Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 18 June 2020 - Brussels
Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde (2019-2024) ***
 Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde (2019-2024) (Resolution)
 Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and Guinea-Bissau (2019-2024) ***
 Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and Guinea-Bissau (2019-2024) (Resolution)
 Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between São Tomé and Príncipe and the European Community ***
 EU-Swiss Confederation Agreement on the modification of Switzerland’s WTO concessions (Article XXVIII of the GATT 1994) with regard to seasoned meat ***
 Request for funding for biomedical research on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
 Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission
 Mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria
 Draft amending budget No 3/2020: Entering the surplus of the financial year 2019
 Draft amending budget No 4/2020: proposal to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria
 Conclusion of the EU - Moldova Common Aviation Area Agreement ***
 Amendment of the EU-Moldova Common Aviation Area Agreement (accession of Croatia) ***
 Amendment of the EU-Morocco Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement (accession of Bulgaria and Romania) ***
 Conclusion of the EU-Jordan Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement ***
 Conclusion of the EU-China Civil Aviation Safety Agreement ***
 Conclusion of the EU-Georgia Common Aviation Area Agreement ***
 Conclusion of the EU-Israel Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement ***
 Recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
 Conference on the Future of Europe
 Non-objection to a delegated act: support for the fruit and vegetables and wine sectors in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic
 Non-objection to a delegated act: regulatory technical standards for prudent valuation
 European disability strategy post 2020
 Amending Regulations (EU) No 575/2013 and (EU) 2019/876 as regards adjustments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic ***I
 Competition policy - annual report 2019
 Setting up a subcommittee on tax matters
 Setting up a special committee on beating cancer, and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office
 Setting up a special committee on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation, and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office
 Setting up a special committee on artificial intelligence in a digital age, and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office

Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde (2019-2024) ***
PDF 114kWORD 42k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde (2019-2024) (08662/1/2019 – C9-0004/2019 – 2019/0078(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0134A9-0024/2020

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (08662/1/2019),

–  having regard to the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde (2019-2024) (08668/2019),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43, Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9‑0004/2019),

–  having regard to its non-legislative resolution of 18 June 2020(1) on the draft decision,

–  having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4) and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Budgets,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Fisheries (A9-0024/2020),

1.  Gives its consent to the 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 Republic of Cabo Verde.

(1) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0135.


Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde (2019-2024) (Resolution)
PDF 138kWORD 54k
European Parliament non-legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde (2019-2024) (08662/2019 – C9-0004/2019 – 2019/0078M(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0135A9-0023/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (08662/2019),

–  having regard to the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Cape Verde (2019-2024) (08668/2019),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43(2), Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (C9-0004/2019),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 18 June 2020(1) on the draft decision,

–  having regard to Article 31(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 April 2016 on common rules in respect of application of the external dimension of the CFP, including fisheries agreements(3),

–  having regard to the final report of February 2018 entitled ‘Ex-post and Ex-ante evaluation study of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Cabo Verde’,

–  having regard to Rule 105(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Development,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A9-0023/2020),

A.  whereas the Commission and the Government of Cape Verde have negotiated a new sustainable fisheries partnership agreement (EU-Cape Verde SFPA), together with an implementing protocol, for a five-year period;

B.  whereas the overall aim of the EU-Cape Verde SFPA is to increase fisheries cooperation between the EU and Cape Verde, in the interests of both parties, by promoting a sustainable fisheries policy and sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Cape Verde exclusive economic zone (EEZ);

C.  whereas the uptake of fishing opportunities under the previous EU-Cape Verde SFPA has ranged from 58 % to 68 %, with a good use for seiners and a moderate use for longliners and pole and line vessels;

D.  whereas sharks constitute 20 % of catches, but the lack of scientific data means that the total figure may not be accurate and could be much higher;

E.  whereas the EU-Cape Verde SFPA should promote more effective sustainable development of the Cape Verdean fishing communities and of related industries and activities, including fisheries science; whereas the support to be provided under the Protocol has to be consistent with the national development plans and the Blue Growth Action Plan for development within ecological limits, devised with the United Nations to increase production in, and professionalise, the sector in order to meet the local population’s food and employment needs;

F.  whereas the EU’s commitments under international agreements should also be supported under the SFPA, namely the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 14, and whereas all EU actions, including the SFPA, must contribute to those objectives;

G.  whereas the EU, through the European Development Fund, is contributing a multiannual budget of EUR 55 million to Cape Verde, focusing on one main sector, namely the Good Governance and Development Contract (GGDC);

H.  whereas the SFPA should contribute to the promotion and development of the Cape Verdean fisheries sector and whereas basic infrastructure, such as ports, landing sites, storage facilities and processing plants, needs to be built or renovated;

I.  whereas Parliament must be immediately and fully informed, at all stages, of the procedures relating to the Protocol and its renewal;

1.  Takes the view that the EU-Cape Verde SFPA should pursue two equally important goals: (1) to provide fishing opportunities for EU vessels in the Cape Verde EEZ, on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge and advice and without interfering with conservation and management measures by the regional organisations to which Cape Verde belongs – notably the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) – or overrunning the available surplus; and (2) to promote further economic, financial, technical and scientific cooperation between the EU and Cape Verde in the field of sustainable fisheries and sound exploitation of fishery resources in the Cape Verde EEZ, while at the same time not undermining Cape Verde’s sovereign options and strategies relating to its own development; considers, at the same time and in the light of the high value of marine biology in Cape Verdean waters, that the agreement should guarantee the adoption of measures to mitigate accidental fishing by EU vessels in the Cape Verde EEZ;

2.  Takes the view that measures should be taken to guarantee that the reference tonnage stipulated in the agreement is not exceeded;

3.  Draws attention to the findings of the retrospective and prospective assessments of the Protocol to the EU-Cape Verde 2014-2018 SFPA, produced in May 2018, which stated that the Protocol had on the whole proved to be effective, efficient, appropriate to the interests involved, and consistent with the Cape Verdean sectoral policy, with a high degree of acceptability to stakeholders, and which recommended the option of concluding a new protocol; emphasises that there is scope for more effective progress in terms of fisheries cooperation between the EU and Cape Verde and considers that the new protocol should therefore go beyond previous protocols in the implementation of this agreement, in particular with regard to development support for the Cape Verdean fisheries sector;

4.  Supports the need for significant progress in the development of the Cape Verdean fisheries sector, including the fishing industry and related activities, and calls on the Commission to take all necessary measures, including a possible revision and the bolstering of the sectoral support component of the agreement, along with the creation of conditions to increase the absorption rate of this support;

5.  Considers that the EU-Cape Verde SFPA will not achieve its objectives if it does not contribute to increasing added value in Cape Verde as a result of the exploitation of its fishery resources;

6.  Maintains that the EU-Cape Verde SFPA and the Protocol thereto have to be aligned with the national development plans and the Blue Growth Plan for the development within ecological limits of the Cape Verdean fisheries sector, which are priority areas for EU support and for which the necessary technical and financial assistance must be mobilised, and specifically should:

   strengthen institutional capacity and improve governance: drafting legislation, building on management plans and supporting the implementation of said legislation and management plans;
   tighten up monitoring, control and surveillance in the Cape Verde EEZ and surrounding areas;
   strengthen measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, including in inland waters;
   strengthen partnerships with other countries interested in fishing activity in the Cape Verde’s EEZ, namely by means of fisheries agreements, and ensure transparency by publishing any content thereof, and by establishing a regional programme to train and use observers;
   support the establishment and improvement of a data collection programme that enables Cape Verdean authorities to understand the resources available and support the scientific assessment of resources, resulting in decision-making based on the best available scientific knowledge;
   enable the construction and/or renovation of key infrastructure for fisheries and related activities, such as landing quays and ports (both industrial and artisanal, for example at the port of Mindelo, São Vicente island), sites for storing and processing fish, markets, distribution and marketing infrastructure, and quality analysis laboratories;
   support and improve working conditions for all workers, in particular for women in all fishing-related activities, including not only commercialisation but also transformation, fisheries management and science;
   support the scientific knowledge necessary for the establishment of marine-protected areas, including their implementation, monitoring and control;
   limit bycatches of sensitive species, such as marine turtles;
   enable the reinforcement of organisations representing men and women in the fishing industry, especially those involved in small-scale artisanal fisheries, thereby helping to strengthen technical, management and negotiating capabilities;
   serve to set up and/or refurbish basic and vocational training centres, thereby raising the skill levels of fishers, seafarers and women in the fisheries sector and other blue economy-associated activities;
   strengthen measures to encourage young people to engage in fishing;
   enhance scientific research capabilities and the ability to monitor fishery resources and the marine environment;
   improve the sustainability of marine resources overall;

7.  Welcomes the fact that the agreement does not concern small pelagic fish that are of great importance for the local population and for which there is no surplus;

8.  Expresses its concern about the potentially detrimental impact of fishing activities on the shark population in the Cape Verde EEZ;

9.  Considers that a more detailed evaluation of the benefits that the implementation of the Protocol brings to local economies (employment, infrastructure, social improvements) is necessary;

10.  Considers it desirable to improve the quantity and accuracy of data on all catches (target species and bycatches), on the conservation status of fishery resources and on the impact of fishing activity in the marine environment, and to improve the implementation of sectoral support funding in order to enable a more exact assessment of the impact of the agreement on the marine ecosystem, fishing resources and local communities, including its social and economic impact;

11.  Considers that, in the light of the possible closure of or placing of restrictions on fisheries, local fishing needs should be addressed first, on the basis of sound scientific advice, in order to ensure that resources are sustainable;

12.  Calls on the Commission and the Cape Verdean authorities to improve data collection on and the monitoring of stocks in the context of overfishing, with a particular focus on sharks;

13.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States, in their cooperation and official development assistance policies centring on Cape Verde, to bear in mind that the European Development Fund and the sectoral support laid down in this SFPA should complement each other in order to contribute to the strengthening of the local fisheries sector and to ensure that the country has full sovereignty over its own resources; calls on the Commission to facilitate, through the European Development Fund and other relevant instruments, the necessary steps for the provision of infrastructure which, by reason of its scale and cost, cannot be built solely by means of sectoral support within the framework of the SFPA, for example fishing ports (both industrial and artisanal);

14.  Supports the need to increase the contribution of the SFPA to the local creation of direct and indirect jobs, either on vessels operating under the SFPA or in fishing activities, both upstream and downstream; considers that the Member States can play a key role and an active part in capacity-building and training efforts to this end;

15.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to further strengthen their cooperation with Cape Verde, to evaluate possibilities for enhancing future development assistance, primarily under the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) proposed as part of the EU’s budget for 2021-2027, and particularly taking into account the good use of EU funds in Cape Verde and the country’s political stability in a complex geopolitical context, which must be supported and rewarded;

16.  Calls on the Commission to urge the Republic of Cape Verde to use the financial contribution provided by the Protocol to strengthen its national fisheries industry in the long term, encourage demand for local investment and industrial projects, and encourage the growth of a sustainable blue economy, thereby creating local jobs and boosting the attractiveness of fishing activities to young generations;

17.  Calls on the Commission to send to Parliament and make publicly available the minutes and conclusions of the meetings of the Joint Committee provided for in Article 9 of the agreement and the findings of the annual evaluations; calls on the Commission to enable representatives of Parliament to attend Joint Committee meetings as observers and to encourage the participation of Cape Verdean fishing communities and associated stakeholders;

18.  Considers that information should be compiled on the benefits that implementation of the Protocol brings to local economies (employment, infrastructure, social improvements);

19.  Calls on the Commission and the Council, acting within the limits of their powers, to keep Parliament immediately and fully informed at every stage of the procedures relating to the Protocol and, if applicable, of its renewal, pursuant to Article 13(2) of the Treaty on European Union and Article 218(10) of the TFEU;

20.  Draws the attention of the Commission, and particularly the Council, to the fact that persisting in proceeding with the provisional application of international agreements before Parliament has given its consent is not compatible with the guiding principles of the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making, that this practice greatly diminishes Parliament’s status as the only directly democratically elected EU institution, and that it also damages the democratic credentials of the EU as a whole;

21.  Calls on the Commission to better integrate the recommendations made in the EU-Cape Verde SFPA and to take them into account, for instance, in the procedures for the renewal of the Protocol;

22.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Cape Verde.

(1) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0134.
(2) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 22.
(3) OJ C 58, 15.2.2018, p. 93.


Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and Guinea-Bissau (2019-2024) ***
PDF 114kWORD 38k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau (2019-2024) (08928/2019 – C9-0011/2019 – 2019/0090(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0136A9-0012/2020

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (08928/2019),

–  having regard to the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau (08894/2019),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43, Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a) (v), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9-0011/2019),

–  having regard to its non-legislative resolution of 18 June 2020(1) on the draft decision,

–  having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4) and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Budgets,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Fisheries (A9-0012/2020),

1.  Gives its consent to the 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 Republic of Guinea-Bissau.

(1) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0137.


Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and Guinea-Bissau (2019-2024) (Resolution)
PDF 141kWORD 52k
European Parliament non-legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council Decision on the conclusion of the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau (2019-2024) (08928/2019 – C9-0011/2019 – 2019/0090M(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0137A9-0013/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council Decision (08928/2019),

–  having regard to the conclusion of the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Guinea-Bissau (08894/2019) (‘the Protocol’),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43, Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9-0011/2019),

–  having regard to Article 31(4) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC ( Common Fisheries Policy)(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 April 2016 on common rules in respect of application of the external dimension of the CFP, including fisheries agreements(2),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 18 June 2020(3) on the draft decision,

–  having regard to Rule 105(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Development,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A9-0013/2020),

A.  whereas the overall objective of the EU-Guinea Bissau sustainable fisheries partnership agreement (SFPA) is to enhance fisheries cooperation between the EU and Guinea-Bissau, in the interests of both parties, by promoting a sustainable fisheries policy and the sound and sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in Guinea-Bissau’s fishing zone, in addition to the development of the Guinea-Bissau fisheries sector and its blue economy;

B.  whereas the use of fishing opportunities under the previous SFPA is considered satisfactory in overall terms;

C.  whereas the EU-Guinea Bissau SFPA is of considerable importance in the context of the SFPAs concluded by the EU with third countries, and is currently the third most important in terms of the funds involved, and offers the added advantage of being one of only three agreements that allow access to mixed fisheries;

D.  whereas the contribution of Guinea-Bissau’s fisheries to the country’s wealth is very low (3,5 % of GDP in 2015), although the funds that it will receive through the SFPA as financial compensation for access to resources will make a significant contribution to its national public finances;

E.  whereas compared to the previous Protocol, the EU’s financial contribution has been increased from EUR 9 million to EUR 11,6 million per year as regards the annual amount for access to fishery resources and from EUR 3 million euros to EUR 4 million per year as regards EU support for Guinea-Bissau’s sectoral fisheries policy;

F.  whereas during the period covered by the Protocol, fishing opportunities will be defined in two different ways: in the first two years, fishing effort (measured in terms of gross registered tonnage (GRT)), and in the last three years, total allowable catches (in tonnes); whereas this transition should be accompanied by the implementation, during the first two years of the Protocol, of an electronic catch reporting system (ERS) and the processing of catch data;

G.  whereas during the first period covered by the Protocol, the fishing opportunities granted to EU fleets are as follows: 3 700 GRT for shrimp freezer trawlers, 3 500 GRT for fin-fish and cephalopods freezer trawlers and 15 000 GRT for small pelagic trawlers, 28 tuna freezer seiners and longliners, and 13 pole-and-line tuna vessels; whereas during the second period, the fishing opportunities granted to EU fleets are as follows: 2 500 tonnes for shrimp freezer trawlers, 11 000 for fin-fish freezer trawlers, 1 500 tonnes for cephalopod freezer trawlers and 18 000 tonnes for small pelagic trawlers, 28 tuna freezer seiners and longliners, and 13 pole-and-line tuna vessels;

H.  whereas the first fisheries agreement between the European Economic Community and Guinea-Bissau dated back to 1980; whereas the previous protocol to the agreement expired on 23 November 2017; whereas the performance of the development cooperation component of these agreements (i.e. sectoral support) has not been globally satisfactory; whereas, notwithstanding, progress has been recorded in fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance and sanitary inspection capacity, as has Guinea-Bissau’s participation in regional fisheries bodies; whereas sectoral cooperation needs to be enhanced in order to better promote the development of the local fisheries sector and the related industries and activities so as to ensure that a greater proportion of the added value created by the exploitation of the country’s natural resources remains in Guinea-Bissau;

I.  whereas, in order for the Guinea-Bissau fisheries sector to develop, basic infrastructure needs to be installed, such as ports, landing sites, storage facilities and processing plants, which are still missing, in an effort to attract landings of fish caught in the waters of Guinea-Bissau;

J.  whereas 2021 will see the start of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030); whereas third countries must be encouraged to play a key role in the acquisition of knowledge;

K.  whereas trade in fishery products from Guinea-Bissau has been banned by the EU for many years owing to the country’s inability to comply with the sanitary measures required by the EU; whereas the delay in the analytical laboratory’s certification process (CIPA) is the main barrier to the exporting of fishery products from Guinea-Bissau to the EU; whereas the Guinean authorities and the Commission are working together in the certification process in order to lift the ban;

L.  whereas there is a need to ensure that a greater proportion of the added value generated from the exploitation of fishery resources in the Guinean fishing zone remains in the country;

M.  whereas direct employment in the fisheries sector in Guinea-Bissau has been limited, even when it comes to employing local crew members on board vessels (currently, a lower number work on these vessels than when the previous Protocol was concluded) or women, whose livelihoods and jobs are contingent on the fisheries sector;

N.  whereas compared to the previous Protocol, the number of seamen to be signed on in the EU fleet increased significantly; whereas EU vessels owners shall endeavour to sign on additional Guinean seamen; whereas the Guinea-Bissau authorities are to draw up and keep updated an indicative list of qualified seamen who are candidates to be signed on by EU vessels;

O.  whereas advances have been made in the fight against IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing in Guinea-Bissau’s territorial waters, thanks to the Guinean exclusive economic zone’s (EEZ) improved methods of supervision, namely those allocated to FISCAP (Inspection and Control of Fishing Activities), which includes a corps of observers and fast patrol vessels; whereas there are still flaws and shortcomings which must be overcome, which include matters relating to the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS);

P.  whereas advances have been made in the profiling of demersal fish stocks in the Guinean EEZ, and in particular the ‘report of the campaign to assess demersal stocks in the Guinea-Bissau EEZ’ of January 2019;

Q.  whereas Guinea-Bissau is one of 13 countries under the scope of the project ‘Improved regional fisheries governance in western Africa (PESCAO)’ adopted by Commission Decision C(2017) 2951 of 28 April 2017, which, among other objectives, aims to strengthen the prevention of and responses to IUU fishing by improving monitoring, control and surveillance at national and regional level;

R.  whereas the integration of the recommendations previously made by Parliament in the current Protocol were not fully satisfactory;

S.  whereas Parliament must be duly informed in good time and at all stages of the procedures concerning the Protocol or its renewal;

1.  Notes the importance of the EU-Guinea Bissau SFPA, both for Guinea Bissau and for EU fleets operating in the Guinea-Bissau fishing zone; emphasises that there is scope for more effective progress in terms of fisheries cooperation between the EU and Guinea-Bissau and reiterates its call on the Commission to take every step required to go beyond previous protocols on the implementation of this agreement to ensure that this SFPA leads to satisfactory levels of development of the local fisheries sector in global terms, and should be consistent with the objectives referred to in the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development;

2.  Considers that the objectives of the EU-Guinea Bissau SFPA have had differing degrees of success: while the agreement has offered and provides considerable fishing opportunities for EU vessels in the Guinea-Bissau fishing zone and European ship-owners have made considerable use of these opportunities, the local fisheries sector has not, overall, developed enough or in a satisfactory manner;

3.  Stresses that, in its Article 3, the Protocol contains a non-discrimination clause whereby Guinea-Bissau undertakes not to grant more favourable technical conditions to other foreign fleets operating in Guinea-Bissau's fishing zone that have the same characteristics and target the same species; calls on the Commission to closely follow EU fisheries agreements with third countries that are in Guinea-Bissau's fishing zone;

4.  Welcomes the contribution of EU vessels to food security in Guinea-Bissau by direct landings, as specified in Chapter 5 of the Annex to the Protocol, for the benefit of the local communities and to promote internal fish trade and consumption;

5.  Considers that a transition in the management of fishing opportunities (from fishing effort management to total allowable catch management) poses a challenge to this Protocol; calls on the Commission and the Guinea-Bissau to promote, without delay, an appropriate and effective transition, which safeguards the necessary reliability and effectiveness of the ERS and the processing of catch data;

6.  Supports the need for significant progress in the development of the Guinea-Bissau fisheries sector, including the fishing industry and related activities, and calls on the Commission to take all necessary measures – including a possible revision and the bolstering of the sectoral support component of the agreement, along with measures to increase the absorption rate of the financial contribution – in order to achieve this objective;

7.  Considers that the EU-Guinea Bissau SFPA will not achieve its objectives if it does not help put in place a management system for the sustainable, long-term exploitation of its fishery resources; considers it of utmost importance to comply with the provisions set out in the Protocol on sectoral support so that it contributes to the full implementation of the national strategy for fisheries and the blue economy; identifies, in this regard, as priority areas for EU support, mobilising the necessary technical and financial assistance in order to:

   a. strengthen institutional capacity, notably regional and global fisheries governance strategies, so as to take account of the cumulative impacts of different fisheries agreements of countries in the region;
   b. support the strengthening of marine protected areas in order to move towards integrated management of fisheries resources;
   c. develop key infrastructure for fisheries and related activities, such as ports (both industrial and artisanal), sites for landing, storing and processing fish, markets, distribution and marketing structures, quality analysis laboratories, with the aim of attracting landings of the fish caught in the waters of Guinea-Bissau;
   d. strengthen local operator capacity in the fisheries sector by supporting fishermen’s organisations;
   e. train fishing professionals;
   f. support small-scale fishing;
   g. contribute to the good ecological condition of the marine environment, in particular by supporting the collection of waste and fishing gear by local actors;
   h. recognise and enhance the role of women and young people in fishing, and improve the organisation of their roles by supporting the requisite conditions to this end;

8.  Urges the Commission and the Member States, in their cooperation and official development assistance policies, to take into account the fact that the European Development Fund (EDF) and sectoral support provided for in the EU-Guinea-Bissau SFPA should complement each other and be fully coordinated, with a view to strengthening the local fisheries sector;

9.  Expresses its concern about the growing number of fish meal and fish oil plants on the west African coast, which are also supplied with fish from the waters of Guinea Bissau; underlines the fact that forage fishing runs counter to the principle of sustainability and the provision of valuable protein resources to the local community; welcomes the expansion of the port and landing facilities in Guinea-Bissau, but at the same time expresses its concern that this could be followed by the construction of new fishmeal plants;

10.  Calls on the Commission and the Guinea-Bissau authorities to enhance their cooperation in order to establish the conditions for the export of Guinea-Bissau fishery products to the EU, in particular as regards the verification of the required sanitary conditions and certification of the analytical laboratory (CIPA), so as to overcome the current ban, boost the development of the local fisheries sector and, consequently, make progress towards achieving the SFPA objectives;

11.  Supports the need to enhance the contribution of the SFPA to the local creation of direct and indirect jobs, either on vessels operating under the SFPA or in fishing activities, both upstream and downstream; considers that the Member States can play a key role and be an active part in capacity-building and training efforts in order to achieve this;

12.  Recalls the unique nature of Guinea-Bissau’s marine and coastal ecosystems, such as the mangrove forests, which act as nursery habitats for fishery resources, and which require targeted action to protect and restore biodiversity;

13.  Considers that information should be compiled on the benefits that the implementation of the Protocol brings to local economies (e.g. employment, infrastructure and social improvements);

14.  Considers that there is a need to improve the quantity and quality of data on all catches (target and by-catch), on the conservation status of fishery resources in the fishing zone of Guinea-Bissau and, in general, on the impact of the SFPA on ecosystems, and that an effort should be made to develop the capacity of Guinea-Bissau to acquire such data; calls on the Commission to help ensure that the bodies responsible for overseeing the implementation of the agreement, namely the Joint Committee and Joint Scientific Committee, can operate smoothly, with the involvement of artisanal fishermen’s associations, associations of women working in the fisheries sector, trade unions, representatives of coastal communities and Guinea-Bissau civil society organisations;

15.  Considers that there is the absolute need to improve data collection on catches in Guinea Bissau; calls, moreover, for an improvement of the transmission of data generated by the VMS systems of EU vessels via the flag state to the African authorities; calls for better data system interoperability;

16.  Urges the publication of reports on the actions that have been supported by the sectoral support for greater transparency;

17.  Considers that, in the event of the closure of fisheries or the introduction of fishing restrictions, in order to ensure that resources are sustainable, as established in the Protocol, local fishing needs should be addressed first on the basis of sound scientific advice;

18.  Emphasises the importance of the surplus requirement for Union vessels fishing in third country waters;

19.  Supports the need, with a view to improving the sustainability of fishing activities, to improve the governance, control and surveillance of the fishing zone of Guinea Bissau and to combat IUU fishing, inter alia, by stepping up the monitoring of vessels (through the VMS system);

20.  Urges the inclusion of transparency provisions, which would entail publishing all agreements with states or private entities that have granted foreign vessels access to Guinea Bissau’s EEZ;

21.  Stresses the importance of allocating the fishing opportunities provided by the SFPA based on the principles of equity, balance and transparency;

22.  Emphasises the importance that the landings of fish in Guinea Bissau ports contribute to local processing activities and food security, both in terms of species and quality;

23.  Calls on the Commission to forward to Parliament the minutes and conclusions of the meetings of the Joint Committee, the multiannual sectoral programme referred to in Article 5 of the Protocol and the results of its annual evaluations, information on the coordination of this programme with the strategic plan for the development of Guinea-Bissau’s fisheries (2015-2020), the minutes and conclusions of the meetings of the Joint Scientific Committee, and information on IUU fishing in the Guinean fishing zone, the integration of EU economic operators in the Guinean fisheries sector (Article 10 of the Protocol) and the verification of compliance with the obligations of ship-owners (e.g. in relation to the contribution in kind provided for in Chapter V of the Annex to the Protocol); calls on the Commission to present to Parliament, within the last year of application of the Protocol and before the opening of negotiations for its renewal, a full report on its implementation;

24.  Calls on the Commission and on the authorities of Guinea-Bissau to provide more detailed information on the development of activities associated with forage fishing in the region;

25.  Calls on the Commission to better integrate the recommendations of Parliament into the EU-Guinea-Bissau SFPA and to take them into account in the procedures for the renewal of the Protocol;

26.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of Guinea-Bissau.

(1) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 22.
(2) OJ C 58, 15.2.2018, p. 93.
(3) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0136.


Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between São Tomé and Príncipe and the European Community ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe and the European Community (12199/2019 – C9-0001/2020 – 2019/0173(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0138A9-0001/2020

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12199/2019),

–  having regard to the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe and the European Community (12202/2019),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 43, Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9-0001/2020),

–  having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4), and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinions of the Committee on Development and the Committee on Budgets,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Fisheries (A9-0001/2020),

1.  Gives its consent to the 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 Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe.


EU-Swiss Confederation Agreement on the modification of Switzerland’s WTO concessions (Article XXVIII of the GATT 1994) with regard to seasoned meat ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Swiss Confederation in the context of negotiations under Article XXVIII of the GATT 1994 on the modification of Switzerland's WTO concessions with regard to seasoned meat (12482/2019 – C9-0194/2019 – 2019/0196(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0139A9-0092/2020

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (12482/2019),

–  having regard to the draft Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters between the European Union and the Swiss Confederation in the context of negotiations under Article XXVIII of the GATT 1994 on the modification of Switzerland's WTO concessions with regard to seasoned meat (12483/2019),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 207(4), first subparagraph, and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9-0194/2019),

–  having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4) and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on International Trade (A9-0092/2020),

1.  Gives its consent to the conclusion of the agreement;

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


Request for funding for biomedical research on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
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European Parliament resolution of 18 June 2020 on additional funding for biomedical research on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (2020/2580(RSP))
P9_TA(2020)0140B9-0186/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 168 and 179 to 181 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Article 35 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the written question to the Commission of 2 September 2019 on ‘Research into myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)’ (E-002599/2019) and the Commission’s answer of 28 October 2019,

–  having regard to the written question to the Commission of 4 December 2018 on ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome’ (E-006124/2018) and the Commission’s answer of 30 January 2019,

–  having regard to the written question to the Commission of 28 August 2018 on ‘Myalgic encephalomyelitis: recognition by the World Health Organisation and Commission support for research and training’ (E-004360/2018) and the Commission’s answer of 1 November 2018,

–  having regard to the written question to the Commission of 9 November 2017 on ‘Funding of research on ME/CFS’ (E-006901/2017) and the Commission’s answer of 18 December 2017,

–  having regard to Rule 227(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the Committee on Petitions has received several petitions raising concerns over the absence of treatments and the current underfunding of biomedical research on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) within the EU;

B.  whereas under Article 35 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union everyone has ‘the right to benefit from medical treatment under the conditions established by national laws and practices’, while other international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, recognise or refer to the right to health or elements of it, such as the right to medical care;

C.  whereas the actions of Member States and the Union must be directed towards improving public health; whereas this objective should be achieved through the Union’s support to Member States, by fostering cooperation and by promoting research into the causes, transmission and prevention of illnesses;

D.  whereas ME/CFS is a debilitating chronic multisystem disease of unknown aetiology, whose symptoms, severity and progression are extremely variable;

E.  whereas ME/CFS is classified as a disorder of the nervous system by the World Health Organisation under the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) under code 8E49 (Postviral fatigue syndrome);

F.  whereas ME/CFS is a complex, highly disabling disease, as extreme tiredness and other physical symptoms can make it impossible to carry out everyday activities; whereas quality of life may be severely affected and patients with ME/CFS may end up being bedbound or housebound with severe suffering, negative impacts on social and family relationships and significant costs to society in terms of lost working capacity;

G.  whereas special attention needs to be paid to the high risk of social exclusion of persons affected with ME/CFS; whereas in this sense, for employed persons suffering from the disease it is crucial to be able to keep their jobs in order not to find themselves isolated;

H.  whereas all possible measures should be taken to adjust the working conditions and environment of employed people suffering from ME/CFS; whereas they should also be entitled to the adaptation of the workplace and working time;

I.  whereas there are still no established biomedical diagnostic tests for ME/CFS, nor are there any EU/EMA-approved treatments;

J.  whereas the incidence and prevalence of ME/CFS in the EU are unknown, as is equally the overall social and economic burden arising from it, owing to the lack of coordinated and comprehensive data collection at EU level;

K.  whereas according to the Commission’s answer of 30 August 2019 to Petition No 0204/2019, ME/CFS is diagnosed for around 24 million people worldwide but this is considered to be only 10 % of the total ME/CFS population;

L.  whereas the American Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Society estimates that around 17 to 24 million people worldwide suffer from ME/CFS;

M.  whereas approximately two million people in the EU, of whatever ethnicity, age or gender, are believed to be afflicted with ME/CFS; whereas among adults, women are the most affected;

N.  whereas to date ME/CFS is poorly understood and, consequently, underdiagnosed, owing to insufficient knowledge about this disease among healthcare providers, or else because of the difficulties encountered in the detection of symptoms and the absence of appropriate diagnostic tests; whereas the lack of understanding of ME/CFS can considerably hamper the recognition of occupational disability of patients;

O.  whereas the patients’ community feels deprived and ignored by public authorities and society as a whole, and legitimately asks for greater awareness and additional funding to support progress in research; whereas patients denounce being victims of stigmatisation as a result of poor knowledge of this disease; whereas the stigma surrounding the rights of persons with ME/CFS and the associated psychological distress, which has a dramatic impact on individuals, families and society and on every aspect of citizens’ lives, is too often poorly recognised;

P.  whereas children and young people afflicted with ME/CFS could potentially see their access to education hampered;

Q.  whereas the need for better recognition of this type of diseases at Member State level is evident; whereas specifically targeted training should be provided to raise awareness among public authorities, healthcare providers and officials in general;

R.  whereas Petition No 0204/2019 received and continues to receive a significant number of signatures of support, from patients and their families and also from the scientific community, calling for more resources to be invested in biomedical research into ME/CFS and patient support;

S.  whereas over the years several Members of the European Parliament have tabled questions to the Commission regarding the availability of EU funding for research on ME/CFS;

T.  whereas research efforts on ME/CFS remain rather fragmented and coordination of research at EU level is missing; whereas, despite support granted by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020), to a number of research projects on neurological disorders of different aetiologies as well as research on pain (such as Help4Me, GLORIA and the RTCure), the Commission admitted in its answer of 30 January 2019 to Written Question E-006124/2018 that ‘to date no specific projects on diagnosis/treatment of ME/CFS have been supported by the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation’;

1.  Expresses its concern at the high incidence of ME/CFS within the EU, with an estimated 2 million citizens affected by the disease;

2.  Welcomes the Commission’s support for the organisation European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), which recently created an integrated network of researchers working on ME/CFS (Euromene); believes that Euromene can ‘add value’ to activities that would not be so effective if carried out at national level alone;

3.  Welcomes the work currently being carried out by the Euromene network aiming at establishing a common Europe-wide approach to address the serious gaps in knowledge of this complex disease and to deliver information on the disease burden in Europe and on clinical diagnosis and potential treatments to care providers, patients and other stakeholders;

4.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment made in its answer of 28 October 2019 to Written Question E-002599/2019 to provide further opportunities for research into ME/CFS through the forthcoming research and innovation framework programme which will succeed Horizon 2020, namely Horizon Europe;

5.  Regrets, however, that the funding initiatives adopted so far by the Commission are not sufficient; is worried about the current underfunding of research into ME/CFS, which may be considered as a hidden public health problem in the EU; underlines the increasingly urgent need to address the human and socio-economic consequences of the growing number of individuals living and working with these long-term disabling and chronic conditions that affect the sustainability and continuity of their work and employment;

6.  Calls on the Commission to allocate additional funding and prioritise calls for projects specifically focused on biomedical research into ME/CFS, with a view to the development and validation of a biomedical diagnostic test and of effective biomedical treatments that can cure the disease or alleviate its effects;

7.  Believes that the current underfunding of biomedical research into ME/CFS is unjustified considering the estimated large number of patients and the consequent economic and social impact of this disease;

8.  Stresses the need to implement innovative projects that can ensure coordinated and comprehensive data gathering on this disease within the Member States, and calls for mandatory reporting in all Member States affected by ME/CFS;

9.  Calls on all Member States to take with determination the necessary steps to ensure the due recognition of ME/CFS;

10.  Calls on the Commission to promote cooperation and the exchange of best practices among Member States as regards screening methods, diagnosis and treatment, and to create a European prevalence register of patients affected by ME/CFS;

11.  Requests that the Commission provide funding to ensure appropriate and improved medical education and training for health and social care professionals working with ME/CFS patients; calls, therefore, on the Commission to study the feasibility of an EU fund for the prevention and treatment of ME/CFS;

12.  Calls on the Commission to ensure the funding of the necessary logistic support for researchers with a view to promoting the coordination of research activities in this field within the EU, in terms of identifying the complexity of the ME/CFS diagnostics and patients’ care challenges and unlocking the full potential of access to innovation and health data collected through experts’ input and all stakeholders’ engagement, in order to prioritise the right policy;

13.  Calls for increased international cooperation on research into ME/CFS, with a view to accelerating the development of objective diagnostic standards and effective forms of treatment;

14.  Calls on the Commission to commission a study assessing the overall social and economic costs attributable to ME/CFS within the EU;

15.  Invites the Commission and the Member States to launch information and awareness-raising campaigns among health professionals and the public in order to alert the population to the existence and symptoms of ME/CFS;

16.  Calls on the Council, in the context of the ongoing negotiations on the next EU multiannual financial framework, to accept Parliament’s request for an increased budget for Horizon Europe and the swift adoption of that budget so that work can start on time to ensure research into ME/CFS;

17.  Calls on the Commission to recognise the special challenges faced by researchers working on diseases of unknown cause, such as ME/CFS, and to ensure that, despite these difficulties, biomedical research on such diseases is given fair access to the funding provided by Horizon Europe;

18.  Stresses the importance of raising awareness on the matter by further promoting activities at EU and Member State level around the ‘Rare Disease Day’ commemorated on the last day of February each year;

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


Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 18 June 2020 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF/2020/000 TA 2020 - Technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission) (COM(2020)0146 – C9-0112/2020 – 2020/2062(BUD))
P9_TA(2020)0141A9-0109/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2020)0146 – C9‑0112/2020),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (2014-2020) and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1927/2006(1),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(2), and in particular Article 12 thereof,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(3), and in particular point 13 thereof,

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 September 2019 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, (EGF/2019/000 TA 2019 – Technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission)(4),

—  having regard to its first reading on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Globalisation Fund (EGF)(5),

—  having regard to the trilogue procedure provided for in point 13 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A9-0109/2020),

A.  whereas the Union has set up legislative and budgetary instruments to provide additional support to workers who are suffering from the consequences of major structural changes in world trade patterns or of the global financial and economic crisis and to assist their necessary and prompt reintegration into the labour market;

B.  whereas the Union’s assistance to workers made redundant should be dynamic and made available as quickly and efficiently as possible, in accordance with the Joint Declaration of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission adopted during the conciliation meeting on 17 July 2008, and having due regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 in respect of the adoption of decisions to mobilise the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF);

C.  whereas the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013 reflects the agreement reached between the Parliament and the Council to reintroduce the crisis mobilisation criterion, to increase the Union financial contribution to 60 % of the total estimated cost of proposed measures, to increase efficiency for the treatment of EGF applications in the Commission and by Parliament and the Council by shortening the time for assessment and approval, to widen eligible actions and beneficiaries by introducing self-employed persons and young people and to finance incentives for setting up own businesses;

D.  whereas the maximum annual budget available for the EGF is EUR 150 million in 2011 prices and whereas Article 11(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013 states that up to 0,5 % of that amount, that is EUR 179 264 000 in 2020 prices, can be made available for technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission in order to finance preparation, monitoring, data gathering and creation of a knowledge base, administrative and technical support, information and communication activities as well as audit, control and evaluation activities necessary to implement Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013;

E.  whereas the proposed amount of EUR 345 000 corresponds to approximately 0,19 % of the maximum annual budget available for the EGF in 2020;

1.  Agrees with the measures that the Commission proposes to finance as technical assistance in accordance with Article 11(1) and (4) and Article 12(2), (3) and (4) of Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013;

2.  Acknowledges the importance of monitoring and data gathering; recalls the importance of robust statistical series compiled in an appropriate form so that it is easily accessible and understandable; reiterates the need for updated research on and analysis on the current challenges posed by COVID-19 on the global market;

3.  Reiterates the need for a dedicated website, accessible to all Union citizens, containing detailed information about the EGF;

4.  Welcomes the continued work on standardised procedures for EGF applications and management using the functionalities of the electronic data exchange system (SFC), which allows for the simplification and faster processing of applications, and better reporting;

5.  Takes note that the Commission will use the available budget to hold two meetings of the Expert Group of Contact Persons of the EGF (one member from each Member State) and, most probably at the same time, two seminars with the participation of the implementing bodies of the EGF and the social partners in order to promote networking among Member States;

6.  Calls on the Commission to continue to systematically invite Parliament to such meetings and seminars in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Framework Agreement on relations between Parliament and the Commission;

7.  Underlines the need to further enhance the cooperation and communication between all those involved in EGF applications, including, in particular, the social partners and stakeholders at regional and local level, to create as many synergies as possible; stresses that interaction between the National Contact Person and regional or local case delivery partners should be strengthened and communication and support arrangements and information flows (internal divisions, tasks and responsibilities) should be made explicit and agreed on by all partners concerned;

8.  Reminds applicant Member States of their key role in widely publicising the actions funded by the EGF to the targeted beneficiaries, local and regional authorities, social partners, the media and the general public, as set out in Article 12 of Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013;

9.  Recalls that according to the current rules, the EGF could be mobilised to support permanently dismissed workers and the self-employed in the context of the global crisis caused by COVID-19 without amending Regulation (EU) No 1309/2013;

10.  Therefore asks the Commission to assist, in any possible way, Member States who intend to prepare an application in the coming weeks and months;

11.  Furthermore asks the Commission to do its utmost to show flexibility and to shorten the period of assessment to the extent possible when assessing any application's compliance with the conditions for providing a financial contribution;

12.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

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

ANNEX

DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF/2020/000 TA 2020 - Technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission)

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2020/986.)

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 855.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(3) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(4) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0015.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0019.


Mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria
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Resolution
Annex
European Parliament resolution of 18 June 2020 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria (COM(2020)0200 – C9-0127/2020 – 2020/2068(BUD))
P9_TA(2020)0142A9-0105/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council (COM(2020)0200 – C9‑0127/2020),

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

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

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A9-0105/2020),

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

2.  Stresses the urgent need to release financial assistance through the European Union Solidarity Fund (the ‘Fund’) to the regions affected by natural disasters in the Union in 2019;

3.  Considers that the financial assistance released to the Member States shall be subject to a fair distribution to the most affected regions and areas;

4.  Points out that, due to climate change, natural disasters will become more and more violent and more and more frequent; calls for a reform of the Fund in the forthcoming multiannual financial framework in order to take into account the future consequences of climate change, while stressing that the Fund is only a curative instrument and that climate change requires primarily a preventive policy in line with the Paris Agreement and the Green Deal;

5.  Recalls that, according to Articles 174 and 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the European Union shall pursue actions leading to the strengthening of its territorial cohesion and taking into account the special characteristics and constraints of the outermost regions; points out that the same natural disaster in an outermost region has a greater social and economic impact than in any other European region and consequently the recovery is slower; believes, therefore, that the outermost regions should benefit from increased funding under the scope of the Fund;

6.  Approves the decision annexed to this resolution;

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

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

ANNEX: DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL

on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria

(The text of this annex is not reproduced here since it corresponds to the final act, Decision (EU) 2020/1076.)

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


Draft amending budget No 3/2020: Entering the surplus of the financial year 2019
PDF 120kWORD 44k
European Parliament resolution of 18 June 2020 on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 3/2020 of the European Union for the financial year 2020: Entering the surplus of the financial year 2019 (07764/2020 – C9-0131/2020 – 2020/2061(BUD))
P9_TA(2020)0143A9-0104/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 106a of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012(1), and in particular Article 44 thereof,

–  having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020, as definitively adopted on 27 November 2019(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(3),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(4),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2014/335/EU, Euratom of 26 May 2014 on the system of own resources of the European Union(5),

–  having regard to Draft amending budget No 3/2020, which the Commission adopted on 15 April 2020 (COM(2020)0180),

–  having regard to the position on Draft amending budget No 3/2020 which the Council adopted on 6 May 2020 and forwarded to Parliament on the following day (07764/2020 – C9‑0131/2020),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2020 on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences(6),

–  having regard to Rules 94 and 96 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A9-0104/2020),

A.  whereas Draft amending budget No 3/2020 aims to enter in the 2020 budget the surplus from the 2019 financial year, amounting to EUR 3 218,4 million;

B.  whereas the main components of that surplus are a positive outturn on revenue of EUR 2 414,8 million and an under-spending in expenditure of EUR 803,6 million;

C.  whereas on the revenue side, the largest difference stems from default interest and fines (EUR 2510,5 million), the outturn being composed of competition fines and default interest, other penalty payments and interest linked to fines and penalty payments;

D.  whereas on the expenditure side, under-implementation in payments by the Commission reaches EUR 592,3 million for 2019 (of which EUR 351,5 million from the Emergency Aid Reserve and EUR 94,5 million in reserve under heading 3, ‘Security and Citizenship’) and EUR 86,3 million for 2018 carryovers, and under-implementation by the other institutions EUR 82,4 million for 2019 and EUR 39 million for 2017 carryovers;

1.  Takes note of Draft amending budget No 3/2020 as submitted by the Commission, which is devoted solely to the budgeting of the 2019 surplus, for an amount of EUR 3 218,4 million, in accordance with Article 18 of the Financial Regulation, and of the Council´s position thereon;

2.  Reiterates its position that all available means and unused money in the Union budget, including the surplus, be used to swiftly deploy financial assistance to the regions and businesses most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; calls, in that context, on Member States to devote the expected reductions in their GNI-based contributions stemming from the 2019 surplus entirely to the budgeting of COVID-19-related actions, preferably at Union level to ensure an optimal allocation of the funds;

3.  Notes that, according to the Commission, the competition fines in 2019 accounted for EUR 2 510,5 million; considers again that it should be possible for the Union budget to reuse any revenue resulting from fines or linked to late payments without a corresponding decrease in GNI contributions; recalls its position in favour of increasing the proposed Union reserve (Global Margin for Commitments) in the next Multiannual Financial Framework by an amount equivalent to the revenue resulting from fines and penalties;

4.  Approves the Council position on Draft amending budget No 3/2020;

5.  Instructs its President to declare that Amending budget No 3/2020 has been definitively adopted and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

6.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the national parliaments.

(1) OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 57, 27.2.2020.
(3) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(4) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 168, 7.6.2014, p. 105.
(6) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0054.


Draft amending budget No 4/2020: proposal to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria
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European Parliament resolution of 18 June 2020 on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 4/2020 of the European Union for the financial year 2020 accompanying the proposal to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria (08097/2020 – C9-0146/2020 – 2020/2069(BUD))
P9_TA(2020)0144A9-0106/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 314 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Article 106a of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union, amending Regulations (EU) No 1296/2013, (EU) No 1301/2013, (EU) No 1303/2013, (EU) No 1304/2013, (EU) No 1309/2013, (EU) No 1316/2013, (EU) No 223/2014, (EU) No 283/2014, and Decision No 541/2014/EU and repealing Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 966/2012(1), and in particular Article 44 thereof,

–  having regard to the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020, as definitively adopted on 27 November 2019(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 of 2 December 2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020(3) (the ‘MFF Regulation’),

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management(4),

–  having regard to Council Decision 2014/335/EU, Euratom of 26 May 2014 on the system of own resources of the European Union(5),

–  having regard to Draft amending budget No 4/2020, which the Commission adopted on 30 April 2020 (COM(2020)0190),

–  having regard to the position on Draft amending budget No 4/2020 which the Council adopted on 25 May 2020 and forwarded to Parliament on the same day (08097/2020 – C9‑0146/2020),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to the European Parliament and the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria (COM(2020)0200),

–  having regard to Rules 94 and 96 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A9-0106/2020),

A.  whereas Draft amending budget No 4/2020 covers the proposed mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Portugal, Spain, Italy and Austria following natural disasters that took place in those Member States in the course of 2019;

B.  whereas the Commission consequently proposes to amend the 2020 budget and to increase budget line 13 06 01 ‘Assistance to Member States in the event of a major natural disaster with serious repercussions on living conditions, the natural environment or the economy’ by EUR 272 498 208, both in commitment and payment appropriations;

C.  whereas the European Union Solidarity Fund is a special instrument as defined in the MFF Regulation, and the corresponding commitment and payments appropriations are to be budgeted over and above the multiannual financial framework ceilings;

1.  Approves the Council position on Draft amending budget No 4/2020;

2.  Instructs its President to declare that Amending budget No 4/2020 has been definitively adopted and arrange for its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union;

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

(1) OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 57, 27.2.2020.
(3) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 884.
(4) OJ C 373, 20.12.2013, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 168, 7.6.2014, p. 105.


Conclusion of the EU - Moldova Common Aviation Area Agreement ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Common Aviation Area Agreement between the European Union and its Member States and the Republic of Moldova (14205/2019 – C9-0192/2019 – 2012/0006(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0145A9-0084/2020

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (14205/2019),

–  having regard to the draft Common Aviation Area Agreement between the European Union and its Member States and the Republic of Moldova (08185/2012),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 100(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218 (7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9-0192/2019),

–  having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4) and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A9-0084/2020),

1.  Gives its consent to the conclusion of the agreement;

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


Amendment of the EU-Moldova Common Aviation Area Agreement (accession of Croatia) ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union and its Member States, of a Protocol amending the Common Aviation Area Agreement between the European Union and its Member States and the Republic of Moldova, to take account of the accession to the European Union of the Republic of Croatia (07048/2015 – C9-0195/2019 – 2015/0035(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0146A9-0083/2020

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (07048/2015),

–  having regard to the draft Protocol amending the Common Aviation Area Agreement between the European Union and its Member States and the Republic of Moldova, to take account of the accession to the European Union of the Republic of Croatia (07047/2015),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 100(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9-0195/2019),

–  having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4) and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A9-0083/2020)

1.  Gives its consent to the 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 Republic of Moldova.


Amendment of the EU-Morocco Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement (accession of Bulgaria and Romania) ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol amending the Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part, to take account of the accession to the European Union of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania (06198/2013 – C9-0006/2019 – 2007/0181(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0147A9-0005/2020

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (06198/2013),

–  having regard to the draft Protocol amending the Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part, to take account of the accession to the European Union of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania(1),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 100(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), and Article 218(8) first subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9‑0006/2019),

–  having regard to its position of 12 December 2007 on the proposal for a Council decision on the conclusion of a Protocol amending the Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part, to take account of the accession to the European Union of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania(2)

–  having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4) and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A9-0005/2020),

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 Kingdom of Morocco.

(1)OJ L 200, 27.7.2012, p. 25.
(2)OJ C 323 E, 18.12.2008, p. 259.


Conclusion of the EU-Jordan Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, of the other part (14209/2019 – C9-0193/2019 – 2010/0180(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0148A9-0086/2020

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (14209/2019),

–  having regard to the draft Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, of the other part (14366/2010);

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 100(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9‑0193/2019),

–  having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4), and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A9-0086/2020),

1.  Gives its consent to the conclusion of the agreement;

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


Conclusion of the EU-China Civil Aviation Safety Agreement ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement on civil aviation safety between the European Union and the Government of the People's Republic of China (14185/2019 – C9-0191/2019 – 2018/0155(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0149A9-0087/2020

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (14185/2019),

–  having regard to the draft Agreement on Civil Aviation Safety between the European Union and the Government of the People's Republic of China (09702/2018),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 100(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(7) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9‑0191/2019),

–  having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4) and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A9-0087/2020),

1.  Gives its consent to conclusion of the agreement;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the People’s Republic of China.


Conclusion of the EU-Georgia Common Aviation Area Agreement ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Common Aviation Area Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part (09556/2019 – C9-0013/2019 – 2010/0186(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0150A9-0082/2020

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (09556/2019),

–  having regard to the draft Common Aviation Area Agreement between the European Union and its Member States and Georgia (14370/2010),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 100(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(7), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9‑0013/2019),

–  having regard to Rules 105(1) and (4) and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A9-0082/2020),

1.  Gives its consent to the conclusion of the Agreement;

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


Conclusion of the EU-Israel Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement ***
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European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion, on behalf of the Union, of the Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the government of the State of Israel, of the other part (14207/2019 – C9-0196/2019 – 2012/0324(NLE))
P9_TA(2020)0151A9-0085/2020

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (14207/2019),

–  having regard to the draft Euro-Mediterranean Aviation Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the government of the State of Israel, of the other part (16828/2012),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 100(2) and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a)(v), and Article 218(7), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9‑0196/2019),

–  having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4), and Rule 114(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A9-0085/2020),

1.  Gives its consent to the conclusion of the agreement;

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


Recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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European Parliament recommendation of 18 June 2020 on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2020/2023(INI))
P9_TA(2020)0152A9-0117/2020

The European Parliament,

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

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

–  having regard to Council Decision (EU, Euratom) 2020/266 of 25 February 2020 authorising the opening of negotiations with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for a new partnership agreement(1) and the directives set out in the addendum thereto for the negotiation of a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which have been made public,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 5 April 2017 on negotiations with the United Kingdom following its notification that it intends to withdraw from the European Union(2), of 3 October 2017 on the state of play of negotiations with the United Kingdom(3), of 13 December 2017 on the state of play of negotiations with the United Kingdom(4), of 14 March 2018 on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship(5), of 18 September 2019 on the state of play of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union(6), of 15 January 2020 on implementing and monitoring the provisions on citizens’ rights in the Withdrawal Agreement(7), and of 12 February 2020 on the proposed mandate for negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland(8),

–  having regard to the draft text of the Agreement on the New Partnership with the United Kingdom of 18 March 2020(9);

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 29 January 2020 on the draft Council decision on the conclusion of the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community(10),

–  having regard to the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community(11) (‘the Withdrawal Agreement’) and to the accompanying political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom(12) (‘the Political Declaration’),

–  having regard to the opinions from the Committee on Budgets, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the Committee on Transport and Tourism, the Committee on Regional Development, the Committee on Fisheries, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Committee on Petitions,

–  having regard to the letters from the Committee on Development, the Committee on Budgetary Control, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, the Committee on Culture and Education and the Committee on Legal Affairs,

–  having regard to Rules 114(4) and 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the joint deliberations of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade under Rule 58 of the Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on International Trade (A9-0117/2020),

A.  whereas the Political Declaration is the yardstick for the negotiations and establishes the parameters of an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership across trade and economic cooperation with a comprehensive and balanced Free Trade Agreement at its core, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign policy, security and defence and wider areas of cooperation; whereas the European Union (EU) mandate, adopted by the Council on 25 February 2020 on that basis, constitutes the negotiating framework that envisages a strong and comprehensive partnership between the EU and the UK, forming a coherent structure and an overall governance framework; whereas the EU will not accept the UK's piecemeal approach, which seeks to negotiate a series of separate, self-standing agreements;

B.  whereas the EU mandate is based on the European Council guidelines of 23 March 2018 and the Political Declaration;

C.  whereas the negotiations on the future partnership with the United Kingdom (UK) can only be premised on the effective and full implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and its three protocols;

D.  whereas the EU should maintain its efforts and determination to negotiate an ambitious agreement as clearly provided for in the Political Declaration, to which both parties, including the UK Prime Minister, signed up on 17 October 2019, and the EU mandate; whereas the UK ceased to be a Member State of the EU on 31 January 2020;

E.  whereas the current time pressure in the negotiations is merely the result of the UK's choices;

F.  whereas the future agreement should be embedded in an overall governance framework and whereas the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) should be the sole body responsible for interpreting EU law;

G.  whereas during the transition period, EU law across all policy areas, is still applicable to, and in, the UK, with the exception of provisions of the Treaties and acts that were not binding upon, and in, the UK before the Withdrawal Agreement entered into force; whereas on the 14th of May 2020, the European Commission opened infringement proceedings against the UK for failure to comply with EU rules on free movement;

H.  whereas the withdrawal of the UK from the EU affects millions of citizens, UK citizens living, travelling or working in the EU, EU citizens living, travelling or working in the UK; and people other than EU and UK citizens;

I.  whereas, as a third country, the UK cannot have the same rights and enjoy the same benefits and cannot be subject to the same obligations as a Member State and the situation in both the EU and the UK will therefore change significantly at the end of the transition period; whereas the EU and the UK share fundamental principles and values; whereas the UK's geographical proximity, level of interconnectedness and high level of existing alignment and interdependence with EU rules should be taken into account in the future partnership agreement; and whereas, as the EU has made clear from the start, the more privileges and rights the UK seeks, the more obligations will come attached;

J.  whereas the EU and the UK agreed in the Political Declaration to convene at a high level in June 2020 to take stock of progress with the aim of agreeing action to move forward with negotiations on their future relationship; whereas, at the end of the High Level Meeting of 15 June 2020, both Parties issued a joint statement noting, inter alia, that new momentum was required;

K.  whereas unity of the EU and its Member States throughout the negotiations is essential in order to defend the interests of the EU, including those of its citizens in the best possible way; whereas the EU and its Member States have remained united throughout the negotiation and adoption of the Withdrawal Agreement and ever since; whereas this unity is reflected in the adoption of the negotiating mandate entrusted to the EU negotiator and Head of the EU Task Force Michel Barnier, who enjoys the strong support of the EU and its Member States;

L.  whereas the EU and UK agreed in the Political Declaration that the future relationship should be underpinned by shared values such as the respect for and safeguarding of human rights and fundamental freedoms, democratic principles, the rule of law, an international rules-based order including the UN Charter and support for non-proliferation, principles of disarmament, peace and security as well as sustainable development and protection of the environment and that those values are an essential prerequisite for cooperation within the framework of the Political Declaration, which should be expressed in terms of binding political clauses as well as being matters of mutual trust; whereas while the EU will remain bound by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the agreement on the future relationship must be conditional on the UK’s continued commitment to respect the framework of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR);

M.  whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has created a totally unexpected and unprecedented new situation, which has significant consequences on the rhythm and efficiency of the negotiations between the EU and the UK; whereas, if an agreement cannot be reached, both sides would have to be prepared for very dramatic changes to their economies, which will be aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its expected economic consequences; whereas facing a global pandemic and its foreseeable geopolitical, economic and social consequences reinforces the necessity to improve cooperation mechanisms between partners and allies;

General principles

1.  Regrets that, following four rounds of negotiations, no real progress has been achieved, with the exception of very small openings in a limited number of areas; notes the substantial divergences between the EU and the UK, including on the scope and the legal architecture of the text to be negotiated; expresses deep concern at the limited scope of the future partnership envisaged by the UK Government and its piecemeal approach to negotiations only on areas that are in the interest of the UK: reiterates that such a “cherry-picking” approach is unacceptable for the EU; points out that the UK’s proposals fall short of its commitments under the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration, to which the UK agreed, including its refusal to negotiate an agreement on security and defence matters;

2.  Reiterates that the EU stands firm in its position that tangible progress must be achieved in all areas of negotiations in parallel, including on the level playing field, fisheries, internal security and governance, as outlined in the Political Declaration; emphasises that all negotiations are indivisible and the EU will not agree to a deal at any cost, in particular not to a free trade agreement (FTA) without having robust level playing field guarantees and a satisfactory agreement on fisheries; thus fully supports the Commission in defending the need for a comprehensive draft treaty as proposed by the EU at the outset, instead of agreeing to separate agreements as proposed by the UK;

3.  Insists that any agreement on a new relationship between the EU and the UK must be coherent and adapted to the geographical proximity of both parties and to the high level of interconnectedness of both parties’ economies;

4.  Welcomes the publication, even if belatedly, of the UK’s draft legal proposals; notes that, contrary to the UK's claims of using existing precedents, many of those proposals go significantly beyond what has been negotiated by the EU in other FTAs with third countries in recent years; recalls that any final agreement must be based on a balance of rights and obligations;

5.  Welcomes the fact that there is a high level of convergence between the negotiating objectives expressed in Parliament’s resolution of 12 February 2020 and in Council Decision (EU, Euratom) 2020/266 of 25 February 2020 authorising the opening of negotiations with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for a new partnership agreement(13) (‘the negotiating directives’); emphasises that the Commission has Parliament’s full support in negotiating with the UK in accordance with the negotiating directives, as all three institutions broadly share the same objectives in terms of what those negotiations should achieve;

6.  Welcomes the EU’s draft text of the Agreement on the New Partnership with the United Kingdom, published on 18 March 2020, which proposes a comprehensive agreement for a deep and close partnership, covering not only free trade in goods and services but also ways to prevent distortions and unfair competitive advantages, including those related to the agricultural sector, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and state aid, and to establish a favourable climate for the development of trade and investment;

7.  Calls on the Commission to continue conducting negotiations transparently as this benefits the negotiation process and is also beneficial for citizens and businesses as it allows them to better prepare for the post-transition phase; urges the Commission to ensure, in that respect, public consultation and constant dialogue with social partners and civil society, as well as with national parliaments; welcomes the Commission’s practice of providing regular and timely information to the Parliament on the negotiations, and expects that practice to continue, in line with the information that is shared with the Member States;

8.  recalls that any future association agreement concluded between the EU and the UK pursuant to Article 217 of the TFEU (‘the Agreement’) must be in strict concordance with the following principles:

   (i) a third country must not have the same rights and benefits and does not comply with the same obligations as a Member State of the EU, or a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or European Economic Area (EEA);
   (ii) protection of the full integrity and proper functioning of the internal market and customs union, the indivisibility of the four freedoms; in particular, the degree of cooperation in the economic pillar must be in accordance with commitments made to facilitate the mobility of people, such as visa-free travel, the mobility of researchers, students, temporary service providers and business travellers, and cooperation in the field of social security;
   (iii) the preservation of the autonomy of the EU’s decision-making;
   (iv) the safeguarding of the EU legal order and the role of the CJEU as the ultimate body responsible for interpreting EU law in that respect;
   (v) continued adherence to democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as defined in particular in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ECHR and its protocols, the European Social Charter, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and other international human rights treaties of the UN and the Council of Europe, and respect for the principle of the rule of law recalls in particular that the future relationship should be made conditional on the UK's continued commitment to respect the framework of the ECHR;
   (vi) a level playing field, including for business, ensuring high equivalent standards in social, labour, environmental and consumer protection, the fight against climate change as well as taxation, competition and State aid policies, including through a robust and comprehensive framework on competition and State aid control. That level playing field must be guaranteed through effective dispute settlement and enforcement mechanisms including on the trade and sustainable development chapter; recalls in particular that any future agreement should be made fully conditional on respect for the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the ‘Paris Agreement’);
   (vii) the precautionary principle, the principle that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source, and the polluter pays principle;
   (viii) the safeguarding of EU agreements with third countries and international organisations, including the EEA Agreement, and maintaining the overall balance of those relationships;
   (ix) the safeguarding of the financial stability of the EU and compliance with its regulatory and supervisory regime and standards and their application;
   (x) the right balance between rights and obligations, including, where appropriate, commensurate financial contributions;
   (xi) the guarantee of an outcome that is proper and fair for all Member States and in the best interests of our citizens;

9.  Underlines that the EU Chief Negotiator has the Parliament's full and unwavering support for insisting that level playing field guarantees are a crucial element of any agreement with the UK, as this is not dogmatism or ideology from the EU's side but a prerequisite to establishing an ambitious and balanced partnership with the UK and preserving the competitiveness of the internal market and EU companies, as well as maintaining and developing in the future high levels of social, environmental and consumer protection;

10.  Respects fully in this regard the sovereignty of the UK, which the EU has no intention of undermining in the current negotiations; recalls, however, that the UK will never be equal to other third countries due to its status as a former EU Member State, current complete regulatory alignment, and the significant volume of trade between both parties, as well as its geographic proximity to the EU, which all explain the necessity for strong and robust level playing field provisions in the agreement;

11.  Underlines that the EU should keep up its efforts and engagement to negotiate an agreement, as it has always indicated in the Political Declaration and in the negotiating directives, on the following parts: trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, foreign policy, security and defence, and thematic areas of cooperation such as cooperation on sustainable development; calls for a pragmatic and reasonable approach on both sides;

12.  Emphasises the importance of being fully prepared for the UK’s withdrawal from the internal market and the customs union at the end of the transition period , regardless of the outcome of the negotiations; stresses that the consequences will be even more significant should no agreement be reached, ; points out, however, that the EU is ready for either scenario;

13.  Welcomes, in that regard, the Commission’s sector-specific ‘readiness notices’, which seek to ensure that EU industry is ready for the inevitable shock that the UK’s withdrawal from the internal market will cause; calls on the Commission and Member States to enhance their efforts in order to fully inform EU citizens and businesses of the risks that the transition period might end before an agreement is reached, in order to allow for adequate preparedness;

14.  Underlines the importance of stepping up and properly financing preparedness and contingency measures well ahead of the end of the transition period, especially in the event of a stalemate in negotiations; stresses that such contingency measures should be temporary and unilateral;

15.  Reiterates its support for the negotiating directives, which provide that Gibraltar will not be included in the territorial scope of the agreements to be concluded between the EU and the UK, and that any separate agreement will require the prior agreement of the Kingdom of Spain;

16.  Emphasises the importance of implementing the provisions of the Protocol on Gibraltar regarding frontier workers, taxation, the environment and fisheries; calls on the Spanish and the UK Government to ensure that the necessary cooperation is put in place to deal with those issues;

17.  Recalls that Article 132 of the Withdrawal Agreement provides the possibility for the Joint Committee to adopt by 30 June 2020 a decision extending the transition period beyond 31 December 2020; acknowledges the UK’s decision, following the Joint Committee meeting of 12 June 2020, not to consider an extension of the transition period; underlines that the EU remains open to such an extension;

Implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement

18.  Recalls that the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement is the instrument for implementing the arrangements for an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU that it is not subject to any renegotiation and that the sole purpose of the EU-UK Joint Committee is to oversee its implementation ; underlines that the effective implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement is a precondition of, and basic element for ensuring, the trust needed for the successful conclusion of an agreement with the UK and is a litmus test for the good faith that the UK has committed to bring to the negotiating process;

19.  Insists on seeing tangible progress as early as possible and having solid guarantees that the UK will implement the Withdrawal Agreement effectively and in its entirety before the end of the transition period, stresses that monitoring its implementation is an integral part of the work of the Parliament and reiterates that, in accordance with Article 218(10) TFEU, Parliament is to be immediately and fully informed of all the discussions held and decisions taken by the Joint Committee, and will remain vigilant and fully exercise its prerogatives; recalls, in that context, the commitment made by the President of the European Commission to Parliament’s plenary on 16 April 2019 as well as the obligations stemming from Council Decision (EU) 2020/135 of 30 January 2020; calls on the co-chairs of the Joint Committee to actively involve citizens and civil society organisations in their deliberations;

20.  Recalls that the Withdrawal Agreement provides for reciprocal protection for EU and UK citizens, including their family members, who should be provided with all the necessary information with regard to their rights and to the procedures to be followed to continue living, working and traveling within or to their country of residence; recalls that citizens affected by the UK’s withdrawal rely on timely and reliable information regarding their rights and status and urges both the Member States and the UK to prioritise that matter; urges the Member States to fully respect and protect the rights of UK citizens living in the EU under the Withdrawal Agreement and to give them all the information they need and legal certainty about their situation and rights, including whether they are implementing a constitutive or a declaratory residence scheme;

21.  Reiterates that citizens' rights will remain an absolute priority and is determined to ensure that citizens’ rights are guaranteed under the Withdrawal Agreement for both EU and UK citizens and their families; urges the EU and the UK to strive towards a high level of mobility rights in the future agreement; regrets the fact that the UK has so far shown little ambition with regard to citizens’ mobility, which the UK and its citizens have benefitted from in the past;

22.  Expresses concern at reports that EU citizens under pre-settled status were denied social benefits in the UK due to bureaucratic obstacles; underlines that such situations constitute undue discrimination and have significant consequences, especially at a time of severe economic and social uncertainty;

23.  Stresses that EU citizens in the UK are experiencing significant problems in obtaining settled status, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; considers the number of cases granted pre-settled status to be disproportionately high in comparison with the number of cases granted settled status; urges the UK Home Office to be flexible in accepting evidence provided by applicants that they have been in the country for the five years required; is also concerned that applicants are not issued with any physical proof of the status they have been granted;

24.  Calls on the parties to ensure the strict implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, as this is a precondition for the successful conclusion of the future agreement; recalls that that Protocol was designed and adopted in order to respect the peace process and uphold the Good Friday Agreement, ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland while protecting the integrity of the internal market, and is crucial for businesses, in particular the agri-food sector, protection of citizens, the environment and biodiversity; underlines the importance of free movement of EU citizens and free movement of services on the island of Ireland in order to limit damage to the all-island economy and that a future agreement should cover this issue; urges the UK authorities to ensure that there is no diminution of rights for citizens in Northern Ireland;

25.  Expresses concern at the UK Government’s public statements showing a lack of political will to comply fully with its legal commitments under the Withdrawal Agreement, namely regarding checks on goods in the Irish Sea;

26.  Recalls that important decisions are due to be taken by the EU-UK Joint Committee on the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland before the end of the transition period;

27.  Hopes that an agreement can be found between the EU and the UK on all institutional arrangements, such as the creation of a technical office of the European Commission in Belfast despite the repeated refusal expressed by the UK authorities to authorise the opening of such an office; stresses that the UK needs to present a detailed timetable and proceed with the necessary measures, such as preparing for implementing the Union customs code and the introduction of customs procedures for goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain, and ensuring that all necessary SPS controls as well as other regulatory checks can be carried out in respect of goods entering Northern Ireland from outside the EU, which is also necessary to create clarity for businesses;

28.  Underlines the importance of clear legal rules, transparent implementation and effective control mechanisms to avoid systemic risks for VAT and customs fraud, trafficking (smuggling) or other fraudulent misuse of a potentially unclear legal framework, including from the increased risk of wrongful declarations of origin and products not intended for the internal market; calls on the Commission to carry out regular and efficient checks and controls and regularly report back to Parliament regarding the border control situation;

29.  Notes that the term goods ‘at risk of subsequently being moved into the Union’ used in Article 5 of that Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland depends on subsequent decisions of the Joint Committee and insists that such decisions are taken under European Parliament scrutiny; requests to be kept fully informed on the application of that Article and any proposals for decisions of the Joint Committee with regard to the application of that Article, such as the establishment of the specific criteria for a good to be considered 'at risk', or on the amendment of any of its previous decisions;

30.  Recalls that the end of the transition period, the UK is obliged to contribute, inter alia, to the financing of the European Defence Agency, the European Union Institute for Security Studies, and the European Union Satellite Centre, and to the costs of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations, in which it participates;

31.  Underlines the fact that the UK must implement all pre-existing EU restrictive measures and sanctions and any decided during the transition period, must support EU statements and positions in third countries and international organisations, and participate on a case-by-case basis in EU military operations and civilian missions established under the CSDP, yet without any leading capacity within a new Framework Participation Agreement, while respecting the EU’s decision-making autonomy and the relevant EU decisions and legislation, including on procurement and transfers in the field of defence; asserts that such cooperation is conditional on full compliance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law and EU fundamental rights;

Economic partnership

Trade

32.  Takes note that the UK has chosen to establish its future economic and trade partnership with the EU on the basis of a ‘Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement’ as laid down in the document published by the UK Government on 27 February 2020 entitled ‘The Future Relationship with the EU – the UK’s Approach to Negotiations; emphasises that, while Parliament is supportive of the EU constructively negotiating a balanced, ambitious and comprehensive FTA with the UK, by its nature an FTA will never be equivalent to ‘frictionless’ trade; shares the position set out in the negotiating directives, jointly adopted by the 27 Member States, that the scope and ambition of an FTA that the EU would agree to is conditional on and must have a direct link with the UK agreeing to comprehensive, binding and enforceable provisions related to the level playing field, given the size, the geographical proximity, the economic interdependence and connectedness, the integration of markets, as well as on the conclusion of a bilateral agreement on fisheries, as an integral part of the partnership; reaffirms that no trade agreement can be concluded between the EU and the UK if it does not include a complete, sustainable, balanced and long-term fisheries agreement, upholding the continuation under optimal conditions of existing access to waters, resources and markets in accordance with common fisheries policy (CFP) principles and adopted before the end of the transition period;

33.  Notes that, contrary to the UK’s claim of relying on existing precedents, many proposals in the UK draft legal proposals go significantly beyond what has been negotiated by the EU in other FTAs with third countries in recent years, for example in the area of financial services, mutual recognition of professional qualifications and conformity assessment, equivalence of the SPS regime, or the cumulation of rules of origin; supports the system of a bilateral cumulation system, the most appropriate, since it involves supporting integration between the EU and the UK, and not with the third countries with which the EU has concluded FTAs, and an ad hoc mechanism against "swap" risks(14) should be provided for;

34.  Deeply regrets, in that regard, that the UK has so far refused to engage, notwithstanding its commitment taken in the Political Declaration, for instance on public procurement, maritime transport and the protection of future geographical indications (GIs), especially as the UK did include some of those topics in its negotiation mandates with the US and Japan; furthermore regrets that the UK has so far not submitted a proposal on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);

35.  Recalls that the continued shared commitment to a zero quotas, zero tariffs objective for the trade relationship remains an essential condition for the timely conclusion of an agreement within the extremely tight timeline that the UK itself has imposed on these negotiations, especially as previous experience has clearly demonstrated that a tariff-line by tariff-line negotiation could take several years; expresses concern at the intention of the UK Government to move away from that objective; highlights that agricultural goods would probably be most affected, given remaining non-zero tariff lines in FTAs usually affect this sector; reiterates in that regard that, irrespective of whether 100 % or less tariff-lines are scrapped, this will not alter the EU’s demand for robust level playing field conditions; reiterates that the level playing field provisions must maintain environmental, social and employment standards at high equivalent levels over time, relying on appropriate and relevant EU and international standards, and including appropriate mechanisms to ensure effective implementation domestically, as well as include a robust and comprehensive framework for competition and state aid control that prevents undue distortion of trade and competition instead of referring to subsidies only, as the UK regrettably does;

36.  Encourages in this regard the Commission to seize the momentum caused by these negotiations to enhance competitiveness for European companies and SMEs; stresses that the Agreement should aim to allow for market access and trade facilitation as close as possible in order to minimize trade disruptions; encourages the Parties to set up SME contact points and calls overal for a stable, transparent and predictable legal framework not imposing a disproportionate burden on SMEs;

37.  Stresses that for an FTA to truly promote the EU’s interests, the negotiations should aim to achieve the following objectives as laid down in Parliament’s resolution of 12 February 2020, in particular paragraph 14 thereof, the provisions of which continue to be fully valid; in addition emphasises that the following should be covered:

   (i) mutually beneficial market access for goods, services, public procurement, recognition of professional qualifications as well as on product rules; underlines moreover the need for stable, reliable and sustainable value chains;
   (ii) the Commission should evaluate the need for safeguard clauses to protect the integrity and stability of the EU internal market such as from unexpected import surges, fraud and circumvention of trade defence measures;
   (iii) commitments on anti-dumping and countervailing measures should go beyond World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules in that area, as appropriate, and commitments and enforcement possibilities on competition and state aid;
   (iv) rules on development and facilitation of digital tradeshould address unjustified barriers to trade by electronic means, including data localisation requirements, should preserve EU’s regulatory autonomy, and ensure an open, secure and trustworthy online environment for businesses and consumers, provided that the UK online retailers comply with the relevant internal market rules and provided that the UK provides a level of protection essentially equivalent to that offered by EU legal framework, including on onward transfers to third countries;
   (v) any SPS measures should be based on risk assessments, with full respect for the precautionary principle;
   (vi) GI protection enshrined in the Withdrawal Agreement are not negotiable; the future agreement should also protect and uphold GIs registered after the end of the transition period;
   (vii) include robust prudential carve-outs in order to legally guarantee both parties’ rights to regulate in the public interest;
   (viii) recalls that the consequences of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on gender equality should be taken into account, including by ensuring a level playing field for EU actions protecting and advancing the role of women in economy, for instance in terms of measures combatting the gender pay gap;
   (ix) partnership achieving long-term climate goals;
   (x) calls on the Commission and the Member States to take all necessary preparations and precautions for the case of an expiration of the Withdrawal Agreement without an agreement on the future relations, and in particular the trade and economic relations, entering into force on the 1st of January 2021,including contingency measures to reduce as much as possible the harm for workers and enterprises effected;
   (xi) calls on the Commission to propose measures to reduce the impact on third country trading partners of the Union, in particular developing countries, in case no agreement can be found with Britain, as British imports may have constituted a sizeable share of their exports to the European Union;

Level playing field

38.  Regrets the UK’s negotiating position with the EU of hitherto not engaging in detailed negotiations on the level playing field; points out that this position does not reflect paragraph 77 of the Political Declaration signed by the EU and the UK; urges the UK Government, therefore, to urgently revise its negotiating position and engage constructively in the negotiations on the level playing field since is a necessary condition for Parliament to give its consent to a trade agreement with the UK;

39.  Reiterates that given the UK’s geographic proximity and economic interdependence with the EU, the breadth and depth of the agreement on a level playing field will be essential in determining the extent of the overall future EU-UK relationship; considers, therefore, that a level playing field that is appropriate to the level of ambition and liberalisation of the Agreement for regulatory convergence in line with the Political Declaration must be provided for and EU standards safeguarded as a condition in order to avoid a ‘race to the bottom’ as well as measures having an unjustified and disproportionate damaging effect on trade flows, with a view to dynamic alignment; including for state aid; stresses the need to ensure that the UK does not gain an unfair competitive advantage through the undercutting of levels of protection and to prevent regulatory arbitrage by market operators;

40.  Recalls its determination to prevent any kind of ‘dumping’ in the framework of the future EU-UK relationship; points out that a key outcome of the negotiations is to guarantee a level playing field in order to preserve competitiveness, high social and sustainability standards, including the fight against climate change and citizens’ and workers’ rights in the future through robust commitments, enforceable provisions and non-regression clauses with a view to dynamic alignment on:

   (i) competition and state aid, and any other general or sectoral regulatory measures which should prevent undue distortion of trade and competition and include provisions on state-owned enterprises, including provisions on measures to support agricultural production;
   (ii) relevant tax matters, including the fight against tax evasion and avoidance and money laundering, terrorism financing as well as financial services;
   (iii) full respect for the social and labour standards of the EU’s social model (including equivalent levels of protection and safeguards against social dumping), at least at the current high levels provided by the existing common standards;
   (iv) environmental protection and climate change related standards, a commitment to effectively continue implementing the Paris Agreement, the promotion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
   (v) a high-level of protection for consumers, including product sanitary quality in food sector;
   (vi) sustainable development;

41.  Points out that those provisions should ensure that standards are not lowered, while empowering the EU and the UK to modify commitments over time in order to lay down higher standards or include additional areas in full compliance with the proportionality and necessity principles; stresses, moreover, that commitments and provisions should be enforceable by autonomous interim measures, a solid dispute settlement mechanism covering all areas and remedies, including judicial oversight to provide the EU with the ability to adopt sanctions as a last resort, including in relation to sustainable development with a view to dynamic alignment; underlines that a level playing field requires a horizontal mechanism, such as an overall governance framework covering all areas of cooperation;

42.  Emphasises in particular the non-regression clauses in the following areas: (i) fundamental rights at work; (ii) occupational health and safety standards; (iii) fair working conditions and employment standards; (iv) information and consultation rights at company level; and (v) restructuring;

43.  Considers the fight against climate change, halting and reversing biodiversity loss, promoting sustainable development, the environment, and major health issues should constitute essential elements of the envisaged partnership; notes that the Commission committed itself in its communication on the European Green Deal to making respect for the Paris Agreement an essential element of all future comprehensive trade agreements;

44.  Stresses that a ‘ratchet clause’ for future levels of protection is not sufficient, as it does not provide for a level playing field or incentives to raise ambition levels, and considers that should either EU or the UK increase its level of climate or environmental protection, the other party should ensure that its standards and targets offer at least an equivalent level of climate or environmental protection;

45.  Strongly believes that the UK should adhere to the evolving standards on taxation and anti-money laundering legislation and terrorism financing within the EU acquis, as well as worldwide, including tax transparency, the exchange of information on tax matters and anti-tax avoidance measures, in order to ensure a fruitful and trust-based mutual cooperation and should address the respective situations of its Overseas Territories, its Sovereign Base Areas and its Crown Dependencies and their compliance with EU good governance criteria and transparency requirements, particularly on the exchange of tax information, tax transparency, fair taxation, anti-tax avoidance measures and on OECD standards against Base Erosion and Profit Shifting; calls, furthermore, on the EU and the UK to uphold Financial Action Task Force standards; recalls, with regard to Gibraltar, the negotiating directives and the provisions set out in the draft legal text of the EU;

46.  Reiterates the need to maintain high standards, clear traceability, high-quality inspection services and a level playing field in the areas of medicinal products, medical devices, food safety and labelling, animal and plant health, animal welfare and veterinary, SPS, and environmental policy and standards;

47.  Calls on the Commission to guarantee that existing and future principles and tools in the framework of the social, environmental and climate policies of the EU (e.g. anti-dumping measures, European industrial policy, mandatory due-diligence legislation, EU taxonomy for sustainable investment, do-no-significant-harm principle, carbon border adjustment mechanism, sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector) cannot be legally disputed in the framework of the EU-UK FTA and in future trade agreements;

Specific sectoral issues and thematic cooperation

Internal market

48.  Stresses that access to the EU internal market requires, as a precondition, full compliance with EU legislation relating to the internal market;

49.  Underlines that dynamic regulatory alignment and provisions ensuring robust market surveillance that help enforce the rules on products, including those on product safety and traceability, and ensure legal certainty for EU businesses coupled with a high level of protection for EU consumers, should be an essential and irreplaceable part of any future agreement aimed at ensuring a level playing field;

50.  Recalls that, in any event, a new agreement will lead to customs checks and verification before goods enter the internal market and insists that safeguarding the compliance of goods with internal market rules is of the utmost importance;

51.  Underlines the importance of maintaining close and structured cooperation on regulatory and supervisory matters, at both political and technical levels, while respecting the EU’s regulatory regime and decision-making autonomy;

52.  Highlights the importance of ensuring reciprocal arrangements for the recognition of qualifications and diplomas and encourages both parties and in particular professional bodies and authorities to develop and provide further joint recommendations on the recognition of professional qualifications, in particular in the context of the Partnership Council;

Financial services

53.  Is of the opinion that the future agreement should include specific provisions on cooperation between the European supervisory authorities and the UK financial supervisory authorities in order to foster regulatory alignment, share supervisory concerns and best practices, as well as to ensure a smooth level of cooperation and to maintain integrated capital markets;

54.  Recalls that passporting rights, which are based on mutual recognition and harmonised prudential rules and supervisory convergence in the internal market, will cease to apply between the EU and the UK at the end of the transitional period, as the UK will become a third country; underlines that, thereafter, access to the EU financial market must be based on the EU’s autonomous equivalence framework; recalls, however, the limited scope of equivalence decisions;

55.  Highlights that an assessment of the equivalence of UK’s financial regulations will be made by the Commission and that such equivalence can only be granted with full respect for the autonomy of its decision making, and if the UK regulatory and supervisory regime and standards are fully equivalent to those of the EU; calls for that assessment to be made as soon as possible to meet the commitment of the Political Declaration; recalls that the EU can withdraw unilaterally the status of equivalent at any time;

56.  Recalls that a substantial amount of euro-denominated derivatives are cleared in the UK, which could potentially have financial stability implications for the EU;

Customs

57.  Notes the intention of the UK not to seek the continuation of its current status as regards the internal market and the customs union; underlines the importance of preserving the integrity of the customs union and its procedures, which guarantee the safety and protection of consumers and the economic interests of the EU and of EU undertakings; stresses the need for greater investment in customs controls facilities at common transit points at common borders and, where relevant and appropriate, further coordination and exchange of information with each other as well as include the possibility of a permanent EU office in Northern Ireland dealing with customs compliance;

58.  Highlights that any future agreement should establish comprehensive customs cooperation mechanisms to facilitate cross-border trade as well as cooperation mechanisms between customs and market surveillance authorities; furthermore, calls on the EU and the UK, where relevant and appropriate, to work towards simplification of requirements and formalities for customs procedures for traders or operators, including for SMEs;

59.  Underlines that the EU and the UK should strive to maintain a high level of convergence of their customs legislation and practices with a view to ensuring effective customs controls and clearing, enforcement of customs legislation and protecting the financial interests of the parties with a capacity to recover undue taxes and duties, in addition to safeguard measures for systematic breaches of applicable customs legislation;

60.  Highlights that it would be highly desirable for the UK to maintain the current product classification based on the Integrated Tariff of the European Communities (TARIC) in order to keep procedures simplified and to reduce the regulatory burden;

Consumer policy

61.  Stresses that current EU consumer protection standards and citizens’ rights under the EU acquis must be preserved by both parties to any future agreement; believes that the Agreement should ensure added value to EU consumers by providing the best framework for the protection of the rights of consumers and for the enforcement of the obligations of traders;

62.  Considers it of outmost importance to guarantee the safety of the products imported from the UK in a way that they would correspond to the EU standards;

63.  Stresses the importance of regulatory and administrative cooperation accompanied, where relevant and appropriate, by a parliamentary oversight and non-regression commitments, in order to tackle non-tariff barriers and to pursue objectives of public interest, so as to protect the interests of EU consumers including to ensure a secure and trustworthy environment for consumers and businesses online, as well as to combat unfair commercial practices;

Fisheries

64.  Reiterates that no comprehensive agreement can be concluded between the EU and the UK if it does not include a complete, balanced and long-term agreement on fisheries and fisheries-related matters, upholding the continuation under optimal conditions of access to waters, resources and markets of the parties concerned, as well as existing fishing activities;

65.  Recalls that the greatest mutual benefit will be obtained by protecting shared ecosystems and sustainably managing their exploitation, by upholding existing reciprocal access to waters and fisheries resources with the aim of upholding existing fishing activities, as well as by defining common, coherent, clear and stable principles and rules enabling mutual open access of fishing and aquaculture products to markets without causing economic or social tensions through unbalanced competition; insists on the need for an overarching governance framework to ensure that any breaches of provisions concerning reciprocal access to waters and resources can be subject to sanctions, including the suspension of preferential tariffs for UK goods in the EU market;

66.  Stresses the need to include in the Agreement the distribution percentages that are currently applied for the stocks to be shared between both parties in Annex FISH-2 (Allocation of fishing opportunities), in accordance with the principle of relative stability in force;

67.  Calls on the parties to uphold existing quota shares and the stable and constant distribution of fishing rights; stresses the importance of long-term management of resources based on compliance with CFP principles, such as maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and technical measures, its regional management tools such as the Multiannual Plans for the North Sea and the Western Waters, and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which have so far all contributed to the improvement of the state of fish stocks to the benefit of the fleets of both EU Member States and the UK;

68.  Stresses that the Agreement must ensure that technical measures or marine protected areas are reciprocal, non-discriminatory and proportionate and do not constitute a de facto way of excluding EU vessels from UK waters; insists that the Agreement cannot lead to a “levelling down” of EU environmental and social standards;

69.  Urges the Commission to include provisions on preventing and combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities within EU and UK waters;

70.  Stresses the need for adequate cooperation and consultation mechanisms, a common scientific approach, and guarantees that the UK will continue to contribute to data collection and the scientific assessment of stocks as a basis for future decisions for joint fisheries management in all shared sea basins; urges the EU and the UK to continue their active and loyal cooperation in matters of fishing control and the fight against IUU fishing;

Citizens’ rights and the free movement of persons

71.  Notes with regret that the UK has decided that the principle of free movement of persons between the EU and the UK will no longer apply after the transition period; insists on the need for the future partnership to include ambitious provisions on the movement of persons, based on full reciprocity and non-discrimination among Member States; reiterates the fact that the UK’s access to the internal market must be commensurate with commitments made to facilitate the mobility of people; stresses that the border-crossing regime should not create a burdensome administrative or financial barrier;

72.  Stresses the need to pay particular attention to the needs of children from mixed families where only one of the parents is an EU citizen, and to provide appropriate legal mechanisms for resolving disputes between parents, for instance in the case of divorce;

73.  Considers that mobility agreements, including visa-free travel for short stays, should be based on non-discrimination between Member States of the EU and full reciprocity and should include the EU acquis on mobility, the rules on the posting of workers and on the coordination of social security systems;

74.  Considers that further codification of citizens’ rights through legally binding provisions must constitute an intrinsic part of the text of a future agreement between the EU and the UK; considers that this must include the situation of cross-border workers, whose freedom of movement should be guaranteed, based on non-discrimination and reciprocity; calls for consideration to be given to better regulation of the conditions of entry and residence for purposes of research, study, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects, au pairing and voluntary service in the European Solidarity Corps should be part of the future agreement and not be left to domestic regulation; recalls that the COVID-19 crisis has shown the dependence that vital sectors in the UK, such as public health or agriculture, have on EU workers, including the seasonal workforce;

Labour, mobility and social security coordination

75.  Regrets the fact that the UK Government has not yet fulfilled its commitment to enact a new Employment Bill and urges the UK to do so before the end of the transition period; refers in this regard especially to recently adopted EU legislative acts whose transposition deadlines are during the transition period; stresses the utmost importance of avoiding any gaps where workers’ rights are protected neither by existing EU law nor the UK Employment Bill;

76.  Recalls the importance of preserving the existing and future social security rights of affected persons in all dimensions; calls on the negotiators of the Agreement to prioritise those citizens’ rights with regard to social security coordination by all means and to provide for continuous application of social security coordination rules in all chapters;

77.  Regrets, however, that there are no special provisions provided for regarding unemployment benefits for cross-border and frontier workers, and therefore encourages the EU and the UK to look into proper provisions regarding unemployment benefits for cross-border and frontier workers;

78.  Stresses the importance of a dynamic agreement on social security coordination; stresses that provisions of the final agreement on mobility of persons must include commensurate and robust rights as regards social security coordination, in line with the Political Declaration;

Data protection

79.  Stresses the importance of data protection both as a fundamental right, as well as a key enabler for the digital economy; notes that, according to the case-law of the CJEU, in order for the Commission to declare the adequacy of the UK data protection framework, it must demonstrate that the UK provides a level of protection “essentially equivalent” to that offered by EU legal framework, including on onward transfers to third countries;

80.  Recalls that the UK Data Protection Act provides for a general and broad exemption from the data protection principles and data subjects’ rights for the processing of personal data for immigration purposes; is concerned that, when non-UK citizens’ data are processed under this exemption, they are not protected in the same way as that of UK citizens and would be in conflict with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council(15); is of the view that the UK legal framework on the retention of electronic telecommunications data does not fulfil the conditions of the relevant EU acquis as interpreted by the CJEU, and does not, therefore, currently meet the conditions for adequacy;

81.  Underlines and supports the future partnership being underpinned by commitments to respect fundamental rights, including adequate protection of personal data which is a necessary condition for the envisaged cooperation and by automatic suspension of the law enforcement agreement if the UK were to abrogate domestic law giving effect to the ECHR; calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to the UK legal framework when assessing its adequacy under EU law; advocates taking into consideration CJEU case-law in this field, such as the Schrems case, as well as ECHR case-law;

82.  Takes the position that, if the UK does not explicitly commit to enforce the ECHR and will not accept the role of the CJEU, no agreement on judicial and police cooperation in criminal matters would be possible; regrets that the UK has so far refused to provide firm guarantees on fundamental rights and individual freedoms and insisted on lowering current standards and deviating from agreed mechanisms of data protection, including by the use of mass surveillance;

83.  Calls on the Commission to take the above-mentioned elements into consideration when assessing the adequacy of the UK legal framework as regards the level of protection of personal data, and to ensure that the UK has resolved the problems identified in this resolution prior to possibly declaring UK data protection law adequate in line with EU law as interpreted by the CJEU; calls on the Commission also to seek the advice of the European Data Protection Board and the European Data Protection Supervisor;

Security, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters

84.  Reiterates that tangible progress in the area of security, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters should be achieved in order to allow for an agreement for comprehensive and efficient cooperation to be reached that would be mutually beneficial for the security of EU and UK citizens;

85.  Is strongly opposed to the UK’s request to receive direct access to the EU data information systems in the field of Justice and Home Affairs; stresses once more in that regard that the UK, as a non-Schengen third country, cannot have direct access to EU information systems data; cautions that any sharing of information, including personal data, with the UK should be subject to strict safeguards, audit and oversight conditions including an equivalent level of protection of personal data to that provided by EU law;

86.  Points out that the Schengen Information System (SIS) legislation explicitly forbids the access of third countries to the system and that, as a third country, the UK cannot have access to SIS; recalls that on 5 March 2020 the Council issued a set of recommendations addressing serious violations in the application of the SIS by the UK and that there is little intention in the UK’s reply to apply those recommendations, in breach of EU law; considers that future cooperation between the EU and the UK in the area of law enforcement and judicial cooperation should be based on mutual trust; underlines that such cooperation can only be agreed to if robust rules on data protection are established and if strong enforcement mechanisms are in place;

87.  Points out that the automated exchange of DNA data with the UK under the Prüm Framework was launched only in 2019 and that the Council is about to decide upon the adoption of an implementing decision which would allow the UK to take part in automated exchanges of dactyloscopic data; points out, in that regard, that under the special consultation procedure for the ex-third pillar acts on 13 May 2020 Parliament rejected the Council’s draft decision due to concerns over full reciprocity for fingerprint data exchange, over data protection guarantees, as well as over the very short time for its application; calls on the Council to carefully consider Parliament’s arguments for rejection; reminds the negotiators that, if adopted, the Council decisions authorising those automated data exchanges will expire at the end of the transition period; stresses the need for a timely agreement on new arrangements for the future relationship, given the importance of information exchange in the fight against serious and organised cross-border crime and terrorism;

88.  Is concerned that the UK negotiating mandate lacks ambition in important areas of judicial cooperation in criminal matters; believes that a solution allowing for a more ambitious level of cooperation than the one provided for under the European Convention on Extradition could be found by the EU and the UK;

Migration, asylum and border management

89.  Stresses the need to agree the terms of cooperation on migration of nationals other than those of the two parties, while respecting fundamental rights, upholding human dignity and recognising the need to protect the most vulnerable; reiterates its call that such cooperation should, at the very least, contain arrangements that enhance safe and legal pathways to access international protection, including through family reunification;

90.  Stresses the need for strong cooperation between the parties in order to combat human smuggling and trafficking in human beings, in line with international law, which will remain applicable to the border between the EU and the UK;

91.  Insists that the UK cannot “cherry-pick” which elements of the EU asylum and migration acquis it would like to keep;

92.  Stresses once again the need for the adoption of a plan on family reunification ready to enter into force at the end of the transition period;

93.  As part of such a plan, and also more generally, the Parliament reminds the negotiators of the obligation of both the EU and the UK to protect all children on their territory, and in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989 (UNCRC calls on the Member States, once concrete proposals are made by the UK, to give a mandate to the Commission to negotiate a plan on family reunification for asylum seekers);

94.  Stresses the importance of a coordinated approach by the EU on all those issues, as bilateral arrangements between the UK and individual Member States on issues such as family reunification for asylum seekers or refugees, relocation or readmission arrangements, risk having negative consequences for the coherence of EU asylum and migration policy; calls on both the EU and the UK to strive for a balanced and constructive approach in all those matters;

Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing

95.  Calls on the EU and the UK to include provisions on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) policy in the future partnership agreement, including an exchange of information mechanism; recalls that, in the Political Declaration, the EU and the UK committed to go beyond the Financial Action Task Force standards on AML/CFT with regard to beneficial ownership transparency and to end the anonymity associated with the use of virtual currencies, including through customer due diligence controls;

96.  Calls on the EU and the UK to include in the new partnership agreement specific provisions regarding the supervision of financial and non-financial obliged entities in the context of the anti-money laundering framework;

Tax matters

97.  Calls on the EU and the UK to prioritise a coordinated fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance; calls for the Parties to address harmful tax practices by pursuing acts of cooperation under the EU Code of Conduct on business taxation; notes that the UK is ranked high according to the Commission on indicators that identify a country as having features that can be used by companies for tax avoidance purposes; calls on the future agreement to specifically address this matter; notes that, at the end of the transition period, the UK will be considered as a third country and will have to be screened by the Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation according to the criteria established for the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions; calls for the EU and the UK to ensure full administrative cooperation to ensure compliance with VAT legislation and with the protection and recovery of VAT revenues;

The fight against climate change and environmental protection

98.  Considers that the UK should fully align itself with the EU’s current and future climate policy framework, including revised 2030 targets, 2040 targets and the trajectories to achieve climate neutrality by 2050;

99.  Considers that the UK should implement a system of carbon pricing of at least the same scope and effectiveness as that provided for by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and should apply the same principles regarding the use of external credits by the end of the transition period; further considers that, should the UK request that its own emissions trading system be linked to the EU ETS, the following two conditions for the consideration of such a request should apply: the UK emissions trading system should not undermine the integrity of the EU ETS, in particular its balance of rights and obligations, and should reflect the continuous increase in the scope and effectiveness of the EU ETS; stresses that a system of carbon pricing should already be set and in place ahead of the vote in Parliament on whether to give consent to the draft Agreement;

100.  Stresses the importance of ensuring the appropriate monitoring and assessment in the UK of air and water quality in addition to the adoption of the common standards and targets; further stresses the importance of the UK implementing and enforcing the emission limits and other provisions agreed under Directive (EU) 2016/2284 of the European Parliament and of the Council(16) and dynamically aligning with Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council(17), including updates to the Best Available Technique Reference Documents;

Public health

101.  Stresses that, should the UK wish to be included on the list of countries permitted to export goods to the EU that are subject to SPS measures, it will have to fully comply with EU requirements for those goods, including requirements relating to production processes; stresses, in addition, that rules of origin for food products in particular should be fully complied with and that clear rules in relation to the transformation of food products in the UK should be adopted to prevent the circumvention of EU requirements, especially in the context of possible FTAs between the UK and other countries;

102.  Stresses that the UK will need to be in line with EU legislation relating to genetically modified organisms and plant protection products; considers that the Parties should aim to reduce the use and risks of pesticides; stresses the need for both Parties to endeavour to reduce the use of antibiotics in animal production and to continue to ban their use as a growth promoter and reduce inappropriate or unnecessary human use;

103.  Stresses the importance of preventing shortages of medicinal products and medical devices; urges national authorities and stakeholders to ensure that the process of redistributing nationally authorised medicinal products is concluded by the end of the transition period; calls on the EU and the UK to cooperate over the long term to prevent, detect, prepare for and respond to established and emerging threats to health security; calls, in that regard, for ongoing cooperation between the EU and the UK to effectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic; considers that, should one of the parties not take adequate measures to address a health threat, the other party may adopt unilateral measures to protect public health;

104.  Stresses the importance of upholding EU legislation on pharmaceuticals, medical devices, chemicals safety, including endocrine disrupting chemicals, while ensuring continued access to medicines and medical devices and underlines the fact that in any case, UK companies would be subject to the same obligations that apply to companies outside the EEA: stresses, in addition, the need to set out strong conditions on SPS measures going beyond the WTO agreement in order to protect the EU’s internal market, and in particular consumers, from any risks related to import or export of products with the UK;

Transport

105.  Stresses that the envisaged partnership based on the close economic ties and common interests should provide continued and unhindered connectivity for all modes of transport, subject to reciprocity, and should ensure a level playing field, in particular with regard to social, employment and environmental standards and passengers’ rights; recalls that it should also include the specific situation of the Channel Tunnel, especially with regard to aspects of the safety and authorisation regime;

106.  Considers that future cooperation with the UK should envisage transport projects of common interest and encourage good cross-border trade and business conditions, in particular facilitating and assisting SMEs businesses in avoiding any additional administrative burden;

107.  Believes that UK participation in EU cross-border research and development programmes in transport, based on common interests, should be envisaged;

108.  Recalls the importance of the Commission being the sole EU negotiator during the negotiations and that Member States are not to undertake any bilateral negotiations; however, urges the Commission to represent the interests of each Member State in the final comprehensive agreement;

109.  Emphasises that rights and privileges entail obligations and that the level of access to the EU internal market should fully correspond to the extent of regulatory convergence and commitments agreed with respect to observing a level playing field for open and fair competition based on the minimum common standards applicable in the EU;

110.  Recalls that aviation is the only mode of transport that does not have any legal WTO fall back in the event that no agreement is reached before the end of the transition period;

111.  Considers that the envisaged partnership should include an ambitious and comprehensive chapter on air transport which ensures the EU’s strategic interests, and contains appropriate provisions, on market access, investment and operational and commercial flexibility (e.g. code sharing) in respect of balanced rights and obligations, and should include close cooperation in aviation safety and air traffic management;

112.  Stresses that any possible granting of some elements of the so-called ‘fifth freedom’ (freedom of the air) should be limited in scope and needs to include balanced and corresponding obligations in the interests of the EU;

113.  Notes that the current European Conference of Ministers of Transport framework, based on a limited number of permits, is not suitable for EU-UK relations, taking into account the extent of freight transported by road between the EU and the UK; in that regard, stresses that appropriate measures should be put in place to avoid threats to public order and prevent disruptions to traffic flows of road haulage operators and coach and bus service operators; underlines in this context the importance of providing improved direct sea routes from Ireland to the continent, thereby reducing the reliance on the UK “land bridge”;

114.  Emphasises that UK freight transport operators cannot be granted the same rights and benefits as EU freight transport operators in respect to road freight transport operations;

115.  Considers that the envisaged partnership should include the right of transit of laden and unladen journeys from the territory of one party to the territory of the same party through the territory of the other party;

116.  Considers that the envisaged partnership should include a level playing field in the areas of, in particular, work, driving and rest time, posting of drivers, tachographs, vehicle weights and dimensions, combined transport and training of personnel , as well as specific provisions to ensure a comparable level of protection in relation to operators and drivers;

117.  Urges that the fluidity of EU-UK maritime trade, the free movement of passengers, seafarers, offshore and onshore staff should be a priority; in that regard stresses that the EU and the UK should ensure proper border and customs systems are in place to prevent delays and disruptions;

Culture and Education

118.  Considers that the Agreement should make clear that it will uphold cultural and linguistic diversity in accordance with the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions;

119.  Welcomes the clear statement in the negotiating directives that future EU-UK relations should also encompass dialogue and exchange in the fields of education and culture; calls on the Commission to take into account the specific nature of the cultural sector when negotiating relevant mobility provisions; is concerned, moreover, that the provisions governing the entry and temporary stay of natural persons for business purposes contained in the draft text of the agreement published by the Commission do not meet the needs of the cultural and creative sector and risk hampering continued cultural exchange;

120.  Supports unreservedly the clarity in the negotiating directives that audiovisual services should be excluded from the scope of the economic partnership and urges the Commission to remain steadfast in its position;

121.  Stresses that access to the market for audiovisual services in the Union can only be guaranteed if Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council(18) is fully implemented so that the same re-transmission rights are granted to both sides; recalls that content originating in the UK will continue to be classed as ‘European works’ after the end of the transition period as long as works originating in non-Member States and non-EEA states which are party to the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television are included within the ‘European works’ content quota;

122.  Welcomes the inclusion of issues relating to the return or restitution of unlawfully removed cultural objects to their countries of origin; and stresses the importance of continued cooperation with the UK in that field;

Financial governance and scrutiny framework

123.  Calls for ensuring and respecting the right of access of Commission services, the European Court of Auditors, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the right of scrutiny of Parliament; recalls that the CJEU must be accepted as the competent court in cases where compliance with, and the interpretation of, EU law is concerned;

Participation in Union programmes

124.  Recommends that the Commission pay particular attention to the following applicable principles and conditions related both to the ‘Participation in Union Programmes’ and ‘Horizontal arrangements and governance’:

   (a) take the necessary action to ensure that the general principles, terms and conditions to be established as part of the envisaged partnership in relation to participation in EU programmes include the requirement for the UK to make a fair and appropriate financial contribution, both in terms of participation fee and operational contribution, to any programmes in which it takes part;
   (b) ensure that the general rule for UK participation in any programme is in line with the standard conditions applicable for the participation of third countries and is for the full duration of the programme concerned and for all parts of the programme, except where partial participation is justified for reasons such as confidentiality; recommends that it ensure predictability for participants in EU programmes that are established in the EU and stability in terms of budgetary allocations;
   (c) ensure that UK participation in EU programmes does not entail an overall net transfer from the EU budget to the UK and that the EU is able unilaterally to suspend or terminate UK participation in any programme if the conditions for participation are not fulfilled or if the UK does not pay its financial contribution;
   (d) ensure that the necessary measures are in place in the Agreement with the UK to tackle financial irregularities, fraud, money laundering, and other criminal offences affecting the financial interests of the Union, and to ensure the protection of the EU’s financial interests;

125.  Believes, in particular, that UK participation in line with the general principles for participation of third countries in Union programmes in cross-border, cultural, development, education and research programmes such as Erasmus+, Creative Europe, Horizon, the European Research Council, the LIFE Programme, the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), Single European Sky (SES), Interreg, joint technology initiatives such as Clean Sky I and II, Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR), ERICs, Galileo, Copernicus, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), Space, Surveillance and Tracking (SST) Support Framework, and public-private partnerships, is important;

126.  Expects the agreement to address the UK's relationship to Euratom and the ITER project and the impact of a withdrawal on assets and liabilities; expects the UK, furthermore, to comply with the highest nuclear safety, security and radiation protection standards;

127.  Considers that, should the UK ultimately wish to participate in the internal market, it should contribute to the cohesion funds for the 2021-2027 period, as is the case for EEA countries;

128.  Believes that the new agreement should take into account the needs of the EU regions affected by the withdrawal of the UK from the EU;

129.  Stresses that it is of the utmost importance that the PEACE programme continue to operate in Northern Ireland and the border regions of Ireland, and to be administered autonomously by the Special EU Programmes Body;

130.  Considers that cooperation on issues of mutual interest between EU outermost regions and overseas countries and territories on the one hand, and UK Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) on the other hand, particularly in the Caribbean and Pacific, should continue; calls for special provisions to allow future joint projects under the European Development Fund and cohesion funds, as appropriate; and for the need to maintain an adequate level of support for the remaining OCTs;

131.  Underlines that, by making financial resources available through the EU budget, the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) is a tangible expression of solidarity when serious repercussions on, inter alia, the economy affect one or more regions of the EU or of a country applying for accession;

132.  Underlines the need to link the participation in programmes with alignment to related policies, such as on climate or cyber policies;

133.  Considers that an agreement on energy cooperation, in line with the overall agreement on the future relations and based on a robust governance and level-playing field, would be in the mutual interest of the both parties;

134.  Underlines that to ensure continuity for the Single Electricity Market on the island of Ireland after the UK’s withdrawal requires the continued application of the EU energy acquis in Northern Ireland;

135.  Is of the opinion that the UK could continue to be an important partner in the EU space policy, underlines that the future access of the UK to the EU Space Programme needs to be addressed in the negotiations while preserving the EU's interests and in line with the applicable legal framework for participation of third countries in the EU Space Programme;

Intellectual Property

136.  Emphasises that the envisaged agreement should contain strong and enforceable measures covering the recognition and a high-level of protection of GIs as well as intellectual property rights, such as copyright and related rights, trademarks and industrial designs, patents and trade secrets, based on the current and future EU legal framework without jeopardising access to affordable medicines, such as generics; considers that it should also ensure the possibility for close bilateral cooperation between the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Intellectual Property Offices in the UK;

Company law

137.  Notes that, in order to avoid the lowering of standards and ensure legal standing in the UK and the EU, it is desirable that the envisaged agreement includes minimum common standards regarding setting up and carrying out operations, protection for shareholders, creditors or employees, company reporting and auditing and transparency rules, as well as mutual recognition of judicial decisions regarding restructuring and bankruptcy or insolvency;

Civil justice cooperation, including in family matters

138.  Underlines that civil judicial cooperation is of paramount importance to ensure future trade and business interaction between citizens and companies and to provide certainty and sufficient protection of parties in cross-border transactions and other activities; is of the opinion that it should therefore be carefully assessed whether the Lugano Convention could be an adequate solution that would allow the EU to maintain the overall balance of its relationships with third countries and international organisations, or whether a new solution that could ensure a ‘dynamic alignment’ between the two sides, would be more appropriate;

139.  Emphasies that the envisaged agreement should find a meaningful and comprehensive solution with regard to matrimonial, parental responsibility and other family matters in particular; in that context, notes that any reciprocal enforcement provisions concerning family matters in the envisaged agreement should be based not only on the principle of mutual trust of judicial systems, but also on the existence of certain constitutional guarantees and common fundamental rights standards;

Development cooperation and humanitarian aid

140.  Notes that the UK remains one of the biggest bilateral donors in the world, and points out that the EU needs to address the opportunities for cooperation with the UK in a spirit of partnership; regrets that the withdrawal of the UK from the EU will leave gaps in the EU’s overall development cooperation and humanitarian aid policy;

141.  Emphasises the central roles of the EU and UK in addressing common challenges through development policy and humanitarian aid; underlines the importance of the pursuit of Policy Coherence for Development in that regard;

142.  Underlines the importance of a strong partnership that enshrines the rights-based approach while ensuring a continued commitment to, and collaboration in, achieving the SDGs, human rights, poverty eradication, as well as in implementing the Paris Agreement; underlines, furthermore, the importance of harmonised responses to humanitarian crises, and the fundamental principles of humanitarian aid;

143.  Is convinced that the post-Cotonou partnership and the EU-Africa Strategy can be enhanced by effectively cooperating with the UK, and building on the UK’s strong presence in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific; stresses that the EU, UK and ACP countries should cooperate at all levels in line with the principles of partnership, solidarity and complementarity;

Security and foreign affairs

144.  Notes the fact that the UK negotiating objectives published on 27 February 2020 stated that foreign policy will be determined only within a framework of broader friendly dialogue and cooperation between the UK and the EU, demoting this key area to the status of a non-institutionalised relationship to be agreed upon at a later stage;

145.  Regrets that this is contrary to the provisions of the Political Declaration, which envisages an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership in the field of foreign policy, security and defence and calls for the establishment of a future broad, comprehensive and balanced EU-UK security partnership, and to which the UK has agreed;

146.  Recalls the EU’s position that foreign policy, security and defence should be part of a comprehensive agreement governing the future EU-UK relationship;

147.  Deplores the fact that the UK shows no ambition for relations with the EU in the field of foreign policy, security and defence and that these were explicitly not covered by the UK mandate and therefore do not form part of the 11 negotiating tables;

148.  Recalls that both the EU and the UK share principles, values and interests; stresses that it is in both sides’ interest to maintain an ambitious, close and lasting cooperation respecting the autonomy of the EU in the form of a common framework on foreign and security policy based on Article 21 TEU and taking into account the UN Charter and NATO in the following areas:

   (a) the promotion of peace;
   (b) a shared approach towards common security challenges, and global stability including in the European neighbourhood;
   (c) the promotion of a rules-based international order;
   (d) the consolidation of democracy and rule of law;
   (e) the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms;
   (f) the promotion of global prosperity, sustainable development, combatting climate change and mitigating biodiversity loss;

149.  Observes that deeply integrated and coordinated international cooperation between the EU and UK would be of great benefit for both parties and for the global world order in general, given their similar approaches towards effective multilateralism, safeguarding peace, security and sustainability as well as defending and implementing human rights; proposes that such coordination should be governed by a systemic platform for high-level consultations and coordination on foreign policy issues; underlines the importance and added value of interparliamentary cooperation on global issues;

150.  Stresses that common responses to address foreign, security and defence policy challenges such as terrorism, cyber-warfare, crisis in the neighbourhood, respect for human rights, disinformation campaigns and hybrid threats are necessary for both sides; encourages effective, timely and reciprocal dialogue, consultation, coordination and the exchange of information and intelligence; subject to democratic control by the UK and EU institutions; recalls that exchanges of classified information must be organised within a specific framework;

151.  Emphasises that from the end of the transition period, the UK will become a third country without any specific framework of relations, which will have a significant impact on existing cooperation in foreign and security policy;

152.  Calls on both the EU and UK to strengthen international peace and stability including by developing joint strategies to strengthen UN peacekeeping efforts; calls on both parties to promote the culture of peace and dialogue as a means of conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict resolution, women and gender rights; supports continuing existing cooperation in those areas; calls for systematic preferential cooperation in peacekeeping operations; calls for enhanced cooperation between the EU and UK on matters linked to democratic development, reform processes and democratic parliamentary practices in third countries, including election observation;

153.  States the EU’s strong interest in such a foreign affairs and security partnership, given mutual benefits resulting from the UK’s and France’s permanent seat in the Security Council, UK’s and EU members’ highly performant diplomatic service, and the fact that the UK possesses the most powerful armed forces in Europe;

154.  Proposes to base the future partnership on a very close and regular cooperation and coordination in the UN, in particular the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council;

155.  Stresses the mutual importance between security and development; encourages both the EU and the UK to closely cooperate on sustainable development and humanitarian aid; recalls both parties the importance to commit on achieving the 0,7 % ODA/GNI target and to support the principle of Policy Coherence for Development; believes that the post-Cotonou partnership and the EU-Africa Strategy can benefit from an effective cooperation with the UK which address high social, human rights and environmental protection standards, in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris agreement;

156.  Stresses that it is in the mutual interest of the EU and the UK, amplified by their geographical proximity, to cooperate on the development of effective and genuinely interoperable defence capabilities, including with the European Defence Agency, with which an administrative arrangement should be concluded, and to continue the highly valuable partnerships within NATO and EU programmes on defence and external security, Galileo cyber-security programmes and the fight against targeted disinformation campaigns and cyberattacks, as the current COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated; recalls that, as regards the participation to the Public Regulated Service of Galileo, a specific agreement is both possible and necessary; notes also that, as regards the upcoming European Defence Fund, the UK could be associated under the conditions set for third countries; calls on both the EU and UK to develop a joint approach to standardisation of defence technology;

157.  Expects the UK to be able to continue the established cooperation and information exchange of national authorities in the area of cybersecurity;

158.  Recalls that a number of restrictive measures (sanctions regimes) are currently in force in the UK under EU legislation; recognises the effective use of sanctions for human rights, democracy, rule of law in accordance with the UN Charter; underlines the fact that the UK will still be bound to apply UN sanctions regimes following its withdrawal and calls for the UK to continue aligning its sanctions policy with the EU; and calls for the establishment of a proper coordination mechanism for sanctions between both parties, and close cooperation on sanctions in global fora, in order to maximise their impact and to ensure convergence and that mutual interests are pursued and met in the promotion of common values;

159.  Encourages the UK to participate in the relevant EU agencies and take a prominent role in EU crisis management operations and in CSDP missions and operations, including in humanitarian and rescue missions, conflict prevention and peacekeeping, military advice and assistance and post-conflict stabilization as well as in projects under Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), where invited to participate, and, stresses that such participation should be subject to stringent conditions respecting the decision making autonomy of the EU as well as the sovereignty of the UK, the principle of balanced rights and obligations and based on effective reciprocity, including a fair and appropriate financial contribution; calls on the Commission and the European External Action Service to regularly inform Parliament concerning the process of political dialogue with the UK and on the main aspects of the information exchanges on CSDP and crisis management;

160.  Recalls that effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation regimes are a cornerstone of global and European security; recalls the importance of a coherent and credible European strategy for multilateral negotiations at global level and on regional de-escalation and confidence-building measures; recalls the important role the UK played as regards the development and establishment of such norms, institutions and organisations; invites the UK to develop a joint strategy with the EU as regards that policy area, particularly in line with the UN disarmament agenda; calls on the UK to commit to remain bound by the criteria equivalent to those collected by Common Position 2008/944/CFSP(19) and, jointly with the EU, to promote the universalisation and strict implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the renewal of the New START;

161.  Emphasises the great importance of consular and diplomatic cooperation between the EU and the UK, as this would ensure efficient assistance for each other’s citizens and would allow both the UK and EU to offer its citizens the possibility of benefiting from consular protection in third states where one of the two parties has no diplomatic representation, in accordance with point (c) of Article 20 TFEU;

162.  Highlights the fact that the COVID 19 pandemic has illustrated the importance of military capacities and assets, with European armed forces playing a crucial role in support of civilian efforts in tackling the pandemic, while fulfilling their core missions; emphasises that this pandemic has demonstrated the importance of strategic autonomy of the EU and European defence cooperation to protect European populations in times of emergency and to foster the resilience of Member States; considers that mechanisms should be put in place to enable prompt cooperation between the Union and the United Kingdom in the face of future crises of a similar nature and scale; is of the view that drawing the lessons of the COVID19 pandemic, European military medical services should form an information exchange and support network to foster broad European resilience in times of emergency and crisis; considers that the participation of the UK in any such future European military medical network would be mutually beneficial;

Institutional provisions and Governance

163.  Points out that the entire Agreement with the UK as a third country, including provisions on the level playing field, specific sectorial issues and thematic areas of cooperation and fisheries, should include the establishment of a single coherent and solid governance system as an overarching framework, covering the joint continuous supervision and management of the Agreement as well as transparent dispute settlement, compliance and enforcement mechanisms with sanctions and interim measures where necessary with respect to the interpretation and application of the Agreement’s provisions;

164.  Is of the opinion that a single, comprehensive and horizontal governance mechanism should be applicable to the future relationship with the UK as a whole, including any supplementing agreements that may be concluded at a later stage, while ensuring consistency with the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement and avoiding inefficiencies; points out that the dispute resolution mechanism will need to be robust and should provide for gradual sanctions as well as remedies when it is determined that one of the parties is in breach of the Agreement, and that such a mechanism will need to ensure effective, rapidly actionable and dissuasive remedies; emphasises that Parliament will continue to be vigilant regarding the implementation of all provisions; recalls that the UK, as a former Member State, has developed important institutional cooperation and dialogue structures with the EU that should facilitate making such horizontal arrangements operational; reiterates that the EU expects from the UK a greater level of ambition on governance in order to build a solid future partnership;

165.  Insists on the absolute necessity for that governance system, while respecting the autonomy of both sides, to fully preserve the autonomy of the EU’s decision-making and legal and judicial order, including the role of Parliament and the Council as co-legislators of EU law, and the role of the CJEU as the sole interpreter of EU law and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; considers that, for provisions based on EU law concepts, the governance arrangements must provide for referral to the CJEU;

166.  Welcomes the proposal to establish a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly for Members of the European Parliament and of the Parliament of the UK, with the right to receive information from the Partnership Council and submit recommendations to it and emphasises that the Agreement should provide the legal basis for provisions enabling the institutional set-up of that body;

167.  Demands that Parliament’s role be respected in the context of the implementation of the provisions on regulatory cooperation in order to ensure that it is able to exercise proper political oversight, and that its rights and prerogatives as co-legislator are guaranteed; recalls Parliament’s rights to be informed about the arrangements on review of the Agreement;

168.  Emphasises that the Agreement in its entirety should be covered by provisions on civil society dialogue, stakeholder involvement and consultation by both parties, in accordance with paragraph 125 of the Political Declaration, which should encompass, in particular, social partners, including organisations and employee associations representing both EU citizens living and working in the UK and UK citizens in the EU; insists on the establishment of domestic advisory groups supervising the implementation of the Agreement;

169.  Supports the continued participation of the UK as a third country observer with no decision-making role in EU non-regulatory agencies such as in the transport, environment or employment fields, as well as possible UK cooperation agreements with peer regulatory agencies such as the European Chemicals Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency and the European Maritime Safety Agency, in order to exchange data, best practices and scientific knowledge; reiterates its call on the Commission, taking into account the status of the UK as a non-Schengen third country and as a key partner in the fight against terrorism and organised crime, to consider potential future practical cooperation between the UK authorities and the EU agencies in the field of Justice and Home Affairs;

o
o   o

170.  Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Commission and, for information, to the Council, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, and the Government and Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

(1) OJ L 58, 27.2.2020, p. 53.
(2) OJ C 298, 23.8.2018, p. 24.
(3) OJ C 346, 27.9.2018, p. 2.
(4) OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 32.
(5) OJ C 162, 10.5.2019, p. 40.
(6) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0016.
(7) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0006.
(8) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0033.
(9) UKTF(2020)14.
(10) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0018.
(11) OJ L 29, 31.1.2020, p. 7.
(12) OJ C 34, 31.1.2020, p. 1.
(13) OJ L 58, 27.2.2020, p. 53.
(14) It is necessary to include, in the future agreement, an ad hoc mechanism against “swap” risks in order to protect the internal market from a situation where UK would choose to import goods at low cost from third countries (in order to satisfy its domestic consumption) and export duty free to the more lucrative EU market its domestic production. That phenomenon, benefitting both the UK and third countries, which the rules of origin cannot prevent, would destabilise EU agricultural sectors and therefore requires specific operational mechanisms.
(15) 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).
(16) Directive (EU) 2016/2284 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2016 on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants (OJ L 344, 17.12.2016, p. 1).
(17) Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) (OJ L 334, 17.12.2010, p. 17).
(18) 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).
(19) OJ L 335, 13.12.2008, p. 99.


Conference on the Future of Europe
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European Parliament resolution of 18 June 2020 on the European Parliament’s position on the Conference on the Future of Europe (2020/2657(RSP))
P9_TA(2020)0153B9-0170/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 16 February 2017 on improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty(1), of 16 February 2017 on possible evolutions of and adjustments to the current institutional set-up of the European Union(2), of 16 February 2017 on budgetary capacity for the euro area(3), and of 13 February 2019 on the state of the debate on the future of Europe(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 January 2017 on a European Pillar of Social Rights(5),

–  having regard to the proposal by the then President-Designate of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen of 16 July 2019 in the framework of the political guidelines for the next European Commission 2019-2024 on the organisation of a Conference on the Future of Europe (the ‘Conference’),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 January 2020 entitled ‘Shaping the Conference on the Future of Europe’ (COM(2020)0027),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 12 December 2019 on the general approach to the Conference on the Future of Europe,

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Parliament’s position on the Conference on the Future of Europe(6),

–  having regard to the resolution of the Committee of the Regions of 12 February 2020 on the Conference on the Future of Europe,

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2020 on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 May 2020 on the new multiannual financial framework, own resources and the recovery plan(8),

–  having regard to the statement of the Conference of Presidents on the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration,

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

A.  whereas there is a need to tackle both the internal and the external challenges that Europe is facing, as well as the new societal and transnational challenges which had not been fully envisaged when the Lisbon Treaty was adopted; whereas the number of significant crises that the Union has undergone demonstrates that institutional and political reform are needed in multiple governance areas;

B.  whereas the current COVID-19 crisis has shown to a very high cost that the EU remains an unfinished project and that the failure to ensure solidarity and coordination, the economic, health and social shocks, and the ongoing attacks on fundamental rights and the rule of law need to be better addressed by the Conference; whereas the ongoing crisis therefore makes it even more urgent for the European Union to start work on how to become more effective, democratic and closer to citizens;

C.  whereas Parliament, the Commission and the Council have all stated that a Conference on the Future of Europe should be organised and that this Conference process should be an opportunity to closely involve EU citizens in a bottom-up exercise in which they are listened to and their voices contribute to the debates on the future of Europe;

D.  whereas the Conference should enable an open forum for discussion among the different participants without a predetermined outcome; whereas the common agreement of the three institutions should therefore only concern the format and organisation of the Conference;

1.  Believes that 10 years after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, 70 years after the Schuman Declaration and in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the time is ripe for a reappraisal of the Union; is of the opinion that the COVID-19 crisis has made the need for the Conference even more pressing;

2.  Is of the opinion that the COVID-19 crisis has made the need to reform the European Union even more apparent, while demonstrating the urgent need for an effective and efficient Union; is therefore of the opinion that the Conference process should take into account the EU’s existing recovery instruments and the solidarity that has already been established, while ensuring ecological sustainability, economic development, social progress, security and democracy;

3.  Reaffirms the position it outlined in its resolution of 15 January 2020 in all its dimensions and reiterates its call on the Council and the Commission to engage in negotiations to find common agreement on the establishment of the Conference on the Future of Europe before the summer break;

4.  Regrets that the Council has not yet adopted a position on the Conference and therefore urges the Council to overcome its differences and to promptly come forward with a position on the format and organisation of the Conference;

5.  Welcomes the adoption by the Commission of its position on the Conference and its readiness to go forward in a speedy fashion;

6.  Urges the Council to include in its mandate a commitment to meaningful follow-up and the meaningful direct involvement of citizens, and to keep the scope of the Conference open to all possible outcomes, including legislative proposals, initiating treaty change or otherwise;

7.  Stresses that despite the pandemic the direct engagement of citizens, civil society organisations, social partners and elected representatives must remain a priority of the Conference; is therefore looking forward to starting the Conference so as to build a more democratic, more effective and more resilient Union together with all EU citizens;

8.  Recognises that the start of the Conference had to be delayed as a result of the pandemic; notes, however, that the pandemic has highlighted certain weaknesses in our Union; is therefore determined to start the Conference as soon as possible in autumn 2020;

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

(1) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 215.
(2) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 201.
(3) OJ C 252, 18.7.2018, p. 235.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0098.
(5) OJ C 242, 10.7.2018, p. 24.
(6) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0010.
(7) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0054.
(8) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0124.


Non-objection to a delegated act: support for the fruit and vegetables and wine sectors in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic
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European Parliament decision to raise no objections to the Commission delegated regulation of 4 May 2020 derogating in respect of the year 2020 from Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/891 as regards the fruit and vegetables sector and from Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1149 as regards the wine sector in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic (C(2020)02908 – 2020/2636(DEA))
P9_TA(2020)0154B9-0185/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission delegated regulation (C(2020)02908),

–  having regard to the Commission’s letter of 27 May 2020 asking Parliament to declare that it will raise no objections to the delegated regulation,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development to the Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs of 2 June 2020,

–  having regard to Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1306/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 352/78, (EC) No 165/94, (EC) No 2799/98, (EC) No 814/2000, (EC) No 1290/2005 and (EC) No 485/2008(1), and in particular Article 62(1), Article 64(6) and Article 115(5) thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) No 922/72, (EEC) No 234/79, (EC) No 1037/2001 and (EC) No 1234/2007(2), and in particular Articles 37, 53 and 173 and Article 227(5) thereof,

–  having regard to Rule 111(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation for a decision of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development,

A.  whereas, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting extensive movement restrictions, exceptional difficulties have been encountered by all Member States and by farmers in all Member States with the planning, implementation and execution of aid schemes laid down in Articles 32 to 38 of Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 for the fruit and vegetables sectors and in Articles 39 to 54 thereof for the wine sector;

B.  whereas the situation has resulted in financial difficulties, cash-flow problems, market disruption and serious disturbance of the functioning of the supply chain in the fruit and vegetables sector and in the wine sector;

C.  whereas exceptional difficulties have also been encountered in all Member States with the planning, management and implementation of operational programmes of recognised producer organisations and associations of producer organisations in the fruit and vegetables sector and in wine-producing Member States with the planning, management and implementation of operations under support programmes in the wine sector;

D.  whereas, in view of the unprecedented nature of those combined circumstances, the Commission has adopted provisions providing for flexibilities and allowing derogations from delegated regulations applicable in the fruit and vegetables sector and in the wine sector;

E.  whereas the swift implementation of those flexibilities and derogations are essential to their effectiveness and efficacy in addressing difficulties in the running of the aid schemes for both sectors, preventing further economic losses and addressing the market situation and disturbances of the functioning of the supply chain in the fruit and vegetables sector and in the wine sector;

1.  Declares that it has no objections to the delegated regulation;

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

(1) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 549.
(2) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 671.


Non-objection to a delegated act: regulatory technical standards for prudent valuation
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European Parliament decision to raise no objections to the Commission delegated regulation of 28 May 2020 amending Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/101 of 26 October 2015 supplementing Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to regulatory technical standards for prudent valuation under Article 105(14) of Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 (C(2020)03428 - 2020/2668(DEA))
P9_TA(2020)0155B9-0183/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission delegated regulation (C(2020)03428),

–  having regard to the Commission’s letter of 29 May 2020 asking Parliament to declare that it will raise no objections to the delegated regulation,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs to the Chair of the Conference of Committee Chairs of 9 June 2020,

–  having regard to Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on prudential requirements for credit institutions and investment firms and amending Regulation (EU) No 648/2012(1), and in particular Article 105(14) thereof,

–  having regard to Article 13 of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority), amending Decision No 716/2009/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2009/78/EC(2),

–  having regard to the draft regulatory technical standard submitted by the European Banking Authority (EBA/RTS/2020/04) on 22 April 2020 pursuant to Article 105(14) of Regulation (EU) No 575/2013,

–  having regard to Rule 111(6) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation for a decision of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs,

A.  whereas the delegated act temporarily amends the prudential banking framework in response to the COVID-19 outbreak; in particular to mitigate the impacts of the extreme market volatility on the prudent valuation framework, the delegated act increases the aggregation factor used to calculate the total additional valuation adjustments (‘AVA’) amount under the ‘core approach’ from 50% to 66% until 31 December 2020 to allow institutions to weather out the current extreme market volatility; this would reduce the total AVAs amount, hence reducing the amount deducted from institutions’ Common Equity Tier 1 (CETI) capital;

B.  whereas this delegated act should enter into force as soon as possible in order to ensure swift capital relief for institutions still during this quarter and until the end of the year;

1.  Declares that it has no objections to the delegated regulation;

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

(1) OJ L 176, 27.6.2013, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 331, 15.12.2010, p. 12.


European disability strategy post 2020
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European Parliament resolution of 18 June 2020 on the European Disability Strategy post‑2020 (2019/2975(RSP))
P9_TA(2020)0156B9-0123/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, and Articles 2, 9, 10, 19 and 216(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter), in particular Articles 3, 15, 20, 21, 23, 25, 26 and 47 thereof,

–  having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights, in particular principle 17 thereof on the inclusion of people with disabilities, principle 3 thereof on equal opportunities, and principle 10 thereof on a healthy, safe and well-adapted work environment and data protection,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and its entry into force on 21 January 2011, in accordance with Council Decision 2010/48/EC of 26 November 2009 concerning the conclusion, by the European Community, of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities(1),

–  having regard to the CRPD General Comments as the authoritative guidance on the implementation of the CRPD,

–  having regard to the Code of Conduct between the Council, the Member States and the Commission setting out internal arrangements for the implementation by and representation of the European Union relating to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities(2),

–  having regard to the concluding observations of 2 October 2015 of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) on the initial report of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

–  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

–  having regard to the European Ombudsman’s strategic inquiries into how the European Commission ensures that persons with disabilities can access its websites (OI/6/2017/EA), how the European Commission treats persons with disabilities under the Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme for EU staff (OI/4/2016/EA), and her decision in the joint inquiry in cases 1337/2017/EA and 1338/2017/EA on the accessibility for visually impaired candidates of selection procedures to recruit EU civil servants, organised by the European Personnel Selection Office,

–  having regard to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which the EU is committed to implementing,

–  having regard to the explicit disability references in the SDGs related to education (SDG 4), growth and employment (SDG 8), inequality (SDG 10), accessibility of human settlements (SDG 11) and data collection (SDG 17),

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

–  having regard to the exploratory opinion from the European Economic and Social Committee requested by Parliament on the situation of women with disabilities,

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/882 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on the accessibility requirements for products and services(3),

–  having regard to Directive 2016/2102 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2016 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/1808 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 amending Directive 2010/13/EU 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’) in view of changing market realities(5) ,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 September 2016 on application of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (‘Employment Equality Directive’)(7),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (Recast)(8),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 15 November 2010 entitled ‘European Disability Strategy 2010-2020: A renewed commitment to a barrier-free Europe’ (COM(2010)0636),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 January 2020 entitled ‘A Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions’ (COM(2020)0014),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 2 February 2017 entitled ‘Progress Report on the implementation of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020’ (SWD(2017)0029),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (COM(2008)0426) and Parliament’s position thereon of 2 April 2009(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2019 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 30 November 2017 on implementation of the European Disability Strategy(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2016 on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with special regard to the Concluding Observations of the CRPD Committee(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 May 2015 on the List of Issues adopted by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in relation to the initial report of the European Union(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2011 on mobility and inclusion of persons with disabilities and the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020(14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 May 2009 on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market(15),

–  having regard to its resolutions of 17 June 1988 on sign languages for deaf people(16), of 18 November 1998 on sign languages(17) and of 23 November 2016 on sign languages and professional sign language interpreters(18),

–  having regard to the 2016 study from Parliament’s Directorate-General for Internal Policies , Policy Department C entitled ‘European structural and investment funds and persons with disabilities in the European Union’,

–  having regard to the European Parliamentary Research Service briefing entitled ‘The European Disability Strategy 2010-2020’,

–  having regard to the Annual Report 2018 from the European Ombudsman,

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee entitled ‘Shaping the EU agenda for disability rights 2020-2030’,

–  having regard to the Fundamental Rights Reports 2019 of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA),

–  having regard to FRA’s thematic reports,

–  having regard to the statement by the Commission of 17 December 2019 on the EU Disability Strategy post‑2020,

–  having regard to the Eurostat disability statistics on labour market access, access to education and training, and poverty and income inequalities,

–  having regard to the reports and recommendations of representative organisations of persons with disabilities,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006(19), in particular Articles 4, 6 and 7 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1301/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on the European Regional Development Fund and on specific provisions concerning the Investment for growth and jobs goal and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006(20), in particular Article 5(9)(a) thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation(EU) No 1304/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December2013 on the European Social Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1081/2006(21), in particular Article 2(3) and Article 8 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005(22),

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs,

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

A.  whereas, as full citizens, all persons with disabilities have equal rights in all fields of life (including access to an open labour market and education) and are entitled to inalienable dignity, equal treatment, independent living, autonomy and full participation in society, respecting and valuing their input to the social and economic progress of the EU; whereas more than half of the Member States are depriving people suffering from mental health problems or with an intellectual disability of their right to vote;

B.  whereas there are an estimated 100 million persons with disabilities in the European Union(23), who are still deprived of their basic human rights and are hindered on a daily basis from leading an independent life; whereas women account both for over 60 % of persons with disabilities and for the large majority of caregivers for people with disabilities; whereas the number of children with disabilities is unknown owing to a lack of statistics, but may be in the region of 15 % of the total number of children in the European Union; whereas an increasingly ageing population will see more people experience disabilities and in need of a more accessible and supportive environment, including suitably adapted services;

C.  whereas the TFEU requires the Union to combat discrimination based on disability when defining and implementing its policies and activities (Article 10) and gives it the power to adopt legislation to address such discrimination (Article 19);

D.  whereas Article 21 and Article 26 of the Charter explicitly prohibit discrimination on the grounds of disability and provide for equal participation of persons with disabilities in society;

E.  whereas the CRPD is the first international human rights treaty to be ratified by the EU and all its Member States;

F.  whereas the case‑law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) reinforces the fact that the CRPD is binding on the EU and on its Member States when adopting and implementing EU law, as it is an instrument of secondary law(24);

G.  whereas the Optional Protocol of the CRPD has not been ratified by the EU and several Member States;

H.  whereas children with disabilities should fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children, including the right to grow up in their families or a family environment in line with their best interests as defined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; whereas family members often have to reduce or stop professional activities in order to care for family members with a disability; whereas the European Commission Feasibility Study for a Child Guarantee (intermediate report) points out that the main barriers identified for children with disabilities are problems involving physical access, the non-adaptation of services and facilities to children’s needs and, in many cases, simply the non‑availability thereof; whereas in the same study many respondents pointed to problems of discrimination, specifically in relation to problems relating to education, and affordability in relation to problems relating to housing;

I.  whereas the CRPD principles go far beyond discrimination, pointing the way to the full enjoyment of human rights by all persons with disabilities and their families in an inclusive society;

J.  whereas the case-law of the CJEU provides that a policy may be deemed indirectly discriminatory if, in practice, the contested provision negatively affects a substantially higher proportion of persons with disabilities; whereas, if a provision is even suspected of being intrinsically discriminatory and liable to have a similar negative effect, it will also be deemed discriminatory;

K.  whereas Article 1 of the CRPD states that ‘persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others’; whereas Article 9 of the CRPD is of particular importance in that regard;

L.  whereas 37 % of the EU-28 population aged 15 and over reported moderate or severe physical or sensory limitations in 2018; whereas in the EU-28, 24.,7 % of the population aged 16 and over reported some or severe long-standing limitations in their usual activities due to health problems in 2018; whereas 17,7 % reported some long-standing limitations and 7 % reported severe long-standing limitations(25);

M.  whereas the burden of major chronic diseases is calculated on the basis of disability‑adjusted life year (DALY); whereas frameworks addressing chronic diseases vary across the EU, however, and may be part of broader disability schemes in some Member States;

N.  whereas Eurofound pointed out that there is a lack of clarity regarding the inclusion of the concept of (chronic) ‘sickness’ in the definition of disability(26); whereas the agency recommends that a review of the European Disability Strategy should seek to address this issue;

O.  whereas the EU Disability Strategy 2010-2020 failed to mainstream gender equality and include and address the specific situation, forms of discrimination and rights deprivations of women and girls with disabilities, who face multiple discrimination and other violation of their rights; whereas the effects of multiple discrimination are poverty, social, educational and labour market exclusion (more likely to occupy low‑paid, temporary or precarious jobs), causing further stress and psychological burden for persons with disabilities and their families and carers; whereas equal treatment can be ensured by applying positive measures and policies for women with disabilities, mothers/fathers of children with disabilities, single parents with disabilities and/or single parents of children with disabilities; whereas including a gender dimension in the expected post‑2020 European Disability Strategy will contribute to an intersectional approach to eliminating discrimination against women and girls with disabilities;

P.  whereas in 2018 about 28,7 % of the EU population with a disability (aged 16 or over) was at risk of poverty or social exclusion(27);

Q.  whereas although Article 19 of the CRPD states that ‘States Parties to the present Convention recognise the equal right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community, with choices equal to others, and shall take effective and appropriate measures to facilitate full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of this right and their full inclusion and participation in the community’, 800 000 persons with disabilities are still denied their right to vote in the EU;

R.  whereas deafblind people suffer from unique dual disabilities, combining two sensory deficiencies (visual and hearing), which restricts their full participation and causes specific problems such as access to communication, information, mobility and social interactions;

S.  whereas benefits related to disability should be regarded as state support aimed at helping people to remove barriers arising from their disability and/or medical condition in order to participate fully in society, in addition to income replacement when it is needed;

T.  whereas Article 9 CRPD recognises that appropriate measures must be taken to ensure that persons with disabilities, in particular girls and women, can enjoy real access to the physical environment, transport facilities, information and communications, including information and communication technologies, and to other facilities and services that are open to, or provided for, the public, in both rural and urban areas;

U.  whereas the Directive on Work-life balance for parents and carers adopted in June 2019(28) establishes, for the first time at EU level, a right for each worker to a carers’ leave of five working days per year;

V.  whereas the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (the Strategy) has served as a framework for policy and legislative proposals to implement the CRPD both within the EU and beyond;

W.  whereas persons with disabilities are still not fully participating in society and enjoying their rights; whereas in accordance with Article 29 of the CRPD the participation of persons with disabilities can be achieved only if they are included in political and public life, where they are often underrepresented;

X.  whereas the Strategy has not been adapted to emerging policy areas, such that it has not been aligned with either the Agenda 2030, which the EU and all its Member States are committed to implementing, or with the European Pillar of Social Rights;

Y.  whereas during the COVID-19 crisis, persons with disabilities have experienced serious challenges and rights violations, such as disruptions in personal assistance, care and support services, unequal access to and/or complete exclusion from health-related information and healthcare, including urgent care, lack of general, public safety-related information presented in a clear and simple manner, including in accessible, barrier-free and usable formats, lack of precautionary measures in residential institutions, unequal access to the alternatives offered by educational institutions, namely distance and online learning, and an increase in instances of domestic violence; whereas there is a possibility that the pandemic and the above challenges could resurge in the coming months;

Z.  whereas the Strategy does not cover all the provisions of the CRPD;

AA.  whereas the Commission to date has not undertaken a cross-cutting, comprehensive review of its legislation in order to ensure full harmonisation with the provisions of the CRPD;

AB.  whereas the Strategy has achieved limited progress;

AC.  whereas there has been a lack of mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities in a large number of EU policy areas;

AD.  whereas there continues to be new and revised legislation without any reference to the CRPD and accessibility; whereas accessibility is a prerequisite for independent living and participation; whereas the EU, as a party to the CRPD, has the duty to ensure the close involvement and active participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in the development and implementation of legislation and policies, while respecting diverse concepts of disability;

AE.  whereas it is imperative for persons with disabilities to have full and equal access to the labour market, which continues to be problematic given the current employment rate, standing at 50,6 % (53,3 % for men and 48,3 % for women with disabilities), compared with 74,8 % among persons without disabilities(29), and the unemployment rate of persons aged 20-64 with disabilities, standing at 17 %, compared to 10 % of people without disabilities, thus preventing many persons with disabilities from living an independent and active life; whereas a considerable proportion of the 4 million people experiencing homelessness every year have disabilities; whereas the data varies considerably between different types of disabilities and support needs;

AF.  whereas employers must be supported and encouraged to ensure that persons with disabilities are empowered all the way from education to employment; whereas to this end, the awareness‑raising of employers is one way to combat discrimination in the hiring of persons with disabilities;

AG.  whereas measures in the workplace are crucial for promoting positive mental health, preventing mental ill-health and psychosocial disabilities;

AH.  whereas actions aimed at tackling the challenges of demographic change need to include adequate measures for keeping persons with disabilities active and in the labour market; whereas this not only includes prevention measures regarding occupational safety and health in the workplace, but also measures focusing on rehabilitation and participation following sickness or accident;

AI.  whereas participation can be fully achieved only if a large range of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations are included and all types of stakeholders are meaningfully consulted, respecting diverse concepts of disability;

1.  Acknowledges the progress made in the implementation of the CRPD, brought about by the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020; calls on the Commission to build upon what has been achieved by upscaling its commitment to the rights of persons with disabilities through an ambitious post-2020 European Disability Strategy (post-2020 Strategy);

2.  Recalls that in its concluding observations the CRPD Committee, in its critically noted that the austerity measures adopted by the EU and its Member States had worsened the standard of living of persons with disabilities, leading to higher poverty and social exclusion levels and cuts in social services and support to families and community-based services;

3.  Recalls that the CRPD Committee has expressed its deep concern over the precarious situation of persons with disabilities in the current migration crisis in the EU, in particular because refugees, migrants and asylum seekers with disabilities are detained in the EU in conditions that do not provide appropriate support and reasonable adjustments; calls, therefore, on the Commission to rectify the situation by issuing guidelines to its agencies and Member States that declare that the restrictive detention of persons with disabilities in the context of migration and asylum seeking is not in line with the CRPD;

4.  Is particularly concerned about young people with disabilities and those who have been unemployed for a longer period of time; calls on the Member States to work towards including them in the labour market as a matter of priority, for example as part of the Youth Guarantee programme;

5.  Calls on the Commission to put forward a comprehensive, ambitious and long-term post-2020 European Disability Strategy, which:

   a) includes clearly designated priority areas that cover all the provisions of the CRPD and reflect the general comments of the CRPD Committee, including definitions of key terms, in particular a common definition at the EU level of ‘disability’, in all areas of EU policy and that address the Concluding Observations of the CRPD Committee to the EU adopted in 2015;
   b) contains ambitious, clear and measurable targets, including a list of planned actions with clear time frames and allocated resources in the following areas: equality, participation, free movement and independent living, accessibility, employment and training, education and culture, poverty and social exclusion, external action, freedom from violence and abuse, mainstreaming disability and awareness raising;
   c) contains set implementation timeframes and timelines;
   d) reflects the diversity of persons with disabilities and their needs including through targeted actions;
   e) mainstreams the rights of all persons with disabilities into all policies and all areas;
   f) recognises and addresses the multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination that persons with disabilities face;
   g) includes a child-sensitive approach;
   h) safeguards gender mainstreaming;
   i) is aimed at adult people with disabilities and gives special attention to those with intellectual disabilities and their future after the death of their carer;
   j) is backed by an adequate and sufficiently-resourced monitoring mechanism with clear benchmarks and indicators;
   k) facilitates connections between different policy areas at EU level, and the strategy’s adaptability to emerging policy areas and challenges beyond the provisions of the CRPD, such as digitalisation and new technologies, automation and Artificial Intelligence;
   l) is consistent with other EU initiatives and strategies and integrates the follow-up to the Europe 2020 Strategy and initiatives under the European Pillar of Social Rights and the roadmap for a Social Europe;
   m) allocates an adequate budget for the implementation and monitoring of the post-2020 Strategy, including the allocation of an adequate budget for the EU CRPD Framework, which promotes, protects and monitors the implementation of the CRPD in matters of EU competences (i.e. in EU legislation and policies and in EU public administration);
   n) promotes collaboration with authorities, businesses, social partners and civil society at European, national, regional and local level in order to ensure the proper implementation of the post-2020 Strategy;
   o) mainstreams equal access to services for persons with disabilities, including access to health care, education and employment, public transport, housing, culture, sports and leisure, and other areas by eliminating the barriers to social participation, and by applying universal design principles into infrastructural and digital investments across the EU;
   p) ensures that effective promotion and support of social economy is included in the Strategy priorities;

6.  Stresses the need for consistency between the post-2020 Strategy and the frameworks aimed at people with chronic diseases, including measures on employment activation, since strategies aimed at persons with disabilities do not necessarily always address their needs;

7.  Highlights the importance of a holistic definition and application of accessibility andits value as the basis for persons with disabilities to have equal opportunities, as recognised in the CRPD, and in line with CRPD General Comment No 2, taking into account the diversity of the needs of persons with disabilities and promoting universal design as a principle of the EU;

8.  Calls on the Member States to fully implement and continuously monitor all accessibility-related legislation, including the European Accessibility Act(30), the Audiovisual Media Services Directive,, the Telecoms Package and the Web Accessibility Directive(31), and the relevant transport and passengers rights regulations; insists that monitoring should be conducted not through self-assessment but by an independent entity that includes persons with disabilities; calls, therefore, on the Commission to facilitate implementation and to establish a European Access Board to monitor the implementation of EU accessibility legislation;

9.  Calls on the Commission to use the European Accessibility Act as a basis for adopting a robust EU framework for an accessible and inclusive environment with fully accessible public spaces, services, including public transport, communication and financial services, and the built environment; calls on the Commission to strengthen passenger rights to avoid further discrimination;

10.  Calls on the Commission to revise the rules for the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in order to protect the rights of the passengers with disabilities, which focuses on the safety and the integrity of both their body and equipment when transported, and the recognition of the need for extra seats for a personal assistant or for those persons who are in a horizontal position;

11.  Recalls that the implementation of all accessibility-related obligations require sufficient funding at EU, national and local level; calls on the Commission and the Member States to boost public investment in order to secure accessibility for persons with disabilities to both the physical and digital environments;

12.  Expresses its concern over the fact that the public procurement ex ante conditionality of buying accessibly before signing a public contract is not sufficiently implemented at national level; recommends, to this end, to set up a portal, along similar lines to green public procurement containing all the accessibility guidelines;

13.  Calls on the Commission to work with CJEU on communication and accessibility strategies to ensure that for persons with disabilities can access the EU justice system;

14.  Stresses that the post-2020 Strategy should be based on a cross-cutting, comprehensive review of all EU legislation and policy in order to be fully harmonised with the provisions of the CRPD; insists that it should include a revised declaration of competences that includes all policy areas in which the EU has legislated or adopted soft law measures that have an impact on persons with disabilities, and should propose legislative proposals with implementation and monitoring measures;

15.  Calls on the Commission to ensure the inclusion of a gender-based and intersectional approach to combat the multiple forms of discrimination faced by women and girls with disabilities; insists that gender-disaggregated data should be collected in order to identify the forms of intersectional multiple discrimination that are faced by women and girls with disabilities in all areas covered by the Istanbul Convention and wherever relevant; urges the Commission to put forward a consolidated proposal within the post-2020 Strategy and to adopt effective measures to prevent and combat violence against women and children with disabilities, including sexual harassment and abuse, which target families, communities, professionals and institutions; urges the European Union, those Member States that have yet to do so, to ratify the Istanbul Convention;

16.  Calls for the post-2020 Strategy to develop an interinstitutional structure to oversee its implementation using the procedures set out in the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-making(32); stresses that disability focal points should be present in all EU institutions and agencies, with the central focal point located within the Commission’s General Secretariat; stresses that disability focal points should be supported by an appropriate interinstitutional mechanism in order to coordinate the implementation of the CRPD in EU institutions and agencies; stresses that an interinstitutional mechanism exists in order to facilitate cooperation between the Commission, Parliament and the Council, with their respective Presidents meeting at the start of each mandate; stresses in this regard that EU institutions as public administrations are to comply with the CRPD in all respects;

17.  Urges the Commission to prepare the post-2020 Strategy with the close, meaningful and systematic involvement of persons with disabilities and their representative family members and organisations, and to ensure that the Commission, together with the Member States, work closely with them in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the post-2020 Strategy, also through adequate funding and capacity building;

18.  Calls on the Commission to include a review of the Strategy every 3 years with a clearly defined role for the EU CRPD Framework and to systematically and actively involve persons with disabilities and their representative organisations (at EU and national levels) in such a review;

19.  Stresses the need to continuously monitor the implementation of the CRPD; calls for, in this context:

   a) the collection (with legally established safeguards) of robust disaggregated data, broken down by type of disability, age, gender and factors that are relevant to the monitoring of progress in the implementation of the CRPD and to addressing the barriers faced by persons with disabilities in exercising their rights;
   b) adequate resources to be allocated to the EU CRPD monitoring framework to enable it to perform its functions independently and appropriately;
   c) a flexible mechanism that can provide incentives for the optimal implementation of the CRPD, such as the Access City Awards and
   d) relevant initiatives at national level;

20.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the post-2020 Strategy will especially promote guaranteed access to employment, and vocational and professional training, inclusive education, affordable quality healthcare services, digital services, and sport activities for persons with disabilities, including by ensuring that reasonable accommodation is provided in the workplace, and that persons with disabilities are paid at the same level as employees without disabilities, and avoiding and preventing that any other ways of discrimination will be possible; calls on the Member States to further develop and/or better implement measures that promote the participation of people with disabilities in the labour market and to recognise persons with disabilities working in sheltered workshops as workers under the law and to ensure that they are entitled to the same social protection as other workers; calls on the Commission to encourage the development of quality frameworks for traineeships and to encourage and develop training opportunities through apprenticeships for people with disabilities; calls on the Commission to include best practices in future reports to enable employers to implement disability legislation effectively; calls on the Commission to recognise, promote and protect inclusive enterprises to create permanentl employment for people with disabilities in the labour market; stresses the potential of social economy enterprises and organisations to facilitate labour market inclusion for persons with disabilities; calls on the Commission to provide targeted support from the European Social Fund for the social economy;

21.  Stresses that it is fundamental to ensure a high level of services and assistance to persons with disabilities; considers, therefore, it necessary to define minimum standards at EU level in order to guarantee that all the needs of persons with disabilities are met;

22.  Calls on the Commission to revise the directive on cross-border health care to bring it in line with the CRPD in order to guarantee access to affordable and quality cross-border healthcare for persons with disabilities;

23.  Calls on the Member States to ensure access for persons with disabilities to health services that are gender-sensitive, including health-related rehabilitation and, when applicable, long-term care;

24.  Considers that women and girls with disabilities must have full access to medical care that meets their particular needs, including gynaecological consultations, medical examinations, family planning, and adapted support during pregnancy; urges the EU to take these services into account when implementing the post-2020 Strategy;

25.  Stresses that deafblind persons need additional care provided by professionals with specialist and qualified knowledge as well as deafblind interpreters; calls on the Member States to recognise the red-white cane as the symbol of the deafblind pedestrian in order to make deafblind people more visible in traffic;

26.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that persons deprived of their legal capacity can exercise all the rights enshrined in European Union treaties and legislation;

27.  Notes with regret that current European policies on the rights of the child do not sufficiently include a comprehensive rights-based strategy for boys and girls with disabilities, nor do they contain safeguards to protect their rights, and that the disability strategies do not sufficiently address or mainstream them;

28.  Calls on the Commission to improve access to essential services and social rights for vulnerable children (specifically, healthcare, education, early childhood education and care, nutrition and housing);

29.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to make the EU a leader in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities and to promote the ratification of the CRPD worldwide; calls on the Commission expert Task Force for Equality under the supervision of the Commissioner for Equality to systematically mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities in all the relevant EU laws, decisions, policies and programmes; urges the full integration of the disability-rights perspective in all aspects of the European Pillar of Social Rights, in the Gender Equality Strategy, with special focus on the fight against violence, in the Erasmus+ and Youth Guarantee, the Just Transition Mechanism, the Child Guarantee, the forthcoming Green paper on Ageing, in the European Semester and in the EU foreign policy, and stresses the need for a Disability Rights Guarantee to assist persons with disabilities into employment, traineeships, job placements and further education; reminds the Commission to also monitor this inside the EU institutions;

30.  Calls on the Commission to prepare an evaluation of the challenges and rights violations experienced by persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, the measures adopted by Member States in response to the pandemic, and the gaps and shortcomings in legislation; calls on the Commission to propose relevant and specific recovery and mitigation measures in the Post-2020 Disability Strategy to overcome such shortcomings and to prevent them in the future; recalls that such measures must be developed on the basis of consultations with persons with disabilities and the family members or organisations representing them, as well as the European Parliament’s CRPD network;

31.  Calls on the Commission’s expert Task Force to set up and maintain systematic consultations with persons with disabilities and their representative organisations;

32.  Stresses that the right to live independently and to be included in the community is integral to the realisation of many of the other rights enshrined in the CRPD, including equality and non-discrimination, autonomy and liberty, legal capacity and freedom of movement;

33.  Calls on the Commission to actively promote the transition from institutional and/or segregating care to community-based support, including personal assistance, and inclusive services (both mainstream and tailor-made), in all EU policy tools and initiatives; calls, further, on the Commission to ensure that overall progress in deinstitutionalisation is included as an indicator in the EU social scoreboard;

34.  Calls on the Member States to foster participation by accelerating the deinstitutionalisation process within a specific time frame and by replacing substitute decision-making by supported decision-making; calls on the Member States to ensure that deinstitutionalisation never leads to homelessness for persons with disabilities because of a lack of adequate and/or accessible housing;

35.  Calls on the Commission to adopt a strong position on the fact that the general availability of mainstream community-based services (CBS) is essential for the transition from institutional care to community living;

36.  Calls on the Commission to promote freedom of movement for persons with disabilities;

37.  Calls on the Commission to develop actions at EU level to ensure that all people with disabilities are able to exercise their freedom of movement and to enjoy freedom of movement and work abroad on an equal basis with others;

38.  Calls on the Commission to safeguard the CRPD-compliant use of EU funds and to ensure that EU funds do not contribute to the construction or refurbishment of institutional care settings or any other kind of settings that could easily turn into an institution, or to projects that do not meaningfully involve persons with disabilities, their representative family members and organisations, and are not invested in structures that are inaccessible to persons with disabilities;

39.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that EU funds do not contribute to unethical research, involuntary sterilisation or the violation of reproduction rights of persons with disabilities;

40.  Calls on the Commission to recognise that persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities are particularly vulnerable to experimental approaches and treatments, which do not have a robust scientific evidence base and can cause significant harm;

41.  Insists that EU funds should aim to promote inclusive, accessible environments, services, practices and devices, following a universal design approach and favouring deinstitutionalisation, including strong support for personal assistance and independent living; calls on the Commission to promote initiatives that ensure that the support services financed by EU funds meet the needs of persons with disabilities; stresses that funds should actively be invested in research to develop better and more affordable assistive technology for persons with disabilities; calls for active outreach to persons with disabilities, their representative family members and organisations in all EU-funded programmes;

42.  Calls on the European Court of Auditors to examine whether EU-funded opportunities reach persons with disabilities;

43.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that all projects and infrastructure supported by EU funds in third countries are accessible for the inclusion of persons with disabilities and that EU funds invest in the implementation and monitoring of the CRPD and capacity building of organisations of persons with disabilities;

44.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the EU’s strategy and Member State actions are fully aligned with the SDGs and the United Nations 2030 Agenda, as a major global framework for action for action for sustainability, equality and inclusion, including disability as a horizontal issue in SDGs 4, 8, 10,11 and 17;

45.  Calls on the Commission to be a leader in disability-inclusive implementation of the SDGs in its external action, independent of a new European disability strategy, by adopting a clear, transparent and inclusive roadmap to achieving the goals;

46.  Welcomes the recently adopted directive on work-life balance for parents and carers and, in particular, the introduction of a carers’ leave of five working days per year; calls on the Member States to implement the directive swiftly and encourages them to go beyond the minimum requirements set out therein, including by establishing the right to paid paternity, parental and carers’ leave; encourages the Member States to introduce arrangements for carers’ leave, paternity leave, parental leave and flexible working arrangements that are adapted to the specific needs of parents in particularly disadvantaged situations, such as those parents with disabilities or parents of children with disabilities or long-term illnesses; calls on all Member States to ensure sufficient support, both financial and professional, for people taking care of their family members with disabilities who live in the same home; stresses that the fact that they have to take care of their relatives often has a negative impact on their family and professional life and can lead to exclusion and discrimination;

47.  Calls on the Commission to create mechanisms to coordinate the portability and adaptability of benefits and services for persons with disabilities between the Member States and to expand the pilot project of the EU Disability Card to all Member States, extending it beyond culture and sport and to ensure that the EU parking card for people with disabilities is fully observed in all Member States; stresses that such measures are crucial to ensure that persons with disabilities across the EU can access disability support without the need for separate assessments in each Member State; calls on the Member States to incorporate into their legislation the recognition of specific disabilities in order to address and cover their specific needs (e.g. deafblindness);

48.  Calls on the Commission to promote the structural involvement of persons with disabilities and their representative family members and organisations in all decision‑making phases, both at national and EU level, and to fund capacity building for organisations of persons with disabilities to enable them to participate in a structural way in all decisions that concern them; calls on the Commission to develop initiatives that promote self-advocacy and the political participation of persons with disabilities, and calls on the Member States to enhance national initiatives in this regard;

49.  Calls on the Commission to promote the better coordination of support services between the Member States and the setting‑up of contact points in all Member States so as to inform EU citizens with disabilities about their social rights and the support services they can receive;

50.  Calls on the Commission to create, in cooperation with the private sector, one portal that contains all the instruments aimed at providing optimal social participation for persons with disabilities;

51.  Recalls the right of persons with disabilities to an adequate standard of living and social protection, in particular to financial assistance and respite care; calls on the Commission to ensure that the 2030 European Disability Strategy includes specific actions to promote inclusive social protection systems across the EU, which would guarantee access to benefits and services to people with disabilities across the life cycle; calls on the Member States to set a social protection floor for persons with disabilities that would guarantee their adequate standard of living;

52.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to build on the Council recommendation on access to social protection(33) and the proposal for a regulation on the Coordination of social security systems (COM(2016)0815), to enable all EU citizens to access social support services across the EU, in line with a recommendation from the CRPD Committee;

53.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to develop a comprehensive campaign that involves persons with disabilities, their representative family members and organisations, which is available in accessible formats, including an easy-to-read version, and national sign languages in order to raise awareness of the CRPD, the rights and needs of persons with disabilities and the barriers they face among persons with disabilities, duty-bearers and society in general; calls on the Commision and Memeber States to promote, coordinate and create educational material that can be used in the Member States in order to promote positive attitudes about persons with disabilities and to improve their inclusion;

54.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to fund training for and by persons with disabilities, their organisations, trade unions, employers federations, equality bodies, civil servants on the principle of non-discrimination, including multiple and intersectional discrimination and reasonable accommodation;

55.  Calls on all Member States to support and raise the profile of social work (i.e. social workers and people being active in social services);

56.  Calls on the Commission to create a clear mechanism of responsibility, control and sanctions for the strategies;

57.  Calls on all Member States to urgently tackle the issue of homelessness by adopting long-term, housing-led, integrated homelessness strategies at national, regional and local level and to recognise the particular risks experienced by people with disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum;

58.  Calls on the Member States to affirm their commitment to promoting, protecting and ensuring the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, including the right to free movement and residence and the right to vote in elections, in line with Article 12 of the CRPD, and to ensure respect for their inherent dignity by implementing and closely monitoring the implementation of the post-2020 strategy with meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities and their representative family members or organisations, in cooperation with authorities, social partners and civil society at EU, national, regional and local level and to allocate adequate and sufficient human and financial resources to its implementation;

59.  Calls on all Member States to develop their own national disability strategies for promoting disability equality mainstreaming and address the implementation of the CRPD;

60.  Calls on the Member States to develop national strategies taking into account best practices from other Member States to ensure correct implementation of the CRPD;

61.  Calls on the European Union and all Member States to ratify the Optional Protocol to the CRPD;

62.  Calls on all Member States to report on the implementation of the European Disability Strategy;

63.  Calls on Member States to report on the follow‑up of the national recommendations made by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, after their evaluation of the implementation of the CRPD;

64.  Stresses the importance of reaching an agreement as soon as possible; calls on the Council to break the deadlock in order to move towards a pragmatic solution and to speed up without further delay the adoption of the EU horizontal anti-discrimination directive tabled by the Commission in 2008 and subsequently approved by Parliament; considers it a precondition to secure a consolidated and consistent EU legal framework that protects people against discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief, disability, age and sexual orientation outside of employment; notes that no undue restriction of the scope of the directive should be accepted; considers that consolidating the EU legislative framework on tackling hate crime is also a crucial element, since similar crimes are also prevalent in the work environment;

65.  Recommends that the EU structurally integrate the European Disability Strategy within the European Semester process;

66.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and candidate countries, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Court of Auditors, the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee, for distribution to subnational parliaments and councils, the Council of Europe, and the United Nations.

(1) OJ L 23, 27.1.2010, p. 35.
(2) OJ C 340, 15.12.2010, p. 11.
(3) OJ L 151, 7.6.2019, p. 70.
(4) OJ L 327, 2.12.2016, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 303, 28.11.2018, p. 69.
(6) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(7) OJ C 204, 13.6.2018, p. 179.
(8) OJ L 321, 17.12.2018, p. 36.
(9) OJ C 137 E, 27.5.2010, p. 68.
(10) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0032.
(11) OJ C 356, 4.10.2018, p. 110.
(12) OJ C 101, 16.3.2018, p. 138.
(13) OJ C 353, 27.9.2016, p. 41.
(14) OJ C 131 E, 8.5.2013, p. 9.
(15) OJ C 212 E, 5.8.2010, p. 23.
(16) OJ C 187, 18.7.1988, p. 236.
(17) OJ C 379, 7.12.1998, p. 66.
(18) OJ C 224, 27.6.2018, p. 68.
(19) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 320.
(20) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 289.
(21) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 470.
(22) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 487.
(23) This number includes 99 million people according to the EU-SILC survey of 2016 and 1 million people estimated to be segregated in residential institutions and therefore not represented in the survey.
(24) Judgments of 11 April 2013 in Joined Cases C‑335/11 and C‑337/11, paragraphs 29 30; of 18 March 2014 in Case C‑363/12, paragraph 73; and of 22 May 2014 in Case C-356/12.
(25) https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=Functional_and_activity_limitations_statistics
(26) Eurofound (2019), How to respond to chronic health problems in the workplace? Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.
(27) https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/DDN-20191029-2
(28) Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU (OJ L 188, 12.7.2019, p. 79).
(29) Commission proposal of 17 December 2019 for a Joint Employment Report from the Commission and the Council (COM(2019)0653).
(30) OJ L 151, 7.6.2019, p. 70.
(31) OJ L 327, 2.12.2016, p. 1.
(32) OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
(33) OJ C 387, 15.11.2019, p. 1.


Amending Regulations (EU) No 575/2013 and (EU) 2019/876 as regards adjustments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic ***I
PDF 129kWORD 54k
Resolution
Text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 18 June 2020 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulations (EU) No 575/2013 and (EU) 2019/876 as regards adjustments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (COM(2020)0310 – C9-0122/2020 – 2020/0066(COD))
P9_TA(2020)0157A9-0113/2020

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2020)0310),

–  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 (C9‑0122/2020),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Central Bank of 20 May 2020(1),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 10 June 2020(2),

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 10 June 2020 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 (A9-0113/2020),

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 18 June 2020 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2020/… of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulations (EU) No 575/2013 and (EU) 2019/876 as regards certain adjustments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

P9_TC1-COD(2020)0066


(As an agreement was reached between Parliament and Council, Parliament's position corresponds to the final legislative act, Regulation (EU) 2020/873.)

(1) OJ C 180, 29.5.2020, p. 4.
(2) Not yet published in the Official Journal.


Competition policy - annual report 2019
PDF 200kWORD 72k
European Parliament resolution of 18 June 2020 on competition policy – annual report 2019 (2019/2131(INI))
P9_TA(2020)0158A9-0022/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Article 101 to Article 109 thereof,

–  having regard to the relevant Commission rules, guidelines, resolutions, public consultations, communications and papers on the subject of competition,

–  having regard to the Commission report of 15 July 2019 on Competition Policy 2018 (COM(2019)0339) and to the Commission staff working document published as a supporting document on the same date,

–  having regard to its resolution of 31 January 2019 on the Annual Report on EU Competition Policy(1),

–  having regard to the mission letter of 10 September 2019 from President-elect Ursula von der Leyen to Margrethe Vestager,

–  having regard to the written and oral replies given by Commissioner-designate Margrethe Vestager at the hearing by the European Parliament on 8 October 2019,

–  having regard to the Commission Communication - Commission Notice on the recovery of unlawful and incompatible State aid(2) ,

—  having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/1 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 to empower the competition authorities of the Member States to be more effective enforcers and to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market(3),

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/1150 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediations services(4);

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 11 December 2019 on the Commission report of 15 July 2019 on Competition Policy 2018,

—  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 5 December 2019 on the Commission report of 15 July 2019 on Competition Policy 2018,

—  having regard to the report of 4 April 2019 entitled ‘Competition policy for the digital era’ by high-level experts from the Commission,

—  having regard to the Preliminary Opinion of 26 March 2014 from the European Data Protection Supervisor on ‘Privacy and competitiveness in the age of big data: The interplay between data protection, competition law and consumer protection in the Digital Economy’ and the Opinion 8/2016 of 23 September 2016 from the European Data Protection Opinion on ‘Coherent enforcement of fundamental rights in the age of big data’,

—  having regard to the Statement of 29 August 2018 from the European Data Protection Board on the data protection impacts of economic concentration,

—  having regard to the letter of 4 February 2020 sent to Commissioner Margrethe Vestager by the economic and finance ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Poland, as well as the joint contribution of Austria, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden drafted in preparation for the upcoming March 2020 European Council,

—  having regard to the proposal of 4 July 2019 by France, Germany and Poland entitled ‘For a modernised European Competition Policy’,

—  having regard to the 2019 report by the European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC) on ‘The Role of Competition Policy in Protecting Consumers’ Wellbeing in the Digital Era’,

—  having regard to the Commission's decision of 7 January 2019 to prolong seven sets of EU State aid rules (State aid modernisation initiative for 2014-2020) until the end of 2022 and to launch evaluations in the meantime,

—  having regard to the Council conclusions of 22 March and 27 May 2019,

—  having regard to the statement of 18 December 2018 issued by 18 Member States at the 6th Friends of Industry ministerial meeting,

—  having regard to the report from report of the Strategic Forum for Important Projects of Common European Interest entitled ‘Strengthening strategic value chains for a future-ready EU industry’,

—  having regard to the ongoing revision of the guidelines on horizontal cooperation,

—  having regard to the public consultation on horizontal block exemption regulations,

—  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 19 June 2019 entitled ‘Towards an appropriate European legal framework for social economy enterprises’,

–  having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinions of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development,

–  having regard to the letter from the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (A9-0022/2020),

A.  whereas competition and effective enforcement of competition policy must benefit all EU citizens, especially those in a weak consumer position, while promoting innovation and fair competition among businesses operating in the single market, in particular by ensuring that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have the opportunity to compete on a fair basis;

B.  whereas competition policy must be adapted to tackle digital, ecological, geopolitical, industrial and social challenges, and must be in line with the priorities outlined in the European Green Deal and the objectives of the Paris Agreement, in order to ensure a level playing field in all sectors as a cornerstone of the EU social market economy, while taking into account social economy enterprises;

C.  whereas global cooperation on competition enforcement helps to avoid inconsistencies in remedies and in outcomes of enforcement actions and helps businesses to reduce their compliance costs;

D.  whereas in fast-moving digital markets, competition policy could in some cases be excessively slow and therefore be at risk of being ineffective when it comes to remedying systemic market failures and reinstating competition; whereas complementary ex-ante regulation and monitoring could prove beneficial to ensure more effective oversight;

E.  whereas European competition authorities should be equally attentive in order to avoid under-enforcement in digital markets, as the latter are wary of over-enforcement;

F.  whereas the primary objective of EU competition policy is to prevent the distortion of competition in order to preserve the integrity of the internal market and to protect consumers;

G.  whereas given that recent data scandals, investigations and evidence have shown how personal data is being collected, used and sold to third parties by platforms and how dominant techology players and platforms have been tracking consumers online systematically;

The role of competition policy in globalised markets

1.  Points out that, in a globalised world, international cooperation is crucial to ensure effective competition enforcement; calls on the Commission to further develop the influence of EU competition policy in the world, in particular by continuing pertinent dialogue and stepping up cooperation with the USA, China, Japan and other third countries, where possible, via second-generation cooperation agreements that allow for a more effective exchange of information between competition authorities; supports the active participation of the Commission and the national competition authorities in the International Competition Network; encourages the Commission to seek at all times the inclusion of competition rules (covering also State aid) in EU free trade agreements (FTAs) and in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in order to ensure mutual respect for fair competition; notes with regret the negative effect on the Commission of the paralysis within the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body;

2.  Calls on the Commission to develop tools to facilitate better monitoring of foreign direct investment (FDI) in all Member States, to ensure a rapid implementation of the screening mechanism for FDIs and to propose a tool to strengthen the current mechanism, while ensuring that the European Union remains open and attractive for FDI; draws the Commission’s attention to the fact that companies in third countries benefit from favourable treatment in their home market, which may distort competition when investing in the single market;

3.  Calls on the Commission to ensure reciprocity with third countries in public procurement, State aid and in investment policy including taking into account social and environmental dumping; recalls the need to open up public procurement markets in third countries to which access does not yet exist; urges the Commission to work towards the accession of key third countries, such as China, to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement with an acceptable initial offer; stresses that any instrument aimed at improving international market opening, such as the EU’s International Procurement Instrument that are to be finalised by 2021 must avoid additional bureaucracy and new market distortions that have adverse effects on EU companies;

4.  Calls on the Commission to guarantee fair competition between the European Union and the United Kingdom following its departure from the EU in order to ensure a level playing field and avoid dumping;

5.  Fully supports the implementation of Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) such as the European Battery Alliance; calls on the Commission to further promote major IPCEIs in disruptive technologies, to simplify the relevant provisions and to streamline its requirements so that smaller industrial research projects are also approved;

6.   Recalls the need for the Commission to apply State aid control equally to EU and non-EU operators to avoid asymmetries with foreign competitors and pay increased attention to foreign-based state-owned companies that are subsidised by their governments in ways that the EU single market rules prohibit for EU entities; invites the Commission to look at the recent proposal of the Dutch Government and investigate the option to add a pillar to EU competition law that gives the Commission appropriate investigative tools in cases where a company is deemed to have engaged in distortionary behaviour due to government subsidies or to have made excessive profits based on a dominant market position in its home country (e.g. by introducing state-aid checks on companies from third countries in EU public procurement rules);

7.  Reiterates its request for the Commission to examine whether possible distortions of competition arise from the corporate support purchase programme, especially between SMEs and multinational corporations;

8.  Calls on the Commission to adopt a more favourable approach for strong EU industrial policy to ensure and maintain high competitiveness in global markets; stresses that the Commission and the Member States should promote and support EU projects of strategic interest and remove barriers and obstacles to enable the emergence of innovative EU leaders in specific priority sectors for the EU, while respecting the independent application of competition rules that safeguard a level playing field; clarifies that this approach should not be to the detriment of SMEs and consumers interests, should focus on the transition towards a more sustainable economy and a competitive EU data industry and digital infrastructure, such as the development of 5G;

9.   Calls on the Commission to seize the opportunity of the revision of the guidelines on horizontal cooperation agreements to create a more flexible framework and increase legal certainty for companies; calls on the Commission to communicate more timely and efficiently to the holders of cooperation projects of a certain magnitude, and allow for the possibility of asking new questions as part of a voluntary fast-track notification procedure;

10.  Welcomes the Commission’s commitment set out in its notice of 9 December 1997(5) to review its definition of the relevant market so as to take into account a longer-term vision encompassing the global dimension, digitalisation and potential future competition; invites the Commission to continue to rely on sound economic and legal principles in its investigations, by following proportionality principles and due process, when looking into new types of markets;

11.  Emphasises that an international level playing field in a rules-based multilateral trading system safeguarding states’ policy-making scope is key for Europe, including European companies and in particular SMEs, as well as for workers and consumers; considers that it contributes to boosting sustainable economic development, ensuring a stable and predictable environment, pursuing enhanced competitiveness and reciprocity, securing and creating decent jobs in the EU and third countries, and ensuring high labour and environmental standards, since an increasing number of jobs are dependent on global value chains; stresses in this regard the importance of increased transparency, sustainability and corporate accountability in global value chains, and calls on the EU to consider, among other measures, establishing a legal framework for mandatory due diligence in global value chains as a necessary step for achieving this;

12.  Invites the Commission, in the light of the growing debate, to reconcile the EU competition rules, industrial policy and international trade, which must go hand in hand with sustainability and respect for the environment; underlines the specific need for research funding as the basis of innovation and development for European businesses and as a key element for boosting trade and competitiveness;

13.  Underlines that SMEs play a vital role in international trade, accounting for an estimated 30 % of the EU’s goods exports to the rest of the world(6); considers that the internal market continues to be, by far, the most important market for SMEs; recalls that, in order to help SMEs cope with the greater challenges of entering new markets and enable them to compete on their own merits, EU trade and competition policy should contribute to economic diversity and an SME-friendly trade environment, and that this should include considering modernising the EU’s definition of SMEs, in particular by adding qualitative criteria;

14.  Fully supports the Commission’s efforts in the context of the ongoing reform of the WTO, including its Appellate Body, to update and make effectively enforceable the multilateral rules on subsidies or sectoral initiatives in order to adequately address the issue of subsidies at international level, with particular reference to industrial subsidies, state-owned enterprises and forced technology transfers, and to act to counter non-market-oriented policies and practices of third countries; calls on the Commission to fully involve Parliament and the Member States in this area;

15.  Stresses that effective enforcement of the sustainable development provisions of trade agreements is important for ensuring fair competition and environmental and social standards; welcomes, in this perspective, the introduction of environmental and social criteria in the reform of anti-subsidy and anti-dumping measures; considers that the possible inclusion of precise, justiciable International Law Organisation (ILO) core standards under WTO law could also be explored in the context of the ongoing WTO reform and in order to contribute to a global level playing field;

16.  Welcomes, in this context, the ongoing plurilateral WTO negotiations on e-commerce, and calls for a comprehensive and ambitious set of rules that will address digital trade barriers, ensure that companies can compete worldwide in a level playing field, and enhance consumer trust in the online environment without detriment to European data protection standards; emphasises that the EU should take a leading role in these international negotiations, with close consultations that involve the European Parliament, Member States and stakeholders, including civil society;

17.  Considers that access to the EU internal market is to be contingent on compliance with sanitary, phytosanitary and environmental standards; calls on the Commission to ensure the EU trade and competition policy doesn’t undermine the respect of EU social and ecological standards or undermine the development of more ambition standards;

18.  Calls on the Commission to properly analyse and study the public procurement markets of the third countries with which it has or is negotiating a free trade agreement, in order to negotiate the best access conditions for European companies;

19.  Calls on the Commission to coordinate the necessary action by the Directorates-General involved – DG Trade and DG Competition – to ensure that the competition rules and their implementation guarantee fair competition for European companies in third-country markets, and vice versa;

20.  Calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to the role of international standard-setting for fair competition; insists that the EU should strengthen its multilateral approach to standard-setting, in particular in the context of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC); warns against the nationalisation of standard-setting approaches, particularly in the context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and other connectivity-enhancing strategies; calls on the Commission to establish a high-level coordinator for standardisation policy in this context;

21.  Highlights the importance of incorporating a gender-based perspective both at multilateral and bilateral level, including gender chapters in trade agreements and designing gender-sensitive measures (e.g. ensuring that both ex ante and ex post impact assessments include the gender impact of EU trade policy and agreements), in order to boost competition and promote inclusive economic growth;

Adapting competition to the digital age

22.  Calls on the Commission to review merger and acquisition rules and strengthen antitrust action and to take into account the effects of market and network power associated with both personal and financial data; calls, in particular, on the Commission to adjudge the control of such data as a proxy for the existence of market power under its guidance on Article 102 of the TFEU; invites the Commission to learn from the merger between Facebook and WhatsApp and adapt its criteria accordingly; proposes, therefore, that every merger in the market for such data should be subject to prior informal declaration;

23.  Calls on the Commission to review the notion of ‘abuse of a dominant position’ and the ‘essential facilities’ doctrine to ensure that they are fit for purpose in the digital age; suggests a broader analysis of market power in connection to conglomerate and gatekeeper effects to fight the abuse of dominance of large operators and lack of interoperability; calls on the Commission to carry out a stakeholder consultation to reflect the evolution of the digital economy, including its multi-sided nature;

24.  Calls on the Commission to consider revising the thresholds for a merger review in order to include factors such as the number of consumers affected and the value of the related transactions as part of its ongoing evaluation of the Merger Regulation(7);

25.  Calls on the Commission to assess higher levels of concentration due to horizontal ownership by large asset management companies in its ongoing evaluation of the Merger Regulation and consider providing guidelines on the use of Article 101 and Article 102 of the TFEU in this respect;

26.  Notes that in several specific markets for financial data (e.g. equity trading, ratings and benchmarks), oligopolistic concentration may lead to cases of abuse of dominant positions by suppliers with investors and consumers of financial data; calls on the Commission to take resolute action against such abuses of dominant positions, which are harmful to the fluidity of financial markets and run counter to the interests of sustainable development;

27.  Stresses that, while a number of start-ups are created in the hope of an acquisition by a larger firm, the buying-out of start-ups by dominant players, including big technology companies and platforms, might stifle innovation and threaten sovereignty; calls on the Commission and the national competition authorities to look into the practices of such acquisitions and their effects on competition, especially with regard to ‘killer acquisitions’, as defined in its high-level expert report of 4 April 2019 entitled ‘Competition policy for the digital era’; calls on the Commission to conduct a study on the reversal of burden of proof as per the Act on Digitalisation of German Competition Law (‘GWB-Digitalisierungsgesetz’) published in October 2019;

28.  Asks the Commission to assess how more demanding regimes of data access, including data interoperability, can be imposed in particular when data access opens up secondary markets for complementary services or when data is confined to dominant firms;

29.  Stresses that some entities, which benefit from dual status as both platforms and suppliers, abuse their position to impose unfair terms and conditions on competitors, independently of whether they are active online or offline; calls on the Commission to look into the issue of self-preferencing and enforce the necessary laws and use the instruments required on those entities that practice self-preferencing; calls on the Commission to assess the possibility of imposing ex ante regulatory obligations where competition law is not enough to ensure contestability in these markets, therefore avoiding competitors’ foreclosure and ensuring that emerging bottlenecks are not perpetuated by the monopolisation of future innovation;

30.  Notes that the Commission is reflecting on the need for targeted ex ante regulation on specific systemic issues that may arise in digital markets; calls, therefore, on the Commission to introduce a centralised ex ante market monitoring system (while taking into account the results of an impact assessment), to provide EU and national competition and regulatory authorities with the necessary means to gather data anonymously so as to be able to better detect market failures in due time, and – where appropriate – to introduce targeted regulation when practices become systemic;

31.  Invites, therefore, the Commission to identify the key digital players and establish a set of indicators to define their systemic nature; stresses that the following indicators could be considered: abuse of practices of certain extensive networks, control of a significant volume of non-replicable data, an unavoidable situation on a multifaceted market or the player’s ability to define market rules themselves;

32.  Draws the Commission’s attention to acquisitions carried out by foreign monopolies of digital data operators, including health, financial and educational data, and to the privacy risks involved, which extend far beyond the already damaging effects of transactions of this kind on competition; calls on the Commission to take those aspects into account regarding the upcoming European strategy for data and to investigate the cross-usage of data, where data originating from one service is used to expand the platforms’ offering to new services;

33.  Welcomes the Commission’s European data strategy presented on 19 February 2020, the aim of which is to enhance the use of data to benefit consumers and businesses; supports the Commission’s intention to legislate on data use and access; underlines the importance of protecting consumers’ personal data and how it is shared in order to increase consumer safety and trust; stresses that consumers must be reassured that their data remains secure, and that cooperation across the board on data security therefore needs to be prioritised; emphasises that a clause on not selling personal data to third parties without the consent of the data subject concerned should likewise form a key element of the strategy;

34.  Stresses that, while intermediation platforms play a major role in providing access to consumers for online services, some abuse their privileged position by acting as gatekeepers, including in closed ecosystems and online marketplaces; calls on the Commission to give explicit attention in its competition policy to these gatekeepers and to conclude its ongoing investigations as soon as possible;

35.  Urges the Commission to increase freedom of choice for consumers, to strengthen the role of the European Consumers Centres Network (ECC-Net) and to conduct a study on whether an EU consumers authority is needed; notes, in that context, that competition policy is not only about ensuring fair prices for consumers but also providing quality, variety and innovation;

36.  Stresses that it is in the interest of the European Union to have pan-European payment systems; calls on the Commission to support initiatives that meet this objective and to recognise that their success is contingent both on the innovative nature of the system for consumers and businesses and on the viability of its economic model;

Effectiveness of competition policy instruments

37.  Stresses that fines can have an impact on the reputation of the companies penalised; points out, nevertheless, that even when heavy fines are imposed, they often are not enough of a deterrent and may ultimately be passed on to consumers; calls on the Commission to also make use of alternative behavioural and, if need be, structural remedies in order to fully ensure the effectiveness of EU competition policy; stresses that the cease-and-desist order should be much more prescriptive in upcoming remedies;

38.  Recalls that abuse of market power can take place even when products or services are supplied for free; believes that the passing on of private data to third parties for marketing or commercial purposes is frequently done without the consumer’s proper consent, as alternatives to sharing data are often not provided; considers that in the digital economy, the concentration of data in a small number of companies leads to market failures, excessive rent extraction and a blocking of new entrants;

39.  Recalls that the online search market is of particular importance when ensuring competitive conditions in the digital single market; notes with regret that one search engine that has over 92 % of market share in the online search market in most of the Member States has become a gatekeeper of the Internet; calls for input from all stakeholders, covering the past nine years of antitrust history, to be used to urgently assess if remedies proposed truly benefit consumers, internet users and online businesses in the long term; calls on the Commission to consider a proposal aimed at unbundling search engines –as outlined in Parliament’s resolution of 27 November 2014 on supporting consumer rights in the digital single market(8) – from their commercial services in order to end the status quo, which could be a potential long-term means of achieving fair and effective competition in the European digital market;

40.  Stresses the slowness of the antitrust investigations, such as the Google Shopping case, compared to the fast-moving digital markets; stresses the damaging effect resulting from this situation and the financial and structural risks to which some actors are exposed if they initiate lengthy and costly proceedings; stresses that due process must be respected, but calls on the Commission to make use of fast-track antitrust procedures and to find new incentives, such as the leniency programme, to make companies more cooperative when it comes to tracking down cartels across the EU;

41.  Stresses the need to regularly look at the possibility of using interim measures to stop any practice that would seriously harm competition; calls on the Commission to relax the criteria for these measures, while respecting the rule of law, in order to avoid any irreversible damage; calls on the Commission to revise the Notice on Remedies(9) by taking into account the developments and evolution of the digital sector over the last years;

42.  Welcomes the Commission’s continued efforts to address abusive behaviour by large platforms; calls on the Commission to revisit cases where the remedies offered have clearly been ineffective at restoring competition to the market, as in the case of Google Shopping; stresses that, in the absence of targeted and effective behavioural remedies that have been tested in advance with the affected undertaking, a complete structural separation of general and specialised search services, including local search, may be necessary; underlines that compared with structural remedies, behavioural remedies could offer a time-efficient solution, mitigating the possibility that competitors are forced out of the market during prolonged discussions on divestiture;

43.  Points out the need for the Commission to allocate adequate resources to be able to effectively enforce EU competition rules; notes the need to ensure specific expertise, especially on growing issues such as dominant positions of online platforms or artificial intelligence;

44.  Calls on the Commission to issue guidance on the interpretation of ‘significant impediment to effective competition’, as set out in the Merger Regulation, so that in cases of mergers, the Commission does not only look at prices, output and innovation but also pays attention to the social and environmental costs of such transactions in light of TFEU principles, and to pay particular attention to environment protection;

45.  Calls on the Commission to inquire about this new checking account service that will be provided to consumers by some of the world’s biggest tech companies in forthcoming years; urges the Commission to give particular focus to their entry into this new digital financial market and the huge amount of data they will gather from their consumers and the potential use of it;

Competition rules supporting the European Green Deal

46.  Welcomes the Commission communication on the European Green Deal and the objectives set out therein to support a cost-effective transition to climate neutrality by 2050 and to phase out fossil fuels; supports the commitment to revise EU State aid guidelines by 2021 in order to reflect these objectives;

47.  Supports the Commission’s review of the State aid guidelines in all relevant sectors, such as in transport, including air and maritime, in line with the objectives of the European Green Deal by applying the just transition principle and acknowledging the complementary role of the Member States’ governments to support investments in decarbonisation and clean energy while ensuring a level playing field and that there is no market distortion; calls on the Commission to examine, in the context of the review of the Energy Taxation Directive(10), whether the current tax exemptions provide for unfair cross-sector competition conditions; calls on the Commission to examine whether the tax exemption for kerosene results in a distortion of competition that benefits the aviation sector;

48.  Calls on the Commission, as part of the upcoming revision of the Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy, to provide for greater flexibility for aid granted to citizen-generated renewable energy, in line with the EU’s climate commitments;

49.  Stresses the need for the Commission to prevent any potential negative side-effects where larger companies use public aid granted in view of ‘greening’ their business models for other objectives such as reinforcing its dominant position in a given sector;

50.  Calls on the Commission to provide further guidance and an enabling framework for further investments in energy efficiency and building renovation, as well as on repowering, hybrid projects and electricity storage;

51.  Underlines in this regard that in order for the European Green Deal to be successful, European producers of sustainable products and services need to see the advantages of it and not face unfair competition from companies in third countries;

52.  Notes that the European Green Deal must ensure policy consistency between agriculture, climate action, environment and trade;

Sectoral policies

53.  Calls on the Commission to make more systematic use of investigations in sectors that are essential to the everyday life of citizens, such as health, mobility, online advertising, energy, tourism, including monitoring price caps of online accommodation platforms, culture, financial and payment services, and the media, in the digital age, while maintaining the EU’s high standards;

54.  Calls on the Commission to take note of the presence of national monopolies and oligopolies as a potential signal of the existence of weaknesses in the single market or barriers to fair competition;

55.  Requests that the Commission carry out a preliminary study on the concentration of media ownership in Europe, also in the context of multinational corporations buying out European media providers;

56.  Reiterates that taxation is sometimes used to grant indirect State aid, creating an uneven playing field in the internal market; calls on the Commission to update its existing guidelines on the notion of State aid to ensure that the Member States do not grant State aid in the form of a tax advantage; deplores the abuse of tax rulings and welcomes the recent judgments of the General Court confirming that examination by the Commission of a tax ruling under a State aid point of view does not constitute tax harmonisation; observes that Commission rulings are often challenged in court and therefore need to be thoroughly prepared; insists that the Commission have access to the information exchanged between the Member States’ tax authorities so as to better detect violations of competition rules; calls for the adoption of the proposal on the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) and the public country-by-country reporting;

57.  Calls on the Commission to look into the possibility to fine countries found in breach of State aid rules;

58.  Calls on the Commission to examine swiftly the discrepancies between the rules on State aid in the area of liquidation aid and the resolution regime under the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive(11) (‘BRR Directive’), and to revise its Banking Communication of 30 July 2013(12) accordingly, including in light of recent cases, taking into account the need to protect taxpayers;

59.  Calls the Commission to have a close look at cases in the banking sector with potential competitive relevance in certain Member States where consumers currently face high interest rates(13) and a lack of transparency when it comes to loans, potentially due to concentration of ownership in the banking sector, which could lead to deceptive selling practices of mortgages;

60.  Calls on the Commission to re-evaluate on an annual basis whether the requirements for the application of Article 107(3)(b) of the TFEU in the financial sector continue to be fulfilled;

61.  Calls, further, on the Commission to investigate thoroughly and to propose further measures to address the quasi monopoly of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy companies auditing the largest listed companies, such as the separation of audit from consulting services, and the setting up of mandatory ‘joint audit’ to enable firms outside the Big Four to develop the capacity needed to review the biggest companies;

62.  Calls on the Commission to guarantee fair competition and greater transparency in offline platforms’ commercial practices, including supermarket and hypermarkets, so as to ensure that EU producers receive fair conditions and prices for their products; calls on the Commission to continue its in-depth analysis on the extent and effect of buying alliances, related to both pricing and non-pricing strategies, on the economic functioning of the agricultural and food supply chain, taking particular account of the effects on small-scale suppliers and farmers; regrets the fact that selling at a loss is not on the list of practices that are prohibited at EU level; highlights that the Farm to Fork strategy and EU competition law must recognise the important contribution made by primary producers in supplying high-quality food and delivering public goods to society,

63.  Calls for a clearer, more flexible and more predictable application of competition rules to producers and producer organisations (POs) so as to increase legal certainty; calls, therefore. on the Commission to assess the implementation and clarify the provisions of Single Common Organisation of the Markets (CMO) Regulation(14), in particular with regard to the exceptions to competition rules granted to certain agreements and practices of farmers in association; encourages the establishment of more POs as a way for farmers to strengthen their position and effectively negotiate on price and tackle the imbalances in power within the food supply chain;

64.  Calls on the Commission to exempt from State aid rules tax provisions specifically introduced by Member States to encourage farmers to set up voluntary precautionary savings with a view to coping better with the upsurge in climate-driven and health risks, as well as economic crises; welcomes the completion of the review of the De Minimis Regulation(15), which will help farmers to address climate challenges while preventing any market distortions; highlights the particular need for clear guidelines for the agricultural sector owing to the environmental and sustainability requirements; welcomes the ongoing fitness check of the 2012 State aid modernisation package and the ongoing revision of the Agricultural Block Exemption Regulation(16);

65.  Calls on the Commission to assess the implementation and clarify the scope of Article 209 of the Single CMO Regulation, specifically with regard to the exceptions to competition rules granted to certain agreements and practices of farmers in associations, in order to provide those concerned with greater clarity and legal certainty when this article is implemented, and to give the Commission greater flexibility in implementing this article;

66.  Recognises the role of interbranch organisations in the chain, which serve as a platform for dialogue, research and development, best practices and market transparency;

67.  Calls for the role of interbranch organisations to be strengthened in order to promote more balanced relationships in the food chain, and supports the extension of the value‑sharing clause to cover all operators rather than just the first purchaser, in line with the draft report adopted in April 2019 by Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on the new common organisation of the markets in agricultural products as part of the next reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP);

68.  Calls for an automatic express exemption from Article 101 of the TFEU to be provided under Article 210 of the Single CMO Regulation, subject to the principles of necessity and proportionality, allowing agricultural interbranch organisations to accomplish the tasks assigned to them by the Single CMO Regulation, with a view to furthering the aims of Article 39 of the TFEU;

69.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the provisions of Article 222 of the Single CMO Regulation are activated swiftly in order to address serious market distortions;

70.  Welcomes the success of the supply management measures introduced for quality cheese and ham at the request of POs, interbranch organisations and groups of operators; calls for the provisions of the Single CMO Regulation authorising the introduction of supply control rules to be extended to cover all products benefiting from a protected designation of origin (PDO) or a protected geographical indication (PGI) in order to achieve a better balance between supply and demand;

71.  Asks the Commission to engage in dialogue with all relevant stakeholders on the functioning of the agricultural and food supply chain, and to adapt EU competition policy in line with the most recent developments in the trading environment;

72.  Welcomes the adoption of Directive (EU) 2019/633 17 April 2019 on unfair trading practices in business-to-business relationships in the agricultural and food supply chain(17), which represents an important first step in ensuring fairness between operators and in addressing the imbalance of the bargaining power within the food supply chain; urges Member States to transpose the directive without delay and calls on the Commission to monitor the progress of transposition closely and to promote the sharing of best practices between Member States; encourages Member States to list further unfair practices as prohibited and set higher standards;

73.  Recalls that significant horizontal and vertical restructuring has taken place, which has led to further consolidation in the already concentrated seed, agro-chemical, fertiliser, animal genetics and farm machinery sectors, as well as in processing and retailing; calls on the Commission, when assessing mergers in these sectors, to consider impacts beyond consumer prices; stresses that the interests of EU farmers, citizens and the environment must be protected, by comprehensively and holistically assessing the impact, at farm level, of mergers and acquisitions among agricultural input suppliers, including producers of plant protection products;

74.  Considers it essential that the Commission continue its detailed monitoring of the EU market for pesticides, seeds and traits, and monitor the impact of digitalisation on the agricultural sector;

75.  Urges the Commission to set up a permanent EU-level information platform on risk management tools to help farmers cope with the uncertainty of climate, market volatility and other risks where stakeholders can exchange best practices, as set out in its communication on the future of food and farming from November 2017;

76.  Points out that large disparities in direct payments hamper sustainable farmers’ initiatives for the climate and the environment and distort competition in the EU; recalls the commitment made by the European Council on 7-8 February 2013 to harmonise payments throughout the EU by 2020;

77.  Draws attention to the growing number of farmers’ protests and notes that the cumulative impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) on the EU’s agri-food sector is one of their concerns; questions whether FTAs leave EU agri‑food producers at a competitive disadvantage, given differences in social, health, labour, environmental and animal welfare standards in third countries; therefore calls on the Commission to present, as soon as possible, its latest report on the cumulative impact of ongoing and future trade deals, and calls for the application of the principles of reciprocity and compliance for agricultural products and for the protection of vulnerable sectors in future and ongoing trade negotiations, ensuring that all necessary inspections are carried out;

78.  Welcomes the proposal for a regulation on the single market programme, and, more specifically, the food chain actions supported therein, such as veterinary and phytosanitary measures, to address animal and plant health crises; urges the Council and Parliament to swiftly conclude the negotiations and adopt the regulation;

79.  Underlines the importance of timely conclusions to the Commission’s two proposals for transition regulations, in order to avoid delays and complications that could lead to market instability;

80.  Considers it essential to keep within DG AGRI all competencies relating to the application of Articles 209 and 210 of the Single CMO Regulation and to State aid for the development of agricultural and forestry sectors and of rural areas, thereby ensuring the expertise needed to address and coordinate matters in this area, which is necessary given the specific nature of these sectors and is fully consistent with the objectives and support provided under the CAP;

81.  Calls on the Commission to continue to pay particular attention to the provision of services of general economic interest (SGEI) when applying State aid rules, especially in the context of isolated, remote or peripheral regions and islands in the Union; notes certain difficulties in applying the rules of the Almunia package for certain SGEIs, such as the postal sector, whose public service missions may, in accordance with EU law, be defined and organised at national level;

82.  Recalls the need for a roadmap for better-targeted State aid, especially for the delivery of services of general economic interest including energy, transport or telecommunications;

83.  Reiterates its call for coal regions to be identified as assisted areas so that EU aid rules can be adapted to allow the adoption of measures dealing with the necessary structural changes, pending clear commitments from the companies operating in these regions to take concrete action towards carbon neutrality and EU climate objectives; recalls that those activities traditionally part of corporate social responsibility should not be subject to a privileged State-aid treatment;

84.  Welcomes that the Commission has included in its targeted review of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER)(18) the extension of this scheme to European Territorial Cooperation projects (also called Interreg);

85.  Is concerned about asymmetric treatment of EU-funded operations depending on whether they are supported on EU side by cohesion policy resources or other EU funds or programmes such as Horizon2020/Horizon Europe or EFSI2.0/ InvestEU as proposed by the Commission in its GBER review; believes that a level playing field should be maintained for projects that are similar in nature, but different in financing sources as this would privilege certain funding schemes while crowding out others;

A better focus on citizens through Parliament

86.  Calls, without Treaty change, for regular use of the ordinary legislative procedure in competition policy, by analogy with the procedure for the Antitrust Damages Directive(19) and the ECN+ Directive;

87.  Calls on the Commission to report regularly to Parliament on the implementation and monitoring of cooperation agreements with reference to competition, on the screening of foreign direct investments; calls on the Commission to maintain high transparency standards;

88.  Stresses its desire to play a greater role in determining and developing the general framework for competition policy; notes that Parliament should be more involved in the activity of working parties and expert groups, such as the International Competition Network (ICN), as an observer to get a better knowledge of the matter and keep it updated on the developments in order to be more prepared for its role as co-legislator; calls on the Commission to particularly involve Parliament when devising soft-law instruments such as notices and guidelines;

89.  Calls on the Commission to organise multisectoral and interinstitutional forums involving industry, national regulators including data protection authorities, consumer groups and other relevant stakeholders to decompartmentalise competition policy;

90.  Stresses that the current complaint form for State aid cases requests many specific details on when the State aid had been accorded, which ordinary citizens cannot possibly know; calls. therefore, on the Commission to simplify the complaint form in order to give ordinary citizens the possibility to send in complaints;

91.  Notes with regret the lack of information provided during the Commission’s investigation of submitted complaints; calls on the Commission to give the complainant a confirmation of receipt and a notification upon the launch of the investigation, including an expectation of the length of the investigation;

92.  Recalls the importance of coordination with national competition authorities and calls on the Commission to present to Parliament an assessment of the implementation of the ECN+ Directive; recalls that in the annex of the ECN+ Directive the Commission identified ‘interim measures’ as ‘a key tool for competition authorities to ensure that competition is not harmed while an investigation is on-going’; recalls the need to assess whether there are means to simplify the adoption of interim measures in the ECN within two years from the date of transposition of the Directive in order to enable competition authorities to deal more effectively with developments in fast-moving markets;

93.  Points out that the political independence of competition authorities is of utmost importance to ensure the impartiality and credibility of competition policy; recognises that preventing distortion of competition requires public scrutiny of lobbying efforts in all EU institutions; reiterates, therefore, its calls for an enhanced EU Transparency Register; insists that there be a more regular exchange with the Commission, in line with the inter-institutional agreement with Parliament; calls on the Executive Vice-President for competition to stay in close contact with the ECON committee and with its Competition Working Group, which is an appropriate place for establishing a more regular dialogue;

94.  Recalls the commitment made by the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for Europe Fit for the Digital Age during her confirmation hearing on 8 October 2019 to keep her digital policy and competition portfolios strictly separate;

Competition policy responses to COVID-19

95.  Welcomes the prompt reaction of the Commission to adopt a Temporary Framework for State Aid support and its two amendments and the conditions it provides to help companies affected by the crisis; supports the Commission and Member States in applying the full flexibility provided by the Temporary State aid Framework during the COVID-19 crisis;

96.  Supports the application of the Temporary State Aid Framework for as long as necessary during the recovery period; calls on the Commission to evaluate in due time whether this Temporary Framework should be extended beyond the end of 2020 if necessary;

97.  Welcomes the conditions set out by the second amendment to the Temporary Framework on the recapitalisation of aid to companies especially with regards to the ban on dividend payments, share buybacks and distributions of bonuses, for banks and other companies as well as the safeguards against predatory actions on other EU firms against firms which have received State aid;

98.  Welcomes the fact that State aid granted to banks within the Temporary State Aid Framework ensures the financing of the economy and helps guarantee financial stability while operating within the strong existing legislative framework provided by the BRR Directive and resolution rules;

99.  Underlines the risk of market distortions and of generating an unlevel playing field due to increased divergences between the levels of State aid support granted by Member States; notes the Solvency Support Instrument which is part of the Next Generation EU Recovery Plan, to address the risks these divergences pose to the integrity of the single market;

100.  Welcomes the extraordinary financial means and State aid provided to support businesses and workers when countering the pandemic’s economic fallout; calls on the Commission to set common minimum standards in order to specify the requirement for companies receiving financial assistance to be in line with ESG criteria and taxation transparency, so as to avoid different national criteria giving rise to further discrepancies and to demonstrate how the public support received is used to align their operation with the EU’s climate and environmental objectives and the Paris Agreement; recalls that aid should only be granted to cover the losses incurred due to COVID-19; underlines that State aid should only be granted to companies facing the immediate effects of COVID-19 and not those that were already financially unhealthy pre-crisis; urges that companies registered in tax havens should be banned from accessing State aid or financial support packages if they do not commit to changing their behaviour;

101.  Welcomes the Commission’s communication on the Temporary Framework for assessing antitrust issues related to business cooperation in response to the current COVID-19 outbreak; underlines that the Commission issued its first comfort letter since 2003; highlights that this crisis has stressed the need for quick and effective answers in a fast-paced environment and underlines the benefits of participative antitrust and of providing legal certainty to companies when entering into business cooperation in key strategic sectors;

102.  With regard to the impact of the pandemic, highlights the need to reinforce the economic resilience of key European sectors, boosting our economic recovery through research and innovation; calls on the Commission to adopt a more dynamic approach when revising the 1997 Communication on market definition, making the innovation criteria as a core element of the relevant market analysis when it comes to European merger control; calls on the Commission to assess, as part of its fitness review, the possibility of adopting a more favourable approach towards cooperation and research and development agreements;

103.  Underlines that the pandemic has made companies vulnerable to foreign bids; notes that the COVID-19 crisis revealed shortcomings in EU supply chains and a lack of EU strategic sovereignty in areas such as medical products or food and the need to safeguard critical EU companies and assets from hostile takeovers conducted by large dominant players;

104.  Underlines that it is a matter of utmost priority to step up the EU’s efforts to forcefully counter unfair competition and hostile behaviour from foreign state owned entities (SOEs) or government linked companies (GLCs) towards vulnerable European companies, which are struggling to survive the economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic, as such behaviour aims to take control of key European technologies, infrastructure and expertise; calls on the Commission, therefore, to propose immediately a temporary ban on foreign takeovers of European companies by SOEs or GLCs from third countries;

105.  Welcomes the initiatives by social media platforms to combat fake news and disseminate official World Health Organization information on COVID-19 via their platforms; warns, however, against these platforms, which already had very significant market power before the crisis; supports the Commission’s call for a study on platforms with significant network effects that act as gatekeepers, to be carried out as part of the upcoming ex ante regulation framework proposal, providing it does not lead to further delays; calls on the Commission to ban platforms from displaying micro-targeted advertisements and to increase transparency for users; endorses the cooperation on the development of contact tracing apps of significant non-European players in the smartphone operating system market; calls on the Commission to ensure that data collection will not further entrench the market power of a few dominant players;

106.  Underlines that the COVID-19 crisis poses an existential risk for an unprecedented number of businesses all around the EU and has caused a huge surge in unemployment rates; calls on the Commission to assess whether the failing firm defence concept currently applied is fit for purpose for the current crisis; strongly believes that competition policy and industrial policy can together help to build European sovereignty in a sustainable way; welcomes the Commission’s Industrial Policy Strategy;

107.  Acknowledges the efficient and effective work carried out by the Commission during the COVID-19 crisis; underlines that a significant amount of human resources had to be reallocated to monitoring State aid given the exceptional circumstances; calls for more information on the state of play of Directorate-General for Competition staff resources and their evolution during this mandate;

108.  Urges the Commission to better inform Parliament about its ongoing work, in particular the revision of the definition of the relevant market and the revision of the State aid guidelines; calls on the Commission to provide Parliament with a detailed evaluation presenting the repartition of the global amount of State aid authorised within the Temporary State aid Framework by Member State, sector and type of aid authorised (grants, guarantees, etc.) as well as any additional conditions applied by the Member States; believes that a panoptic and detailed evaluation would provide the Members of the European Parliament with an overview of the economic measures taken at national level as well as with specific details on the type of aid, type of beneficiaries and method of approval, if any; underlines that the State aid scoreboard, which includes several tables and graphics on State aid and their impact on the internal market, should be updated in a timely manner;

109.  Calls on the Commission to present to Parliament and the Council, after the crisis, a communication on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on market competition and competition law enforcement, the integrity of the single market and the future of competition policy;

110.  Calls on the Commission to make it compulsory for banks receiving State aid to retain their full retail banking/consumer banking services and to ensure that banks are not allowed to use the COVID-19 crisis as a pretext for permanently reducing such services;

o
o   o

111.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the national parliaments and national competition authorities.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0062.
(2) OJ C 247, 23.7.2019, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 11, 14.1.2019, p. 3.
(4) OJ L 186, 11.7.2019, p. 57.
(5) OJ C 372, 9.12.1997, p. 5.
(6) https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/International_trade_in_goods_by_enterprise_size
(7) OJ L 24, 29.1.2004, p. 1.
(8) OJ C 289, 9.8.2016, p. 65.
(9) OJ C 267 , 22.10.2008, p. 1.
(10) OJ L 283, 31.10.2003, p. 51.
(11) OJ L 173, 12.6.2014, p. 190.
(12) OJ C 216, 30.7.2013, p. 1.
(13) https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/FR.INR.LNDP?locations=RO&most_recent_value_desc=false
(14) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 671.
(15) OJ L 352, 24.12.2013, p. 1.
(16) OJ C 213, 8.9.2009, p. 9.
(17) OJ L 111, 25.4.2019, p. 59.
(18) OJ L 187 26.6.2014, p. 1.
(19) OJ L 349, 5.12.2014, p. 1.


Setting up a subcommittee on tax matters
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European Parliament decision of 18 June 2020 on setting up a subcommittee on tax matters (2020/2681(RSO))
P9_TA(2020)0159B9-0187/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal from the Conference of Presidents,

–  having regard to its decision of 15 January 2014 on the powers and responsibilities of the standing committees(1),

–  having regard to Rules 206 and 212 of its Rules of Procedure,

1.  Decides to set up a subcommittee to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs;

2.  Decides that that subcommittee shall be responsible for tax-related matters, and particularly the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance, as well as financial transparency for taxation purposes;

3.  Decides that, in Part VI of Annex VI to its Rules of Procedure, the following paragraph is added:" ‘The committee is assisted by a subcommittee on tax matters, for tax-related matters and particularly the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance, as well as financial transparency for taxation purposes’;"

4.  Decides that the subcommittee shall have 30 members;

5.  Decides, with reference to the decisions of the Conference of Presidents of 30 June 2019 and 9 January 2020 relating to the composition of subcommittee bureaux, that the committee bureaux may consist of up to four vice-chairs;

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

(1) OJ C 482, 23.12.2016, p. 160.


Setting up a special committee on beating cancer, and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office
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European Parliament decision of 18 June 2020 on setting up a special committee on beating cancer, and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office (2020/2682(RSO))
P9_TA(2020)0160B9-0188/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal from the Conference of Presidents,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 on ‘The European Green Deal’ (COM(2019)0640),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal(1),

–  having regard to EU funding for Research and Innovation 2021-2027 (Horizon Europe),

–  having regard to the dedicated Horizon Europe mission on cancer;

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 24 June 2009 entitled ‘Action Against Cancer: European Partnership’ (COM(2009)0291),

–  having regard to the Council recommendation 2003/878/EC of 2 December 2003 on cancer screening(2),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 22 May 2008 on reducing the burden of cancer,

–  having regard to the report of May 2017 on the implementation of the Council Recommendation on cancer screening,

–  having regard to the European guidelines on screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer and bowel cancer,

–  having regard to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 April 2008 on combating cancer in the enlarged European Union(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 May 2010 on the Commission communication on Action Against Cancer: European Partnership(4),

–  having regard to the European Code Against Cancer (fourth edition),

–  having regard to the activity and the conclusions of the all-party interest group MEPs Against Cancer (MAC),

–  having regard to Rule 207 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas European cooperation in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, research and other areas clearly benefits the fight against cancer;

B.  whereas the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides a number of legal bases for EU action on health, including Article 114, whereby the highest level of protection concerning health, safety, environmental protection and consumer protection, in the internal market should be ensured, in particular taking account of any new development on the basis of scientific facts, Article 168, whereby a high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities, and Union action, which shall complement national policies, shall be directed towards improving public health, preventing physical and mental illness and diseases, and obviating sources of danger to physical and mental health, Article 181, which requires the EU and the Member States to coordinate their research and technological development activities so as to ensure that national policies and Union policy are mutually consistent and supports initiatives aiming at the establishment of guidelines and indicators, and the exchange of best practice, and Article 191, whereby Union policy on the environment shall contribute to protecting human health on the basis of the precautionary principle, without prejudice to the Member States’ competence in the field of health;

C.  whereas cancer is the second leading cause of mortality in the Member States after cardiovascular diseases; whereas in 2015, 1,3 million people died from cancer in the EU-28, which equated to more than one quarter (25,4 %) of the total number of deaths; whereas cancer affects people differently according to age, gender, socio-economic status, genetics and other factors; whereas demographic changes will increase the incidence of cancer in the coming decades;

D.  whereas cancer does not only affect the individual patient, but also the patient’s loved ones, their families, friends, communities and care-givers; whereas the challenges, psycho-social needs and demands of these groups, in particular the impact on mental health, also require attention;

E.  whereas the World Health Organization (WHO) identifies a number of key preventable risk factors, namely tobacco, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and obesity, alcohol use, HPV and hepatitis B and C and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections, environmental pollution, including chemical exposure and air pollution, occupational carcinogens and radiation; whereas, according to the WHO, 30-50 % of all cancer cases are preventable; whereas prevention offers the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer; whereas the prevention of virus-related cancers may rely on vaccination; whereas cancer prevention programmes should be conducted within the context of an integrated chronic disease prevention programme since most individual determinants are risk factors common to other chronic diseases; whereas the fight against environmental pollution will be part of the zero-pollution ambition as proposed in the political agenda of the Commission;

F.  whereas genetic predisposition to cancer due to mutations of specific genes has been demonstrated; whereas the detection of these mutations is available and personalised screening offers an efficient way to reduce the risk of certain cancers;

G.  whereas cancer-screening programmes can, if implemented in the right manner, render huge benefits and play their part in the wider context of cancer control;

H.  whereas Member States are struggling with cancer prevention and treatment as the economic impact of cancer is significant and on the increase;

I.  whereas public funded research represents a key source of scientific advances; whereas a robust world-leading life-science industry is also important to ensure private research and development, which is crucial in the fight against cancer but it is essential that policy-makers set the right framework so that innovation will benefit all patients and protect the population at large; whereas the public and private sector should collaborate on this;

J.  whereas cancer remains one of the main challenges European citizens will face in the future as it is predicted that more than 100 million Europeans will be diagnosed with cancer over the next 25 years; whereas it is of utmost importance for both national and European policymakers to act towards the implementation of stronger cancer control and contributing to the well-being of all Europeans;

K.  whereas there are considerable inequalities between and within Member States with regard to cancer prevention, screening treatment facilities, implementation of evidence-based best-practice guidelines, and rehabilitation;

L.  whereas prices of medicines can be unaffordable for some individuals and healthcare systems, with cancer medicines often particularly expensive; whereas a study has found that from 2010 to 2020, total cancer expenditure is estimated to have increased by 26 %, while spending on cancer drugs will have risen by 50 %(5);

1.  Decides to set up a special committee on beating cancer, vested with the following responsibilities:

   (a) looking at actions to strengthen the approach at every key stage of the disease: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, life as a cancer survivor and palliative care, ensuring a close link with the research mission on cancer in the future Horizon Europe programme and with a focus on EU competence;
   (b) listening to the current evidence and data available and react by identifying policies and priorities that meet patients’ needs;
   (c) evaluating the possibilities where, in accordance with the TFEU, the EU can take concrete steps to fight cancer and where only recommendations to the Member States and exchange of best practices are possible and focus on the concrete actions;
   (d) evaluating scientific knowledge on the best possible prevention of cancer and identifying specific actions, including the strict implementation of current legislation and the identification of future measures in the fields of tobacco control, measures to reduce obesity and improve nutritional choices, measures to reduce alcohol use, measures to increase vaccination and treatment for infections, measures to reduce chemical exposure including cumulative impacts, air pollution as mentioned in the European Green Deal and exposure to carcinogens in the workplace, and measures to protect against radiation; evaluating where possible the quantifiable effects of such measures;
   (e) analysing and assessing early detection of cancer in the form of screening programmes to ensure that future revisions of the recommendation are incorporated rapidly and efficiently;
   (f) evaluating the best possible way of supporting research to strengthen prevention, diagnosis, treatment and innovation, especially with a view to achieving the new mission on cancer within Horizon Europe; focusing on areas where Member States alone cannot be successful enough, for example regarding childhood cancer or rare cancers;
   (g) looking, in particular at ways to support non-profit clinical trials to improve the treatment in areas which the pharmaceutical industry is not investigating because there is limited profitability;
   (h) assessing the current framework of the pharmaceutical legislation and evaluating if changes are needed to better incentivise genuine innovation and breakthrough treatments for patients, in particular to evaluate possibilities to improve cancer treatment in children and in order to harmonise in the EU the science-based evaluation of efficacy, added value and cost-benefit ratio of each cancer medicine including HPV vaccines and e-health applications;
   (i) evaluating the possibility of actions, including legislation, to guarantee the development of common standards to enhance the interoperability of health care systems including cancer registers and the necessary eHealth structures to address the different issues of specialised therapies, including avoiding unnecessary travel for patients;
   (j) evaluating the implementation of the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive and, if necessary, propose improvements to allow patients to see those specialists best suited for their treatment without imposing an unnecessary burden;
   (k) analysing and assessing the functioning of the European Reference Networks, including their role in gathering and sharing knowledge and best practices in the field of rare cancers prevention and control;
   (l) evaluating the possibility of EU action to facilitate the transparency of treatment prices to improve the affordability and accessibility of cancer medicines, to avoid drug shortages, and to reduce inequalities between and within Member States;
   (m) evaluating the possibility, in accordance with the TFEU, of improving patients’ rights, including their rights over their personal data (the right to be forgotten), and their right to non-discrimination – in order to continue their employment and return to work – to access preserved fertility and reproductive treatments, to lifelong surveillance and to optimal palliative care, and to avoid any psychological or financial discrimination due to genetic predisposition to cancers;
   (n) evaluating the possibility of improving the quality of life for patients and their families;
   (o) evaluating the possibilities of supporting research in palliative care and of triggering a more intensive exchange of best practice in hospice and palliative care;
   (p) making any recommendations that it considers necessary with regard to the Union policy on combatting cancer in order to achieve a high level of protection of human health based on the patient oriented approach; to undertake visits and hold hearings to this end with the other EU institutions and relevant agencies, and with international and national institutions, non-governmental organisations and relevant industries, taking into consideration the perspective of a range of stakeholders including practitioners, patients and their loved ones; to recommend how specific EU funds should be mobilized to achieve those goals;

2.  Stresses that any recommendation of the special committee shall be presented to and, if necessary, followed up by Parliament’s competent standing committee;

3.  Decides that the powers, staff and available resources of Parliament’s standing committee with responsibility for matters concerning the adoption, monitoring and implementation of Union legislation relating to the area of responsibility of the special committee will not be affected or duplicated and thus remain unchanged;

4.  Decides that, whenever the special committee work includes the hearing of evidence of a confidential nature, testimonies involving personal data, or exchanges of views or hearings with authorities and bodies on confidential information, including scientific studies or parts thereof granted confidentiality status under Article 63 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council (6), the meetings shall be held in camera; decides further that witnesses and experts shall have the right to make a statement or provide testimony in camera;

5.  Decides that the list of people invited to public meetings, the list of those who attend them and the minutes of such meetings shall be made public;

6.  Decides that confidential documents that have been received by the special committee shall be assessed in accordance with the procedure set out in Rule 221 of its Rules of Procedure, decides further that such information shall be used exclusively for the purposes of drawing up the final report of the special committee;

7.  Decides that the special committee shall have 33 members;

8.  Decides that the term of office of the special committee shall be 12 months, except where Parliament extends that period before its expiry, and that the term shall start running from the date of its constituent meeting.

(1) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0005.
(2) OJ L 327, 16.12.2003, p. 34.
(3) OJ C 247E, 15.10.2009, p. 11.
(4) OJ C 81E, 15.3.2011, p. 95.
(5) Prasad, V., Jesús, de K., Mailankody, S., ‘The high price of anti cancer drugs: origins, implications, barriers, solutions.’ Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology , vol. 14 (2017), p. 381–390.
(6) Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC (OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 1).


Setting up a special committee on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation, and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office
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European Parliament decision of 18 June 2020 on setting up a special committee on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation, and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office (2020/2683(RSO))
P9_TA(2020)0161B9-0190/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal from the Conference of Presidents,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

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

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and in particular Articles 7, 8, 11, 12, 39, 40, 47 and 52 thereof,

–  having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and in particular Articles 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16 and 17 thereof, and the Protocol to that Convention, and in particular Article 3 thereof,

–  having regard to Rule 207 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the outcome of the special committee set up by this decision should provide a common, holistic, long-term approach to addressing evidence of foreign interference in the democratic institutions and processes of the EU and its Member States, not only in the run-up to all major national and European elections but in a sustained manner across the EU, under a myriad of forms, including disinformation campaigns on traditional and social media to shape public opinion, cyber-attacks targeting critical infrastructure, direct and indirect financial support as well as economic coercion of political actors and civil society subversion;

B.  whereas all reported incidents of foreign interference in democratic processes and institutions represent a systematic pattern that has been recurring over recent years;

C.  whereas attempts by state actors from third countries and non-state actors to interfere in the functioning of democracy in the EU and its Member States, as well as putting pressure on the values enshrined in Article 2 of the TEU by means of malicious interference, are part of a wider trend experienced by democracies worldwide;

D.  whereas foreign interference is used in combination with economic and military pressure to harm European unity;

1.  Decides to set up a special committee on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation, vested with the following responsibilities:

   (a) to conduct a thorough analysis of the investigations showing that crucial electoral rules have been breached or circumvented, in particular the existing provisions on the transparency of campaign financing, with allegations of political spending by various legal and illegal forms of conduits and straw donors from third-country sources;
   (b) to identify possible areas which would require legislative and non-legislative actions which can result in intervention by social media platforms with the aim of labelling content shared by bots, reviewing algorithms in order to make them as transparent as possible in the factors which lead them to display, prioritise, share, de-rank, and remove content, and closing down accounts of persons engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour online or illegal activities aimed at the systematic undermining of democratic processes or at instigating hate speech, while not compromising on freedom of expression;
   (c) to contribute to the ongoing debate on how to enhance the responsibility for countering foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation, not exclusively by public authorities but also in cooperation with technology and social media companies and the private sector at large in order to raise awareness of the role, duty and responsibility that these have in countering foreign interference while not undermining freedom of expression;
   (d) to assess national actions able to provide strict restrictions on the sources of political funding, since foreign actors have found legal and illegal ways to circumvent national legislations and have offered covert support to their allies by taking out loans with foreign banks, providing in-kind things of value, through purchase and commercial agreements, through shell companies, through non-profit organisations, through citizen straw donors, through emerging technologies offering anonymity, through online advertisements, through extremist online media outlets, and through the facilitation of financial activities; to identify possible areas which would require actions regarding the funding of political parties and political campaigns;
   (e) to suggest coordinated action at EU level for tackling hybrid threats, including cyber-attacks on military and non-military targets, hack-and-leak operations targeting lawmakers, public officials, journalists, political parties and candidates, as well as cyber espionage for the purpose of corporate intellectual property theft and the theft of sensitive citizen data, since these threats can neither be addressed solely by national authorities working in isolation nor by pure self-regulation of the private sector, but require a coordinated multi-level, multi-stakeholder approach; to assess the security aspect of these threats, which can have severe political, economic and social implications for European citizens;
   (f) to investigate on the EU’s dependence on foreign technologies in critical infrastructure supply chains, including internet infrastructure, inter alia, hardware, software, applications and services, as well as on the required actions to strengthen the capabilities for countering the strategic communication of hostile third parties and to exchange information and best practice in this area; to support and encourage coordination between Member States on exchanging information, knowledge and good practices in order to counter threats and address current deficiencies;
   (g) to identify, assess and propose ways to tackle security breaches inside the EU institutions;
   (h) to counter information campaigns and strategic communication of malign third countries, including those through domestic European actors and organisations, that harm the goals of the European Union and that are created to influence European public opinion in order to make it harder to achieve an EU common position, including on CFSP and CSDP issues;
   (i) to call upon all relevant services and institutions at the level of the EU and its Member States as it may deem relevant and effective in order to fulfil its mandate;

2.  Stresses that the recommendation of the special committee shall be taken into consideration by the competent standing committees in their work;

3.  Decides that the powers, staff and available resources of Parliament’s standing committees with responsibility for matters concerning the adoption, monitoring and implementation of Union legislation relating to the area of responsibility of the special committee will not be affected or duplicated, and thus remain unchanged;

4.  Decides that whenever the special committee work includes the hearing of evidence of a confidential nature, testimonies involving personal data, or exchanges of views or hearings with authorities and bodies on confidential information, including scientific studies or parts thereof granted confidentiality status under Article 63 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council(1), the meetings shall be held in camera; decides further that witnesses and experts shall have the right to make a statement or provide testimony in camera;

5.  Decides that the list of people invited to public meetings, the list of those who attend them and the minutes of such meetings shall be made public;

6.  Decides that confidential documents that have been received by the special committee shall be assessed in accordance with the procedure set out in Rule 221 of its Rules of Procedure; decides further that such information shall be used exclusively for the purposes of drawing up the final report of the special committee;

7.  Decides that the special committee shall have 33 Members;

8.  Decides that the term of office of the special committee shall be 12 months and that that term shall start running from the date of its constituent meeting;

9.  Decides that the special committee may present to Parliament a mid-term report and that it shall present a final report containing factual findings and recommendations concerning the measures and initiatives to be taken, without prejudice to the competences of the standing committees in accordance with Annex VI to its Rules of Procedure.

(1)  Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC (OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 1).


Setting up a special committee on artificial intelligence in a digital age, and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office
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European Parliament decision of 18 June 2020 on setting up a special committee on artificial intelligence in a digital age, and defining its responsibilities, numerical strength and term of office (2020/2684(RSO))
P9_TA(2020)0162B9-0189/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal from the Conference of Presidents,

–  having regard to Rule 207 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the European Union has clear competences in the area of the digital agenda and artificial intelligence as per Articles 4, 13, 16, 26, 173, 179, 180, 181, 182, 186 and 187 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;

B.  whereas the outcome of the special committee hereby set up should be a holistic approach providing a common, long-term position that highlights the EU’s key values and objectives relating to artificial intelligence in the digital age;

C.  whereas it is important to ensure that the digital transition is human-centric and consistent with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union;

D.  whereas the use of artificial intelligence entails significant fundamental rights challenges such as, but not limited to, the protection of personal data and the right to privacy, as well as significant technological developments and the deployment of innovative solutions;

E.  whereas the digital transition will have an impact on every aspect of the economy and society;

F.  whereas digitalisation will transform our industry and markets and the existing legislation should, therefore, be adapted;

G.  whereas it is important that the European Union speaks with one voice, to avoid the fragmentation of the single market resulting from differences in national legislation;

1.  Decides to set up a special committee on artificial intelligence in a digital age, vested with the following strictly defined responsibilities:

   (a) to analyse the future impact of artificial intelligence in the digital age on the EU economy, in particular on skills, employment, fintech, education, health, transport, tourism, agriculture, environment, defence, industry, energy and e-government;
   (b) to further investigate the challenge of deploying artificial intelligence and its contribution to business value and economic growth;
   (c) to analyse the approach of third countries and their contribution to complementing EU actions;
   (d) to submit to Parliament’s responsible standing committees an evaluation defining common EU objectives in the medium- and long-term and include the major steps needed to reach them, using as a starting point the following Commission communications published on 19 February 2020:
   Shaping Europe’s digital future (COM(2020)0067),
   A European Strategy for Data (COM(2020)0066),
   White Paper on Artificial Intelligence - a European approach to excellence and trust (COM(2020)0065),
   Report on the safety and liability implications of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and robotics (COM(2020)0064),

including a roadmap on ‘A Europe fit for the digital age’, which shall provide the EU with a strategic plan defining its common objectives in the medium- and long-term and the major steps needed to reach them;

2.  Stresses that any recommendation of the special committee shall be presented to and, if necessary, followed up by Parliament’s competent standing committees;

3.  Decides that the powers, staff and available resources of Parliament’s standing committees with responsibility for matters concerning the adoption, monitoring and implementation of Union legislation relating to the area of responsibility of the special committee will not be affected or duplicated, and will thus remain unchanged;

4.  Decides that whenever the special committee work includes the hearing of evidence of a confidential nature, testimonies involving personal data, or exchanges of views or hearings with authorities and bodies on confidential information, including scientific studies or parts thereof granted confidentiality status under Article 63 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council(1), the meetings shall be held in camera; decides further that witnesses and experts shall have the right to make a statement or provide testimony in camera;

5.  Decides that the list of people invited to public meetings, the list of those who attend them and the minutes of such meetings shall be made public;

6.  Decides that confidential documents that have been received by the special committee shall be assessed in accordance with the procedure set out in Rule 221 of its Rules of Procedure; decides further that such information shall be used exclusively for the purposes of drawing up the final report of the special committee;

7.  Decides that the special committee shall have 33 Members;

8.  Decides that the term of office of the special committee shall be 12 months and that its term of office shall start running from the date of its constituent meeting;

9.  Decides that the special committee may present to Parliament a mid-term report, and that it shall present a final report containing factual findings and recommendations concerning the measures and initiatives to be taken, without prejudice to the competences of the standing committees in accordance with Annex VI of its Rules of Procedure.

(1) Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC (OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 1).

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