Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 19 September 2019 - StrasbourgProvisional edition
Situation in Turkey, notably the removal of elected mayors
 Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya
 Iran, notably the situation of women's rights defenders and imprisoned EU dual nationals
 Patentability of plants and essentially biological processes
 Importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe
 State of implementation of anti-money laundering legislation

Situation in Turkey, notably the removal of elected mayors
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European Parliament resolution of 19 September 2019 on situation in Turkey, notably the removal of elected mayors (2019/2821(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2019)0017RC-B9-0049/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Turkey, in particular those of 24 November 2016 on EU-Turkey relations(1), of 27 October 2016 on the situation of journalists in Turkey(2), of 8 February 2018 on the current human rights situation in Turkey(3) and of 13 March 2019 on the 2018 Commission Report on Turkey(4),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 29 May 2019 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on EU Enlargement Policy (COM(2019)0260), and its Staff Working Document accompanying the Turkey 2019 Report (SWD(2019)0220),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 18 June 2018, and to the previous relevant Council and European Council conclusions,

–  having regard to the preliminary conclusions of the election observation mission of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe,

–  having regard to the recommendations of the Venice Commission and Turkey’s commitment to the European Charter of Local Self-Government,

–  having regard to Resolution 2260 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) of 24 January 2019, entitled ‘The worsening situation of opposition politicians in Turkey: what can be done to protect their fundamental rights in a Council of Europe member State?’,

–  having regard to the statements made by the European External Action Service (EEAS) Spokesperson of 19 August 2019 on the suspensions of elected mayors and detainment of hundreds of people in south-east Turkey,

–  having regard to European Court of Human Rights judgment on the case of Selahattin Demirtaş v. Turkey,

–  having regard to Resolution 2156 (2017) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey,

–  having regard to the fact that the EU’s founding values are based on the rule of law respect for human rights and values, which also apply to all EU candidate countries,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Turkey is a state party,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to Rules 144(5) and 132(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Turkey is an important partner of the EU and is expected, as a candidate country, to uphold the highest standards of democracy, including respect for human rights, the rule of law, credible elections, fundamental freedoms and the universal right to a fair trial;

B.  whereas local elections were held in Turkey on 31 March 2019 and ‘were conducted in an orderly way’, according to the preliminary conclusions of the election observation delegation from the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe; whereas an impressive voter turnout was witnessed in the local elections; whereas the election was broadly criticised by observers due to excessive media bias in favour of the governing People’s Alliance;

C.  whereas, in the local elections of 31 March 2019, mayor Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı of Diyarbakır received a majority of 63 %, mayor Ahmet Türk of Mardin a majority of 56 %, and mayor Bedia Özgökçe of Van a majority of 54 % of the votes, meaning, therefore, that all three mayors obtained a clear popular mandate to fulfil the duties that concern their mayoral offices;

D.  whereas all three mayors received approval from the Supreme Electoral Council of the Republic of Turkey (YSK) to stand in the elections as a candidate;

E.  whereas the democratically elected mayors of Diyarbakır, Van and Mardin in south-east Turkey were replaced by government-appointed provincial governors/trustees on the grounds that they were currently under criminal investigation for alleged links to terrorism;

F.  whereas the replacement of Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı, Ahmet Türk, and Bedia Özgökçe Ertan by state governors is of serious concern as it calls into question respect for the democratic outcomes of the 31 March 2019 elections; whereas an additional 418 civilians, mainly municipal council members and employees from 29 different provinces across Turkey, were detained on 18 August 2019 on similar, unsubstantiated allegations;

G.  whereas in September 2016, the Turkish law on municipalities was changed in under a state of emergency decree to facilitate the administrative removal of mayors accused of having links to terrorism and their replacement with provincial governors; whereas the Venice Commission called on the Turkish authorities to repeal the provisions introduced by Turkish Decree Law N° 674 of 1 September 2016 – which are not strictly required by the state of emergency –, in particular those concerning the rules enabling the filling of vacancies for the positions of mayor, vice-mayor and local council member by the way of appointments;

H.  whereas on 9 April 2019, the YSK declared ineligible to assume office four other elected mayors and members of municipal councils in the south-east of Turkey, even though it had validated their candidacies prior to the elections of 31 March 2019, arguing that these candidates had previously been civil servants and were dismissed from their jobs by Government decree; whereas, following this decision, the YSK granted these positions to candidates from the Justice and Development Party (AKP); whereas the crackdown on the Turkish political opposition is taking place in a context of a shrinking space for democratic voices and against a background of continuous measures by the Turkish authorities that are aimed at silencing dissenting voices – including those of journalists, human rights defenders, academics, judges and lawyers;

I.  whereas many of the measures taken are disproportionate, violate Turkish domestic legislation and are in breach of the commitments of a member of the Council of Europe and run counter to the ICCPR; whereas over 150 000 people were taken into custody in the post-coup crackdown and 78 000 have been arrested on charges of terrorism, while more than 50 000 people remain in jail – in most cases without conclusive evidence; whereas, as of December 2018, the total number of detainees in prison without an indictment or who are pending trial is around 57 000; whereas over 20 % of the imprisoned population is in jail for terrorism-related charges, including journalists, political activists, lawyers and human-rights defenders, leading to increased concerns about the independence of the judiciary;

J.  whereas the decisions by the YSK to re-run the metropolitan mayoral election in Istanbul and grant the mayoralty of individual municipalities in the south-east of Turkey to second-placed candidates is of serious concern, in particular with regard to respect for the legality and integrity of the electoral process and to the institution’s independence from political interference;

K.  whereas on 3 September 2019, the Turkish Interior Minister announced that further orders to remove elected officials were to follow, specifically threatening to replace the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu;

L.  whereas on 6 September 2019, the Provincial Chairperson of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Canan Kaftancıoğlu, was sentenced to 9 years and 8 months in prison on charges of insulting the President, insulting public officials, humiliating the state, inciting the people to enmity and hatred, and using her social media channels to disseminate propaganda for a terrorist organisation between 2012 and 2017;

M.  whereas several public demonstrations organised against the removal of the mayors have been banned on grounds of security, and those that have taken place have resulted in forceful dispersal by police, often with mass detentions and the prosecution of participants; whereas this is the result of legislation introduced immediately after the lifting of the state of emergency;

N.  whereas Turkey has suffered a number of attacks and the 2016 coup attempt in which 248 people were killed;

1.  Condemns the decision made by the Turkish authorities to remove democratically elected mayors from office on the basis of questionable evidence; stresses that these actions continue to undermine the ability of the political opposition to exercise their rights and fulfil their democratic roles; calls on the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release members of the opposition arrested as part of the crackdown on all voices of dissent in the country and to drop all charges against them;

2.  Strongly criticises the arbitrary replacement of local elected representatives by unelected trustees, which further undermines the democratic structure of Turkey; calls on the Turkish authorities to reinstate all mayors and other elected officials who won local elections on 31 March 2019 and were prevented from assuming office or were dismissed or replaced with unelected trustees on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations;

3.  Strongly condemns the politically motivated sentence of Canan Kaftancıoğlu, who is clearly being punished for having played a key role in the successful election campaign of the mayor of Istanbul, and demands its immediate reversal;

4.  Condemns the threats of the Turkish authorities to dismiss other elected officials and calls on Turkey to refrain from further intimidation measures;

5.  Reiterates the importance of good relations with Turkey that are based on shared values, respect for human rights, the rule of law, free and democratic elections – including the upholding of electoral results – fundamental freedoms and the universal right to a fair trial; calls on the Turkish Government to guarantee the human rights of all people, including those in need of international protection, that live and work in Turkey;

6.  Reiterates its profound concern at the ongoing deterioration of fundamental freedoms and the rule of law in Turkey, and condemns the use of arbitrary detention, judicial and administrative harassment, travel bans in addition to other means intended to persecute thousands of Turkish citizens, including politicians and elected officials, human rights defenders, civil servants, members of civil society organisations, academics and countless ordinary citizens; expresses concerns over reported continuous prosecutions and investigations into overly broad and vague terrorism offences;

7.  Urges Turkey to make its anti-terrorism legislation compliant with international human rights standards; reiterates that broadly defined Turkish anti-terrorism legislation should not be used to punish citizens and the media for exercising their right of freedom of expression, or to arbitrarily remove elected representatives and replace them with Government trustees;

8.  Calls on the Turkish authorities to uphold international principles, ensuring pluralism and the freedoms of association and expression, best practices and guarantee an enabling environment for those elected through the free and fair expression of the will of the Turkish people; stresses that these decisions violate the right to free elections, the right to political participation, and the right to freedom of expression under the ECHR;

9.  Reiterates its concerns over the excessive use of legal proceedings against local elected representatives in Turkey, and their replacement by appointed officials – a practice that seriously undermines the proper functioning of local democracy;

10.  Calls on the Turkish Government to ensure that all individuals have the right to due process and to have their cases reviewed by an independent judicial court, in accordance with international standards, that can ensure redress – including compensation for the material and moral damage caused; calls on Turkey to ensure the operational, structural and financial independence of the Turkish Human Rights and Equality Institution and of the Turkish Ombudsman Institution in order to guarantee their capacity to provide genuine review and redress opportunities and to abide by judgments from the European Court of Human Rights;

11.  Condemns the continued arrest of Selahattin Demirtaş, leader of the opposition and presidential candidate, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release; takes note of the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on his case, which calls on the Turkish authorities to release him immediately;

12.  Expresses serious concern over the monitoring of social media platforms and the closedown of social media accounts by the Turkish authorities;

13.  Calls for the EEAS and the Commission to provide Parliament with a comprehensive debrief on the topics discussed during the EU-Turkey political dialogue of 13 September 2019;

14.  Urges the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission and Member States to continue to bring up the situation of arrested members of the opposition, human rights defenders, political activists, lawyers, journalists and academics who are in detention with their Turkish interlocutors, and to provide diplomatic and political support for them, including trial observation and case monitoring; calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase the use of emergency grants for human rights defenders and to ensure the full implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Turkish President, Turkish Government and its Parliament and requests that this resolution be translated into Turkish.

(1) OJ C 224, 27.6.2018, p, 93.
(2) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 199.
(3) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 56.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0200.


Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya
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European Parliament resolution of 19 September 2019 on Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya (2019/2822(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2019)0018RC-B9-0050/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Myanmar and on the situation of the Rohingya, notably those of 21 May 2015(1), 7 July 2016(2), 15 December 2016(3), 14 September 2017(4), 14 June 2018(5) and 13 September 2018(6),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 26 February 2018 on Myanmar/Burma and to those of 10 December 2018,

–  having regard to the Fifth European Union-Myanmar Human Rights Dialogue held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on 14 June 2019,

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

–  having regard to the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,

–  having regard to the final report and recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State,

–  having regard to the UN Security Council report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence, released on 23 March 2018 (S/2018/250),

–  having regard to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) report of 8 August 2018 (A/HRC/42/50) on the detailed findings of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (UNIFFM), UN HRC Resolution of 3 October 2018 on the situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar (A/HRC/RES/39/2) and the UN HRC report of 7 August 2019 on the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (A/HRC/42/66),

–  having regard to the report of the UNIFFM of 22 August 2019 on sexual and gender-based violence in Myanmar and the gendered impact of its ethnic conflicts (A/HRC/42/CRP.4),

–  having regard to the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the additional protocols thereto,

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

–  having regard to Rule 144(5) and 132(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas since 2017, more than 700 000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for safety in neighbouring Bangladesh following repression, continued serious human rights violations, including widespread killings, rape and the burning of villages committed by the Myanmar armed groups in Rakhine State, which had been home to over 1 million Rohingya;

B.  whereas the Rohingya are widely considered one of the most persecuted minorities and constitute the largest stateless group, with many of them now living in the largest refugee settlement in the world, Kutupalong, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh;

C.  whereas the refugee camps in Bangladesh are overcrowded and blighted by unsanitary conditions, provide limited access to maternal care and healthcare for women and children and are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, including landslides and floods; whereas the Rohingya population living in the refugee camps still face grave threats and are, owing to poor-quality food and water, at serious risk of various diseases and infections; whereas Rohingya children still lack sufficient access to formal education; whereas in the last few weeks the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have suffered restrictions on their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association; whereas curfews and communications shutdowns could facilitate further serious human rights abuses against them;

D.  whereas some 600 000 Rohingya are estimated to remain in Rakhine State, who are being subjected to ongoing discriminatory policies and practices, systematic violations of their fundamental rights, arbitrary arrests, confinement in overcrowded camps, a lack of freedom of movement and severely limited access to education and healthcare;

E.  whereas since June 2019, the authorities of Myanmar have imposed a telecommunications blackout on northern and central Rakhine State and Paletwa in Chin State; whereas there are tight military controls in place limiting access to and media coverage in Rakhine State;

F.  whereas Myanmar and Bangladesh have announced repatriation plans, which were cancelled owing to a lack of guarantees; whereas the refugees have been severely traumatised and fear going back; whereas all returns must be safe, voluntary, dignified, sustainable and in line with the principle of non-refoulement;

G.  whereas on 27 August 2018 the UNIFFM published its report, which concluded that the most serious of human rights violations and gravest crimes under international law, including crimes against humanity and likely genocide, were committed against the Rohingya; whereas on 10 December 2018 the Council expressed deep concern over the findings of the UNIFFM; whereas Myanmar has so far refused to allow a fact-finding mission set up by the UN Human Rights Council to enter the country and has barred the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar;

H.  whereas according to the latest report of the UNIFFM of 16 September 2019, the actions of the Myanmar Government continue to be part of a widespread and systematic attack that amounts to persecution and other crimes against humanity against the remaining Rohingya in Rakhine State; whereas, furthermore, in its report of 22 August 2019, the UNIFFM reported severe and ongoing deliberate acts of sexual and gender-based violence, including systematic rape, gang rape and forced sexual acts committed by the Myanmar military and security forces against Rohingya women, children and transgender people as part of a cleansing campaign to terrorise and punish ethnic minorities; whereas sexual violence is used to divide entire communities and deter women and girls from returning to their homes; whereas in the camps rape victims may have to face social exclusion by their communities;

I.  whereas the EU has consistently called for those responsible for such crimes to be held to account and presented and sponsored the resolutions adopted at the UN Human Rights Council on 27 September 2018 and at the UN General Assembly Third Committee on 16 November 2018; whereas the authorities in Myanmar refuse to seriously investigate human rights violations against the Rohingya and hold their perpetrators to account; whereas Myanmar continues to deny that these rights violations ever occurred; whereas the most senior military figures who supervised the attacks against the Rohingya remain in their posts; whereas the authorities refuse to cooperate with the UN mechanisms;

J.  whereas on 29 April 2019, the Council extended the restrictive measures on Myanmar by one year until 30 April 2020, including asset freezes and travel bans on 14 senior military, border guard and police officials in Myanmar responsible for human rights violations committed against the Rohingya population, ethnic minority villagers and civilians in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States;

K.  whereas the Rohingya people have been officially stateless since the enactment of the 1982 Burmese citizenship laws, which deprive the Rohingya of basic civil, political and socio-economic rights such as freedom of movement, political participation, employment and social welfare; whereas an estimated 1.1 million Rohingya are denied access to citizenship; whereas Rohingya who do return would be forced to sign national verification cards, which would deprive them of citizenship of Myanmar;

1.  Reiterates its strong condemnation of all past and present human rights violations and the systematic and widespread attacks, including killings, harassment, rape and the destruction of property which, according to the records of the UNIFFM and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, amount to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the armed forces against the Rohingya population; strongly condemns the disproportionate response of the military and the security forces; stresses that the military has constantly failed to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law;

2.  Expresses its gravest concern about the ongoing conflict, violations and reported sexual and gender-based violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar by the armed forces; condemns such violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and reiterates its calls on the Government of Myanmar, under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, and on the security forces to put an immediate stop to the ongoing violations, killings, and sexual and gender-based violence against Rohingya people and other ethnic groups;

3.  Condemns the ongoing discrimination against the Rohingya and the severe restrictions imposed on their freedom of movement and the deprivation of their basic services in Myanmar; underlines that media freedom and critical journalism are essential pillars of democracy and essential for promoting good governance, transparency and accountability; calls on the Government of Myanmar to allow full and unhindered access to Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States for international observers, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, independent monitors and human rights and humanitarian organisations so as to ensure independent and impartial investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by all parties and to lift the internet blackout in the remaining four townships of Ponnagyun, Mrauk-U, Kyuaktaw and Minbya;

4.  Calls on the authorities of Myanmar to create conditions and guarantees for the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return, under the oversight of the UN, of those Rohingya who wish to return to their native land; urges the governments of both Myanmar and Bangladesh to fully abide by the principle of non-refoulement; urges the Government of Myanmar to acknowledge and recognise the full citizenship of the Rohingya, including the corresponding rights and constitutional safeguards, and to fully implement the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission without delay; further calls on the Government of Myanmar to enter into dialogue with Rohingya officials and to recognise the Rohingya as one of the 135 ethnic groups recognised by law in Myanmar;

5.  Acknowledges the work of the Fifth European Union-Myanmar Human Rights Dialogue; notes that discussions covered a wide range of human rights issues, including accountability for human rights violations, the situation in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States, including humanitarian access, fundamental rights and freedoms, the needs of displaced persons, economic and social rights, migration and human rights cooperation in multilateral fora; regrets the fact that the dialogue has had no effect on the situation on the ground;

6.  Calls on the Government and the armed forces of Myanmar to allow credible and independent investigations into the alleged serious and systematic human rights violations; stresses that the perpetrators of such crimes must be brought to justice without delay;

7.  Reiterates its call on the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Member States to seek accountability in multilateral fora for the perpetrators of crimes in Myanmar; welcomes, in that regard, the leadership shown by the EU in establishing the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) in order to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations committed in Myanmar since 2011; calls on Myanmar to cooperate with international efforts to ensure accountability, including by allowing access to the country for the newly operational IIMM; calls for the EU, its Member States and the international community to ensure that the IIMM has the requisite support, including financial support, to execute its mandate;

8.  Welcomes the adoption of sanctions by the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council on 24 June 2018 and 21 December 2018 against military and officials from the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw), border guard and police responsible for serious human rights violations against the Rohingya population and expects those individuals to be the subject of constant review under the sanctions regime; reiterates its call on the UN Security Council to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar and to adopt targeted sanctions against those natural and legal persons who appear to be responsible for serious human rights violations;

9.  Reminds the Government of Myanmar that it must fulfil its obligations and commitments in relation to democratic principles and fundamental human rights, which are an essential component of the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme; expects the Commission to launch an investigation in this regard; regrets the fact that the Commission has not yet launched such an investigation;

10.  Welcomes the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding its jurisdiction over the deportation of Rohingya people from Myanmar and the decision of the ICC Chief Prosecutor to open a preliminary investigation into crimes committed against the Rohingya population under the court’s jurisdiction since October 2016; calls on the authorities of Myanmar to cooperate with the ICC; calls on Myanmar to becoming a signatory of the Rome Statute of the ICC; calls on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC, including all crimes under its jurisdiction committed against the Rohingya, or to create an hoc international criminal tribunal; reiterates its call for the EU and its Member States to take the lead on the UN Security Council on the request to refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC; further calls for the EU and its Member States to join and support efforts to open a case on Myanmar’s possible violation of the UN Genocide Convention before the International Court of Justice;

11.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to promote the adoption of a resolution on Myanmar at the next session of the UN Human Rights Council;

12.  Commends the efforts undertaken by the Government and people of Bangladesh to provide refuge and security for Rohingya refugees and encourages them to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees from Myanmar; calls on the authorities of Bangladesh to guarantee full and discrimination-free access to quality education for Rohingya children, to lift restrictions on access to the internet and online communications and to freedom of movement, and to ensure that the security forces operating in the camps uphold all standards to protect refugees’ personal security;

13.  Welcomes the EU’s disbursement, in early September 2019, of EUR 2 million in food aid to the UN World Food Programme for the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, but asks the Council and the Commission, in view of the needs on the ground, to continue their efforts in this regard; recalls that financial responsibility for assisting the refugee population should not fall disproportionately on Bangladesh; calls for further international support for those communities hosting the refugees, including by addressing domestic social, educational, economic and healthcare challenges;

14.  Recalls the need, furthermore, for medical and psychological assistance to be provided in the refugee camps and for it to be specifically tailored to vulnerable groups, including women and children; calls for greater support services for the victims of rape and sexual assault;

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

(1) OJ C 353, 27.9.2016, p. 52.
(2) OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 134.
(3) OJ C 238, 6.7.2018, p. 112.
(4) OJ C 337, 20.9.2018, p. 109.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0261.
(6) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0345.


Iran, notably the situation of women's rights defenders and imprisoned EU dual nationals
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European Parliament resolution of 19 September 2019 on Iran, notably the situation of women’s rights defenders and imprisoned EU dual nationals (2019/2823(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2019)0019RC-B9-0089/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Iran, notably those concerning human rights, in particular those of 14 March 2019 on Iran, notably the case of human rights defenders(1), of 13 December 2018 on Iran, notably the case of Nasrin Sotoudeh(2), of 31 May 2018 on the situation of imprisoned EU-Iranian dual nationals in Iran(3), of 25 October 2016 on the EU strategy towards Iran after the nuclear agreement(4), of 3 April 2014 on the EU strategy towards Iran(5), of 8 October 2015 on the death penalty(6) and of 17 November 2011 on Iran – recent cases of human rights violations(7),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Iran of 4 February 2019 and to Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/560 of 8 April 2019 implementing Regulation (EU) No 359/2011 concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Iran, which extends the restrictive measures related to serious human rights violations in Iran for one year, until 13 April 2020(8),

–  having regard to the report of the UN Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran of 8 February 2019,

–  having regard to the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran of September 2018, 30 January 2019 and 18 July 2019, and to his statement of 16 August 2019 on the detention of and lengthy prison sentences handed to Mojgan Keshavarz, Monireh Arabshahi and Yasaman Aryani, three Iranian women arbitrarily detained for publicly protesting against the compulsory wearing of veils,

–  having regard to the statement of 29 November 2018 by UN human rights experts entitled ‘Iran must protect women’s rights advocates’,

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

–  having regard to the statement by the Spokesperson for the European External Action Service (EEAS) of 12 March 2019 on the conviction of Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh,

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

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 (ICCPR), to which Iran is a party,

–  having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution of 17 December 2018 on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran,

–  having regard to the new EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, which aims to place the protection and monitoring of human rights at the heart of all EU policies,

–  having regard to the UN’s Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment of 1988,

–  having regard to the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’) of 2015,

–  having regard to the Iranian President’s Charter on Citizens’ Rights,

–  having regard to Rules 144(5) and 132(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas in recent months Iranian revolutionary courts have substantially increased the clampdown on peaceful acts of resistance by women’s rights defenders protesting against the compulsory wearing of the hijab, including the length of prison sentences; whereas, according to the UN, at least 32 people have been arrested and at least 10 imprisoned since 2018 for protesting against the mandatory wearing of the hijab;

B.  whereas Iranian activists Mojgan Keshavarz, Monireh Arabshahi and Yasaman Aryani were arbitrarily detained in April 2019 after publishing an online video in which they appear without their headscarves, peacefully protesting against Iran’s compulsory veiling laws while handing out flowers on the Tehran metro on 8 March 2019, International Women’s Day; whereas Sahar Khodayari, an Iranian woman detained for attempting to watch a football match at a stadium, burned herself to death in protest after learning that she would face a six-month prison sentence for her actions;

C.  whereas in August 2019 Mojgan Keshavarz, Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi and Saba Kord-Afshari were handed sentences ranging from 16 to 24 years’ imprisonment; whereas they were denied access to lawyers during the initial investigation stage and their legal representatives were reportedly prohibited from representing them at their trial; whereas their sentences are directly related to their peaceful exercise of the rights of freedom of expression and assembly in defence of gender equality in Iran;

D.  whereas on 27 August 2019, the court of first instance sentenced three women labour rights activists – Sepideh Gholian, Sanaz Allahyari and Asal Mohammadi – on charges including ‘assembly and collusion to act against national security’; whereas it emerged on 24 and 31 August that Marzieh Amiri and Atefeh Rangriz, two women labour rights defenders who had been in detention since their arrest at a peaceful Labour Day protest, were sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison and 148 lashes, and 11 and a half years in prison and 74 lashes, respectively, on charges that include ‘assembly and collusion to act against national security,’ ‘propaganda against the state’ and ‘disrupting public order’;

E.  whereas Iran has not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly; whereas Iran has a range of discriminatory laws, in particular concerning the legal provisions relating to personal status;

F.  whereas EU-Iranian dual nationals continue to be arrested, with arrest followed by prolonged solitary confinement and interrogations, with lack of due process, lack of a fair trial and long prison sentences based on vague or unspecified ‘national security’ and ‘espionage’ charges, as well as state-sponsored smear campaigns against the imprisoned individuals; whereas Iran does not recognise dual nationality, thereby limiting the access foreign embassies have to their dual nationals held there;

G.  whereas at least six EU-Iranian dual nationals, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Ahmadreza Djalali, Kamal Ahmady, Kamran Ghaderi, Massud Mossaheb and Morad Tahbaz, are currently imprisoned in Iran;

H.  whereas Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian national employed by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, has been unlawfully imprisoned in Iran since 3 April 2016, having been unlawfully detained for months, accused of spying, and then subsequently denied a free and fair trial; whereas she has been repeatedly deprived of medical treatment, leading to the deterioration of her physical and mental health; whereas she has recently been denied access to international phonecalls and has had family visits restricted to only once a month;

I.  whereas Iranian-British social anthropologist Kameel Ahmady has been in detention in Tehran on undisclosed charges since 11 August 2019; whereas businessman Morad Tahbaz, who has Iranian, British and US citizenship, was detained with at least nine environmentalists in January 2018 on alleged espionage charges;

J.  whereas Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-born Swedish scientist and physician, has been held in Evin prison since April 2016 and received a death sentence in October 2017 on espionage charges on the basis of an alleged forced confession;

K.  whereas Kamran Ghaderi, a dual Iranian-Austrian national, was the CEO of an Austrian IT company when agents of the Intelligence Ministry arrested him upon his arrival at Tehran’s international airport on 2 January 2016, and was handed a 10-year prison sentence on the charge of ‘conducting espionage for enemy states’;

L.  whereas on 11 March 2019, the 2012 Sakharov prize laureate, human rights defender and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced in absentia to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes, inter alia in relation to her work defending women charged for protesting against the compulsory hijab; whereas more than one million people joined a global campaign in June to demand that the Iranian Government release Ms Sotoudeh;

M.  whereas Atena Daemi and Golrock Ebrahimi Iraee were sentenced to six years in prison in October 2016; whereas two additional years were added to their sentence in September 2019 after they were accused of ‘insulting the supreme leader’; whereas this sentence was reportedly handed down as a reprisal for protests by women’s rights defenders in prison;

N.  whereas numerous cases have been reported of inhumane and degrading conditions, particularly in Evin prison, and of lack of adequate access to medical care during detention in Iran, in contravention of the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners;

O.  whereas human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, and environmental, trade union and online activists in Iran continue to face harassment, arbitrary arrest, detention and prosecution for their work;

P.  whereas the authorities continue to criminalise human rights activism and use Article 48 of the Iranian Criminal Procedure Law to restrict detainees’ access to legal counsel of their own choice and to deny them consular assistance; whereas there are no independent mechanisms for ensuring accountability within the judiciary;

Q.  whereas the EU has adopted restrictive measures related to violations of human rights, including asset freezes and visa bans for individuals and entities responsible for grave human rights violations, and a ban on exports to Iran of equipment which might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications; whereas these measures are regularly updated and remain in place;

R.  whereas Iran continues to apply the death penalty on a frequent basis; whereas Narges Mohammadi, a Per Anger Prize laureate, is currently serving a sixteen-year sentence for her campaign to abolish the death penalty and her work with Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi;

1.  Calls on the Iranian authorities to annul all these sentences and immediately and unconditionally release Mojgan Keshavarz, Yasaman Aryani, Monireh Arabshahi, Saba Kord-Afshari and Atena Daemi as women’s rights defenders protesting against the compulsory hijab; calls also for the release of Nasrin Sotoudeh, Narges Mohammadi, Sepideh Gholian, Sanaz Allahyari, Asal Mohammadi, Marzieh Amiri and Atefeh Rangriz, and of all the human rights defenders imprisoned and sentenced for simply exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly;

2.  Condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing repression of women for objecting to compulsory veiling and for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly; calls on the Iranian Government to respect the freedom of Iranian women to choose their own dress code;

3.  Stresses that the Iranian authorities must in all circumstances ensure that human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists are able to carry out their work free from threats, intimidation and impediment, and demands that the Iranian judiciary cease the permanent harassment; urges the Iranian judiciary to cease online censorship and to respect the universal human rights of all people, in particular their rights to free expression online and offline;

4.  Praises and supports the Iranian women human rights defenders who keep on defending human rights despite the difficulties and personal repercussions they are facing;

5.  Deeply regrets the lack of progress made in the cases regarding EU-Iranian dual nationals detained in Iran; demands the immediate and unconditional release of all EU-Iranian dual nationals, including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Ahmadreza Djalali, Kamal Ahmady, Kamran Ghaderi, Massud Mossaheb and Morad Tahbaz, who are currently detained in Iranian prisons, unless they are retried in accordance with international standards; denounces the continuing practice of imprisonment of EU-Iranian dual nationals by the Iranian judiciary following unfair trials;

6.  Urges the Iranian authorities to cooperate without further ado with EU Member State embassies in Tehran in order to enable the establishment of a comprehensive list of EU-Iranian dual nationals currently being detained in Iranian prisons, and to closely monitor each individual case, given that citizens’ security and protection of their fundamental rights are of the highest importance for the EU;

7.  Urges the Iranian authorities to revise the legal provisions which discriminate against women, in particular those relating to their personal status; welcomes the introduction in the Iranian Parliament of the draft law on the protection of women against violence and stresses the need for comprehensive legislation to specifically define and criminalise all forms of gender-based violence against women;

8.  Calls on the Iranian authorities to ensure that women are allowed access to all stadiums, without discrimination or risk of persecution;

9.  Reiterates its call on the Iranian authorities to amend Article 48 of the country’s Criminal Procedure Law to ensure that all defendants have the right to be represented by a lawyer of their choice and to a fair trial, in line with Iran’s commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

10.  Calls on the Iranian Parliament to amend the national security crime laws that are regularly used to prosecute human rights defenders, journalists, environmental and trade union activists and members of religious and ethnic minorities, and which contravene the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by Iran;

11.  Condemns the continuous practice of intentionally denying medical care to prisoners; deplores the systematic torture in Iranian prisons and calls for the immediate cessation of all forms of torture and ill-treatment of all detainees; condemns the practice of denying access to phonecalls and family visits for detainees;

12.  Urges the Iranian authorities to ensure the unreserved and full implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which Iran is a signatory; urges Iran to adhere to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;

13.  Notes the amendments to the drug trafficking law, which should reduce the number of death sentences;

14.  Strongly condemns the use of the death penalty, including its use against juvenile offenders; calls on the Iranian authorities to introduce an immediate moratorium as a fundamental step towards its abolition;

15.  Calls on Iran to cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, including by allowing him to enter the country;

16.  Encourages strong coordination among EU embassies accredited in Tehran; urges all Member States with a diplomatic presence in Tehran to use the mechanisms envisaged in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders to support and protect these individuals, in particular women’s rights defenders and EU dual nationals, including through public statements, diplomatic démarches, the monitoring of trials and prison visits;

17.  Calls for the EU, including the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to continue raising human rights concerns with the Iranian authorities in bilateral and multilateral fora and to use all planned engagements with the Iranian authorities for that purpose, in particular in the context of the EU-Iran High Level Political Dialogue;

18.  Calls on the EEAS to report back on the actions taken regarding Parliament’s previous resolutions on Iran;

19.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Government and Parliament of Iran.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0204.
(2) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0525.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0231.
(4) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 86.
(5) OJ C 408, 30.11.2017, p. 39.
(6) OJ C 349, 17.10.2017, p. 41.
(7) OJ C 153 E, 31.5.2013, p. 157.
(8) OJ L 98, 9.4.2019, p. 1.


Patentability of plants and essentially biological processes
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European Parliament resolution of 19 September 2019 on the patentability of plants and essentially biological processes (2019/2800(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2019)0020RC-B9-0040/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 May 2012 on the patenting of essential biological processes(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2015 on patents and plant breeders’ rights(2),

–  having regard to Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 1998 on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions(3), in particular Article 4 thereof, which states that products obtained from essentially biological processes shall not be patentable,

–  having regard to the European Patent Convention (EPC) of 5 October 1973, in particular Article 53(b) thereof,

–  having regard to the Implementing Regulations to the EPC, in particular Rule 26 thereof, which states that for European patent applications and patents concerning biotechnological inventions Directive 98/44/EC is to be used as a supplementary means of interpretation,

–  having regard to the Commission Notice of 8 November 2016 on certain articles of Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions(4),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 1 March 2017 on the Commission Notice on certain Articles of Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions(5),

–  having regard to the decision of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation of 29 June 2017 amending Rules 27 and 28 of the Implementing Regulations to the EPC (CA/D 6/17)(6),

–  having regard to the referral of several questions pertaining to decision T 1063/18 of Technical Board of Appeal 3.3.04 of the European Patent Office (EPO) of 5 December 2018 to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO by the President of the EPO(7),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94 of 27 July 1994 on Community plant variety rights(8) (hereinafter referred to as ‘Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94’), in particular Article 15(c) thereof, providing for the breeders’ exemption,

–  having regard to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Including Trade in Counterfeit Goods (TRIPS), in particular Article 27(3) thereof,

–  having regard to Rules 136(5) and 132(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas free access to plant material (including plant traits) is absolutely essential for the innovative capacity of the European plant-breeding and farming sectors, their competitiveness and the development of new plant varieties in order to guarantee global food security, tackle climate change and prevent monopolies within the breeding sector, while at the same time providing more opportunities for SMEs and farmers;

B.  whereas any restriction or attempt to hamper access to genetic resources may lead to an excessive market concentration in the field of plant breeding, to the detriment of market competition, consumers and the European internal market and food security;

C.  whereas patents on products derived from essentially biological processes or on genetic material necessary for conventional breeding undermine the exclusion established in Article 53(b) of the EPC and in Article 4 of Directive 98/44/EC;

D.  whereas products emanating from essentially biological processes, such as plants, seeds, native traits and genes, must be excluded from patentability;

E.  whereas plant and animal breeding is a process that has been practised by farmers and farming communities since the birth of agriculture, and whereas the unrestricted use of varieties and breeding methods is important for genetic diversity;

F.  whereas Directive 98/44/EC legislates for biotechnological inventions, in particular genetic engineering;

G.  whereas in its Notice of 8 November 2016, the Commission concludes that the EU legislator’s intention when adopting Directive 98/44/EC was to exclude from patentability products obtained through essentially biological processes;

H.  whereas the Council in its conclusions of 3 February 2017 welcomes the Commission Notice; whereas all EU legislators involved have made explicitly clear that the EU legislator’s intention when adopting Directive 98/44/EC was to exclude from patentability products derived from essentially biological processes;

I.  whereas on 29 June 2017 the Administrative Council of the EPO amended Rules 27 and 28 of the Implementing Regulations to the EPC(9), and determined that patents on plants and animals resulting from essentially biological processes are prohibited;

J.  whereas the 38 contracting states to the EPC have confirmed that their national law and practice are aligned to effectively exclude products obtained from essentially biological processes from patentability;

K.  whereas the contracting states to the EPC have expressed their concerns with regard to the legal uncertainty caused by decision T 1063/18(10) of 5 December 2018 of the Technical Board of Appeal 3.3.04;

L.  whereas this decision was referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO by the President of the EPO during the 159th meeting of the Administrative Council in March 2019;

M.  whereas numerous applications concerning products obtained from essentially biological processes are awaiting a decision by the EPO, leaving applicants, as well as all those who will be affected by these patents, in dire need of legal certainty regarding the validity of Rule 28(2);

N.  whereas it is a fundamental principle of the international system of plant variety rights based on the 1991 UPOV Convention, and of the EU system based on Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94, that the holder of a plant variety right cannot prevent others from using the protected plant variety for further breeding activities;

1.  Expresses its profound concerns regarding the decision of the Technical Board of Appeal 3.3.04 of the EPO of 5 December 2018 (T 1063/18), which creates a situation of legal uncertainty;

2.  Reiterates that plant and animal varieties, including parts and traits, essentially biological processes as well as products emanating from such processes, shall not in any way be patentable, pursuant to Directive 98/44/EC and the EU legislator’s intention;

3.  Considers that internal decision-making rules of the EPO must not undermine democratic political control of European patent law and its interpretation and the legislator’s intent as clarified by the Commission Notice of 8 November 2016 on certain articles of Directive 98/44/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions;

4.  Considers that any attempt to patent products derived from conventional breeding, including crossing and selection, or on genetic material necessary for conventional breeding undermines the exclusion established in Article 53(b) of the EPC and in Article 4 of Directive 98/44/EC;

5.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to do everything in their power to obtain legal clarity regarding the prohibition of the patentability of products obtained from essentially biological processes by the EPO;

6.  Welcomes the Commission Notice of 8 November 2016 clarifying that the EU legislator’s intention when adopting Directive 98/44/EC was to exclude from patentability products that are obtained through essentially biological processes; welcomes the alignment by contracting states of the EPC of their law and practice, and the decision of the Administrative Council of the EPO to clarify the scope and meaning of Article 53(b) EPC regarding exceptions to patentability;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to protect the innovative capacity of the European plant-breeding and farming sectors and the general public interest and to ensure that the Union will effectively safeguard guaranteed access to, and use of, material obtained from essentially biological processes for plant breeding, in order – where applicable – not to interfere with practices guaranteeing farmers’ rights and the breeders’ exemption;

8.  Urges the Commission, therefore, to submit an amicus curiae before 1 October 2019 with the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO, reinforcing the conclusions laid down in its Notice of 2016 that the EU legislator’s intention when adopting Directive 98/44/EC was to exclude from patentability products that are obtained through essentially biological processes, and to attach this resolution to its statement;

9.  Calls on the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO to restore, without delay, legal certainty by affirmatively answering the questions that have been referred to it by the President of the EPO in the interest of breeders, farmers and the public;

10.  Calls on the Commission to engage actively with third countries when negotiating trade and partnership agreements with a view to ensuring the exclusion of essentially biological processes and the products thereof from patentability;

11.  Calls on the Commission to pursue the exclusion from patentability of essentially biological processes and their products in the context of discussions on the harmonisation of multilateral patent law;

12.  Calls on the Commission to report on the development and the implications of patent law in the field of biotechnology and genetic engineering, as required under Article 16(c) of Directive 98/44/EC and as requested by Parliament in its resolution of 17 December 2015 on patents and plant breeders’ rights, and to further analyse issues related to the scope of protection of patents;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission for its inclusion in a written statement to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO by 1 October 2019, and to the Council.

(1) OJ C 261 E, 10.9.2013, p. 31.
(2) OJ C 399, 24.11.2017, p. 188.
(3) OJ L 213, 30.7.1998, p. 13.
(4) OJ C 411, 8.11.2016, p. 3.
(5) OJ C 65, 1.3.2017, p. 2.
(6) Official Journal of the EPO, A56, 31.7.2017.
(7) Official Journal of the EPO, A52, 31.5.2019.
(8) OJ L 227, 1.9.1994, p. 1.
(9) Official Journal of the EPO, A56, 31.7.2017 (CA/D 6/17).
(10) https://www.epo.org/news-issues/news/2019/20190329.html


Importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe
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European Parliament resolution of 19 September 2019 on the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe (2019/2819(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2019)0021RC-B9-0097/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the universal principles of human rights and the fundamental principles of the European Union as a community based on common values,

–  having regard to the statement issued on 22 August 2019 by First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová ahead of the Europe-Wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes,

–  having regard to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted on 10 December 1948,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2005 on the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe on 8 May 1945(1),

–  having regard to Resolution 1481 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 26 January 2006 on the need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian Communist regimes,

–  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(2),

–  having regard to the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism adopted on 3 June 2008,

–  having regard to its declaration on the proclamation of 23 August as European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism adopted on 23 September 2008(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 April 2009 on European conscience and totalitarianism(4),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 22 December 2010 on the memory of the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes in Europe (COM(2010)0783),

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 9-10 June 2011 on the memory of the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes in Europe,

–  having regard to the Warsaw Declaration of 23 August 2011 on the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes,

–  having regard to the joint statement of 23 August 2018 of the government representatives of the EU Member States to commemorate the victims of communism,

–  having regard to its historic resolution on the situation in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, adopted on 13 January 1983 in reaction to the ‘Baltic Appeal’ of 45 nationals from these countries,

–  having regard to the resolutions and declarations on the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes adopted by a number of national parliaments,

–  having regard to Rule 132(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas this year marks the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, which led to unprecedented levels of human suffering and the occupation of countries in Europe for many decades to come;

B.  whereas 80 years ago on 23 August 1939, the communist Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a Treaty of Non-Aggression, known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and its secret protocols, dividing Europe and the territories of independent states between the two totalitarian regimes and grouping them into spheres of interest, which paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War;

C.  whereas, as a direct consequence of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, followed by the Nazi-Soviet Boundary and Friendship Treaty of 28 September 1939, the Polish Republic was invaded first by Hitler and two weeks later by Stalin – which stripped the country of its independence and was an unprecedented tragedy for the Polish people – the communist Soviet Union started an aggressive war against Finland on 30 November 1939, and in June 1940 it occupied and annexed parts of Romania – territories that were never returned – and annexed the independent republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia;

D.  whereas after the defeat of the Nazi regime and the end of the Second World War, some European countries were able to rebuild and embark on a process of reconciliation, while other European countries remained under dictatorships – some under direct Soviet occupation or influence – for half a century and continued to be deprived of freedom, sovereignty, dignity, human rights and socio-economic development;

E.  whereas although the crimes of the Nazi regime were evaluated and punished by means of the Nuremberg trials, there is still an urgent need to raise awareness, carry out moral assessments and conduct legal inquiries into the crimes of Stalinism and other dictatorships;

F.  whereas in some Member States, communist and Nazi ideologies are prohibited by law;

G.  whereas European integration has, from the start, been a response to the suffering inflicted by two world wars and by the Nazi tyranny that led to the Holocaust, and to the expansion of totalitarian and undemocratic communist regimes in central and eastern Europe, and a way to overcome deep divisions and hostility in Europe by cooperation and integration and to end war and secure democracy in Europe; whereas for the European countries that suffered under Soviet occupation and communist dictatorships, the enlargement of the EU, beginning in 2004, signifies their return to the European family to which they belong;

H.  whereas the memories of Europe’s tragic past must be kept alive, in order to honour the victims, condemn the perpetrators and lay the ground for a reconciliation based on truth and remembrance;

I.  whereas remembering the victims of totalitarian regimes and recognising and raising awareness of the shared European legacy of crimes committed by communist, Nazi and other dictatorships is of vital importance for the unity of Europe and its people and for building European resilience to modern external threats;

J.  whereas 30 years ago, on 23 August 1989, the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was marked and the victims of totalitarian regimes remembered during the Baltic Way, an unprecedented demonstration by two million Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians who joined hands to form a living chain spanning from Vilnius to Tallinn through Riga;

K.  whereas despite the fact that on 24 December 1989 the Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR condemned the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in addition to other agreements made with Nazi Germany, the Russian authorities denied responsibility for this agreement and its consequences in August 2019 and are currently promoting the view that Poland, the Baltic States and the West are the true instigators of WWII;

L.  whereas remembering the victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes and recognising and raising awareness of the shared European legacy of crimes committed by Stalinist, Nazi and other dictatorships is of vital importance for the unity of Europe and its people and for building European resilience to modern external threats;

M.  whereas openly radical, racist and xenophobic groups and political parties have been inciting hatred and violence in society, for example through the online dissemination of hate speech, which often leads to a rise in violence, xenophobia and intolerance;

1.  Recalls that, as enshrined in Article 2 of the TEU, the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities; recalls that these values are common to all Member States;

2.  Stresses that the Second World War, the most devastating war in Europe’s history, was started as an immediate result of the notorious Nazi-Soviet Treaty on Non-Aggression of 23 August 1939, also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and its secret protocols, whereby two totalitarian regimes that shared the goal of world conquest divided Europe into two zones of influence;

3.  Recalls that the Nazi and communist regimes carried out mass murders, genocide and deportations and caused a loss of life and freedom in the 20th century on a scale unseen in human history, and recalls the horrific crime of the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazi regime; condemns in the strongest terms the acts of aggression, crimes against humanity and mass human rights violations perpetrated by the Nazi, communist and other totalitarian regimes;

4.  Expresses its deep respect for each victim of these totalitarian regimes and calls on all EU institutions and actors to do their utmost to ensure that horrific totalitarian crimes against humanity and systemic gross human rights violations are remembered and brought before courts of law, and to guarantee that such crimes will never be repeated; stresses the importance of keeping the memories of the past alive, because there can be no reconciliation without remembrance, and reiterates its united stand against all totalitarian rule from whatever ideological background;

5.  Calls on all Member States of the EU to make a clear and principled assessment of the crimes and acts of aggression perpetrated by the totalitarian communist regimes and the Nazi regime;

6.  Condemns all manifestations and propagation of totalitarian ideologies, such as Nazism and Stalinism, in the EU;

7.  Condemns historical revisionism and the glorification of Nazi collaborators in some EU Member States; is deeply concerned about the increasing acceptance of radical ideologies and the reversion to fascism, racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance in the European Union, and is troubled by reports in some Member States of collusion between political leaders, political parties and law enforcement bodies and the radical, racist and xenophobic movements of different political denominations; calls on the Member States to condemn such acts in the strongest way possible as they undermine the EU values, of peace, freedom and democracy;

8.  Calls on all Member States to commemorate 23 August as the European Day of Remembrance for the victims of totalitarian regimes at both EU and national level, and to raise the younger generation’s awareness of these issues by including the history and analysis of the consequences of totalitarian regimes in the curricula and textbooks of all schools in the EU; calls on the Member States to support the documentation of Europe’s troubled past, for example through the translation of the proceedings of the Nuremberg trials into all EU languages;

9.  Calls on the Member States to condemn and counteract all forms of Holocaust denial, including the trivialisation and minimisation of the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis and their collaborators, and to prevent trivialisation in political and media discourse;

10.  Calls for a common culture of remembrance that rejects the crimes of fascist, Stalinist, and other totalitarian and authoritarian regimes of the past as a way of fostering resilience against modern threats to democracy, particularly among the younger generation; encourages the Member States to promote education through mainstream culture on the diversity of our society and on our common history, including education on the atrocities of World War II, such as the Holocaust, and the systematic dehumanisation of its victims over a number of years;

11.  Calls, furthermore, for 25 May (the anniversary of the execution of the Auschwitz hero Rotamaster Witold Pilecki) to be established as International Day of Heroes of the Fight against Totalitarianism, which will be an expression of respect and a tribute to all those who, by fighting tyranny, demonstrated their heroism and true love for humankind, and will also provide future generations with a clear example of the correct attitude to take in the face of the threat of totalitarian enslavement;

12.  Calls on the Commission to provide effective support for projects of historic memory and remembrance in the Member States and for the activities of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, and to allocate adequate financial resources under the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme to support commemoration and remembrance of the victims of totalitarianism, as set out in Parliament’s position on the 2021-2027 Rights and Values Programme;

13.  Declares that European integration as a model of peace and reconciliation has been a free choice by the peoples of Europe to commit to a shared future, and that the European Union has a particular responsibility to promote and safeguard democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, not only within but also outside the European Union;

14.  Points out that in the light of their accession to the EU and NATO, the countries of Eastern and Central European have not only returned to the European family of free democratic countries, but also demonstrated success, with the EU’s assistance, in reforms and socio-economic development; stresses, however, that this option should remain open to other European countries as stipulated in Article 49 TEU;

15.  Maintains that Russia remains the greatest victim of communist totalitarianism and that its development into a democratic state will be impeded as long as the government, the political elite and political propaganda continue to whitewash communist crimes and glorify the Soviet totalitarian regime; calls, therefore, on Russian society to come to terms with its tragic past;

16.  Is deeply concerned about the efforts of the current Russian leadership to distort historical facts and whitewash crimes committed by the Soviet totalitarian regime and considers them a dangerous component of the information war waged against democratic Europe that aims to divide Europe, and therefore calls on the Commission to decisively counteract these efforts;

17.  Expresses concern at the continued use of symbols of totalitarian regimes in the public sphere and for commercial purposes, and recalls that a number of European countries have banned the use of both Nazi and communist symbols;

18.  Notes that the continued existence in public spaces in some Member States of monuments and memorials (parks, squares, streets etc.) glorifying totalitarian regimes, which paves the way for the distortion of historical facts about the consequences of the Second World War and for the propagation of the totalitarian political system;

19.  Condemns the fact that extremist and xenophobic political forces in Europe are increasingly resorting to distortion of historical facts, and employ symbolism and rhetoric that echoes aspects of totalitarian propaganda, including racism, anti-Semitism and hatred towards sexual and other minorities;

20.  Urges the Member States to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Council Framework Decision, so as to counter organisations that spread hate speech and violence in public spaces and online, and to effectively ban neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups and any other foundation or association that exalts and glorifies Nazism and fascism or any other form of totalitarianism, while respecting domestic legal order and jurisdiction;

21.  Stresses that Europe’s tragic past should continue to serve as a moral and political inspiration to face the challenges of today’s world, including the fight for a fairer world, creating open and tolerant societies and communities embracing ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, and making European values work for everyone;

22.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Russian Duma and the parliaments of the Eastern Partnership countries.

(1) OJ C 92 E, 20.4.2006, p. 392.
(2) OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 55.
(3) OJ C 8 E, 14.1.2010, p. 57.
(4) OJ C 137 E, 27.5.2010, p. 25.


State of implementation of anti-money laundering legislation
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European Parliament resolution of 19 September 2019 on the state of implementation of the Union’s anti-money laundering legislation (2019/2820(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2019)0022B9-0045/2019

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to 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(1) of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directive 2006/70/EC (4AMLD)(2), and as amended by 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 (5AMLD)(3),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/1153 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 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(4), Directive (EU) 2018/1673 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on combating money laundering by criminal law(5) and Regulation (EU) 2018/1672 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on controls on cash entering or leaving the Union and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005(6),

–  having regard to the Commission’s Anti-Money Laundering Package as adopted on 24 July 2019, consisting of a political communication entitled ‘Towards better implementation of the EU’s anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism framework’ (COM(2019)0360), the report on the assessment of recent alleged money laundering cases involving EU credit institutions (‘post-mortem’) (COM(2019)0373), the report on the assessment of the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing affecting the internal market and relating to cross-border activities (the Supranational Risk Assessment Report (SNRA)) (COM(2019)0370) and the accompanying staff working document (SWD(2019)0650), and the report on the interconnection of national centralised automated mechanisms (central registries or central electronic data retrieval systems) of the Member States on bank accounts (COM(2019)0372),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Banking Authority on communications to supervised entities regarding money laundering and terrorist financing risks in prudential supervision, published on 24 July 2019,

–  having regard to the Commission roadmap entitled ‘Towards a new methodology for the EU assessment of High Risk Third Countries under Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing’,

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 22 June 2018 entitled ‘Methodology for identifying high risk third countries under Directive (EU) 2015/849’ (SWD(2018)0362),

–  having regard to the four Delegated Regulations adopted by the Commission – (EU) 1675/2016, (EU) 2018/105, (EU) 2018/212 and (EU) 2018/1467 – supplementing Directive 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council by identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies,

–  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(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 March 2019 on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance(8),

–  having regard to the exchange of views of 5 September 2019 in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs with the Commission and the European Banking Authority,

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

A.  whereas the Union’s framework for anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing (AML/CTF) has been progressively strengthened by the adoption of 4AMLD in May 2015 and 5AMLD in April 2018 and their respective dates of transposition into the Member States’ national legislation by June 2017 and January 2020, and by other accompanying legislation and actions;

B.  whereas, according to Europol, as much as 0.7-1.28 % of the Union’s annual GDP is ‘detected as being involved in suspect financial activity’(9) such as money laundering connected to corruption, arms trafficking, human trafficking, drug dealing, tax evasion and fraud, terrorist financing or other illicit activities which affect EU citizens in their daily lives;

C.  whereas under Article 9 of 4AMLD, the Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in order to identify high-risk third countries, taking into account strategic deficiencies in several areas; whereas Parliament supports the establishment by the Commission of a new methodology that does not only rely on external information sources to identify high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies as regards AML and CTF, which represent a threat to the EU financial system and for which enhanced customer due diligence measures are necessary at EU obliged entities under 4AMLD and 5AMLD;

D.  whereas 3AMLD, which entered into effect on 15 December 2007, was repealed by the adoption of 4AMLD; whereas the implementation of several provisions of 3AMLD, including the adequate power and staffing of national competent authorities, was not appropriately checked in the past and should be considered a priority for ongoing completeness and correctness checks and infringement procedures performed by the Commission in the context of 4AMLD implementation;

E.  whereas the Council and Parliament rejected three proposed amending delegated regulations(10) on the grounds that either the proposals were not established in a transparent and resilient process that actively incentivises affected countries to take decisive action while also respecting their right to be heard, or the Commission’s process for identifying high-risk third countries was not sufficiently autonomous;

F.  whereas on 13 February 2019 the Commission adopted a new list of 23 third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks under the new methodology, namely Afghanistan, American Samoa, the Bahamas, Botswana, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guam, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, the US Virgin Islands and Yemen; whereas on 7 March 2019 the Council rejected this delegated act in the Justice and Home Affairs Council;

G.  whereas the Commission has initiated infringement procedures against the majority of Member States for having failed to properly transpose 4AMLD into national law;

H.  whereas on 24 July 2019 the Commission adopted an AML package, informing Parliament and the Council about achievements to date and remaining shortcomings in the Union’s AML/CTF framework, and thereby set the scene for further improvements in the enforcement and implementation of the existing legislation and for possible future legislative and institutional reforms;

I.  whereas during the exchange of views held with the Commission and the European Banking Authority (EBA) in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs on 5 September 2019, the EBA’s chair, José Manuel Campa, stated that the EBA was not a supervisor in the area of AML, but rather an authority with a mandate to provide guidelines to foster collaboration and coordination, as well to assess the implementation of the AML legislation; whereas he also underlined that the core responsibility for implementation lies with the national authorities;

J.  whereas, according to the Commission communication of 24 July 2019 entitled ‘Towards better implementation of the EU’s anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism framework’, consideration could be given to further harmonising the anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism rulebook, e.g. by transforming the Anti-Money Laundering Directive into a regulation, which would offer the potential of setting a harmonised, directly applicable Union anti-money laundering regulatory framework;

K.  whereas, according to the Commission in the aforementioned communication, the assessments show a need for a stronger mechanism to coordinate and support cross-border cooperation and analysis by Financial Intelligence Units;

1.  Is seriously concerned about the lack of implementation of 4AMLD by a large number of Member States; welcomes, therefore, the Commission’s initiation of infringement procedures against Member States based on the findings of its completeness checks; calls on the Commission to complete thorough correctness checks as soon as possible and to open infringement procedures where necessary; urges those Member States that have not yet done so to properly transpose 4AMLD into their national legislation as soon as possible;

2.  Is concerned that the transposition deadline for 5AMLD of 10 January 2020, and the respective deadlines of 10 January 2020 for the beneficial ownership registers for corporate and other legal entities and 10 March 2020 for trusts and similar legal arrangements, will not be met by Member States; calls on the Member States to take urgent action to speed up the transposition process;

3.  Appreciates the recommendation by the Breach of Union Law Panel of the EBA, as addressed during the exchange of views with EBA chair José Manuel Campa held in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs on 5 September 2019, on the Danske Bank money laundering case, which is to date the largest known such case in the EU, involving suspicious transactions worth upwards of EUR 200 billion; regrets that the Member State supervisors, as the voting members of the EBA’s Board of Supervisors, rejected a proposal for a breach of Union law recommendation; calls on the Commission to keep following the case and to launch an infringement procedure if justified;

4.  Is extremely concerned about regulatory and supervisory fragmentation in the AML/CTF area, which is ill-suited to the ever increasing cross-border activity in the Union and centralised prudential supervision in the banking union and other non-banking sectors;

5.  Stresses that the current EU AML/CTF framework suffers from shortcomings in the enforcement of EU rules combined with a lack of efficient supervision; highlights that it has been repeatedly stressed that ‘minimum standards’ legislation on AML/CTF could pose risks to effective supervision, seamless exchange of information and coordination; calls on the Commission to assess, in the context of the required impact assessment for any future revision of the AML legislation, whether a regulation would be a more appropriate legal act than a directive;

6.  Points to the need for better cooperation between the administrative, judicial and law enforcement authorities within the EU, and in particular the Member States’ Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), as stressed in the Commission report; reiterates its call on the Commission to carry out an impact assessment in the near future to evaluate the possibility and appropriateness of establishing a coordination and support mechanism; considers that further impetus should be given to initiatives that could enforce AML/ CTF actions at EU and national level;

7.  Notes the Commission’s assessment in its post-mortem report of 24 July 2019 that specific anti-money laundering supervisory tasks may be given to a Union body;

8.  Considers that in order to safeguard the integrity of the list of high-risk third countries, the screening and decision-making process should not be affected by considerations that go beyond the area of AML/CTF deficiencies; underlines that lobbying and diplomatic pressure should not undermine the EU institutions’ ability to tackle money laundering and to counter terrorism financing in a way that is linked to the EU in an effective and autonomous manner; calls on the Commission to further assess the possibility of establishing a ‘grey list’ of potentially high-risk third countries on a basis analogous to the Union’s approach in listing non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes; expresses its concern that the length of the 12 month-long process leading to the final assessment in identifying third countries with strategic deficiencies may result in unnecessary delays for effective AML/CTF action;

9.  Calls on the Commission to ensure a transparent process with clear and concrete benchmarks for countries which commit to undergo reforms in order to avoid being listed; further calls on the Commission to publish its initial and final assessments of the listed countries, as well as the benchmarks applied, so as to ensure public scrutiny in such a way that they cannot be misused;

10.  Calls for more human and financial resources to be allocated to the relevant unit of the competent Directorate-General, and welcomes the increase in resources devoted to the EBA;

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

(1) Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2005 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (3AMLD), OJ L 309, 25.11.2005, p. 15.
(2) OJ L 141, 5.6.2015, p. 73.
(3) OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 43.
(4) OJ L 186, 11.7.2019, p. 122.
(5) OJ L 284, 12.11.2018, p. 22.
(6) OJ L 284, 12.11.2018, p. 6.
(7) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0216.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0240.
(9) EUROPOL Financial Intelligence Group Report ‘From suspicion to action’(2017).
(10) C(2019)1326, C(2016)07495 and C(2017)01951.

Legal notice