory information' means information, whether or not presented as a document, related to transport of cargo in the territory of the Union, including by way of transit, which is to be made available by an economic operator concerned in accordance with the provisions referred to in Article 1(2) in order to prove compliance with the relevant requirements of the acts concerned;

(2)  'regulatory information requirement' means a requirement to provide regulatory information;

(3)  'electronic freight transport information' (eFTI) means any set of data elements processed on electronic support for purposes of exchanging regulatory information between the economic operators concerned and with the competent public authorities;

(4)  ‘processing’ means any operation or set of operations performed on eFTI, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction;

(5)  ‘eFTI platform’ means any information and communication technology (ICT) based solution, such as an operating system, an operating environment, or a database, intended to be used for the processing of eFTI;

(6)  ‘eFTI platform developer’ means any natural or legal person which has developed or acquired an eFTI platform either for purposes of processing of regulatory information related to its own economic activity, or for putting that platform on the market;

(7)  'eFTI service' means a service consisting of eFTI processing by means of an eFTI platform, alone or in combination with other ICT solutions, including other eFTI platforms;

(8)  ‘eFTI service provider’ means any natural or legal person which provides an eFTI service to economic operators concerned on the basis of a contract;

(9)  ‘economic operator concerned’ means any transport or logistic operator, or any other natural or legal person, who is responsible for making regulatory information available to the competent authorities in accordance with the relevant regulatory information requirement;

(10)  'human-readable format' means a way of representation of the data in electronic form that can be used as information by a natural person without requiring any further processing;

(11)  'machine-readable format' means a way of representation of the data in electronic form that can be used for automatic processing by a machine;

(12)  ‘conformity assessment body’ means a conformity assessment body within the meaning of point 13 of Article 2 of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008, which is accredited in accordance with that Regulation to carry out conformity assessment of an eFTI platform or an eFTI service provider.

Chapter II

Regulatory information made available electronically

Article 4

Requirements for the economic optiterators operators concerned [Am. 23]

1.  Where Economic operators concerned shall make regulatory information available electronically. They shall do so on the basis of data processed in a certified eFTI platform, in accordance with Article 8, and, if applicable, by a certified eFTI service provider, in accordance with Article 9. The regulatory information shall be made available in machine-readable format and, at the request of the competent authority, in human-readable format. [Am. 24]

Information in machine-readable format shall be made available via an authenticated, interoperable and secure connection to the data source of an eFTI platform. Economic operators concerned shall communicate the Internet address via which the information can be accessed, together with any other elements that are necessary to allow the competent authority to uniquely identify the regulatory information. [Am. 25]

Information in human-readable format shall be made available on the spot, on the screen of electronic devices owned by the economic operator concerned or by the competent authorities.

2.  The Member States shall take measures to enable their competent authorities to process regulatory information made available by the economic operators concerned in machine-readable format pursuant to the second subparagraph of paragraph 1, in accordance with the provisions established by the Commission pursuant to Article 7.

Article 5

Acceptance and provision of regulatory information by competent authorities [Am. 26]

Member States’ competent authorities shall accept regulatory information made available electronically by the economic operators concerned in accordance with Article 4.

Member States’ competent authorities shall communicate with the economic operators concerned concerning regulatory information electronically. [Am. 27]

Article 6

Confidential commercial information

The competent authorities, eFTI services providers and economic operators concerned shall take measures to ensure confidentiality of commercial information processed and exchanged in accordance with this Regulation.

Article 7

Common eFTI data set, procedures and rules for access

The Commission shall is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 13, in order to establish the following by means of implementing acts: [Am. 28]

(a)  a common eFTI data set and subsets in relation to the respective regulatory information requirements, including corresponding definitions for each data element included in the common data set and subsets;

(b)  common procedures and detailed rules, including common technical specifications, for competent authorities' access to eFTI platforms, including procedures for processing of regulatory information made available electronically by the economic operators concerned;

(ba)  common procedures and detailed rules for validating the identity of any natural person or legal entity issuing legally binding statements hereunder. [Am. 29]

Existing, standardised data models and data sets identified in international conventions that are applicable in the Union shall be used as a reference for defining these common eFTI data, procedures and rules for access. [Am. 30]

Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 14(2). [Am. 31]

Chapter III

eFTI platforms and services

Section 1

Requirements for eFTI platforms and services

Article 8

Functional requirements for eFTI platforms

1.  The eFTI platforms shall be governed by the general principles of technological neutrality as well as interoperability. The eFTI platforms used for processing regulatory information shall provide functionalities that ensure that: [Am. 32]

(a)  personal data can have to be processed in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679; [Am. 33]

(b)  commercial data can have to be processed in accordance with Article 6; [Am. 34]

(ba)  eFTI platforms and the data contained therein are interoperable; [Am. 35]

(c)  a unique electronic identifying link can be established between the data processed and the physical shipment of a determined set of goods to which that data is related, from origin to destination, under the terms of a single transport contract, irrespective of the quantity or number of containers, packages, or pieces or consignment note; [Am. 36]

(d)  data can be processed solely on the basis of authorised and authenticated access;

(e)  all processing operations are duly recorded in order to allow, at a minimum, the identification of each distinct operation, the natural or legal person having made the operation and the sequencing of the operations on each individual data element; if an operation involves modifying or erasing an existing data element, the original data element shall be preserved;

(ea)  competent authorities have immediate access to all relevant information, as provided for in national or Union legislation, in order to ensure public order and compliance with Union legal acts governing the transport of goods in accordance with Title VI of Part Three of the Treaty; [Am. 37]

(f)  data can be archived and remain accessible for an appropriate period of time, in accordance with the relevant regulatory information requirements;

(g)  data is protected against corruption and theft;

(h)  the data elements processed correspond to the common eFTI data set and subsets, and can be processed in any of the official languages of the Union or co-official in a Member State. [Am. 38]

1a.  There shall be a standardised eFTI format which includes all regulatory information requirements listed in part A of Annex 1 and all regulatory information requirements listed in part B of Annex 1 under a designated and distinct section of the eFTI format listed by Member States. [Am. 39]

2.  The Commission shall is empowered to adopt, by means of implementing acts, delegated acts in accordance with Article 13, in order to establish detailed rules regarding the requirements laid down in paragraph 1. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 14(2). [Am. 40]

Article 9

Requirements for eFTI service providers

1.  eFTI service providers shall ensure that:

(a)  data is processed only by authorised users and according to clearly defined user role and processing rights within the eFTI platform, in accordance with the relevant regulatory information requirements;

(aa)  data is interoperable; [Am. 41]

(b)  data is stored and accessible for an appropriate period of time four years, in accordance with the relevant regulatory information requirements; [Am. 42]

(c)  competent authorities have immediate access to regulatory information concerning a freight transport operation processed by means of their eFTI platforms, when this access is given to the competent authorities by an economic operator concerned; [Am. 43]

(d)  data is appropriately secured, including against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss, destruction or damage.

2.  The Commission shall is empowered to adopt, by means of implementing acts, delegated acts in accordance with Article 13, in order to establish detailed rules regarding the requirements laid down in paragraph 1. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 14(2). [Am. 44]

Section 3

Certification

Article 10

Conformity assessment bodies

1.  Conformity assessment bodies shall be accredited according to Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 for the purposes of performing the certification of eFTI platforms and service providers as set out in Articles 11 and 12 of this Regulation.

2.  For the purposes of accreditation, a conformity assessment body shall meet the requirements laid down in Annex II.

3.  Member States shall maintain an updated list of the accredited conformity assessment bodies, and of the eFTI platforms and eFTI service providers certified by those bodies in accordance with Articles 11 and 12. They shall make that list publicly available on an official government Internet website. The list shall be regularly updated without delay each time a change to the information that it contains occurs, and at the latest by 31 March May each year. [Am. 45]

4.  By 31 March May each year, Member States shall submit the lists referred to in paragraph 3 to the Commission, together with the address of the website where those lists have been published. The Commission shall publish a link to those website addresses on its official webpage. [Am. 46]

Article 11

Certification of eFTI platforms

1.  Upon request of an eFTI platform developer conformity assessment bodies shall assess the compliance of the eFTI platform with the requirements laid down in Article 8(1). If the assessment is positive, a compliance certificate shall be issued. If the assessment is negative, the compliance assessment body shall inform the applicant why the platform does not comply with those requirements.

1a.   Certification shall be performed in an independent manner to avoid distortions of competition. Compliance shall be ensured with existing, standardised platforms identified in international conventions that are applicable in the Union. [Am. 47]

1b.  Existing IT systems, that are currently used by economic operators in the transport sector to provide regulatory information and that meet the functional requirements laid down in Article 8(1), shall be certified as eFTI-platforms. [Am. 48]

2.  Conformity assessment bodies shall maintain an up to date list of certified eFTI platforms and of those that received a negative assessment. The updated list shall be transmitted to the competent authorities concerned each time a certificate or a negative assessment is issued.

3.  Information made available to competent authorities by means of a certified eFTI platform shall be accompanied by a certification mark.

4.  The eFTI platform developer shall apply for a reassessment of its certification if the technical specifications adopted in the implementing acts referred to in Article 7(2) are revised.

5.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 13 to supplement this Regulation with rules on certification, use of the certification mark and renewal of the certification of eFTI platforms.

Article 12

Certification of eFTI service providers

1.  Upon request of an eFTI service provider, a conformity assessment body shall assess the compliance of the eFTI service provider with the requirements laid down in Article 9(1). If the assessment is positive, a compliance certificate shall be issued. If the assessment is negative, the compliance assessment body shall inform the applicant why the provider does not comply with those requirements.

2.  Conformity assessment bodies shall maintain an up to date list of the certified eFTI service providers and of those that received a negative assessment. The updated list shall be made available to the competent authorities concerned each time a certificate or a negative assessment is issued.

3.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 13 to supplement this Regulation with rules on certification of eFTI service providers.

Chapter IV

Delegations of power and implementing provisions

Article 13

Exercise of the delegation

1.  The power to adopt delegated acts is conferred on the Commission subject to the conditions laid down in this Article.

2.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Article 2, Article 7, Article 8(2), Article 9(2), Article 11(5) and Article 12(3) shall be conferred on the Commission for an indeterminate period of time from ... [date of entry into force of this Regulation]. [Am. 49]

3.  The delegation of power referred to in Article 2, Article 7, Article 8(2), Article 9(2), Article 11(5), Article 12(3) may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of the power specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force. [Am. 50]

4.  Before adopting a Delegated act, the Commission shall consult experts designated by each Member State acts adopted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016 Article 2 shall apply from one year after their entry into force. [Am. 51]

4a.   Before adopting a delegated act, the Commission shall ensure the consultation of the stakeholders concerned and their representative bodies in the appropriate fora, namely via the group of experts established by Commission Decision C(2018)5921 of 13.09.2018 (‘Digital Transport and Logistics Forum’). [Am. 52]

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

6.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Article 2, Article 10(5) and Article 11(3) shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by two months at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.

Article 14

Committee procedure

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by a committee. That committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.

2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 shall apply. [Am. 53]

Chapter V

Final provisions

Article 15

Review

1.  By ... [five three years from the date of application of this Regulation] at the latest the Commission shall carry out an evaluation of this Regulation and present a report on the main findings to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee. This evaluation shall in particular examine the possibility of extending the scope of this Regulation to certain business-to-business information that is necessary to prove compliance with the relevant requirements in the Union legal acts governing the transport of goods in accordance with Title VI of Part Three of the Treaty. [Am. 54]

2.  Member States shall provide the Commission with the information necessary for the preparation of that Report.

Article 16

Monitoring

The Member States shall provide the following information to the Commission every two years and for the first time by ... [two years from the date of application of this Regulation] at the latest:

1.  the number of competent authorities which have implemented measures to access and process information made available by economic operators concerned in accordance with Article 4(2);

2.  the number of economic operators concerned which have made regulatory information available to the Member State’s competent authorities in accordance with Article 4(1), broken down by transport mode.

The information shall be provided for each year covered by the reporting period.

Article 17

Entry into force and application

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

It shall apply from ... [three years from the entry into force of this Regulation]. [Am. 55]

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

Done at ...,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX I

REGULATORY INFORMATION FALLING UNDER THE SCOPE OF THIS REGULATION

Regulatory information requirements laid down in Union law

The table below includes the regulatory information requirements set out in Union acts laying down the conditions for the transport of goods on the territory of the Union in accordance with Title VI of Part Three of the Treaty as well as the conditions for the shipments of waste:

EU Legislation

Information item

Council Regulation No. 11 concerning the abolition of discrimination in transport rates and conditions

OJ 052, 16.08.1960, p. 1121–1126

Directive 92/106/EEC on the establishment of common rules for certain types of combined transport of goods between Member States

OJ L 368, 17.12.1992, p. 38–42

[Proposal COM(2017)0648 - 2017/0290 (COD) amending Directive 92/106/EEC ]

Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 on common rules for access to the international road haulage market

OJ L 300/72, 14.11.2009, p. 72-87

[Proposal COM(2017)0281 - 2017/0123 (COD) amending Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 and Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009]

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1998 laying down detailed measures for the implementation of the common basic standards on aviation security

OJ L 299/1, 14.11.2015, p. 1-142

Directive 2008/68/EC on the inland transport of dangerous goods

OJ L 260, 30.9.2008, p. 13–59

References to ADR, RID, ADN(12)

Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 on shipments of waste

OJ L 190, 12.7.2006, p. 1-98

Name and address of the consignor

Article 6.1

Article 3 (reference to Article 6 of Council Regulation No 11)

 

Nature and weight of the goods

Article 6.1

Article 3 (reference to Article 6 of Council Regulation No 11)

 

Place and date of acceptance of the goods for transport

Article 6.1

Article 3 (reference to Article 6 of Council Regulation No 11)

 

Place at which the goods are to be delivered

Article 6.1

Article 3 (reference to Article 6 of Council Regulation No 11)

 

Route to be taken, or distance to be travelled, if these factors justify a rate different from that normally applicable

Article 6.1

Article 3 (reference to Article 6 of Council Regulation No 11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frontier crossing points, where appropriate

Article 6.1

Article 3 (reference to Article 6 of Council Regulation No 11 of 27 June 1960)

 

Rail loading and unloading stations

Article 3

 

Inland waterway loading and unloading ports

Article 3

 

Maritime loading and unloading ports

Article 3

 

Stamp affixed by the rail or port authorities in the railway stations or inland waterway or sea ports concerned when that part of the journey carried out by rail or inland waterway or by sea has been completed

Article 3

 

[Name, address, contact details and signature of the shipper]

[Article 3.2(a) (replacing article 3 Council Directive 92/106/EEC)]

 

[Place and date where combined transport operations begins in the Union]

[Article 3.2(b) (replacing article 3 Council Directive 92/106/EEC)]

 

[Name, address and contact details of the consignee]

[Article 3.2(c) (replacing article 3 Council Directive 92/106/EEC)]

 

[Place and date where combined transport operations ends in the Union]

[Article 3.2(d) (replacing article 3 Council Directive 92/106/EEC)]

 

[Distance as the crow flies between the place where the combined transport operation begins and the place where the combined transport operations ends in the Union]

[Article 3.2(e) (replacing article 3 Council Directive 92/106/EEC)]

 

 

 

 

 

[A description, signed by the shipper, of the combined transport operation routing including at least the following details for each leg, including for each mode of transport which constitutes the non-road leg, of the operation within the Union:

(i) leg order (i.e. first leg, non-road leg or final leg);

(ii) name, address and contact details of the carrier;

(iii) mode of transport and its order in the operation.]

 

 

[Article 3.2(f) (replacing article 3 Council Directive 92/106/EEC)]

 

 

 

 

 

[Identification of the intermodal load unit transported]

[Article 3.2(g) (replacing article 3 Council Directive 92/106/EEC)]

 

 

 

 

 

[For the initial road transport leg:

(i) the place of transhipment to the non-road leg;

(ii) the distance of the initial road transport leg as the crow flies between the place of shipment and the first transhipment terminal;

(iii) if the initial road leg is completed, a signature of the carrier confirming that the transport operation of the road leg has been carried out]

[Article 3.2(h) (replacing article 3 Council Directive 92/106/EEC)]

 

 

 

 

 

[For the final road transport leg:

(i) the place where the goods are taken [over] from the non-road leg (rail, inland waterways or maritime transport);

(ii) the distance of the final road transport leg as the crow flies between the place of transhipment and the place where the combined transport operation ends in the Union); ]

[Article 3.2(i) (replacing article 3 Council Directive 92/106/EEC)]

 

 

 

 

 

[For the non-road leg:

(i) if the non-road leg is completed, a signature of the carrier (or carriers in the case of two or more non-road operations on the non-road leg) confirming that the transport operation on the non-road leg has been carried out;

(ii) when available, a signature or seal of the relevant rail or port authorities in the relevant terminals (railway station or port) concerned along the non-road leg operation confirming that the relevant part of the non-road leg has been completed. ]

[Article 3.2(j) (replacing article 3 Council Directive 92/106/EEC)]

 

 

 

 

 

Name, address and signature of the sender

Article 8.3(a)

[Article 8.3(a) (no changes proposed)]

 

Name, address and signature of the haulier

Article 8.3(b)

[Article 8.3(b) (no changes proposed)]

 

The name and address of the consignee as well as his signature and the date of delivery once the goods have been delivered

Article 8.3(c)

[Article 8.3(c) (no changes proposed)]

 

 

 

The place and date of taking over the goods and the place designated for delivery

Article 8.3(d)

[Article 8.3(d) (no changes proposed)]

 

 

 

The description in common use of the nature of the goods and the method of packing, and, in the case of dangerous goods, their generally recognised description, as well as the number of packages and their special marks and numbers

Article 8.3(e)

[Article 8.3(e) (no changes proposed)]

 

 

The gross mass of the goods or their quantity otherwise expressed

Article 8.3(f)

[Article 8.3(f) (no changes proposed)]

 

 

The number plates of the motor vehicle and trailer

Article 8.3(g)

[Article 8.3(g) (no changes proposed)]

 

 

Unique alphanumeric identifier of the regulated agend as received from the appropriate authority

Annex 6.3.2.6(a)

 

 

A unique identifier of the consignment, such as the number of the (house or master) air waybill

Annex 6.3.2.6(b)

 

 

The content of the consignment (**)

Annex 6.3.2.6(c)

 

 

The security status of the consignment, stating:

- 'SPX', meaning secure for passenger, all-cargo and all-mail aircraft, or

- 'SCO', meaning secure for all-cargo and all-mail aircraft only, or

- 'SHR', meaning secure for passenger, all-cargo and all-mail aircraft in accordance with high risk requirements

Annex 6.3.2.6(d)

 

 

The reason that the security status was issued, stating:

- ‘KC’, meaning received from known consignor, or

- ‘AC’, meaning received from account consignor, or

- ‘RA’, meaning selected by a regulated agent, or

- The means or method of screening used, or

- The grounds for exempting the consignment from screening

Annex 6.3.2.6(e)

 

 

The name of the person who issued the security status, or an equivalent identification, and the date and time of issue

Annex 6.3.2.6(f)

 

 

The unique identifier received from the appropriate authority, of any regulated agent who has accepted the security status given to a consignment by another regulated agent

Annex 6.3.2.6(g)

 

 

General information required in the transport document

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.4.1.1.1

 

General information required for carriage in tank vessels

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.4.1.1.2 – ADN only

 

Specific information required to be included for certain types of dangerous goods, or certain means of containment, or in case of a transport chain including different modes of transport, according to special provisions in Chapter 5.4 of the respective Annexes to ADR, RID and ADN

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.4.1.1.3 to 5.4.1.1.21 –ADR and RID

5.4.1.1.3 to 5.4.1.1.22 –ADN

 

Additional and special information required for certain classes of dangerous goods

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.4.1.2

 

Non Dangerous Goods

5.4.1.5

 

Container packing certificate

5.4.2

 

Instructions in writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.4.3

 

Information contained in the notification document for shipments of waste that are subject to the procedure of prior written notification and consent pursuant to Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annex IA

Information contained in the movement document for shipments of waste that are subject to the procedure of prior written notification and consent pursuant to Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annex IB

Information contained in the document accompanying the shipments of waste that are subject to the general information requirements of Article 18 of Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annex VII

Member States’ law

The table below lists the relevant Member States’ national legislation dealing with matters governed by Title VI of Part Three of the Treaty and requiring the provision of information identical, in whole or in part, to the information specified in point A of this Annex.

[Member State]

Legislation

Information item

[Legislation reference]

[Legislation reference]

[…]

[Legislation reference])

[Information item as specified in the respective legal act article]

[Article reference]

[Article reference]

 

 [Article reference]

[…]

[…]

[…]

[…]

[…]

[Information item as specified in the respective legal act article]

[Article reference]

[Article reference]

[…]

 [Article reference]

[Member State]

Legislation

Information item

[Legislation reference]

[Legislation reference]

[…]

[Legislation reference])

[Information item as specified in the respective legal act article]

[Article reference]

[Article reference]

 

 [Article reference]

[…]

[…]

[…]

[…]

[…]

[Information item as specified in the respective legal act article]

[Article reference]

[Article reference]

[…]

 [Article reference]

ANNEX II

REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO NOTIFIED BODIES

1.  For the purposes of notification, a conformity assessment body shall meet the requirements laid down in paragraphs 2 to 11.

2.  A conformity assessment body shall be established under national law of a Member State and have legal personality.

3.  A conformity assessment body shall be a third-party body independent of the organisation or the eFTI platform or platform service provider it assesses.

A body belonging to a business association or professional federation representing undertakings involved in the design, manufacturing, provision, assembly, use or maintenance of eFTI platform or platform service provider which it assesses may, on condition that its independence and the absence of any conflict of interest are demonstrated, be considered such a body.

4.  A conformity assessment body, its top level management and the personnel responsible for carrying out the conformity assessment tasks shall not be the designer, manufacturer, supplier, installer, purchaser, owner, user or maintainer of the eFTI platform or platform service provider which they assess, nor the representative of any of those parties.

A conformity assessment body, its top level management and the personnel responsible for carrying out the conformity assessment tasks shall not be directly involved in the design, manufacture or construction, the marketing, installation, use or maintenance of that eFTI platform or platform service provider, or represent the parties engaged in those activities. They shall not engage in any activity that may conflict with their independence of judgement or integrity in relation to conformity assessment activities for which they are notified. This shall in particular apply to consultancy services.

Conformity assessment bodies shall ensure that the activities of their subsidiaries or subcontractors do not affect the confidentiality, objectivity or impartiality of their conformity assessment activities.

5.  Conformity assessment bodies and their personnel shall carry out the conformity assessment activities with the highest degree of professional integrity and the requisite technical competence in the specific field and shall be free from all pressures and inducements, particularly financial, which might influence their judgement or the results of their conformity assessment activities, especially as regards persons or groups of persons with an interest in the results of those activities.

6.  A conformity assessment body shall be capable of carrying out all the conformity assessment tasks assigned to it by Articles 12 and 13 in relation to which it has been notified, whether those tasks are carried out by the conformity assessment body itself or on its behalf and under its responsibility.

At all times and for each certification procedure in relation to which it has been notified, a conformity assessment body shall have at its disposal the necessary:

(a)  personnel with technical knowledge and sufficient and appropriate experience to perform the conformity assessment tasks;

(b)  descriptions of procedures in accordance with which conformity assessment is carried out, ensuring the transparency and the ability of reproduction of those procedures. It shall have appropriate policies and procedures in place that distinguish between tasks it carries out as a notified body and other activities;

(c)  procedures for the performance of activities which take due account of the size of an undertaking, the sector in which it operates, its structure and the degree of complexity of the technology in question.

A conformity assessment body shall have the means necessary to perform the technical and administrative tasks connected with the conformity assessment activities in an appropriate manner.

7.  The personnel responsible for carrying out conformity assessment tasks shall have the following:

(a)  sound technical and vocational training covering all the conformity assessment activities in relation to which the conformity assessment body has been notified;

(b)  satisfactory knowledge of the requirements of the assessments they carry out and adequate authority to carry out those assessments;

(c)  appropriate knowledge and understanding of the requirements set out in Article 9;

(d)  the ability to draw up compliance certificates, records and reports demonstrating that assessments have been carried out.

8.  The impartiality of the conformity assessment bodies, their top level management and of the personnel responsible for carrying out the conformity assessment tasks shall be guaranteed.

The remuneration of the top level management and personnel responsible for carrying out the conformity assessment tasks of a conformity assessment body shall not depend on the number of assessments carried out or on the results of those assessments.

9.  Conformity assessment bodies shall take out liability insurance unless liability is assumed by the State in accordance with national law, or the Member State itself is directly responsible for the conformity assessment.

10.  The personnel of a conformity assessment body shall observe professional secrecy with regard to all information obtained in carrying out their tasks under Articles 12 and 13 or any provision of national law giving effect to them, except in relation to the competent authorities of the Member State in which its activities are carried out. Proprietary rights shall be protected.

11.  Conformity assessment bodies shall participate in, or ensure that their personnel responsible for carrying out the conformity assessment tasks are informed of, the relevant standardisation activities and relevant regulatory activities.

(1) OJ C 62, 15.2.2019, p. 265.
(2)OJ C 62, 15.2.2019, p. 265.
(3)Position of the European Parliament of 12 March 2019.
(4) Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 October 2013 laying down the Union Customs Code (OJ L 269, 10.10.2013, p. 1).
(5)European Interoperability Framework – Implementation Strategy, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions (COM(2017)0134).
(6)Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 339/93 (OJ L 218, 13.8.2008, p. 30).
(7)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 the Member States of the Commission's exercise of implementing powers (OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13).
(8)OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
(9)Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1).
(10)Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data (OJ L 8, 12.1.2001, p. 1).
(11)OJ C …
(12)References to ADR, RID and ADN must be understood within the meaning of Article 2(1), 2(2) and 2(3) of Directive 2008/68/EC. The numbers referred to are those of the respective Annexes to ADR, RID and ADN.


EU-Vietnam Voluntary Partnership Agreement on forest law enforcement, governance and trade ***
PDF 115kWORD 43k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (10861/2018 – C8-0445/2018 – 2018/0272(NLE))
P8_TA(2019)0140A8-0083/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (10861/2018),

–  having regard to the draft Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (10877/2018),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with first subparagraphs of Article 207(3) and (4), in conjunction with point (a)(v) of the second subparagraph of Article 218(6) and Article 218(7) thereof, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0445/2018),

–  having regard to its non-legislative resolution of 12 March 2019(1) on the draft decision,

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on International Trade and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A8-0083/2019),

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 Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

(1) Texts adopted of that date, P8_TA(2019)0141.


EU-Vietnam Voluntary Partnership Agreement on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (resolution)
PDF 148kWORD 53k
European Parliament non-legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (10861/2018 – C8-0445/2018 – 2018/0272M(NLE))
P8_TA(2019)0141A8-0093/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (10861/2018),

–  having regard to the draft Voluntary Partnership Agreement of 9 October 2018 between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (10877/2018),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with the first subparagraphs of Articles 207(3) and 207(4), in conjunction with point (a)(v) of the second subparagraph of Article 218(6) and with Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0445/2018),

–  having regard to the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, of the other part(1),

–  having regard to the draft Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,

–  having regard to the draft Investment Protection Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam of the other part,

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2173/2005 of 20 December 2005 on the establishment of a FLEGT licensing scheme for imports of timber into the European Community(2) (FLEGT Regulation),

–  having regard to the Commission’s proposal for a Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan (COM(2003)0251),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 28 June 2016 on forest law enforcement, governance and trade (10721/2016),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market(3) (EU Timber Regulation),

–  having regard to the reports of the Environmental Investigation Agency of 31 May 2018 entitled ‘Serial Offender: Vietnam’s continued imports of illegal Cambodian timber’(4) and of 25 September 2018 entitled ‘Vietnam in Violation: Action required on fake CITES permits for rosewood trade’(5),

–  having regard to the 2015-2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

–  having regard to the Paris Agreement reached on 12 December 2015 at the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21),

–  having regard to the 2011 Bonn Challenge, which is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030,

–  having regard to the report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) of 2012 entitled ‘Green carbon, black trade: illegal logging, tax fraud and laundering in the world’s tropical forests’(6),

–  having regard to the UN conventions to tackle crime and corruption, including the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Convention against Corruption,

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 12 March 2019(7) on the draft Council decision,

–  having regard to Rule 99(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A8-0093/2019),

A.  whereas Vietnam became the third country in Asia to enter into negotiations on a forest law enforcement, governance and trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) in 2010, after Indonesia and Malaysia; whereas negotiations were concluded in May 2017 and the agreement was signed on 19 October 2018;

B.  whereas the objective of the VPA is to provide a legal framework aimed at ensuring that all timber and timber product imports from Vietnam into the EU covered by the VPA have been produced legally; whereas VPAs are generally intended to foster systemic changes in the forestry sector aimed at sustainable management of forests, eradicating illegal logging and supporting worldwide efforts to stop deforestation and forest degradation;

C.  whereas Vietnam is a significant country in the context of the timber trade, home to the world’s fourth-largest, export-oriented wood processing sector and aiming to become the largest; whereas, as a processing hub, Vietnam is a major exporter of timber products to the EU but also to countries in the region, notably China and Japan;

D.  whereas Vietnam is a major importer of timber and timber products, with its factories consuming some 34 million cubic meters of timber and timber products in 2017, of which 25 % was imported and 75 % was from domestic plantations, many owned and managed by smallholders; whereas imports grew in value by 68 % over the period 2011-2017; whereas in recent years, Vietnam has made considerable progress in reducing domestic deforestation and has increased its forested area from 37 % in 2005 to 41,65 % in 2018, including industrial plantations; whereas Vietnam has enforced a prohibition on the logging of domestic natural forests since 2016;

E.  whereas the biggest source countries for logs and sawn timber in 2017 were Cameroon, the US and Cambodia, alongside Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a notable supplier; whereas, since 2015, Cambodia has been Vietnam’s second-largest tropical timber supplier, in spite of a reported ban(8) on exports to Vietnam; whereas a 43 % increase in volume and 40 % increase in value of imports from African countries was reported between 2016 and 2017; whereas NGOs with relevant expertise have pointed out that timber exported from Cambodia and DRC should be considered as ‘high risk’, while raw timber is often imported from countries characterised by weak governance, high levels of corruption or conflict, with widespread risk of illegality in timber harvesting;

F.  whereas Cambodia has the fifth-highest deforestation rate the world and whereas UN statistics show that Cambodia’s forest cover fell from 73 % in 1990 to 57 % in 2010;

G.  whereas, based on Article 3 of Sub-decree No. 131 of 28 November 2006, Cambodia prohibits exports of round logs except from plantations, rough sawn timber except from plantations, and square and rectangular timber of a thickness and width greater than 25 cm(9); whereas all exports of natural forest timber products from Cambodia are in principle deemed to be in breach of Cambodian law; whereas, under the VPA, Vietnam is committed to only importing timber that has been legally harvested in accordance with the national legislation of the source country;

H.  whereas under a VPA, a country commits to setting up a policy with a view to ensuring that only timber and timber products verified as legal will be exported to the EU(10); whereas Vietnam will have to adopt legislation putting in place the Timber Legality Assurance System (TLAS), and set up the necessary administrative structures and capacity in order to implement and enforce its VPA commitments; whereas this VPA will apply to timber and timber products intended for both domestic and export markets, save for the final step of FLEGT licensing, which is for the time being intended for exports to the EU only;

I.  whereas Vietnam has committed to adopting legislation ensuring only legally produced timber(11) is imported into its market, based on due diligence obligations for timber and timber product importers; whereas Vietnam has also committed to recognising the relevant laws of countries of harvest as part of the definition of legality under the VPA;

J.  whereas promoting this VPA in the region would play an important role in fostering economic integration and achieving international sustainable development goals; whereas the conclusion of new VPAs – in particular with China, which borders Vietnam and is a major player in the processed wood industry – would make it possible to provide guarantees as to the legality and viability of the trade in timber and timber products in the region;

K.  whereas only once Vietnam has proven full implementation of all VPA commitments(12) and has set up the capacity to enforce the related national legislation will it be able to accede to the EU FLEGT licencing scheme; whereas timber imported under a FLEGT licence is presumed to be legal under the EU Timber Regulation; whereas the accession of Vietnam to the FLEGT licencing scheme is approved by a delegated act;

L.  whereas the EU-Vietnam FTA will liberalise trade in timber and timber products at its entry into force and imports from Vietnam will be covered by the general due diligence obligations of the EU Timber Regulation until the start of FLEGT licencing(13);

1.  Recalls that sustainable and inclusive forest management and governance is essential to achieve the objectives set in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement;

2.  Calls for the EU to ensure the coherence of the VPA with all its policies, including in the fields of development, the environment, agriculture and trade;

3.  Strongly supports the FLEGT process with Vietnam given the country’s role in the timber processing sector; welcomes the signature of the VPA, an agreement designed to progressively bring complete policy reform in the country aimed at cleaning illegally produced timber from the supply chains of Vietnamese operators; welcomes Vietnam’s commitment and the progress made so far and is aware that the full implementation of the VPA will be a long-term process entailing not only the adoption of a whole set of legislation (TLAS) but also ensuring that adequate administrative capacity and expertise for implementation and enforcement of the VPA is in place; recalls that FLEGT licencing can start only once Vietnam has demonstrated the readiness of its TLAS system; takes note of the challenges represented by the coordination between the national and provincial levels, which is necessary in order to adequately and consistently enforce the VPA throughout the country and calls on the Government of Vietnam to ensure such coordination;

4.  Recalls that the implementation of the VPA must complement EU commitments to environmental protection and ensure coherence with commitments to prevent mass deforestation;

5.  Calls on the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to allocate adequate human resources to the implementation of this VPA, including ensuring adequate resources to the EU Delegation in Hanoi, as well as financial resources to Vietnam in the framework of the present and future development cooperation instruments to be specifically earmarked for the implementation of the VPA; encourages the Commission and the EEAS to assist the Vietnamese authorities and civil society, including by making satellite images available to them; calls for the EU to direct its efforts towards the strengthening of Vietnam’s legal framework and institutional capacity by addressing the technical and economic challenges that impede the effective implementation and enforcement of existing national and international regulations;

6.  Acknowledges commitments made by Vietnam’s wood industry to eliminate illegal timber from supply chains and raise awareness of these matters; stresses, however, that a shift in mindset within the industry, as well as robust enforcement, is key; recalls that the presence of illegal timber in supply chains risks inflicting reputational damage on the Vietnamese processing industry;

7.  Is aware, however, that in the past Vietnam has been faced with a significant challenge in tackling illegal timber trade from Laos, and in recent years from Cambodia; considers that in such cases Vietnam and supplier countries are together responsible for fuelling this illegal trade, since Vietnamese authorities, notably at provincial level, have taken formal decisions that breach the legislation of the country of harvest, such as administering formal import quotas;

8.  Welcomes Vietnam’s commitment to adopt legislation to ensure that only legally produced timber is imported into its market, based on mandatory due diligence for importers, as one of the major achievements of the VPA; recalls that due diligence obligations should not be reduced to a mere box-ticking exercise, but that they should include all necessary steps – such as gathering information, assessing risks and taking additional measures to mitigate any risks identified with a view to reducing the risk level to ‘negligible’ – to be enforced by the competent national authorities through sound and systematic checks on individual companies; highlights the challenge of enforcing due diligence obligations through customs authorities, which will require adequate training; recalls that the Vietnamese authorities should adopt a due diligence system corresponding to the one detailed in the EU Timber Regulation and stresses the need to provide for independent third party submissions in the national due diligence legislation; encourages the Vietnamese authorities to consider third party auditing and public reporting by companies as requirements of their due diligence system, as well as to provide adequate support to companies in complying with their obligations and to avoid placing disproportionate burdens on household suppliers of timber, while avoiding the creation of loopholes;

9.  Calls on the Government of Vietnam to provide for adequate, dissuasive and proportionate penalties for infringement of legislation implementing TLAS, which would in the case of imports include a full prohibition of the placing on the Vietnamese market of illegal timber, alongside the seizure of such timber;

10.  Welcomes the independent evaluation and complaints and feedback mechanism and calls on the Vietnamese authorities to ensure that these are responded to adequately, including through effective and dissuasive enforcement action when necessary; expects these mechanisms to operate in full transparency and to foster information sharing between civil society and enforcement authorities; welcomes the commitment by Vietnam to ensure independent monitoring of the VPA implementation by civil society organisations, forest associations, enterprises, trade unions, local communities and people living in forest areas; stresses the crucial importance of their involvement and access to relevant and up-to-date information in enabling them to fulfil their role in this process and to further contribute to the credibility of TLAS and its continuous strengthening; welcomes the commitment made by Vietnam to allow civil society access to the national database on forestry and encourages the government to submit TLAS implementing legislation to public consultation and take into account the feedback it receives;

11.  Welcomes the involvement of civil society organisations during and following the VPA negotiations and urges the Government of Vietnam to ensure genuine and full inclusion during the whole implementation phase and beyond, covering the entire scope of the VPA, including import controls, due diligence obligations, the organisation classification system and risk-based verification of companies and FLEGT licences; stresses the importance of involving local communities both for socio-economic reasons and in order to ensure proper implementation of the new Forestry Law and the VPA commitments;

12.  Strongly condemns the illegal timber trade taking place across the Cambodian border and calls on the authorities of both countries to put an immediate and complete stop to the illegal flows, as an absolute necessity for a successful continuation of the VPA process; urges the Vietnamese authorities to investigate, remove from function and bring to justice those responsible for having authorised and managed the illegal trade from Cambodia and elsewhere; welcomes the recent decision taken by the Vietnamese authorities only to allow timber trade through the main international gates, as well as to strengthen enforcement capabilities against illegal trade; urges the Vietnamese authorities to immediately categorise timber from Cambodia as ‘high risk’ and to make sure Cambodian legislation on the harvest and export of timber is respected, in line with VPA commitments; calls on the two countries to foster and improve dialogue, cross-border cooperation, exchange of trade data and information on risks related to illegal timber trade and the respective legislation in force, and encourages them to involve the EU in facilitating this dialogue; encourages Vietnam and Cambodia to request support from Interpol and work together on effective and long-term measures to combat rampant illegal logging and the cross border smuggling of timber to Vietnam; calls on the Vietnamese authorities to apply the same measures to imports from other supplier countries where similar concerns exist or may arise, notably those in Africa, such as DRC;

13.  Stresses the need to address the regional dimension of illegal logging and the transport, processing and trade of illegal timber throughout the supply chain; calls for this regional dimension to be included in the VPA evaluation process in the form of an assessment of the link between the existence of weaker enforcement mechanisms in other countries of the region and the increase of exports from such countries to the EU;

14.  Stresses that poor governance and corruption in the forestry sector accelerate illegal logging and forest degradation and emphasises the fact that the success of the FLEGT initiative also depends on tackling fraud and corruption throughout the timber supply chain; urges the Government of Vietnam to work to stop widespread corruption and address other factors fuelling this trade, in particular in relation to customs and other authorities that will play a pivotal role in the implementation and enforcement of the VPA, as a concrete signal that Vietnam is fully committed to the VPA process; stresses the need to end impunity in the forest sector by ensuring that infractions are prosecuted;

15.  Welcomes the recent adoption by the Vietnamese Government of an action plan for the implementation of the VPA and calls on the government to follow a concrete, time bound and measurable approach; welcomes the entry into force of the new Forestry Law on 1 January 2019, which includes a prohibition on imports of illegally produced timber into Vietnam and urges the Vietnamese authorities to enforce this prohibition and to swiftly adopt implementing measures if necessary, with a view to bridging the gap until TLAS becomes operational;

16.  Welcomes the inclusion of provisions on sustainable management of forests in the EU-Vietnam FTA, which also make a connection with the VPA; calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to trade in timber and timber products during the implementation of the FTA and to monitor trade flows closely in order to make sure that additional trade liberalisation does not entail additional risks of illegal trade;

17.  Asks the Commission to report to Parliament annually on progress made by Vietnam in implementing the VPA, including against the requirements of this resolution, as well as on the activities of the Joint Implementation Committee, with a view to enabling an informed decision once the delegated act authorising the acceptance of FLEGT licences is proposed; calls on the Commission to consider improving the regulation on FLEGT licencing at the next review exercise in order to enable it to respond quickly to cases of significant infringements of VPA commitments;

18.  Calls on the Commission to foster dialogue and promote the EU Timber Regulation with the major importing countries in the region and major EU trading partners such as China and Japan, and to further prioritise the need in bilateral relations with those countries, including in trade relations, for concrete solutions to stop illegal timber trade, with a view to creating a global level playing field on which to address the issue; supports the Commission in launching VPA negotiations with Vietnam’s neighbouring countries as soon as the necessary conditions are fulfilled and underlines the importance of FLEGT VPAs in future development and cooperation instruments; invites the Commission to put in place instruments to facilitate best practice exchanges between Vietnam and other countries that have already concluded VPAs with the EU;

19.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States, of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

(1) OJ L 329, 3.12.2016, p. 8.
(2) OJ L 347, 30.12.2005, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 295, 12.11.2010, p. 23.
(4) https://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/eia-serial-offender-web.pdf
(5) https://eia-international.org/report/vietnam-violation-action-required-fake-cites-permits-rosewood-trade/
(6) Nellemann, C., INTERPOL Environmental Crime Programme (eds). 2012. Green Carbon, Black Trade: Illegal Logging, Tax Fraud and Laundering in the Worlds Tropical Forests. A Rapid Response Assessment. United Nations Environment Programme, GRIDArendal, http://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/8030/Green%20carbon%20Black%20Trade_%20Illegal %20logging.pdf?sequence=5&isAllowed=y
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0140.
(8) https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/despite-ban-timber-exports-vietnam-nearing-2016-total
(9) https://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/eia-serial-offender-web.pdf, p. 6.
(10) The VPA covers all major products exported to the EU, particularly the five compulsory timber products as defined in the 2005 FLEGT Regulation (logs, sawn timber, railway sleepers, plywood and veneer) and also includes a number of other timber products such as wood chip particles, parquet flooring, particle board and wooden furniture. The VPA covers exports to all third countries though, at least initially, the licencing scheme only applies to EU exports.
(11) According to point (j) of Article 2 of the VPA, ‘‘legally produced timber’ (hereinafter also referred to as ‘legal timber’) means timber products harvested or imported and produced in accordance with the legislation of Vietnam set out in Annex II and other relevant provisions of this Agreement; and, in the case of imported timber, it means timber products harvested, produced and exported in accordance with the relevant legislation of the country of harvest and the procedures described in Annex V’.
(12) The readiness of the TLAS system for FLEGT licensing will first be assessed jointly by the EU and Vietnam. Only if both parties agree that the system is robust enough will the licensing be able to start.
(13) Article 13.8, paragraph 2(a): ‘[each Party shall] encourage the promotion of trade in forest products from sustainably managed forests and harvested in accordance with the domestic legislation in the country of harvest; this may include the conclusion of a Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement’.


Protocol amending the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data ***
PDF 113kWORD 41k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the draft Council decision authorising Member States to ratify, in the interest of the European Union, the Protocol amending the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (10923/2018 – C8-0440/2018 – 2018/0238(NLE))
P8_TA(2019)0142A8-0070/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10923/2018),

–  having regard to the Protocol amending the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108) (CETS No. 223),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 16 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0440/2018),

–  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 (A8-0070/2019),

1.  Gives its consent to the draft Council decision;

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


Authorising Member States to become party to the Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated safety, security, and service approach at football matches and other sports events ***
PDF 115kWORD 42k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the draft Council decision authorising Member States to become parties, in the interest of the European Union, to the Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security, and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events (CETS No 218) (12527/2018 – C8-0436/2018 – 2018/0116(NLE))
P8_TA(2019)0143A8-0080/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12527/2018),

–  having regard to the Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events (CETS No. 218),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 87(1) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(8) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8-0436/2018),

–  having regard to the Council Decision 2002/348/JHA of 25 April 2002 concerning security in connection with football matches with an international dimension(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 February 2017 on an integrated approach to Sport Policy: good governance, accessibility and integrity(2),

–  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 and the opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0080/2019),

1.  Gives its consent to the draft Council decision;

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

(1) OJ L 121, 8.5.2002, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 2.


Protocol amending the EU-China Agreement on Maritime Transport (accession of Croatia) ***
PDF 113kWORD 42k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union and of the Member States, of the Protocol amending the Agreement on maritime transport between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the government of the People's Republic of China, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union (05083/2015 – C8-0022/2019 – 2014/0327(NLE))
P8_TA(2019)0144A8-0168/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (05083/2015),

–  having regard to the draft Protocol amending the Agreement on Maritime Transport between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Government of the People's Republic of China, of the other part (05880/2015),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 100(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0022/2019),

–  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 Transport and Tourism (A8-0168/2019),

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 People's Republic of China.


EU-Egypt Euro-Mediterranean Agreement (accession of Croatia) ***
PDF 113kWORD 42k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union and its Member States, of a Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Arab Republic of Egypt, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union (10219/2016 – C8-0135/2017 – 2016/0121(NLE))
P8_TA(2019)0145A8-0025/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10219/2016),

–  having regard to the draft Protocol to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Arab Republic of Egypt, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union (10221/2016),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 217 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C8‑0135/2017),

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

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0025/2019),

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 Arab Republic of Egypt.


EU-Turkmenistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement
PDF 143kWORD 47k
European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2019 on the draft Council and Commission decision on the conclusion by the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement establishing a Partnership between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and Turkmenistan, of the other part (12183/1/2011 – C8-0059/2015 – 1998/0031R(NLE))
P8_TA(2019)0146A8-0072/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council and Commission decision (12183/1/2011),

–  having regard to the draft Partnership and Cooperation Agreement establishing a partnership between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and Turkmenistan, of the other part (12288/2011),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Articles 91, 100(2), 207, 209 and 218(6)(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in accordance with the second paragraph of Article 101 of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (C8-0059/2015),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the region of Central Asia, in particular those of 20 February 2008 on an EU Strategy for Central Asia(1), of 15 December 2011 on the state of implementation of the EU Strategy for Central Asia(2), of 13 April 2016 on implementation and review of the EU-Central Asia Strategy(3), of 22 April 2009 on the Interim Trade Agreement with Turkmenistan(4), and of 14 February 2006 on the human rights and democracy clause in European Union agreements(5),

–  having regard to the 1999 Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related matters between the European Community, the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Atomic Energy Community, of the one part, and Turkmenistan, of the other part, concluded by the Council on 27 July 2009 (5144/1999), and to the regular meetings of the Joint Committee established thereunder,

–  having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding on Energy signed between the European Union and Turkmenistan in May 2008,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to which Turkmenistan is a party,

–  having regard to the annual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue,

–  having regard to the commitment made by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) in her letter to the Committee on Foreign Affairs on 16 December 2015, containing the aspects mentioned in paragraph 3 herein,

–  having regard to the letter by the VP/HR to the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of 5 July 2018 noting her support for the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Turkmenistan,

–  having regard to Rule 99(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the interim report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0072/2019),

A.  whereas Central Asia is a region in which the European Union is increasingly engaged;

B.  whereas a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Turkmenistan was initialled in 1997 and signed in 1998; whereas 14 Member States of the 15 original signatories have since ratified the PCA (the United Kingdom being the last remaining one); whereas Turkmenistan ratified the PCA in 2004; whereas accession to the PCA by those Member States that acceded to the EU after the agreement had been signed is subject to a separate protocol and ratification procedure;

C.  whereas once fully ratified, the PCA would be concluded for an initial period of 10 years, and then renewed annually, enabling the EU to resile from the agreement should serious doubts arise concerning respect for human rights or other serious infringements; whereas the parties may amend the PCA in order to take account of new developments;

D.  whereas the European Parliament was consulted on the Interim Trade Agreement (ITA) with Turkmenistan by the Council in April 2009, as part of an optional, legally non-binding procedure;

E.  whereas the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have set their benchmarks against which progress in Turkmenistan should be measured and the criteria authorising the pursuit of further cooperation, in compliance with internationally recognised standards on the rule of law, good governance and human rights;

F.  whereas respect for democracy and fundamental and human rights, and for the principles of a market economy, which constitute essential elements of the ITA (as set out in both Article 1 therein and Article 2 of the PCA), should remain long-term goals for Turkmenistan; whereas the unilateral suspension of application is a possibility in the event that either party were to violate these elements;

G.  whereas following considerations of the draft recommendation to give Parliament’s consent to conclusion of the PCA, and of its accompanying draft report of 8 May 2015 containing a motion for a resolution, the Committee on Foreign Affairs decided to temporarily suspend the procedure on 24 May 2016 until it deemed that sufficient progress had been made as regards respect for human rights and the rule of law, and decided to open the current interim procedure;

H.  whereas the continued validity of the benchmarks for human rights progress for Turkmenistan, as articulated by Parliament in its previous resolutions, is of vital importance for a principled and coherent EU policy for relations with the country;

I.  whereas Turkmenistan adopted a National Action Plan on Human Rights for 2016-2020 (NAPHR) in 2015, prepared with the assistance of the UN Development Programme in 2013;

J.  whereas Turkmenistan has concluded international agreements, such as the ICCPR, the ICESCR and ILO Conventions;

1.  Asks the Council, the Commission and the VP/HR to set, as a matter of urgency, the following short-term benchmarks to measure sustainable progress by the state authorities of Turkmenistan, based on recommendations by the UN, the OSCE and the EBRD, and before it has given its consent to the PCA:

The political system, the rule of law and good governance

Human rights and fundamental freedoms

   (i) A clear division between the executive, legislative and judiciary branches and, inter alia, enabling and guaranteeing real participation by the population in state decision-making processes, including a consultation with international experts such as the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), on the compliance of the Constitution of Turkmenistan with these democratic principles, and a demonstration of willingness on the part of Turkmenistan to consider the recommendations for reforms proposed by these organisations;
   (ii) The removal of restrictions on the registration and functioning of non-governmental organisations;
   (iii) Implementation of the commitments made by the Turkmen Government in its NAPHR for 2016-2020;
   (iv) An end to the secret detentions and enforced disappearances, forced labour, torture and disclosure of the fate or whereabouts of disappeared persons, allowing families to stay in contact with persons in custody; an acknowledgment by the country’s authorities of the existence of political prisoners and unhindered access to the country for international organisations and independent monitors, including the International Committee of the Red Cross;
   (v) Ensuring unhindered access to various sources of information and, in particular, allowing people to access alternative sources of information, including international communication facilities, and to keep telecommunications devices, such as private satellite dishes or affordable internet connections;
   (vi) An end to the persecution and intimidation of independent journalists and civil society and human rights activists based in the country and abroad, including of their family members; guaranteeing freedom of expression and assembly;
   (vii) Allowing visits by the UN and international and regional human rights organisations that have requested them and are still awaiting replies;
   (viii) An end to the informal and arbitrary system of travel bans and ensuring that people who have been denied permission to leave the country are able to travel freely;

2.  Asks the Council, the Commission and the VP/HR to take into account the following long-term recommendations for sustainable and credible progress:

The political system, the rule of law and good governance

Human rights and fundamental freedoms

   (i) Respect for the principles of political pluralism and democratic accountability, with properly functioning political parties and other organisations, free from interference;
   (ii) Continued implementation of reforms at all levels in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and in all areas of the administration, especially in the judiciary and in law enforcement;
   (iii) Strong and effective safeguards against high-level corruption, money laundering, organised crime and drug trafficking;
   (iv) Full implementation of the law prohibiting child labour;
   (v) Overall respect for the peaceful and legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of religion or belief;
   (vi) General freedom of movement, both within and outside the country;

3.  Underlines the need for the European Parliament to closely follow and monitor developments in Turkmenistan and the implementation of all parts of the PCA, once it enters into force; calls on the VP/HR, in this context, to implement and publicly commit to the human rights monitoring mechanism, allowing Parliament to be properly informed by the European External Action Service (EEAS) about the implementation of the PCA, once it enters into force, and, in particular, of its objectives and of compliance with Article 2, so that it can respond to developments on the ground in the event of documented and proven serious breaches of human rights; highlights the possibility of a mechanism to suspend the PCA should such cases occur and welcomes, in this respect, the VP/HR’s letter to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of 16 December 2015, containing the following objectives:

   (i) ensuring that the European Parliament is properly informed about the implementation of the human rights and democratisation provisions of the PCA, including access to the relevant information on the development of the situations regarding human rights, democracy and the rule of law and that it is briefed upon request ahead of and following meetings of the Cooperation Council in a timely manner, subject to applicable confidentiality rules;
   (ii) closer interaction with the European Parliament and civil society in preparation for the annual Human Rights Dialogues, and debriefings;
   (iii) consultation with the European Parliament when preparing updates of the EU Human Rights Country Strategy for Turkmenistan;

4.  Welcomes the VP/HR’s announcement from November 2018 regarding the setting up of a fully-fledged EU Delegation in Ashgabat; emphasises that the new Delegation should develop a mutually beneficial cooperation strategy tailored to Turkmenistan’s development conditions and requirements, should monitor the situation in the country, including human rights violations and individual cases of concern, should enter into a dialogue with the country’s various political, social and economic players, should enable diplomacy on the ground, and should improve the management and oversight of projects funded by EU external financing instruments;

5.  Concludes that it will consider giving its consent once it deems that the recommendations set out in paragraphs 1 and 3 have been duly addressed by the Commission, the Council, the VP/HR and the state authorities of Turkmenistan;

6.  Instructs its President to request that the Council, the Commission and the VP/HR regularly provide Parliament with substantial information on the situation in Turkmenistan;

7.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the VP/HR and the Government and Parliament of Turkmenistan.

(1) OJ C 184 E, 6.8.2009, p. 49.
(2) OJ C 168 E, 14.6.2013, p. 91.
(3) OJ C 58, 15.2.2018, p. 119.
(4) OJ C 184 E, 8.7.2010, p. 20.
(5) OJ C 290 E, 29.11.2006, p. 107.


Implementing decision on the launch of automated data exchange with regard to DNA data in the United Kingdom *
PDF 113kWORD 42k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the draft Council implementing decision on the launch of automated data exchange with regards to DNA data in the United Kingdom (13123/2018 – C8-0474/2018 – 2018/0812(CNS))
P8_TA(2019)0147A8-0092/2019

(Consultation)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council draft (13123/2018),

–  having regard to Article 39(1) of the Treaty on European Union, as amended by the Treaty of Amsterdam, and Article 9 of Protocol No 36 on transitional provisions, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C8-0164/2018),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism and cross-border crime(1), and in particular Article 33 thereof,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0092/2019),

1.  Approves the Council draft;

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 and the Commission.

(1) OJ L 210, 6.8.2008, p. 1.


Exchange of information on third country nationals and European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) ***I
PDF 123kWORD 44k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA, as regards the exchange of information on third country nationals and as regards the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), and replacing Council Decision 2009/316/JHA (COM(2016)0007 – C8-0012/2016 – 2016/0002(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0148A8-0219/2016

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0007),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 82(1), second subparagraph, point (d) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0012/2016),

–  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 19 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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0219/2016),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 12 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Framework Decision 2009/315/JHA, as regards the exchange of information on third-country nationals and as regards the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), and replacing Council Decision 2009/316/JHA

P8_TC1-COD(2016)0002


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive (EU) 2019/884.)


Centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third country nationals and stateless persons (ECRIS-TCN) ***I
PDF 122kWORD 58k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third country nationals and stateless persons (TCN) to supplement and support the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS-TCN system) and amending Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 (COM(2017)0344 – C8-0217/2017 – 2017/0144(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0149A8-0018/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0344),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 82(1), second subparagraph, point (d) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0217/2017),

–  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 19 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 Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0018/2018),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 12 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third-country nationals and stateless persons (ECRIS-TCN) to supplement the European Criminal Records Information System and amending Regulation (EU) 2018/1726

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0144


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2019/816.)


European Solidarity Corps programme ***I
PDF 298kWORD 108k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Solidarity Corps programme and repealing [European Solidarity Corps Regulation] and Regulation (EU) No 375/2014 (COM(2018)0440 – C8-0264/2018 – 2018/0230(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0150A8-0079/2019

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0440),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Articles 165(4), 166(4) and 214(5) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0264/2018),

–  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 17 October 2018(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 6 December 2018(2),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Culture and Education and the opinions of the Committee on Development, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Regional Development (A8-0079/2019),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 12 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) …/… of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the European Solidarity Corps programme and repealing [European Solidarity Corps Regulation] and Regulation (EU) No 375/2014

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0230


(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 Articles 165(4), 166(4) and 214(5) 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),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(4),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(5),

Whereas:

(1)  The European Union is built on solidarity, among its citizens and among its Member States. This common value, enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union, guides its actions and provides the necessary unity to cope with current and future societal challenges, which young Europeans are willing to help address by expressing their solidarity in practice. [Am. 1]

(1a)   Given the significant increase in humanitarian crises and global emergencies, and with a view to enhancing the promotion of solidarity and the visibility of humanitarian aid among Union citizens, there is a need to develop solidarity between Member States and with third countries affected by man-made or natural disasters. [Am. 2]

(1b)  Humanitarian aid is based on the principles of impartiality, neutrality and non-discrimination, which are embedded in international humanitarian law and Union law. Humanitarian aid provides a needs-based emergency response aimed at preserving life, preventing and alleviating human suffering, maintaining human dignity and providing protection for vulnerable groups affected by man-made or natural disasters. Disaster risk reduction and preparedness through capacity and resilience building activities are also essential elements of humanitarian aid. [Am. 3]

(2)  The State of the Union address of 14 September 2016 emphasised the need to invest in young people and announced the establishment of a European Solidarity Corps (the ‘Programme’) with a view to creating opportunities for young people across the Union to make a meaningful contribution to society, show solidarity and develop their skills, thus getting not only work but also invaluable human experience.

(3)  In its Communication ‘A European Solidarity Corps’ of 7 December 2016(6), the Commission emphasised the need to strengthen the foundations for solidarity work across Europe, to provide young people with more and better opportunities for solidarity activities covering a broad range of areas, and to support national, regional and local actors, in their efforts to cope with different challenges and crises. The Communication launched a first phase of the European Solidarity Corps whereby different Union programmes were mobilised to offer volunteering, traineeship or job opportunities to young people across the Union. [Am. 4]

(4)  Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union highlights solidarity as one of the principles key to the European Union. That principle is also referred to in Article 21(1) of the Treaty of the European Union as one of the foundations of the EU’s external action.

(4a)  Within the context of this Regulation, solidarity is understood as a sense of responsibility on the part of everyone with regard to everyone to commit oneself to the common good, which is expressed through concrete actions without consideration of return service. [Am. 5]

(4b)   Providing assistance to people and communities outside the Union which are confronted with disasters or which are particularly vulnerable to disasters and in need of humanitarian aid, based on the fundamental principles of neutrality, humanity, independence and impartiality, is an important expression of solidarity. [Am. 6]

(4c)   Participating volunteers and organisations implementing actions under the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps should abide by the principles set out in the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid. [Am. 7]

(4d)  There is a need to further develop solidarity with victims of crises and disasters in third countries and to raise both awareness levels and the visibility of humanitarian aid and volunteering in general as a lifelong activity among Union citizens. [Am. 8]

(4e)  The Union and the Member States have committed to implement the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals thereof, both internally and through external actions. [Am. 9]

(4f)  In its conclusions of 19 May 2017 on operationalising the humanitarian-development nexus, the Council recognised the need to strengthen resilience by better linking humanitarian assistance and development cooperation and to further strengthen the operational links between the complementary approaches of humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and conflict prevention. [Am. 10]

(5)  Young people should be provided with easily accessible, inclusive and meaningful opportunities to engage in solidarity activities, which could enable them to express their commitment to the benefit of communities while acquiring useful experience, knowledge, skills and competences for their personal, educational, social, civic and professional development, thereby improving their employability. Those activities should also support the mobility of young volunteers, trainees and workers and a multicultural exchange. [Am. 11]

(6)  The solidarity activities offered to young people should be of high quality, in the sense that; they should respond to aim to tackle unmet societal needs, enhance solidarity and contribute to strengthening communities, and democratic participation. They should offer young people the opportunity to acquire valuable knowledge, skills and competences, . They should be financially accessible to young people, and be implemented in safe, inclusive and healthy conditions. Dialogue with local and regional authorities and European networks specialised in urgent social problems should be encouraged in order to best determine unmet societal needs and ensure a needs-oriented programme. Solidarity activities should not have a negative impact on existing jobs or traineeships and should contribute to reinforcing the corporate social responsibility commitments of companies, while not replacing them. [Am. 12]

(7)  The European Solidarity Corps provides a single entry point for solidarity activities throughout the Union and beyond. Consistency and complementarity should be ensured with other relevant Union policies and programmes. The European Solidarity Corps is built on the strengths and synergies of predecessor and existing programmes, notably the European Voluntary Service(7) and the EU Aid Volunteers(8). It also complements the efforts made by Member States to support young people and ease their school-to-work transition under schemes such as the Youth Guarantee by providing them with additional opportunities to make a start on the labour market in the form of traineeships or jobs in solidarity-related areas within their respective Member State or across borders. Complementarity with existing Union level networks pertinent to the activities under the European Solidarity Corps, such as the European Network of Public Employment Services, EURES and the Eurodesk network, are and relevant civil society organisations, including social partners and networks representing young people and volunteers, is also ensured. Furthermore, complementarity between existing related schemes, in particular national solidarity schemes, such as volunteering, civil service and mobility schemes for young people, and the European Solidarity Corps should be ensured, building on good practices where appropriate, to mutually enhance and enrich the impact and qualities of such schemes and build upon good practices. The European Solidarity Corps should not substitute national schemes. Access for all young people to national solidarity activities should be ensured. The Commission should develop practical guidelines on the complementarity of the Programme with other Union programmes and sources of funding and on synergies between them. [Am. 13]

(8)  With respect to the interpretation of related legislation at Union level, both the cross-border volunteering activities under the European Solidarity Corps and the volunteering activities that continue to be supported under Regulation (EU) No 1288/2013 should be considered equivalent to those carried out under the European Voluntary Service.

(8a)  The certification of sending and hosting organisations, carried out in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 375/2014, should not be duplicated under the Programme and equivalence should be recognised when implementing this Regulation from 2021 onwards. [Am. 14]

(9)  The European Solidarity Corps opens up new non-formal and informal learning opportunities for young people to carry out volunteering, traineeship or job activities in solidarity-related areas as well as to devise and develop solidarity projects based on their own initiative. These opportunities contribute to enhancing their personal, educational, social, civic and professional development. The European Solidarity Corps also supports networking activities for European Solidarity Corps participants and organisations as well as measures to ensure the quality of the supported activities and to enhance the validation of their learning outcomes. It will thus also contribute to European cooperation relevant to young people and raising awareness of its positive impact. It should also contribute to strengthening communities and supporting existing organisations that implement solidarity actions. [Am. 15]

(10)  These activities should have a clear European added value and be to the benefit of communities while also fostering the individual’s personal, educational, social, civic and professional development, which may . It should be possible for those activities to take the form of volunteering, traineeships and jobs, projects or networking activities, developed in relation to different areas, such as education and training, employment, gender equality, entrepreneurship – in particular social entrepreneurship –, citizenship and democratic participation, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, social inclusion, inclusion of people with disabilities, environment and nature protection, climate action, disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery, agriculture and rural development, provision of food and non-food items, health and wellbeing, culture, including cultural heritage, creativity and culture, physical education and sport, social assistance and welfare, reception and integration of third-country nationals, with a focus on overcoming the challenges faced by migrants, territorial cooperation and cohesion, and cooperation across borders. Such solidarity activities should include a solid learning and training dimension through relevant activities that can be offered to participants before, during and after the solidarity activity. [Am. 16]

(11)  Volunteering activities (both within and beyond the Union) constitute a rich experience in a non-formal and informal learning context which enhances young people’s personal, socio-educational and professional development, active citizenship, democratic participation and employability. Volunteering should be based on a written volunteering agreement and volunteering activities should not have an adverse effect on potential or existing paid employment, nor should they be seen as a substitute for it. The Commission and the Member States should cooperate regarding volunteering policies in the youth field via the open method of coordination. [Am. 17]

(12)  Easily accessible traineeships and jobs should be clearly separated from volunteering, both from a financial and an organisational point of view. Traineeships should never lead to job substitution. Paid traineeships and jobs, however, can represent an incentive for disadvantaged young people and young people with fewer opportunities to participate in solidarity-related areas can offer additional opportunities for activities that they might not otherwise be able to access while giving a clear European added value in contributing to addressing key unmet social challenges and to strengthening local communities. Traineeships can ease the transition of young people to make a start on the labour market while contributing to addressing key societal challenges. This from education to employment and can help foster the employability and productivity of young people while easing their transition from education to employment, which is key to enhancing achieving their chances on sustainable integration into the labour market. The traineeship activities The traineeships and jobs offered constitute a stepping stone for young people to enter the labour market. Traineeships and jobs offered under the European Solidarity Corps should always be paid by the participating organisation hosting or employing the participant. Traineeships should be based on a written traineeship agreement in accordance with the applicable law of the country where the traineeship takes place, as appropriate, and should follow the quality principles outlined in the Council Recommendation of 10 March 2014 on establishing a Quality Framework for Traineeships(9). The Jobs should be based on an employment contract in accordance with the national law or applicable collective agreements, or both, of the participating country where the job is being carried out. Financial support to participating organisations offering jobs should not exceed twelve months. The participating organisations should apply for funding via the competent implementing body of the European Solidarity Corps in view of intermediating between the young participants and employers offering traineeship and job activities in solidarity sectors. Traineeships and jobs offered constitute a stepping stone for young people to enter the labour market and are should be accompanied by adequate post-activity preparation, on-the-job training and post-placement support in relation to the participation of the participant. The traineeship and job activities are Traineeships and jobs could be facilitated by relevant labour market actors, in particular public and private employment services, social partners and Chambers of Commerce, and are remunerated by the participating organisation. As participating as well as the member organisations, they should apply for funding via the competent implementing body of the European Solidarity Corps in view of intermediating between the young participants and employers offering traineeship and job of EURES, in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/589 of the European Parliament and of the Council(10) in the case of cross-border activities in solidarity sectors. [Am. 18]

(12a)  Efforts should be made to ensure that traineeships and jobs are open to the participation of all young people, in particular to young people with fewer opportunities, including young people with disabilities, social or cultural disadvantages, migrants and residents in isolated rural areas and the outermost regions of the Union. [Am. 19]

(13)  Young people’s spirit of initiative is an important asset for society and for the labour market. The European Solidarity Corps contributes to fostering this aspect by offering young people the opportunity to devise and implement their own projects aimed at addressing specific challenges to the benefit of their local communities. These projects are an opportunity to try out ideas to develop innovative solutions to common challenges through a bottom-up approach and support young people to be themselves drivers of solidarity actions. They also serve as a springboard for further engagement in solidarity activities and are a first step towards encouraging European Solidarity Corps participants to engage in self-employment or setting up and continue to be active citizens either as volunteers, trainees or as employees in associations, non-governmental organisations or other bodies active in the solidarity, non-profit and youth sectors. The European Solidarity Corps should essentially create an atmosphere in which young people are increasingly motivated to engage in solidarity activities and serve the public interest. [Am. 20]

(13a)  Volunteers can contribute to strengthening the Union's capacity to provide needs-based and principled humanitarian aid and can contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of the humanitarian sector where they are adequately selected, trained and prepared for deployment so as to ensure that they have the necessary skills and competences to help people in need in the most effective way, and provided that they can count on sufficient on-site support and supervision. Therefore, highly skilled, highly trained and experienced coaches or mentors on the ground play an important role in contributing to the effectiveness of the humanitarian response as well as towards supporting volunteers. [Am. 21]

(14)  Young people and organisations participating in the European Solidarity Corps should feel that they belong to a community of individuals and entities committed to enhancing solidarity across Europe. At the same time, participating organisations need support to strengthen their capacities to offer good quality activities to an increasing number of participants. The European Solidarity Corps supports networking activities aimed at strengthening young people and participating organisations’ engagement in this community, at fostering a European Solidarity Corps spirit, as well as at encouraging the exchange of useful best practices and experience. These activities also contribute to raising awareness about the European Solidarity Corps among public and private actors as well as to collect detailed and meaningful feedback from participants and participating organisations on various stages of the implementation of the European Solidarity Corps. Feedback should include questions regarding the Programme´s objectives in order to better evaluate their fulfilment. [Am. 22]

(14a)  Ensuring successful implementation of the Programme requires increased visibility and awareness and further promoting the funding opportunities available through information campaigns, including an annual European Solidarity Corps Information Day, and dynamic means of communication, with a strong focus on social media, ensuring the largest possible awareness among the target groups, both individuals and organisations. [Am. 23]

(15)  Particular attention should be given to ensuring the quality of, and the aim of inclusiveness to be achieved through, the activities and other the opportunities offered under the European Solidarity Corps, in particular by offering adequate online or offline training, language support, reasonable accommodation, insurance, simplified administrative procedures and pre- and post-activity support to participants as well as the validation of the knowledge, skills and competences acquired through their European Solidarity Corps experience. Support measures should be developed and provided in collaboration with youth organisations and other non-profit and civil society organisations in order to tap into their expertise in the field. Security and safety of the volunteers participants as well as of the intended beneficiaries remain of paramount importance and volunteers. All activities should comply with the ‘do no harm principle’. Participants should not be deployed to operations conducted in the theatre of international and non-international armed conflicts, or to facilities that contravene international human rights standards. Activities involving direct contact with children should be guided by the ‘best interests of the child’ principle and should entail, where appropriate, the carrying out of background checks on participants or the adoption of other measures with a view to ensuring the protection of children. [Am. 24]

(15a)   In line with the EU Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child (2017) and Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Union and the Member States are to promote and support the transition from institutionalisation of vulnerable people, such as persons with disabilities and children, to family and community-based care. In that context, the Programme should not support measures or initiatives that hamper the commitment to end institutionalisation or any placement that would be harmful to children or persons with disabilities. [Am. 25]

(15b)   The Union’s principles of equal opportunities and non-discrimination should be fully respected at all stages of the implementation of the Programme, including the identification and selection of participants and organisations. [Am. 26]

(16)  To ensure the impact of European Solidarity Corps activities on the personal, educational, social, cultural, civic and professional development of the participants, the knowledge, skills and competences that are the learning outcomes of the activity should be properly identified and documented, in accordance with national circumstances and specificities, as recommended in Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning(11). To ensure that registered candidates are offered appropriate solidarity activities, the learning outcomes of solidarity activities should be made available to them before they choose to participate. To that end, the use of effective instruments at Union and national level for the recognition of non-formal and informal learning, such as Youthpass and Europass, should be encouraged, as appropriate. [Am. 27]

(16a)  National agencies should also encourage young volunteers to become ambassadors of the Programme in order to share their experiences through youth networks, educational establishments and workshops. Former volunteers or ambassadors could also contribute to the training of future candidates. [Am. 28]

(17)  A quality label should ensure compliance of the participating organisations with the values, principles and objectives of the Union as well as with the principles and requirements of the European Solidarity Corps, as regards their rights and responsibilities, and safety standards, during all stages of the solidarity experience, including the pre-activity and post-activity phases. Obtaining a quality label is a precondition for participation but should not automatically lead to funding under the European Solidarity Corps. Quality labels should be differentiated by type of solidarity activity. [Am. 29]

(18)  Any entity willing to participate in the European Solidarity Corps should receive a quality label provided that the appropriate conditions are fulfilled. To ensure the effective compliance of participating organisations with the principles and requirements of the European Solidarity Corps as regards their rights and responsibilities, separate quality labels should be put in place for volunteering in solidarity activities, volunteering in support of humanitarian aid operations, and for traineeships and jobs, and should also vary depending on the function of the participating organisation. The process that leads to the attribution of a quality label should be carried out on a continuous basis by the implementing bodies of the European Solidarity Corps. The attributed quality label should be reassessed periodically and could regularly and should be revoked if, in the context of the checks to be performed, the conditions that led to its attribution were found to be no longer fulfilled. The administrative process should be reduced to a minimum in order to avoid discouraging smaller organisations. [Am. 30]

(19)  An entity willing to apply for funding to offer activities under the European Solidarity Corps should have first received a quality label as a precondition. This requirement does not apply to natural persons seeking financial support on behalf of an informal group of European Solidarity Corps participants for their solidarity projects.

(19a)   As a general rule, grant requests should be submitted to the national agency of the country in which the participating organisation is based. Grant requests for solidarity activities organised by Europe-wide or international organisations, solidarity activities of volunteering teams in priority fields identified at the European level, and solidarity activities in support of humanitarian aid operations in third countries should be submitted to the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) established by Commission Implementing Decision 2013/776/EU(12). [Am. 31]

(20)  Participating organisations may perform several functions in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps. In a host function they will carry out activities related to receiving the participants, including the organisation of activities and providing guidance and support to participants during the solidarity activity as well as feedback after the activity, as appropriate. In a support function they will carry out activities in relation to the sending and the preparation of participants before departure, during and after the solidarity activity, including training and guiding participants to local organisations after the activity in order to increase opportunities for further solidarity experiences. National agencies should also encourage volunteers to become ambassadors for the Programme and share personal experiences through youth networks and educational establishments, thus contributing to the promotion of the Programme. To that end, national agencies should provide volunteers with support. [Am. 32]

(20a)  In order to support solidarity activities among young people, participating organisations should be public or private entities or international organisations, non-profit or profit making, and may include youth organisations, religious institutions and charity associations, secular humanistic organisations, NGOs or other actors from civil society. The Programme should only provide funding to cover the non-profit part of the activities of participating organisations. [Am. 33]

(21)  The scaling-up of European Solidarity Corps projects should be facilitated. At the same time, accurate and continually updated information regarding those opportunities should be provided for potential beneficiaries. Specific measures should be put in place to help promoters of European Solidarity Corps projects to apply for grants or develop synergies through the support of the European Structural and Investment Funds and the programmes relating to migration, security, justice and citizenship, health and culture. [Am. 34]

(22)  European Solidarity Corps Resource Centres should assist the implementing bodies, the participating organisations and the young people taking part in the European Solidarity Corps in order to raise the quality of the implementation of the activities of the European Solidarity Corps as well as to enhance the identification and validation of competences acquired through these activities including through producing Youthpass certificates.

(23)  The European Solidarity Corps Portal should be continuously developed in order to ensure easy, barrier-free and user friendly access to the European Solidarity Corps and to provide, in compliance with the standards established by Directive (EU) 2016/2102 of the European Parliament and of the Council(13). The European Solidarity Corps Portal provides a one-stop shop for both interested individuals and organisations as regards, inter alia, registration, identification and matching of profiles and opportunities, networking and virtual exchanges, online training, language and pre-activity and post-activity support, feedback and evaluation mechanisms as well as other useful functionalities, which may arise in the future. While a one-stop shop provides the advantage of integrated access to diverse activities, individuals may encounter physical, social and other obstacles in accessing the European Solidarity Corps Portal. In order to overcome such obstacles, participating organisations should provide participants with registration support. [Am. 35]

(24)  The European Solidarity Corps Portal should be further developed taking into account the European Interoperability Framework(14), which gives specific guidance on how to set up interoperable digital public services and is implemented in the Member States and other member of the European Economic Area through National Interoperability Frameworks. It offers public administrations 47 concrete recommendations on how to improve governance of their interoperability activities, establish cross-organisational relationships, streamline processes supporting end-to-end digital services, and ensure that both existing and new legislation do not compromise interoperability efforts. Additionally, the Portal should be built in accordance with the standards established by Directive (EU) 2016/2102. [Am. 36]

(24a)  In order to enhance the transparency of the implementation process and increase the Programme´s effectiveness, the Commission should regularly consult key stakeholders, including participating organisations, on the implementation of the Programme. [Am. 37]

(24b)  In order to ensure the proper functioning of the Programme and the timely deployment of the Programme’s actions, it is essential that mechanisms are put in place within the Programme’s work programmes to guarantee that offers are presented to registered candidates within a reasonable and relatively predictable amount of time. Periodic information and updates on available placements and actively involved participating organisations should therefore be sent to registered candidates in order to stimulate their engagement with the Programme after their registration, while also offering them the opportunity to directly get in touch with the actors involved in the field of solidarity at both the national and European level. [Am. 38]

(25)  Regulation [the new Financial Regulation] (15) (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, indirect implementation, financial assistance, financial instruments and budgetary guarantees.

(26)  In particular, in accordance with Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(16) and Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96(17), the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) may carry out administrative investigations, including on-the-spot checks and inspections, with a view to establishing whether there has been fraud, corruption or any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the Union. In accordance with Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1939(18), the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) may investigate and prosecute fraud and other criminal offences affecting the financial interests of the Union as provided for in Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council(19). In accordance with the Financial Regulation, any person or entity receiving Union funds is to fully cooperate in the protection of the Union’s financial interests, to grant the necessary rights and access to the Commission, OLAF, the EPPO and the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and to ensure that any third parties involved in the implementation of Union funds grant equivalent rights.

(27)  The European Solidarity Corps targets young people aged 18-30, and participation in the activities offered by the European Solidarity Corps should require prior registration in the European Solidarity Corps Portal.

(27a)   The Union's principles of equal opportunities and non-discrimination suggest that Union citizens and long-term residents in the Union of all walks of life and ages should be able to engage as active citizens. In view of the specific challenges of humanitarian action, participants in the EU Aid Volunteers initiative should be at least 18 years of age and may represent a wide variety of profiles and generations whose skills are relevant to the successful conduct of such humanitarian operations. [Am. 39]

(28)  Special attention should be given to ensuring that the activities supported by the European Solidarity Corps are accessible to all young people, notably the most disadvantaged ones in particular those with fewer opportunities, as further detailed in the Inclusion and Diversity Strategy developed and applied within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. Special measures, such as appropriate formats of solidarity activities and personalised guidance, should be in place to promote social inclusion, the participation of disadvantaged young people with fewer opportunities, as well as to take into account the constraints imposed by the remoteness of a number of rural areas and of the outermost regions of the Union and the Overseas Countries and Territories. To that end, young people with fewer opportunities should, without prejudice to the possibility to participate full-time and in a country other than the country of residence, also have the possibility to participate part-time or in the country of residence, and should benefit from other measures aimed at facilitating their participation in the Programme. Similarly, the participating countries should endeavour to adopt all appropriate measures to remove legal and administrative obstacles to the proper functioning of the European Solidarity Corps. This should resolve, where possible, and without prejudice to the Schengen acquis and Union law on the entry and residence of third-country nationals, administrative issues that create difficulties in obtaining visas and residence permits, as well as the issuing of a European Health Insurance Card in the case of cross-border activities within the European Union. [Am. 40]

(28a)  Particular attention and support should be given to the capacity of hosting partner organisations in third countries and the need to embed the activities of volunteers within the local context and to facilitate volunteers’ interaction with local humanitarian actors, the hosting community and civil society. [Am. 41]

(29)  Reflecting the importance of tackling climate change in line with the Union's commitments to implement the Paris Agreement and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, this Programme will contribute to mainstream climate action and to the achievement of an overall target of at least 25 % of the Union budget expenditures supporting climate objectives over the 2021-2027 period of the Multiannual Financial Framework, and an annual target of 30 % as soon as possible and not later than 2027. Relevant actions will be identified during the Programme's preparation and implementation, and reassessed in the context of the relevant evaluations and review processes. [Am. 42]

(30)  This Regulation lays down a financial envelope for the period 2021-2027 which is to constitute the prime reference amount, within the meaning of Point 17 of the Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management, for the European Parliament and the Council during the annual budgetary procedure(20).

(30a)  An adequate part of the budget should be dedicated to the exchange of best practices among Member States and the development of youth networks. [Am. 43]

(31)  The types of financing and the methods of implementation under this Regulation shall 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. For grants, this shall include consideration of the use of lump sums, flat rates and scales of unit costs.

(32)  Third countries which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) may participate in the Programme in the framework of the cooperation established under the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement, which provides for the implementation of Union programmes by a decision under that agreement. Third countries may also participate on the basis of other legal instruments. This Regulation should grant the necessary rights for and access to the authorising officer responsible, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) as well as the European Court of Auditors to comprehensively exert their respective competences. The full participation of third countries in the Programme should be subject to the conditions laid down in specific agreements covering the participation of the third country concerned to the Programme. Full participation entails, moreover, the obligation to set up a national agency and managing some of the actions of the Programme at decentralised level. Individuals and entities from third countries that are not associated to the Programme should be able to participate in some of the actions of the Programme, as defined in the work programme and the calls for proposals published by the Commission.

(33)  In order to maximise the impact of the European Solidarity Corps, provisions should be made to allow participating countries and other Union programmes to make additional funding available in accordance with the rules of the European Solidarity Corps.

(34)  Pursuant to [Article 88 of New Council Decision on association of OCTs](21), persons and entities established in overseas countries and territories are eligible for funding subject to the rules and objectives of the Programme and possible arrangements applicable to the Member State to which the relevant overseas country or territory is linked.

(35)  In line with the Commission's communication on 'A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the Union's outermost regions'(22), the Programme should take into account the specific situation of these regions. Measures will be taken to increase the outermost regions' participation in all actions, including reinforced publicity. Such measures will be monitored regularly and evaluated. [Am. 44]

(36)  Given that the Programme is implemented over a seven-year period, it is necessary to provide for adequate flexibility to enable the Programme to adapt to changing realities and political priorities for the implementation of solidarity activities. As such, this Regulation does not set out in detail how the actions will be designed and it does not prejudge political priorities or respective budgetary priorities for the next seven years. Instead, the secondary policy choices and priorities, including details of specific actions, to be implemented through the different activities should be determined through an annual work programme in compliance with Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council(23) (the Financial Regulation), the Commission should adopt work programmes and inform the European Parliament and the Council thereof. The work programme should set out the measures needed for their implementation in line with the general and specific objectives of the Programme, the selection and award criteria for grants, as well as all other elements required. Work programmes and any amendments to them should be adopted by implementing acts in accordance with the examination procedure means of a delegated act. To ensure equal participation in the preparation of delegated acts, the Commission, when preparing and drawing up delegated acts, should carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level and ensure a simultaneous, timely and appropriate transmission of relevant documents to the European Parliament and to the Council. [Am. 45]

(37)  Pursuant to paragraph 22 and 23 of the Interinstitutional agreement for Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016, there is a need to evaluate this Programme on the basis of information collected through specific monitoring requirements, while avoiding overregulation and administrative burdens, in particular on Member States. Such requirements should include specific, measurable and realistic indicators which can be measured over time as a basis for evaluating the effects of the Programme on the ground.

(38)  Appropriate outreach, publicity and dissemination of the opportunities and results of the actions supported by the Programme should be ensured at European, regional, national and local level. The Programme should be promoted through dynamic means of communication, with special focus on social media, in order to reach out to a large number of potential candidates. Special attention should be paid to social enterprises encouraging them to support the European Solidarity Corps activities. The outreach, publicity and dissemination activities should rely on all the implementing bodies of the Programme, including, on Union websites, Union programmes associated with the European Solidarity Corps, and should, when relevant, with involve the support of other key stakeholders. [Am. 46]

(39)  In order to better achieve the objectives of the Programme, the Commission, Member States and national agencies should preferably work closely together in partnership with non-governmental organisations, social enterprises, youth organisations, organisations representing people with disabilities, and local stakeholders having expertise in solidarity actions, including volunteer infrastructure and support agencies such as volunteer centres. [Am. 47]

(40)  In order to ensure greater efficiency in communication to the public at large and stronger synergies between the communication activities undertaken at the initiative of the Commission, the resources allocated to communication under this Regulation should also contribute to covering the corporate communication of the political priorities of the Union in a barrier-free way, provided that these are related to the general objective of this Regulation. [Am. 48]

(41)  In order to ensure efficient and effective implementation of this Regulation, the Programme should make maximum use of existing management arrangements already in place. The implementation of the Programme should therefore be entrusted to existing structures, namely the Commission and the national agencies designated for the management of the actions referred to in Chapter III of [New Erasmus Regulation]. The Commission should regularly consult key stakeholders, including participating organisations, on the implementation of the European Solidarity Corps.

(42)  In order to ensure sound financial management, cost optimisation and legal certainty in each participating country, each national authority should designate an independent audit body. Where feasible, and in order to maximise efficiency, the independent audit body could be the same as the one designated for the actions referred to in Chapter III of [New Erasmus Regulation]. [Am. 49]

(43)  Member States should endeavour to adopt all appropriate measures to remove legal and administrative obstacles to the proper functioning of the Programme. This includes resolving, where possible, and without prejudice to Union law on the entry and residence of third-country nationals issues that create difficulties in obtaining visas and residence permits and other legal difficulties that could prevent young people’s access to the Programme. In line with Directive (EU) 2016/801 of the European Parliament and of the Council(24), Member States are encouraged to establish fast-track admission procedures. [Am. 50]

(44)  The performance reporting system should ensure that data for monitoring programme implementation and evaluation are collected efficiently, effectively and in a timely manner, and at the appropriate level of granularity. Such data should be communicated to the Commission in a way that complies with relevant data protection rules.

(45)  In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Regulation, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council(25). [Am. 51]

(46)  In order to simplify requirements for beneficiaries, simplified grants in the form of lump-sums, unit-costs and flat-rate funding should be used to the maximum possible extent. The simplified grants to support the mobility actions of the Programme, as defined by the Commission, should take into account the living and subsistence costs of the host country. In accordance with national law, Member States should also be encouraged to exempt those grants from any taxes and social levies. The same exemption should apply to public or private entities awarding such financial support to the individuals concerned.

(47)  In accordance with the Financial Regulation, Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2988/95(26), Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96 and Council Regulation (EU) 2017/1939, the financial interests of the Union are to be protected through proportionate measures, including the prevention, detection, correction and investigation of irregularities, including fraud, the recovery of funds lost, wrongly paid or incorrectly used and, where appropriate, the imposition of administrative sanctions. In order to review and/or complement the performance indicators of the Programme, 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. 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 should 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.

(48)  This Regulation respects the fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised in particular by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union(27). In particular, this Regulation seeks to ensure full respect for the right to equality between men and women and the right to non-discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, socioeconomic background and to promote the application of Articles 21 and 23 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. [Am. 52]

(49)  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 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union 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 Union funding.

(50)  Since the objective of this Regulation, namely to enhance the engagement of young people and organisations in accessible and high-quality solidarity activities, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather, by reason of its scale and effects, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives.

(51)  [European Solidarity Corps Regulation] should be repealed with effect from 1 January 2021.

(52)  In order to ensure continuity in the funding support provided under the Programme, this Regulation should apply from 1 January 2021.

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1

Subject matter

This Regulation establishes the European Solidarity Corps (the ‘Programme’).

It lays down the objectives of the Programme, the budget for the period 2021 – 2027, the forms of Union funding and the rules for providing such funding.

Article 2

Definitions

For the purposes of this Regulation, the following definitions apply:

(1)  ‘solidarity activity’ means a high-quality temporary inclusive and adequately funded activity addressing important societal challenges to the benefit of a community or of society as a whole, contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the European Solidarity Corps, which may take the form of volunteering, traineeships, jobs, solidarity projects and networking activities in various fields, including those referred to in paragraph 13, ensuring the European added value and compliance with health and safety regulations and international human rights standards; [Am. 53]

(2)  ‘registered candidate’ means an individual aged between 17 and 30 years who is legally residing in a participating country and who has registered in the European Solidarity Corps Portal to express the interest to engage in a solidarity activity but is not yet participating in such activity; [Am. 54]

(3)  ‘participant’ means an individual aged between 18 and 30 years who is legally residing in a participating country, who has registered in the European Solidarity Corps Portal and who takes part in a solidarity activity under the European Solidarity Corps; [Am. 55]

(4)  ‘young people with fewer opportunities’ means young people facing some who need additional support due to various obstacles that prevent them from having effective access to opportunities under the Programme for economic, social, cultural, geographical or arising from, for example disability, health reasons or for reasons such as disabilities and problems, educational difficulties, their migrant background, cultural differences, their economic, social and geographical situation, including people from marginalised communities or at risk of facing discrimination based on any of the grounds enshrined in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; [Am. 56]

(5)  ‘participating organisation’ means any public or private entity, whether non-profit or profit making, local, regional, national or international, that has been attributed the European Solidarity Corps quality label, in a host function, in a support function, or in both functions, ensuring that the entity is able to implement the high-quality solidarity activities in accordance with the objectives of the Programme; [Am. 57]

(6)  ‘volunteering’ means a an optional solidarity activity taking place as voluntary unpaid consisting in the performance of an activity for the public benefit that contributes to the achievement of public welfare, which a participant performs in his or her free time and of his or her free will, without an entitlement to remuneration, for a period of up to 12 months; [Am. 58]

(7)  ‘traineeship’ means a paid solidarity activity that takes the form of work practice within a participating organisation for a period from two three to six months, renewable once and for a maximum duration of 12 months, that is offered and paid by the participating organisation hosting the European Solidarity Corps participant and that involves a learning component to gain relevant skills and experience; [Am. 59]

(8)  ‘job’ means a decently paid solidarity activity for a period from 2 three to 12 months, which includes a learning and training component, is based on a written agreement and is offered and paid by the participating organisation employing the European Solidarity Corps participant, not replacing or substituting an existing employment opportunity; [Am. 60]

(9)  ‘solidarity project’ means an unpaid in-country or cross-border solidarity activity for a period of up to 12 months, carried out by groups of at least five European Solidarity Corps participants, with a view to addressing key challenges within their communities while presenting a clear European added value; [Am. 61]

(10)  ‘quality label’ means the certification attributed, on the basis of varying specific requirements depending on the type of solidarity activity provided, to a participating organisation willing to provide solidarity activities under the European Solidarity Corps, in the role of a host and/or in a support function, that certifies that the organisation is able to ensure the quality of solidarity activities, during all stages of the solidarity experience, in accordance with the principles and objectives of the Programme; [Am. 62]

(11)  ‘European Solidarity Corps Resource Centres’ means the additional functions performed by designated national agencies to support the development, implementation and quality of activities under the European Solidarity Corps as well as the identification of the competences acquired by the participants through their solidarity activities;

(12)  ‘Union transparency and recognition tools’ means instruments that help stakeholders to understand, appreciate and, as appropriate, recognise non-formal and informal learning outcomes throughout the Union. All participants will receive, after completion of their activities, a certification stating the learning outcomes of, and skills developed during their activities, such as Youthpass or Europass;

(13)  ‘humanitarian aid activity’ means an activity supporting humanitarian aid operations in third countries intended to provide needs-based emergency assistance aimed at preserving life, preventing and alleviating human suffering, and maintaining human dignity in the face of man-made crises or natural disasters, including assistance, relief and protection operations in humanitarian crises or their immediate aftermath, supporting measures to ensure access to people in need and to facilitate the free flow of assistance, as well as actions aimed at reinforcing disaster preparedness and disaster risk reduction, linking relief, rehabilitation and development, and contributing towards strengthening resilience and capacity to cope with, and recover from crises;

(14)  ‘third country’ means a country that is not member of the Union;

(15)  ‘third country associated to the programme’ means a third country which is party to an agreement with the Union allowing for its participation in the Programme and which fulfils all the obligations laid down in this Regulation in relation to Member States;

(16)  ‘third country not associated to the programme’ means a third country which does not participate fully in the Programme but whose legal entities may exceptionally benefit from the Programme in duly justified cases in the Union’s interest.

Article 3

Programme objectives

1.  The general objective of the Programme is to promote solidarity as a value, mainly through volunteering, enhance the engagement of a generation of young people more likely to engage in solidarity activities and organisations in accessible and high-quality solidarity activities as a means to contribute to strengthening social cohesion, solidarity and, democracy, European identity and active citizenship in the Union and abroad, addressing to support communities and respond to societal and humanitarian challenges on the ground, with particular effort to promote social inclusion and equal opportunities. [Am. 63]

2.  The specific objective of the Programme is to provide young people, including those with fewer opportunities, with easily accessible and inclusive opportunities for engagement in solidarity activities inducing positive societal changes in Europe and abroad while improving and properly validating their competences for personal, educational, social, cultural, civic and professional development, as well as facilitating their continuous engagement as active citizens, employability and transition into the labour market. [Am. 64]

2a.  Feedback provided by participants and participating organisations shall also include an evaluation of the fulfilment of the Programme’s objectives. [Am. 65]

3.  The objectives of the Programme shall be implemented under the following strands of actions:

(a)  participation of young people in solidarity activities addressing societal challenges as referred to in Article 6 and efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals; [Am. 66]

(b)  participation of young people and people with expertise in humanitarian aid related solidarity activities (European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps) as referred to in Article 10 and actions inside and outside the Union aimed at building hosting organisations’ capacity for humanitarian aid in third countries as referred to in Article 11. [Am. 67]

3a.   The operational objectives and corresponding policy priorities of the actions to be implemented through the activities under the strands referred to in paragraph 3 of this Article shall be specified in detail in the annual work programmes to be adopted pursuant to Article 18. [Am. 68]

CHAPTER II

ACTIONS OF THE EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY CORPS

Article 4

Actions of the European Solidarity Corps

1.  The Programme shall pursue the objectives set out in Article 3 through the following types of actions:

(a)  volunteering, as referred to in Articles 7 and 11;

(b)  traineeships and jobs, as referred to in Article 8, which shall be of high quality; [Am. 69]

(c)  solidarity projects, as referred to in Article 9;

(d)  networking activities, as referred to in Article 5;

(e)  quality and support measures, as referred to in Article 5.

2.  The Programme shall support the solidarity activities which present a clear European added value, for example through:

(a)  their transnational character, particularly with regard to learning mobility and cooperation;

(b)  their ability to complement with other programmes and policies at local, regional, national, Union and international level;

(c)  their European dimension regarding the topics, aims, approaches, expected outcomes and other aspects of these solidarity activities;

(d)  their approach inclusiveness and their effective ability to involve young people from different backgrounds, including young people with disabilities; [Am. 70]

(e)  their contribution to the effective use of Union transparency and recognition tools.

2a.   Annual work programmes adopted pursuant to Article 18 shall include a list of activities which are potentially harmful to participants, beneficiaries and society, or inappropriate for participants, and which shall not be carried out in the framework of the Programme or which shall be subject to special training, background checks or other measures. [Am. 71]

3.  The solidarity activities shall be implemented in accordance with specific requirements set for each type of activity carried out in the framework of the Programme as referred to in Articles 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11, as well as with applicable regulatory frameworks in participating countries.

4.  References to the European Voluntary Service in the Union legislation shall be read as including volunteering activities under both Regulation (EU) No 1288/2013 and this Regulation.

Article 5

Actions common to both strands

1.  Networking activities, as referred to in Article 4.1, point (d), shall aim at:

(a)  reinforcing the capacities of the participating organisations to offer good high quality, easily accessible and adequately funded projects to an increasing number of European Solidarity Corps participants; [Am. 72]

(b)  attracting newcomers, both young people and those with some experience in the EU Aid Volunteers initiative and participating organisations; [Am. 73]

(ba)  facilitating the access of people with disabilities to all activities offered; [Am. 74]

(c)  providing opportunities to give feedback on solidarity activities as well as to promote the Programme as an ambassador; and [Am. 75]

(d)  contributing to exchange of experiences and strengthening the sense of belonging among the individuals and entities participating in the European Solidarity Corps and thus support its wider positive impact.

2.  Quality and support measures, as referred to in Article 4.1, point (e), shall include:

(a)  measures aimed at ensuring the quality of volunteering, traineeships or jobs, including training, language support, complementary insurance, support before or after the solidarity activity as well as the further use of Youthpass that identifies and documents the competences acquired during the solidarity activities for participants, and capacity building and, administrative support for participating organisations;

(aa)  measures to protect beneficiaries of solidarity activities, including the targeted training of participants who undertake their solidarity activities for the benefit of vulnerable groups, including children, and background checks of participants working with children; [Am. 76]

(ab)   measures aimed at promoting social inclusion and equal opportunities, in particular for the participation of young people with fewer opportunities, such as appropriate formats of solidarity activities and personalised support; [Am. 77]

(ac)  measures aimed at ensuring capacity building and administrative support for participating organisations; [Am. 78]

(b)  the development and maintenance of a the quality label labels for entities willing to provide solidarity activities for the European Solidarity Corps; [Am. 79]

(c)  the activities of European Solidarity Corps Resource Centres to support and raise the quality of the implementation of the actions of the European Solidarity Corps and enhance the validation of their outcomes;

(d)  the establishment, maintenance and updating of the an accessible European Solidarity Corps Portal in at least all official languages of the Union and other relevant online services as well as the necessary IT support systems and web-based tools which shall comply with the accessibility requirements of Directive (EU) 2016/2102; [Am. 80]

(da)   measures to encourages social enterprises to support Programme activities or to allow employees to engage in volunteering activities in the framework of the Programme; [Am. 81]

(db)   the development of a clear and detailed procedure addressed to participants and participating organisations, establishing the steps of, and timeframes for, all phases of the solidarity activities; [Am. 82]

CHAPTER III

PARTICIPATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN SOLIDARITY ACTIVITIES ADDRESSING SOCIETAL CHALLENGES

Article 6

Purpose and types of actions

1.  Actions implemented under the strand ‘Participation of young people in solidarity activities addressing societal challenges’ shall in particular contribute to strengthening cohesion, solidarity, citizenship and democracy in the Union and abroad, while also responding to societal challenges with particular effort to promote social inclusion and equal opportunities. [Am. 83]

2.  The strand shall support activities as referred to in Article 4.1, in points (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) in the following ways:

(a)  volunteering, as referred to in Article 7;

(b)  traineeships and jobs, as referred to in Article 8, which shall be of high quality; [Am. 84]

(c)  solidarity projects, as referred to in Article 9;

(d)  networking activities for individuals and organisations participating in this strand in accordance with Article 5;

(e)  quality and support measures in accordance with Article 5.

Article 7

Volunteering in solidarity activities

1.  Volunteering as referred to in point (a) of Article 4.1, point (a) 4(1) shall include a solid education and learning and dimension, and online and offline training component tailored to the activity in question to take place before and during the activity, shall strive for a clear impact on identified community needs, shall not substitute traineeships or jobs, shall not be equated with employment and shall be based on a written volunteering agreement in accordance with relevant national law. Such an agreement shall ensure the adequate legal, social and financial protection of the participant. [Am. 85]

2.  Volunteering may shall as a rule take place in a country other than the country of residence of the participant (cross-border) or . Volunteering may take place in the country of residence of the participant (in-country), but shall only be open to the participation of young people with fewer opportunities and shall include the participation of participants residing in a country other than the country in which the activity is taking place. [Am. 86]

Article 8

Traineeships and jobs

1.  A traineeship as referred to in Article 4.1, point (b) shall be paid and based on a written traineeship agreement concluded at the beginning of the traineeship in accordance with the applicable regulatory framework of the country where the traineeship takes place, as appropriate,. The traineeship agreement shall indicate the educational objectives, the working conditions and the duration of the traineeship, the remuneration which the participant is to receive and the rights and obligations of the parties and taking shall take into account the principles of the Quality Framework for Traineeships (2014/C 88/01). Traineeships shall not substitute jobs. [Am. 87]

2.  A job as referred to in Article 4.1, point (b) shall be based on an a written employment contract which respects all the terms and conditions of employment as established in accordance with the national regulatory framework law, applicable collective agreements, or both, of the participating country where in which the job is being carried out. The financial support to participating organisations offering jobs shall not exceed 12 twelve months in cases when the duration of the employment contract exceeds 12 twelve months. [Am. 88]

3.  Traineeships and jobs shall include a solid education and learning and training component before and during the activity, to help the participant gain relevant experience with a view to developing competences useful for the participant’s personal, educational, social, civic and professional development. [Am. 89]

4.  Traineeships and jobs may shall as a rule take place in a country other than the country of residence of the participant (cross-border) or. Traineeships and jobs may take place in the country of residence of the participant (in-country), but shall only be open to the participation of young people with fewer opportunities and shall include the participation of participants residing in a country other than the country in which the activity is taking place. [Am. 90]

4a.   An adequate budget shall be allocated to fund the reasonable accommodation enabling the effective participation of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others, in accordance with Article 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and with Council Directive 2000/78/EC(28). [Am. 91]

Article 9

Solidarity projects

A solidarity project as referred to in Article 4.1, point (c) shall not substitute traineeships and/or jobs.

CHAPTER IV

EUROPEAN VOLUNTARY HUMANITARIAN AID CORPS

Article 10

Purpose and types of actions

1.  Actions implemented under the strand ‘European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps’ shall in particular contribute to providing needs-based humanitarian aid aimed at preserving life, preventing and alleviating human suffering and maintaining human dignity in the context of natural or man-made disasters and to strengthening the capacity and resilience of communities that are vulnerable or disaster-affected communities, fragile or affected by natural or man-made disasters, and to facilitate the transition from the humanitarian response to long-term sustainable and inclusive development. [Am. 92]

2.  The actions Actions under this Chapter shall be carried out in compliance with the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid, promoting the fundamental humanitarian aid principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence while reiterating the Union’s firm commitment to a needs-based approach, without discrimination between or within affected populations, and respecting international law. [Am. 93]

2a.  The Union's humanitarian aid is delivered in situations where other instruments related to development cooperation, crisis management and civil protection might operate. The European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps shall work in a coherent and complementary manner and avoid overlaps with relevant Union policies and instruments, in particular with the Union's humanitarian aid policy, development cooperation policy and the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. [Am. 94]

2b.  In promoting a coherent international response to humanitarian crises, the actions under this Chapter shall be in accordance with those coordinated by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. [Am. 95]

2c.  The European Humanitarian Aid Corps shall contribute to strengthening the gender perspective in Union humanitarian aid, promoting adequate humanitarian responses to the specific needs of women. Special attention shall be paid to cooperation with women's groups and networks in order to promote the participation and leadership of women in humanitarian aid and to draw on their capacities and expertise to contribute to recovery, peace building, disaster risk reduction and resilience of affected communities. [Am. 96]

2d.  The specific terms of deployment shall be set out, in close consultation with the hosting organisations, in an agreement between the sending organisation and the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, including rights and obligations, the duration and location of deployment and the tasks to be carried out. [Am. 97]

3.  The strand shall support activities as referred to in Article 4.1, in points (a), (d), and (e) in the following ways:

(a)  volunteering, as referred to in Article 11;

(aa)   solidarity projects; [Am. 98]

(b)  networking activities for individuals and organisations participating in this strand in accordance with Article 5;

(c)  quality and support measures in accordance with Article 5 with particular focus on measures to ensure safety and security of participants.

3a.   On the basis of a prior assessment of needs in third countries, this Regulation shall support actions aimed at strengthening humanitarian aid capacity in order to enhance local preparedness and response to humanitarian crises and to ensure that volunteers' work has an effective and sustainable impact on the ground, including:

(a)  management of risks associated with natural disasters, preparedness and response, coaching, training in volunteer management, and other relevant areas for staff and volunteers from hosting organisations;

(b)  exchange of best practices, technical assistance, twinning programmes and exchange of staff and volunteers, creation of networks and other relevant actions. [Am. 99]

3b.   The Commission shall continue, maintain and update the EU Aid Volunteers database, regulate access thereto and use thereof, including with regard to the availability and suitability of EU Aid Volunteers, thus enabling the continued participation of returning volunteers. The processing of personal data collected in or for that database shall be carried out, where relevant, in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council(29) and Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council(30). [Am. 100]

Article 11

Volunteering in support of humanitarian aid operations

1.  Volunteering in support of humanitarian aid operations as referred to in Article 4.1, point (a) shall include a adequate learning and training component, including before the placement, linked to the projects in which young volunteers will be involved, with due emphasis on the humanitarian aid principles referred to in Article 10(2) and the ‘do no harm principle’, and it shall not substitute traineeships or jobs and shall be based on a written volunteering agreement. [Am. 101]

1a.   The EU Aid Volunteers initiative shall foster the participation of local volunteers from third countries. [Am. 102]

2.  Volunteering under this strand may only take place in third countries: [Am. 103]

(a)  where humanitarian aid activities and operations take place; and

(b)  where there are no ongoing international or non-international armed conflicts.

2a.  On the basis of a prior assessment of the needs in third countries by sending and hosting organisations, and other relevant actors, the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps shall support actions aimed at:

(a)  strengthening the hosting organisations' capacity for humanitarian aid in third countries in order to enhance local preparedness and response to humanitarian crises and to ensure the effective and sustainable impact of the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps’ work on the ground through disaster risk management, preparedness and response, the transition from humanitarian response to sustainable local development, coaching, and training in volunteer management;

(b)  the exchange of best practices, technical assistance, twinning programmes and the exchange of staff and volunteers. [Am. 104]

2b.   Assessing the level of risk with regard to the safety and security of volunteers shall be a priority, in particular in countries or areas considered to be unstable or where there are immediate risks. [Am. 105]

2c.   Communication campaigns on the European Solidarity Corps pertaining to the EU Aid Volunteers initiative shall be carried out primarily on the territory of the Union and shall focus on work undertaken by volunteers and humanitarian aid workers under the humanitarian aid principles of humanity, independence, neutrality and impartiality that inform their actions. [Am. 106]

2d.   Volunteering shall meet the real needs and gaps identified at local level by the host organisations. [Am. 107]

Article 11a

Identification and selection of candidate volunteers

1.   On the basis of a prior assessment of needs in third countries, the Commission shall identify and select candidate volunteers for training in cooperation with national agencies and host organisations.

2.   The identification and selection of candidate volunteers shall be carried out in accordance with Article 14, respecting the principles of non-discrimination, gender equality and equal opportunities.

3.   The age limits referred to in Articles 2 and 15 shall not apply to volunteering in support of humanitarian aid operations under this Article. [Am. 108]

Article 11b

Training of candidate volunteers

1.   Building on existing programmes and procedures, the Commission shall establish a training programme to prepare candidate volunteers to support and complement humanitarian aid actions.

2.   Candidate volunteers who have been identified and selected in accordance with the application procedure shall be eligible to participate in the training programme implemented by qualified organisations. The individual scope and content of the training to be undertaken by each volunteer candidate shall be determined in consultation with the certified host organisation according to needs, taking into account the previous experience of the volunteer candidate and the planned volunteering location.

3.   The training programme shall include an assessment of the readiness of candidate volunteers to be seconded to support and complement humanitarian aid activities in third countries, as well as to meet local needs. [Am. 109]

CHAPTER V

FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

Article 12

Budget

1.  The financial envelope for the implementation of the Programme for the period 2021-2027 shall be EUR 1 112 988 000 in 2018 prices [EUR 1 260 000 000 in current prices]. [Am. 110]

2.  The amount referred to in paragraph 1 may be used for technical and administrative assistance for the implementation of the Programme, such as preparatory, monitoring, control, audit and evaluation activities, including corporate information technology systems. An adequate amount of the budget shall also be dedicated to the exchange of best practices among Member States and the development of youth networks. [Am. 111]

2a.   The Commission shall adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 29 to amend this Regulation to allow for flexibility and adaptation of the indicative budgetary breakdown by activities under Article 12a. The delegated acts adopted under this Article shall reflect the new political priorities by readjusting the breakdown respecting a maximum margin of 20 %. [Am. 112]

3.  Without prejudice to the Financial Regulation, expenditure for actions resulting from projects included in the first work programme may be eligible as from 1 January 2021.

4.  Resources allocated to Member States under shared management may, at their request, be transferred to the Programme. The Commission shall implement those resources directly in accordance with [point (a) of Article 62.1] of the Financial Regulation or indirectly in accordance with [point (c) of that Article]. Where possible those resources shall be used for the benefit of the Member State concerned.

Article 12a

Breakdown of the budget dedicated to activities under Articles 7, 8, 9 and 11

The indicative breakdown of the budget dedicated to activities under Articles 7, 8, 9 and 11 shall be as follows:

(a)  for volunteering in solidarity activities and solidarity projects, as specified in Articles 7 and 9: 86 %;

(b)  for traineeships and jobs, as specified in Article 8: 8 %; and

(c)  for volunteering in support of humanitarian aid operations, as specified in Article 11: 6 %. [Am. 113]

Article 13

Forms of EU funding and methods of implementation

1.  The Programme shall be implemented in a consistent manner in direct management in accordance with the Financial Regulation and in indirect management with bodies referred to in Article [62.1, point (c)] of the Financial Regulation.

2.  The Programme may provide funding in any of the forms laid down in the Financial Regulation, in particular grants, prizes and procurement. In order to simplify requirements for beneficiaries, lump sums, unit costs and flat-rate funding shall be used to the maximum possible extent. [Am. 114]

3.  Contributions to a mutual insurance mechanism may cover the risk associated with the recovery of funds due by recipients and shall be considered a sufficient guarantee under the Financial Regulation. The provisions laid down in [Article X of] Regulation XXX [successor of the Regulation on the Guarantee Fund] shall apply.

4.  For selections under both direct and indirect management, the evaluation committee may be composed of external experts.

CHAPTER VI

PARTICIPATION IN THE EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY CORPS

Article 14

Participating countries

1.  Volunteering, traineeships, jobs, solidarity projects, networking activities and quality and support measures as referred to in Articles 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11 shall be open to the participation of the Member States and overseas countries and territories.

2.  Volunteering, networking activities and quality and support measures as referred to in Articles 5 and 7 shall also be open to the participation of:

(a)  members of the European Free Trade Association, which are members of the European Economic Area (EEA), in accordance with the conditions laid down in the European Economic Area agreement;

(b)  acceding countries, candidates and potential candidates, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective framework agreements and Association Council decisions, or similar agreements, and in accordance with the specific conditions laid down in agreements between the Union and those countries;

(c)  countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of those countries in Union programmes established in the respective framework agreements and Association Council decisions, or similar agreements, and in accordance with the specific conditions laid down in agreements between the Union and those countries;

(d)  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:

–  ensures a fair balance as regards the contributions and benefits of the third country participating in the Union programmes;

–  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 the Financial Regulation;

–  does not confer to the third country a decisional power on the programme;

–  guarantees the rights of the Union to ensure sound financial management and to protect its financial interests.

3.  The countries referred to in paragraph 2 shall fully take part in the Programme only insofar as they fulfil all the obligations which this Regulation imposes on Member States.

3a.   The financial contributions made by and expected from third countries to the Programme shall, once sufficient information is available, be reported to both arms of the budgetary authority as part of the annual or interim reporting of the Programme. [Am. 115]

4.  Volunteering and networking actions as referred to in Articles 5 and 7 may be open to participation of any third country not associated to the programme, in particular neighbourhood countries.

Article 15

Participation of individuals

1.   Young people aged 17 to 30 years willing to participate in the European Solidarity Corps shall register in the European Solidarity Corps Portal. However, at the moment of commencing volunteering, traineeship, job or a solidarity project a young person shall be at least 18 years of age and not older than 30.

1a.  Participants moving to another country shall be guaranteed the full health care they enjoy in their Member State of residence, not merely urgent health care. Health care shall be provided both through the public health services of the Member State in which the activity is carried out and, in the absence of such services or in the event of a clear case of non-compliance with the quality standards of the Member State of residence, through private health services in the Member State in which the activity is carried out. [Am. 116]

1b.  When implementing this Regulation, the Commission, the Members States and other participating countries shall promote social inclusion and equal access conditions, including for the participation of young people with fewer opportunities. [Am. 117]

Article 16

Participating organisations

1.  The European Solidarity Corps shall be open to the participation of public or private entities, whether non-profit or profit making, and international organisations, including youth organisations, religious institutions, charity associations, secular humanistic organisations, NGOs or other actors from civil society, provided that they offer solidarity activities, that they have legal personality under the law of the country in which they are registered and provided that they have received a European Solidarity Corps quality label. The quality label shall certify that the activities can meet the objectives under Article 3 and provide the actions under Article 4. [Am. 118]

2.  An application from an entity to become a European Solidarity Corps participating organisation shall be assessed by the competent implementing body of the European Solidarity Corps on the basis of the principles of equal treatment; equal opportunities and non-discrimination; avoidance of job substitution; provision of high quality, easily accessible and inclusive activities with clear added value for identified community needs, a learning dimension focusing on personal, socio-educational and professional development; adequate training, working and volunteering arrangements; safe and decent environment and conditions; and the 'no-profit principle' in compliance with the Financial Regulation. The above principles ascertain whether its activities meet the requirements and objectives of the European Solidarity Corps. The quality label shall only be attributed to organisations committing to comply with these principles. [Am. 119]

3.  As a result of the assessment the entity may be attributed the European Solidarity Corps quality label. The specific requirements to be fulfilled in order to obtain a quality label shall vary depending on the type of solidarity activity and the function of the entity. The obtained label shall be re-assessed periodically and may in the event that the label is misused or of failure to comply with the principles set out in paragraph 2, the label shall be revoked. Any entity which substantially changes its activities shall inform the competent implementing body for reassessment. [Am. 120]

4.  Any entity which has received the European Solidarity Corps quality label shall be given access to the European Solidarity Corps Portal in the role of a host function, in a support function, or both, and shall be able to make offers for solidarity activities to registered candidates.

4a.  Participating organisations that have been attributed a quality label shall have access to a platform to easily search for suitable applicants in order to make the process easier for both participants and participating organisations to engage in solidarity activities. [Am. 121]

4b.  Participating organisations shall facilitate the promotion of the Programme by offering former participants the possibility to share their experiences and act as ambassadors to the potential next generation of participants in the Programme by means of a network. [Am. 122]

5.  The European Solidarity Corps quality label shall not automatically lead to funding under the European Solidarity Corps.

5a.  Participating organisations shall perform several functions in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps. In a host function they shall carry out activities related to making offers for solidarity activities to registered participants, selecting and receiving the participants, including the organisation of activities, providing guidance and support to participants during all the phases of the solidarity activity, providing a safe and convenient working environment for participants, and providing feedback to the participant after the activity, as appropriate. In a support function they shall carry out activities in relation to the sending, the preparation and the support of participants before departure, and during and after the solidarity activity, including training participants and guiding them to local organisations after the activity. Organisations in a support function can also provide administrative and logistical support to participants in solidarity projects. [Am. 123]

6.  The solidarity activities and related quality and support measures offered by a participating organisation may receive funding under the European Solidarity Corps or from other funding sources which do not depend on the Union budget.

7.  For organisations participating in the context of activities as referred to in Article 11 the safety and security of volunteers shall be a priority.

Article 17

Access to the European Solidarity Corps funding

Any public or private entity established in a participating country as well as international organisations may apply for funding under the European Solidarity Corps. In the case of the activities referred to in Articles 7, 8 and 11, a quality label shall be obtained by the participating organisation as a pre-condition for receiving funding under the European Solidarity Corps. In the case of the solidarity projects referred to Article 9, natural persons may also apply for funding on behalf of informal groups of European Solidarity Corps participants. As a general rule, the grant request shall be submitted to the national agency of the country in which the organisation is based. Grant requests for activities organised by Europe-wide or international organisations, activities of volunteering teams in priority fields identified at European level and activities in support of humanitarian aid operations in third countries shall be submitted to the EACEA. [Am. 124]

CHAPTER VII

PROGRAMMING, MONITORING AND EVALUATION

Article 18

Work Annual work programme [Am. 125]

The secondary policy choices and priorities, including details of specific actions outlined in Articles 4 to 11, shall be determined on an annual basis through a work programme as referred to in Article [110] of the Financial Regulation. The annual work programme shall also set out details concerning the implementation of the Programme. In addition, the work programme shall give an indication of the amount allocated to each action and of the distribution of funds between the Member States and third countries associated to the Programme for the actions to be managed through the national agency. The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 29 to supplement this Regulation by adopting annual work programmes. [Am. 126]

The Programme shall be implemented by work programmes referred to in [Article 110] of the Financial Regulation. In addition, the work programme shall give an indication of the amount allocated to each action and of the distribution of funds between the Member States and third countries associated to the Programme for the actions to be managed through the national agency. The work programme shall be adopted by the Commission by means of an implementing act. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 30.

Article 19

Monitoring and reporting

1.  Indicators to report on the progress of the Programme towards the achievement of the general and specific objectives laid down in Article 3 are set out in the Annex.

2.  To ensure effective assessment of the Programme towards the achievement of its objectives, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 29 to amend the Annex 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.

3.  The performance reporting system shall ensure that data for monitoring Programme implementation and evaluation are collected efficiently, effectively, in a timely manner and at the appropriate level of detail by beneficiaries of Union funds within the meaning of Article [2.5] of the Financial Regulation. To that end, proportionate reporting requirements shall be imposed on beneficiaries of Union funds and Member States.

Article 20

Evaluation

1.  Evaluations shall be carried out in a timely manner to feed into the decision-making process.

2.  The interim evaluation mid-term review of the Programme shall be performed once there is sufficient information available about the implementation of the Programme, but . The Commission shall submit the mid-term review to the European Parliament, to the Council, to the European Economic and Social Committee and to the Committee of the Regions no later than four years after the start of the programme implementation 30 June 2024. It shall also be accompanied by a final evaluation of the predecessor programme. [Am. 127]

3.  Without prejudice to the requirements set out in Chapter IX and the obligations of national agencies as referred to in Article 23, Member States shall submit to the Commission, by 30 April 2024, a report on the implementation and the impact of the Programme in their respective territories.

3a.   The Commission shall, where necessary and on the basis of the mid-term review and implementation reports submitted by Member States, submit legislative proposals for the amendment of this Regulation. The Commission shall appear before the competent committees of the European Parliament to report on the mid-term review, including with respect to its decision as to whether it is necessary to amend this Regulation. [Am. 128]

4.  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.

5.  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.

CHAPTER VIII

INFORMATION, COMMUNICATION AND DISSEMINATION

Article 21

Information, communication and dissemination

1.  The recipients of Union funding shall acknowledge the origin thereof and ensure the visibility of the Union funding, (in particular when promoting the actions and their results, ) by providing prompt, coherent, effective and proportionate targeted information to multiple audiences, including, the media and the public. [Am. 129]

2.  The Commission, in cooperation with national authorities and national agencies in participating countries and relevant Union-level networks, 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. [Am. 130]

3.  The national agencies referred to in Article 23 shall develop a consistent strategy with regard to information and the effective outreach, as well as dissemination to all potential beneficiaries and exploitation of results of activities supported under the actions they manage within the Programme, shall assist the Commission in its general task of disseminating information concerning the Programme, including information in respect of actions and activities managed at national and Union level, and its results, and shall inform relevant target groups about the actions and activities undertaken in their country. [Am. 131]

3a.   Participating organisations shall use the brand name “European Solidarity Corps” for the purposes of communication and dissemination of information related to the Programme. [Am. 132]

CHAPTER IX

MANAGEMENT AND AUDIT SYSTEM

Article 22

National authority

In each country participating in the European Solidarity Corps, the national authorities designated for the management of actions referred to in Chapter III of [New Erasmus Regulation] shall also act as national authorities in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps. Paragraphs 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Article 23 of [New Erasmus Regulation] shall apply to the European Solidarity Corps by analogy.

Article 23

National agency

1.  In each country participating in the European Solidarity Corps, the national agencies designated for the management of the actions referred to in Chapter III of [New Erasmus Regulation] in their respective countries shall also act as national agencies in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps.

Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of Article 24 of [New Erasmus Regulation] shall apply to the European Solidarity Corps by analogy.

2.  Without prejudice to Article 24.2 of [New Erasmus Regulation], the national agency shall also be responsible for managing all stages of the project lifecycle of those actions of the European Solidarity Corps listed in the implementing acts referred to in Article 18, in accordance with points [(c)(v) and (vi) of Article 62.1] of the Financial Regulation.

3.  For countries referred to in Article 14.2 of this Regulation, where a national agency is not designated for that country, it shall be established in accordance with paragraphs 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of Article 24 of [New Erasmus Regulation].

3a.   The national agency shall regularly consult the beneficiaries of the Programme (individuals and organisations) in order to collect their feedback on the Programme, to assess the quality of the activity, and how the activity evolves, on the basis of Commission guidelines and shall provide support to participants in the event of difficulties and in order to improve the implementation of the Programme at national level based on their feedback and expertise. [Am. 133]

Article 24

European Commission

1.  The rules applying to the relationship between the Commission and a national agency shall be laid down, in accordance with the rules in Article 24 of [New Erasmus Regulation], in a written document which shall:

(a)  lay down the internal control standards for the national agency concerned and the rules for the management of the Union funds for grant support by the national agencies, taking into consideration the simplification requirements and not imposing additional burden on participants and participating organisations; [Am. 134]

(b)  include the national agency work programme comprising the management tasks of the national agency to which Union support is provided;

(ba)  include the requirement to organise regular meetings and training with and for the network of national agencies in order to ensure the coherent implementation of the Programme across all participating countries; [Am. 135]

(c)  specify the reporting requirements for the national agency.

1a.  The Commission shall organise regular meetings on the implementation of the Programme with a representative number and type of networks representing young people and volunteers and other relevant civil society organisations, including social partners and networks relevant to the Programme´s activities. [Am. 136]

2.  The Commission shall each year make the following funds available to the national agency:

(a)  funds for grant support in the participating country concerned for the actions of the European Solidarity Corps the management of which is entrusted to the national agency;

(b)  a financial contribution in support of the management tasks of the national agency defined in accordance with the modalities set out in point (b) of Article 25.3 of [New Erasmus Regulation].

3.  The Commission shall lay down the requirements for the national agency work programme. The Commission shall not make European Solidarity Corps funds available to the national agency before having formally approved the national agency’s work programme.

4.  On the basis of the compliance requirements for national agencies referred to in Article 23.3 of [New Erasmus Regulation], the Commission shall review the national management and control systems, the national agency’s management declaration and the opinion of the independent audit body thereon, taking due account of the information provided by the national authority on its monitoring and supervision activities with regard to the European Solidarity Corps.

5.  After assessing the yearly management declaration and the opinion of the independent audit body thereon, the Commission shall address its opinion and observations to the national agency and the national authority.

5a.   Where the Commission cannot accept the yearly management declaration or the independent audit opinion thereon, or in the event of unsatisfactory implementation by the national agency of the Commission’s observations, the Commission may implement any precautionary and corrective measures necessary to safeguard the Union’s financial interests in accordance with point (c) of Article 131(3) of the Financial Regulation. [Am. 137]

Article 24a

Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency

At Union level, the EACEA shall be responsible for managing all stages of the grant for the Programme’s project actions, as listed in Article 7, submitted by Europe-wide or platform organisations, for activities of volunteering teams in priority fields identified at European level and activities in support of humanitarian aid operations in third countries.

EACEA shall also be responsible for the accreditation (i.e. quality label) and monitoring of Europe-wide or platform organisations, organisations in charge of implementing national schemes or Union shared management funds and organisations wishing to carry out activities supporting humanitarian aid operations. [Am. 138]

Article 25

Audits

1.  Audits on the use of the Union contribution carried out by persons or entities, including by others than those mandated by the Union Institutions or bodies, shall form the basis of the overall assurance pursuant to [Article [127] of the Financial Regulation and shall be carried out in accordance with the same criteria in all Member States. [Am. 139]

2.  The national authority shall designate an independent audit body. The independent audit body shall issue an audit opinion on the management declaration referred to in [Article 155.1] of the Financial Regulation.

3.  The independent audit body shall:

(a)  have the necessary professional competence to carry out public sector audits;

(b)  ensure that its audits take account of internationally accepted audit standards; and

(c)  not be in a position of conflict of interest with regard to the legal entity of which the national agency referred to in Article 23 forms part and be independent, in terms of its functions, of the legal entity of which the national agency forms part.

4.  The independent audit body shall give the Commission and its representatives, as well as the Court of Auditors, full access to all documents and reports in support of the audit opinion that it issues on the national agency’s management declaration.

CHAPTER X

CONTROL SYSTEM

Article 26

Principles of the control system

1.  The Commission shall be responsible for the supervisory controls with regard to the European Solidarity Corps actions managed by the national agencies. It shall set the minimum requirements for the controls by the national agency and the independent audit body.

2.  National agencies shall be responsible for the primary controls of grant beneficiaries for the actions of the European Solidarity Corps which are entrusted to them. Those controls shall be proportionate and adequate and shall give reasonable assurance that the grants awarded are used as intended and in compliance with the applicable Union rules. [Am. 140]

3.  With regard to the funds transferred to the national agencies, the Commission shall ensure proper coordination of its controls with the national authorities and the national agencies, on the basis of the single audit principle and following a risk-based analysis. This provision shall not apply to investigations carried out by the European Anti-Fraud Office (‘OLAF’).

Article 27

Protection of the financial interests of the Union

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).

CHAPTER XI

COMPLEMENTARITY

Article 28

Complementarity of Union action

1.  The actions of the European Solidarity Corps shall be consistent with and complementary to the relevant policies, instruments and programmes at Union level, in particular the Erasmus programme, the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and Rights and Values Programme, as well as to existing networks at Union level relevant to the activities of the European Solidarity Corps. [Am. 141]

2.  The actions of the European Solidarity Corps shall also not substitute and shall be consistent with and complementary to the relevant policies, programmes and instruments at national, regional and local level in the participating countries. To this end, the Commission, national authorities and national agencies shall exchange information on existing national schemes and priorities related to solidarity and youth, on the one hand, and actions under the European Solidarity Corps, on the other hand, with a view to build on relevant good practices and achieve efficiency and effectiveness. [Am. 142]

2a.  In order to maximise the effectiveness of Union funding and the impact of the Programme, the relevant authorities at all levels shall seek to establish synergies across all relevant programmes in a coherent manner. Such synergies shall not lead to funds being used to pursue objectives other than those set out in this Regulation. Any synergies and complementarity shall result in simplified application procedures at the implementation level accompanied by relevant implementation guidelines. [Am. 143]

3.  The actions of the European Solidarity Corps in third countries referred to in Article 11 shall be in particular consistent with and complementary to other areas of Union external action, in particular humanitarian aid policy, development cooperation policy, security policy, enlargement policy, neighbourhood policy and the Union Civil Protection Mechanism. [Am. 144]

4.  An action that has received a contribution from the Programme may also receive a contribution from any other Union programme, provided that the contributions do not cover the same costs. The rules of each contributing Union programme shall apply to its respective contribution to the action. The cumulative funding shall not exceed the total eligible costs of the action and the support from the different Union programmes may be calculated on a pro-rata basis in accordance with the documents setting out the conditions for support.

5.  Where the Programme and the European Structural and Investment (ESI) Funds referred to in Article 1 of [Regulation (EU)XX CPR] provide jointly financial support to a single action, that action shall be implemented in accordance with the rules set out in this Regulation, including rules on recovery of amounts unduly paid.

6.  Actions eligible under the Programme which have been assessed in a call for proposals under the Programme and which comply with the minimum quality requirements of that call for proposals, but which are not financed due to budgetary constraints, may receive support from the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Social Fund+ or the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, in accordance with paragraph 7 of Article [65] of Regulation (EU) XX [Common Provisions Regulation] and Article [8] or Regulation (EU) XX [Financing, management and monitoring of the Common Agricultural Policy], provided that such actions are consistent with the objectives of the programme concerned. The rules of the Fund providing support shall apply.

CHAPTER XII

TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 29

Exercise of the delegation

1.  The power to adopt delegated acts is conferred on the Commission subject to the conditions laid down in this Article.

2.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Article Articles 12, 18 and 19 shall be conferred on the Commission for the duration of the Programme. [Am. 145]

3.  The delegation of power referred to in Article Articles 12, 18 and 19 may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of the power specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force. [Am. 146]

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

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

6.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Article Articles 12, 18 and 19 shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or the Council within a period of two months of notification of that act to the European Parliament and 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. [Am. 147]

Article 30

Committee procedure

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.

2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 shall apply.

Article 31

Repeal

Regulation (EU) [European Solidarity Corps Regulation] and Regulation (EU) No 375/2014 are repealed with effect from 1 January 2021.

Article 32

Transitional provisions

1.  This Regulation shall not affect the continuation or modification of the actions concerned, until their closure, under [European Solidarity Corps Regulation] or under Regulation (EU) No 375/2014. Those Regulations shall continue to apply to those actions until their closure.

2.  The financial envelope for the Programme may also cover technical and administrative assistance expenses necessary to ensure the transition between the Programme and the measures adopted under [European Solidarity Corps Regulation] or under Regulation (EU) No 375/2014.

3.  If necessary, appropriations may be entered in the budget beyond 2027 to cover the expenses provided for in Article 12.2, to enable the management of actions and activities not completed by 31 December 2027.

4.  Member States shall ensure at national level the unimpeded transition between the actions carried out in the context of the European Solidarity Corps Programme (2018-2020) and those to be implemented under this Programme.

Article 33

Entry into force

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

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

Done at …,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX

Indicators for monitoring and reporting The Programme shall be closely monitored in order to measure the extent to which the general objective and the specific objectives have been achieved, as well as to monitor its output, results and impact. To that end, a minimum framework of indicators is laid down to serve as a basis for a future detailed programme for monitoring the output, results and impact of the Programme, including an extended set of qualitative and quantitative indicators: [Am. 148]

(a)  number of participants in solidarity activities;

(b)  percentage of participants from a fewer opportunities background; and [Am. 149]

(c)  number of organisations holding a European Solidarity Corps Quality Label. ; [Am. 150]

(ca)  number of participants in jobs (in-country and cross-border) broken down by country, age, gender, professional background and educational attainment; [Am. 151]

(cb)   number of participants in solidarity projects broken down by country, age, gender, professional background and educational attainment; [Am. 152]

(cc)   number of organisations whose quality label has been revoked; [Am. 153]

(cd)  number of organisations holding a quality label broken down by country and funding received; [Am. 154]

(ce)  number of participating young people with fewer opportunities; [Am. 155]

(cf)  number of participants reporting positive learning outcomes; [Am. 156]

(cg)  percentage of participants whose learning outcomes have been recognised through a certificate such as Youthpass, or another type of formal recognition of their participation in the European Solidarity Corps; [Am. 157]

(ch)  overall satisfaction rate of participants with regard to the quality of activities; and [Am. 158]

(ci)  number of people supported directly or indirectly through solidarity activities. [Am. 159]

(1) OJ C 62, 15.2.2019, p. 201.
(2) OJ C 86, 7.3.2019, p. 282.
(3)OJ C 62, 15.2.2019, p. 201.
(4)OJ C 86, 7.3.2019, p. 282.
(5) Position of the European Parliament of 12 March 2019.
(6)Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions A European Solidarity Corps (COM(2016)0942).
(7)Regulation (EU) No 1288/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing 'Erasmus+': the Union programme for education, training, youth and sport and repealing Decisions No 1719/2006/EC, No 1720/2006/EC and No 1298/2008/EC (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 50).
(8)Regulation (EU) No 375/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 establishing the European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps (‘EU Aid Volunteers initiative’) (OJ L 122, 24.4.2014, p. 1).
(9)Council Recommendation of 15 March 2018 on a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships (OJ C 153, 2.5.2018, p. 1) 10 March 2014 on a Quality Framework for Traineeships (OJ C 88, 27.3.2014, p. 1).
(10) Regulation (EU) 2016/589 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 April 2016 on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets, and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013 (OJ L 107, 22.4.2016, p. 1).
(11)Council Recommendation of 20 December 2012 on the validation of non-formal and informal learning (OJ C 398, 22.12.2012, p. 1).
(12) Commission Implementing Decision 2013/776/EU of 18 December 2013 establishing the ‘Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency’ and repealing Decision 2009/336/EC (OJ L 343, 19.12.2013, p. 46).
(13) Directive (EU) 2016/2102 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2016 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies (OJ L 327, 2.12.2016, p. 1).
(14)Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - European Interoperability Framework – Implementation Strategy (COM(2017)0134).
(15)[Pending reference to Financial Regulation].
(16)Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council of 11 September 2013 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) (OJ L 248, 18.9.2013, p. 1).
(17)Council Regulation (Euratom, EC) No 2185/96 of 11 November 1996 concerning on-the-spot checks and inspections carried out by the Commission in order to protect the European Communities' financial interests against fraud and other irregularities (OJ L 292, 15.11.1996, p. 2).
(18)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).
(19)Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2017 on the fight against fraud to the Union’s financial interests by means of criminal law (OJ L 198, 28.7.2017, p. 29).
(20)Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016 (OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1).
(21)[Pending reference on New Council Decision on association of OCTs].
(22)Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment bank on A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU's outermost regions (COM(2017)0623).
(23) 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).
(24) Directive (EU) 2016/801 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects and au pairing (OJ L 132, 21.5.2016, p. 21).
(25)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).
(26)Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95 of 18 December 1995 on the protection of the European Communities financial interests (OJ L 312, 23.12.1995, p. 1).
(27)EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (OJ C 326, 26.10.2012, p. 391).
(28) Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16).
(29) Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) ( OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1).
(30) Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (OJ L 295, 21.11.2018, p. 39).


EU Cybersecurity Act ***I
PDF 124kWORD 55k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on ENISA, the "EU Cybersecurity Agency", and repealing Regulation (EU) No 526/2013, and on Information and Communication Technology cybersecurity certification (''Cybersecurity Act'') (COM(2017)0477 – C8-0310/2017 – 2017/0225(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0151A8-0264/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0477),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0310/2017),

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

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 14 February 2018(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 31 January 2018(2),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 19 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 Industry, Research and Energy and the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0264/2018),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 12 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on ENISA (the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity) and on information and communications technology cybersecurity certification and repealing Regulation (EU) No 526/2013 (Cybersecurity Act)

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0225


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2019/881.)

(1) OJ C 227, 28.6.2018, p. 86.
(2) OJ C 176, 23.5.2018, p. 29.


Unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the food supply chain ***I
PDF 127kWORD 48k
Resolution
Text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the food supply chain (COM(2018)0173 – C8-0139/2018 – 2018/0082(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0152A8-0309/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0173),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 43(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0139/2018),

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

–  having regard to the reasoned opinion submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the Swedish Parliament, asserting that the draft legislative act does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 19 September 2018(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 4 July 2018(2)

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 14 January 2019 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 Agriculture and Rural Development and the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Development and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0309/2018),

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

2.  Approves its statement annexed to this resolution;

3.  Approves the joint statement of the Parliament, the Council and the Commission annexed to this resolution;

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

5.  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 12 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0082


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive (EU) 2019/633.)

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Statement by the European Parliament on buying alliances

The European Parliament, while acknowledging the possible role played by alliances of buyers in creating economic efficiencies in the agricultural and food supply chain, stresses that the current lack of information does not allow for an evaluation of the economic effects of such alliances of buyers on the functioning of the supply chain.

In this regard, the European Parliament calls on the Commission to launch without delay an in-depth analysis on the extent and effects of these national and international buying alliances on the economic functioning of the agricultural and food supply chain.

Joint statement by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on transparency of the agricultural and food markets

The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission stress that the transparency of agricultural and food markets is a key element of a well-functioning agricultural and food supply chain, in order to better inform the choices of economic operators and public authorities as well as to facilitate the understanding of operators on market developments. The Commission is encouraged to continue its ongoing work to enhance market transparency at EU level. This may include the strengthening of the work on EU market observatories and improving the collection of statistical data necessary for the analysis of price formation mechanisms along the agricultural and food supply chain.

(1) OJ C 440, 6.12.2018, p. 165.
(2) OJ C 387, 25.10.2018, p. 48.


European citizens’ initiative ***I
PDF 120kWORD 48k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European citizens’ initiative (COM(2017)0482 – C8-0308/2017 – 2017/0220(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0153A8-0226/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0482),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 24 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0308/2017),

–  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 14 March 2018(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 23 March 2018(2),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the responsible committee under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 20 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 Constitutional Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Culture and Education and the Committee on Petitions (A8-0226/2018),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 12 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European citizens’ initiative

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0220


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2019/788.)

(1) OJ C 237, 6.7.2018, p. 74.
(2) OJ C 247, 13.7.2018, p. 62.


Import of cultural goods ***I
PDF 120kWORD 46k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the import of cultural goods (COM(2017)0375 – C8-0227/2017 – 2017/0158(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0154A8-0308/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2017)0375),

–  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 (C8‑0227/2017),

–  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 committees responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 19 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 joint deliberations of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the opinions of the Committee on Culture and Education and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0308/2018),

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

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 12 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the introduction and the import of cultural goods

P8_TC1-COD(2017)0158


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2019/880.)

(1) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 25 October 2018 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0418)


Protection of personal data in the context of elections to the European Parliament ***I
PDF 122kWORD 45k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 12 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014 as regards a verification procedure related to infringements of rules on the protection of personal data in the context of elections to the European Parliament (COM(2018)0636 – C8-0413/2018 – 2018/0336(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0155A8-0435/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0636),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 224 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0413/2018),

–  having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, and in particular Article 106a thereof,

–  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 12 December 2018(1),

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 25 January 2019 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and also the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0435/2018),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 12 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1141/2014 as regards a verification procedure related to infringements of rules on the protection of personal data in the context of elections to the European Parliament

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0336


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2019/493.)

(1) OJ C 110, 22.3.2019, p. 72.


Security threats connected with the rising Chinese technological presence in the EU and possible action on the EU level to reduce them
PDF 135kWORD 48k
European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2019 on security threats connected with the rising Chinese technological presence in the EU and possible action on the EU level to reduce them (2019/2575(RSP))
P8_TA(2019)0156RC-B8-0154/2019

The European Parliament,

—  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 establishing the European Electronic Communications Code(1),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/1148 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 2016 concerning measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems across the Union(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2013/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 August 2013 on attacks against information systems and replacing Council Framework Decision 2005/222/JHA(3),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 13 September 2017, on ENISA, the ‘EU Cybersecurity Agency’, and repealing Regulation (EU) No 526/2013, and on Information and Communication Technology cybersecurity certification (‘Cybersecurity Act’) (COM(2017)0477),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 12 September 2018 for a regulation establishing the European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre and the Network of National Coordination Centres (COM(2018)0630),

–  having regard to the adoption of the new National Intelligence Law by the Chinese National People’s Congress on 28 June 2017,

–  having regard to the statements by the Council and the Commission of 13 February 2019 on security threats connected with the rising Chinese technological presence in the EU and possible action on the EU level to reduce them,

–  having regard to the adoption by the Australian Government of the Government’s Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms, which entered into force on 18 September 2018,

–  having regard to its position adopted at first reading on 14 February 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union(4),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the state of EU-China relations, in particular that of 12 September 2018(5),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 September 2016 entitled ‘5G for Europe: an action plan’ (COM(2016)0588),

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2017 on internet connectivity for growth, competitiveness and cohesion: European gigabit society and 5G(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)(7),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Connecting Europe Facility, amending Regulation (EU) No 913/2010 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 680/2007 and (EC) No 67/2010(8),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 6 June 2018 for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Digital Europe programme for the period 2021-2027 (COM(2018)0434),

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

A.  whereas the EU must drive forward its cybersecurity agenda in order to fulfil its potential in becoming a leading player in cybersecurity and use this to its industry’s advantage;

B.  whereas vulnerabilities in 5G networks could be exploited in order to compromise IT systems, potentially causing very serious damage to economies at European and national levels; whereas a risk analysis-based approach across the value chain is necessary in order to minimise the risks;

C.  whereas the 5G network will be the backbone of our digital infrastructure, extending the possibility to connect various devices to networks (internet of things, etc.), and will bring new benefits and opportunities to society and businesses in many areas, including critical sectors of the economy such as the transport, energy, health, finance, telecoms, defence, space and security sectors;

D.  whereas establishing an appropriate mechanism to respond to security challenges would give the EU the opportunity to actively take steps in setting standards for 5G;

E.  whereas concerns were raised about third-country equipment vendors that might present a security risk for the EU due to the laws of their country of origin, especially after the enactment of the Chinese State Security Laws, which impose obligations on all citizens, enterprises and other entities to cooperate with the state to safeguard state security, in connection with a very broad definition of national security; whereas there is no guarantee that these obligations are not applied extraterritorially, and whereas reactions to the Chinese laws have varied in different countries, ranging from security assessments to outright bans;

F.  whereas in December 2018, the Czech national authority for cybersecurity issued a warning against security threats posed by the technologies provided by the Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE; whereas subsequently, in January 2019, the Czech tax authorities excluded Huawei from a tender to build a tax portal;

G.  whereas a thorough investigation is needed to clarify whether the devices involved, or any other devices or suppliers, pose security risks due to features such as backdoors to systems;

H.  whereas solutions should be coordinated and dealt with at EU level in order to avoid creating different levels of security and potential gaps in cybersecurity, while coordination at a global level is needed in order to provide a strong response;

I.  whereas the benefits of the single market come with the obligation to comply with EU standards and the Union’s legal framework, and whereas suppliers should not be treated differently on the basis of their country of origin;

J.  whereas the regulation on screening of foreign direct investment, which should enter into force by the end of 2020, reinforces Member States’ ability to screen foreign investment based on security and public order criteria, and establishes a cooperation mechanism which allows the Commission and the Member States to cooperate in their assessment of security risks, including cybersecurity risks, posed by sensitive foreign investments, and also covers projects and programmes that are of EU interest, such as the Trans-European Telecommunications Networks and Horizon 2020;

1.  Believes that the Union must take the lead on cybersecurity, by means of a common approach based on the effective and efficient use of EU, Member State and industry expertise, since a patchwork of divergent national decisions would be detrimental to the digital single market;

2.  Expresses deep concern about the recent allegations that 5G equipment developed by Chinese companies may have embedded backdoors that would allow manufacturers and authorities to have unauthorised access to private and personal data and telecommunications from the EU;

3.  Is equally concerned about the potential presence of major vulnerabilities in the 5G equipment developed by these manufacturers if they were to be installed when rolling out 5G networks in the coming years;

4.  Underlines that the implications for the security of networks and equipment are similar around the world and calls for the EU to draw lessons from the experience available, in order to be able to ensure the highest standards of cybersecurity; calls on the Commission to develop a strategy that puts Europe in a leading position in cybersecurity technology and is aimed at reducing Europe’s dependency on foreign technology in the field of cybersecurity; is of the view that whenever compliance with security requirements cannot be guaranteed adequate measures must be applied;

5.  Calls on the Member States to inform the Commission of any national measure they intend to adopt in order to coordinate the Union’s response so as to ensure the highest standards of cybersecurity throughout the Union, and reiterates the importance of refraining from introducing disproportionate unilateral measures that would fragment the single market;

6.  Reiterates that any entities providing equipment or services in the EU, irrespective of their country of origin, must comply with fundamental rights obligations and with EU and Member State law, including the legal framework as regards privacy, data protection and cybersecurity;

7.  Calls on the Commission to assess the robustness of the Union’s legal framework in order to address concerns about the presence of vulnerable equipment in strategic sectors and backbone infrastructure; urges the Commission to present initiatives, including legislative proposals where appropriate, to address in due time any shortfalls detected, since the Union is in a constant process of identifying and addressing cybersecurity challenges and enhancing cybersecurity resilience in the EU;

8.  Urges those Member States that have not yet fully transposed the NIS Directive to do so without delay, and calls on the Commission to monitor this transposition closely so as to ensure that its provisions are properly applied and enforced and that European citizens are better protected from external and internal security threats;

9.  Urges the Commission and Member States to make sure that the reporting mechanisms introduced by the NIS Directive are properly applied; notes that the Commission and the Member States should follow up thoroughly on any security incidents or inappropriate reactions of suppliers, so as to address detected gaps;

10.  Calls on the Commission to assess the need to further enlarge the scope of the NIS Directive to other critical sectors and services that are not covered by sector-specific legislation;

11.  Welcomes and supports the agreement reached on the Cybersecurity Act and the reinforcement of the mandate of the EU Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), in order to better support Member States in tackling cybersecurity threats and attacks;

12.  Urges the Commission to mandate ENISA to make it a priority to work on a certification scheme for 5G equipment in order to ensure that the rollout of 5G in the Union meets the highest security standards and is resilient to backdoors or major vulnerabilities that would endanger the security of the Union’s telecommunication networks and dependent services; recommends that special attention be given to commonly used processes, products and software that by their sheer scale have a significant impact on the day-to-day life of citizens and the economy;

13.  Warmly welcomes the proposals on cybersecurity competence centres and a network of national coordination centres, which are designed to help the EU retain and develop the technological and industrial capacities in cybersecurity that are needed to secure its digital single market; recalls, however, that certification should not exclude competent authorities and operators from scrutinising the supply chain in order to ensure the integrity and security of their equipment that operates in critical environments and telecom networks;

14.  Recalls that cybersecurity demands high security standards; calls for a network that is secure by default and by design; urges the Member States, together with the Commission, to explore all available means to ensure a high level of security;

15.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, in cooperation with ENISA, to provide guidance on how to tackle cyber threats and vulnerabilities when procuring 5G equipment, for example by diversifying equipment from different vendors or introducing multi-phase procurement processes;

16.  Reaffirms its position on the Digital Europe programme, which imposes security requirements and Commission oversight on entities established in the EU but controlled from third countries, in particular for cybersecurity-related actions;

17.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that public institutions and private companies involved in ensuring the proper functioning of critical infrastructure networks such as telecoms, energy, health and social systems, undertake relevant risk assessments that take into account the security threats specifically linked to technical features of the respective system or dependence on external suppliers of hardware and software technologies;

18.  Recalls that the current legal framework on telecommunications mandates the Member States to ensure that telecoms operators comply with the integrity and availability of public electronic communication networks, including end-to-end encryption where appropriate; highlights that under the European Electronic Communications Code, Member States have extensive powers to investigate products on the EU market and apply a wide variety of remedies in the event of their non-compliance;

19.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to make security an obligatory aspect in all public procurement procedures for relevant infrastructure at both EU and national level;

20.  Reminds Member States of their obligation under the EU legal framework, notably Directive 2013/40/EU on attacks against information systems, to impose sanctions on legal persons that have committed criminal offences such as attacks against such systems; emphasises that Member States should also make use of their ability to impose other sanctions on these legal entities, such as temporary or permanent disqualification from practicing commercial activities;

21.  Calls on the Member States, cybersecurity agencies, telecoms operators, manufacturers and providers of critical infrastructure services to report to the Commission and ENISA any evidence of backdoors or other major vulnerabilities that could compromise the integrity and security of telecoms networks or infringe Union law and fundamental rights; expects national data protection authorities as well as the European Data Protection Supervisor to thoroughly investigate indications of data breaches of personal data by external vendors and to impose appropriate penalties and sanctions in line with European data protection law;

22.  Welcomes the upcoming entry into force of a regulation establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments (FDI) for reasons of security and public order, and underlines that this regulation establishes for the first time a list of areas and factors, including communications and cybersecurity, which are relevant for security and public order at EU level;

23.  Calls on the Council to speed up its work on the proposed ePrivacy Regulation;

24.  Reiterates that the EU needs to support cybersecurity across the entire value chain, from research to the deployment and uptake of key technologies, disseminate relevant information, and promote cyber hygiene and educational curricula including cybersecurity, and believes that, among other measures, the Digital Europe programme will be an efficient tool for that;

25.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary steps, including robust investment schemes, to create an innovation-friendly environment within the EU, which should be accessible to all businesses in the EU digital economy, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); urges, furthermore that such an environment should allow European vendors to develop new products, services and technologies which would enable them to be competitive;

26.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to take into account the above requests in the framework of the upcoming discussions on the future EU-China strategy, as preconditions for the EU to remain competitive and for ensuring the security of its digital infrastructure;

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

(1) OJ L 321, 17.12.2018, p. 36.
(2) OJ L 194, 19.7.2016, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 218, 14.8.2013, p. 8.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0121.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0343.
(6) OJ C 307, 30.8.2018, p. 144.
(7) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 348, 20.12.2013, p. 129.


State of EU-Russia political relations
PDF 158kWORD 59k
European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2019 on the state of EU-Russia political relations (2018/2158(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0157A8-0073/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 June 2015 on the state of EU-Russia relations(1),

–  having regard to the agreements reached in Minsk on 5 and 19 September 2014 and on 12 February 2015(2),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions, in particular that of 14 June 2018 on Georgian occupied territories 10 years after the Russian invasion(3), as well as of 4 February 2016 on the human rights situation in Crimea, in particular of the Crimean Tatars(4),

–  having regard to its recommendation to the Council of 2 April 2014 on establishing common visa restrictions for Russian officials involved in the Sergei Magnistky case(5),

–  having regard to the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Russia of 14 March 2016,

–  having regard to the 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought awarded to the Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 June 2018 on Russia, notably the case of Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2018 on the situation in the Sea of Azov(7),

–  having regard to the OSCE/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Final Report on the 18 March 2018 Presidential Elections in the Russian Federation,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0073/2019),

A.  whereas the EU is a community based on a key set of common values that include peace, freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for fundamental and human rights;

B.  whereas it acknowledges that the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and the 1990 OSCE Charter of Paris represent the cornerstones of a peaceful European continent;

C.  whereas those values form the basis of the EU’s relations with third parties;

D.  whereas the EU’s relations with Russia must be based on the principles of international law, respect for human rights, democracy and peaceful conflict resolution, and, as a result of Russia’s disregard of these principles, the EU’s relations with Russia are currently based on cooperation in selected areas of common interest as defined in the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 14 March 2016 and on credible deterrence;

E.  whereas the EU remains open to a stronger relationship and to dialogue leading thereto, and wishes to return to cooperative relations with Russia, once the Russian authorities have met their international and legal obligations and have proven Russia’s genuine commitment to restore broken trust; whereas a constructive and predictable relationship would be mutually beneficial and ideally in the interest of both parties;

F.  whereas the Russian Federation, as a full member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, has committed itself to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights; whereas continued serious violations of the rule of law and the adoption of restrictive laws over the last few years are increasingly calling Russia’s compliance with its international and national obligations into question; whereas Russia has failed to implement more than a thousand judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR);

G.  whereas a number of governmental reports show the sharp increase in hostile spying activity by Russia in recent years, reaching levels not seen since the Cold War;

H.  whereas the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements and broader respect for international law remain key preconditions for closer cooperation with Russia; whereas in reaction to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the hybrid war against Ukraine by Russia, the EU has adopted a series of restrictive measures that should remain in place until the Minsk Agreements have been fulfilled;

I.  whereas new areas of tension between the EU and Russia have arisen since 2015, including: Russian intervention in Syria and interference in countries such as Libya and Central African Republic; large-scale military exercises (Zapad 2017); Russian interference aimed at influencing elections and referenda and stoking tensions in European societies; Kremlin support for anti-EU parties and far‑right movements; restrictions on fundamental freedoms and extensive human rights violations in Russia, the spreading of anti-LGTBI sentiment; the crackdown against political opposition; the systemic targeting of human rights defenders, journalists and civil society in Russia, including the arbitrary detention of Oyub Titiev, head of the Human Rights Centre Memorial (HRC Memorial) office in Chechnya or the case of Yury Dmitriev from the Karelian branch of Memorial; the stigmatisation of civil society activists by labelling them as ‘Foreign Agents’; gross violations of human rights in the North Caucasus, in particular in the Chechen Republic (abductions, torture, extrajudicial executions, fabrication of criminal cases, etc.); discrimination against the Tatar minority in occupied Crimea, and the politically motivated persecution of Alexei Navalny and many others, as well as killings, the most notable cases being those of Boris Nemtsov and Sergei Magnitsky; cyber and hybrid attacks and assassinations on European soil carried out by Russian intelligence agents using chemical weapons; the intimidation, arrest and imprisonment of foreign citizens in Russia in breach of international law, including the 2018 Sakharov Prize laureate Oleg Sentsov and many others; the organisation of illegal and illegitimate elections in the Donbas; the holding of non-democratic presidential elections lacking any real choice and with restrictions on fundamental freedoms; disinformation campaigns, the illegal construction of the Kerch Bridge; large-scale militarisation of illegally occupied and annexed Crimea, as well as parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov; restrictions on international navigation in the Sea of Azov and through the Kerch Strait, including ships sailing under the flags of EU Member States; the illegal attack on and seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels and the arrest of Ukrainian servicemen in the Kerch Strait; violations of arms control agreements; the oppressive climate for journalists and the independent media with continued detentions of journalists and bloggers; and the World Press Freedom Index ranking of Russia at 148 out of 180 on media freedom in 2018;

J.  whereas by 1 March 2018, HRC Memorial had recorded 143 cases of political prisoners, including 97 who were being persecuted on religious grounds; whereas an analysis of HRC Memorial’s list of political prisoners shows that in 2017, there were 23 cases of people being prosecuted for crimes relating to public events (mass riots, violent actions against a public authority), and there were 21 cases, mostly linked to publishing posts on the Internet, of prosecutions being initiated under the ‘anti-extremist’ articles of the criminal code;

K.  whereas Russia is directly or indirectly party to a number of protracted conflicts in the common neighbourhood – in Transnistria, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Donbas and Nagorno Karabakh – that constitute serious impediments to the development and stability of the neighbouring countries concerned, undermine their independence and limit their free sovereign choices;

L.  whereas the conflict in Eastern Ukraine has lasted more than four years and claimed over 10 000 lives, almost one third of them civilians, and thousands of conflict-related civilian injuries;

M.  whereas the current persistent tensions and confrontation between the EU and Russia are not in the interests of either party; whereas the communication channels should remain open in spite of the disappointing results; whereas the new division of the continent jeopardises the security of both the EU and Russia;

N.  whereas Russia is currently the EU’s most important external supplier of natural gas; whereas energy continues to play a central and strategic role in EU-Russia relations; whereas Russia uses energy as a means to protect and promote its foreign policy interests; whereas the EU’s dependency on Russian gas supplies has increased since 2015; whereas the EU’s resilience to external pressures can be built up through the diversification of energy supply and a decrease in its dependence on Russia; whereas the EU must speak with one voice and show strong internal solidarity when it comes to its energy security; whereas the EU’s strong dependence on fossil fuels undermines the development of a balanced, coherent and value-driven European approach vis-à-vis Russia; whereas there is a need for a more reliable and strategic energy infrastructure in the EU, Member States and Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries in order to enhance resilience to Russian hybrid activity;

O.  whereas the irresponsible actions of Russian jet fighters near the airspace of EU and NATO Member States are jeopardising the safety of civilian flights and could be a threat to European airspace security; whereas provocative large-scale military manoeuvres have been conducted by Russia in the immediate vicinity of the EU;

P.  whereas Russia continues to ignore judgments of the ECtHR, as well as binding awards by the Permanent Court of Arbitration such as in the case of Naftogaz, which undermines the international trade dispute settlement mechanisms;

Q.  whereas Russia’s polycentric vision of the concert of powers contradicts the EU’s belief in multilateralism and a rules-based international order; whereas Russia’s adherence to and support for the multilateral rules-based order would create the conditions for closer relations with the EU;

R.  whereas the Russian authorities continue to treat illegally occupied regions as if they were an internal part of Russian territory by allowing the participation of representatives of these territories in the legislative and executive bodies of the Russian Federation, which is in violation of international law;

S.  whereas on 21 December 2018, the Council, having assessed the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, prolonged the economic sanctions targeting specific sectors of the Russian economy until 31 July 2019;

T.  whereas Russia’s actions are in breach of international law and commitments and good neighbourly relations;

U.  whereas in the strategic documents of the Russian Federation, the EU and NATO are portrayed as Russia’s primary adversaries;

Challenges and shared interests

1.  Underlines that Russia’s illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea, a region of Ukraine, its direct and indirect involvement in armed conflicts in the eastern part of Ukraine and its continuous violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia and Moldova constitute a deliberate violation of international law, democratic principles and fundamental values; strongly condemns human rights violations carried out by Russian representatives on the occupied territories;

2.  Stresses that the EU cannot envisage a gradual return to ‘business as usual’ until Russia fully implements the Minsk Agreement and restores the territorial integrity of Ukraine; calls, in this regard, for a critical, comprehensive re-assessment by the EU of its relations with the Russian Federation;

3.  Stresses that under the present circumstances, Russia can no longer be considered a ‘strategic partner’; is of the view that that the principles of Article 2 of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) are no longer being met, and that the PCA should therefore be reconsidered; believes that any framework for the EU-Russia relationship should be based on the full respect of international law, the Helsinki OSCE principles, democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law, and allow for dialogue on managing global challenges, the strengthening of global governance and ensuring enforcement of international rules, particularly with a view to guaranteeing European peace order, and security in EU’s neighbourhood and the Western Balkans;

4.  Believes that implementation of the Minsk Agreements would demonstrate Russia’s good will in contributing to resolving the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and its capacity to guarantee European security; stresses the necessity for consultations to be advanced within the Normandy format process, including a stronger EU role; reiterates its support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine;

5.  Believes in the importance of de-escalating current tensions and of engaging in consultations with Russia to reduce the risk of misunderstandings, misinterpretation and misreading; recognises, however, that the EU must be firm in relation to its expectations on Russia; underlines the importance of cooperation between the EU and Russia in the international rules‑based order and of positive engagement in the international and multilateral organisations that Russia is a member of, particularly in the framework of the OSCE with regard to the contentious issues and crises;

6.  Strongly condemns Russia’s involvement in the Skripal case, and in disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks carried out by the Russian intelligence services aimed at destabilising public and private communications infrastructure and at increasing tensions within the EU and its Member States;

7.  Is deeply concerned about the links between the Russian Government and the extreme right and populist nationalist parties and governments in the EU that pose a threat to the fundamental values of the Union, which are enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union and reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, including respect for democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights;

8.  Regrets, furthermore, Russia’s efforts to destabilise EU candidate countries with regard, in particular and by way of an example, to the support provided by Moscow to the organisations and political forces opposing the Prespa Agreement that should end the long‑standing dispute on the name between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece;

9.  Believes that Russian state actors interfered in the Brexit referendum campaign using overt and covert means, including social media and potentially illegal financial support, currently under investigation by the UK authorities;

10.  Emphasises that increased mutual transparency in military and border guard activities is important in order to avoid further tensions; strongly denounces Russia’s violation of the airspace of EU Member States; calls for a clear code of conduct concerning airspace used by military and civilian aircraft; strongly condemns, in this context, Russia’s repeated violations of territorial waters and the airspace of countries in the Baltic Sea region; condemns the Russian Federation for its responsibility in the shooting down of flight MH17 over Eastern Ukraine in 2014, as proved by an international team of investigators, and calls for those responsible to be brought to justice;

11.  Regrets the significant deterioration in the human rights situation, widespread and undue restrictions of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in Russia, and expresses its deep concern at the ongoing crackdown on, and harassment and persecution of human rights defenders, protest activists and other critics;

12.  Is deeply concerned that Russia so manifestly demonstrates its military powers, articulates threats to other countries and manifests the willingness and readiness to use military force against other nations in real actions, including advanced nuclear weapons, as reiterated by President Putin on several occasions in 2018;

13.  Condemns the government’s continuing crackdown on dissent and media freedom, as well as the repression of activists, political opponents and those who openly express disagreement with the government;

14.  Expresses its concern at reports of arbitrary detention and torture of men perceived to be gay in Chechnya, and condemns the Chechen Government’s statements denying the existence of homosexuals in their country and inciting violence against LGBTI people;

15.  Highlights that the global challenges of climate change, the environment, energy security, digitalisation together with algorithmic decision making and artificial intelligence, foreign and security issues, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the fight against terrorism and organised crime, and developments in the sensitive Arctic environment, call for selective engagement with Russia;

16.  Expresses concern over the potentially hundreds of billions of euros being laundered through the EU every year by Russian companies and individuals looking to legitimise the proceeds of corruption, and calls for investigations into these crimes;

17.  Underlines that money laundering and organised criminal financial activities by Russia are being used for subversive political purposes and pose a threat to European security and stability; considers the magnitude of this money laundering to be such as to form part of the hostile activities intended to undermine, misinform and destabilise, while at the same time sustaining criminal activities and corruption; notes that Russian money laundering activities within the EU constitute a threat to sovereignty and the rule of law in all Member States where Russia operates such activities; states that this is a threat to European security and stability, and a major challenge to the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy;

18.  Condemns money laundering activities, illegal financial activities and other means of economic warfare by Russia; calls for competent financial authorities in the EU to step up cooperation both with each other and with the relevant intelligence and security services, in order to tackle Russian money laundering activities;

19.  Reiterates that while the EU’s stance is firm, coherent and concerted with respect to EU sanctions on Russia, which will be prolonged as long as Russian violations of international law continue, further coordination and coherence is required in its foreign and security policy approach to Russia; calls, in this context, on Member States to end ‘golden visa/passport’ programmes which benefit Russian oligarchs who are often Kremlin supporters, and may undermine the effectiveness of international sanctions; reiterates its previous calls for a European Magnitsky Act (the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime), and calls on the Council to pursue its work on this matter without undue delay; calls on the Member States to fully cooperate at European level with regard to their policy towards Russia;

20.  Stresses that the restrictive targeted measures relating to Eastern Ukraine and occupied Crimea are not directed against the Russian people but against certain individuals and enterprises connected to the Russian leadership;

21.  Underlines, in this regard, that coherence between its internal and external policies and better coordination of the latter is the key to a more coherent, effective and successful EU external and security policy, including vis-à-vis Russia; stresses that this applies in particular to policy areas such as the European Defence Union, the European Energy Union, cyber defence and strategic communication tools;

22.  Condemns Russia’s violation of the territorial integrity of neighbouring countries including through the illegal kidnapping of citizens of those countries so that they can be charged before a Russian court; further condemns Russia’s abuse of Interpol by issuing ‘wanted person alerts’ – so‑called ‘red notices’ – to persecute political opponents;

23.  Condemns Russia’s actions in the Sea of Azov in so far as they constitute a breach of international maritime law and Russia’s international commitments, as well as the building of the Kerch Bridge and the laying of underwater cables to the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula without the consent of Ukraine; remains deeply concerned about the Russian militarisation of the Sea of Azov, the Black Sea region and Kaliningrad District, as well as the recurring pattern of violating the territorial waters of European countries in the Baltic Sea;

24.  Reaffirms its unequivocal support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia; demands that the Russian Federation cease its occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia; stresses the need for the Russian Federation to unconditionally fulfil all the provisions of the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008, in particular the commitment to withdrawing all its military forces from the territory of Georgia;

25.  Underscores that Russia’s disregard of international rules – in this case the freedom of the seas, bilateral agreements and the illegal annexation of Crimea – poses a threat to Russia’s neighbours in all parts of Europe, not only in the Black Sea region, but also in the Baltic Sea region and the Mediterranean; highlights the importance of developing a firm policy towards Russia in all these respects;

26.  Notes that the Presidential elections of 18 March 2018 were observed by the International Election Observation Mission (IEOM) of the ODIHR EOM and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA); notes that the ODIHR Election Observation Mission Final Report states that elections took place in an overly controlled legal and political environment marked by continued pressure on critical voices and restrictions being placed on the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression, as well as on candidate registration, and therefore lacked genuine competition;

27.  Is concerned about the continuous Russian support for authoritarian regimes and countries such as North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba, Nicaragua and others, and its ongoing practice of blocking any international action by using its veto powers in the UN Security Council (UNSC);

Areas of common interest

28.  Reiterates its support for the five principles guiding the EU’s policy towards Russia, and calls for further definition of the selective engagement principle; recommends that the focus be placed on issues relating to the MENA and the Northern and Arctic region, terrorism, violent extremism, non-proliferation, arms control, strategic stability in the cyber sphere, organised crime, migration and climate change, including joint efforts to safeguard the UNSC-endorsed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, and bringing an end to the war in Syria; reiterates that while consultations between the EU and Russia on cyber terrorism and organised crime need to continue, Russia’s systematic hybrid threats require strong deterrence; calls, in this context, for an EU-Russia-China-Central Asia dialogue on connectivity;

29.  Underlines that the EU is currently Russia’s largest trading partner and will keep its position as key economic partner for the foreseeable future, but that Nord Stream 2 reinforces EU dependency on Russian gas supplies, threatens the EU internal market and is not in line with EU energy policy or its strategic interests, and therefore needs to be stopped; emphasises that the EU remains committed to completing the European Energy Union and diversifying its energy resources; underlines that no new projects should be implemented without a prior legal assessment of their legal conformity with EU law and with the agreed political priorities; deplores Russia’s policy of using its energy resources as a political tool to exert, maintain and increase its political influence over and pressure on its perceived sphere of influence and end-consumers;

30.  Underlines that EU-Russia cross-border cooperation programmes and the constructive cooperation in the Northern Dimension Partnerships and in the Barents-Euro-Arctic bring tangible benefits to the citizens of cross-border areas and support the sustainable development of these areas; recommends, in this context, that all of these positive areas of constructive cooperation continue to be fostered;

31.  Notes the importance of people-to-people contacts, for example through education and culture;

32.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and on the Member States to strengthen their efforts towards a resolution of the so-called ‘frozen conflicts’ in the Eastern neighbourhood, in order to ensure greater security and stability for the EU’s Eastern partners;

Recommendations

33.  Stresses the importance of continued political and financial support for people-to-people contacts in general and, in particular, for civil society activists, human rights defenders, bloggers, independent media, investigative journalists, outspoken academics and public figures, and NGOs; calls on the Commission to programme more ambitious and long-term financial, institutional and capacity building assistance to Russian civil society from the existing external financial instruments, and calls on the Member States to further contribute to this assistance; encourages the Member States to actively implement the EU guidelines on human rights defenders by providing effective and timely support and protection to human rights defenders, journalists and other activists; particularly encourages Member States to issue long-term visas to human rights defenders at risk and their family members; supports increased funding for journalist training and exchanges with European journalists and for instruments that advance human rights and democracy, such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and the European Endowment for Democracy (EED);

34.  Calls for more people-to-people contacts with a focus on young people, on reinforcing dialogue and cooperation between EU and Russian experts, researchers, civil societies and local authorities and for intensified student, vocational trainee and youth exchanges, particularly in the Erasmus+ framework; supports, in this context, increased funding for the new Erasmus + programmes 2021-2027; notes that the EU provides the highest number of academic mobility opportunities to Russia in comparison with other international partner countries;

35.  Calls for the unconditional release of all human rights defenders and other persons detained for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, including of the Director of the Memorial HRC in the Chechen Republic, Oyub Titiev, who is on trial on the basis of fabricated charges of drug possession; urges the Russian authorities to ensure full respect for their human and legal rights, including access to a lawyer and medical care, physical integrity and dignity, and protection from judicial harassment, criminalisation and arbitrary arrest;

36.  Notes that civil society organisations are often too weak to have a substantial impact on the fight against corruption in Russia, while NGOs are systematically discouraged from actively engaging in any anti-corruption efforts or promoting public integrity; underlines that it is necessary to involve civil society in the independent monitoring of the effectiveness of anti-corruption policies; calls on Russia to correctly implement international anti-corruption standards formulated in, for example, the UN Convention against Corruption and the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (the Anti-Bribery Convention);

37.  Underlines that the promotion of human rights and the rule of law must be at the core of the EU’s engagement with Russia; calls, therefore, for the EU and the Member States to continue bringing up human rights issues in all contacts with Russian officials; encourages the EU to continuously call on Russia to repeal or amend all laws and regulations incompatible with international human rights standards, including provisions restricting the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association;

38.  Expresses its conviction that Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe is an important element of the present landscape of institutional relations in Europe; hopes that ways can be found to convince Russia of not abandoning its Council of Europe membership;

39.  Condemns the attempts by the Russian Government to block internet messaging services and websites; urges the Russian Government to uphold the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and privacy online as well as offline;

40.  Calls for the EU institutions and Member States to make greater efforts to build resilience, particularly in the cyber and media fields, including mechanisms to detect and fight election interference; calls for resilience against cyberattacks to be increased; expresses deep concern that the EU reaction and response to the Russian propaganda campaign and massive direct disinformation attacks has been insufficient and should be further strengthened, in particular before the upcoming European elections in May 2019; stresses, in this context, that EU funding and human resources for the East Stratcom Task Force must be substantially increased; calls for EU-wide support for the European cyber-security industry, a functioning digital internal market and a stronger engagement in research; encourages, in this context, the promotion of European values in Russian by East Stratcom; welcomes the adoption of EU Action Plan against Disinformation, and calls on Member States and all relevant EU actors to implement its actions and measures, in particular in the run‑up to the upcoming European elections in May 2019;

41.  Calls for the EU to consider developing a binding legal framework, both at EU and international level, for tackling hybrid warfare that would allow for a robust response by the Union to campaigns that threaten democracy or the rule of law, including targeted sanctions against those responsible for orchestrating and implementing these campaigns;

42.  Believes that meaningful dialogue requires firmer unity among Member States and clearer communication of the red lines on the EU side; stresses, therefore, that the EU should stand ready to adopt further sanctions, including targeted personal sanctions, and limiting access to finances and technology if Russia’s violation of international law continues; stresses, however, that such measures are not against the Russian people but targeted individuals; calls on the Council to carry out an in-depth analysis of the efficiency and strictness of the sanctions regime in place; welcomes the Council’s decision to impose restrictive measures on European companies involved in the illegal construction of the Kerch Bridge; reiterates its concern at the involvement of these companies which, through this involvement, either knowingly or unknowingly undermined the EU sanctions regime; calls on the Commission, in this context, to assess and verify the application of the EU restrictive measures in force, and on the Member States to share information regarding any national customs or criminal investigations into cases of potential violations;

43.  Calls for an EU-wide mechanism allowing the screening of political parties’ funding, and for subsequent measures to be taken to avoid some parties and movements being used to destabilise the European project from within;

44.  Condemns the increasing scope and number of Russian military drills, where Russian forces practice offensive scenarios with the use of nuclear weapons;

45.  Urges the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to prepare without delay a legislative proposal for an EU-wide Magnitsky Act which would allow the imposition of visa bans and targeted sanctions, such as blocking property and interests in property within the EU’s jurisdiction on individual public officials or persons acting in an official capacity, who are responsible for acts of corruption or serious human rights violations; stresses the importance of an immediate sanctions list in order to secure the effective implementation of a European Magnitsky Act;

46.  Calls for the EU to verify the application of the EU restrictive measures in force, as well as the sharing of information between Member States, in order to ensure that the EU sanctions regime against Russia’s actions is not undermined, but applied in proportion to the threats posed by Russia; underlines the danger of weakening the sanctions without Russia demonstrating through clear actions, not only in words, that it respects the borders of Europe and the sovereignty of its neighbours and other nations, as well as international rules and agreements; reiterates that business as usual only can be possible once Russia fully respects the rules and restricts itself to acting in a peaceful manner;

47.  Reiterates that Russia has no right of veto over the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of European nations;

48.  Calls on the Commission to closely monitor the consequences of Russian counter-sanctions on economic actors and, if needed, consider compensatory measures;

49.  Underlines that there can only be political solutions to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine; encourages confidence-building measures in the Donbas region; supports a mandate for deploying a UN peacekeeping force in this region of Eastern Ukraine; reiterates its call to appoint an EU Special Envoy for Crimea and the Donbas region;

50.  Condemns the arbitrary measure of banning EU politicians, among them current and former Members of the European Parliament, and EU officials from access to Russian territory; calls for the immediate and unconditional lifting of the entry ban;

51.  Calls on Russia to immediately release political prisoners, including foreign citizens, and journalists;

52.  Calls on Russia to cooperate fully in relation to the international investigation into the downing of flight MH17, which could possibly constitute a war crime; condemns any attempt or decision to grant amnesty to, or delay the prosecution of, those identified as responsible, as the perpetrators should be held to account;

53.  Calls on the Russian Government to refrain from blocking UNSC resolutions on the situation in Syria that seek to address the ongoing violence against civilians, including the use of chemical weapons, gross violations of the Geneva Conventions and violations of universal human rights;

54.  Supports the swift completion of an integrated European Energy Union that would in future include the Eastern Partners; stresses the role that an ambitious policy on energy efficiency and renewables can play in this regard; strongly condemns Russian pressure on Belarus to essentially renounce its independence; underlines that independently of advancing an EU-Russia strategy, the EU must reinforce its commitment and support for its Eastern Partners and support reforms to strengthen security and stability, democratic governance and the rule of law;

55.  Supports increased funding for the EED, the Russian Language News Exchange (RLNE) and other instruments to advance democracy and human rights in Russia and elsewhere;

56.  Calls on the Russian authorities to condemn Communism and the Soviet regime, and to punish the perpetrators of the crimes and offences committed under that regime;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ C 407, 4.11.2016, p. 35.
(2) ‘Protocol on the results of consultations of the Trilateral Contact Group’, signed on 5 September 2014, and ‘Package of measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements’, adopted on 12 February 2015.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0266.
(4) OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 38.
(5) OJ C 408, 30.11.2017, p. 43.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0259.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0435.


Building EU capacity on conflict prevention and mediation
PDF 152kWORD 50k
European Parliament resolution of 12 March 2019 on building EU capacity on conflict prevention and mediation (2018/2159(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0158A8-0075/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other UN human rights treaties and instruments,

–  having regard to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and all its principles, as a cornerstone document for the European and wider regional security order,

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

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

–  having regard to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council’s resolutions on conflict prevention and mediation, as well as those on women, peace and security, and on youth, peace and security,

–  having regard to the Council’s Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities, of 10 November 2009 (15779/09),

–  having regard to the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy presented by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) Federica Mogherini on 28 June 2016, and to the first report on its implementation entitled ‘From Shared Vision to Common Action: Implementing the EU Global Strategy’, published on 18 June 2017,

–   having regard to its recommendation of 15 November 2017 to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS on the Eastern Partnership, in the run-up to the November 2017 Summit(1),

–  having regard to its recommendation of 5 July 2018 to the Council on the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/2306 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 amending Regulation (EU) No 230/2014 establishing an instrument contributing to stability and peace(3),

–  having regard to the Proposal of 13 June 2018 of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, with the support of the Commission, to the Council for a Council Decision establishing a European Peace Facility (HR(2018) 94),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0075/2019),

A.  whereas promoting international peace and security is part of the EU’s raison d’être, recognised by the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, and is central to the Lisbon Treaty;

B.  whereas the EU is committed to implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and subsequent updates, and the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2250 and subsequent updates;

C.  whereas the EU is one of the biggest donors in support of conflict prevention and peace building through its external assistance instruments;

D.  whereas the EU, as a key contributor to international organisations, a core aid donor and the world's largest trading partner, should take a leading role in global peacebuilding, conflict prevention and the strengthening of international security; whereas conflict prevention and mediation should be articulated as part of a comprehensive approach combining security, diplomacy and development;

E.  whereas cooperation is necessary with regional organisations such as the OSCE, which, in its 1975 Helsinki Final Act, stipulates, among others, the principles of the non-use of force, territorial integrity of states, equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and whereas these organisations play a key role in conflict prevention and mediation;

F.  whereas the prevention of violent conflict is fundamental in addressing the security challenges facing Europe and its neighbourhood and for political and social advancement; whereas it is also an essential element of effective multilateralism and it is instrumental to achieving the SDGs, specifically Goal 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice for all and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels;

G.  whereas continued EU support to civil and military actors in third countries is an important factor in preventing recurrent violent conflict; whereas sustainable and lasting peace and security are inseparable from sustainable development;

H.  whereas conflict prevention and mediation should ensure the maintenance of stability and development in those states and geographical areas whose situation represents a direct security issue for the Union;

I.  whereas prevention is a strategic function which aims to ensure effective action ahead of crises; whereas mediation is another tool of diplomacy that can be used to prevent, contain or resolve a conflict;

J.  whereas internal and external security are increasingly inextricably linked and the complex nature of global challenges requires a comprehensive and integrated EU approach to external conflicts and crises;

K.  whereas a stronger interinstitutional approach is required in order to ensure that the EU is able to develop and to implement its capacities to their full potential;

L.  whereas the EU Global Strategy, political statements and institutional developments are welcome signs of the commitment of the VP/HR to prioritising conflict prevention and mediation;

M.  whereas the external financing instruments provide a significant contribution in support of conflict prevention and peacebuilding;

N.  whereas transitional justice is an important set of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms focusing on accountability for past abuses as well as the establishment of a sustainable, just and peaceful future;

O.  whereas Parliament has taken a prominent role in parliamentary diplomacy, including mediation and dialogue processes, drawing on its ingrained culture of dialogue and consensus building;

P.  whereas violent conflict and war have a disproportionate impact on civilians, particularly women and children, and put women at greater risk than men of economic and sexual exploitation, forced labour, displacement, detention and sexual violence such as rape, which is used as a tactic of war; whereas the active participation of women and young people is important for conflict prevention and peacebuilding as well as in the prevention of all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence;

Q.  whereas it is essential to include and support the active and meaningful participation of civil society and local actors, both civilian and military, including women, minorities, indigenous peoples and young people, when promoting and facilitating capacity and confidence building in mediation, dialogue and reconciliation;

R.  whereas conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peace keeping efforts are frequently underfunded, despite policy commitments at EU level, which has knock-on effects on the capacity to promote and facilitate action in these areas;

1.  Encourages the Union to further prioritise conflict prevention and mediation in the framework or in support of existing agreed negotiating formats and principles; underlines that this approach is delivering a high degree of EU added value in political, social, economic and human security terms globally; recalls that conflict prevention and mediation actions contribute to asserting the presence and credibility of the Union on the international scene;

2.  Recognises the role played by civil and military missions carried out by the common security and defence policy (CSDP) in maintaining peace, avoiding conflicts and strengthening international security;

3.  Calls on the VP/HR, the President of the Commission and the President of the European Parliament to set joint, long-term priorities in the area of conflict prevention and mediation, which should become part of a regular strategic programming exercise;

4.  Calls for long-term peacebuilding addressing the root causes of conflict;

5.  Calls for the enhancement of the current architecture to support the EU’s priorities as described below;

6.  Calls for conflict-sensitive and people-centred approaches which put human security at the core of EU engagement in order to achieve positive and sustainable results on the ground;

7.  Invites the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Commission’s services dealing with external action to present a yearly report to Parliament on the progress made in implementing EU policy commitments on conflict prevention and mediation;

On enhancing the EU’s institutional capacities for conflict prevention and mediation

8.  Supports the more coherent and holistic engagement of the EU in external conflicts and crises, considers that the integrated approach to external conflicts and crises constitutes the added value of the Union’s external action and that all means must be implemented as rapidly as possible in order to clarify EU responses at each stage of the conflict and to make this integrated approach more operational and more effective; recalls in this context the norms and principles of international law and the UN Charter, and expresses support for existing negotiating frameworks, approaches and principles; reiterates that each conflict should be viewed independently;

9.  Stresses that this capacity building should enable Member States to identify priority geographical areas for conflict prevention and mediation actions, and facilitate bilateral cooperation between European countries;

10.  Calls for the establishment, under the authority of the VP/HR, of an EU high-level advisory board on conflict prevention and mediation, with the aim of setting up a comprehensive pool of experienced senior political mediators and conflict prevention experts to make available political and technical expertise at short notice; believes that a pool of experts covering reconciliation and transitional justice is also needed; calls for the establishment of reconciliation and accountability mechanisms to be systematically encouraged in all post-conflict areas in order to ensure accountability for past crimes, as well as prevention and deterrence for the future;

11.  Calls for the appointment of an EU Special Envoy for peace to chair the EU high-level advisory board, in order to promote coherence and coordination across the institutions, including in their engagement with civil society, to improve the exchange of information and lead to increased and earlier action;

12.  Calls for the establishment of other interinstitutional mechanisms such as task forces for specific conflict prevention situations;

13.  Calls for the establishment of a dedicated Council working group on conflict prevention and mediation, emphasising EU’s strong commitment to peace and stability in its neighbouring regions;

On the European External Action Service

14.  Welcomes the establishment of a dedicated EEAS ‘Conflict prevention, Peace building and Mediation Instruments Division’ and the development of tools such as the Early Warning System and horizon scanning; calls for investments to further develop such tools;

15.  Calls for more systematic gathering, management and dissemination of relevant knowledge in formats that are accessible, practical and operationally relevant for staff across the EU institutions;

16.  Calls for further capacity development on gender-sensitive conflict analysis, early warning, reconciliation and conflict prevention for in-house staff, mediators and other experts, as well as for third parties, engaging with the EEAS and including civil society organisations;

On the European Commission

17.  Recalls the growing need for conflict prevention in addressing the root causes of conflict and in achieving the SDGs, with a particular focus on democracy and human rights, the rule of law, judicial reform and support for civil society;

18.  Highlights the fact that all EU interventions in violent and conflict-affected areas need to be conflict and gender sensitive; calls for immediate action to embed these aspects in all relevant policies, strategies, actions and operations, entailing a greater focus on the avoidance of doing harm, while maximising the EU’s contribution to achieving long-term conflict prevention and peace-building objectives;

On the European Parliament

19.  Underlines the role of the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) and its lead MEPs as the operational body for coordinating mediation and dialogue initiatives and welcomes new initiatives such as the Jean Monnet Dialogue for peace and democracy (using the historic Jean Monnet House in Bazoches, France), activities on election-related violence, and inter-party dialogue and consensus-building, as well as the Young Political Leaders’ programme, and recommends that these should be developed further as key instruments of the European Parliament in the area of mediation, facilitation and dialogue; welcomes the decision of the DEG to build on the success of the Jean Monnet Dialogue process with the Macedonian Sobranie by extending the Jean Monnet Dialogue’s methodology throughout the countries of the Western Balkans;

20.  Welcomes the partnership with the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada in the format of the Jean Monnet Dialogues, which has the aim of building consensus among political factions and parties in the Verkhovna Rada and, most importantly, of transforming the political culture towards a modern European parliamentary approach based on democratic dialogue and consensus building;

21.  Welcomes the conclusions of the fifth Jean Monnet Dialogue, which took place from 11 to 13 October 2018 and where steps were taken concerning support for the implementation of the Association Agreement; recognises the request for the European Parliament to work with the Commission to facilitate a dialogue with key stakeholders from the Verkhovna Rada and the Government of Ukraine on improving the effectiveness of the Verkhovna Rada in its role in relation to the implementation of the Association Agreement;

22.  Welcomes the new tri-partite initiative of the Speakers of the Parliaments of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia to establish a regional parliamentary assembly as an important platform for regional dialogue on strategic issues including the implementation of Association Agreements and for responding to key security challenges including hybrid war and disinformation; considers Parliament’s support for this regional parliamentary dialogue to be an important sign of its commitment to the region in the face of common regional security challenges;

23.  Recognises its growing role in the political mediation processes; highlights, in this respect, the joint initiative of the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and three mediators of the European Parliament, Mr Kukan, Mr Vajgl and Mr Fleckenstein, in supporting the party leaders in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in overcoming the political crisis through the adoption of the 2015 Przino Agreement; confirms its readiness to build on this example of close interinstitutional cooperation with the Commission and the EEAS by stepping up its engagement to strengthen political dialogues and reconciliation throughout the Western Balkans and the wider neighbourhood;

24.  Calls for further development of the Young Political Leaders’ programme in the context of the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda, based on UN Security Council Resolution 2250, as well as for the continuation of the excellent cooperation with the VP/HR’s regional initiative for the Mediterranean under the Young Med Voices programme;

25.  Considers that the High Level Youth Dialogue ‘Bridging the gap’ provides a space for dialogue among youth representatives and young members of parliaments from the Western Balkans, which is important in supporting a culture of cross-party dialogue and reconciliation as well as fostering the European perspective of the countries in the region;

26.  Recommends that the existing parliamentary training and coaching programmes available for Members of the European Parliament, particularly those appointed as mediators or Chief Observers, as well as training programmes for third country parliamentarians, political parties and staff, be further developed, including those on gender and youth aspects, also in coordination with structures in Member States which have developed expertise in this field;

27.  Considers that Parliament’s capacities could be further developed with the appointment of a vice-president responsible for coordinating mediation and facilitation of dialogue activities, who would act in close cooperation with the DEG; calls for the establishment of a pool of current and former Members of the European Parliament;

28.  Underlines the role of European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in raising awareness about conflicts around the world; calls for an increase in the prize money awarded in the next Parliamentary term;

29.  Recognises the need for Parliament, in support of overall EU efforts, to institutionalise its procedures on mediation; calls for the strengthening of parliamentary diplomacy and exchange activities, including through the work of parliamentary delegations;

30.  Underlines the long-standing close cooperation between Parliament and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in the area of elections and support for democracy; calls for the extension of this cooperation into the area of mediation and dialogue;

On women, peace and security – enhancing gender capacities in EU conflict prevention and mediation

31.  Calls for the EU to take a leading role in the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security and the incorporation of the principles contained therein at all stages of EU conflict prevention and mediation activities;

32.  Calls for the implementation of full gender equality and for particular efforts to ensure the participation of women, girls and young people and the protection of their rights across the conflict cycle, from conflict prevention to post-conflict reconstruction, in the context of EU conflict prevention and mediation activities;

33.  Calls for all exercises in cooperation, training and intervention to be gender sensitive; welcomes the EU initiatives in this regard, as well as its active contribution to the next Gender Action Plan, and the new EU Strategic Approach to women, peace and security;

34.  Calls for the inclusion of expertise on gender, including gender-based violence and conflict-related sexual violence, in all stages of conflict prevention, the mediation process and peacebuilding;

35.  Calls for the EU to take a leading role in the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on youth, peace and security, and the integration of the principles enshrined therein in EU conflict prevention and mediation activities;

36.  Calls for all cooperation, training and interventions to be sensitive to and informed by the needs and aspirations of young women and young men, keeping in mind the differentiated ways in which violent conflict impacts their lives and futures and the valuable contributions they can make to preventing and resolving violent conflict;

On enhancing the role and capabilities of civil society organisations in the EU’s approach to conflict prevention and mediation

37.  Considers that the role of civil society organisations should be taken into account in the EU’s overall approach and its priorities for capacity development;

38.  Underlines the importance of confidence building measures and people-to-people contacts in conflict prevention and resolution;

39.  Calls for consultations with civil society organisations, especially those specialised in women’s rights and minorities’ human rights, when establishing and implementing EU programmes and policies on peace, security and mediation;

On financial and budgetary resources available for EU conflict prevention and mediation

40.  Takes the view that growing challenges demand higher appropriations for conflict prevention and the provision of dedicated staff capacity;

41.  Stresses the need for sufficient and earmarked financial resources to be made available for the EU’s conflict prevention and mediation actions under the next multiannual financial framework (2021-2027);

42.  Invites the VP/HR to provide Parliament with an update on the EEAS budget line dedicated to conflict analysis and conflict sensitivity, early warning, mediation support and the future priorities in this field;

o
o   o

43.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Presidents of the Commission and the Council, the Commission Vice-President / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the EEAS, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the Commission, the OSCE, the UN Secretary-General, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 356, 4.10.2018, p. 130.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0312.
(3) OJ L 335, 15.12.2017, p. 6.

Legal notice - Privacy policy