Index 
Texts adopted
Tuesday, 26 March 2019 - StrasbourgFinal edition
Request for waiver of the immunity of Jørn Dohrmann
 Representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers ***I
 Protocol to the EU-Israel Euro-Mediterranean Agreement (accession of Croatia) ***
 EU-Uzbekistan comprehensive agreement
 Discontinuing seasonal changes of time ***I
 Common rules for the internal market for electricity ***I
 Internal market for electricity ***I
 European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators ***I
 Risk-preparedness in the electricity sector ***I
 Labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other essential parameters ***I
 Copyright in the Digital Single Market ***I
 Contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services ***I
 Contracts for the sale of goods ***I
 Fishing in the GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean) Agreement area ***I
 Alignment of reporting obligations in the field of environment policy ***I
 Special rules regarding maximum length in case of cabs ***I
 Low carbon benchmarks and positive carbon impact benchmarks ***I
 Specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) ***I
 Fundamental rights of people of African descent
 Report on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance
 EU-Switzerland Institutional Framework Agreement
 Discharge 2017: EU general budget - Commission and executive agencies
 Discharge 2017: Court of Auditors' special reports in the context of the 2017 Commission discharge
 2017 discharge: General budget of the EU - 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th EDFs
 Discharge 2017: General budget of the EU - European Parliament
 Discharge 2017: General budget of the EU - European Council and Council
 Discharge 2017: General budget of the EU - Court of Justice
 Discharge 2017: General budget of the EU - European Court of Auditors
 Discharge 2017: General budget of the EU - European Economic and Social Committee
 Discharge 2017: General budget of the EU - European Committee of the Regions
 Discharge 2017: General budget of the EU - European External Action Service
 Discharge 2017: General budget of the EU - European Ombudsman
 Discharge 2017: General budget of the EU - European Data Protection Supervisor
 Discharge 2017: performance, financial management and control of EU agencies
 Discharge 2017: Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER)
 Discharge 2017: Office of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)
 Discharge 2017: Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (CdT)
 Discharge 2017: European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop)
 Discharge 2017: European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL)
 Discharge 2017: European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
 Discharge 2017: European Asylum Support Office (EASO)
 Discharge 2017: European Banking Authority (EBA)
 Discharge 2017: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
 Discharge 2017: European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
 Discharge 2017: European Environment Agency (EEA)
 Discharge 2017: European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA)
 Discharge 2017: European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
 Discharge 2017: European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)
 Discharge 2017: European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA)
 Discharge 2017: European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
 Discharge 2017: European Medicines Agency (EMA)
 Discharge 2017: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)
 Discharge 2017: European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA)
 Discharge 2017: European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA)
 Discharge 2017: European Union Agency for Railways (ERA)
 Discharge 2017: European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)
 Discharge 2017: European Training Foundation (ETF)
 Discharge 2017: European Agency for the operational Management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA)
 Discharge 2017: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)
 Discharge 2017: Euratom Supply Agency (ESA)
 Discharge 2017: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (EUROFOUND)
 Discharge 2017: European Union Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust)
 Discharge 2017: European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol)
 Discharge 2017: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
 Discharge 2017: European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex)
 Discharge 2017: European GNSS Agency (GSA)
 Discharge 2017: Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI)
 Discharge 2017: Joint undertaking - Aeronautics and Environment (CLEAN SKY)
 Discharge 2017: Joint undertaking - Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership (ECSEL)
 Discharge 2017: Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (FCH2)
 Discharge 2017: Joint Undertaking - Innovative Medicines 2 Initiative (IMI)
 Discharge 2017: International Fusion Energy Organisation (ITER)
 Discharge 2017: SESAR Joint Undertaking
 Discharge 2017: Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (SHIFT2RAIL)

Request for waiver of the immunity of Jørn Dohrmann
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European Parliament decision of 26 March 2019 on the request for waiver of the immunity of Jørn Dohrmann (2018/2277(IMM))
P8_TA(2019)0221A8-0178/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the request for waiver of the immunity of Jørn Dohrmann from the Minister of Justice of the Kingdom of Denmark, forwarded on 6 November 2018 by the Permanent Representative of Denmark to the European Union and announced in plenary on 28 November 2018, in connection with prosecution under point (1) of Section 260(1), Section 291(1), and Section 293(1), in conjunction with Section 21 of Danish Criminal Code,

–  having heard Jørn Dohrmann 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 Section 57 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Denmark,

–  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 (A8-0178/2019),

A.  whereas the Viborg State Prosecutor has submitted a request for waiver of the immunity of Jørn Dohrmann, Member of the European Parliament elected for Denmark, in connection with offences within the meaning of Section 260(1)(1), Section 291(1), and Section 293(1), in conjunction with Section 21 of the Danish Criminal Code; whereas, in particular, the proceedings relate to alleged unlawful coercion, malicious damage and attempted unlawful use of an object belonging to another person;

B.  whereas on 26 April 2017, outside his private residence in Vamdrup, Jørn Dohrmann snatched a camera from a cameraman who was filming his house from a distance of approximately 195 metres with the view to using the obtained footage in a TV documentary about certain Danish Members of the European Parliaments; whereas Jørn Dohrmann threatened to smash the camera; whereas he damaged the said camera, including its microphone, screen and cable; whereas he took possession of the camera and the memory card with the intention of making unauthorised use of it by inspecting the recorded footage, but he was ultimately prevented from doing so as the police called at the address and retrieved the camera and the memory card, which he had removed from the device;

C.  whereas the cameraman had been first charged with an offence under Section 264a of the Danish Criminal Code for having unlawfully photographed persons who were on private property; whereas the State Prosecutor recommended that the charges be dropped considering the lack of the requisite element of intent needed to convict someone for a breach of Section 264a of the Danish Criminal Code;

D.  whereas South East Jutland Police pointed out that the company employing the journalist and owner of the camera had made a claim for compensation amounting to DKK 14 724,71 in connection with the case and that cases involving malicious damage, theft, appropriation and similar, where the penalty sought is a fine, must be settled in court proceedings if the injured party concerned has a claim to damages;

E.  whereas, initially, the State Prosecutor’s Office recommended that a DKK 20 000 fine be set in the case against Jørn Dohrmann instead of a custodial sentence, with no formal charges being brought;

F.  whereas Jørn Dohrmann denied the charges against him; whereas, according to the Director of Public Prosecutions, it would then be inconsistent to seek an out-of-court settlement via a fixed penalty notice;

G.  whereas in order for a prosecution to be brought against Jørn Dohrmann, the competent authority made an application for his immunity to be waived;

H.  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’;

I.  whereas Section 57(1) of the Danish Constitution provides that, without the consent of the Danish Parliament, no Member of the Danish Parliament can be charged or subjected to imprisonment of any kind unless he or she is caught in the act of committing an offence; whereas this provision provides protection from public criminal prosecutions, but not from private prosecutions in criminal matters; whereas, if the conditions are met to settle the matter out of court by means of a fixed penalty notice, the consent of the Danish Parliament is not required;

J.  whereas the scope of immunity accorded to Members of the Danish Parliament corresponds in fact to the scope of immunity accorded to Members of the European Parliament under Article 8 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union; whereas the Court of Justice of the European Union has held that for a Member of the European Parliament to enjoy immunity, an opinion must be expressed by the Member in the performance of his or her duties, thus entailing the requirement of a link between the opinion expressed and the parliamentary duties; whereas such a link must be direct and obvious;

K.  whereas the alleged actions do not relate to opinions expressed or votes cast by the Member of the European Parliament in the performance of his duties within the meaning of Article 8 of Protocol No 7 on the Privileges and Immunities of the European Union and therefore have no clear or direct bearing on the performance by Jørn Dohrmann of his duties as a Member of the European Parliament;

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

1.  Decides to waive the immunity of Jørn Dohrmann;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this decision and the report of its committee responsible immediately to the Minister of Justice of the Kingdom of Denmark and to Jørn Dohrmann.

(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.


Representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers ***I
PDF 291kWORD 83k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers, and repealing Directive 2009/22/EC (COM(2018)0184 – C8-0149/2018 – 2018/0089(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0222A8-0447/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0184),

–  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 (C8‑0149/2018),

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

–  having regard to the reasoned opinions submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the Austrian Federal Council and 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 20 September 2018(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 10 October 2018(2),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and also the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A8-0447/2018),

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 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers, and repealing Directive 2009/22/EC

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0089


(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 114 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 purpose of this Directive is to enable qualified representative entities, which represent the collective interest of consumers, to seek remedy through representative actions against infringements of provisions of Union law. The qualified representative entities should be able to ask for stopping or prohibiting an infringement, for confirming that an infringement took place and to seek redress, such as compensation, reimbursement of the price paid, repair, replacement, removal, price reduction or contract termination as available under national laws. [Am. 1]

(2)  Directive 2009/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(6) enabled qualified representative entities to bring representative actions primarily aimed at stopping and prohibiting infringements of Union law harmful to the collective interests of consumers. However, that Directive did not sufficiently address the challenges for the enforcement of consumer law. To improve the deterrence of unlawful practices, to encourage good and responsible business practices, and to reduce consumer detriment, it is necessary to strengthen the mechanism for protection of collective interests of consumers. Given the numerous changes, for the sake of clarity it is appropriate to replace Directive 2009/22/EC. There is a strong need for Union intervention, on the basis of Article 114 TFEU, in order to ensure both access to justice and sound administration of justice as it will reduce the costs and burden entailed by individual actions. [Am. 2]

(3)  A representative action should offer an effective and efficient way of protecting the collective interests of consumers against both internal and cross-border infringements. It should allow qualified representative entities to act with the aim of ensuring compliance with relevant provisions of Union law and to overcome the obstacles faced by consumers within individual actions, such as the uncertainty about their rights and available procedural mechanisms, previous experience of unsuccessful claims, excessively lengthy proceedings, psychological reluctance to take action and the negative balance of the expected costs and benefits of the individual action, thereby increasing legal certainty for both claimants and defendants, as well as for the legal system. [Am. 3].

(4)  It is important to ensure the necessary balance between access to justice and procedural safeguards against abusive litigation which could unjustifiably hinder the ability of businesses to operate in the Single Market. To prevent the misuse of representative actions, elements such as punitive damages and the absence of limitations as regards the entitlement to bring an action on behalf of the harmed consumers should be avoided and clear rules on various procedural aspects, such as the designation of qualified representative entities, the origin of their funds and nature of the information required to support the representative action, should be laid down. This Directive The unsuccessful party should bear the costs of the proceedings. However, the court or tribunal should not affect national rules concerning the allocation of procedural award costs to the unsuccessful party to the extent that they were unnecessarily incurred or are disproportionate to the claim. [Am. 4]

(5)  Infringements that affect the collective interests of consumers often have cross-border implications. More effective and efficient representative actions available across the Union should boost consumer confidence in the internal market and empower consumers to exercise their rights.

(6)  This Directive should cover a variety of areas such as data protection, financial services, travel and tourism, energy, telecommunications, and environment and health. It should cover infringements of provisions of Union law which protect the collective interests of consumers, regardless of whether they are referred to as consumers or as travellers, users, customers, retail investors, retail clients or other in the relevant Union law, as well as the collective interests of data subjects within the meaning of the GDP Regulation. To ensure adequate response to infringement to Union law, the form and scale of which is quickly evolving, it should be considered, each time where a new Union act relevant for the protection of the collective interests of consumers is adopted, whether to amend the Annex to the present Directive in order to place it under its scope. [Am. 5]

(6a)  This Directive applies to representative actions brought against infringements with a broad consumer impact related to the provisions covered by the Union law listed in Annex I. The broad impact starts when two consumers are affected. [Am. 6]

(7)  The Commission has adopted legislative proposals for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights and Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air and for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on rail passengers' rights and obligations. It is therefore appropriate to provide that, one year after the entry into force of this Directive, the Commission assesses whether the Union rules in the area of air and rail passengers' rights offer an adequate level of protection for consumers, comparable to that provided for in this Directive, and draws any necessary conclusions as regards the scope of this Directive.

(8)  Building on Directive 2009/22/EC, this Directive should cover both domestic and cross-border infringements, in particular when consumers concerned by an infringement live in one or several Member States other than the Member State where the infringing trader is established. It should also cover infringements which ceased before the representative action started or concluded, since it may still be necessary to prevent the repetition of the practice, establish that a given practice constituted an infringement and facilitate consumer redress.

(9)  This Directive should not establish rules of private international law regarding jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of judgments or applicable law. The existing Union law instruments apply to the representative actions set out by this Directive preventing any increase in forum shopping. [Am. 7]

(9a)  This Directive should not affect the application of EU rules on private international law in cross-border cases. Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (recast - Brussels I), Regulation (EC) No 593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations (Rome I) and Regulation (EC) No 864/2007of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II) apply to the representative actions set out by this Directive. [Am. 8]

(10)  As only qualified representative entities can bring the representative actions, to ensure that the collective interests of consumers are adequately represented the qualified representative entities should comply with the criteria established by this Directive. In particular, they would need to be properly constituted according to the law of a Member State, which could should include for example requirements regarding the number of members, the degree of permanence, or transparency requirements on relevant aspects of their structure such as their constitutive statutes, management structure, objectives and working methods. They should also be not for profit and have a legitimate interest in ensuring compliance with the relevant Union law. These criteria should apply to both Furthermore, the qualified representative entities must be independent from market operators, including financially. The qualified entities designated in advance and to ad hoc qualified entities that are constituted for the purpose of a specific action representative entities must also have an established procedure to prevent conflict of interests. Member States shall not impose criteria that go beyond those established in this Directive. [Am. 9]

(11)  Independent public bodies and consumer organisations in particular should play an active role in ensuring compliance with relevant provisions of Union law and are all well placed to act as qualified entities. Since these entities have access to different sources of information regarding traders' practices towards consumers and hold different priorities for their activities, Member States should be free to decide on the types of measures that may be sought by each of these qualified entities in representative actions.

(12)  Since both judicial and administrative procedures may effectively and efficiently serve the protection of the collective interests of consumers it is left to the discretion of the Member States whether the representative action can be brought in judicial or administrative proceedings, or both, depending on the relevant area of law or relevant economic sector. This shall be without prejudice to the right to an effective remedy under Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, whereby Member States shall ensure that consumers and businesses have the right to an effective remedy before a court or tribunal, against any administrative decision taken pursuant to national provisions implementing this Directive. This shall include the possibility for the parties to obtain a decision granting suspension of enforcement of the disputed decision, in accordance with national law.

(13)  To increase the procedural effectiveness of representative actions, qualified entities should have the possibility to seek different measures within a single representative action or within separate representative actions. These measures should include interim measures for stopping an ongoing practice or prohibiting a practice in case the practice has not been carried out but there is a risk that it would cause serious or irreversible harm to consumers, measures establishing that a given practice constitutes an infringement of law and, if necessary, stopping or prohibiting the practice for the future, as well as measures eliminating the continuing effects of the infringement, including redress. If sought within a single action, qualified entities should be able to seek all relevant measures at the moment of bringing the action or first seek relevant injunctions order and subsequently and if appropriate redress order.

(14)  Injunction orders aim at the protection of the collective interests of consumers independently of any actual loss or damage suffered by individual consumers. Injunction orders may require traders to take specific action, such as providing consumers with the information previously omitted in violation of legal obligations. Decisions establishing that a practice constitutes an infringement should not depend on whether the practice was committed intentionally or by negligence.

(15)  The qualified entity initiating the representative action under this Directive should be a party to the proceedings. Consumers concerned by the infringement should have adequate opportunities to benefit from information regarding the relevant outcomes of the representative action and how they can benefit from them. Injunction orders issued under this Directive should be without prejudice to individual actions brought by consumers harmed by the practice subject to the injunction order. [Am. 10]

(16)  Qualified representative entities should be able to seek measures aimed at eliminating the continuing effects of the infringement. These measures should take the form of a redress order obligating the trader to provide for, inter alia, compensation, repair, replacement, removal, price reduction, contract termination or reimbursement of the price paid, as appropriate and as available under national laws. [Am. 11]

(17)  The compensation awarded to consumers harmed in a mass harm situation should not exceed the amount owed by the trader in accordance with the applicable national or Union Law in order to cover the actual harm suffered by them. In particular, punitive damages, leading to overcompensation in favour of the claimant party of the damage suffered, should be avoided.

(18)  Member States may should require qualified representative entities to provide sufficient information to support a representative action for redress, including a description of the group of consumers concerned by an infringement and the questions of fact and law to be resolved within the representative action. The qualified entity should not be required to individually identify all consumers concerned by an infringement in order to initiate the action. In representative actions for redress the court or administrative authority should verify at the earliest possible stage of the proceedings whether the case is suitable for being brought as a representative action, given the nature of the infringement and characteristics of the damages suffered by consumers concerned In particular, the claims should be ascertainable and uniform and there should be a commonality in the measures sought, third-party funding arrangement of the qualified entity should be transparent and without any conflict of interest. Member States should also ensure that the court or administrative authority has the authority to dismiss manifestly unfounded cases at the earliest possible stage of proceedings. [Am. 12]

(19)  Member States should be allowed to decide whether their court or national authority seized of a representative action for redress may exceptionally issue, instead of a redress order, a declaratory decision regarding the liability of the trader towards the consumers harmed by an infringement which could be directly relied upon in subsequent redress actions by individual consumers. This possibility should be reserved to duly justified cases where the quantification of the individual redress to be attributed to each of the consumer concerned by the representative action is complex and it would be inefficient to carry it out within the representative action. Declaratory decisions should not be issued in situations which are not complex and in particular where consumers concerned are identifiable and where the consumers have suffered a comparable harm in relation to a period of time or a purchase. Similarly, declaratory decisions should not be issued where the amount of loss suffered by each of the individual consumers is so small that individual consumers are unlikely to claim for individual redress. The court or the national authority should duly motivate its recourse to a declaratory decision instead of a redress order in a particular case. [Am. 13]

(20)  Where consumers concerned by the same practice are identifiable and they suffered comparable harm in relation to a period of time or a purchase, such as in the case of long-term consumer contracts, the court or administrative authority may clearly define the group of consumers concerned by the infringement in the course of the representative action. In particular, the court or administrative authority could ask the infringing trader to provide relevant information, such as the identity of the consumers concerned and the duration of the practice. For expediency and efficiency reasons, in these cases Member States in accordance with their national laws could consider to provide consumers with the possibility to directly benefit from a redress order after it was issued without being required to give their individual mandate before the redress order is issued. [Am. 14]

(21)  In low-value cases most consumers are unlikely to take action in order to enforce their rights because the efforts would outweigh the individual benefits. However, if the same practice concerns a number of consumers, the aggregated loss may be significant. In such cases, a court or authority may consider that it is disproportionate to distribute the funds back to the consumers concerned, for example because it is too onerous or impracticable. Therefore the funds received as redress through representative actions would better serve the purposes of the protection of collective interests of consumers and should be directed to a relevant public purpose, such as a consumer legal aid fund, awareness campaigns or consumer movements. [Am. 15]

(22)  Measures aimed at eliminating the continuing effects of the infringement may be sought only on the basis of a final decision, establishing an infringement of Union law covered by the scope of this Directive harming collective interest of consumers, including a final injunction order issued within the representative action. In particular, measures eliminating the continuing effects of the infringement may be sought on the basis of final decisions of a court or administrative authority in the context of enforcement activities regulated by Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004(7).

(23)  This Directive provides for a procedural mechanism, which does not affect the rules establishing substantive rights of consumers to contractual and non-contractual remedies in case their interests have been harmed by an infringement, such as the right to compensation for damages, contract termination, reimbursement, replacement, removal, repair or price reduction. A representative action seeking redress under this Directive can only be brought where Union or national law provides for such substantive rights. [Am. 16]

(24)  This Directive aims at a minimum harmonisation and does not replace existing national collective redress mechanisms. Taking into account their legal traditions, it leaves it to the discretion of the Member States whether to design the representative action set out by this Directive as a part of an existing or future collective redress mechanism or as an alternative to these mechanisms, insofar as the national mechanism complies with the modalities set by this Directive. It does not prevent Member States from maintaining their existing framework, neither does it oblige Member States to amend it. Member States will have the possibility to implement the rules provided for this Directive into their own system of collective redress or to implement them in a separate procedure. [Am. 17]

(25)  Qualified representative entities should be fully transparent about the source of funding of their activity in general and regarding the funds supporting a specific representative action for redress in order to enable courts or administrative authorities to assess whether there may be a conflict of interest between the third party funder and the qualified entity and to avoid risks of abusive litigation as well as to assess whether the funding third party qualified entity has sufficient resources in order to meet its financial commitments to the qualified entity represent the best interests of consumers concerned and to support all necessary legal costs should the action fail. The information provided by the qualified entity at the earliest stage of proceedings to the court or administrative authority overseeing the representative action should enable it to assess whether the third party may influence procedural decisions of the qualified entity in general and in the context of the representative action, including on settlements and whether it provides financing for a representative action for redress against a defendant who is a competitor of the fund provider or against a defendant on whom the fund provider is dependant. If any of these circumstances is confirmed, the court or administrative authority should must be empowered to require the qualified entity to refuse the relevant funding and, if necessary, reject standing of the qualified entity in a specific case. Member States should prevent law firms from establishing qualified representative entities. Indirect financing of the action through donations, including traders donations in the framework of a corporate social responsibility initiatives, shall be eligible for third party financing provided that it complies with the requirements on transparency, independence and absence of conflict of interest listed in Article 4 and Article 7. [Am. 18]

(26)  Collective out-of-court settlements, such as mediation, aimed at providing redress to harmed consumers should be encouraged both before the representative action is brought and at any stage of the representative action. [Am. 19]

(27)  Member States may provide that a qualified entity and a trader who have reached a settlement regarding redress for consumers affected by an allegedly illegal practice of that trader can jointly request a court or administrative authority to approve it. Such request should be admitted by the court or administrative authority only if there is no other ongoing representative action regarding the same practice. A competent court or administrative authority approving such collective settlement must take into consideration the interests and rights of all parties concerned, including individual consumers. Individual consumers concerned shall be given the possibility to accept or to refuse to be bound by such a settlement Settlements should be final and binding upon all parties. [Am. 20]

(28)  The court and administrative authority should have the power to invite the infringing trader and the qualified entity which brought the representative action to enter into negotiations aimed at reaching a settlement on redress to be provided to consumers concerned. The decision of whether to invite the parties to settle a dispute out-of-court should take into account the type of the infringement to which the action relates, the characteristics of the consumers concerned, the possible type of redress to be offered, the willingness of the parties to settle and the expediency of the procedure.

(29)  In order to facilitate redress for individual consumers sought on the basis of final declaratory decisions regarding the liability of the trader towards the consumers harmed by an infringement issued within representative actions, the court or administrative authority that issued the decision should be empowered to request the qualified entity and the trader to reach a collective settlement. [Am. 21]

(30)  Any out-of-court settlement reached within the context of a representative action or based on a final declaratory decision should be approved by the relevant court or the administrative authority to ensure its legality and fairness, taking into consideration the interests and rights of all parties concerned. Individual The settlements are binding upon all parties without prejudice to any additional rights to redress that the consumers concerned shall be given the possibility to accept or to refuse to be bound by such a settlementmay have under Union or national law. [Am. 22]

(31)  Ensuring that consumers are informed about a representative action is crucial for its success. Consumers should be informed of ongoing representative action, the fact that a trader's practice has been considered as a breach of law, their rights following the establishment of an infringement and any subsequent steps to be taken by consumers concerned, particularly for obtaining redress. The reputational risks associated with spreading information about the infringement are also important for deterring traders infringing consumer rights.

(32)  To be effective, the information should be adequate and proportional to the circumstances of the case. The infringing trader Member States should ensure that the court or the administrative authority may require the defeated party to adequately inform all consumers concerned of a final decision concerning injunction and redress orders issued within the representative action, as well as and both parties in cases of a settlement approved by a court or administrative authority. Such information may be provided for instance on the trader's website, social media, online market places, or in popular newspapers, including those distributed exclusively by electronic means of communication. If possible, consumers should be informed individually through electronic or paper letters. This information should be provided in accessible formats for persons with disabilities upon request. The defeated party shall bear the costs of consumer information. [Am. 23]

(32a)   Member States should be encouraged to set up a national register for representative actions free of charge, which could further enhance the transparency obligations. [Am. 24]

(33)  To enhance legal certainty, avoid inconsistency in the application of Union law and to increase the effectiveness and procedural efficiency of representative actions and of possible follow-on actions for redress, the finding of an infringement or a non-infringement established in a final decision, including a final injunction order under this Directive, issued by an administrative authority or a court should not be relitigated in subsequent legal actions related to be binding upon all parties, which participated in the representative action. The final decision should be without prejudice to any additional rights to redress that the consumers concerned may have under Union or national law. The redress obtained through the settlement should also be binding upon cases involving the same infringement by practice, the same trader as regards the nature of the infringement and its material, personal, temporal and territorial scope as determined by that final decision and the same consumer. Where an action seeking measures eliminating the continuing effects of the infringement, including for redress, is brought in a Member State other than the Member State where a final decision establishing this infringement or a non-infringement was issued, the decision should constitute a rebuttable presumption an evidence that the infringement has or has not occurred in related cases. Member States shall ensure that a final decision of a court of one Member State establishing the existence or non-existence of the infringement for the purposes of any other actions seeking redress before their national courts in another Member State against the same trader for the same infringement shall be considered as a rebuttable presumption. [Am. 25]

(34)  Member States should ensure that individual actions for redress may be based on a final declaratory decision issued within a representative action. Such actions should be available through expedient and simplified procedures.

(35)  Actions for redress based on the establishment of an infringement by a final injunction order or by a final declaratory decision regarding the liability of the trader towards the harmed consumers under this Directive should not be hindered by national rules on limitation periods. The submission of a representative action shall have the effect of suspending or interrupting the limitation periods for any redress actions for the consumers concerned by this action. [Am. 26]

(36)  Representative actions for injunction orders should be treated with due procedural expediency. Injunction orders with interim effect should always be treated by way of an accelerated procedure in order to prevent any or further harm caused by the infringement.

(37)  Evidence is an important element for establishing whether a given practice constitutes an infringement of law, whether there is a risk of its repetition, for determining the consumers concerned by an infringement, deciding on redress and adequately informing consumers concerned by a representative action about the ongoing proceedings and its final outcomes. However, business-to-consumer relationships are characterised by information asymmetry and the necessary information may be held exclusively by the trader, making it inaccessible to the qualified entity. Qualified entities should therefore be afforded the right to request to the competent court or administrative authority the disclosure by the trader of evidence relevant to their claim or needed for adequately informing consumers concerned about the representative action, without it being necessary for them to specify individual items of evidence. The need, scope and proportionality of such disclosure should be carefully assessed by the court or administrative authority overseeing the representative action having regard to the protection of legitimate interests of third parties and subject to the applicable Union and national rules on confidentiality.

(38)  In order to ensure the effectiveness of the representative actions infringing traders should face effective, dissuasive and proportionate penalties for non-compliance with a final decision issued within the representative action.

(39)  Having regard to the fact that representative actions pursue a public interest by protecting the collective interests of consumers, Member States should ensure that qualified representative entities are not prevented from bringing representative actions under this Directive because of the costs involved with the procedures. However, subject to the relevant conditions under national law, this should be without prejudice to the fact that the party that loses a representative action reimburses necessary legal costs borne by the winning party (‘loser pays principle’). However, the court or administrative authority should not award costs to the unsuccessful party to the extent that they were unnecessarily incurred or are disproportionate to the claim. [Am. 27]

(39a)   Member States should ensure that contingency fees are avoided and lawyers’ remuneration and the method by which it is calculated do no create any incentive to litigation that is unnecessary from the point of view of the interest of consumers or any of the parties concerned and could prevent consumers from fully benefiting from the representative action. The Member States that allow for contingency fees should ensure that such fees do not prevent obtaining full compensation by consumers. [Am. 28]

(40)  Cooperation and exchange of information, good practices and experience between qualified representative entities from different Member States have proven to be useful in addressing cross-border infringements. There is a need for continuing and expanding the capacity-building and cooperation measures to a larger number of qualified representative entities across the Union in order to increase the use of representative actions with cross-border implications. [Am. 29]

(41)  In order to effectively tackle infringements with cross-border implications the mutual recognition of the legal standing of qualified entities designated in advance in one Member State to seek representative action in another Member State should be ensured. Furthermore, qualified entities from different Member States should be able to join forces within a single representative action in front of a single forum, subject to relevant rules on competent jurisdiction. For reasons of efficiency and effectiveness, one qualified entity should be able to bring a representative action in the name of other qualified entities representing consumers from different Member States.

(41a)   In order to explore the possibility of having a procedure at Union level for cross-border representative actions, the Commission should assess the possibility of establishing a European Ombudsman for collective redress. [Am. 30]

(42)  This Directive respects fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised in particular by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Accordingly, this Directive should be interpreted and applied in accordance with those rights and principles, including those related to the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial, as well as the right of defence.

(43)  With regard to environmental law, this Directive takes account of the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (‘the Aarhus Convention’).

(44)  The objectives of this Directive, namely establishing a representative action mechanism for the protection of the collective interests of consumers in order to ensure a high level of consumer protection across the Union and the proper functioning of the internal market, cannot be sufficiently achieved by actions taken exclusively by Member States, but can rather, due to cross-border implications of representative actions, be better achieved at Union level. The Union may therefore 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 Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.

(45)  In accordance with the Joint Political Declaration of 28 September 2011 of Member States and the Commission on explanatory documents(8), Member States have undertaken to accompany, in justified cases, the notification of their transposition measures with one or more documents explaining the relationship between the components of a directive and the corresponding parts of national transposition instruments. With regard to this Directive, the legislator considers the transmission of such documents to be justified.

(46)  It is appropriate to provide rules for the temporal application of this Directive.

(47)  Directive 2009/22/EC should therefore be repealed,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Chapter 1

Subject matter, scope and definitions

Article 1

Subject matter

1.  This Directive sets out rules enabling qualified representative entities to seek representative actions aimed at the protection of the collective interests of consumers and thereby, in particular, achieve and enforce a high level of protection and access to justice, while at the same time ensuring appropriate safeguards to avoid abusive litigation. [Am. 31]

2.  This Directive shall not prevent Member States from adopting or maintaining in force provisions designed to grant qualified representative entities or any other persons concerned public body other procedural means to bring actions aimed at the protection of the collective interests of consumers at national level. The implementation of this Directive shall under no circumstances constitute grounds for the reduction of consumer protection in fields covered by the scope of Union law. [Am. 32]

Article 2

Scope

1.  This Directive shall apply to representative actions brought against infringements with a broad consumer impact by traders of provisions of the Union law listed in Annex I that harm or may harm protect the collective interests of consumers. It shall apply to domestic and cross-border infringements, including where those infringements have ceased before the representative action has started or before the representative action has been concluded. [Am. 33]

2.  This Directive shall not affect rules establishing contractual and non-contractual remedies available to consumers for such infringements under Union or national law.

3.  This Directive is without prejudice to the Union rules on private international law, in particular rules related to court jurisdiction, and to the recognition and enforcement of judgements in civil and commercial matters and rules on the law applicable law to contractual and non-contractual obligations, which apply to the representative actions set out by this Directive. [Am. 34]

3a.  This Directive is without prejudice to other forms of redress mechanisms provided for in national law. [Am. 35]

3b.  This Directive respects the fundamental rights, and observes the principles, recognised by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights, and in particular the right to a fair and impartial trial and the right to an effective remedy. [Am. 36]

Article 3

Definitions

For the purposes of this Directive, the following definitions shall apply:

(1)  ‘consumer’ means any natural person who is acting for purposes which are outside their trade, business, craft or profession;

(1a)  ‘consumer organisation’ means any group that seeks to protect consumers' interests from illegal acts or omissions committed by traders. [Am. 37]

(2)  ‘trader’ means any natural person or any legal person, irrespective of whether privately or publicly owned, who is acting in a civil capacity under the rules of civil law, including through any other person acting in their name or on their behalf, for purposes relating to their trade, business, craft or profession; [Am. 38]

(3)  ‘collective interests of consumers’ means the interests of a number of consumers or of data subjects as defined in Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation); [Am. 39]

(4)  ‘representative action’ means an action for the protection of the collective interests of consumers to which the consumers concerned are not parties;

(5)  ‘practice’ means any act or omission by a trader;

(6)  ‘final decision’ means a decision by a Member State's court that cannot or can no longer be appealed or a decision by an administrative authority that can no longer be subject to judicial review;

(6a)  “consumer law” means Union and national law adopted to protect consumers. [Am. 40]

Chapter 2

Representative actions

Article 4

Qualified representative entities [Am. 41]

1.  Member States shall ensure that representative actions can be brought by qualified entities designated, at their request, by the Member States in advance for this purpose and placed in a publicly available list. Member States or their courts shall designate within their respective territory at least one qualified representative entity for the purpose of bringing representative actions within the meaning of Article 3(4).

Member States shall designate an entity as qualified representative entity if it complies with all of the following criteria: [Am. 42]

(a)  it is properly constituted according to the law of a Member State;

(b)  it has its statutes or another governance document and its continued activity involving the defence and protection of consumers interests demonstrate its a legitimate interest in ensuring that provisions of Union law covered by this Directive are complied with; [Am. 43]

(c)  it has a non-profit making character.

(ca)  it acts in a way that is independent from other entities and from persons other than consumers who might have an economic interest in the outcome of the representative actions, in particular from market operators; [Am. 44]

(cb)  it does not have financial agreements with plaintiff law firms beyond a normal service contract; [Am. 45]

(cc)  it has established internal procedures to prevent a conflict of interest between itself and its funders; [Am. 46]

Members States shall provide that the qualified representative entities disclose publicly, by appropriate means, such as on its website, in plain and intelligible language, how it is financed, its organisational and management structure, its objective and its working methods as well as its activities.

Member States shall assess on a regular basis whether a qualified representative entity continues to comply with these criteria. Member States shall ensure that the qualified representative entity loses its status under this Directive if it no longer complies with one or more of the criteria listed in the first subparagraph.

Member States shall establish a list of representative entities complying with the criteria listed in paragraph 1 and make it publicly available. They shall communicate the list to the Commission updated where necessary.

The Commission shall publish the list of representative entities received from the Member States on a publicly accessible online portal. [Am. 47]

1a.  Member States may provide that public bodies already designated before the entry into force of this Directive in accordance with national law shall remain eligible for the status of representative entity within the meaning of this Article. [Am. 48]

2.  Member States may designate a qualified entity on an ad hoc basis for a particular representative action, at its request, if it complies with the criteria referred to in paragraph 1. [Am. 49]

3.  Member States shall ensure that in particular consumer organisations and independent meeting the criteria listed in paragraph 1 and public bodies are eligible for the status of qualified representative entity. Member States may designate as qualified entities consumer organisations that represent members from more than one Member State. [Am. 50]

4.  Member States may set out rules specifying which qualified entities may seek all of the measures referred to in Articles 5 and 6, and which qualified entities may seek only one or more of these measures. [Am. 51]

5.  The compliance by a qualified entity with the criteria referred to in paragraph 1 is without prejudice to the right duty of the court or administrative authority to examine whether the purpose of the qualified entity justifies its taking action in a specific case in accordance with Article 4 and Article 5(1). [Am. 52]

Article 5

Representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers

1.  Member States shall ensure that representative actions can be brought before national courts or administrative authorities only by qualified representative entities designated in accordance with Article 4(1) and provided that there is a direct relationship between the main objectives of the entity and the rights granted under Union law that are claimed to have been violated in respect of which the action is brought.

The qualified representative entities are free to choose any procedure available under national or Union law ensuring the higher level of protection of the collective consumer interest.

Member States shall ensure that no other ongoing action has been brought before a court or an administrative authority of a Member State regarding the same practice, the same trader and the same consumers. [Am. 53]

2.  Member States shall ensure that qualified representative entities, including public bodies that have been designated in advance, are entitled to bring representative actions seeking the following measures: [Am. 54]

(a)  an injunction order as an interim measure for stopping the illegal practice or, if the practice has not yet been carried out but is imminent, prohibiting the illegal practice; [Am. 56]

(b)  an injunction order establishing that the practice constitutes an infringement of law, and if necessary, stopping the practice or, if the practice has not yet been carried out but is imminent, prohibiting the practice.

In order to seek injunction orders, qualified representative entities shall not have to obtain the mandate of the individual consumers concerned or and provide proof of actual loss or damage on the part of the consumers concerned or of intention or negligence on the part of the trader. [Am. 55]

3.  Member States shall ensure that qualified representative entities are entitled to bring representative actions seeking measures eliminating the continuing effects of the infringement. These measures shall be sought on the basis of any final decision establishing that a practice constitutes an infringement of Union law listed in Annex I harming collective interests of consumers, including a final injunction order referred to in paragraph (2)(b). [Am. 57]

4.  Without prejudice to Article 4(4), Member States shall ensure that qualified entities are able to seek the measures eliminating the continuing effects of the infringement together with measures referred to in paragraph 2 within a single representative action. [Am. 58]

Article 5a

Registry of collective redress actions

1.  Member States may set up a national register for representative actions, which shall be available free of charge to any interested person through electronic means and/or otherwise.

2.  Websites publishing the registries shall provide access to comprehensive and objective information on the available methods of obtaining compensation, including out of court methods as well as the pending representative actions.

3.  The national registries shall be interlinked. Article 35 of Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 shall apply. [Am. 59]

Article 6

Redress measures

1.  For the purposes of Article 5(3), Member States shall ensure that qualified entities are entitled to bring representative actions seeking a redress order, which obligates the trader to provide for, inter alia, compensation, repair, replacement, price reduction, contract termination or reimbursement of the price paid, as appropriate. A Member State may or may not require the mandate of the individual consumers concerned before a declaratory decision is made or a redress order is issued. [Am. 60]

If a Member State does not require a mandate of the individual consumer to join the representative action, this Member State shall nevertheless allow those individuals who are not habitually resident in the Member State where the action occurs, to participate in the representative action, in the event they gave their explicit mandate to join the representative action within the applicable time limit. [Am. 61]

The qualified representative entity shall provide sufficient all the necessary information as required under national law to support the action, including a description of the consumers concerned by the action and the questions of fact and law to be resolved. [Am. 62]

2.  By derogation to paragraph 1, Member States may empower a court or administrative authority to issue, instead of a redress order, a declaratory decision regarding the liability of the trader towards the consumers harmed by an infringement of Union law listed in Annex I, in duly justified cases where, due to the characteristics of the individual harm to the consumers concerned the quantification of individual redress is complex. [Am. 63]

3.  Paragraph 2 shall not apply in the cases where:

(a)  consumers concerned by the infringement are identifiable and suffered comparable harm caused by the same practice in relation to a period of time or a purchase. In such cases the requirement of the mandate of the individual consumers concerned shall not constitute a condition to initiate the action. The redress shall be directed to the consumers concerned;

(b)  consumers have suffered a small amount of loss and it would be disproportionate to distribute the redress to them. In such cases, Member States shall ensure that the mandate of the individual consumers concerned is not required. The redress shall be directed to a public purpose serving the collective interests of consumers. [Am. 64]

4.  The redress obtained through a final decision in accordance with paragraphs paragraph 1 , 2 and 3 shall be without prejudice to any additional rights to redress that the consumers concerned may have under Union or national law. The res judicata principle shall be respected in the application of this provision. [Am. 65]

4a.  The redress measures aim to grant consumers concerned full compensation for their loss. In case of unclaimed amount left from the compensation, a court shall decide on the beneficiary of the remaining unclaimed amount. This unclaimed amount shall not go to the qualified representative entity nor to the trader. [Am. 66]

4b.  In particular, punitive damages, leading to overcompensation in favour of the claimant party of the damage suffered, shall be prohibited. For instance, the compensation awarded to consumers harmed collectively shall not exceed the amount owed by the trader in accordance with the applicable national or Union law in order to cover the actual harm suffered by them individually. [Am. 67]

Article 7

Funding Admissibility of a representative action [Am. 68]

1.  The qualified representative entity seeking a redress order as referred in Article 6(1) shall declare at an early submit to the court or administrative authority at the earliest stage of the action the source of the a complete financial overview, listing all sources of funds used for its activity in general and the funds that it uses to support the action in order to demonstrate the absence of conflict of interest. It shall demonstrate that it has sufficient financial resources to represent the best interests of the consumers concerned and to meet any adverse costs should the action fail. [Am. 69]

2.  Member States shall ensure that in cases where a representative action for redress is funded by a third party, it is prohibited for the third party The representative action may be declared inadmissible by the national court if it establishes that the funding by the third party would: [Am. 70]

(a)  to influence decisions of the qualified representative entity in the context of a representative action, including the initiation of representative actions and decisions on settlements; [Am. 71]

(b)  to provide financing for a collective action against a defendant who is a competitor of the fund provider or against a defendant on whom the fund provider is dependant;

3.  Member States shall ensure that courts and administrative authorities are empowered to assess the absence of conflict of interest referred to in paragraph 1 and the circumstances referred to in paragraph 2 and accordingly require the qualified entity to refuse the relevant funding and, if necessary, reject the standing at the stage of admissibility of the qualified entity in a specific case representative action and at a later stage during the court proceedings if the circumstances only yield then. [Am. 72]

3a.  Member States shall ensure that the court or administrative authority have the authority to dismiss manifestly unfounded cases at the earliest possible stage of proceedings. [Am. 73]

Article 7a

Loser pays principle

Member States shall ensure that the party that loses a collective redress action reimburses the legal costs borne by the winning party, subject to the conditions provided for in national law. However, the court or administrative authority shall not award costs to the unsuccessful party to the extent that they were unnecessarily incurred or are disproportionate to the claim. [Am. 74]

Article 8

Settlements

1.  Member States may provide that a qualified representative entity and a trader who have reached a settlement regarding redress for consumers affected by an allegedly illegal practice of that trader can jointly request a court or administrative authority to approve it. Such a request should be admitted by the court or administrative authority only if there is no other ongoing representative action in front of the court or administrative authority of the same Member State regarding the same trader and regarding the same practice. [Am. 75]

2.  Member States shall ensure that at any moment within the representative actions, the court or administrative authority may invite the qualified entity and the defendant, after having consulted them, to reach a settlement regarding redress within a reasonable set time-limit.

3.  Member States shall ensure that the court or administrative authority that issued the final declaratory decision referred to in Article 6(2) is empowered to request the parties to the representative action to reach within a reasonable set time limit a settlement regarding the redress to be provided to consumers on the basis of this final decision.

4.  The settlements referred to in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 shall be subject to the scrutiny of the court or administrative authority. The court or administrative authority shall assess the legality and fairness of the settlement, taking into consideration the rights and interests of all parties, including the consumers concerned.

5.  If the settlement referred to in paragraph 2 is not reached within the set time-limits or the settlement reached is not approved, the court or administrative authority shall continue the representative action.

6.  Individual consumers concerned shall be given the possibility to accept or to refuse to be bound by settlements referred to in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3. The redress obtained through an approved settlement in accordance with paragraph 4 shall be binding upon all parties without prejudice to any additional rights to redress that the consumers concerned may have under Union or national law. [Am. 76]

Article 9

Information on representative actions

-1.  Member States shall ensure that the representative entities:

(a)  inform consumers about the claimed violation of rights granted under Union law and the intention to seek an injunction or to pursue an action for damages,

(b)  explain to consumers concerned already beforehand the possibility of joining the action in order to ensure that the relevant documents and other information necessary for the action are kept.

(c)  where relevant, inform about subsequent steps and the potential legal consequences. [Am. 77]

1.  Where a settlement or final decision benefits consumers who may be unaware of it, Member States shall ensure that the court or administrative authority shall require the infringing trader defeated party or both parties to inform affected consumers at its expense about the final decisions providing for measures referred to in Articles 5 and 6, and the approved settlements referred to in Article 8, by means appropriate to the circumstance of the case and within specified time limits, including, where appropriate, Members States may provide that the information obligation can be complied with through notifying all consumers concerned individually a publicly available and easily accessible website. [Am. 78]

1a.  The defeated party shall bear the costs of consumer information in accordance with the principle laid down in Article 7. [Am. 79]

2.  The information referred to in paragraph 1 shall include in intelligible language an explanation of the subject-matter of the representative action, its legal consequences and, if relevant, the subsequent steps to be taken by the consumers concerned. The modalities and timeframe of the information shall be designed in agreement with the court or administrative authority. [Am. 80]

2a.  Member States shall ensure that information is made available to the public in an accessible way, on upcoming, ongoing and closed collective actions, including via media and online through a public website when a court has decided that the case is admissible. [Am. 81]

2b.  Member States shall ensure that public communications by qualified entities about claims are factual and take into account both the right for consumers to receive information and defendants’ reputational rights and rights to business secrecy. [Am. 82]

Article 10

Effects of final decisions

1.  Member States shall ensure that an infringement harming collective interests of consumers established in a final decision of an administrative authority or a court, including a final injunction order referred to in Article 5(2)(b), is deemed as irrefutably considered as evidence establishing the existence or non-existence of that infringement for the purposes of any other actions seeking redress before their national courts against the same trader for the same infringement facts providing that the same damage cannot be compensated twice to the same consumers concerned. [Am. 83]

2.  Member States shall ensure that a final decision referred to in paragraph 1, taken in another Member State is considered by their national courts or administrative authorities at least as a rebuttable presumption evidence that an infringement has occurred. [Am. 84]

2a.  Member States shall ensure that a final decision of a court of one Member State establishing the existence or non-existence of the infringement for the purposes of any other actions seeking redress before their national courts in another Member State against the same trader for the same infringement is considered a rebuttable presumption. [Am. 85]

3.  Member States shall ensure that a are encouraged to create a database containing all final declaratory decision referred to in Article 6(2) is deemed as irrefutably establishing the liability of the trader towards the harmed consumers by an infringement for the purposes of any decisions on redress actions seeking that could facilitate other redress before their national courts against the same trader for that infringement. Member States shall ensure that such actions for redress brought individually by consumers are available through expedient and simplified procedures measures, and to share their best practices in this field. [Am. 86]

Article 11

Suspension of limitation period

In accordance with national law, Member States shall ensure that the submission of a representative action as referred to in Articles 5 and 6 shall have the effect of suspending or interrupting limitation periods applicable to any redress actions for the consumers individuals concerned, if the relevant rights are subject to a limitation period under Union or national law. [Am. 87]

Article 12

Procedural expediency

1.  Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure representative actions referred to in Articles 5 and 6 are treated with due expediency.

2.  Representative actions for an injunction order in the form of an interim measure referred to in Article 5(2)(a) shall be treated by way of an accelerated procedure.

Article 13

Evidence

Member States shall ensure that, at the request of a qualified entity one of the parties that has presented reasonably available facts and evidence sufficient evidence and a substantive explanation to support the representative action its views, and has indicated further specific and clear defined evidence which lies in the control of the defendant other party, the court or administrative authority may order, in accordance with national procedural rules, that such evidence be presented by the defendant this party, as narrowly as possible on the basis of reasonably available facts, subject to the applicable Union and national rules on confidentiality. The order must be adequate and proportionate in the respective case and must not create an imbalance between the two parties involved. [Am. 88]

Member States shall ensure that the courts limit the disclosure of evidence to what is proportionate. To determine whether any disclosure requested by a representative entity is proportionate, the court shall consider the legitimate interest of all parties concerned, namely to which extent the request for disclosure of evidence is supported by available facts and evidence and whether the evidence the disclosure of which is requested contains confidential information. [Am. 89]

Member States shall ensure that national courts have the power to order the disclosure of evidence containing information where they consider it relevant to the action for damages. [Am. 90]

Article 14

Penalties

1.  Member States shall lay down the rules on penalties applicable to non-compliance with the final decisions issued within the representative action and shall take all necessary measures to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties provided for must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

2.  Member States shall ensure that penalties may take, inter alia, the form of fines. [Am. 91]

3.  When deciding about the allocation of revenues from fines Member States shall take into account the collective interests of consumers. Member States may decide for such revenues to be allocated to a fund created for the purpose of financing representative actions. [Am. 92]

4.  Member States shall notify provisions referred to in paragraph 1 to the Commission by [date for transposition of the Directive] at the latest and shall notify it without delay of any subsequent amendment affecting them.

Article 15

Assistance for qualified representative entities [Am. 93]

1.  Member States shall be encouraged, in line with Article 7, to ensure that qualified representative entities have sufficient funds available for representative actions. They shall take the necessary measures to facilitate access to justice and shall ensure that procedural costs related to representative actions do not constitute financial obstacles for qualified entities to effectively exercise the right to seek the measures referred to in Articles 5 and 6, such as limiting applicable court or administrative fees or granting them access to legal aid where necessary, or by providing them with public funding for this purpose. [Am. 94]

1a.  Member States shall provide structural support to entities acting as qualified entities within the scope of this Directive. [Am. 95]

2.  Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that in cases where the qualified entities are required to inform consumers concerned about the ongoing representative action the related cost may be recovered from the trader if the action is successful.

3.  Member States and the Commission shall support and facilitate the cooperation of qualified entities and the exchange and dissemination of their best practices and experiences as regards the resolution of cross-border and domestic infringements.

Article 15a

Legal representation and fees

Member States shall ensure that the lawyers’ remuneration and the method by which it is calculated do not create any incentive to litigation, unnecessary from the point of view of the interest of any of the parties. In particular, Member States shall prohibit contingency fees. [Am. 96]

Article 16

Cross-border representative actions

1.  Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that any qualified representative entity designated in advance in one Member State in accordance with Article 4(1) may apply to the courts or administrative authorities of another Member State upon the presentation of the publicly available list referred to in that Article. The courts or administrative authorities shall accept this list as proof of may review the legal standing of the qualified representative entity without prejudice to their right to examine whether the purpose of the qualified representative entity justifies its taking action in a specific case. [Am. 97]

2.  Member States shall ensure that where the infringement affects or is likely to affect consumers from different Member States the representative action may be brought to the competent court or administrative authority of a Member State by several qualified entities from different Member States, acting jointly or represented by a single qualified entity, for the protection of the collective interest of consumers from different Member States.

2a.  Member State where a collective redress takes place may require a mandate from the consumers who are resident in this Member State and shall require a mandate from individual consumers based in another Member State when the action is cross-border. In such circumstances, a consolidated list of all consumers from other Member States who have given such a mandate will be provided to the court or administrative authority and the defendant at the beginning of an action. [Am. 98]

3.  For the purposes of cross-border representative actions, and without prejudice to the rights granted to other entities under national legislation, the Member States shall communicate to the Commission the list of qualified entities designated in advance. Member States shall inform the Commission of the name and purpose of these qualified entities. The Commission shall make this information publicly available and keep it up to date.

4.  If a Member State, or the Commission or the trader raises concerns regarding the compliance by a qualified representative entity with the criteria laid down in Article 4(1), the Member State that designated that entity shall investigate the concerns and, where appropriate, revoke the designation if one or more of the criteria are not complied with. [Am. 99]

Article 16a

Public Register

Member States shall ensure that the relevant national competent authorities set up a publicly accessible register of unlawful acts that have been subject to injunction orders in accordance with the provisions of this Directive. [Am. 100]

Chapter 3

Final provisions

Article 17

Repeal

Directive 2009/22/EU is repealed as of [date of application of this Directive] without prejudice to Article 20(2).

References to the repealed Directive shall be construed as references to this Directive and shall be read in accordance with the correlation table set out in Annex II.

Article 18

Monitoring and evaluation

1.  No sooner than 5 years after the date of application of this Directive, the Commission shall carry out an evaluation of this Directive and present a report on the main findings to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee. The evaluation shall be conducted according to the Commission's better regulation guidelines. In the report, the Commission shall in particular assess the scope of application of this Directive defined in Article 2 and Annex I.

2.  No later than one year after the entry into force of this Directive, the Commission shall assess whether the rules on air and rail passenger rights offer a level of protection of the rights of consumers comparable to that provided for under this Directive. Where that is the case, the Commission intends to make appropriate proposals, which may consist in particular in removing the acts referred to in points 10 and 15 of Annex I from the scope of application of this Directive as defined in Article 2. [Am. 101]

3.  Member States shall provide the Commission on annual basis, for the first time at the latest 4 years after the date of application of this Directive, with the following information necessary for the preparation of the report referred to in paragraph 1:

(a)  the number of representative actions brought pursuant to this Directive before administrative and judicial authorities;

(b)  the type of qualified entity bringing the actions;

(c)  the type of the infringement tackled within the representative actions, the parties to the representative actions and the economic sector concerned by the representative actions;

(d)  the length of the proceedings from initiating an action until the adoption of a final injunctions orders referred to in Article 5, redress orders or declaratory decisions referred to in Article 6 or final approval of the settlement referred to in Article 8;

(e)  the outcomes of the representative actions;

(f)  the number of qualified entities participating in cooperation and exchange of best practices mechanism referred to in Article 15(3).

Article 18a

Review clause

Without prejudice to Article 16, the Commission shall assess whether cross-border representative actions could be best addressed at Union level by establishing a European Ombudsman for collective redress. No later than three years after the entry into force of this Directive, the Commission shall draw up a report in this regard and submit it to the European Parliament and the Council, accompanied, if appropriate, by a relevant proposal. [Am. 102]

Article 19

Transposition

1.  Member States shall adopt and publish, by [18 months from the date of entry into force of this Directive] at the latest, the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions.

Member States shall apply those provisions from [6 months after the transposition deadline].

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

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

Article 20

Transitional provisions

1.  Member States shall apply the laws, regulations and administrative provisions transposing this Directive to infringements that started after [date of application of this Directive].

2.  Member States shall apply the laws, regulations and administrative provisions transposing Directive 2009/22/EC to infringements that started before [date of application of this Directive].

Article 21

Entry into force

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

Article 22

Addressees

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at …,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX I

LIST OF PROVISIONS OF UNION LAW REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 2(1)

(1)  Council Directive 85/374/EEC of 25 July 1985 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning liability for defective products (OJ L 210 , 07.08.1985, p. 29 –33)(9).

(2)  Council Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts (OJ L 95, 21.4.1993, p. 29).

(3)  Directive 98/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 1998 on consumer protection in the indication of the prices of products offered to consumers (OJ L 80, 18.3.1998, p. 27).

(4)  Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 May 1999 on certain aspects of the sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees (OJ L 171, 7.7.1999, p. 12).

(5)  Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects on information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the internal market (Directive on electronic commerce) (OJ L 178, 17.7.2000, p. 1).

(6)  Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001 on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use: Articles 86 to 100 (OJ L 311, 28.11.2001, p. 67).

(7)  Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive) (OJ L 108, 24.4.2002, p. 51–77).

(8)  Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications) (OJ L 201, 31.7.2002, p. 37): Article 13.

(9)  Directive 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 concerning the distance marketing of consumer financial services (OJ L 271, 9.10.2002, p. 16).

(10)  Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91 (OJ L 46, 17.2.2004, p. 1).

(11)  Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market (OJ L 149, 11.6.2005, p. 22).

(12)  Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 concerning the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air (OJ L 204, 26.7.2006, p. 1).

(13)  Directive 2006/114/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 concerning misleading and comparative advertising (OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 21): Article 1, point (c) of Article 2 and Articles 4 to 8.

(14)  Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on services in the internal market (OJ L 376, 27.12.2006, p. 36).

(15)  Regulation (EC) No 1371/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations (OJ L 315, 3.12.2007, p. 14).

(16)  Directive 2008/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 on credit agreements for consumers and repealing Council Directive 87/102/EEC (OJ L 133, 22.5.2008, p. 66).

(17)  Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community (OJ L 293, 31.10.2008, p. 3): Articles 22, 23 and 24.

(18)  Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures, amending and repealing Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, and amending Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (OJ L 353, 31.12.2008, p. 1–1355).

(19)  Directive 2008/122/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 January 2009 on the protection of consumers in respect of certain aspects of timeshare, long-term holiday product, resale and exchange contracts (OJ L 33, 3.2.2009, p. 10).

(20)  Directive 2009/72/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity and repealing Directive 2003/54/EC (OJ L 211, 14.8.2009, p. 55–93).

(21)  Directive 2009/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC (OJ L 211, 14.8.2009, p. 94–136).

(22)  Directive 2009/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 on the coordination of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) (OJ L 302, 17.11.2009, p. 32–96).

(23)  Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on cross-border payments in the Community and repealing Regulation (EC) No 2560/2001 (OJ L 266, 9.10.2009, p. 11–18).

(24)  Directive 2009/110/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on the taking up, pursuit and prudential supervision of the business of electronic money institutions amending Directives 2005/60/EC and 2006/48/EC and repealing Directive 2000/46/EC (OJ L 267, 10.10.2009, p. 7–17).

(25)  Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products (OJ L 285, 31.10.2009, p. 10–35).

(26)  Regulation (EC) No 1222/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other essential parameters (OJ L 342, 22.12.2009, p. 46–58).

(27)  Directive 2009/138/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the taking-up and pursuit of the business of Insurance and Reinsurance (Solvency II) (OJ L 335, 17.12.2009, p. 1–155): Articles 183, 184, 185 and186.

(28)  Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 March 2010 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the provision of audiovisual media services (Audiovisual Media Services Directive) (OJ L 95, 15.4.2010, p. 1): Articles 9, 10, 11 and Articles 19 to 26.

(29)  Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (OJ L 153, 18.6.2010, p. 13–35).

(30)  Regulation (EC) No 66/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the EU Ecolabel (OJ L 27, 30.1.2010, p. 1–19).

(31)  Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 (OJ L 334, 17.12.2010, p. 1).

(32)  Regulation (EU) No 181/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 concerning the rights of passengers in bus and coach transport and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 (OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 1).

(33)  Directive 2011/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare (OJ L 88, 4.4.2011, p. 45–65).

(34)  Directive 2011/61/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2011 on Alternative Investment Fund Managers and amending Directives 2003/41/EC and 2009/65/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1060/2009 and (EU) No 1095/2010 (OJ L 174, 1.7.2011, p. 1–73).

(35)  Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on consumer rights, amending Council Directive 93/13/EEC and Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 85/577/EEC and Directive 97/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 64).

(36)  Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, amending Regulations (EC) No 1924/2006 and (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Commission Directive 87/250/EEC, Council Directive 90/496/EEC, Commission Directive 1999/10/EC, Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Directives 2002/67/EC and 2008/5/EC and Commission Regulation (EC) No 608/2004 (OJ L 304, 22.11.2011, p. 18–63).

(37)  Regulation (EU) No 260/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2012 establishing technical and business requirements for credit transfers and direct debits in euro and amending Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 (OJ L 94, 30.3.2012, p. 22–37).

(38)  Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (OJ L 172, 30.6.2012, p. 10–35).

(39)  Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, amending Directives 2009/125/EC and 2010/30/EU and repealing Directives 2004/8/EC and 2006/32/EC (OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 1–56).

(40)  Directive 2013/11/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on alternative dispute resolution for consumer disputes (OJ L 165, 18.6.2013, p. 63): Article 13.

(41)  Regulation (EU) No 524/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on online dispute resolution for consumer disputes (Regulation on consumer ODR) (OJ L 165, 18.6.2013, p. 1): Article 14.

(42)  Regulation (EU) No 345/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2013 on European venture capital funds (OJ L 115, 25.4.2013, p. 1–17).

(43)  Regulation (EU) No 346/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2013 on European social entrepreneurship funds (OJ L 115, 25.4.2013, p. 18–38).

(44)  Directive 2014/17/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 February 2014 on credit agreements for consumers relating to residential immovable property and amending Directives 2008/48/EC and 2013/36/EU and Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 (OJ L 60, 28.2.2014, p. 34): Articles 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, Chapter 10 and Annexes I and II.

(45)  Directive 2014/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on markets in financial instruments and amending Directive 2002/92/EC and Directive 2011/61/EU (OJ L 173, 12.6.2014, p. 349–496).

(46)  Directive 2014/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on the comparability of fees related to payment accounts, payment account switching and access to payment accounts with basic features (OJ L 257, 28.8.2014, p. 214): Articles 3 to 18 and Article 20(2).

(47)  Directive (EU) 2015/2302 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on package travel and linked travel arrangements, amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and Directive 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 90/314/EEC (OJ L 326, 11.12.2015, p. 1).

(48)  Regulation (EU) No 1286/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 November 2014 on key information documents for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs) (OJ L 352, 9.12.2014, p. 1–23).

(49)  Regulation (EU) 2015/760 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2015 on European long-term investment funds (OJ L 123, 19.5.2015, p. 98–121).

(50)  Directive (EU) 2015/2366 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 on payment services in the internal market, amending Directives 2002/65/EC, 2009/110/EC and 2013/36/EU and Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010, and repealing Directive 2007/64/EC (OJ L 337, 23.12.2015, p. 35–127).

(51)  Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 laying down measures concerning open internet access and amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services and Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union (OJ L 310, 26.11.2015, p. 1–18).

(52)  Directive (EU) 2016/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 January 2016 on insurance distribution (recast) (OJ L 26, 2.2.2016, p. 19–59).

(53)  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. 1–88).

(54)  Directive (EU) 2016/2341 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2016 on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORPs) (OJ L 354, 23.12.2016, p. 37–85).

(55)  Regulation (EU) 2017/1128 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 on cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market (OJ L 168, 30.6.2017, p. 1).

(56)  Regulation (EU) 2017/1129 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 on the prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading on a regulated market, and repealing Directive 2003/71/EC (OJ L 168, 30.6.2017, p. 12–82).

(57)  Regulation (EU) 2017/1131 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 on money market funds (OJ L 169, 30.6.2017, p. 8–45).

(58)  Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2017 setting a framework for energy labelling and repealing Directive 2010/30/EU (OJ L 198, 28.7.2017, p. 1–23).

(59)  Regulation (EU) 2018/302 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 February 2018 on addressing unjustified geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers' nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market and amending Regulations (EC) No 2006/2004 and (EU) 2017/2394 and Directive 2009/22/EC (OJ L 60, 02.03.2018, p. 1).

(59a)   Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety (OJ L 11, 15.1.2002, p. 4). [Am. 103]

(59b)   Directive 2014/35/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits (OJ L 96, 29.3.2014, p. 357). [Am. 104]

(59c)   Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety (OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1). [Am. 105]

(59d)   Directive 2014/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of non-automatic weighing instruments (OJ L 96, 29.3.2014, p. 107). [Am. 106]

(59e)   Council Regulation (EEC) No 2136/89 of 21 June 1989 laying down common marketing standards for preserved sardines and trade descriptions for preserved sardines and sardine-type products (OJ L 212, 22.7.1989, p. 79). [Am. 107]

(59f)   Regulation (EC) No 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1775/2005 (OJ L 211, 14.8.2009, p. 36). [Am. 108]

ANNEX II

CORRELATION TABLE

Directive 2009/22/EC

This Directive

Article 1(1)

Article 1(1)

Article 1(2)

Article 2(1)

-

Article 2(2)

-

Article 3

Article 2(1)

Article 5(1)

Article 2(1) point (a)

Article 5(2) points (a) and (b)

Article 12

-

Article 5(2) second subparagraph

Article 2(1) point (b)

Article 5(3)

Article 9

Article 2(1) point (c)

Article 14

Article 2(2)

Article 2(3)

Article 3

Article 4(1)-(3)

-

Article 4(4)

-

Article 4(5)

-

Article 5(4)

-

Article 6

-

Article 7

—  

Article 8

-

Article 10

-

Article 11

-

Article 13

-

Article 15

Article 4

Article 16

Article 5

-

Article 6

Article 18

Article 7

Article 1(2)

Article 8

Article 19

Article 9

Article 17

-

Article 20

Article 10

Article 21

Article 11

Article 22

(1) OJ C 440, 6.12.2018, p. 66.
(2) OJ C 461, 21.12.2018, p. 232.
(3) OJ C 440, 6.12.2018, p. 66.
(4) OJ C 461, 21.12.2018, p. 232.
(5) Position of the European Parliament of 26 March 2019.
(6) OJ L 110, 1.5.2009, p. 30.
(7) OJ L 345, 27.12.2017.
(8) OJ C 369, 17.12.2011, p. 14.
(9)The said Directive was amended by Directive 1999/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 May 1999 amending Council Directive 85/374/EEC on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning liability for defective products (OJ L 141, 04.06.1999, p. 20 - 21).


Protocol to the EU-Israel Euro-Mediterranean Agreement (accession of Croatia) ***
PDF 113kWORD 42k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 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 State of Israel, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union (09547/2018 – C8-0021/2019 – 2018/0080(NLE))
P8_TA(2019)0223A8-0164/2019

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (09547/2018),

–  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 State of Israel, of the other part, to take account of the accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union (09548/2018),

–  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 (C8‑0021/2019),

–  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 Foreign Affairs (A8-0164/2019),

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 State of Israel.


EU-Uzbekistan comprehensive agreement
PDF 158kWORD 58k
European Parliament recommendation of 26 March 2019 to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the new comprehensive agreement between the EU and Uzbekistan (2018/2236(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0224A8-0149/2019

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to Council Decision (EU) 2018/... of 16 July 2018 authorising the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to open negotiations on and to negotiate, on behalf of the Union, the provisions that fall within the competence of the Union of a Comprehensive Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, of the other part (10336/18),

—  having regard to the decision of the representatives of the governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council, of 16 July 2018 authorising the European Commission to open negotiations on and negotiate, on behalf of the Member States, the provisions that fall within the competences of the Member States of a Comprehensive Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, of the other part (10337/18),

—  having regard to the Council negotiating directives of 16 July 2018 (10601/18 EU Restricted), transmitted to Parliament on 6 August 2018,

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

—  having regard to the EU-Uzbekistan Memorandum of Understanding on energy signed in January 2011,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, adopted by the Council in 2013,

—  having regard to its legislative resolution of 14 December 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement establishing a partnership between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, of the other part, amending the Agreement in order to extend the provisions of the Agreement to bilateral trade in textiles, taking account of the expiry of the bilateral textiles Agreement(1),

—  having regard to its non-legislative resolution of 14 December 2016 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement establishing a partnership between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, of the other part, amending the Agreement in order to extend the provisions of the Agreement to bilateral trade in textiles, taking account of the expiry of the bilateral textiles Agreement(2),

—  having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2014 on human rights in Uzbekistan(3),

—  having regard to its resolutions of 15 December 2011 on the state of implementation of the EU Strategy for Central Asia(4), and of 13 April 2016 on implementation and review of the EU-Central Asia Strategy(5),

—  having regard to the Joint Communication by the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 19 September 2018 entitled ‘Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU Strategy’ (JOIN(2018)0031),

—  having regard to the visits to Uzbekistan by its Committee on Foreign Affairs and its Subcommittee on Human Rights of September 2018 and May 2017 respectively, and to the regular visits to the country by its Delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan, EU-Uzbekistan and EU-Tajikistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees and for relations with Turkmenistan and Mongolia,

—  having regard to the outcomes of the 13th EU-Central Asia Foreign Ministers’ meeting, held on 10 November 2017 in Samarkand, which addressed the bilateral agenda (economy, connectivity, security and rule of law) and regional issues,

—  having regard to the Joint Communiqué of the 14th EU-Central Asia Foreign Ministers’ meeting, held on 23 November 2018 in Brussels, entitled ‘EU-Central Asia – Working together to build a future of inclusive growth, sustainable connectivity and stronger partnerships’(6),

—  having regard to the continued EU development assistance to Uzbekistan, amounting to EUR 168 million in the period 2014-2020, financial assistance from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and other EU measures in support of peace and security and reduction of nuclear waste in the country,

—  having regard to the Declaration of the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan of 26 and 27 March 2018, hosted by Uzbekistan and co-chaired by Afghanistan, entitled ‘Peace process, security cooperation and regional connectivity’,

—  having regard to the Strategy of Actions in Five Priority Areas for the Development of Uzbekistan (Development Strategy) for 2017-2021,

–  having regard to the steps Uzbekistan has made towards a more open society and towards more openness in relations with its neighbours since independence from the Soviet Union,

–  having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0149/2019),

A.  whereas on 23 November 2018 the EU and Uzbekistan launched negotiations on a comprehensive Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), with a view to replacing the current EU-Uzbekistan PCA, aiming for enhanced and deeper cooperation in areas of mutual interest and based on the shared values of democracy, the rule of law, respect for fundamental freedoms, and good governance, in order to promote sustainable development and international security and effectively tackle global challenges such as terrorism, climate change and organised crime;

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

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

EU-Uzbekistan relations

New comprehensive agreement

   (a) welcome the commitments and steps taken by Uzbekistan towards a more open society and the level of genuine engagement in the political dialogue between the EU and Uzbekistan, which led to the opening of negotiations on a comprehensive EPCA; stress the EU’s interest in strengthening its relations with Uzbekistan on the basis of common values and acknowledge Uzbekistan’s role as an important cultural and political bridge between Europe and Asia;
   (b) provide for regular, in-depth dialogue and monitor full implementation of political and democratic reforms aimed at creating an independent judiciary – including the lifting of all restrictions on the independence of lawyers –, a genuinely independent parliament resulting from a genuinely competitive election, protecting human rights, gender equality and freedom of the media, depoliticising the security services and ensuring that they commit to respecting the rule of law, and strong involvement of civil society in the reform process; welcome the new powers given to the Oliy Majlis and the new mechanisms strengthening parliamentary oversight; encourage the authorities to implement the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR report following the 2014 parliamentary elections;
   (c) stress the importance of, and provide significant support to, sustainable reforms and their implementation, on the basis of the current and future agreements, leading to tangible results and addressing political, societal and economic issues, with a view in particular to improving governance, opening up space for a genuinely diverse and independent civil society, strengthening respect for human rights, protecting all minorities and vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, ensuring accountability for human rights violations and other crimes and removing obstacles to entrepreneurship;
   (d) recognise and support Uzbekistan’s commitment to the ongoing structural, administrative and economic reforms to improve the business climate, the judicial system and security services, labour conditions, and administrative accountability and efficiency, and stress the importance of their full and verifiable implementation; welcome the liberalisation of foreign currency operations and of the foreign exchange market; highlight that Uzbekistan’s comprehensive reform plan, the Development Strategy for 2017–2021, must be implemented and backed up by measures facilitating external trade and improving the business environment; take into account that labour migration and remittances are key mechanisms to address poverty in Uzbekistan;
   (e) urge the Uzbek Government to ensure that human rights defenders, civil society, international monitors and human rights organisations can operate freely in a legally sound and politically safe environment, notably by facilitating the registration processes and enabling legal recourse in case of denial of registration; urge the government to allow regular, unfettered and independent monitoring of conditions in prison and detention sites; encourage the government to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, implement the recommendation from his last visit in 2003 and bring national laws and practices in line with international law and standards, including an independent monitoring mechanism granting unhindered access to places of detention so that the treatment of prisoners can be monitored; call on the authorities to thoroughly investigate all allegations of torture or inhuman treatment;
   (f) promote the emergence of a tolerant, inclusive, pluralist and democratic society under a credible government by supporting gradual liberalisation with full respect for the UN guiding principles on business and human rights and socio-economic progress to the benefit of the people;
   (g) welcome the release of political prisoners but urge the authorities to guarantee them full rehabilitation and access to remedy and medical treatment; call for the release of all remaining political prisoners and all other individuals imprisoned or persecuted on politically motivated charges such as human rights activists, civil society and religious activists, journalists and opposition politicians; express concern at several closed-door trials and urge the government to put an end to such practices; urge the government to swiftly amend its criminal code provisions relating to extremism that are sometimes misused to criminalise dissent; welcome the commitments made to stop using the charge of ‘violations of prison rules’ to arbitrarily extend the sentences of political prisoners; ensure that all political prisoners who are convicted of criminal and other offences are given copies of the court sentences on their cases so as to enable them to access their right to appeal and apply for rehabilitation; welcome the relaxation of some restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly and encourage furthermore the removal of restrictions on those rights, such as detention of peaceful demonstrators, thereby adhering to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; welcome the recent visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief;
   (h) note that Uzbekistan’s ranking in Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index improved only slightly between 2016 and 2018 and remain concerned about the censorship, blocking of websites, self-censorship of journalists and bloggers, harassment, both online and offline, and politically motivated criminal charges; urge the authorities to put a stop to pressure on, and surveillance of, the media, to stop blocking independent websites and to allow international media to accredit correspondents and operate in the country; support and welcome the measures taken towards greater independence of the media and civil society organisations, for instance the lifting of some restrictions governing their activities, as well as the return of foreign and international media and NGOs, which were formerly excluded from the country; welcome the new law on registration of NGOs, which relaxes some registration procedures and some requirements to have advanced permission for holding activities or meetings; urge the authorities to fully implement this law, including by removing all barriers to the registration of international organisations, and encourage the authorities to address the remaining restrictions limiting the work of NGOs, such as burdensome registration requirements and intrusive monitoring;
   (i) welcome the progress made towards the eradication of child labour and the phasing-out of forced labour, as well as the recent visits to Uzbekistan by UN Special Rapporteurs and the reopening of the country to international NGOs in this field; point out that state-sponsored forced labour in the cotton and silk industries and other areas remains a problem; expect steps by the Government of Uzbekistan to eradicate all forms of forced labour, to tackle the root causes of the phenomenon, in particular the system of mandatory quotas, and to hold accountable local authorities that mobilise public sector workers and students under duress; stress that more efforts and further legal measures are needed to consolidate progress in this area with a view to abolishing forced labour; encourage in this respect further cooperation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO); encourage access to the country for a visit by the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery; underline the importance of efforts to develop a sustainable cotton supply chain and modern and environmentally sound cotton growing technologies and farming practices in the country; support domestic cotton farmers in improving their production efficiency, safeguarding the environment and improving labour practices with a view to abolishing forced labour;
   (j) encourage the authorities to step up action to reduce unemployment in the country, including opening up the private sector and strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises; welcome, in this regard, the extension of the Management Training Programme and encourage further training programmes for entrepreneurs; recall the potential of its young population and its relatively high level of education in this regard; encourage the promotion of entrepreneurship education programmes; recall the importance of EU programmes such as Erasmus+ in promoting intercultural dialogue between the EU and Uzbekistan and in providing opportunities for empowerment for students taking part in these programmes as positive actors of change in their society;
   (k) continue holding annual human rights dialogues organised by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and, in this context, press for individual cases of concern to be resolved, including those of political prisoners; agree on concrete areas ahead of each round of dialogues on an annual basis and assess progress on deliverables in line with EU standards, while mainstreaming human rights issues in all other meetings and policies; encourage and assess compliance with international human rights instruments, as ratified by Uzbekistan, notably within the UN, the OSCE and the ILO; express continued concern at the outstanding problems and lack of implementation of some reforms; encourage the authorities to decriminalise consensual sexual relations between persons of the same sex and foster a culture of tolerance for LGBTI people; call on the Uzbek authorities to uphold and promote women’s rights;
   (l) ensure a review of the passport system; welcome the abolition of the system of ‘exit visas’, which were previously required by Uzbek citizens travelling outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); welcome Uzbekistan's announcement that it will no longer require visas from citizens of EU Member States as of January 2019;
   (m) urge the authorities to improve the local healthcare system and increase state resources to facilitate improvements, since the situation has deteriorated significantly since the country gained independence;
   (n) urge the authorities to provide the necessary support and seek the contribution and support of international partners to enable Uzbekistan, and in particular the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, to further tackle the economic, social and health-related consequences of the Aral Sea environmental disaster by establishing sustainable water management and conversation policies and practices and a credible gradual clean-up plan for the region; welcome the positive developments in regional cooperation on water, in particular with Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, the establishment of the UN Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea Region and the commitment shown by the authorities; continue supporting the efforts to improve irrigation infrastructure;
   (o) acknowledge Uzbekistan’s new foreign policy, which has led to improvements in cooperation with neighbours and international partners, in particular on the promotion of stability and security in the region, border and water management, border demarcation, and energy; support Uzbekistan’s positive engagement in the Afghanistan peace process;
   (p) welcome Uzbekistan’s continued commitment to upholding the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone; recall the EU’s commitment to support Uzbekistan in dealing with toxic and radioactive waste; encourage Uzbekistan to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;
   (q) take into account Uzbekistan’s important role in the upcoming review of the EU-Central Asia Strategy, applying the principle of differentiation;
   (r) recognise the legitimate security concerns of Uzbekistan, and increase cooperation in support of crisis management, conflict prevention, integrated border management and efforts to tackle violent radicalisation, terrorism, organised crime and the illicit trade in drugs, while upholding the rule of law, including the protection of human rights;
   (s) ensure effective cooperation in the fight against corruption, money laundering and tax evasion;
   (t) tie the delivery of assistance to Uzbekistan from the EU’s external financing instruments and from EIB and EBRD loans to the continuation of the reform progress;
   (u) support effective implementation of the key international conventions required for GSP+ status;
   (v) support Uzbekistan’s efforts to engage in the process of joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in order to better integrate the country into the world economy and improve its business climate, thereby attracting more foreign direct investment (FDI);
   (w) take into account the development of relations with other third countries in the context of the implementation of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative; and insist on compliance with the human rights concerns linked to this initiative, including by developing guidelines in this regard;
   (x) use the EPCA negotiations to support genuine and sustainable progress towards an accountable and democratic regime that guarantees and protects fundamental rights for all citizens and focuses in particular on ensuring an enabling environment for civil society, human rights defenders and the independence of lawyers; ensure that, before the end of the negotiations, Uzbekistan makes good progress towards ensuring freedom of expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly in line with international standards, including by removing the obstacles that hinder all new groups from registering and legally starting activities in the country and from receiving foreign funding;
   (y) negotiate a modern, all-encompassing and ambitious agreement between the EU and Uzbekistan that will replace the PCA of 1999, enhancing people-to-people contact, political cooperation, trade and investment relations, and cooperation on sustainable development, environmental protection, connectivity, human rights, and governance, and contributing to the sustainable economic and social development of Uzbekistan;
   (z) renew their commitment to the advancement of democratic standards, the principles of good governance and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief, and their defenders;
   (aa) support Uzbekistan’s renewed efforts towards multilateral and international cooperation on global and regional challenges, such as international security and countering violent extremism, organised crime, drug trafficking, water management, environmental degradation, climate change, and migration, among others;
   (ab) ensure that the comprehensive agreement facilitates and strengthens regional cooperation and peaceful conflict resolution of the existing controversies, paving the way for genuine good-neighbourly relations;
   (ac) enhance provisions related to trade and economic relations by better linking them to human rights provisions and a commitment to implementing the UN guiding principles on business and human rights, while providing mechanisms to assess and address negative human rights impacts, on the one hand, and by promoting market economy principles, including legal certainty, and independent and transparent institutions, social dialogue and implementation of ILO labour standards in order to guarantee sustainable foreign direct investment and contribute to the diversification of the economy on the other hand; improve cooperation in the fight against corruption, money laundering and tax evasion and ensure that the assets currently frozen in several EU and EEA Member States are repatriated responsibly for the benefit of all the Uzbek people;
   (ad) reinforce aspects of interparliamentary cooperation within an empowered Parliamentary Cooperation Committee in the areas of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, including direct accountability of representatives of the Cooperation Council and the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee;
   (ae) ensure the involvement of all relevant actors, including civil society, during both the negotiations and the implementation phase of the agreement;
   (af) include terms on the potential suspension of cooperation in the event of the breach of essential elements by either party with regard, in particular, to respect for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, including consultation of the European Parliament in such cases; set up an independent monitoring and complaint mechanism providing affected populations and their representatives with an effective tool for addressing impacts on human rights and monitoring implementation;
   (ag) ensure that the European Parliament is closely involved in monitoring the implementation of all parts of the EPCA once it enters into force, hold consultations in this context, ensuring that Parliament and civil society are properly informed about the implementation of the EPCA by the EEAS, and react appropriately;
   (ah) ensure the transmission of all negotiating documents to the European Parliament, subject to confidentiality rules, to enable proper scrutiny by Parliament of the negotiating process; fulfil the interinstitutional obligations stemming from Article 218(10) of the TFEU, and periodically debrief Parliament;
   (ai) apply the EPCA provisionally only after Parliament has given its consent;
   (aj) implement a public outreach campaign highlighting the expected positive outcomes of cooperation to the benefit of EU and Uzbek citizens, which would also enhance people-to-people relations;

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

(1) OJ C 238, 6.7.2018, p. 394.
(2) OJ C 238, 6.7.2018, p. 51.
(3) OJ C 274, 27.7.2016, p. 25.
(4) OJ C 168 E, 14.6.2013, p. 91.
(5) OJ C 58, 15.2.2018, p. 119.
(6) https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/54354/joint-communiqué-european-union-–-central-asia-foreign-ministers-meeting-brussels-23-november_en


Discontinuing seasonal changes of time ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council discontinuing seasonal changes of time and repealing Directive 2000/84/EC (COM(2018)0639 – C8-0408/2018 – 2018/0332(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0225A8-0169/2019

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0639),

–  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 (C8-0408/2018),

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

–  having regard to the reasoned opinions submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the Danish Parliament, the United Kingdom House of Commons and the United Kingdom House of Lords, 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 17 October 2018(1),

–  having regard to the results of the online consultation conducted by the European Commission between 4 July 2018 - 16 August 2018,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the opinions of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Committee on Petitions (A8-0169/2019),

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 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) .../… of the European Parliament and of the Council discontinuing seasonal changes of time and repealing Directive 2000/84/EC

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0332


(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 114 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

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

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

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

Whereas:

(1)  Member States chose in the past to introduce summer-time arrangements at national level. It was, therefore, important for the functioning of the internal market that a common date and time for the beginning and end of the summer-time period be fixed throughout the Union to coordinate the changing of clocks in Member States. In accordance with Directive 2000/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(4), all Member States currently apply biannual seasonal changes of time. Standard time is switched to summer-time arrangements from on the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October of the same year. [Am. 1]

(2)  Against the background of several petitions, citizens’ initiatives and parliamentary questions, the European Parliament, in its resolution of 8 February 2018, the European Parliament called on the Commission to conduct an a thorough assessment of the summer-time arrangements provided by Directive 2000/84/EC and, if necessary, to come up with a proposal for its revision. That resolution also confirmed that it is essential to maintain stressed the importance of maintaining a harmonised and coordinated approach to time arrangements throughout the Union and a unified EU time regime. [Am. 2]

(3)  The Commission has examined available evidence, which points to the importance of having harmonised Union rules in this area to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market, create predictability and long-term certainty and avoid, inter alia, disruptions to the scheduling of transport operations and the functioning of information and communication systems, higher costs to cross-border trade, or lower productivity for goods and services. Evidence is not conclusive as to whether the benefits of summer-time arrangements outweigh the inconveniences linked to a biannual change of time. [Am. 3]

(3a)   The public debate on summer-time arrangements is not new and since the introduction of summer-time there have been several initiatives that aimed to discontinue the practice. Some Member States have held national consultations and a majority of businesses and stakeholders have supported the discontinuation of the practice. The consultation initiated by the European Commission has come to the same conclusion. [Am. 4]

(3b)  In this context, the situation of livestock farmers can serve as an example of how the summer-time arrangements were initially deemed incompatible with agricultural working practices, in particular regarding the already very early start of the working day under standard time. Also, the bi-annual transition to summer-time was thought to make it harder to get the produce or animals out to the markets. And finally, due to cows following their natural milking rhythm, a reduction of milk yields was assumed. However, modern agricultural equipment and practices have revolutionised farming in a way that makes most of these concerns no longer relevant, while concerns regarding the biorhythm of animals as well as farmers' working conditions are still relevant. [Am. 5]

(4)  A lively public debate is taking place on summer-time arrangements. Around 4,6 million citizens participated in the public consultation held by the Commission, which is the largest number of responses ever received in any Commission consultation. Also a number of citizens' initiatives have highlighted public concern as regards the biannual clock change and some Member States have already expressed their preference to discontinue the application of such summer-time arrangements. In the light of these developments, it is necessary to continue safeguarding the proper functioning of the internal market and to avoid any significant disruptions thereto caused by divergences between Member States in this area. Therefore, it is appropriate to put an end in a coordinated and harmonised way to summer-time arrangements. [Am. 6]

(4a)  Chronobiology shows that the biorhythm of the human body is affected by any changes of time, which might have an adverse impact on human health. Recent scientific evidence clearly suggests a link between changes of time and cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory immune diseases or hypertension, linked to the disturbance of the circadian cycle. Certain groups, such as children and older people, are particularly vulnerable. Therefore, in order to protect public health, it is appropriate to put an end to seasonal changes of time. [Am. 7]

(4b)   Territories other than overseas territories of the Member States are grouped over three different time zones or standard times, i.e. GMT, GMT +1 and GMT +2. The large north-south extension of the European Union means that daylight effects of time vary across the Union. It is therefore important that Member States take into consideration the geographical aspects of time, i.e. natural time zones and geographical position, before changing their time zones. Member States should consult citizens and relevant stakeholders before deciding to change their time zones. [Am. 8]

(4c)  A number of citizens' initiatives have highlighted citizens' concerns about the biannual clock change and Member States should be given the time and opportunity to carry out their own public consultations and impact assessments in order to better understand the implications of discontinuing season time changes in all regions. [Am. 9]

(4d)  Summer time, or daylight saving, has enabled later apparent sunsets during the summer months. In the minds of many Union citizens summer is synonymous with sunlight being available late into the evening. A reversion to "standard" time would result in summer sunsets being an hour earlier, with a much-reduced period of the year where late evening daylight is available. [Am. 10]

(4e)  Numerous studies looked into the link between the switch to summer time and the risk of heart attacks, disrupted body rhythm, sleep deprivation, lack of concentration and attention, increased risk of accidents, lower life satisfaction and even suicide rates. However, longer daylight, outdoor activities after work or school and exposure to sunlight clearly have some positive long-term effects on general well-being. [Am. 11]

(4f)  Seasonal changes of time also have an adverse impact on the welfare of animals, which is evident in agriculture, for example, where cows milk production suffers. [Am. 12]

(4g)  It is widely assumed that seasonal changes of time bring about energy savings. Indeed, that was the main reason for their initial introduction in the last century. Research shows, however, that while the seasonal changes of time might be marginally beneficial to reducing energy consumption in the Union as a whole, it is not the case in every Member State. The energy for lighting saved by switching to summer time might be also outweighed by increased consumption of energy for heating. Moreover, results are difficult to interpret as they are strongly influenced by external factors, such as meteorology, behaviour of energy users or ongoing energy transition. [Am. 13]

(5)  This Directive should not prejudice the right of each Member State to decide on the standard time or times for the territories under its jurisdiction and falling under the territorial scope of the Treaties, and on further changes thereto. However, in order to ensure that the application of summer-time arrangements by some Member States only does not disrupt the functioning of the internal market, Member States should refrain from changing the standard time in any given territory under their jurisdiction for reasons related to seasonal changes, be such change presented as a change of time zone. Moreover, in order to minimise disruptions, inter alia, to transport, communications and other concerned sectors, they should notify the Commission in due time of their intention by 1 April 2020 at the latest in the event that they intend to change their standard time and subsequently apply the notified changes. The Commission should, standard time on the basis of that notification, inform all other Member States so that they can take all necessary measures. It should also inform the general public and stakeholders by publishing this information last Sunday in October 2021. [Am. 14]

(6)  Therefore, it is necessary to put an end to the harmonisation of the period covered by summer-time arrangements as laid down in Directive 2000/84/EC and to introduce common rules preventing Member States from applying different seasonal time arrangements by changing their standard time more than once during the year and establishing the obligation to notify envisaged changes of the standard time. This Directive aims at contributing in a determined manner to the smooth functioning of the internal market and should, consequently, be based on Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), as interpreted in accordance with the consistent case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. [Am. 15]

(6a)   The decision on which standard time to apply in each Member State needs to be preceded by consultations and studies which would take into account citizens’ preferences, geographical variations, regional differences, standard working arrangements and other factors relevant for the particular Member State. Therefore, Member States should have sufficient time to analyse the impact of the proposal and to choose the solution best serving its populations, while taking into account the well-functioning of the internal market. [Am. 16]

(6b)   A time change unrelated to seasonal shifts will lead to transition costs, especially with regard to IT systems in transport and other sectors. In order to reduce significantly the costs of transition, a reasonable preparation period is needed for the implementation of this Directive. [Am. 17]

(7)  This Directive should apply from 1 April 2019 2021, so that the last summer-time period subject to the rules of Directive 2000/84/EC should start, in every Member State, at 1.00 a.m., Coordinated Universal Time, on 31 the last Sunday in March 2019 2021. Member States that, after that summer-time period, intend to adopt a standard time corresponding to the time applied during the winter season in accordance with Directive 2000/84/EC should change their standard time at 1.00 a.m., Coordinated Universal Time, on 27 on the last Sunday in October 2019 2021, so that similar and lasting changes occurring in different Member States take place simultaneously. It is desirable that Member States take the decisions on the standard time that each of them will apply as from 2019 2021 in a concerted manner. [Am. 18]

(7a)  For the purpose of ensuring a harmonised implementation of this Directive, Member States should cooperate with one another and take decisions on their envisaged time arrangements in a concerted and coordinated manner. Therefore, a coordination mechanism should be established, consisting of a designated representative from each Member State and a representative of the Commission. The coordination mechanism should discuss and assess the potential impact of any envisaged decision on a Member State’s standard times on the functioning of the internal market, in order to avoid significant disruptions. [Am. 19]

(7b)  The Commission should assess whether the envisaged time arrangements in the different Member States have the potential to significantly and permanently hamper the proper functioning of the internal market. Where that assessment does not lead to Member States reconsidering their envisaged time arrangements, the Commission should be able to postpone the date of application of this Directive by no more than 12 months and submit a legislative proposal, if appropriate. Therefore, and in order to ensure the proper application of this Directive, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 TFEU should be delegated to the Commission to postpone the date of application of this Directive by no more than 12 months. [Am. 20]

(8)  Implementation of this Directive should be monitored. The results of this monitoring should be presented by the Commission in a report to the European Parliament and to the Council. That report should be based on the information that is made available to the Commission by the Member States in a timely fashion to allow for the report to be presented at the specified time.

(9)  Since the objectives of this Directive as regards harmonised time arrangements cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather 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 Directive does not go beyond what is necessary to achieve those objectives.

(10)  The harmonised time arrangements should be applied in accordance with the provisions on the territorial scope of the Treaties specified in Article 355 TFEU.

(11)  Directive 2000/84/EC should therefore be repealed,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE:

Article 1

1.  Member States shall not apply seasonal changes to their standard time or times.

2.  Notwithstanding By way of derogation from paragraph 1, Member States may still apply a seasonal change of their standard time or times in 2019 2021, provided that they do so at 1.00 a.m., Coordinated Universal Time, on 27 the last Sunday in October 2019 of that year. The Member States shall notify this decision in accordance with Article 2 to the Commission by 1 April 2020 at the latest. [Am. 21]

Article 2

1.  Without prejudice to Article 1, if a Member State decides to change its standard time or times in any territory under its jurisdiction, it shall notify the Commission at least 6 months before the change takes effect. Where a Member State has made such a notification and has not withdrawn it at least 6 months before the date of the envisaged change, the Member State shall apply this change A coordination mechanism is hereby established with the aim to ensure a harmonised and coordinated approach to time arrangements throughout the Union. [Am. 22]

2.  Within 1 month of the notification, The coordination mechanism shall consist of one representative for each Member State and one representative of the Commission shall inform the other Member States thereof and publish that information in the Official Journal of the European Union. [Am. 23]

2a.  Where a Member State notifies the Commission of its decision pursuant to Article 1(2), the coordination mechanism shall convene to discuss and assess the potential impact of the envisaged change on the functioning of the internal market, in order to avoid significant disruptions. [Am. 24]

2b.  Where on the basis of the assessment referred to in paragraph 2a, the Commission considers that the envisaged change will significantly affect the proper functioning of the internal market, it shall inform the notifying Member State thereof. [Am. 25]

2c.  By 31 October 2020 at the latest, the notifying Member State shall decide whether to maintain its intention or not. Where the notifying Member State decides to maintain its intention, it shall provide a detailed explanation of how it will address the negative impact of the change on the functioning of the internal market. [Am. 26]

Article 3

1.  By 31 December 2025 at the latest the Commission shall report submit to the European Parliament and to the Council an evaluation report on the application and implementation of this Directive, by 31 December 2024 at the latest accompanied, where necessary, by a legislative proposal for its review based on a thorough impact assessment, involving all relevant stakeholders. [Am. 27]

2.  Member States shall provide the Commission with the relevant information by 30 April 2024 2025 at the latest [Am. 28].

Article 4

1.  Member States shall adopt and publish, by 1 April 2019 2021 at the latest, the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions.

They shall apply those provisions from 1 April 2019 2021.

When Member States adopt those provisions, they shall contain a reference to this Directive or be accompanied by such a reference on the occasion of their official publication. Member States shall determine how such reference is to be made. [Am. 29]

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

Article 4a

1.  The Commission, in close cooperation with the coordination mechanism referred to in Article 2, shall closely monitor the foreseen time arrangements throughout the Union.

2.  Where the Commission determines that the envisaged time arrangements, notified by the Member States pursuant to Article 1(2), have the potential to significantly and permanently hamper the proper functioning of the internal market, it is empowered to adopt delegated acts to postpone the date of application of this Directive by no more than 12 months and submit a legislative proposal, if appropriate. [Am. 30]

Article 4b

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 4a shall be conferred on the Commission from [date of entry into force of this Directive] until [date of application of this Directive].

3.  The delegation of power referred to in Article 4a may be revoked at anytime by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of the power specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force.

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

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

6.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Article 4a 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. 31]

Article 5

Directive 2000/84/EC is repealed with effect from 1 April 2019 2021. [Am. 32]

Article 6

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

Article 7

This Directive is addressed to the Member States.

Done at …,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) OJ C 62, 15.2.2019, p. 305.
(2) OJ C 62, 15.2.2019, p. 305.
(3) Position of the European Parliament of 26 March 2019.
(4) Directive 2000/84/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 January 2001 on summer-time arrangements (OJ L 31, 2.2.2001, p. 21).


Common rules for the internal market for electricity ***I
PDF 130kWORD 53k
Resolution
Text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on common rules for the internal market in electricity (recast) (COM(2016)0864 – C8-0495/2016 – 2016/0380(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0226A8-0044/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure – recast)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0864),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 194(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0495/2016),

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

–  having regard to the reasoned opinions submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the Hungarian Parliament, the Austrian Federal Council and the Polish 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 31 May 2017(1);

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

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 28 November 2001 on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal acts(3),

–  having regard to the letter of 7 September 2017 sent by the Committee on Legal Affairs to the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy in accordance with Rule 104(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 18 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 Rules 104 and 59 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0044/2018),

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

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

2.  Takes note of the Commission statements annexed to this resolution;

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on common rules for the internal market for electricity and amending Directive 2012/27/EU (recast)

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive (EU) 2019/944.)

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

COMMISSION STATEMENT ON THE INTERCONNECTOR DEFINITION

The Commission notes the agreement of the co-legislators relating to the recast Electricity Directive and Recast Electricity Regulation, reverting back to the definition of “interconnector” used in Directive 2009/72/EC and Regulation (EC) No 714/2009. The Commission agrees that electricity markets differ from other markets such as natural gas, e.g. by trading products which can currently not be easily stored and are produced by a large variety of generating installations, including installations at distribution level.  As a consequence, the role of connections to third countries differs significantly between the electricity and gas sectors and different regulatory approaches can be chosen.

The Commission will further examine the impact of this agreement and provide guidance on applying the legislation where needed.

For the sake of legal clarity, the Commission wishes to highlight the following:

The agreed definition of interconnector in the Electricity Directive refers to equipment linking electricity systems. This wording does not distinguish different regulatory frameworks or technical situations and thus, a priori, includes all electric connections to third countries in the scope of application. As regards the agreed definition of interconnector in the Electricity Regulation, the Commission underlines that the integration of electricity markets requires a high degree of cooperation between system operators, market participants and regulators. While the scope of applicable rules may vary depending on the degree of integration with the internal electricity market, close integration of third countries into the internal electricity market, such as participation in market coupling projects, should be based on agreements requiring the application of relevant Union law.

COMMISSION STATEMENT ON ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

The Commission notes the agreement of the co-legislators relating to Article 26 to regulate at EU level that energy service providers’ participation in Alternative Dispute Resolution shall be mandatory. The Commission regrets this decision since its proposal had left this choice to Member States in line with the approach adopted in Directive 2013/11/EU on Alternative Resolution for consumer Disputes (the ADR Directive) and bearing in mind the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.

It is not the Commission’s role to undertake comparative assessments of the individual alternative dispute resolution models put in place by the Member States. The Commission will therefore consider the overall effectiveness of the national alternative dispute resolution landscapes in the context of its general obligation to monitor the transposition and effective application of Union law.

(1) OJ C 288, 31.8.2017, p. 91.
(2) OJ C 342, 12.10.2017, p. 79.
(3) OJ C 77, 28.3.2002, p. 1.


Internal market for electricity ***I
PDF 133kWORD 54k
Resolution
Text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the internal market for electricity (recast) (COM(2016)0861 – C8-0492/2016 – 2016/0379(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0227A8-0042/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure – recast)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0861),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 194(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0492/2016),

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

–  having regard to the reasoned opinions submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality by the Czech Chamber of Deputies, the German Bundestag, the Spanish Parliament, the French Senate, the Hungarian Parliament, the Austrian Federal Council, the Polish Sejm, the Polish Senate, the Romanian Chamber of Deputies and the Romanian 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 31 May 2017(1),

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

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 28 November 2001 on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal acts(3),

–  having regard to the letter of 13 July 2017 sent by the Committee on Legal Affairs to the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy in accordance with Rule 104(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 18 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 Rules 104 and 59 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0042/2018),

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

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

2.  Takes note of the Commission statements annexed to this resolution;

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the internal market for electricity (recast)

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2019/943.)

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

COMMISSION STATEMENT ON THE INTERCONNECTOR DEFINITION

"The Commission notes the agreement of the co-legislators relating to the recast Electricity Directive and Recast Electricity Regulation, reverting back to the definition of “interconnector” used in Directive 2009/72/EC and Regulation (EC) 714/2009. The Commission agrees that electricity markets differ from other markets such as natural gas, e.g. by trading products which can currently not be easily stored and are produced by a large variety of generating installations, including installations at distribution level.  As a consequence, the role of connections to third countries differs significantly between the electricity and gas sectors and different regulatory approaches can be chosen.

The Commission will further examine the impact of this agreement and provide guidance on applying the legislation where needed.

For the sake of legal clarity, the Commission wishes to highlight the following:

The agreed definition of interconnector in the Electricity Directive refers to equipment linking electricity systems. This wording does not distinguish different regulatory frameworks or technical situations and thus, a priori, includes all electric connections to third countries in the scope of application. As regards the agreed definition of interconnector in the Electricity Regulation, the Commission underlines that the integration of electricity markets requires a high degree of cooperation between system operators, market participants and regulators. While the scope of applicable rules may vary depending on the degree of integration with the internal electricity market, close integration of third countries into the internal electricity market, such as participation in market coupling projects, should be based on agreements requiring the application of relevant Union law."

COMMISSION STATEMENT ON MARKET REFORM IMPLEMENTATION PLANS

The Commission notes the agreement of the co-legislators relating to Article 20(3) which provides that Member States with identified adequacy concerns shall publish an implementation plan with a timeline for adopting measures to eliminate any identified regulatory distortions and/or market failures as a part of the State Aid process.

Pursuant to Article 108 TFEU, the Commission has exclusive competence to assess the compatibility of State aid measures with the internal market. This Regulation cannot affect and is without prejudice to the Commission's exclusive competence pursuant to the TFEU. The Commission may therefore, where relevant, give its opinion on market reform plans in parallel to the process of approving capacity mechanisms under State aid rules, but the two processes are legally separate.

(1) OJ C 288, 31.8.2017, p. 91.
(2) OJ C 342, 12.10.2017, p. 79.
(3) OJ C 77, 28.3.2002, p. 1.


European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators ***I
PDF 125kWORD 51k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (recast) (COM(2016)0863 – C8-0494/2016 – 2016/0378(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0228A8-0040/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure – recast)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0863),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 194(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0494/2016),

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

–  having regard to the reasoned opinions submitted, within the framework of Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, by the German Bundestag, the French Senate and the Romanian 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 31 May 2017(1),

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

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 28 November 2001 on a more structured use of the recasting technique for legal acts(3),

–  having regard to the letter of 13 July 2017 from the Committee on Legal Affairs to the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy in accordance with Rule 104(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 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 Rules 104 and 59 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0040/2018),

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

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

2.  Calls on the Commission to refer the matter to Parliament again if 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 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a European Union Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (recast)

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2019/942.)

(1) OJ C 288, 31.8.2017, p. 91.
(2) OJ C 342, 12.10.2017, p. 79.
(3) OJ C 77, 28.3.2002, p. 1.


Risk-preparedness in the electricity sector ***I
PDF 121kWORD 48k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on risk-preparedness in the electricity sector and repealing Directive 2005/89/EC (COM(2016)0862 – C8-0493/2016 – 2016/0377(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0229A8-0039/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0862),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 194(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0493/2016),

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

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

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

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

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 5 December 2018 to approve Parliament’s position, in accordance with Article 294(4) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Rule 59 and 39 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A8-0039/2018),

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 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on risk-preparedness in the electricity sector and repealing Directive 2005/89/EC

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2019/941.)

(1) OJ C 288, 31.8.2017, p. 91.
(2) OJ C 342, 12.10.2017, p. 79.


Labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other essential parameters ***I
PDF 557kWORD 379k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other essential parameters and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1222/2009 (COM(2018)0296 – C8-0190/2018 – 2018/0148(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0230A8-0086/2019

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0296),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Articles 114 and 194(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0190/2018),

–  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 Committee of the Regions,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0086/2019),

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 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) .../… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other essential parameters and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1222/2009

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0148


(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 114 and Article 194(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

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

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

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(3),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure,

Whereas:

(1)  The Union is committed to building an Energy Union with a forward looking climate policy. Fuel efficiency is a crucial element of the Union's 2030 Climate and Energy Policy Framework and is key to moderating energy demand.

(2)  The Commission has reviewed(4) the effectiveness of Regulation (EC) No 1222/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council(5) and identified the need to update its provisions to improve its effectiveness.

(3)  It is appropriate to replace Regulation (EC) No 1222/2009 by a new Regulation which incorporates amendments made in 2011, and modifies and enhances some of its provisions to clarify and update their content, taking into account the technological progress for tyres over recent years. However, as supply and demand have changed little in terms of fuel efficiency, there is no need at this stage to change the grade scale for fuel efficiency. Furthermore, the reasons for that lack of development and the purchase factors, such as price, performance, etc., should be examined. [Am. 1]

(4)  The transport sector accounts for a third of Union energy consumption. Road transport was responsible for about 22 % of the Union’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2015. Tyres, mainly because of their rolling resistance, account for 5 % to 10 % of vehicles’ fuel consumption. A reduction of the rolling resistance of tyres would therefore contribute significantly to the fuel efficiency of road transport and thus to the reduction of emissions and to the decarbonisation of the transport sector. [Am. 2]

(4a)  In order to meet the challenge of reducing the CO2 emissions of road transport, it is appropriate for Member States, in cooperation with the Commission, to provide for incentives to innovate a new technological process for fuel-efficient and safe C1, C2 and C3 tyres. [Am. 3]

(5)  Tyres are characterised by a number of interrelated parameters that are interrelated. Improving one parameter such as rolling resistance may have an adverse impact on others such as wet grip, while improving wet grip may have an adverse impact on external rolling noise. Tyre manufacturers should be encouraged to optimise all parameters beyond the standards already achieved. [Am. 4]

(6)  Fuel-efficient tyres can be cost-effective since fuel savings more than compensate for the increased purchase price of the tyres resulting from their higher production costs.

(7)  Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council(6) lays down minimum requirements for the rolling resistance of tyres. Technological developments make it possible to decrease energy losses due to tyre rolling resistance significantly beyond those minimum requirements. To reduce the environmental impact of road transport, it is therefore appropriate to update the provisions for tyre labelling to encourage end-users to purchase more fuel-efficient tyres by providing updated harmonised information on that parameter.

(7a)  Improving the labelling of tyres will enable consumers to obtain more relevant and comparable information on fuel efficiency, safety and noise and to take cost-effective and environment-friendly purchasing decisions when purchasing new tyres. [Am. 5]

(8)  Traffic noise is a significant nuisance and has a harmful effect on health. Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 lays down minimum requirements for the external rolling noise of tyres. Technological developments make it possible to reduce external rolling noise significantly beyond those minimum requirements. To reduce traffic noise, it is therefore appropriate to update the provisions for tyre labelling to encourage end-users to purchase tyres with lower external rolling noise by providing harmonised information on that parameter.

(9)  The provision of harmonised information on external rolling noise also facilitates the implementation of measures to limit traffic noise and contributes to increased awareness of the effect of tyres on traffic noise within the framework of Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(7).

(10)  Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 lays down minimum requirements for the wet grip performance of tyres. Technological developments make it possible to improve wet grip significantly beyond those requirements, and thus to reduce wet braking distances. To improve road safety, it is therefore appropriate to update the provisions for tyre labelling to encourage end-users to purchase tyres with high wet grip performance by providing harmonised information on that parameter.

(11)  In order to ensure alignment with the international framework, Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 refers to UNECE Regulation 117(8), which includes the relevant measurement methods for rolling resistance, noise, and wet and snow grip performance of tyres.

(12)  In order to improve road safety in colder climates in the Union and provide end-users with information on the performance of tyres specifically designed for snow and ice conditions, it is appropriate to require the inclusion on the label of information requirements on snow and ice tyres. Snow and ice tyres have specific parameters that are not fully comparable to other types of tyres. In order to ensure that end-users are able to make considered and informed decisions, information on snow grip and ice grip and the QR code should be included in the label. The Commission should develop both a snow grip and ice grip scale of performances. Those scales should be based on the UNECE Regulation No 117 and on the ISO 19447 for snow and ice respectively. In any case, the three-peak-mountain with snowflake (‘3PMSF’) logo should be embossed on a tyre that satisfies the minimum snow index values set out in UNECE Regulation No 117. Similarly, a tyre that satisfies the minimum ice index value set out in ISO 19447 should show the ice tyre logo agreed under this standard. [Am. 6]

(13)  The abrasion of tyres during use is a significant source of microplastics, which are harmful to the environment, and . The Commission's Communication "A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy"(9) therefore mentions the need to address unintentional release of microplastics from tyres, inter alia through information measures such as labelling and minimum requirements for tyres. However, a suitable testing method to measure tyre Hence, applying labelling requirements with regard to the abrasion is not currently available rate of tyres would bring substantial benefits to human health and the environment. Therefore, the Commission should mandate the development of such a method, taking into full consideration all state-of-the-art internationally developed or proposed standards or regulations as well as the result of industrial research, with a view to establishing a suitable testing method as soon as possible. [Am. 7]

(14)  Re-treaded tyres are a substantial part of the market for heavy-duty vehicle tyres. Re-treading tyres extends their life and contributes to circular economy objectives such as waste reduction. Applying labelling requirements to such tyres would bring substantial energy savings. However, as suitable testing method to measure the performance of re-treaded tyres is not currently available, this Regulation should provide for their future inclusion.

(15)  The energy label pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 of the European Parliament and of the Council(10), which ranks the energy consumption of products on a scale from 'A' to 'G', is recognised by over 85 % of Union consumers as a clear and transparent information tool and has proven to be effective in promoting more efficient products. The tyre label should continue to use the same design to the extent possible, while recognising the specificities of the tyre parameters. [Am. 8]

(16)  The provision of comparable information on tyre parameters in the form of a standard label is likely to influence purchasing decisions by end-users in favour of safer, sustainable, quieter and more fuel-efficient tyres. This, in turn, is likely to encourage tyre manufacturers to optimise those parameters, which would pave the way for more sustainable consumption and production. [Am. 9]

(17)  The need for greater information on tyre fuel efficiency and other parameters is relevant for all end-users, including purchasers of replacement tyres, purchasers of tyres fitted on new vehicles, and fleet managers and transport undertakings, who cannot easily compare the parameters of different tyre brands in the absence of a labelling and harmonised testing regime. It is therefore appropriate to require the labelling of tyres delivered with vehicles at all times.

(18)  Currently, labels are explicitly required for tyres for cars (C1 tyres) and vans (C2 tyres) but not for heavy duty vehicles (C3 tyres). C3 tyres consume more fuel and cover more kilometres per year than C1 and C2 tyres, and therefore the potential to reduce fuel consumption and emissions from heavy goods vehicles is significant.

(19)  Including C3 tyres fully in the scope of this Regulation is also in line with the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on the monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions from, and fuel consumption of, new heavy-duty vehicles(11) and of the Commission’s proposal on CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles(12).

(20)  Many end-users make tyre purchasing decisions without seeing the actual tyre and therefore do not see the label affixed to it. In all such situations, the end-user should be shown the label before finalising the purchasing decision. The display of a label on tyres at the point of sale, as well as in technical promotional material, should ensure that distributors as well as potential end-users receive harmonised information on the relevant tyre parameters at the time and place of the purchasing decision.

(21)  Some end-users choose tyres before arriving at the point of sale, or purchase them by mail order or on the internet. To ensure that those end-users can also make an informed choice on the basis of harmonised information on tyre fuel efficiency, wet grip performance, external rolling noise and other parameters, labels should be displayed in all technical promotional material, including where such material is made available on the internet.

(22)  Potential end-users should be provided with information explaining each component of the label and its relevance. This information should be provided in technical promotional material, for instance on suppliers’ websites. Technical promotional material should not be understood to include advertisements via billboards, newspapers, magazines or radio or television broadcasts. [Am. 10]

(23)  Fuel efficiency, wet grip, external noise and other parameters concerning tyres should be measured according to reliable, accurate and reproducible methods that take into account the generally recognised state-of-the-art measurements and calculation methods. As far as possible, such methods should reflect average consumer behaviour and be robust in order to deter intentional and unintentional circumvention. Tyre labels should reflect the comparative performance of tyres in actual use, within the constraints due to the need of reliable, accurate and reproducible laboratory testing, to enable end-users to compare different tyres and so as to limit testing costs for manufacturers.

(24)  Compliance with the provisions on tyre labelling by suppliers and distributors is essential in order to ensure a level playing field in the Union. Member States should therefore monitor such compliance through market surveillance and regular ex-post controls, in line with Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council(13).

(25)  In order to facilitate the monitoring of compliance, provide a useful tool to end-users and allow alternative ways for dealers to receive product information sheets, tyres should be included in the product database established under Regulation (EU) 2017/1369. Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 should therefore be amended accordingly.

(26)  Without prejudice to Member States' market surveillance obligations and to suppliers' obligations to check product conformity, suppliers should make the required product compliance information available electronically in the product database.

(27)  In order for end-users to have confidence in the tyre label, other labels that mimic it should not be allowed. Additional labels, marks, symbols or inscriptions that are likely to mislead or confuse end-users with respect to the parameters covered by the tyre label should not be allowed for the same reason.

(28)  The penalties applicable to infringements of this Regulation and delegated acts adopted pursuant thereto should be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

(29)  In order to promote energy efficiency, climate change mitigation and environmental protection, Member States should be able to create incentives for the use of energy efficient products. Member States are free to decide on the nature of such incentives. Such incentives should comply with Union State aid rules and should not constitute unjustifiable market barriers. This Regulation does not prejudice the outcome of any future state aid procedure that may be undertaken in accordance with Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) in respect of such incentives.

(30)  In order to amend the content and format of the label, to introduce requirements with respect to re-treaded tyres, snow or ice tyres, abrasion and mileage, and to adapt the Annexes to technical progress, 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 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 on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016(14). 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 should systematically have access to meetings of Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts. [Am. 12]

(30a)  Data on mileage and abrasion of tyres, once a suitable testing method is available, will be a beneficial tool informing consumers about the durability, lifetime and the unintended release of microplastics of their purchased tyre. Mileage information would also enable consumers to make an informed choice with regard to tyres with a longer lifetime, which would help protect the environment, and at the same time allow them to estimate the operating costs of the tyres over a longer period. Therefore, mileage and abrasion performance data should be added to the label when a relevant, meaningful and reproducible testing method becomes available for the application of this Regulation. Research and development of new technologies in that field should continue. [Am. 13]

(31)  Tyres which were already placed on the market before the date of application of the requirements contained in this Regulation should not need to be re-labelled.

(32)  In order to reinforce confidence in the label and to ensure its accuracy, the declaration that suppliers make on the label regarding the values for rolling resistance, wet grip, snow grip and noise should be subject to the type approval process under Regulation (EC) No 661/2009. [Am. 14]

(32a)  The size of the label should remain the same as that set out in Regulation (EC) No 1222/2009. Details on Snow Grip and Ice Grip and the QR code should be included in the label. [Am. 15]

(33)  The Commission should carry out an evaluation of this Regulation. Pursuant to paragraph 22 of the Interinstitutional Agreement between the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016, that evaluation should be based on the five criteria of efficiency, effectiveness, relevance, coherence and EU value added and should provide the basis for impact assessments of possible further measures.

(34)  Since the objectives of this Regulation, namely to increase the safety and economic and environmental efficiency of road transport by providing information to end-users to allow them to choose more fuel efficient, safer and less noisy tyres, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States because it requires harmonised information for end users but can rather, by reason of a harmonised regulatory framework and a level playing field for manufacturers, 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. A Regulation remains the appropriate legal instrument as it imposes clear and detailed rules which preclude divergent transposition by Member States and thus ensures a higher degree of harmonisation across the Union. A harmonised regulatory framework at Union rather than at Member State level reduces costs for suppliers, ensures a level playing field and ensures the free movement of goods across the internal market. 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.

(35)  Regulation (EC) No 1222/2009 should therefore be repealed,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Aim and subject matter

1.  The aim of this Regulation is to increase the safety, promote fuel-efficient, safe and sustainable tyres with low noise levels that could help to minimise the impact on the environment and health protection, while improving safety and the economic and environmental efficiency of road transport by promoting fuel-efficient and safe tyres with low noise levels. [Am. 16]

2.  This Regulation establishes a framework for the provision of harmonised information on tyre parameters through labelling, allowing end-users to make an informed choice when purchasing tyres.

Article 2

Scope

1.  This Regulation applies to C1, C2 and C3 tyres that are placed on the market. [Am. 17]

2.  This Regulation shall also apply to re-treaded tyres once a suitable testing method to measure the performance of such tyres is added to the Annexes by a delegated act pursuant to Article 12.

3.  This Regulation does not apply to:

(a)  off-road professional tyres;

(b)  tyres designed to be fitted only to vehicles registered for the first time before 1 October 1990;

(c)  T-type temporary-use spare tyres;

(d)  tyres whose speed rating is less than 80 km/h;

(e)  tyres whose nominal rim diameter does not exceed 254 mm or is 635 mm or more;

(f)  tyres fitted with additional devices to improve traction properties, such as studded tyres;

(g)  tyres designed only to be fitted on vehicles intended exclusively for racing.

Article 3

Definitions

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

(1)  ‘C1, C2 and C3 tyres’ means the tyre classes defined in Article 8 of Regulation (EC) No 661/2009;

(2)  ‘re-treaded tyre’ means a used tyre reconditioned by replacing the worn tread with new material;

(3)  ‘T-type temporary-use spare tyre’ means a temporary-use spare tyre designed for use at inflation pressures higher than those established for standard and reinforced tyres;

(4)  ‘label’ means a graphic diagram, either in printed or electronic form, including in the form of a sticker, which includes symbols in order to inform end-users about the performance of a tyre or batch of tyres, in relation to the parameters set out in Annex I;

(5)  ‘point of sale’ means a location where tyres are displayed or stored and offered for sale to end-users, including car show rooms in relation to tyres offered for sale to end-users which are not fitted on the vehicles;

(6)  ‘technical promotional material’ means documentation, in printed or electronic form, produced by the supplier to supplement advertising material with at least the technical information in accordance with Annex V;

(7)  ‘product information sheet’ means a standard document containing the information as set out in Annex IV, in printed or electronic form;

(8)  ‘technical documentation’ means documentation sufficient to enable market surveillance authorities to assess the accuracy of the label and the product information sheet of a product, including the information as set out in Annex III;

(9)  ‘product database’ means the database established under Regulation (EU) 1369/2017 and which consists of a consumer-oriented public part, where information concerning individual product parameters is accessible by electronic means, an online portal for accessibility and a compliance part, with clearly specified accessibility and security requirements;

(10)  ‘distance selling’ means the offer for sale, hire or hire purchase by mail order, catalogue, internet, telemarketing or by any other method by which the potential end-user cannot be expected to see the product displayed;

(11)  ‘manufacturer’ means any natural or legal person who manufactures a product, or has a product designed or manufactured and places that product on the market under his name or trademark;

(12)  ‘importer’ means any natural or legal person established in the Union who places a product from a third country on the Union market;

(13)  ‘authorised representative’ means any natural or legal person established in the Union who has received a written mandate from a manufacturer to act on his behalf in relation to specified tasks;

(14)  ‘supplier’ means a manufacturer established in the Union, an authorised representative of a manufacturer who is not established in the Union, or an importer, who places a product on the Union market;

(15)  ‘distributor’ means any natural or legal person in the supply chain, other than the supplier, who makes a product available on the market;

(16)  ‘making available on the market’ means the supply of a product for distribution or use on the Union market in the course of a commercial activity, whether in return for payment or free of charge;

(17)  ‘placing on the market’ means the first making available of a product on the Union market;

(18)  ‘end-user’ means a consumer, a fleet manager or a road transport undertaking, that buys or is expected to buy a tyre;

(19)  ‘parameter’ means a tyre parameter as set out in Annex I, such as rolling resistance, wet grip, external rolling noise, snow, or ice, mileage or abrasion, that has a significant impact on the environment, road safety or health during use; [Am. 18]

(20)  ‘tyre type’ means a version of a tyre of which all units share the same technical characteristics relevant for the label and the product information sheet and the same model identifier.

Article 4

Responsibilities of tyre suppliers

1.  Suppliers shall ensure that C1, C2 and C3 tyres that are placed on the market are accompanied free of charge: [Am. 19]

(a)  for each individual tyre, with a label complying with Annex II in the form of a sticker, indicating the information and class for each of the parameters set out in Annex I, and with a product information sheet as set out in Annex IV; or [Am. 20]

(b)  for each batch of one or more identical tyres, with a label complying with Annex II in printed format indicating the information and class for each of the parameters set out in Annex I, and with a product information sheet as set out in Annex IV.

2.  In relation to tyres advertised or sold on the internet, suppliers shall make the label available and ensure in purchasing situation that the label is visibly displayed in proximity to the price and that the product information sheet can be accessed. The label may be displayed using a nested image, after a mouse click, mouse roll-over, tactile screen expansion or using similar techniques. [Am. 21]

3.  Suppliers shall ensure that any visual advertisement for a specific type of tyre, including on the internet, shows the label. [Am. 22]

4.  Suppliers shall ensure that any technical promotional material concerning a specific type of tyre, including on the internet, displays the label and meets the requirements of Annex V. [Am. 23]

5.  Suppliers shall ensure that the values, the related classes, the model identifier and any additional performance information they declare on the label for the essential parameters set out in Annex I, as well as the technical documentation parameters set out in Annex III have been provided subject to the type approval process under Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 Type Approval authorities before placing a tyre on the market. The Type Approval Authority shall acknowledge the receipt of and verify the documentation from the supplier. [Am. 24]

6.  Suppliers shall ensure the accuracy of the labels and product information sheets that they provide.

7.  Suppliers shall make technical documentation in accordance with Annex III available to the authorities of Member States or to any accredited third party on request. [Am. 25]

8.  Suppliers shall cooperate with market surveillance authorities and take immediate action to remedy any case of non-compliance with the requirements set out in this Regulation, which falls under their responsibility, at their own initiative or when required to do so by market surveillance authorities.

9.  Suppliers shall not provide or display other labels, marks, symbols or inscriptions that do not comply with the requirements of this Regulation, if doing so would be likely to mislead or confuse end-users with respect to the essential parameters.

10.  Suppliers shall not supply or display labels that mimic the label provided for under this Regulation.

Article 5

Responsibilities of tyre suppliers in relation to the product database

1.  With effect from 1 January 2020 nine months after [please insert the date of entry into force of this Regulation], suppliers shall, before placing a tyre on the market a tyre produced after that date, enter into the product database the information set out in Annex I of Regulation (EU) 2017/1369, with the exception of the measured technical parameters of the model.

2.  Where tyres are placed on the market produced between [please insert the date of entry into force of this Regulation] and 31 December 2019 nine months minus one day after [please insert the date of entry into force of this Regulation], the supplier shall, by 30 June 202012 months after [please insert the date of entry into force of this Regulation], enter in the product database the information set out in Annex I of Regulation (EU) 2017/1369, in relation to those tyres with the exception of the measured technical parameters of the model.

2a.  Where tyres are placed on the market before [please insert the date of entry into force of this Regulation], the supplier may enter in the product database the information set out in Annex I of Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 in relation to those tyres.

3.  Until the information referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 has been entered in the product database, the supplier shall make an electronic version of the technical documentation available for inspection within 10 days of a request received from market surveillance authorities.

4.  A tyre for which changes are made that are relevant for the label or the product information sheet shall be considered to be a new tyre type. The supplier shall indicate in the database when it no longer places on the market units of a tyre type.

5.  After the final unit of a type of tyre has been placed on the market, the supplier shall keep the information concerning that type of tyre in the compliance part of the product database for a period of five years. [Am. 58]

Article 6

Responsibilities of tyre distributors

1.  Distributors shall ensure that:

(a)  tyres, at the point of sale, bear the label in accordance with Annex II in the form of a sticker provided by suppliers in accordance with point (a) of Article 4(1) in a clearly visible position; or [Am. 26]

(b)  before the sale of a tyre, belonging to a batch of one or more identical tyres, the label referred to in point (b) of Article 4(1) is shown presented to the end-user and is clearly displayed in the immediate proximity of the tyre at the point of sale; [Am. 27]

(ba)  the label is affixed directly to the tyre and is legible in its entirety with nothing obstructing its visibility. [Am. 28]

2.  Distributors shall ensure that any visual advertisement for a specific type of tyre, including on the internet, shows the label. [Am. 29]

3.  Distributors shall ensure that any technical promotional material concerning a specific type of tyre, including on the internet, displays the label and meets the requirements of Annex V. [Am. 30]

4.  Distributors shall ensure that where tyres offered for sale are not visible to the end-user, they provide end-users with a copy of the label before the sale.

5.  Distributors shall ensure that any paper-based distance selling must show the label and that the end-user can access the product information sheet through a free access website, or request a printed copy of that sheet.

6.  Distributors using telemarketing-based distance selling shall specifically inform end-users of the classes of the essential parameters on the label, and that they can access the full label and the product information sheet through a free access website, or by requesting a printed copy.

7.  In relation to tyres advertised or sold directly on the internet, distributors shall make the label available and ensure in purchasing situation that the label is displayed in proximity to the price and that the product information sheet can be accessed. The label may be displayed using a nested image, after a mouse click, mouse roll-over, tactile screen expansion or using similar techniques. [Am. 31]

Article 7

Responsibilities of vehicle suppliers and vehicle distributors

Where end-users intend to acquire a new vehicle, vehicle suppliers and distributors shall, before the sale, provide them with the label for the tyres offered with the vehicle, as well as the relevant technical promotional material.

Article 8

Testing and measurement methods

The information to be provided under Articles 4, 6 and 7 on the parameters indicated on the label shall be obtained by applying in accordance with the testing and measurement methods referred to in Annex I, and the laboratory alignment procedure referred to in Annex VI. [Am. 32]

Article 9

Verification procedure

Member States shall assess the conformity of the declared classes for each of the essential parameters indicated in Annex I in accordance with the procedure set out in Annex VII.

Article 10

Obligations of Member States

1.  Member States shall not impede the placing on the market or putting into service, within their territories, of tyres which comply with this Regulation.

2.  Member States shall not provide incentives with regard to tyres below class B with respect to either fuel efficiency or wet grip within the meaning of Annex I, Parts A and B respectively. Taxation and fiscal measures do not constitute incentives for the purposes of this Regulation.

2a.  Member States shall ensure that the national market surveillance authorities establish a system of routine and ad-hoc inspections of points of sale for the purposes of ensuring compliance with this Regulation. [Am. 33]

3.  Member States shall lay down the rules on penalties and enforcement mechanisms applicable to infringements of this Regulation and the delegated acts adopted pursuant thereto, and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties provided for shall be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

4.  Member States shall, by 1 June 2020, notify the Commission of the rules referred to in paragraph 3 that have not previously been notified to the Commission, and shall notify the Commission, without delay, of any subsequent amendment affecting them.

Article 11

Union market surveillance and control of products entering the Union market

1.  [Articles 16 to 29 of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008/Regulation on compliance and enforcement proposed under COM(2017)0795] shall apply to products covered by this Regulation and by the relevant delegated acts adopted pursuant thereto.

2.  The Commission shall encourage and support cooperation and the exchange of information on market surveillance relating to the labelling of products between national authorities of the Member States that are responsible for market surveillance or in charge of the control of products entering the Union market, and between them and the Commission, in particular by involving more closely the 'Administrative Cooperation for Market Surveillance' Expert group on Tyre Labelling.

3.  Member States' general market surveillance programmes established pursuant to [Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No 765/2008/Regulation on compliance and enforcement proposed under COM(2017)0795] shall include actions to ensure the effective enforcement of this Regulation and shall be strengthened. [Am. 34].

Article 11a

Re-treaded tyres

By ... [two years after the entry into force of this Regulation], the Commission shall adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 13 in order to supplement this Regulation by introducing new information requirements to the Annexes for re-treaded tyres, provided that a suitable and feasible method is available. [Am. 35]

Article 12

Delegated acts

The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 13 in order to:

(a)  introduce changes to the content and format of the label;

(aa)  introduce parameters and information requirements for snow and ice-grip tyres; [Am. 37]

(ab)  introduce a suitable testing method to measure tyre snow and ice-grip tyre performances; [Am. 38]

(b)  introduce parameters or information requirements to the Annexes in particular for mileage and abrasion, provided suitable testing methods are available; [Am. 39]

(c)  adapt to technical progress the values, calculation methods and requirements of the Annexes.

Where appropriate, When preparing delegated acts, the Commission shall test the design and content of the labels for specific product groups tyres with representative groups of Union customers to ensure their clear understanding of the labels. [Am. 40]

Article 13

Exercise of 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 12 shall be conferred on the Commission for a period of five years from [please insert the date of entry into force of this Regulation]. The Commission shall draw up a report in respect of the delegation of power not later than nine months before the end of the five-year period. The delegation of power shall be tacitly extended for periods of an identical duration, unless the European Parliament or the Council opposes such extension not later than three months before the end of each period.

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

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

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

6.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Article 12 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

Evaluation and report

By 1 June 2026 2022, the Commission shall carry out an evaluation of this Regulation and present complemented by an impact assessment and a consumer survey, and submit a report to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee. The report shall be accompanied, if appropriate, by a legislative proposal to amend this Regulation. [Am. 41]

That report shall assess how effectively this Regulation and the delegated acts adopted pursuant thereto have allowed end-users to choose higher performing tyres, taking into account its impacts on business, fuel consumption, safety, greenhouse gas emissions and market surveillance activities and consumer awareness. It shall also assess the costs and benefits of independent and mandatory third party verification of the information provided in the label, taking also into account the experience with the broader framework provided by Regulation (EC) No 661/2009. [Am. 42]

Article 15

Amendment to Regulation (EU) 2017/1369

In Article 12(2) of Regulation (EU) 2017/1369, point (a) is replaced by the following:"

"(a) to support market surveillance authorities in carrying out their tasks under this Regulation and the relevant delegated acts, including enforcement thereof, and under Regulation (EU) [insert reference to the present regulation]".

"

Article 16

Repeal of Regulation (EC) No 2009/1222

Regulation (EC) No 2009/1222 is repealed.

References to the repealed Regulation shall be construed as references to this Regulation and read in accordance with the correlation table in Annex VIII.

Article 17

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.

It shall apply from 1 June 2020 ... [12 months after the date of entry into force of this Regulation]. [Am. 43]

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

Testing, grading and measurement of tyre parameters

Part A: Fuel efficiency classes

The fuel efficiency class shall be determined and illustrated on the label on the basis of the rolling resistance coefficient (RRC) according to the ‘A’ to ‘G’ scale specified below and measured in accordance with Annex 6 to UNECE Regulation No 117 and its subsequent amendments and aligned according to the procedure laid down in Annex VI.

If a tyre type is approved for more than one tyre class (e.g. C1 and C2), the grading scale used to determine the fuel efficiency class of this tyre type shall be that which is applicable to the highest tyre class (e.g. C2, not C1). [Am. 44]

F class for C1, C2, C3 tyres shall no longer be placed on the market after the full implementation of the provision of type-approval requirements of Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 and shall be shown on the label in grey. [Am. 45]

C1 tyres

C2 tyres

C3 tyres

RRC in kg/t

Energy

efficiency

class

RRC in kg/t

Energy

efficiency

class

RRC in kg/t

Energy

efficiency

class

RRC ≤ 5,4 6,5

A

RRC ≤ 4,4 5,5

A

RRC ≤ 3,1 4,0

A

5,5 6,6 RRC ≤ 6,5 7,7

B

4,5 5,6 RRC ≤ 5,5 6,7

B

3,2 4,1RRC ≤ 4,0 5,0

B

6,6 7,8 RRC7,7 9,0

C

5,6 6,8 RRC ≤ 6,7 8,0

C

4,1 5,1RRC ≤ 5,0 6,0

C

7,8 ≤ RRC ≤ 9,0 Empty

D

6,8 ≤ RRC ≤ 8,0 Empty

D

5,1 6,1RRC ≤ 6,0 7,0

D

9,1 ≤ RRC ≤ 10,5

E

8,1 ≤ RRC ≤ 9,2

E

6,1 7,1RRC ≤ 7,0 8,0

E

10,6 ≤ RRC 10,6 ≤ 12,0

F

9,3 ≤ RRC 9,3 ≤ 10,5

F

RRC ≥ 7,1 8,1

F

[Am. 46]

Part B: Wet grip classes

1.  The wet grip class shall be determined and illustrated on the label on the basis of the wet grip index (G) according to the ‘A’ to ‘G’ scale specified in the table below, calculated in accordance with point 2 and measured in accordance with Annex 5 to UNECE Regulation 117. [Am. 47]

1a.  F class for C1, C2, C3 tyres shall no longer be placed on the market after the full implementation of the provision of type-approval requirements of Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 and shall be shown on the label in grey. [Am. 48]

2.  Calculation of wet grip index (G)

G = G(T) - 0,03

where:

C1 tyres

C2 tyres

C3 tyres

G

Wet grip class

G

Wet grip class

G

Wet grip class

1,68 1,55 G

A

1,53 1,40 G

A

1,38 1,25 G

A

1,55 1,40 G ≤ 1,67 1,54

B

1,40 1,25 G ≤ 1,52 1,39

B

1,25 1,10 G ≤ 1,37 1,24

B

1,40 1,25 G ≤ 1,54 1,39

C

1,25 1,10 G ≤ 1,39 1,24

C

1,10 0,95 G ≤ 1,24 1,09

C

1,25 ≤ G ≤ 1,39 Empty

D

1,10 ≤ G ≤ 1,24 Empty

D

0,95 0,80 G ≤ 1,09 0,94

D

1,10 ≤ G ≤ 1,24

E

0,95 ≤ G ≤ 1,09

E

0,80 0,65 G ≤ 0,94 0,79

E

G ≤ 1,09

F

G ≤ 0,94

F

0,65 ≤ G ≤ 0,79 0,64

F

Empty

G

Empty

G

G ≤ 0,64

G

G(T) = wet grip index of the candidate tyre as measured in one test cycle

[Am. 49]

Part C: External rolling noise classes and measured value [Am. 50]

The external rolling noise measured value (N) shall be declared in decibels and calculated in accordance with Annex 3 to UNECE Regulation No 117. [Am. 51]

The external rolling noise class shall be determined and illustrated on the label on the basis of in accordance with the limit values (LV) Stage 2 set out in Part C of Annex II of UNECE Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 as follows No 117. [Am. 52]

N in dB

External rolling noise class

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000002.png

N ≤ LV - 6 3

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000003.png

LV - 6 3 < N ≤ LV - 3

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000004.png

N > LV - 3

[Am. 53]

Part D: Snow grip

The snow performance shall be tested labelled in accordance with Annex 7 to UNECE Regulation No 117. [Am. 54]

A tyre which satisfies the minimum snow index values set out in UNECE Regulation No 117 shall be classified as a snow tyre and the following icon shall may be included on the label. [Am. 55]

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000005.png

Part E: Ice grip:

The ice performance shall be tested labelled in accordance with ISO 19447. [Am. 56]

A tyre which satisfies the minimum ice index value set out in ISO 19447 and type approved according to the snow performance in UNECE Regulation No 117 shall be classified as an ice tyre and the following icon shall may be included on the label. [Am. 57]

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000006.png

ANNEX II

Format of the label

1.  Labels

1.1.  The following information shall be included in the labels in accordance with the illustrations below.

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000007.png

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000008.png

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000009.png

I.  Supplier's name or trademark;

II.  Supplier’s model identifier, where ‘model identifier’ means the code, usually alphanumeric, which distinguishes a specific tyre type from other type with the same trade mark or supplier’s name;

III.  QR code;

IV.  Fuel efficiency;

V.  Wet grip;

VI.  External rolling noise;

VII.  Snow grip;

VIII.  Ice grip.

2.  Label design

2.1.  The design of the label shall be as in the figure below:

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000010.png

2.2.  The label shall be at least 90 mm wide and 130 mm high. Where the label is printed in a larger format, its content shall nevertheless remain proportionate to the specifications above.

2.3.  The label shall conform to the following requirements:

(a)  Colours are CMYK - cyan, magenta, yellow and black - and are given following this example: 00-70-X-00: 0 % cyan, 70 % magenta, 100 % yellow, 0 % black;

(b)  The numbers listed below refer to the legends indicated in point 2.1.:

(1)  Label border: stroke: 1,5 pts - colour: X-10-00-05;

(2)  Calibri regular 8 pts;

(3)  European flag: width: 15 mm, height: 10 mm;

(4)  Banner: width: 51,5 mm, height: 13 mm;

Text "BRAND": Calibri regular 15 pts, 100 % white;

Text "Model Number": Calibri regular 13 pts, 100 % white;

(5)  QR code: width: 13 mm, height: 13 mm;

(6)  ‘A’ to ‘F’ scale:

Arrows: height: 5,6 mm, gap: 0,78 mm, black stroke: 0,5 pt - colours:

–  A: X-00-X-00;

–  B: 70-00-X-00;

–  C: 30-00-X-00;

–  D: 00-00-X-00;

–  E: 00-30-X-00;

–  F: 00-70-X-00.

(7)  Line: width: 88 mm, height: 2 pts - Colour: X-00-00-00;

(8)  Pictogram external rolling noise:

Pictogram as supplied: width: 25,5 mm, height: 17 mm - colour: X-10-00-05;

(9)  Arrow:

Arrow: width: 20 mm, height: 10 mm, 100 % black;

Text: Helvetica Bold 20 pts, 100 % white;

Unit text: Helvetica Bold 13 pts, 100 % white;

(10)  Pictogram ice:

Pictogram as supplied: width: 15 mm, height: 15 mm – stroke: 1,5 pts - colour: 100 % black;

(11)  Pictogram snow:

Pictogram as supplied: width: 15 mm, height: 15 mm – stroke: 1,5 pts - colour: 100 % black;

(12)  ‘A’ to ‘G’: Calibri regular 13 pts – 100 % black;

(13)  Arrows:

Arrows: width: 11,4 mm, height: 9 mm, 100 % black;

Text: Calibri Bold 17 pts, 100 % white;

(14)  Pictogram fuel efficiency:

Pictogram as supplied: width: 19,5 mm, height: 18,5 mm - colour: X-10-00-05;

(15)  Pictogram wet grip:

Pictogram as supplied: width: 19 mm, height: 19 mm - colour: X-10-00-05.

(c)  The background shall be white.

2.4.  The tyre class shall be indicated on the label in the format prescribed in the illustration in point 2.1.

ANNEX III

Technical documentation

The technical documentation referred to in Article 4(7) shall include the following:

(a)  the name and address of the supplier;

(b)  identification and signature of the person empowered to bind the supplier;

(c)  trade name or trade mark of the supplier;

(d)  the tyre model,

(e)  the tyre dimension, load index and speed rating;

(f)  the references of the measurement methods applied.

ANNEX IV

Product information sheet

The information in the product information sheet of tyres shall be included in the product brochure or other literature provided with the product and shall include the following:

(a)  supplier's name or trade mark;

(b)  supplier's model identifier;

(c)  fuel efficiency class of the tyre in accordance with Annex I;

(d)  wet grip class of the tyre in accordance with Annex I;

(e)  external rolling noise class and decibels in accordance with Annex I;

(f)  whether the tyre is a snow tyre;

(g)  whether the tyre is an ice tyre.

ANNEX V

Information provided in technical promotional material

1.  Information on tyres included in technical promotional material shall be provided in the order specified as follows:

(a)  the fuel efficiency class (letter ‘A’ to ‘F’);

(b)  the wet grip class (letter ‘A’ to ‘G’);

(c)  the external rolling noise class and measured value (dB);

(d)  whether the tyre is a snow tyre;

(e)  whether the tyre is an ice tyre.

2.  The information provided in point 1 shall meet the following requirements:

(a)  be easy to read;

(b)  be easy to understand;

(c)  if different grading is available for a given tyre type depending on dimension or other parameters, the range between the least and best performing tyre is stated.

3.  Suppliers shall also make the following available on their websites:

(a)  a link to the relevant Commission webpage dedicated to this Regulation;

(b)  an explanation of the pictograms printed on the label;

(c)  a statement highlighting the fact that actual fuel savings and road safety depend heavily on the behaviour of drivers, and in particular the following:

–  eco-driving can significantly reduce fuel consumption;

–  tyre pressure needs to be regularly checked to optimise wet grip and fuel efficiency performance;

–  stopping distances must always be strictly respected.

ANNEX VI

Laboratory alignment procedure for the measurement of rolling resistance

1.  Definitions

For the purposes of the laboratory alignment procedure, the following definitions shall apply:

1.  ‘reference laboratory’ means a laboratory that is part of the network of laboratories the name of which have been published for the purpose of the alignment procedure in the Official Journal of the European Union, and is able to achieve the accuracy of test results determined in Section 3 with its reference machine;

2.  ‘candidate laboratory’ means a laboratory participating in the alignment procedure that is not a reference laboratory;

3.  ‘alignment tyre’ means a tyre that is tested for the purpose of performing the alignment procedure;

4.  ‘alignment tyres set’ means a set of five or more alignment tyres for the alignment of one single machine;

5.  ‘assigned value’ means a theoretical value of the Rolling Resistance Coefficient (RRC) of one alignment tyre as measured by a theoretical laboratory which is representative of the network of reference laboratories that is used for the alignment procedure;

6.  ‘machine’ means every tyre testing spindle in one specific measurement method. For example, two spindles acting on the same drum shall not be considered as one machine.

2.  General provisions

2.1.  Principle

The measured (m) Rolling Resistance Coefficient in a reference laboratory (l), (RRCm,l), shall be aligned to the assigned values of the network of reference laboratories.

The measured (m) Rolling Resistance Coefficient obtained by a machine in a candidate laboratory (c), RRCm,c, shall be aligned through one reference laboratory of the network of its choice.

2.2.  Tyre selection requirements

A set of five or more alignment tyres shall be selected for the alignment procedure in compliance with the criteria below. One set shall be selected for C1 and C2 tyres together, and one set for C3 tyres.

(a)  The set of alignment tyres shall be selected so as to cover the range of different RRCs of C1 and C2 tyres together, or of C3 tyres. In any event, the difference between the highest RRCm of the tyre set, and the lowest RRCm of the tyre set shall be, before and after alignment, at least equal to:

(i)  3 kg/t for C1 and C2 tyres; and

(ii)  2 kg/t for C3 tyres.

(b)  The RRCm in the candidate or reference laboratories (RRCm,c or RRCm,l) based on declared RRC values of each alignment tyre of the set shall be distributed evenly.

(c)  Load index values shall adequately cover the range of the tyres to be tested, ensuring that the rolling resistance force values also cover the range of the tyres to be tested.

Each alignment tyre shall be checked prior to use and replaced when:

(a)  it shows a condition which makes it unusable for further tests; and/or

(b)  there are deviations of RRCm,c or RRCm,l greater than 1,5 per cent relative to earlier measurements after correction for any machine drift.

2.3.  Measurement method

The reference laboratory shall measure each alignment tyre four times and retain the three last results for further analysis, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Annex 6 of UNECE Regulation No 117 and its subsequent amendments and applying the conditions set out in paragraph 3 of Annex 6 of UNECE Regulation No 117 and its subsequent amendments.

The candidate laboratory shall measure each alignment tyre (n + 1) times with n being specified in Section 5 and retain the n last results for further analysis, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Annex 6 of UNECE Regulation No 117 and its subsequent amendments and applying the conditions set out in paragraph 3 of Annex 6 of UNECE Regulation No 117 and its subsequent amendments.

Each time an alignment tyre is measured, the tyre/wheel assembly shall be removed from the machine and the entire test procedure specified in paragraph 4 of Annex 6 of UNECE Regulation No 117 and its subsequent amendments shall be followed again from the start.

The candidate or reference laboratory shall calculate:

(a)  the measured value of each alignment tyre for each measurement as specified in Annex 6, paragraphs 6.2 and 6.3, of UNECE Regulation No 117 and its subsequent amendments (i.e. corrected for a temperature of 25 °C and a drum diameter of 2 m);

(b)  the mean value of the three (in the case of reference laboratories) or n (in the case of candidate laboratories) last measured values of each alignment tyre; and

(c)  the standard deviation (σm) as follows:

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000011.png

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000012.png

where:

i is the counter from 1 to p for the alignment tyres;

j is the counter from 2 to n+1 for the n last repetitions of each measurement of a given alignment tyre

n+1 is the number of repetitions of tyre measurements (n+1=4 for reference laboratories and n+1 ≥4 for candidate laboratories);

p is the number of alignment tyres (p ≥ 5).

2.4.  Data formats to be used for the computations and results

–  The measured RRC values corrected from drum diameter and temperature shall be rounded to 2 decimal places.

–  Then the computations shall be made with all digits: there shall be no further rounding except on the final alignment equations.

–  All standard deviation values shall be displayed to 3 decimal places.

–  All RRC values will be displayed to 2 decimal places.

–  All alignment coefficients (A1l, B1l, A2c and B2c) shall be rounded and displayed to 4 decimal places.

3.  Requirements applicable to the reference laboratories and determination of the assigned values

The assigned values of each alignment tyre shall be determined by a network of reference laboratories. Every second year the network shall assess the stability and validity of the assigned values.

Each reference laboratory participating in the network shall comply with the specifications of Annex 6 of UNECE Regulation No 117 and its subsequent amendments and have a standard deviation (σm) as follows:

(a)  not greater than 0,05 kg/t for class C1 and C2 tyres; and

(b)  not greater than 0,05 kg/t for class C3 tyres.

The sets of alignment tyres, conforming to the specification of Section 2.2 shall be measured in accordance with Section 2.3 by each reference laboratory of the network.

The assigned value of each alignment tyre is the average of the measured values given by the reference laboratories of the network for this alignment tyre.

4.  Procedure for the alignment of a reference laboratory to the assigned values

Each reference laboratory (l) shall align itself to each new set of assigned values and always after any significant machine change or any drift in machine control tyre monitoring data.

The alignment shall use a linear regression technique on all individual data. The regression coefficients, A1l and B1l, shall be calculated as follows:

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000013.png

where:

RRC is the assigned value of the rolling resistance coefficient;

RRCm,l is the individual measured value of the rolling resistance coefficient by the reference laboratory “l” (including temperature and drum diameter corrections).

5.  Requirements applicable to candidate laboratories

Candidate laboratories shall repeat the alignment procedure at least once every second year for every machine and always after any significant machine change or any drift in machine control tyre monitoring data.

A common set of five different tyres, conforming to the specification of Section 2.2 shall be measured in accordance with Section 2.3 firstly by the candidate laboratory and later on by one reference laboratory. More than five alignment tyres may be tested at the request of the candidate laboratory.

The alignment tyre set shall be provided by the candidate laboratory to the selected reference laboratory.

The candidate laboratory (c) shall comply with the specifications of Annex 6 of UNECE Regulation No 117 and its subsequent amendments and preferably have standard deviations (am) as follows:

(a)  not greater than 0,075 kg/t for C1 and C2 tyres; and

(b)  not greater than 0,06 kg/t for C3 tyres.

If the standard deviation (σm) of the candidate laboratory is higher than the above values with four measurements, the last three ones being used for the computations, then the number n+1 of measurement repetitions shall be increased as follows for the entire batch:

n+1 = 1+(σm/γ)2, rounded up to the nearest higher integer value

where:

γ = 0,043 kg/t for Class C1 and C2 tyres

γ = 0,035 kg/t for Class C3 tyres

6.  Procedure for the alignment of a candidate laboratory

One reference laboratory (i) of the network shall calculate the linear regression function on all individual data of the candidate laboratory (c). The regression coefficients, A2c and B2c, shall be calculated as follows:

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000014.png

where:

RRCm,l is the individual measured value of the rolling resistance coefficient by the reference laboratory (i) (including temperature and drum diameter corrections)

RRCm,c is the individual measured value of the rolling resistance coefficient by the candidate laboratory (c) (including temperature and drum diameter corrections)

If the coefficient of determination R² is lower than 0,97, the candidate laboratory shall not be aligned.

The aligned RRC of tyres tested by the candidate laboratory is calculated as follows:

20190326-P8_TA(2019)0230_EN-p0000015.png

ANNEX VII

Verification procedure

The conformity with this Regulation of the declared fuel efficiency, wet grip and external rolling noise classes, as well as the declared values, and any additional performance information on the label, shall be assessed for each tyre type or each grouping of tyres as determined by the supplier, according to one of the following procedures:

(a)  a single tyre or tyre set is tested first:

1.  if the measured values meet the declared classes or external rolling noise declared value within the tolerance defined in Table 1, the test is successfully passed;

2.  if the measured values do not meet the declared classes or external rolling noise declared value within the range defined in Table 1, three more tyres or tyre sets are tested. The average measurement value stemming from the three tyres or tyre sets tested is used to assess conformity with the declared information within the range defined in Table 1;

(b)  where the labelled classes or values are derived from type approval test results obtained in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 661/2009, or UNECE Regulation No 117 and its subsequent amendments, Member States may make use of measurement data obtained from conformity of production tests on tyres.

Assessment of the measurement data obtained from the conformity of production tests shall take into account the allowances defined in Table 1.

Table 1

Measured parameter

Verification tolerances

Rolling resistance coefficient (fuel efficiency)

The aligned measured value shall not be greater than the upper limit (the highest RRC) of the declared class by more than 0,3 kg/1 000kg.

External rolling noise

The measured value shall not be greater than the declared value of N by more than 1 dB(A).

Wet grip

The measured value G(T) shall not be lower than the lower limit (the lowest value of G) of the declared class.

Snow grip

The measured value shall not be lower than the minimum snow performance index.

Ice grip

The measured value shall not be lower than the minimum ice performance index.

ANNEX VIII

Correlation table

Regulation (EC) No 1222/2009

This Regulation

Article 1(1)

Article 1(1)

Article 1(2)

Article 1(2)

Article 2(1)

Article 2(1)

Article 2(2)

Article 2(2)

Article 3(1)

Article 3(1)

Article 3(2)

Article 3(2)

-

Article 3(3)

Article 3(3)

Article 3(4)

Article 3(4)

Article 3(5)

-

Article 3(6)

Article 3(5)

Article 3(7)

-

Article 3(8)

-

Article 3(9)

Article 3(6)

Article 3(10)

Article 3(7)

Article 3(11)

Article 3(8)

Article 3(12)

Article 3(9)

Article 3(13)

Article 3(10)

Article 3(14)

Article 3(11)

Article 3(15)

-

Article 3(16)

Article 3(12)

Article 3(17)

Article 3(13)

Article 3(18)

-

Article 3(19)

Article 4

Article 4

Article 4(1)

Article 4(1)

Article 4(1)(a)

Article 4(1)(b)

Article 4(1)(b)

Article 4(1)(b)

Article 4(2)

-

-

Article 4(2)

-

Article 4(3)

Article 4(3)

Article 4(4)

Article 4(4)

Article 4(6)

-

Article 4(5)

-

Article 4(6)

-

Article 4(7)

-

Article 4(8)

-

Article 4(9)

-

Article 5

Article 5

Article 6

Article 5(1)

Article 6(1)

Article 5(1)(a)

Article 6(1)(a)

Article 5(1)(b)

Article 6(1)(b)

-

Article 6(2)

-

Article 6(3)

Article 5(2)

Article 6(4)

Article 5(3)

-

-

Article 6(5)

-

Article 6(6)

-

Article 6(7)

Article 6

Article 7

Article 7

Article 8

Article 8

Article 9

Article 9(1)

Article 10(1)

Article 9(2)

-

Article 10

Article 10(2)

Article 11

Article 12

-

Article 12(a)

-

Article 12(b)

-

Article 12(c)

Article 11(a)

-

Article 11(b)

-

Article 11(c)

Article 12(d)

Article 12

Article 11

-

Article 11(1)

-

Article 11(2)

-

Article 11(3)

-

Article 13

Article 13

-

Article 14

-

-

Article 14

Article 15

-

-

Article 15

-

Article 16

Article 16

Article 17

(1) OJ C 62, 15.2.2019, p. 280.
(2) OJ C […], […], p. […].
(3) OJ C […], […], p. […].
(4) COM(2017)0658.
(5) Regulation (EC) No 1222/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 on the labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other essential parameters (OJ L 342 of 22.12.2009, p. 46).
(6) Regulation (EC) No 661/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 concerning type-approval requirements for the general safety of motor vehicles, their trailers and systems, components and separate technical units intended therefor (OJ L 200, 31.7.2009, p. 1).
(7) Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002 relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise (OJ L 189, 18.7.2002, p. 12).
(8) OJ L307, 23.11.2011, p.3.
(9) COM(2018)0028.
(10) Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2017 setting a framework for energy labelling and repealing Directive 2010/30/EU (OJ L 198, 28.7.2017, p. 1).
(11) COM(2017)0279.
(12) Reference to be added once the proposal is adopted
(13) 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 L218, 13.8.2008, p. 30).
(14) OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.


Copyright in the Digital Single Market ***I
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Resolution
Text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market (COM(2016)0593 – C8-0383/2016 – 2016/0280(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0231A8-0245/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2016)0593),

–  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 (C8‑0383/2016),

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

–  having regard to Article 294(3) and to Articles 53(1), 62 and 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 25 January 2017(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 8 February 2017(2),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 20 February 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 and 39 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Culture and Education and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0245/2018),

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

2.  Takes note of the statement by the Commission annexed to this resolution;

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market and amending Directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive (EU) 2019/790.)

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

COMMISSION’S STATEMENT ON SPORT EVENT ORGANISERS

“The Commission acknowledges the importance of sports events organisations and their role in financing of sport activities in the Union. In view of the societal and economic dimension of sport in the Union, the Commission will assess the challenges of sport event organisers in the digital environment, in particular issues related to the illegal online transmissions of sport broadcasts”.

(1) OJ C 125, 21.4.2017, p. 27.
(2) OJ C 207, 30.6.2017, p. 80.


Contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services ***I
PDF 121kWORD 48k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content (COM(2015)0634 – C8-0394/2015 – 2015/0287(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0232A8-0375/2017

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2015)0634),

–  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 (C8‑0394/2015),

–  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 27 April 2016(1),

–  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 6 February 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 joint deliberations of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Legal Affairs under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Legal Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A8-0375/2017),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive (EU) 2019/770.)

(1) OJ C 264, 20.7.2016, p. 57.


Contracts for the sale of goods ***I
PDF 121kWORD 45k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the amended proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sales of goods, amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directive 2009/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Directive 1999/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (COM(2017)0637 – C8-0379/2017 – 2015/0288(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0233A8-0043/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2015)0635) and the amended proposal (COM(2017)0637),

–  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 (C8‑0379/2017),

–  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 opinions of the European Economic and Social Committee of 27 April 2016(1) and of 15 February 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 6 February 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 the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0043/2018),

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 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Directive (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sale of goods, amending Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 and Directive 2009/22/EC, and repealing Directive 1999/44/EC

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Directive (EU) 2019/771.)

(1) OJ C 264, 20.7.2016, p. 57.
(2) OJ C 227, 28.6.2018, p. 58


Fishing in the GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean) Agreement area ***I
PDF 127kWORD 45k
Resolution
Text
Annex
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 1343/2011 on certain provisions for fishing in the GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean) Agreement area (COM(2018)0143 – C8-0123/2018 – 2018/0069(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0234A8-0381/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0143),

–  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 (C8-0123/2018),

–  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 23 May 2018(1),

–  having regard to the provisional agreement approved by the committee responsible under Rule 69f(4) of its Rules of Procedure and the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 6 February 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 Fisheries (A8-0381/2018),

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

2.  Takes note of the Commission statements annexed to this resolution;

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 1343/2011 on certain provisions for fishing in the GFCM (General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean) Agreement area

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2019/982.)

ANNEX TO THE LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

Commission statement on recreational fisheries

The Commission recalls that one of the objectives set up in the MedFish4Ever Ministerial Declaration adopted in March 2017 is to establish, as soon as possible and at the latest by 2020, a set of baseline rules to ensure an effective management of recreational fisheries across the Mediterranean.

In line with this objective, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) mid-term Strategy 2017-2020 includes amongst the actions to be implemented in the GFCM area, the assessment of the impacts of recreational fisheries and the consideration of best management measures to regulate these activities. In this context, a working group for recreational fisheries has been established within the GFCM with a view to developing a harmonized regional methodology towards assessing recreational fisheries.

The Commission will continue its efforts within the GFCM in order to attain the objective set up in the MedFish4Ever Declaration.

Commission statement on red coral

The Commission recalls that the conservation measures adopted within the framework of the regional adaptive management plan for the exploitation of red coral in the Mediterranean Sea [Recommendation GFCM/41/2017/5] are temporary. These measures, which include the possibility to introduce catch limitations, will be assessed by the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the GFCM in 2019 with a view to their revision by the GFCM at its 43rd annual session (November 2019).

(1) OJ C 283, 10.8.2018, p. 95.


Alignment of reporting obligations in the field of environment policy ***I
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Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the alignment of reporting obligations in the field of environment policy and thereby amending Directives 86/278/EEC, 2002/49/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2007/2/EC, 2009/147/EC and 2010/63/EU, Regulations (EC) No 166/2006 and (EU) No 995/2010, and Council Regulations (EC) No 338/97 and (EC) No 2173/2005 (COM(2018)0381 – C8-0244/2018 – 2018/0205(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0235A8-0324/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0381),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Articles 114, 192(1) and 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8‑0244/2018),

–  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 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 18 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 the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and the opinions of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the Committee on Legal Affairs (A8-0324/2018),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the alignment of reporting obligations in the field of legislation related to the environment, and amending Regulations (EC) No 166/2006 and (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directives 2002/49/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2007/2/EC, 2009/147/EC and 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulations (EC) No 338/97 and (EC) No 2173/2005, and Council Directive 86/278/EEC

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2019/1010.)

(1) OJ C 110, 22.3.2019, p. 99.
(2) This position replaces the amendments adopted on 23 October 2018 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0399).


Special rules regarding maximum length in case of cabs ***I
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Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 96/53/EC as regards the time limit for the implementation of the special rules regarding maximum length in case of cabs delivering improved aerodynamic performance, energy efficiency and safety performance (COM(2018)0275 – C8-0195/2018 – 2018/0130(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0236A8-0042/2019

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0275),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 91(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0195/2018),

–  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 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 15 February 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 Transport and Tourism (A8-0042/2019),

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 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Decision (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Directive 96/53/EC as regards the time limit for the implementation of the special rules regarding maximum length for cabs delivering improved aerodynamic performance, energy efficiency and safety performance

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Decision (EU) 2019/984.)

(1) OJ C 62, 15.2.2019, p. 286.


Low carbon benchmarks and positive carbon impact benchmarks ***I
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Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1011 on low carbon benchmarks and positive carbon impact benchmarks (COM(2018)0355 – C8-0209/2018 – 2018/0180(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0237A8-0483/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0355),

–  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 (C8‑0209/2018),

–  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 5 December 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 13 March 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 Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A8-0483/2018),

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 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2016/1011 as regards EU Climate Transition Benchmarks and EU Paris-aligned Benchmarks and sustainability-related disclosures for benchmarks

(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2019/2089.)

(1) OJ C 62, 15.2.2019, p. 103.
(2) OJ C 86, 7.3.2019, p. 24.


Specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution on 26 March 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) supported by the European Regional Development Fund and external financing instruments (COM(2018)0374 – C8-0229/2018 – 2018/0199(COD))
P8_TA(2019)0238A8-0470/2018

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2018)0374),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Articles 178, 209(1), 212(2) and 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C8-0229/2018),

–  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 19 September 2018(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 5 December 2018(2),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Regional Development and also the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Development, the Committee on Budgetary Control and the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0470/2018),

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

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

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

Position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 26 March 2019 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2019/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) supported by the European Regional Development Fund and external financing instruments

P8_TC1-COD(2018)0199


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 178, Article 209(1), Article 212(2), and Article 349 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(4),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions(5),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(6),

Whereas:

(1)  Article 176 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ('TFEU') provides that the European Regional Development Fund ('ERDF') is intended to help to redress the main regional imbalances in the Union. Under that Article and the second and third paragraphs of Article 174 of the TFEU, the ERDF is to contribute to reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions and to reducing the backwardness of the least favoured regions, among which particular attention is to be paid to certain categories of regions, among which cross-border rural areas, areas affected by an industrial transition, areas with a low population density, islands and mountain regions are explicitly listed. [Am. 1]

(2)  Regulation (EU) [new CPR] of the European Parliament and of the Council(7) sets out provisions common to the ERDF and certain other funds and Regulation (EU) [new ERDF] of the European Parliament and of the Council(8) sets out provisions concerning the specific objectives and the scope of the ERDF support. It is now necessary to adopt specific provisions in relation to the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) where one or more Member States and their regions cooperate across borders with regard to effective programming including provisions on technical assistance, monitoring, evaluation, communication, eligibility, management and control, as well as financial management. [Am. 2]

(3)  In order to support the a cooperative and harmonious development of the Union's territory at different levels and to reduce existing disparities, the ERDF should support cross-border cooperation, transnational cooperation, maritime cooperation, outermost regions’ cooperation and interregional cooperation under the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg). In the process, the principles of multi-level governance and partnership should be taken into account, and place-based approaches should be strengthened. [Am. 3]

(3a)  The different components of Interreg should contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as described in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in September 2015. [Am. 4]

(4)  The cross-border cooperation component should aim to tackle common challenges identified jointly in the border regions, and to exploit the untapped growth potential in border areas as evidenced in the Communication of the Commission 'Boosting Growth and Cohesion in EU Border Regions’(9) ('Border Regions Communication'). Consequently Therefore, the cross-border component should be limited to include cooperation on land borders and cross-border cooperation on both land or maritime borders should be integrated into the transnational, without prejudice to the new component for outermost regions cooperation. [Am. 5]

(5)  The cross-border cooperation component should also involve cooperation between one or more Member States or their regions, and one or more countries or regions, or other territories outside the Union. Covering internal and external cross-border cooperation under this Regulation should result in a major simplification and streamlining of applicable provisions for the programme authorities in the Member States and for the partner authorities and beneficiaries outside the Union compared to the programming period 2014-2020. [Am. 6]

(6)  The transnational cooperation and maritime cooperation component should aim to strengthen cooperation by means of actions conducive to integrated territorial development linked to the Union's cohesion policy priorities, and should also include maritime cross-border cooperation in full respect of subsidiarity. Transnational cooperation should cover larger transnational territories on the mainland of the Union, whereas maritime cooperation should cover and, where appropriate, territories around sea-basins and integrate that extend geographically beyond those covered by cross-border cooperation on maritime borders during the programming period 2014-2020. Maximum flexibility should be given to continue implementing previous maritime cross-border cooperation within a larger maritime cooperation framework, in particular by defining the territory covered, the specific objectives for such cooperation, the requirements for a project partnership and the setting-up of sub-programmes and specific steering committees programmes. [Am. 7]

(7)  Based on the experience with cross-border and transnational cooperation during the programming period 2014-2020 in outermost regions, where the combination of both components within a single programme per cooperation area has not brought about sufficient simplification for programme authorities and beneficiaries, a specific additional outermost regions’ component should be established in order to enable outermost regions to cooperate with their neighbouring third countries, overseas countries and territories (OCTs), or regional integration and cooperation organisations in the most effective and simple way that takes into account their individual characteristics. [Am. 8]

(8)  Based on the positive experience with the interregional cooperation programmes under Interreg, on the one hand, and the lack of such cooperation within programmes under the Investment for jobs and growth goal during the programming period 2014-2020, the on the other, interregional cooperation component should focus more specifically on boosting the effectiveness of cohesion policy. That component should therefore be limited to two programmes, one to enable all kind, through the exchange of experience, innovative approaches and capacity building the development of capacities for programmes under both goals and to promote (European territorial cooperation and Investment for growth and jobs) among cities and regions is an important component with a view to finding common solutions in the cohesion policy field and building lasting partnerships. Existing programmes and, in particular, promotion of project-based cooperation, including promoting European groupings of territorial cooperation ('EGTCs') set up or to be set up pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council(10) and one to improve the analysis of development trends. Project-based cooperation throughout the Union ), as well as macro-regional strategies should be integrated into the new component on interregional innovation investments and closely linked to the implementation of the Communication from the Commission 'Strengthening Innovation in Europe's Regions: Strategies for resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth'(11), in particular to support thematic smart specialisation platforms on fields such as energy, industrial modernisation or agrifood. Finally, integrated territorial development focusing on functional urban areas or urban areas should be concentrated within programmes under the Investment for jobs and growth goal and in one accompanying instrument, the ‘European Urban Initiative”. The two programmes under the interregional cooperation component should cover the whole Union and should also be open for the participation of third countries. therefore be continued. [Am. 9]

(8a)   The new initiative on interregional innovation investments should be based on smart specialisation, and used to support thematic smart specialisation platforms on fields such as energy, industrial modernisation, circular economy, social innovation, the environment or agrifood, and to help those involved in smart specialisation strategies to cluster together, in order to scale up innovation and bring innovative products, processes and ecosystems to the European market. The evidence suggests that a persistent systemic failure remains at the testing and validation stage of demonstration of new technologies (e.g. Key Enabling Techologies), especially when innovation is the result of the integration of complementary regional specialisations creating innovative value chains. That failure is particularly critical in the phase between piloting and full market uptake. In some strategic technology and industrial areas, SMEs cannot currently count on excellent and open, connected pan-European demonstration infrastructure. The programmes under the interregional cooperation initiative should cover the whole European Union and should also be open for the participation of OCTs, third countries, their regions, and regional integration and cooperation organisations, including the outermost neighbouring regions. Synergies between interregional innovation investments and other relevant EU programmes such as those under the European Structural and Investment Funds, Horizon 2020, Digital Market Europe and the single market programme should be encouraged, as they will amplify the impact of investments and provide better value for citizens. [Am. 10]

(9)  Common objective criteria for designating eligible regions and areas should be established. To that end, the identification of eligible regions and areas at Union level should be based on the common system of classification of the regions established by Regulation (EC) No 1059/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council(12). [Am. 11]

(10)  It is necessary to continue supporting or, as appropriate, to establish cooperation in all its dimensions with the Union's neighbouring third countries, as such cooperation is an important regional development policy tool and should benefit the regions of the Member States which border third countries. To that effect, the ERDF and the external financing instruments of the Union, IPA(13), NDICI(14) and OCTP(15), should support programmes under cross-border cooperation, transnational cooperation and maritime cooperation, outermost regions’ cooperation and interregional cooperation. The support from the ERDF and from the external financing instruments of the Union should be based on reciprocity and proportionality. However, for IPA III CBC and NDICI CBC, the ERDF support should be complemented by at least equivalent amounts under IPA III CBC and NDICI CBC, subject to a maximum amount set out in the respective legal act, that is to say, up to 3 % of the financial envelope under IPA III and up to 4 % of the financial envelope of the Neighbourhood geographic programme under Article 4(2)(a) of the NDICI. [Am. 12]

(10a)   Particular attention should be paid to regions which become new external borders of the Union to ensure the adequate continuity of ongoing cooperation programmes. [Am. 13]

(11)  IPA III assistance should mainly focus on assisting the IPA beneficiaries to strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law, reform the judiciary and public administration, respect fundamental rights and promote gender equality, tolerance, social inclusion and non-discrimination as well as regional and local development. IPA assistance should continue to support the efforts of the IPA beneficiaries to advance regional, macro-regional and cross-border cooperation as well as territorial development, including through the implementation of Union macro-regional strategies. In addition, IPA assistance should address security, migration and border management, ensuring access to international protection, sharing relevant information, enhancing border control and pursuing common efforts in the fight against irregular migration and migrant smuggling. [Am. 14]

(12)  With regard to NDICI assistance, the Union should develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation. This Regulation and the NDICI should therefore support the internal and external aspects of relevant macro-regional strategies. Those initiatives are strategically important and offer meaningful political frameworks for deepening relations with and among partner countries, based on the principles of mutual accountability, shared ownership and responsibility.

(12a)  Developing synergies with Union external action and development programmes should also help to ensure maximum impact whilst fulfilling the principle of policy coherence for development as provided for by Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Achieving coherence across all Union policies is crucial for achieving the SDGs. [Am. 15]

(13)  It is important to continue observing the role of the EEAS and the Commission in the preparation of the strategic programming and of Interreg programmes supported by the ERDF and the NDICI as established in Council decision 2010/427/EU(16).

(14)  In view of the specific situation of outmost regions of the Union, it is necessary to adopt measures concerning the improvement of conditions under which those regions may have access to structural funds. Consequently, certain provisions of this Regulation should be adapted to the specificities of the outermost regions in order to simplify and foster their cooperation with their neighbors third countries and OCTs, while taking into account the Communication from the Commission 'A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU's outermost regions'(17). [Am. 16]

(14a)  This Regulation lays down the possibility of the OCTs to participate in Interreg programmes. The specificities and challenges of the OCTs should be taken into consideration in order to facilitate their effective access and participation. [Am. 17]

(15)  It is necessary to set out the resources allocated to each of the different components of Interreg, including each Member State's share of the global amounts for the cross-border cooperation, the transnational cooperation and maritime cooperation, the outermost regions’ cooperation and the interregional cooperation, the potential available to Member States concerning flexibility between those components. Compared to the programming period 2014-2020, the share for cross-border Given globalisation, cooperation should be reduced, while the share for transnational cooperation and maritime cooperation aimed to boost investments in more jobs and growth and joint investments with other regions should be increased because of the integration of maritime cooperation, and a new outermost, however, also be determined by the regions’ cooperation component common characteristics and ambitions and not necessarily by borders, therefore sufficient additional funds for the new initiative on interregional innovation investments should be created made available to respond to the global market condition. [Am. 18]

(16)  For the most efficient use of the support from the ERDF and the external financing instruments of the Union, a mechanism should be set up to organise the return of such support in cases where external cooperation programmes cannot be adopted or have to be discontinued, including with third countries which do not receive support from any financing instrument of the Union. That mechanism should seek to achieve optimal functioning of the programmes and the maximum possible coordination between those instruments.

(17)  The ERDF should contribute, under Interreg, to the specific objectives under the cohesion policy objectives. However, the list of the specific objectives under the different thematic objectives should be adapted to the specific needs of Interreg, by providing for additional specific objectives under the policy objective 'a more social Europe by implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights' in order to allow for ESF-type interventions.

(18)  Within the context of the unique and specific circumstances on the island of Ireland, and with a view to supporting North-South cooperation under the Good Friday Agreement, a new 'PEACE PLUS' cross-border programme should continue is to continue and build on the work of previous programmes between the border counties of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Taking into account its practical importance, it is necessary to ensure that, where the programme is acting in support of peace and reconciliation, the ERDF should also contribute to promoting social, economic and regional stability and cooperation in the regions concerned, in particular through actions to promote cohesion between communities. Given the specificities of the programme it should be managed in an integrated manner with the United Kingdom contribution being integrated into the programme as external assigned revenue. Furthermore, certain rules on the selection of operations in this Regulation should not apply to that programme in relation to operations in support of peace and reconciliation. [Am. 19]

(19)  This Regulation should add two Interreg-specific objectives, one to support an Interreg-specific objective strengthening institutional capacity, enhancing legal and administrative cooperation, in particular where linked to implementation of the Border Regions Communication, intensify cooperation between citizens and institutions and the development and coordination of macro-regional and sea-basin strategies, and one to address specific external cooperation issues such as safety, security, border crossing management and migration.

(20)  The major part of the Union support should be concentrated on a limited number of policy objectives in order to maximise the impact of Interreg. Synergies and complementarities between the components of INTERREG should be strengthened.. [Am. 20]

(21)  Provisions on the preparation, approval and amendment of Interreg programmes as well as on territorial development, on the selection of operations, on monitoring and evaluation, on the programme authorities, on audit of operations, and on transparency and communication should be adapted to the specificities of Interreg programmes compared to the provisions set out in Regulation (EU) [new CPR]. These specific provisions should be kept simple and clear in order to avoid gold-plating and additional administrative burdens for Member States and beneficiaries. [Am. 21]

(22)  The provisions on the criteria for operations to be considered as genuinely joint and cooperative, on the partnership within an Interreg operation and on the obligations of the lead partner as set out during the programme period 2014-2020 should on be continued. However, Interreg partners should cooperate in all four dimensions (development, and implementation, as well as staffing and or financing), or both, and, under outermost regions’ cooperation, in three out of four, as it should be simpler to combine support from the ERDF and external financing instruments from the Union both on the level of programmes and operations. [Am. 22]

(22a)  Under cross-border cooperation programmes, people-to-people (P2P) and small-scale projects are an important and successful instrument for eliminating border and cross border obstacles, fostering contacts between people locally and, in so doing, bringing border regions and their citizens closer together. P2P projects and small-scale projects are carried out in many areas such as, inter alia, culture, sport, tourism, general education and vocational training, the economy, science, environmental protection and ecology, healthcare, transport and small-scale infrastructure projects, administrative cooperation and public-relations work. As also set forth in the opinion of the Committee of the Regions ‘People-to-people and small-scale projects in cross-border cooperation programmes’(18), P2P projects and small-scale projects have high European added value and make a considerable contribution towards realising the overall objective of cross-border cooperation programmes. [Am. 23]

(23)  It is necessary to clarify the rules governing small project funds which have been implemented Since Interreg has existed, but P2P projects and small-scale projects have been supported via small-project funds or similar instruments that have never been covered by specific provisions, making it necessary to clarify the rules governing those funds. In order to maintain the added value and advantages of P2P. As also set out in the Opinion of the Committee of the Regions ‘People-to-people and small-scale projects in cross-border cooperation programmes’(19), such small project funds play an important role in building up trust between citizens and institutions, offer great European added value and contribute considerably to the overall objective of cross-border cooperation programmes by overcoming border obstacles and integrating border areas and their citizens. In order to, also with regard to local and regional development, and to simplify the management of the financing of small projects by the final recipients, who are often not used to applying for Union funds, the use of simplified cost options and of lump sums should be made obligatory below a certain threshold. [Am. 24]

(24)  Due to the involvement of more than one Member State, and the resulting higher administrative costs, including for regional points of contact (or ‘antennae’), which are important points of contact for those proposing and implementing projects, and therefore function as a direct line to the joint secretariats or the relevant authorities, but in particular in respect of controls and translation, the ceiling for technical assistance expenditure should be higher than that under the Investment for jobs and growth goal. In order to offset the higher administrative costs, Member States should be encouraged to reduce the administrative burden with regard to the implementation of joint projects wherever possible. In addition, Interreg programmes with limited Union support or external cross-border cooperation programmes should receive a certain minimum amount for technical assistance to ensure sufficient funding for effective technical assistance activities. [Am. 25]

(25)  Pursuant to paragraph 22 and 23 of the Inter-institutional agreement for Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016, there is a need to evaluate the Funds on the basis of information collected through specific monitoring requirements, while avoiding overregulation and administrative burdens, in particular on Member States. These requirements, where appropriate, can include measurable indicators, as a basis for evaluating the effects of the Funds on the ground.

(25a)  In connection with reducing administrative burden, the Commission, Member States and regions should cooperate closely in order to be able to make use of the enhanced proportionate arrangements for the management and control system for an Interreg programme that are referred to in Article 77 of Regulation (EU) .../... [new CPR]. [Am. 26]

(26)  Based on experience during the programming period 2014-2020, the system introducing a clear hierarchy of rules on eligibility of expenditure should be continued while maintaining the principle of rules on eligibility of expenditure to be established at Union level or for Interreg programme as a whole to avoid any possible contradictions or inconsistencies between different Regulations and between Regulations and national rules. Additional rules adopted by one Member State which would only apply to the beneficiaries in that Member State should be limited to the strict minimum. In particular, provisions of the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 481/2014(20) adopted for the programming period 2014-2020 should be integrated into this Regulation.

(27)  Member States should be encouraged to assign, where appropriate, delegate the functions of the managing authority to an a new or, where applicable, an existing EGTC or to make such a grouping, like other cross-border legal bodies, responsible for managing a sub-programme, an integrated territorial investment or one or more small project funds, or to act as sole partner. Member States should enable regional and local authorities and other public bodies from different Member States to set up such cooperation groupings with a legal personality and should involve local and regional authorities in their functioning. [Am. 27]

(28)  In order to continue the payment chain established for the programming period 2014-2020, i.e. from the Commission to the lead partner via the certifying authority, that payment chain should be continued under the accounting function. The Union support should be paid to the lead partner, unless this would result in double fees for conversion into euro and back into another currency or vice versa between the lead partner and the other partners. If not otherwise specified, the lead partner should ensure that the other partners receive the total amount of the contribution from the respective Union fund in full and within the timeframe agreed by all partners and following the same procedure applied in respect of the lead partner. [Am. 28]

(29)  Pursuant to Article [63(9)] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus] sector-specific rules are to take account of the needs of European Territorial Cooperation (Interreg) programmes as regards, in particular the audit function. The provisions on the annual audit opinion, the annual control report and the audits of operations should therefore be simplified and adapted to those programmes involving more than one Member States State. [Am. 29]

(30)  A clear chain of financial liability in respect of recovery for irregularities should be established from sole or other partners via the lead partner and the managing authority to the Commission. Provision should be made for liability of Member States, third countries, partner countries or Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs), where obtaining recovery from the sole or other or lead partner is not successful, meaning that the Member State reimburses the managing authority. Consequently, under Interreg programmes there is no scope for irrecoverable amounts on the level of beneficiaries. It is necessary, however, necessary to clarify the rules, should a Member State, third country, partner country or OCT not reimburse the managing authority. The obligations of the lead partner for recovery should also be clarified. In particular Moreover, the procedures related to recoveries should be established and agreed by the monitoring committee. However, the managing authority should not be allowed to oblige the lead partner to launch a judicial procedure in a different country. [Am. 30]

(30a)   It is appropriate to encourage financial discipline. At the same time, arrangements for decommitment of budgetary commitments should take into account the complexity of Interreg programmes and their implementation. [Am. 31]

(31)  In order to apply a mostly common set of rules both in the participating Member States and third countries, partner countries or OCTs, this Regulation should also apply to the participation of third countries, partner countries or OCTs, unless specific rules are set out in a specific Chapter of this Regulation. Interreg programme authorities may be mirrored by comparable authorities in third countries, partner countries or OCTs. The starting point for the eligibility of expenditure should be linked to the signature of the financing agreement by the relevant third country, partner country or OCT. Procurement for beneficiaries in the third country, partner country or OCT should follow the rules for external procurement under Regulation (EU, Euratom) [new FR-Omnibus] of the European Parliament and the Council(21). The procedures for the conclusion of financing agreements with each of the third countries, partner countries or OCTs as well as of the agreements between the managing authority and each third country, partner country or OCT with regard to the support from an external financing instrument of the Union or in the case of transfer of an additional contribution from a third country, partner country or OCT to the Interreg programme other than national co-financing should be set out.

(32)  Although Interreg programmes with the participation of third countries, partner countries or OCTs should be implemented under shared management, outermost regions’ cooperation may be implemented under indirect management. Specific rules should be set out on how to implement those programmes as a whole or partially under indirect management. [Am. 32]

(33)  Based on the experience during the programming period 2014-2020 with large infrastructure projects within cross-border cooperation programmes under the European Neighbourhood Instrument, the procedures should be simplified. However, the Commission should retain certain rights concerning the selection of such projects.

(34)  Implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission to adopt and amend the lists of Interreg programmes, the list of the global amount from Union support for each Interreg programme and to adopt decisions approving Interreg programmes and amendments thereof. These implementing powers should be exercised in accordance with 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(22). Although these acts are of a general nature, the advisory procedure should be used given that they only implement the provisions in a technical way.

(35)  In order to ensure uniform conditions for the adoption or amendment of Interreg programmes, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. However, where applicable, external cross-border cooperation programmes should respect, where applicable, Committee procedures established under Regulations (EU) [IPA III] and [NDICI] with regard to the first approval decision of those programmes. [Am. 33]

(36)  In order to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of this Regulation, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the TFEU should be delegated to the Commission to amend the Annex on the template for Interreg programmes. 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. 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.

(36a)  The promotion of European Territorial Cooperation (ETC) is a major priority of Union cohesion policy. Support for SMEs for costs incurred in ETC projects is already block-exempted under the Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014(23) (General block exemption Regulation (GBER)). Special provisions in relation to regional aid for investments by undertakings of all sizes are also included in the Guidelines on regional State aid for 2014-2020(24) and in the regional aid section of the GBER. In the light of experience gained, aid for European Territorial Cooperation projects should only have limited effects on competition and trade between Member States, and thus the Commission should be able to declare that such aid is compatible with the internal market and that financing provided in support of ETC projects is able to be block-exempted. [Am. 34]

(37)  Since the objective of this Regulation, namely to foster cooperation between Member States and between Member States and third countries, partner countries or OCTs cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather, 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 that objective,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

CHAPTER I

General provisions

Section i

Subject matter, scope and Interreg components

Article 1

Subject matter and scope

1.  This Regulation lays down rules for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) with a view to fostering cooperation between Member States and their regions inside the Union and between Member States, their regions and adjacent third countries, partner countries, other territories or overseas countries and territories ('OCTs'), or regional integration and cooperation organisations, or group of third countries forming part of a regional organisation, respectively. [Am. 35]

2.  This Regulation also lays down the provisions necessary to ensure effective programming including on technical assistance, monitoring, evaluation, communication, eligibility, management and control, as well as financial management of programmes under the European territorial cooperation goal ('Interreg programmes') supported by the European Regional Development Fund ('ERDF').

3.  With regard to support from the 'Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance' ('IPA III'), the 'Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument' ('NDICI') and the funding for all the OCTs for the period 2021 to 2027 established as a Programme by Council Decision (EU)  XXX ('OCTP') to Interreg programmes (the three instruments together: 'the external financing instruments of the Union'), this Regulation defines additional specific objectives as well as the integration of those funds into Interreg programmes, the criteria for third countries, partner countries and OCTs and their regions to be eligible and certain specific implementation rules.

4.  With regard to support from the ERDF and the external financing instruments of the Union (jointly referred to as ‘the Interreg funds’) to Interreg programmes, this Regulation defines the Interreg-specific objectives as well as the organisation, the criteria for Member States, third countries, partner countries and OCTs and their regions to be eligible, the financial resources, and the criteria for their allocation.

5.  Regulation (EU) [new CPR] and Regulation (EU) [new ERDF] shall apply to Interreg programmes, except where specifically provided for otherwise under those Regulations and this Regulation or where provisions of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] can only apply to the Investment for jobs and growth goal.

Article 2

Definitions

1.  For the purpose of this Regulation, the definitions in Article [2] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] shall apply. The following definitions shall also apply:

(1)  'IPA beneficiary' means a country or territory listed in Annex I to Regulation (EU) [IPA III];

(2)  'third country' means a country which is not a Member State of the Union and does not receive support from the Interreg funds;

(3)  'partner country' means an IPA beneficiary or a country or territory covered by the 'Neighbourhood geographic area’ listed in Annex I to Regulation (EU) [NDICI] and the Russian Federation, and which receives support from the external financing instruments of the Union;

(4)  'cross-border legal body' means a legal body including a euroregion, established under the laws of one of the participating countries in an Interreg programme provided that it is set up by territorial authorities or other bodies from at least two participating countries. [Am. 36]

(4a)  ’regional integration and cooperation organisation’ means a group of Member States or regions in the same geographical area that aim to cooperate closely on issues of common interest. [Am. 37]

2.  For the purpose of this Regulation, where provisions of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] refer to a 'Member State', this shall be construed as meaning 'the Member State hosting the managing authority' and where provisions refer to 'Each Member State' or 'Member States', this shall be construed as meaning 'the Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries and OCTs participating in a given Interreg programme'.

For the purpose of this Regulation, where provisions of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] refer to 'the Funds' as listed in [point (a) of Article 1(1)] of that Regulation or to the 'ERDF', this shall be construed as also covering the respective external financing instrument of the Union.

Article 3

Components of the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg)

Under the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg), the ERDF and, where applicable, external financing instruments of the Union shall support the following components:

(1)  cross-border cooperation between adjacent regions to promote integrated and harmonious regional development (component 1): [Am. 38]

(a)  internal cross-border cooperation between adjacent land or maritime border regions of two or more Member States or between adjacent land or maritime border regions of at least one Member State and one or more third countries listed in Article 4(3); or [Am. 39]

(b)  external cross-border cooperation, between adjacent land or maritime border regions of at least one Member State and of one or more of the following: [Am. 40]

(i)  IPA beneficiaries; or

(ii)  partner countries supported by NDICI; or

(iii)  the Russian Federation, for the purpose of enabling its participation in cross-border cooperation also supported by NDICI;

(2)  transnational cooperation and maritime cooperation over larger transnational territories or around sea-basins, involving national, regional and local programme partners in Member States, third countries and partner countries and in Greenland OCTs, with a view to achieving a higher degree of territorial integration ('component 2'; where referring only to transnational cooperation: 'component 2A'; where referring only to maritime cooperation: 'component 2B'); [Am. 41]

(3)  outermost regions' cooperation among themselves and with their neighbouring third or partner countries or OCTs, or regional integration and cooperation organisations, or several thereof, to facilitate their regional integration and harmonious development in their neighbourhood ('component 3'); [Am. 42]

(4)  interregional cooperation to reinforce the effectiveness of cohesion policy ('component 4') by promoting:

(a)  exchange of experiences, innovative approaches and capacity building in relation to:

(i)  the implementation of Interreg programmes;

(ia)  the implementation of common interregional development projects; [Am. 43]

(ib)  the development of capacities between partners throughout the Union in connection with: [Am. 44]

(ii)  the implementation of Investment for jobs and growth goal programmes, in particular with regard to interregional and transnational actions with beneficiaries located in at least one other Member State;

(iia)  the identification and dissemination of good practices with a view to their transfer principally to operational programmes under the Investment for growth and jobs goal; [Am. 45]

(iib)  the exchange of experiences concerning the identification, transfer and dissemination of best practice on sustainable urban development, including linkages between urban and rural areas; [Am. 46]

(iii)  the setting-up, functioning and use of European groupings of territorial cooperation (EGTCs);

(iiia)  the setting-up, functioning and use of the European Cross-Border Mechanism as referred to in Regulation (EU) .../... [new European Cross-Border Mechanism]; [Am. 47]

(b)  analysis of development trends in relation to the aims of territorial cohesion;

(5)  interregional innovation investments through the commercialisation and scaling up of interregional innovation projects having the potential to encourage the development of European value chains ('component 5'). [Am. 48]

Section ii

Geographical coverage

Article 4

Geographical coverage for cross-border cooperation

1.  For cross-border cooperation, the regions to be supported by the ERDF shall be the NUTS level 3 regions of the Union along all internal and external land or maritime borders with third countries or partner countries, without prejudice to potential adjustments to ensure the coherence and continuity of cooperation programme areas established for the 2014-2020 programming planning period. [Am. 49]

2.  Regions on maritime borders which are connected over the sea by a fixed link shall also be supported under cross-border cooperation. [Am. 50]

3.  Internal cross-border cooperation Interreg programmes may cover regions in Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom which are equivalent to NUTS level 3 regions as well as Liechtenstein, Andorra, and Monaco and San Marino. [Am. 51]

4.  For external cross-border cooperation, the regions to be supported by IPA III or NDICI shall be NUTS level 3 regions of the respective partner country or, in the absence of NUTS classification, equivalent areas along all land or maritime borders between Member States and partner countries eligible under IPA III or NDICI. [Am. 52]

Article 5

Geographical coverage for transnational cooperation and maritime cooperation [Am. 53]

1.  For transnational cooperation and maritime cooperation, the regions to be supported by the ERDF shall be the NUTS level 2 regions of the Union covering contiguous functional areas, without prejudice to potential adjustments to ensure the coherence and continuity of such cooperation in larger coherent areas based on the 2014-2020 programming planning period and taking into account, where applicable, macro-regional strategies or sea basin strategies. [Am. 54]

2.  Transnational cooperation and maritime cooperation Interreg programmes may cover: [Am. 55]

(a)  regions in Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom as well as Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino;

(b)  Greenland OCTs benefit from the support provided by the OCT programme; [Am. 56]

(c)  the Faroe Islands;

(d)  regions of partner countries under IPA III or NDICI;

whether or not they are supported from the EU budget.

3.  The regions, third countries or partner countries, or OCTs listed in paragraph 2 shall be NUTS level 2 regions or, in the absence of NUTS classification, equivalent areas. [Am. 57]

Article 6

Geographical coverage for outermost regions' cooperation

1.  For the outermost regions' cooperation, all regions listed in the first paragraph of Article 349 of the TFEU shall be supported by the ERDF.

2.  The outermost regions' Interreg programmes may cover neighbouring partner countries supported by the NDICI or OCTs supported by the OCTP, regional cooperation organisations, or a combination of two or all three of these both. [Am. 58]

Article 7

Geographical coverage for interregional cooperation and interregional innovation investments [Am. 59]

1.  For any component 4 Interreg programme or for interregional innovation investments under component 5, the entire territory of the Union shall be supported by the ERDF including the outermost regions. [Am. 60]

2.  Component 4 Interreg programmes may cover the whole or part of the third countries, partner countries, other territories or OCTs referred to in Articles 4, 5 and 6, whether or not they are supported by the external financing instruments of the Union. Third countries may participate in those programmes, provided that they make a funding contribution in the form of externally allocated revenue. [Am. 61]

Article 8

List of Interreg programme areas to receive support

1.  For the purposes of Articles 4, 5 and 6, the Commission shall adopt an implementing act setting out the list of Interreg programme areas to receive support, broken down for each component and each Interreg programme. That implementing act shall be adopted in accordance with the advisory procedure referred to in Article 63(2).

External cross-border Interreg programmes shall be listed as 'Interreg IPA III CBC programmes' or 'Interreg Neighbourhood CBC programmes' respectively.

2.  The implementing act referred to in paragraph 1 shall also contain a list specifying those NUTS level 3 regions of the Union taken into account for the ERDF allocation for cross-border cooperation at all internal borders and those external borders covered by the external financing instruments of the Union as well as a list specifying those NUTS level 3 regions taken into account for allocation purposes under component 2B referred to in point (a) of Article 9(3). [Am. 62]

3.  Regions of third or partner countries or territories outside the Union which do not receive supported support from the ERDF or an external financing instrument of the Union shall also be mentioned in the list referred to in paragraph 1. [Am. 63]

Section iii

Resources and co-financing rates

Article 9

ERDF resources for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg)

1.  The ERDF resources for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) shall amount to EUR 8 430 000 000 of 11 165 910 000 (2018 prices) of out the global resources available for budgetary commitment from the ERDF, ESF+ and the Cohesion Fund for the 2021 the 2021-2027 programming period and set out in Article [102(1)103(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR]. [Am. 64]

2.  EUR 10 195 910 000 (91,31 %) of the resources referred to in paragraph 1 shall be allocated as follows: [Am. 65]

(a)  52.7 % (i.e., a total of EUR 4 440 000 000 EUR 7 500 000 000 (67,16 %) for cross-border cooperation (component 1); [Am. 66]

(b)  31.4 % (i.e., a total of EUR 2 649 900 000 EUR 1 973 600 880 (17,68 %) for transnational cooperation and maritime cooperation (component 2); [Am. 67]

(c)  3.2 % (i.e., a total of EUR 270 100 000 EUR 357 309 120 (3,2 %) for outermost regions' cooperation (component 3); [Am. 68]

(d)  1.2 % (i.e., a total of EUR 100 000 000 EUyR 365 000 000 (3,27 %) for interregional cooperation (component 4); [Am. 69]

(e)  11.5 % (i.e., a total of EUR 970 000 000) for interregional innovation investments (component 5). [Am. 70]

3.  The Commission shall communicate to each Member State its share of the global amounts for components 1, 2 and 3, broken down by year.

Population size in the following regions shall be used as the criterion for the breakdown by Member State:

(a)  NUTS level 3 regions for component 1 and those NUTS level 3 regions for component 2B listed in the implementing act under Article 8(2); [Am. 71]

(b)  NUTS level 2 regions for components 2A and 3 component 2. [Am. 72]

(ba)  NUTS level 2 and 3 regions for component 3. [Am. 73]

4.  Each Member State may transfer up to 15% of its financial allocation for each of components 1, 2 and 3 from one of those components to one or more of the others.

5.  Based on the amounts communicated pursuant to paragraph 3, each Member State shall inform the Commission whether and how it has used the transfer option provided for in paragraph 4 and the resulting distribution of its share among the Interreg programmes in which the Member State participates.

5a.  EUR 970 000 000 (8,69 %) of the resources referred to in paragraph 1 shall be allocated to the new initiative on interregional innovation investments as referred to in Article 15 a (new).

If by 31 December 2026, the Commission has not committed all of the available resources referred to in paragraph 1 on projects selected under that initiative, the remaining uncommitted balances shall be re-allocated prorata among components 1 to 4. [Am. 74]

Article 10

Cross-fund provisions

1.  The Commission shall adopt an implementing act setting out the multi-annual strategy document with regard to external cross-border Interreg programmes supported by the ERDF and the NDICI or IPA III. That implementing act shall be adopted in accordance with the advisory procedure referred to in Article 63(2).

With regard to Interreg programmes supported by the ERDF and the NDICI, that implementing act shall set out the elements referred to in Article 12(2) of Regulation (EU) [NDICI].

2.  The contribution from the ERDF to external cross-border Interreg programmes to be also supported from the financial envelope under IPA III allocated to cross-border cooperation ('IPA III CBC') or from the financial envelope under NDICI allocated to cross-border cooperation for the Neighbourhood geographic area ('NDICI CBC') shall be established by the Commission and the Member States concerned. The ERDF contribution established for each Member State shall not subsequently be reallocated between the Member States concerned.

3.  Support from the ERDF shall be granted to individual external cross-border Interreg programmes provided that at least equivalent amounts are provided by IPA III CBC and NDICI CBC under the relevant strategic programming document. That equivalence contribution shall be subject to a maximum amount set out in the IPA III or NDICI legislative act. [Am. 75]

However, where the review of the relevant strategic programming document under IPA III or NDICI results in the reduction of the matching amount for the remaining years, each Member State concerned shall choose from the following options:

(a)  to request the mechanism under Article 12(3);

(b)  to continue the Interreg programme with the remaining support from the ERDF and IPA III CBC or NDICI CBC; or

(c)  to combine options (a) and (b).

4.  The annual appropriations corresponding to the support from the ERDF, IPA III CBC or NDICI CBC to external cross-border Interreg programmes shall be entered in the relevant budget lines for the 2021 budgetary exercise.

5.  Where the Commission has included a specific financial allocation to assist partner countries or regions under Regulation (EU) [NDICI] and OCTs under Council Decision [OCT Decision] or both in strengthening their cooperation with neighbouring Union outermost regions in accordance with Article [33(2)] of Regulation (EU) [NDICI] or Article[ 87] of the [OCTP Decision] or both, the ERDF may also contribute in accordance with this Regulation, where appropriate and on the basis of reciprocity and proportionality as regards the level of funding from the NDICI or the OCTP or both, to actions implemented by a partner country or region or any other entity under Regulation (EU) [NDICI], by a country, territory or any other entity under the [OCT Decision] or by a Union outermost region under, in particular, one or more joint component 2, 3 or 4 Interreg programmes or under cooperation measures referred to in Article 60 established and implemented pursuant to this Regulation.

Article 11

List of Interreg programme resources

1.  On the basis of the information provided by Member States pursuant to Article 9(5), the Commission shall, adopt an implementing act setting out a list of all Interreg programmes and indicating per programme the global amount of the total support from the ERDF and, where applicable, the total support from external financing instruments of the Union. That implementing act shall be adopted in accordance with the advisory procedure referred to in Article 63(2).

2.  That implementing act shall also contain a list of the amounts transferred pursuant to Article 9(5) broken down by Member State and by external financing instrument of the Union.

Article 12

Return of resources and discontinuation

1.  In 2022 and 2023, the annual contribution from the ERDF to external cross-border Interreg programmes, for which no programme has been submitted to the Commission by 31 March of the respective years, and which has not been re-allocated to another programme submitted under the same category of external cross-border Interreg programmes, shall be allocated to the internal cross-border Interreg programmes in which the Member State or Member States concerned participates or participate.

2.  If by 31 March 2024, there are still external cross-border Interreg programmes which have not been submitted to the Commission, the entire contribution from the ERDF referred to in Article 9(5) to those programmes for the remaining years up to 2027, which has not been re-allocated to another external cross-border Interreg programme also supported by IPA III CBC or NDICI CBC respectively, shall be allocated to the internal cross-border Interreg programmes in which the Member State or Member States concerned participates or participate.

3.  Any external cross-border Interreg programme already approved by the Commission shall be discontinued, or the allocation to that programme shall be reduced, in accordance with the applicable rules and procedures, in particular if:

(a)  none of the partner countries covered by the respective Interreg programme has signed the relevant financing agreement by the deadlines set out in accordance with Article 57;

(b)  In duly justified cases, where the Interreg programme cannot be implemented as planned due to problems in relations between the participating countries. [Am. 76]

In such cases, the contribution from the ERDF referred to in paragraph 1 corresponding to annual instalments not yet committed, or annual instalments committed and de-committed totally or partially during the same budgetary year, which have not been re-allocated to another external cross-border Interreg programme also supported by IPA III CBC or NDICI CBC respectively, shall be allocated to the internal cross-border Interreg programmes in which the Member State or Member States concerned participates or participate.

4.  With regard to a component 2 Interreg programme already approved by the Commission, the participation of a partner country or of Greenland an OCT shall be discontinued, if one of the situations set out in points (a) and (b) of the first subparagraph of paragraph 3 is fulfilled. [Am. 77]

The participating Member States and, where applicable, the remaining participating partner countries, shall request one of the following:

(a)  that the Interreg programme be discontinued in total, in particular where the main joint development challenges thereof cannot be achieved without the participation of that partner country or of Greenland OCT; [Am. 78]

(b)  that the allocation to that Interreg programme be reduced, in accordance with the applicable rules and procedures;

(c)  that the Interreg programme continue without the participation of that partner country or of Greenlandan OCT. [Am. 79]

Where the allocation to the Interreg programme is reduced pursuant to point (b) of the second subparagraph of this paragraph, the contribution from the ERDF corresponding to annual instalments not yet committed, shall be allocated to another component 2 Interreg programme in which one or more of the Member States concerned participate or, where a Member State only participates in one component 2 Interreg programme, to one or more internal cross-border Interreg programmes in which that Member State participates.

5.  The contribution from IPA III, NDICI or OCTP reduced pursuant to this Article shall be used in accordance with Regulations (EU) [IPA III], [NDICI] or Council Decision [OCT] respectively.

6.  Where a third country, or partner country or OCTs contributing to an Interreg programme with national resources, which do not constitute the national cofinancing of support from the ERDF or from an external financing instrument of the Union, reduces that contribution during the implementation of the Interreg programme, either globally or with regard to joint operations already selected and having received the document provided for in Article 22(6), the participating Member State or Member States shall request one of the options set out in the second subparagraph of paragraph 4 of this Article. [Am. 80]

Article 13

Co-financing rates

The co-financing rate at the level of each Interreg programme shall be not higher than 70 80 %, unless, with regard to external cross-border or component 3 Interreg programmes, a higher percentage is fixed in Regulations (EU) [IPA III], [NDICI] or Council Decision (EU) [OCTP] respectively or in any act adopted thereunder. [Am. 81]

CHAPTER II

Interreg-specific objectives and thematic concentration

Article 14

Interreg-specific objectives

1.  The ERDF, within its scope as set out in Article [4] of Regulation (EU) [new ERDF], and, where applicable, the external financing instruments of the Union shall contribute to the policy objectives set out in Article [4(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] through joint actions under Interreg programmes.

2.  In the case of the PEACE PLUS programme, where it is acting in support of peace and reconciliation, the ERDF, as a specific objective under policy objective 4, shall also contribute to promoting social, economic and regional stability in the regions concerned, in particular through actions to promote cohesion between communities. A separate priority shall support that specific objective.

3.  In addition to the specific objectives for the ERDF as set out in Article [2] of Regulation (EU) [new ERDF], the ERDF and, where applicable, the external financing instruments of the Union may shall also contribute to the specific objectives under PO 4 as follows: [Am. 82]

(a)  enhancing the effectiveness of labour markets and improving access to quality employment across borders;

(b)  improving access to and the quality of education, training and lifelong learning across borders with a view to increasing the educational attainment and skills levels thereof as to be recognised across borders;

(c)  enhancing the equal and timely access to quality, sustainable and affordable healthcare services across borders;

(d)  improving accessibility, effectiveness and resilience of healthcare systems and long-term care services across borders;

(e)  promoting social inclusion and tackling poverty, including by enhancing equal opportunities and combating discrimination across borders.

4.  Under components 1, 2, and 3, the ERDF and, where applicable, the external financing instruments of the Union may also support the Interreg-specific objective 'a better Interreg governance', in particular by the following actions:

(a)  under component 1 and 2B 2 Interreg programmes: [Am. 83]

(i)  enhance the institutional capacity of public authorities, in particular those mandated to manage a specific territory, and of stakeholders;

(ii)  enhance efficient public administration by promoting legal and administrative cooperation and cooperation between citizens, including people-to-people projects, civil society actors and institutions, in particular, with a view to resolving legal and other obstacles in border regions; [Am. 84]

(b)  under component 1, 2 and 3 Interreg programmes: enhance institutional capacity of public authorities and stakeholders to implement macro-regional strategies and sea-basin strategies;

(c)  under external cross-border and component 2 and 3 Interreg programmes supported by the Interreg funds, in addition to points (a) and (b): building up mutual trust, in particular by encouraging people-to-people actions, by enhancing sustainable democracy and by supporting civil society actors and their role in reforming processes and democratic transitions;

5.  Under external cross-border and component 1, 2 and 3 Interreg programmes the ERDF and, where applicable, the external financing instruments of the Union shall may also contribute to the external Interreg-specific objective 'a safer and more secure Europe', in particular by actions in the fields of border crossing management and mobility and migration management, including the protection, economic and social integration of migrants and refugees under international protection. [Am. 85]

Article 15

Thematic concentration

1.  At least 60% of the ERDF and, where applicable, of the external financing instruments of the Union allocated under priorities other than for technical assistance to each Interreg programme under components 1, 2 and 3, shall be allocated on a maximum of three of the policy objectives set out in Article [4(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR].

2.  An additional 15% of the ERDF and, where applicable, of the external financing instruments of the Union allocations under priorities other than for technical assistance to each Interreg programme under components 1, 2 and 3, up to15 % shall be allocated on the Interreg-specific objective of 'a better Interreg governance' or and up to 10 % may be allocated on the external Interreg-specific objective of 'a safer and more secure Europe'. [Am. 86]

3.  Where a component 2A 1 or 2 Interreg programme supports a macro-regional strategy, or a sea-basin strategy, at least 80 % the total ERDF and, where applicable, part of the total external financing instruments of the Union allocations under priorities other than for technical assistance shall be programmed on contribute to the objectives of that strategy. [Am. 87]

4.  Where a component 2B Interreg programme supports a macro-regional strategy or sea-basin strategy, at least 70% of the total ERDF and, where applicable, of the external financing instruments of the Union allocations under priorities other than for technical assistance shall be allocated on the objectives of that strategy. [Am. 88]

5.  For component 4 Interreg programmes, the total ERDF and, where applicable, of the external financing instruments of the Union allocations under priorities other than for technical assistance shall be allocated on the Interreg-specific objective 'a better Interreg governance'.

Article 15 a

Interregional innovation investments

1.  The resources referred to in Article 9 (5 a) (new) shall be allocated to a new initiative on interregional innovation investments that is earmarked for:

(a)  the commercialisation and scaling up of common innovation projects that are likely to encourage the development of European value chains;

(b)  the bringing together of researchers, businesses, civil society organisations, and public administrations involved in smart specialisation and social innovation strategies at national or regional level;

(c)  pilot projects aimed at identifying or testing new development solutions at regional and local level which are based on smart specialisation strategies; or

(d)  sharing innovation experiences with the aim of benefiting from the experience gained in regional or local development.

2.  To maintain the European territorial cohesion principle, with an approximate equal share of financial resources, those investments shall focus on creating linkages between less developed regions with those in lead regions by increasing the capacity of regional innovation eco-systems in less developed regions to integrate in and move up the existing or emerging EU value as well as the capacity to participate in partnerships with other regions.

3.  The Commission shall implement those investments under direct or indirect management. It shall be supported by an expert group in defining a long-term work programme and related calls.

4.  The entire territory of the Union shall be supported by the ERDF for interregional innovation investments. Third countries may participate in those investments, provided that they make a funding contribution in the form of externally allocated revenue. [Am. 89]

CHAPTER III

Programming

Section i

Preparation, approval and amendment of Interreg programmes

Article 16

Preparation and submission of Interreg programmes

1.  The European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) shall be implemented through Interreg programmes under shared management with the exception of component 3, which may be implemented as a whole or partially under indirect management, and of component 5 which shall be implemented under direct or indirect management after consulting stakeholders. [Am. 90]

2.  The participating Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries, or OCTs, or regional integration and cooperation organisations shall prepare an Interreg programme in accordance with the template set out in the Annex for the period from 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2027. [Am. 91]

3.  The participating Member States shall prepare an Interreg programme in cooperation with the programme partners referred to in Article [6] of Regulation (EU) [the new CPR]. In the preparation of the Interreg programmes, covering macro-regional or sea basin strategies, the Member States and the programme partners should take into account the thematic priorities of the relevant macro-regional and sea basins strategies and consult the relevant actors. An ex ante mechanism shall be set up by the Member States and the programme partners to ensure that all actors at macro-region and sea basin level, ETC programme authorities, regions and countries are brought together at the start of the programming period to decide jointly on the priorities for each programme. Those priorities shall be aligned with macro-regional or sea basin strategies’ Action Plans wherever relevant. [Am. 92]

The participating third countries or partner countries or OCTs, where applicable, shall also involve the programme partners equivalent to those referred to in that Article.

4.  The Member State hosting the prospective managing authority, shall submit an one or more Interreg programme programmes to the Commission by [date of entry into force plus nine months twelve months;] on behalf of all participating Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries or OCTs, OCTs, or regional integration and cooperation organisations. [Am. 93]

However, an Interreg programme covering support from an external financing instrument of the Union shall be submitted by the Member State hosting the prospective managing authority no later than six twelve months after the adoption by the Commission of the relevant strategic programming document under Article 10(1) or where required under the respective basic act of one or more of an external financing instrument of the Union. [Am. 94]

5.  The participating Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries or OCTs shall confirm in writing their agreement to the contents of an Interreg programme prior to its submission to the Commission. That agreement shall also include a commitment by all participating Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries or OCTs to provide the co-financing necessary to implement the Interreg programme and, where applicable, the commitment for the financial contribution of the third countries, partner countries or OCTs.

By way of derogation from the first subparagraph, in the case of Interreg programmes involving outermost regions and third countries, partner countries or OCTs, the Member States concerned shall consult the respective third countries, partner countries or OCTs before submitting the Interreg programmes to the Commission. In that case, the agreements to the contents of the Interreg programmes and the possible contribution of the third countries, partner countries or OCTs may, instead, be expressed in the formally approved minutes of the consultation meetings with the third countries, partner countries or OCTs or of the deliberations of the regional cooperation organisations.

6.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 62 to amend the Annex in order to adapt to changes occurring during the programming period for non-essential elements thereof.

Article 17

Content of Interreg programmes

1.  Each Interreg programme shall set out a joint strategy for the programme's contribution to the policy objectives set out in Article [4(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] and to the Interreg-specific objectives set out in Article 14(4) and (5) of this Regulation and the communication of its results.

2.  Each Interreg programme shall consist of priorities.

Each priority shall correspond to a single policy objective or, where applicable, to one or both Interreg-specific objectives respectively or to technical assistance. A priority corresponding to a policy objective or, where applicable, to one or both Interreg-specific objectives respectively shall consist of one or more specific objectives. More than one priority may correspond to the same policy or Interreg-specific objective.

3.  In duly justified cases and in agreement with the Commission, in order to increase the efficiency of programme implementation and to achieve larger-scale operations, the Member State concerned may decide to transfer to Interreg programmes up to [x] 20 % of the amount of the ERDF allocated to the corresponding programme under the Investment for jobs and growth goal for the same region. Each Member State shall inform the Commission in advance that it intends to make use of the transfer option, and shall give the Commission reasons for its decision. The amount transferred shall constitute a separate priority or separate priorities. [Am. 95]

4.  Each Interreg programme shall set out:

(a)  the programme area (including a map thereof as a separate document);

(b)  a summary of the main joint challenges, particularly taking into account: [Am. 96]

(i)  economic, social and territorial disparities;

(ii)  joint investment needs and complementarity with other forms of support and potential synergies to be achieved; [Am. 97]

(iii)  lessons learnt from past experience and how they have been taken into account into the programme; [Am. 98]

(iv)  macro-regional strategies and sea-basin strategies where the programme area as a whole or partially is covered by one or more strategies;

(c)  a justification for the selected policy objectives and Interreg-specific objectives, corresponding priorities, specific objectives and the forms of support, and addressing, where appropriate, missing links in cross-border infrastructure; [Am. 99]

(d)  for each priority, except for technical assistance, specific objectives;

(e)  for each specific objective:

(i)  the related types of actions, including a list of planned operations of strategic importance, and their expected contribution to those specific objectives and to macro-regional strategies and sea-basin strategies, where appropriate, respectively the set of criteria and the corresponding transparent selection criteria for such operation; [Am. 100]

(ii)  output indicators and result indicators with the corresponding milestones and targets;

(iii)  the main target groups; [Am. 101]

(iv)  specific territories targeted, including the planned use of integrated territorial investments, community-led local development or other territorial tools;

(v)  the planned use of financial instruments; [Am. 102]

(vi)  an indicative breakdown of the programmed resources by type of intervention.

(f)  for the technical assistance priority, the planned use in accordance with Articles [30], [31] and [32] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] and relevant types of intervention;

(g)  a financing plan containing the following tables (without any division per participating Member State, third country, partner country or OCT, unless specified otherwise therein):

(i)  a table specifying the total financial allocation for the ERDF and, where relevant, for each external financing instrument of the Union for the whole programming period and by year;

(ii)  a table specifying the total financial allocation for each priority by the ERDF and, where relevant, by each external financing instrument of the Union by priority and the national co-financing and whether the national co-financing is made up of public and private co-financing;

(h)  the actions taken to involve the relevant programme partners referred to in Article [6] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] in the preparation of the Interreg programme, and the role of those programme partners in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of that programme;

(i)  the envisaged approach to communication and visibility for the Interreg programme through defining its objectives, target audiences, communication channels, social media outreach, planned budget and relevant indicators for monitoring and evaluation.

5.  The information referred to in paragraph 4 shall be given as follows:

(a)  with regard to the tables referred to in point (g) and as concerns the support from external financing instruments of the Union, those funds shall be set out as follows:

(i)  for external cross-border Interreg programmes supported by IPA III and NDICI as a single amount ('IPA III CBC' or 'Neighbourhood CBC' combining the contribution from [Heading 2 Cohesion and Values, sub-ceiling Economic, social and territorial cohesion] and [Heading 6 Neighbourhood and the World];

(ii)  for component 2 and 4 Interreg programmes supported by IPA III, NDICI or the OCTP as a single amount ('Interreg funds') combining the contribution from [Heading 2] and [Heading 6] or split per financing instrument 'ERDF', 'IPA III', 'NDICI' and 'OCTP', pursuant to the choice of the programme partners;

(iii)  for component 2 Interreg programmes supported by OCTP concerning split per financing instrument ('ERDF' and 'OCTP Greenland'); [Am. 103]

(iv)  for component 3 Interreg programmes supported by the NDICI and by the OCTP split per financing instrument ('ERDF', 'NDICI' and 'OCTP', as appropriate).

(b)  with regard to the table referred to in point (g)(ii) of paragraph 4, it shall include the amounts for the years 2021 to 2025 only. [Am. 104]

6.  With regard to point (e)(vi) and (f) of paragraph 4, the types of intervention shall be based on a nomenclature set out in Annex [I] to Regulation (EU) [new CPR].

7.  The Interreg programme shall:

(a)  identify the managing authority, the audit authority and the body to which payments are to be made by the Commission;

(b)  lay down the procedure for setting up the joint secretariat and, where applicable, supporting management structures in the Member States or third countries; [Am. 105]

(c)  set out the apportionment of liabilities among the participating Member States and, where applicable, third or partner countries or OCTs, in the event of financial corrections imposed by the managing authority or the Commission.

8.  The managing authority shall communicate to the Commission any changes in the information referred to in point (a) of paragraph 7 without requiring a programme amendment.

9.  By way of derogation from paragraph 4, the content of component 4 Interreg programmes shall be adapted to the specific character of those Interreg programmes, in particular as follows:

(a)  the information referred to in point (a) is not required;

(b)  the information required under points (b) and (h) shall be given as a short outline;

(c)  for each specific objective under any priority other than technical assistance, the following information shall be given:

(i)  the definition of a single beneficiary or a limited list of beneficiaries and the granting procedure;

(ii)  the related types of actions and their expected contribution to the specific objectives;

(iii)  output indicators and result indicators with the corresponding milestones and targets;

(iv)  the main target groups;

(v)  an indicative breakdown of the programmed resources by type of intervention.

Article 18

Approval of Interreg programmes

1.  The Commission shall assess with full transparency each Interreg programme and its compliance with Regulation (EU) [new CPR], Regulation (EU) [new ERDF] and this Regulation and, in the case of support from an external financing instrument of the Union and where relevant, its consistency with the multi-annual strategy document under Article 10(1) of this Regulation or the relevant strategic programming framework under the respective basic act of one or more of those instruments. [Am. 106]

2.  The Commission may make observations within three months of the date of submission of the Interreg programme by the Member State hosting the prospective managing authority.

3.  The participating Member States and, where applicable, third or partner countries or OCTs , OCTs, or regional integration and cooperation organisations shall review the Interreg programme taking into account the observations made by the Commission. [Am. 107]

4.  The Commission shall adopt a decision by means of an implementing act approving each Interreg programme no later than six three months after the date of submission of the revised version of that programme by the Member State hosting the prospective managing authority. [Am. 108]

5.  With regard to external cross-border Interreg programmes, the Commission shall adopt its decisions in accordance with paragraph 4 after consultation of the 'IPA III Committee' in accordance with Article [16] of Regulation (EU) [IPA III] and of the 'Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Committee' in accordance with Article [36] of Regulation (EU) [NDICI].

Article 19

Amendment of Interreg programmes

1.  Following consultation with the local and regional authorities and in compliance with Article 6 of Regulation (EU).../... [new CPR], the Member State hosting the managing authority may submit a motivated request for an amendment of an Interreg programme together with the amended programme, setting out the expected impact of that amendment on the achievement of the objectives. [Am. 109]

2.  The Commission shall assess the compliance of the amendment with Regulation (EU) [new CPR], Regulation (EU) [new ERDF] and this Regulation and may make observations within three months one month of the submission of the amended programme. [Am. 110]

3.  The participating Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries or OCTs, OCTs, or regional integration and cooperation organisations shall review the amended programme and take into account the observations made by the Commission. [Am. 111]

4.  The Commission shall approve the amendment of a Interreg programme no later than six three months after its submission by the Member State. [Am. 112]

5.  Following consultation with the local and regional authorities and in compliance with Article 6 of Regulation (EU).../... [new CPR], the Member State may transfer during the programming period an amount of up to 5% 10 % of the initial allocation of a priority a priority and no more than 3% 5 % of the programme budget to another priority of the same Interreg programme. [Am. 113]

Such transfers shall not affect previous years.

They shall be considered to be not substantial and shall not require a decision of the Commission amending the Interreg programme. They shall, however comply with all regulatory requirements. The managing authority shall submit to the Commission the revised table referred to in point (g)(ii) of Article 17(4).

6.  The approval of the Commission shall not be required for corrections of a purely clerical or editorial nature that do not affect the implementation of the Interreg programme. The managing authority shall inform the Commission of such corrections.

Section ii

Territorial development

Article 20

Integrated territorial development

For Interreg programmes, the relevant urban, local or other territorial authorities or bodies responsible for drawing up territorial or local development strategies as listed in Article [22] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] or responsible for the selection of operations to be supported under those strategies as referred to in Article [23(4)] of that Regulation or for both shall be either cross-border legal bodies or EGTCs.

A cross-border legal body or an EGTC implementing an integrated territorial investment under Article [24] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] or another territorial tool under point (c) of Article [22] of that Regulation may also be the sole beneficiary pursuant to Article 23(5) of this Regulation, provided that there is a separation of function inside the cross-border legal body or the EGTC.

Article 21

Community-led local development

Community-led local development ('CLLD') under point (b) of Article [22] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] may be implemented in Interreg programmes, provided that the relevant local action groups are composed of representatives of public and private local socio-economic interests, in which no single interest group controls the decision-making, and of at least two participating countries, of which at least one is a Member State.

Section iii

Operations and small project funds

Article 22

Selection of Interreg operations

1.  Interreg operations shall be selected in accordance with the programme's strategy and objectives by a monitoring committee set up in accordance with Article 27.

That monitoring committee may set up one or, in particular in the case of sub-programmes, more steering committees which act under its responsibility for the selection of operations. Steering committees shall apply the partnership principle as set out in Article 6 of Regulation (EU).../... [new CPR] and shall involve partners from all participating Member States. [Am. 114]

Where all or part of an operation is implemented outside the programme area [inside or outside the Union], the selection of that operation shall require the explicit approval by the managing authority in the monitoring committee or, where applicable, the steering committee.

2.  For the selection of operations, the monitoring committee or, where applicable, the steering committee shall establish and apply criteria and procedures which are non-discriminatory and transparent, ensure gender equality and take account of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the principle of sustainable development and of the Union policy on the environment in accordance with Article 11 and Article 191(1) of the TFEU.

The criteria and procedures shall ensure the prioritisation of operations to be selected with a view to maximise the contribution of Union funding to the achievement of the objectives of the Interreg programme and to implementing the cooperation dimension of operations under Interreg programmes, as set out in Article 23(1) and (4).

3.  The managing authority shall consult notify the Commission and take its comments into account prior to the initial submission of the selection criteria to the monitoring committee or, where applicable, the steering committee. The same shall apply for any subsequent changes to those criteria. [Am. 115]

4.  In selecting operations, Before the monitoring committee or, where applicable, the steering committee selects operations, the managing authority shall: [Am. 116]

(a)  ensure that selected operations comply with the Interreg programme and provide an effective contribution to the achievement of its specific objectives;

(b)  ensure that selected operations do not conflict with the corresponding strategies established under Article 10(1) or established for one or more of the external financing instruments of the Union;

(c)  ensure that selected operations present the best relationship between the amount of support, the activities undertaken and the achievement of objectives;

(d)  verify that the beneficiary has the necessary financial resources and mechanisms to cover operation and maintenance costs;

(e)  ensure that selected operations which fall under the scope of Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council(25) are subject to an environmental impact assessment or a screening procedure, on the basis of the requirements of that Directive as amended by Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council(26).

(f)  verify that where the operations have started before the submission of an application for funding to the managing authority, the applicable law has been complied with;

(g)  ensure that selected operations fall within the scope of the Interreg fund concerned and are attributed to a type of intervention;

(h)  ensure that operations do not include activities which were part of an operation subject to relocation in accordance with Article [60] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] or which would constitute a transfer of a productive activity in accordance with [point (a) of Article 59(1)] of that Regulation.

(i)  ensure that selected operations are not affected by a reasoned opinion by the Commission in respect of an infringement under Article 258 of the TFEU that puts at risk the legality and regularity of expenditure or the performance of operations;

(j)  ensure the climate proofing of investments in infrastructure with an expected lifespan of at least five years.

5.  The monitoring committee or, where applicable, the steering committee shall approve the methodology and criteria used for the selection of Interreg operations, including any changes thereto, without prejudice to [point (b) of Article 27(3)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] with regard to CLLD and to Article 24 of this Regulation.

6.  For each Interreg operation, the managing authority shall provide a document to the lead or sole partner setting out the conditions for support of that Interreg operation, including the specific requirements concerning the products or services to be delivered, its financing plan, time-limit for its execution and, where applicable, the method to be applied for determining the costs of the operation and the conditions for payment of the grant.

That document shall also set out the lead partner's obligations with regard to recoveries pursuant to Article 50. Those obligations Procedures related to recoveries shall be defined and agreed by the monitoring committee. However, a lead partner located in a different Member State, third country, partner country or OCT from the partner shall not be obliged to recover through a judicial procedure. [Am. 117]

Article 23

Partnership within Interreg operations

1.  Operations selected under components 1, 2 and 3 shall involve actors from at least two participating countries or OCTs, at least one of which shall be a beneficiary from a Member State. [Am. 118]

Beneficiaries receiving support from an Interreg fund and partners which do not receive any financial support under those funds (beneficiaries and partners together: 'partners') constitute an Interreg operation partnership.

2.  An Interreg operation may be implemented in a single country or OCT, provided that the impact on and the benefits for the programme area are identified in the operation application. [Am. 119]

3.  Paragraph 1 shall not apply to operations under the PEACE PLUS programme in where the programme is acting in support of peace and reconciliation.

4.  Partners shall cooperate in the development, and implementation, staffing and financing of Interreg operations, as well as in the staffing and/or financing thereof. An effort shall be made to limit the number of partners for each Interreg operation to no more than ten. [Am. 120]

For Interreg operations under component 3 Interreg programmes, the partners from outermost regions and third countries, partner countries or OCTs shall be required to cooperate only in three two of the four dimensions listed in the first subparagraph. [Am. 121]

5.  Where there are two or more partners, one of them shall be designated by all the partners as the lead partner.

6.  A cross-border legal body or an EGTC may be the sole partner of an Interreg operation under component 1, 2 and 3 Interreg programmes, provided that the members thereof involve partners from at least two participating countries or OCTs. [Am. 122]

The cross-border legal body or EGTC shall have members from at least three participating countries under component 4 Interreg programmes.

A legal body that implements a financial instrument or a fund of funds, as applicable, may be the sole partner of an Interreg operation without the application of the requirements for its composition set out in paragraph 1.

7.  A sole partner shall be registered in a Member State participating in the Interreg programme.

However, a sole partner may be registered in a Member State not participating in that programme, provided the conditions set out in Article 23 are satisfied. [Am. 123]

Article 24

Small project funds

1.  The total contribution from the ERDF or, where applicable, an external financing instrument of the Union, to a one or more small project fund funds within an Interreg programme shall not exceed EUR 20 000 000 or 15% 20 % of the total allocation of the Interreg programme, whichever is lower and shall, in the case of an Interreg programme for cross-border cooperation, be at least 3 % of the total allocation. [Am. 124]

The final recipients within a small project fund shall receive support from the ERDF or, where applicable the external financing instruments of the Union through the beneficiary and implement the small projects within that small project fund (‘small project’).

2.  The beneficiary of a small project fund shall be a cross-border legal body or an EGTC public or private law body, an entity with or without legal personality or a natural person, that is responsible for initiating or both initiating and implementing operations. [Am. 125]

3.  The document setting out the conditions for support to a small project fund shall, in addition to the elements laid down in Article 22(6) set out the elements necessary to ensure that the beneficiary:

(a)  establishes a non-discriminatory and transparent selection procedure;

(b)  applies objective criteria for the selection of small projects, which avoid conflicts of interest;

(c)  assesses applications for support;

(d)  selects projects and fixes the amount of support for each small project;

(e)  is accountable for the implementation of the operation and keeps at its level all supporting documents required for the audit trail in accordance with Annex [XI] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR];

(f)  makes available to the public the list of the final recipients which benefit from the operation.

The beneficiary shall ensure that the final recipients comply with the requirements set out in Article 35.

4.  The selection of small projects shall not constitute a delegation of tasks from the managing authority to an intermediate body as referred to in Article [65(3)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR].

5.  Staff and other direct costs corresponding to the cost categories in Articles 39 to 42, as well as indirect costs generated at the level of the beneficiary for the management of the small project fund or funds, shall not exceed 20% of the total eligible cost of the respective small project fund or funds. [Am. 126]

6.  Where the public contribution to a small project does not exceed EUR 100 000, the contribution from the ERDF or, where applicable, an external financing instrument of the Union shall take the form of unit costs or lump sums or include flat rates, except for projects for which the support constitutes State aid. [Am. 127]

Where the total costs of each operation do not exceed EUR 100 000, the amount of support for one or more small projects may be set out on the basis of a draft budget which is established on a case-by-case basis and agreed ex ante by the body selecting the operation. [Am. 128]

Where flat-rate financing is used, the categories of costs to which the flat rate is applied may be reimbursed in accordance with [point (a) of Article 48(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR].

Article 25

Tasks of the lead partner

1.  The lead partner shall:

(a)  lay down the arrangements with the other partners in an agreement comprising provisions that, inter alia, guarantee the sound financial management of the respective Union fund allocated to the Interreg operation, including the arrangements for recovering amounts unduly paid;

(b)  assume responsibility for ensuring implementation of the entire Interreg operation;

(c)  ensure that expenditure presented by all partners has been incurred in implementing the Interreg operation and corresponds to the activities agreed between all the partners, and is in accordance with the document provided by the managing authority pursuant to Article 22(6).

2.  If not otherwise specified in the arrangements laid down pursuant to point (a) of paragraph 1 the lead partner shall ensure that the other partners receive the total amount of the contribution from the respective Union fund as quickly as possible and in full and within timeframe agreed by all partners and following the same procedure applied in respect of the lead partner. No amount shall be deducted or withheld and no specific charge or other charge with equivalent effect shall be levied that would reduce that amount for the other partners. [Am. 129]

3.  Any beneficiary in a Member State, third country, partner country or OCT participating in an Interreg programme may be designated as the lead partner. [Am. 130]

However, Member States, third countries, partner countries or OCTs participating in an Interreg programme may agree that a partner not receiving support from the ERDF or an external financing instrument of the Union may be designated as the lead partner. [Am. 131]

Section iv

Technical assistance

Article 26

Technical assistance

1.  Technical assistance to each Interreg programme shall be reimbursed as a flat rate by applying the percentages set out in paragraph 2 for 2021 and 2022 to the yearly instalments of the pre-financing pursuant to points (a) and (b) of Article 49(2) of this Regulation and then to the eligible expenditure included in each payment application pursuant to [points (a) or (c) of Article 85(3)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] as appropriate for subsequent years. [Am. 132]

2.  The percentage of the ERDF and the external financing instruments of the Union to be reimbursed for technical assistance shall be as follows:

(a)  for internal cross-border cooperation Interreg programmes supported by the ERDF: 6% 7 %; [Am. 133]

(b)  for external cross-border Interreg programmes supported by IPA III CBC or NDICI CBC: 10%;

(c)  for component 2, 3 and 4 Interreg programmes, both for the ERDF and, where applicable, for the external financing instruments of the Union: 7% 8 %. [Am. 134]

3.  For Interreg programmes with a total allocation between EUR 30 000 000 and EUR 50 000 000 the amount resulting from the percentage for technical assistance shall be increased by an additional amount of EUR 500 000. The Commission shall add that amount to the first interim payment.

4.  For Interreg programmes with a total allocation below EUR 30 000 000, the amount needed for technical assistance expressed in EUR and the resulting percentage shall be fixed in the Commission decision approving the Interreg programme concerned.

CHAPTER IV

Monitoring, evaluation and communication

Section i

Monitoring

Article 27

Monitoring committee

1.  The Member States and, where applicable, the third countries, partner countries and OCTs, OCTs or regional integration cooperation organisations participating in that programme shall set up, in agreement with the managing authority, a committee to monitor implementation of the respective Interreg programme ('monitoring committee') within three months of the date of notification to the Member States of the Commission decision adopting an Interreg programme, [Am. 135]

2.  The monitoring committee shall be chaired by a representative of the Member State hosting the managing authority or of the managing authority.

Where the rules of procedure of the monitoring committee establish a rotating chair, the monitoring committee may be chaired by a representative of a third country, partner country or OCT, and co-chaired by a representative of the Member State or of the managing authority, and vice-versa. [Am. 136]

3.  Each member of the monitoring committee shall have the right to vote.

4.  Each monitoring committee shall adopt its rules of procedure during its first meeting.

The rules of procedure of the monitoring committee and, where applicable, of the steering committee shall prevent any situation of conflict of interest when selecting Interreg operations.

5.  The monitoring committee shall meet at least once a year and shall review all issues that affect the programme’s progress towards achieving its objectives.

6.  The managing authority shall publish the rules of procedures of the monitoring committee and all the, the summary of data and information as well as all the decisions shared with the monitoring committee on the website referred to in Article 35(2). [Am. 137]

Article 28

Composition of the monitoring committee

1.  The composition of the monitoring committee of each Interreg programme shall may be agreed by the Member States and, where applicable, by the third countries, partner countries and OCTs participating in that programme and shall ensure aim for a balanced representation of the relevant authorities, intermediate bodies and representatives of the programme partners referred to in Article [6] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] from Member States, third countries, partner countries and OCTs. [Am. 138]

The composition of the monitoring committee shall take into account the number of participating Member States, third countries, partner countries and OCTs in the Interreg programme concerned. [Am. 139]

The monitoring committee shall also include representatives of regions and local governments as well as other bodies jointly set up in the whole programme area or covering a part thereof, including EGTCs. [Am. 140]

2.  The managing authority shall publish a list of the authorities or bodies appointed as members of the monitoring committee on the website referred to in Article 35(2). [Am. 141]

3.  Representatives of the Commission shall may participate in the work of the monitoring committee in an advisory capacity. [Am. 142]

3a.  Representatives of bodies established throughout the area of the programme or which cover a part of it, including EGTCs, may participate in the work of the monitoring committee in an advisory capacity. [Am. 143]

Article 29

Functions of the monitoring committee

1.  The monitoring committee shall examine:

(a)  the progress in programme implementation and in achieving the milestones and targets of the Interreg programme;

(b)  any issues that affect the performance of the Interreg programme and the measures taken to address those issues;

(c)  with regard to financial instruments, the elements of the ex ante assessment listed in Article [52(3)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] and the strategy document referred to in Article [53(2)] of that Regulation;

(d)  the progress made in carrying out evaluations, syntheses of evaluations and any follow-up given to findings;

(e)  the implementation of communication and visibility actions;

(f)  the progress in implementing Interreg operations of strategic importance and, where applicable, of large infrastructure projects;

(g)  the progress in administrative capacity building for public institutions and beneficiaries, where relevant and propose any further support measures if necessary. [Am. 144]

2.  In addition to its tasks concerning the selection of operations listed in Article 22, the monitoring committee shall approve:

(a)  the methodology and criteria used for the selection of operations, including any changes thereto, after consultation with notifying the Commission pursuant to Article 22(2), without prejudice to [points (b), (c) and (d) of Article 27(3)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR]; [Am. 145]

(b)  the evaluation plan and any amendment thereto;

(c)  any proposal by the managing authority for the amendment of the Interreg programme including for a transfer in accordance with Article 19(5);

(d)  the final performance report.

Article 30

Review

1.  A review may be organised by the Commission to examine the performance of Interreg programmes.

The review may be carried out in writing.

2.  At the request of the Commission, the managing authority shall, within one month three months, provide the Commission with the information on the elements listed in Article 29(1): [Am. 146]

(a)  progress in programme implementation and in achieving the milestones and targets, any issues affecting the performance of the respective Interreg programme and the actions taken to address them;

(b)  progress made in carrying out evaluations, syntheses of evaluations and any follow-up given to findings

(c)  the progress in the administrative capacity building of public authorities and beneficiaries.

3.  The outcome of the review shall be recorded in agreed minutes.

4.  The managing authority shall follow-up issues raised by the Commission and inform the Commission within three months of the measures taken.

Article 31

Transmission of data

1.  Each managing authority shall electronically transmit to the Commission cumulative data for the respective Interreg programme pursuant to point (a) of Article 31(2) of this Regulation by 31 January, 31 March, 31 May, 31 July, May and 30 September and 30 November of each year as well as data pursuant to point (b) of Article 31(2) of this Regulation once a year in accordance with the template in Annex [VII] to Regulation (EU) [new CPR]. [Am. 147]

The transmission of data shall be carried out using existing data-reporting systems insofar as those systems have proven to be reliable during the previous programming period. [Am. 148]

The first transmission shall be due by 31 January 2022 and the last one by 31 January 2030.

2.  The data referred to in paragraph 1 shall be broken down for each priority by specific objective and shall refer to:

(a)  the number of selected Interreg operations, their total eligible cost, the contribution from the respective Interreg fund and the total eligible expenditure declared by the partners to the managing authority, all broken down by types of intervention;

(b)  the values of output and result indicators for selected Interreg operations and values achieved by finalised Interreg operations. [Am. 149]

3.  For financial instruments, data shall also be provided on the following:

(a)  eligible expenditure by type of financial product;

(b)  the amount of management costs and fees declared as eligible expenditure;

(c)  the amount, by type of financial product, of private and public resources mobilised in addition to the Funds;

(d)  interest and other gains generated by support from the Interreg funds to financial instruments as referred to in Article 54 of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] and resources returned attributable to support from the Interreg funds as referred to in Article 56 of that Regulation.

4.  The data submitted in accordance with this Article shall be up-to-date as of the end of the month preceding the month of submission.

5.  The managing authority shall publish all the data transmitted to the Commission on the website referred to in Article 35(2).

Article 32

Final performance report

1.  Each managing authority shall submit to the Commission a final performance report on the respective Interreg programme by 15 February 2031.

The final performance report shall be submitted using the template established in accordance with Article [38(5)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR].

2.  The final performance report shall assess the achievement of programme objectives based on the elements listed in Article 29 with the exception of point (c) of paragraph 1 thereof.

3.  The Commission shall examine the final performance report and inform the managing authority of any observations within five months of the date of receipt of thatreport. Where such observations are made, the managing authority shall provide all necessary information with regard to those observations and, where appropriate, inform the Commission, within three months, of measures taken. The Commission shall inform the Member State of the acceptance of the report.

4.  The managing authority shall publish the final performance report on the website referred to in Article 35(2).

Article 33

Indicators for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg)

1.  Common output and common result indicators, as set out in Annex [I] to Regulation (EU) [new ERDF], and, where necessary, programme-specific output and result indicators which are found to be most suited to measure progress towards the goals of the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) programme, shall be used in accordance with Article [12(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR], and point (d)(e)(ii) of Article 17(3) 17(4) and point (b) of Article 31(2) of this Regulation. [Am. 150]

1a.  Where necessary and in cases duly justified by the managing authority, programme-specific output and result indicators shall be used in addition to the indicators which were selected in accordance with the paragraph 1. [Am. 151]

2.  For output indicators, baselines shall be set at zero. The milestones set for 2024 and targets set for 2029 shall be cumulative.

Section ii

Evaluation and communication

Article 34

Evaluation during the programming period

1.  The managing authority shall carry out evaluations of each Interreg programme, no more than once a year. Each evaluation shall assess the programme’s effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value with the aim to improve the quality of the design and implementation of the respective Interreg programme. [Am. 152]

2.  In addition, the managing authority shall carry out an evaluation for each Interreg programme to assess its impact by 30 June 2029.

3.  The managing authority shall entrust evaluations to functionally independent experts.

4.  The managing authority shall aims to ensure the necessary procedures to produce and collect the data necessary for evaluations. [Am. 153]

5.  The managing authority shall draw up an evaluation plan that may cover more than one Interreg programme.

6.  The managing authority shall submit the evaluation plan to the monitoring committee no later than one year after the approval of the Interreg programme.

7.  The managing authority shall publish all evaluations on the website referred to in Article 35(2).

Article 35

Responsibilities of managing authorities and partners with regard to transparency and communication

1.  Each managing authority shall identify a communication officer for each Interreg programme under its responsibility.

2.  The managing authority shall ensure that, within six months of the Interreg programme's approval, there is a website where information on each Interreg programme under its responsibility is available, covering the programme’s objectives, activities, available funding opportunities and achievements.

3.  Article [44(2) to (7) (6)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] on the responsibilities of the managing authority shall apply. [Am. 154]

4.  Each partner of an Interreg operation or each body implementing a financing instrument shall acknowledge support from an Interreg fund, including resources reused for financial instruments in accordance with Article [56] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR], to the Interreg operation by:

(a)  providing on the partner's professional website, where such a website exists, a short description of the Interreg operation, proportionate to the level of support provided by an Interreg fund, including its aims and results, and highlighting the financial support from the Union;

(b)  providing a statement highlighting the support from an Interreg fund in a visible manner on documents and communication material relating to the implementation of the Interreg operation, used for the public or for participants;

(c)  publicly displaying public plaques or billboards as soon as the physical implementation of an Interreg operation involving physical investment or the purchase of equipment starts, the total cost of which exceeds EUR 100 000 50 000; [Am. 155]

(d)  for Interreg operations not falling under point (c), publicly displaying at least one printed or and, where applicable, electronic display of a minimum size A3 A2 with information about the Interreg operation highlighting the support from an Interreg fund; [Am. 156]

(e)  for operations of strategic importance and operations whose total cost exceed EUR 10 000 000 5 000 000 organising a communication event and involving the Commission and the responsible managing authority in a timely manner. [Am. 157]

The term 'Interreg' shall be used next to the emblem of the Union in accordance with Article [42] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR].

5.  For small project funds and financial instruments, the beneficiary shall ensure that final recipients comply with the requirements set out in point (c) of paragraph 4.

6.  Where the beneficiary does not comply with its obligations under Article [42] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] or paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article, the Member State or does not remedy its omission in good time, the managing authority shall apply a financial correction by cancelling up to 5% of the support from the Funds to the operation concerned. [Am. 158]

CHAPTER V

Eligibility

Article 36

Rules on eligibility of expenditure

1.  All or part of an Interreg operation may be implemented outside of a Member State, including outside the Union, provided that the Interreg operation contributes to the objectives of the respective Interreg programme.

2.  Without prejudice to the eligibility rules laid down in Articles [57 to 62] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR], Articles [4 and 6] of Regulation (EU) [new ERDF] or in this Chapter, including in acts adopted thereunder, the participating Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries and OCTs shall, by a joint decision in the monitoring committee, only establish additional rules on eligibility of expenditure for the Interreg programme on categories of expenditure not covered by those provisions. Those additional rules shall cover the programme area as a whole.

However, where an Interreg programme selects operations based on calls for proposals, those additional rules shall be adopted before the first call for proposals is published. In all other cases, those additional rules shall be adopted before the first operations are selected.

3.  For matters not covered by the eligibility rules laid down in Articles [57 to 62] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR], Articles [4 and 6] of Regulation (EU) [new ERDF] and this Chapter, including in acts adopted thereunder or in rules established in accordance with paragraph 4, the national rules of the Member State and, where applicable, of the third countries, partner countries and OCTs in which the expenditure is incurred shall apply.

4.  In the event of a difference of opinion between the managing authority and the audit authority with regard to the eligibility as such of an Interreg operation selected under the respective Interreg programme, the opinion of the managing authority shall prevail, taking due account of the opinion of the monitoring committee.

5.  OCTs shall not be eligible for support from the ERDF under Interreg programmes, but may participate in those programmes under the conditions set out in this Regulation.

Article 37

General provisions on eligibility of cost categories

1.  The participating Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries and OCTs, may agree in the monitoring committee of an Interreg programme that expenditure falling under one or more of the categories referred to in Articles 38 to 43 shall not be eligible under one or more priorities of an Interreg programme.

2.  Any expenditure eligible in accordance with this Regulation, paid by or on behalf of an Interreg partner, shall relate to the costs of initiating or initiating and implementing an operation or part of an operation.

3.  The following costs are not eligible:

(a)  fines, financial penalties and expenditure on legal disputes and litigation;

(b)  costs of gifts, except those not exceeding EUR 50 per gift where related to promotion, communication, publicity or information;

(c)  costs related to fluctuation of foreign exchange rate.

Article 38

Staff costs

1.  Staff costs shall consist of gross employment costs of staff employed by the Interreg partner in one of the following ways:

(a)  full time;

(b)  part-time with a fixed percentage of time worked per month;

(c)  part-time with a flexible number of hours worked per month; or

(d)  on an hourly basis.

2.  Staff costs shall be limited to the following:

(a)  salary payments related to the activities which the entity would not carry out if the operation concerned was not undertaken, fixed in an employment or work contract, an appointment decision (both hereinafter referred to as ‘employment document’) or by law, relating to responsibilities specified in the job description of the staff member concerned;

(b)  any other costs directly linked to salary payments incurred and paid by the employer, such as employment taxes and social security including pensions as covered by Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council(27), provided that they are:

(i)  fixed in an employment document or by law;

(ii)  in accordance with the legislation referred to in the employment document and with standard practices in the country or the organisation where the individual staff member is actually working or both; and

(iii)  not recoverable by the employer.

With regard to point (a), payments to natural persons working for the Interreg partner under a contract other than an employment or work contract may be assimilated to salary payments and such a contract considered as an employment document.

3.  Staff costs may be reimbursed either:

(a)  in accordance with [point (a) of the first subparagraph of Article 48(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] (proven by the employment document and payslips); or

(b)  under simplified cost options as set out in [points (b) to (e) of the first subparagraph of Article 48(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR]; or

(c)  as direct staff costs of an operation may be calculated at a flat rate in accordance with Article [50(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] of up to 20 % of the direct costs other than the direct staff costs of that operation, without there being a requirement for the Member State to perform a calculation to determine the applicable rate. [Am. 159]

4.  Staff costs related to individuals who work on part-time assignment on the operation, shall be calculated as either:

(a)  a fixed percentage of the gross employment cost in accordance with Article [50(2)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR]; or

(b)  a flexible share of the gross employment cost, in line with a number of hours varying from one month to the other worked on the operation, based on a time registration system covering 100 % of the working time of the employee.

5.  For part-time assignments under point (b) of paragraph 4, the reimbursement of staff costs shall be calculated on an hourly rate basis determined either by:

(a)  dividing the latest documented monthly gross employment cost costs by the monthly working time fixed of the person concerned in accordance with applicable law as referred to in the employment document expressed in hourscontract and paragraph 2 (b) of Article 50 of Regulation (EU) .../...[New CPR]; or [Am. 160]

(b)  dividing the latest documented annual gross employment cost by 1 720 hours in accordance with [paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of Article [50] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR].

6.  As regards staff costs related to individuals who, according to the employment document, work on an hourly basis, such costs shall be eligible applying the number of hours actually worked on the operation to the hourly rate agreed in the employment document based on a working time registration system. If not yet included in the agreed hourly rate, salary costs as referred to under point (b) of Article 38 (2) may be added to that hourly rate, in line with applicable national law. [Am. 161]

Article 39

Office and administrative costs

Office and administrative costs shall be limited to 15 % of total direct costs of an operation and to the following elements: [Am. 162]

(a)  office rent;

(b)  insurance and taxes related to the buildings where the staff is located and to the equipment of the office (e.g. fire, theft insurances);

(c)  utilities (e.g. electricity, heating, water);

(d)  office supplies;

(e)  general accounting provided inside the beneficiary organisation;

(f)  archives;

(g)  maintenance, cleaning and repairs;

(h)  security;

(i)  IT systems;

(j)  communication (e.g. telephone, fax, internet, postal services, business cards);

(k)  bank charges for opening and administering the account or accounts where the implementation of an operation requires a separate account to be opened;

(l)  charges for transnational financial transactions.

Article 40

Travel and accommodation costs

1.  Travel and accommodation costs shall be limited to the following elements:

(a)  travel costs (e.g. tickets, travel and car insurance, fuel, car mileage, toll, and parking fees);

(b)  the costs of meals;

(c)  accommodation costs;

(d)  visa costs;

(e)  daily allowances,

regardless whether such costs are incurred and paid in or outside the programme area.

2.  Any element listed in points (a) to (d) of paragraph 1 covered by a daily allowance shall not be reimbursed in addition to the daily allowance.

3.  Travel and accommodation costs of external experts and service providers fall under external expertise and services costs listed in Article 41.

4.  Direct payment of expenditure for costs under this Article by an employee of the beneficiary shall be supported by a proof of reimbursement by the beneficiary to that employee. That cost category may be used for the travel expenses of operation staff and other stakeholders for the purpose of implementation and promotion of the Interreg operation and Programme. [Am. 163]

5.  Travel and accommodation costs of an operation may be calculated at a flat rate of up to 15 % of the direct costs other than the direct staff costs of that operation. [Am. 164]

Articles 41

External expertise and services costs

External expertise and service costs shall be composed but not limited to the following services and expertise provided by a public or private law body or a natural person other than the beneficiary, including all partners, of the operation: [Am. 165]

(a)  studies or surveys (e.g. evaluations, strategies, concept notes, design plans, handbooks);

(b)  training;

(c)  translations;

(d)  IT systems and website development, modifications and updates;

(e)  promotion, communication, publicity or information linked to an operation or to a cooperation programme as such;

(f)  financial management;

(g)  services related to the organisation and implementation of events or meetings (including rent, catering or interpretation);

(h)  participation in events (e.g. registration fees);

(i)  legal consultancy and notarial services, technical and financial expertise, other consultancy and accountancy services;

(j)  intellectual property rights;

(k)  verifications under [point (a) of Article 68(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] and Article 45(1) of this Regulation;

(l)  costs for the accounting function on programme level under Article [70] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] and Article 46 of this Regulation;

(m)  audit costs on programme level under Articles [72] and [75] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] under Articles 47 and 48 of this Regulation;

(n)  the provision of guarantees by a bank or other financial institution where required by Union or national law or in a programming document adopted by the monitoring committee;

(o)  travel and accommodation for external experts, speakers, chairpersons of meetings and service providers; [Am. 166]

(p)  other specific expertise and services needed for operations.

Article 42

Equipment costs

1.  Costs for equipment purchased, rented or leased by the beneficiary of the operation other than those covered by Article 39 shall be composed but not limited to the following: [Am. 167]

(a)  office equipment;

(b)  IT hardware and software;

(c)  furniture and fittings;

(d)  laboratory equipment;

(e)  machines and instruments,

(f)  tools or devices;

(g)  vehicles;

(h)  other specific equipment needed for operations.

2.  Costs for the purchase of second-hand equipment may be eligible subject to the following conditions:

(a)  no other assistance has been received for it from the Interreg funds or the Funds listed in [point (a) of Article 1(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR];

(b)  this price does not exceed the generally accepted price on the market in question;

(c)  it has the technical characteristics necessary for the operation and complies with applicable norms and standards.

Article 43

Costs for infrastructure and works

Costs for infrastructure and works shall be limited to the following:

(a)  purchase of land in accordance with [point (c) (b) of Article 58(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR]; [Am. 168]

(b)  building permits;

(c)  building material;

(d)  labour;

(e)  specialised interventions (e.g. soil remediation, mine-clearing).

CHAPTER VI

Interreg programme authorities, management, control and audit

Article 44

Interreg programme authorities

1.  Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries and OCTs, OCTs, and regional integration cooperation organisations participating in an Interreg programme shall identify, for the purposes of Article [65] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR], a single managing authority and a single audit authority. [Am. 169]

2.  The managing authority and the audit authority shall may be located in the same Member State. [Am. 170]

3.  Concerning the PEACE PLUS programme, the Special EU Programmes Body, when identified as the managing authority, shall be considered as located in a Member State.

4.  Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries and OCTs participating in an Interreg programme may identify an EGTC as managing authority of that programme.

5.  With regard to an Interreg programme under component 2B or under component 1 where the latter covers long borders with heterogenous development challenges and needs, Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries and OCTs participating in an Interreg programme may define sub-programme areas. [Am. 171]

6.  Where the managing authority identifies an one or more intermediate body bodies under an Interreg programme in accordance with Article [65(3)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR], the intermediate body or bodies concerned shall carry out those tasks in more than one participating Member State, or in their respective Member States, or, where applicable, in more than one third country, partner country or OCT. [Am. 172]

Article 45

Functions of the managing authority

1.  The managing authority of an Interreg programme shall carry out the functions laid down in Articles [66], [68] and [69] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] with the exception of the task of selecting operations referred to in point (a) of Article 66(1) and Article 67 and of payments to beneficiaries referred to in point (b) of Article 68(1). Those functions shall be carried out in the whole of the territory covered by that programme, subject to derogations set out under Chapter VIII of this Regulation.

1a.   By way of derogation from Article 87(2) of Regulation (EU) .../... [new CPR], the Commission shall reimburse as interim payments 100 % of the amounts included in the payment application which result from applying the cofinancing rate of the programme to the total eligible expenditure or to the public contribution, as appropriate. [Am. 173]

1b.   Where the managing authority does not carry out verification under point (a) of Article 68(1) of Regulation (EU) .../... [new CPR] throughout the whole programme area, each Member State shall designate the body or person responsible for carrying out such verification in relation to beneficiaries on its territory. [Am. 174]

1c.   By way of derogation from Article 92 of Regulation (EU) .../... [new CPR], Interreg programmes are not subject to the annual clearance of accounts. Accounts are cleared at the end of a programme, on the basis of the final performance report. [Am. 175]

2.  The managing authority, after consultation with the Member States and, where applicable, any third countries, partner countries or OCTs participating in the Interreg programme, shall set up a joint secretariat, with staff taking into account the programme partnership.

The joint secretariat shall assist the managing authority and the monitoring committee in carrying out their respective functions. The joint secretariat shall also provide information to potential beneficiaries about funding opportunities under Interreg programmes and shall assist beneficiaries and partners in the implementation of operations.

3.  By way of derogation from [point (c) of Article 70(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR], expenditure paid in another currency shall be converted into euro by each partner using the monthly accounting exchange rate of the Commission in the month during which that expenditure was submitted for verification to the managing authority in accordance with [point (a) of Article 68(1)] of that Regulation.

Article 46

The accounting function

1.  Member States and, where applicable, third countries, partner countries and OCTs participating in an Interreg programme shall agree on the arrangements for carrying out the accounting function.

2.  The accounting function shall consist of the tasks listed in [points (a) and (b) of Article 70(1)] of Regulation [new CPR] and shall also cover the payments made by the Commission and, as a general rule, the payments made to the lead partner in accordance with [point (b) of Article 68(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR].

Article 47

Functions of the audit authority

1.  The audit authority of an Interreg programme shall carry out the functions provided for in this Article and in Article 48 in the whole of the territory covered by that Interreg programme, subject to the derogations set out in Chapter VIII.

However, a participating Member State may specify when the audit authority is to be accompanied by an auditor from that participating Member State.

2.  The audit authority of an Interreg programme shall be responsible for carrying out system audits and audits on operations in order to provide independent assurance to the Commission that management and control systems function effectively and that expenditure included in the accounts submitted to the Commission is legal and regular.

3.  Where an Interreg programme is included in the population from which the Commission selects a common sample under Article 48(1), the audit authority shall carry out audits of operations selected by the Commission in order to provide independent assurance to the Commission that management and control systems function effectively.

4.  Audit work shall be carried out in accordance with internationally accepted audit standards.

5.  The audit authority shall draw up and submit to the Commission each year by 15 February following the end of the accounting year an annual audit opinion in accordance with Article [63(7)] of Regulation [FR-Omnibus] using the template set out in Annex [XVI] to Regulation (EU) [new CPR] and based on all audit work carried out, covering each of the following components:

(a)  the completeness, veracity and accuracy of the accounts;

(b)  the legality and regularity of the expenditure included in the accounts submitted to the Commission;

(c)  the management and control system of the Interreg programme.

Where the Interreg programme is included in the population from which the Commission selects a sample pursuant to Article 48(1), the annual audit opinion shall only cover the components referred to in points (a) and (c) of the first subparagraph.

The deadline of 15 February may exceptionally be extended by the Commission to 1 March, upon communication by the Member State hosting the managing authority concerned.

6.  The audit authority shall draw up and submit to the Commission each year by 15 February following the end of the accounting year an annual control report in accordance with [point (b) of Article 63(5)] of Regulation [FR-Omnibus] using the template set out in Annex [XVII] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] and, supporting the audit opinion provided for in paragraph 5 of this Article and setting out a summary of the findings, including an analysis of the nature and extent of any errors and deficiencies in the systems as well as the proposed and implemented corrective actions and the resulting total error rate and residual error rate for the expenditure entered in the accounts submitted to the Commission.

7.  Where the Interreg programme is included in the population from which the Commission selects a sample under Article 48(1), the audit authority shall draw up the annual control report referred to in paragraph 6 of this Article and fulfilling the requirements of [point (b) of Article 63(5)] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus] using the template set out in Annex [XVII] to Regulation (EU) [new CPR] and supporting the audit opinion provided for in paragraph 5 of this Article.

That report shall set out a summary of the findings, including an analysis of the nature and extent of any errors and deficiencies in the systems as well as the proposed and implemented corrective actions, the results of the audits of operations carried out by the audit authority in relation to the common sample referred to in Article 48(1) and the financial corrections applied by the Interreg programme authorities for any individual irregularities detected by the audit authority for these operations.

8.  The audit authority shall transmit system audit reports to the Commission as soon as the required contradictory procedure with the relevant auditees is concluded.

9.  The Commission and the audit authority shall meet on a regular basis and at least once a year, unless otherwise agreed, to examine the audit strategy, the annual control report and the audit opinion, to coordinate their audit plans and methods and to exchange views on issues relating to the improvement of management and control systems.

Article 48

Audit of operations

1.  The Commission shall select a common sample of operations (or other sampling units) using a statistical sampling method for the audits of operations to be carried out by the audit authorities for the Interreg programmes receiving support from the ERDF or an external financing instrument of the Union in respect of each accounting year.

The common sample shall be representative for all the Interreg programmes constituting the population.

For the purposes of selecting the common sample, the Commission may stratify groups of Interreg programmes according to their specific risks.

2.  The programme authorities shall provide the information necessary for the selection of a common sample to the Commission by 1 September following the end of each accounting year at the latest.

That information shall be submitted in a standardised electronic format, shall be complete and shall reconcile with the expenditure declared to the Commission for the reference accounting year.

3.  Without prejudice to the requirement to carry out an audit referred to in Article 47(2), the audit authorities for Interreg programmes covered by the common sample shall not carry out additional audits of operations under those programmes, unless requested by the Commission in accordance with paragraph 8 of this Article or in cases for which an audit authority has identified specific risks.

4.  The Commission shall inform the audit authorities of the Interreg programmes concerned of the common sample selected in time to allow those authorities to carry out the audits of operations, in general, by 1 October following the end of each accounting year, at the latest.

5.  The audit authorities concerned shall submit information on the results of these audits as well as on any financial correction taken in relation to individual irregularities detected at the latest in the annual control reports to be submitted to the Commission pursuant to Article 47(6) and (7).

6.  Following its assessment of the results of audits of operations selected pursuant to paragraph 1, the Commission shall calculate a global extrapolated error rate with regard to the Interreg programmes included in the population from which the common sample was selected, for the purposes of its own assurance process.

7.  Where the global extrapolated error rate referred to in paragraph 6 is above 2% 3.5 % of the total expenditure declared for the Interreg programmes included in the population from which the common sample was selected, the Commission shall calculate a global residual error rate, taking account of financial corrections applied by the respective Interreg programme authorities for individual irregularities detected by the audits of operations selected pursuant to paragraph 1. [Am. 176]

8.  Where the global residual error rate referred to in paragraph 7 is above 2% 3.5 % of the expenditure declared for the Interreg programmes included in the population from which the common sample was selected, the Commission shall determine whether it is necessary to request the audit authority of a specific Interreg programme or a group of Interreg programmes most affected to carry out additional audit work in order to further evaluate the error rate and assess the required corrective measures for the Interreg programmes affected by the irregularities detected. [Am. 177]

9.  Based on the assessment of the results of the additional audit work requested pursuant to paragraph 8, the Commission may request additional financial corrections to be applied on the Interreg programmes affected by the irregularities detected. In such cases, the Interreg programme authorities shall carry out the required financial corrections in accordance with Article [97] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR].

10.  Each audit authority of an Interreg programme for which the information referred to in paragraph 2 is missing or incomplete or has not been submitted by the deadline laid down in the first subparagraph of paragraph 2 shall carry out a separate sampling exercise for the respective Interreg programme in accordance with Article [73] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR]).

CHAPTER VII

Financial management

Article 49

Payments and pre-financing

1.  The ERDF support and, where applicable, the support from external financing instruments of the Union to each Interreg programme shall be paid, in accordance with Article 46(2), into a single account with no national subaccounts.

2.  The Commission shall pay a pre-financing based on the total support from each Interreg fund, as set out in the decision approving each Interreg programme under Article 18, subject to available funds, in yearly instalments as follows and before 1 July of the years 2022 to 2026, or, in the year of the approving decision, no later than 60 days after that decision is adopted:

(a)  2021: 1% 3 %; [Am. 178]

(b)  2022: 1% 2,25 %; [Am. 179]

(c)  2023: 1% 2,25 %; [Am. 180]

(d)  2024: 1% 2,25 %; [Am. 181]

(e)  2025: 1% 2,25 %; [Am. 182]

(f)  2026: 1% 2,25 %. [Am. 183]

3.  Where external cross-border Interreg programmes are supported by the ERDF and IPA III CBC or NDICI CBC, the pre-financing for all funds supporting such an Interreg programme shall be made in accordance with Regulation (EU) [IPA III] or [NDICI] or of any act adopted thereunder. [Am. 184]

The pre-financing amount may be paid in two instalments, where necessary, according to budgetary needs.

The total amount paid as pre-financing shall be reimbursed to the Commission if no payment application under the cross-border Interreg programme is sent within 24 36 months of the date on which the Commission pays the first instalment of the pre-financing amount. Such reimbursement shall constitute internal assigned revenue and shall not reduce the support from the ERDF, IPA III CBC or NDICI CBC to the programme. [Am. 185]

Article 50

Recoveries

1.  The managing authority shall ensure that any amount paid as a result of an irregularity is recovered from the lead or sole partner. Partners shall repay to the lead partner any amounts unduly paid.

2.  Where the lead partner does not succeed in securing repayment from other partners or where the managing authority does not succeed in securing repayment from the lead or sole partner, the Member State, third country, partner country or OCT on whose territory the partner concerned is located or, in the case of an EGTC, is registered shall reimburse the managing authority any amounts unduly paid to that partner. The managing authority shall be responsible for reimbursing the amounts concerned to the general budget of the Union, in accordance with the apportionment of liabilities among the participating Member States, third countries, partner countries or OCTs laid down in the Interreg programme.

3.  Once the Member State, third country, partner country or OCT has reimbursed the managing authority any amounts unduly paid to a partner, it may continue or start a recovery procedure against that partner under its national law. In the event of successful recovery, the Member State, third country, partner country or OCT may use those amounts for the national co-financing of the Interreg programme concerned. The Member State, third country, partner country or OCT shall not have any reporting obligations towards the programme authorities, the monitoring committee or the Commission with regard to such national recoveries.

4.  Where a Member State, third country, partner country or OCT has not reimbursed the managing authority any amounts unduly paid to a partner pursuant to paragraph 3, those amounts shall be subject to a recovery order issued by the AOD which shall be executed, where possible, by offsetting against amounts due to the Member State, third country, partner country or OCT under subsequent payments to the same Interreg programme or, in the case of a third country, partner country or an OCT, under subsequent payments to programmes under the respective external financing instruments of the Union. Such recovery shall not constitute a financial correction and shall not reduce the support from the ERDF or any external financing instrument of the Union to the respective Interreg programme. The amount recovered shall constitute assigned revenue in accordance with Article [177(3)] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus].

CHAPTER VIII

Participation of third countries or partner countries, or OCTs, or regional integration or cooperation organisations in Interreg programmes under shared management [Am. 186]

Article 51

Applicable provisions

Chapters I to VII and Chapter X shall apply to the participation of third countries, partner countries and, OCTs, or regional integration or cooperation organisations OCTs in Interreg programmes subject to the specific provisions set out in this Chapter. [Am. 187]

Article 52

Interreg programme authorities and their functions

1.  Third countries, partner countries and OCTs participating in an Interreg programme shall either allow the managing authority of that programme to carry out its functions in its respective territory or shall identify a national authority as contact point for the managing authority or a national controller to carry out management verifications as provided for in [point (a) of Article 68(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] in its respective territory.

2.  Third countries, partner countries and OCTs participating in an Interreg programme shall either allow the audit authority of that programme to carry out its functions in its respective territory or shall identify a national audit authority or body, functionally independent from the national authority.

3.  Third countries, partner countries and OCTs participating in an Interreg programme shall may delegate staff to the joint secretariat of that programme or, in agreement with the managing authority, shall set up a branch office of the Joint Secretariat in its respective territory, or shall do both. [Am. 188]

4.  The national authority or a body equivalent to the Interreg programme communication officer as provided for in Article 35(1), shall may support the managing authority and partners in the respective third country, partner country or OCT with regard to the tasks provided for in Article 35(2) to (7). [Am. 189]

Article 53

Management methods

1.  External cross-border Interreg programmes supported both by ERDF and IPA III CBC or NDICI CBC shall be implemented under shared management both in the Member States and in any participating third country or partner country.

The PEACE PLUS programme shall be implemented under shared management both in Ireland and in the United Kingdom.

2.  Component 2 and 4 Interreg programmes combining contributions from the ERDF and from one or more external financing instrument of the Union shall be implemented under shared management both in the Member States and in any participating third country, or partner country, participating OCT or, with regard to component 3, in any OCT, whether or not that OCT receives support under one or more external financing instruments of the Union. [Am. 190]

3.  Component 3 Interreg programmes combining contributions from the ERDF and one or more external financing instruments of the Union shall be implemented in any of the following ways:

(a)  under shared management both in the Member States and in any participating third country or OCT or group of third countries forming part of a regional organisation; [Am. 191]

(b)  under shared management only in the Member States and in any participating third country or OCT, or group of third countries forming part of a regional organisation, with regard to ERDF expenditure outside the Union for one or more operations, whereas the contributions from one or more external financing instruments of the Union are managed under indirect management; [Am. 192]

(c)  under indirect management both in the Member States and in any participating third country or OCT or group of third countries forming part of a regional organisation. [Am. 193]

Where all or part of a component 3 Interreg programme is implemented under indirect management, a prior agreement between Member States and regions concerned is required and Article 60 shall apply. [Am. 194]

3a.   Joint calls for proposals mobilising funding from bilateral or multi-country NDICI programmes and ETC programmes may be launched if the respective managing authorities agree to do so. The content of the call shall specify its geographical scope, and its expected contribution to the objectives of the respective programmes. Managing authorities shall decide whether NDICI or ETC rules are applicable to the call. They may decide to appoint a lead managing authority responsible for the tasks of management and control related to the call. [Am. 195]

Article 54

Eligibility

1.  By way of derogation from Article [57(2)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] expenditure shall be eligible for a contribution from external financing instruments of the Union if it has been incurred by a partner or the private partner of PPP operations in the preparation and implementation of Interreg operations from 1 January 2021 and paid after the date when the financing agreement with the respective third country, partner country or OCT was concluded.

However, expenditure for technical assistance managed by programme authorities located in a Member State shall be eligible as of 1 January 2021, even when paid for actions implemented in favour of third countries, partner countries or OCTs.

2.  Where an Interreg programme selects operations based on calls for proposals, such calls may include applications for a contribution from external financing instruments of the Union, even when launched before the relevant financing agreement was signed, and operations may already be selected before such dates.

However, the managing authority may not provide the document provided for in Article 22(6) before such dates.

Article 55

Large infrastructure projects

1.  Interreg programmes under this section may support 'large infrastructure projects' meaning operations comprising a set of works, activities or services intended to fulfil an indivisible function of a precise nature pursuing clearly identified objectives of common interest for the purposes of implementing investments delivering a cross-border impact and benefits and where a budget share of at least EUR 2 500 000 is allocated to the acquisition of infrastructure.

2.  Each beneficiary implementing a large infrastructure project or a part thereof shall apply the applicable public procurement rules.

3.  Where the selection of one or more large infrastructure projects is on the agenda of a monitoring committee or, where applicable, steering committee meeting, the managing authority shall transmit a concept note for each such project to the Commission at the latest two months before the date of the meeting. The concept note shall be a maximum of three five pages and shall indicate the name, the location, the budget, the lead partner and the partners as well as the main objectives and deliverables thereof, as well as including a credible business plan which demonstrates that the project or projects’ continuation is secure even without the provision of Interreg funds. If the concept note concerning one or more large infrastructure projects is not transmitted to the Commission by that deadline, the Commission may request that the chair of the monitoring committee or steering committee remove the projects concerned from the agenda of the meeting. [Am. 196]

Article 56

Procurement

1.  Where the implementation of an operation requires procurement of service, supply or works contracts by a beneficiary, the following rules shall apply:

(a)  where the beneficiary is a contracting authority or a contracting entity within the meaning of the Union law applicable to public procurement procedures, it shall apply national laws, regulations and administrative provisions adopted in connection with Union laws;

(b)  where the beneficiary is a public authority of a partner country under IPA III or NDICI whose co-financing is transferred to the Managing Authority, it may apply national laws, regulations and administrative provisions, provided that the financing agreement allows it and that the contract is awarded to the tender offering best value for money, or as appropriate, to the tender offering the lowest price, while avoiding any conflict of interests.

2.  For the award of goods, works or services in all cases other than those referred to in paragraph 1, the procurement procedures under Articles [178] and [179] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus] and Chapter 3 of Annex 1 (Points 36 to 41) to that Regulation shall apply.

Article 57

Financial management

The Commission decisions approving Interreg programmes also supported by an external financing instrument of the Union shall meet the requirements necessary to constitute financing decisions in terms of Article [110(2)] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus].

Article 58

Conclusion of Financing Agreements under shared management

1.  In order to implement an Interreg programme in a third country, partner country or OCT, in accordance with Article [112(4)] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus], a financing agreement shall be concluded between the Commission representing the Union and each participating third country, partner country or OCT represented in accordance with its national legal framework.

2.  Any financing agreement shall be concluded at the latest on 31 December of the year following the year when the first budget commitment was made and shall be considered concluded on the date when the last party has signed it.

Any financing agreement shall enter into force either on the date

(a)  when the last party has signed it; or

(b)  when the third or partner country or OCT has completed the procedure required for ratification under its national legal framework and informed the Commission .

3.  Where an Interreg programme involves more than one third country, partner country or OCT, at least one financing agreement shall be signed by both parties before that date. The other third countries, partner countries or OCTs may sign their respective financing agreements at the latest on 30 June of the second year following the year when the first budget commitment was made.

4.  The Member State hosting the managing authority of the relevant Interreg programme either

(a)  may also sign the financing agreement; or

(b)  shall sign, on the same date, an implementing agreement with each third country, partner country or OCT participating in that Interreg programme setting out the mutual rights and obligations with regard to its implementation and financial management.

When transmitting the signed copy of the financing agreement or a copy of the implementing agreement to the Commission, the Member State hosting the managing authority shall also send, as a separate document, a list of the planned large infrastructure projects as defined in Article 55, indicating the prospective name, location, budget and lead partner thereof.

5.  An implementing agreement signed pursuant to point (b) of paragraph 4 shall at least cover the following elements:

(a)  detailed arrangements for payments;

(b)  financial management;

(c)  record keeping;

(d)  reporting obligations;

(e)  verifications, controls and audit;

(f)  irregularities and recoveries.

6.  Where the Member State hosting the managing authority of the Interreg programme decides to sign the financing agreement pursuant to point (a) of paragraph 4, that financing agreement shall be considered a tool to implement the Union budget in accordance with the Financial Regulation and not an international agreement as referred to in Articles 216 to 219 of the TFEU.

Article 59

Third country, partner country or OCT contribution other than co-financing

1.  Where a third country, partner country or OCT transfers to the Managing Authority a financial contribution to the Interreg programme other than its co-financing of the Union support to the Interreg programme, the rules concerning that financial contribution shall be contained in the following document:

(a)  where the Member State signs the financing agreement pursuant to point (a) of Article 58(4), in a separate implementing agreement signed either between the Member State hosting the managing authority and the third country, partner country or OCT or directly between the managing authority and the competent authority in the third country, partner country or OCT;

(b)  where the Member State signs an implementing agreement pursuant to point (b) of Article 58(4), in one of the following:

(i)  a distinct part of that implementing agreement; or

(ii)  an additional implementing agreement signed between the same parties referred to point (a).

For the purposes of point (b)(i) of the first subparagraph, sections of the implementing agreement may, where applicable, cover both the transferred financial contribution and the Union support to the Interreg programme.

2.  An implementing agreement under paragraph 1 shall at least contain the elements concerning the third country's, partner country's or OCT's co-financing listed in Article 58(5).

In addition, it shall set out both of the following:

(a)  the amount of the additional financial contribution;

(b)  the intended use and conditions for its use, including conditions for applications for that additional contribution.

3.  With regard to the PEACE PLUS programme, the financial contribution to Union activities from the United Kingdom in the form of external assigned revenue as referred to in [point (e) of Article 21(2)] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus] shall make part of the budget appropriations for Heading 2 'Cohesion and Values', sub-ceiling 'Economic, social and territorial cohesion'.

That contribution shall be subject to a specific financing agreement with the United Kingdom in accordance with Article 58. The Commission and the United Kingdom as well as Ireland shall be parties to this specific financing agreement.

It shall be signed before the beginning of the implementation of the programme thus allowing the Special EU Programmes Body to apply all the Union legislation for the implementation of the programme.

CHAPTER IX

Specific provisions for direct or indirect management

Article 60

Outermost regions' cooperation

1.  Where, after consulting stakeholders, part or all of a component 3 Interreg programme is implemented under indirect management pursuant to point (b) or (c) respectively of Article 53(3), implementation tasks shall be entrusted to one of the bodies listed in point [(c) of the first subparagraph of Article 62(1)] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus], in particular to such a body located in the participating Member State, including the managing authority of the Interreg programme concerned. [Am. 197]

2.  In accordance with [point (c) of Article 154(6)] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus], the Commission may decide not to require an ex-ante assessment as referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4 of that Article when the budget implementation tasks referred to in [point (c) of the first subparagraph of Article 62(1)] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus] are entrusted to a managing authority of an outermost regions' Interreg programme identified pursuant to Article 37(1) of this Regulation and in accordance with Article [65] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR].

3.  Where the budget implementation tasks referred to in [point (c) of the first subparagraph of Article 62(1)] of Regulation [FR-Omnibus] are entrusted to a Member State organisation, Article [157] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus] shall apply.

4.  Where a programme or action co-financed by one or more external financing instrument is implemented by a third country, a partner country, an OCT or any of the other bodies listed to in [point (c) of the first subparagraph of Article 62(1)] of Regulation (EU, Euratom) [FR-Omnibus] or referred to in Regulation (EU) [NDICI] or Council Decision [OCT Decision] or both, the relevant rules of these instruments shall apply, in particular Chapters I, III and V of Title II of Regulation (EU) [NDICI].

Article 61

Interregional innovation investments

At the initiative of the Commission, the ERDF may support interregional innovation investments, as set out in point 5 of Article 3, bringing together researchers, businesses, civil society and public administrations involved in smart specialisation strategies established at national or regional levels. [Am. 198]

Article 61a

Exemption from reporting requirements under Article 108(3) TFEU

The Commission may declare that aid in favour of projects supported by EU European territorial cooperation are compatible with the internal market and are not subject to the notification requirements of Article 108(3) TFEU. [Am. 199]

CHAPTER X

Final provisions

Article 62

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 16(6) shall be conferred on the Commission from [as of one day after its publication = date of entry into force] until 31 December 2027.

3.  The delegation of power referred to in Article 16(6) may be revoked at any time by the European Parliament or by the Council. A decision to revoke shall put an end to the delegation of the power specified in that decision. It shall take effect the day following the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the European Union or at a later date specified therein. It shall not affect the validity of any delegated acts already in force.

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

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

6.  A delegated act adopted pursuant to Article 16(6) shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed either by the European Parliament or by the Council within a period of [two months] of notification of that act to the European Parliament and the Council or if, before the expiry of that period, the European Parliament and the Council have both informed the Commission that they will not object. That period shall be extended by [two months] at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.

Article 63

Committee Procedure

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by the committee set up pursuant to Article [108(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR]. That committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.

2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011shall apply.

Article 64

Transitional provisions

Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013 or any act adopted thereunder shall continue to apply to programmes and operations supported by the ERDF under the 2014-2020 programming period.

Article 65

Entry into force

This Regulation shall enter into force on the 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

TEMPLATE FOR INTERREG PROGRAMMES

CCI

[15 characters]

Title

[255]

Version

 

First year

[4]

Last year

[4]

Eligible from

 

Eligible until

 

Commission decision number

 

Commission decision date

 

Programme amending decision number

[20]

Programme amending decision entry into force date

 

NUTS regions covered by the programme

 

Component of Interreg

 

1.  Programme strategy: main development challenges and policy responses

1.1  Programme area (not required for component 4 Interreg programmes)

Reference: Article 17(4)(a), Article 17(9)(a)

Text field [2 000]

1.2  Summary of main joint challenges, taking into acccount economic, social and territorial disparities, joint investment needs and complimentary with other forms of support, lessons-learnt from past experience and macro-regional strategies and sea-basin strategies where the programme area as a whole or partially is covered by one or more strategies.

Reference: Article 17(4)(b), Article 17(9)(b)

Text field [50 000]

1.3  Justification for the selection of policy objectives and the Interreg specific objectives, corresponding priorities, specific objectives and the forms of support, addressing, where appropriate, missing links in cross-border infrastructure

Reference: Article 17(4)(c)

Table 1

Selected policy objective or selected Interreg-specific objective

Selected specific objective

Priority

Justification for selection

 

 

 

[2 000 per objective]

2.  Priorities [300]

Reference: Article 17(4)(d) and (e)

2.1  Title of the priority (repeated for each priority)

Reference: Article 17(4)(d)

Text field: [300]

[ ] This is a priority pursuant to a transfer under Article 17(3)

2.1.1.  Specific objective (repeated for each selected specific objective, for priorities other than technical assistance)

Reference: Article 17(4)(e)

2.1.2  Related types of action, including a list of planned operations of strategic importance, and their expected contribution to those specific objectives and to macro-regional strategies and sea-basis strategies, where appropriate

Reference: Article 17(4)(e)(i), Article 17(9)(c)(ii)

Text field [7000]

List of planned operations of strategic importance

Text field [2000]

For component 4 Interreg programmes:

Reference Article 17(9)(c)(i)

Definition of a single beneficiary or a limited list of beneficiaries and the granting procedure

Text field [7000]

2.1.3  Indicators

Reference: Article 17(4)(e)(ii), Article 17(9)(c)(iii)

Table 2: Output indicators

Priority

Specific objective

ID

[5]

Indicator

Measurement unit

[255]

Milestone (2024)

[200]

Final target (2029)

[200]

Table 3: Result indicators

Priority

Specific objective

ID

Indicator

Measurement unit

Baseline

Reference year

Final target (2029)

Source of data

Comments

2.1.4  The main target groups

Reference: Article 17(4)(e)(iii), Article 17(9)(c)(iv)

Text field [7000]

2.1.5  Specific territories targeted, including the planned use of ITI, CLLD or other territorial tools

Reference: Article 17(4)(e)(iv)

Text field [7000]

2.1.6  Planned use of financial instruments

Reference: Article 17(4)(e)(v)

Text field [7000]

2.1.7  Indicative breakdown of the EU programme resources by type of intervention

Reference: Article 17(4)(e)(vi), Article 17(9)(c)(v)

Table 4: Dimension 1 – intervention field

Priority no

Fund

Specific objective

Code

Amount (EUR)

Table 5: Dimension 2 – form of financing

Priority no

Fund

Specific objective

Code

Amount (EUR)

Table 6: Dimension 3 – territorial delivery mechanism and territorial focus

Priority No

Fund

Specific objective

Code

Amount (EUR)

2.T. Technical assistance priority

Reference: Article 17(4)(f) ETC

Text field [8000]

Priority No

Fund

Code

Amount (EUR)

3.  Financing plan

Reference: Article 17(4)(g)

3.1  Financial appropriations by year

Reference: Article 17(4)(g)(i), Article 17(5)(a)(i)-(iv)

Table 7

Fund

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

Total

ERDF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IPA III CBC(28)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neighbourhood CBC(29)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IPA III(30)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NDICI(31)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCTP Greenland(32)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCTP(33)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interreg Funds(34)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.2  Total financial appropriations by fund and national co-financing

Reference: Article 17(4)(g)(ii), Article 17(5)(a)(i)-(iv), Article 17(5)(b)

Table 8*

PO No or TA

Priority

Fund

(as applicable)

Basis for calculation EU support (total or public)

EU contribution

(a)

National contribution

(b)=(c)+(d)

Indicative breakdown of the national counterpart

Total

(e)=(a)+(b)

Co-financing rate

(f)=(a)/(e)

Contributions from the third countries

(for information)

National public

(c)

National private

(d)

 

Priority 1

ERDF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IPA III CBC(35)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neighbourhood CBC(36)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IPA III(37)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NDICI(38)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCTP Greenland(39)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCTP(40)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interreg Funds(41)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Priority 2

(funds as above)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

All funds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ERDF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IPA III CBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neighbourhood CBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IPA III

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NDICI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCTP Greenland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCTP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interreg Funds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

All funds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Prior to the mid-term review, this table includes the amounts for the years 2021-2025 only.

4.  Action taken to involve the relevant programme partners in the preparation of the Interreg programme and the role of those programme partners in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation

Reference: Article 17(4)(h)

Text field [10 000]

5.  Approach to communication and visibility for the Interreg programme, including the planned budget

Reference: Article 17(4)(i)

Text field [10 000]

6.  Implementing provisions

6.1.  Programme authorities

Reference: Article 17(7)(a)

Table 10

Programme authorities

Name of the institution [255]

Contact name [200]

E-mail [200]

Managing authority

 

 

 

National authority (for programmes with participating third countries, if appropriate)

 

 

 

Audit authority

 

 

 

Group of auditors representatives (for programmes with participating third countries, if appropriate)

 

 

 

Body to which the payments are to be made by the Commission

 

 

 

6.2.  Procedure for setting up the joint secretariat

Reference: Article 17(7)(b)

Text field [3 500]

6.3  Apportionment of liabilities among participating Member States and where applicable, the third countries and OCTs, in the event of financial corrections imposed by the managing authority or the Commission

Reference: Article 17(7)(c)

Text field [10 500]

APPENDICES

—  Map of the programme area

—  Reimbursement of eligible expenditure from the Commission to the Member State based on unit costs, lump sums and flat rates

—  Financing not linked to cost

Appendix 1: Map of the programme area

Appendix 2: Reimbursement of eligible expenditure from the Commission to the Member State based on unit costs, lump sums and flat rates

Reimbursement of eligible expenditure from the Commission to the Member State based on unit costs, lump sums and flat rates

Template for submitting data for the consideration of the Commission

(Article 88 CPR)

Date of submitting the proposal

 

Current version

 

A.  Summary of the main elements

Priority

Fund

Estimated proportion of the total financial allocation within the priority to which the SCO will be applied in % (estimate)

Type(s) of operation

Corresponding indicator name(s)

Unit of measurement for the indicator

Type of SCO (standard scale of unit costs, lump sums or flat rates)

Corresponding standard scales of unit costs, lump sums or flat rates

 

 

 

Code

Description

Code

Description

 

 

 

B.  Details by type of operation (to be completed for every type of operation)

Did the Managing Authority receive support from an external company to set out the simplified costs below?

If so, please specify which external company: Yes/No – Name of external company

Types of operation:

1.1.  Description of the operation type

 

1.2  Priority /specific objective(s) concerned

 

1.3  Indicator name(42)

 

1.4  Unit of measurement for indicator

 

1.5  Standard scale of unit cost, lump sum or flat rate

 

1.6  Amount

 

1.7  Categories of costs covered by unit cost, lump sum or flat rate

 

1.8  Do these categories of costs cover all eligible expenditure for the operation? (Y/N)

 

1.9  Adjustment(s) method

 

1.10  Verification of the achievement of the unit of measurement

—  describe what document(s) will be used to verify the achievement of the unit of measurement

—  describe what will be checked during management verifications (including on-the-spot), and by whom

—  describe what the arrangements are to collect and store the data/documents

 

1.11  Possible perverse incentives or problems caused by this indicator, how they could be mitigated, and the estimated level of risk

 

1.12  Total amount (national and EU) expected to be reimbursed

 

C: Calculation of the standard scale of unit costs, lump sums or flat rates

1.   Source of data used to calculate the standard scale of unit costs, lump sums or flat rates (who produced, collected and recorded the data; where the data are stored; cut-off dates; validation, etc.):

2.   Please specify why the proposed method and calculation is relevant to the type of operation:

3.   Please specify how the calculations were made, in particular including any assumptions made in terms of quality or quantities. Where relevant, statistical evidence and benchmarks should be used and attached to this annex in a format that is usable by the Commission.

4.  Please explain how you have ensured that only eligible expenditure was included in the calculation of the standard scale of unit cost, lump sum or flat rate;

5.  Assessment of the audit authority(ies) of the calculation methodology and amounts and the arrangements to ensure the verification, quality, collection and storage of data:

Appendix 3: Financing not linked to costs

Template for submitting data for the consideration of the Commission

(Article 89 CPR)

Date of submitting the proposal

 

Current version

 

A.  Summary of the main elements

Priority

Fund

The amount covered by the financing not linked to costs

Type(s) of operation

Conditions to be fulfilled/results to be achieved

Corresponding indicator name(s)

Unit of measurement for the indicator

 

 

 

 

 

Code

Description

 

The overall amount covered

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B.  Details by type of operation (to be completed for every type of operation)

Types of operation:

1.1.  Description of the operation type

 

1.2  Priority /specific objective(s) concerned

 

1.3  Conditions to be fulfilled or results to be achieved

 

1.4  Deadline for fulfilment of conditions or results to be achieved

 

1.5  Indicator definition for deliverables

 

1.6  Unit of measurement for indicator for deliverables

 

1.7  Intermediate deliverables (if applicable) triggering reimbursement by the Commission with schedule for reimbursements

Intermediate deliverables

Date

Amounts

1.8  Total amount (including EU and national funding)

 

1.9  Adjustment(s) method

 

1.10  Verification of the achievement of the result or condition (and where relevant, the intermediate deliverables)

—  describe what document(s) will be used to verify the achievement of the result or condition

—  describe what will be checked during management verifications (including on-the-spot), and by whom

—  describe what arrangements there are to collect and store the data/documents

 

1.11  Arrangements to ensure the audit trail

Please list the body(ies) responsible for these arrangements.

 

(1) OJ C 440, 6.12.2018, p. 116.
(2) OJ C 86, 7.3.2019, p. 137.
(3) This position corresponds to the amendments adopted on 16 January 2019 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0021).
(4)OJ C 440, 6.12.2018, p. 116.
(5)OJ C 86, 7.3.2019, p. 137f.
(6) Position of the European Parliament of 26 March 2019.
(7)[Reference]
(8)[Reference]
(9)Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament 'Boosting growth and cohesion in EU border regions' - COM(2017)0534, 20.9.2017.
(10)Regulation (EC) No 1082/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on a European grouping of territorial cooperation (EGTC) (OJ L 210, 31.7.2006, p. 19).
(11)Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions 'Strengthening Innovation in Europe's Regions: Strategies for resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth' - COM(2017) 376 final, 18.7.2017.
(12)Regulation (EC) No 1059/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 on the establishment of a common classification of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) (OJ L 154, 21.6.2003, p. 1).
(13)Regulation (EU) XXX establishing the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (OJ L xx, p. y).
(14)Regulation (EU) XXX establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (OJ L xx, p. y).
(15)Council Decision (EU) XXX on the association of the Overseas Countries and Territories with the European Inion including relations between the European Union on the one hand and Greenland and the Kingdom of Denmark on the other (OJ L xx, p. y).
(16)Council decision 2010/427/EU of 26 July 2010 establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service (OJ L 201, 3.8.2010, p. 30).
(17)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 'A stronger and renewed strategic partnership with the EU's outermost regions', - COM(2017)0623, 24.10.2017.
(18)Opinion of the European Committee of the Regions ‘People-to-people and small-scale projects in cross-border cooperation programmes’ of 12 July 2017 (OJ C 342, 12.10.2017, p. 38).
(19)Opinion of the European Committee of the Regions ‘People-to-people and small-scale projects in cross-border cooperation programmes’ of 12 July 2017 (OJ C 342, 12.10.2017, p. 38).
(20)Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 481/2014 of 4 March 2014 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 1299/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to specific rules on eligibility of expenditure for cooperation programmes (OJ L 138, 13.5.2014, p. 45).
(21)[Reference]
(22)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).
(23)Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty (OJ L 187, 26.6.2014, p. 1).
(24)Guidelines on regional State aid for 2014-2020 (OJ C 209, 23.07.2013, p. 1).
(25)Directive 2011/92/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (OJ L 26, 28.1.2012, p. 1).
(26)Directive 2014/52/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2011/92/EU (OJ L 124, 25.4.2014, p. 1).
(27)Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems (OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p.1).
(28)Component 1, external cross-border cooperation
(29)Component 1, external cross-border cooperation
(30)Components 2 and 4
(31)Components 2 and 4
(32)Components 2 and 4
(33)Components 3 and 4
(34)ERDF, IPA III, NDICI or OCTP, where as single amount under Components 2 and 4
(35)Component 1, external cross-border cooperation
(36)Component 1, external cross-border cooperation
(37)Components 2 and 4
(38)Components 2 and 4
(39)Components 2 and 4
(40)Components 3 and 4
(41)ERDF, IPA III, NDICI or OCTP, whereas single amount under Components 2 and 4
(42) Several complementary indicators (for instance one output indicator and one result indicator) are possible for one type of operation. In these cases, fields 1.3 to 1.11 should be filled in for each indicator.


Fundamental rights of people of African descent
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European Parliament resolution of 26 March 2019 on fundamental rights of people of African descent in Europe (2018/2899(RSP))
P8_TA(2019)0239B8-0212/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and in particular the second and the fourth to seventh indents of the preamble, Article 2, the second subparagraph of Article 3(3) and Article 6 thereof,

–  having regard to Articles 10 and 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

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

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

–  having regard to Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(2),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law(3),

–  having regard to Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA(4),

–  having regard to the Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II) published in December 2017 by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and to the FRA’s report on experiences of racial discrimination and racist violence among people of African descent in the EU(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 March 2018 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2016(6),

–  having regard to the establishment in June 2016 of the EU High Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance,

–  having regard to the Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online agreed on 31 May 2016 between the Commission and leading IT companies, as well as with other platforms and social media companies,

–  having regard to General Recommendation No 34 of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination of 3 October 2011 on racial discrimination against people of African descent,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 68/237 of 23 December 2013 proclaiming 2015-2024 the International Decade for People of African Descent,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 69/16 of 18 November 2014 containing the programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent,

–  having regard to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action from the World Conference on Racism in 2001, recognising centuries of racism, discrimination and injustice faced by people of African descent,

–  having regard to the general policy recommendations of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI),

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers of 19 September 2001 on the European Code of Police Ethics(7),

–  having regard to the comment of the Council of Europe High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Human Rights of 25 July 2017 entitled ‘Afrophobia: Europe should confront this legacy of colonialism and the slave trade’,

–  having regard to Protocol No 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on non-discrimination,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on fundamental rights of people of African descent in Europe (O-000022/2019 – B8‑0016/2019),

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

A.  whereas the term ‘people of African descent’ may also be used with ‘Afro-European’, ‘African European’, ‘Black European’, ‘Afro-Caribbean’ or ‘Black-Caribbean’, and refers to people of African ancestry or descent who are born in, citizens of, or living in Europe;

B.  whereas the terms ‘Afrophobia’, ‘Afri-phobia’ and ‘anti-black racism’ refer to a specific form of racism, including any act of violence or discrimination, fuelled by historical abuses and negative stereotyping, and leading to the exclusion and dehumanisation of people of African descent; whereas this correlates to historically repressive structures of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade, as recognised by the Council of Europe’s High Commissioner for Human Rights;

C.  whereas there are an estimated 15 million people of African descent living in Europe(8), although equality data collection in EU Member States is neither systematic nor based on self-identification and often omits descendants of migrants or ‘third generation migrants’ and beyond;

D.  whereas the FRA has documented the fact that minorities in Europe with sub-Saharan African backgrounds are particularly likely to experience racism and discrimination in all areas of life(9);

E.  whereas according to the recent Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey conducted by the FRA(10), young respondents of African descent, aged between 16 and 24, experienced higher rates of hate-motivated harassment during the 12 months before the survey (32 %) than older respondents, and that cyber-harassment is highest towards young respondents and decreases with age;

F.  whereas histories of injustices against Africans and people of African descent, including enslavement, forced labour, racial apartheid, massacres, and genocides in the context of European colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade, remain largely unrecognised and unaccounted for at an institutional level in the Member States;

G.  whereas the persistence of discriminatory stereotypes in some traditions across Europe, including the use of blackfacing, perpetuates deeply rooted stereotypes about people of African descent which can exacerbate discrimination;

H.  whereas the important work of national equality bodies and of the European Network of Equality Bodies (Eqinet) should be welcomed and supported;

I.  whereas the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR) Annual Hate Crimes Report(11) has found that people of African descent are often targets of racist violence, yet in many countries there is a lack of legal assistance and financial support for victims recovering from violent attacks;

J.  whereas the primary responsibility for the rule of law and the fundamental rights of citizens lies with governments, and whereas the primary responsibility for monitoring and preventing violence, including Afrophobic violence, and prosecuting the perpetrators is therefore incumbent on governments;

K.  whereas only limited data is available on racial discrimination in the education system; whereas, however, evidence suggests that children of African descent in the Member States are awarded lower grades than their white peers in schools, and early school leaving is markedly higher among children of African descent(12);

L.  whereas adults and children of African descent are increasingly vulnerable when held in police custody, with numerous incidents of violence and deaths recorded; having regard to the routine use of racial profiling, discriminatory stop‑and‑search practices and surveillance in the context of abuse of power in law enforcement, crime prevention, counter-terrorism measures, or immigration control;

M.  whereas legal remedies for discrimination exist and strong and specific policies are needed to address the structural racism experienced by people of African descent in Europe, including in employment, education, health, criminal justice and political participation and in the impact of migration and asylum policies and practices;

N.  whereas people of African descent in Europe experience discrimination in the housing market and spatial segregation in low-income areas, with poor quality and cramped housing;

O.  whereas people of African descent have contributed significantly to building European society throughout history, and whereas large numbers of them face discrimination in the labour market;

P.  whereas people of African descent are disproportionally represented among the lower- income strata of the European population;

Q.  whereas people of African descent are overwhelmingly underrepresented in political and lawmaking institutions, at European, national and local levels in the European Union;

R.  whereas politicians of African descent are still facing ignominious attacks in public sphere at both national and European levels;

S.  whereas the racism and discrimination experienced by people of African descent is structural and often intersects with other forms of discrimination and oppression on the basis of sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation;

T.  whereas a rise in Afrophobic attacks in Europe has recently been directly targeted against third-country nationals, particularly refugees and migrants;

1.  Calls on the Member States and the EU institutions to recognise that people of African descent are subjected to racism, discrimination and xenophobia in particular, and to the unequal enjoyment of human and fundamental rights in general, amounting to structural racism, and that they are entitled to protection from these inequities both as individuals and as a group, including positive measures for the promotion and the full and equal enjoyment of their rights;

2.  Considers that active and meaningful social, economic, political and cultural participation by people of African descent is key to tackling the phenomenon of Afrophobia and ensuring their inclusion in Europe;

3.  Calls on the Commission to develop an EU framework for national strategies for the social inclusion and integration of people of African descent;

4.  Condemns strongly any physical or verbal attacks targeting people of African descent in both public and private spheres;

5.  Encourages the EU institutions and the Member States to officially acknowledge and mark the histories of people of African descent in Europe, including of past and ongoing injustices and crimes against humanity, such as slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, or those committed under European colonialism, as well as the vast achievements and positive contributions of people of African descent, through both the official recognition at EU and national level of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and through establishing Black History Months;

6.  Encourages the Member States and the European institutions to formally mark both the UN International Decade for People of African Descent and to take effective measures for the implementation of the programme of activities in a spirit of recognition, justice and development;

7.  Recalls that some Member States have taken steps toward meaningful and effective redress for past injustices and crimes against humanity ­- bearing in mind their lasting impacts in the present - against people of African descent;

8.  Calls for the EU institutions and the remainder of the Member States to follow this example, which may include some form of reparations such as offering public apologies and the restitution of stolen artefacts to their countries of origin;

9.  Calls on the Member States to declassify their colonial archives;

10.  Calls for the EU institutions and the Member States to make efforts to systematically fight ethnic discrimination and hate crime and, along with other key stakeholders, to develop effective, evidence-based legal and policy responses to these phenomena; considers that if data on ethnic discrimination and hate crime were to be collected, it should be for the sole purpose of identifying the roots of and combating xenophobic and discriminatory discourse and acts, in accordance with the relevant national legal frameworks and EU data protection legislation;

11.  Calls on the Member States to develop national anti-racism strategies that address the comparative situation of people of African descent in areas such as education, housing, health, employment, policing, social services, the justice system and political participation and representation, and to encourage the participation of people of African descent in television programmes and other media, in order to adequately address their lack of representation, as well as the lack of role models for children of African descent;

12.  Stresses the important role of civil society organisations in combating racism and discrimination, and calls for an increase in financial support at European, national and local level for grassroots organisations;

13.  Calls for the Commission to include a focus on people of African descent in its current funding programmes and for the next multiannual period;

14.  Calls on the Commission to set up a dedicated team within the relevant services, with a specific focus on Afrophobia issues;

15.  Insists that Member States implement and properly enforce the Council Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law, in particular the inclusion of bias motivations for crimes based on race, national or ethnic origin as an aggravating factor to ensure that hate crimes against people of African descent are recorded, investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned;

16.  Calls on the Member States to effectively respond to hate crime, including the investigation of bias motivation for crimes based on race, national or ethnic origin, and to ensure that hate crimes against people of African descent are recorded, investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned;

17.  Calls on the Member States to end racial or ethnic profiling in all forms in criminal law enforcement, counter-terrorism measures and immigration controls, and to officially recognise and combat practices of unlawful discrimination and violence through anti-racism and anti-bias training for the authorities;

18.  Calls on the Member States to denounce and discourage racist and Afrophobic traditions;

19.  Calls on the Member States to monitor racial bias in their criminal justice and education systems and in their social services, and to take proactive steps to ensure equal justice and improve relations between the law enforcement authorities and minority communities, to ensure equal education and improve relations between the education authorities and minority communities, and to ensure equal social services and improve relations between the social service authorities and minority communities, in particular Black communities and people of African descent;

20.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that adults and children of African descent have equal access to quality education and care free from discrimination and segregation, and to provide adequate learning support measures when necessary; encourages the Member States to make the history of people of African descent part of their curricula and to present a comprehensive perspective on colonialism and slavery which recognises their historical and contemporary adverse effects on people of African descent, and to ensure that teachers are adequately trained for this task and properly equipped to address diversity in the classroom;

21.  Calls for the EU institutions and the Member States to promote and support employment, entrepreneurship and economic empowerment initiatives for people of African descent to address the above‑average unemployment rates and labour market discrimination that they face;

22.  Calls on the Member States to address discrimination against people of African descent in the housing market and take concrete steps to address inequalities in access to housing, as well as ensuring adequate housing;

23.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure – taking into account existing legislation and practices – safe and legal avenues for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to enter the EU;

24.  Calls on the Commission and the European External Action Service to effectively ensure that no EU funds are being made available, or any support or collaboration given to organisations or groups engaged in or connected to enslavement, trafficking and torture or to extortion directed at Black and African migrants;

25.  Calls for the European institutions to adopt a workforce diversity and inclusion strategy that establishes a strategic plan for the participation of ethnic and racial minorities in their workforce that complements existing efforts to this end;

26.  Calls on European parties and political foundations, as well as parliaments at all levels in the EU, to support and develop initiatives encouraging the political participation of people of African descent;

27.  Calls on the Commission to closely liaise with international actors such as the OSCE, the UN, the African Union and the Council of Europe, as well as other international partners, in order to combat Afrophobia at international level;

28.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the parliaments and governments of the Member States and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(2) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(3) OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 55.
(4) OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, p. 57.
(5) ‘Being Black in Europe’, November 2018, report outlining selected results from EU-MIDIS II.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0056.
(7) https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectID=09000016805e297e
(8) See European Network Against Racism, Afrophobia in Europe – ENAR Shadow Report 2014-15, 2015, available at: http://www.enar-eu.org/IMG/pdf/shadowreport_afrophobia_final_with_corrections.pdf
(9) See Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II) (2017) at: http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2017/eumidis-ii-main-results
(10) Ibid.
(11) See latest published in 2016: http://hatecrime.osce.org/2016-data
(12) FRA opinion 11.


Report on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance
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European Parliament resolution of 26 March 2019 on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (2018/2121(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0240A8-0170/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 4 and 13 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Articles 107, 108, 113, 115 and 116 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to its decision of 1 March 2018 on setting up a special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3), and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office(1),

–  having regard to its TAXE committee resolution of 25 November 2015(2) and its TAX2 committee resolution of 6 July 2016(3) on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2015 with recommendations to the Commission on bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies in the Union(4),

–  having regard to the results of the Committee of Inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion, which were submitted to the Council and the Commission on 13 December 2017(5),

–  having regard to the Commission’s follow-up to each of the above‑mentioned Parliament resolutions,(6)

–  having regard to the numerous revelations by investigative journalists, such as the LuxLeaks, the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers and, more recently, the cum‑ex scandals, as well as the money laundering cases involving, in particular, banks in Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom,

–  having regard to its resolution of 29 November 2018 on the cum-ex scandal: financial crime and loopholes in the current legal framework(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 April 2018 on protection of investigative journalists in Europe: the case of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová(8),

–  having regard to the studies prepared by the European Parliamentary Research Service on ‘Citizenship by investment (CBI) and residency by investment (RBI) schemes in the EU: state of play, issues and impacts’, ‘Money laundering and tax evasion risks in free ports and customs warehouses’ and ‘An overview of shell companies in the European Union’(9),

–  having regard to the study on ‘VAT fraud: economic impact, challenges and policy issues’(10), the study on ‘Cryptocurrencies and blockchain – Legal context and implications for financial crime, money laundering and tax evasion’ and the study on the ‘Impact of Digitalisation on International Tax Matters’(11),

–  having regard to the Commission studies on ‘aggressive tax planning indicators’(12),

–  having regard to the evidence collected by the TAX3 committee in its 34 hearings with experts or exchanges of views with Commissioners and Ministers and during the missions to Washington, Riga, the Isle of Man, Estonia and Denmark,

–  having regard to the modernised and more robust corporate tax framework introduced during this legislative term, notably the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directives (ATAD I(13) and ATAD II(14)) and the reviews of the Directive on Administrative Cooperation in taxation (DAC)(15),

–  having regard to the Commission proposals pending for adoption, in particular on the CC(C)TB(16), the digital taxation package(17) and public country-by-country reporting (CBCR)(18), as well as Parliament’s position on these proposals,

–  having regard to the resolution of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of 1 December 1997 on a Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation (CoC Group), and to this Group’s regular reports to the ECOFIN Council,

–  having regard to the Council list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes adopted on 5 December 2017 and amended on the basis of the ongoing monitoring of third country commitments,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 21 March 2018 on new requirements against tax avoidance in EU legislation governing in particular financing and investment operations (C(2018)1756),

–  having regard to the ongoing modernisation of the VAT framework, in particular the VAT definitive regime,

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 November 2016 on towards a definitive VAT system and fighting VAT fraud(19),

–  having regard to the recently adopted new EU anti-money laundering framework, in particular after the adoption of the fourth (AMLD4)(20) and fifth (AMLD5)(21) reviews of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive,

–  having regard to the infringement procedures initiated by the Commission against 28 Member States for having failed to properly transpose AMLD4 into national law,

–  having regard to the Commission Action Plan of 2 February 2016 on strengthening the fight against terrorist financing (COM(2016)0050)(22),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 12 September 2018 on strengthening the Union framework for prudential and anti-money laundering supervision (COM(2018)0645),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2019 on the urgency for an EU blacklist of third countries in line with the Anti-Money Laundering Directive(23),

–  having regard to the Platform of the Financial Intelligence Units of the European Union (EU FIUs’ Platform) mapping exercise and gap analysis of 15 December 2016 on EU FIUs’ powers and obstacles in obtaining and exchanging information, and to the Commission Staff Working Document of 26 June 2017 on improving cooperation between EU Financial Intelligence units (SWD(2017)0275),

–  having regard to the Recommendation of the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the Commission of 11 July 2018 to the Maltese Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) on action necessary to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Terrorism Financing Directive,

–  having regard to the letter of 7 December 2018 sent by the TAX3 Committee Chair to the Permanent Representative of Malta to the EU, HE Daniel Azzopardi, seeking explanations about the company ‘17 Black’,

–  having regard to the state aid investigations and decisions of the Commission(24),

–  having regard to the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2018 on protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law (COM(2018)0218),

–  having regard to the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community;

–  having regard to the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom;

–  having regard to the outcomes of the various G7, G8 and G20 summits held on international tax issues,

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

–  having regard to the report by the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, jointly commissioned by the African Union Commission(AUC)/UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 28 January 2016 on an External Strategy for Effective Taxation (COM(2016)0024), in which the Commission also called for the EU to ‘lead by example’,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 8 July 2015 on tax avoidance and tax evasion as challenges for governance, social protection and development in developing countries(25), and of 15 January 2019 on gender equality and taxation policies in the EU(26),

–  having regard to the obligation under Article 8(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to observe privacy laws at all times,

–  having regard to the Commission report of 23 January 2019 on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the European Union (COM(2019)0012),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 15 January 2019 entitled ‘Towards a more efficient and democratic decision making in EU tax policy’ (COM(2019)0008),

–  having regard to the European Economic and Social Committee opinion of 18 October 2017 entitled ‘EU development partnerships and the challenge posed by international tax agreements’,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Special Committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (A8-0170/2019),

1.General introduction setting the scene

1.1.Changes

1.  Asserts that existing tax rules are often unable to keep up with the increasing speed of the economy; recalls that current international and national tax rules were mostly conceived in the early 20th century; asserts that there is an urgent and continuous need for reform of the rules, so that international, EU and national tax systems are fit for the new economic, social and technological challenges of the 21st century; notes the broad understanding that current tax systems and accounting methods are not equipped to keep up with these developments and ensure that all market participants pay their fair share of taxes;

2.  Highlights that the European Parliament has made a substantial contribution to the fight against financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance as uncovered inter alia in the LuxLeaks, Panama Papers, Paradise Papers, Football Leaks, Bahamas Leaks, and cum‑ex cases, notably with the work of the TAXE, TAX2(27) and TAX3 special committees, the PANA inquiry committee and the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON);

3.  Welcomes the fact that during its current term the Commission has put forward 26 legislative proposals aimed at closing some of the loopholes, improving the fight against financial crimes and aggressive tax planning, and enhancing tax collection efficiency and tax fairness; deeply regrets the lack of progress in the Council on major initiatives in relation to corporate tax reform that have not yet been finalised due to the lack of genuine political will; calls for the swift adoption of the EU initiatives that have not yet been finalised and for careful monitoring of the implementation to ensure efficiency and proper enforcement, in order to keep pace with the versatility of tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning;

4.  Recalls that a tax jurisdiction has control only over tax matters related to its territory, whereas economic flows and some taxpayers such as multinational enterprises (MNEs) and high net worth individuals (HNWIs) operate globally;

5.  Emphasises that defining tax bases requires being in possession of a full picture of a taxpayer’s situation, including the components that are outside of the given tax jurisdiction, and determining which component refers to which jurisdiction; notes that it also requires that such tax bases are allocated between tax jurisdictions to avoid double-taxation and double non-taxation; affirms that priority should be given to eliminating double non-taxation, as well as ensuring that the issue of double taxation is tackled;

6.  Considers that efforts need to be made by all EU institutions, as well as Member States, to explain to citizens the work being done in the field of taxation and the actions taken to remedy existing problems and loopholes; considers that the EU needs to adopt a broad strategy whereby the EU supports, with relevant policies, Member States in moving from their current detrimental tax systems to a tax system compatible with the EU’s legal framework and the spirit of the EU Treaties;

7.  Notes that economic flows(28) and opportunities to change tax residence have substantially increased; warns that some new phenomena(29) are inherently opaque or facilitate opaqueness, allowing for tax fraud, tax evasion, aggressive tax planning, and money laundering;

8.   Deplores the fact that some Member States confiscate the tax base of other Member States by attracting profits generated elsewhere, thereby allowing companies to artificially lower their tax base; points out that this practice not only harms the principle of EU solidarity, but also gives rise to a redistribution of wealth towards MNEs and their shareholders at the expense of EU citizens; supports the important work by academics and journalists who are helping to shed light on these practices;

1.2.Purpose of taxation and the impact of tax fraud, tax evasion, harmful tax practices and money laundering on European societies

9.  Considers that fair taxation and the determined fight against tax fraud, tax evasion, aggressive tax planning and money laundering have a central role to play in shaping a fair society and a strong economy while defending the social contract and the rule of law; notes that a fair and efficient taxation system is key to addressing inequality, not only by financing public spending to support social mobility, but also by reducing income inequalities; highlights that tax policy can have a major influence on employment decisions, investment levels and the willingness of companies to expand;

10.  Underlines that the most urgent priority is to reduce the tax gap resulting from tax fraud, tax evasion, aggressive tax planning and money laundering and their impact on national and EU budgets to ensure a level playing field and tax fairness between and among all taxpayers, to fight the rise in inequality and to strengthen trust in democratic policymaking by ensuring that fraudsters do not have a competitive tax advantage over honest taxpayers;

11.  Stresses that joint efforts at EU and national level are crucial to defend the EU and national budgets from losses due to unpaid taxes; notes that only with fully and efficiently collected tax revenues, can states provide for, among other things, quality public services, including affordable education, healthcare and housing, security, crime control and emergency response, social security and care, enforcement of occupational and environmental standards, the fight against climate change, promotion of gender equality, public transport, and essential infrastructure in order to foster and, if necessary, to stabilise socially balanced development, to move towards the Sustainable Development Goals;

12.  Considers that recent developments in taxation and tax collection, which have shifted the tax incidence from wealth to income, from capital income to labour income and consumption, from MNEs to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and from the financial sector to the real economy, has had a disproportionate impact on women and low-income people, who typically rely more on labour income and spend a higher proportion of their income on consumption(30); notes that higher rates of tax evasion exist among the wealthiest(31); calls on the Commission to consider the impact on social development, including gender equality and the other aforementioned policies, in its legislative proposals in the areas of tax and anti-money laundering;

1.3.Risk and benefits linked to cash transactions

13.  Stresses that cash transactions remain a very high risk in terms of money laundering and tax evasion, including VAT fraud, despite its benefits, such as accessibility and speed; notes that a number of Member States already have restrictions on cash payments in place; also notes that while rules on cash controls at the EU external borders have been harmonised, rules among Member states concerning cash movements within the EU’s borders vary;

14.  Notes that fragmentation and the divergent nature of these measures have the potential to disrupt the proper functioning of the internal market; calls on the Commission, therefore, to prepare a proposal on European restrictions on payments in cash, while maintaining cash as a means of payment; notes, furthermore, that high-denomination euro notes present a higher risk in terms of money laundering; welcomes the fact that the European Central Bank (ECB) announced in 2016 that it would no longer issue new EUR 500 notes (even though the outstanding stock remains legal tender); calls on the ECB to draw up a timetable to phase out the ability to use EUR 500 notes;

1.4.Quantitative assessment

15.  Stresses that tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning result in lost resources for national and European Union budgets(32); acknowledges that quantification of these losses is not straightforward; notes, however, that increased transparency requirements would not only provide better data, but also would contribute to reducing opaqueness;

16.  Notes that several assessments have attempted to quantify the magnitude of losses from tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning; recalls that none of these provide a large enough picture on their own due to the nature of the data or the lack thereof; notes that some of the recent assessments supplement each other, based on different but complementary methodologies;

17.  Notes that, to date, while the Commission performs a VAT tax gap estimate for the EU, only fifteen Member States prepare their own national tax gap estimates; calls on each Member State, under the guidance of the Commission, to prepare a comprehensive tax gap estimate, not limited to VAT and including an assessment of the cost of all tax incentives;

18.  Deplores, once again, ‘the lack of reliable and unbiased statistics on the magnitude of tax avoidance and tax evasion’ and stresses ‘the importance of developing appropriate and transparent methodologies to quantify the scale of these phenomena, as well as their impact on countries’ public finances, economic activities and public investments’(33); points out the importance of the political and financial independence of statistical institutes to ensure the reliability of statistical data; calls for technical assistance to be requested from Eurostat for the collection of comprehensive and accurate statistics, so that they are provided in a comparable, easily coordinated digital format;

19.  Recalls in particular the empirical assessment of the magnitude of annual revenue losses caused by aggressive corporate tax planning in the EU which was drawn up in 2015; notes that the assessment ranges from EUR 50-70 billion (sum lost to profit-shifting only, equivalent to at least 17 % of corporate income tax (CIT) revenue in 2013 and 0,4 % of GDP) to EUR 160-190 billion (adding individualised tax arrangements of major MNEs and inefficiencies in collection);

20.  Calls on the Council and Member States to prioritise projects, notably with the support of the Fiscalis programme, aimed at quantifying the magnitude of tax avoidance in order to better address the current tax gap; stresses that the European Parliament has adopted(34) an increase in the Fiscalis programme; urges Member States, under the coordination of the Commission, to estimate their tax gaps and publish the results annually;

21.  Notes that the IMF working paper(35) estimates worldwide losses due to base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and relating to tax havens to be approximately USD 600 billion per year; notes that the IMF long-run approximate estimates are USD 400 billion for OECD countries (1 % of their GDP) and USD 200 billion for developing countries (1,3 % of their GDP);

22.  Welcomes the recent estimates of the non-observed economy (NOE) – often called the shadow economy – in the 2017 Survey of Tax Policies in the European Union(36), which provides a broader indication of tax evasion; stresses that the value of the NOE measures economic activities which may not be captured in the basic data sources used for compiling national accounts;

23.  Highlights that close to 40 % of MNEs’ profits are shifted to tax havens globally each year with some European Union countries appearing to be the prime losers of profit shifting, as 35 % of shifted profits come from EU countries, followed by developing countries (30 %)(37); points out that about 80 % of the profits shifted from many EU Member States are channelled to or through a few other EU Member States; points out that MNEs can pay up to 30 % less tax than domestic competitors, and that aggressive tax planning distorts competition for domestic firms, in particular SMEs;

24.  Notes that the latest estimates of tax evasion within the EU point to a figure of approximately EUR 825 billion per year(38);

25.  Notes that the MNEs heard by the TAX3 committee produce their own estimates of Effective Tax Rates (ETR)(39); points out that these estimates are questioned by some experts;

26.  Calls for statistics to be collected on large transactions at free ports, customs warehouses and special economic zones, as well as disclosures made by intermediaries and whistle-blowers;

1.5. Tax fraud, tax evasion, tax avoidance and aggressive tax planning (ATP)

27.  Recalls that the fight against tax evasion and fraud tackles illegal acts, whereas the fight against tax avoidance addresses situations that exploit loopholes in the law or are a priori within the limits of the law – unless deemed illegal by the tax or, ultimately, the judicial authorities – but against its spirit; calls, therefore, for simplification of the tax framework;

28.  Recalls that improving tax collection in EU countries is likely to reduce crime associated with tax evasion and the money laundering that follows it;

29.  Recalls that ATP describes the setting of a tax design aimed at reducing tax liability by using the technicalities of a tax system or arbitrating between two or more tax systems that go against the spirit of the law;

30.  Welcomes the Commission’s reply to the calls made in its TAXE, TAX2 and PANA resolutions to better identify ATP and harmful tax practices;

31.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to propose and adopt a comprehensive and specific definition of ATP indicators, building on both the hallmarks identified in the fifth review of the Directive on administrative cooperation (DAC6)(40) and the Commission’s relevant studies and recommendations(41); stresses that these clear indicators may be based, where necessary, on internationally agreed standards; calls on Member States to use these indicators as a basis to repeal all harmful tax practices deriving from existing tax loopholes; calls on the Commission and the Council to regularly update these indicators if new ATP arrangements or practices emerge;

32.  Stresses the similarity between corporate taxpayers and HNWIs in the use of corporate structures and similar structures such as trusts and offshore locations for the purpose of ATP; points out the role of intermediaries(42) in setting up such schemes; recalls, in this context, that most of the HNWIs’ income arrives in the form of capital gains rather than earnings;

33.  Welcomes the Commission’s assessment and inclusion of ATP indicators in its 2018 European Semester country reports; calls for such an assessment to become a regular feature in order to ensure a level playing field in the EU internal market, as well as the greater stability of public revenue in the long run; invites the Commission to ensure clear follow-up to end ATP practices, if appropriate in the form of formal recommendations;

34.  Reiterates its call on companies, as taxpayers, to fully comply with their tax obligations and refrain from ATP leading to BEPS, and to consider fair taxation strategy, as well as abstaining from harmful tax practices, as an important part of their corporate social responsibility, taking into account the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in order to secure taxpayers’ trust in tax frameworks;

35.  Urges Member States taking part in the enhanced cooperation procedure to agree as quickly as possible on the adoption of a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), while acknowledging that a global solution would be the most appropriate;

2.Corporate taxation

36.  Recalls that opportunities for choosing a business or residence location on the basis of the regulatory framework have increased with globalisation and digitalisation;

37.  Recalls that taxes must be paid in the jurisdictions where the actual substantive and genuine economic activity and value creation take place or, in the case of indirect taxation, where consumption takes place; highlights that this can be achieved by adopting the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) in the EU with an appropriate and fair distribution, incorporating among other things all tangible assets;

38.  Notes that an exit tax was adopted by the EU in ATAD I, allowing Member States to tax the economic value of capital gain created on its territory even when that gain has not yet been realised at the time of exit; considers that the principle of taxing profits made in Member States before they leave the Union should be strengthened, for example through coordinated withholding taxes on interests and royalties, so as to close existing loopholes and avoid profits leaving the EU untaxed; calls on the Council to resume negotiations on the interest and royalties proposal(43); notes that tax treaties often reduce the withholding tax rate with a view to avoiding double taxation(44);

39.  Reaffirms that the adaptation of international tax rules needs to respond to avoidance deriving from the possible exploitation of the interplay between national tax provisions, and networks of tax treaties, resulting in an erosion of the tax base and double non-taxation while ensuring that there is no double-taxation;

2.1.BEPS action plan and its implementation in the EU: ATAD

40.  Acknowledges that the G20/OECD-led BEPS project was meant to tackle in a coordinated manner the causes and circumstances creating BEPS practices, by improving the coherence of tax rules across borders, reinforcing substance requirements and enhancing transparency and certainty; states, however, that the degree of willingness and commitment to cooperate on the OECD BEPS action plan varies among countries and the particular actions concerned;

41.  Notes that the G20/OECD 15-point BEPS action plan, intended to tackle in a coordinated manner the causes and circumstances creating BEPS practices, is being implemented and monitored and further discussions are taking place, in a broader context than just the initial participating countries, through the Inclusive Framework; calls, therefore, on Member States to support a reform of both the mandate and the functioning of the Inclusive Framework to ensure that remaining tax loopholes and unsolved tax questions are covered by the current international framework; welcomes the initiative of the Inclusive Framework to discuss and find a global consensus on a better allocation of taxing rights among countries;

42.  Takes note of the fact that the actions require implementation; takes note of the policy note(45) of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS, which aims to devise possible solutions to the identified challenges relating to the taxation of the digital economy;

43.  Points out that some countries have recently adopted unilateral countermeasures against harmful tax practices (such as the UK’s Diverted Profits Tax and the Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income (GILTI) provisions of the US tax reform) to ensure that the foreign income of MNEs is duly taxed at a minimum effective tax rate in the parent’s country of residence; calls for an EU assessment of these measures; notes that, in contrast to these unilateral measures, the EU generally promotes multilateral and consensual solutions to deal with a fair allocation of taxing rights; stresses that, for example, the EU prioritises a global solution for taxing the digital sector, but is nevertheless proposing an EU Digital Services Tax (DST) as global discussions have been progressing slowly;

44.  Recalls that the 2016 EU ‘anti-tax-avoidance package’ supplements existing provisions so as to implement the 15 BEPS actions in a coordinated manner across the EU in the single market;

45.  Welcomes the adoption by the EU of ATAD I and ATAD II; notes that these directives provide fairer taxation by establishing a minimum level of protection against corporate tax avoidance throughout the EU and ensuring a fairer and more stable environment for businesses, from both demand and supply perspectives; welcomes the provisions on hybrid mismatches to prevent double non-taxation in order to eliminate existing mismatches and refrain from creating further mismatches, between Member States and with third countries;

46.  Welcomes the provisions on Controlled Foreign Corporation (CFC) included in ATAD I to ensure that profits made by related companies parked in low or no-tax countries are effectively taxed; acknowledges that they prevent the absence or diversity of national CFC rules within the Union from distorting the functioning of the internal market beyond situations of wholly artificial arrangements as called for repeatedly by Parliament; deplores the coexistence of two approaches to implement CFC rules in ATAD I and calls on Member States to implement only the simpler and most efficient CFC rules as in ATAD I Article 7(2)(a);

47.  Welcomes the general anti-abuse rule for the purposes of calculating corporate tax liability included in ATAD I, allowing Member States to ignore arrangements that are not genuine and having regard to all relevant facts and circumstances aimed solely at obtaining a tax advantage; reiterates its repeated call for the adoption of a general and common, stringent anti-abuse rule, namely in existing legislation and in particular in the parent-subsidiary directive, the merger directive and the interest and royalties directive;

48.  Reiterates its call for a clear definition of permanent establishment and significant economic presence so that companies cannot artificially avoid having a taxable presence in a Member State in which they have economic activity;

49.  Calls for the finalisation of the work being done within the EU Joint Transfer Pricing Forum (JTPF) on the development of good practices and monitoring of Member States’ implementation by the Commission;

50.  Recalls its concerns relating to the use of transfer prices in ATP and consequently recalls the need for adequate action and improvement of the transfer pricing framework to address the issue; stresses the need to ensure that they reflect the economic reality, provide certainty, clarity and fairness for Member States and for companies operating within the Union, and reduce the risk of misuse of the rules for profit-shifting purposes, taking into account the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administration 2010(46); notes, however, that, as has been highlighted by experts and publications, the use of the ‘independent entity concept’ or ‘arm’s length principle’ constitutes one of the main factors enabling harmful tax practices(47);

51.  Emphasises that the EU actions aimed at addressing BEPS and ATP have equipped tax authorities with an updated toolbox to ensure fair tax collection while maintaining the competitiveness of EU businesses; stresses that tax authorities should be responsible for making effective use of the tools without imposing an additional burden on responsible taxpayers, particularly SMEs;

52.  Recognises that the new flow of information to tax authorities following the adoption of ATAD I and DAC4 creates the need for adequate resources to ensure the most efficient use of such information and to effectively reduce the current tax gap; calls on all Member States to make sure that the tools used by the authorities are sufficient and adequate to use this information and to combine and cross-check information from different sources and data sets;

2.2.Strengthening EU actions to fight against ATP and supplementing BEPS action plan

2.2.1.Scrutinising Member States’ tax systems and overall tax environment – ATP within the EU (European Semester)

53.  Welcomes the fact that Member States’ tax systems and overall tax environment have become part of the European Semester in line with Parliament’s call to that effect(48); welcomes the studies and data drawn up by the Commission(49) that allow situations that provide economic ATP indicators to be better addressed, and give a clear indication of the exposure to tax planning as well as furnishing a rich data base for all Member States on the phenomenon; points out that Member States, in the spirit of loyal cooperation, must not facilitate the creation of ATP schemes incompatible with the EU legal framework and the spirit of the EU Treaties;

54.  Calls for these new tax indicators for the European Semester to be given the same status as the indicators relating to expenditure control; underlines the benefit of providing the European Semester with this tax dimension, as it will make it possible to tackle certain harmful tax practices that had not thus far been tackled through the ATAD Directive and other existing European regulations;

55.  Welcomes the fact that DAC6 sets out the hallmarks of reportable cross-border arrangements that intermediaries must report to tax authorities to allow them to be assessed by the latter; welcomes the fact that these features of ATP schemes can be updated if new arrangements or practices emerge; points out that the deadline for the implementation of the directive has not yet elapsed and that the provisions will need to be monitored to ensure their efficiency;

56.  Calls on the CoC Group to report yearly to the Council and Parliament on the main arrangements reported in Member States to allow decision makers to keep up with the new tax schemes which are being elaborated, and to take the necessary countermeasures that might potentially be needed;

57.  Calls for both the EU institutions and the Member States to ensure that public procurement contracts do not facilitate tax avoidance by suppliers; points out that Member States should monitor and ensure that companies or other legal entities involved in tenders and procurement contracts do not participate in tax fraud, tax evasion and ATP; calls on the Commission to clarify existing procurement practice under the EU Procurement Directive, and if necessary, propose an update of the directive that does not prohibit the application of tax‑related considerations as criteria for exclusion or even as selection criteria in public procurement;

58.  Calls on the Commission to publish a proposal that would oblige the Member States to ensure that economic operators participating in public procurement procedures comply with a minimum level of transparency regarding tax, in particular public country-by-country reporting and transparent ownership structures;

59.  Calls on the Commission to issue as soon as possible a proposal aimed at repealing patent boxes, and calls on Member States to favour non-harmful and, if appropriate, direct support for R&D on their territory; stresses that tax reliefs for companies need to be carefully constructed and implemented only where there is a positive impact on jobs and growth and any risk of creating new loopholes in the taxation system is excluded;

60.  Reiterates, in the meantime, its call to ensure that current patent boxes establish a genuine link to economic activity, such as expenditure tests, and that they do not distort competition; notes the growing role of intangible assets in the MNE value chain; notes the improved definition of R&D costs in the common corporate tax base (CCTB) proposal; upholds Parliament’s position on tax credit for genuine R&D expenses instead of R&D deduction;

2.2.2.Better cooperation in the area of taxation, including the CCCTB

61.  Stresses that taxation policy in the European Union should focus both on fighting tax avoidance and ATP and on facilitating cross-border economic activity through cooperation between tax authorities and smart tax policy design;

62.  Underlines that there is a multitude of tax-related obstacles that hamper cross-border economic activity; notes, in this regard, its resolution of 25 October 2012 on the 20 main concerns of European citizens and business with the functioning of the Single Market(50); urges the Commission to adopt an action plan addressing these obstacles as a matter of priority;

63.  Welcomes the re-launch of the CCCTB project with the Commission’s adoption of interconnected proposals on CCTB and CCCTB; stresses that once implemented fully, the CCCTB will eliminate loopholes between national tax systems, in particular transfer pricing;

64.  Calls on the Council to swiftly adopt and implement the two proposals simultaneously taking into consideration Parliament’s opinion that already includes the concept of virtual permanent establishment and apportionment formulas that would close the remaining loopholes allowing tax avoidance to take place and level the playing field in light of digitalisation; regrets the continued refusal of certain Member States to find a solution, and calls on the Member States to bridge their diverging positions;

65.  Recalls that the application of the C(C)CTB should be accompanied by the implementation of common accounting rules and appropriate harmonisation of administrative practices;

66.  Recalls that in order to end the practice of profit shifting and introduce the principle that tax is paid where profit is generated, the CCTB and CCCTB should be introduced simultaneously in all Member States; calls on the Commission to issue a new proposal based on Article 116 of the TFEU, whereby the European Parliament and the Council act in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure to issue the necessary legislation, should the Council fail to adopt a unanimous decision on the proposal to establish a CCCTB;

2.2.3.Corporate digital taxation

67.  Notes that the phenomenon of digitalisation has created a new situation in the market, whereby digital and digitalised companies are able to take advantage of local markets without having a physical, and therefore taxable, presence in that market, creating a non‑level playing field and putting traditional companies at a disadvantage; notes that digital businesses models in the EU face a lower effective average tax burden than traditional business models(51);

68.  Points out, in this context, the gradual shift from tangible production to intangible assets in the value chains of MNEs, as reflected in the relative rates of growth over the last five years of royalties and licensing fee receipts (almost 5 %annually) compared with trade in goods and foreign direct investment (FDI) (less than 1 % annually)(52); deplores the fact that digital businesses pay almost no taxes in some Member States despite their significant digital presence and large revenues in those Member States;

69.  Believes that the EU should allow for an attractive business environment in order to achieve a smoothly functioning digital single market while ensuring fair taxation of the digital economy; recalls that, when it comes to the digitalisation of the economy as a whole, the location of the value creation should take users’ input into account, as well as information collected on consumers’ behaviour online;

70.  Underlines that a lack of a common Union approach to addressing the taxation of the digital economy will lead – and indeed already has led – Member States to adopt unilateral solutions, which will lead to regulatory arbitrage and the fracturing of the single market, and might become a burden for companies operating on a cross-border basis, as well as for tax authorities;

71.  Notes the leading role played by the Commission and some Member States in the global debate on the taxation of the digitalised economy; encourages the Member States to continue their proactive work at OECD and UN level, especially via the process introduced by the Inclusive Framework on BEPS in its Policy Note(53); recalls, however, that the EU should not wait for a global solution and must act immediately;

72.  Welcomes the digital tax package adopted by the Commission on 21 March 2018; regrets, however, that Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Sweden maintained their reservations or their fundamental opposition to the DST package during the ECOFIN meeting on 12 March 2019(54);

73.  Emphasises that the agreement on what constitutes digital permanent establishment, the only one to have been reached hitherto, is a step in the right direction, but does not resolve the issue of tax base allocation;

74.  Calls on the Member States willing to consider the introduction of a digital tax to do so within the framework of enhanced cooperation in order to avoid further fragmentation of the single market, as is already happening with individual Member States considering the introduction of national solutions;

75.  Understands that the so‑called interim solution is not optimal; believes that it will help speed up the search for a better solution at global level, while levelling the playing field in local markets to some extent; calls on the EU Member States to discuss, adopt and implement the long-term solution concerning the taxation of the digital economy (on significant digital presence) as soon as possible in order for the EU to remain a trendsetter at global level; stresses that the long-term solution proposed by the Commission should serve as a basis for further work at international level;

76.  Notes the strong demand for the DST by the EU citizens; recalls that surveys show that 80 % of citizens from Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark are supportive of a DST, and think that the EU should pioneer international efforts; underlines, furthermore, that a majority of the surveyed citizens would like a broad scope for a DST(55);

77.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that the DST remains a temporary measure by including a ‘sunset clause’ to the proposal for a Council Directive of 21 March 2018 on the common system of a digital services tax on revenues resulting from the provision of certain digital services(56) (COM(2018)0148), and by speeding up the discussion on a significant digital presence;

2.2.4.Effective Taxation

78.  Notes that nominal corporate tax rates have decreased at EU level from an average of 32 % in 2000 to 21,9 % in 2018(57), which represents a decrease of 32 % ; is concerned about the implications of this competition on the sustainability of tax systems and its potential spillover effects on other countries; observes that the first G20/OECD‑led BEPS project did not touch upon this phenomenon; welcomes the announcement of the Inclusive Framework on BEPS to explore on a ‘without prejudice’ basis taxing rights that would strengthen the ability of jurisdictions to tax profits where the other jurisdiction with taxing rights applies a low effective rate of tax to those profits, by 2020(58), which translates into minimum effective taxation; notes that, as stated by the Inclusive Framework on BEPS, the current OECD-led work does not imply changes to the fact that countries or jurisdictions remain free to set their own tax rates or not to have a corporate income tax system at all(59);

79.  Welcomes the new OECD global standard on substantial activities factor to no or only nominal tax jurisdiction(60), largely inspired by the EU’s work on the EU listing process (Fair criterion 2.2 of the EU list);

80.  Notes the discrepancies between estimates of large corporations’ effective tax rates – often based on provision for taxes(61) – and the actual tax paid by large MNEs; notes that traditional sectors pay on average an effective corporate tax rate of 23 %, while the digital sector pays about 9,5 %(62);

81.  Notes the diverging methodologies in assessing effective tax rates, which do not allow for reliable comparison of ETRs in the EU and globally; notes that some assessments of effective tax rates in the EU diverge from 2,2 % to 30 %(63); calls on the Commission to develop its own methodology and regularly publish the ETRs in the Member States;

82.  Calls on the Commission to assess the phenomenon of decreasing nominal tax rates and its impact on ETRs in the EU, and to propose remedies, both within the EU and towards third countries as applicable, including strong anti-abuse rules, defensive measures, such as stronger controlled foreign company rules, and a recommendation to amend tax treaties;

83.  Believes that the global coordination on the tax base as a result of the OECD/BEPS project should be accompanied by better coordination on tax rates in an effort to achieve improved efficiency;

84.  Invites the Member States to update the mandate of the CoC Group to explore the concept of minimum effective taxation of corporate profits to follow up on the OECD’s work on the Tax Challenges of the Digitalisation of the Economy;

85.  Takes note of the statement made by the French Finance Minister at the TAX3 meeting of 23 October 2018 regarding the need to discuss the concept of minimum taxation; welcomes France’s readiness to include the debate on minimum taxation as one of the priorities of its G7 Presidency in 2019, as reiterated during the ECOFIN meeting of 12 March 2019;

2.3.Administrative cooperation in relation to direct taxes

86.  Stresses that since June 2014 the DAC has been amended four times;

87.  Calls on the Commission to assess and present proposals to close loopholes in DAC2, particularly by including hard assets and cryptocurrencies in the scope of the directive, by prescribing sanctions for non-compliance or false reporting from financial institutions, as well as by including more types of financial institution and types of accounts that are not being reported at the moment, such as pension funds;

88.  Reiterates its call for a broader scope in relation to the exchange of tax rulings and broader access by the Commission, and for greater harmonisation of the tax ruling practices of different national tax authorities;

89.  Calls on the Commission to swiftly release its first assessment of DAC3 in this regard, looking in particular at the number of rulings exchanged and the number of occasions on which national tax administrations accessed information held by another Member State; asks that the assessment also consider the impact of disclosing key information related to tax rulings (the number of rulings, the names of beneficiaries, the effective tax rate deriving from each ruling); invites the Member States to publish domestic tax rulings;

90.  Deplores the fact that the Commissioner in charge of taxation does not recognise the need to extend the existing system for the exchange of information between national tax authorities;

91.  Reiterates, furthermore, its call to ensure simultaneous tax audits of persons of common or complementary interests (including parent companies and their subsidiaries), and its call to further enhance tax cooperation between Member States through an obligation to answer group requests on tax matters; points out that the right to remain silent in dealings with tax authorities does not apply to a purely administrative investigation and that cooperation is mandatory(64);

92.  Considers that coordinated on-site inspections and joint audits should be part of the European framework of cooperation between tax administrations;

93.  Emphasises that not only information exchanges and the processing of information, but also the sharing of best practices among tax authorities, contribute to more efficient tax collection; calls on Member States to give priority to the sharing of best practices among tax authorities, particularly regarding the digitalisation of tax administrations;

94.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to harmonise procedures for a digital system of filing tax returns in order to facilitate cross-border activities and reduce red tape;

95.  Calls on the Commission to swiftly assess the implementation of DAC4 and whether national tax administrations effectively access country‑by‑country information held by another Member State; asks the Commission to assess how DAC4 relates to Action 13 of the G20/BEPS action plan on exchange of country‑by‑country information;

96.  Welcomes the automatic exchange of financial account information based on the global standard which has been developed by the OECD with Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland; calls on the Commission and the Member States to upgrade the Treaty provisions so as to match the DAC as amended;

97.  Stresses, furthermore, the contribution made through the Fiscalis 2020 Programme, which aims to enhance cooperation between participating countries, their tax authorities and their officials; stresses the added value brought by joint actions in this field and the role of the possible programme in developing and operating major trans-European IT systems;

98.  Reminds Member States of all their obligations under the Treaty(65), in particular to cooperate loyally, sincerely and expeditiously; calls, therefore, in the light of cross‑border cases, and most notably the so-called cum-ex files, for the nomination of Single Points of Contact (SPoC) by all Member States’ national tax authorities, in line with the SPoC-system of the Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) in the framework of the OECD(66), to facilitate and enhance cooperation in combating tax fraud, tax evasion and ATP; calls further on the Commission to facilitate and coordinate cooperation between Member States’ SPoCs;

99.  Recommends that Member States’ authorities which are notified by their counterparts in other Member States of potential breaches of law be required to provide an official notification of receipt and, where appropriate, a substantive response on actions taken following the aforementioned notification in a timely manner;

2.4.Dividend stripping and coupon washing

100.  Notes that cum-ex transactions have been a known global problem since the 1990s, including in Europe, yet no coordinated counteraction has been taken; deplores the tax fraud revealed by the so‑called cum‑ex files scandal which has led to publicly reported losses of Member States’ tax revenue, amounting to as much as EUR 55.2 billion according to some media estimates; highlights that the consortium of European journalists identifies Germany, Denmark, Spain, Italy and France as allegedly the main target markets for cum-ex trading practices, followed by Belgium, Finland, Poland, the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic;

101.  Stresses that the complexity of tax systems can give rise to legal loopholes facilitating tax fraud schemes such as cum-ex;

102.  Notes that the systematic fraud centred around the cum-ex and cum-cum schemes was made possible in part because the relevant authorities in the Member States did not perform sufficient checks on applications for the reimbursement of taxes and lack a clear and complete picture of the actual ownership of shares; calls on the Member States to give access to all relevant authorities to complete and up-to-date information on ownership of shares; calls on the Commission to assess whether EU action is needed in this regard, and to present a legislative proposal should the assessment demonstrate a need for such action;

103.  Underlines that the revelations seem to indicate possible shortcomings in national taxation laws and in the current systems of exchange of information and cooperation between Member State authorities; urges the Member States to effectively use all communication channels, national data and data made available by the strengthened framework for exchange of information;

104.  Stresses that the cross-border aspects of the cum‑ex files should be addressed multilaterally; warns that the introduction of new bilateral treaties on exchanges of information and bilateral cooperation mechanisms between individual Member States would complicate the already complex web of international rules, introduce new loopholes and contribute to the lack of transparency;

105.  Urges all Member States to thoroughly investigate and analyse dividend payment practices in their jurisdictions, to identify the loopholes in their tax laws that generate opportunities for exploitation by tax fraudsters and avoiders, to analyse any potential cross-border dimension of these practices and to put an end to all these harmful tax practices; calls on Member States to exchange best practices in this regard;

106.  Calls on the Member States and their financial supervisory authorities to assess the need to ban exclusively tax-driven financial practices such as dividend arbitrage or dividend stripping and similar schemes, in absence of proof to the contrary by the issuer that these financial practices have a substantive economic purpose other than unjustified tax reimbursement and/or tax avoidance; calls for the EU legislators to evaluate the possibility of implementing this measure at EU level;

107.  Calls on the Commission to start working immediately on a proposal for a European financial police force within the framework of Europol with its own investigatory capabilities, as well as on a European framework for cross-border tax investigations and other cross-border financial crimes;

108.  Concludes that the cum‑ex-files demonstrate the urgent need to improve cooperation between EU Member States’ tax authorities, particularly with regard to information sharing; urges, therefore, the Member States to enhance their cooperation in detecting, stopping, investigating and prosecuting tax fraud and evasion schemes such as cum-ex and, where applicable, cum-cum, including exchange of best practices, and to support EU-level solutions where justified;

2.5.Transparency in relation to corporate tax

109.  Welcomes the adoption of DAC4 providing for CBCR to tax authorities, in line with the BEPS Action 13 standard;

110.  Recalls that public CBCR is one of the key measures to create greater transparency on tax information of companies; stresses that the proposal for public CBCR by certain undertakings and branches was submitted to the co-legislators just after the Panama Papers scandal on 12 April 2016, and that Parliament adopted its position on it on 4 July 2017(67); recalls that it called for an enlargement of the scope of reporting and protection of commercially sensitive information with due regard to the competitiveness of EU enterprises;

111.  Recalls Parliament’s position in the PANA recommendations calling for ambitious public country-by-country reporting (CBCR) in order to enhance tax transparency and the public scrutiny of multinational enterprises (MNEs); urges the Council to reach a common agreement in order to adopt public CBCR, as one of the key measures for achieving greater transparency for all citizens in relation to companies’ tax information;

112.  Deplores the lack of progress and cooperation from the Council since 2016; urges that swift progress be made in the Council so that it enters into negotiations with Parliament;

113.  Recalls that public scrutiny is useful for researchers(68), investigative journalists, investors and other stakeholders to properly assess risks, liabilities and opportunities to stimulate fair entrepreneurship; recalls that similar provisions already exist for the banking sector in Article 89 of Directive 2013/36/EU (CDR IV)(69) and for the extractive and logging industries in Directive 2013/34/EU(70); notes that some private stakeholders are voluntarily developing new reporting tools enhancing tax transparency, such as the Global Reporting Initiative standard ‘Disclosure on tax and payments to governments’, as part of their corporate social responsibility policy;

114.  Recalls that measures on corporate tax transparency are to be regarded as relating to Article 50, paragraph 1 of the TFEU on freedom of establishment, hence the above‑mentioned article is the appropriate legal base for the proposal for public CBCR as found in the Commission’s impact assessment published on 12 April 2016 (COM(2016)0198);

115.  Notes that, with regard to the limited capacity of developing countries to meet requirements through existing exchange of information procedures, transparency is particularly important, as it would ease access to information for their tax administrations;

2.6.State aid rules

116.  Recalls that the area of direct business taxation falls within the scope of State aid(71) when fiscal measures discriminate between taxpayers, contrary to fiscal measures of a general nature that apply to all undertakings without distinction;

117.  Calls on the Commission and, in particular, the Directorate‑General for Competition, to assess possible measures to discourage Member States from granting such State aid in the form of a tax advantage;

118.  Welcomes the Commission’s new proactive and open approach to investigations into illegal State aid during the present term, which has led to a number of high-profile cases being concluded by the Commission;

119.  Deplores the fact that companies can make agreements with governments to pay almost no tax in a given country despite conducting substantial activity there; points in this regard to a tax ruling between the Dutch tax revenue authority and Royal Dutch Shell plc that seems to be in violation of Dutch tax law, issued on the sole ground that the head office would be located in the Netherlands after the unification of the two former parent companies, and which results in an exemption from Dutch dividend withholding tax; points out that at the same time, recent investigations seem to show that the company pays no profit tax in the Netherlands either; reiterates its call on the Commission to investigate this case of potentially illegal State aid;

120.  Welcomes the fact that since 2014, the Commission has been investigating the tax ruling practices of Member States, following up on allegations of the favourable tax treatment of certain companies, and has launched nine formal investigations since 2014, six of which concluded that the tax ruling constituted illegal State aid(72); notes that one investigation was closed concluding that the double non-taxation of certain profits did not constitute State aid(73), while the other two are ongoing(74);

121.  Deplores the fact that, nearly five years on from the LuxLeaks revelations, the Commission has opened a formal investigation(75) into only one of the over 500 tax rulings granted by Luxembourg that were disclosed as part of the LuxLeaks investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ);

122.  Notes that despite the fact that the Commission found McDonald’s benefited from double non-taxation on certain of its profits in the EU, no decision under EU State aid rules could be issued, as the Commission concluded that the double non-taxation stemmed from a mismatch between Luxembourg and US tax laws and the Luxembourg-United States double taxation treaty(76); acknowledges the announcement by Luxembourg to revise its double taxation treaties to conform with international tax law;

123.  Is concerned about the fact that the Commission has ruled that the double non taxation achieved by McDonald’s stemmed from a mismatch between Luxembourg and US tax laws and the Luxembourg-US double taxation treaty, a mismatch from which McDonald’s profited by arbitrating between the jurisdictions; is further concerned about the fact that such arbitration-led tax avoidance is being enabled in the EU;

124.  Is concerned by the magnitude of tax unpaid for all Member States over long periods(77); recalls that the aim of the recovery of unlawful aid is to restore the position to the status quo, and that calculating the exact amount of aid to be repaid is part of the implementation obligation incumbent on the national authorities; calls on the Commission to assess and establish viable countermeasures, including fines, to help Member States avoid offering selective favourable tax treatment which constitutes State aid that is non-compliant with EU rules;

125.  Reiterates its calls to the Commission for guidelines clarifying what constitutes tax-related State aid and ‘appropriate’ transfer pricing; calls also for the Commission to remove legal uncertainties for both compliant taxpayers and tax administrations, and provide a comprehensive framework for Member States’ tax practices accordingly;

126.  Expresses its regret at the Commission’s failure to use the State aid rules against any tax measure that seriously distorts competition, and that it only applies these rules in select cases with particular characteristics so as to change the practice of the state concerned; calls on the Commission to make every effort to recover undue State aid, including for all companies mentioned in the Luxleaks scandal, in order to level the playing field; also calls on the Commission to provide further guidance to the Member States and market players on the application of State aid rules and what it means for companies’ tax planning practices;

127.  Calls for a reform of competition law to extend the scope of State aid rules in order to be able to act more vigorously against harmful fiscal State aid for multinational companies, which include tax rulings;

2.7.Letterbox companies

128.  Notes that there is no single definition of letterbox companies, i.e. companies registered in a jurisdiction for tax avoidance or tax evasion purposes only and without any significant economic presence; points out, however, that simple criteria such as actual business activity or the physical presence of staff working for a company could serve to identify letterbox companies and combat their proliferation; reiterates its call for a clear definition;

129.  Stresses that, as proposed in Parliament’s position for inter-institutional negotiations for the amending directive as regards cross-border conversions, mergers and divisions(78), Member States should be required to ensure that cross‑border conversions correspond to the actual pursuit of a genuine economic activity, including in the digital sector, to avoid the setting up of ‘letterbox’ companies;

130.  Calls for Member States to request that a set of financial information be exchanged between the competent authorities ahead of the execution of cross-border conversions, mergers or divisions;

131.  Recommends that any entity creating an offshore structure should provide the competent authorities with the legitimate reasons behind such a decision in order to guarantee that offshore accounts are not used for money laundering or tax evasion purposes;

132.  Calls for the identities of the actual owners to be disclosed to tax authorities;

133.  Points out national measures to specifically ban commercial relationships with letterbox companies; highlights, in particular, the Latvian legislation which defines a letterbox company as an entity having no actual economic activity and holding no documentary proof to the contrary, as being registered in a jurisdiction where companies are not required to submit financial statements, and/or as having no place of business in its country of residence; notes, however, that, according to EU law, the banning of letterbox companies in Latvia cannot be used to ban letterbox companies resident in EU Member States, as that would be considered discriminatory(79); calls for the Commission to propose changes to the current EU law that would enable the banning of letterbox companies even if resident in EU Member States;

134.  Highlights that the high level of inward and outward FDI as a percentage of GDP in seven Member States (Belgium, Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, and the Netherlands) can only to a limited extent be explained by real economic activities taking place in these Member States(80);

135.  Underlines the high share of FDI in several Member States, particularly in Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Ireland(81); notes that such FDI is usually held by special purpose entities (SPEs) that often serve to exploit loopholes; calls on the Commission to assess the role of the SPEs holding FDI;

136.  Notes that economic indicators such as an unusually high level of FDI, as well as FDI held by SPEs, are included among ATP indicators(82);

137.  Notes that the ATAD anti-abuse rules (artificial arrangements) cover letterbox companies, while the CCTB and CCCTB would ensure that the income is attributed to where the real economic activity takes place;

138.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to establish coordinated, binding, enforceable and substantial economic activity requirements as well as expenditure tests;

139.  Calls on the Commission to carry out, within two years, fitness checks of the interconnected legislative and policy initiatives aimed at addressing the use of letterbox companies in the context of tax fraud, tax evasion, aggressive tax planning and money laundering;

3.VAT

140.  Underscores the need for harmonisation of VAT rules at EU level to the extent that it is necessary to ensure the establishment and the functioning of the internal market and to avoid distortion of competition(83);

141.  Stresses that VAT is an important source of tax revenue for national budgets; notes that in 2016, VAT revenues in the EU‑28 Member States amounted to EUR 1 044 billion, which corresponds to 18 % of all tax revenues in the Member States; takes note of the fact that the 2017 annual EU budget amounted EUR 157 billion;

142.  Regrets, however, that every year, large amounts of the expected VAT revenue are lost because of fraud; highlights that according to the Commission’s statistics, the VAT gap (which is the difference between the expected VAT revenue and the VAT actually collected, thereby providing an estimate of the VAT lost due not only to fraud, but also to bankruptcy, miscalculations and avoidance) in the EU in 2016 amounted to EUR 147 billion, which represents more than 12 % of the total expected VAT revenue(84), although the situation is much worse in a number of Member States where the gap is close to or even above 20 %, showing a big difference between Member States in their handling of the VAT gap;

143.  Notes that the Commission estimates that around EUR 50 billion – or EUR 100 per EU citizen each year – is lost to cross-border VAT fraud(85); while Europol estimates that around EUR 60 billion of VAT fraud is linked to organised crime and terrorism financing; notes the increased harmonisation and simplification of VAT regimes in the EU, although cooperation between Member States is neither sufficient nor effective as of yet; calls on the Commission and the Member States to reinforce their cooperation to better fight against VAT fraud; calls on the next Commission to prioritise the introduction and implementation of the definitive VAT regime in order to improve it;

144.  Calls for reliable statistics to estimate the VAT gap and stresses the need for a common approach to data collection and sharing within the EU; urges the Commission to ensure that harmonised statistics are collected and published regularly in the Member States;

145.  Underlines that the feature of the current VAT (transitional) regime of applying an exemption to intracommunity supplies within the EU and exports has been abused by fraudsters, in particular in the VAT carousel fraud or missing trader intra-community fraud (MTIC);

146.  Takes note of the fact that according to the Commission, businesses trading on a cross-border basis currently suffers from compliance costs which are 11 % higher compared to those incurred by companies that only trade domestically; notes that, in particular, SMEs suffer from disproportionate VAT compliance costs, which is one of the reasons they have remained wary of reaping the advantages of the single market; calls on the Commission and Member States to develop solutions to reduce the VAT compliance costs linked to cross-border trade;

3.1.Modernisation of the VAT framework

147.  Welcomes, therefore, the Commission’s VAT action plan of 6 April 2016 to reform the VAT framework and the 13 legislative proposals adopted by the Commission since December 2016 that address the shift towards the definitive VAT regime, remove VAT obstacles to e-commerce, review the VAT regime for SMEs, modernise the VAT rates policy and tackle the VAT tax gap;

148.  Welcomes the fact that a VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) on telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services was introduced in 2015 as a voluntary system for the registration, declaration and payment of VAT; welcomes the extension of the MOSS to other supplies of goods and services to final consumers as of 1 January 2021;

149.  Notes that the Commission estimates that the reform to modernise VAT is expected to reduce red tape by 95 %, which amounts to an estimated EUR 1 billion;

150.  Welcomes in particular the fact that on 5 December 2017 the Council adopted new rules making it easier for online businesses to comply with VAT obligations ; welcomes in particular the fact that the Council took Parliament’s opinion on board in relation to introducing online platforms’ liability for collecting VAT on the distance sales that they facilitate; considers that this measure will ensure a level playing field with non‑EU businesses, as many goods that are imported for distance sales currently enter the EU VAT-free; calls on the Member States to correctly implement the new rules by 2021;

151.  Welcomes the definitive VAT system proposals adopted on 4 October 2017(86)and 24 May 2018(87); welcomes in particular the Commission’s proposal to apply the destination principle to taxation, which means that VAT would be paid to the tax authorities of the Member State of the final consumer at the rate applicable in that Member State;

152.  Welcomes in particular the progress made by the Council towards the definitive VAT regime by adopting the Quick Fixes(88) on 4 October 2018; expresses its concern, however, that no safeguards in relation to its fraud‑sensitive aspects were adopted along the lines of Parliament’s position(89) on the Certified Taxable Person (CTP) proposal(90), as expressed in its opinion of 3 October 2018(91); profoundly regrets that the Council postponed the decision on introduction of CTP status until the adoption of the definitive VAT regime;

153.  Calls on the Council to ensure that CTP status is consistent with Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status, which is granted by the customs authorities;

154.  Calls for a minimal EU transparent coordination on the definition of CTP status, including a regular assessment by the Commission on how Member States grant CTP status; calls for the exchange of information between Member States’ tax authorities about refusals to grant CTP status to certain companies, in order to enhance coherence and common standards;

155.  Welcomes, furthermore, the revision of the special schemes for SMEs(92) which is key to ensuring a level playing field, as VAT exemption schemes are currently only available to domestic entities, and can contribute to the reduction of VAT compliance costs for SMEs; calls on the Council to take Parliament’s opinion of 11 September 2018(93) into account, particularly when it comes to further administrative simplification for SMEs; calls, therefore, on the Commission to set up an online portal through which SMEs willing to avail themselves of the exemption in another Member State are required to register, and to put in place a one-stop shop through which small enterprises can file VAT returns for the different Member States in which they operate;

156.  Notes the adoption of the Commission proposal for a general reverse charge Mechanism (GRCM)(94) that will allow temporary derogations from normal VAT rules in order to better prevent carousel fraud in the Member States that are most severely affected by this type of fraud; calls on the Commission to closely monitor the application and the potential risks and benefits of this new legislation; insists, however, that the GRCM should by no means delay the swift implementation of a definitive VAT system;

157.  Notes that the expansion of e-commerce can often pose a challenge for tax authorities, e.g. the absence of a seller’s taxable identification in the EU, and the registration of VAT declarations well below the real value of the declared transactions; welcomes, therefore, the spirit of the proposed implementing rules relating to distance sales of goods adopted on 11 December 2018 by the Commission (COM(2018)0819 and COM(2018)0821), according to which, notably, from 2021 online platforms will have the responsibility to ensure that VAT is collected on sales of goods by non-EU companies to EU consumers taking place on their platforms;

158.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to monitor e-commerce transactions involving sellers based outside the EU that would declare no VAT (for example by unduly using the ‘sample’ statute) or would deliberately underestimate the value in order to avoid altogether or reduce the VAT due; considers that such practices endanger the integrity and smooth functioning of the EU’s internal market; calls on the Commission to come up with proposals if appropriate and necessary;

3.2.The VAT gap, the fight against VAT fraud and administrative cooperation on VAT

159.  Reiterates its call to the factors contributing to the tax gap, not least VAT;

160.  Welcomes the opening of infringement procedures by the Commission on 8 March 2018 against Cyprus, Greece and Malta, and on 8 November 2018 against Italy and the Isle of Man as regards abusive VAT practices in relation to the acquisition of yachts and aircraft, to ensure that they stop offering allegedly unlawful favourable tax treatment for private yachts and aircraft, which distorts competition in the maritime and aviation sectors;

161.  Welcomes the amendments to Regulation (EU) No 904/2010 as regards measures to strengthen administrative cooperation in the field of VAT; welcomes the Commission’s monitoring visits to 10 Member States carried out in 2017, notably the subsequent recommendation to improve the reliability of the VAT Information Exchange System (VIES);

162.  Notes that the Commission has recently proposed additional control tools and an enhanced role for Eurofisc, as well as mechanisms for closer cooperation between customs and tax administrations; calls on all Member States to participate more actively in the Transactional Network Analysis (TNA) system in the framework of Eurofisc;

163.  Is of the opinion that the participation of all Member States in Eurofisc must be mandatory and a condition for receiving EU funds; echoes the preoccupation of the European Court of Auditors on VAT reimbursement in Cohesion spending(95) and on the EU Anti-Fraud Programme(96);

164.  Urges the Commission to examine the possibilities for real-time collection and communication of transactional VAT data by the Member States, as this would increase the effectiveness of Eurofisc and allow the further development of new strategies to defeat VAT fraud; calls on all relevant authorities to use a variety of statistical and data-mining technologies to identify anomalies, suspicious relationships and patterns, enabling tax agencies to better address a wide spectrum of non‑compliance behaviours in a proactive, targeted and cost-effective way;

165.  Welcomes the adoption of the Protection of Financial Interests (PIF) Directive(97) which clarifies the issues of cross-border cooperation and mutual legal assistance between Member States, Eurojust, Europol, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the Commission in tackling VAT fraud; calls on the EPPO, OLAF, Eurofisc, Europol and Eurojust to cooperate closely with a view to coordinating their efforts against VAT fraud and to identifying and adapting to new fraudulent practices;

166.  Points, however, to the need for better cooperation between the administrative, judicial and law-enforcement authorities within the EU, as highlighted by experts during the hearing held on 28 June 2018 and in a study commissioned by the TAX3 committee;

167.  Welcomes the Commission’s communication to extend the competences of the EPPO to cross-border terrorist crimes; calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that the EPPO can begin operating as soon as possible and no later than 2022, ensuring close cooperation with the already established institutions, bodies, agencies and offices of the Union in charge of the protection of the financial interests of the Union; calls for exemplary, dissuasive and proportional sanctions to be pronounced; considers that anyone engaged in an organised VAT fraud scheme should be severely sanctioned in order to avoid a perception of impunity;

168.  Considers that one of the main issues allowing fraudulent behaviour in relation to VAT to occur is the ‘cash profit’ that a fraudster can make; calls, therefore, on the Commission to analyse the proposal made by experts(98) to place cross-border transactional data on a blockchain, and to use secured digital currencies that can only be used for VAT payments (single purpose) instead of using fiat currency;

169.  Welcomes the fact that the fraud linked to imports has been addressed by the Council(99); considers that the proper integration of data from customs declarations into the VIES will allow the Member States of destination to cross-check customs and VAT information in order to ensure that VAT is paid at the country of destination; calls on Member States to implement this new legislation in an effective and timely manner by 1 January 2020;

170.  Considers that administrative cooperation between tax and customs authorities is suboptimal(100); calls on Member States to mandate Eurofisc to develop new strategies to track goods under customs procedure 42, the mechanism which allows the importer to obtain a VAT exemption when the imported goods are eventually intended for transport to a business customer in a Member State other than the Member State of importation;

171.  Highlights the importance of the implementation of a register of beneficial owners of corporate entities under AMLD5 as an important tool to tackle VAT fraud; urges Member States to enhance the competences and qualifications of the police forces, tax services, prosecutors and judges dealing with this type of fraud;

172.  Is concerned by the results of the study(101) commissioned by the TAX3 committee stating that the Commission’s proposals will reduce fraud on imports but not eliminate it; takes note that the issue of undervaluation and enforcement of EU rules in general in the case of non-EU taxable persons will not be solved; calls on the Commission to investigate alternative collection methods for these supplies for the longer term; stresses that relying on the good faith of non-EU taxable persons to collect EU VAT is not a sustainable option; considers that such alternative collection models should not only target sales made via electronic platforms, but encompass all sales made by non-EU taxable persons, irrespective of the business model that they use;

173.  Calls on the Commission to closely monitor the consequences of the introduction of the definitive regime for VAT revenues on Member States; calls on the Commission to investigate seriously the possibilities of new fraud risks in the definitive VAT system, notably the potentially missing supplier in cross‑border transactions supplanting the missing customer type of carousel fraud; stresses, in this regard, that the custom transit system, among others, can certainly facilitate trade within the EU; notes, however, that abuses are possible and that criminal organisations, by avoiding the payment of taxes and duties, may cause a huge loss both to Member States and the EU (by avoiding VAT); calls, therefore, on the Commission to monitor the custom transit system and come up with proposals building on the recommendations made notably by OLAF, Europol and Eurofisc;

174.  Believes that a large majority of European citizens expect clear European and national legislation that enables those who do not pay the tax which they are due to pay to be identified and sanctioned, and for the missing tax to be recuperated in a timely manner;

4.Taxation of individuals

175.  Emphasises that natural persons do not generally exercise their freedom of movement for the purposes of tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning; underlines, however, that some natural persons have a tax base large enough to span several tax jurisdictions;

176.  Regrets the fact that HNWIs and ultra HNWIs (UHNWIs), using complex tax structures, including the setting up of companies, continue to have the possibility to shift their earnings and funds or their purchases through different tax jurisdictions to obtain substantially reduced or zero liability by using the services of wealth managers and other intermediaries; deplores the fact that some EU Member States have implemented tax schemes to attract HNWIs without creating real economic activity;

177.  Notes that headline rates for labour income are usually higher than for income from capital throughout the EU; notes that, overall, the contribution of wealth-based taxes to overall tax revenues has remained rather limited, at 4,3 % of overall tax revenues in the EU(102);

178.  Notes with regret that corporate tax fraud, tax evasion and ATP contribute to shifting the tax liability on to honest and fair taxpayers;

179.  Calls on the Member States to impose dissuasive, effective, and proportionate penalties in cases of tax fraud, tax evasion and illegal ATP, and to ensure that these penalties are enforced;

180.  Deplores the fact that some Member States have created dubious tax regimes allowing individuals who become resident for tax purposes to obtain income tax benefits, thereby undermining other Member States’ tax base and fostering harmful policies which discriminate against their own citizens; notes that these regimes may include benefits not available to national citizens, such as the non-taxation of foreign possessions and income, lump-sum tax on foreign income, tax-free allowances on a part of incomes earned domestically or lower tax rates on pensions remitted to the country of origin;

181.  Recalls that the Commission, in a communication from 2001, suggested the inclusion of special regimes for highly-qualified expatriate staff in the list of harmful tax practices of the CoC Group (on Business Taxation)(103), but has not provided any data on the scope of the problem since; calls on the Commission to reassess this issue and, in particular, to assess the risks of double taxation as well as double non‑taxation of such schemes;

4.1.Citizenship by investment (CBI) and residency by investment (RBI) schemes

182.  Is concerned that a majority of Member States have adopted citizenship by investment (CBI) or residency by investment (RBI) schemes(104), generally known as ‘golden visa and passports’ or investor programmes, by which citizenship or residence is granted to EU and non-EU citizens in exchange for financial investment;

183.  Observes that the investments made under these programmes do not necessarily promote the real economy of the Member State granting citizenship or residency, and that they often do not require applicants to spend any time on the territory in which the investment is made, and that even when such a requirement formally exists, its fulfilment is usually not verified; stresses that such schemes jeopardise the attainment of the Union’s objectives and are therefore in breach of the principle of sincere cooperation;

184.  Observes that at least 5 000 non-EU citizens have obtained EU citizenship through citizenship by investment schemes(105); notes that, according to a study(106), at least 6 000 people have been granted citizenship and almost 100 000 residence permits have been issued;

185.  Worries that CBI and RBI are awarded without proper security screening of the applicants, including to high-risk third-country nationals, and therefore pose security risks for the Union; deplores the fact that the opaqueness surrounding the origin of the money connected to CBI and RBI schemes has significantly increased the political, economic and security risks for European countries;

186.  Stresses that CBI and RBI schemes carry other significant risks, including a devaluation of EU and national citizenships and the potential for corruption, money laundering and tax evasion; notes that one Member State’s decision to implement CBI and RBI schemes has spillover effects on other Member States; reiterates its concern that citizenship or residence could be granted through these schemes without proper or indeed any customer due diligence (CDD) having been carried out by the competent authorities;

187.  Notes that the obligation laid down by AMLD5, whereby obliged entities should consider CBI and RBI applicants as high-risk in the course of their CDD process, does not absolve Member States of their responsibility to establish and conduct enhanced due diligence themselves; notes that several formal investigations into corruption and money laundering have been launched at national and EU level directly related to CBI and RBI schemes;

188.  Underlines that, at the same time, the economic sustainability and viability of the investments provided through these schemes remain uncertain; highlights that citizenship and the rights associated to it should never be for sale;

189.  Notes that the CBI and RBI schemes of some Member States have been used profusely by Russian citizens and by citizens from countries under Russian influence; highlights that these schemes may serve Russian citizens included in the sanctions list adopted after the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and the aggression of Russia on Crimea as a means to avoid EU sanctions;

190.  Criticises that these programmes regularly involve tax privileges or special tax regimes for the beneficiaries; is concerned that these privileges could hamper the objective of making all citizens contribute fairly to the tax system;

191.  Worries about the lack of transparency in relation to the number and origin of applicants, the numbers of individuals granted citizenship or residency by these schemes, the amount invested through these schemes and the origin thereof; appreciates the fact that some Member States make explicit the name and nationalities of the individuals who are granted citizenship or residency under these schemes; encourages other Member States to follow this example;

192.  Is concerned that according to the OECD, CBI and RBI schemes could be misused to undermine the common reporting standard (CRS) due diligence procedures, leading to inaccurate or incomplete reporting under the CRS, in particular when not all jurisdictions of tax residence are disclosed to the financial institution; notes that in the OECD’s view, the visa schemes which are potentially high-risk for the integrity of the CRS are those that give a taxpayer access to a low personal income tax rate of less than 10 % on offshore financial assets, and do not require a significant physical presence of at least 90 days in the jurisdiction offering the golden visa scheme;

193.  Is concerned that Malta and Cyprus have schemes(107) among those that potentially pose a high risk to the integrity of CRS;

194.  Concludes that the potential economic benefits of CBI and RBI schemes do not offset the serious security, money laundering and tax evasion risks they present;

195.  Calls on Member States to phase out all existing CBI or RBI schemes as soon as possible;

196.  Stresses that, in the meantime, Member States should require physical presence in the country as a condition for benefiting from CBI and RBI schemes, and should properly ensure that enhanced CDD on applicants for citizenship or residence through these schemes is duly carried out, as required by AMLD5; stresses that AMLD5 imposes enhanced CDD for politically exposed persons (PEPs); calls on Member States to ensure that governments bear the ultimate responsibility for performing due diligence on applicants for CBI or RBI; calls on the Commission to monitor rigorously and continuously the proper implementation and application of CDD within the framework of CBI and RBI schemes until they are repealed in each Member State;

197.  Notes that the acquisition of a residence permit for or citizenship of a Member State gives the grantee access to a wide range of rights and entitlements in the entire territory of the Union, including the right to move and reside freely in the Schengen area; calls, therefore, on Member States implementing CBI and RBI programmes, until they are finally repealed, to duly verify the character of the applicants and refuse their application if they present security risks, including money laundering; further alerts to the dangers posed by CBI and RBI schemes associated with family reunification, whereby family members of CBI or RBI beneficiaries can acquire citizenship or residence with little or no checks;

198.  Calls, in this context, on all Member States to compile and publish transparent data related to their CBI and RBI schemes, including the number of refusals and the reasons for denial; calls on the Commission, until the schemes are finally repealed, to issue guidelines and to ensure better data collection and exchange of information among Member States in the context of their CBI and RBI schemes, including in relation to applicants who have had their application denied due to security issues;

199.  Considers that until CBI and RBI are finally repealed, Member States should impose the same obligations on intermediaries in the trade of CBI and RBI as apply to obliged entities under AML legislation, and calls on Member States to prevent conflicts of interest linked to CBI and RBI schemes, which might arise when private firms which assisted the government in the design, management and promotion of these schemes, also advised and supported individuals by screening them for suitability and filing their applications for citizenship or residence;

200.  Welcomes the Commission’s report of 23 January 2019 on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the European Union (COM(2019)0012); notes that the report confirms that both types of schemes pose serious risks for the Member States and the Union as a whole, particularly in terms of security, money laundering, corruption, the circumvention of EU rules and tax evasion, and that these serious risks are further accentuated by shortcomings in the transparency and governance of the schemes; worries that the Commission has concerns that the risks posed by the schemes are not always sufficiently mitigated by the measures taken by the Member States;

201.  Takes note of the Commission’s intention to set up a group of experts to address matters of the transparency, governance and security of these schemes; welcomes the fact that the Commission has undertaken to monitor the impact of investor citizenship schemes implemented by visa-free countries as part of the visa suspension mechanism; calls on the Commission to coordinate information sharing between Member States on rejected applications; calls on the Commission to assess the risks associated with the selling of citizenship and residence as part of its next supranational risk assessment; calls on the Commission to assess the extent to which these schemes have been used by EU citizens;

4.2.Free ports, customs warehouses and other specific economic zones (SEZs)

202.  Welcomes the fact that free ports will become obliged entities under AMLD5, and that they will be under an obligation to carry out CDD requirements and report suspicious transactions to the financial intelligence units (FIUs);

203.  Notes that free ports within the EU can be established under the ‘free zone’ procedure; notes that free zones are enclosed areas within the customs territory of the Union where non-Union goods can be introduced free of import duty, other charges (i.e. taxes) and commercial policy measures;

204.  Recalls that free ports are warehouses in free zones, which were – originally – intended as spaces to store merchandise in transit; deplores the fact that they have since become popular for the storage of substitute assets, including art, precious stones, antiques, gold and wine collections – often on a permanent basis(108) – and financed from unknown sources; stresses that free ports or free zones must not be used for the purposes of tax evasion or to achieve the same effects as tax havens;

205.  Notes that, apart from secure storage, the motivations for the use of free ports include a high degree of secrecy and the deferral of import duties and indirect taxes such as VAT or user tax;

206.  Underlines that there are over 80 free zones in the EU(109) and many thousands of other warehouses under ‘special storage procedures’ in the EU, notably ‘customs warehouses’, which can offer the same degree of secrecy and (indirect) tax advantages(110);

207.  Observes that under the Union Customs Code, customs warehouses are on an almost identical legal footing with free ports; recommends, therefore, that they be put on an equal footing with free ports under legal measures aimed at mitigating money laundering and tax evasion risks therein, such as AMLD5; considers that warehouses should be equipped with sufficient and qualified staff to be able to undertake the necessary scrutiny of the operations that they host;

208.  Notes that money laundering risks in free ports are directly associated with money laundering risks in the substitute assets market;

209.  Notes that under DAC5, as of 1 January 2018, direct tax authorities have ‘access upon request’ to a broad information set with regard to ultimate beneficial ownership (UBO) information collected under the AMLD; notes that EU AML legislation is built on the trust in reliable CDD research and the diligent reporting of suspicious transactions by obliged entities, which will become AML gatekeepers; notes with concern that ‘access upon request’ to information held by free ports may only have very limited effect in specific cases(111);

210.  Calls on the Commission to assess the extent to which free ports and shipping licenses may be misused for the purposes of tax evasion(112); calls on the Commission, moreover, to table a legislative proposal to ensure the automatic exchange of information between the relevant authorities such as law enforcement, tax and customs authorities and Europol, on beneficial ownership and transactions taking place in free ports, customs warehouses or SEZs, and to include a traceability obligation;

211.  Calls on the Commission to bring forward a proposal for the urgent phasing out of the system of free ports in the EU;

212.  Notes that the end of banking secrecy has led to the emergence of investment in new assets such as art, which has led to rapid growth of the art market in recent years; stresses that free zones provide them with a safe and widely disregarded storage space, where trade can be conducted untaxed and ownership can be concealed, while art itself remains an unregulated market, due to factors such as the difficulty of determining market prices and finding specialists; points out that, for example, it is easier to move a valuable painting to the other side of the world than a similar amount of money;

4.3.Tax amnesties

213.  Recalls(113) the need to use amnesties with extreme caution or to refrain from using them altogether, as they only represent a source of easy and quick tax collection in the short run, often introduced to close budget loopholes, but may also serve to encourage residents to evade taxes and wait for the next amnesty without being subject to dissuasive sanctions or penalties; calls on the Member States which enact tax amnesties to always require the beneficiary to explain the source of funds previously omitted;

214.  Calls on the Commission to assess past amnesty programmes enacted by Member States, and, in particular, the public revenues recovered and their impact in the medium and long term on tax base volatility; urges Member States to ensure that relevant data related to the beneficiaries of previous and future tax amnesties is duly shared with the judiciary, law enforcement and tax authorities, and to ensure compliance with AML/CFT rules and possible prosecution for other financial crimes;

215.  Takes the view that the CoC Group should mandatorily screen and clear each tax amnesty programme before its implementation by a Member State; takes the view that a taxpayer or UBO of a company who has already benefited from one or more tax amnesties should never be entitled to benefit from another one; calls for national authorities managing the data on persons who have benefited from tax amnesties to engage in an effective exchange of the data from law enforcement or other competent authorities investigating crimes other than tax fraud or tax evasion;

4.4.Administrative cooperation

216.  Acknowledges the fact that administrative cooperation in the field of direct tax frameworks now covers both individual and corporate taxpayers;

217.  Stresses that international standards on administrative cooperation are minimum standards; considers, therefore, that Member States should go further than merely complying with these minimum standards; calls on the Member States to further remove barriers to administrative and legal cooperation;

218.  Welcomes the fact that, with the adoption of the global standard on the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) implemented by DAC1, and the repeal of the 2003 Savings Directive, a single EU mechanism for the exchange of information has been established;

5.Anti-Money Laundering (AML)

219.  Stresses that money laundering can assume various forms, and that the money laundered can have its origin in various illicit activities, such as corruption, arms and human trafficking, drug dealing, tax evasion and fraud, and can be used to finance terrorism; notes with concern that the proceeds from criminal activity in the EU are estimated to amount to EUR 110 billion per year(114), corresponding to 1 % of the Union’s total GDP; highlights that the Commission estimates that in some Member States up to 70 % of money laundering cases have a cross-border dimension(115); further notes that the scale of money laundering is estimated by the UN(116) to be the equivalent of between 2 to 5 % of global GDP, or around EUR 715 billion and 1,87 trillion a year;

220.  Underlines that various recent cases of money laundering within the Union are linked to capital, ruling elites, and/or citizens who come from Russia and from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in particular; expresses its concern about the threat posed to European security and stability by illicit proceeds from Russia and CIS countries which enter the European financial system in order to be laundered and further used to finance criminal activities; stresses that these proceeds endanger the security of EU citizens and create distortions and unfair competitive disadvantages for law-abiding citizens and companies; considers that, in addition to capital flight, which cannot be curbed without solving the economic and administrative problems of the country of origin, and money laundering for purely criminal reasons, these hostile activities, the intention of which is to weaken European democracies, their economies and their institutions, are carried out at such a magnitude as to destabilise the European continent; calls for better cooperation between Member States regarding the control of capital entering the Union from Russia;

221.  Reiterates its call(117) for EU-wide sanctions on human rights abuses, inspired by the US Global Magnitsky Act, which should allow for the imposition of visa bans and targeted sanctions such as the blocking of property and interests in property within the EU jurisdiction vis-à-vis individual public officials or persons acting in an official capacity who are responsible for acts of corruption or serious human rights violations; welcomes Parliament’s adoption of the report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union(118); calls for increased scrutiny and supervision of banks’ non-resident portfolios and the share thereof originating in countries deemed to pose security risks for the Union;

222.  Welcomes the adoption of AMLD4 and of AMLD5; stresses that they represent significant steps in improving the effectiveness of the Union’s efforts to combat the laundering of money from criminal activities and to counter the financing of terrorist activities; notes that the Union’s AML framework chiefly relies on a preventive approach to money laundering, with a focus on the detection and the reporting of suspicious transactions;

223.  Deplores the fact that Member States have failed to fully or partially transpose AMLD4 into their domestic legislation within the set deadline, and that for this reason, infringement procedures have had to be opened by the Commission against them, including referrals before the Court of Justice of the European Union(119); calls on these Member States to swiftly remedy this situation; urges Member States, in particular, to comply with their legal obligation to respect the deadline of 10 January 2020 for transposing AMLD5 into their domestic legislation; emphasises and welcomes the Council conclusions of 23 November 2018 inviting Member States to transpose AMLD5 into their domestic legislation ahead of the 2020 deadline; calls on the Commission to make full use of the instruments at hand to provide support and ensure that Member States duly transpose and implement AMLD5 as soon as possible;

224.  Recalls the crucial importance of CDD as part of the know-your-customer (KYC) obligation which consists of obliged entities having to properly identify their customers and the source of their funds as well as the UBOs of the assets, including the immobilisation of anonymous accounts; deplores the fact that some financial institutions and their related business models have actively facilitated money laundering; calls on the private sector to take an active role in combating the financing of terrorism and in the prevention of terrorist activities, as far as they may be able; calls on financial institutions to actively review their internal procedures to prevent any risk of money laundering;

225.  Welcomes the Action Plan adopted by the Council on 4 December 2018, which includes several non-legislative measures to better tackle money laundering and the financing of terrorism in the Union; calls on the Commission to regularly update Parliament on the progress of the implementation of the Action Plan;

226.  Is concerned by the absence of concrete procedures to assess and review the probity of members of the Governing Council of the ECB, especially when they are formally accused of criminal activity; calls for mechanisms to monitor and review the conduct and propriety of the members of the Governing Council of the ECB, and calls for them to be protected in the case of abuse of power by the appointing authority;

227.  Condemns the fact that systemic failures in the enforcement of AML requirements, coupled with inefficient supervision, has led to a number of recent high-profile cases of ML in European banks linked to systematic breaches of the most basic KYC and CDD requirements;

228.  Recalls that KYC and CDD are essential and should continue throughout the business relationship, and that customers’ transactions should be continuously and carefully monitored for suspicious or unusual activities; recalls, in this context, the obligation for obliged entities to promptly inform national FIUs, on their own initiative, of transactions suspected of ML, associate predicate offences or terrorist financing; regrets the fact that, in spite of Parliament’s efforts, AMLD5 continues, as a last resort, to allow for the natural person(s) who hold(s) the position of senior managing official to be registered as beneficial owners of a company or trust, while the real beneficial owner is not known or there is a suspicion about them; calls on the Commission, on the occasion of the next revision of AML rules in the EU, to make a clear assessment of the impact of this provision on the availability of reliable information on beneficial ownership in Member States, and to propose its removal should there be indications that the provision is prone to abuse aimed at shielding the identity of beneficial owners;

229.  Notes that in some Member States there are unexplained wealth control mechanisms tracking the proceeds of criminal activities; stresses that this mechanism often consists of a court order requiring a person who is reasonably suspected of being involved in serious crime, or of being connected to a person involved in it, to explain the nature and extent of their interest in particular property, and to explain how that property was obtained, where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the respondent’s known lawfully obtained income would be insufficient to enable the respondent to obtain the property; invites the Commission to assess the effects and feasibility of such a measure at Union level;

230.  Welcomes the decision in some Member States to ban the issuing of bearer shares and to convert existing ones into nominal securities; asks the Member States to consider the need to enact similar measures in their jurisdictions, in view of the new provisions of AMLD5 concerning beneficial ownership reporting and risks identified;

231.  Stresses the urgent need to create a more efficient system for the exchange of communication and information among judicial authorities within the Union, thereby replacing the traditional instruments of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, which provide for lengthy and burdensome procedures and therefore harm cross-border investigations into money laundering and other serious crimes; reiterates its call for the Commission to assess the need for legislative action in this regard;

232.  Calls on the Commission to assess and report to Parliament on the role and particular money laundering risks posed by legal arrangements such as special purpose vehicles (SPVs), SPEs and non-charitable purpose trusts (NCPTs), particularly in the UK and its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories;

233.  Urges the Member States to fully comply with AML legislation when issuing sovereign bonds on the financial markets; considers that due diligence in such financial operations is also strictly necessary;

234.  Notes that during the mandate of the TAX3 committee alone, three deplorable cases of money laundering through EU banks have been disclosed: ING Bank N.V. recently admitted serious shortcomings in the application of AML/CFT provisions and agreed to pay EUR 775 million in a settlement with the Netherlands’ Public Prosecution Service(120); ABLV Bank in Latvia went into voluntary liquidation after the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) decided to propose a ban on ABLV from having a correspondence account in the United States due to money laundering concerns(121), and Danske Bank admitted, after an investigation into 15 000 customers and around 9,5 million transactions linked to its Estonian branch had taken place, that major deficiencies in the bank’s governance and control systems had made it possible to use its Estonian branch for suspicious transactions(122);

235.  Notes with concern that the ‘Troika Laundromat’ case has also exposed publicly how USD 4,6 billion from Russia and elsewhere passed through European banks and businesses; highlights that at the centre of the scandal is Troika Dialog, formerly one of the largest Russian private investment banks, and the network that may have enabled the Russian ruling elite to make secret use of illicit proceeds to acquire shares in state-owned companies, purchase real estate both in Russia and abroad and buy luxury items; further deplores the fact that several European banks have reportedly been involved in these suspicious transactions, namely Danske Bank, Swedbank AB, Nordea Bank Abp, ING Groep NV, Credit Agricole SA, Deutsche Bank AG, KBC Group NV, Raiffeisen Bank International AG, ABN Amro Group NV, Cooperatieve Rabobank U.A. and the Dutch unit of Turkiye Garanti Bankasi A.S.;

236.  Notes that in the case of Danske Bank, transactions worth upwards of EUR 200 billion flowed in and out of its Estonian branch(123) without the bank having put in place adequate internal AML and KYC procedures, as subsequently admitted by the bank itself and confirmed by both the Estonian and Danish Financial Supervisory Authorities; considers that this failure shows a complete lack of responsibility on the part of both the bank and the competent national authorities; calls on the competent authorities to carry out urgent evaluations of the adequacy of AML and KYC procedures in all European banks to ensure proper enforcement of the Union’s AML legislation;

237.  Further notes that 6 200 customers of the Estonian branch of Danske Bank have been found to have engaged in suspicious transactions, that around 500 customers have been linked to publicly reported money laundering schemes, that 177 have been linked with the ‘Russian Laundromat’ scandal, and 75 to the ‘Azerbaijani Laundromat’ scandal, and that 53 customers were companies found to share addresses and directors(124); calls on the relevant national authorities to track the destinations of the suspicious transactions of the 6 200 customers of the Estonian branch of Danske Bank in order to confirm that the money laundered was not used for further criminal activities; calls on the relevant national authorities to duly cooperate in this matter as the chains of suspicious transactions are clearly cross-border;

238.  Highlights that the ECB has withdrawn the banking licence of Malta’s Pilatus Bank following the arrest in the United States of Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, Chairman of Pilatus Bank and its sole shareholder, on, among other things, charges of money laundering; stresses that the EBA concluded that the Maltese FIAU had breached EU law because it had failed to conduct an effective supervision of Pilatus Bank due to, among other things, procedural deficiencies and lack of supervisory actions; notes that on 8 November 2018, the Commission addressed a formal opinion to the Maltese FIAU calling on it to take additional measures to comply with its legal obligations(125); calls on the Maltese FIAU to take steps to comply with the respective recommendations;

239.  Takes note of the letter to the TAX3 committee from the Permanent Representative of Malta to the EU in reply to the committee’s concerns regarding the alleged involvement of some Maltese PEPs in a possible new episode of money laundering and tax evasion connected to a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based company called ‘17 Black’(126); regrets the lack of precision in the answers received; is concerned about the apparent political inaction by the Maltese authorities; is particularly concerned at the fact that according to the 17 Black revelations, PEPs from the highest levels of the Maltese Government seem to be implicated; calls on the Maltese authorities to request evidence from the UAE in the form of letters of legal assistance; calls on the UAE to cooperate with the Maltese and European authorities and to ensure that funds frozen in the bank accounts of 17 Black remain frozen until a thorough investigation has been conducted; highlights, in particular, the apparent lack of independence of both the Maltese FIAU and the Maltese Commissioner of Police; regrets the fact that no measures have hitherto been taken against those PEPs involved in alleged corruption cases; underlines that the Maltese investigation would benefit from the establishment of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT), based on an ad hoc agreement(127), in order to address the serious doubts about the independence and quality of ongoing national investigations, with the support of Europol and Eurojust;

240.  Notes that at the time of her murder, the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia had been working on the largest information leak she had ever received from the servers of ElectroGas, the company operating Malta’s power station; further notes that the owner of 17 Black, who was due to transfer large amounts of money to Maltese PEPs responsible for the power station, is also the director and a shareholder of ElectroGas;

241.  Is concerned about the rise of money laundering in the context of other forms of business activities, in particular the phenomenon of the so-called ‘flying money’ and ‘notorious streets’; stresses that stronger coordination and cooperation between local and regional administrative and law enforcement authorities is necessary in order to address these issues in European cities;

242.  Is aware that the current AML legal framework has so far consisted of directives and is based on minimum harmonisation, which has led to different national supervisory and enforcement practices in the Member States; calls on the Commission to assess, in the context of a future revision of the AML legislation, in the required impact assessment, whether a regulation would be a more appropriate legal act than a directive; calls, in this context, for a swift transformation into a regulation of the AML legislation if the impact assessment so advises;

5.1.Cooperation between anti-money laundering and prudential supervisors in the European Union

243.  Welcomes the fact that, following recent cases of breaches or alleged breaches of AML rules, supplementary action was announced by the President of the Commission in his State of the Union address of 12 September 2018;

244.  Calls for the necessary increased scrutiny and continuous supervision of the members of management boards and shareholders of credit institutions and investment firms and insurers in the Union, and stresses in particular the difficulty of revoking banking licences or equivalent specific authorisations;

245.  Supports the work undertaken by the Joint Working Group comprising representatives of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers and its Directorate‑General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, the ECB, the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) and the Chair of the ESAs Joint Committee Anti-Money Laundering Sub-committee, with a view to detecting current shortcomings and proposing measures to enable effective cooperation and the coordination and exchange of information among supervisory and enforcement agencies;

246.  Concludes that the current level of coordination of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) supervision of financial institutions, particularly in AML/CFT situations with cross-border effects, is not sufficient to address current challenges in this sector and that the Union’s ability to enforce coordinated AML rules and practices is currently inadequate;

247.  Calls for an assessment of long-term objectives leading to an enhanced AML/CFT framework as mentioned in the ‘Reflection paper on possible elements of a Roadmap for seamless cooperation between Anti Money Laundering and Prudential Supervisors in the European Union’(128), such as the establishment at EU level of a mechanism to better coordinate the activities of AML/CFT supervisors of financial sector entities, notably in situations where AML/CFT concerns are likely to have cross-border effects, and a possible centralisation of AML supervision via an existing or new Union body empowered to enforce harmonised rules and practices across Members States; supports further efforts for centralisation of anti-money laundering supervision and considers that if such a mechanism is established, it should be allocated sufficient human and financial resources in order for its functions to be carried out efficiently;

248.  Recalls that the ECB has the competence and responsibility for withdrawing authorisation from credit institutions for serious breaches of AML/CFT rules; notes, however, that the ECB is fully dependent on national AML supervisors for information relating to such breaches detected by national authorities; calls on national AML authorities, therefore, to make quality information available to the ECB in a timely manner, so that the ECB can perform its function properly; welcomes, in this regard, the Multilateral Agreement on the practical modalities for exchange of information between the ECB and all competent authorities (CAs) responsible for supervising the compliance of credit and financial institutions with AML/CFT obligations under AMLD4;

249.  Considers that prudential and anti-money laundering supervision cannot be treated separately; highlights that ESAs have limited capabilities to take a more substantial role in the fight against money laundering owing to their decision-making structures, a lack of powers and limited resources; stresses that the EBA should take a leading role in this fight, while coordinating closely with the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), and should therefore, as a matter of urgency, be provided with sufficient capacity in human and material resources to contribute effectively to the consistent and efficient prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering, including by conducting risk assessments of competent authorities and reviews within its overall framework; calls for greater publicity for those reviews and, in particular, for relevant information to be systematically provided to Parliament and the Council in the event of serious shortcomings identified at national or EU level(129);

250.  Notes the increased importance of national financial supervisors; urges the Commission, following a consultation with the EBA, to propose mechanisms to facilitate increased cooperation and coordination between financial supervisory authorities; calls, in the long term, for increased harmonisation of the supervisory procedures of the different national AML authorities;

251.  Welcomes the Commission communication of 12 September 2018 on strengthening the Union framework for prudential and anti-money laundering supervision for financial institutions (COM(2018)0645) and the proposal it contains on the ESAs’ review to strengthen supervisory convergence; considers that the EBA should take a leading, coordinating and monitoring role at Union level to protect the financial system effectively from money laundering and the risks of terrorism financing, in view of the undesirable potential systemic consequences for the Union’s financial stability which could ensue from abuses of the financial sector for money laundering or terrorism financing purposes, and in the light of the experience already gained by the EBA in protecting the banking sector from such abuses as an authority with the power of oversight over all Member States;

252.  Notes the EBA’s concerns about the implementation of the Capital Requirements Directive (2013/36/EU) on access to the activity of credit institutions and the prudential supervision of credit institutions and investment firms(130); welcomes the EBA’s suggestions to tackle the deficiencies caused by the current EU legal framework; calls on Member States to swiftly transpose the recently adopted changes to the Capital Requirements Directive into national law;

5.2.Cooperation between financial intelligence units (FIUs)

253.  Recalls that pursuant to AMLD5, Member States are obliged to set up automated centralised mechanisms enabling swift identification of holders of bank and payment accounts, and to ensure that any FIU is able to provide information held in those centralised mechanisms to any other FIU in a timely manner; stresses the importance of having access to information in a timely manner in order to prevent financial crimes and the discontinuation of investigations; calls on the Member States to speed up the establishment of these mechanisms so that Member States’ FIUs are able to cooperate effectively with each other in order to detect and counteract money laundering activities; strongly encourages Member States’ FIUs to use the FIU.net system; notes the importance of data protection also in this field;

254.  Considers that in order to help fight money laundering activities effectively, it is crucial that national FIUs should be provided with adequate resources and capacities;

255.  Highlights that in order to fight money laundering activities effectively, cooperation is also essential, not only between Member States’ FIUs but also between Member States’ FIUs and the FIUs of third countries; notes the political agreements on the interinstitutional negotiations(131) with a view to the future adoption of the directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules facilitating the use of financial and other information for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of certain criminal offences and repealing Council Decision 2000/642/JHA;

256.  Calls on the Commission to develop specialised training courses for FIUs, with particular regard to the more reduced capacities in some Member States; notes the contribution of the Egmont Group, which brings together 159 FIUs and aims to strengthen their operational cooperation by encouraging the continuation and implementation of numerous projects; awaits the Commission’s assessment of the framework for FIUs’ cooperation with third countries and obstacles and opportunities to enhance cooperation between FIUs in the Union, including the possibility of establishing a coordination and support mechanism; recalls that this assessment should be ready by 1 June 2019; calls on the Commission to consider this opportunity to issue a legislative proposal for an EU FIU, which would create a hub for joint investigative work and coordination with its own remit of autonomy and investigatory competences on cross-border financial criminality, as well as an early warning mechanism; takes the view that an EU FIU should have the broad role of coordinating, assisting and supporting Member States’ FIUs in cross-border cases in order to extend the exchange of information and ensure joint analysis of cross-border cases and strong coordination of work;

257.  Calls on the Commission to engage actively with Member States to find mechanisms to improve and enhance the cooperation of Member States’ FIUs with the FIUs of third countries; calls on the Commission to take opportune action in this regard at the relevant international forums, such as the OECD and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF); considers that in any resulting agreement proper consideration should be given to the protection of personal data;

258.  Calls on the Commission to draw up a report to be addressed to Parliament and the Council assessing whether the differences in status and organisation between Member States’ FIUs are hampering cooperation in the fight against serious crimes with a cross-border dimension;

259.  Points out that the non-standardisation of suspicious transaction report (STR) formats and of STR thresholds among Member States and with respect to the different obliged entities leads to difficulties in the processing and exchange of information between FIUs; calls on the Commission to explore, with support from the EBA, mechanisms to set up, as soon as possible, standardised reporting formats for obliged entities in order to facilitate and enhance the processing and exchange of information between FIUs in cases with a cross-border dimension, and to consider the standardisation of suspicious transaction thresholds;

260.  Calls on the Commission to explore the possibility of setting up automated STR retrieval systems that would allow Member States’ FIUs to look up transactions and their initiators and receivers repeatedly reported as suspicious in different Member States;

261.  Encourages the competent authorities and FIUs to engage with financial institutions and other obliged entities to enhance suspicious activity reporting and to reduce defensive reporting, thereby helping to ensure that FIUs receive more useful, focused and complete information to properly perform their duties, while at the same time ensuring compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation;

262.  Recalls the importance of developing enhanced channels for dialogue, communication and the exchange of information between public authorities and specific private sectors stakeholders, generally known as public–private partnerships (PPPs), particularly for obliged entities under the AMLD, and highlights the existence and positive results of the only transnational PPP, the Europol Financial Intelligence Public‑Private Partnership, which promotes strategic information-sharing between banks, FIUs, law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and national regulators across Member States;

263.  Supports the continuous improvement of information-sharing between FIUs and LEAs, including Europol; considers that such a partnership should be established in the field of new technologies, including virtual assets, so as to formalise pre-existing operations in the Member States; calls on the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) to provide further clarification to market operators that process personal data as part of their due diligence obligations to enable them to comply with the relevant provisions on data protection;

264.  Highlights that increasing and improving the cooperation between national supervisory authorities and FIUs is crucial to fight money laundering and tax evasion effectively; further highlights that the fight against money laundering and tax evasion also requires good cooperation between FIUs and customs authorities;

265.  Calls on the Commission to report on the status quo and improvements in Member States’ FIUs regarding the dissemination, exchange and processing of information, following the PANA recommendations(132) and the mapping report carried out by the Member States’ FIUs Platform;

5.3.Obliged entities (scope)

266.  Welcomes the fact that AMLD5 has broadened the list of obliged entities to include providers engaged in exchange services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies, custodian wallet providers, art traders and free ports;

267.  Calls on the Commission to take action to improve the enforcement of CDD, in particular to better clarify that the responsibility for correct application of CDD always falls on the obliged entity, even when outsourced, and for provision to be made for penalties in the event of negligence or conflicts of interest in cases of outsourcing; underlines the legal obligation under AMLD5 for obliged entities to conduct enhanced checks and systematic reporting when performing CDD relating to business relationships or transactions involving countries identified by the Commission as high-risk third countries for money-laundering purposes;

5.4.Registers

268.  Welcomes the access to beneficial ownership and other CDD information granted to tax authorities in DAC5; recalls that this access is necessary for tax authorities to properly carry out their duties;

269.  Notes that the Union’s AML legislation obliges Member States to establish central registers containing complete beneficial ownership data for companies and trusts, and that it also provides for their interconnection; welcomes the fact that AMLD5 obliges Member States to ensure that the information on beneficial ownership is accessible in all cases to any member of the general public;

270.  Notes, however, that in respect of trusts, national registers will only be accessible in principle to those demonstrating a legitimate interest to access; stresses that Member States remain free to open beneficial ownership registers for trusts to the public, as recommended by Parliament already; invites Member States to establish freely accessible and open data registers; recalls, in any case, that the fee they may decide to impose should not exceed the administrative costs of making the information available, including the registers’ maintenance and developments costs;

271.  Stresses that the interconnection of registers of beneficial owners should be ensured by the Commission; considers that the Commission should closely monitor the functioning of this interconnected system and assess within reasonable time whether it is working properly and whether it should be supplemented by the establishment of an EU public register of beneficial ownership or other instruments that could remedy any potential shortcomings effectively; calls on the Commission, in the meantime, to develop and issue technical guidelines to promote convergence of format, interoperability and interconnection of Member States’ registers; takes the view that beneficial ownership of trusts should have the same level of transparency as companies under AMLD5, while ensuring appropriate safeguards;

272.  Is concerned that the information in the registers of beneficial owners is not always sufficient and/or accurate; calls on Member States to ensure, therefore, that registers of beneficial owners contain verification mechanisms to ensure the accuracy of the data; calls on the Commission to assess their verification mechanisms and reliability of the data in its reviews;

273.  Calls for a more stringent and precise definition of beneficial ownership to ensure that all natural persons who ultimately own or control a legal entity are identified;

274.  Recalls the need for clear rules facilitating straightforward identification of beneficial owners, including an obligation for trusts and similar arrangements to exist in written form and to be registered in the Member State where the trust is created, administered or operated;

275.  Underscores the problem of money laundering through investment in real estate in European cities through foreign shell companies; recalls that the Commission should assess the necessity and proportionality of harmonising the information in the land and real estate registers and assess the need for the interconnection of those registers; calls on the Commission to accompany the report with a legislative proposal, if appropriate; takes the view that Member States should have publicly accessible information in place on the ultimate beneficial ownership of land and real estate;

276.  Reiterates its position on the creation of beneficial ownership registers for life insurance contracts, as articulated in the interinstitutional negotiations on AMLD5; calls on the Commission to assess the feasibility and necessity of making beneficial ownership information on life insurance contracts and financial instruments accessible to the relevant authorities;

277.  Notes that under AMLD5 the Commission must carry out an analysis of the feasibility of specific measures and mechanisms at Union and Member State level making it possible to collect and access the beneficial ownership information of corporate and other legal entities incorporated outside of the Union; calls on the Commission to present a legislative proposal for such a mechanism should the feasibility analysis be favourable;

5.5.Technology risks and virtual assets, including virtual and crypto-currencies

278.  Underlines the positive potential of new distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), such as blockchain technology; notes at the same time the increasing abuse of new payment and transfer methods based on these technologies to launder criminal proceeds or to commit other financial crimes; acknowledges the need to monitor fast-changing technological developments to ensure that legislation addresses in an effective manner the abuse of new technologies and anonymity, which facilitates criminal activity, without curtailing its positive aspects;

279.  Urges the Commission to closely examine those relevant crypto players not yet covered by the Union’s AML legislation, and to expand the list of obliged entities if required, particularly service providers in the field of transactions involving exchanges of one or more virtual currencies; calls on the Member States, meanwhile, to transpose as soon as possible the provisions of AMLD5 imposing an obligation on virtual currency wallets and on the exchange of services to identify their customers, which would make the anonymous use of virtual currencies very difficult;

280.  Calls on the Commission to closely monitor technological developments, including the swift expansion of innovative Fintech business models and the adoption of emerging technologies such as AI, DLTs, cognitive computing and machine learning, in order to assess technological risks and potential loopholes and boost resilience to cyberattacks or system breakdowns, namely by promoting data protection; encourages the competent authorities and the Commission to undertake a thorough assessment of the possible systemic risks involving DLT applications;

281.  Stresses that the development and use of virtual assets is a long-term trend that is expected to continue and increase in the coming years, in particular through the use of virtual coins for various purposes, such as corporate financing; calls on the Commission to develop an appropriate framework at EU level to manage these developments, drawing inspiration from work at international level and from European bodies such as ESMA; considers that this framework should provide the necessary safeguards against the specific risks posed by virtual assets without hindering innovation;

282.  Notes, in particular, that the opacity of virtual assets could be used to facilitate money laundering and tax evasion; urges the Commission, in this context, to provide clear guidance about the conditions under which virtual assets could be classified as an existing or new financial instrument in MiFID2 and the circumstances in which EU legislation is applicable to initial coin offerings;

283.  Calls on the Commission to assess the banning of certain anonymity measures on specific virtual assets, and, should it be deemed necessary, to consider regulating virtual assets as financial instruments; considers that FIUs should be able to link virtual and crypto-currency addresses to the identity of the owner of virtual assets; considers that the Commission should assess the possibility of the mandatory registration of virtual assets users; recalls that some Member States have already adopted various types of measures for specific segments in this field, such as initial coin offerings, which could be a source of inspiration for future EU action;

284.  Stresses that the FATF has recently highlighted the urgent need for all countries to take coordinated action to prevent the use of virtual assets for crime and terrorism, urging all jurisdictions to take legal and practical steps to prevent the misuse of virtual assets(133); calls on the Commission to seek ways of incorporating into the European legal framework the recommendations and standards developed by the FATF on virtual assets; stresses that the Union should continue advocating a coherent and coordinated international regulatory framework around virtual assets, building on the efforts it has undertaken at the G20;

285.  Reiterates its call for an urgent assessment by the Commission of the implications of e-gaming activities for money laundering and tax crimes; considers such an assessment to be a priority; notes the rise of the e-gaming sector in some jurisdictions, including certain UK Crown Dependencies such as the Isle of Man, where e-gaming already accounts for 18 % of national income;

286.  Takes note of the expert-level work on electronic identification and remote KYC processes, which explores issues such as the possibility of financial institutions using electronic identification (e-ID) and of KYC portability to identify customers digitally; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to assess the potential advantages of introducing a European e-ID system; recalls the importance of maintaining a proper balance between data and privacy protection and the need for the competent authorities to have access to information for the purposes of criminal investigations;

5.6.Sanctions

287.  Stresses that EU AML legislation requires Member States to lay down sanctions for breaches of anti-money laundering rules; stresses that these sanctions must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive; calls for the introduction of simplified procedures in Member States for the enforcement of financial sanctions imposed for breaches of AML legislation;

288.  Urges Member States to publish, as soon as possible and unfailingly, information on the nature and value of the sanctions imposed, in addition to information on the type and nature of the breach and the identity of the person responsible; calls on Member States to also apply sanctions and measures vis-à-vis the members of the management body and other natural persons who are responsible for breaches of AML rules under national law(134);

289.  Calls on the Commission to report to Parliament every two years on the national legislation and practices with regard to sanctions for breaches of AML legislation;

290.  Welcomes the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2018/1805 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 on the mutual recognition of freezing orders and confiscation orders(135), which aims to facilitate the cross-border recovery of criminal assets and will therefore help to strengthen the Union’s capacity to fight organised crime and terrorism and cut off the sources of financing for criminals and terrorists across the Union;

291.  Welcomes the adoption of Directive (EU) 2018/1673 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on combating money laundering by criminal law(136), which introduces new criminal law provisions and facilitates more efficient and faster cross-border cooperation between competent authorities in order to prevent, more effectively, money laundering and the related financing of terrorism and organised crime; notes that Member States should have to take the necessary measures to ensure, as appropriate, that their competent authorities freeze or confiscate, in accordance with Directive 2014/42/EU(137), the proceeds derived from and instrumentalities used or intended to be used in the commission or contributing to the commission of those offences;

5.7.International dimension

292.  Notes that under AMLD4, the Commission is obliged to identify high-risk third countries that present strategic deficiencies in their regimes on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing;

293.  Considers that, even if the work undertaken at international level to identify high-risk third countries for the purposes of fighting money laundering and terrorist financing should be taken into consideration, particularly that of the FATF, it is essential that the Union have an autonomous list of high-risk third countries; welcomes, in this regard, the Commission Delegated Regulation of 13 February 2019 supplementing Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council by identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies (C(2019)1326), and regrets that the Council objected to the delegated act; welcomes, in addition, the Commission Delegated Regulation of 31 January 2019 supplementing Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to regulatory technical standards for the minimum action and the type of additional measures credit and financial institutions must take to mitigate money laundering and terrorist financing risk in certain third countries(138);

294.  Welcomes the Commission’s adoption of the Methodology for identifying high-risk third countries under Directive (EU) 2015/849, published on 22 June 2018(139); welcomes the Commission’s assessment of 31 January 2019 regarding ‘Priority 1’ countries;

295.  Stresses the need to ensure consistency and complementarity between the AML list of high-risk third countries and the European list of non-cooperative jurisdictions; reiterates its call to entrust the Commission with a central role for the management of both lists; calls on the Commission to ensure the transparency of the jurisdictions’ screening process;

296.  Is concerned at allegations that the competent authorities in Switzerland are not performing their AML/CFT functions properly(140); calls on the Commission to take these elements into consideration when updating the list of high-risk third countries and in future bilateral relations between Switzerland and the Union;

297.  Calls on the Commission to provide technical assistance to third countries with the aim of developing effective systems for combating money laundering and the continuous improvement thereof;

298.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the EU speaks with one voice at the FATF and that they actively contribute to the ongoing reflection on its reform, with a view to strengthening its resources and its legitimacy; calls on the Commission to include European Parliament staff as observers in the Commission delegation to the FATF;

299.  Calls on the Commission to lead a global initiative for the establishment of public central registers of beneficial ownership in all jurisdictions; stresses, in this regard, the vital role of international organisations such as the OECD and the UN;

6.International dimension of taxation

300.  Points out that a European fair tax system requires a fairer global tax environment; reiterates its call to monitor ongoing tax reforms of third countries;

301.  Notes the effort made by some third countries to act decisively against BEPS; stresses, however, that such reforms should remain in line with existing WTO rules;

302.  Considers the information gathered during the committee visit to Washington DC about the US tax reforms and their possible impact on international cooperation to be of particular importance; finds that some of the provisions of the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 would be incompatible with existing WTO rules according to some experts; notes that certain provisions of the US tax reform seek, unilaterally and without any reciprocity, to revitalise transnational benefits attributable to US territory (presuming that at least 50 % of these are generated on US territory); welcomes the fact that the Commission is currently in the process of assessing the potential regulatory and commercial implications of, in particular, the BEAT, GILTI and FDII(141) provisions of the new US tax reform; asks the Commission to inform Parliament of the results of the assessment;

303.  Notes that two types of intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) were developed to help FATCA conform with international laws(142); notes that only one of the IGA Models is reciprocal; deplores the severe imbalance in the reciprocity of these agreements, as the US typically receives far more information from foreign governments than it provides; calls on the Commission to conduct a mapping exercise to analyse the extent of reciprocity in the exchange of information between the US and the Member States;

304.  Calls on the Council to give a mandate to the Commission to negotiate an agreement with the US to ensure reciprocity in FATCA;

305.  Reiterates the proposals put forward in its resolution of 5 July 2018 on the adverse effects of FATCA on EU citizens and in particular ‘accidental Americans’(143), which calls on the Commission to take action to ensure that the fundamental rights of all citizens, in particular those of ‘accidental Americans’, are guaranteed;

306.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to present a joint EU approach to FATCA in order to adequately protect the rights of European citizens (particularly ‘accidental Americans’) and ensure reciprocity in the automatic exchange of information by the US, with the CRS being the preferred standard; calls on the Commission and Council, in the meantime, to consider countermeasures, such as a withholding tax, where appropriate, to ensure a level playing field if the US does not ensure reciprocity in the framework of FATCA;

307.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to monitor new corporate tax provisions of countries that cooperate with the EU on the basis of an international agreement(144);

6.1.Tax havens and jurisdictions facilitating ATP within and outside the EU

308.  Recalls the importance of a common EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes (referred to herein as ‘the EU list’) based on comprehensive, transparent, robust, objectively verifiable and commonly accepted criteria that are regularly updated;

309.  Regrets the fact that the initial EU listing process only considered third countries; notes that the Commission, within the framework of the European Semester, has identified shortcomings in some Member States’ tax systems which facilitate ATP; welcomes, nonetheless, the statement made by the Chair of the Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation during the TAX3 committee hearing of 10 October 2018 about the possibility of screening Member States against the same criteria set for the EU list in the context of the revision of the mandate of the CoC Group(145);

310.  Welcomes the adoption by the Council of the first EU list on 5 December 2017 and the ongoing monitoring of the commitments made by third countries; notes that the list has been updated several times on the basis of the assessment of those commitments and, as a consequence, various countries have been removed; notes that as a consequence of the revision of 12 March 2019 the list now comprises the following tax jurisdictions: American Samoa, Aruba, Guam, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Dominica, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, the US Virgin Islands, and Vanuatu;

311.  Notes the addition of two other jurisdictions to the grey list (Australia and Costa Rica)(146);

312.  Notes that eight major pass-through economies – the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Ireland and Singapore – host more than 85 % of global investment in special purpose entities, which are often established for tax reasons(147); regrets that only one of them (Bermuda) is currently listed on the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes(148);

313.  Underlines that the screening and monitoring processes are opaque and that it is unclear whether real progress has been achieved with regard to those countries taken off the list;

314.  Underlines that the assessment by the Council and its CoC Group on Business Taxation is based on criteria deriving from a technical scoreboard by the Commission and that Parliament had no legal involvement in this process; calls on the Commission and the Council, in this context, to inform Parliament in detail ahead of any proposed change to the list; calls on the Council to publish a regular progress report regarding black- and grey-listed jurisdictions as part of the regular update from the CoC Group to the Council;

315.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to work on an ambitious and objective methodology which does not rely on commitments but on an assessment of the effects of duly and properly implemented legislation in those countries;

316.  Deeply regrets the lack of transparency during the initial listing process and deplores the non-objective application of the listing criteria laid down by ECOFIN; insists that the process must be free from any political interference; welcomes, however, the improvement in transparency made by the disclosure of letters sent to jurisdictions screened by the CoC Group, as well as the set of commitment letters received; calls for all remaining undisclosed letters to be made publicly available to ensure scrutiny and proper implementation of commitments; takes the view that those jurisdictions refusing to consent to the disclosure of their commitments arouse public suspicion of not being cooperative in tax matters;

317.  Welcomes the recent clarifications from the CoC Group on fair taxation criteria, especially regarding the lack of economic substance for jurisdictions having no corporate income tax rate or a rate close to 0 %; calls on the Member States to work towards the gradual improvement of the EU listing criteria to cover all harmful tax practices(149), notably by including a detailed economic analysis looking at the facilitation of tax avoidance and a 0 % tax rate or absence of corporate income tax as a stand-alone criterion;

318.  Welcomes the new OECD global standard on application of substantial activities factor to no or only nominal tax jurisdictions(150), largely inspired by the EU’s work on the EU listing process(151); calls on the Member States to push the G20 to reform the OECD blacklist criteria to go beyond pure tax transparency and tackle tax evasion and ATP;

319.  Notes and welcomes the work done by the EU and UK negotiating teams on the issue of taxation, as indicated in Annex 4 to the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community(152); is concerned about possible divergences that may emerge even in the short run upon the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in policies against financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance between the UK and the EU, which would constitute new economic, fiscal and security risks; calls on the Commission and the Council to immediately react to any such risks and ensure that the EU’s interests are protected;

320.  Recalls that, in accordance with Article 79 of the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom(153), the future relationship should ensure open and fair competition through provisions on state aid, competition, social and employment standards, environmental standards, climate change, and relevant tax matters; notes with concern the announcement by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, that ‘the lowest level of corporation tax in the G20’ would be introduced in the United Kingdom; calls on the UK to remain a strong partner in the global effort to ensure better and more efficient taxation and in combating financial crime as a member of the international community; calls on the Commission and the Council to include the UK in the assessment of the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions and the EU list of jurisdictions with deficiencies in their AML regimes, including detailed monitoring of its economic relationships with its crown dependencies and its overseas territories, as soon as the UK becomes a third country;

321.  Highlights that, regardless of the developments after the withdrawal deadline, the UK will remain a member of the OECD bound by its OECD BEPS Action Plan recommendations and other tax good governance actions;

322.  Calls, in the specific case of Switzerland, for which no precise deadline is envisaged due to a previous agreement between Switzerland and the EU, for the country to be put on Annex I by the end of 2019, provided that by then, following the proper escalation process, Switzerland does not repeal its non-compliant tax regimes, which allow unequal treatment of foreign and domestic income as well as tax benefits for certain types of companies;

323.  Notes with concern that third countries may repeal non-compliant tax regimes but substitute them with new ones that are potentially harmful to the EU; stresses that this could be particularly true in the case of Switzerland; calls on the Council to properly reassess Switzerland and any other third country(154) that introduces similar legislative changes(155);

324.  Notes that the negotiations between the EU and Switzerland on the revision of the bilateral approach to reciprocal market access are still ongoing; calls on the Commission to ensure that the final agreement between the EU and Switzerland contains a tax good governance clause including specific rules on State aid under the form of a tax advantage, automatic exchange of information on taxation, public access to beneficial ownership information, where appropriate, and anti-money laundering provisions; requests that the EU negotiators finalise an agreement that, inter alia, eliminates shortcomings(156) in the Swiss supervisory system and protects whistle-blowers;

325.  Welcomes the revised EU list of 12 March 2019(157); welcomes the release of the detailed assessment of commitments and reforms of jurisdictions which were listed in Annex II when the first EU list was released on 5 December 2017; welcomes the fact that jurisdictions which were previously listed in Annex II thanks to commitments made in 2017 are now listed in Annex I on account of the fact that reforms were not implemented by the end of 2018 or within the agreed timeframe;

326.  Is concerned that Austrian residents who hold bank accounts with credit institutions in Liechtenstein are not affected by the Act on Common Reporting Standards if their capital incomes are yielded from asset structures (private foundations, establishments, trusts and the like), and the credit institution in Liechtenstein takes care of the taxation in accordance with bilateral treaties; calls on Austria to change its law in this regard so as to close the loophole of the CRS;

327.  Notes, by way of example, that according to OECD data on FDI, Luxembourg and the Netherlands combined have more inward investment than the US, a substantial part of which has been in SPEs with no evident substantial economic activity, and that Ireland has more inward investment than either Germany or France; points out that according to its National Statistics Office, foreign investment in Malta amounts to 1 474 % of the size of its economy;

328.  Recalls a research study showing that tax avoidance via six EU Member States results in a loss of EUR 42,8 billion in tax revenue in the other 22 Member States(158), which means that the net payment position of these countries can be offset against the losses they inflict on the tax base of other Member States; notes, for instance, that the Netherlands imposes a net cost on the Union as a whole of EUR 11,2 billion, which means the country is depriving other Member States of tax income to the benefit of multinationals and their shareholders;

329.  Recalls that, in order to improve the Union and Member States’ fight against tax fraud, tax avoidance and money laundering, all available data, including macroeconomic data, must be used effectively;

330.  Recalls that the Commission has criticised seven Member States(159) – Belgium, Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands – for shortcomings in their tax systems that facilitate aggressive tax planning, arguing that they undermine the integrity of the European single market; takes the view that these jurisdictions can also be regarded as facilitating aggressive tax planning globally; highlights that the Commission has acknowledged that some of the aforementioned Member States have taken measures to improve their tax systems to address the Commission’s criticism(160); notes that a recent research study(161) has identified five EU Member States as corporate tax havens: Cyprus, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands; stresses that the criteria and methodology used to select those Member States included a comprehensive assessment of their harmful tax practices, measures that facilitate aggressive tax planning and distortion of economic flows based on Eurostat data, which included a combination of high inward and outward foreign direct investment, royalties, interests and dividend flows; calls on the Commission to currently regard at least these five Member States as EU tax havens until substantial tax reforms are implemented;

331.  Asks the Council to release a detailed assessment of commitments from jurisdictions which voluntarily committed to reform and were listed in Annex II when the first EU list was released on 5 December 2017;

6.2.Countermeasures

332.  Renews its call for the EU and its Member States to undertake effective and dissuasive countermeasures against non-cooperative jurisdictions with a view to incentivising good cooperation on tax matters and compliance by the countries included in Annex I of the EU list;

333.  Deplores the fact that most countermeasures proposed by the Council are left to national discretion; notes with concern that during the TAX3 committee hearing of 15 May 2018, some experts(162) highlighted the fact that countermeasures might not sufficiently incentivise non-cooperative jurisdictions to comply, since ‘the EU list omits some of the most notorious tax havens’; believes that this undermines the credibility of the listing process, as some experts have also pointed out;

334.  Calls on the Member States to adopt a single set of strong countermeasures, such as withholding taxes, exclusion from calls for public procurement tenders, increased auditing requirements and automatic CFC rules for companies present in listed non-cooperative jurisdictions unless the taxpayers convey genuine economic activities there;

335.  Invites both tax administrations and taxpayers to cooperate to gather the relevant facts in case the controlled foreign company carries out substantive real economic activity and has substantial economic presence supported by staff, equipment, assets and premises, as evidenced by relevant facts and circumstances;

336.  Notes that developing countries might not possess the resources to implement newly agreed international or European tax standards; calls on the Council, therefore, to exclude countermeasures such as cuts in development aid;

337.  Notes that countermeasures are essential to fight tax evasion, aggressive tax planning and money laundering; further notes that the economic clout of the European Union can serve to deter non-cooperative jurisdictions and taxpayers from exploiting the tax loopholes and harmful tax practices offered by those jurisdictions;

338.  Calls on the European financial institutions(163) to consider applying reinforced and enhanced due diligence on a project-by-project basis to jurisdictions listed in Annex II of the EU list in order to avoid EU funds being invested in or channelled through entities in third countries which do not comply with EU tax standards; notes the EIB’s approval of its revised Group Policy Towards Weakly Regulated, Non-Transparent and Non-Cooperative Jurisdictions and Tax Good Governance and calls for this policy to be regularly updated and to include increased transparency requirements in line with EU standards; calls on the EIB to publish this policy as soon as it has been adopted; calls for a level playing field and for the same level of standards to be applied across the European financial institutions;

6.3.Position of the EU as a global leader

339.  Reiterates its call for the EU and its Member States to have, following ex-ante coordination, a leading role in the global fight against tax evasion, aggressive tax planning and money laundering, in particular through Commission initiatives in all related international forums, including the UN, G20 and OECD, which played a central role in tax matters, especially after the international financial crisis;

340.  Recalls that multilateral policies and international cooperation between countries, including developing countries, remains the preferred means to achieve concrete results while respecting the principle of reciprocity; regrets the fact that some legislative proposals that go beyond the OECD BEPS recommendations and could serve as a basis for further fruitful work at an international level are stalled in the Council;

341.  Believes that the creation of an intergovernmental tax body within the framework of the UN, which should be well equipped and have sufficient resources and, where appropriate, enforcement powers, would ensure that all countries can participate on an equal footing in the formulation and reform of a global tax agenda(164) to fight harmful tax practices effectively and ensure an appropriate allocation of taxing rights; takes notes of recent calls for the UN Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters to be upgraded to an intergovernmental UN Global Tax Body(165); stresses that the UN Model Tax Convention ensures a fairer distribution of taxing rights between source and residence countries;

342.  Calls for an intergovernmental summit on the remaining necessary global tax reforms in order to enhance international cooperation and put pressure on all countries, in particular their financial centres, to comply with transparency and fair taxation standards; calls for the Commission to take the initiative for such a summit and for the summit to launch a second set of international tax reforms to follow up on the BEPS action plan and to allow for the establishment of the abovementioned intergovernmental global tax body;

343.  Takes note of the Commission’s action and contribution to the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information and the Inclusive Framework on BEPS, namely to promote higher standards of tax good governance globally, while ensuring that the international tax good governance standards continue to be fully respected within the EU;

6.4.Developing countries

344.  Believes that supporting developing countries in combating tax evasion and aggressive tax planning, as well as corruption and secrecy that facilitate illicit financial flows, is of the utmost importance for strengthening policy coherence for development in the EU and improving developing countries’ tax capacities and ability to mobilise their own resources for sustainable economic development; stresses the need to increase the share of financial and technical assistance to the tax administrations of developing countries, so as to create stable and modern legal taxation frameworks;

345.  Welcomes the cooperation between the EU and the African Union (AU) as part of the Addis Tax Initiative (ATI), the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Kimberley Process; calls on the Commission and Member States to support AU countries in the implementation of transparency policies; encourages, in this regard, national and regional tax authorities to exchange information automatically; recalls the convenience of close, reinforced cooperation between Interpol and Afripol;

346.  Recalls the need for Member States, in close cooperation with the Commission, to undertake regular spillover analyses of the material impact of tax policies and bilateral tax treaties on other Member States and developing countries, while acknowledging that some work has taken place in this regard within the framework of the Platform for Tax Good Governance; calls on all Member States to conduct such spillover analyses under the supervision of the Commission;

347.  Urges Member States to review and update bilateral taxation agreements between Member States and with third countries in order to close loopholes that incentivise tax-driven trading practices with the purpose of tax avoidance;

348.  Recalls the need to take into account the specific legal features and vulnerabilities of developing countries, in particular in the context of automatic exchange of information, namely in terms of the transition period and their need for support in their capacity-building;

349.  Notes that closer work with regional organisations is needed, in particular with the AU in order to combat illegal financial flows and corruption in the private and public sectors;

350.  Welcomes the participation on an equal footing of all countries involved in the Inclusive Framework, which brings together over 115 countries and jurisdictions to collaborate on the implementation of the OECD/G20 BEPS Package; calls on the Member States to support a reform of both the mandate and functioning of the Inclusive Framework to ensure that developing countries’ interests are taken into consideration; recalls, however, the exclusion of over 100 developing countries from the negotiations on the BEPS actions;

351.  Acknowledges that tax haven regimes are also present in developing countries; welcomes the Commission’s proposal for enhanced cooperation with third countries in fighting the financing of terrorism and, in particular, the creation of an import license for antiques;

352.  Recalls that public development aid targeting poverty reduction should be directed to a greater extent towards the implementation of an appropriate regulatory framework and the bolstering of tax administrations and institutions responsible for fighting illicit financial flows; calls for this aid to be provided in the form of technical expertise in relation to resource management, financial information and anti-corruption rules; calls for this aid to also favour regional cooperation against tax fraud, tax evasion, ATP and money laundering; stresses that this aid should include support to civil society and media in developing countries to ensure public scrutiny over domestic tax policies;

353.  Expects the Commission to come up with adequate resources to implement the ‘Collect More – Spend Better’ approach, notably through its flagships programmes(166);

354.  Calls for concerted external action from the EU and its Member States, at all levels of policy, to provide third countries and developing countries in particular with the wherewithal to bolster balanced economic development and avoid dependence on one single sector, especially finance;

355.  Recalls the need for fair treatment of developing countries when negotiating tax treaties, taking into account their particular situation and ensuring a fair allocation of tax rights according to genuine economic activity and value creation; calls, in this regard, for adherence to the UN Model Tax Convention to be considered as a minimum standard and for transparency around treaty negotiations to be ensured; acknowledges that the OECD Model Tax Treaty grants more rights to the country of residence;

356.  Invites the Commission to include provisions against financial crimes, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning in the treaty to be negotiated with ACP countries upon expiry of the current Cotonou Agreement in February 2020; notes the particular importance of transparency in tax matters for such provisions to be implemented effectively;

6.5.EU agreements with third countries

357.  Recalls that tax good governance is a global challenge which requires, above all, global solutions; recalls its position therefore that a ‘tax good governance’ clause should be included systematically in new relevant EU agreements with third countries in order to ensure that these agreements cannot be misused by companies or intermediaries to avoid or evade taxes or launder illicit proceeds, without hampering the EU’s exclusive competences; takes the view that this clause should include specific rules on State aid under the form of a tax advantage, transparency requirements and anti-money laundering provisions;

358.  Encourages the Member States to use their bilateral relations with the respective third countries in a coordinated manner, with the support of the Commission if appropriate, to establish further bilateral cooperation between FIUs, tax authorities and competent authorities to fight financial crime;

359.  Notes that, in parallel to the political agreements containing this tax good governance clause, the EU’s free trade agreements (FTAs) include tax exceptions that provide policy space for implementing the EU’s approach to fight tax evasion and money laundering, for example by insisting on tax good governance and via effective use of the EU list of non-cooperating tax jurisdictions; further notes that FTAs also aim to promote relevant international standards and their enforcement in third countries;

360.  Considers that the EU should not conclude agreements with non-cooperative tax jurisdictions as appearing in Annex I of the EU list until the jurisdiction is compliant with EU tax good governance standards; calls on the Commission to investigate whether non-compliance with EU tax good governance standards affects the proper functioning of FTAs or of political agreements in cases where an agreement has already been signed;

361.  Recalls that tax good governance and transparency clauses, as well as the exchange of information, should be included in all new relevant EU agreements with third countries, and should be negotiated as part of the revision of existing agreements, in view of the fact that they are core instruments of EU external policy and yet, depending on the specific policy field, involve different levels of competence;

6.6.Bilateral tax treaties concluded by Member States

362.  Notes that some experts consider that many tax treaties concluded by EU Member States currently in force restrict the tax rights of low and lower-middle income countries(167); requests than when negotiating tax treaties, the European Union and its Member States should comply with the principle of policy coherence for development established in Article 208 TFEU; underlines that it is the prerogative of Member States to conclude tax treaties;

363.  Notes that the intensity of losses due to tax avoidance is substantially greater in low and middle-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South Asia than in other regions(168); asks Member States, therefore, to renegotiate their bilateral tax treaties with third countries with the aim of introducing anti-abuse clauses, preventing ‘treaty shopping’ and a race to the bottom among developing countries;

364.  Calls on the Commission to review all tax treaties in force and signed by Member States with third countries to ensure that they are all compliant with new global standards such as the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (‘MLI’); notes that the MLI represents OECD-based standards which were not established with consideration for the needs or challenges of developing countries; asks the Commission to release recommendations to Member States regarding their existing bilateral tax treaties to ensure that they include general anti-abuse rules, looking at genuine economic activity and value creation;

365.  Is aware that bilateral tax treaties do not reflect the current reality of digitalised economies; calls on Member States to update their bilateral tax treaties based on the Commission recommendation relating to the corporate taxation of a significant digital presence(169);

6.7.Double taxation

366.  Welcomes the strengthened framework on avoiding double non-taxation; emphasises that the elimination of double taxation is of great importance for ensuring that honest taxpayers are treated fairly and their trust is not undermined; calls on Member States to abide by their double taxation treaties and cooperate sincerely and swiftly in cases of reported double taxation;

367.  Welcomes the adoption of Council Directive (EU) 2017/1852 of 10 October 2017 on tax dispute resolution mechanisms in the EU, implementing the standard set out in BEPS action 14; points out that the implementation deadline of the directive (30 June 2019) has not yet elapsed and that the provisions will need to be monitored in order to ensure that they are efficient and effective;

368.  Calls on the Commission to collect and release information on the number of tax disputes submitted and resolved, sorted by type of dispute per year and by countries involved, so as to monitor the mechanism and ensure that it is efficient and effective;

6.8.Outermost regions

369.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the EU’s outermost regions implement the BEPS minimum standards, as well as ATAD;

370.  Notes that the Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the application of the Madeira Free Zone regional aid scheme by Portugal(170);

7.Intermediaries

371.  Welcomes the broad definition of both ‘intermediary’(171) and ‘reportable cross-border arrangement’ in the recently adopted DAC6(172); calls for the hallmarks under DAC6 to be updated in order to cover, amongst others, dividend arbitrage schemes, including the granting of dividend and capital gains tax refunds; calls on the Commission to reassess the extension of the DAC6 reporting obligation to domestic cases; recalls the obligation of intermediaries under DAC6 to report schemes based on structural loopholes in tax legislation to tax authorities, particularly in view of the increasing number of cross-border tax avoidance strategies; considers that schemes deemed to be harmful by the relevant domestic authorities should be addressed and made public in an anonymised manner;

372.  Reiterates that intermediaries play a crucial role in facilitating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and should be held accountable for these actions;

373.  Reiterates the need for enhanced cooperation between tax administrations and financial supervisors for joint and effective surveillance of the role of financial intermediaries and in the light of the fact that some tax-driven financial instruments may pose a risk to financial market stability and market integrity;

374.  Considers that the Union should lead by example, and calls on the Commission to ensure that intermediaries promoting aggressive tax planning and tax evasion should not have a role in guiding or advising the Union’s policy-making institutions on these matters;

375.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to recognise and address the risks of conflicts of interest stemming from the provision of legal advice, tax advice and auditing services when advising both corporate clients and public authorities; notes that a conflict of interest can take several forms, such as public procurement contracts that require the provision of paid advice for such services, the provision of informal or unpaid advice, official advisory and expert groups, or revolving doors; stresses, therefore, the importance of transparent indication of what services are provided to a particular client and a clear separation between these services; reiterates its requests from previous reports(173) on this issue;

376.  Welcomes the monitoring of the enforcement of Directive 2014/56/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2006/43/EC on statutory audits of annual accounts and consolidated accounts(174) and of Regulation (EU) No 537/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on specific requirements regarding statutory audit of public-interest entities and repealing Commission Decision 2005/909/EC(175), in particular the provision on statutory auditors or audit firms carrying out statutory audits of public-interest entities; points out the need to ensure that the rules are properly applied;

377.  Calls on the Member States to consider the introduction of mandatory tax reporting for all tax and financial intermediaries referred to in Action 12 of the BEPS Project who, in the course of their professional activities, become aware of the existence of abusive or aggressive transactions, devices or structures;

378.  Calls for a rotation of auditors every seven years to prevent conflicts of interest and for the provision of non-audit services to be kept to a minimum;

379.  Reiterates that financial institutions, advisors and other intermediaries that knowingly, systematically and repeatedly facilitate, engage or participate in money laundering or tax evasion activities, or that establish offices, branches or subsidiaries in EU-listed jurisdictions to offer their clients aggressive tax planning schemes, should face effective, proportional and dissuasive penalties; calls for such institutions and individuals to have their operational businesses licenses subjected to a serious review in the event that they are convicted for participating in fraudulent behaviour, or they are cognisant of it being carried out by their clients, and, where applicable, for restrictions on their operating in the single market;

380.  Points out that professional secrecy cannot be used for the purposes of protecting or covering up illegal practices or for violating the spirit of the law; urges that attorney-client privilege should not impede adequate STRs or the reporting of other potentially illegal activities, without prejudice to the rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the general principles of criminal law;

381.  Calls on the Commission to issue guidance on the interpretation and application of the legal privilege principle for professionals and to introduce a clear line of demarcation between traditional judicial advice and lawyers acting as financial operators, in line with the case-law of the European courts;

8.Protection of whistle-blowers and journalists

382.  Believes that the protection of whistle-blowers in both the private and public sectors is of major importance to ensure that unlawful activities and abuse of law are prevented or do not prosper; recognises that whistle-blowers play a crucial role in strengthening democracy in societies in the fight against corruption and other serious crimes or illegal activities, and in the protection of the Union’s financial interests; stresses that whistle-blowers are often a crucial source for investigative journalism and should therefore be protected from all forms of harassment and retaliation; notes the importance of making all reporting channels available;

383.  Deems it necessary to protect the confidentiality of the sources of investigative journalism, including whistle-blowers, if the role of investigative journalism as a watchdog in democratic society is to be safeguarded;

384.  Considers, therefore, that the duty of confidentiality should only be waived in exceptional circumstances where disclosure of the information relating to the reporting person’s personal data is a necessary and proportionate obligation required under Union or national law in the context of investigations or judicial proceedings or to safeguard the freedoms of others including the right of defence of the person concerned, and in any case should be subject to appropriate safeguards under such laws; considers that appropriate sanctions should be provided for in the event of breaches of the duty of confidentiality concerning the reporting person’s identity(176);

385.  Notes that the US False Claims Act provides a solid framework for rewarding whistle-blowers in cases where the government recovers funds lost as a result of fraud(177); underlines that according to a US Justice Department report, whistle-blowers were directly responsible for the detection and reporting of 3.4 billion of the total USD 3.7 billion recovered; calls on Member States to establish safe and confidential communication channels for whistle-blowers’ reporting within the relevant authorities and private entities;

386.  Calls on the Commission to examine best practices around the world(178) on protecting and providing incentives for whistle-blowers and, where appropriate and necessary, to consider reviewing existing legislation in order to make similar schemes in the EU even more effective;

387.  Calls for a general EU fund to be set up to provide appropriate financial support to whistle-blowers whose livelihoods are put at risk as a result of disclosures of criminal activity or facts which are clearly in the public interest;

388.  Worries that whistle-blowers are often discouraged from reporting their concerns for fear of retaliation and that if retaliation is not discouraged and remains unpunished, potential whistle-blowers may be dissuaded from reporting their concerns; considers that the recognition in AMLD5 of the right of whistle-blowers to present a complaint in a safe manner to the respective competent authorities, i.e. via a single point of contact in complex international cases, when exposed to a threat or retaliation and of their right to an effective remedy, constitutes a significant improvement of the situation of individuals reporting suspicions of money laundering or terrorist financing internally within the company or to a FIU; urges Member States to transpose, in a timely manner, and to duly enforce, the provisions on whistle-blower protection laid down in AMLD5;

389.  Welcomes the outcome of the interinstitutional negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law, and calls on Member States to adopt the new standards as soon as possible in order to protect whistleblowers through measures such as clear reporting channels, confidentiality, legal protections and sanctions for those who attempt to persecute whistleblowers;

390.  Recalls that EU officials enjoy whistle-blower protection under the Staff Regulations and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Union(179) and invites Member States to introduce comparable standards for their civil servants;

391.  Considers that non-disclosure agreements included in employment contracts and dismissal agreements should by no means prevent employees from reporting suspected cases of violations of law and of human rights(180) to the competent authorities; calls on the Commission to assess the possibility of proposing legislation prohibiting abusive non-disclosure agreements;

392.  Notes that the TAX3 committee invited the whistle-blowers in the cases of Julius Bär and Danske Bank to testify at public parliamentary hearings(181); is concerned that whistle-blower protection in financial institutions is not fully satisfactory and that fears of retaliation from both employers and authorities may prevent whistle-blowers from coming forward with information on breaches of law; deeply regrets the fact that the Danske Bank whistle-blower could not freely and fully share his insight into the Danske Bank case owing to legal restraints;

393.  Deplores the fact that the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority failed to make contact with the whistle-blower who reported massive money-laundering activities in Danske Bank; is of the opinion that this omission constitutes gross negligence on the part of the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority of its duty to conduct proper investigations following serious allegations of large-scale and systematic money laundering through a bank; calls on the relevant EU and Member State authorities to make full use of the information provided by whistle-blowers and to act swiftly and decisively on the information obtained from them;

394.  Calls on the Member States to work closely within the Council of Europe for the promotion and implementation in the domestic law of all Council of Europe Member States of the recommendation on the protection of whistle-blowers; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the lead in other international fora to promote the adoption of binding international standards for the protection of whistle-blowers;

395.  Notes that in addition to guaranteeing the confidentiality of the identity of whistle-blowers as an essential measure for the protection of the reporting person, anonymous reporting should be further protected from generalised threats and attacks issued by those allegedly offended which seek to discredit the reporting person;

396.  Acknowledges the difficulties faced by journalists when investigating or reporting on cases of money laundering, tax fraud, tax evasion and ATP; worries that investigative journalists are often subjected to threats and intimidation, including legal intimidation by strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs); calls on the Member States to improve protection for journalists, particularly those involved in investigations on financial crime;

397.  Calls on the Commission to set up a financial support scheme for investigative journalism as soon as possible, possibly in the form of a permanent and dedicated budget line to support independent, quality media and investigative journalism under the new multiannual financial framework;

398.  Strongly condemns acts of violence against journalists; recalls with dismay that in recent years journalists involved in the investigation of dubious activities with a money laundering component have been murdered in Malta and Slovakia(182); underlines that according to the Council of Europe, abuses and crimes committed against journalists have a deeply chilling effect on freedom of expression and amplify the phenomenon of self-censorship;

399.  Urges the Maltese authorities to deploy all available resources to make progress in identifying the instigators behind the murder of the investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia; welcomes the initiative of 26 international media freedom and journalists’ organisations pushing for an independent public inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and to assess whether it could have been avoided; urges the Maltese Government to initiate this independent public inquiry without delay; notes that the Maltese Government has engaged with international organisations such as Europol, the FBI and the Dutch Forensic Institute, in an effort to strengthen its expertise;

400.  Welcomes the charges brought by the Slovak authorities against the alleged instigator of the murders of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová as well as the alleged perpetrators of the murders; encourages the Slovak authorities to continue their investigation into the murders and to ensure that all aspects of the case are fully investigated, including any possible political links to the crimes; calls on the Slovak authorities to fully investigate the cases of large-scale tax evasion, VAT fraud and money laundering brought to light by Ján Kuciak’s investigations;

401.  Deplores the fact that investigative journalists, including Daphne Caruana Galizia, are often victims of abusive lawsuits intended to censor, intimidate and silence them by burdening them with the costs of legal defence until they are forced to abandon their criticism or opposition; recalls that these abusive lawsuits constitute a threat to fundamental democratic rights, such as to freedom of expression, freedom of the press and freedom to disseminate and receive information;

402.  Calls on the Member States to put in place mechanisms to prevent SLAPPs; considers that these mechanisms should duly take into consideration the right to a good name and reputation; calls on the Commission to assess the possibility and the nature of the concrete action that should be taken in this area;

403.  Deplores the fact that Swiss libel laws are used to silence critics in Switzerland and worldwide because the burden of proof lies with the defendant and not the plaintiff; highlights that this not only affects journalists and whistle-blowers, but also reporting entities in the European Union and obliged persons under the beneficial ownership register, as in the event that the obligation of reporting a Swiss beneficial owner should arise, the reporting person may end up being prosecuted in Switzerland for libel and slander, which are criminal offences(183);

9.Institutional aspects

9.1.Transparency

404.  Welcomes the work done by the Platform for Tax Good Governance; notes that the mandate of the Platform applies until 16 June 2019; calls for it to be extended or renewed to ensure that civil society concerns and expertise are heard by Member States and the Commission; encourages the Commission to broaden the scope of the experts invited to the Expert Group on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (EGMLTF) to include experts from the private sector (business and NGOs);

405.  Stresses that the European Ombudsman has the mandate to look into the EU institutions’ application of EU rules on public access to documents, including into the working methods of the Council or the CoC Group in the area of taxation;

406.  Recalls the results of the Ombudsman’s own-initiative inquiry into the Council’s working methods and its recommendation of 9 February 2018 concluding that the Council’s practice of not making legislative documents widely accessible, its disproportionate use of the ‘LIMITE’ status and its systematic failure to record the identities of Member States that take a position in a legislative procedure constitute maladministration(184);

407.  Recalls that taxation remains the competence of the Member States and that the European Parliament has limited powers in these matters;

408.  Points out, however, that issues of tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning cannot be effectively tackled by Member States individually; deplores the fact, therefore, that despite requests to the Council, no relevant documents have been made available to the TAX3 committee; is greatly concerned about the lack of political will from the Member States in the Council to take substantial steps in the fight against money laundering, tax fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax planning or to comply with the TEU and the principle of sincere cooperation(185) by ensuring sufficient transparency and cooperation with the other EU institutions;

409.  Regrets the fact that the rules currently in place for accessing classified and other confidential information made available to Parliament by the Council, Commission or Member States, do not provide full legal clarity but are generally interpreted as excluding accredited parliamentary assistants (APAs) from consulting and analysing non-classified ‘other confidential information’ in a secure reading room; calls, therefore, for the introduction of a clearly worded provision in a negotiated interinstituional agreement guaranteeing the right of access to documents for APAs on the basis of the ‘need to know’ principle, in their supporting role for Members;

410.  Regrets the fact that despite repeated invitations, the representatives of the Council Presidency refused to appear before the TAX3 committee to report on progress in implementing the recommendations of the TAXE, TAX2 and PANA committees; emphasises that working contacts between the Council Presidency and special and inquiry committees of the European Parliament should be standard practice;

9.2.Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation

411.  Notes the increased communication from the CoC Group and welcomes in particular the biannual publication of its report to the Council, as well as the letters sent to jurisdictions and commitments received in the context of the EU listing process;

412.  Regrets, however, the opaque nature of the negotiations regarding the EU listing process, and calls on the Member States to ensure transparency in the forthcoming update of the lists;

413.  Welcomes the fact that the Chair of the CoC Group appeared before the TAX3 committee, in a reversal of the CoC Group’s previous position; also notes that since the start of the work of the TAX3 committee, compilations of the CoC Group’s work have been made available(186); regrets, however, that those documents were not published sooner and that important parts of them have been redacted;

414.  Stresses that the abovementioned Ombudsman recommendations also apply to the CoC Group, which should provide the necessary information, relating in particular to harmful tax practices of Member States and the EU listing process;

415.  Calls on the CoC Group to take further measures to ensure the transparency of its meetings, in particular by making public the positions of the different Member States on the discussed agenda no later than six months after the meeting;

416.  Calls on the Commission to report on the implementation of the code of conduct for business taxation and on the application of fiscal State aid, as laid down in recital N of the code(187);

417.  Believes that the mandate of the CoC Group needs to be updated, since it addresses matters beyond the assessment of harmful EU tax practices, which is more than simply providing technical input to the decisions made by the Council; calls, based on the nature of the work undertaken by the Group which is also of a political nature, for such tasks to be brought back under a framework which enables democratic control or supervision, starting by applying transparency;

418.  Calls in this context for the opaque nature of the composition of CoC Group to be remedied by publishing a list of its members;

9.3.Enforcement of EU legislation

419.  Calls for the newly elected Parliament to initiate an overall assessment on progress as regards access to documents requested by the TAXE, TAX2, PANA and TAX3 committees, comparing the requests made with those granted by the Council and other EU institutions, and to initiate, if needed, the necessary procedural and/or legal measures;

420.  Calls for the creation of a new Union Tax Policy Coherence and Coordination Centre (TPCCC) within the structure of the Commission, which should be able to assess and monitor Member States’ tax policies at Union level and ensure that no new harmful tax measures are implemented by Member States;

9.4.Cooperation of non-institutional participants

421.  Welcomes the participation and input of stakeholders in TAX3 committee hearings, as referred to in section IV.3 of the overview of activities during the mandate of the TAX3 committee; deplores the fact that other stakeholders refused to participate in TAX3 committee hearings, as referred to in section IV.4 of the overview of activities; notes that no dissuasive sanctions could be found for cases where no reason was given for this refusal;

422.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to agree on the establishment of a publicly accessible and regularly updated list of non-cooperative non-institutional parties in the interinstitutional agreement on a mandatory transparency register for lobbyists; considers, in the meantime, that a record should be kept of those professionals and organisations who without justifiable reason refused to attend the TAXE, TAX2, PANA and TAX3 committee hearings; invites the EU institutions to bear this attitude in mind during any future dealings with the stakeholders concerned and to withdraw their access badges to their premises;

9.5.Parliament’s right of inquiry/investigative right

423.  Considers that it is vital for the exercise of democratic control over the executive that Parliament be empowered with investigative and inquiry powers that match those of Member States’ national parliaments; believes that in order to exercise this role Parliament must have the power to summon and compel witnesses to appear and to compel the production of documents;

424.  Believes that in order for these rights to be exercised Member States must agree to implement sanctions against individuals for failure to appear or produce documents in line with national law governing national parliamentary inquiries and investigations;

425.  Urges the Council and the Commission to engage in the timely conclusion of the negotiations on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of Parliament’s right of inquiry;

9.6.Unanimity vs qualified majority voting

426.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to use, if appropriate, the procedure laid down in Article 116 of the TFEU which makes it possible to change the unanimity requirement in cases where the Commission finds that a difference between the provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action in Member States is distorting the conditions of competition in the internal market;

427.  Welcomes the Commission’s contribution through its communication ‘Towards a more efficient and democratic decision making in EU tax policy’ proposing a roadmap to qualified majority voting for specific and pressing tax policy issues where vital legislative files and initiatives aimed at combating tax fraud, tax evasion and ATP have been blocked in the Council to the detriment of a large majority of Member States; welcomes the support expressed by some Member States for this proposal(188);

428.  Stresses that all scenarios should remain envisaged, and not only that of shifting from unanimity to qualified majority voting through a passerelle clause; calls on the European Council to add this point to a Summit agenda before the end of 2019 in order to engage in a fruitful debate on how to facilitate decision-making on tax issues in the interests of the functioning of the single market;

9.7.Follow-up

429.  Takes the view that the work of the TAXE, TAX2, PANA and TAX3 committees should be continued, in the forthcoming parliamentary term, in a permanent structure within Parliament in the form of a subcommittee to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON), allowing for cross-committee participation;

o
o   o

430.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Council, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the European Supervisory Authorities, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, the European Central Bank, Moneyval, the Member States, the national parliaments, the UN, the G20, the Financial Action Task Force and the OECD.

(1) Decision of 1 March 2018 on setting up a special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3), and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office, Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0048.
(2) Resolution of 25 November 2015 on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect, OJ C 366, 27.10.2017, p. 51.
(3) Resolution of 6 July 2016 on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect, OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 79.
(4) OJ C 399, 24.11.2017, p. 74.
(5) Recommendation of 13 December 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion, OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 132.
(6) The joint follow-up of 16 March 2016 on bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies in the Union and TAXE 1 resolutions, the follow-up of 16 November 2016 to the TAXE 2 resolution and the follow-up to the PANA resolution of April 2018.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0475.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0183.
(9) Scherrer A. and Thirion E., Citizenship by Investment (CBI) and Residency by Investment (RBI) schemes in the EU, EPRS, PE 627.128, European Parliament, October 2018; Korver R., Money laundering and tax evasion risks in free ports, EPRS, PE 627.114, European Parliament, October 2018 and Kiendl Kristo I. and Thirion E., An overview of shell companies in the European Union, EPRS, PE 627.129, European Parliament, October 2018.
(10) Lamensch M. and Ceci, E., VAT fraud: Economic impact, challenges and policy issues, European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department A – Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies, 15 October 2018.
(11) Houben R. and Snyers A, Cryptocurrencies and blockchain, European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department A – Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies, 5 July 2018 and Hadzhieva E., Impact of Digitalisation on International Tax Matters, , European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department A – Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies, 15 February 2019.
(12) ‘Study on Structures of Aggressive Tax Planning and Indicators – Final Report’ (Taxation paper No 61, 27 January 2016), ‘The Impact of Tax Planning on Forward-Looking Effective Tax Rates’ (Taxation paper No 64, 25 October 2016) and ‘Aggressive tax planning indicators – Final Report’ (Taxation paper No 71, 7 March 2018).
(13) Council Directive (EU) 2016/1164 of 12 July 2016 laying down rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market, OJ L 193, 19.7.2016, p. 1.
(14) Council Directive (EU) 2017/952 of 29 May 2017 amending Directive (EU) 2016/1164 as regards hybrid mismatches with third countries, OJ L 144, 7.6.2017, p. 1.
(15) Relating respectively to the automatic exchange of tax rulings (Council Directive (EU) 2015/2376 of 8 December 2015 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation, OJ L 332, 18.12.2015, p. 1, DAC3), exchange of country-by-country reports between tax authorities (Council Directive (EU) 2016/881 of 25 May 2016 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation, OJ L 146, 3.6.2016, p. 8, DAC4), access to anti-money-laundering information by tax authorities, beneficial ownership and other customer due diligence (Council Directive 2016/2258 of 6 December 2016 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation, OJ L 342, 16.12.2016, p. 1, DAC5), mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation in relation to reportable cross-border arrangements (Council Directive (EU) 2018/822 of 25 May 2018 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation, OJ L 139, 5.6.2018, p. 1, DAC6).
(16) Proposal of 25 October 2016 for a Council Directive on a Common Corporate Tax Base (CCTB), COM(2016)0685 and of 25 October 2016 on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), COM(2016)0683.
(17) The package consists of the Commission communication of 21 March 2018 entitled ‘Time to establish a modern, fair and efficient taxation standard for the digital economy’ (COM(2018)0146), the proposal of 21 March 2018 for a Council directive laying down rules relating to the corporate taxation of a significant digital presence (COM(2018)0147, the proposal of 21 March 2018 for a Council directive on the common system of a digital services tax on revenues resulting from the provision of certain digital services (COM(2018)0148, and the Commission recommendation of 21 March 2018 relating to the corporate taxation of a significant digital presence (C(2018) 1650).
(18) Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 April 2016 amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of income tax information by certain undertakings and branches (COM(2016)0198).
(19) OJ C 224, 27.6.2018, p. 107.
(20) Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, amending Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directive 2006/70/EC, OJ L 141, 5.6.2015, p. 73.
(21) Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, and amending Directives 2009/138/EC and 2013/36/EU, OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 43.
(22) Communication of 2 February 2016 from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on an Action Plan for strengthening the fight against terrorist financing, COM(2016)0050.
(23) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0216.
(24) Relating to Fiat, Starbucks and the Belgian excess-profit ruling, and decisions to open state aid investigations on McDonald’s, Apple and Amazon.
(25) OJ C 265, 11.8.2017, p. 59.
(26) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0014.
(27) According to Parliament’s internal rules, Committee names can be abbreviated by a maximum of four letters, hence the former temporary Committees on taxation are referred to as TAXE, TAX2, PANA and TAX3. It should be noted, however, that the mandate ‘Setting-up of a special committee on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect’ refers exclusively to TAXE2.
(28) Such as financialisation
(29) For example, the use of software programs to automatically skim cash from electronic cash registers or point-of-sale systems (‘zapping’), the growing usage of third-party payroll processors enabling fraudsters to channel off legitimate taxes.
(30) Gunnarsson A., Schratzenstaller M. and Spangenberg U., Gender equality and taxation in the European Union, European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department C – Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, 15 March 2017; Grown C. and Valodia I (editors), Taxation and Gender Equity: A Comparative Analysis of Direct and Indirect Taxes in Developing and Developed Countries, Routledge, 2010, pp. 32 – 74, pp. 309 – 310, and p. 315; Action Aid, Value-Added Tax (VAT), Progressive taxation policy briefing, 2018; and Stotsky J. G., Gender and Its Relevance to Macroeconomic Policy: A Survey, IMF Working Paper, WP/06/233, p. 42.
(31) TAX3 hearing of 24 January 2018 on the EU Tax Gap: see Figure 4.
(32) Paragraph 49 of its position of 14 November 2018 on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0449.
(33) See paragraph 63 of the European Parliament’s recommendation of 13 December 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion, OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 132.
(34) In the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 – Parliament’s position with a view to an agreement and the amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 17 January 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the ‘Fiscalis’ programme for cooperation in the field of taxation (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0039).
(35) Crivelli E., De Mooij R. A., and Keen M., Base Erosion, Profit Shifting and Developing Countries, 2015.
(36) Tax Policies in the European Union 2017 Survey, ISBN 978-92-79-72282-0.
(37) Tørsløv T. R., Wier L. S. and Zucman G., The missing profits of nations, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper No 24701, 2018.
(38) Richard Murphy, ‘The European Tax Gap’, 2019 - http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Documents/EUTaxGapJan19.pdf
(39) Mission Report of the Delegation to Washington D.C. Verbatim report of the TAX3 public hearing of 27 November 2018
(40) Council Directive (EU) 2018/822 of 25 May 2018 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation in relation to reportable cross-border arrangements, OJ L 139, 5.6.2018, p. 1.
(41) Study on Structures of Aggressive Tax Planning and Indicators – Final Report (Taxation paper No 61, 27 January 2016) and Tax policies in the EU – 2017 Survey
(42) Sometimes also referred to as enablers or promoters of tax evasion.
(43) Proposal for a Council directive of 11 November 2011 on a common system of taxation applicable to interest and royalty payments made between associated companies of different Member States (COM(2011)0714).
(44) Hearson M., The European Union’s Tax Treaties with Developing Countries: leading By Example?, 27 September 2018.
(45) Policy note as approved by the Inclusive Framework on BEPS entitled ‘Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digitalisation of the Economy’, released on 29 January 2019.
(46) See OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and Tax Administrations 2017 from 10 July 2017.
(47) Public hearing of 24 January 2019 on the evaluation of the tax gap and ‘Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digitalisation of the Economy’, OECD Policy Note, published 29 January 2019.
(48) European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2015 on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect, OJ C 366, 27.10.2017, p. 51, paragraph 96.
(49) Referred to above. The studies provide an overview of Member States’ exposure to ATP structures affecting their tax base (erosion or increase), although there is no stand‑alone indicator of the phenomenon, a set of indicators seen as a ‘body of evidence’ nevertheless exists.
(50) OJ C 72 E, 11.3.2014, p. 1.
(51) As evidenced in the impact assessment of 21 March 2018 accompanying the digital tax package (SWD(2018)0081), according to which on average, digitalised businesses face an effective tax rate of only 9.5 %, compared to 23.2 % for traditional business models.
(52) UNCTAD, World Investment Report, 2018.
(53) Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digitalisation of the Economy – Policy Note, published on 29 January 2019.
(54) Conclusions of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council, 12 March 2019.
(55) KiesKompas, Public Perception towards taxing digital companies in six countries, December 2018.
(56) COM(2018)0148.
(57) Taxation Trends in the European Union, Table 3: Top statutory corporate income tax rates (including surcharges), 1995-2018, European Commission, 2018.
(58) Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digitalisation of the Economy – Policy Note, as approved by the Inclusive Framework on BEPS on 23 January 2019.
(59) Ibid.
(60) OECD, Resumption of Application of Substantial Activities Factor to No or only Nominal Tax Jurisdictions Inclusive Framework on BEPS: Action 5, 2018.
(61) Public hearing of 27 November 2018 on ‘Alleged aggressive tax planning schemes within the EU’.
(62) Commission communication entitled ‘Time to establish a modern, fair and efficient taxation standard for the digital economy’ (COM(2018)0146).
(63) Public hearing of 24 January 2019 on The Evaluation of the Tax Gap’.
(64) ECtHR, judgment of 16 June 2015 (No 787/14), van Weerelt v the Netherlands.
(65) Article 4(3) of the TEU.
(66) Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration.
(67) See also the European Parliament recommendation of 13 December 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 132).
(68) Public hearing of 24 January 2019 on ‘The Evaluation of the Tax Gap’.
(69) Directive 2013/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on access to the activity of credit institutions and the prudential supervision of credit institutions and investment firms, amending Directive 2002/87/EC and repealing Directives 2006/48/EC and 2006/49/EC, OJ L 176, 27.6.2013, p. 63.
(70) Directive 2013/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings, amending Directive 2006/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directives 78/660/EEC and 83/349/EEC, OJ L 182, 29.6.2013, p. 19.
(71) As the Court of Justice of the European Union stated as early as 1974.
(72) Decision of 20 June 2018 on State aid implemented by Luxembourg in favour of ENGIE (SA.44888); decision of 4 October 2017 on State aid granted by Luxembourg to Amazon (SA.38944); decision of 30 August 2016 on State aid implemented by Ireland to Apple (SA.38373); decision of 11 January 2016 on ‘Excess Profit exemption in Belgium – Art. 185§2 b) CIR92’ (SA.37667); decision of 21 October 2015 on State aid implemented by the Netherlands to Starbucks(SA.38374); and decision of 21 October 2015 on State aid which Luxembourg granted to Fiat (SA.38375). There are pending proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union and the General Court related to all six decisions.
(73) Decision of 19 September 2018 on ‘Alleged aid to Mc Donald’s – Luxembourg’ (SA.38945).
(74) ‘Possible State aid in favour of Inter IKEA investigation’ opened on 18 December 2017 (SA.46470) and ‘UK tax scheme for multinationals (Controlled Foreign Company rules)’ opened on 26 October 2018 (SA.44896).
(75) Decision of 7 March 2019 on ‘Alleged aid to Huhtamaki - Luxembourg’ (SA.50400).
(76) http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-5831_en.htm
(77) As in the case of decision of 30 August 2016 (SA.38373) on State aid implemented by Ireland to Apple. The tax rulings in question were issued by Ireland on 29 January 1991 and 23 May 2007.
(78) Directive (EU) 2017/1132 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 relating to certain aspects of company law, OJ L 169, 30.6.2017, p. 46.
(79) TAX3 Delegation to Riga (Latvia), 30-31 August 2018, Mission Report.
(80) Kiendl Kristo I. and Thirion E., An overview of shell companies in the European Union, EPRS, PE 627.129, European Parliament, October 2018, p. 23.
(81) Kiendl Kristo I. and Thirion E., op. cit., p. 23; ‘Study on Structures of Aggressive Tax Planning and Indicators – Final Report’ (Taxation paper No 61, 27 January 2016); ‘The Impact of Tax Planning on Forward-Looking Effective Tax Rates’ (Taxation paper No 64, 25 October 2016) and ‘Aggressive tax planning indicators – Final Report’ (Taxation paper No 71, 7 March 2018).
(82) IHS, Aggressive tax planning indicators, prepared for the European Commission, DG TAXUD Taxation papers, Working paper No 71, 7 March 2018.
(83) Article 113 of the TFEU
(84) Study and Reports on the VAT Gap in the EU-28 Member States: 2018 Final Report / TAXUD/2015/CC/131.
(85) See Commission press release.
(86) COM(2017)0569, COM(2017)0568 and COM(2017)0567.
(87) COM(2018)0329.
(88) Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC as regards harmonising and simplifying certain rules in the value added tax system and introducing the definitive system for the taxation of trade between the Member States (COM(2017)0569).
(89) European Parliament legislative resolution of 3 October 2018 on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC as regards harmonising and simplifying certain rules in the value added tax system and introducing the definitive system for the taxation of trade between Member States, texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0366.
(90) Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC and Directive 2009/132/EC as regards certain value added tax obligations for supplies of services and distance sales of goods (COM(2016)0757).
(91) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0367.
(92)  Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax as regards the special scheme for small enterprises (COM(2018)0021).
(93) European Parliament legislative resolution of 11 September 2018 on the proposal for a Council directive amending Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax as regards the special scheme for small enterprises, Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0319.
(94) Proposal for a Council Directive of 21 December 2016 amending Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of value added tax as regards the temporary application of a generalised reverse charge mechanism in relation to supplies of goods and services above a certain threshold (COM(2016)0811).
(95) ECA, Rapid case review, VAT reimbursement in Cohesion – an error-prone and sub-optimal use of EU funds, 29 November 2018.
(96) ECA Opinion No 9/2018 of 22 November 2018 concerning the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the EU Anti-Fraud Programme.
(97) 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, in particular Articles 3 and 15 thereof.
(98) Ainsworth, R. T., Alwohabi, M., Cheetham, M. and Tirand, C.: ‘A VATCoin Solution to MTIC Fraud: Past Efforts, Present Technology, and the EU’s 2017 Proposal’, Boston University School of Law, Law and Economics Series Paper, No 18-08, 26 March 2018. See also: Ainsworth, R. T., Alwohabi, M. and Cheetham, M.: ‘VATCoin: Can a Crypto Tax Currency Prevent VAT Fraud?’, Tax Notes International, Vol 84, 14 November 2016.
(99) Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2454 of 5 December 2017 amending Regulation (EU) No 904/2010 on administrative cooperation and combating fraud in the field of value added tax, OJ L 348, 29.12.2017, p. 1.
(100) Lamensch M. and Ceci E., VAT fraud: Economic impact, challenges and policy issues, European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department A – Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies, 15 October 2018.
(101) Ibid.
(102) Gunnarson A., Spangenberg U. and Schratzenstaller M., Gender equality and taxation in the European Union, European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department C – Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs , 17 January 2017.
(103) Commission communication entitled ‘Tax policy in the European Union – Priorities for the years ahead’ (COM(2001)0260).
(104) 18 Member States have some form of RBI scheme in place, including four Member States that operate CBI schemes in addition to RBI schemes: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta, and Romania. 10 Member States have no such schemes: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. Source: Scherrer A. and Thirion E., Citizenship by investment (CBI) and residency by investment (RBI) schemes in the EU, EPRS, PE 627.128, European Parliament, October 2018, pp. 12-13 and 55-56; ISBN: 978-92-846-3375-3.
(105) See the above‑mentioned study. Other studies provide higher figures, also including RBI.
(106) Transparency International and Global Witness, European Getaway: Inside the Murky World of Golden Visas, 10 October 2018.
(107) The Cypriot Citizenship by Investment: Scheme for Naturalisation of Investors by Exception, the Cypriot Residence by Investment, the Maltese Individual Investor Programme, and the Maltese Residence and Visa programme.
(108) Korver R.,‘Money Laundering and tax evasion risks in free ports‘, EPRS, PE: 627.114, October 2018; ISBN: 978-92-846-3333-3.
(109) European Commission list of EU free zones.
(110) Korver R., op. cit.
(111) Korver R., op. cit.
(112) European Parliament recommendation of 13 December 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 132).
(113) European Parliament recommendation of 13 December 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 132).
(114) From illegal markets to legitimate businesses: the portfolio of organised crime in Europe, Final report of Project OCP – Organised Crime Portfolio, March 2015.
(115) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20171211IPR90024/new-eu-wide-penalties-for-money-laundering; Commission proposal of 21 December 2016 for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on countering money laundering by criminal law (COM(2016)0826).
(116) UNODC
(117) See, for example, the European Parliament resolution of 13 September 2017 on corruption and human rights in third countries (OJ C 337, 20.9.2018, p. 82), paragraphs 35 and 36, and the Outcome of the 3662nd Council Meeting on Foreign Affairs held in Brussels on 10 December 2018.
(118) European Parliament legislative resolution of 14 February 2019 (Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0121).
(119) On 19 July 2018, the Commission referred Greece and Romania to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to transpose the fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive into their national law. Ireland had transposed only a very limited part of the rules and was also referred to the Court of Justice. On 7 March 2019, the Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Austria and the Netherlands and a letter of formal notice to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom for failing to fully transpose the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
(120) Netherlands’ Public Prosecution Service, 4 September 2018
(121) European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Economic Governance Support Unit, in-depth analysis entitled ‘Money laundering - Recent cases from a EU banking supervisory perspective’, April 2018, PE 614.496.
(122) Bruun & Hjejle: Report on the Non-Resident Portfolio at Danske Bank’s Estonian Branch, Copenhagen, 19 September 2018.
(123) Ibid.
(124) Ibid.
(125) Commission Opinion of 8 November 2018 addressed to the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit of Malta, based on Article 17(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010, on the action necessary to comply with Union law (C(2018)7431).
(126) Letter from the Permanent Representative of Malta to the EU of 20 December 2018 in reply to the letter from the Chair of the TAX3 committee of 7 December 2018.
(127) Based on the annex to the Council Resolution on a Model Agreement for setting up a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) (OJ C 18, 19.1.2017, p. 1).
(128) Reflection paper on possible elements of a Roadmap for seamless cooperation between Anti Money Laundering and Prudential Supervisors in the European Union, 31 August 2018.
(129) At the time of the TAX3 committee vote on 27 February 2019, interinstitutional negotiations were still ongoing.
(130) Letter to Tiina Astola of 24 September 2018 on the request to investigate a possible breach of Union law under Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010.
(131) COM(2018)0213.
(132) European Parliament recommendation of 13 December 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 132).
(133) FATF, Regulation of virtual assets, 19 October 2018
(134) TAX3 mission report of the delegation to Estonia and Denmark, 6-8 February 2019.
(135) OJ L 303, 28.11.2018, p. 1.
(136) OJ L 284, 12.11.2018, p. 22.
(137) Directive 2014/42/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the European Union (OJ L 127, 29.4.2014, p. 39).
(138) C(2019)0646.
(139) SWD(2018)0362.
(140) At the TAX3 hearing of 1 October 2018 on relations with Switzerland in tax matters and the fight against money laundering, panellists stated that Switzerland was not complying with FATF Recommendations 9 and 40.
(141) Respectively ‘Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax’ (BEAT), ‘Global Intangible Low Tax Income’ (GILTI) and ‘Foreign-Derived Intangible Income’ (FDII).
(142) More specifically: IGA Model 1, whereby foreign financial institutions report relevant information to their home authorities, which then passes this on to the US IRS, and IGA Model 2, whereby foreign financial institutions do not report to their home governments but directly to the IRS.
(143) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0316.
(144) As mentioned in the TAX 3 hearing of 1 October 2018.
(145) TAX3 exchange of views with Fabrizia Lapecorella, Chair of the Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation, held on 10 October 2018.
(146) Council conclusions of 12 March 2019 on the revised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, available at https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/38450/st07441-en19-eu-list-oop.pdf
(147) https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/hook-how-eu-about-whitewash-worlds-worst-tax-havens
(148) Council conclusions of 12 March 2019 on the revised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, available at https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/38450/st07441-en19-eu-list-oop.pdf
(149) Work on fair taxation criteria 2.1 and 2.2 of Council conclusions 14166/16 of 8 November 2016.
(150) OECD, ‘Resumption of Application of Substantial Activities Factor to No or only Nominal Tax Jurisdictions Inclusive Framework on BEPS’: Action 5, 2018.
(151) Fair taxation criterion 2.2 of the EU List.
(152) The text of the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community is available on https://ec.europa.eu/commission/publications/draft-agreement-withdrawal-united-kingdom-great-britain-and-northern-ireland-european-union-and-european-atomic-energy-community-agreed-negotiators-level-14-november-2018_en
(153) The text of the Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom is available on https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/37059/20181121-cover-political-declaration.pdf
(154) Including Andorraand Liechtenstein.
(155) TAX3 hearing on relations with Switzerland in tax matters and the fight against money laundering, 1 October 2018, and exchange of views with Fabrizia Lapecorella, Chair of the Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation, 10 October 2018.
(156) Ibid.
(157) The revised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes – Council conclusions 7441/19 of 12 March 2019.
(158) In the first section of ‘The missing profits of nations’ by Tørsløv, T.R., Wier L.S. and Zucman G., it is suggested, using modern macroeconomic models and recently published balance of payments data, that the gap in global tax revenues amount to around USD 200 billion and that FDI channelled through tax-haven jurisdictions accounts for somewhere between 10 and 30 % of total FDI. These figures are rather higher than previous estimations using other methods.
(159) Country Report Belgium 2018; Country Report Cyprus 2018; Country Report Hungary 2018; Country Report Ireland 2018; Country Report Luxembourg 2018; Country Report Malta 2018; Country Report The Netherlands 2018.
(160) See Country Report Belgium 2019; Country Report Cyprus 2019; Country Report Hungary 2019; Country Report Ireland 2019; Country Report Luxembourg 2019; Country Report Malta 2019; Country Report The Netherlands 2019 (https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/file_import/2019-european-semester-country-report-netherlands_en_0.pdf)
(161) https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/hook-how-eu-about-whitewash-worlds-worst-tax-havens
(162) Contributions by Alex Cobham (Tax Justice Network) and Johan Langerock (Oxfam), TAX3 committee hearing on the fight against harmful tax practices within the EU and abroad, 15 May 2018.
(163) Namely the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
(164) European Parliament resolution of 6 July 2016 on tax rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect (OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 79) and recommendation of 13 December 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 132).
(165) The G77 called for such a body in 2017.
(166) European Commission discussion paper: A Contribution to the Third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa.
(167) Action Aid, Mistreated Tax Treaties Report, February 2016.
(168) Cobham, A and Janský, P., 2017. ‘Global distribution of revenue loss from tax avoidance’.
(169) C(2018) 1650.
(170) An in-depth Commission investigation to examine whether Portugal has applied the Madeira Free Zone regional aid scheme in conformity with its 2007 and 2013 decisions approving it, namely by verifying whether tax exemptions granted by Portugal to companies established in the Madeira Free Zone are in line with the Commission decisions and EU State aid rules; highlights that the Commission is verifying whether Portugal complied with the requirements of the schemes, i.e. whether the company profits benefiting from the income tax reductions originated exclusively from activities carried out in Madeira and whether the beneficiary companies actually created and maintained jobs in Madeira.
(171) Also referred to as enablers, promoters or facilitators in some legislation.
(172) Council Directive (EU) 2018/822 of 25 May 2018 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation in relation to reportable cross-border arrangements (OJ L 139, 5.6.2018, p. 1).
(173) See, for example, the European Parliament recommendation of 13 December 2017 to the Council and the Commission following the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion, paragraph 143 (OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 132).
(174) OJ L 158, 27.5.2014, p. 196.
(175) OJ L 158, 27.5.2014, p. 77.
(176) Report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 November 2018 on the protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law (COM(2018)0218) – C8-0159/2018 – 2018/0106(COD)).
(177) TAX3 hearing of 21 November 2018.
(178) In particular the relevant US legislation.
(179) Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 723/2004 of 22 March 2004 amending the Staff Regulations of officials of the European Communities and the Conditions of Employment of other servants of the European Communities (OJ L 124, 27.4.2004, p. 1).
(180) As suggested by the Council of Europe in its Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on the protection of whistleblowers, adopted on 30 April 2014.
(181) Mr Rudolf Elmer, hearing on 1 October 2018; Mr Howard Wilkinson, hearing on 21 November 2018.
(182) Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed in Malta on 16 October 2017; Ján Kuciak, killed together with his partner Martina Kušnírová, in Slovakia on 21 February 2018.
(183) TAX3 committee hearing of 1 October 2018.
(184) Recommendation of tshe European Ombudsman in case OI/2/2017/TE on the Transparency of the Council legislative process.
(185) Article 4(3) of the TEU.
(186) In particular as recalled in the CoC Group report to the Council of June 2018: the Procedural Guidelines for carrying out the process of monitoring commitments concerning the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes (doc. 6213/18); a compilation of all the agreed guidance since the creation of the Group in 1998 (doc. 5814/18 REV1); a compilation of all the letters signed by the COCG Chair seeking commitments by jurisdictions (doc. 6671/18); a compilation of the commitment letters received in return, when consent was given by the jurisdiction concerned (doc. 6972/18 and addenda); and an overview of the individual measures assessed by the Group since 1998 (doc. 9 639/18).
(187) The code is set out in Annex I to the conclusions of the ECOFIN Council Meeting of 1 December 1997 concerning taxation policy, recital N of which relates to the monitoring and revision of the code’s provisions (OJ C 2, 6.1.1998, p. 1.).
(188) TAX 3 hearing with the Spanish Secretary of State for Finance, 19 February 2019.


EU-Switzerland Institutional Framework Agreement
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European Parliament recommendation of 26 March 2019 to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy concerning the Institutional Framework Agreement between the European Union and the Swiss Confederation (2018/2262(INI))
P8_TA(2019)0241A8-0147/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Council decision of 6 May 2014 authorising negotiations on an agreement between the EU and Switzerland on an institutional framework governing bilateral relations, and the start of negotiations on 22 May 2014,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 28 February 2017 on EU relations with the Swiss Confederation,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 14 December 2010 and 20 December 2012 on EU relations with EFTA countries,

–  having regard to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) of 1 January 1994(1),

–  having regard to the Swiss people’s rejection of the popular vote on participation in the EEA by 50,3 % in December 1992, the initiative ‘EU membership negotiations: let the people decide’ by 74 % in June 1997, and the initiative ‘Yes to Europe!’ by 77 % in March 2001,

–  having regard to the EU-Swiss Confederation Agreement on Emissions Trading, signed on 23 November 2017(2),

–  having regard to the European Defence Agency (EDA) and Switzerland Framework for Cooperation, signed on 16 March 2012,

–  having regard to the agreement between Switzerland and Eurojust on judicial cooperation, which was signed on 27 November 2008 and entered into force on 22 July 2011,

–  having regard to the agreement between Switzerland and Europol on cooperation between police authorities in the prevention of and fight against serious and organised international crime and terrorism, which was signed on 24 September 2004 and entered into force on 1 March 2006, and to the enlargement of the area of application thereunder of 1 January 2008,

–  having regard to the Agreement of 21 June 1999 between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation, of the other, on the free movement of persons(3), and in particular Annex I on the free movement of persons and Annex III on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications,

–  having regard to the Protocol of 27 May 2008 to the Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation, of the other, on the free movement of persons regarding the participation, as contracting parties, of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania pursuant to their accession to the European Union(4),

–  having regard to the Agreement of 25 June 2009 between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on the simplification of inspections and formalities in respect of the carriage of goods and on customs security measures(5),

–  having regard to the Swiss federal popular initiative of 9 February 2014, where 50,3 % of Swiss people supported proposals to reintroduce quotas on immigration with the European Union, to national preference when filling job vacancies, and to restrict immigrants’ rights to social benefits,

–  having regard to the 1972 EU-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement(6), which has been adapted and updated over the years,

–  having regard to the European Community-Swiss Confederation Agreement on Air Transport, which entered into force on 1 June 2002(7),

–  having regard to the European Community-Swiss Confederation Agreement on the Carriage of Goods and Passengers by Rail and Road, which entered into force on 1 June 2002(8),

–  having regard to the negotiations on agreements between the EU and the Swiss Confederation on electricity, and on food safety, product safety and public health,

–  having regard to Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/2047 of 20 December 2018 on the equivalence of the legal and supervisory framework applicable to stock exchanges in Switzerland in accordance with Directive 2014/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council(9),

–  having regard to the 37th EU-Switzerland inter-parliamentary meeting, held in Brussels on 4 and 5 July 2018,

–  having regard to its resolutions on Switzerland, in particular of 9 September 2015 on EEA-Switzerland: Obstacles with regard to the full implementation of the internal market(10), and to the draft motion for a resolution of its Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection on the same topic of 24 April 2018,

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 February 2017 on the Annual Report on the Single Market Governance within the European Semester 2017(11),

–  having regard to Rules 108(4) and 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A8-0147/2019),

A.  whereas Switzerland’s current relationship with the EU is based on a complex set of some 20 main sectoral bilateral agreements and around 100 other agreements; whereas Switzerland only partially participates in all four freedoms; whereas while these agreements have deepened EU-Switzerland cooperation in the past in the fields of the internal market, internal security and asylum, transport and tax matters, in the future this complex set of agreements could become outdated, making their implementation less relevant, unless an overarching framework is agreed upon;

B.  whereas according to Eurostat data, in 2017 Switzerland was the EU’s third-biggest partner in terms of export of goods and its fourth biggest in terms of import of goods;

C.  whereas the Council has stated that an overarching institutional agreement with Switzerland should aim to protect the homogeneity of the internal market and ensure legal certainty for authorities, citizens and economic operators;

D.  whereas the Swiss Federal Council wishes to conclude an institutional agreement with the EU that ensures legal certainty in the area of market access and preserves Swiss prosperity, independence and legal system(12); whereas the Swiss Federal Council has announced a stakeholder consultation on the basis of the text agreed between the negotiators on 23 November 2018;

E.  whereas a well-functioning and effective single market, based on a highly competitive social market economy, is needed to boost growth and competitiveness and create jobs to revitalise the European economy; whereas single market legislation must be properly transposed, implemented and enforced if the Member States and Switzerland are to reap the full benefits;

F.  whereas Switzerland has expressed its wish to leave binding material provisions on State aid for a future market access agreement and have access to the single market for electricity;

G.  whereas on 28 September 2018 the Federal Council approved the second Swiss contribution to a number of EU Member States of CHF 1.3 billion over ten years and is now awaiting a positive decision of the Federal Assembly;

H.  whereas Switzerland is member of the European Environment Agency;

I.  whereas Switzerland has ratified its participation in the European satellite navigation programmes Galileo and EGNOS;

J.  whereas Switzerland’s participation in the EU’s Horizon 2020 research framework programme and its predecessor Framework Programme 7 (FP7) has been valuable to all parties involved owing to the high quality of proposals;

K.  whereas Switzerland and the EU signed an additional protocol to the Taxation and Savings Income Agreement on 27 May 2015, which requires that both parties automatically exchange information (AEI) on the financial accounts of each other’s residents from September 2018; whereas the EU listed Switzerland among ‘non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes’ in Annex II to the Council conclusions of 5 December 2017 concerning countries that have committed to implementing tax good governance principles to address issues relating to transparency, fair taxation and anti-BEPS (base erosion and profit shifting) measures;

L.  whereas Switzerland cooperates in select parts of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and has participated in the civil and military peace missions of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), notably in Ukraine and Mali; whereas the EDA-Switzerland Framework for Cooperation, which was signed on 16 March 2012, enables exchange of information and provides for joint activities in research and technology and armament projects and programmes;

M.  whereas Switzerland has been part of the Schengen area since the start of its Swiss implementation in December 2008;

N.  whereas Switzerland participates in the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Visa Information System (VIS) and the Eurodac EU asylum fingerprint database, and will participate in the future Entry/Exit System (EES), which will record crossings of the EU’s external borders, and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which provides pre-travel security and irregular migration screening of visa-exempt non-EU nationals;

O.  whereas based on the Dublin association agreement, Switzerland is associated to parts of the EU asylum acquis; whereas Switzerland has contributed financially and operationally to Frontex since 2010;

P.  whereas in 2017, the Swiss population of 8.48 million included 2.13 million foreign nationals, 1.4 million of whom came from Member States of the EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA); whereas 320 000 EU citizens commute to Switzerland every day; whereas 750 000 Swiss nationals live abroad, of which 450 000 live in the EU;

Q.  whereas in 2009, Switzerland agreed to continue the 1999 bilateral EU-Switzerland Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (FMPA),which confers upon Swiss and EU citizens alike the right to freely choose their place of employment and residence within the national territories of the contracting parties;

R.  whereas foreign companies are obliged to respect Swiss minimum working conditions when posting foreign workers to Switzerland; whereas the main contractor has the legal responsibility to ensure that that subcontractors observe Swiss labour market regulations;

S.  whereas Switzerland introduced ‘flanking measures’ in 2002 with the stated aim of protecting Swiss wages, working conditions and social standards, which the EU considers to be not in compliance with the FMPA;

T.  whereas the implementation of the Citizens’ Rights Directive (2004/38/EC) and EU citizens’ rights to social welfare benefits and rights of establishment have caused concerns in Switzerland;

U.  whereas Switzerland has been a member of EFTA since 1960 and of the United Nations since 2002;

V.  whereas the ‘Swiss law, not foreign judges’ vote (known as the Self-Determination Initiative) was rejected by popular vote by 66 % and by all cantons on 25 November 2018;

W.  whereas Switzerland is committed to political neutrality and as such has played host to a number of international negotiations aiming to reach peaceful solutions to armed conflicts around the world;

X.  whereas the Commission in late 2018 extended for six months its decision to recognise trading venues in Switzerland as eligible for compliance with the trading obligation for shares set out in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (2004/39/EC) and Regulation ((EU) No 600/2014);

Y.  whereas the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is based in Geneva;

Z.  whereas Switzerland hosts the worldwide headquarters of 25 major international organisations and conferences, most of which are based in Geneva;

AA.  whereas hundreds of international non-governmental organisations are based in Switzerland, providing advice to the UN and other non-governmental organisations‎;

AB.  whereas Switzerland plans to hold federal elections on 20 October 2019;

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

   (a) highlights that Switzerland and the EU enjoy a close, broad and comprehensive partnership, which is mutually beneficial and based on joint cultural history and shared values, and that economic, political, social, environmental, scientific and people-to-people ties and links are exemplary, recalling the unique cultural and geographical proximity between the two;
   (b) stresses that Switzerland is highly integrated with the EU, is a similarly-minded partner and shares European regional and global challenges with the EU; welcomes the Swiss statement that it is in their interest to renew and consolidate the bilateral approach and to forge an ever-closer relationship;
   (c) notes that the EU is Switzerland’s main trading partner, accounting for 52 % of its exports and over 71 % of its imports, and that the trade in goods under the current bilateral trade agreements amounts to no less than CHF 1 billion per day(13); whereas Switzerland is the EU’s third-largest trading partner, accounting for 7 % of its trade; considers that Switzerland’s significant degree of integration with the EU internal market is a key factor for economic growth, making the EU Switzerland’s most important economic and trading partner;
   (d) highlights that the EU has shown great flexibility in the negotiations for the Institutional Framework Agreement (IFA) and that this must be recognised by all parties concerned;
   (e) urges the conclusion of the bilateral IFA as soon as possible with the aim of bringing coherence to the existing complex set of bilateral agreements including establishing a dispute settlement mechanism; welcomes the agreement by the negotiators on the final text of the agreement; calls on the Swiss Federal Council to take a decision to conclude the agreement as soon as the consultation of stakeholders has been positively concluded in this respect;
   (f) recalls that the establishment of a common institutional framework for existing and future agreements that enable Switzerland’s participation in the EU single market, in order to ensure homogeneity and legal certainty for citizens and businesses, remains a precondition for the further development of a sectoral approach; stresses that after four years of negotiations, the time has come to conclude the IFA; considers that the agreement’s conclusion will enable the EU-Swiss comprehensive partnership to develop to its full potential;
   (g) acknowledges the need for an IFA, as the EU-Switzerland relationship is based on a complex system of 120 sector-specific agreements, and additional coherence and legal certainty would benefit all parties;
   (h) calls on the parties to organise as soon as possible an interparliamentary meeting of legislators from both the EU and Switzerland in order to discuss all matters related to this agreement;
   (i) expresses its regret at the fact that the Commission only transmitted the negotiated text of the EU-Switzerland IFA to the Committees on Foreign Affairs and International Trade on 6 February 2019, despite the fact that it was finalised in November 2018;
   (j) acknowledges that the strong relations between the EU and Switzerland go beyond economic integration and the extension of the single market, contributing to stability and prosperity to the benefit of all citizens and businesses, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs); underlines the importance of ensuring the proper functioning of the single market in order to create a level playing field and create jobs