Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 17 September 2020 - BrusselsProvisional edition
Type approval of motor vehicles (Real driving emissions) ***I
 Just Transition Fund ***I
 Arms export: implementation of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP
 Determination of a clear risk of a serious breach by Poland of the rule of law
 Strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment
 Maximising the energy efficiency potential of the EU building stock
 Shortage of medicines - how to address an emerging problem
 Implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies: combating negative attitudes towards people with Romani background in Europe
 Preparation of the Special European Council, focusing on the dangerous escalation and the role of Turkey in the Eastern-Mediterranean
 Situation in Belarus
 Situation in Russia, the poisoning of Alexei Navalny
 The situation in the Philippines, including the case of Maria Ressa
 The case of Dr Denis Mukwege in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
 The humanitarian situation in Mozambique
 Sustainable rail market in view of COVID-19 outbreak ***I
 Draft amending budget No 8: Increase of payment appropriations for the Emergency Support Instrument to finance the COVID-19 vaccines strategy and for the impact of the Corona Response Investment Initiative Plus
 Objection to an implementing act: Maximum residue levels for several substances including flonicamid, haloxyfop and mandestrobin
 Cultural recovery of Europe
 COVID-19: EU coordination of health assessments and risk classification and the consequences for Schengen and the single market
 The importance of urban and green infrastructure - European Year of Greener Cities 2022

Type approval of motor vehicles (Real driving emissions) ***I
PDF 186kWORD 64k
Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 17 September 2020 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 on type approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information (COM(2019)0208 – C9-0009/2019 – 2019/0101(COD))(1)
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0222A9-0139/2020

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2
(2)  Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 requires new light-duty vehicles to comply with certain emission limits (Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards) and lays down additional requirements on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information. The specific technical provisions necessary to implement that Regulation were set out in Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/20084 and subsequently, in Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/11515.
(2)  Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 requires new light-duty vehicles to comply with certain emission limits (Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards) and lays down additional requirements on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information, as amended and further consolidated by Regulation (EU) 2018/8583a which applies from 1 September 2020. The specific technical provisions necessary to implement Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 were set out in Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/20084 and subsequently, in Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/11515.
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3a Regulation (EU) 2018/858 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, amending Regulations (EC) No 715/2007 and (EC) No 595/2009 and repealing Directive 2007/46/EC (OJ L 151, 14.6.2018, p. 1).
4 Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 of 18 July 2008 implementing and amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information (OJ L 199, 28.7.2008, p. 1).
4 Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 of 18 July 2008 implementing and amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information (OJ L 199, 28.7.2008, p. 1).
5 Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/1151 of 1 June 2017 supplementing Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information, amending Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 1230/2012 and repealing Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 (OJ L 175, 7.7.2017, p. 1).
5 Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/1151 of 1 June 2017 supplementing Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information, amending Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 1230/2012 and repealing Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 (OJ L 175, 7.7.2017, p. 1).
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3
(3)  The type-approval requirements relating to emissions from motor vehicles have been gradually and significantly tightened through the introduction and subsequent revision of Euro standards. While vehicles in general have delivered substantial emission reductions across the range of regulated pollutants, this was not the case for NOx emissions from diesel engines or particles for gasoline direct injection engines, installed in particular in light-duty vehicles. Actions for correcting this situation are therefore needed.
(3)  The type-approval requirements relating to emissions from motor vehicles have been gradually and significantly tightened through the introduction and subsequent revision of Euro standards. While vehicles in general have delivered substantial emission reductions across the range of regulated pollutants, this was not the case for NOx emissions from diesel engines or particles for gasoline direct injection engines, installed in particular in light-duty vehicles. Actions to correct this situation are therefore needed.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 a (new)
(3a)  The 2019 Air Quality Report1a published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) estimated that in 2016 long-term exposure to air pollution has been responsible to more than 506 000 premature deaths in the EU-28. The report also confirmed that road transport continued to be the primary source of NOx emissions in the EU-28 in 2017, representing around 40 % of total EU NOx emissions, and that around 80 % of the total NOx emission from road transport is generated by diesel powered vehicles;
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1a EEA Air Quality in Europe 2019 report.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 b (new)
(3b)  Access to vehicle repair and maintenance information for independent operators is crucial in order to re-establish consumer trust.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3 c (new)
(3c)  Recent violations of the existing legal framework by manufacturers, including violations of their legal obligations under Regulation (EC) No 715/2007, demonstrated the weaknesses of control and enforcement mechanisms. Consumers were left without satisfactory compensation, since even where compensation was granted, it often did not bring the vehicles into conformity with Euro 5 and 6 standards. Since the increasing number of diesel bans across European cities affect citizens’ daily life, adequate compensation measures would be to equip non-compliant vehicles with the adapted exhaust treatment technology (hardware change) or, in the event that the consumer wished to exchange a purchased vehicle for a cleaner model, the offer of conversion premiums.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5
(5)  As a result, the Commission developed a new methodology for testing vehicle emissions in real-driving conditions, the real-driving emissions (RDE) test procedure. The RDE test procedure was introduced by Commission Regulations (EU) 2016/4276 and (EU) 2016/6467, subsequently taken over into Regulation (EU) 2017/1151 and further improved by Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/11548.
(5)  As a result, the Commission developed a new methodology for testing vehicle emissions in real-driving conditions, the real-driving emissions (RDE) test procedure. The RDE test procedure was introduced by Commission Regulations (EU) 2016/4276 and (EU) 2016/6467, subsequently taken over into Regulation (EU) 2017/1151 and further improved by Commission Regulations (EU) 2017/11548 and (EU) 2018/18328a.
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6 Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/427 of 10 March 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 as regards emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 6), OJ L 82, 31.3.2016, p. 1.
6 Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/427 of 10 March 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 as regards emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 6) (OJ L 82, 31.3.2016, p. 1).
7 Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/646 of 20 April 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 as regards emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 6) (OJ L 109, 26.04.2016, p.1).
7 Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/646 of 20 April 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 as regards emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 6) (OJ L 109, 26.04.2016, p.1).
8 Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/1154 of 7 June 2017 amending Regulation (EU) 2017/1151 supplementing Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information, amending Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 1230/2012 and repealing Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 and Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards real-driving emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 6), OJ L 175, 7.7.2017, p. 708.
8 Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/1154 of 7 June 2017 amending Regulation (EU) 2017/1151 supplementing Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council on type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information, amending Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 and Commission Regulation (EU) No 1230/2012 and repealing Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 and Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards real-driving emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 6) (OJ L 175, 7.7.2017, p. 708).
8a Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/1832 of 5 November 2018 amending Directive 2007/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, Commission Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 and Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/1151 for the purpose of improving the emission type approval tests and procedures for light passenger and commercial vehicles, including those for in-service conformity and real-driving emissions and introducing devices for monitoring the consumption of fuel and electric energy(OJ L 301, 27.11.2018, p. 1).
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6
(6)  Regulation (EU) 2016/6469 introduced the dates of application of the RDE test procedure, as well as the compliance criteria for RDE. For that purpose, pollutant-specific conformity factors were used to take account of statistical and technical uncertainties of the measurements conducted by means of Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS).
(6)  Regulation (EU) 2016/6469 introduced the dates of application of the RDE test procedure, as well as the compliance criteria for RDE. The introduction of the dates of application for passenger vehicles and light-duty vehicles was chosen in a yearly sequence to ensure timely planning for the manufacturers of each vehicle group. For that purpose, pollutant-specific conformity factors were introduced, to take account of statistical and technical uncertainties of the measurements conducted by means of Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS).
9 Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/646 of 20 April 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 as regards emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 6) (OJ L 109, 26.04.2016, p.1).
9 Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/646 of 20 April 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 692/2008 as regards emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles (Euro 6) (OJ L 109, 26.04.2016, p.1).
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6 a (new)
(6a)  According to the EEA report from 2016, the gap between real-world and laboratory emissions was mainly due to three factors: an outdated test procedure, flexibilities in the current procedure and in-use factors which are driver dependent. A study is required in order to establish the margin that is due to the driving style and to the outside temperature. A clear distinction should be made between the CF, the device-related margin and the margin of the in-use factor which is driver- and temperature-dependent.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7
(7)  On 13 December 2018, the General Court delivered judgment in Joined Cases T-339/16, T-352/16 and T-391/1622 concerning an action for annulment of Regulation (EU) 2016/646. The General Court annulled the part of Regulation (EU) 2016/646 which established the conformity factors used to assess compliance of RDE test results with the emission limits laid down in Regulation (EC) No 715/2007. The Court found that only the legislator could introduce those conformity factors as they touched upon an essential element of Regulation (EC) No 715/2007.
(7)  On 13 December 2018, the General Court delivered judgment in Joined Cases T-339/16, T-352/16 and T-391/1622 concerning an action for annulment of Regulation (EU) 2016/646. The General Court annulled the part of Regulation (EU) 2016/646 which had established the conformity factors used to assess compliance of RDE test results with the emission limits laid down in Regulation (EC) No 715/2007. The Court found that only the legislator could introduce those conformity factors as they touched upon an essential element of Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 and “result in the de facto amendment of the limits on the emissions of oxides of nitrogen laid down for the Euro 6 standards, even though those limits are to apply to those tests”.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8
(8)  The General Court did not question the technical justification of the conformity factors. Therefore, and given that at the current stage of technological development there is still a discrepancy between emissions measured in real driving and those measured in a laboratory, it is appropriate to introduce the conformity factors into Regulation (EC) No 715/2007.
(8)  The General Court raised doubts as to “whether the Commission’s reliance on possible statistical errors is well founded”, in particular as regards the temporary conformity factor of 2,1 and stated that “statistical uncertainties are corrected by representativeness of the sample or of the testing or by the volume of testing”. Moreover, as regards the introduced margin of technical uncertainty, the Court affirmed that “it is impossible to determine, following an RDE test, whether a vehicle being tested complies with the legal limits or is even close to them”. Any measurement equipment has a margin of technical uncertainty and PEMS equipment, given their use in more variable conditions, has been found to have a somewhat larger margin compared to non-mobile laboratory equipment even though this can in fact mean both over- and under-estimating emissions. Given that at the current stage of technological development there is still a discrepancy between emissions measured in real driving and those measured in a laboratory, it is appropriate to temporarily introduce conformity factors into Regulation (EC) No 715/2007.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8 a (new)
(8a)  The European Parliament's resolution of 28 March 2019 on recent developments in the 'Dieselgate' scandal welcomed the ruling of the General Court, and explicitly asked the Commission not to introduce any new conformity factor in order to ensure Euro 6 standards are not further diluted and are instead met under normal conditions of use, as originally provided for in Regulation (EC) No 715/2007.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 9
(9)  In order to allow manufacturers to comply with the Euro 6 emission limits in the context of RDE test procedure, the compliance criteria for RDE should be introduced in two steps. During the first step, upon the request of the manufacturer, a temporary conformity factor should apply, while as a second step only the final conformity factor should be used. The Commission should keep under review the final conformity factors in light of technical progress.
(9)  In order to allow manufacturers to comply with the Euro 6 emission limits in the context of the RDE test procedure, the compliance criteria for RDE should be introduced in two steps. During the first step, upon the request of the manufacturer, a temporary conformity factor should apply, while as a second step only the final conformity factor should be used. The final conformity factor should apply during a transition period and include a margin expressing the additional measurement uncertainty linked with the introduction of the PEMS. The Commission should continuously assess that conformity factor in light of technical progress and annually adjust it downwards on the basis of scientific evidence, the improved accuracy of the measuring procedure and technical progress of the PEMS. The conformity factor should be gradually lowered and cease to apply by 30 September 2022.
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 9 a (new)
(9a)   The Commission should establish by June 2021 at the latest more stringent requirements for PEMS measuring equipment that could be used for RDE tests. The standards established should, where possible, take into account any relevant elements of standardisation developed by CEN based on the best available PEMS equipment.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 9 b (new)
(9b)  It is important to emphasise that while this proposal deals with the conformity factor, the issue of the emission limit standards is to be dealt with in the context of the forthcoming post-Euro 6 proposal. In order to ensure swift progress towards the adoption of the future (post - Euro 6) emission limit values and improved air quality for Union citizens, it is essential that the Commission present, where appropriate, a legislative proposal to that effect as soon as possible and at the latest by June 2021, as announced in its communication of 11 December 2019 on "The European Green Deal", which highlights the need to shift to sustainable and smart mobility and ensure a pathway towards zero-emission mobility. No conformity factors should be used in the implementation of the post-Euro 6 standards.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 9 c (new)
(9c)  In order to encourage the producers to have a proactive, pro-environmental attitude, the new technological innovations meant to absorb NOx should be tested, quantified and considered in the subsequent revision of Euro standards.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 10
(10)  The Treaty of Lisbon introduced the possibility for the legislator to delegate power to the Commission to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of a legislative act. The measures which can be covered by delegations of powers, as referred to in Article 290(1) TFEU, correspond in principle to those covered by the regulatory procedure with scrutiny established by Article 5a of Council Decision 1999/468/EC11 . It is therefore necessary to adapt to Article 290 TFEU the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 which provide for the use of the regulatory procedure with scrutiny.
(10)  The Treaty of Lisbon introduced the possibility for the legislator to delegate power to the Commission to adopt non-legislative acts of general application to supplement or amend certain non-essential elements of a legislative act. The measures which can be covered by delegations of powers, as referred to in Article 290(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), correspond in principle to those covered by the regulatory procedure with scrutiny established by Article 5a of Council Decision 1999/468/EC11. It is therefore necessary to adapt to Article 290 TFEU the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 which provide for the use of the regulatory procedure with scrutiny.
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11 Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission (OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23).
11 Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission (OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23).
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11
(11)  In order to contribute to the achievement of the Union’s air quality objectives and to reduce vehicle emissions, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFUE) should be delegated to the Commission in respect of the detailed rules on the specific procedures, tests and requirements for type approval. That delegation should include supplementing Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 by such revised rules as well as the test cycles used to measure emissions; the requirements for the implementation of the prohibition on the use of defeat devices that reduce the effectiveness of emission control systems; the measures necessary for the implementation of the obligation of a manufacturer to provide unrestricted and standardised access to vehicle repair and maintenance information; the adoption of a revised measurement procedure for particulates. The delegation should further include amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 for the purposes of revising the final conformity factors downwards to reflect technical progress in PEMS and recalibrating the particulate mass based limit values and introducing particle number based limit values. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that those consultations are conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016. In particular, to ensure equal participation in the preparation of delegated acts, the European Parliament and the Council should receive all documents at the same time as Member States' experts, and their experts systematically should have access to meetings of Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts.
(11)  In order to contribute to the achievement of the Union’s air quality objectives and to reduce vehicle emissions, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 TFEU should be delegated to the Commission in respect of the detailed rules on the specific procedures, tests and requirements for type approval. That delegation should include supplementing Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 by such revised rules as well as the test cycles used to measure emissions; the requirements for the implementation of the prohibition on the use of defeat devices that reduce the effectiveness of emission control systems; and the adoption of a revised measurement procedure for particulates. Notwithstanding the short gap between the entry into force of this Regulation and the repeal of the provisions on repair and maintenance information (RMI) by Regulation (EU) 2018/858, for the purposes of legal certainty and to ensure that all options are available to the legislator, the delegation should also include the measures necessary for the implementation of the obligation of a manufacturer to provide unrestricted and standardised access to vehicle repair and maintenance information. The delegation should further include amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 for the purposes of revising the conformity factors downwards to reflect improved quality of the measuring procedure or technical progress in PEMS and recalibrating the particulate mass based limit values and introducing particle number-based limit values. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that those consultations are conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 20161a. In particular, to ensure equal participation in the preparation of delegated acts, the European Parliament and the Council receive all documents at the same time as Member States' experts, and their experts systematically have access to meetings of Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts.
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1a OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 3 – point a
Regulation (EC) No 715/2007
Article 4 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 2
Those obligations include meeting the emission limits set out in Annex I. For the purposes of determining compliance with the Euro 6 emission limits set out in Table 2 of Annex I, the emission values determined during any valid Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test shall be divided by the applicable conformity factor set out in Table 2a of Annex I. The result shall remain below the Euro 6 emission limits set out in Table 2 of that Annex.
Those obligations include complying with the emission limits set out in Annex I. For the purposes of determining compliance with the Euro 6 emission limits set out in Table 2 of Annex I, the emission values determined during any valid Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test shall be divided by the applicable conformity factor as set out in Table 2a of Annex I. The result shall remain below the Euro 6 emission limits set out in Table 2 of that Annex. The conformity factor shall be gradually lowered through annual downward revisions, based on assessments by the JRC. The conformity factor shall cease to apply by 30 September 2022.
Amendment 19
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 4 – point a
Regulation (EC) No 715/2007
Article 5 – paragraph 1
1.  The manufacturer shall equip vehicles so that the components likely to affect emissions are designed, constructed and assembled so as to enable the vehicle, in normal use, to comply with this Regulation.;
1.  The manufacturer shall equip vehicles so that the components likely to affect emissions are designed, constructed and assembled so as to enable the vehicle, in normal use, to comply with this Regulation. The manufacturer shall also guarantee the reliability of the pollution control devices and shall aim to reduce the risk of theft of these devices or tampering therewith.
Amendment 20
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 6
Regulation (EC) No 715/2007
Article 8 – paragraph 1
The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 14a in order to supplement Articles 6 and 7. This shall include the definition and updating of technical specifications relating to the way in which OBD and vehicle repair and maintenance information shall be provided, with special attention being paid to the specific needs of SMEs.
The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 14a in order to supplement Articles 6 and 7. This shall include the definition and updating of technical specifications relating to the way in which OBD and vehicle repair and maintenance information shall be provided, with special attention being paid to the specific needs of SMEs, micro-enterprises and self-employed operators.
Amendment 21
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7 – point b
Regulation (EC) No 715/2007
Article 10 – paragraph 4 – subparagraph 2
The compliance with the Euro 6 limit values shall, during any valid RDE test, be determined by taking into account the pollutant-specific conformity factor set out in Table 2a of Annex I in accordance with the second subparagraph of Article 4(1).
The compliance with the Euro 6 limit values shall, during any valid RDE test, be determined by taking into account the pollutant-specific conformity factor set out in Table 2a of Annex I, in accordance with the second subparagraph of Article 4(1). The conformity factor shall be gradually lowered through annual downward revisions based on assessments by the JRC. The conformity factor shall cease to apply by 30 September 2022.
Amendment 22
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 7 – point b
Regulation (EC) No 715/2007
Article 10 – paragraph 5 – subparagraph 2
The compliance with the Euro 6 limit values shall, during any valid RDE test, be determined by taking into account the pollutant-specific conformity factor set out in Table 2a of Annex I in accordance with the second subparagraph of Article 4(1).
The compliance with the Euro 6 limit values shall, during any valid RDE test, be determined by taking into account the pollutant-specific conformity factor set out in Table 2a of Annex I, in accordance with the second subparagraph of Article 4(1). The conformity factor shall be gradually lowered through annual downward revisions based on assessments by the JRC. The conformity factor shall cease to apply by 30 September 2022.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1 – point 10
Regulation (EC) No 715/2007
Article 14 – paragraph 3 and paragraph 3 a (new)
3.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 14a:
3.  The Commission shall adopt no later than 1 June 2021 delegated acts in accordance with Article 14a supplementing this Regulation in order to adapt the procedures, tests and requirements as well as the test cycles used to measure emissions in order to adequately reflect real driving emissions under normal conditions of use, including inter alia temperature and boundary conditions, lowering the zero response drift and addressing hazardous spikes in particles resulting from filter cleaning, taking into account any relevant elements of standardisation developed by CEN and based on best available equipment.
(a)  supplementing this Regulation in order to adapt the procedures, tests and requirements as well as the test cycles used to measure emissions in order to adequately reflect real driving emissions;
(b)  amending this Regulation in order to adapt to technical progress the pollutant-specific final conformity factors set out in Table 2a to Annex I.
3a.  The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 14a amending this Regulation in order to adapt to technical progress and review downwards the pollutant-specific conformity factors set out in Table 2a to Annex I.
Amendment 24
Proposal for a regulation
Annex – paragraph 1
Regulation (EC) No 715/2007
Annex I – table 2a – row 2

Text proposed by the Commission

CF pollutant-final (2)

1,43

1,5

-

-

-

(2)   CF pollutant-final is the conformity factor used to determine compliance with the Euro 6 emission limits by taking into account the technical uncertainties linked with the use of the Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS).

Amendment

CF pollutant-final (2)

1 + margin (margin =0,32*)

1 + margin (margin =0,5*)

-

-

-

* to be revised downwards at least annually on the basis of regular assessments of the Joint Research Centre

(2)   CF pollutant-final is the conformity factor used to determine compliance with the Euro 6 emission limits under a transitional period by taking into account the additional technical measurement uncertainties linked with the introduction of the Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS). It is expressed as 1 + a margin of measurement uncertainty. By 30 September 2022 the margin shall be zero, and the conformity factor shall cease to apply.

(1) The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committee responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (A9-0139/2020).


Just Transition Fund ***I
PDF 215kWORD 77k
Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 17 September 2020 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Just Transition Fund (COM(2020)0022 – C9-0007/2020 – 2020/0006(COD))(1)
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0223A9-0135/2020

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1
(1)  The regulatory framework governing the Union’s cohesion policy for the period from 2021 to 2027, in the context of the next multi-annual financial framework, contributes to the fulfilment of the Union’s commitments to implement the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by concentrating Union funding on green objectives. This Regulation implements one of the priorities set out in the Communication on the European Green Deal (‘the European Green Deal’)11 and is part of the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan12 providing dedicated financing under the Just Transition Mechanism in the context of cohesion policy to address the economic and social costs of the transition to a climate-neutral and circular economy, where any remaining greenhouse gas emissions are compensated by equivalent absorptions.
(1)  The regulatory framework governing the Union’s cohesion policy for the period from 2021 to 2027, in the context of the next multi-annual financial framework, contributes to the fulfilment of the Union’s commitments to implement the Paris Agreement, limiting global temperature increase to below 1, 5 °C, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the European Pillar of Social Rights by concentrating Union funding on green objectives. This Regulation implements one of the priorities set out in the Communication on the European Green Deal (‘the European Green Deal’)11 and is part of the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan12 providing dedicated financing under the Just Transition Mechanism in the context of cohesion policy to address the economic, social and environmental costs of the transition to a climate-neutral and circular economy, where any remaining greenhouse gas emissions are compensated by equivalent absorptions, taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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11 COM(2019) 640 final, 11.12.2019.
11 COM(2019) 640 final, 11.12.2019.
12 COM(2020) 21, 14.1.2020.
12 COM(2020) 21, 14.1.2020.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2
(2)  The transition to a climate-neutral and circular economy constitutes one of the most important policy objectives for the Union. On 12 December 2019, the European Council endorsed the objective of achieving a climate-neutral Union by 2050, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. While fighting climate change and environmental degradation will benefit all in the long term and provides opportunities and challenges for all in the medium term, not all regions and Member States start their transition from the same point or have the same capacity to respond. Some are more advanced than others, whereas the transition entails a wider social and economic impact for those regions that rely heavily on fossil fuels - especially coal, lignite, peat and oil shale - or greenhouse gas intensive industries. Such a situation not only creates the risk of a variable speed transition in the Union as regards climate action, but also of growing disparities between regions, detrimental to the objectives of social, economic and territorial cohesion.
(2)  The transition to a climate-neutral and circular economy constitutes one of the most important policy objectives for the Union. On 12 December 2019, the European Council endorsed the objective of achieving a climate-neutral Union by 2050, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. While fighting climate change and environmental degradation will benefit all in the long term and provides opportunities and challenges for all in the medium term, not all regions and Member States start their transition from the same point or have the same capacity to respond. Some are more advanced than others, whereas the transition entails a wider social, economic and environmental impact for those regions that rely heavily on fossil fuels - especially coal, lignite, peat for energy use and oil shale- or greenhouse gas intensive industries. Such a situation not only creates the risk of a variable speed transition in the Union as regards climate action, but also of growing disparities between regions, especially for outermost regions, remote, insular and geographically disadvantaged areas, and for areas with depopulation problems, detrimental to the objectives of social, economic and territorial cohesion.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3
(3)  In order to be successful, the transition has to be fair and socially acceptable for all. Therefore, both the Union and the Member States must take into account its economic and social implications from the outset, and deploy all possible instruments to mitigate adverse consequences. The Union budget has an important role in that regard.
(3)  In order to be successful, the transition has to be fair, inclusive and socially acceptable for all. Therefore, the Union, the Member States and their regions must take into account its economic, social and environmental implications from the outset, and deploy all possible instruments to mitigate adverse consequences. The Union budget has an important role in that regard to ensure that no one is left behind.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 4
(4)  As set out in the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, a Just Transition Mechanism should complement the other actions under the next multi-annual financial framework for the period from 2021 to 2027. It should contribute to addressing the social and economic consequences of transitioning towards Union climate neutrality by bringing together the Union budget’s spending on climate and social objectives at regional level.
(4)  As set out in the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, a Just Transition Mechanism should complement the other actions under the next multi-annual financial framework for the period from 2021 to 2027. It should contribute to addressing the social, economic and environmental consequences, in particular for workers affected in the process of transitioning towards Union climate neutrality by 2050 by bringing together the Union budget’s spending on climate and social objectives at regional level, promoting a sustainable economy, green jobs and public health.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5
(5)  This Regulation establishes the Just Transition Fund (‘JTF’) which is one of the pillars of the Just Transition Mechanism implemented under cohesion policy. The aim of the JTF is to mitigate the adverse effects of the climate transition by supporting the most affected territories and workers concerned. In line with the JTF specific objective, actions supported by the JTF should directly contribute to alleviate the impact of the transition by financing the diversification and modernisation of the local economy and by mitigating the negative repercussions on employment. This is reflected in the JTF specific objective, which is established at the same level and listed together with the policy objectives set out in Article [4] of Regulation EU [new CPR].
(5)  This Regulation establishes the Just Transition Fund (‘JTF’) which is one of the pillars of the Just Transition Mechanism implemented under cohesion policy. The aim of the JTF is to mitigate and compensate the adverse effects of the climate transition by supporting the most affected territories and workers concerned and to promote a balanced socio-economic transition that fights social precarity and an unstable business environment. In line with the JTF specific objective, actions supported by the JTF should directly contribute to alleviate the impact of the transition by financing the diversification and modernisation of the local economy by regenerating natural assets and by mitigating the negative repercussions on employment and on standards of living. This is reflected in the JTF specific objective, which is established at the same level and listed together with the policy objectives set out in Article[4] of Regulation EU [new CPR].
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6
(6)  In view of the importance of tackling climate change in line with the Union’s commitments to implement the Paris Agreement, the commitment regarding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the increased ambition of the Union as proposed in the European Green Deal, the JTF should provide a key contribution to mainstream climate actions. Resources from the JTF own envelope are additional and come on top of the investments needed to achieve the overall target of 25% of the Union budget expenditure contributing to climate objectives. Resources transferred from the ERDF and ESF+ will contribute fully to the achievement of this target.
(6)  In view of the importance of tackling climate change in line with the Union’s commitments to implement the Paris Agreement, the commitment regarding the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the increased ambition of the Union as proposed in the European Green Deal, the JTF should provide a key contribution to mainstream climate and environmental actions. Resources from the JTF own envelope are additional and come on top of the investments needed to achieve the overall target of 30 % of the Union budget expenditure contributing to climate objectives. Resources transferred on a voluntary basis from the ERDF and ESF+ could contribute fully to the achievement of this target.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7
(7)  The resources from the JTF should complement the resources available under cohesion policy.
(7)  The resources from the JTF should complement the resources available under cohesion policy. The establishment of the JTF should not lead to cuts to, or compulsory transfers from, the other cohesion funds.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8
(8)  Transitioning to a climate-neutral economy is a challenge for all Member States. It will be particularly demanding for those Member States that rely heavily on fossil fuels or greenhouse gas intensive industrial activities which need to be phased out or which need to adapt due to the transition towards climate neutrality and that lack the financial means to do so. The JTF should therefore cover all Member States, but the distribution of its financial means should reflect the capacity of Member States to finance the necessary investments to cope with the transition towards climate neutrality.
(8)  Transitioning to a climate-neutral economy is a challenge for all Member States. It will be particularly demanding for those Member States that rely, or which until recently have relied, heavily on fossil fuels or greenhouse gas intensive industrial activities which need to be phased out or which need to adapt due to the transition towards climate neutrality and that lack the financial means to do so. The JTF should therefore cover all Member States, but the distribution of its financial means should focus on those territories most affected, and reflect the capacity of Member States to finance the necessary investments to cope with the transition towards climate neutrality, with particular attention to least developed regions, outermost regions, mountainous, islands, sparsely populated, rural, remote and geographically disadvantaged areas whose small population make the transition in energy towards climate neutrality more difficult to implement, and taking into account the starting position of each Member State.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 9
(9)  In order to set out an appropriate financial framework for the JTF, the Commission should set out the annual breakdown of available allocations per Member State under the Investment for jobs and growth goal, based on objective criteria.
(9)  In order to set out an appropriate financial framework for the JTF, the Commission should set out the annual breakdown of available allocations per Member State under the Investment for jobs and growth goal, based on objective criteria. Member States should ensure that municipalities and cities have direct access to the JTF resources to be made available to them according to their objective needs.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 10
(10)  This Regulation identifies types of investments for which expenditure may be supported by the JTF. All supported activities should be pursued in full respect of the climate and environmental priorities of the Union. The list of investments should include those that support local economies and are sustainable in the long-term, taking into account all the objectives of the Green Deal. The projects financed should contribute to a transition to a climate-neutral and circular economy. For declining sectors, such as energy production based on coal, lignite, peat and oil shale or extraction activities for these solid fossil fuels, support should be linked to the phasing out of the activity and the corresponding reduction in the employment level. As regards transforming sectors with high greenhouse gas emission levels, support should promote new activities through the deployment of new technologies, new processes or products, leading to significant emission reduction, in line with the EU 2030 climate objectives and EU climate neutrality by 205013 while maintaining and enhancing employment and avoiding environmental degradation. Particular attention should also be given to activities enhancing innovation and research in advanced and sustainable technologies, as well as in the fields of digitalisation and connectivity, provided that such measures help mitigate the negative side effects of a transition towards, and contribute to, a climate-neutral and circular economy.
(10)  This Regulation identifies types of investments for which expenditure may be supported by the JTF. All supported activities should be pursued in full respect of the climate, environmental and social commitments and priorities of the Union. The list of investments should include those that support people, communities and local economies and are sustainable in the long-term, taking into account all the objectives of the European Green Deal and the European Pillar of Social Rights. The projects financed should contribute to a gradual and full transition to a sustainable, climate-neutral, pollution-free and circular economy. For declining sectors, such as energy production based on coal, lignite, peat and oil shale or extraction activities for these solid fossil fuels, support should be linked to the phasing out of the activity and the corresponding reduction in the employment level. As regards transforming sectors with high greenhouse gas emission levels, support should promote new activities through the deployment of new technologies, new processes or products, leading to significant emission reduction, in line with the EU 2030 climate objectives and EU climate neutrality by 205013 while maintaining and enhancing skilled employment and avoiding environmental degradation. Particular attention should also be given to activities enhancing innovation and research in advanced and sustainable technologies, as well as in the fields of digitalisation, connectivity and smart and sustainable mobility, provided that such measures help mitigate the negative side effects of a transition towards, and contribute to, a climate-neutral and circular economy, taking into account the economic, social and energy characteristics of each Member State. The importance of culture, education and community building for the transition process should also be met by supporting activities that address the mining heritage.
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13 As set out in “A Clean Planet for all European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy”, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank - COM(2018) 773 final.
13 As set out in “A Clean Planet for all European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy”, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank - COM(2018) 773 final.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 11
(11)  To protect citizens who are most vulnerable to the climate transition, the JTF should also cover the up-skilling and reskilling of the affected workers, with the aim of helping them to adapt to new employment opportunities, as well as providing job-search assistance to jobseekers and their active inclusion into the labour market.
(11)  To protect citizens who are most vulnerable to the climate transition, the JTF should also cover the up-skilling, reskilling and training of the affected workers and jobseekers, particularly women, with the aim of helping them to adapt to new employment opportunities and gain new qualifications suitable for the green economy, as well as providing job-search assistance to jobseekers and their active inclusion into the labour market. The promotion of social cohesion should be a guiding principle for providing support under the JTF.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 12
(12)  In order to enhance the economic diversification of territories impacted by the transition, the JTF should provide support to productive investment in SMEs. Productive investment should be understood as investment in fixed capital or immaterial assets of enterprises in view of producing goods and services thereby contributing to gross-capital formation and employment. For enterprises other than SMEs, productive investments should only be supported if they are necessary for mitigating job losses resulting from the transition, by creating or protecting a significant number of jobs and they do not lead to or result from relocation. Investments in existing industrial facilities, including those covered by the Union Emissions Trading System, should be allowed if they contribute to the transition to a climate-neutral economy by 2050 and go substantially below the relevant benchmarks established for free allocation under Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council14 and if they result in the protection of a significant number of jobs. Any such investment should be justified accordingly in the relevant territorial just transition plan. In order to protect the integrity of the internal market and cohesion policy, support to undertakings should comply with Union State aid rules as set out in Articles 107 and 108 TFEU and, in particular, support to productive investments by enterprises other than SMEs should be limited to enterprises located in areas designated as assisted areas for the purposes of points (a) and (c) of Article 107(3) TFEU.
(12)  In order to enhance the economic diversification of territories impacted by the transition, the JTF should provide support to productive investment in SMEs. Productive investment should be understood as investment in fixed capital or immaterial assets of enterprises in view of producing goods and services thereby contributing to gross-capital formation and employment. For enterprises other than SMEs, productive investments should only be supported if they are necessary for mitigating job losses resulting from the transition, by creating or protecting a significant number of jobs and they do not lead to or result from relocation. Investments in existing industrial facilities, including those covered by the Union Emissions Trading System, should be allowed if they contribute to the transition to a climate-neutral economy by 2050 and go substantially below the relevant benchmarks established for free allocation under Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council14 and if they result in the creation and maintenance of a significant number of jobs. Any such investment should be justified accordingly in the relevant territorial just transition plan, be sustainable and, where applicable, be consistent with the polluter pays principle and the energy efficiency first principle. In order to protect the integrity of the internal market and cohesion policy, support to undertakings should comply with Union State aid rules as set out in Articles 107 and 108 TFEU.
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14 Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC (OJ L 275, 25.10.2003, p. 32).
14 Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC (OJ L 275, 25.10.2003, p. 32).
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 12 a (new)
(12a)  Support for productive investment in enterprises, other than SMEs, through the JTF should be limited to less developed and transition regions as set out in Article 102(2) of Regulation No .../... [CPR].
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 13
(13)  In order to provide flexibility for the programming of the JTF resources under the Investment for jobs and growth goal, it should be possible to prepare a self-standing JTF programme or to programme JTF resources in one or more dedicated priorities within a programme supported by the European Regional Development Fund (‘ERDF’), the European Social Fund Plus (‘ESF+’) or the Cohesion Fund. In accordance with Article 21a of Regulation (EU) [new CPR], JTF resources should be reinforced with complementary funding from the ERDF and the ESF+. The respective amounts transferred from the ERDF and the ESF+ should be consistent with the type of operations set out in the territorial just transition plans.
(13)  In order to provide flexibility for the programming of the JTF resources under the Investment for jobs and growth goal, it should be possible to prepare a self-standing JTF programme or to programme JTF resources in one or more dedicated priorities within a programme supported by the European Regional Development Fund (‘ERDF’), the European Social Fund Plus (‘ESF+’) or the Cohesion Fund. In accordance with Article 21a of Regulation (EU) [new CPR], JTF resources could be reinforced on a voluntary basis with complementary funding from the ERDF and the ESF+. The respective amounts transferred from the ERDF and the ESF+ should be consistent with the type of operations set out in the territorial just transition plans.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 14
(14)  The JTF support should be conditional on the effective implementation of a transition process in a specific territory in order to achieve a climate-neutral economy. In that regard, Member States should prepare, in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders and supported by the Commission, territorial just transition plans, detailing the transition process, consistently with their National Energy and Climate Plans. To this end, the Commission should set up a Just Transition Platform, which would build on the existing platform for coal regions in transition to enable bilateral and multilateral exchanges of experience on lessons learnt and best practices across all affected sectors.
(14)  The JTF support should be conditional on the effective and measurable implementation of a transition process in a specific territory in order to achieve a climate-neutral economy. In that regard, Member States should prepare, in social dialogue and cooperation with the relevant stakeholders in accordance with the partnership principle established by Article 6 of Regulation (EU) .../... [new CPR], and supported by the Commission, territorial just transition plans, detailing the transition process, consistently with, and possibly going further than, their National Energy and Climate Plans. To this end, the Commission should set up a Just Transition Platform, which would build on the existing platform for coal regions in transition to enable bilateral and multilateral exchanges of experience on lessons learnt and best practices across all affected sectors.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 15
(15)  The territorial just transition plans should identify the territories most negatively affected, where JTF support should be concentrated and describe specific actions to be undertaken to reach a climate-neutral economy, notably as regards the conversion or closure of facilities involving fossil fuel production or other greenhouse gas intensive activities. Those territories should be precisely defined and correspond to NUTS level 3 regions or should be parts thereof. The plans should detail the challenges and needs of those territories and identify the type of operations needed in a manner that ensures the coherent development of climate-resilient economic activities that are also consistent with the transition to climate-neutrality and the objectives of the Green Deal. Only investments in accordance with the transition plans should receive financial support from the JTF. The territorial just transition plans should be part of the programmes (supported by the ERDF, the ESF+, the Cohesion Fund or the JTF, as the case may be) which are approved by the Commission.
(15)  The territorial just transition plans should identify the territories most negatively affected, where JTF support should be concentrated and describe specific actions to be undertaken to reach the Union climate targets for 2030 and a climate-neutral economy by 2050, notably as regards the conversion or closure of facilities involving fossil fuel production or other greenhouse gas intensive activities, whilst maintaining and expanding employment opportunities in the affected territories in order to avoid social exclusion. Aggravating factors such as unemployment rates and depopulation trends should be taken into consideration. Those territories should be precisely defined and correspond to NUTS level 3 regions or should be parts thereof. The plans should detail the challenges, needs and opportunities of those territories and identify the type of operations needed in a manner that ensures the coherent development of climate-resilient economic activities that are also consistent with the transition to climate-neutrality and the objectives of the European Green Deal. Only investments in accordance with the transition plans should receive financial support from the JTF. The territorial just transition plans should be part of the programmes (supported by the ERDF, the ESF+, the Cohesion Fund or the JTF, as the case may be) which are approved by the Commission.
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 19
(19)  The objectives of this Regulation, namely to support territories facing economic and social transformation in their transition to a climate-neutral economy, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States alone. The main reasons in this regard are, on the one hand, the disparities between the levels of development of the various territories and the backwardness of the least favoured territories, as well as the limit on the financial resources of the Member States and territories and, on the other hand, the need for a coherent implementation framework covering several Union funds under shared management. Since those objectives can better be achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 TEU. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives,
(19)  The objectives of this Regulation, namely to support the people, economy and environment of territories facing economic and social transformation in their transition to a climate-neutral economy, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States alone. The main reasons in this regard are, on the one hand, the disparities between the levels of development of the various territories and the backwardness of the least favoured territories, as well as the limit on the financial resources of the Member States and territories and, on the other hand, the need for a coherent implementation framework covering several Union funds under shared management and ensuring compliance with high social and environmental standards and the promotion of worker participation. Since those objectives can better be achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 TEU. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve those objectives,
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – paragraph 1
1.  This Regulation establishes the Just Transition Fund (‘JTF’) to provide support to territories facing serious socio-economic challenges deriving from the transition process towards a climate-neutral economy of the Union by 2050.
1.  This Regulation establishes the Just Transition Fund (‘JTF’) to provide support to the people, economy and environment of territories that face serious socio-economic challenges deriving from the transition process towards the achievement of the Union’s 2030 targets for energy and climate, and a climate-neutral economy of the Union by 2050.
Amendment 19
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1
In accordance with the second subparagraph of Article [4(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR], the JTF shall contribute to the single specific objective ‘enabling regions and people to address the social, economic and environmental impacts of the transition towards a climate-neutral economy.
In accordance with the second subparagraph of Article[4(1)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR], the JTF shall contribute to the single specific objective ‘enabling regions, people, enterprises and other stakeholders to address the social, employment, economic and environmental impacts of the transition towards a climate-neutral economy by 2050 and the intermediate goals for 2030, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Amendment 20
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1
2.  The resources for the JTF under the Investment for jobs and growth goal available for budgetary commitment for the period 2021-2027 shall be EUR 11 270 459 000 in current prices, which may be increased, as the case may be, by additional resources allocated in the Union budget, and by other resources in accordance with the applicable basic act.
2.  The resources for the JTF under the Investment for jobs and growth goal available for budgetary commitment for the period 2021-2027 shall be EUR 25 358 532 750 in 2018 prices, (‘principal amount’), and shall not result from the transfer of resources from other Funds covered by Regulation (EU).../... [new CPR]. The principal amount may be increased, as the case may be, by additional resources allocated in the Union budget, and by other resources in accordance with the applicable basic act.
Amendment 21
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3a – paragraph 3
3.  The annual breakdown of the amount referred to in paragraph 1 by Member States shall be included in the Commission decision referred to in Article 3(3) in accordance with the methodology set out in Annex I.
3.   At the request of a Member State, the amount referred to in the first subparagraph of paragraph 1 of this Article shall also be made available for the years 2025-2027. For each period, the respective annual breakdowns of the amount referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article by Member States shall be included in the Commission decision referred to in Article 3(3) in accordance with the methodology set out in Annex I.
Amendment 22
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 b (new)
Article 3b
Green Rewarding Mechanism
18 % of the total of the amounts referred to in the first subparagraph of Article 3(2) and the first subparagraph of Article 3a(1) shall be allocated in accordance with the speed with which the Member States reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, divided by their latest average GNI.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 c (new)
Article 3c
Specific allocations for outermost regions and islands
1 % of the total of the amounts referred to in the first subparagraph of Article 3(2) and the first subparagraph of Article 3a(1) shall be a specific allocation for islands, and 1 % shall be a specific allocation for the outermost regions, as referred to in Article 349 TFEU, given to the Member States concerned.
Amendment 66
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 d (new)
Article 3d
Access to the JTF
Access to the JTF shall be conditional on the adoption of a national objective towards the achievement of climate neutrality by 2050.
For those Member States which have not yet committed to a national target for climate neutrality, only 50 % of their national allocation shall be released, while the remaining 50 % shall be made available once they have adopted that target.
Amendment 24
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point a
(a)  productive investments in SMEs, including start-ups, leading to economic diversification and reconversion;
(a)  productive and sustainable investments in microenterprises and SMEs, including start-ups and sustainable tourism, leading to job creation, modernisation, economic diversification and reconversion;
Amendment 25
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point b
(b)  investments in the creation of new firms, including through business incubators and consulting services;
(b)  investments in the creation of new firms and the development of those existing, including through business incubators and consulting services, leading to job creation;
Amendment 26
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point b a (new)
(ba)  investments in social infrastructures, leading to job creation and economic diversification;
Amendment 27
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point c
(c)  investments in research and innovation activities and fostering the transfer of advanced technologies;
(c)  investments in research and innovation activities, including in universities and public research institutions, and fostering the transfer of advanced and market-ready technologies;
Amendment 28
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point d
(d)  investments in the deployment of technology and infrastructures for affordable clean energy, in greenhouse gas emission reduction, energy efficiency and renewable energy;
(d)  investments in the deployment of technology and infrastructures for affordable clean energy and its systems, in greenhouse gas emission reduction, energy efficiency, energy storage technologies and sustainable renewable energy, where it leads to job creation and maintenance of sustainable employment at a considerable scale;
Amendment 29
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point d a (new)
(da)  investments in smart and sustainable mobility and environmentally-friendly transport infrastructure;
Amendment 30
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point d b (new)
(db)  investments in projects fighting energy poverty, particularly in social housing, and promoting energy efficiency, a climate neutral approach and low-emission district heating in most affected regions;
Amendment 31
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point e
(e)  investments in digitalisation and digital connectivity;
(e)  investments in digitalisation, digital innovation and digital connectivity, including digital and precision farming;
Amendment 32
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point f
(f)  investments in regeneration and decontamination of sites, land restoration and repurposing projects;
(f)  investments in green infrastructure as well as regeneration and decontamination of sites, brown fields and repurposing projects, when the ‘polluter pays’ principle cannot be applied;
Amendment 104
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point g
(g)  investments in enhancing the circular economy, including through waste prevention, reduction, resource efficiency, reuse, repair and recycling;
(g)  investments in enhancing the circular economy through waste prevention, reduction, resource efficiency, reuse, repair and recycling;
Amendment 33
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point g a (new)
(ga)  creation and development of social and public services of general interest;
Amendment 34
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point g b (new)
(gb)  investments in culture, education and community building, including the valorisation of tangible and intangible mining heritage and community hubs;
Amendment 35
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point h
(h)  upskilling and reskilling of workers;
(h)  upskilling, reskilling and training of workers and jobseekers;
Amendment 36
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point i
(i)  job-search assistance to jobseekers;
(i)  job-search assistance to jobseekers, active aging support and income support for workers in transition between jobs;
Amendment 37
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point j
(j)  active inclusion of jobseekers;
(j)  active inclusion of jobseekers, particularly women, disabled persons and vulnerable groups;
Amendment 38
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 2
Additionally, the JTF may support, in areas designated as assisted areas in accordance with points (a) and (c) of Article 107(3) of the TFEU, productive investments in enterprises other than SMEs, provided that such investments have been approved as part of the territorial just transition plan based on the information required under point (h) of Article 7(2). Such investments shall only be eligible where they are necessary for the implementation of the territorial just transition plan.
Additionally, the JTF may support, in less developed and transition regions as set out in Article 102(2) of Regulation No .../...[new CPR], productive investments in enterprises other than SMEs, provided that such investments have been approved as part of the territorial just transition plan based on the information required under point (h) of Article 7(2). Such investments shall only be eligible where they are necessary for the implementation of the territorial just transition plan, to create new jobs, and where they comply with social targets for job creation, gender equality and equal pay and environmental targets, and where they facilitate transition to a climate-neutral economy without supporting relocation, in compliance with Article 60(1) of Regulation No .../... [new CPR].
Amendment 39
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 3
The JTF may also support investments to achieve the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from activities listed in Annex I to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council provided that such investments have been approved as part of the territorial just transition plan based on the information required under point (i) of Article 7(2). Such investments shall only be eligible where they are necessary for the implementation of the territorial just transition plan.
The JTF may also support investments to achieve the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from activities listed in Annex I to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council provided that such investments have been approved as part of the territorial just transition plan based on the information required under point (i) of Article 7(2) of this Regulation and that they comply with the other conditions laid down in the second subparagraph of this paragraph. Such investments shall only be eligible where they are necessary for the implementation of the territorial just transition plan.
Amendment 40
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point c
(c)  undertakings in difficulty, as defined in Article 2(18) of Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/201416 ;
(c)  undertakings in difficulty, as defined in Article 2(18) of Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/201416, except in cases where the difficulties derive from the energy transition process or where the difficulties began after 15 February 2020 and derive from the COVID-19 crisis;
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16 Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty (OJ L 187, 26.6.2014, p. 1).
16 Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty (OJ L 187, 26.6.2014, p. 1).
Amendment 41
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point d
(d)  investment related to the production, processing, distribution, storage or combustion of fossil fuels;
(d)  investment related to the production, processing, transport, distribution, storage or combustion of fossil fuels;
Amendment 42
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point e
(e)  investment in broadband infrastructure in areas in which there are at least two broadband networks of equivalent category.
(e)  investment in broadband infrastructure in areas where equivalent solutions are provided by the market in competitive conditions to customers;
Amendment 43
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point e a (new)
(ea)  investment in enterprises other than SMEs, involving the transfer of jobs and production processes from one Member State to another or to a third country;
Amendment 44
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 – point e b (new)
(eb)  operations in a NUTS 2 region where an opening of a new coal, lignite or oil shale mine or of a peat extraction field or a reopening of a temporarily decommissioned coal, lignite or oil shale mine or of a peat extraction field is scheduled during the duration of the programme.
Amendment 45
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1 a (new)
By way of derogation from point (d) of Article 5(1) of this Regulation, for regions heavily relying on the extraction and combustion of coal, lignite, oil shale or peat, the Commission may approve territorial just transition plans which include investments in activities related to natural gas, provided that such activities qualify as environmentally sustainable in accordance with Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 2020/852 16a and comply with the following cumulative conditions:
(a)  are used as a bridging technology replacing coal, lignite, peat, or oil shale;
(b)  fall within the limits of sustainable availability or are compatible with the use of clean hydrogen, biogas and biomethane;
(c)  contribute to the Union’s environmental objectives on climate change mitigation and adaptation, through accelerating the full phase-out of coal, lignite, peat or oil shale;
(d)  deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution and increase energy efficiency;
(e)  contribute to tackling energy poverty;
(f)  do not hamper the development of renewable energy sources in the territories concerned and are compatible and in synergy with a subsequent use of renewable energy sources.
In duly justified cases, the Commission may also approve investments in non-qualifying activities in accordance with Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 2020/852, if they comply with all the other conditions set out in the first subparagraph of this paragraph, and the Member State is able to justify, in the territorial just transition plan, the need to support those activities and demonstrates consistency of those activities with Union energy and climate objectives and legislation, as well as its National Energy and Climate Plan.
______________
16a Regulation (EU) 2020/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2020 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment, and amending Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 (OJ L 198, 22.6.2020, p. 13).
Amendment 46
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 1
The JTF resources shall be programmed for the categories of regions where the territories concerned are located, on the basis of the territorial just transition plans established in accordance with Article 7 and approved by the Commission as part of a programme or a programme amendment. The resources programmed shall take the form of one or more specific programmes or of one or more priorities within a programme.
The JTF resources shall be programmed for the categories of regions where the territories or economic activities concerned are located, on the basis of the territorial just transition plans established in accordance with Article 7 and approved by the Commission as part of a programme or a programme amendment. The resources programmed shall take the form of one or more specific programmes or of one or more priorities within a programme.
Amendment 47
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 2
The Commission shall only approve a programme where the identification of the territories most negatively affected by the transition process, contained within the relevant territorial just transition plan, is duly justified and the relevant territorial just transition plan is consistent with the National Energy and Climate Plan of the Member State concerned.
Unless it duly justifies withholding its approval, the Commission shall approve a programme where the territories most negatively affected by the transition process, contained within the relevant territorial just transition plan, are duly identified and the relevant territorial just transition plan is consistent with the National Energy and Climate Plan of the Member State concerned, the climate-neutrality objective for 2050, its intermediate steps by 2030 and the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Amendment 48
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 2
2.  The JTF priority or priorities shall comprise the JTF resources consisting of all or part of the JTF allocation for the Member States and the resources transferred in accordance with Article [21a] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR]. The total of the ERDF and ESF+ resources transferred to the JTF shall be at least equal to one and a half times the amount of support from the JTF to that priority excluding the resources referred to in paragraph 1 of Article 3a but shall not exceed three times that amount.
2.  The JTF priority or priorities shall comprise the JTF resources consisting of all or part of the JTF allocation for the Member States. Those resources may be complemented by the resources transferred on a voluntary basis in accordance with Article [21a] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR]. The total of the ERDF and ESF+ resources to be transferred to the JTF priority shall not exceed one and a half times the amount of support from the JTF to that priority. The resources transferred from ERDF and ESF+ shall maintain their original objectives and be included in the levels of thematic concentration of ERDF and ESF+.
Amendment 49
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 2 a (new)
2a.  The JTF is designed for the most vulnerable communities within each region, and therefore eligible projects financed under the JTF contributing to the specific objective in Article 2 shall benefit from co-financing of up to 85 % of relevant costs.
Amendment 50
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 1
1.  Member States shall prepare, together with the relevant authorities of the territories concerned, one or more territorial just transition plans covering one or more affected territories corresponding to level 3 of the common classification of territorial units for statistics (‘NUTS level 3 regions’) as established by Regulation (EC) No 1059/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council as amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 868/201417 or parts thereof, in accordance with the template set out in Annex II. Those territories shall be those most negatively affected based on the economic and social impacts resulting from the transition, in particular with regard to expected job losses in fossil fuel production and use and the transformation needs of the production processes of industrial facilities with the highest greenhouse gas intensity.
1.  Member States shall prepare, together with the relevant local and regional authorities of the territories concerned and in accordance with the partnership principle laid down in Article 6 of Regulation (EU) .../… [new CPR] and, where relevant, the assistance of the EIB and EIF, one or more territorial just transition plans covering one or more affected territories corresponding to level 3 of the common classification of territorial units for statistics (‘NUTS level 3 regions’) as established by Regulation (EC) No 1059/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council as amended by Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/206617 or parts thereof, in accordance with the template set out in Annex II. Those territories shall be those most negatively affected based on the economic and social impacts resulting from the transition, in particular with regard to expected job losses in fossil fuel production and use and the transformation needs of the production processes of industrial facilities with the highest greenhouse gas intensity.
__________________
__________________
17 Regulation (EC) No 1059/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 on the establishment of a common classification of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) (OJ L 154 21.6.2003, p. 1).
17 Regulation (EC) No 1059/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 on the establishment of a common classification of territorial units for statistics (NUTS) (OJ L 154, 21.6.2003, p. 1).
Amendment 51
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 2 – point a
(a)  a description of the transition process at national level towards a climate-neutral economy, including a timeline for key transition steps which are consistent with the latest version of the National Energy and Climate Plan (‘NECP’);
(a)  a description of the transition process at national level towards the achievement of the Union 2030 climate targets and a climate-neutral economy by 2050, including a timeline for key transition steps which are consistent with the latest version of the National Energy and Climate Plan (‘NECP’);
Amendment 52
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 2 – point b
(b)  a justification for identifying the territories as most negatively affected by the transition process referred to in point (a) and to be supported by the JTF, in accordance with paragraph 1;
(b)  a justification for identifying the territories as most negatively affected by the transition process referred to in point (a) and to be supported by the JTF, in accordance with paragraph 1, including indicators such as the unemployment rate and the depopulation rate;
Amendment 53
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 2 – point c
(c)  an assessment of the transition challenges faced by the most negatively affected territories, including the social, economic, and environmental impact of the transition to a climate-neutral economy, identifying the potential number of affected jobs and job losses, the development needs and objectives, to be reached by 2030 linked to the transformation or closure of greenhouse gas-intensive activities in those territories;
(c)  an impact assessment of the transition challenges faced by the most negatively affected territories, including the social, economic, and environmental impact of the transition to a climate-neutral economy, identifying the potential number of affected jobs and job losses, the potential impact on government revenues, the development needs and objectives, linked to the transformation or closure of greenhouse gas-intensive activities in those territories, and the challenges regarding energy poverty;
Amendment 54
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 2 – point d
(d)  a description of the expected contribution of the JTF support to addressing the social, economic and environmental impacts of the transition to a climate-neutral economy;
(d)  a description of the expected contribution of the JTF support to addressing the social, demographic, economic, health and environmental impacts of the transition to a climate-neutral economy;
Amendment 55
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 2 – point e
(e)  an assessment of its consistency with other national, regional or territorial strategies and plans;
(e)  an assessment of its consistency with other national, regional or territorial strategies and plans, where relevant;
Amendment 56
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 2 – point h
(h)  where support is provided to productive investments to enterprises other than SMEs, an exhaustive list of such operations and enterprises and a justification of the necessity of such support through a gap analysis demonstrating that the expected job losses would exceed the expected number of jobs created in the absence of the investment;
(h)  where support is provided to productive investments to enterprises other than SMEs, an indicative list of such operations and enterprises and a justification of the necessity of such support through a gap analysis demonstrating that the expected job losses would exceed the expected number of jobs created in the absence of the investment;
Amendment 57
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 3
3.  The preparation and implementation of territorial just transition plans shall involve the relevant partners in accordance with Article [6] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR].
3.  The preparation and implementation of territorial just transition plans shall involve the relevant partners in accordance with Article [6] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] and, where relevant, the EIB and EIF.
Amendment 58
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 – paragraph 2
2.  For output indicators, baselines shall be set at zero. The milestones set for 2024 and targets set for 2029 shall be cumulative. Targets shall not be revised after the request for programme amendment submitted pursuant to Article [14(2)] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] has been approved by the Commission.
2.  For output indicators, baselines shall be set at zero. The milestones set for 2024 and targets set for 2029 shall be cumulative.
Amendment 59
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1
Where the Commission concludes, based on the examination of the final performance report of the programme, that there is a failure to achieve at least 65% of the target established for one or more output or result indicators for the JTF resources, it may make financial corrections pursuant to Article [98] of Regulation (EU) [new CPR] by reducing the support from the JTF to the priority concerned in proportion to the achievements.
Based on the final performance report of the programme, the Commission may make financial corrections in accordance with Regulation (EU) [new CPR].
Amendment 60
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 a (new)
Article 10a
Transitional provisions
Member States shall benefit from a transition period until .... [one year from the date of entry into force of this Regulation] for the preparation and adoption of the territorial just transition plans. All Member States shall be fully eligible for funding under this Regulation during that transition period, which shall not be taken into account by the Commission when considering a decision on decommitment or loss of funding.
Amendment 61
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 b (new)
Article 10b
Review
At the latest by the end of mid-term review of the next multi-annual financial framework, the Commission shall review the implementation of the JTF and assess whether it is appropriate to amend its scope in line with possible changes in Regulation (EU) 2020/852, the Union’s climate objectives set out in Regulation (EU) 2020/… [European Climate Law] and the evolution in the implementation of the Sustainable Finance Action Plan. On that basis, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council, which may be accompanied by legislative proposals.

(1) The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committee responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (A9-0135/2020).


Arms export: implementation of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on Arms export: implementation of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP (2020/2003(INI))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0224A9-0137/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the principles enshrined in Article 346(1)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) on the production of or trade in arms, in Article 42(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) on ‘defining a European capabilities and armaments policy’, and in Article 21 TEU, notably the promotion of democracy and the rule of law, the preservation of peace, the prevention of conflicts and the strengthening of international security,

–  having regard to Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/1560 of 16 September 2019 amending Common Position 2008/944/CFSP ('the Common Position’) defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment(1), and to the Council conclusions of 16 September 2019 setting out the Council’s review of the Common Position,

–  having regard to the Twentieth Annual Report drawn up in accordance with Article 8(2) of the Common Position(2),

–  having regard to the Twenty-First Annual Report drawn up in accordance with Article 8(2) of the Common Position(3),

–  having regard to Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/101 of 22 January 2018 on the promotion of effective arms export controls(4) and Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/915 of 29 May 2017 on Union outreach activities in support of the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty(5),

–  having regard to Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/2191 of 19 December 2019 in support of a global reporting mechanism on illicit conventional arms and their ammunition to reduce the risk of their diversion and illicit transfer (iTrace IV)(6),

–  having regard to the updated Common Military List of the European Union, adopted by the Council on 17 February 2020(7) ,

–  having regard to the User’s Guide to the Common Position,

–  having regard to the Wassenaar Arrangement of 12 May 1996 on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, together with the lists, updated in December 2019, of those goods and technologies and munitions,

–  having regard to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013(8), which entered into force on 24 December 2014,

–  having regard to Directive 2009/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 simplifying terms and conditions of transfers of defence-related products within the Community(9), and to Directive 2009/81/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 on the coordination of procedures for the award of certain works contracts, supply contracts and service contracts by contracting authorities or entities in the fields of defence and security, and amending Directives 2004/17/EC and 2004/18/EC(10),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 of 5 May 2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items(11), as amended by Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/1969 of 12 September 2016(12), and to the list of dual-use goods and technology in Annex I thereto ('the Dual-Use Regulation’),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2018/1092 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 establishing the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) aiming at supporting the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the Union’s defence industry(13),

–  having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 June 2018 establishing the European Defence Fund (EDF) (COM(2018)0476),

–  having regard to the proposal of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, with the support of the Commission, to the Council for a Council Decision establishing a European Peace Facility (EPF) (HR(2018)94),

–  having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 16 promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development,

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 2216 (2015) on an arms embargo on Yemen, and to Report A/HRC/39/43 of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014,

–  having regard to Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/472 of 31 March 2020 on a European Union military operation in the Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED IRINI)(14),

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolution 2473 (2019), adopted on 10 June 2019, which renewed measures designed to implement the arms embargo against Libya, and to the statement of 25 January 2020 of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on continued violations of the arms embargo in Libya,

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1970 (2011) imposing the arms embargo on Libya and to all subsequent Security Council resolutions on the matter, as well as to Resolutions 2292 (2016), 2357 (2017), 2420 (2018) and 2473 (2019) on the strict implementation of the arms embargo,

–  having regard to the UN publication of 2018 ‘Securing our Common Future: An Agenda for Disarmament’,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/125 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 January 2019 concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment(15),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the European Council of 16 October 2019 on Turkey, which endorsed the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council of 14 October 2019 on its illegal actions in northern Syria and the eastern Mediterranean,

–  having regard to UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, aiming at the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development (16)

–  having regard to the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Human Rights Council on the impact of arms transfers on the enjoyment of human rights(17),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on arms exports and the implementation of the Common Position, in particular those of 14 November 2018(18), 13 September 2017(19) and 17 December 2015(20),

–  having regard to its recommendation of 28 March 2019 to the Council and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy concerning the proposal of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, with the support of the Commission, to the Council for a Council Decision establishing a European Peace Facility(21),

–  having regard to its resolutions on the humanitarian situation in Yemen of 25 February 2016(22), 15 June 2017(23) and 30 November 2017(24),

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 February 2014 on the use of armed drones(25),

–  having regard to the workshop entitled ‘The implementation of the EU arms export control system’ held at the meeting of its Subcommittee on Security and Defence on 12 April 2017,

–  having regard to the study entitled ‘Recommendations for a transparent and detailed reporting system on arms exports within the EU and to third countries’ commissioned by its Subcommittee on Security and Defence,

–  having regard to the Treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on Franco-German Cooperation and Integration of 22 January 2019 (Franco-German Treaty of Aachen),

–  having regard to the conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council of 21 August 2013 on Egypt,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A9-0137/2020),

A.  whereas the latest SIPRI figures(26) show that arms exports from the EU-28 amounted to some 26 % of the global total over the period 2015 to 2019, making the EU-28 collectively the second largest arms supplier in the world, after the US (36 %) and followed by Russia (21 %); whereas under Article 346 TEU the production of or trade in arms remain with Member States ;

B.  whereas the latest SIPRI figures show that the EU-28 is the second arms exporter to both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE); whereas according to the UN Group of Regional and International Eminent Experts, parties to the armed conflict in Yemen have perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate, crimes in violation of international law;

C.  whereas exports of arms, weapons and equipment enhance the defence industry’s ability to efficiently research and develop defensive technologies, and therefore secure the ability of the EU Member States to defend themselves and protect their citizens;

D.  whereas a new arms race in the world is growing and the major military powers no longer rely on arms control and disarmament to reduce international tensions and improve the global security environment;

E.  whereas the Council’s common position of 8 December 2008 is an essential instrument for enhanced cooperation and the closer alignment of Member States’ export policies;

F.  whereas Member States recognise the special responsibility that may derive from exporting military technology and equipment to third states in influencing or exacerbating existing tensions and conflicts;

G.  whereas the global crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic could have significant geostrategic repercussions and further points up the need to build a genuine European strategic autonomy;

H.  whereas the EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 21 August 2013 stated that ‘Member States also agreed to suspend export licenses to Egypt of any equipment which might be used for internal repression and to reassess export licenses of equipment covered by Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and review their security assistance with Egypt’; whereas companies based in several EU Member States have continued to export arms, surveillance technology and other security equipment to Egypt, thus facilitating hacking and malware as well as other forms of attacks on human rights defenders and civil society activists, both physically and online; whereas this activity has led to the repression of freedom of expression online;

I.  whereas in an increasingly unstable multipolar world in which nationalist, xenophobic and anti-democratic forces are on the rise, it is vital for the European Union to become an influential player on the world stage and to keep its leading role as a global ‘soft power’, committed to disarmament as regards both conventional and nuclear weapons, and investing in conflict prevention, crisis management and mediation before military options are considered;

J.  whereas arms exports are essential when it comes to strengthening the industrial and technological base of the European defence industry, which is primarily committed to ensuring the protection and security of the EU Member States while contributing to CFSP implementation;

K.  whereas divergence in Member States’ arms export behaviour is sometimes weakening the EU’s ability to achieve its foreign policy objectives, as well as undermining its credibility as an actor speaking with one voice in the international arena;

L.  whereas both the global and the regional security environment have dramatically changed, especially with regard to the Union’s southern and eastern neighbourhood;

M.  whereas military transparency measures such as reporting on arms exports contribute to cross-border trust-building;

The 20th and 21st EU annual reports on arms exports

1.  Underlines that maintaining a defence industry serves as part of the self-defence of the Union and is a component of its strategic autonomy; notes that this is only possible if Member States give priority to European products in their equipment programmes; stresses that a viable European market would reduce dependency on arms exports to third countries;

2.  Notes that the common position provides for a transparency procedure involving the publication of annual EU reports on arms exports; welcomes the publication of the 20th and 21st reports, in line with Article 8(2) of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, compiled by the Council Working Party on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM) and published in the Official Journal, albeit with delay; believes that the publication of both reports represents a step forward towards a common EU position in the field of arms exports, in the framework of an ever more challenging international context marked by increasing volumes of exports and decreasing levels of transparency; considers both reports to be valuable complements to the UN reports on global and regional arms export transparency;

3.  Notes Member States’ efforts to comply with Article 346(1)(b) TFEU on the production of or trade in arms;

4.  Notes that 19 Member States made full submissions for the 20th annual report, and 19 for the 21st; urges all Member States to comply fully with their obligations, as set out in the Common Position at a time of decreasing global transparency in the arms trade, especially on the part of several major arms-exporting countries; underlines that full submission means to submit the total quantity and value of both the licenses granted and actual exports, broken down by country of destination and Military List category; notes that for the 20th annual report 27 Member States, with the exception of Greece, made at least partial submissions, and for the 21th annual report all 28 Member States submitted data, while around one third were incomplete in their submissions; welcomes, however, the additional information provided by the governments via national reports; reiterates its request that all Member States which have not made full submissions provide additional information regarding their past exports with a view to the next annual report;

5.  Is concerned that Member States use very different information in order to generate data on the value of licenses, complicating the ability to use consistent and comparative data effectively; stresses the importance of reporting actual arms exports, including their total value and quantity, under global and general licenses broken down by Military List categories and by country of destination;

6.  Calls on the Member States to increase their coordination and to define common best practices for collecting and processing information and data, in order to produce more harmonised annual reports and thus improve the transparency and usability of the reports;

7.  Notes that the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, a region where there are several armed conflicts, remain the foremost regional destination for exports according to the last two annual reports; notes that these regions face significant and continuing security challenges and that all exports have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis against the eight criteria of the Common Position;

8.  Supports the Council's commitment to strengthening the control of exports of military technology and equipment; notes the willingness of Member States to reinforce cooperation and promote convergence in this field within the framework of the CFSP; welcomes these efforts because they are in line with the overall objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) set out in Article 21 TEU and of the regional priorities set in the EU Global Strategy (2016); in this regard, calls on the Member States to develop, implement and uphold common standards of management of transfers of military technology and equipment;

9.  Recalls that the EU has been implementing a number of arms embargos, including all UN embargoes, in line with the objectives of the CFSP, on countries such as Belarus, the Central African Republic, China, Iran, Libya, Myanmar, North Korea, the Russian Federation, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe; notes that whereas these embargos could deprive a country of military resources, in some cases they contribute to regional peace and stability; notes that such embargos ensure that the EU does not contribute to humanitarian crises, human rights abuses and atrocities; calls on the EU to help strengthen Member States’ capacities for implementing robust procedures for monitoring the compliance of all Member States with EU arms embargoes, and to make the relevant findings public(27);

10.  Recalls its resolution on the situation in Yemen of 4 October 2018; urges all EU Member States, in this context, to refrain from selling arms and any military equipment to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and any member of the international coalition, as well as to the Yemeni Government and other parties to the conflict;

11.  Welcomes the decisions of the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, and the Netherlands adopting restrictions on their arms exports to countries which are members of the Saudi-led coalition involved in the war in Yemen; notes that in some cases, as reported by NGOs, the arms exported to those countries have been used in Yemen, where 22 million people find themselves in need of humanitarian aid and protection; recalls that such exports clearly violate the Common Position; notes the renewed extension of the moratorium on arms exports to Saudi Arabia by Germany up to the end of 2020, as well as the decisions by several Member States to enforce full restrictions; recalls that between 25 February 2016 and 14 February 2019 Parliament, via plenary resolutions, called at least ten times on the VP/HR to launch a process leading to an EU arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, including in 2018 also regarding other members of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen; reiterates this call once again;

12.  Calls on the Member States to follow the example of Germany, Finland and Denmark, which, after the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, adopted restrictions on their arms exports to Saudi Arabia;

13.  Reiterates its calls on the Member States to follow up on the Council conclusions on Egypt of 21 August 2013 by announcing the suspension of export licences for any equipment which might be used for internal repression, in line with Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, and condemns the persistent non-compliance of Member States with these commitments; calls on the Member States, therefore, to halt exports to Egypt of arms, surveillance technology and other security equipment that can facilitate attacks on human rights defenders and civil society activists, including on social media, as well as any other kind of internal repression; calls on the VP/HR to report on the current state of military and security cooperation of Member States with Egypt; calls for the EU to implement in full its export controls vis-à-vis Egypt with regard to goods that could be used for repression, torture or capital punishment;

14.  Reiterates its recent calls for an end to exports of surveillance technology and other equipment that can facilitate internal repression, to several countries including Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Vietnam;

15.  Notes that the EU undertakes missions in the framework of the CSDP, including a mission enforcing an arms embargo in Libya, with the aim of strengthening regional peace and stability; deeply regrets the continued blatant violations of the arms embargo in Libya, even after the commitments made in this regard by concerned countries during the International Conference on Libya held in Berlin on 19 January 2020; calls on all Member States to halt all transfers of weapons, surveillance and intelligence equipment and material to all the parties involved in the Libyan conflict;

16.  Welcomes Operation IRINI’s objective of the strict implementation of the UN arms embargo through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets by carrying out inspections of vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya that are suspected to be carrying arms or related material to and from Libya, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 2292 (2016), 2357 (2017), 2420 (2018) and 2473 (2019);

17.  Strongly condemns the signature of the two Memoranda of Understanding between Turkey and Libya on the delimitation of maritime zones and on comprehensive security and military cooperation, which are interconnected and are in clear violation of both international law and the UN Security Council resolution imposing an arms embargo on Libya; recalls the decision taken by some Member States to halt arms export licensing to Turkey; recalls that Member States committed to strong national positions regarding their arms export policy to Turkey on the basis of the provisions of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, including the strict application of criterion 4 on regional stability; calls on the VP / HR, for as long as Turkey continues with its current illegal, unilateral actions in the Eastern Mediterranean that run counter to the sovereignty of any EU Member State (notably Greece and Cyprus) and international law, and does not engage in dialogue based on international law, to introduce an initiative in the Council for all EU Member States to halt arms export licensing to Turkey in accordance with the Common Position; calls on the appropriate forums within NATO, and especially the High-Level Task Force on Conventional Arms Control, to discuss arms control in the Eastern Mediterranean as a matter of urgency;

18.  Calls on the Member States, with regard to export controls, to pay greater attention to goods which may be used for both civilian and military purposes;

19.  Notes there are no sanction mechanisms in place should a Member State engage in exports that are clearly not compatible with the eight criteria;

The Council’s review of the Common Position

20.  Welcomes the Council’s intention to increase convergence and transparency, as being the main objectives of its last review of the Common Position, as well as the Council conclusions on the review of the Common Position and their statement that ‘the strengthening of a European defence technological and industrial base should be accompanied by closer cooperation and convergence in the field of export control of military technology and equipment’(28);

21.  Welcomes Member States’ renewed commitment to the legally binding Common Position as amended by Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/1560, and stresses the importance of thoroughly assessing export licence applications for military technology and equipment according to the criteria stipulated therein; points out that Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/1560 and the relevant conclusions of 16 September 2019 reflect a growing awareness among Member States of the need for greater national and EU-wide transparency and convergence in the area of arms exports and of the need to strengthen public oversight in this sensitive national security domain; stresses that these decisions have the potential to ensure that national oversight bodies, parliaments and EU citizens are supplied with better information about the strategic choices made by their governments, in an area which directly affects their security and their countries’ adherence to values and norms;

22.  Is worried about the increasing arms race in the world; recalls the EU’s ambition to be a global actor for peace; therefore calls on the EU to play an active role in the areas of non-proliferation of arms and global disarmament; welcomes the fact that the update of the Common Position takes into account relevant developments in this respect, such as the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), to which all Member States are party; welcomes the EU’s activities aiming at supporting the universalisation of the ATT, in particular the assistance to third countries in improving and implementing effective arms control systems in line with the Common Position; calls on the major arms- exporting countries, such as the US, China and Russia, to sign and ratify the ATT;

23.  Supports the Council’s reaffirmation that military equipment and technology should be traded in a responsible and accountable way; welcomes the Council’s renewed commitment to further promoting cooperation and convergence in Member States’ policies in order to prevent the exporting of military technology and equipment that might be used for internal repression or international aggression, or contribute to regional instability;

24.  Notes with concern that divergences between the arms export policies and practices of the Member States slow down the convergence of EU rules in this area; notes the need to introduce new instruments in this respect; notes that future European Defence Fund-funded actions will contribute to developing new military technologies and equipment;

25.  Notes with satisfaction that the Council acknowledges the importance of a consistent export control policy regarding defence-related materials and dual-use goods; believes that the EU should establish clear criteria and guidelines regarding the export of such goods;

26.  Welcomes the introduction of concrete measures intended to facilitate the correct, coherent and timely reporting of Member States’ arms exports; supports in particular the Council’s decision to introduce a clear reporting deadline for national submissions, clear standards for the report’s format, and further guidelines on the substance and process of reporting; encourages the Member States to submit their data as soon as possible and no later than May after the reporting year in order to allow a timely public debate; welcomes the steps taken towards the online approach and encourages its further development; also welcomes the Council’s support for clear guidelines on information sharing and exchange between Member States on their arms export policies; welcomes the steps taken towards the digital approach with the COARM Online System, and encourages its further expansion;

The increasing cooperation between Member States in arms production

27.  Notes that since the adoption of the legally binding Common Position in 2008, the Member States have stepped up their arms exports monitoring; also notes that an increasing number of weapon systems produced in Europe are made up of components from multiple EU Member States and involve bilateral or multilateral cooperation for technological, industrial and political reasons; underlines the positive role of this type of cooperation in promoting confidence-building among Member States and third countries;

28.  Stresses that the ambition to increase the competitiveness of the European defence sector must not undermine the application of the Common Position’s eight criteria, as they take precedence over any economic social, commercial or industrial interests of Member States;

29.  Notes an increase in the transfer of knowledge and technology, which allows third countries to undertake licensed production of European military technology; believes that this process should not limit the EU’s capacity to control weapons, arms and military equipment production, but should, rather, foster the convergence of public oversight and transparency standards in defence production and accelerate the creation of internationally recognised and respected rules on arms production and exports;

30.  Notes that a growing number of components in weapon systems are of civilian origin or of dual-use character; therefore considers it necessary to establish a coherent transfer control system for these components between all Member States;

31.  Notes that Member States have not outlined a common policy regulating the transfer of weapons components to another Member State which would ensure that any export to third countries from the Member State of assembly is consistent with the export policy of the Member State providing the components; notes that some of the Member States continue to consider intra-EU transfers of arms and defence-related products as similar to exports operations to third countries; regards this as particularly challenging in the context of the increasing divergences between licensing practices across the EU; observes that Directive 2009/43/EC on intra-Community transfers, in its current form, is not designed to achieve highest common standards for arms export controls to third countries while facilitating transfers in the European armaments market;

32.  Notes that a first attempt to regulate intra-European transfers was the Schmidt-Debré harmonisation agreement between France and Germany with the ‘de minimis’ rule; notes in this regard the Franco-German Agreement on defence export controls;

33.  Observes that the arms export policies of each Member State may hamper cooperation projects; notes that such divergence might give rise to bilateral and specific agreements on weapon systems that, in some cases, allow for exports to third countries based on the least restrictive standards, rather than a joint, EU-wide approach; recalls that the purpose of the Council Common Position on arms exports was and is to prevent such divergences and to establish a coherent common arms export policy; notes a link between divergences in export policies and difficulties of intra-UE cooperation, a persistent fragmentation of the internal market for defence-related products, and the existence of industrial duplications; calls, therefore, on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to provide an adequate level of funding to enable the reduction of market fragmentation and industrial consolidation while ensuring that the EU and its Member States will have the military capabilities they need; calls on the Commission to ensure the effective implementation of Directives 2009/81/EC and 2009/43/EC, including enforcement actions as regards procurement;

34.  Notes that bilateral cooperation on industrial defence-related projects between Member States leads to export control agreements which can provide a baseline for the EU as a whole;

35.  Stresses that bilateral and multilateral agreements should pave the way towards improved convergence and harmonisation of export policies at EU level because the lack of convergence and transparency in decisions on exports to third countries may have a negative impact on the ability of the EU to speak with one voice and be influential in the international arena, with regard to the promotion of human rights, international law and regional peace and stability; notes concerns that this divergence has the potential to generate market distortions and hinder industrial strategic planning, economies of scale and a level playing field;

The growing importance of the EU level in arms production

36.  Stresses that the development of suitable equipment is an important means of underpinning the industrial and technological foundations of the European defence sector; notes that EU initiatives such as the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR), the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) and the European Defence Fund (EDF), as well as the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and the European Peace Facility (EPF), legislation such as the intra-Community transfers and defence procurement directives of 2009, and the creation of administrative capacities such as the Commission Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS) are helping to enhance cooperation for the purposes of arms production and capability development at European level; believes that the strengthening of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base should be accompanied by closer cooperation and convergence in the control of exports of military technology and equipment, with the aim of improving the effectiveness of the CFSP and the CSDP in particular;

37.  Calls on the Member States to overcome the current lack of efficiency in defence spending due to duplication, fragmentation and lack of interoperability, and to aim for the EU to become a security provider also by better controlling arms exports;

38.  Notes that several Member States have expressed their intention to jointly develop main weapon systems such as battle tanks, fighter jets and armed drones;

39.  Underlines the fact that the provisional interinstitutional agreement on the establishment of the EDF authorises the Commission to assess whether the transfer of ownership or the granting of an exclusive licence of EDF-cofunded military technology contravenes the security and defence interests of the EU and its Member States and the objectives of the fund as set out in Article 3 of the proposed regulation; notes that this new legislation establishes, among other things, a civilian oversight task for the Commission with regard to a specific category of exports of military technology to third countries, thereby further enhancing transparency and minimising the risk of misuse of EU funds, however without prejudice to the competence of the Member States’ export control authorities to grant the export licenses;

40.  Notes that the international commitments made by European partners extend to the supply of information regarding their national control schemes and arms transfers; notes that under the EPF, Member States and the European External Action Service (EEAS) have the possibility to militarily equip third countries, which will require EU-level monitoring; stresses that in the context of the EPF a new EU-level instrument would potentially deliver joint risk assessment prior to any decision to transfer arms and ammunition to third countries in the context of the military capacity-building pillar of the EPF, assess individual measures against the eight criteria of the Common Position, and establish safeguards and possible sanctions with regard to the end-user;

41.  Calls on the Commission to keep Parliament properly informed about the use of EU funds for all research and development projects associated with the construction of drones; urges the VP/HR to ban the development, production and use of fully autonomous weapons which enable strikes to be carried out without human intervention;

42.  Points out that research and development regarding weapons, arms and defence equipment is important for securing means for the Member States to defend themselves and for defence industries to achieve technological advancement;

Implementing the Common Position in the light of the growing importance of the EU level in arms production

43.  Notes the lack of convergence of national arms export policies and decision-making in the context of the growing importance of the EU level in arms production and the stated ambitions and plans to develop it further; notes that the lack of convergence of national arms exports risks creating additional market distortions and related obstacles to the strategic planning of relevant companies and armed forces, and will require a progressive convergence of national arms export policies and decision-making; recalls the importance of the involvement of Member States in such a process; regrets the current divergences between the national arms export policies and decision-making processes of the Member States; calls on the Council to continue its efforts in favour of the convergence of arms export policies and decision-making;

44.  Suggests that exports of products financed under the EDIDP and/or the European Defence Fund (EDF) should be listed separately in the data submitted to COARM, in order to ensure the close monitoring of those products which have been financed from the European budget and the strict application of the criteria of the Common Position to the products financed under the EDIDP and EDF;

45.  Welcomes the strengthening of EU defence cooperation in the framework of the CSDP; believes that the growing importance of the EU level in arms production needs to go hand in hand with increased transparency; believes that there is still room for improvement in this area, particularly as regards the quality and uniformity of the data submitted by Member States; takes the view that the definition of a ‘European capabilities and armaments policy’ as foreseen in Article 42(3) TEU needs to be in line with Common Position 2008/944/CFSP; believes that increased convergence of common rules and standards of transparency of arms exports and technology fosters confidence-building among Member States and third-country partners; welcomes the efforts of COARM, in particular the guide to implementation of the Common Position by the Member States in terms of cooperation, coordination and convergence; notes that the COARM information exchange system and the guide to the implementation of the Common Position are useful day-to-day tools for control authorities; underlines the efforts of Member States to support the work of COARM in promoting exchanges of best practice; recommends to COARM:

   (a) to add the following additional categories in a revised reporting template, in line with internationally recognised standards, in order to implement the September 2019 Council conclusions: the exact type of weapon and the quantity exported, denomination of the munitions, the lot size and the specific end-user, revoked licences, and the value and duration of contracts regarding post-delivery services such as training and maintenance; to align the EU definition of small arms with the broader UN definition;
   (b) to develop EU- and internationally recognised definitions such as licensed value and actual exports, so as to facilitate the comparability of data between Member States;

46.  Welcomes the decision to transform the annual report into an interactive, reliable and searchable online database, and expects it to be up and running before publication of the export data for 2019; calls on the EEAS to inform Parliament of the precise date on which this database will go online; urges COARM to apply a solution that is user-friendly and easily accessible by European citizens and civil society, and that enables data to be exported in a safe and structured format;

47.  Calls on COARM to persevere with its efforts to introduce a notification and exchange hub for Member States to share policy information regarding exports to third countries and their decisions to reject applications for the necessary licenses; further calls on COARM, as stated in Article 7 of the Common Position, to work towards improved exchange of ‘relevant information, including information on denial notifications and arms export policies’ and other ‘measures to further increase convergence’; proposes to this end to exchange national assessments and work towards an EU-joined assessment of country situations or potential export recipients, in the light of the principles and criteria of the Common Position within the framework of the CFSP and in consultation with external stakeholders, including Parliament; calls for the regular updating of the list of third countries complying with the criteria as laid down in the Common Position;

48.  Believes that the EU institutions should propose peer reviews with a view to encouraging national authorities to share best practices on the collection and processing of data, fostering a better understanding of different national approaches, identifying differences as regards the interpretation of the eight criteria, and discussing ways and means to improve harmonisation, consistency and convergence among Member States;

49.  Strongly believes that a more consistent implementation of the EU Common Position is essential for the EU’s credibility as a value-based global actor, and that a higher level of convergence as regards the full application of the criteria will more effectively ensure respect for human rights and international law by all parties involved in the arms trade, contribute to the promotion of peace and stability, and bolster the EU’s strategic security interests and strategic autonomy; believes that this will strengthen the implementation of the CFSP;

50.  Considers that licenses for production in third countries should no longer be granted if this would allow the eight criteria of the Common Position or other EU arms export directives to be circumvented;

51.  Stresses that effective end-use controls result in a more responsible export policy and could lower the risk of diversion in particular; welcomes the EU-funded iTrace project in this respect and supports its continuation, and recommends using a similar tool to trace legal arms exports from EU Member States to third countries; calls on the Council, the Member States, and the EEAS to set up a comprehensive training and capacity-building programme for national and EU officials on arms export controls with a strong focus on building mutual understanding of the eight criteria, joint risk assessments, setting-up of safeguards, and pre- and post-licensing verification; encourages Member State governments to take steps to ensure better compliance with their end-use regulations, including the implementation of post-shipment controls; stresses the need to provide sufficient EU funding to ensure that the necessary staff resources are available at national and EU levels and at delegations and embassies in importing countries for the purposes of implementing viable risk assessments, end-use controls and post-shipment verifications; calls on the EEAS and COARM to report on iTrace any identified diversion of EU-origin goods, as part of the annual report;

52.  Believes that the growing importance of the EU level in arms production, the recent Council conclusions on convergence in arms exports and the establishment of the EPF should be complemented by a mechanism for EU-level monitoring and control based on full compliance with the eight criteria; recalls the definition of a ‘European capabilities and armaments policy’ as foreseen in Article 42(3) TEU; believes that ‘pooling and sharing’ and more cooperation in arms policy and procurement policy are only possible if robust export controls, mutual information arrangements and regular parliamentary scrutiny are put in place, and if robust sanction mechanisms in the event of non-compliance with common rules are enforceable as regards EU-funded projects; further demands that the European Parliament - alongside the national parliaments - be able to guarantee parliamentary control over the EU's common security and defence policy and its budget;

53.  Calls on COARM to examine the issue of transparency in arms exports alongside that of transparency in dual-use export licensing, and to consider the pursuit of common approaches to transparency across both instruments; believes that the increasing control over the trade in dual-use goods by the Commission in the context of the application of a revised EU Dual-Use Regulation should be balanced by an enhanced participation and overview role for Parliament in order to ensure accountability;

54.  Stresses the detrimental effect that the uncontrolled export of cybersurveillance technologies by EU companies can have on the security of the EU’s digital infrastructure and on human rights; expresses its concern about the ever-increasing use of certain cybersurveillance dual-use technologies against politicians, activists and journalists; strongly condemns the increasing number of human rights defenders facing digital threats, including compromised data, through confiscation of equipment, remote surveillance and data leakages; stresses, in this regard, the importance of a rapid, effective and comprehensive update of the EU’s Dual-Use Regulation; reiterates Parliament’s position on the recasting of the Dual-Use Regulation, which aims to prevent the export, sale, update and maintenance of cybersecurity equipment which can be used for internal repression, including internet surveillance; welcomes, in this regard, the EU institutions’ ongoing efforts in the context of ongoing interinstitutional negotiations aimed at updating the EU’s dual-use export control regulation;

55.  Considers that regular consultations with the European Parliament, national parliaments, arms export control authorities, industry associations and civil society are conducive to meaningful transparency; calls on national parliaments to exchange best reporting and oversight practices in order to enhance the scrutinising role of all national parliaments in decisions on arms control exports; calls on COARM to continue its dialogue with civil society and the relevant industries, as well as its consultations with Parliament and arms export control authorities; encourages civil society and academia to increase their engagement and dialogue with COARM and to exercise independent scrutiny of exports of defence technology and equipment; calls on the Member States and the EEAS to support such activities, including via greater financial resources;

56.  Stresses the need, in the spirit of the 16 September 2019 Council conclusions, for meaningful parliamentary oversight, and to respond to the annual report of COARM annually with a European Parliament report in order to ensure a minimum of parliamentary scrutiny;

57.  Encourages Member States to help third countries in the creation, improvement and application of arms checking systems in compliance with the Common Position;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 239, 17.9.2019, p. 16.
(2) OJ C 453, 14.12.2018, p. 1.
(3) OJ C 437, 30.12.2019, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 17, 23.1.2018, p. 40.
(5) OJ L 139, 30.5.2017, p. 38.
(6) OJ L 330, 20.12.2019, p. 53.
(7) OJ C 85, 13.3.2020, p. 1.
(8) Arms Trade Treaty, UN, 13-27217.
(9) OJ L 146, 10.6.2009, p. 1.
(10) OJ L 216, 20.8.2009, p. 76.
(11) OJ L 134, 29.5.2009, p. 1.
(12) OJ L 307, 15.11.2016, p. 1.
(13) OJ L 200, 7.8.2018, p. 30.
(14) OJ L 101, 1.4.2020, p. 4.
(15) OJ L 30, 31.1.2019, p. 1.
(16) https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg16
(17) A/HRC/35/8.
(18) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0451.
(19) OJ C 337, 20.9.2018, p. 63.
(20) OJ C 399, 24.11.2017, p. 178.
(21) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0330.
(22) OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 142.
(23) OJ C 331, 18.9.2018, p. 146.
(24) OJ C 356, 4.10.2018, p. 104.
(25) OJ C 285, 29.8.2017, p. 110.
(26) Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), fact sheet of March 2020 entitled ‘Trends in international arms transfers, 2019’.
(27) https://www.sanctionsmap.eu/#/main?checked=
(28) Conclusion 11 of the Council conclusions on the review of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 on the control of arms exports, as adopted by the Council (General Affairs), Council of the European Union, 12195/19, COARM 154, Brussels, 16 September 2019.


Determination of a clear risk of a serious breach by Poland of the rule of law
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the proposal for a Council decision on the determination of a clear risk of a serious breach by the Republic of Poland of the rule of law (COM(2017)08352017/0360R(NLE))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0225A9-0138/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the proposal for a Council decision (COM(2017)0835),

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union, and in particular Article 2 and Article 7(1) thereof,

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

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Protocols thereto,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the international human rights treaties of the United Nations, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

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

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 20 April 2004 on the Commission communication on Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union: Respect for and promotion of the values on which the Union is based(1),

–  having regard to Communication of 15 October 2003 from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union - Respect for and promotion of the values on which the Union is based(2),

–  having regard to Communication of 11 March 2014 from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, ‘A new EU Framework to strengthen the Rule of Law’(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 April 2016 on the situation in Poland(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 September 2016 on the recent developments in Poland and their impact on fundamental rights as laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2017 on the situation of the rule of law and democracy in Poland(6),

–  having regard to the activation by the Commission of the structured dialogue under the Rule of Law Framework in January 2016,

–  having regard to Commission Recommendation (EU) 2016/1374 of 27 July 2016 regarding the rule of law in Poland(7),

–  having regard to Commission Recommendation (EU) 2017/146 of 21 December 2016 regarding the rule of law in Poland complementary to Recommendation (EU) 2016/1374(8),

–  having regard to Commission Recommendation (EU) 2017/1520 of 26 July 2017 regarding the rule of law in Poland complementary to Recommendations (EU) 2016/1374 and (EU) 2017/146 (9),

–  having regard to Commission Recommendation (EU) 2018/103 of 20 December 2017 regarding the rule of law in Poland complementary to Commission Recommendations (EU) 2016/1374, (EU) 2017/146 and (EU) 2017/1520(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 1 March 2018 on the Commission’s decision to activate Article 7(1) TEU as regards the situation in Poland(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 November 2019 on the criminalisation of sexual education in Poland(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 December 2019 on public discrimination and hate speech against LGBTI people, including LGBTI free zones(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2019 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017(14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 May 2018 on media pluralism and media freedom in the European Union(15),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2020 on ongoing hearings under Article 7(1) of the TEU regarding Poland and Hungary(16),

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

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2016 with recommendations to the Commission on the establishment of an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights(18),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 February 2019 on experiencing a backlash in women’s rights and gender equality in the EU(19),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 November 2019 on the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention and other measures to combat gender-based violence(20),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 4 April 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of the Union’s budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States(21),

–  having regard to its legislative resolution of 17 April 2019 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Rights and Values programme(22),

–  having regard to the four infringement procedures launched by the Commission against Poland in relation to the reform of the Polish judicial system, of which the first two resulted in judgments of the Court of Justice(23) finding violations of the second subparagraph of Article 19(1) of the Treaty on European Union enshrining the principle of effective judicial protection, while the two other procedures are still pending,

–  having regard to the three hearings of Poland held in 2018 by the General Affairs Council within the framework of the Article 7(1) TEU procedure,

–  having regard to the mission report of 3 December 2018, following the visit by the Committee on Civil Liberties and Justice and Home Affairs to Warsaw from 19 until 21 September 2018, and to the hearings on the rule of law situation in Poland held in that Committee on 20 November 2018 and 23 April 2020;

–  having regard to the annual reports of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and the European Anti-Fraud Office,

–  having regard to the 2018 WHO recommendations on adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights,

–  having regard to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 24 July 2014, Al Nashiri v. Poland (application No. 28761/11),

–  having regard to Rules 89 and 105(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality,

–  having regard to the interim report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A9-0138/2020),

A.  whereas the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, as set out in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union and as reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and embedded in international human rights treaties;

B.  whereas, in contrast to Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the scope of Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union is not confined to areas covered by Union law, as indicated in the Commission’s Communication of 15 October 2003, and whereas the Union can therefore assess the existence of a clear risk of a serious breach of the common values referred to in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union not only in the event of a breach in this limited field but also in the event of a breach in an area where the Member States act autonomously;

C.  whereas any clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State of the values referred to in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union does not concern solely the individual Member State where the risk materialises but has a negative impact on the other Member States, on mutual trust between Member States and on the very nature of the Union;

D.  whereas the Member States have, in accordance with Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, freely and voluntarily committed themselves to the common values referred to in Article 2 thereof;

1.  States that the concerns of Parliament relate to the following issues:

   the functioning of the legislative and electoral system,
   the independence of the judiciary and the rights of judges,
   the protection of fundamental rights;

2.  Reiterates its position, expressed in several of its resolutions on the situation of the rule of law and democracy in Poland, that the facts and trends mentioned in this resolution taken together represent a systemic threat to the values of Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and constitute a clear risk of a serious breach thereof;

3.  Expresses its deep concern that, despite three hearings with the Polish authorities having been held in the Council, multiple exchanges of views in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the presence of the Polish authorities, alarming reports by the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe, and four infringement procedures launched by the Commission, the rule of law situation in Poland has not only not been addressed but has seriously deteriorated since the triggering of the procedure referred to in Article 7(1) TEU; is of the opinion that discussions in the Council within the framework of the procedure referred to in Article 7(1) TEU have been neither regular nor structured, and have neither sufficiently addressed the substantial issues that warranted the activation of the procedure nor adequately mapped the impact that the Polish government’s actions are having on the values referred to in Article 2 TEU;

4.  Notes that the Commission’s reasoned proposal of 20 December 2017 in accordance with Article 7(1) of the TEU regarding the rule of law in Poland: proposal for a Council decision on the determination of a clear risk of a serious breach by the Republic of Poland of the rule of law(24) has a limited scope, namely the rule of law situation in Poland in the strict sense of independence of the judiciary; sees an urgent need to widen the scope of the reasoned proposal by including clear risks of serious breaches of other basic values of the Union, especially democracy and respect for human rights;

5.  Takes the view that the latest developments in the ongoing hearings under Article 7(1) TEU once again underline the imminent need for a complementary and preventive Union mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights as put forward in its resolution of 25 October 2016;

6.  Reiterates its position on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the protection of the Union’s budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States, including the need to safeguard the rights of beneficiaries, and calls on the Council to start interinstitutional negotiations as soon as possible;

7.  Reiterates its position as regards the budget envelope for the new Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme within the next multiannual financial framework, and calls on the Council and the Commission to ensure that adequate funding is provided for national and local civil society organisations to grow grassroots support for democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights in the Member States, including Poland;

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Functioning of the legislative and electoral system in Poland

Use of powers of constitutional revision by the Polish parliament

8.  Denounces the fact that the Polish parliament assumed powers of constitutional revision which it did not have when it acted as the ordinary legislature in adopting the Act of 22 December 2015 amending the Act on the Constitutional Tribunal(25) and the Act of 22 July 2016 on the Constitutional Tribunal(26), as found by the Constitutional Tribunal in its judgments of 9 March(27), 11 August(28) and 7 November 2016(29)(30);

9.  Regrets, furthermore, that many particularly sensitive legislative acts have been adopted by the Polish parliament at a time when independent constitutional review of laws can no longer be effectively guaranteed, such as the Act of 30 December 2015 amending the Act on Civil Service and certain other acts(31), the Act of 15 January 2016 amending the Act on the police and certain other acts(32), the Act of 28 January 2016 on the public prosecution office(33) and the Act of 28 January 2016 - regulations implementing the Act on the public prosecution office(34), the Act of 18 March 2016 amending the Act on the Ombudsman and certain other acts(35), the Act of 22 June 2016 on the National Media Council(36), the Act of 10 June 2016 on anti-terrorist actions(37) and several other acts fundamentally reorganising the judicial system(38);

The use of expedited legislative procedures

10.  Deplores the frequent use of expedited legislative procedures by the Polish parliament for the adoption of crucial legislation redesigning the organisation and functioning of the judiciary, without meaningful consultation with stakeholders, including the judicial community(39);

Electoral law and organisation of elections

11.  Notes with concern that the OSCE concluded that media bias and intolerant rhetoric in the campaign for the October 2019 parliamentary elections were of significant concern(40) and that, while all candidates were able to campaign freely, senior state officials used publicly funded events for campaign messaging; notes, furthermore, that the dominance of the ruling party in public media further amplified its advantage(41); regrets that hostility, threats against the media, intolerant rhetoric and cases of misuse of state resources detracted from the process of the Polish presidential election in June and July 2020(42);

12.  Is concerned that the new Chamber of Extraordinary Control and Public Matters of the Supreme Court (hereinafter the ‘Extraordinary Chamber’), the majority of whose members are individuals nominated by the new National Council of the Judiciary and which risks not qualifying as an independent tribunal in the assessment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (hereinafter the ‘Court of Justice’), is to ascertain the validity of elections and to examine electoral disputes; notes that this raises serious concerns as regards the separation of powers and the functioning of Polish democracy, in that it makes judicial review of electoral disputes particularly vulnerable to political influence and is capable of creating legal uncertainty as to the validity of such review(43);

13.  Notes that, in its 2002 Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters(44), the Venice Commission provides clear guidelines on the holding of general elections during public emergencies, including epidemics; notes that, while the Code provides for the possibility of exceptional voting arrangements, any amendments to introduce such arrangements may only be considered to be in accordance with European best practices 'if the principle of free suffrage is guaranteed'; considers that this is not the case with the amendments to the electoral framework for the presidential elections that were to take place on 10 May 2020, since they could impede the elections from taking a fair, secret and equal course, with full respect for the right to privacy(45) and in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council(46); notes moreover that those amendments run counter to the case law of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal that was developed when constitutional review was still effective, and which stated that the electoral code is not to be modified 6 months before any elections; notes with concern that the announcement to postpone the presidential elections came only 4 days before the scheduled date;

Independence of the judiciary and of other institutions and the rights of judges in Poland

Reform of the justice system – general considerations

14.  Recognises that, while the organisation of the justice system is a national competence, the Court of Justice has repeatedly held that Member States are required to comply with their obligations under Union law when exercising that competence; reiterates that national judges are also European judges, applying Union law, which makes their independence a common concern for the Union, including the Court of Justice, which has to enforce respect for the rule of law as laid down in Article 19 TEU and Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (hereinafter the ‘Charter’) in the field of application of Union law; calls on the Polish authorities to uphold and maintain the independence of Polish courts;

The composition and functioning of the Constitutional Tribunal

15.  Recalls that the Acts concerning the Constitutional Tribunal adopted on 22 December 2015 and 22 July 2016, as well as the package of three acts adopted at the end of 2016(47), seriously undermined the Constitutional Tribunal’s independence and legitimacy and that the Acts of 22 December 2015 and of 22 July 2016 were declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Tribunal on 9 March 2016 and 11 August 2016, respectively; recalls that those judgments were not published at the time or implemented by the Polish authorities; seriously deplores the fact that the constitutionality of Polish laws can no longer be effectively guaranteed in Poland since the entry into force of the aforementioned legislative changes(48); invites the Commission to consider launching an infringement procedure in relation to the legislation on the Constitutional Tribunal, its unlawful composition and its role in preventing compliance with the preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice of 19 November 2019(49);

The retirement, appointment and disciplinary regimes for judges of the Supreme Court

16.  Recalls that, in 2017, changes in the method of nomination of candidates for the office of the First President of the Supreme Court ( hereinafter the ‘First President’) effectively rendered the participation of the Supreme Court judges in the selection procedure meaningless; denounces the fact that the Act of 20 December 2019 amending the Act on the organisation of the common courts, the Act on the Supreme Court and certain other acts(50) (the ‘Act of 20 December 2019’) even further reduces the participation of the judges in the selection process for the First President by introducing a position of Acting First President of the Supreme Court (hereinafter the ‘Acting First President’) appointed by the President of the Republic of Poland and by reducing the quorum in the third round to 32 out of 125 judges only, thereby effectively abandoning the model of power-sharing between the President of the Republic of Poland and the judicial community enshrined in Article 183(3) of the Polish Constitution(51);

17.  Notes with concern the irregularities surrounding the nomination of the Acting First President and his further actions; is deeply concerned that the process of electing the candidates for the office of First President did not comply with Article 183 of the Polish Constitution or the Rules of Procedure of the Supreme Court and violated basic standards of deliberation among the members of the General Assembly of the Judges of the Supreme Court (hereinafter the ‘General Assembly’); notes with regret that doubts concerning the validity of the election process in the General Assembly as well as the impartiality and independence of the Acting First Presidents during the election process could undermine further the separation of powers and the legitimacy of the new First President nominated by the President of the Republic of Poland on 25 May 2020, and could thus call into question the independence of the Supreme Court; recalls that similar violations of law by the President of the Republic of Poland occurred when nominating the President of the Constitutional Tribunal;

18.  Shares the Commission’s concern that the power of the President of the Republic of Poland (and in some cases the Minister of Justice) to exercise influence over disciplinary proceedings against Supreme Court judges by appointing a disciplinary officer who will investigate the case, excluding the disciplinary officer of the Supreme Court from on-going proceedings, raises concerns as regards the principle of separation of powers and may affect judicial independence(52);

19.  Recalls that the Court of Justice, in its judgment of 24 June 2019(53), found that lowering the retirement age of sitting judges of the Supreme Court is contrary to Union law and breaches the principle of the irremovability of judges and thus that of judicial independence, after it had earlier granted the Commission’s request for interim measures on the matter by order of 17 December 2018(54); notes that the Polish authorities passed the Act of 21 November 2018 amending the Act on the Supreme Court(55) in order to comply with the order of the Court of Justice, the only instance so far in which they undid changes to the legislative framework governing the justice system in connection with a decision by the Court of Justice;

The composition and functioning of the Disciplinary Chamber and Extraordinary Chamber of the Supreme Court

20.  Recalls that, in 2018, two new chambers within the Supreme Court were created, namely the Disciplinary Chamber and the Extraordinary Chamber, which were staffed with newly appointed judges selected by the new National Council of the Judiciary and entrusted with special powers – including the power of the Extraordinary Chamber to quash final judgments taken by lower courts or by the Supreme Court itself by way of extraordinary review, and the power of the Disciplinary Chamber to discipline other judges of the Supreme Court and of common courts, creating de facto a “Supreme Court within the Supreme Court”;(56)

21.  Recalls that, in its ruling of 19 November 2019(57), the Court of Justice, answering a request for a preliminary ruling by the Supreme Court (Chamber of Labour Law and Social Insurance, hereinafter the ‘Labour Chamber’) concerning the Disciplinary Chamber, ruled that national courts have a duty to disregard provisions of national law which reserve jurisdiction to hear a case where Union law may be applied to a body that does not meet the requirements of independence and impartiality;

22.  Notes that the referring Supreme Court (Labour Chamber) subsequently concluded in its judgment of 5 December 2019(58) that the Disciplinary Chamber does not fulfil the requirements of an independent and impartial tribunal within the meaning of Polish and Union law, and that the Supreme Court (Civil, Criminal and Labour Chambers) adopted a resolution on 23 January 2020(59) reiterating that the Disciplinary Chamber is not a court due to its lack of independence and therefore its judgments cannot be considered to be judgments given by a duly appointed court; notes with grave concern that the Polish authorities have declared that those decisions are of no legal significance when it comes to the continuing functioning of the Disciplinary Chamber and the new National Council of the Judiciary, and that the Constitutional Tribunal declared the Supreme Court resolution unconstitutional on 20 April 2020(60), creating a dangerous judiciary duality in Poland in open violation of the primacy of Union law and in particular of Article 19(1) TEU as interpreted by the Court of Justice in that it prevents the effectiveness and application of the Court of Justice’s ruling of 19 November 2019(61) by the Polish courts(62);

23.  Notes the order of the Court of Justice of 8 April 2020(63) instructing Poland to immediately suspend the application of the national provisions on the powers of the Disciplinary Chamber and calls on the Polish authorities to swiftly implement the order; calls on the Polish authorities to fully comply with the order and calls on the Commission to submit an additional request to the Court of Justice seeking that payment of a fine be ordered in the event of persisting non-compliance; calls on the Commission to urgently start infringement proceedings in relation to the national provisions on the powers of the Extraordinary Chamber, since its composition suffers from the same flaws as the Disciplinary Chamber;

The composition and functioning of the new National Council of the Judiciary

24.  Recalls that it is up to the Member States to establish a council for the judiciary, but that, where such council is established, its independence must be guaranteed in line with European standards and the Member State’s constitution; recalls that, following the reform of the National Council of the Judiciary, which is the body responsible for safeguarding the independence of the courts and judges in accordance with Article 186(1) of the Polish Constitution, by means of the Act of 8 December 2017 amending the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary and certain other acts(64), the judicial community in Poland was deprived of the power to delegate representatives to the National Council of the Judiciary, and hence its influence on recruitment and promotion of judges; recalls that before the reform, 15 out of 25 members of the National Council of the Judiciary were judges elected by their peers, while since the 2017 reform, those judges are elected by the Polish parliament; strongly regrets that, taken in conjunction with the premature termination in early 2018 of the mandates of all the members appointed under the old rules, this measure led to a far-reaching politicisation of the National Council of the Judiciary(65);

25.  Recalls that the Supreme Court, implementing the criteria set out by the Court of Justice in its judgment of 19 November 2019, found in its judgment of 5 December 2019 and in its decisions of 15 January 2020(66), as well as in its resolution of 23 January 2020, that the decisive role of the new National Council of the Judiciary in the selection of the judges of the newly created Disciplinary Chamber undermines the latter’s independence and impartiality(67); is concerned about the legal status of the judges appointed or promoted by the new National Council of the Judiciary in its current composition and about the impact their participation in adjudicating may have on the validity and legality of proceedings;

26.  Recalls that the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary suspended the new National Council of the Judiciary on 17 September 2018 because it no longer fulfilled the requirements of being independent of the executive and legislature and initiated the expulsion procedure in April 2020(68);

27.  Calls on the Commission to start infringement proceedings regarding the Act of 12 May 2011 on the National Council of the Judiciary(69), as amended on 8 December 2017, and to ask the Court of Justice to suspend the activities of the new National Council of the Judiciary by way of interim measures;

The rules governing the organisation of the common courts and the appointment of courts presidents and the retirement regime for judges of the common courts

28.  Regrets that the Minister of Justice, who is, in the Polish system, also the Prosecutor General, obtained the power to appoint and dismiss court presidents of the lower courts at his discretion during a transitional period of 6 months, and that in the 2017-2018 period, the Minister of Justice replaced over 150 court presidents and vice-presidents; notes that, after this period, the removal of court presidents remained in the hands of the Minister of Justice, with virtually no effective checks attached to that power; notes, furthermore, that the Minister of Justice also obtained other “disciplinary” powers vis-à-vis court presidents, and presidents of higher courts, who in turn, now have large administrative powers vis-à-vis presidents of lower courts(70); regrets this major setback for the rule of law and judicial independence in Poland(71);

29.  Regrets that the Act of 20 December 2019 that entered into force on 14 February 2020 changed the composition of the assemblies of judges and moved some of the powers of those bodies of judicial self-government to the colleges of courts presidents appointed by the Minister of Justice(72);

30.  Recalls that, in its judgement of 5 November 2019(73), the Court of Justice found that the provisions of the Act of 12 July 2017 amending the Act on the organisation of the common courts and certain other acts(74), which lowered the retirement age of judges of the common courts, whilst allowing the Minister of Justice to decide on the prolongation of their active service, and which set a different retirement age depending on their gender, were contrary to Union law;

The rights and independence of judges, including the new disciplinary regime for judges

31.  Denounces the new provisions introducing further disciplinary offences and sanctions in respect of judges and court presidents because they pose a serious risk to judicial independence(75); denounces the new provisions prohibiting any political activity of judges, obliging judges to disclose publicly their membership in associations and restricting substantively the deliberations of judicial self-governing bodies, which go beyond the principles of legal certainty, necessity and proportionality in restricting the judges’ freedom of expression(76);

32.  Is deeply concerned by the disciplinary proceedings initiated against judges and prosecutors in Poland in connection with their judicial decisions applying Union law or public statements in defence of judicial independence and the rule of law in Poland; in particular, condemns the threat of disciplinary proceedings(77) against more than 10 % of the judges for signing a letter to the OSCE regarding proper conduct of presidential elections and for providing support for repressed judges; condemns the smear campaign against Polish judges and the involvement of public officials therein; calls on the Polish authorities to refrain from the abusive use of disciplinary proceedings and from other activities undermining the authority of the judiciary;

33.  Calls on the Polish authorities to remove the new provisions (on disciplinary offences and other) that prevent the courts from examining questions of independence and impartiality of other judges from the standpoint of Union law and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), hence depriving judges from exercising their duty under Union law to set aside national provisions conflicting with Union law(78);

34.  Welcomes the Commission’s initiation of infringement proceedings in relation to the aforementioned new provisions; regrets there has been no progress since 29 April 2020; calls on the Commission to deal with the case as a matter of priority and to request the Court of Justice to use the expedited procedure and to grant interim measures, when it comes to a referral of the case to the Court of Justice;

The status of the Prosecutor General and the organisation of the prosecution services

35.  Denounces the merger of the office of the Minister of Justice and that of the Prosecutor General, the increased powers of the Prosecutor General vis-à-vis the prosecution system, the increased powers of the Minister of Justice in respect of the judiciary (Act of 27 July 2001 on the organisation of common courts(79), as amended) and the weak position of checks on those powers (National Council of Public Prosecutors), which result in the accumulation of too many powers for one person and have direct negative consequences for the independence of the prosecutorial system from the political sphere, as stated by the Venice Commission(80);

36.  Recalls that, in its judgement of 5 November 2019, the Court of Justice found that lowering the retirement age of public prosecutors was contrary to Union law because it established a different retirement age for male and female public prosecutors in Poland;

Overall assessment of the rule of law situation in Poland

37.  Concurs with the Commission, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Group of States against Corruption and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers that the aforementioned separate changes to the legislative framework governing the judicial system, considering their interaction and overall impact, amount to a serious, sustained and systemic breach of the rule of law, enabling the legislative and executive powers to interfere throughout the entire structure and output of the justice system in a manner which is incompatible with the principles of separation of powers and the rule of law, thereby significantly weakening the independence of the judiciary in Poland(81); condemns the destabilising impact on the Polish legal order of the measures taken and appointments made by the Polish authorities since 2016;

Protection of fundamental rights in Poland

The Polish Commissioner for Human Rights

38.  Is concerned about political attacks on the independence of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights(82); highlights the fact that the Commissioner for Human Rights has been publicly critical, within his area of responsibility, of various measures taken by the current government; recalls the fact that the statute of the Commissioner for Human Rights is enshrined in the Polish Constitution and that the term of office of the current Commissioner for Human Rights is due to end in September 2020; recalls that, according to the Polish Constitution, the Commissioner should be elected by the Sejm with the consent of the Senate;

The right to a fair trial

39.  Is concerned about reports alleging undue delays in court proceedings, difficulties in accessing legal assistance during arrest, and instances of insufficient respect for the confidentiality of communication between counsel and client(83); calls on the Commission to closely monitor the situation regarding lawyers in Poland; recalls the right of all citizens to be advised, defended and represented by an independent lawyer in accordance with Articles 47 and 48 of the Charter;

40.  Is concerned that, since the entry into force on 14 February 2020 of the Act of 20 December 2019, only the Extraordinary Chamber, whose independence and impartiality itself is in question, can decide whether a judge, tribunal or court is independent and impartial, hence depriving citizens of an important element of judicial review at all other instances(84); recalls the fact that following the case law of the Court of Justice, the right to a fair trial obliges every court to check, on its own initiative, whether it fulfils the criteria of independence and impartiality(85);

The right to information and freedom of expression, including media freedom and pluralism

41.  Reiterates that media freedom and media pluralism are inseparable from democracy and the rule of law and that the right to inform and the right to be informed are part of the basic democratic values on which Union is founded; recalls that, in its resolution of 16 January 2020, Parliament called on the Council to address in the hearings under Article 7(1) TEU any new developments in the field of freedom of expression, including media freedom;

42.  Recalls that, in its resolution of 14 September 2016, Parliament expressed its concern about previously adopted and newly suggested changes to Polish media law; repeats its call on the Commission to carry out an assessment of the legislation adopted as regards its compatibility with Union law, in particular with Article 11 of the Charter and Union law on public media;

43.  Expresses its serious concerns about actions carried out in recent years by the Polish authorities in relation to the public broadcaster, including a re-shaping of the public broadcaster into a pro-government broadcaster, preventing public media and their governing bodies from expressing independent or dissenting voices and exercising control over broadcasting content(86); recalls the fact that Article 54 of the Polish Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and forbids censorship;

44.  Is deeply concerned by the excessive use of defamation cases by some politicians against journalists, including by imposing criminal fines and suspending journalists from exercising their profession; fears that there will be a chilling effect on the profession and independence of journalists and media(87); calls on the Polish authorities to guarantee access to appropriate legal remedies for journalists and their families who become the subject of lawsuits intended to silence or intimidate independent media; calls on the Polish authorities to fully implement the Council of Europe’s Recommendation of 13 April 2016 on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors(88); regrets that so far the Commission has not come up with the anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) legislation that would also protect Polish journalists and media from vexatious lawsuits;

45.  Is concerned about reported cases of detention of journalists for doing their job when reporting on anti-lockdown protests during the COVID-19 epidemic(89);

Academic freedom

46.  Expresses concern over the use and threat of defamation litigation against academics; calls on the Polish authorities to respect freedom of speech and academic freedom, in line with international standards;(90)

47.  Calls on the Polish parliament to repeal Chapter 6c of the Act of 18 December 1998 on the Institute of National Remembrance – Committee for the Prosecution of the Crimes against the Polish Nation(91), which jeopardises freedom of speech and independent research by rendering it a civil offense that is actionable before civil courts to cause harm to the reputation of Poland and its people, such as by making any accusation of complicity of Poland or Poles in the Holocaust(92);

Freedom of assembly

48.  Reiterates its call on the Polish government to respect the right of freedom of assembly by removing from the current Act of 24 July 2015 on public assemblies(93), as amended on 13 December 2016(94), the provisions prioritising government-approved ‘cyclical’ assemblies(95); urges the Polish authorities to refrain from applying criminal sanctions to people who participate in peaceful assemblies or counter-demonstrations and to drop criminal charges against peaceful protesters; urges the Polish authorities moreover to adequately protect peaceful assemblies and bring to justice those who violently attack people participating in peaceful assemblies;

49.  Is concerned about the very restrictive ban on public assemblies(96) which was in force during the COVID-19 pandemic without the introduction of a state of natural disaster as laid down in Article 232 of the Polish Constitution and insists on the need to apply the principle of proportionality when restricting the right to assembly;

Freedom of association

50.  Calls on the Polish authorities to modify the Act of 15 September 2017 on the National Institute for Freedom - Centre for the Development of Civil Society(97),(98) in order to ensure access to state funding for critical civil society groups at local, regional and national levels, and a fair, impartial and transparent distribution of public funds to civil society, ensuring pluralistic representation(99); reiterates its call for adequate funding to be made available for the organisations concerned through different funding instruments at Union level, such as the Union values strand of the new Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme and Union pilot projects; is deeply concerned that Polish Members of the European Economic and Social Committee are facing political pressure for the actions taken in the remit of their mandate(100);

51.  Is concerned about the press statement by the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Environment in relation to certain non-governmental organisations, aimed to stigmatise them as working in the interests of foreign actors; is seriously concerned about the planned project for a draft law on creating a public register on financing non-governmental organisations obliging them to declare any foreign sources of financing(101);

Privacy and data protection

52.  Reiterates its conclusion set out in its resolution of 14 September 2016 that the procedural safeguards and material conditions laid down in the Act of 10 June 2016 on anti-terrorist actions and the Act of 6 April 1990 on the police(102), as amended, for the implementation of secret surveillance are not sufficient to prevent its excessive use or unjustified interference with the privacy and data protection of individuals, including of opposition and civil society leaders(103); repeats its call on the Commission to carry out an assessment of that legislation as regards its compatibility with Union Law, and urges Polish authorities to fully respect the privacy of all citizens;

53.  Is deeply concerned about the fact that the Ministry of Digital Affairs of Poland transferred personal data from the Universal Electronic System for Registration of the Population (hereinafter the ‘PESEL register’) to the postal services operator on 22 April 2020, in order to facilitate the organisation of the presidential elections on 10 May 2020 via postal ballot, without a proper legal basis to do so, as the Polish parliament did not adopt a bill allowing for an all-postal election until 7 May 2020; notes, furthermore, that the PESEL register is not identical to the electoral register and also includes the personal data of citizens of other Member States, and that, therefore, the above-mentioned transfer could constitute a potential breach of Regulation (EU) 2016/679; recalls that the European Data Protection Board stated that public authorities may disclose information on individuals included in electoral lists, but only when this is specifically authorised by national law(104); notes that the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights filed a complaint with the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw on the basis of a possible breach of Articles 7 and 51 of the Polish Constitution by the Ministry of Digital Affairs of Poland;

Comprehensive sexuality education

54.  Reiterates its deep concern expressed in its resolution of 14 November 2019, also shared by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights(105), over the draft law amending Article 200b of the Polish Penal Code, as submitted to the Polish parliament by the ‘Stop Paedophilia’ initiative, for its extremely vague, broad and disproportionate provisions, which de facto seek to criminalise the dissemination of sexual education to minors and whose scope potentially threatens all persons, in particular parents, teachers and sex educators, with up to three years in prison for teaching about human sexuality, health and intimate relations;

55.  Stresses that age-appropriate and evidence-based comprehensive sexuality and relationship education is key to building young peoples’ skills to form healthy, equal, nurturing and safe relationships, free from discrimination, coercion and violence; believes that comprehensive sexuality education also has a positive impact on gender equality outcomes, including transforming harmful gender norms and attitudes towards gender-based violence, helping prevent intimate partner violence and sexual coercion, homophobia and transphobia, breaking the silence around sexual violence, sexual exploitation or abuse, and empowering young people to seek help; calls on the Polish parliament to refrain from adopting the proposed draft law amending Article 200b of the Polish Penal Code and strongly invites the Polish authorities to ensure access to scientifically accurate and comprehensive sexuality education for all school children in line with international standards and that those who provide such education and information are supported in so doing in a factual and objective manner;

Sexual and reproductive health and rights

56.  Recalls that, in accordance with the Charter, the ECHR and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, women’s sexual and reproductive health is related to multiple human rights, including the right to life and dignity, freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, the right of access to health care, the right to privacy, the right to education and the prohibition of discrimination, as is also reflected in the Polish Constitution; recalls that Parliament strongly criticised, in its resolution of 15 November 2017, any legislative proposal that would prohibit abortion in cases of severe or fatal foetal impairment, thereby drastically limiting and coming close to banning in practice access to abortion care in Poland as most legal abortions are performed under that ground(106), and emphasised that universal access to healthcare, including sexual and reproductive healthcare and the associated rights, is a fundamental human right(107); regrets the proposed amendments(108) to the Act of 5 December 1996 on doctors’ and dentists’ professions(109), under which doctors would no longer be legally obliged to indicate an alternative facility or practitioner in case of denial of sexual and reproductive health services due to personal beliefs; is concerned about the use of the conscience clause including the absence of reliable referral mechanisms and lack of timely appeals for women who are denied such services; calls on the Polish parliament to refrain from any further attempts to restrict women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights; strongly affirms that the denial of sexual and reproductive health and rights services is a form of violence against women and girls; calls on the Polish authorities to take measures to implement fully the judgments handed down by the European Court of Human Rights in cases against Poland, which has ruled on several occasions that restrictive abortion laws and lack of implementation violates the human rights of women(110);

57.  Recalls that previous attempts to further limit the right to abortion, which in Poland is already among the most restricted in the Union, were halted in 2016 and 2018 as a result of mass opposition from Polish citizens as expressed in the ‘Black Marches’; strongly invites the Polish authorities to consider repealing the law limiting women’s and girls’ access to the emergency contraceptive pill;

Hate speech, public discrimination, violence against women, domestic violence and intolerant behaviour against minorities and other vulnerable groups, including LGBTI persons

58.  Urges the Polish authorities to take all necessary measures to firmly combat racist hate speech and incitement to violence, online and offline, and publicly condemn and distance itself from racist hate speech by public figures, including politicians and media officials(111), to address prejudices and negative sentiments towards national and ethnic minorities (including Roma), migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and to ensure effective enforcement of the laws outlawing parties or organisations that promote or incite racial discrimination(112); calls on the Polish authorities to comply with the 2019 recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination(113);

59.  Is deeply concerned by the recent decision(114) by the Polish Minister of Justice to officially start Poland’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention); encourages the Polish authorities to give practical and effective application to that Convention, including by ensuring application of the existing legislation across the country, as well as the provision of a sufficient number and quality of shelters for women who are victims of violence and their children; is afraid that this step could be a serious setback with regards to gender equality and women’s rights;

60.  Notes that the May 2020 LGBTI Survey II conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights highlights an increase in intolerance and violence in Poland towards LGBTI persons or persons who are perceived to be LGBTI persons and complete disbelief in the government’s combat against prejudice and intolerance by Polish LGBTI respondents, recording the lowest percentage across the Union (only 4 %), and the highest percentage of respondents avoiding going to certain places for fear of being assaulted, harassed or threatened (79 %);

61.  Recalls, also in the context of the 2020 presidential campaign, its stance as expressed in its resolution of 18 December 2019, when it strongly denounced any discrimination against LGBTI people and the violation of their fundamental rights by public authorities, including hate speech by public authorities and elected officials, the banning of and inadequate protection against attacks on Pride marches and awareness-raising programmes, the declarations of zones in Poland free from so-called ‘LGBT ideology’ and the adoption of ‘Regional Charters of Family Rights’, discriminating in particular against single-parent and LGBTI families; notes the lack of any improvement in the situation of LGBTI persons in Poland since the adoption of that resolution and that mental health and physical safety of Polish LGBTI people are particularly at risk; recalls the condemnation of such actions by the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, who filed nine complaints to administrative courts arguing that the LGBTI-free zones violate Union law, and by the Commission and international organisations; recalls that spending under cohesion funds must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and that municipalities acting as employers must respect Council Directive 2000/78/EC(115), which prohibits discrimination and harassment on the ground of sexual orientation in employment(116); in light of that, expresses its serious concerns about the fact that the Minister of Justice has granted financial support to the municipalities that were excluded from the European twinning programme due to the adoption of ‘LGBT-free zone’ declarations; furthermore, is deeply concerned that that financial support will be granted from the Ministry’s Justice Fund, which was created to support victims of crimes; calls on the Commission to continue rejecting Union funding applications by authorities who have adopted such resolutions; calls on the Polish authorities to implement the relevant case law of the Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights and in that context to address the situation of same sex spouses and parents with a view to ensuring their enjoyment of the right to non-discrimination in law and in fact(117); condemns the law suits against the civil society activists who published the so-called “Atlas of Hate” that documents cases of homophobia in Poland; strongly invites the Polish government to ensure the legal protection of LGBTI people against all forms of hate crime and hate speech;

62.  Strongly deplores the “Polish Stonewall” mass arrest of 48 LGBTI activists on 7 August 2020, which sends a worrying signal regarding the freedom of speech and assembly in Poland; deplores the way in which detainees were treated, as reported by the National Preventive Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture(118); calls for an immediate condemnation by all European institutions of police violence against LGBTI persons in Poland;

63.  Strongly deplores the Polish Episcopate’s official position(119) calling for “conversion therapy” for LGBTI persons; reiterates the position of the Parliament(120) encouraging Member States to criminalise such practices and recalls the May 2020 report of the UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which calls on Member States to adopt bans on practices of “conversion therapy”(121);

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64.  Notes that the lack of independence of the judiciary in Poland has already begun affecting mutual trust between Poland and other Member States, especially in the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters, given that national courts have refused or hesitated to surrender Polish suspects under the European Arrest Warrant procedure due to profound doubts about the independence of the Polish judiciary; considers the threat to the uniformity of the Union legal order posed by the deterioration of the rule of law in Poland to be particularly serious; points out that mutual trust between the Member States can be restored only once respect for the values enshrined in Article 2 TEU is ensured;

65.  Calls on the Polish government to comply with all provisions relating to the rule of law and fundamental rights enshrined in the Treaties, the Charter, the ECHR and international human rights standards, and to engage in an honest dialogue with the Commission; stresses that such dialogue needs to be conducted in an impartial, evidence-based and cooperative manner; calls on the Polish government to cooperate with the Commission pursuant to the principle of sincere cooperation as set out in the TEU; calls on the Polish government to swiftly and fully implement the rulings of the Court of Justice and to respect the primacy of Union law; urges the Polish government to take full account of the recommendations of the Venice Commission in the organisation of the justice system, including when carrying out further reforms of the Supreme Court;

66.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to refrain from narrowly interpreting the principle of the rule of law, and to use the procedure under Article 7(1) TEU to its full potential by addressing the implications of the Polish government’s action for all the principles enshrined in Article 2 TEU, including democracy and fundamental rights as highlighted in this report;

67.  Calls on the Council to resume the formal hearings - the last of which was held as long ago as December 2018 - as soon as possible and to include in those hearings all the latest and major negative developments in the areas of rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights; urges the Council to finally act under the Article 7(1) TEU procedure by finding that there is a clear risk of a serious breach by the Republic of Poland of the values referred to in Article 2 TEU, in the light of overwhelming evidence thereof as displayed in this resolution and in so many reports of international and European organisations, the case law of the Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights and reports by civil society organisations; strongly recommends that the Council address concrete recommendations to Poland, as provided for in Article 7(1) TEU, as a follow‑up to the hearings, and that it indicate deadlines for the implementation of those recommendations; calls furthermore on the Council to commit to assessing the implementation of these recommendations in a timely manner; calls on the Council to keep Parliament regularly informed and closely involved and to work in a transparent manner, to allow for meaningful participation and oversight by all European institutions and bodies and by civil society organisations;

68.  Calls on the Commission to make full use of the tools available to it, to address a clear risk of a serious breach by Poland of the values on which the Union is founded, in particular expedited infringement procedures and applications for interim measures before the Court of Justice, as well as budgetary tools; calls on the Commission to continue to keep Parliament regularly informed and closely involved;

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o   o

69.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission and to the President, government and parliament of the Republic of Poland, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

(1) OJ C 104 E, 30.4.2004, p. 408.
(2) COM(2003)0606.
(3) COM(2014)0158.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0123.
(5) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0344.
(6) Texts adopted,P8_TA(2017)0442.
(7) OJ L 217, 12.8.2016, p. 53.
(8) OJ L 22, 27.1.2017, p. 65.
(9) OJ L 228, 2.9.2017, p. 19.
(10) OJ L 17, 23.1.2018, p. 50.
(11) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0055.
(12) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0058.
(13) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0101.
(14) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0032.
(15) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0204.
(16) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0014.
(17) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0054.
(18) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0409.
(19) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0111.
(20) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0080.
(21) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0349.
(22) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0407.
(23) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 24 June 2019, Commission v Poland, C-619/18, ECLI:EU:C:2019:531; judgment of the Court of Justice of 5 November 2019, Commission v Poland, C-192/18, ECLI:EU:C:2019:924.
(24) COM(2017)0835.
(25) Ustawa z dnia 22 grudnia 2015 r. o zmianie ustawy o Trybunale Konstytucyjnym (Dz.U. 2015 poz. 2217).
(26) Ustawa z dnia 22 lipca 2016 r. o Trybunale Konstytucyjnym (Dz.U. 2016 poz. 1157).
(27) Judgement of the Constitutional Tribunal of 9 March 2016, K 47/15.
(28) Judgement of the Constitutional Tribunal of 11 August 2016, K 39/16.
(29) Judgement of the Constitutional Tribunal of 7 November 2016, K 44/16.
(30) See Venice Commission Opinion of 14 October 2016 on the Law of 22 July 2016 on the Constitutional Tribunal, Opinion no. 860/2016, para. 127; Commission Reasoned Proposal of 20 December 2017, paras 91 and following.
(31) Ustawa z dnia 30 grudnia 2015 r. o zmianie ustawy o służbie cywilnej oraz niektórych innych ustaw (Dz.U. 2016 poz. 34).
(32) Ustawa z dnia 15 stycznia 2016 r. o zmianie ustawy o Policji oraz niektórych innych ustaw (Dz.U. 2016 poz. 147).
(33) Ustawa z dnia 28 stycznia 2016 r. Prawo o prokuraturze (Dz.U. 2016 poz. 177).
(34) Ustawa z dnia 28 stycznia 2016 r. Przepisy wprowadzające ustawę - Prawo o prokuraturze (Dz.U. 2016 poz. 178).
(35) Ustawa z dnia 18 marca 2016 r. o zmianie ustawy o Rzeczniku Praw Obywatelskich oraz niektórych innych ustaw (Dz.U. 2016 poz. 677).
(36) Ustawa z dnia 22 czerwca 2016 r. o Radzie Mediów Narodowych (Dz.U. 2016 poz. 929).
(37) Ustawa z dnia 10 czerwca 2016 r. o działaniach antyterrorystycznych (Dz.U. 2016 poz. 904).
(38) See Commission Reasoned Proposal of 20 December 2017, paras 112-113.
(39) ENCJ, Warsaw Declaration of 3 June 2016.
(40) OSCE/ODIHR, Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions after its Limited Election Observation Mission, 14 October 2019.
(41) OSCE/ODIHR, Limited Election Observation Mission Final Report on the parliamentary elections of 13 October 2019, Warsaw, 14 February 2020.
(42) OSCE/ODIHR, Special Election Assessment Mission, Statement of preliminary findings and conclusions on the second round of presidential elections of 12 July 2020, Warsaw, 13 July 2020.
(43) Venice Commission, Opinion of 8-9 December 2017, CDL-AD(2017)031, para. 43;Commission Recommendation (EU) 2018/103 of 20 December 2017 regarding the rule of law in Poland complementary to Recommendations (EU) 2016/1374, (EU) 2017/146 and (EU) 2017/1520 (OJ L 17, 23.1.2018, p. 50), para. 25.
(44) Venice Commission, CDL-AD (2002) 23, Opinion no. 190/2002, Code of good practice in electoral matters. Guidelines and explanatory report, 30 October 2002; See, as well, Venice Commission, CDL-PI(2020)005rev-e, Report on Respect for Democracy Human Rights and Rule of Law during States of Emergency - Reflections, p. 23.
(45) See, as well, OSCE/ODIHR, Opinion on the draft act on special rules for conducting the general election of the President of the Republic of Poland ordered in 2020 (Senate Paper No. 99), 27 April 2020.
(46) 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).
(47) Ustawa z dnia 30 listopada 2016 r. o organizacji i trybie postępowania przed Trybunałem Konstytucyjnym (Dz.U. 2016 poz. 2072); ustawa z dnia 30 listopada 2016 r. o statusie sędziów Trybunału Konstytucyjnego (Dz.U. 2016 poz. 2073); Ustawa z dnia 13 grudnia 2016 r. - Przepisy wprowadzające ustawę o organizacji i trybie postępowania przed Trybunałem Konstytucyjnym oraz ustawę o statusie sędziów Trybunału Konstytucyjnego (Dz.U. 2016 poz. 2074).
(48) Venice Commission Opinion of 14-15 October 2016, para. 128; UN, Human Rights Committee, Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of Poland, 31 October 2016, paras 7-8; Commission Recommendation (EU) 2017/1520.
(49) Judgment of the Court of Justice 19 November 2019, A.K. and Others v Sąd Najwyższy, C-585/18, C-624/18 and C-625/18, ECLI:EU:C:2019:982.
(50) Ustawa z dnia 20 grudnia 2019 r. o zmianie ustawy - Prawo o ustroju sądów powszechnych, ustawy o Sądzie Najwyższym oraz niektórych innych ustaw (Dz.U. 2020 poz. 190).
(51) Venice Commission and DGI of the Council of Europe, Urgent Joint Opinion of 16 January 2020, CDL-PI(2020)002, paras 51-55.
(52) See Commission Reasoned Proposal of 20 December 2017, COM(2017)0835, para. 133. See also OSCE-ODIHR, Opinion on Certain Provisions of the Draft Act on the Supreme Court of Poland (as of 26 September 2017), 13 November 2017, p. 33.
(53) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 24 June 2019, Commission v Poland, C-619/18, ECLI:EU:C:2019:531.
(54) Order of the Court of Justice of 17 December 2018, Commission v Poland, C-619/18 R, ECLI:EU:C:2018:1021.
(55) Ustawa z dnia 21 listopada 2018 r. o zmianie ustawy o Sądzie Najwyższym (Dz.U. 2018 poz. 2507).
(56) OSCE-ODIHR, Opinion of 13 November 2017, p. 7-20; Venice Commission, Opinion of 8-9 December 2017, para. 43; Commission Recommendation (EU) 2018/103, para. 25; GRECO, Addendum to the Fourth Round Evaluation Report on Poland (Rule 34) of 18-22 June 2018, para. 31; Venice Commission and DGI of the Council of Europe, Urgent Joint Opinion of 16 January 2020, para. 8.
(57) Judgment of the Court of Justice 19 November 2019, A.K. and Others v Sąd Najwyższy, C-585/18, C-624/18 and C-625/18, ECLI:EU:C:2019:982.
(58) Judgment of the Supreme Court of 5 December 2019, III PO 7/19.
(59) Resolution of of the Joint Civil, Criminal and Labour Chambers of the Supreme Court of 23 January 2020, BSA I-4110-1/2020.
(60) Judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of 20 April 2020, U 2/20.
(61) Venice Commission and DGI of the Council of Europe, Urgent Joint Opinion of 16 January 2020, para. 38.
(62) Venice Commission and DGI of the Council of Europe, Urgent Joint Opinion of 16 January 2020, para. 38.
(63) Order of the Court of Justice of 8 April 2020, Commission v Poland, C-791/19 R, ECLI:EU:C:2020:277.
(64) Ustawa z dnia 8 grudnia 2017 r. o zmianie ustawy o Krajowej Radzie Sądownictwa oraz niektórych innych ustaw (Dz.U. 2018 poz. 3).
(65) Consultative Council of European Judges, Opinions of the Bureau of 7 April 2017 and 12 October 2017; OSCE/ODIHR, Final Opinion on Draft Amendments to the Act of the National Council of the Judiciary, 5 May 2017; Venice Commission, Opinion of 8-9 December 2017, p. 5-7; GRECO, Ad hoc Report on Poland (Rule 34) of 19-23 March 2018 and Addendum of 18-22 June 2018; Venice Commission and DGI of the Council of Europe, Urgent Joint Opinion of 16 January 2020, paras 42 and 61.
(66) Decision of the Supreme Court of 15 January 2020, III PO 8/18. Decision of the Supreme Court of 15 January 2020, III PO 9/18.
(67) On this subject, see, as well, the following cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights: Reczkowicz and two Others v. Poland (application nos. 43447/19, 49868/19 and 57511/19), Grzęda v. Poland (no. 43572/18), Xero Flor w Polsce sp. z o.o. v. Poland (no.4907/18), Broda v. Poland and Bojara v. Poland (nos. 26691/18 and 27367/18), Żurek v. Poland (no. 39650/18) and Sobczyńska and Others v. Poland (nos. 62765/14, 62769/14, 62772/14 and 11708/18).
(68) ENCJ, Letter of 21 February 2020 by the ENCJ Executive Board. See as well the letter of 4 May 2020 by the European Association of Judges in support of the ENCJ.
(69) Ustawa z dnia 12 maja 2011 r. o Krajowej Radzie Sądownictwa (Dz.U. 2011 nr 126 poz. 714).
(70) Venice Commission and DGI of the Council of Europe, Urgent Joint Opinion of 16 January 2020, para. 45.
(71) See also Council of Europe, Bureau of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE-BU), CCJE-BU(2018)6REV, 18 June 2018.
(72) Venice Commission and DGI of the Council of Europe, Urgent Joint Opinion of 16 January 2020, paras 46 to 50.
(73) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 5 November 2019, Commission v Poland, C-192/18, ECLI:EU:C:2019:924.
(74) Ustawa z dnia 12 lipca 2017 r. o zmianie ustawy - Prawo o ustroju sądów powszechnych oraz niektórych innych ustaw (Dz.U. 2017 poz. 1452).
(75) OSCE/ODIHR, Urgent Interim Opinion on the Bill Amending the Act on the Organization of Common Courts, the Act on the Supreme Court and Certain Other Acts of Poland (as of 20 December 2019), 14 January 2020, p. 23-26; Venice Commission and DGI of the Council of Europe, Urgent Joint Opinion of 16 January 2020, paras 44-45.
(76) OSCE/ODIHR, Urgent Interim Opinion, 14 January 2020, p. 18-21; Venice Commission and DGI of the Council of Europe, Urgent Joint Opinion of 16 January 2020, paras 24-30;
(77) Communication by the Deputy Disciplinary Prosecutor of Judges of Common Courts, July 2020, http://rzecznik.gov.pl/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/KomunikatFWS.pdf.
(78) OSCE/ODIHR, Urgent Interim Opinion, 14 January 2020, p. 13-17; Venice Commission and DGI of the Council of Europe, Urgent Joint Opinion of 16 January 2020, paras 31-43.
(79) Ustawa z dnia 27 lipca 2001 r. Prawo o ustroju sądów powszechnych (Dz.U. 2001 nr 98 poz. 1070).
(80) Venice Commission Opinion of 8-9 December 2017 on the Act on the Public Prosecutor's office, as amended, CDL-AD(2017)028, para. 115.
(81) Commission Recommendation (EU) 2018/103; United Nations, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Statement of 25 June 2018; European Commission, 2019 European semester: Country report Poland, 27 February 2019, SWD(2019) 1020 final, p. 42; the Presidents of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary, the Network of Presidents of the Supreme Courts of the EU and the European Judges Association, letter of 20 September 2019; GRECO, Follow-up to the Addendum to the Fourth Round Evaluation Report (rule 34) – Poland, 6 December 2019, para. 65; PACE, Resolution 2316 (2020) of 28 January 2020 on the functioning of democratic institutions in Poland, para. 4.
(82) See, as well, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Poland, 19 January 2018; Joint Statement in Support of the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, signed by ENNHRI, Equinet, GANHRI, IOI, OHCHR Europe, June 2019.
(83) UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of Poland, 23 November 2016, para. 33.
(84) Venice Commission and DGI of the Council of Europe, Urgent Joint Opinion of 16 January 2020, para 59.
(85) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 26 March 2020, Simpson v Council and HG v Commission, Joined Cases C-542/18 RX-II and C-543/18 RX-II, ECLI:EU:C:2020:232, para 57.
(86) See, as well, the World Press Freedom Index, according to which Poland has fallen from 18th to 62nd place in the ranking since 2015.
(87) Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists, 2020 Annual Report, March 2020, p. 42.
(88) Council of Europe, Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)4 of 13 April 2016 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists and other media actors.
(89) International Press Institute (IPI) Tracker on Press Freedom Violations Linked to COVID-19 Coverage, https://ipi.media/covid19-media-freedom-monitoring/.
(90) Council of Europe, the Organisation of American States et al., Declaration of the Global Forum on Academic Freedom, Institutional Autonomy, and the Future of Democracy, 21 June 2019.
(91) Ustawa z dnia 18 grudnia 1998 r. o Instytucie Pamięci Narodowej - Komisji Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu (Dz.U. 1998 nr 155 poz. 1016).
(92) See as well the Statement of 28 June 2018 by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.
(93) Ustawa z dnia 24 lipca 2015 r. - Prawo o zgromadzeniach (Dz.U. 2015 poz. 1485).
(94) Ustawa z dnia 13 grudnia 2016 r. o zmianie ustawy - Prawo o zgromadzeniach (Dz.U. 2017 poz. 579).
(95) See as well the Communication of 23 April 2018 by UN Experts to urge Poland to ensure free and full participation at climate talks.
(96) Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, letter to the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, 6 May 2020.
(97) Ustawa z dnia 15 września 2017 r. o Narodowym Instytucie Wolności - Centrum Rozwoju Społeczeństwa Obywatelskiego (Dz.U. 2017 poz. 1909).
(98) OSCE/ODIHR, Opinion on the Draft Act of Poland on the National Freedom Institute - Centre for the Development of Civil Society, Warsaw, 22 August 2017.
(99) EESC, Report on Fundamental rights and the rule of law: national developments from a civil society perspective 2018-2019, June 2020, p. 41-42.
(100) EESC, Press Statement “Alarming pressure on civil society: Polish EESC member becomes a target of government retaliation and NGOs no longer able to choose their own candidates”, 23 June 2020.
(101) Press release by the Minister of Environment, in cooperation with the Minister of Justice, 7 August 2020, https://www.gov.pl/web/srodowisko/nowe-prawo-wzmocni--przejrzystosc-finansowania-organizacji-pozarzadowych.
(102) Ustawa z dnia 6 kwietnia 1990 r. o Policji (Dz.U. 1990 nr 30 poz. 179).
(103) UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of Poland, 23 November 2016, paras 39-40. See as well Communication by UN Experts to urge Poland to ensure free and full participation at climate talks, 23 April 2018.
(104) EDPB, letter on Polish presidential elections data disclosure, 5 May 2020.
(105) Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Statement of 14 April 2020.
(106) In 2017, abortion due to fetal defects accounted for 97.9 percent all treatments: Center for Health Information Systems, reports of the Statistical Research Program of Public Statistics MZ-29, as published on the website of the Polish Sejm. Sprawozdanie Rady Ministrów z wykonywania oraz o skutkach stosowania w 2016 r. ustawy z dnia 7 stycznia 1993 r. o planowaniu rodziny, ochronie płodu ludzkiego i warunkach dopuszczalności przerywania ciąży (Dz. U. poz. 78, z późnn. zm.).
(107) See as well the issue paper of the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights of December 2017 entitled ‘Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe’; Statement of 22 March 2018 by UN Experts advising the UN Working Group on discrimination against women, and Statement of 14 April 2020 by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights.
(108) Ustawa z dnia 16 lipca 2020 r. o zmianie ustawy o zawodach lekarza i lekarza dentystyoraz niektórych innych ustaw (not yet published in the Official Journal).
(109) Ustawa z dnia 5 grudnia 1996 r. o zawodach lekarza i lekarza dentysty (Dz.U. 1997 nr 28 poz. 152).
(110) Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 20 March 2007, Tysiąc v. Poland (application no. 5410/03); Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 20 March 2007, R. R. v. Poland (application no. 27617/04); Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 30 October 2012, P. and S. v. Poland (application no. 57375/08).
(111) EP Resolution of 15 November 2017, para. 18; PACE, Resolution 2316 (2020) of 28 January 2020 on the functioning of democratic institutions in Poland, para. 14; UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of Poland, 23 November 2016, CCPR/C/POL/CO/7, paras 15-18.
(112) United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Concluding observations on the combined twenty-second to twenty-fourth periodic reports of Poland, August 2019.
(113) Ibid.
(114) Ministry of Justice, Press release ‘Proposal for the denunciation of the Istanbul Convention’, 25 July 2020, https://www.gov.pl/web/sprawiedliwosc/ministerstwo-sprawiedliwosci-konwencja-stambulska-powinna-zostac-wypowiedziana-poniewaz-jest-sprzeczna-z-prawami-konstytucyjnymi.
(115) Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16).
(116) European Commission, DG REGIO, letter to the authorities of the Polish regions of Lublin, Łódź, Lesser Poland, Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie, 27 May 2020. See, as well, Judgment of the Court of Justice of 23 April 2020, Associazione Avvocatura per i diritti LGBTI, C-507/18, ECLI:EU:C:2020:289.
(117) Judgment of the Court of Justice of 5 June 2018, Coman, C‑673/16, ECLI:EU:C:2018:385; Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 2 March 2010, Kozak v. Poland (application no. 13102/02); Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 22 January 2008, E.B. v. France (application no. 43546/02); Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 19 February 2013, X and Others v. Austria (application no. 19010/07); Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 30 June 2016, Taddeucci and McCall v. Italy (application no. 51362/09); Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 21 July 2015, Oliari and Others v. Italy (applications nos. 18766/11 and 36030/11); Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 14 December 2017, Orlandi and Others v. Italy (applications nos. 26431/12, 26742/12, 44057/12 and 60088/12); Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 14 January 2020, Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania (application no. 41288/15).
(118) Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, Press release, ‘The National Preventive Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture (KMPT) visits police places of detention after overnight detentions in Warsaw’, 11 August 2020, https://www.rpo.gov.pl/en/content/national-preventive-mechanism-prevention-torture-kmpt-visits-police-places-detention-after-overnight.
(119) Position of the Polish Episcopate on LGBT + issues, August 2020, https://episkopat.pl/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Stanowisko-Konferencji-Episkopatu-Polski-w-kwestii-LGBT.pdf.
(120) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0032.
(121) UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Report on conversion therapy, May 2020, https://undocs.org/A/HRC/44/53.


Strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on a strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment (2019/2816(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0226B9-0242/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and in particular Articles 11, 168 and 191(2) thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/6 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on veterinary medicinal products(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/4 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the manufacture, placing on the market and use of medicated feed(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2014/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on public procurement(3),

–  having regard to Directive 2013/39/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 August 2013 as regards priority substances in the field of water policy(4),

–  having regard to Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001 on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use(5),

–  having regard to Directive 2000/60/EC of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy(6),

–  having regard to Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive)(7),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), establishing a European Chemicals Agency, amending Directive 1999/45/EC and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 1488/94 as well as Council Directive 76/769/EEC and Commission Directives 91/155/EEC, 93/67/EEC, 93/105/EC and 2000/21/EC (the ‘REACH Regulation’)(8),

–  having regard to Decision No 1386/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’ (the ‘7th EAP’)(9),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the quality of water intended for human consumption (recast) (COM(2017)0753),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a regulation on minimum requirements for water reuse (COM(2018)0337),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 25 June 2019 on the next steps towards making the EU a best practice region in combating antimicrobial resistance,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 26 June 2019 entitled ‘Towards a Sustainable Chemicals Policy Strategy of the Union’,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 March 2019 entitled ‘European Union Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment’ (COM(2019)0128),

–  having regard to the Commission Communication of 7 November 2018 entitled ‘Towards a comprehensive European Union framework on endocrine disruptors’ (COM(2018)0734),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 29 June 2017 entitled ‘A European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance’ (COM(2017)0339),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 15 November 2011 entitled ‘Action plan against the rising threats from Antimicrobial Resistance’ (COM(2011)0748),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 December 2008 entitled ‘Safe, Innovative and Accessible Medicines: a Renewed Vision for the Pharmaceutical Sector’ (COM(2008)0666),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 entitled ‘The European Green Deal’ (COM(2019)0640),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2018 on a European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal(11),

–  having regard to several Member States’ programmes to reduce pharmaceutical residues in water,

–  having regard to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Joint Scientific Opinion of 1 December 2016 on measures to reduce the need to use antimicrobial agents in animal husbandry in the European Union, and the resulting impacts on food safety (RONAFA opinion),

–  having regard to the successive annual European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) reports (since 2011),

–  having regard to the Commission publication Science for Environment Policy – Future Brief of May 2015 (Issue 11) entitled ‘Sustainable Aquaculture’,

–  having regard to the Commission reflection paper of 30 January 2019 entitled ‘Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030’ (COM(2019)0022),

–  having regard to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study of 13 November 2019 entitled ‘Pharmaceutical Residues in Freshwater – Hazards and Policy Responses’,

–  having regard to the political declaration of the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly of 22 September 2016 on antimicrobial resistance,

–  having regard to the UN Drinking Water Parameter Cooperation Project,

–  having regard to the World Bank report of March 2017 entitled ‘Drug-resistant infections: a threat to our economic future’,

–  having regard to the Commission report of July 2018 on options for a strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment,

–  having regard to the report of the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers of 12 December 2013 on the environmental risks of medicinal products,

–  having regard to the questions to the Council and the Commission on a strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment (O-000040/2020 – B9‑0015/2020 and O-000041/2020 – B9‑0016/2020),

–  having regard to Rules 136(5) and 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

A.  whereas pharmaceuticals play an essential role in ensuring a high level of human and animal health; whereas there are currently more than 3 000 active pharmaceutical ingredients on the European market;

B.  whereas the wide use of pharmaceuticals in human and veterinary medicines, including antimicrobial agents, has increased their concentrations in many environmental reservoirs such as soils, sediments and waterbodies in the past 20 years; whereas environmental concentrations are likely to increase further as the population grows and ages; whereas climate change will furthermore affect both the quantity and the quality of water resources, as at times of drought concentrations will be higher, which also has a knock-on effect on water treatment; whereas there is a need for widespread gathering of data to measure this problem around the world; whereas the largest source of pharmaceuticals entering the environment is their use and disposal;

C.  whereas pharmaceuticals reach the environment through the discharge of effluent from urban wastewater treatment plants, the spreading of animal manure and aquaculture, discharge of effluent from manufacturing plants, the spreading of sewage sludge, grazing livestock, the treatment of pets, and the improper disposal into landfill of unused pharmaceuticals and contaminated waste;

D.  whereas the inappropriate use of antibiotics, particularly in livestock farming, and poor practices in both human and veterinary medicine more generally, have progressively rendered antimicrobial resistance a massive threat to human and animal health;

E.  whereas the OECD in its latest report on pharmaceutical residues in freshwater found that ‘current policy approaches to manage pharmaceutical residues are inadequate for the protection of water quality and freshwater ecosystems upon which healthy lives depend’;

F.  whereas the chemical and/or metabolic stability of certain pharmaceuticals means that up to 90 % of their active substances are released into the environment in their original form after use;

G.  whereas pharmaceuticals authorised for human use and put on the market before 2006 were not subject to an environmental risk assessment as part of the authorisation process and might therefore still lack such an assessment;

H.  whereas an environmental risk assessment is taken into account in the benefit-risk assessment for veterinary medicinal products but not for human medicinal products;

I.  whereas, in its communication of 11 March 2019, the Commission itself acknowledges the knowledge gaps in terms of concentrations of certain pharmaceuticals in the environment and the resulting levels of risk;

J.  whereas there is sufficient evidence that action should be taken to reduce the environmental impact from pharmaceutical substances, which can pose a risk to the environment, especially for the protection of waters used for the abstraction of drinking water;

K.  whereas the environmental impact of pharmaceuticals has been recognised as an issue of concern by a large number of international organisations, third countries, European institutions, industry associations and non-governmental organisations; whereas some EU Member States such as the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden have already taken action to address the growing presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment;

L.  whereas the Commission had committed in 2008 to propose measures to reduce the potentially harmful impacts of pharmaceuticals on the environment(12);

M.  whereas in accordance with Article 8c of Directive 2013/39/EU, the Commission was obliged to develop a strategic approach to pollution of water by pharmaceutical substances by 13 September 2015 and to propose measures by 14 September 2017;

N.  whereas in its conclusions of June 2019, the Council called on the Commission ‘to assess and define the most effective measures, including legislative measures, to mitigate the effects of pharmaceuticals in the environment and to combat the development of antimicrobial resistance and to reinforce the link with the health sector in this regard’; whereas the Council acknowledged that further research is required to better understand the extent of the emerging human health and environmental impact of pharmaceuticals and their residues;

O.  whereas the AMR Industry Alliance has developed industry-driven principles under the Common Antibiotic Manufacturing Framework and determined targets for antibiotic discharge concentration in order to protect ecological resources and lower the potential risk of AMR development in the environment;

P.  whereas human and animal health players and professionals, patients, industry, waste management and water treatment operators, etc., have a role to play in reducing the impact of pharmaceutical products on the environment;

Q.  whereas the OECD advocates four proactive strategies with a focus on preventive options early in a pharmaceutical product’s life cycle to cost-effectively manage pharmaceuticals in the environment and to deliver the most long-term and large-scale environmental benefits;

R.  whereas a campaign was launched by several stakeholders to raise awareness on how to dispose of unused or expired medicines appropriately in Europe as part of the MedsDisposal initiative;

S.  whereas any measure regarding the environmental impact of drugs must consider as the prevailing principle the right of patients to swift access to drugs deemed safe and effective with respect to the current risk-benefit assessment criteria;

General considerations

1.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission finally adopted its communication of 11 March 2019; considers it regrettable that there has been a serious delay in presenting the strategic approach and the proposed actions;

2.  Agrees with the four main objectives of the strategic approach as presented by the Commission;

3.  Notes with concern, however, the soft nature of the measures included in the communication; considers that effective measures are needed to mitigate the negative impacts of pharmaceuticals in the environment;

4.  Recalls that any future initiatives in the field of the environmental impact of pharmaceuticals should be science and target driven, as well as technology neutral, making sure that safety and efficacy still remain key priorities for patients’ access to pharmaceutical treatments;

5.  Considers that a holistic approach, including all stakeholders concerned, is needed to tackle pharmaceutical pollution, taking into account the entire life cycle of drugs; stresses that, in order to ensure the effectiveness of regulatory actions, it is crucial that they are taken in line with the precautionary principle and the principle that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source; highlights that the polluter pays principle should apply, primarily covering the manufacturing process, but also incentivising better prescription practices and responsible consumer behaviour; notes with concern the role that pharmaceuticals play in contributing to antimicrobial resistance when released into the environment via the discharge of animal manure, water pollution or improper disposal; calls on the Commission to consider the use of extended producer responsibility to decrease the negative impacts of pharmaceuticals on the environment;

6.  Considers it necessary to organise, in collaboration with the Member States, campaigns to inform and educate the public about the dangers of over-consumption of non-prescribed medicines; draws attention to the increase in the number of supermarket and online sales of medicines without medical recommendation, and to the danger of media advertising for such points of sale outside of pharmacies or suitably accredited establishments;

7.  Highlights the fact that the discharge of pharmaceuticals into the environment may not only harm ecosystems and wildlife, but may also undermine the effectiveness of these same pharmaceuticals, especially in the case of antibiotics, as they can cause the emergence of antibiotic resistance;

8.  Recalls that pharmaceuticals have diverse impacts on aquatic and marine ecosystems but also wildlife, including behavioural changes, fecundity reduction, size modification or development of sexual and reproductive abnormalities; calls on the Commission, therefore, to integrate concrete measures taking into account the cumulative effects of pharmaceutical products’ contamination on aquatic and marine species;

9.  Recalls that studies have shown that pharmaceutical products and residues are especially present in waterbodies, and that they are not completely removed by conventional wastewater treatment plants, which currently cannot effectively filter out all pharmaceutical products; highlights that contamination of freshwater and river basins leads to contamination of the oceans;

10.  Notes that due to generally low concentrations, risks to human health are more related to possible cumulative effects of long-term low-dose exposure than to acute or immediate health effects; is particularly concerned by the endocrine disrupting properties of certain pharmaceuticals ending up in the environment;

11.  Points to the need to regulate the level of pharmaceutical residues under water legislation;

12.  Asks for a special focus to be put on discharge hotspots, such as pharmaceutical production plants, hospitals and wastewater treatment plants;

13.  Calls on the Commission to also consider the impact of pharmaceuticals in the context of the zero-pollution action plan for air, water and soil announced by the Commission for 2021;

14.  Calls on the Commission to facilitate the exchange of existing best practices among Member States and stakeholders with a view to reducing the environmental impacts of the manufacture, use and disposal of pharmaceuticals;

15.  Believes that existing and self-regulated initiatives should be analysed and, where appropriate, considered in future EU initiatives on pharmaceuticals in the environment;

Increasing awareness and promoting prevention measures and prudent use of pharmaceuticals

16.  Calls on the Member States to share best practices in the preventive use of antibiotics and to fully implement and, if necessary, reinforce the ‘One Health Action Plan Against Antimicrobial Resistance’; reaffirms the positions expressed in its resolution of 13 September 2018 on a European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance;

17.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to promote training for healthcare professionals, including veterinarians, physicians and pharmacists, and awareness-raising campaigns for patients, on the prudent use of pharmaceuticals, such as antimicrobials, antidepressants and contrast fluids; calls on actors in the pharmaceutical supply chain to contribute to providing patients and stockbreeders with clear and sufficient information on how medicines, when disposed of incorrectly, may negatively impact the environment; calls for on-pack labelling in the form of an appropriate pictogram to inform consumers how to properly dispose of unused medicines;

18.  Stresses that health professionals must be kept continuously up to date regarding the latest developments in research and good practices when it comes to preventing the spread of AMR;

19.  Calls on the Member States to include the issue of pharmaceuticals in the environment in their cross-border cooperation in river basins, and to coordinate measures where they are deemed useful;

20.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote vaccination as a disease prevention measure, so as to minimise the need for pharmaceuticals;

Supporting the development of pharmaceuticals that are intrinsically less harmful for the environment and promoting greener manufacturing

21.  Highlights the importance of faster, more ambitious and targeted action to reduce the environmental risks posed by pharmaceuticals, while acknowledging the need for further research for a better understanding of the extent of the current impact of pharmaceuticals on human health and the environment, and that the price of pharmaceutical products should not increase as a result;

22.  Notes that, in relation to the healthcare sector, addressing any excessive workforce pressures on physicians is a necessary condition for healthcare professionals to ensure that antimicrobials are prescribed appropriately; further notes that healthcare professionals could be further assisted via the provision of clear, evidence-based prescribing guidance that provides consistent advice across different clinical indications;

23.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to support research, development and innovation in the field of pharmaceuticals that are equally effective for patients and intrinsically less harmful for the environment, given that ‘greener pharmaceuticals’ are not toxic for the environment, do not bioaccumulate, and degrade more readily, into harmless substances, in wastewater treatment plants and the environment, while taking into account that greater biodegradability could potentially impair the efficacy;

24.  Calls on the Member States and all stakeholders concerned to make use of EU programmes to invest in technology aimed at improving the effectiveness of the disposal of pharmaceutical products and antimicrobial-resistant genes while ensuring that such products are just as effective in terms of meeting patients’ needs;

25.  Considers that the environmental impacts of pharmaceuticals should be included in the benefit-risk assessment of human medicines, as is already the case for veterinary medicines, provided that marketing authorisations are not delayed nor refused solely on the grounds of adverse environmental impacts;

26.  Considers that the environmental assessment of pharmaceuticals should encompass their degradation products and metabolites;

27.  Calls on the Commission to take into account, where appropriate, ongoing efforts by stakeholders to develop future initiatives to reduce environmental risks, and to promote environmentally responsible practices and appropriate use and return of pharmaceuticals;

28.  Calls for monitoring data from the Water Framework Directive to be used for post-market evaluation;

29.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the discharge of pharmaceuticals into water is considered as a possible Key Environmental Issue when reviewing Best Available Techniques Reference Documents under the Industrial Emissions Directive for relevant sectors;

30.  Points to the important role of procurement policy in promoting greener pharmaceuticals; calls on the Commission to develop clear guidance on this issue;

31.  Calls on the Commission to take all necessary action to ensure that the production of imported medicines meets the same high environmental standards as those applicable to medicines produced in the Union;

32.  Calls on the European Medicines Agency (EMA)to facilitate joint inspections of manufacturing discharges at overseas pharmaceutical factories supplying the EU;

Improving environmental risk assessment and its review

33.  Considers that a clear road map for completing environmental risk assessments is needed, where they are not available;

34.  Calls on the Member States and the EMA to make sure that applicants submit a completed assessment by the time of the authorisation for marketing human medicinal products, so that adequate risk management measures can be established and published;

35.  Considers it appropriate that pharmaceutical companies submit a joint environmental risk assessment per active substance so as to have coherent information, avoid duplication of work and reduce animal testing;

36.  Points to the need to implement in full the regulations on veterinary medicines and medicated feed with a view to reducing the use of antibiotics, including by evaluating the feasibility of setting up an EU-wide active substance-based review system by 28 January 2022 and other potential alternatives for the environmental risk assessment;

37.  Calls on the Commission to support research on the assessment of mixture effects, chronic low-dose exposure and antimicrobial resistance development, especially in relation to vulnerable groups;

Reducing wastage and improving the management of waste

38.  Stresses that measures must be based on scientific evidence and calls on all relevant stakeholders to ensure that no action taken jeopardises access to safe and effective pharmaceutical treatments for human patients and animals; in this regard, supports the Commission’s intention to reduce waste by allowing medicines to be dispensed in quantities better matching patients’ needs, while ensuring compliance with current traceability legislation, including by optimising package sizes, and to explore the possibility of extending expiry dates for medicines so that medicines that can still be used safely are not unnecessarily thrown away;

39.  Calls for an update of the requirements with regard to the environmental risk assessment to ensure a proper assessment of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substances and of mixture effects, and to take into account the risk of antimicrobial resistance developing in the environment;

40.  Considers that overall per capita drug consumption should be reduced, without causing difficulties in access to medicines and without reducing the effectiveness of treatments; is of the opinion that overall per animal consumption of veterinary medicines should also decrease, without compromising animal health and welfare, and that better alternatives should be found;

41.  Considers that a review of Directive 86/278/EEC on sewage sludge is long overdue; calls on the Commission to present a legislative proposal to review and update Directive 86/278/EEC by no later than the end of 2021, in order to update quality standards in accordance with the latest scientific evidence and to promote a circular economy which does not harm human health and the environment;

42.  Considers that pharmaceutical production plants should pre-treat their wastewater using the best techniques available;

43.  Calls on the Member States to establish, widely promote and fully enforce provisions for take-back schemes for unused medicines;

44.  Calls on the Commission to coordinate cooperation on schemes aimed at avoiding improper disposal of pharmaceuticals;

45.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support research, innovation and development vis-à-vis more advanced wastewater treatment technologies that can detect and improve the removal of pharmaceutical residues;

Expanding environmental monitoring

46.  Is concerned that monitoring of pharmaceuticals in the environment, including in soil, is still very limited; stresses the need to strengthen post-marketing surveillance mechanisms, also with regard to environmental effects, so as to adequately and systematically cover the environmental data deficit;

47.  Calls on the Commission to address the possible impact of pharmaceuticals on the watch list under the Water Framework Directive and to assess whether the list should be updated;

48.  Calls on the Commission to include pharmaceuticals that pose a significant risk to the environment in the list of priority substances under the Water Framework Directive and to set environmental quality standards and concentration limits under the Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) Directive;

49.  Highlights the fact that comprehensive monitoring of antibiotics has been developed in farming; calls on the Commission to also develop a monitoring system for human antibiotics;

Filling other knowledge gaps

50.  Emphasises the need to support further research, particularly under the next multiannual financial framework, on the direct impact of exposure to pharmaceuticals and their residues in the environment on human health and ecology and on better understanding how pharmaceuticals enter and persist in the environment, including in aquatic and marine ecosystems;

51.  Considers that the methods of analysis to quantify the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment and their development should be improved, and that analytical detection methods should be made publicly available;

Increasing transparency

52.  Recalls that pharmaceutical environmental information such as the impact on water, environmental behaviour, degradability and possible cocktail effects plays a key role in risk management and that this type of information should be transparent and made available to relevant stakeholders; therefore calls on the Commission and the relevant authorities to set up a secure, centralised database enabling all stakeholders concerned to have access to the results of the environmental risk assessments of products;

53.  Believes that a strong legislative framework should be established to increase transparency throughout the entire supply chain, as this would allow proper scrutiny and ensure that companies are held to account for the environmental release of pharmaceuticals;

54.  Calls on the pharmaceutical industry to provide more transparency in supply chains by disclosing the origin of drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) at raw material production stage, to ensure total traceability of all pharmaceutical products;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 4, 7.1.2019, p. 43.
(2) OJ L 4, 7.1.2019, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 94, 28.3.2014, p. 65.
(4) OJ L 226, 24.8.2013, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 311, 28.1.2001 p. 67.
(6) OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, p. 19.
(8) OJ L 396, 30.12.2006, p. 1.
(9) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 171.
(10) OJ C 433, 23.12.2019, p. 153.
(11) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0005.
(12) Commission communication of 10 December 2008 entitled ‘Safe, Innovative and Accessible Medicines: a Renewed Vision for the Pharmaceutical Sector’ (COM(2008)0666).


Maximising the energy efficiency potential of the EU building stock
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on maximising the energy efficiency potential of the EU building stock (2020/2070(INI))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0227A9-0134/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and in particular to Article 194 thereof,

–  having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights proclaimed by Parliament, the Council and the Commission at the Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017,

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

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 on the European Green Deal (COM(2019)0640),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 28 November 2018 entitled ‘A Clean Planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy’ (COM(2018)0773),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 March 2020 entitled ‘A New Industrial Strategy for Europe’ (COM(2020)0102),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 March 2020 entitled ‘A new Circular Economy Action Plan – For a cleaner and more competitive Europe’ (COM(2020)0098),

—  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 September 2011 entitled ‘Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe’ (COM(2011)0571) and the environmental footprint for products announced therein,

—  having regard to the European Court of Auditors Special Report 11/2020 of 28 April 2020 entitled ‘Energy efficiency in buildings: greater focus on cost-effectiveness still needed’,

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 12 December 2019,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 25 June 2019 on the future of energy systems in the Energy Union to ensure the energy transition and the achievement of energy and climate objectives towards 2030 and beyond,

—  having regard to the ‘Pact of Amsterdam - The Urban Agenda for the EU’ agreed at the informal meeting of EU ministers responsible for urban matters on 30 May 2016,

—  having regard to the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities adopted at the informal meeting of EU ministers responsible for urban development on 24 and 25 May 2007,

–  having regard to Directive 2012/27/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on energy efficiency, as amended by Directive (EU) 2018/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency(1),

–  having regard to Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings, as amended by Directive (EU) 2018/844 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings and Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency(2),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources(3),

—  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2018/1999 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action, amending Regulations (EC) No 663/2009 and (EC) No 715/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Directives 94/22/EC, 98/70/EC, 2009/31/EC, 2009/73/EC, 2010/31/EU, 2012/27/EU and 2013/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Directives 2009/119/EC and (EU) 2015/652 and repealing Regulation (EU) No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/944 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on common rules for the internal market for electricity and amending Directive 2012/27/EU(5),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the internal market for electricity(6),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC(7),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity(8),

–  having regard to Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy(9),

–  having regard to Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 November 2019 on the climate and environment emergency(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 March 2019 on climate change – a European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy in accordance with the Paris Agreement(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2018 on the deployment of infrastructure for alternative fuels in the European Union: time to act!(14),

–  having regard to its resolution of 6 February 2018 on accelerating clean energy innovation(15),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2016 on Towards a New Energy Market Design(16),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2016 on an EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling(17),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A9-0134/2020),

A.  whereas buildings are responsible for approximately 40 % of energy consumption and 36 % of CO2 emissions in the EU and, therefore, their deep, including staged deep, renovation is crucial to achieve the EU’s 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions objective;

B.  whereas the building sector is the single largest energy consumer in the EU, and 97 % of the EU building stock is not energy efficient, with only 0,2 % of the EU’s residential buildings subject to deep, including staged deep renovations, each year, and whereas over 94 % of today’s buildings will still be standing in 2050, and most of the homes, schools and offices that we will be occupying then have already been built;

C.  whereas space and water heating accounts for approximately 80 % of household energy consumption, as half of the EU’s buildings have individual boilers that were installed before 1992, with an efficiency of 60 % or less, and whereas 22 % of individual gas boilers, 34 % of direct electric heaters, 47 % of oil boilers and 58 % of coal boilers are older than their technical lifetime;

D.  whereas increasing renovation rates to almost 3 % and renovating 210 million existing buildings could create up to 2 million jobs(18) in the construction sector, which accounts for about 9 % of the Union’s GDP and is an important part of the recovery strategy after the COVID-19 crisis, and could contribute to a clean economy as part of the European Green Deal;

E.  whereas the EU Building Stock Observatory (BSO) plays a key role in monitoring and improving the overall energy performance of buildings in the EU through data that is reliable, consistent and easy to compare;

F.  whereas the quality of life of all citizens can be improved by taking measures to improve the energy efficiency of the EU’s building stock, and therefore the main challenge is to alleviate the burden on the estimated 50 million households in the European Union experiencing energy poverty, reduce energy bills and deliver comfortable, affordable and energy-efficient housing for all;

G.  whereas the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that people spend approximately 90 % of their time indoors in residential and non-residential buildings and that over half a million Europeans die prematurely every year because of poor indoor air quality(19), and whereas proper ventilation by opening up windows improves the air quality in people’s homes, as well as providing natural daylight, making them more healthy, which has become central, especially during the current COVID-19 crisis;

H.  whereas it has called ‘for the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and Energy Efficiency of Buildings Directive (EEBD) to be revised in line with the EU’s increased climate ambition, and for their implementation to be reinforced, through binding national targets’(20);

I.  whereas upwards of EUR 282 billion by way of investment in the renovation of the European building stock, as well as a smart combination of rigorous implementation of existing policies, new policy initiatives to phase out the worst energy performing buildings, further and adequate financing mechanisms, and investments in innovative solutions are necessary to achieve an energy-efficient building stock, as well as the Union’s 2030 energy efficiency target;

J.  whereas integrated renovation programmes (IRPs) aim to be holistic, putting energy efficiency first, and focus on the broader neighbourhood ecosystems, comprising high energy reduction targets for individual buildings, are based on best practice and understood to consist of three main pillars:

   (a) construction typology and building materials, requiring in-depth knowledge of the age, use and construction method of buildings, and of the energy savings potential they represent, as well as a description of the types of materials to be used throughout the course of a renovation, including their life-cycle impact;
   (b) provision of and access to sustainable energy sources, namely on-site and nearby renewables, including district heating or cooling systems, or using the thermal storage capacity of buildings, vehicle-to-X services and other flexibility options enabling sector integration;
   (c) community/societal benefits, namely the integration of local communities into all energy renovation projects and programmes in order to tackle issues such as energy poverty, a lack of technical and/or financial resources and information gaps;

K.  whereas the implementation of this three-pillar approach ensures that IRPs are devised and implemented in a way that focuses on the wider benefits that can be provided through energy renovations to people and communities, such as energy efficiency, climate change resilience, industrial competitiveness, sustainability, social inclusion and accessibility;

Neighbourhoods and communities

1.  Highlights the role of neighbourhoods and communities, as well as other actors such as local and regional authorities and SMEs, in IRPs, as a holistic approach to renovation, in order to achieve a highly energy-efficient and climate-neutral building sector by 2050 in line with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD);

2.  Demands that building and renovation policies be holistic and inclusive, contribute to EU climate goals, include IRPs that integrate local value chains, social services and affordability, smart readiness, an adequate, healthy indoor climate and environmental quality, mobility, technical, industrial and energy-efficient functions of buildings, and enable on-site or nearby renewables production and exchange, and demand-side flexibility, as well as using excess heat and cold from nearby industrial facilities, local transport systems, or waterways where this is a sustainable option;

3.  Highlights the important role that citizens play in the renovation of the residential buildings stock and the importance of creating efficient tools, best practices and making all possible information and knowledge available at local level, including opportunities related to technologies (i.e. smart meters); recognises, furthermore, the impetus given by energy communities through bringing citizens together, informing and engaging them in starting their own renovations and/or generation of renewable energy, and calls for a comprehensive package of policy measures to scale up these approaches;

4.  Calls on the Commission to assess the impact of the gentrification and ‘renoviction’ of neighbourhoods, as well as gender disparities and the situation of vulnerable citizens; considers that a community approach, in addition to safeguards at regulatory level, could preserve existing communities, as well as create incentives that are essential to maximise energy efficiency and to leverage the necessary private and public investments; stresses the need to support the most vulnerable citizens by enabling their access to dignified living conditions, comfort and health, and highlights the important role of social housing;

5.  Underlines the fact that the ownership of buildings, tenancy laws and the number of homeowners and tenants, as well investment opportunities and housing support schemes, weather conditions and energy systems, vary across Member States; believes that a ‘renovation wave’ strategy must take the different circumstances relevant to each Member State into account, also in accordance with the integrated national energy and climate plans (NECPs); underlines in particular that renovations should not lead to an unbearable rental cost burden for tenants;

6.  Underscores the extent of energy poverty across the Union, which is estimated to affect up to 50 million households(21); believes that the renovation wave and the upcoming related initiatives should have as one of their core objectives ending energy poverty and ensuring healthy and safe living conditions for all; welcomes the Commission’s intention to pay particular attention to the renovation of energy-poor households and underlines the importance of adopting energy-saving measures, promoting energy‑efficient consumption habits and behavioural change; stresses that the public sector must be a leader in this field;

7.  Highlights the immediate success of ‘one-stop-shops’, for the energy renovation of buildings as transparent and accessible advisory tools from the client perspective, fostering the aggregation of projects and replicable models, the provision of information about third-party financing, coordinating and accompanying renovations, as well as providing capacity building for municipalities, and the active involvement of local actors such as energy communities, consumer organisations, local business associations, including from the construction industry, and housing cooperatives throughout the process;

8.  Recalls that both public and private efforts are required to achieve concrete results in the field of energy efficiency for the current building stock; underlines the necessity of not only creating, but also sustaining one-stop-shop advisory services in order to continuously feed the market with a pipeline of projects, including smaller-scale projects; believes that the creation of a one-stop-shop at a regional or local level will provide better access to financing mechanisms;

9.  Welcomes the European Green Deal proposal on open platforms; stresses that they must be transparent, multi-level and inclusive, encompassing a broad range of stakeholders and allowing fragmentation in the building sector to be bridged; recalls that the platforms must serve the objective of achieving a highly energy-efficient and decarbonised building stock by 2050, and believes that they should be the tool to address the barriers to renovation and to engage citizens in the pursuit of consensus on the basis of community needs;

10.  Underlines that regional platforms should set measurable targets, work towards roadmaps and hold regular exchanges with the existing EED, EPBD and Renewable Energy Directive (RED)(22) Concerted Action platforms, as well as existing agencies and bodies in the Member States to maximise their impact; is convinced that the platforms are an important tool for the implementation of integrated building renovation programmes and to support Member States in the execution of their long-term renovation strategies;

11.  Takes note of the New Leipzig Charter to be adopted during the German Presidency and shares the view that cities play a key role in dramatically reducing GHG emissions and enhancing energy efficiency; considers that the renovation of buildings will contribute largely to these objectives, while promoting just, green and productive cities through resilient neighbourhoods; calls on the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Commission and the Member States to ensure that cities are equipped with the necessary and directly accessible funding resources for renovation measures, especially in the light of the need for economic recovery;

12.  Calls on the Commission to adopt a policy facilitating IRPs at community and regional level in the Member States providing for deep renovations, including staged deep renovations, and taking buildings’ needs into account in an inclusive and interactive manner; stresses the opportunity to secure more on-site and nearby renewable energy solutions or to demand response mechanisms through IRPs; calls on the Commission to step up work on the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and the EU City Facility; further highlights, in this context, the major importance of the urban agenda and the urban partnership;

13.  Calls on the Member States to empower their local administrations with a view to rolling out IRPs at neighbourhood and community level, while putting citizens at the centre and adequately reconciling renovations with the preservation of the European tangible historical heritage (monuments and buildings), requiring local authorities to provide feedback on the results achieved, as well as on best practices for future policy design at national level;

14.  Calls on the Member States to create a framework for overcoming split incentives, for example through the provision of accurate information, appropriate incentives and effective enforcement(23), and to give adequate consideration to families and communities living in energy poverty through a regulatory framework to avoid renovictions, for example, by requiring an appropriate share of deeply renovated building floor area to be reserved for them, or through prioritising buildings with higher energy consumption or energy waste when designing IRPs, and through limits on rent increases, provided this does not restrict the capacity to undertake energy efficiency renovations;

15.  Calls on the Commission to set up a support service for citizen-led renovation projects, as well as to issue implementing guidelines to Member States regarding the concepts of an enabling framework and level playing field for energy communities introduced by the Electricity Market Directive(24) and the RED, so as to ensure successful implementation and fully recognise the benefits of citizen-led energy projects;

16.  Calls on the Commission to immediately launch platforms, as indicated in its communication on the European Green Deal, and include these platforms as a key priority in the IRPs; stresses that the IRPs should be accompanied by EU initiatives circulating best practices on the replicability of programmes, the dissemination of capacities, sector integration, and safeguards for communities in energy poverty, in line with the commitments of the EPBD;

Finance

17.  Highlights that initial investment costs, complex finance schemes, split incentives (tenant-owner dilemma), medium/long-term payback times, regulatory and administrative barriers, including for buildings with multiple owners, the design of existing support and a lack of a predictable long-term policy framework act as significant barriers to investments;

18.  Emphasises that, in the context of the COVID-19 recovery and its impact on public and private finances, financing schemes should incentivise and prioritise deep, including staged deep, renovations aiming to achieve the 2050 climate neutrality targets, with adequate incentives, as well as targets, to achieve a highly energy-efficient and decarbonised building stock; believes this is a precondition for considering building renovations as sustainable long-term investments; underlines the role of cost effectiveness indicators including co-benefits in this respect;

19.  Highlights that the Member States should provide clear guidelines and outline measurable, targeted actions, as well as promote equal access to financing, including for the worst performing segments of the national building stock, energy-poor consumers, social housing, and households subject to split-incentive dilemmas, while taking affordability into account;

20.  Stresses that homeowners, in particular low-income and energy-poor homeowners, housing associations and cooperatives, public housing providers and local authorities, should be supported in making their building stock and the built environment climate resilient, for example through grants or financial instruments based on the additionality of multiannual financial framework (MFF) funding, national budgets and private sector sources;

21.  Considers that prioritisation of funding for energy efficiency renovations in each relevant European fund is required, as well as strong coordination to find synergies, facilitate blending, aggregate projects and build up project pipelines, in order to ensure the timely absorption of funds; calls on financial institutions to dedicate significant resources to capacity building and technical assistance; underlines that at least EUR 75 billion a year in EU incentives, in addition to continuous and stable financing at European, national and regional level, as well as private investment, is required to ensure deep renovations towards a highly energy-efficient and decarbonised building stock by 2050; calls on the co-legislators to ensure the necessary funding within the European economic recovery plan, not least to help those in society who would most benefit from renovations;

22.  Welcomes the findings demonstrating that there is a price premium for highly energy-efficient buildings(25), which ensures building owners have a return on investment, but recognises the need to reduce the cost of housing, construction and renovation in general;

23.  Highlights the need to ensure adequate and simple access to credit and finance to help SMEs, communities and families to undertake the renovations needed to the existing building stock;

24.  Welcomes the available financing possibilities for building renovations such as green subsidies, tax and loan incentives; acknowledges the role of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds) in the financing of energy efficiency projects and in defining energy efficiency as a specific objective for regional development in the period 2021-2027; underlines the role of the European Investment Bank Group in providing loans, guarantees and financial instruments, such as the Private Finance for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE), the Smart Finance for Smart Buildings guarantee facility, and the InvestEU Fund, also allowing the financing of social housing renovation projects;

25.  Draws attention to Member States’ good practices such as using the EU emissions trading system (ETS) revenues, blending, ensuring the needs of low income households are recognised and using EU regional funds as guarantees and revolving funds; stresses that there is the possibility to finance training in the domains of renewable energy, as well as in energy and resources efficiency, under the Just Transition Fund;

26.  Underlines the need to increase absorption rates of funds by removing barriers, especially through technical assistance, less complex criteria and simplification of blending with other funds; regrets the fact that the size of projects under the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) facility remains large, and that smaller projects and projects dealing with communities need further support and aggregation; considers the EU City Facility as a potentially very powerful support mechanism for cities to develop IRPs, which should be continued and also provide support to smaller projects;

27.  Recognises the important role of grants for research and innovation; considers it necessary to provide continuous and stable financing for IRPs, both from European and national sources, without interruptions caused by different budget planning measures;

28.  Considers that the Member States must ensure that all IRPs set aside funds to tackle energy poverty, accessibility and technical and infrastructure barriers for vulnerable and low income households, allowing them to benefit from adequate, healthy and energy‑efficient housing and be part of neighbourhood renovation programmes; asks for the development and sharing of best practices with innovative finance instruments such as on-built financing and schemes, including energy efficient mortgages, EuroPACE loans and RenOnBill loans;

29.  Notes the role of both regional authorities and the European Investment Bank in providing financial support through public sector loans that will incentivise commercial banks, pension funds and the private sector, especially SMEs, to further invest in building renovation, for example through public credit guarantees and innovative financing methods;

30.  Acknowledges the role that new business models such as energy performance contracting, citizen-led renovations, energy communities and energy service companies can play in renovations and, in particular, off-balance sheet financing for social housing, housing corporations and business parks; underlines the need to link the funding intensity to the energy efficiency level achieved, as required by the EPBD, and suggests adding a premium on energy plus buildings; urges the Commission to issue implementing guidelines on the relevant provisions within the ‘clean energy for all Europeans’ package, in particular to create an enabling framework by requiring regular consultations to understand market needs, and encourage the blending of private and public funds, the use of clear templates for contracts and specific procurement procedures with further clarifications on correctly accounting for building efficiency‑related public investments;

31.  Calls on the Commission to revise energy efficiency targets upwards, as required by the EED, starting by increasing the headline target for 2030 based on a proper impact assessment and in a predictable manner, and to propose minimum annual renovation rates for buildings and policy measures ensuring deep, including staged deep renovations creating financial triggers and investment stability;

32.  Calls for the European institutions to ensure that the respective funds of the new MFF prioritise dedicated amounts for energy efficiency and building renovations, with clear conditions and timeframes, including technical assistance, to ensure adequate absorption rates; highlights the importance of EU guarantees for investments, the blending of funding sources, as well as grant components, to trigger residential energy efficiency renovations; acknowledges the role and the successful model of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (to be replaced by InvestEU); calls for a prioritisation of funding for the energy efficiency of buildings within the InvestEU sustainable infrastructure window and for the reservation of dedicated amounts for energy efficiency as a specific objective for regional development that must be reflected in the respective Member State Partnership Agreements signed with the Commission;

33.  Calls on the Commission to lift the financial and non-financial barriers to higher absorption rates of the regional funds set aside for integrated building renovation by 2021;

34.  Calls for stepping up the capability of the ELENA facility and the European Investment Bank to give tailored and direct financial and technical assistance to local authorities, as well as specific guidance to Member States in the context of the COVID-19 recovery plans;

35.  Calls on the Commission to study the feasibility of channelling ETS revenues into energy efficiency actions such as for building renovations, including safeguarding mechanisms against fluctuations, and the feasibility of earmarking a portion of the auctioning revenue at EU level; calls on the European Investment Bank and national financial institutions to provide support for project developers throughout the project cycle and to set a fixed grant proportion to make renovations attractive and affordable for citizens;

36.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to create flexible models for the synergies of different financial programmes and instruments for financing energy efficiency in buildings; requests, furthermore, in line with the European Court of Auditors report(26), to adopt a cost effectiveness approach for energy efficiency renovations of buildings; encourages a thorough monitoring of the cost efficiency of operational programmes based on the costs per saved unit of CO2; further believes that the Commission should ensure that national administrations respect the principles of cost effectiveness and effectiveness for the purpose of energy saving when granting EU money to renovation projects;

37.  Calls on the Commission to further facilitate the use of public private partnerships (PPPs), such as PF4EE, relating to smart and sustainable financing, and identifying possible local investment concepts;

38.  Calls on the Commission to revise EU State aid rules, including for investments by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in order to create an enabling framework for energy efficiency measures and foster IRPs, including the installation or refurbishment of district heating systems through simplified procedures and adequate thresholds, as well as scrapping schemes for fossil fuel heating devices and inefficient appliances when replaced by individual or collective renewables-based heating, or excess heating; underlines, however, that any revision of EU State aid rules must primarily contribute to equal treatment and increased competition;

Construction technologies and building materials

39.  Highlights the need to decrease costs, speed up duration, effectivity, reliability and integration to increase IRPs through creating open and competitive renovation markets, industrially produced, sustainable prefabricated elements, as well as recognising the potential of existing technologies in integrating renewables into building materials, which can be used as multifunctional cladding elements for the refurbishment of existing building stock, and to engage in serial and district renovations; underlines the role of the off-site prefabrication of components in acceleration, scale and cost effectiveness; notes that best practices on building renovations in different buildings’ segments exist in Member States that now need to be replicated and to be scaled up in order to achieve results; stresses the benefit of increased research efforts in this area;

40.  Emphasises the importance of flexibility in the choice of technologies used for renovation and construction; believes that all available technologies should be applied in an objective-driven approach to speed up the decarbonisation of the building stock; underlines that the use of renewable energy plays a crucial role in such decarbonisation; stresses the importance of decarbonised district heating and cooling with integrated storage for more connected and integrated communities; calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to actively promote and incentivise the full integration of renewable energies into the building sector;

41.  Calls on the Commission to support research and development (R&D) programmes for efficient construction materials and, taking into account the social situation, calls for a low-cost renewable energy-based heating system to be implemented in rural and remote areas; points to the Danish best practice concerning heat decarbonisation through community-owned district heating networks powered by solar heat, heat pumps and biomass;

42.  Highlights the need to inform consumers and incentivise them to replace old, inefficient heating and cooling technologies with modern, highly-efficient and renewable solutions, particularly when deciding on replacements, while recognising that fossil fuels, especially natural gas, currently play a role in heating systems for buildings; calls on the Commission and Member States to propose scrapping schemes in accordance with the circular economy and to use efficiency labelling and advice during routine check-ups to accelerate replacements; calls on Member States to establish a roadmap to phase out fossil fuel-based heating and cooling technologies as part of their NECPs;

43.  Points out Europe’s leadership in building integrated photovoltaics; suggests that renewable energy technologies in general be recognised as a key strategic value chain and further suggests a European solar rooftop programme for the upcoming renovation wave;

44.  Underlines the importance of the energy efficiency first principle being streamlined into all policies and measures, also in reducing the energy needs for heating, cooling and hot water and energy uses for lighting and ventilation, while bringing about the electrification of the residual demand through renewable energy combined with heat pumps or efficient district heating and cooling systems using renewable energy, as well as in load management and flexibility;

45.  Points out the need to remove barriers, improving access to the grid, including, inter alia, the need for harmonisation and simplification of permits for SMEs, and underlines the need to plan IRPs in order to achieve synergies, for example, in building accessibility, seismic and fire safety, electro-mobility (including pre-cabling and charging points for electric vehicles), improving buildings’ climate resilience, including through creating green spaces, roofs and walls, which improve water management and help increase urban biodiversity;

46.  Recalls that fire safety aspects should be considered during the design, selection of materials, construction, renovation and operation of buildings in order to improve prevention, detection, early suppression, evacuation, compartmentation, structural resistance and fire-fighting, as well as the relevant competencies of professionals involved during design, construction and renovation;

47.  Considers that energy-efficient buildings should be healthy, affordable, safe and sustainable; underlines the importance of embodied energy, sustainability in buildings, resource efficiency, thermal comfort, improved air quality, a heathy indoor climate, as well as life-cycle approaches in line with the circular economy, and the need for the strategy for a sustainable built environment to take a holistic and integrated approach; highlights, in this context, the importance of including passive and natural elements in building design and the huge potential of exploiting building skin surfaces, turning the built environment into a decentralised renewable energy producer, while saving land and landscape areas;

48.  Stresses the need for the adequate management and reduction of construction and demolition waste; notes that collection and take-back schemes and sorting facilities should be created to ensure the appropriate and safe handling of all construction waste, as well as for the recycling or reuse of building materials, for the safe handling, removal and substitution of hazardous substances in waste streams in order to protect the health of occupants and workers, as well as the environment; believes that a circular economy labelling system, based on environmental standards and criteria for materials linked to their potential for easy and low-energy reintroduction into the value chain, especially taking into account the role of secondary raw materials, should be established; notes that the existing Environmental Product Declaration approach must be widened and that it should be used as input for building assessment such as the Level(s) framework; calls on the Commission to propose concrete measures on these issues as part of the circular economy action plan and the strategy for a sustainable built environment;

49.  Highlights that cities will be increasingly subject to higher temperatures in summer due to climate change; highlights further the multiple benefits of green infrastructure solutions in improving air quality, comfort and climate resilience, in substantially reducing energy needs, helping to restore the water cycle and support urban biodiversity, while contributing to circularity principles; calls on the Commission and the Member States to incentivise the use of natural and low-carbon building materials, the deployment of green rooftops and walls, cool surfaces and other passive techniques during major building renovations and the construction of new buildings; calls on the Commission to take these considerations into account and promote green infrastructure solutions and biodiversity features in the renovation wave initiative;

50.  Recalls that sustainable building materials such as certified wood are essential for achieving low-carbon and long-lasting building stock, and that construction opens up an opportunity to store carbon in bio-based building products within the limits of sustainable availability;

51.  Highlights the importance of reviewing the existing harmonised standards in order to cover the sustainability performance of construction products that should be coherent with the common European approach for life-cycle calculation and existing European standards, i.e. EN 15978 for buildings and EN 15804 for construction products; stresses that, when designing renovations, the energy and climate impact of the entire lifecycle of the building should be optimised in line with the circular economy objectives, taking into account the effects of the manufacture, use and design on recyclability, the recycling of construction products and waste and the equipment needed for repairs; calls on the Commission to address these in the circular economy strategy and to revise, by 2021, Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 on harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products(27) to allow the good functioning of the internal market for these products and reward technological research and innovation aimed at supporting the renovation and construction of highly energy-efficient buildings;

52.  Calls on the Commission to further identify best practices for IRPs to also include historic and heritage buildings; acknowledges the specificity and the fragility of heritage buildings, and believes that, in the vast majority of cases, the protection of buildings and increased energy performance can be reconciled, while underlining that the renovation of heritage buildings should always be carried out in compliance with the national rules on conservation, the 1964 Venice Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites, and the original architecture;

53.  Underlines the need to ensure real energy savings through verification by certified experts and monitoring of energy performance after renovation, as this will ensure high quality renovations, improved investment opportunities and higher cost effectiveness(28);

54.  Calls on the Member States to maximise and promote the reuse, recycling, and recuperation of materials, including in their procurement strategies and publicly financed renovation and construction projects, for example by reviewing green public procurement (GPP)(29) targets and through streamlining energy efficiency, environmental and social criteria for building renovations, while ensuring a level playing field in public tenders; recalls the importance of locally sourced building materials in order to preserve building traditions, ensure materials best suited to each region’s climate conditions and to cut emissions and transportation costs;

Standards, skills and healthy buildings

55.  Underlines the importance of co-benefits with renovation requirements at trigger points, as such requirements not only lead to energy savings, but also increase the property’s value and provide support to overcome barriers such as split incentives; believes that deep, including staged deep, renovation of the worst performing buildings should be prioritised, notably by setting minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), which are essential for investment in renovation and should apply horizontally, while being based on the existing national energy labels; considers that such measures benefit occupants and could help to lift citizens out of energy poverty(30); observes the low levels of deep renovations at an expected rate of 0,2 %; suggests the examination and introduction of minimum renovation rates in order to meet the 2050 climate neutrality targets;

56.  Underlines that progressively tightened MEPS help to operationalise long-term renovation strategies, when correctly planned and phased in, and create investment security for the market, especially if accompanied by capacity building, tailored advice, technical assistance and financial support;

57.  Calls for a stronger evidence-based approach which will, by using reliable and strengthened data, allow energy efficiency in buildings and cost-effective measures to be estimated accurately, fostering a level-playing field for ‘best practices’ in cost‑effective solutions in the EU;

58.  Is convinced that the introduction of a building renovation passport to foster, coordinate and track continued improvements and to monitor renovation depth and energy performance benefits house owners, building operators and tenants, who should have access to the renovation passport; stresses that this renovation passport should be a common EU tool adapted to national and regional particularities in order to address the challenges posed by building stock heterogeneity and aligned to the existing energy performance certification of buildings;

59.  Stresses the importance of consolidating building information into a single digital tool; considers that this should include materials’ circularity potential, the evaluation of indoor air quality factors, including from a health and safety perspective, and robust indicators based on existing environmental tools and standards;

60.  Stresses the importance and potential of the Just Transition Fund within the context of the recovery plan after the COVID-19 crisis for the training and qualification of workers in the construction and renovation sectors, and to upskill and re-skill workers in affected regions, including the digitalisation of companies for the transition to a carbon-neutral economy;

61.  Highlights that building renovation projects should always lead to healthy, mould-free buildings, taking into account indoor environmental quality (IEQ); emphasises that the revision of standards for air quality, thermal conditions and other indoor-related health and comfort aspects, including sufficient daylight and mechanical ventilation, contributes to the health and productivity of building users and enhances their work or learning performance, as well as ensuring significant welfare savings, thereby reducing Member States’ public expenses and benefiting the EU’s economy and its citizens as a whole;

62.  Stresses the need to ensure an adequate level of know-how of building maintenance and use by professionals and building occupiers, including behavioural change, to fully reap the benefits associated with increased energy performance;

63.  Calls on the Commission to launch an EU skills and information initiative in the renovation and building sector, which includes a gender dimension, in order to engage with stakeholders in retraining, upskilling and capacity building, with a focus on employment, in particular to attract young people to work in the renovation sector; underlines that ensuring quality, compliance and safety requires the professionals involved during the design and construction/renovation phases to be in possession of adequate competencies and skills, and that this includes intermediaries, such as installers, architects or contractors; calls on Member States to develop a national strategy for improving skills in the construction sector, focusing on energy efficiency, material sustainability and circularity, passive techniques and renewables integration, including self-consumption and digital solutions, and to provide specific support to workers in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises;

64.  Calls on the Commission to support skills and innovation for IRPs through the Just Transition Fund, targeted Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions and the Erasmus+ programme, and to establish a Horizon Europe mission on the renovation of communities and neighbourhoods, as well as the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) to promote and implement a strategic skills alliance for the construction sector, aimed at designing and delivering common training content to tackle existing skill gaps; calls equally on individuals, enterprises and organisations to make use of the Skills & Education Guarantee Pilot and similar schemes for training, upgrading skills and education in the renovation sectors;

65.  Calls on the Commission to release in-depth impact assessments of building, occupier and tenure typologies by 2022, and to develop a legislative framework for the introduction of MEPS for existing buildings that are to be progressively tightened over time in line with the 2050 objective; underlines that such standards would help operationalise the pathway to a highly energy‑efficient and decarbonised building stock by 2050 at the latest, and can give visibility and security to the market regarding the transformation of the existing building stock; stresses that MEPS at national level should be accompanied by a comprehensive package of policy measures, including at least information and the provision of tailored advice to citizens and appropriate financing support;

66.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to introduce expedited digital building renovation passports by 2025, including a section providing information on improved indoor air quality and healthy buildings;

67.  Calls on the Commission to develop an ‘EU climate calculator’ (ECC) as part of its ‘renovation wave’ that will ensure accurate and easy understandable labelling for building materials, products and services related to the renovation of the EU building stock in the run-up to 2050; stresses that the ECC should ensure a level playing field for the key actors that are a part of, or related to, the IRPs’ GHG footprint within the EU building stock and that such a ‘holistic approach’ would pave the way for positive behavioural effects by EU citizens, industries and SMEs; stresses that the concept must be based on the principles of the circular and lifecycle economy in order to drive demand for climate-friendly goods ‘made in Europe’, strengthening the competitiveness of the EU building sector; suggests to the Commission that it use already known scientific methods when estimating GHG emissions, for example by taking inspiration from its ‘product environmental footprint’;

68.  Calls for the upcoming revision of the EED to include an increased level of ambition in Articles 3, 5 and 18, and to develop a new approach to defining the building standards which comply with EU energy and climate targets when revising the EPBD;

69.  Calls on the Commission to review the impact of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) across Member States and to strengthen existing provisions; notes that the reliability, consistency and comparability of EPCs across the EU should be improved so that EPCs become a trusted market tool to assess the performance and quality of buildings, especially for the financial sector;

Digitalisation and reliable data

70.  Considers digitalisation as an enabler for the active participation of citizens in the energy system through distributed generation, storage, flexibility and sector integration and coupling; underlines the role of digitalisation and data in the acceleration of the planning, implementation, control and monitoring of the renovation plans’ results, as well as for a more efficient planning and management of energy;

71.  Calls on the Commission to look into the reliability and the lack of building-related data and take into account how the further use of digitalisation can contribute positively in order to ensure a strong evidence-based approach when adopting policies related to energy efficiency and renovations; recognises the need to digitalise national EPC databases, building data and other construction information to be available when applying for a digital building passport and other smart building applications;

72.  Considers the ‘Internet of Things’ as a means to measure the real impact of renovation on the energy performance of buildings and an enabler of large-scale cost-effective renovation strategies; highlights the potential role that integrated artificial intelligence could play in data analysis and in the monitoring, management and adjustment of energy consumption in buildings;

73.  Considers that the digitalisation of buildings and construction technologies are key drivers for greater energy efficiency; invites all local, regional, national and European actors involved to play a proactive part in the promotion of digitalisation;

74.  Highlights the benefits of very high capacity networks for communications infrastructure in fostering smart homes, which are understood as those integrated into a wider digital energy eco-system that enable buildings to benefit from and provide smart functionalities and allow energy integration and savings in various sectors of the economy, including demand-side response and optimisation of energy use inside the building such as smart appliances, home automation appliances, electric heat pumps, battery storage, charging points for electric vehicles and smart meters among other digital technologies; welcomes the aim of the revised EPBD to further promote smart buildings technologies, through a smart readiness indicator (SRI) as a support tool in rating the smart readiness of buildings and raising awareness among building owners and occupants about the value of building automation and control systems (BACSs) for the overall performance of buildings, whose applications under Articles 14 and 15 should be widened;

75.  Highlights the importance of smart grids as enablers for the efficient integration of renewables into electricity grids and encourages the search for new opportunities with interfaces with transmission system operators (TSOs) and distribution system operators (DSOs) for better energy efficiency and electricity services; stresses that smart buildings connected to nano- or micro-grids can ensure improved stability of electrical supply and availability of heating/cooling systems;

76.  Underlines that housing and consumer rights require social safeguards, data protection, respect for privacy and consent in line with the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); stresses that the digital solutions provided during renovations should be intuitive, simple and interoperable, while their installation must be accompanied by the necessary training, information and support to occupants; underlines the potential of non-intrusive digital technologies in this respect;

77.  Calls on the Commission to evaluate the need to review the charging infrastructure requirements in the EPBD; stresses that smart charging infrastructure is a precondition for an increase in clean electro-mobility;

Renovation wave

78.  Views the renovation wave as an opportunity to achieve an energy-efficient and climate-neutral building stock by 2050 through an action plan for IRPs with a focus on communities, especially for those in energy poverty, and to provide healthy, decent, affordable and energy efficient buildings where people can reach their full potential in line with the European Green Deal and the net-zero emissions target for 2050, that can be implemented in full synergy also with the new industrial strategy for Europe, the SME strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe, the circular economy strategy, the Just Transition Mechanism and the recovery instruments, as well as the strategies on making Europe fit for the digital age;

79.  Is convinced that the renovation wave can mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, by stimulating national and local economies, and, for example, fostering high-quality and essential jobs in the construction and renewable energy industries and supporting micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) workers who make up 97 % of the sector, and ultimately triggering multiple opportunities and various benefits that could be obtained through improved energy efficiency in the European building stock, including social and environmental co-benefits; emphasises that the renovation wave can play an important role in a sustainable recovery and can be central to any post‑COVID‑19 recovery plans; stresses, therefore, that the Commission should not delay this proposal and should be in charge of providing an overview of all available funding options;

80.  Requires an ambitious implementation of the Clean Energy Package; underlines the role of NECPs in maximising opportunities in the building sector; confirms its dedication to closely following the implementation of this and all other provisions, and calls on the Commission to ensure the enforcement of the measures included in the revised EPBD;

81.  Calls on the Commission to make the energy efficiency first principle central to the process of the renovation of the EU building stock in line with the Energy Union Governance Regulation;

82.  Welcomes the Member States’ long-term renovation strategies (LTRSs) in setting out 2030 and 2040 milestones towards the climate neutrality objective; expresses its concern at the significant delays on the part of many Member States in submitting their LTRS; invites these Member States to seize the opportunity to comply with their legal obligations under the EPBD and submit the delayed LTRSs; encourages governments to implement innovative policies to actively involve citizens in energy efficiency programmes; considers that LTRSs should be recognised as a key instrument for planning, measuring progress and the achievement of energy efficiency objectives;

83.  Highlights that a highly energy-efficient decarbonised building stock should be achieved through significantly reducing energy consumption with the implementation of strong and enabling energy efficiency policies, while covering residual needs with renewable energy; underlines that building renovations should be integrated with wider efforts to decarbonise the energy system and go hand in hand with investments in, for example. efficient district energy networks and heat pumps by taking a system/district approach that integrates all potential efficiency measures such as excess heat recovery; stresses the need to define concrete actions to realise identified potentials for high-efficiency co-generation and district heating; underlines that this systemic approach is needed in order to achieve the transition to a highly energy efficient, fully renewables‑based economy and ensure alignment with the objective of limiting global warming to under 1,5 oC;

84.  Welcomes the announcement made by the Commission to promote renovations in schools, hospitals and housing for those in need, in particular the public building stock, which is often in the worst condition; yet highlights the challenge of addressing the large residential building stock representing 75 % of the built floor space in the EU;

85.  Concurs with the analysis that there are a large number of benefits that accompany energy efficiency renovations in buildings such as better learning, faster recuperation, and lifting people out of energy poverty; points to improved indoor and outdoor air quality, emission reductions, energy efficiency increases, improved thermal comfort and the reduction of dependency on imports; calls for the systematic inclusion of these benefits in IRPs;

86.  Calls on the Member States to launch cross-sectoral, country-specific and tailored communication campaigns on the multiple opportunities and various benefits obtained through improved energy efficiency of the building stock, as well as to provide information about one-stop-shops and financing opportunities available, including from EU level;

87.  Calls on the Commission to enshrine the renovation wave’s measures into new and revised EU legislation and review the 2030 climate and energy targets while fully respecting the principle of subsidiarity and cost-efficiency, to enable synergies between different pieces of legislation and to put them on a trajectory towards climate neutrality, while ensuring that energy efficiency measures, including the renovation of buildings, is integrated as a key policy to fill the gap in the 2030 targets; underlines the need for financial support to ensure the affordability of housing for owners and tenants;

88.  Calls on the Commission to assess the LTRSs and issue recommendations to the Member States highlighting both existing gaps and best practices; calls on the Member States to monitor implementation and revise their LTRSs every 5 years in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) stock-taking cycle and its ratchet-up architecture, to make sure that the objective of a highly energy‑efficient and climate‑neutral building stock is met; calls on the Member States to embrace LTRSs as a tool for setting out an economic stimulus and recovery path, requiring their ambitious, detailed and urgent finalisation; calls on those Member States which have not yet done so to submit their LTRSs as a matter of urgency;

89.  Calls for the inclusion of the building and renovation sectors, especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, in recovery packages; calls for the prioritisation of investments in building renovations towards a highly energy‑efficient and renewable‑based building stock in the economic stimulus plan;

o
o   o

90.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to all EU institutions and the Member States.

(1) OJ L 328, 21.12.2019, p. 210.
(2) OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 75.
(3) OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 82.
(4) OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 158, 14.6.2019, p. 125.
(6) OJ L 158, 14.6.2019, p. 54.
(7) OJ L 88, 4.4.2011, p. 5.
(8) OJ L 283, 31.10.2003, p. 51.
(9) OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1.
(10) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.
(11) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0001.
(12) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0078.
(13) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0217.
(14) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0438.
(15) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 10.
(16) OJ C 204, 13.6.2018, p. 23.
(17) OJ C 204, 13.6.2018, p. 35.
(18) Ürge-Vorsatz, Diana, Tirado-Herrero, Sergio, Fegyverneky, Sándor, Arena, Daniele, Butcher, Andrew and Telegdy, Almos, Employment Impacts of a Large-Scale Deep Building Energy Retrofit Programme in Hungary, 2010; Janssen, Rod and Staniaszek, Dan, How Many Jobs? A Survey of the Employment Effects of Investment in Energy Efficiency of Buildings, The Energy Efficiency Industrial Forum, 2012.
(19) World Health Organization: Over half a million premature deaths annually in the European Region attributable to household and ambient air pollution, 2018.
(20) European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal, Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0005.
(21) Commission communication of 11 December 2019 on The European Green Deal (COM(2019)0640).
(22) Directive (EU) 2018/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 210); Directive (EU) 2018/844 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings and Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency (OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 75); Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 82).
(23) Castellazzi, L., Bertoldi, P., Economidou, M., Overcoming the split incentive barrier in the building sectors: unlocking the energy efficiency potential in the rental & multifamily sectors, Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2017, https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/bitstream/JRC101251/ldna28058enn.pdf
(24) Directive (EU) 2019/944 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on common rules for the internal market for electricity and amending Directive 2012/27/EU (OJ L 158, 14.6.2019, p. 125).
(25) Hyland, Marie, Lyons, Ronan, Lyons, Sean, The value of domestic building energy efficiency - evidence from Ireland, Energy Economics, Vol. 40, 2012; Mangold, Mikael, Österbring, Magnus, Wallbaum, Holger, Thuvander, Liane, Femenias, Paula, Socio-economic impact of renovation and retrofitting of the Gothenburg building stock, Energy and Buildings, Vol. 123, 2016.
(26) European Court of Auditors Special Report 11/2020 of 28 April 2020 entitled ‘Energy efficiency in buildings: greater focus on cost-effectiveness still needed’, https://www.eca.europa.eu/en/Pages/DocItem.aspx?did=53483
(27) Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC (OJ L 88, 4.4.2011, p. 5).
(28) European Court of Auditors, op. cit.
(29) Commission communication of 16 July 2008 entitled ‘Public procurement for a better environment’ (COM(2008)0400).
(30) Commission Staff Working Document – Impact Assessment accompanying the document Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings (SWD(2016)0414).


Shortage of medicines - how to address an emerging problem
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the shortage of medicines – how to address an emerging problem (2020/2071(INI))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0228A9-0142/2020

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to Article 6(1) TEU and Article 35 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on the right to preventive healthcare for all European citizens,

–  having regard to Article 14 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and Article 36 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 101 and 102 TFEU and the Protocol (No 27) on the internal market and competition,

–  having regard to the provisions of Articles 107 and 108 TFEU regarding State aid,

–  having regard to Article 168 TFEU, which states that a high level of human health protection must be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities,

–  having regard to Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001 on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use(1), and the obligations set out in Article 81 thereof concerning an appropriate and uninterrupted supply of medicinal products, and Article 23a thereof on notifying the competent authority if a product ceases to be placed on the market on a temporary or permanent basis,

–   having regard to the assessment report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council in accordance with Article 59(4) of Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001 on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use (COM(2017)0135),

–   having regard to the Council conclusions of 8 June 2010 on ‘Equity and Health in All Policies: Solidarity in Health’,

–  having regard to Directive 2014/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on public procurement and repealing Directive 2004/18/EC(2),

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) No 536/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on clinical trials on medicinal products for human use, and repealing Directive 2001/20/EC(3),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2015/1589 of 13 July 2015 laying down detailed rules for the application of Article 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union(4),

–  having regard to Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/161 of 2 October 2015 supplementing Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council by laying down detailed rules for the safety features appearing on the packaging of medicinal products for human use(5),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/745 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2017 on medical devices, amending Directive 2001/83/EC, Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 and Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 and repealing Council Directives 90/385/EEC and 93/42/EEC(6),

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) 2020/561 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2020 amending Regulation (EU) 2017/745 on medical devices, as regards the dates of application of certain of its provisions(7),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/5 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 amending Regulation (EC) No 726/2004 laying down Community procedures for the authorisation and supervision of medicinal products for human and veterinary use and establishing a European Medicines Agency, Regulation (EC) No 1901/2006 on medicinal products for paediatric use and Directive 2001/83/EC on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use(8),

–  having regard to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on health technology assessment and amending Directive 2011/24/EU (COM(2018)0051), and to Parliament’s position at first reading of 14 February 2019 on that proposal,

–  having regard to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and to the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 8 April 2020 entitled ‘Guidelines on the optimal and rational supply of medicines to avoid shortages during the COVID‑19 outbreak’ (C(2020)2272),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 27 May 2020 on ‘Europe's moment: Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation’ (COM(2020)0456),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 27 May 2020 on ‘The EU budget powering the recovery plan for Europe’ (COM(2020)0442),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 10 March 2020 entitled ‘A New Industrial Strategy for Europe’ (COM(2020)0102),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 (COM(2020)0380),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2020 on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 December 2019 on enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market: empowering citizens and building a healthier society(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 March 2017 on EU options for improving access to medicines(11),

–  having regard to the guidelines of the Task Force on the availability of authorised medicinal products for human and veterinary use, bringing together the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA), in particular those of 1 July 2019 entitled ‘Guidance on detection and notification of shortages of medicinal products for Marketing Authorisation Holders (MAHs) in the Union (EEA)’ (EMA/674304/2018) and those of 4 July 2019 on ‘Good practice guidance for communication to the public on medicines: availability issues’ (EMA/632473/2018),

–   having regard to the newly created platforms in the light of the current COVID-19 crisis, such as EMA’s Industry Single Point of Contact (I-SPOC) system, which is streamlining the process of reporting potential medicine shortages in order to prevent them and to flag these shortages as early as possible; having regard to the fact that these platforms have enabled and facilitated a dialogue on shortages between stakeholders in the pharmaceutical supply chain and regulators,

–  having regard to the report of the World Health Organization (WHO) entitled ‘The selection of essential medicines. Report of a WHO Expert Committee [meeting in Geneva from 17 to 21 October 1977]’ (WHO Technical Report Series, No 615), the report by the WHO Secretariat of 7 December 2001 entitled ‘WHO medicines strategy: revised procedure for updating WHO’s Model List of Essential Drugs’ (EB109/8), the WHO report of March 2015 entitled ‘Access to new medicines in Europe’, and the WHO report of 9 July 2013 entitled ‘Priority Medicines for Europe and the World’,

–  having regard to the WHO’s ‘One World, One Health’ philosophy,

–  having regard to UN Sustainable Development Goal No 3, ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages’,

–  having regard to Report No 737 of the French Senate of 27 September 2018 on shortages of medicines and vaccines – focusing more closely on public health issues in the medicine supply chain, drawn up by Jean-Pierre Decool on behalf of the Senate’s fact-finding mission on the shortage of medicines and vaccines,

–   having regard to the Commission Guidance concerning foreign direct investment and free movement of capital from third countries, and the protection of Europe’s strategic assets in the context of the COVID-19 emergency, ahead of the application of Regulation (EU) 2019/452 (the FDI Screening Regulation), which will be fully operational as from 11 October 2020,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Policy Council of 9 and 10 December 2019,

–   having regard to the 2016 Report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines entitled ‘Promoting innovation and access to health technologies’,

–   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(12),

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

–  having regard to the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Development, the Committee on International Trade, the Committee on Transport and Tourism and the Committee on Legal Affairs,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A9-0142/2020),

A.  whereas the longstanding problem of shortages of medicines within the EU has worsened exponentially in recent years; whereas the increase in global demand, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, have further aggravated shortages of medicines, undermining health services in the Member States and entailing considerable risks for the health and care of patients, including disease progression and/or worsening of symptoms, increased delays or interruption in care or therapy, longer hospitalisations, increased exposure to falsified medicines, medication errors or adverse events occurring when the missing medicine is substituted by another, avoidable transmission of infectious diseases, significant psychological distress, and increased expenditure for the healthcare system; whereas the Member States have a duty to find swift and effective solutions, including through common European coordination and action;

B.  whereas the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union state that everyone shall have access to preventive healthcare and the right to benefit from medical treatment under the conditions established by national laws and practices; whereas this right should be enforced for all citizens, including those living in the smaller Member States and in the most peripheral areas of the Union; whereas shortage of medicines is a growing public health threat with a serious impact on healthcare systems and the right of every patient in the EU to access appropriate medical treatment;

C.  whereas ensuring patient access to essential medicines is one of the core objectives of the EU and the WHO, and of Sustainable Development Goal 3; whereas universal access to medicines depends on their timely availability and their affordability for everyone, without any geographical discrimination;

D.  whereas patients should have access to the healthcare and treatment options of their choice and preference;

E.  whereas access to suitable and affordable diagnostic tests and vaccines is as vital as access to safe, effective and affordable medicines;

F.  whereas medicine shortages have multifactorial and complex root causes; whereas some decision-making by the pharmaceutical industry, such as discontinuations of products and withdrawals from less profitable Member States’ markets, is also often a reason for medicine shortages;

G.  whereas it is imperative to prevent medicine shortages and to mitigate their effects should they occur;

H.  whereas an efficient strategy should cover measures to mitigate medicine shortages, but also to prevent them from happening, looking at the multiple root causes of shortages;

I.  whereas there are no harmonised definitions between Member States of ‘shortage’, ‘tensions’, ‘supply disruptions’, ‘stock-out’ and ‘overstocking’; whereas a distinction should be made between ‘medicinal products of major therapeutic interest’ (MITMs) and ‘medicines of health and strategic interest’ (MISSs);

J.  whereas medicine shortages impose significant costs on both public and private health stakeholders;

K.  whereas pharmaceuticals are one of the pillars of healthcare, and whereas insufficient access to essential medicinal products and high prices of innovative medicines pose a serious threat to the population’s health and to the sustainability of national healthcare systems;

L.  whereas in many cases the prices of new medicines, notably cancer treatments, have increased during the past few decades to the point of being unaffordable for many EU citizens;

M.  whereas the generic and biosimilar medicines industry supplies the majority of medicines to EU patients (almost 70 % of dispensed pharmaceuticals);

N.  whereas the entry of generics and biosimilars into the market is an important mechanism for increasing competition, reducing prices and ensuring the sustainability of healthcare systems; whereas their market entry should not be delayed;

O.  whereas the EU-based manufacturers of generics have an important role to play in satisfying the growth in demand for affordable medicines in the Member States;

P.  whereas medicines to treat cancer, diabetes, infections and disorders of the nervous system account for more than half of those in short supply; whereas injectable specialities appear to be the most vulnerable to the risk of shortage due to the complexity of their manufacturing process;

Q.  whereas medicine shortages could pose a risk to the success of Union and Member State health initiatives, such as Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan;

R.  whereas in Member States with small markets the medicines to treat rare diseases are often not available or are available only at substantially higher prices than in larger markets;

S.  whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of a well-functioning internal market and robust supply chains for medicines and medical equipment; whereas a European dialogue on how to ensure this is needed;

T.  whereas uncoordinated initiatives at national level, such as stockpiling and penalties, are not the right solution and could lead to an increased risk of medicine shortages;

U.  whereas the loss of European independence in the health sector is linked to the relocation of production, with 40 % of medicinal end products marketed in the EU now originating in third countries; whereas while Europe has a strong manufacturing footprint, the supply chain still relies heavily on subcontractors to produce pharmaceutical raw materials outside the EU, where labour costs and environmental standards are often lower, with the result that 60 % to 80 % of chemical active ingredients are manufactured outside the EU, mainly in China and India; whereas this proportion was 20 % 30 years ago; whereas those two countries reportedly produce 60 % of the world’s paracetamol, 90 % of its penicillin and 50 % of its ibuprofen; whereas, to date, no label or labelling visible to patients and customers is required for medicinal products and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) concerning their origin and country of manufacturing; whereas limited access to APIs required for the production of generic medicines poses a particular challenge; whereas the disruption of the global supply chain ensuing from the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted even more the EU’s dependency on third countries in the health sector; whereas the novel coronavirus pandemic has also revealed shortages of medical devices, medical products and protective equipment;

V.  whereas the EU continues to have a strong pharmaceutical manufacturing sector, particularly in the innovative sector, and is the world’s largest exporter of pharmaceutical products, as part of a global trade in pharmaceuticals; whereas the supply of generic medicines at a lower cost involving manufacturing outside the EU enables the affordability of medicines, impacting Member States’ healthcare budgets and patients’ access;

W.  whereas as a consequence of the COVID-19 health crisis, the EU will be facing an economic crisis that will impact on shortages of medicines and the competitiveness of its pharmaceutical industry;

X.  whereas it is equally important to protect and foster the existing production sites in the EU and strengthen the European research landscape;

Y.  whereas the consequences of growing demand coupled with price pressure include the concentration of supply of APIs, a reduction in the number of chemicals manufacturers and a lack of alternative solutions should problems arise, as shown in the case of the current COVID-19 crisis;

Z.  whereas stocks of medicinal products of major therapeutic interest and of health and strategic importance are insufficient, APIs are cheap and easy to produce, and mature medicines, which are essential for public health, are in particularly short supply; whereas pharmaceutical firms operate according to the just-in-time method, which can leave manufacturers vulnerable to supply shocks where there are unanticipated production and supply chain interruptions and fluctuations in market demand;

AA.  whereas differential pricing between Member States facilitates ‘parallel exports’ to countries where the medicine in question is more expensive; whereas parallel exports can in some cases have the unintended consequence of creating disruptions in supply across Member States, thereby contributing to market imbalances; whereas in its resolution of 2 March 2017 Parliament called on the Commission and the Council to assess the impact of the parallel trade and supply quotas;

AB.  whereas in the absence of effective coordination at EU level, inappropriate stockpiling in some Member States is leading to a market imbalance, exacerbating medicine shortages and reducing access to treatment for patients across the EU;

AC.  whereas uncoordinated measures at national level have proven to be ineffective in fighting the COVID-19 crisis, while pan-European coordination and dialogue are needed;

AD.  whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how coordination among EU institutions, regulators and pharmaceutical supply chain experts is vital to respond to health crises and to supply disruptions such as shortages of medicines; whereas it has also demonstrated the importance of coordination between EU policies and services in order to react promptly and efficiently to emergencies as well as to prevent medicine shortages, and to mitigate them should they occur;

AE.  whereas an increasing number of Member States are seeking to establish national stockpiles of medical supplies, and the subsequent increase in demand as a result of this would exceed current demand forecasts based on epidemiological need; whereas sudden large spikes in demand can place considerable strain on suppliers and, as a result, lead to challenges in meeting demand in other countries;

AF.  whereas the 2009 financial crisis forced European countries to introduce unsustainable cost containment measures such as clawbacks and inefficient procurement mechanisms in order to reduce pharmaceutical expenditure, which has led to withdrawals of products and companies from the market;

AG.  whereas the movement of medicines within the single market is being hampered by the lack of harmonised rules between Member States;

AH.  whereas the COVID-19 emergency has highlighted the increased risk of attempts to acquire healthcare capacities via foreign direct investment and the need to preserve and enhance the sharing of such precious capacities within the single market;

AI.  whereas a strong, innovative and competitive pharmaceutical industry in Europe is in the vital interest of the EU and its Member States;

AJ.  whereas the pharmaceutical industry needs the right legal framework to undertake research, development and production for pharmaceuticals within the EU;

AK.  whereas patent protection creates a legal framework, which is important for pharmaceutical innovation as it provides companies with financial incentives to cover the research and development (R&D) costs of new medicines;

AL.  whereas Member States are free to determine further grounds for granting compulsory licences, and to determine what constitutes a national emergency;

AM.  whereas medicine shortage notification mechanisms for supply chain operators and pharmacists in particular are currently very fragmented in the Member States; whereas this could prevent adequate monitoring and communication between Member State authorities regarding medicine shortages;

AN.  whereas Article 81 of Directive 2001/83/EC calls for measures to prevent shortages of medicinal products or distributional issues regarding them in Member States; whereas the Commission has issued guidelines for an optimal and rational supply of medicines in order to avoid shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic; whereas in these guidelines the Commission recognises that no country is self-sufficient in raw materials, APIs or intermediate products, or in finished medicines that are needed for the proper functioning of the health system;

AO.  whereas, as stated by the Commission, Member States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has required a significant increase in the production of both APIs and medicinal products in the EU, necessitating a reorganisation of supply chains and production lines; whereas in her statements during a meeting of 22 April 2020 with the members of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), Commissioner Stella Kyriakides highlighted the need to increase the production of medicines and the level of innovation within the EU; whereas all small and medium-sized pharmaceutical laboratories constitute an asset to be preserved and a breeding ground for research and discoveries that is to be supported, as they can participate in the prevention of drug shortages;

AP.  whereas Parliament, in its resolution of 8 March 2011(13), and the Council, in its conclusions of 13 September 2010, both stressed the need to introduce a common procedure for the joint procurement of medical countermeasures, and in particular of pandemic vaccines; whereas Decision No 1082/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council(14) encourages Member States to take advantage of joint procurement procedures provided that such procedures are preceded by a Joint Procurement Agreement of participating Member States;

AQ.  whereas the Commission has announced its intention to publish, by the end of 2020, recommendations for a future EU pharmaceutical strategy;

AR.  whereas transport and logistics management are of crucial importance for the supply of medicines, pharmaceutical products, medical equipment, personal protective equipment, other medical supplies and raw materials, not least given the increasing degree of complexity of the transport chain; whereas it is important to have efficient ‘green lane’ border crossings with fast-track lanes in order to ensure the unobstructed flow of medicines, reducing administrative barriers and easing access to transport services;

AS.  whereas high safety standards and the preservation of decent working conditions for workers should be guaranteed; whereas pharmaceutical regulation should ensure the quality, quantity, safety and efficiency of the supply of medicines between Member States;

AT.  whereas patients rely on equitable and efficient access to medicines based on a sustainable, competitive, multi-source and well-functioning single market, which includes the Single European Transport Area;

AU.  whereas the COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the fact that the intra-EU and extra-EU circulation of medicines is key to overcoming existing constraints and prioritising the circulation of essential goods;

AV.  whereas it is necessary to prevent the COVID-19 outbreak from worsening the socio-economic situation and living conditions of vulnerable citizens;

AW.  whereas the greater number, geographical spread and impact of epidemics is partly attributable to climate change, in combination with globalisation, urbanisation and increased travel; whereas European surveillance has been strengthened on vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya, Zika and the West Nile virus;

AX.  whereas there is an increased correlation between the destruction of biodiversity, the illegal trade in wildlife, the proliferation of human-made habitats and damage to natural areas densely populated by humans, as well as unsustainable food production methods and zoonosis propagation, i.e. the transmission to humans and rapid spread of animal pathogens; whereas biodiversity is an important source for existing medicines and potential future drug development;

1.  Stresses the geostrategic imperative for the Union to regain its independence with regard to healthcare, to secure rapidly and efficiently its supply of affordable medicines, medical equipment, medical devices, active substances, diagnostic tools and vaccines, and to prevent shortages thereof, prioritising the interest and safety of patients; stresses the importance of ensuring that all Member States have fair access to the supply chain; highlights, to that end, the need for the Union’s pharmaceutical industry to have a diversified supply chain and a medicine shortage risk mitigation plan to cope with any vulnerabilities and risks to their supply chain;

2.  Points out that while the Member States are responsible for the definition and organisation of their health policies, the Union is responsible for the pharmaceutical legislation as well as various public health policies and it is incumbent on the EU to coordinate and complement national measures to guarantee access to affordable and high-quality health services for all EU citizens and residents;

3.  Stresses the importance of always putting the interests and safety of patients at the heart of health policies without allowing any discrimination in the access to medicines and treatments, and the need for closer cooperation and coordination between Member States and to facilitate the exchange of good practices; highlights the potential harm to patients from shortages of medicines and medical devices; calls on the Commission and the Member States to coordinate closely to protect the resilience and sustainability of the healthcare supply chain and ensure the continuous availability of medicines;

4.  Stresses that the shortage of medicines is a serious threat to the right to essential medical treatment for patients in the EU, generating inequalities between patients depending on their country of residence and creating a possible disruption of the single market;

5.  Stresses the importance of a harmonised definition at EU level of ‘shortage’, ‘tension’, ‘supply disruptions’, ‘stock-out’ and ‘overstocking’; calls on the Commission to work towards these harmonised definitions in close cooperation with the Member States and all the relevant stakeholders, including patient organisations; calls on the Commission, in particular, to reinforce the definition of ‘shortage’ proposed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA) joint Task Force in 2019; calls on the Commission to draw a distinction between ‘medicinal products of major therapeutic interest’ (MITMs), i.e. medicines for which an interruption of treatment is likely to jeopardise the vital prognosis of patients in the short or medium term or significantly diminishes the patient’s chances with regard to the progressive potential of the disease, or for which there are no suitable therapeutic alternatives available in sufficient quantity, and ‘medicinal products of health and strategic importance’ (MISSs), for which the interruption of treatment causes an immediate threat to the patient’s life;

6.  Deems it essential that the multifactorial root causes of medicine shortages be assessed and addressed; welcomes, in that context, the call for tender launched by the Commission for a study on the causes of shortage of medicines in the Union and calls for the study to be published by the end of the year; calls, however, for another study to be carried out on the impacts of medicine shortages on patient care, treatment and health;

7.  Calls on the Commission to propose ambitious and concrete actions to address these issues in its planned pharmaceutical strategy; calls on the Commission to incorporate measures for the pharmaceutical sector into the 2021 due diligence law proposal for companies;

8.  Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a new European health programme (EU4Health) and the fact that one of its stated objectives is to promote the availability and accessibility of medicines and medical equipment; calls for a joint action on the prevention of shortage of medicines, to be funded by the future health programme,

9.  Recalls that the shortage of medicines is a global challenge; stresses that developing countries, such as a number of African countries, are the most affected by these shortages; urges that access to medicines in developing countries be tackled in a wider context in the WHO framework; calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase their support to developing countries, in particular through the RescEU strategic reserve;

10.  Underlines the fundamental right of all persons to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and of their families, as enshrined in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; recalls in this regard that the EU is committed to ensuring a high level of protection of human health in all its policies and activities, in accordance with Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the principle of Policy Coherence for Development, in full compliance with international commitments, notably Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goal 3 ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’;

Securing supplies in the interests of patients, ensuring access to medical treatment for all patients, and restoring the EU’s health independence

11.  Recalls that medicine shortages have a direct impact on patients’ health and safety and the continuation of their treatment; stresses that for patients, the consequences of drug shortages include: progression of the disease and/or worsening of symptoms due to a delay in treatment, avoidable transmission of infectious diseases, increased risk of exposure to falsified medicines, and significant psychological distress for patients and their families; recalls that no Member State is self-sufficient with regard to the raw materials, intermediates, APIs and finished medicines necessary to guarantee the proper functioning of its health system;

12.  Notes that the risks are particularly high among vulnerable people such as children, the elderly, pregnant women, persons with disabilities, patients with chronic diseases or cancer, or those in an intensive care unit (ICU);

13.  Recalls the shortages of female hormonal drugs used for contraception and hormone replacement therapy (HRT); notes with concern the threats posed by such shortages to women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights; stresses the importance of enhancing the control and management of the manufacturing, stockpiling and marketing of those medicines to ensure continuity in supply chains, fair pricing and availability for women;

14.  Underlines that in several Member States, a higher price of the substitute medicine proposed to the patient, a lower reimbursement rate or lack of reimbursement constitute major obstacles to access to medicines for people on low incomes or those with chronic conditions; calls on the Member States to guarantee access to a substitute medicine at an equivalent price or subject to a similar reimbursement in the event of a supply shortage;

15.  Calls on the Commission to include in the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) data on self-reported unmet needs regarding access to medicines, as access to medicines in not measured in the EU-SILC at present;

16.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the rapid necessary action to ensure security of supply of medical products, reduce the EU’s dependence on third countries and support local pharmaceutical manufacturing, for medicines of major therapeutic interest, giving priority to medicinal products of health and strategic importance in close cooperation with the Member States; calls on the Commission and the Member States to draw up, with the help of the relevant stakeholders, a map of EU production sites in third countries and an evolving map, to be used as a reference, of the existing and potential production sites in the EU, in order to be able to sustain, modernise and strengthen their capacities, where necessary, possible and viable; stresses the importance for the pharmaceutical industry to have the capacity to address sudden increases in demand in critical situations;

17.  Calls on the Commission to address in its upcoming pharmaceutical and industrial strategies issues relating to the availability, accessibility and affordability of medicines, to cooperation between national regulatory authorities, and to the EU’s dependence on third countries for manufacturing capacity, the supply of APIs and starting materials; believes that these strategies must include regulatory measures and encourage the production of essential APIs and medicines in Europe with the aim of making medicines available, affordable, sustainable and equally accessible;

18.  Calls on the Commission to make the shortage of medicines one of the pillars of the upcoming pharmaceutical strategy and to create a pharmaceutical forum, supervised by EMA, bringing together policymakers, regulators, payers, patient and consumer organisations, industry representatives and other relevant stakeholders in the healthcare supply chain in order to prevent shortages, address pharmaceutical sustainability issues and ensure the competitiveness of the European pharmaceutical industry; calls in particular on the Commission to further strengthen dialogue with the relevant stakeholders and with international actors to assess new treatments and vaccines and with EMA in order to find ways to rapidly align scientific assessments between national agencies, including on collaboration in the pre-assessment phase prior to the availability of critical clinical data, on the alignment of post-approval data generation, and on flexible approaches to upscaling manufacturing of treatments and vaccines;

19.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that its pharmaceutical strategy is guaranteed to combat inadmissible business practices anywhere on the medicines circuit that might undermine transparency and balanced relations between the various public and private entities directly or indirectly involved in fulfilling the essential public service of ensuring access to medicines;

20.  Urges the Commission and the Member States, if needed for the public interest, to consider the introduction of measures as well as financial incentives in line with State aid rules and sustainable policies in return for commitments, to protect Europe’s strong pharmaceutical industrial base and to encourage the industry to locate its operations in the EU, from the production of APIs to medicine manufacturing, packaging and distribution; urges the Member States to secure existing operations, for example by rewarding investments in the quality of medicines and in the security of supply; emphasises the strategic significance of this sector and the importance of investing in European companies in order to diversify resources and encourage the development of innovative production technologies capable of enhancing the responsiveness of entire production lines; recalls that all public funding must be made conditional on the full transparency and traceability of investments, on supply obligations on the European market, and on facilitating the best outcome for patients, including in terms of accessibility and affordability of manufactured medicines;

21.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to put the right economic framework in place to secure and modernise existing manufacturing capabilities of medicines, technology and APIs in Europe, for example by rewarding investments in the quality of medicines and in the security of supply;

22.  Stresses that the pharmaceutical sector remains an important industrial pillar as well as a driving force in terms of job creation;

23.  Considers that the European Green Deal constitutes a major opportunity to encourage pharmaceutical manufacturers to participate in the green recovery plan by producing in compliance with environmental and ecological standards;

24.  Underlines that a complete repatriation of medical supply chains might not be feasible in a global economy; calls on the Commission, the Member States and the EU’s multilateral partners, in particular the WHO and WTO, to establish an international framework to ensure the quality and integrity of global supply chains in order to limit the use of damaging protectionist measures, while upholding the highest labour and environmental standards in production worldwide; calls on the Commission, in that context, to include measures in the new pharmaceutical strategy to cope with any disruption in the global supply chains; calls on the Commission to address the issues relating to the supply of medicines, including in the context of the forthcoming trade policy review;

25.  Notes that for certain biological medicinal products such as those derived from blood and plasma, enabling Europe to increase its capacity to collect blood and plasma will be key to reducing its dependence on plasma imports from third countries; calls on the Commission to accelerate the revision of the blood, tissues and cells legislation (Directive 2002/98/EC(15) and Directive 2004/23/EC(16)) in order to reduce the risk of shortages of these essential life-saving medicinal products;

26.  Recalls that Articles 81 and 23a of Directive 2001/83/EC have laid down general obligations for the supply of medicinal products to be borne by marketing authorisation holders (MAHs) and distributors, as well as a notification obligation in the event of a temporary or permanent supply interruption; regrets, however, the disparities observed by the Commission in the transposition of these obligations into national legislations; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that MAHs and wholesale distributors comply with the requirements of Directive 2001/83/EC in order to ensure appropriate and continued supplies of medicines; calls on the Commission to further clarify the obligations for MAHs under Directive 2001/83/EC and highlights the need to ensure that they report medicine shortages within the established timeframes; stresses the need to apply dissuasive and proportionate sanctions in the event of non-compliance with these legal obligations in line with the existing legislative framework;

27.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to consider the establishment of harmonised shortage prevention and management plans requiring producers to identify medicines of major therapeutic interest for which preventive and corrective measures should be taken in order to avoid or alleviate any disruption in supplies; points out that such plans should include solutions for the strategic storage of medicines in order to ensure supply for a reasonable period of time and transparent and permanent communication mechanisms through which patients and healthcare professionals can report and anticipate shortages; urges the Commission to develop guidance to ensure that national initiatives on stockpiling are proportionate to need and do not create unintended consequences in other Member States;

28.  Notes that security of supply is an essential factor in combating shortages and must be used as a qualitative criterion in connection with the award of public pharmacy contracts and calls for tender for the supply of medicines, as recommended by Article 67 of Directive 2014/24/EU; emphasises the importance of diversified supplies and procurement practices for pharmaceuticals; urges the Commission, in the context of Directive 2014/24/EU, to swiftly propose guidelines for the Member States, notably on how to best implement the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT) criteria, looking beyond the lowest price criteria only; proposes that investments in the manufacture of active ingredients and medicinal end products in the EU should also be retained as a criterion, as well as the number and location of production sites, the reliability of supply, the reinvestment of profits into R&D and the application of social, environmental, ethical and quality standards;

29.  Notes that procurement procedures with only one successful tenderer and/or only one production site of the basic substance may exacerbate vulnerability should supplies be disrupted; calls on the Commission and the Member States to consider introducing procurement procedures under which contracts may be awarded to a number of successful tenderers, including joint tenderers, by focusing on production in the EU and guaranteeing at least two different sources for the basic substance, in order to maintain market competition and reduce the risk of shortages, while guaranteeing high-quality and affordable treatment for patients; asks the Commission, to that end, to examine the possibility of creating a legislative framework encouraging and enabling healthcare systems to carry out tenders that reward pharmaceutical companies that guarantee the supply of pharmaceuticals in difficult circumstances;

30.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to examine the possibility of creating one or more European non-profit pharmaceutical undertakings which operate in the public interest to manufacture medicinal products of health and strategic importance for healthcare, in the absence of existing industrial production, in order to complete and guarantee security of supply and prevent possible shortages of medicines in cases of emergency; recalls the essential role that new technologies, digitalisation and artificial intelligence can play in enabling researchers from European laboratories to work in a network and share their objectives and their results, while fully respecting the European Data Protection Framework;

31.  Calls on the Commission to carefully evaluate the positive contribution that artificial intelligence could make to the fast and reliable delivery of medical supplies;

32.  Stresses the importance of public-private partnerships such as the European Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), in the framework of programmes for research and innovation; believes that the Commission should also consider the creation of a European model of the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority;

33.  Stresses that the urgent need for medicines and medical equipment must not mean compromising the quality, safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of medicines for human use and health products;

34.  Calls on the Commission to take action against the spread of falsified medicines from unauthorised websites and vendors, which are presently raising concerns; considers that this practice can cause serious harm and lead to severe health problems or worsen the health conditions of EU citizens; stresses that EU coordination in mapping and combatting counterfeit medicines is essential;

35.  Calls for an enhanced dialogue between the pharmaceutical industry and other production sectors, such as agriculture, horticulture and forestry, in a bid to develop the production of active ingredients in the EU; calls for efforts to counter over-specialisation in certain sectors and for substantial investment in research, the bioeconomy and biotechnology, for the purposes of resource diversification; considers that Europe’s industrial recovery needs to prioritise the twin digital and ecological transformation of our societies and the building of resilience to external shocks;

36.  Stresses the importance of high-quality medical research and innovation, including the off-patent segment; calls for the establishment of a genuine European network to support therapeutic and medical research and underlines that the price of relocation must not lead to a deterioration in the quality of medical research; emphasises that a stable research and development system can have a positive impact on production capacities and stability of supply;

37.  Acknowledges that the research-based pharmaceutical industry is an essential sector and contributor to ensuring quality manufacturing and supply of medicines, to ensuring future innovation to address outstanding, unmet needs, and to supporting the resilience, responsiveness and readiness of healthcare systems to address future challenges including pandemics;

38.  Calls on the Commission to provide an environment where the research-based pharmaceutical industry is incentivised to develop affordable solutions for unmet medical needs, such as the fight against antimicrobial resistance; calls on the Commission to maintain a robust European intellectual property system under the forthcoming pharmaceutical strategy, in order to encourage R&D and manufacturing in Europe and ensure that Europe remains an innovator and world leader, and, ultimately, to protect and strengthen Europe’s strategic autonomy in the field of public health;

39.  Urges the Commission to propose measures to incentivise the greater inclusion of EU small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the medicine supply chain, given their key role in research and innovation and their inherent ability to quickly adapt their production focus with a view to coping better with unexpected shocks;

40.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide an environment that ensures that Europe continues to be an attractive location for R&D investment, in order to preserve an active and competitive research-based pharmaceutical industry underpinned by more investment in R&D capabilities and infrastructure, including universities, taking into account the fact that the EU remains by far the leading region in the world for the manufacture of active ingredients for patent medicines; calls on the Commission to provide adequate financial resources, under Horizon Europe and other EU programmes, to strengthen the Union’s research and investment (R&I) activities supporting manufacturing in key industrial sectors including the pharmaceutical industry, while ensuring geographical balance and the participation of low-R&I-performing Member States in collaborative EU projects and programmes while upholding the principle of excellence;

41.  Highlights the fact that Horizon 2020 has already financed a significant number of health-related research and innovation activities; underlines that the funding of coronavirus-related research should not affect other health priorities of Horizon 2020; calls for more funding to be provided through Horizon Europe to create and support medicine-focused research and innovation ecosystems that are medically oriented, including public-private partnerships and support for public research in high added value and innovative sectors; stresses that a leading medical research ecosystem requires skills, networks and academic connections, health data infrastructure, a functioning regulatory framework, and intellectual property policies that foster innovation; calls for a review of the incentives put in place to encourage research on ‘orphan medicines’ in order to determine whether they are successful, and calls for new incentives should this not be the case; underlines that Horizon Europe and other EU programmes need to support rare diseases and that research, best practices, clinical trials and medication pertaining to rare diseases must be made accessible to the benefit of citizens of all Member States; recalls the importance that non-exclusive licensing can have in mitigating shortages and in stabilising prices of medicines, especially in times of health emergency;

42.  Calls on the Commission to take stock of the impact of the coronavirus on industry and SMEs, and to present a renewed EU industrial strategy which would prioritise the twin digital and ecological transformation of our societies and the building of resilience to external shocks; urges the Commission to enable the Member States to make every necessary effort to ensure that small and medium-sized pharmaceutical companies continue or resume their research activities and help ensure the diversity of our production and the maintenance of the jobs that go with it, while also stressing the importance of sustainable, ethical and quality manufacturing for jobs, growth and competitiveness;

43.  Stresses that patient associations should be more involved in defining research strategies for public and private clinical trials in order to ensure that they satisfy the unmet needs of European patients;

44.  Calls on the Commission to promote transparency of public investments for the R&D costs of medicines in order to reflect these investments in the availability and price setting for the general public; recalls its position on Directive 89/105/EC(17) and asks the Commission to take appropriate measures in the upcoming pharmaceutical strategy in that regard, including considering a revision of the directive;

45.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to screen foreign direct investment in pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, which are part of Europe’s critical health infrastructure;

46.  Stresses the need to ensure that health professionals and the general public have access to safe, effective and good-quality medicines and health products by monitoring and regulating continued compliance with good clinical practice regarding the authorisation of clinical trials and the conduct thereof, in line with the highest health protection standards;

47.  Calls for the market for European medicines to be strengthened in order to speed up patients’ access to medicines, make care more affordable, maximise savings in national health budgets and avoid administrative burdens for pharmaceutical companies;

48.  Points out that generic and biosimilar medicines enable increased competition, reduced prices and savings for healthcare systems, thus helping to improve access to medicines for patients;

49.  Stresses that the added value and economic impact of biosimilar medicines on the sustainability of healthcare systems should be analysed, their market entry should not be delayed, and, where necessary, measures to support their introduction to the market should be examined;

50.  Deplores the litigation cases aimed at delaying generic entry; calls on the Commission to ensure that the end of the innovator’s period of commercial exclusivity is respected;

51.  Is concerned about the possible negative impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the supply of medicines, particularly for Ireland; calls for the inclusion in the future relationship agreement with the UK of targeted provisions, such as mutual recognition agreements, allowing both sides to respond to emerging health threats and ensuring continued and rapid access to safe medicines and medical devices for patients and for contingency plans in the case of ‘no deal’;

More vigorous action at European level to better coordinate and supplement Member States’ health policies

52.  Recommends that the Commission, the Member States and the industry, under the leadership of EMA, work together to introduce greater transparency in the production and distribution chain of medicines and to create a European unit for preventing and managing shortages;

53.  Calls on the Member States, in close collaboration with the Commission and other affected stakeholders, to simultaneously explore alternative approaches to ensuring adequate stocks, such as the effective enforcement of existing regulatory requirements on all actors in the supply chain at national level, along with measures to increase transparency within the supply chain;

54.  Calls on the Commission to develop European health strategies on the basis of a common basket of drugs for the treatment of cancer, infections, rare diseases and other areas particularly affected by shortages to ensure that patients have access to treatment, taking into account the differences in clinical approaches across the Member States; calls on the Commission to also examine the possibility of harmonised pricing criteria to make these medicines affordable in a bid to counter recurrent shortages, taking into account purchasing power parity in all Member States;

55.  Calls on the Commission to place the issue of the shortage of cancer medicines at the centre of the treatment part of the forthcoming Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan;

56.  Calls for the introduction of a specific statute for certain mature medicines which would be accompanied by incentives for manufacturers to maintain their marketing on the European market and ensure diversification of European production;

57.  Calls on the Commission to create a European contingency reserve for medicinal products of health and strategic importance (MISSs) that are at high risk of shortage, along the lines of the ‘RescEU’ mechanism, in order to alleviate recurrent shortages and create an emergency European pharmacy; insists that this reserve must be proportionate to its objective and should be used in a manner that is transparent, accountable and fair for all Member States; emphasises that such a mechanism should be managed carefully with particular regard to shelf life and avoiding waste;

58.  Calls for a European regulatory authority to be designated to carry out, together with the Commission, the task of setting a mechanism for a fair allocation of medicines from the European contingency reserve to those Member States affected by disruptions or shortages of supply; calls on this designated European regulatory authority to plan independent and transparent reviews to make sure that all Member States are treated equally;

59.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop innovative and coordinated strategies and to step up exchanges of good practice in the area of stock management; considers EMA the best suited body to be designated as the regulatory authority tasked with preventing shortages of medicines at EU level during emergencies and beyond, for which it should be given a broader mandate and increased resources; calls on the Commission, therefore, to amend existing legislation in order to strengthen EMA’s capacities; underlines that in the long term, EMA should be able to deliver marketing authorisations subject to the fulfilment of supply and accessibility requirements on the part of manufacturers, without such requirements leading to a shortage of medicines; hopes that the reinforcement of EMA’s resources will enable it to maintain the current system of inspecting production sites established in third countries via coordination of the national inspectors;

60.  Calls for Regulation (EC) No 141/2000 on orphan medicinal products(18) to be revised in order to reverse the burden of proof for the 10-year market exclusivity clause so that the holder of the market authorisation has to prove that the product is not sufficiently profitable to cover R&D costs;

61.  Calls on the Commission to study and establish a fund for orphan medicines that would be financed by the Member States in order to procure collectively on behalf of the Member States the orphan medicines for all of the EU;

62.  Calls for further EU joint procurement procedures to be launched at European level in an effort to counter shortages, especially in times of health crises, as has been done following the onset of the COVID-19 virus, with simplified and transparent procedures in the interests of improved response times; calls, in particular, for the establishment of EU joint procurement for medicines to treat rare diseases in order to ensure that these medicines are available in all Member States; calls on the Commission to conduct an urgent evaluation and possible revision by regulation of Decision No 1082/2013/EU on cross-border threats to health, which establishes the Joint Procurement Mechanism, in line with the Treaties;

63.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to revisit the idea of transparency of net pricing and reimbursement of different treatments in order to put Member States on an equal footing when negotiating with pharmaceutical companies for treatments that are not jointly procured;

64.  Calls on the Commission to increase its involvement in supporting critical health infrastructure protection in Member States and to start applying the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection to the health infrastructure sector;

65.  Calls for the full and rapid application of Regulation (EU) No 536/2014 on clinical trials for medicinal products for human use; considers that this regulation would facilitate the launch of large clinical trials carried out in a harmonised and coordinated manner at EU level;

66.  Calls on the Commission and EMA to work with industry to ensure that medicines made available in one Member State are available in all other Member States, in particular smaller Member States;

67.  Calls on the Commission to assess the impact of parallel trade on shortage of medicines in the Member States and to tackle problems adequately by taking the necessary action to ensure that medicines reach all patients in the EU in a timely manner; stresses the need, in this regard, to include the experiences of patients, consumer groups and health professionals;

68.  Underlines the importance of patient empowerment and a patient-centred approach; urges the Commission and the Member States to improve patient representation and input in the decision-making process around addressing potential supply issues affecting their medicines;

69.  Calls on the Member States to adopt a common position and start negotiations on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on health technology assessment and amending Directive 2011/24/EU;

Closer cooperation between Member States

70.  Calls on the Commission to set up an innovative, user-friendly, transparent and centralised digital platform for reporting and notifying harmonised information provided by national agencies and all stakeholders, including manufacturers, wholesalers and pharmacists, regarding available stocks and shortages of medicines and medical equipment, and for avoiding duplications; welcomes the work of the joint EMA-HMA Task Force on the availability of medicines and the introduction by EMA of the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) and Industry Single Point of Contact (i-SPOC) systems; calls for existing information systems to be evaluated and improved so as to provide a clear overview of difficulties, shortages and requirements in each Member State with a view to preventing overstocking; encourages the Commission, in this context, to make use of and implement the digital and telematics tools at pan-European level, and to consider amending the Variations Regulation(19) and the Variations Classification Guidelines; calls on the Commission and the Member States to set up an early warning system both at national and European level in order to reinforce the obligation to notify pharmaceutical companies of any interruption or tension in the supply of medicines;

71.  Considers it essential to improve early communication with healthcare professionals and patients on the availability of medicines through the use of innovative digital tools providing real-time and up-to-date data on the availability, location, quantity and price of a given medicine, in compliance with data protection legislation; recalls that healthcare professionals must have access to up-to-date information to be able to adequately respond to arising and existing shortages; stresses that early awareness of a supply problem and early identification of potential therapeutic alternatives may strengthen patient safety; recommends, therefore, the inclusion of information for healthcare professionals on available alternatives;

72.  Considers that the Member States should share with all the actors involved information such as epidemiological forecasts to help them plan their activities better in the face of rising demand and respond better to needs at times of shortage;

73.  Recalls that misinformation can lead to the inappropriate use of medicines and the creation of unnecessary stockpiling;

74.  Notes in that vein that people are stockpiling medicines for fear of running out of supplies; calls on governments to counter these fears through education and reassurance in order to put an end to the excessive consumption of resources;

75.  Calls for the paper information notice to be supplemented by an electronic product information leaflet notice, to be drawn up in all languages for all the countries where the medicine is marketed in order to facilitate the moving and sales of medicines within the single market and thus mitigate shortages; calls on the Commission to assess the possibility to allow manufacturers, on a voluntary basis and at no additional burden for them, to introduce a system of labelling – which should be visible and identifiable by patients and customers – concerning the origin and place of production of medicinal products and active ingredients;

76.  Stresses the importance of ensuring the smooth functioning of the single market in order to eliminate barriers to access to medicines, medical devices and protective equipment for all citizens, especially those living in Member States that, due to their small size or remote location, rely heavily on imports and do not have easy access to the supply chain;

77.  Recommends the development of a catalogue of shortages in all Member States, which would allow EMA to easily update its public catalogue of shortages assessed by its Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) and/or its Committee on Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment (PRAC);

78.  Highlights the importance of the Commission adopting all measures necessary to combat speculation, fraud and price abuses in the trade in essential medical substances;

79.  Condemns the exploitation of shortages for criminal purposes; recalls that the counterfeiting or falsification of medicines and medical products exacerbates supply tensions; calls for the strengthening of measures to combat these practices by controlling online platforms that offer drugs, strengthening cooperation between the relevant EU and national agencies, and ensuring that victims’ rights are respected;

Preventing and responding to shortages in the event of health crises

80.  Highlights with concern the shortages of some medicines that have occurred during the COVID-19 crisis, including shortages of medicines used in intensive care; underlines the importance of maintaining the production, supply, distribution, development and equal access to high-quality medicines, coordinated by EMA; notes with concern the export bans placed on some medicines globally and welcomes the Commission’s commitment to securing the supply of medicines; underlines that the experimental use of medicines to treat COVID-19 must not lead to shortages for patients with other conditions, who depend on these medicines;

81.  Calls on the Commission, in close collaboration with the Member States, to adopt a European pandemic preparedness plan in order to ensure a coordinated and effective response; welcomes, in that regard, the creation by the Commission of a clearing house for medical equipment on COVID-19; reiterates the call it made in its resolution of 17 April 2020 for the creation of a European health response mechanism to respond to all types of health crises;

82.  Emphasises that a European pandemic preparedness plan should include the coordination of information about the distribution and consumption of medicinal products in the Member States and the adequate definition of regulatory flexibilities to address supply tensions; considers that such a plan should also include the widespread use of cooperative EU-level crisis mechanisms targeting serious cross-border threats to health, such as RescEU and the Joint Procurement Agreement, in order to support the Member States’ response capabilities effectively;

83.  Emphasises that the implementation of an open, free, fair, transparent and enforceable rules-based multilateral trading system is fundamental to ensuring the global availability of medical products and limiting our vulnerability in future emergencies;

84.  Welcomes, following the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the introduction of more flexible rules in a bid to mitigate shortages and facilitate the circulation of medicines between Member States, including the acceptance of different packaging formats, a reuse procedure to enable marketing authorisation holders to obtain approval in another Member State, extending the validity of good manufacturing practices certificates, longer expiry periods, and the use of veterinary medicinal products, etc.; calls on the Commission to monitor strictly the use of these arrangements, to ensure that patient safety is not compromised and to keep them available in the event of difficulties or shortages; welcomes, in this regard, the temporary extension of the date of application of Regulation (EU) 2017/745 on medical devices; calls, to this end, for a specific approach for orphan medicinal products;

85.  Notes that patent protection is a key incentive for companies to invest in innovation and produce new medicines; notes, at the same time, that the exclusionary effect of patents may lead to limited market supply and reduced access to medicines as well as pharmaceutical products; stresses that a balance should be struck between encouraging innovation through the exclusionary effect of patents and ensuring access to medicines and protecting public health; recalls that a company that markets a medicine can enjoy data exclusivity for a period of eight years as of the first marketing authorisation pursuant to Article 14(11) of Regulation (EC) No 726/2004; calls on the Commission to propose a revision of that regulation to provide for the possibility to temporarily authorise the granting of compulsory licenses in the event of a health crisis in order to allow the production of generic versions of life-saving medicines; recalls that this is one of the public health flexibilities in the field of patent protection already included in the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), as further reaffirmed by the 2001 Doha Declaration; calls on the Commission to ensure that the implementation of the EU free trade agreements (FTAs) does not interfere with the possibilities of invoking flexibilities provided by the TRIPS Agreement and to provide guidance to Member States in order to encourage voluntary licencing over immediate compulsory licencing;

86.  Recalls that Regulation (EC) No 816/2006(20) harmonises the procedure for granting compulsory licences in relation to patents and supplementary protection certificates concerning the manufacture and sale of pharmaceutical products, when such products are intended for export to eligible importing countries in need of such products in order to address public health problems; calls on the Commission to consider, in the context of its upcoming pharmaceutical strategy, the possibility for harmonised rules on granting compulsory licensing of medicinal products, such as vaccines, which would allow Member States to respond faster and more effectively to future European public health crises;

87.  Stresses that compulsory licensing schemes need to be part of wider EU action to address the issue of access to medicines; calls on the Commission to propose a European action plan in this regard;

88.  Emphasises that patent protection and enforcement should have due regard for the interests of society, namely the safeguarding of human rights and public health priorities; recalls, in the same vein, that patent protection should not interfere with the right to health and should not serve to widen the gap between wealthier and poorer citizens when it comes to access to medicines; considers that the Union’s approach to this question should ensure harmonisation and coherence among the different measures at the disposal of the Member States;

89.  Emphasises that a broad network of fair and well-implemented FTAs with balanced intellectual property and regulatory cooperation provisions together with a fully functioning multilateral trading system, with the WTO and an operational Appellate Body at its core, constitute the best way of guaranteeing that multiple sources of manufacturing for essential medicines are available, and that regulatory standards converge globally, ensuring a strong global innovation framework complementing European production; emphasises the importance of having options to ensure the adequate availability of needed pharmaceuticals, including by readiness, if such a need arises, to authorise the import of medicines produced abroad under compulsory licenses; recalls that differences in regulatory frameworks and standards for medicinal products can create an unnecessary obstacle to trade; emphasises the importance of European quality and safety standards; encourages the adoption of international standards, and urges the Commission to ensure that all final or intermediate medicinal products destined for the European market fulfil applicable European quality and safety standards, and are not counterfeit; notes that another way to ensure the EU’s strategic autonomy in health is by including the pharmaceutical production of certain products in the IPCEI programme (Important Projects of Common European Interest);

90.  Strongly encourages all countries to join the WTO’s Pharmaceutical Tariff Elimination Agreement; urges for its scope to be extended to all pharmaceutical and medicinal products while respecting all countries’ policy space and ensuring their citizens’ access to medicines; stresses that medical products and medicines, including in their intermediate forms, should at all times be exempted from retaliation in trade disputes, and be easily accessible; urges, furthermore, the immediate, unilateral and temporary elimination of tariffs on medical and pharmaceutical products to facilitate imports of these goods; stresses that the development of medical products has to be in line with international human rights standards, in compliance with the Paris Agreement, and that labour rights must comply with the ILO Core Conventions; takes note of the Commission’s work on due diligence legislation;

91.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure the swift and full implementation – and, if needed, revision – of the FDI Screening Regulation, in which healthcare should be included as a strategic sector;

92.  Recalls that the COVID-19 crisis has tested the resilience of public health systems; takes the view that the introduction of stress tests to assess the resilience of public health systems in emergencies could help to identify structural risk factors and would provide an effective means of countering shortages in the event of pandemics; calls on the Commission and the Council, on the basis of the results of these tests, to draw up recommendations addressed to the Member States, in order to strengthen their health systems and to cover any essential needs that could arise in the event of a health emergency;

93.  Believes that EU healthcare systems need more common standards and better interoperability in order to avoid medicine shortages and provide quality healthcare for all in society; calls on the Commission, therefore, to propose a directive setting minimum standards for quality healthcare systems, based on the findings of stress tests;

94.  Considers that in the event of a health crisis, the closure of borders and customs controls cannot constitute an obstacle to the cross-border movement of medicinal products of major interest within the Union; calls on the Commission and the Member States to set up secure and rapid procedures for checking products at the border during a health crisis in compliance with EU law;

95.  Notes that the COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted the importance of cooperation and solidarity between the Member States and of the timely delivery of medicines in urgent and exceptional circumstances, which could occur again in the future; stresses, furthermore, that a new industrial and transport policy and R&D investments are key to ensuring that the pharmaceutical industry can respond to tomorrow’s needs;

96.  Emphasises the need for a more efficient and sustainable transport and logistics network and a reduction in the length of transport routes, which would lead to a reduction in emissions, mitigating the impact on the environment and on the climate, improving the functioning of the internal market and reducing administrative barriers;

97.  Calls on the Member States to implement the ‘green lanes’ proposed by the Commission in its guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services in order to allow the smooth running of the transport not only of medicines but also of raw materials, intermediate products and related materials, including packaging; stress the need to maintain open borders via green lanes so they can be used to address future unexpected events;

98.  Deems it necessary to remove bottlenecks and to tackle existing obstacles to a fully integrated and well-functioning Single European Transport Area for all modes of transport; stresses the need to boost intermodality – while favouring the shift to rail – finance the main hubs and ensure the uninterrupted delivery of various types of goods, including dangerous goods crucial for the production of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry; calls on the Member States to ensure that medical facilities and medical staff are reinforced in preparation for increasing traffic volumes resulting from the lifting of restrictions;

99.  Highlights the importance of IT systems in facilitating the traceability, supervision and timely delivery of medicines and the exchange of information between the various actors involved in the transport logistics chain, including customs authorities;

100.  Calls on the Commission to develop, in coordination with the Member States, mechanisms to ensure fast and safe transport and better oversight of transport and the stockpiling of medicines, namely the introduction of a contingency plan that ensures the unobstructed transport of medicines when the transport sector is disrupted, and unconventional distribution plans e.g. time-sensitive medicine deliveries via scheduled mixed traffic;

101.  Notes the importance of guaranteeing non-discriminatory and high safety standards for both transport infrastructure and transport workers, making it possible to manage significant volumes in the supply chain without disruptions while allowing the competent authorities to take proportionate and adapted measures to minimise the risks to health; underlines the importance of preserving good working conditions for drivers;

102.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that healthcare workers are authorised to cross internal borders if they work in a neighbouring country;

103.  Notes the importance of the careful management of ambient and cold-chain warehouse capacity in inbound and outbound transport infrastructure;

104.  Stresses the need to eliminate barriers to access to medicines, medical devices and protective equipment for all citizens, especially those living in Member States that, due to their small size or remote location, rely heavily on imports and do not have easy access to the supply chain;

105.  Stresses the importance of catering to specific transport needs at local and regional levels, particularly in peripheral, rural, mountain, sparsely populated and insular areas and outermost regions that are more difficult to access and involve higher delivery costs; believes that strategic plans to upgrade infrastructure in the Member States should include concrete actions for these regions; notes the importance of ensuring the digital transition reaches these areas and the need to accelerate the uptake of new solutions adapted to their needs, improving connectivity, accessibility and affordability; stresses that access to medicines in these areas should not be hampered in any way;

106.  Calls on the Commission to provide organisational and financial support, including through the work programmes adopted within the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, to the Member States and to transport operators during emergency events, such as pandemics, and to give priority to and ensure reserved space in all cargo shipments for essential goods, such as medicines, APIs and medical equipment;

107.  Calls for the implementation of fast-track and innovative solutions to mitigate the medicine shortage in a timely manner and to enable the safe transport of temperature-sensitive drugs, tracing the products through constant remote monitoring; calls on the Commission to extend the competences of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in the area of public health and to promote the exchange of best practices;

108.  Calls on the ECDC to release modelling data about the likely progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in each Member State as well as patient need data and hospital capacity data in the Member States in order to better anticipate demand and supply medicines where needed; considers that EMA should work in conjunction with ECDC to better prevent shortages of medicines and commonly used drugs in the light of possible future epidemics and pandemics;

109.  Calls on the Commission, EMA and the national regulatory authorities to capitalise on all the pragmatic efforts made during the COVID-19 crisis and continue to allow regulatory flexibilities for MAHs, by for example covering procedures for changes in the suppliers of APIs, the designation of new manufacturing sites and faster import authorisations, with a view to better mitigating the shortage of medicines;

110.  Acknowledges that supply quotas applied by MAHs on healthcare product distribution are set according to several parameters, including estimates of national patient needs; calls on the Commission to reflect, together with stakeholders from the pharmaceutical industry, on the volumes of stock of medicines available; recalls in this respect that the quotas of stock volumes put in place by distributors are often tight and cause slowdowns and shortages, and that a lack of stock transparency has been noticed in certain parts of the distribution chain;

111.  Emphasises that pharmaceutical pricing policies that solely contain expenditure do not allow for price adjustments to reflect changes in cost of goods, manufacturing, regulatory procedures and distribution, and have a negative effect on supply reliability; notes with concern that increased product demand during medicine shortages could increase the risk of unfair pricing practices occurring in regions affected by the shortage, as well as in cases where alternative pharmaceutical products could replace those affected by the shortage;

112.  Points to examples of shortages associated with the time needed to fulfil the regulatory requirements, including regulatory time lag and national requirements, but in the meantime stresses that the need for medicines and medical equipment cannot be at the expense of the quality, safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of medicines for human use and health products, including medical devices; recalls that compliance with the rules applicable to the authorisation of clinical trials of medicines, as well as the control of observance of good clinical practices in their performance, must continue to be regulated and supervised in accordance with the highest standards of public health protection; also recalls that priority should be given to optimising regulatory processes while maintaining high scientific standards, in order to enable simplified administrative tasks associated with maintaining medicinal products on the market by amending the existing Variations Regulation, improved access to information for patients and healthcare professionals, and simplified flow of medicines from one Member State to another in case of a shortage; encourages the Commission to make the best use of information technology for regulatory processes, including digital and telematics tools, in order to improve regulatory efficiency throughout the EU while upholding data privacy standards as set out in Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (the General Data Protection Regulation / GDPR)(21);

113.  Urges the Commission, having regard to the European Strategy for Data and the digital transformation of healthcare and considering the vast potential that health data has for improving healthcare quality and patient outcomes, to encourage implementation of interoperable technologies in the Member States’ health sectors which will facilitate delivery of innovative health solutions to patients; encourages the creation of a fully cooperative and operational European Health Data Space with a governance framework which fosters the creation of an innovative data-driven ecosystem, based on a secured and controlled exchange of information and critical data, among Member States; asks the Commission to promote next-generation standards, tools and infrastructure in order to store and process data suitable for research and the development of innovative products and services; underlines that personal health data may only be collected and processed on the legal grounds provided for in Article 6(1) of the GDPR, coupled with the conditions provided for in Article 9 of the GDPR; considers that in this context further processing of personal health data should be prohibited; reminds data controllers of the data protection principle of transparency and their obligations stemming therefrom towards patients and other data subjects;

114.  Stresses the importance of ensuring universal access to vaccines and medical treatment, especially in emergencies and for new diseases for which no treatment exists, as in the case of COVID-19; urges close collaboration between the WHO and the WTO to ensure the supply of the vaccine once it is found; calls on the Commission, at the same time, to strengthen its mechanisms for the joint procurement of medicines in order to guarantee universal access to treatment for all citizens regardless of their place of residence;

115.  Insists that in preparation for the development and authorisation of a safe and efficacious vaccine or treatment against COVID-19, all steps must be taken to ensure that rapid production and distribution is possible in Europe and worldwide, ensuring fair and equal access to the vaccine or treatment;

116.  Recognises that the COVID-19 epidemic has exacerbated the persisting problem of the shortage of medicines and protective equipment in the EU, while stressing that access to medicines and protective equipment is a matter of global concern which also has serious consequences in developing countries where poverty-related diseases are spreading and the availability of medicines is low; stresses the need for the EU to ensure coherence in its policies, particularly in the areas of development, trade, health, research and innovation, in order to help to safeguard the continuous access to essential medicines in the poorest countries and, in particular, in the least developed countries (LDCs);

117.  Notes that the lack of access to medicines has severely affected the most vulnerable and marginalised groups, including women and children, people living with HIV and other chronic diseases, migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons, the elderly and persons with disabilities;

118.  Calls on the Commission to exercise global leadership to ensure that developing countries have guaranteed access to and supply of essential medicines, especially in emergencies;

119.  Highlights that the COVID-19 epidemic demonstrates the need to shorten existing supply chains as much as possible, notably to avoid reliance on long and fragile global supply chains for critical medical equipment and pharmaceuticals; urges the EU to help the developing world build local manufacturing, production and distribution capacity through technical support, critical knowledge and information, by incentivising technology transfer and fostering consistency in regulatory guidance, monitoring systems and the training of health professionals; underlines the need to create stronger health systems and well‑operated supply chains; highlights the fact that developing countries, especially LDCs, are heavily reliant on international supply chains, which can lead to serious shortages when global demand rises and supply is limited;

120.  Calls for a global collective response and welcomes the outcome of the Coronavirus Global Pledging event on 4 May 2020, where EUR 7,4 billion was pledged by donors from around the world to accelerate work on diagnostics, treatment and vaccine development; stresses that COVID-19 medical tools should be affordable, safe, effective, easy to administer and universally available to everyone everywhere and be considered ‘global public goods’; considers, therefore, that access and affordability should be an integral part of the entire R&D and manufacturing process; to this end, believes that strict conditions should be attached to public funding, notably in terms of collective governance, transparency, sharing of technology, technical know-how and clinical results, etc.; stresses that these conditions must be made public, as public finance cannot consist of blank cheques;

121.  Stresses that the sharing of pathogen samples and sequence information is crucial for the rapid development of diagnostics, therapies and vaccines; recalls the binding international obligations of fair and equitable benefit-sharing of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol with regard to genetic material;

o
o   o

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

(1) OJ L 311, 28.11.2001, p. 67.
(2) OJ L 94, 28.3.2014, p. 65.
(3) OJ L 158, 27.5.2014, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 248, 24.9.2015, p. 9.
(5) OJ L 32, 9.2.2016, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 117, 5.5.2017, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 130, 24.4.2020, p. 18.
(8) OJ L 4, 7.1.2019, p. 24.
(9) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0054.
(10) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0105.
(11) OJ C 263, 25.7.2018, p. 4.
(12) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0005.
(13) European Parliament resolution of 8 March 2011 on evaluation of the management of H1N1 influenza in 2009-2010 in the EU (OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 7).
(14) Decision No 1082/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 on serious cross-border threats to health (OJ L 293, 5.11.2013, p. 1).
(15) Directive 2002/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 setting standards of quality and safety for the collection, testing, processing, storage and distribution of human blood and blood components (OJ L 33, 8.2.2003, p. 30).
(16) Directive 2004/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on setting standards of quality and safety for the donation, procurement, testing, processing, preservation, storage and distribution of human tissues and cells (OJ L 102, 7.4.2004, p. 48).
(17) European Parliament position of 6 February 2013 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to the transparency of measures regulating the prices of medicinal products for human use and their inclusion in the scope of public health insurance systems (Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0039).
(18) Regulation (EC) No 141/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1999 on orphan medicinal products (OJ L 18, 22.1.2000, p. 1).
(19) Commission Regulation (EC) No 1234/2008 of 24 November 2008 concerning the examination of variations to the terms of marketing authorisations for medicinal products for human use and veterinary medicinal products (OJ L 334, 12.12.2008, p. 7).
(20) Regulation (EC) No 816/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 on compulsory licensing of patents relating to the manufacture of pharmaceutical products for export to countries with public health problems (OJ L 157, 9.6.2006, p. 1).
(21) 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 (OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1).


Implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies: combating negative attitudes towards people with Romani background in Europe
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies: combating negative attitudes towards people with Romani background in Europe (2020/2011(INI))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0229A9-0147/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the European Social Charter, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, as well as reports and recommendations by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and other Council of Europe mechanisms,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and United Nations human rights treaties including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

–  having regard to Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(1),

–  having regard to Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(2),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1367/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on the application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to Community institutions and bodies(4),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 5 April 2011 entitled ‘An EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020’ (COM(2011)0173) and to the subsequent implementation and evaluation reports,

–  having regard to the Council recommendation of 9 December 2013 on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States(5), and to the Council conclusions of 8 December 2016 on accelerating the process of Roma integration and of 13 October 2016 on the European Court of Auditors Special Report No 14/2016,

–  having regard to the European Parliament reports from 2010 on The EU Strategy on Roma inclusion and the Report on the gender aspects of the European Framework of National Roma Inclusion Strategies from 2013,

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 April 2015 on the occasion of International Roma Day – anti-Gypsyism in Europe and EU recognition of the memorial day of the Roma genocide during World War II(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2017 on fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2019 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 February 2019 on the need for a strengthened post-2020 Strategic EU Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies and stepping up the fight against anti-Gypsyism(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 February 2018 on Fighting discrimination of EU citizens belonging to minorities in the EU Member States(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 March 2018 on lagging regions in the EU(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2018 on the rise of neo-fascist violence in Europe(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 November 2018 on minimum standards for minorities in the EU(13),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 5 September 2019 entitled ‘Report on the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies’ (COM(2019)0406)(14),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 4 December 2018 entitled ‘Report on the evaluation of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020’ (COM(2018)0785)(15),

–  having regard to the infringement proceedings titled Non-conformity with Directive 2000/43/EC on Racial Equality - Discrimination of Roma children in education (infringement numbers 20142174, 20152025 and 20152206),

–  having regard to The European Pillar of Social Rights,

–  having regard the European Economic and Social Committee opinion on the situation of Roma women (SOC/585-EESC-2018),

–  having regard to the Poznan Declaration of Western Balkans Partners on Roma Integration within the EU Enlargement Process,

–  having regard to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II),

–  having regard to the General Policy Recommendation No. 13 of the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI),

–  having regard to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

–  having regard to the World Bank Poverty Map from 2016 clearly identifying the most back logged regions of Europe,

–  having regard to the relevant reports and recommendations of research institutions and Romani and pro-Romani civil society organisations, including Romani grassroots NGOs,

–  having regard to the European Citizens Initiatives on "Minority SafePack Initiative" and on "Cohesion policy for the equality of the regions and sustainability of the regional cultures",

–  having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as Article 1(1)(e) of, and Annex 3 to, the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 12 December 2002 on the procedure for granting authorisation to draw up own-initiative reports,

–  having regard to the opinions of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Culture and Education and the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (A9-0147/2020),

A.  whereas Romani people represent Europe’s largest ethnic minority;

B.  whereas the current Framework highlighted diversity under the broad umbrella term of “Roma”; whereas it failed to recognise the diversity within the population of Romani people; whereas the term Roma or the double term Sinti & Roma was used in an era when decision makers decided on Roma policies without real involvement of the Romani communities and therefore those communities feel alienated by it and whereas this definition used in EU policies and discussion does not reflect the heterogeneity of Romani community and therefore often criticized by them;

C.  whereas the diversity among Romani people shall be far better reflected in the post-2020 legislative proposal for the Equality, Inclusion and Participation of Romani people; whereas the term ‘Romani people’ encompasses people with Roma, Kalè, Manouches, Lovara, Rissende, Boyash, Domare, Kalderash, Romanichild and Sinti background; whereas the new definition, Romani people, better includes even those stigmatised as gypsies without having a corresponding ethnic background, such as Egyptians, Ashkali, or Travellers;

D.  whereas a significant part of Romani people in Europe live in extremely precarious conditions in both rural and urban areas, and in very poor socio-economic circumstances(16); whereas most Romani people are deprived of their fundamental human rights in all areas of life;

E.  whereas according to EU MIDIS II, 61 % of EU citizens believe that discrimination against the Romani people is widespread in their country; whereas deeply rooted, persistent and structural and often institutional and governmental antygypsyism continues to exist at all levels of European society and manifests itself on a daily basis acknowledged as major barrier in achieving the full potential of Romani people as EU citizens enjoying fully fundamental rights, social inclusion and equality, in all spheres of life, including housing, education, healthcare and employment;

F.  whereas Romani people continue to suffer from increased level of hate speech; notably in public, in social media and by public figures, politicians and officials; whereas they also suffer police violence, including collective punishment, racial profiling, residential and school segregation; whereas specific measures are needed in order to combat this phenomenon; whereas deficiencies in the rule of law, in the field of criminal justice lead to insufficient level of protection and access to justice for victims of police violence, and victims are often persecuted by the state authorities;

G.  whereas combating antigypsyism through the existing anti-discrimination legislation is not sufficient; whereas EU Member States should show determination to break the vicious circle of antigypsyism, in particular in Romani people’s dealings with local, regional and national administrative authorities, to safeguard equality and non-discrimination for their Romani citizens, and to grant the full enjoyment of their fundamental human rights;

H.  whereas racism against Romani people has led to violence and killing; whereas hate-motivated harassment and hate crimes remain significantly high against Romani people and the majority of hate-motivated incidents are not reported;

I.  whereas, according to EU MIDIS II in 2016, some 80 % of Romani people in nine EU Member States with the largest Romani populations live below their country’s poverty threshold; whereas poverty is both an outcome and a driver of antigypsyism, exclusion in education, employment, health and housing; whereas a key target of the EU 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth was to lift 20 million people, including Romani people, out of risk of poverty; whereas the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion fell by 3,1 million between 2008 and 2017, the EU remains far from its Europe 2020 target of reducing this number by 20 million by 2020;

J.  whereas every third person with Romani background lives in housing without tap water and one in 10 in housing without electricity; whereas just over half have an indoor flush toilet or shower, and 78 % of Romani live in overcrowded housing; whereas a large number of Romani people still live in informal, unhygienic and irregular settlements in miserable living conditions; whereas many do not possess identification documents and lack medical insurance(17);

K.  whereas 43 % of Romani people are discriminated against when trying to buy or rent housing and are not sufficiently aware of their rights in terms of equality; whereas regularisation of property rights where possible, in particular in informal settings, should be reinforced; whereas abolishment of informal settings (evictions) should be accompanied by adequate accompanying measures, including offering an alternative housing; whereas no legal or political measures have been taken against Member States to end residential segregation, forced evictions and to ensure access to quality housing; whereas poor access to housing and public utilities, such as clean water and sanitation, has a negative impact on education, employment and health outcomes and adversely affects social inclusion overall;

L.  whereas the life expectancy and health status of Romani people remain significantly lower than for non-Romani in all European countries; whereas the life expectancy at birth in the EU is 76 years for men and 82 years for women, and whereas for Romani people, it is estimated to be 10 years less; whereas the infant mortality rate in the EU is 4,3 per one thousand live births, and whereas there is evidence that the rate is much higher among Roma communities;

M.  whereas many Romani people suffer of extremely high rates of illiteracy and early school leaving; whereas only one out of two Romani children attend pre-school or kindergarten, and a very small proportion continue school after compulsory education; whereas 50 % of Romani people between the ages of six and 24 are not in education; whereas only 21 % of Romani women and 25 % of Romani men aged 16–24 have completed secondary education (ISCED3) or higher; whereas in 2019, 68 % of Romani children left education early despite the 10% target of the previous Roma Framework and the EU2020 strategy; whereas only 18 % of Romani children transited to higher levels of education and the absenteeism and early-school-leaving rates among the Romani pupils were significantly higher than for other categories of pupils; whereas the discriminatory misdiagnosis of many Romani children as having special educational needs is leading to a disproportionate number of Romani children attending schools for children with disabilities, separating them from the mainstream school system and often receiving lower quality education; whereas direct and indirect segregation of Romani children is a phenomenon still practiced by Member States;

N.  whereas Romani people face discrimination in accessing employment initiatives such as the Youth Guarantee, whereas Public Employment Services often lack capacity to reach them, or apply indirect discrimination practices; whereas paid work rates for Romani people aged 20-64 years with 43 % was well below the EU average of 70 % in 2015, whereas the situation of young people is substantially worse with 63 % of Romani aged 16-24 not in employment, education or training (NEET), compared with the 12 % EU average, whereas the results show a considerable gender gap, with 72 % of young women of Romani background not in employment, education or training, compared with 55 % of young Romani men; whereas 43 % of Romani men and 22 % Romani women are in some form of paid work; whereas the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights has brought to the fore the fundamental right of everyone to engage in work and the reinforcement of social rights leading to a positive impact on the lives of people belonging to marginalised groups, such as the Romani people; whereas many Romani people living at the limits of extreme poverty are forced by this situation to accept jobs with salary way beyond the minimum wage, others are forced to survive from informal activities such as collecting metal scrap or plastic bottles, which massively increases the chances of exploitation of these people;

O.  whereas expert reports and the European Commission’s 2019 report on the implementation of national Roma integration strategies recognise that success factors encompass intersectional, cross-sectoral and integrated approaches to tackle discrimination and multi-dimensional exclusion and that Romani women, Romani LGBT, Romani people with disabilities face intersectional discrimination; whereas the reports mention amongst the priorities the need to support the access of Romani people to justice with a focus on victims of intersectional discrimination, and reinforcing the capacity of equality bodies to deal with discrimination against Romani people;

P.  whereas Romani women are particularly affected as regards women’s rights and often face exacerbated forms of verbal, physical, psychological, racial harassment and ethnic segregation in maternal health care facilities; whereas Romani women are placed in segregated rooms with segregated bathrooms and eating facilities; whereas in some Member States, Romani women have been subjected to systematic practices of forced and coercive sterilization and have been unable to obtain adequate reparations, including compensation, for the resulting violations of their human rights;

Q.  whereas environmental injustices are regularly related to health risks and negative consequences for Romani people and whereas they are disproportionately affected by environmental burdens, have less access to environmental resources and services, and are discriminated against in their right to information, to participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters;

R.  whereas the creation of the first European Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies put the necessity to improve the situation of Romani people on the European policy agenda, created vital institutional structures and networks and put pressure on Member States to develop National Strategies to address their shortcomings; whereas while building on the results of the evaluation of the current EU Framework it is essential that the National Inclusion Strategies for Romani people, guided by a post 2020 proposal, are continued and improved, asking for a strengthened compliance of the Member States, promoting the use of more binding targets to increase the commitment and accountability; whereas better implementation of national strategies, requires that such strategies are mainstreamed into national, regional and local sectoral policies, as well as a more efficient use of EU financing, especially for long-term integration projects;

S.  whereas a legislative proposal for the Equality, Inclusion , Participation of Romani people and Combating Antigypsyism, is needed and should be developed on the basis of more realistic quantitative and qualitative disaggregated data collected with the support of Romani Civil Society Organisations (AM 87), including those from local level;

T.  whereas Romani culture is part of Europe’s culture and values and Romani have contributed to the cultural richness, diversity, economy and common history of the EU (AM 89); whereas the protection and strengthening of cultural heritage related to national minorities in the Member States plays a crucial role in social cohesion;

U.  whereas Member States are responsible for the development and effective implementation of the National Inclusion Romani Strategies in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity; whereas adequate funding should be allocated for the implementation of post-2020 National Inclusion Strategies for People with Romani Background from the local, regional and national budgets of the Member States and complemented by EU Funding; whereas efficient and strengthened monitoring oversight and sanctioning mechanisms should be developed; whereas the EU and the Member States must ensure that the funds are allocated for objectives and projects that have the biggest potential long-term impact on the situation of Romani people properly spent and not misused;

V.  whereas approximately half of the Romani people in Europe live outside the European Union; whereas their situation remains particularly problematic in most of the candidate, potential candidate and neighbourhood countries; whereas the European Union can have a strong impact on their situation through the accession negotiations as well as through the provision of financial assistance;

W.  whereas the equal participation and empowerment of Romani people in policymaking, from all levels, should be better ensured: local, regional, national and European stakeholders (NGOs, activists, experts, community members, etc.) should be significantly involved in the development, implementation and monitoring of public policies towards people with Romani background, in the post‑2020 context;

X.  whereas most of the disadvantaged communities of Romani people are often left behind and excluded from the benefits of the national inclusion programs due to limits in mapping methodologies used when identifying the communities most in need; whereas when designing programme intervention, the analyses should target the exact geographic area and the number of families, persons who face socio-economic exclusion;

Y.  whereas Romani inclusion objectives should be aligned with the horizontal objectives of the European Union, and particularly with the Recovery Plan, the new Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027, the European Green Deal , the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Semester, the UN2030 Sustainable Development Goals, , the new Common Agricultural Policy, the Just Transition Fund, the New Skills Agenda for Europe, the European Digital Strategy, the SME Strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe; whereas political support, is a key point for the inclusion of Romani people; whereas major mobilisation of key stakeholders at all levels, including in the Council, is needed to ensure political commitment and accountability of Member States,

Z.  whereas antigypsyism exists in our societies since centuries and it took its most cruel form during the Holocaust, in which an estimated number of 500 000 Romani people were exterminated; whereas antigypsyism took the form of almost 500 years of slavery for Romani people on the territory of present Romania; whereas due to centuries of discrimination and social exclusion, Romani people could not efficiently and significantly benefit from the continuous socio-economic development of our societies; whereas they were left behind and consequently the disparities between Romani people and the general population have increased;

AA.  whereas the COVID-19 crisis has seen that the situation of marginalised communities of Romani people in overcrowded compounds and settlements has worsened, that racism, discriminations, exclusion, police violence against Romani people and antigypsyist attitudes targeting Romani people as spreading the virus have been exacerbated and that because having limited access to adequate healthcare, drinking water, sanitation and food, Romani people are more at risk of contracting COVID-19; whereas the COVID-19 crisis situation has therefore highlighted, more than clear, the urgent need for the EU and its Members States to address the inclusion of Romani people; whereas the Member States should deliver emergency support and medical care in order to limit the spread of the virus whereas the economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 crisis threaten to affect the Romani population the hardest and deepen the existing inequalities in all priority areas of Romani inclusion;

EU legislative proposal for Equality, Inclusion Participation of Romani people and Combating Antigypsysim; post-2020 EU strategic proposal, priorities and adequate funding

1.  Notes that Romani people are subject to persistent antigypsyism - a specific form of racism - leading to the highest rates of poverty and social exclusion; notes with regret that despite continuous socio-economic development in the EU and efforts to ensure Romani inclusion both at EU and national level, the overall situation of the Romani people in the EU did not improve; often due to persistent antigypsyism and to the lack of political will; therefore calls on the Commission to lead by example and introduce a “Romani mainstreaming policy” in order to integrate the perspective of the Romani people at all stages and levels of mainstream policies, programmes and projects, but without excluding the targeted approach, and to prevent discrimination in the EU policy in general and facilitate affirmative action and active outreach to Romani people; calls on the Member States also to follow this path and create policies which help the active inclusion of Romani people into our societies;

2.  Calls on the Commission to submit a legislative proposal for the Equality, Inclusion, Participation of Romani people and Combating Antigypsysim, on the basis of a thorough impact assessment and in systemic consultations with Romani people, (pro-) Romani experts and NGOs from national, regional and especially from grassroots level as well as other interested stakeholders such as the Council of Europe and FRA; considers that this proposal could be based on Article 19 (2) of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union as appropriate action to combat discrimination based on ethnic origin of Romani people; is of the opinion that the previously used Council recommendation is not a sufficient form of act, as it was not legally binding and has failed to make a significant positive impact on the Romani people; calls on the Commission to take into account the internal heterogeneity of the community in the priority domains of the post 2020 proposal, ensuring that nobody is left behind, and strongly encourages to use the designation ‘ Romani people’ when referring to Romani groups in post 2020 EU policies and discussions; notes that equal participation in all domains of public life, political participation, and the language, arts, culture and history of Romani people should be explicitly mentioned in the post-2020 EU proposal for Romani people, as additional measures to the four main priority areas of education, employment, housing and healthcare;

3.  Is of the opinion that the proposal shall give priority to achieving a significant positive impact; it should combine the socio-economic aspects with a rights-based approach, including a plan to eliminate, housing, health, employment and education inequalities; it should include specific, comparable, achievable, binding and time-bound objectives to protect and improve the inclusion of Romani people, including those belonging to groups facing multiple discrimination, such as youth, women and girls, LGBTI persons and people with disabilities, to promote inclusive education, early childhood development and to combat discrimination and segregation; it should give priority to a justice approach, given the collective and the structural nature of discrimination against Romani people; stresses that the European Commission’s post-2020 proposal should focus on fighting against poverty and antigypsyism, improving living and health conditions and combining targeted and mainstream approach;

4.  Notes that to make the future EU Romani inclusion process successful and credible, a fundamental change in approach is needed, moving from the paternalistic approach to the non-paternalistic one when developing policies towards Romani people.; emphasises that national efforts towards Romani inclusion should be accelerated in all EU Member States; stresses however that the emphasis should be placed on those with a large Romani population where an ineffective process of Romani inclusion poses macroeconomic challenges, deepens regional disparities and thus hampers EU social cohesion; underlines that the EU support to those countries should be measured up to the challenges, and greater attention should be devoted to the effectiveness of policies and measures in these countries, is of the opinion that the post-2020 proposal should also include an external component concerning accession candidate and potential candidate countries as well as neighbourhood countries, through which the EU could support these countries in developing comprehensive long-term strategies for Romani inclusion and to offer financial support in the areas such as education, health , housing and employment;

5.  Calls on the Commission to strengthen the link between EU mainstream financial and policy instruments and objectives related to the socio-economic development and inclusion of Romani people set out by the Commission’s legally binding proposal; calls on the Commission to mobilise funding for Romani equality, inclusion and participation under the Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and EU Recovery Plan; insists in this respect that entities that engage in discriminatory practices against Romani people, or take decisions or implement measures to this effect, should not be eligible for funding from the Union's budget; calls upon the Commission, Member States and enlargement countries to adjust the existing mainstream financial mechanisms and make them flexible for blended use of funds in Romani communities by enabling access to information, outreach, capacity building, delivery of technical assistance and guarantees during the funding application process; is of the opinion that funds are often most effectively spent at local level by local governments and NGOs, therefore calls on the Commission to increase the funds distributed directly to them, and involve local Romani representatives in the implementation; takes the view that in order to support Romani and pro-Romani civil society organisations, more flexible co-financing requirements should be taken into account, as many NGOs, especially from local level cannot afford own financial contributions, this being a barrier in accessing EU funds for the grassroots NGOs; calls on the Commission to effectively respond to the concern about the increasingly shrinking space for independent civil society in some Member States; is concerned that the coronavirus outbreak might lead to cuts in relation to the Rights and Values programmes for the MFF 2021-2027, negatively affecting CSOs advocating for Romani communities and thus affecting outreach to Romani communities; calls on the Commission and the Member States to effectively address this risk;

6.  Calls on the Member States to complement the EU financial support in order to improve the situation of Romani people; calls on the Member States to indicate what level of funding would be needed to carry out the proposed measures for inclusion of Romani people and to state the amount of money available for such measures from the national and from the EU budgets;

7.  Calls on the Member States to integrate better mapping methodologies for marginalized Romani communities and strengthened funding mechanisms into their regional and local development structures that allow more targeted investments in marginalized Romani communities and a better inclusion of Romani communities into the implementation of funds to ensure that the funds allocated reach Romani people and are properly spent and not misused;

Collection of disaggregated data

8.  Highlights the need for systematic collection of robust ethnic and gender disaggregated data to inform needs and context analysis, help in setting targets and impact indicators in order to ensure the best outcome in terms of matching needs with planning and budgeting, both at national and EU level; emphasises the importance of counterfactual impact evaluation methods in order to reduce the gap between policy frameworks and implementation on the ground; reminds that a critical limitation for some interventions is the gap between the ambition and the capacity of the structure in place to achieve results, due to the lack of data based planning, insufficient budgeting, and emergence of new unforeseen needs;

9.  Recalls that the ECA has concluded in 2016 that the monitoring and assessing the progress of the NRIS was a significant challenge for all visited Member States; calls on the Commission to build innovative, impact-oriented and data-based approaches as direct input to the next generation of programmes;

10.  Calls on the Commission to work with the Member States on a common methodology to collect and publish equality data disaggregated by ethnic origin as defined by the EU Racial Equality Directive that is voluntary, anonymous and ensures the protection of personal data, self-identification and consultation with relevant communities, in order to obtain reliable, comparable data in accordance with the relevant national legal frameworks and EU data protection legislation to support evidence based policies, to improve the effectiveness of strategies and measures taken and to identify structural problems;

11.  Calls on the Member States to use all available data to establish benchmarks and guide policy programme development; emphasises that it is vital to develop a more accurate profile of the Romani population and their needs, including in the candidate countries; underlines that the Fundamental Rights Agency’s guidelines would be key in this regard;

Equal participation of Romani people in decision-making processes, National inclusion Strategies

12.  Calls on the Commission to establish an inclusive mechanism to ensure the equal participation of Romani and pro-Romani civil society organisations, experts and community members from all levels, moving from a paternalistic approach to a non-paternalistic approach, including those active at local and regional level, taking into account a gender perspective in the policy debate and decision-making; calls on the Member States to promote Romani voter education and turnout;

13.  Calls on the Commission to develop a Romani Task Force at EU level to facilitate Romani inclusion into different policy fields and Empowering Romani people by supporting the capacity-building of all actors involved in the management and implementation of the EU and national Romani policies, in a substantive, dignified, impartial, inclusive, and transparent manner; calls on the Member States to do the same when creating their own post-2020 National Inclusion Strategies for Romani people; stresses that local and regional stakeholders, including NGOs, activists, local experts, regional experts, community members, the people affected by antigypsyism must be significantly involved in the development, implementation and monitoring of the National Inclusion Strategies and other public policies towards Romani people, making Romani participation a binding common quality standard for the future framework and National Inclusion Strategies;

14.  Calls on the Member States to develop post-2020 National Strategies for the Inclusion of Romani people, accompanied by a comprehensive joint assessment framework and with an adequate pre-defined budget, incorporated into the national, regional and local budgets subject to a periodic review and evaluation and which reflects the scale of the social inclusion needs of Romani people; emphasises that when local, regional, and national budgets are developed, the inclusion of Romani people must be among the priorities; calls on the Member States to include the fight against antigypsyism in a horizontal approach in their National Inclusion Strategies, in all domains of public life; calls on the Commission to include in the Country Specific recommendations an assessment of the progress in achieving the objectives from the National Inclusion Strategies;

Antigypsyism and intersectional discrimination

15.  Reiterates its position and recommendations put forward in its resolution of 25 October 2017 on fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting antigypsyism; since limited action has been taken so far, calls on the Commission to integrate those recommendations into its post-2020 EU proposal for the Equality, Inclusion Participation of Romani people and Combating Antigypsyism, particularly the recommendations relating to antigypsyism and truth and reconciliation as these are the cornerstone of building a strong and inclusive society; strongly rejects the political narrative and populism to build government policy on inciting antigypsyism, exercising scapegoating of Romani people and promoting discrimination or segregation both directly and indirectly; is of the opinion that such political actions are against not only the national constitutions but the fundamental rights and values as enshrined in the EU Treaties; therefore calls on the Commission to take immediate action by opening infringement procedures when there is a risk of breach of EU law;

16.  Calls on the Member States to officially recognise antigypsyism as a specific form of racism against Romani people;

17.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to tackle antigypsyism across the key areas of the post-2020 proposal towards Romani people and demands effective European and national legislative and policy measures to tackle this phenomenon both in Member States and enlargement countries; considers that the fight against antigypsyism is a horizontal issue and that it should be taken into account in all areas of Union policy, including the new technologies; calls on the Members States to ensure that new technologies designed and used by law enforcement authorities do not create risks of discrimination for racial and ethnic minorities; calls on the Commission to further integrate the work of National Equality Bodies (NEBs) into the development and implementation of the future policy framework; further asks the Commission to develop stronger synergies between the National Equality Bodies NEBs and national Romani Contact Points (NRCP) to fight against antigypsyism; calls on the Member States to guarantee the effective independence, the mandate and the necessary resources of the equality bodies for enabling them to carry out their tasks in the promotion and protection of fundamental rights also of Romani people; is of the opinion that equality bodies are the right institutions to collect data and draw trends on antigypsyism and to channel it to the European level;

18.  Calls on the Member States to secure equal access to justice and equality before the law for Romani people; calls on the Member States to protect Romani people from threats by far-right groups, investigate incidents of police abuse and ensure Romani participation in law enforcement and security forces;

19.  Encourages the Member States to adopt Guidelines and develop trainings to the police forces against disproportionate criminalisation of Romani people, ethnic profiling, excessive stop-and-search procedures, uncalled-for raids on Romani settlements, arbitrary seizure and destruction of property, excessive use of force during arrests, assaults, threats, humiliating treatment, physical abuse, and the denial of rights during police interrogation and custody and in under-policing of crimes committed against Romani people, providing little or no assistance, protection (such as in cases of trafficking and for victims of domestic violence) or investigation in cases of crimes reported by Romani people (hate crimes in particular); calls on the Member States to ensure that full investigation of such cases is undertaken by the competent authorities; calls on the Member States to provide appropriate remedies;

20.  Welcomes the Council of Europe statements that the phenomenon of online hate speech requires further analysis and action with a view to regulating and finding new ways of combating rhetoric of this kind such as alternative narrative and fact checking technologies;

21.  Calls on the Member States to ensure the effective practical implementation and enforcement of the Racial Equality Directive and to ensure effective enforcement of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia to combat persisting antigypsyism; reiterates its call on the Council to unblock negotiations on the horizontal anti-discrimination directive as it is a prerequisite to achieve equality in the EU;

22.  Further calls on the Member States to reinforce their efforts to combat discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes within national and EU anti-discrimination legislation, particularly with regard to monitoring the situation of affected Romani victims and providing judicial assistance;

23.  Recalls Member States’ obligation under the Racial Equality Directive to designate a specialised body for the promotion of equal treatment of all persons without discrimination on grounds of racial and ethnic origin;

24.  Takes the view that EU and Member States should take action regarding the situation and the rights of individuals at the intersections of discrimination grounds in the EU, in particular women, LGBTI people, people with disabilities;

25.  Recalls the critical role of media in decreasing antigypsyist attitudes through non-discriminatory coverage of minorities;

Health

26.  Calls on the Member States to develop measures to improve access to good quality and affordable preventive and curative healthcare for Romani people, including sexual and reproductive healthcare, and in particular for women, children, older people and persons with disabilities; reiterates that a key element in that regard is improving access to health services – both physical access and removing the intangible barriers of prejudice and racism;

27.  Calls on the Member States to allocate sufficient funding for improving the general health condition of Romani communities through health and sex-education, through mobile health screening activities in segregated areas, through health educational campaigns on prevention, and through training of health and social workers on diversity, which contributes to adapting EU health systems to diversity;

28.  Strongly condemns Romani women ethnic segregation in maternal health care facilities; calls on Member States to immediately prohibit all forms of ethnic segregation in health facilities, including maternal health care settings;

29.  Calls on Member States to ensure effective and timely remedies to all survivors of forced and coercive sterilization, including through the establishment of effective compensation schemes;

Equal and equitable access to education, Romani arts, language and culture

30.  Calls on the Commission to design new funding tools or sub-programmes that should be complementary to the measures of the Member States for targeted and tailored support in quality education for Romani pupils from 3 years on, who are contending with extreme poverty and do not have access to existing and future EU educational and social inclusion funding initiatives, such as Erasmus Plus, the Child Guarantee or the European Social Fund Plus;

31.  Notes that in some Member States only limited progress has been achieved over previous years in the education of socially disadvantaged Romani children due, in particular, to the lack of political will and antigypsyism, which cause the gap between Romani and non-Romani pupils and students in terms of educational outcomes to remain high; recalls that providing Romani children with an equal start in life is essential to break the cycle of intergenerational transmission of poverty; urges Member States to adopt a holistic approach across all policy areas and to place the education of Romani children high on governments’ agendas;

32.  Recommends that the education of vulnerable Romani pupils should start as early as possible, taking into account the specific conditions in each Member State, by including them into equal, affordable, accessible and inclusive early childhood and childcare services; urges Member States to develop and implement strategies and programmes aimed at facilitating the access of Romani to childcare facilities, schools and universities, which is a precondition for personal and career development, and recalls that extra-curricular activities, such as sports or artistic activities, are excellent means of inclusion;

33.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure adequate funding to NGOs which provide such activities as these activities are crucial to create an environment and conditions where children from all backgrounds have equal opportunities; considers that the exchange of good practices between Member States is also crucial in this field;

34.  Is particularly concerned by the high level of segregation of Romani children in schools and the discriminatory practice of placing Romani children in schools for children with mental disabilities, which persist in some Member States; urges the Member States concerned to put an end to such practices in accordance with applicable anti-discrimination legislation; calls on the Member States to prioritise measures to eliminate any form of school or class segregation of Romani pupils in line with the 2013 Council Recommendation, by implementing a wide range of measures actively involving local stakeholders, particularly Romani parents and children, as well as community organisations and by developing awareness raising actions;

35.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that all schools and inspectorates actually fulfil their legal obligation to desegregate school and also to commit to annually collect and publish the situation of school segregation at all levels, including by sanctioning those who fail to comply; calls on the Members States to exchange good practices such as establishing, capacitating and resourcing a desegregation ministerial commission in order to support schools who want to desegregate and sanction those who do not comply (AM 251); reminds that the Commission opened 3 infringement procedures on segregation of Romani children; is of the opinion that the last years have shown no improvement despite the Commission's efforts; therefore calls on the Commission to take further steps and refer these cases to the European Court of Justice if necessary;

36.  Recalls the pressing need to involve Romani parents in each stage of their children’s schooling; urges Member States to develop programmes aimed at the inclusion of Romani parents in the process of their children’s schooling and educational and personal development; stresses that the ability of Member States to ensure the involvement of Romani parents is highly dependent on multiple factors, both societal and economic, and asks for special support – in terms of health integrity, school food and clothing supply – for Romani families facing economic, social, medical or housing difficulties; believes that for children who have abandoned school and/or are illiterate and lack basic skills, new opportunities should be designed to continue their education; calls on Member States to make full use of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived in this regard;

37.  Calls on EU Member States to ensure equal access of Romani children to high quality education including through community service learning and life-long learning opportunities; calls on the Member States to structurally address respect for diversity, intercultural understanding and human rights in regular school curricula and media; and to include human rights, leadership and democratic citizenship training as well as Romani history in their school curricula and to disseminate and expand Romani university programs at European level;

38.  Calls on the Member States to design laws and policy measures aiming to ensure remedies for all Romani children misdiagnosed and placed in special schools or Romani-only classes and schools based on ethnic origins and consequently having been denied fundamental rights and opportunities for quality education and good jobs;

39.  Is of the opinion that COVID-19 made necessary the active use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and methods; stresses however that the pandemic revealed insufficient preparedness in digital transformation as many families with Romani background and their schools are not equipped with adequate ICT tools and skills and are often unable to afford electricity and digital connectedness, considers that the possession of an ICT device is the turnkey point into digital education, therefore urges the Commission to create a pool of ICT tools and distribute it among the most vulnerable families and children to provide them with the basic tools for distant learning and prepare them for the digital age; considers that access to internet and ICT skills are a cornerstone of the forthcoming digital age for every citizen and as such it is essential for the empowerment of Romani people as well; therefore calls on the Commission to introduce the provisions related to internet access into the post-2020 proposal; calls on the Member States to add ICT skills into their curriculum from an early age and to invest in digital literacy programmes that can support Romani children;

40.  Calls on the Member States to promote Romani language, culture and history, in school curricula, museums and other forms of cultural and historical expression, and recognize the contribution of Romani culture as part of the European Heritage; calls on the Member States to develop coherent and consistent measures, with appropriate budgets to stimulate, support and promote the Romani arts and culture, to research and conserve the material and intangible heritage of the traditional Romani culture and to revive and promote Romani traditional crafts;

Quality and affordable housing, environmental justice

41.  Stresses that housing is not a commodity, but a necessity, without which people cannot fully participate in society and access fundamental rights; calls on the Commission and the Member States to integrate in their polices the recommendations of the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Report, "ECSR The Right to affordable housing, Europe's neglected duty", with particular reference to ensuring that all Member States promptly accept to be bound by Article 31 of the revised European Social Charter dealing with the right to housing, and step up investing in social and affordable housing to eradicate the housing cost overburden, particularly among marginalised groups;

42.  Strongly encourages the Member States to ensure that Romani people are duly registered with ID papers and birth certificates, and that their properties (land and house) are equally registered and to ensure more flexible legal and administrative procedures for the future;

43.  Calls on the Member States to minimise the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in overcrowded and inhuman housing conditions lived in by Romani people, legalising their informal settlements, by investing in infrastructure and housing improvement for newly legalised informal settlements;

44.  Calls on the Member States to adopt a comprehensive mechanism to ensure that discrimination and abuse against Romani people in the field of housing is prevented and sanctioned, to address the issue of homelessness and to provide sufficient and appropriate halting sites for non-sedentary Romani people; calls on the Member States to prevent further forced evictions of Romani people by ensuring that such practices always take place in full compliance with International, European and national law calls on the Members States to ensure that the persons concerned are provided with reasonable notice and adequate information and points out that no evictions should take place without the provision of substitute standard, affordable and quality housing in a desegregated setting, which has access to public services; emphasises the urgent need for public investments in order to overcome segregation; calls on the Member States to promote spatial desegregation points out that geographical isolation and housing segregation keeps members of ethnic minorities away from decent jobs, regardless of their level of qualification; notes that finding solutions to evictions by engaging with different institutions is key, while actions addressing Romani housing should be integrated into broader national activities and legislative initiatives that focus on social housing or assistance programmes;

45.  Recalls that the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak are being felt mostly by the most deprived, including the Romani communities, across the EU and deplores that Romani communities are being further discriminated and marginalised due to the coronavirus pandemic; calls on the Member States to adopt under the COVID-19 crisis urgent measures to address the lack of water, adequate sanitation, electricity and needed infrastructure in poor Romani communities; calls on the Member States to fully include Romani settlements in disinfection measures, to prohibit the cancellation of basic utility services during the pandemic, to consider subsidizing consumption costs for the most vulnerable and those who have lost incomes, or freezing payments until the end of the recovery plan period, to provide financial support for lone parents/single mothers for childcare, rent payments and other household expenses to alleviate the financial hardship, especially in light of the job losses;

46.  Calls for the EU-wide implementation of the Aarhus Convention that links environmental rights and human rights; recommends that environmental injustices are integrated in the post 2020 proposal and call on the Commission to address the different forms of environmental discrimination;

Romani women and girls

47.  Stresses the need to give priority to a gender perspective and gender-sensitive policies and fight violence (including human trafficking); urges all Member States who have not yet ratified the Istanbul Convention to do so urgently; notes that future policies shall acknowledge these differences and address them by providing Romani women with specific interventions and particular forms of support; stresses that being often subjected to multiple discrimination, specific measures for the empowerment of Romani women and girls should be envisaged;

48.  Calls on Member State governments, local authorities and, where relevant, EU institutions to involve Romani women, through women’s organisations, and relevant stakeholders, in the preparation, implementation, evaluation and monitoring of the NRIS and to create links between gender equality bodies, women’s rights organisations and social inclusion strategies so as to build trust with communities and ensure sensitivity to local contexts;

49.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that a specific chapter on women’s rights and gender equality is included in their National Inclusion Strategies, and that gender mainstreaming measures aimed at promoting women’s rights and the gender equality perspective are applied in each section thereof, in particular in the allocation of funds, in line with the Council conclusions on an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies which stresses that a gender perspective needs to be applied in all policies and actions for advancing Romani inclusion’; calls on the Commission and the Member States to assess whether policies are achieving the desired improvements for Romani women and girls, and to take action if there is a lack of progress;

50.  Calls on the Member States to design measures to support Romani women to fully fulfil their potential and possibilities of acting as independent, self-confident and emancipated active citizens; calls on the Member States to expand the Romani health and school mediation systems, mandatory, to all Romani communities, to ensure a mediator for each 500 people and to properly finance and support the systems, giving the mediators a more pivotal role in the inclusion process;

51.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to include Romani girls and women more explicitly with active labour market policies, including the Youth Guarantee;

52.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that the fundamental rights of Romani women and children are respected, and that – also by means of awareness-raising campaigns – Romani women and girls are aware of their rights under existing national legislation on gender equality and discrimination, and to further combat patriarchal and sexist traditions;

Quality employment services

53.  Calls on the Member States to ensure quality employment services for Romani youth, including those not in employment, education and training and who are contending with extreme poverty;

54.  Calls on the Commission to present a communication on guidelines and standards for discrimination-free recruitment policies for Member States and employers, including recommendations for the adoption of equality plans at company level and in sectoral collective agreements and the implementation of diversity taskforces in the workplace, including tackling stereotypes, prejudice and negative attitudes, preventing discrimination in recruitment, promotion, pay and access to training; highlights the fact that these equality action plans should be also used to promote ethnic and cultural diversity at the workplace, to develop internal regulations against racism and racism-related discrimination and harassment in the workplace, to monitor and review recruitment, progression and retention of workforce by equality strand in order to identify direct or indirect discriminatory practices and to adopt corrective measures to reduce inequality in each of these areas and, to this effect, collect equality data in respect of privacy and fundamental rights standards;

55.  Highlights that the most critical points to address in the area of Romani employment are the effective transition from education to the open labour market; highlights the importance of tackling diverse forms of undeclared employment, discrimination by employers, of matching labour demand with labour supply;

56.  Calls on the Commission to fulfil its commitment to adopting an action plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and to incorporate Romani inclusion as an indicator in the social scoreboard; urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure, access to decent jobs, fair wages and working conditions for Romani people and to guarantee that social protection systems and social services are adequate, accessible and used by all potential beneficiaries, and include universal health coverage without discrimination, as well as minimum income schemes and pension rights;

o
o   o

57.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and candidate countries, the subnational parliaments and councils of the Member States and candidate countries, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe, the European Committee of the Regions, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.

(1) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(2) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(3) OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 55.
(4) OJ L 264, 25.9.2006, p. 13.
(5) OJ C 378, 24.12.2013, p. 1.
(6) OJ C 328, 6.9.2016, p. 4.
(7) OJ C 346, 27.9.2018, p. 171.
(8) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0032.
(9) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0075.
(10) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 21.
(11) OJ C 162, 10.5.2019, p. 24.
(12) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0428.
(13) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0447.
(14) European Commission, Report on the implementation of national Roma integration strategies – 2019.
(15) European Commission, Mid-term evaluation of the EU framework for NRIS.
(16) FRA, Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey, Roma – Selected findings, 2016.
(17) FRA, Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey, Roma – Selected findings, 2016.


Preparation of the Special European Council, focusing on the dangerous escalation and the role of Turkey in the Eastern-Mediterranean
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the preparation of the special European Council summit focusing on the dangerous escalation and the role of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean (2020/2774(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0230RC-B9-0260/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Turkey, in particular those of 24 November 2016 on EU-Turkey relations(1), of 27 October 2016 on the situation of journalists in Turkey(2), of 8 February 2018 on the current human rights situation in Turkey(3), of 13 March 2019 on the 2018 Commission Report on Turkey(4), of 19 September 2019 on situation in Turkey, notably the removal of elected mayors(5), and of 13 November 2014 on Turkish actions creating tensions in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus(6),

–  having regard to its debate of 9 July 2020 on stability and security in Eastern Mediterranean and the negative role of Turkey,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 29 May 2019 on EU enlargement policy (COM(2019)0260), and its accompanying staff working document (SWD(2019)0220),

–  having regard to previous statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on the drilling activities of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, in particular to that of 16 August 2020 on renewed drilling activities by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean; having regard to the remarks made at the press conference following his meeting with the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Çavuşoğlu on 6 July 2020, the remarks made after his meeting with Greek Minister of Defence Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos on 25 June 2020 and the remarks made after his meeting with Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides on 26 June 2020,

–  having regard to the relevant Council and European Council conclusions on Turkey, and in particular to the to the European Council conclusions of 19 August 2020 on the Eastern Mediterranean, to the Council conclusions of 27 February 2020 on Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, and to the Council conclusions of 17-18 October 2019 concerning Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone,

–  having regard to the statements of the EU foreign affairs ministers of 15 May 2020 and 14 August 2020 on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean,

–  having regard to the outcome of the informal meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers (Gymnich) of 28 August 2020,

–  having regard to the NATO Treaty of 1949 and to the statement by the NATO Secretary General on 3 September 2020,

–  having regard to the Ajaccio declaration after the seventh Summit of the Southern countries of the Union (MED7) of 10 September 2020,

–  having regard to relevant customary international law and to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to which Greece and Cyprus, as well as the European Union, are parties, and to the UN Charter,

–  having regard to the Rome Statute and the founding documents of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and to the precedents set by its jurisprudence,

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

A.  whereas the Eastern Mediterranean, an area of strategic importance for the EU and a key area for the peace and stability of the entire Mediterranean and Middle East regions, is blighted by a long-standing, multi-layered set of disputes of political, economic and geostrategic natures; whereas escalating tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean are fuelled by unilateral steps by Turkey, including military action, the lack of inclusive diplomatic dialogue and the regrettable failure of efforts to mediate the conflict;

B.  whereas since the discovery of offshore natural gas reserves in the early 2000s, Turkey has challenged its neighbours with regard to international law and the delimitation of their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs); whereas the discoveries of significant gas reserves in the Mediterranean, including the discovery of the Leviathan field in 2010, followed by the Zohr gas field, the largest ever natural gas discovery in the Mediterranean Sea, off Egypt in 2015, sparked interest in the region and led to further exploration and drilling in 2018 and 2019;

C.  whereas Turkey has not signed the UNCLOS to which Greece and Cyprus are parties, due to the ongoing maritime dispute over the delimitation of an ΕΕΖ; whereas the developing Law of the Sea, inherently complex, is interpreted differently by Greece and Turkey; whereas there are mutual claims that the interpretation of maritime law by the other side is against international law and that the activities of the other side are illegal; whereas the above mentioned dispute over the delimitation of EEZs and continental shelf between Turkey on the one side and Greece on the other side has remained unresolved since November 1973;

D.  whereas Turkey is a candidate country and an important partner of the EU and is expected, as a candidate country, to uphold the highest standards of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, including in its compliance with international conventions; whereas the EU is clear and determined in defending the European Union’s interests, demonstrating its unwavering support and solidarity with Greece and Cyprus and upholding international law;

E.  whereas the illegal exploration and drilling activities by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean are resulting in an intense and dangerous militarisation of the Eastern Mediterranean, thus posing a serious threat to peace and security of the whole region; whereas to support Greece and Cyprus, France deployed two naval vessels and fighter jets on 12 August 2020 in the area, and took part in military exercises together with Greece, Cyprus and Italy on 26 August 2020;

F.  whereas on 10 June 2020 a French naval vessel was met with an extremely hostile reaction by Turkish warships when it was, in the framework of the Sea Guardian NATO mission, requesting to inspect a Turkish vessel suspected of violating the UN arms embargo on Libya; whereas Greece has recorded over 600 violations of its air space by the Turkish Air Force since January 2020; whereas these activities by Turkey are accompanied by increasingly hostile rhetoric against both Greece and Cyprus, other EU Member States and the EU itself;

G.  whereas exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey have been stalled since March 2016; whereas a positive push for bilateral relations was given by both the Greek Prime Minister and the Turkish President after their meeting in September 2019 at the UN General Assembly, and in December to resume political dialogue, following which high officials met in Ankara in January 2020, and confidence building measures were discussed in Athens in February 2020;

H.  whereas in January 2019, the governments of Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority established the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, a multinational body tasked with developing a regional gas market and a mechanism for resource development; whereas this has been criticised by Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which claims that it seeks to exclude Ankara from regional cooperation and coordination on the gas market;

I.  whereas Turkey and the Libyan Government of National Accord signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in November 2019 determining a new maritime delimitation between the two countries, despite having no adjacent or opposite coasts; whereas the Turkey-Libya MoU on the delimitation of maritime jurisdictions in the Mediterranean Sea infringes the sovereign rights of third countries, does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences for third countries; whereas, if applied, this MoU would effectively draw a dividing line between the eastern and the western parts of the Mediterranean and thus threaten maritime security;

J.  whereas οn 20 April 2020, Turkey sent the drill ship Yavuz, accompanied by a Turkish navy vessel, into Cyprus’s EEZ; whereas on 30 July 2020, Turkey sent the seismic research vessel Barbaros, accompanied by a Turkish warship and a second support ship, into Cyprus’s EEZ; whereas on 10 August 2020, Turkey sent the Oruç Reis research vessel accompanied by 17 naval vessels into Greek waters to map out sea territory for possible oil and gas drilling in an area where Turkey also claims jurisdiction; whereas Greece responded by dispatching its own warships to track the Turkish vessels, one of which collided with a Greek ship; whereas on 31 August 2020 Turkey again extended its exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean by the Oruç Reis until 12 September 2020; whereas Turkey’s naval alert (Navtex) concerns an area that is within Greece’s continental shelf; whereas these activities by Turkey have led to a significant deterioration in relations between Greece and Turkey;

K.  whereas, after the expiry of the Navtex for the waters between Turkey, Cyprus, and Crete, issued on 10 August 2020, Turkey’s seismic research vessel Oruç Reis returned on 13 September 2020 to waters near the southern province of Antalya following multiple negotiation efforts, a move that could contribute to easing tensions between Ankara and Athens;

L.  whereas a framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean was set up in November 2019 after the Council had repeatedly expressed its concerns and strongly condemned the drilling activities in various sets of conclusions, including the European Council conclusions of 22 March 2018 and 20 June 2019; whereas on 27 February 2020 the Council put two executives of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) on the EU sanctions list, imposing a travel ban and an asset freeze, following Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean; whereas on 28 August 2020 the informal Council (Gymnich) meeting called for further targeted sanctions against Turkey in the event that it does not de-escalate tensions in the region; whereas these restrictive measures would be discussed at the special European Council summit on 24 and 25 September 2020; whereas on 10 September 2020, national leaders at the Med7 Summit of Mediterranean states expressed full support for and solidarity with Greece and expressed regret that Turkey had not responded to the EU’s repeated calls to end its unilateral and illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean;

M.  whereas the VP/HR Borrell, who has deployed an intense activity in the region, together with the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union, has been looking for solutions through dialogue between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus; whereas in order to allow the dialogue to advance, Turkey has to refrain from unilateral actions; whereas mediation attempts led by the German Council Presidency over the months of July and August regrettably failed; whereas, while negotiations were ongoing, Egypt and Greece concluded a bilateral maritime agreement on 6 August 2020, demarcating an EEZ for oil and gas drilling rights, following 15 years of negotiations with Turkey and Cyprus on the matter;

N.  whereas NATO has also proposed various initiatives for dialogue between Greece and Turkey and brokered talks between them; whereas Article 1 of the NATO Treaty provides that the parties thereto undertake to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations;

O.  whereas the UN Charter provides that states must undertake to settle any international disputes in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations;

1.  Is highly concerned by the ongoing dispute and related risk of further military escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean between EU Member States and an EU candidate country; is firmly convinced that a sustainable conflict resolution can only be found through dialogue, diplomacy, and negotiations in a spirit of good will and in line with international law;

2.  Condemns Turkey’s illegal activities in the continental shelf/EEZ of Greece and Cyprus, which violate the sovereign rights of EU Member States and expresses its full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus; urges Turkey to engage in the peaceful settlement of disputes and to refrain from any unilateral and illegal action or threat, as that could have a negative impact on good neighbourly relations;

3.  Welcomes Turkey’s decision on 12 September 2020 to withdraw its seismic research vessel Oruç Reis, thus taking a first step to easing the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean; condemns Turkey’s decision of 15 September 2020 to issue a new Navtex to extend the term of duty of the Yavuz drilling ship until 12 October 2020; urges Turkey to show restraint, and to proactively contribute to de-escalating the situation, including by respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all of its neighbours, by immediately ending any further illegal exploration and drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, by refraining from violating Greek airspace and Greek and Cypriot territorial waters and by distancing itself from nationalistic warmongering rhetoric; rejects the use of threats and abusive language towards Member States and the EU as unacceptable and unseemly for an EU candidate country;

4.  Expresses the need to find a solution by diplomatic means, mediation and international law and strongly supports the return to the dialogue between the parties; calls on all actors involved, especially Turkey, to commit to an urgent de-escalation by withdrawing their military presence in the region in order to enable dialogue and effective cooperation;

5.  Calls on Turkey, as an EU candidate country, to fully respect the law of the sea and the sovereignty of the EU Member States Greece and Cyprus over their territorial seas, as well as all their sovereign rights in their maritime zones; reiterates its call on the Turkish Government to sign and ratify the UNCLOS and recalls that even though Turkey is not a signatory, customary law provides for EEZs even for uninhabited islands;

6.  Deplores the fact that the increasing escalation of tension undermines prospects for the resumption of direct talks on the comprehensive resolution of the Cyprus issue, while this remains the most effective path with regard to prospects for the delimitation of the EEZs between Cyprus and Turkey; urges all parties concerned to actively support the negotiations for a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus issue within the UN framework, as defined by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in accordance with international law, the EU acquis and on the basis of respect for the principles on which the Union is founded;

7.  Welcomes the invitation from the Governments of Cyprus and Greece to Turkey to negotiate in good faith the maritime delimitation between their respective coasts; urges the parties to bring the relevant disputes to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague or to resort to international arbitration in the event a settlement cannot be reached through mediation;

8.  Welcomes the efforts made by the EU, most notably by VP/HR Borrell and the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and other international institutions such as NATO, to contribute to finding a solution through dialogue and diplomacy; calls on all sides in a genuine collective engagement to negotiate the delimitation of EEZs and the continental shelf in good faith, fully respecting international law and the principle of good relations between neighbours; supports the proposal for a multilateral conference on the Eastern Mediterranean with the participation of all actors involved, to provide a platform to settle disputes through dialogue;

9.  Calls on the Commission and all Member States to pursue a broader, inclusive dialogue with Turkey and a comprehensive and strategic security architecture and energy cooperation for the Mediterranean; calls on the Commission and the Member States to remain firmly committed in this dialogue to the fundamental values and principles of the Union, including respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the principle of solidarity;

10.  Urgently calls for a comprehensive environmental risk assessment of any drilling activity, considering the multitude of risks associated with offshore gas exploration for the environment, the workforce and local populations; calls upon all parties involved to invest in renewable energy and a sustainable climate friendly future, and calls on the EU to support the development of such a Green Deal for the Mediterranean, which would include plans for investment in renewable energy in the wider region in order to avoid disputes over limited fossil resources that are harmful to our climate and environment;

11.  Expresses serious concerns about the current state of EU-Turkey relations, mainly regarding the dire human rights situation in Turkey and the erosion of democracy and the rule of law; underlines the past and present negative impacts of Turkey’s unilateral foreign policy initiatives in the wider region and that Turkey’s illegal exploration and drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean further add to the deterioration of EU-Turkey relations in general; calls for Turkey and the EU Member States to come together in supporting the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the political dialogue in Libya and to adhere to the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council; deplores the negative impact that current Turkish foreign policy and other actions in the Mediterranean have on the stability of the region; reiterates its position as expressed in its resolution of 24 October 2019 on the Turkish military operation in northeast Syria and its consequences(7);

12.  Calls on the appropriate forums within NATO, and especially the High-Level Task Force on Conventional Arms Control, to discuss arms control in the Eastern Mediterranean as a matter of urgency;

13.  Reiterates that the parliamentary dialogue between the EU and Turkey is an important element of the dialogue and de-escalation efforts; deeply deplores the continuous refusal of the Turkish Grand Assembly to reinstate bilateral meetings of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC); calls for the immediate continuation of these sessions;

14.  Insists that further sanctions can only be avoided through dialogue, sincere cooperation and concrete progress on the ground; calls on the Council to stand ready to develop a list of further restrictive measures in the absence of any significant progress in engaging with Turkey; proposes that such measures should be sectoral and targeted; takes the firm stance that these sanctions should not have an adverse impact on the people of Turkey, on our support to Turkey’s independent civil society, or on the refugees residing within Turkey;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Secretary General of NATO, the President, Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey, and the EU Member States.

(1) OJ C 224, 27.6.2018, p. 93.
(2) OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 199.
(3) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 56.
(4) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0200.
(5) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0017.
(6) OJ C 285, 5.8.2016, p. 11.
(7) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0049.


Situation in Belarus
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the situation in Belarus (2020/2779(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0231RC-B9-0271/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Belarus, in particular those of 4 October 2018 on the deterioration of media freedom in Belarus, notably the case of Charter 97(1), of 19 April 2018 on Belarus(2), of 6 April 2017 on the situation in Belarus(3), of 24 November 2016 on the situation in Belarus(4) and of 8 October 2015 on the death penalty in Belarus(5),

–  having regard to the launch of the Eastern Partnership in Prague on 7 May 2009 as a common endeavour of the EU and its six Eastern European Partners Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine,

–  having regard to the Joint Declarations of the Eastern Partnership Summits of 2009 in Prague, 2011 in Warsaw, 2013 in Vilnius, 2015 in Riga and 2017 in Brussels,

–  having regard to the presidential elections held in Belarus on 9 August 2020,

–  having regard to the declarations by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on behalf of the European Union on the presidential elections, notably those of 11 August 2020 and 17 August 2020,

–  having regard to the statements by the High Representative/Vice-President, in particular those of 7 August 2020 ahead of the presidential elections and of 14 July 2020 on the non-registration of presidential candidates, to the joint statement by the High Representative/Vice-President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada of 26 August 2020 as well as to the joint statement by the High Representative/Vice-President and the Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner of 10 August 2020 on the presidential elections,

–  having regard to the statement of the President of the European Parliament of 13 August 2020 and that of the leaders of the five political groups of 17 August 2020 on the situation in Belarus following the so-called presidential elections of 9 August 2020,

–  having regard to the main outcome of the extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council of 14 August 2020 and the conclusions of the President by the European Council on 19 August 2020 on the situation in Belarus following the presidential elections of 9 August 2020,

–  having regard to the statements by the VP/HR of 7 September 2020 on arbitrary and unexplained arrests and detentions on political grounds, and of 11 September 2020 on the escalation of violence and intimidation against members of the Coordination Council,

–  having regard to the EU Global Strategy and the revised European Neighbourhood Policy,

–  having regard to the statements by the EEAS Spokesperson, in particular those of 19 June 2020 on recent developments ahead of the presidential elections and of 18 November 2019 on parliamentary elections in Belarus,

–  having regard to the Council decision of 17 February 2020 to prolong the 2004 EU embargo on arms and on equipment that could be used for internal repression regarding Belarus(6),

–  having regard to the ODIHR statement of 15 July 2020 on not deploying an election observation mission to Belarus due to the lack of an invitation,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to all human rights conventions to which Belarus is a party,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus of 10 July 2020,

–  having regard to the statement of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of 17 July 2020 and to the OSCE ODIHR’s previous reports on elections in Belarus,

–  having regard to the statements of the UN Secretary-General of 10 and 14 August 2020 on the post-election developments in Belarus,

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

A.  whereas no new political party has been registered in Belarus since 2000, despite repeated attempts; whereas the Belarusian Central Electoral Commission denied registration as candidates in the 2020 presidential elections to regime-critical politicians, who had reportedly collected more than 100 000 signatures, as prescribed by the national legislation, underlining the disproportionate and unreasonable barriers to candidacy, contrary to OSCE commitments and other international standards;

B.  whereas the presidential campaign was already marked since early May 2020 by a nationwide crackdown on peaceful protesters, civil society activists, bloggers and journalists, as well as by severe intimidation of political activists, their families and supporters; whereas more than 650 peaceful protesters, journalists and civic activists have been detained across the country for protesting against the regime;

C.  whereas the Belarusian electoral processes fell short of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) guidelines that call for respect for fundamental freedoms, equality, universality, political pluralism, confidence, transparency and accountability, despite Belarus being an OSCE participating state;

D.  whereas the electoral process could not be observed by an OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission due to the Belarusian authorities’ deliberate failure to issue a timely invitation;

E.  whereas systematic irregularities and violations of international electoral standards were reported during polling, including intimidation of voters, denial of their right to vote and falsification of protocols from the precincts on a massive scale; whereas independent domestic observers, including those who monitored early voting in the Belarusian presidential elections, have been detained across the country after documenting numerous violations of electoral law;

F.  whereas the Central Election Commission of Belarus announced incumbent President Aliaksandr Lukashenka as the winner of the so-called elections;

G.  whereas credible nationwide reports and grassroots social media initiatives demonstrate large-scale electoral fraud in favour of the incumbent Aliaksandr Lukashenka, and many Belarusians consider Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to be the winner;

H.  whereas unprecedented peaceful protests expressing a desire for democratic change and respect of fundamental freedoms and human rights started immediately after the announcement of the so-called election results and continue until today, as hundreds of thousands gather on the streets of Belarus with peaks during weekends in Unity Marches, demonstrating the level of discontent and mobilisation of Belarusian society;

I.  whereas protests have been accompanied by widespread strikes in industrial plants, including major state-owned enterprises in various economic sectors, companies, schools, universities, cities, towns and villages, all over the country;

J.  whereas the European Union and its Member States did not recognise the results of the presidential elections due to substantial doubts about the fairness of the election and widespread reports of falsification; whereas incumbent President Lukashenka’s current term ends on 5 November 2020;

K.  whereas the Belarusian protests are of a scale previously unseen, and are nationwide and intergenerational, with the visible leadership of women;

L.  whereas the Belarusian authorities reacted to the legitimate and peaceful protests with disproportionate violence; whereas the response of the security forces to peaceful protests has been very harsh, with frequent use of excessive, unnecessary and indiscriminate force, such as the heavy use of tear gas, batons, flash grenades and water cannons; whereas the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that close to 6 700 persons were detained in recent weeks while exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly; whereas experts have received reports of at least 450 cases of torture, sexual violence, rape and ill-treatment of people deprived of their liberty, while several people are missing and have been found dead, including Alyaksandr Taraykouski, Konstantin Shishmakov, Alexander Vikhor and Gennady Shutov, since 9 August 2020;

M.  whereas a Coordination Council was established to provide a temporary institutional partner for a national dialogue process aimed at organising new elections that would be held according to international standards and under ODIHR election observation; whereas several thousand people have since expressed their support to its calls for new elections, and all leading members of the Coordination Council have been harassed, interrogated or arrested (Liliya Ulasava, Maksim Znak, Siarhei Dyleuski, Maria Kalesnikava); whereas ongoing harassment and threats have led leading members of the opposition, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Veranika Tsapkala, Pavel Latushka and Volha Kovalkova to seek refuge in the European Union; whereas another leader, Maria Kalesnikava, was abducted on 7 September 2020 by masked men in an unmarked van in the middle of the day from a street in Minsk; whereas Nobel Prize laureate, Sviatlana Aleksijevic, is the only member of the Presidium of the Coordination Council who remains free in Belarus; whereas serious concerns regarding her safety persist despite the exceptional support she has received from European diplomats;

N.  whereas the European Council of 19 August 2020 decided to impose sanctions against a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repression and the falsification of the election results in Belarus, prohibiting them from entering the EU and freezing their financial assets in the EU;

O.  whereas the electoral campaign and presidential elections took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of which were consistently denied by the Belarusian political leadership and authorities, leading to journalists, medical staff and ordinary people stepping in to share crucial information about the pandemic and necessary precautionary measures, thereby demonstrating people’s societal engagement and the vitality of the Belarusian civil society;

P.  whereas on 27 August 2020 the President of the Russian Federation stated his support for the Belarusian authorities in their repression of legitimate civic discontent by offering the deployment of special police forces; whereas on 21 August 2020 Mr Lukashenka announced the replacement of striking and resigned journalists working in state media with so-called Russian media specialists; whereas Russia, China, and Turkey were among the first states to congratulate Mr Lukashenka on his fraudulent election victory;

Q.  whereas the Belarusian authorities continue their violent crackdown on independent Belarusian reporters and citizen journalists and engage in deliberate attempts to hamper objective reporting in order to quell domestic and international concern and condemnation, including through the withdrawal of the press accreditation of more than a dozen international reporters on 29 August 2020;

R.  whereas the human rights situation in Belarus continued to deteriorate during the election campaign and after the elections; whereas the environment for the work of human rights defenders has continuously deteriorated, with human rights defenders being systematically subjected to intimidation, harassment and restrictions to fundamental freedoms; whereas Belarus is the only country in Europe to still carry out capital punishment;

1.  Underlines that the European Parliament, in line with the position of the European Council, rejects the results of the so-called presidential elections that took place in Belarus on 9 August 2020, as they were conducted in flagrant violation of all internationally recognised standards; will not recognise Aliaksandr Lukashenka as president of Belarus once his current term of office expires;

2.  Condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the Belarusian authorities for their violent repression of peaceful protests for justice, freedom and democracy in the wake of the fraudulent August 9 2020 presidential elections; calls for an immediate halt to the violence, for the immediate and unconditional release and dropping of all charges against all persons detained for political reasons, before and after the so-called 9 August 2020 elections, including all persons detained for their participation in protests against the election results or against the violence used by the authorities or for their expressions of support to these protests;

3.  Condemns the ongoing intimidation, persecution and disproportionate use of force towards participants in strikes, members of the Coordination Council and other opposition figures, civil society activists, independent journalists and bloggers; demands the immediate and unconditional release of all those arbitrarily detained before and after the falsified 9 August 2020 elections, including Pavel Sevyarynets, Mikalaj Statkievich, Maria Kalesnikava, Andrei Yahorau, Anton Radniankou and Ivan Krautsou; demands that all prosecutions on political grounds be stopped;

4.  Welcomes the Coordination Council as an interim representation of the people demanding democratic change in Belarus that is open to all political and social stakeholders;

5.  Supports a peaceful and democratic transition of power as a result of an inclusive national dialogue in full respect of the Belarusian people’s democratic and fundamental rights; reiterates, in this respect, the calls by the Belarusian people for the organisation of new, free and fair elections to take place as soon as possible under international supervision, led by the OSCE/ODIHR and in accordance with internationally recognised standards;

6.  Expresses its unequivocal support for the people of Belarus in their legitimate demands and aspirations for free and fair elections, fundamental freedoms and human rights, democratic representation, political participation, dignity and the right to choose their own destiny; acknowledges that the current protest movement in Belarus is based on the general and broad demand for the democratisation of Belarus whose people must enjoy the same fundamental rights of democracy and freedom as all other citizens on the European continent;

7.  Calls on the Commission, the VP/HR and the Council to provide assistance to Belarus’ democratic opposition, including the Coordination Council led by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya;

8.  Expresses its appreciation for the important contribution made by the brave women of Belarus, led by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Veranika Tsapkala and Maria Kalesnikava, and their supporters in voicing and representing the legitimate demands of the Belarusian people; notes that many Belarusians consider Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to be the winner of the presidential elections and Belarus’ president-elect;

9.  Demands the immediate release of the arrested members of the Coordination Council, Liliya Ulasava, Maksim Znak, Siarhei Dyleuski and Maria Kalesnikava; insists that any national dialogue must take place with the full and unhampered participation of the Coordination Council; welcomes the protection extended to Sviatlana Aleksijevic by representatives of EU Member States and other like-minded countries;

10.  Deplores in the strongest possible terms the appalling acts of violence against and cruel repression and torture of peaceful protesters and detainees; calls for an independent and effective investigation into the protest-related deaths of Alyaksandr Taraykouski, Alexander Vikhor, Artsyom Parukou, Gennady Shutov and Konstantin Shishmakov;

11.  Calls for a stop to all ill-treatment and torture, for the introduction of a specific definition of torture into Belarus’s Criminal Code in line with international human rights standards, and for legislative changes to criminalise enforced disappearance;

12.  Insists on the need to ensure citizens’ rights to freedom of assembly, association, expression and opinion, as well as media freedom, and thus lift all restrictions in law and practice that impede these freedoms; strongly condemns the ongoing application of the death penalty and calls for its immediate and permanent abolition and, pending this, an effective right to appeal against death penalty sentences;

13.  Fully supports Belarusian workers and independent trade unions and calls on the Belarusian authorities and employers to respect the fundamental rights of Belarusian workers to strike without risk of dismissal, arrest or other reprisal, in line with ILO Conventions 87 and 98; supports the call by the International Trade Union Confederation addressed to the International Labour Organisation for urgent intervention against the arrests and sentencing of leaders of strike committees and independent trade union activists to protect their freedom of assembly and association; expresses its support for the coordinating role played by the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions;

14.  Strongly supports EU sanctions against individuals responsible for the falsification of the election results and the repression in Belarus, including Aliaksandr Lukashenka; calls on the Council to implement without delay, and in close coordination with international partners, broad and effective sanctions against all Belarusian perpetrators of election fraud, violence and repression in Belarus; calls on the Council to follow the example of the Baltic States, which included Lukashenka in their sanctions list, in enlarging the initially proposed group of persons targeted by sanctions to include a substantial number of both high and middle-ranking officials as well as entrepreneurs known for supporting the regime or dismissing their employees for participation in strikes; calls on the VP/HR and the Council to explore the possibility of including Russian citizens who are directly involved in supporting the Lukashenka regime in Belarus;

15.  Strongly welcomes the proposal by the OSCE Chairperson-in-office in coordination with his successor to assist Belarus in organising a dialogue process; insists that the Belarusian authorities accept the offer extended to them by the current and incoming OSCE Chairpersons-in-office;

16.  Urges the EEAS and the Commission to prepare a comprehensive review of EU policy towards Belarus, aiming to support the people of Belarus and their democratic aspirations, as well as civil society, human rights defenders, independent unions and independent media; calls for an increase in EU funding to the Belarusian civil society, while freezing any EU fund transfers to the current Belarusian Government and state-controlled projects and stopping EIB, EBRD and other loans to the current regime; urges the EU to organise a donors’ conference for democratic Belarus, bringing together international financial institutions, G-7 countries, EU Member States and institutions, and others willing to pledge a multi-billion Euro financial package to support future reform efforts and the restructuring of the economy;

17.  Calls on the EEAS to suspend negotiations on the EU-Belarus Partnership Priorities until free and fair presidential elections have taken place;

18.  Urges the government to strengthen the healthcare system and to provide Belarusian citizens with all relevant and life-saving information about the pandemic in a transparent and inclusive manner; emphasises the need to improve the access, availability and quality of healthcare in places of detention, in particular given the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the working conditions of medical staff, given reports of police preventing help for injured protesters and arresting medical workers;

19.  Encourages EU Member States to facilitate and accelerate the establishment of a humanitarian corridor and the procedure for obtaining visas for those fleeing Belarus for political reasons or for those who require medical treatment as a result of violence perpetrated against them, and to offer them and their families all necessary support and assistance; calls on the Commission to proceed swiftly with the effective implementation of EU financial assistance to support civil society and victims of repression and to mobilise greater resources for their physical, psychological and material support;

20.  Calls on the EU to further enhance people-to-people contacts by supporting Belarusian independent NGOs, CSOs, human rights defenders, media representatives and independent journalists, by creating additional opportunities for young Belarusians to study in the EU and by continuing support for the European Humanities University; asks the Commission to urgently set up a scholarship programme for students and scholars exmatriculated from Belarusian universities for their pro-democratic stance;

21.  Underlines the need for a comprehensive investigation into the crimes committed by the regime against the people of Belarus and emphasises its resolve to contribute to such investigations;

22.  Condemns the suppression of the media and the internet, as well as the intimidation of journalists and bloggers in order to stop the flow of information on the situation in the country; underscores the right of the people of Belarus to have unhindered access to information; calls on the EU to use the European Endowment for Democracy and other instruments in order to support these outlets and journalists who are subject to repression by the regime;

23.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States and the EEAS to provide full support to the efforts of the UN Human Rights Council and the OSCE Moscow Mechanism to ensure documentation and reporting by international organisations of human rights violations and subsequent accountability and justice for victims;

24.  Underlines the importance of countering the spread of disinformation in Belarus concerning the EU, its Member States and institutions, as well as disinformation on the situation in Belarus within the EU, as well as other forms of hybrid threats undertaken by third parties; warns the regime against any attempts to use national, religious, ethnic and other minorities as a proxy target, diverting the attention of society from the electoral fraud and the subsequent massive protests and repression; condemns the refusal to allow the return to the country of the head of the Catholic Church of Belarus, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz;

25.  Condemns the hybrid interference of the Russian Federation in Belarus, notably delegating so-called media experts to the Belarusian state media and advisors to the military and law enforcement agencies, and calls on the Government of the Russian Federation to halt any covert or overt interference in the internal processes of Belarus; urges the Russian Federation to respect international law and the sovereignty of Belarus; warns that Aliaksandr Lukashenka has no political or moral mandate to enter into any further contractual relations on behalf of Belarus, including with Russian authorities, which could threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belarus;

26.  Underlines the importance of keeping the developments in Belarus a priority for the EU; recalls the need for the EU to be united and persistent in its response to the situation in Belarus;

27.  Deplores the fact that Belarus has already loaded nuclear fuel into the first reactor of the Astravyets nuclear power plant and is planning to start producing energy in November 2020, without fully implementing the stress test recommendations, which is even more concerning in these times of high political instability;

28.  Calls on the national ice hockey federations of the EU Member States and all other democratic countries to urge the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to withdraw its decision to hold the 2021 World Ice Hockey Championship partially in Belarus until the situation and, in particular, the state of human rights in the country have improved;

29.  Reiterates its call on the EU Council to establish a comprehensive, effective and timely EU-wide restrictive measures mechanism (the so-called Magnitsky list) that would allow for the targeting of any individual, state and non-state actors, and other entities responsible for or involved in grave human rights violations and abuses, without any further delay;

30.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the authorities of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation.

(1) OJ C 11, 13.1.2020, p. 18.
(2) OJ C 390, 18.11.2019, p. 100.
(3) OJ C 298, 23.8.2018, p. 60.
(4) OJ C 224, 27.6.2018, p. 135.
(5) OJ C 349, 17.10.2017, p. 41.
(6) OJ L 45, 18.2.2020, p. 3.


Situation in Russia, the poisoning of Alexei Navalny
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the situation in Russia: the poisoning of Alexei Navalny (2020/2777(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0232RC-B9-0280/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia,

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

–  having regard to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, in particular Chapter 2, and specifically Article 29, which protects freedom of speech, and to the international human rights obligations to which Russia has committed itself as a member of the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the UN,

–  having regard to the declaration of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on behalf of the EU of 3 September 2020 on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny,

–  having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) of 24 August and 2 September 2020 on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny,

–  having regard to the statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet of 8 September 2020 calling for an independent investigation into the poisoning of Alexei Navalny,

–  having regard to the statement by the G7 foreign ministers of 8 September 2020 on the poisoning of Alexei Navalny,

–  having regard to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (the Chemical Weapons Convention), which prohibits the use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons,

–  having regard to the unanimous adoption of decisions C-24/DEC.4 and C-24/DEC.5 by the 24th Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention of 27 November 2019, adding Novichok organophosphorus nerve agents to Schedule 1 of the Annex on Chemicals to the Convention, and the entry into force of these decisions on 7 June 2020,

–  having regard to the statement of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin hospital of 24 August 2020 stating that Alexei Navalny was the victim of a poisoning with a chemical nerve agent,

–  having regard to the declaration of the German Federal Government of 2 September 2020 urgently calling on the Russian Government to make a statement on the incident and condemning the attack in the strongest possible terms,

–  having regard to the statement from the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of 3 September 2020 on allegations of chemical weapons use against Alexei Navalny, underlining that ‘under the Chemical Weapons Convention, any poisoning of an individual through the use of a nerve agent is considered a use of chemical weapons’,

–  having regard to Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which provide that no one is to be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to which the Russian Federation is a party,

–  having regard to the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998,

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

A.  whereas Alexei Navalny, a leading Russian opposition politician, lawyer, blogger and anti-corruption activist, has uncovered numerous corruption affairs involving business enterprises and Russian politicians, led several public protests all over Russia and become one of the few effective leaders of the Russian opposition; whereas he had been detained, arrested and sentenced previously, in attempts to stop his political and public activities; whereas the European Court of Human Rights has declared a number of those procedures abusive and contrary to the principle of a fair trial; whereas Alexei Navalny had been physically attacked in 2017 by a medical disinfectant which left him almost blind, and by means of an alleged poisoning during his detention in 2019; whereas in neither of these cases were the perpetrators brought to justice;

B.  whereas Alexei Navalny is reported to have fallen into a coma on 20 August 2020 on board a domestic Russian flight, was transported to a hospital in the Russian city of Tomsk and, at the request of his family, has been receiving medical treatment at the Charité hospital in Berlin since 22 August 2020;

C.  whereas the attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny took place in the run-up to Russia’s local and regional elections on 13 September 2020, where he and his team had been actively engaged in introducing a ‘smart voting’ strategy to defeat the candidates of the Putin regime; whereas this casts a particularly worrying light on the state of democracy, fundamental freedoms and human rights in the country;

D.  whereas just before his attempted poisoning, Alexei Navalny was in Novosibirsk and Tomsk, where he was investigating cases of corruption among the local governors; whereas through his anti-corruption activities in the regions, Alexei Navalny increased the awareness of such cases among the local public and as a result increased turn-out in regional elections, mobilising the opposition vote; whereas Alexei Navalny has established a system of 40 regional offices around the country, which scrutinise the local authorities on a permanent basis, but are also subject to intimidation and persecution from the Russian authorities;

E.  whereas Alexei Navalny expressed his strong support for the protesters in Khabarovsk and Belarus and regarded the changes in Belarus as inspiration for the people of Russia;

F.  whereas political assassinations and poisonings in Russia are systemic instruments of the regime deliberately targeting the opposition; whereas this is further exacerbated by the unwillingness of the authorities to thoroughly investigate the politically motivated or attempted murders of Anna Politkovskaya, Boris Nemtsov, Sergei Protazanov, Vladimir Kara-Murza and others; whereas representatives of the opposition are systematically subjected to verbal attacks, ad hominem campaigns and dehumanisation by the government or pro-government media;

G.  whereas this most recent assassination attempt is just the latest example of very serious backsliding on the protection of human rights and respect for commonly agreed democratic principles and the rule of law in the Russian Federation;

H.  whereas the ongoing repression of social dissent is reinforced by the impunity of police and security forces as well as the unwillingness of the courts to prosecute the real perpetrators of those crimes, which not only go unpunished but are even rewarded by the Kremlin;

I.  whereas according to the renowned Russian human rights society Memorial, there are over 300 political and religious prisoners in the Russian Federation; whereas the EU shows solidarity with all dissidents and the Russian people, who, despite the threat to their freedom and their lives and the pressure from the Kremlin and the Russian authorities, continue to fight for freedom, human rights and democracy;

J.  whereas politically motivated murders and attempted murders by the Russian secret service have a direct impact on EU internal security;

K.  whereas the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin hospital has concluded that Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent from the Novichok group, which is a military grade of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation; whereas this finding has been confirmed by a specialised laboratory of the German armed forces and multiple laboratories working independently; whereas the Novichok nerve agent was recently used in March 2018 on the territory of the EU in an attack on the former Russian intelligence operative Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, United Kingdom, which also resulted in the accidental death of Amesbury resident Dawn Sturgess;

L.  whereas Russian doctors were the first to treat Alexei Navalny for poisoning and later claimed that there were no traces of poison in his body and tried to prevent him from being transported out of the country, and whereas the Russian authorities deny any connection to the incident;

M.  whereas the Novichok nerve agent is an instrument that is developed for and only available to military structures and secret services in Russia; whereas such substances are regulated by Russian law; whereas the Novichok nerve agent is a chemical weapon that can be developed only in state-owned military laboratories and cannot be acquired by private individuals; whereas should that however be the case, it is a breach of Russia’s international legal commitments;

N.  whereas the Council has called on the Russian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny, has called for a joint international response and has reserved its right to take appropriate actions, including restrictive measures;

O.  whereas under the Chemical Weapons Convention, any poisoning of an individual through the use of a nerve agent is considered a use of chemical weapons and whereas the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances constitutes a serious breach of international law and international human rights standards; whereas following the unanimous adoption of two proposals to that effect, including one put forward by the Russian Federation, Novichok was added to the list of controlled substances of the Chemical Weapons Convention and is therefore subject to the most stringent control guidelines under the Convention;

P.  whereas the rights to freedom of thought and speech, association, and peaceful assembly are enshrined in the constitution of the Russian Federation;

Q.  whereas Russian state-controlled information outlets are attempting to negate the responsibility of the Russian authorities in the attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny by spreading disinformation and diverting the focus from the continuous violations of democracy, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and human rights in the Russian Federation;

R.  whereas the 13 September 2020 regional elections in Russia resulted in a record number of complaints about the falsification of results; whereas in cities where Alexei Navalny was present before his attempted poisoning (Novosibirsk and Tomsk), his smart voting system proved to be effective and helped to defeat Putin’s candidates;

S.  whereas the European Parliament has officially come to the conclusion that Russia can no longer be considered a ‘strategic partner’, also in the light of its antagonistic foreign policy, including military interventions and illegal occupations in third countries;

1.  Strongly condemns the attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny and expresses its utmost concern about the repeated use of chemical nerve agents against Russian citizens;

2.  Recalls that the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances constitutes a reprehensible crime under international law, in particular under the Chemical Weapons Convention;

3.  Underlines that the attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny was part of a systemic effort to silence him and other dissident voices, and to deter him and those voices from further exposing serious corruption in the regime and deter political opposition in the country in general, in particular with a view to influencing Russia’s local and regional by-elections of 11-13 September 2020;

4.  Reiterates that the case of Alexei Navalny is one element of a wider Russian policy focusing on oppressive internal policies and aggressive actions worldwide, spreading instability and chaos, restabilising its sphere of influence and dominance, and undermining the rules-based international order;

5.  Asks for the immediate launch of an international investigation (with the involvement of the EU, the UN, the Council of Europe, their allies and the OPCW) and emphasises its resolve to contribute to such an investigation; calls on the OPCW to establish a detailed investigation into breaches of Russia’s international commitments in the area of chemical weapons; calls on the Russian authorities to fully cooperate with the OPCW to ensure an impartial international investigation and to hold to account those responsible for the crime committed against Alexei Navalny;

6.  Calls on the Foreign Affairs Council to take an active stance on this matter at its meeting on 21 September 2020; demands that the EU establishes as soon as possible a list of ambitious restrictive measures vis-à-vis Russia and strengthens its existing sanctions against Russia; urges the deployment of such sanctions mechanisms as would allow for the collection and freezing of the European assets of corrupt individuals in accordance with the findings of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation;

7.  Calls on the Russian authorities to put an end to the harassment, intimidation, violence and repression of their political opponents by ending the prevailing climate of impunity, which has already led to the loss of lives of many journalists, human rights defenders and opposition politicians; underlines the need to ensure that such individuals are able to carry out their legitimate and useful activities without any interference and without fearing for their lives or for those of their family members and friends;

8.  Calls for the EU to continuously demand that Russia repeal or amend all laws incompatible with international standards, including the illegally enacted recent changes to the Russian Constitution and its legal framework for elections and the legislation on foreign agents and undesirable organisations in order to facilitate pluralism and free and fair elections and create a level playing field for opposition candidates;

9.  Expresses its solidarity with the democratic forces in Russia, which are committed to an open and free society, and its support for all individuals and organisations who are the targets of attacks and repression;

10.  Underlines the duty of the Russian Federation, as a member of the UN Security Council, to respect international law and the relevant agreements and conventions, and to comply fully with its international commitments, including cooperation with the OPCW in investigating any breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention;

11.  Urges the Russian Federation to address the questions raised by the international community urgently and to provide immediate, full and complete disclosure of its Novichok programme to the OPCW;

12.  Stresses that the Russian Federation, as a member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, has committed to respecting fundamental freedoms, human rights and the rule of law as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

13.  Calls on the VP/HR and the European External Action Service to ensure that the cases of all persons prosecuted for political reasons are raised in EU-Russia human rights consultations, when resumed, and to formally request that Russia’s representatives in these consultations respond in every case; calls on the Presidents of the Council and the Commission, and the VP/HR, to continue to follow such cases closely, to raise these issues in different formats and meetings with Russia, and to report back to Parliament on exchanges with the Russian authorities;

14.  Calls on the Member States to coordinate their positions vis-à-vis Russia and to speak with one unified voice in bilateral and multilateral forums with Russian authorities;

15.  Reiterates that it is of the utmost urgency to launch a thorough and strategic reassessment of the EU’s relations with Russia, which would include the following principles:

   (a) to call on the VP/HR to review EU policy vis-à-vis Russia and the five guiding principles for the EU’s relations with Russia and to develop a new comprehensive strategy, which will be conditional on further developments in the area of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights by the Russian leadership and authorities;
   (b) to call on the Member States to continue to isolate Russia in international forums (such as the G7 and other formats) and to critically review the EU’s cooperation with Russia through various foreign policy platforms;
   (c) to call on the Council to prioritise the approval of the EU Magnitsky-style human rights sanctions mechanism and its implementation in the near future, which will include a list of individuals and could also include sectoral sanctions aimed at the Russian regime;
   (d) in the light of the Navalny case reiterates its previous position to halt the Nord Stream 2 project;
   (e) to call on the Council to adopt an EU strategy to support Russian dissidents, non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations, and independent media/reporters, making full use of human rights defender mechanisms, creating additional opportunities for young Russians to study in the EU, and assisting with the launch of a Russian university in exile in one of the Member States;
   (f) to call on the Council to immediately start preparations and adopt an EU strategy for future relations with a democratic Russia, including a broad offer of incentives and conditions to strengthen domestic tendencies towards freedom and democracy;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation.


The situation in the Philippines, including the case of Maria Ressa
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the situation in the Philippines, including the case of Maria Ressa (2020/2782(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0233RC-B9-0290/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in the Philippines, in particular those of 15 September 2016(1), of 16 March 2017(2) and of 19 April 2018(3),

–  having regard to the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the EU (at the time the European Economic Community (EEC)) established on 12 May 1964,

–  having regard to the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of the Philippines, of the other part,

–  having regard to the status of the Philippines as a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),

–  having regard to the Joint Staff Working Document on the EU Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP+) assessment of the Philippines covering the period 2018-2019, of 10 February 2020 (SWD(2020)0024),

–  having regard to the Statement by the EEAS Spokesperson of 16 June 2020 on the conviction of Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos,

–  having regard to the EU guidelines on human rights,

–  having regard to the Resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on 11 July 2019 on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines,

–  having regard to the Report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet of 30 June 2020 on the situation of human rights in the Philippines,

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

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966,

–  having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,

–  having regard to the Philippines Republic Act. no.11479 of 3 July 2020, also known as the Anti-Terrorism Act,

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

A.  whereas the Philippines and the EU have long-standing diplomatic, economic, cultural and political relations; whereas through ratification of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the European Union and the Philippines have reaffirmed their joint commitment to the principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, human rights, the promotion of social and economic development, and to peace and security in the region;

B.  whereas the report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Philippines of 30 June 2020 found that the killings related to the government’s anti-drug campaign were ‘widespread and systematic,’ and that at least 8 663 people had been killed according to government data; whereas there are estimates of up to triple that number; whereas President Duterte has explicitly encouraged the police to commit extrajudicial executions, and promised them immunity, while police officers involved in such practices have received promotions; whereas President Duterte has vowed to continue his anti-drug campaign until the end of his current presidential term in 2022; whereas a majority of victims are from poor and marginalised communities;

C.  whereas the space for civil society is shrinking to an increasing extent; whereas human rights defenders, journalists and activists routinely face threats, harassment, intimidation and violence for seeking to expose allegations of extra-judicial killings and other human rights abuses in the country; whereas according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) ‘human rights advocacy is routinely equated with insurgency’; whereas according to the OHCHR, at least 208 human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists, including 30 women, were killed between January 2015 and December 2019;

D.  whereas Maria Ressa, a Filipino journalist and co-founder and CEO of the news website Rappler, has long been targeted for her criticism of the government’s ‘war on drugs’ and for Rappler’s critical reporting on extrajudicial killings; whereas Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr, a Rappler researcher, were charged with ‘cyber libel’, convicted on 15 June 2020 by a Manila Regional Trial Court to an undetermined sentence, with the possibility of facing up to six years in prison; whereas Ms Ressa and Rappler are facing at least six other charges;

E.  whereas in early July 2020, the Philippine Congress voted to deny the renewal of the broadcast franchise of ABS-CBN, the country’s largest TV and radio network; whereas the refusal to renew its broadcasting licence by President Duterte is seen as an act of retaliation for the media’s coverage of the anti-drugs campaign and serious human rights abuses;

F.  whereas Senator Leila de Lima, one of the main opponents of President Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign, was removed from her position as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights on 19 September 2016, and has remained in detention awaiting trial since her arrest on 24 February 2017; whereas there are serious concerns that the offences Senator de Lima has been charged with are fabricated and politically motivated;

G.  whereas according to Global Witness at least 43 land rights defenders were killed in 2019; whereas most of them were community leaders and active participants in campaigns against mining projects and agribusiness;

H.  whereas indigenous people in the Philippines account for 10-20 % of the entire population; whereas in 2018 the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples identified the Philippines as a country among those with the highest worldwide incidence of criminalisation and attacks against indigenous human rights defenders; whereas the UN has warned that the militarisation of indigenous territories and restrictions on the freedom of assembly and expression are increasing, and that these developments are closely linked to business interests; whereas the persistent lack of security and economic development on the island of Mindanao, as well as the reported violations of international humanitarian law and the lack of progress in transitional justice and reconciliation, remain serious concerns;

I.  whereas Zara Alvarez, a legal worker for the human rights group Karapatan, was shot dead on 17 August 2020; whereas Ms Alvarez had received repeated threats, was subjected to harassment because of her human rights work, and was the 13th member of her organisation killed since mid-2016; whereas Randall ‘Randy’ Echanis, a peace advocate, land rights activist and member of Karapatan, was tortured and killed on 10 August 2020; whereas according to the OHCHR, both Mr Echanis and Ms Alvarez had been repeatedly ‘red-tagged’ (labelled as terrorists or communists), and their names figured on the list of at least 600 people the Philippine Department of Justice asked a court to declare ‘terrorists’ in 2018;

J.  whereas the OHCHR and UN special rapporteurs have raised concerns about what appears to be ‘a pattern of intimidation’ of independent news sources; whereas in 2020 Philippines ranked 136 out of 180 countries in the Press Freedom Ranking published annually by Reporters Without Borders; whereas 16 journalists have been assassinated since Mr. Duterte has been in power;

K.  whereas in March 2018, the Philippines withdrew from the International Criminal Court (ICC) after the ICC started its ‘preliminary examination’ of the complaint filed against Mr Duterte in connection with the high number of killings under the anti-drug campaign;

L.  whereas in 2017, the House of Representatives of the Philippines approved a bill to reinstate the death penalty; whereas this bill requires prior approval of the Senate before President Duterte - who is actively campaigning for its reinstatement - can enact it into law; whereas reintroduction of the death penalty would be in clear violation of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Philippines is party;

M.  whereas the Philippines authorities adopted the new Anti-Terrorism Act on 3 July 2020; whereas according to local civil society groups, the law weakens human rights safeguards to an alarming degree, broadens the definition of terrorism, and expands the period of detention without a warrant from 3 to 14 days, thereby blurring important distinctions between criticism, criminality and terrorism, which raises issues of legality and further increases the risks of human rights violations;

N.  whereas, President Duterte has repeatedly engaged in sexist and misogynistic speech and behaviour; whereas according to local NGOs, cases of violence and sexual abuse against women, including women human rights defenders, have increased during the Duterte administration; whereas women human rights defenders face degrading and sexually charged comments, rape threats and attacks;

O.  whereas in the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Report of 2020, the Philippines is included in the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world for workers; whereas the Philippine trade union movement has complained about the repression of workers’ rights, including through ‘red-tagging’, disappearances and killings of labour leaders and trade unionists;

P.  whereas the LGBTQI community faces continuous harassment; whereas President Duterte has repeatedly referred to political opponents’ sexual orientation as a smear against them, and publicly made statements in May 2019 implying that homosexuality is a disease; whereas in June 2020 the police cracked down on a LGBTQI pride event and reportedly arrested 20 people;

Q.  whereas there are an estimated 60 000 to 100 000 children in the Philippines involved in prostitution rings; whereas an undetermined number of children are forced to work under exploitative labour conditions; whereas UNICEF has expressed serious concern about the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility;

R.  whereas in 2019 Philippines ranked 113 out of 180 countries in the Corruption Ranking published annually by Transparency International;

S.  whereas since 25 December 2014 the Philippines has enjoyed enhanced trade preferences under the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+); whereas this status is dependent upon its ratification and implementation of 27 international conventions on human rights, labour rights, environmental protection, and good governance; whereas in 2019, 25 % of total Philippine exports to the EU (almost EUR 2 billion) received preferential treatment under this scheme; whereas despite noting major backsliding in the country’s human rights record, the EU has so far not triggered the mechanism that could lead to the suspension of these trade benefits;

1.  Expresses its deepest concern at the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines under President Duterte; acknowledges the publication of the report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of June 2020, and calls on the Government of the Philippines to adopt and implement all the recommendations listed therein;

2.  Strongly condemns the thousands of extrajudicial killings and other serious human rights violations related to the so-called ‘war on drugs’; calls on the Government of the Philippines to put an immediate end to all violence targeting suspected drug offenders, and to disband private and state-backed paramilitary groups; insists that the fight against illicit drugs must be pursued in full compliance with due process of law, in accordance with national and international law, and with emphasis on public health;

3.  Condemns all threats, harassment, intimidation, rape and violence against those who seek to expose allegations of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations in the country, including human rights and environmental activists, trade unionists and journalists; denounces the misuse of the law and judiciary systems as a means of silencing critical voices;

4.  Calls on the authorities of the Philippines to immediately carry out impartial, transparent, independent and meaningful investigations into all extrajudicial killings, including the deaths of Jory Porquia, Randall ‘Randy’ Echanis and Zara Alvarez, as well as into other alleged violations;

5.  Is alarmed about the deteriorating level of press freedom in the Philippines; condemns all threats, harassment, intimidation, unfair prosecutions, and violence against journalists, including the case of Maria Ressa; calls for all politically motivated charges against her and her colleagues to be dropped; recalls that press freedom and freedom of expression are fundamental components of democracy; calls on the Philippine authorities to renew the broadcast licence of the main audio-visual group, ABS-CBN; calls on the EU Delegation and EU Member States’ representations in Manila to closely monitor the cases against Maria Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr, and to provide all necessary assistance;

6.  Reiterates its call on the authorities of the Philippines to drop all politically motivated charges against Senator Leila de Lima, to release her while she awaits trial, to allow her to freely exercise her rights and duties as an elected representative, and to provide her with adequate security and sanitary conditions while in detention; calls on the EU to continue closely monitoring her case;

7.  Recalls its strong support for all human rights and environmental defenders in the Philippines and their work; calls on the EU delegation and Member States’ representations in the country to strengthen their support for civil society in their engagement with Philippine authorities, and to use all available instruments to increase their support for human rights and environmental defenders’ work, and, where appropriate, to facilitate the issuing of emergency visas, and provide temporary shelter in the EU Member States;

8.  Urges the Philippine authorities to recognise that human rights defenders play a legitimate role in guaranteeing peace, justice and democracy; invites the Philippine authorities to guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders and journalists in the country, and to ensure that they can carry out their work in an enabling environment and without fear of reprisals; welcomes the unanimous adoption by the Philippines House of Representatives of the Human Rights Defender Protection Law, and calls on the Senate and the President to urgently enact it;

9.  Expresses serious concern at the recent adoption of the Anti-Terrorism Act, and recalls that in no circumstance can advocacy, protest, dissent, strikes and other similar exercise of civil and political rights be considered terrorist acts;

10.  Urges the EU and its Member States to support the adoption of a resolution at the ongoing 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent international investigation into human rights violations committed in the Philippines since 2016;

11.  Deeply regrets the decision of the Government of the Philippines to withdraw from the Rome Statute; calls on the Government to reverse this decision; encourages the ICC to continue its inquiry into the allegations of crimes against humanity in the context of the killings during the ‘war on drugs’; calls on the Government of the Philippines to cooperate fully with the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC in its preliminary examination of the situation in the Philippines;

12.  Calls again on the authorities of the Philippines to immediately halt ongoing procedures to reinstate the death penalty; recalls that the EU considers capital punishment to be a cruel and inhuman punishment which fails to act as a deterrent to criminal behaviour;

13.  Urges the Philippines to respect its obligations under international law to protect the human rights of indigenous peoples, including in the context of armed conflict; calls on the Government to uphold their rights, empower them, and adopt effective policy to improve their living conditions;

14.  Condemns all forms of violence against women, and recalls that such violence constitutes a serious violation of the human rights and dignity of women and girls; strongly condemns President Duterte’s repeated misogynist statements; calls on the President to treat women with respect, and to refrain from inciting violence against women;

15.  Condemns all forms of violence against LGBTQI people, and recalls that such violence constitutes a serious violation of the human rights and dignity of a person; strongly condemns President Duterte’s demeaning and sexist statements about people who identify as belonging to the LGBTQI community;

16.  Is alarmed about increasing levels of corruption under the current Philippine administration; calls on the Philippine authorities to step up efforts to tackle corruption effectively; underscores the importance of respecting fundamental principles of democracy and rule of law in this regard;

17.  Recalls that measures adopted by governments in response to the pandemic should protect and not undermine the human rights of citizens; stresses that these measures should be necessary, proportionate and non-discriminatory, should comply with international human rights obligations and national laws, and should be kept in place only as long as they are strictly required, and not be used as a pretext to limit democratic and civic space, fundamental freedoms, and the respect of the rule of law;

18.  Is appalled by the practice of trafficking, military recruitment and involvement of children in conflicts in the country, and urges the Philippine Government to stop such practices; encourages the Government to increase its efforts to protect all children from abuse, and to uphold their rights, including the right to education of indigenous children; strongly opposes any proposal to further lower the age of criminal responsibility;

19.  Denounces the threats, intimidation and personal attacks directed against UN Special Procedure mandate holders; urges the authorities of the Philippines to cooperate with the OHCHR and all UN human rights mechanisms, including by facilitating country visits and refraining from acts of intimidation or retaliation against them;

20.  Given the seriousness of the human rights violations in the country, calls on the European Commission, in the absence of any substantial improvement and willingness to cooperate on the part of the Philippine authorities, to immediately initiate the procedure which could lead to the temporary withdrawal of GSP+ preferences;

21.  Calls on the Philippine authorities to support the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), and to ensure effective human rights due diligence processes for investment, development and business projects, especially with regard to large scale agribusiness acquisitions, extractive industries, infrastructure projects and cooperation involving the security sector; calls on companies based in or operating within the EU to strictly comply with the UNGPs and both international and national human rights law, as well as to conduct a meticulous and comprehensive due diligence process in relation to all their business operations and relationships within the country;

22.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to closely monitor the situation in the Philippines, and to regularly report to the European Parliament;

23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments of the Member States, the President, the Government and Congress of the Philippines, the governments of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

(1) OJ C 204, 13.6.2018, p. 123.
(2) OJ C 263, 25.7.2018, p. 113.
(3) OJ C 390, 18.11.2019, p. 104.


The case of Dr Denis Mukwege in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the case of Dr Denis Mukwege in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2020/2783(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0234RC-B9-0287/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), notably that of 18 January 2018(1),

–  having regard to the declaration of 20 May 2020 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative (VP/HR) on behalf of the EU on the security situation in Ituri,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 9 December 2019 on the Democratic Republic of the Congo,

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolutions, notably Resolution 2528 of 25 June 2020 on the situation concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Resolution 2463 of 29 March 2019 on the extension of the of the mandate of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO);

–  having regard to the measures laid down in UN Security Council Resolution 2528, which renewed until July 2021 a series of sanctions such as an arms embargo on armed groups in the DRC, a travel ban on individuals and an asset freeze on individuals and entities designated by the Sanctions Committee,

–  having regard to the UN Report of August 2010 of the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the DRC between March 1993 and June 2003,

–  having regard to the award of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Dr Denis Mukwege in 2014,

–  having regard to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Dr Denis Mukwege in 2018,

–  having regard to the statement made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, of 28 August 2020,

–  having regard to the joint statement of VP/HR Josep Borrell and UN Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten of 18 June 2020 on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflicts,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 laying down supply chain due diligence obligations for Union importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas(2),

–  having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the Members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part (the Cotonou Agreement),

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which was adopted on 27 June 1981 and entered into force on 21 October 1986,

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which was adopted unanimously on 31 October 2000,

–  having regard to the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Congo, adopted on 18 February 2006,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

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

A.  whereas the DRC continues to suffer violence, attacks, killings and widespread human rights violations perpetrated by domestic and foreign armed groups, notably in the east of the country; whereas these attacks have been multiplying in recent weeks, in particular on the border between Ituri and North Kivu;

B.  whereas Dr Denis Mukwege, renown DRC gynaecologist, has dedicated most of his life to putting an end to the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict; whereas in 1999, Dr Mukwege founded the Panzi hospital in Bukavu to treat victims of sexual and gender-based violence in eastern DRC; whereas nearly 55 000 survivors have been treated in the Panzi hospital from the date it was founded up until August 2018;

C.  whereas Dr Mukwege has long been outspoken in the defence of human rights, on the need for accountability, and on the implementation of recommendations of the UN human rights report mapping abuses in the region between 1993 and 2003; whereas Dr Mukwege narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in October 2012, when gunmen in civilian clothes attacked his home in Bukavu, during which his bodyguard lost his life;

D.  whereas Dr Mukwege has received serious and sustained threats, including death threats against himself, his family and the medical staff in the Panzi hospital; whereas the number of these threats have been increasing in recent months in response to Dr Mukwege’s repeated calls in July 2020 to bring an end to impunity for perpetrators of sexual crimes and massacres in Kipupu, Sange and in Ituri province;

E.  whereas Dr Mukwege was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 and the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2014 for dedicating his life to providing care for victims of sexual violence in the DRC; whereas as a Sakharov laureate, Dr Mukwege is entitled to the European Parliament’s full support; whereas Dr Mukwege has become a prominent public figure and an international symbol through his achievements and international recognitions, and warrants special protection against threats;

F.  whereas in August 2020, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Félix Tshisekedi, condemned the death threats and pledged to take measures to ensure the safety of Dr Mukwege;

G.  whereas security protection for Dr Mukwege and the Panzi hospital has been provided by the UN through MONUSCO; whereas this protection was withdrawn in May 2020 but was reinstated on 9 September 2020 following international outcry concerning Dr Mukwege’s safety, which included calls from the European Parliament; whereas Dr Mukwege’s long-term protection remains unclear and must be ensured;

H.  whereas protesters have taken to the streets of Kinshasa, the DRC capital, to express support for Dr Denis Mukwege, calling for his protection;

I.  whereas on 12 March 2017, armed men executed two UN investigators – Zaida Catalán, a Swede, and Michael Sharp, an American – while they were documenting human rights abuses in the central Kasai region of the DRC;

J.  whereas on 22 July 2020, several human rights defenders and members of citizens’ movement Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA) were arbitrarily arrested in Kalehe (South Kivu) for denouncing the theft of the public street lighting that had been installed to improve safety; whereas human rights defender and LUCHA member Lucien Byamungu Munganga was arbitrarily arrested in Kalehe while he was peacefully protesting for their release, and is currently in detention at Kalehe central prison; whereas concern has been expressed for human rights defender Josué Aruna – Bukavu-based provincial president of Société Civile Environnementale et Agro-Rurale du Congo;

K.  whereas the DRC has been a signatory of the Maputo Protocol since March 2018;

L.  whereas on 3 September 2020, 20 DRC soldiers and police officers received prison sentences of between 5 and 20 years for rape in the east of the DRC;

M.  whereas the European Parliament on 12 August 2020, the VP/HR on 20 August 2020, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on 28 August 2020, as well as a number of national and international institutions and organisations on a number of other occasions publicly called on the DRC authorities to undertake criminal investigations concerning the ongoing threats targeting Dr Mukwege and to reinstate UN peacekeepers protection;

N.  whereas the United Nations expressed its commitment to continue training DRC counterparts in order to enable a stable and long-term security solution;

1.  Is deeply concerned by the grave danger experienced by Dr Mukwege; condemns the threats to his life and the threats against his family and staff; expresses its full solidarity with and support for Dr Mukwege;

2.  Commends Dr Mukwege for his courage and his life-long commitment to fighting the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict; stresses the importance of Dr Mukwege’s public stance, which he has maintained for several decades, on denouncing human rights violations and abuses committed in the DRC;

3.  Welcomes the decision by the UN to reinstate MONUSCO security protection for Dr Mukwege; reiterates that his personal protection is paramount and urgent; urges the UN to ensure his stable and sustained protection, particularly in the light of the serious threats made to his life;

4.  Urges the DRC Government undertake without delay a comprehensive investigation into the threats made through social media, phone calls and direct messages targeting not only Dr Mukwege, but also his family and the Panzi Hospital staff, as promised by President Félix Tshisekedi;

5.  Stresses that the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is not just an award, it is a commitment made by the Members of the European Parliament to promote human rights together with the Sakharov Prize laureates and to make every effort to ensure that the laureate may freely and safely continue to act in defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms;

6.  Welcomes Dr Mukwege’s outspoken commitment to the work undertaken in the 2010 UN report of the mapping exercise; condemns the lack of progress made by the international community in implementing its recommendations; calls on the DRC authorities to reinforce efforts to prevent further human rights violations in the eastern DRC, and to take steps to establish mechanisms that will ensure victims of future conflicts their rights to justice and reparation;

7.  Supports, therefore, the proposals for setting up specialised mixed chambers in DRC courts to allow the DRC judiciary and the international community to cooperate and prosecute human rights abuses;

8.  Urges the DRC Government to review the work of its previous Truth and Reconciliation Commission; fully supports the request that President Tshisekedi’s made to his government to set up a transitional justice mechanism that would judge the most serious crimes and strongly hopes for the timely adoption of the two draft decrees by the Council of Ministers, which have been under consideration for several months;

9.  Calls on the member states of the UN Security Council to call for the establishment of an international criminal tribunal that would take forward the documented cases of human rights abuses dating back prior to 2002;

10.  Strongly condemns the arbitrary arrests of Lucien Byamungu Munganga and fellow LUCHA members and calls for their unconditional and immediate release; underlines the importance of protecting human rights defenders, such as Josué Aruna;

11.  Considers it a positive step forward that, on 3 September 2020, soldiers guilty of rape in the eastern part of the DRC were convicted; considers it necessary to step up the fight against the impunity of militias and armed forces in the country in order to ensure peace and security for the populations concerned;

12.  Praises all human rights defenders in the DRC, who still carry out their work in spite of the challenges they are faced with, and welcomes the open condemnation of the events by several national and international organisations;

13.  Calls on the VP/HR, the EU delegation to and EU missions in the DRC to increase their visible support to human rights defenders at risk in the DRC, using all available tools (i.e. political, diplomatic and financial) as a protective measure to provide recognition to their human rights work and acknowledge their important role as human rights defenders in fighting for stability and peace in the region;

14.  Calls on the EU to maintain sanctions against perpetrators of violence and human rights abuses in the DRC and calls for the extension of these sanctions to the perpetrators cited in the UN report of the mapping exercise;

15.  Condemns the use of sexual violence against women in conflicts and calls on the international community to accelerate its efforts to eliminate the scourge of sexual and gender-based violence in armed conflicts and wars, to protect victims, to put an end impunity for the perpetrators, and to guarantee access to justice, reparations and redress for survivors;

16.  Welcomes the progress made through the ratification of the Maputo Protocol for women’s rights; underlines the importance of the implementation of this Protocol;

17.  Recalls that the violence in eastern DRC is perpetuated by armed domestic and foreign rebel groups, which are financed by and vying for access to the mineral trade; emphasises that any business, individual or state or state-related actor contributing to the perpetration of such crimes must be brought to justice; welcomes the scheduled entry into force of the Conflict Minerals Regulation in the EU in January 2021, which is the first of many steps needed by the international community to address this deep-rooted problem; stresses the urgent need for further action on mandatory due diligence and responsible business conduct by businesses operating in conflict zones;

18.  Strongly urges cross-border cooperation in the African Great Lakes region and the establishment of a regional strategy by neighbouring countries to address the violence and human rights abuses in the DRC;

19.  Deplores the sine die postponement of the Goma mini-summit, which was initially scheduled for 13 September 2020, following the invitation from the DRC, in an effort to convene the five Heads of State of the African Great Lakes region to discuss ways to bring peace to the region; strongly hopes that this summit can be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity and can lead to the easing of tensions between bordering countries;

20.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the ACP-EU Council of Ministers and Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the President, Prime Minister and Parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the African Union and its institutions.

(1) OJ C 458, 19.12.2018, p. 52.
(2) OJ L 130, 19.5.2017, p. 1.


The humanitarian situation in Mozambique
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the humanitarian situation in Mozambique (2020/2784(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0235RC-B9-0300/2020

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to the international conventions and protocols against terrorism,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966,

–  having regard to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

–  having regard to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Mozambique Situation Report of 10 September 2020(1),

–  having regard to the OCHA Mozambique Situation Report of 29 June 2020,

–  having regard to the opinion on Mozambique adopted at the 87th session of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) on 1 May 2020,

–  having regard to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports on Mozambique,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of 12 April 2016,

–  having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1984, and to the Optional Protocol thereto, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2002,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Mozambique of 22 April 2020,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 9 March 2020 entitled ‘Towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa’ (JOIN(2020)0004),

–  having regard to the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2019: Mozambique,

–  having regard to the EU’s National Indicative Programme Mozambique and the 11th European Development Fund 2014-2020,

–  having regard to the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Mozambique Final Report on the General and Provincial Assembly Elections of 15 October 2019,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

–  having regard to the 28th Political Dialogue between the EU and Mozambique of 5 June 2020,

–  having regard to the Economic Partnership Agreement between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the EU,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Mozambique and the SADC region,

–  having regard to the statement of 29 June 2020 by the Co-President of ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance,

–  having regard to the Organization of African Unity Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism,

–  having regard to the founding principles of the SADC,

–  having regard to the SADC conclusions of 17 August 2020 on Mozambique,

–  having regard to the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement of 2019,

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

A.  whereas since October 2017 the so-called Al-Shabaab terrorist group, allegedly affiliated with the armed group calling itself Islamic State of Central Africa Province, has launched over 500 violent attacks in the northern Cabo Delgado province, terrorising the local population, claiming over 1 500 lives and leading to the displacement of over 250 000 people and over 700 000 people requiring assistance;

B.  whereas the terrorist attacks have become more and more violent, and numerous villages have been attacked, with over 1 000 homes burned or destroyed; whereas there have been reports that militants have begun kidnapping women and girls;

C.  whereas in August jihadist groups captured the strategic port city of Mocimboa da Praia, which is a crucial port for the facilitation of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exploitation; whereas Al-Shabaab’s continued hold on the city suggests that the terrorist group is becoming stronger and more sophisticated;

D.  whereas the Islamist insurgents are increasingly resorting to the illegal drug trade as a source of financing;

E.  whereas Mozambique has no history of Islamist militancy; whereas about 30 per cent of Mozambique’s 31 million people are Roman Catholics, while 18 per cent are Muslim and only two provinces – Cabo Delgado and Niassa – have a Muslim majority;

F.  whereas the military actions by the Mozambican authorities have not been able to stop the attacks and allow this humanitarian emergency, which has been deteriorating at an alarming rate, to be tackled;

G.  whereas Mozambican government security forces have responded with disproportionate violence, at times in contravention of international human rights commitments; whereas the Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi had admitted to ‘involuntary violations’ of human rights by the authorities in Cabo Delgado; whereas incidents of crackdowns on freedom of expression, as well as harassment of journalists, have been reported;

H.  whereas the Mozambican army is ill-equipped to deal with the surge in terrorism in the region; whereas legitimate fears persist that the insurgency will spread to neighbouring countries and destabilise the region;

I.  whereas more than half of the people affected by violence in Cabo Delgado are children; whereas there have been complaints regarding the recruitment of children into armed groups, kidnappings and sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls; whereas the population is often taken hostage in the fighting between armed groups and state military forces;

J.  whereas Mozambique has an obligation to uphold fundamental human rights standards through the international conventions which it has ratified, particularly in its detention facilities; whereas the barbaric actions attributed to Al-Shabaab should not be met by further violations of human rights by the security forces of Mozambique;

K.  whereas the Agency for the Integrated Development of the North, ADIN (Agencia de desenvolvimento integrado do norte), was launched in March 2020 with the specific aim of addressing the north’s socio-economic shortcomings;

L.  whereas in August 2019 a Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement was signed with the aim of bringing peace to the country, ending violence, achieving democratic inclusion and improving the human and civil rights situation;

M.  whereas Mozambique remains in a very fragile situation and is struggling to cope with numerous security, economic and social challenges; whereas Mozambique is among the poorest and least developed countries, ranking 180th out of 189 on the Human Development Index, with the average life expectancy at birth standing at only 58 years; whereas more than 10 million Mozambicans live in extreme poverty and food insecurity; whereas this situation particularly affects women and vulnerable groups, who experience the greatest difficulties;

N.  whereas COVID-19 has further exposed the fragilities of the regional economy, which, in the absence of adequate social protection, has left millions of people employed in the informal economy and those who have lost their jobs facing hunger and destitution, and exposed to vulnerabilities, including in some cases basic human rights abuses; whereas Mozambique has registered a total of over 4 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 11 provinces of the country and 27 deaths, as of 9 September 2020;

O.  whereas Mozambique has experienced devastating climate-related natural disasters in recent years, including two major cyclones in 2019, which have compounded already high poverty levels and insecurity; whereas such disasters have led to widespread food insecurity and chronic malnutrition in parts of the country, with over 43 per cent of children under the age of five stunted; whereas a total of 7,9 million people are estimated to be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in 2020;

P.  whereas solidarity within Mozambique has been growing, with the plight of the people in Cabo Delgado attracting particular attention, which has led young people in Mozambique in particular to launch a National Solidarity Campaign for Cabo Delgado under the hashtag #CaboDelgadoTambénÉMocambique (Cabo Delgado is also Mozambique) in order to raise awareness of the tragic situation in the region;

Q.  whereas in 2010 and 2013, immense gas reserves were discovered in Mozambique: whereas these reserves comprise approximately 5 000 billion cubic meters, the 9th largest gas reserves in the world; whereas this potentially places Mozambique among the four largest producers of LNG in the world; whereas it is expected that at least USD 60 billion will be invested over the next few years to exploit these reserves, the largest investments ever made in sub-Saharan Africa;

R.  whereas European and all other foreign industrial and economic interests in Mozambique should be conducted with the UN`s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights at their roots; whereas the Commission is exploring mandatory due diligence commitments to ensure that EU investors and those involved in the extraction industries act responsibly and contribute to local development in countries such as Mozambique;

S.  whereas Mozambique and, in particular, the Cabo Delgado region, while demonstrating Mozambique’s highest rates of illiteracy, inequality and child malnutrition, is rich in natural resources and raw materials, something which has attracted investment by numerous international and EU companies which are competing for market access of natural resources; whereas, according to some reports, the revenues from natural resources have been unevenly distributed in Mozambique;

T.  whereas on 13 April 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved immediate debt service relief to 25 member countries, including some USD 309 million to Mozambique under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;

U.  whereas on 4 June 2020, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Mozambique, Myrta Kaulard, called on the international community to scale up its support to Mozambique;

V.  whereas the European Union has pledged EUR 200 million in recovery support for Mozambique in the wake of the 2019 cyclones, followed by EUR 110 million in European Union COVID-19 support;

W.  whereas the SADC’s 2015 regional counter-terrorism strategy, which was developed in line with the UN global counter-terrorism strategy, provides for assistance in preventing youth radicalisation, border security, humanitarian aid and tackling the root causes of terrorism;

X.  whereas Mozambique currently holds the rotating presidency of the SADC; whereas during its 40th Summit on 17 August 2020, the regional organisation ‘commended the country for its continued efforts towards combating terrorism and violent attacks’ and ‘expressed SADC solidarity and commitment to support Mozambique in addressing the terrorism and violent attacks, and condemned all acts of terrorism and armed attacks’;

Y.  whereas in April 2020, both the EU Delegation in Mozambique and the Council raised serious concerns regarding the attacks in Cabo Delgado and the escalation of violence against civilians;

Z.  whereas in spite of its brutality and the horrible loss of life, the situation in Cabo Delgado failed to attract international attention, which meant that precious time to effectively tackle the issue at an earlier stage was lost;

1.  Declares its grave concern about the deteriorating security situation in northern Mozambique, in particular the Cabo Delgado Province, and expresses its condolences to the victims of the violence, who number over 1 500; expresses its solidarity and support to its people, especially to the more than 250 000 people who had to flee their homes;

2.  Underlines that the current security problems further aggravate an already extremely fragile humanitarian situation deriving from high levels of underdevelopment, climate shocks and conflicts;

3.  Calls on the Mozambican authorities to take effective and decisive action in countering the Islamist insurgence and to protect all citizens of Cabo Delgado; expresses serious concern that the insurgency is gaining increasing support among regional and international terrorist organisations; points, in this context, to the unfortunate similarities with other regions, such as the Sahel and Horn of Africa;

4.  Underlines that if not stopped, the insurgency will potentially grow and spill over into neighbouring countries, threatening regional stability; underlines, in this context, the need for an effective and sustainable policy by both the national government and regional and international actors;

5.  Reminds the Government of Mozambique of its responsibility to bring all those suspected of terrorist activity to justice through fair trials; calls on the Government of Mozambique to launch an independent and impartial investigation into torture and other grave violations allegedly committed by its security forces in Cabo Delgado; recalls that Mozambique is a party to the ICCPR, to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and to the UN Convention against Torture, which prohibit torture and other ill-treatment and arbitrary deprivation of life;

6.  Underlines the importance of protecting the rights of journalists, human rights defenders, activists and all those simply exercising their human rights and expressing their views on issues of public concern; calls on the Mozambican authorities to conduct an impartial investigation into all suspected cases of vandalism of news outlets, suppression of freedom of speech and accusations pertaining to the harassment and intimidation of journalists;

7.  Calls on the Mozambican authorities to ensure the promotion of democracy, human rights, effective local governance and the effective restoration of the rule of law in northern Mozambique; recalls that compliance with international humanitarian law and respect for democratic liberties are also crucial for the success of the definitive Peace Agreement signed in 2019 between the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) and the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo);

8.  Underlines the importance of pursuing the necessary reforms in order to adequately respond to the needs of the Mozambican people, preventing them from being vulnerable targets of radicalisation; underlines in particular the urgent need to create jobs and opportunities for the people in Cabo Delgado, in particular young people; stresses further the need to work towards the elimination of some of the root causes of terrorism such as insecurity, poverty, human rights violations, inequality, exclusion, unemployment, environmental degradation, corruption and misuse of public funds, impunity, thereby contributing immensely to the eradication of terrorist organisations;

9.  Stresses the need to ensure that all military intervention in the region protects, respects and promotes human rights, encourages Mozambique’s authorities to support and work with regional and international organisations, as well as civil society organisations and community-based groups to introduce platforms for peace-building initiatives that encourage peaceful engagement, dialogue, reconciliation and co-existence among all the stakeholders; deplores the use of private security forces in this conflict, which further inflate the monetary cost to the country and operate without any international oversight;

10.  Notes with concern the deteriorating situation of internally displaced people (IDP) in Mozambique; calls for the EU and its Member States to work closely with the SADC and its member states to resolve the worsening humanitarian crisis in the region and to devise an effective plan of action;

11.  Calls on the Mozambican Government to openly cooperate with international institutions such as the UN Special Rapporteurs, and to allow independent human rights investigators and monitors into the country, and to correctly analyse the humanitarian needs of the population in Cabo Delgado in order to provide them with the necessary help; believes, furthermore, that the victims of violence must be protected by means of a relief plan in order for them to be able to continue with their lives;

12.  Believes that a more coordinated regional and international effort is needed in order to respond to the imminent security and humanitarian crises in Cabo Delgado, including the need to address cross-border threats such as terrorist insurgence, food security, IDP and smuggling; calls, therefore, on the European External Action Service (EEAS) to extend additional support to the SADC and the African Union (AU), in order to reach a long-lasting and peaceful solution;

13.  Points out that the SADC’s Organ for Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (OPDS), with its multinational fighting unit for tackling serious counter-insurgency situations, should be an important active actor for managing this conflict and should condemn it in the short term, while encouraging and supporting the Mozambican authorities in the long term in implementing further reforms aimed at promoting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, which represent a prerequisite for stability, peace and development;

14.  Reiterates that the EU is ready to engage in a dialogue with Mozambique to determine effective options for implementing EU assistance, taking into account the complex and regional character of the situation, and invites the Government of Mozambique to be more responsive in this dialogue and cooperation with the EU and with the SADC; encourages, in this regard, cooperation between the Mozambican authorities and all levels of civil society in an effort to find an inclusive solution and to urgently address the needs of the most vulnerable;

15.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Josep Borrell, and the EU Member States to continue to closely follow the situation and to scale up their support to the national and regional authorities; welcomes, in this light, the Council Conclusions of 22 June 2020, but insists that further diplomatic action should be put in place, particularly from those Member States that share historical and friendly links with the country, in order to stress the need for urgent action on this issue with its regional security and humanitarian dimensions and draw the government’s attention to the geopolitical consequences that will result from the lack of a coordinated regional and international response;

16.  Expresses its hope that the EU’s new Africa Strategy, once effectively in place, will help intensify EU-Africa cooperation based on a partnership of equals throughout the continent, and that both will work together towards improving the economic, social, security and human rights situation in countries such as Mozambique;

17.  Considers that the current developments in Mozambique and its social and economic consequences will be duly addressed in the EU’s policy towards Africa in the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2021; underlines that, when it is often devastated by floods and other natural disasters, the population of Mozambique should receive all available support and humanitarian aid;

18.  Believes that the upcoming EU Africa Summit is as an excellent opportunity to better address the issue of this humanitarian tragedy and for the EU to scale up its support to regional and continental organisations;

19.  Recalls the international aid commitments made the International Donors Pledging Conference held in Beira, on 30 May and 1 June 2019, at which the European Union pledged EUR 200 million in recovery support; calls for the EU and its Member States to deliver on these commitments in full; points out that long-term recovery can only be achieved through sustainable and inclusive economic development; calls, therefore, for EU assistance to support Mozambique’s efforts to stabilise its economy, create jobs and foster rural competitiveness, while ensuring inclusiveness and preservation of the environment;

20.  Welcomes the IMF CCRT as a step in the right direction in assisting Mozambique in combating the economic fallout from COVID-19; calls for the EU and its Member States to provide further donations to the IMF, and for the IMF to explore further alternatives to boost the resources available to the CCRT, such as using its own existing reserves; recalls that contributions to the fund must in no way function as a substitute for official development assistance (ODA);

21.  Considers it of the utmost importance that the local population, in particular in the poorest provinces of the country, benefit from the exploitation of their natural resources; calls on the government to fairly allocate incomes from exploitation projects to local development projects while respecting high environmental and social standards;

22.  Recalls that the people of Mozambique, both of the Christian and the Muslim faiths, have been living in peaceful coexistence for a long time, and expresses its conviction that this model of tolerance and solidarity will prevail despite the attacks by Islamist terrorists;

23.  Stresses the need to prioritise education and foster rural development to tackle radicalisation, in particular among young people in rural areas;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government and Parliament of Mozambique, and to the members and leadership of the South African Development Community and the African Union.

(1) https://reliefweb.int/report/mozambique/mozambique-situation-report-10-september-2020


Sustainable rail market in view of COVID-19 outbreak ***I
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Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 17 September 2020 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing measures for a sustainable rail market in view of the COVID-19 pandemic (COM(2020)0260 – C9-0186/2020 – 2020/0127(COD))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0236

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2020)0260),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 91 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C9-0186/2020),

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 16 July 2020(1),

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 9 September 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 Rules 59 and 163 of its Rules of Procedure,

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 17 September 2020 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2020/… of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing measures for a sustainable rail market in view of the COVID-19 outbreak

P9_TC1-COD(2020)0127


(Text with EEA relevance)

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 91 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

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

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

After consulting the Committee of the Regions,

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

Whereas:

(1)  The COVID-19 outbreak has brought about a sharp drop in demand for rail transport services. This has had a serious impact on railway undertakings. The impact started to manifest itself as early as 1 March 2020 and is likely to last until at least 31 December 2020. The circumstances linked to the COVID-19 outbreak are beyond the control of railway undertakings which are facing considerable liquidity problems and major losses, and in some cases the risk of insolvency.

(2)  In order to counteract the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, railway undertakings might need financial support. It might not be possible for railway undertakings to pay charges for accessing rail infrastructure due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and, for that reason, infrastructure managers should be authorised to reduce, waive or defer such charges. This possibility should be granted for a period during which the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on the rail market have already manifested itself and are expected to do so, i.e. from 1 March 2020 until 31 December 2020 (the “reference period”).

(3)  Under Article 31(3) of Directive 2012/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council(4), track access charges to be paid to the infrastructure manager are not to fall below the cost directly incurred as a result of operating the train service. A partial or full waiver of charges or a deferral thereof, applied in a transparent, objective and non-discriminatory way to all railway undertakings, active in the freight and/or passenger rail sectors, would alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak during the reference period. Member States should therefore have the possibility to authorise infrastructure managers to take measures to that effect .

(4)  Article 32(1) of Directive 2012/34/EU allows Member States to levy mark-ups, if the market can bear them. Due to the impact of the COVID‑19 outbreak, the ability of the market segments to bear mark-ups might have decreased. Member States should therefore have the possibility to authorise infrastructure managers to reassess the ability to bear mark-ups of the market segments, for the purpose of a possible reduction of the amounts due in respect of the reference period.

(5)  Article 36 of Directive 2012/34/EU provides for a regime of reservation charges, intended to incentivise the efficient use of capacity. According to that Article, the levying of those charges is mandatory in case of regular failure by an applicant, including railway undertakings, to use allocated paths or part of them. Infrastructure managers are to publish in their network statements the criteria to determine such failure to use. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused severe disruptions to rail traffic that have led to widespread train path cancellations. The underlying events were and are beyond the control of railway undertakings. Moreover, they resulted in temporary lower use of capacity. It can therefore be assumed that the incentive effect that reservation charges under Article 36 of Directive 2012/34/EU are intended to produce is not relevant insofar as the reference period is concerned. Member States should therefore have the possibility to authorise infrastructure managers not to levy reservation charges for capacity allocated but not used during the reference period, even where such a non use would be considered to be a regular failure to use allocated paths or part of them under the criteria currently applicable.

(6)  In respect of track access charges, levying of mark-ups and reservation charges, any reduction in charges authorised by Member States in accordance with this Regulation would entail income losses on the part of the infrastructure manager. Those income losses would, in principle, be compensated in accordance with Article 8(4) of Directive 2012/34/EU. Given the extraordinary character of those losses, infrastructure managers should be refunded within a shorter period than the one provided for in that Article, namely by 31 December of the year following the year in which the loss was incurred.

(7)  Temporary adjustments of the conditions for the use of rail infrastructure should be made and network statements should be kept up to date and amended as necessary.

(8)  Due to the unforeseeable and sudden nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, it was impossible to adopt relevant measures in time. For that reason, this Regulation should also cover a period before its entry into force. Given the nature of the measures provided for by this Regulation, such an approach does not result in a violation of the legitimate expectations of the persons concerned.

(8a)  The further development of the COVID-19 outbreak and its further impact on the rail transport sector are difficult to predict. The Commission should continuously analyse the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on that sector and the Union should be in a position to prolong without undue delay the period during which the measures provided for by this Regulation apply if the adverse conditions persist.

(9)  In order to extend, if necessary and justified, the validity of the measures provided for in this Regulation, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union should be delegated to the Commission in respect of prolonging the reference period during which the measures provided for by this Regulation apply. It is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including at expert level, and that those consultations be conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making(5). In particular, to ensure equal participation in the preparation of delegated acts, the European Parliament and the Council receive all documents at the same time as Member States’ experts, and their experts systematically have access to meetings of Commission expert groups dealing with the preparation of delegated acts.

(10)  Since the objective of this Regulation, namely to lay down temporary rules on the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure in response to the urgent situation created by the COVID‑19 outbreak, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the action, be better achieved at Union level, the Union may adopt measures, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). In accordance with the principle of proportionality as set out in that Article, this Regulation does not go beyond what is necessary to achieve that objective.

(11)  In order to allow for the prompt application of the measures provided for in this Regulation, it should enter into force as a matter of urgency on the day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Subject matter and scope

This Regulation lays down temporary rules on the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure as set out in Chapter IV of Directive 2012/34/EU. It applies to the use of railway infrastructure for domestic and international rail services covered by that Directive, during the period from 1 March 2020 until 31 December 2020 (‘the reference period’).

Article 2

Reduction, waiver or deferral of charges for the minimum access package and of reservation charges

1.  Notwithstanding Articles 27 and 31(3) of Directive 2012/34/EU, and subject to compliance with State aid rules, Member States may authorise infrastructure managers to reduce, waive or defer the payment of charges for the minimum access package, and for access to infrastructure connecting service facilities, where appropriate according to the market segments identified in their network statements, in a transparent, objective and non‑discriminatory way, where such payment has or will become due during the reference period.

2.  Notwithstanding Article 27 of Directive 2012/34/EU and subject to compliance with State aid rules, Member States may authorise infrastructure managers to reassess the ability of the market segments to bear mark-ups within the meaning of Article 32(1) of Directive 2012/34/EU, for the purpose of a possible reduction of the amounts due in respect of the reference period.

3.  Notwithstanding Article 27 and the third sentence of Article 36 of Directive 2012/34/EU, and subject to compliance with State aid rules, Member States may authorise infrastructure managers not to levy reservation charges on any applicant, including railway undertakings, for capacity allocated but not used during the reference period. When doing so, Member States and infrastructure managers shall act in a transparent, objective and non‑discriminatory way.

4.  Notwithstanding Article 8(4) of Directive 2012/34/EU, and subject to compliance with State aid rules, Member States shall compensate infrastructure managers for the specific financial loss suffered as a result of the application of paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of this Article by 31 December of the year following the year in which the loss was incurred. That compensation is without prejudice to the Member States’ obligation under Article 8(4) of Directive 2012/34/EU to ensure that, over a reasonable period, which shall not exceed a period of five years, the profit and loss account of an infrastructure manager shall remain balanced.

4a.  Member States shall inform the Commission of the measures taken under this Article no later than three months from the date of entry into force of this Regulation, and shall inform the Commission of subsequent measures or changes thereof. The Commission shall make this information publicly available.

Article 3

Adjustments of the conditions for the use of rail infrastructure

Infrastructure managers shall amend, as appropriate and without delay, the network statement referred to in Article 27 of Directive 2012/34/EU so as to display the conditions applied by them, in view of the measures taken by the Member State concerned in accordance with Article 2 of this Regulation.

Article 4

Regulatory body

Article 56 of Directive 2012/34/EU shall apply to the reduction, waiver or deferral of charges for the minimum access package and of reservation charges referred to in Article 2 of this Regulation and to the adjustments of the conditions for the use of railway infrastructure referred to in Article 3 of this Regulation in respect of the criteria set out in Articles 2 and 3 of this Regulation that are applicable to infrastructure managers.

Article 5

Extension of the reference period

1.  By 1 November 2020, infrastructure managers shall provide the Commission with data on the usage of their networks categorised by market segments, in accordance with Article 32(1) of Directive 2012/34/EU, for the periods from 1 March 2019 until 30 September 2019 and from 1 March 2020 until 30 September 2020.

Where the reference period is extended, the infrastructure managers shall provide the Commission with a new set of data when half of the prolongation of the reference period has elapsed, in order to allow the Commission to assess the development of the situation during the prolongation of the reference period.

2.  Where the Commission finds, on the basis of the data referred to in paragraph 1, that the reduction in the level of rail traffic as compared to the level in the corresponding period in the previous years is persisting and is likely to persist, and also finds, on the basis of the best available scientific data, that this situation is the result of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Commission shall adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 6 to amend the reference period specified in Article 1 accordingly. Any such amendment may only extend the reference period by up to six months, and the reference period may not be extended beyond … [date of entry into forceplus 18 months].

3.  Where, in the case of a prolonged impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the rail transport sector in the Union, imperative grounds of urgency so require, the procedure provided for in Article 7 shall apply to delegated acts adopted pursuant to this Article.

Article 6

Exercise of the delegation

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

2.  The power to adopt delegated acts referred to in Article 5(2) shall be conferred on the Commission for a period of one year from [OJ please insert the date: the date of entry into force of this Regulation].

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

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

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

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

Article 7

Urgency procedure

1.  Delegated acts adopted under this Article shall enter into force without delay and shall apply as long as no objection is expressed in accordance with paragraph 2. The notification of a delegated act to the European Parliament and to the Council shall state the reasons for the use of the urgency procedure.

2.  Either the European Parliament or the Council may object to a delegated act in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 6(6). In such a case, the Commission shall repeal the act immediately following the notification of the decision to object by the European Parliament or by the Council.

Article 8

Entry into force

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

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

Done at Brussels,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) Not yet published in the Official Journal.
(2)Opinion of 16 July 2020 (not yet published in the Official Journal).
(3) Position of the European Parliament of 17 September 2020.
(4) Directive 2012/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012 establishing a single European railway area (OJ L 343, 14.12.2012, p. 32).
(5) OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.


Draft amending budget No 8: Increase of payment appropriations for the Emergency Support Instrument to finance the COVID-19 vaccines strategy and for the impact of the Corona Response Investment Initiative Plus
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the Council position on Draft amending budget No 8/2020 of the European Union for the financial year 2020 - Increase of payment appropriations for the Emergency Support Instrument to finance the COVID-19 vaccines strategy and for the impact of the Corona Response Investment Initiative Plus (10696/2020 – C9-0290/2020 – 2020/1997(BUD))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0237

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 Draft amending budget No 8/2020, which the Commission adopted on 28 August 2020 (COM(2020)0900),

–  having regard to the position on Draft amending budget No 8/2020 which the Council adopted on 11 September 2020 and forwarded to Parliament on the same day (10696/2020 – C9-0290/2020),

–  having regard to Rules 94, 96 and 163 of its Rules of Procedure,

1.  Approves the Council position on Draft amending budget No 8/2020;

2.  Instructs its President to declare that Amending budget No 6/2020 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.


Objection to an implementing act: Maximum residue levels for several substances including flonicamid, haloxyfop and mandestrobin
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the draft Commission regulation amending Annexes II, III and IV to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for cycloxydim, flonicamid, haloxyfop, mandestrobin, mepiquat, Metschnikowia fructicola strain NRRL Y-27328 and prohexadione in or on certain products (D063880/06 – 2020/2734(RPS))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0238B9-0245/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Commission regulation amending Annexes II, III and IV to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for cycloxydim, flonicamid, haloxyfop, mandestrobin, mepiquat, Metschnikowia fructicola strain NRRL Y-27328 and prohexadione in or on certain products (D063880/06),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC(1), and in particular Article 5(1) and Article 14(1)(a) thereof,

–  having regard to the opinion delivered on 17-18 February 2020 by the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed,

–  having regard to Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides(2),

–  having regard to the reasoned opinion adopted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on 27 May 2019, and published on 2 August 2019(3),

–  having regard to the conclusion adopted by EFSA on 18 December 2009, and published on 7 May 2010(4),

–  having regard to the reasoned opinion adopted by EFSA on 18 October 2018, and published on 2 November 2018(5),

–  having regard to Article 5a(3)(b) and Article 5a(5) of Council Decision 1999/468/EC of 28 June 1999 laying down the procedures for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission(6),

–  having regard to Rule 112(2) and (3), and (4)(c) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the motion for a resolution of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety,

A.  whereas flonicamid is a selective insecticide used on, inter alia, potatoes, wheat, apples, pears, peaches and peppers;

B.  whereas the approval period of flonicamid as an active substance has been extended by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2069(7);

C.  whereas in the opinion of 5 June 2013(8) of the Committee for Risk Assessment of the European Chemicals Agency (‘ECHA’), which proposed harmonised classification and labelling of flonicamid, the Danish Member State Competent Authority observes ‘clear effects on visceral malformations occurring at non-maternally toxic levels in the rabbit’;

D.  whereas flonicamid is under scrutiny in the United States for potentially posing a higher risk to pollinators than previously understood, since new studies submitted by the flonicamid manufacturer ISK Biosciences show that flonicamid exposes bees to up to 51 times the amount of flonicamid that would cause them substantial harm(9);

E.  whereas haloxyfop-P is a herbicide used on, inter alia, carrots, fodder legumes, rapeseed, soyabean and sugarbeet;

F.  whereas haloxyfop-P is harmful if swallowed and is harmful to aquatic life with long-lasting effects based on the ECHA classification; whereas haloxyfop-P has shown effects of hepatotoxicity, nephrotoxicity and oxidative stress in rats following exposure to haloxyfop-P-methyl(10);

G.  whereas the manufacture, distribution and use of haloxyfop-P is banned in France for all agricultural and non-agricultural purposes since 4 September 2007(11); whereas haloxyfop-P had been banned for four years throughout the Union under Commission Regulation (EC) No 1376/2007(12);

H.  whereas haloxyfop-P has been approved as an active substance in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011(13), with a very restricted use(14) and strict requirements for Member States with regard to groundwater protection, the protection of aquatic organisms and the safety of operators;

I.  whereas, in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2233(15), the Commission concluded as regards the use of haloxyfop-P as an active substance that ‘further confirmatory information required has not fully been provided and that an unacceptable risk for groundwater cannot be excluded except by imposing further restrictions’;

J.  whereas, in Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2233, the Commission also concluded that it was ‘appropriate to amend the conditions of use of this active substance, in particular by setting limits to the rates and frequency of its application’;

K.  whereas the Commission decided on 30 April 2018 to extend the approval period of haloxyfop-P as an active substance until 31 December 2023(16);

L.  whereas Article 191(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) sets out the precautionary principle as one of the fundamental principles of the Union;

M.  whereas Article 168(1) TFEU states that ‘a high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Union policies and activities’;

N.  whereas Directive 2009/128/EC aims to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides in the Union by reducing the risks and impacts of pesticide use on human and animal health and the environment and by promoting the use of integrated pest management and of alternative approaches or techniques, such as non-chemical alternatives to pesticides;

O.  whereas when setting maximum residue levels (MRLs), cumulative and synergistic effects need to be taken into account, and it is of the utmost importance to develop urgently appropriate methods for this assessment;

P.  whereas the MRL increases for haloxyfop-P on linseeds and for mandestrobin on strawberries and grapes are based on requests for normative alignment from third countries;

Q.  whereas the applicants claim that the authorised use of haloxyfop-P and mandestrobin on such crops in Australia and Canada lead to residues exceeding the MRLs contained in Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 and that higher MRLs are necessary to avoid trade barriers for the importation of those crops;

1.  Opposes adoption of the draft Commission regulation;

2.  Considers that the draft Commission regulation is not compatible with the aim and content of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005;

3.  Considers that the Union and the Commission should respect the principle of environmental responsibility, and should not encourage the use in third countries of products that some Member States ban on their territory and of which the Union is trying to restrain the use;

4.  Considers that free trade rules should never lead to a lowering of the Union’s protective standards;

5.  Acknowledges that EFSA is working on methods to assess cumulative risks, but also notes that the problem of the assessment of cumulative effects of pesticides and residues has been known for decades; therefore requests EFSA and the Commission to address the problem as a matter of absolute urgency;

6.  Notes that under the draft regulation, the MRLs for flonicamid would increase from 0,03 to 0,5 mg/kg for strawberries, from 0,03 to 1 mg/kg for blackberries and raspberries, from 0,03 to 0,7 mg/kg for other small fruits and berries, from 0,03 to 0,3 mg/kg for other root and tuber vegetables generally, but from 0,03 to 0,6 mg/kg for radishes, from 0,03 to 0,07 mg/kg for lettuces and salad plants, and from 0,03 to 0,8 mg/kg for pulses;

7.  Suggests that the MRL for flonicamid should remain at 0,03 mg/kg;

8.  Notes that under the draft regulation, the MRL for haloxyfop-P would increase from 0,01 to 0,05 mg/kg for linseeds;

9.  Suggests that the MRL for haloxyfop-P should remain at 0,01 mg/kg;

10.  Notes that under the draft regulation, the MRLs for mandestrobin would increase from 0,01 to 5 mg/kg for grapes, and from 0,01 to 3 mg/kg for strawberries;

11.  Suggests that the MRL for mandestrobin should remain at 0,01 mg/kg;

12.  Calls on the Commission to withdraw the draft regulation and submit a new one to the committee;

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

(1) OJ L 70, 16.3.2005, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 309, 24.11.2009, p. 71.
(3) EFSA reasoned opinion on modification of the existing maximum residue levels for flonicamid in strawberries and other berries, EFSA Journal 2019;17(7):5745, https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/5745
(4) EFSA conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment of the active substance flonicamid, EFSA Journal 2010; 8(5):1445, https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1445
(5) EFSA reasoned opinion on setting of import tolerances for haloxyfop‐P in linseed and rapeseed, EFSA Journal 2018;16(11):5470, https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/5470
(6) OJ L 184, 17.7.1999, p. 23.
(7) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2069 of 13 November 2017 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 as regards the extension of the approval periods of the active substances flonicamid (IKI-220), metalaxyl, penoxsulam and proquinazid (OJ L 295, 14.11.2017, p. 51).
(8) Opinion of 5 June 2013 of the Committee for Risk Assessment proposing harmonised classification and labelling at EU level of flonicamid, https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/0916c5b3-fa52-9cdf-4603-2cc40356ed95
(9) https://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-becerra-warns-against-expanded-use-pesticide-found-harm-bees
(10) Olayinka, E.T, and Ore, A., ‘Hepatotoxicity, Nephrotoxicity and Oxidative Stress in Rat Testis Following Exposure to Haloxyfop-p-methyl Ester, an Aryloxyphenoxypropionate Herbicide’, Toxics., December 2015, 3(4), pp. 373–389, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5606644/
(11) https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=235653D01B24A4B694A6C342E7323D6F .tplgfr38s_1?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000000464899&dateTexte=&oldAction=rechJO&categorieLien=id&idJO=JORFCONT000000005119
(12) Commission Regulation (EC) No 1376/2007 of 23 November 2007 amending Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 304/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the export and import of dangerous chemicals (OJ L 307, 24.11.2007, p. 14).
(13) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 of 25 May 2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the list of approved active substances (OJ L 153, 11.6.2011, p. 1).
(14) Only uses as herbicide may be authorised at rates not exceeding 0,052 kg active substance per hectare per application, and only one application may be authorised every 3 years.
(15) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2233 of 2 December 2015 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 as regards the conditions of approval of the active substance haloxyfop-P (OJ L 317, 3.12.2015, p. 26).
(16) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/670 of 30 April 2018 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 as regards the extension of the approval periods of the active substances bromuconazole, buprofezin, haloxyfop-P and napropamide (OJ L 113, 3.5.2018, p. 1).


Cultural recovery of Europe
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the cultural recovery of Europe (2020/2708(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0239RC-B9-0246/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Preamble and to Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 6 and 167 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in particular Article 19 thereof,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Article 22 thereof,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 May 2018 on ‘Building a Stronger Europe: the role of youth, education and culture policies’ (COM(2018)0268),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 22 May 2018 entitled ‘A New European Agenda for Culture’ (COM(2018)0267),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 November 2017 on ‘Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture’ (COM(2017)0673),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 December 2016 on a coherent EU policy for cultural and creative industries(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2020 on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 June 2020 on transport and tourism in 2020 and beyond(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1295/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing the Creative Europe Programme (2014 to 2020) and repealing Decisions No 1718/2006/EC, No 1855/2006/EC and No 1041/2009/EC(4) (‘the Regulation’),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 July 2020,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 15 November 2018 on the Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022 (2018/C 460/10),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document ‘Identifying Europe’s recovery needs’ accompanying the Commission communication of 27 May 2020 on ‘Europe’s moment: Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation’ (COM(2020)0456),

–  having regard to the 2015 report on ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe’,

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

A.  whereas culture is a strategic sector for the European Union, not only constituting an important part of our economy, but also contributing to democratic, sustainable, free and inclusive societies, and reflecting our European diversity, values, history, freedoms and way of life;

B.  whereas culture and the freedom of the arts contribute significantly to the vibrancy of a society and enable all segments of society to express their identities, contributing to social cohesion and intercultural dialogue paving the way to an ever closer European Union;

C.  whereas culture has an intrinsic value as an expression of humanity, democracy and civic engagement that can be key to advancing sustainable development;

D.  whereas culture strengthens the social capital of societies, facilitates democratic citizenship, fosters creativity, well-being and critical thinking, encourages integration and cohesion and promotes diversity, equality and pluralism;

E.  whereas cultural participation has been recognised as one of the main accelerators of social change and of the construction of inclusive, resilient societies;

F.  whereas culture and the cultural and creative sectors and industries are an important vehicle in the fight against all forms of discrimination, including racism and xenophobia, and are a platform for freedom of expression;

G.  whereas the pandemic has revealed the true social value for European society as well as the economic weight of the cultural and creative sectors and industries; whereas the economic part of culture is a strategic sector for the European Union and its economy, ensuring meaningful jobs for millions of Europeans and sustainable financing for European diversity, while reflecting our European values, history and freedoms;

H.  whereas European cultural and creative actors preserve and promote cultural and linguistic diversity in Europe, and participate in the strengthening of a European identity at all levels; whereas these actors represent an invaluable force for social cohesion and sustainable development and economic growth in the European Union and its Member States, and are an important source of global competitiveness;

I.  whereas the European cultural and creative sectors and industries account for around 4 % of the European gross domestic product, a similar level to ICT and accommodation and food services; whereas, in 2019, there were 7,4 million people in cultural employment across the EU-27, accounting for 3,7 % of total employment across the EU-27; whereas, in 2019, the proportion of people who were self-employed in the field of culture in the EU-27 was more than double the average observed for the economy as a whole(5);

J.  whereas according to the Commission’s own estimates, the cultural and creative sectors and industries – which account for EUR 509 billion in value added to GDP – are likely to have lost 80 % of their turnover in the second quarter of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and the containment measures;

K.  whereas over 300 000 people in Europe are employed in the cultural heritage sector, while 7,8 million jobs in Europe are indirectly linked to it; whereas the European creative workforce in the cultural and creative sectors and industries is currently underrepresented by statistical systems;

L.  whereas the cultural and creative sectors and industries are closely interconnected and have been proven to benefit other sectors, such as tourism and transport; whereas according to the World Tourism Organization, four out of ten tourists choose their destination based on its cultural offering, and two-thirds of Europeans believe that the presence of cultural heritage has an influence on their choice of holiday destination; whereas Europe remains the most popular cultural tourism destination in the world;

M.  whereas Europe’s diverse cultural landscape is suffering severely from the COVID-19 pandemic and many actors in the cultural and creative sectors and industries are facing ruin, without public investment and aid; whereas the shutdown of this sector has had a spill-over effect on other sectors such as transport and tourism and education;

N.  whereas the cultural and creative sectors and industries are an atypical sector, based on their specific economic model, needs and sizes, but are mainly composed of small structures (SMEs, micro-organisations and the self-employed) with no or little access to financial markets and often with irregular and mixed incomes coming from different sources, such as public subsidies, private sponsoring, audience-based revenue or copyright;

O.  whereas the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has also highlighted the pre-existing vulnerabilities of the cultural and creative sectors and industries, including the precarious livelihoods of artists and cultural workers, as well as the tight budgets of many cultural institutions;

P.  whereas the full consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cultural and creative sectors and industries are just becoming apparent, with the overall medium and long-term impact still unknown; whereas this affects the social rights of artists and cultural professionals, who have the right to be fairly financially compensated for their work, and the protection of a diversity of cultural expressions;

Q.  whereas the COVID-19 crisis has already and will continue to have a lasting negative effect on cultural and creative production, diffusion and income, and therefore on European cultural diversity;

R.  whereas theatres, opera houses, cinemas, concert halls, museums, heritage sites and other artistic venues were among the first to close due to containment measures, and are among the last to reopen; whereas many cultural and artistic events such as fairs, festivals, concerts and performances have been cancelled or postponed for a long time; whereas the health and safety measures imposed to prevent a new outbreak do not allow venues to operate at full capacity for the foreseeable future;

S.  whereas, during the pandemic, as many Europeans found themselves in a situation of confinement, the sharing of cultural and creative content became a support for many citizens; whereas the opportunities to access online cultural content have multiplied and made cultural content more accessible, and often free of charge thanks to the authors, artist, performers and other creators; whereas this further reduces the creators incomes; whereas the availability of cultural content online did not translate into increased income for rights holders and performers;

T.  whereas inequalities in access to digital infrastructures have curtailed the fundamental rights of access to culture, the right of participating in culture and the right to express art;

U.  whereas the successive budget proposals for the Creative Europe programme under the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) even prior to the COVID-19 crisis clearly live up to neither the sector’s nor Parliament’s expectations, and the latter has called for the level of funding to be doubled compared to that allocated in the 2014-2020 MFF;

V.  whereas the Commission’s revised MFF proposal presents a 20 % cut to the European Solidarity Corps, a 13 % cut to Creative Europe and a 7 % cut to Erasmus+, compared with the Commission’s 2018 MFF proposal; whereas the European Council position as formulated on 17 July 2020 only matches the Commission’s 2018 proposal; whereas Creative Europe is the only EU programme that provides direct support to the cultural and creative sectors and industries across Europe; whereas neither the initiatives that Creative Europe is supposed to cover nor its budget provide the support required by an already oversubscribed and underfunded programme;

W.  whereas the pandemic represents an opportunity to rethink the future of culture, and whereas the creation of a more resilient cultural ecosystem requires a broader reflection on the future of the planet and the urgency of responding to the climate crisis;

X.  whereas the cultural and creative sectors and industries are vital in achieving environmental sustainability; whereas they will need to remain properly funded and identified as a safe investment in order to be ready for the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy, in line with the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Development Goals;

1.  Expresses its sincere solidarity with performers, artists, creators, authors, publishers, their companies and all other cultural creators and workers, including amateur creators, who all have been severely affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and pays tribute to their actions and solidarity during the difficult times experienced by millions of Europeans;

2.  Underlines that the post-pandemic recovery and revitalisation of European cultural policy are strictly connected to the other challenges that the European Union and the world are facing, starting with the climate crisis; is convinced that the future culture policy has to be deeply interconnected with social challenges as well as with the Green and digital transitions;

3.  Considers it fundamental to earmark for the cultural and creative sectors and industries a significant part of the economic recovery measures planned by the European institutions and to combine this with wide-ranging and swift actions in favour of Europe’s cultural and creative forces, enabling them to continue their work in the upcoming months and to survive these times of crisis, and creating resilience in the sector; calls on the Member States and the Commission to coordinate their action in their support for the cultural and creative sectors and industries;

4.  Welcomes the efforts of the Commission and the European Council in drawing up the ‘Next Generation EU’ recovery plan; is alarmed, however, by the fact that no specific amount has been clearly earmarked to directly benefit the cultural and creative sectors and industries; insists, in this context, that cultural and creative actors should be a clear focus of the Member States’ targeted actions and should benefit widely and quickly from all recovery funds;

5.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to earmark for the cultural and creative sectors and industries, according to their specific needs, at least 2 % of the Recovery and Resilience Facility dedicated to the recovery; highlights that this percentage should reflect the importance of the cultural and creative sectors and industries to the EU’s GDP, considering that they account for 7,8 million jobs and 4 % of GDP; reiterates the need for precise programming and financial plans designed to ensure business continuity in the cultural and creative sectors and industries and to offer predictability to the people active in the field;

6.  Welcomes the creation of REACT-EU as a direct action plan with the aim of providing additional funding to much affected regions and economic sectors; welcomes the fact that culture has been identified as an important and affected sector; is worried, however, that no measures were taken to ensure that the cultural and creative sectors and industries benefit from this initiative; urges the Member States to consider the cultural and creative sectors and industries as strategic sectors and a priority under the EU’s Recovery Plan and to identify a clear budget associated with swift and concrete actions dedicated to the recovery of these actors, which should benefit all stakeholders, including independent artists, and aimed not only at their economic recovery but also at the improvement of the working conditions of the people working in the cultural and creative sectors and industries;

7.  Criticises the fact that Creative Europe did not receive any additional funding from the Next Generation EU fund and calls for the overall budget of Creative EU to be increased to EUR 2,8 billion;

8.  Asks the Member States to ensure that specific domestic social, fiscal and economic rules usually applied to cultural and creative players can be extended during and after the crisis; requests that the Member States include SMES operating in the cultural and creative sectors and industries in the specific SME recovery plans that they have already implemented; requests that the Member States consider offering financial support to cultural venues and events as they implement new health and safety measures;

9.  Calls for more coordination in order to identify best practices and concrete solutions that can support the cultural and creative sectors and industries during the current situation and any future relaunch; welcomes the sector’s #saveEUculture and #double4culture campaigns, as well as the Commission’s effort to promote the cultural and creative sectors and industries with the #CreativeEuropeAtHome campaign;

10.  Notes with concern that social safety nets were often inaccessible to creative professionals in non-standard forms of employment; calls on the Member States to ensure access to social benefits for all creative professionals, including those in non-standard forms of employment;

11.  Calls on the Commission to introduce a European framework for working conditions in the cultural and creative sectors and industries at EU level, which would reflect the specificities of the sector and would introduce guidelines and principles with a view to improving working conditions, paying particular attention to transnational employment;

12.  Notes that travel restrictions continue to hinder European cultural cooperation and have seriously impacted international mobility and touring, which represents a major source of revenue for cultural actors; notes that funding for international cooperation, touring and co-production has often been cut and diverted towards hardship funds related to the pandemic; is concerned by the detrimental effect of these measures on European cultural collaboration; calls on the Member States to limit unwarranted Schengen restrictions, and calls on the Commission to develop guidelines for Member States for safe cross-border touring, live cultural events and cultural activities;

13.  Calls on the Commission to support artists’ mobility so that they can exchange practices and techniques, and to significantly promote their integration into the labour market; strongly supports the concomitant mutual recognition of artistic competences;

14.  Welcomes the creation of the EU’s instrument for temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency (SURE), which is intended to support the short-time working measures put in place by the Member States, in particular those concerning SMEs and the self-employed; considers that this instrument, by covering as many cultural actors as possible, including freelance authors, performers, artists and other creators, might enable cultural and creative actors to remain in their field of activity while compensating for their loss of income and ensuring that expertise is not lost; calls, in this context, on the Member States to provide adequate guarantees so that SURE can be rapidly operational and available for all legal entities, including non-formal entities in the cultural and creative sectors and industries;

15.  Is of the opinion that the current pandemic and its impact on our economies should not be used as an argument to further decrease national or European public spending on culture; stresses the crucial role of the Creative Europe programme and its MEDIA, Culture and cross-sectoral strands in ensuring European cooperation and a fair degree of stability in the sector through access to European funding by enabling projects to develop long-term partnerships; calls on the Commission to mainstream the cultural and creative sectors and industries throughout the MFF; recalls, in this context, that Parliament has asked for a necessary doubling of the budget allocated to the Creative Europe programme for the next MFF and strongly reaffirms its position in supporting the cultural and creative sectors and industries and their workers; considers it of the utmost importance that the programmes are finalised and adopted as soon as possible in order to ensure a smooth transition from their predecessors; stresses that, if the start of the new financing period is delayed, the Commission must ensure a transition to bridge the gap between the current Creative Europe programme and the new one;

16.  Calls on the Commission to identify and communicate clearly on a wide range of mixed funding sources that can benefit the cultural and creative sectors and industries; insists that the future Knowledge and Innovation Community dedicated to the cultural and creative industries within the European Institute of Innovation and Technology should play a leading role in this context; calls on the Commission to include Horizon Europe funding for cultural and creative actors active in cultural experimentation, innovation and artistic research; reiterates the need for growing synergies at European level while at the same time promoting new innovative and digital solutions that can help the sector in the current times and beyond;

17.  Recognises the importance of digitalisation in the creation, production, dissemination and accessibility of cultural and creative works and calls on the Commission to further identify funding for the digitalisation of European cultural works and to facilitate the access of SMEs and organisations to digital skills and infrastructure;

18.  Notes that the majority of support measures designed so far have been debt-based, an option that is not sustainable for all stakeholders in the cultural ecosystems; calls for sizeable and primary grant-based support for cultural and creative sectors and industries in order ensure the livelihoods of local communities;

19.  Welcomes the new support measures under the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility (CCS GF), which set out to improve access to affordable debt financing for SMEs in the cultural and creative sectors and industries; underlines the need for it to be made available more widely, seeking to cover all Member States and regions and SMEs of all sizes; calls for the enforced deployment of the CCS GF under InvestEU, offering more flexibility for the cultural and creative sectors and industries;

20.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that cultural and creative SMEs will benefit from increased support in terms of debt financing via the future guarantee facility instruments under the 2021-2027 InvestEU Programme;

21.  Regrets that no further development occurred to enable access to financial resources for NGOs and smaller organisations; asks the Member States and the Commission therefore to review their current criteria and policies in terms of guarantee, especially for those SMEs that have higher risk profiles with low or no access to financial markets and that generate intangible assets;

22.  Calls on the Commission to take action to mitigate the ever-increasing impact of the crisis on the cultural and creative sectors and industries, at a time when the continued cancellation of festivals and cultural events is having disastrous financial consequences, particularly for the music and performing arts sector and for independent artists; believes that European digital platforms dedicated to performing arts should be established in order to share as much European cultural content and creative products as possible; asks that such platforms be designed with the fair remuneration of artists, creators and companies in mind; asks to be more strongly involved in identifying together with relevant actors solutions for supporting the activities and especially the artists and creators affected by the cancellation of major festivals and cultural events;

23.  Calls on the Commission to identify whether the national financial distribution methods for cultural funding are accessible to all creators, and whether the allocation is independent, free and fair; calls on the Commission to work on better quantitative and qualitative indicators in order to provide a reliable and steady flow of data relating to the cultural and creative sectors and industries;

24.  Reminds the Member States that other measures can be used to help the cultural and creative sectors and industries recover from the crisis, such as reduced VAT rates for all cultural goods and services, better valuation of intangible assets and tax credits for cultural production;

25.  Points out that tourism accounts for 10,3 % of the European Union’s GDP, more 40 % of which is linked to the cultural offer; considers that the gradual recovery of tourism is an opportunity to actively promote European culture and heritage while laying the foundations for sustainable European tourism; calls, in this regard, for the launch of an annual European cultural and heritage value creation programme that reflects European cultural diversity; asks that the structural funds include, as much as possible, cultural preservation and artistic creation in the projects they support; underlines the important added value of historical and cultural tourism; calls on the Commission and the Member States to establish an integrated policy in order to support the revival of this sector;

26.  Considers that we should seize this opportunity to promote European cultural content worldwide by encouraging European production and developing European broadcasting networks; calls on the Commission to cooperate with the Member States so that the relevant legislation can be transposed as smoothly as possible, such as the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive(6), the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market(7) and the Satellite and Cable Directive(8); underlines the potential of the film and video industry and calls for a pan-European partnership designed to support European creators in the field; stresses that the implementation of those directives and forthcoming legislative proposals must preserve and promote collective mechanisms to ensure adequate protection of individual creators;

27.  Acknowledges the weakened state of the media ecosystem and the dire state of local and regional news media as well as those operating in smaller markets; considers that as free, independent and sufficiently funded media is also an antidote to the spread and effectiveness of disinformation, the Commission should present medium- and long-term strategies in this regard, including specific initiatives to support local and regional media and those operating in small markets; believes that consideration should be given to the establishment of a news media fund based on an arm’s length principle; supports the Commission’s forthcoming proposals for a Digital Services Act package, especially its new and revised rules on online platforms and online advertising; is of the view that attention should be paid to the concentration of media ownership, which often reduces the plurality and diversity of news and can also have a negative impact on the information market; supports the planned Media and Audiovisual Action Plan and its stated objectives of increasing competitiveness and helping the sector’s digital transformation;

28.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support and promote freedom of artistic expression, which is vital for cultivating democracy and a healthy recovery of societies from the unprecedented crisis; underlines the importance of European funding for the promotion and maintenance of cultural and media freedoms and diversity; considers that the cultural and creative sectors and industries are among the most dynamic sectors of the economy, that they should promote gender equality and that they could act as a strong catalyst for sustainable development and just transition;

29.  Underlines the potential of cultural diversity in the global outreach of European cultural and creative sectors and industries, and calls for a balanced approach integrating a wide range of actors from different regions and of different sizes; calls in this regard on the Commission for a proper evaluation of existing programmes and EU actions such as the European Heritage Label, and for it to integrate a financial evaluation to enable better communication on heritage and cultural routes, so that citizens may have access to a better understanding of EU actions; further calls on the Commission to propose an ambitious and inclusive communication and promotion policy for culture in Europe, which would enable European cultural content, events and venues to enjoy a truly European and global reach;

30.  Is of the opinion that the measures taken by the Member States and the Commission to assist cultural and creative actors in Europe should support players and initiatives that reflect the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe, including minority languages and small languages;

31.  Calls on the Commission to work together with the European Capitals of Culture in identifying practical solutions and to help them to limit, as much as possible, the disruption caused by the pandemic, in particular with those cities holding the title in 2020 and 2021, through an in-depth dialogue with the organisers; highlights the importance of more support mechanisms and financial solutions made available to them; reiterates the fact that due to current circumstances changes have been made to the calendar of European Capitals of Culture, and calls on decision makers to evaluate the possibility of prolonging the period for the upcoming organising cities;

32.  Calls for increased efforts to build on the momentum of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in order to develop it into a durable policy legacy; urges the Commission to adopt a more integrated approach to cultural heritage, treating tangible, intangible, natural and digital heritage as interconnected and inseparable; stresses the need to establish a permanent platform, with organised civil society at its core, for cooperation and coordination on cultural heritage policies at EU level; calls also for a comprehensive framework for digital cultural heritage, focusing in particular on digitising efforts of existing heritage and widespread accessibility of digitised cultural material; notes in this regard the importance of interoperability and standards; calls for a thorough revision of the Commission Recommendation of 27 October 2011 on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation(9);

33.  Underlines that during the lockdown many cultural heritage sites were left without supervision and without proper maintenance, thus leading to damage to these sites, which are already vulnerable to environmental degradation, natural disasters and climate change, as well as being illegally excavated or illicitly trafficked; stresses the need to protect employment in the cultural heritage sector, to support restoration professionals and heritage experts, and to give them the tools they need to protect European heritage sites;

34.  Considers that the cultural dimension needs to form part of the dialogue with citizens, in particular during the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe;

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

(1) OJ C 238, 6.7.2018, p. 28.
(2) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0054.
(3) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0169.
(4) OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 221.
(5) https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Culture_statistics_-_cultural_employment#Self-employment
(6) OJ L 303, 28.11.2018, p. 69.
(7) OJ L 130, 17.5.2019, p. 92.
(8) OJ L 248, 6.10.1993, p. 15.
(9) OJ L 283, 29.10.2011, p. 39.


COVID-19: EU coordination of health assessments and risk classification and the consequences for Schengen and the single market
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on COVID-19: EU coordination of health assessments and risk classification, and the consequences for Schengen and the single market (2020/2780(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0240RC-B9-0257/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Article 168 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), as well as to Articles 4, 6, 9, 21, 67, 114, 153, 169 and 191 thereof,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Articles 35 and 45 thereof,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders(1) (Schengen Borders Code),

–  having regard to Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(2) (the Free Movement Directive), and the principle of non-discrimination enshrined therein,

–  having regard to the Commission guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services(3) and concerning the exercise of the free movement of workers during the COVID-19 outbreak(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 April 2020 on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences(5),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 May 2020 towards a phased and coordinated approach for restoring freedom of movement and lifting internal border controls – COVID-19(6),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 June 2020 on the third assessment of the application of the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU (COM(2020)0399),

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 June 2020 on the situation in the Schengen area following the COVID‑19 outbreak(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2020 on the EU’s public health strategy post-COVID-19(8),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 15 July 2020 on the short-term EU health preparedness for COVID-19 outbreaks (COM(2020)0318),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal of 4 September 2020 for a Council recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (COM(2020)0499),

–  having regard to the most recent communicable disease threats report (CDTR) of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and to the ECDC’s public health guidelines and reporting protocols on COVID-19,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91(9),

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

A.  whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has moved from an acute to a chronic risk management phase; whereas it seems likely that the virus will stay active until an effective and safe vaccine has been found and supplied in large enough quantities to ensure proper protection in a very large part of the global population; whereas this means that we will continue to live in difficult circumstances for at least several months to come;

B.  whereas the prevalence, circulation intensity and circulation duration of COVID-19 differs greatly from one Member State to another and from one region to another within the same Member State;

C.  whereas several vaccines are in advanced stages of testing, but as yet no vaccine has completed the EU marketing authorisation procedure;

D.  whereas the regular influenza season will most likely increase the number of people with mild symptoms who should be tested;

E.  whereas the testing capacity in some Member States is still not sufficient; whereas people sometimes need to wait for days to get the results of their COVID-19 tests; whereas this greatly affects their ability to work and travel;

F.  whereas some Member States are refusing to recognise COVID-19 tests that have been performed in another Member State; whereas such mistrust is greatly complicating the lives of people;

G.  whereas differing approaches to the collection of data relating to COVID-19 across the EU make it difficult to compare data;

H.  whereas there is still no harmonised methodology for the collection and evaluation of the number of infected people nor the harmonised methodology regarding the COVID-19 ‘semaphores’; whereas due to this lack of harmonisation, the data on infected people is often interpreted very differently across the Member States, which may lead to citizens from other Member States being unduly discriminated against;

I.  whereas the EU response to the COVID-19 pandemic has so far demonstrated a lack of coordination between Member States among themselves and with the EU institutions in terms of coordination of public health measures, including restrictions on the movement of people within and across borders;

J.  whereas with the recent increase of new cases of COVID-19 across the EU, Member States have yet again taken different and uncoordinated measures on free movement for people travelling from other EU countries, and in some cases have closed their borders; whereas each Member State has deployed its own national measures without coordination at EU level, including compulsory or recommended quarantine (with differing periods of quarantine being required), negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on arrival with different maximum validity periods, the use of different national traveller locator forms, the different use of criteria for defining risk areas and different requirements with regard to the use of masks;

K.  whereas many Europeans have been made subject to different rules depending not only on their nationality or place of residence, but also on where they have travelled to; whereas this lack of coordination during the summer period led to disorganised controls and measures at borders, as well as within airports and train stations;

L.  whereas the COVID-19 crisis has had major health impacts and, in many cases, very significant negative consequences on fundamental rights and on economic, scientific, social, tourist and cultural exchanges;

M.  whereas the provision of healthcare is above all a national competence, but public health is a competence shared between the Member States and the Union;

N.  whereas there is still scope for the European Union to better deliver on public health policy within the existing parameters of the Treaties; whereas public health provisions under the Treaties are still largely underutilised in terms of the commitments they could be used to fulfil; whereas Parliament’s call for the creation of a European Health Union, as expressed in its resolution of 10 July 2020, bears reiterating in this regard;

O.  whereas cross-border threats can only be addressed together and thus require cooperation and solidarity within the Union and a common European approach;

P.  whereas since the start of the wider spread of COVID-19 in the EU, Parliament has been repeatedly calling on the Commission and the Member States to adopt coordinated measures on the free movement of people, goods and services within the internal market; whereas the free movement of people, goods and services are three of the essential pillars of the four freedoms, on which the proper functioning of the internal market is based;

Q.  whereas the measures taken by the Member States, including the reintroduction of internal border controls, affect the rights and freedoms of people as enshrined in Union law; whereas measures taken by the Member States or the Union should always respect fundamental rights; whereas these measures should be necessary, proportional, temporary and limited in scope;

R.  whereas solidarity between Member States is not an option but a Treaty obligation and part of our European values;

S.  whereas uncoordinated restrictions to the freedom of movement of people within the EU are strongly fragmenting the internal market;

T.  whereas the Commission has already taken various initiatives to improve coordination, such as adopting guidelines, communications, administrative letters and a proposal for a Council recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic;

U.  whereas the Council should support this recommendation and establish the necessary measures to ensure that the Member States coordinate their decisions and actions in an effort to stop or limit the spread of the virus;

V.  whereas a return to a fully functional Schengen area is of the utmost importance to safeguard the principle of freedom of movement and the functioning of the internal market as two of the main achievements of European integration, and a key prerequisite for the EU’s economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic;

W.  whereas the diverging travel restrictions have led to many citizens having their flights cancelled, for which they have still not been refunded;

X.  whereas Parliament, as co-legislator and the only institution directly elected by EU citizens, must be included as an integral and essential part of all discussions on EU coordination to tackle this health crisis;

Y.  whereas the Member States seem not to have learned the lessons from the beginning of the crisis; whereas there is no common European health policy, only a multitude of national policies;

Z.  whereas the EU needs to plan ahead to face the possible continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and/or other possible crises similar in nature;

1.  Expresses its concern about the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and its long-term consequences on the well-being of people around the world, notably the most vulnerable groups and people in vulnerable situations, such as elderly people and those already suffering from poor health;

2.  Expresses its concern about the increase of COVID-19 cases in several Member States since June and strongly emphasises the need for shared and coordinated health management to fight this pandemic effectively;

3.  Points to the importance of reassuring citizens about the consistency of measures taken from one Member State to another, which will help to persuade citizens to adhere to these measures;

4.  Recalls that freedom of movement for Union citizens is a fundamental right enshrined in the EU Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights;

5.  Underlines that this right can be restricted only for specific and limited reasons of public interest, namely the protection of public policy and public security; insists that such restrictions be applied in compliance with the Schengen Borders Code and the general principles of EU law, in particular proportionality and non-discrimination;

6.  Points out that controls at internal borders are a measure of last resort and recalls that Member States should check whether other measures may be equally or better suited to achieving the same objective; urges the Member States to recognise the option of imposing minimum health checks and/or proportionate police checks as a better alternative to introducing internal border controls and to adopt only measures which are strictly necessary, coordinated and proportionate;

7.  Considers it essential to keep internal EU borders open for goods and services within the EU and the European Economic Area, as the closure of internal borders could have detrimental effects on the internal market; points out that a commitment to the adoption of common measures that will rebuild trust between Member States in order to resume the free movement of goods and services within the internal market is essential;

8.  Reiterates its urgent appeal to the Commission and Member States to pursue dedicated, structured and effective cooperation in this context, in order to define and anticipate the need for common measures;

9.  Points out that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) continues to highlight disparities in data collection and data reporting by Member States; deplores the fact that this lack of harmonisation prevents us from having a clear and complete picture of the spread of the virus in Europe at any one time;

10.  Emphasises that the ECDC is doing invaluable work and should be given more resources immediately, including more permanent staff, to continue its work on COVID-19 while being able to continue and recommence its work on other diseases; calls on the Commission to propose a revised mandate for the ECDC to significantly increase its long term budget, staffing and competences, so that it can provide world-class public health protection at all times, including during epidemics;

11.  Notes that each Member State has been following the recommendations of its own scientific council with only limited coordination with the other Member States or the Commission;

12.  Considers that the ECDC should be able to evaluate adequately and effectively the risk of the virus spreading and to publish a weekly updated risk map based on a common colour code, established according to the information collected and provided by the Member States;

13.  Supports the colour code proposed by the Commission in its recent proposal for a Council recommendation; considers that the categorisation suggested (green, orange, red and grey) will facilitate movement within the EU and will give citizens more transparent information;

14.  Therefore urges the Council to swiftly adopt and implement the Commission’s proposal for a Council recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; insists that such a common framework is crucial to avoid any disruption in the internal market, not least by establishing clear rules for travellers who perform essential functions, such as transport workers, providers of cross-border services such as health and elderly care, and seasonal workers;

15.  Underlines that the common methodology and criteria adopted and the maps developed by the ECDC should facilitate a coordinated approach to Member States’ own decision-making processes, and ensure that any decisions taken by the Member States are consistent and well-coordinated;

16.  Acknowledges the importance of cumulative incidence rates and test positivity rates in evaluating the spread of the virus, but considers that other criteria such as hospitalisation rates and intensive care unit occupancy rates should also be taken into account;

17.  Calls on the Commission to promote a common methodology for collecting health data and for counting and reporting the number of deaths;

18.  Urges the Member States to adopt the same definition for a positive case of COVID-19, for a death by COVID-19 and for recovery from infection;

19.  Underlines that common definitions, health criteria and methodologies will allow the Member States and the Commission to conduct a common analysis of the epidemiological risk at EU level;

20.  Strongly welcomes the regional approach suggested by the Commission; considers that the risk mapping of the ECDC should be done at regional level and not only at national level; calls on the Member States therefore to transmit to the ECDC data collected by regional public authorities;

21.  Recalls that the ECDC has recommended that the Member States follow minimum baseline measures to avoid the spread of the virus, such as hygiene measures, physical distancing and limiting gatherings, using face masks in specific settings, teleworking arrangements, extensive testing, isolation of cases, quarantine of close contacts and protection of vulnerable populations;

22.  Calls on the Member States to follow the ECDC’s abovementioned recommendations and to define a common framework of health measures that public authorities in affected areas should adopt in order to halt the spread of the pandemic;

23.  Acknowledges that additional measures should be considered and shared by public authorities if the rate of transmission increases, including interventions limiting population movement, reducing the number of contacts per person and banning mass gatherings, paying particular attention to high-risk areas;

24.  Considers that such a framework would strengthen mutual trust between the Member States and between the affected areas, and avoid restrictive measures in response;

25.  Points out that the economy and the day-to-day lives of people living in cross-border regions have been negatively affected by border closures and that several Member States have introduced specific exemptions and adaptions of the rules for these regions; calls on the Member States therefore to pay particular attention to the specificities of cross-border regions, where cross-border commuting is common, and to insist on the need to cooperate at local and regional level in such areas, to jointly establish health mechanisms for the coordination and exchange of information in real time and to introduce so-called green lanes for essential workers;

26.  Calls for the adoption and implementation of a common testing strategy under which test results would be recognised in all Member States and adequate testing capacities would be provided to ensure that everyone who needs to take a test can do so without any disproportionate waiting times; considers that testing for travel purposes, where necessary, should preferably be carried out in the country of origin; further considers that the Member States and the Commission should draw up a list of the authorities permitted to provide a test certificate for these purposes, in order to safeguard this process from abuse;

27.  Calls on the Commission and the ECDC to evaluate the possibility of using reliable, but inexpensive, 15-minute tests;

28.  Recalls that most Member States have developed COVID-19 tracing apps using the same decentralised architecture; expects the interoperability of these apps to be achieved at EU level by October so as to allow for EU-wide COVID-19 tracing; encourages the Commission and the Member States to further encourage citizens’ use of these apps, and to do so in full compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation;

29.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission, while considering the opinion of the ECDC, to agree on a common quarantine period with regard to essential and non-essential intra-EU travel, and essential and non-essential travel into the EU from third countries;

30.  Calls on the Member States to adopt a common protocol for monitoring asymptomatic patients, measures regarding the isolation of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 and isolation measures for the contacts of those patients;

31.  Welcomes the use by citizens of passenger locator forms; considers that a harmonised version of the passenger locator information form in digital format should be used as a priority to simplify processing and that it should be provided in an analogue format to ensure access for all Europeans; calls on the Commission to develop a harmonised passenger locator form with the aim of generating trust in an EU-wide monitoring system;

32.  Insists that any measures limiting our privacy and data protection must be lawful, effective to deal with the risk to life and public health, strictly proportionate and used only for public health purposes, and subject to strict time limits; stresses that emergency initiatives must not lead to mass surveillance after the crisis and calls for guarantees in this regard;

33.  Insists that the passenger locator form and its use need to be fully consistent with data protection rules, in particular integrity and confidentiality; insists that the data recorded should only be used for COVID-19 contact tracing and not for any other purpose, in line with the principle of purpose limitation; urges the Member States to update their relevant legislation accordingly;

34.  Reiterates its call on the Commission from its resolution on the EU’s public health strategy post-COVID-19 to propose the creation of a European Health Response Mechanism (EHRM) to respond to all types of health crises, to strengthen operational coordination at EU level, and to monitor the constitution and the triggering of the strategic reserve of medicines and medical equipment and ensure its proper functioning; considers that the EHRM should formalise the working methods established during the COVID-19 health crisis, building on the measures provided for in the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive, the Cross-Border Health Threats Decision(10) and the Union Civil Protection Mechanism;

35.  Calls for the establishment of a COVID-19 task force led by the Commission in the framework of the EHRM; considers that each Member State should be represented in this task force and should designate a point of contact from their national executives; proposes that the main objective of this task force should be to regularly disseminate recommendations relayed at European and national level; considers that Parliament should have a permanent evaluation mandate to assess the work of this taskforce;

36.  Recalls that giving the public clear, timely and comprehensive information is crucial to limiting the impacts of any restrictions on free movement put in place, and to ensure predictability, legal certainty and compliance by citizens;

37.  Emphasises the importance of clear, accessible and understandable information about the European, national, regional and local numbers of infections, healthcare systems, measures in place and travel restrictions; stresses that this crucial information needs to be available in all official languages and in languages used by significant parts of the population to include people with a migrant background;

38.  Stresses that all information must be made easily understandable for the entire population, including people with low levels of literacy, by using clear, harmonised colours and understandable symbols in public information, and stresses that this information should also be provided in analogue format in appropriate places to include people with no or limited access to the internet;

39.  Calls on airline companies to refund passengers who have had their flights cancelled due to the pandemic as soon as possible and to meet their obligations as laid down in Regulation (EC) No 261/2004; asks the Commission to investigate infringements of passenger rights during this pandemic;

40.  Recalls that during the COVID-19 pandemic, several critical sectors, such as the food, pharmaceutical and health sectors and their supply chains, have experienced massive disruptions;

41.  Underlines the need to ensure an effective, resilient and future-proof internal market in which essential products and services for citizens continue to be delivered across the EU and are available to all citizens;

42.  Calls for the Commission to conduct, together with the Member States, a comprehensive and cross-sectoral analysis of the economies within the EU in order to understand the depth of the impacts felt during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to assess the extent of the disruptions to cross-border value chains; considers this to constitute an essential evidence base in order for the Commission to issue updated recommendations and determine the key policies that will act to strengthen a collective long-term recovery within the single market that will leave no one behind;

43.  Reiterates that it is crucial for people’s everyday lives that essential goods such as food or medical devices or protective equipment keep being delivered across the EU at all times; calls on the Commission to come forward with a proposal for an upgraded critical infrastructure directive to ensure continued free movement of essential goods and services within the internal market in times of crisis such as a pandemic;

44.  Considers that a comprehensive strategy should be developed in this respect in order to ensure the free circulation of goods at all times and to avoid unilateral restrictive measures, while taking into account public security and public health measures, and to encourage economic recovery in order to strengthen the resilience of the internal market and prepare for a new crisis;

45.  Strongly supports the Commission’s call on the Member States to refrain from taking national measures banning intra-EU exports of personal protective equipment or other important medical instruments or pharmaceuticals;

46.  Emphasises the importance of Member States being able to pool resources, including manufacturing capacities, to ensure that the increased demand for PPE, ventilators and other medical equipment, laboratory supplies and sanitising products, can be met within the EU, which would also help bolster the reserves of the strategic rescEU stockpile;

47.  Calls on the Member States to make use of the current public procurement legislation framework in order to maximise the potential of the existing flexibility provisions for simpler, faster and more flexible procurement, and outlines the importance of the joint procurement of medicine, medical equipment and personal protective equipment in ensuring their availability in all regions, including rural areas and peripheral and outermost regions;

48.  Recalls that the COVID-19 crisis has shown weaknesses in the protection of consumers due to the proliferation of scams and unsafe products, particularly online; stresses the need to address these weaknesses and to ensure that the digital single market is fair and safe for everyone through the upcoming Digital Services Act by forcing online platforms to take appropriate action against such products;

49.  Stresses that consumers need to be well informed about their rights and about the options they have when they purchase goods or services, especially in times of crisis; urges the Commission and the Member States to take action to provide reliable and adequate information in a way that is easily accessible to consumers across the Union;

50.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to fully implement the Next Generation EU measures as quickly as possible by making the necessary national procedures as simple and non-bureaucratic as possible to ensure the EU economic recovery is effective in dealing with the deepest crisis that the EU has dealt with in recent times; underlines that the COVID-19 crisis should not be used as an excuse to postpone, weaken or abolish the implementation of various product and industry standards, including those designed to promote sustainability, but that it should rather be taken as an opportunity to improve the single market in a way that promotes sustainable production and consumption;

51.  Considers that a swift return to a fully functional Schengen area is of the utmost importance, and calls urgently on the Member States to discuss, together with Parliament, the Council and the Commission, a Recovery Plan for Schengen, including the ways and means to return to a fully functioning Schengen area without internal border controls and contingency plans as quickly as possible, in order to prevent temporary internal border controls from becoming semi-permanent in the medium term;

52.  Calls on the Member States to step up their efforts to achieve the completion of Schengen integration with all EU Member States, and for coordinated and harmonised measures to apply equally across the Union and to the equal benefit of all citizens residing within it;

53.  Recalls that temporary travel restrictions applying to all non-essential travel from third countries to the Schengen Area have been introduced; underlines that all decisions on refusal of entry at external borders need to be consistent with the provisions of the Schengen Borders Code, including the respect of fundamental rights in particular, as laid down in Article 4 thereof;

54.  Invites the Commission and national authorities to proactively monitor the market during and after the crisis in order to prevent consumer harm related to the COVID-19 situation and help consumers to exercise their rights stemming from EU law;

55.  Underlines that any restrictive measures imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic by national authorities should be, by definition, limited in duration, as their sole justification is to tackle the pandemic; expects the Commission to carefully guard against temporary measures becoming unjustified lasting barriers to the free movement of goods, services and persons within the internal market;

56.  Calls on the Commission to develop a strategy for a ‘resilient Europe’, consisting of a risk assessment map and options to address sound management and investments in healthcare systems and pandemic responses at EU level, including resilient supply chains in the EU, thereby ensuring the production of key products, such as pharmaceutical ingredients, medicines and medical equipment;

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

(1) OJ L 77, 23.3.2016, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.
(3) OJ C 86 I, 16.3.2020, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 102 I, 30.3.2020, p. 12.
(5) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0054.
(6) OJ C 169, 15.5.2020, p. 30.
(7) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0175.
(8) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2020)0205.
(9) OJ L 46, 17.2.2004, p.1.
(10) OJ L 293, 5.11.2013, p. 1.


The importance of urban and green infrastructure - European Year of Greener Cities 2022
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European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the European Year of Greener Cities 2022 (2019/2805(RSP))
P9_TA-PROV(2020)0241B9-0243/2020

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds(1),

–  having regard to Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2013 on Green Infrastructure – Enhancing Europe’s Natural Capital(4),

–  having regard to the 7th Environmental Action Programme,

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 (COM(2011)0244),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Bringing nature back into our lives’ (COM(2020)0380),

–  having regard to the EU Strategy on Green Infrastructure(5),

–  having regard to the report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 24 May 2019 on the review of progress on implementation of the EU green infrastructure strategy (COM(2019)0236),

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 6 May 2013 on Green Infrastructure (GI) – Enhancing Europe’s Natural Capital (COM(2013)0249),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 8 October 2013 on the Commission communication on Green Infrastructure (GI) – Enhancing Europe’s Natural Capital(6),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 16 October 2013 on the communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions Green Infrastructure (GI) — Enhancing Europe’s Natural Capital(7),

–  having regard to the question to the Commission of 19 September 2013 on the development of an EU Green Infrastructure (GI) policy (O-000094/2013 – B7-0525/2013),

–  having regard to the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters,

–  having regard to the European Green Capital award(8),

–  having regard to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy(9),

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on the importance of urban and green infrastructure – European Year of Greener Cities 2022 (O-000039/2020 – B9‑0014/2020),

–  having regard to Rules 136(5) and 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas green infrastructure is understood to be a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas, including environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services, and incorporating green spaces (or blue, if aquatic ecosystems are concerned) and other physical features in terrestrial (including coastal) and marine areas in both rural and urban settings;

B.  whereas 72 % of people in the EU live in cities, towns and suburbs, and the share of the urban population is continuing to grow and could reach 80 % in 2020(10); whereas these figures show that green cities are more important than ever in tackling the major challenges that our planet is facing and that they have growing potential as essential hubs for both the implementation of global agendas and for engaging citizens in policy decisions;

C.  whereas cities face an array of challenges, ranging from the impact of climate change on their residents’ health to environmental concerns, and whereas green infrastructure has great potential to offer nature-based ecological, economic and social solutions to many of these problems, which are generally low-cost and sustainable and create jobs;

D.  whereas it is important to increase awareness of green infrastructure and the many positive impacts it has on ecosystems and the services they provide to populations, in order to better promote nature-based solutions in land and spatial planning and the creation and regeneration of green spaces, to accelerate the change from a grey to a green infrastructure standard in urban planning and territorial development and to enable cities to better adapt to the adverse effects of climate change;

E.  whereas green infrastructure provides ecosystem services that are crucial to our wellbeing, the production of urban food, water circulation and retention, increase infiltration and reduce pollution through natural processes, regulate ambient temperatures, support biodiversity (including pollinators), improve nutrient cycles, make residential areas look nicer, make it easier for residents to exercise, and improve the wellbeing of residents;

F.  whereas green infrastructure contributes to the development of Natura 2000 networks in urban areas, improving connectivity between ecological green and blue corridors, enhancing the conservation of species and habitats that are essential to the ecosystem, and helping to maintain the provision of ecosystem services in urban areas; whereas the annual benefits of ecosystem services provided by the Natura 2000 network have been estimated to be worth EUR 300 billion across the EU, with the benefits of green infrastructure being worth far more;

G.  whereas greening cities involves more than just implementing initiatives to make cities more verdant given the importance of clean air, water, soil and a cityscape that promotes biodiversity for ensuring the sustainability of verdant spaces;

H.  whereas green infrastructure is a crucial part of the 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030;

I.  whereas green infrastructure contributes to climate mitigation as it strengthens the resilience of ecosystems to climate change and helps to reduce the volume of atmospheric CO2 through direct carbon sequestration, especially in peatlands, oceans and forests; whereas it also helps to reduce water and wastewater pumping and treatment and the associated energy demands and to reduce building energy use and emissions thanks to ‘smart buildings’ that have green elements such as roofs and walls and include new materials that increase resource efficiency; whereas green infrastructure also helps to reduce energy demand and transport-related pollution by making it easier to adopt alternative, clean transport modes such as cycling, walking and clean public transport, including water transport;

J.  whereas green infrastructure contributes to climate adaptation via the protection of natural capital, the conservation of natural habitats and species, an improvement in ecological status, the management of water bodies and food safety; whereas its development is among the most effective climate change adaptation measures that can be taken in cities, as it mitigates the negative impacts of climate change and increasingly frequent extreme weather phenomena, such as heatwaves, forest fires, extreme rainfall, flooding and drought, evens out extreme temperatures, and improves the quality of life of EU residents living in urban areas;

K.  whereas more than 22 % of European species are now threatened with extinction according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species; whereas greening cities helps to promote biodiversity and can play an important role in mitigating the biodiversity crisis; whereas promoting biodiversity in cities can bring co-benefits by way of increasing the resilience of ecosystems and carbon sequestration potential;

L.  whereas good urban planning, planted soil and permeable pavements are better at increasing water retention, managing seepage, preventing soil erosion and combatting urban run-off than asphalt and concrete; whereas high-quality green infrastructure reduces the risk of flooding;

M.  whereas well-designed green infrastructure is one of the best ways to increase the number of ecological green and blue corridors, and thereby protect biodiversity;

N.  whereas plants purify the air by filtering out small particles and producing oxygen; whereas the quality of air in our cities has become one of the biggest health challenges facing the EU today; whereas cleaner air would improve the quality of life of millions of people, including asthma and airway disease sufferers; whereas every year, 430 000 people die prematurely as a result of breathing polluted air in the EU; whereas improving air quality must be a priority for the EU, the Member States, regions and municipalities, in order to protect people and ecosystems from the impacts of air pollution; whereas an improvement in air quality could significantly reduce the number of premature deaths;

O.  whereas the use of trees and vegetation can reduce noise pollution in urban areas; whereas noise is the second largest environmental cause of health problems, after air quality; whereas the EU-funded research project HOSANNA found that natural plant sound shields are better at shielding residents from traffic noise than the straight-sided sound barriers commonly used; whereas biodiversity and nature are negatively impacted by noise pollution and efforts to green cities should include initiatives to reduce noise pollution;

P.  whereas green infrastructure should also be promoted in coastal cities, which are usually adjacent to wetlands, in order to preserve marine and coastal biodiversity and ecosystems and to enhance the sustainable development of the coastal economy, tourism and landscape, positive developments that in turn improve resilience to climate change impacts in these vulnerable areas, which are particularly affected by the rise in sea level;

Q.  whereas green infrastructure should be promoted in port areas as they are an important part of coastal cities and usually cover vast land areas that are also part of the Natura 2000 network; whereas doing so will better address environmental issues such as pollution and biodiversity loss and help to promote the development of new infrastructure projects, such as the electrification of ports;

R.  whereas green infrastructure offers access to nature for those who might otherwise have little contact with it – such as children, older persons and persons with disabilities – and contributes to their education on and awareness of nature and ecological challenges;

S.  whereas greener cities can provide significant health benefits as they improve air quality, encourage residents to move and exercise more, help to prevent and cure depression, improve the immune system, and ultimately increase happiness and well-being(11);

T.  whereas a higher number of urban parks and gardens, greener streets, green roofs on buildings, bus stops covered in vegetation and greener playgrounds, among other things, increase the attractiveness and comfort of neighbourhoods and cities; whereas they also increase social contacts between residents, encourage positive behavioural changes and create a stronger sense of community; whereas publicly owned green spaces can bring incalculable benefits to inhabitants of cities;

U.  whereas greener neighbourhoods have been shown to increase the economic value of properties, as they make areas more desirable to prospective buyers, making it essential to take measures to mitigate gentrification and ensure equitable access to greener neighbourhoods;

V.  whereas the greening of cities can facilitate more sustainable small-scale food production and reduce the footprint of food by reinforcing short supply chains, thereby enabling new micro businesses to emerge and encouraging residents to become active in this field and understand the food chain better, especially organic and environmentally sustainable farming;

W.  whereas 80 % of the waste found at sea comes from cities, including upstream waste from river basins; whereas it is important to improve waste management systems in urban areas, especially the management of diffuse pollution, litter and macro waste, for example by strengthening filtration in wastewater treatment plants in order to make cities greener and tackle ocean pollution;

X.  whereas citizens need to be engaged in and feel empowered to provide input on urban planning and the design of green infrastructure, taking into account local environmental, social, economic and technological features;

Y.  whereas the development of green infrastructure goes hand in hand with its sustainable management, especially with regard to water resources; whereas it is important to link green and blue infrastructure in an environmentally responsible manner, including by reusing water and rainwater and managing water effectively;

Z.  whereas the ecosystem services provided by trees become far more important the older they get; whereas the healthy and integrated management and planning of urban areas is essential in order to maximise their development potential and enable citizens to take full advantage of the potential and of the services provided by green infrastructure;

1.  Acknowledges the contribution that greener cities can make to achieving the goals set out in the Paris agreement and strengthening the EU’s resilience and ability to adapt to climate change; underlines the important role greener cities can play in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and fulfilling the commitments of the New Urban Agenda, particularly when it comes to improving the use of water resources and improving biodiversity in the urban environment;

2.  Calls on the Commission to devise a new EU strategy for greener cities and green infrastructure to help cities play their part in climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as improving the wellbeing of people living in cities;

3.  Calls on the Commission to put forward measures under the European Green Deal to specifically address the role of cities and to promote investment in green infrastructure;

4.  Stresses the importance of effectively mainstreaming climate and environmental perspectives into local, regional, national and global urban policymaking;

5.  Stresses the need to adopt an adaptation strategy for cities exposed to the consequences of climate change based on a new innovative ecosystem approach to risk prevention and management, in particular by identifying areas where water will retreat, areas where flooding will be absorbed, areas with natural protection and, in cases where it is essential, areas that require artificial protection;

6.  Calls on the Member States, local and regional authorities to devise action plans and actively engage in activities designed to promote and maintain green urban areas in cooperation with relevant stakeholders, including civil society;

7.  Acknowledges the great importance of public green spaces for the physical and mental wellbeing of urban dwellers, particularly in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic; calls for local, regional and national authorities to protect and promote urban green spaces, improve their quality, and ensure that their residents have easy access to public green spaces in their localities;

8.  Insists that the potential of cities to help protect biodiversity and ecosystem services is underestimated; recalls that enhancing biodiversity, ecosystem services and urban green infrastructure in cities and peri-urban areas improves human health; recalls that developing and implementing nature-based solutions for preserving biodiversity and incorporating and further integrating biodiversity and ecosystem functions in urban design, policy and planning can play an important role in mitigating and adapting to climate change in cities, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote these practices;

9.  Welcomes the fact that the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, as part of the European Green Deal, includes a strong focus on greening urban and peri-urban areas and increasing biodiversity in urban spaces; welcomes in particular the new Urban Greening Plans and calls on the Commission to ensure that European cities are highly ambitious in creating these plans and that they are effectively implemented; calls on the Member States to also promote greening in urban areas with populations of less than 20 000;

10.  Proposes that the year 2022 be designated a European Year of Greener Cities;

11.  Proposes that the aims of the European Year of Greener Cities 2022 are to:

   a. raise awareness of the benefits of green spaces in a built environment; introduce initiatives to increase the provision of green spaces, including near residential areas;
   b. increase the quantity and quality of research and the development of new innovations in various fields of expertise, creating greener added value and enhancing quality of life in cities; provide targeted support for sustainable digitalisation in the EU and thus for start-ups and digital innovations; enhance the upscaling of green infrastructure projects;
   c. encourage local authorities and citizens to take action and improve their neighbourhoods and environment, bringing them together as a community to increase their resilience and to reshape the future of their cities; increase the involvement of citizens in other actions and decision-making on the environment and the overall life of the city;
   d. create a culture of appreciation of green spaces and blue-green infrastructure; encourage urban development that respects the need for green spaces as an important aspect of quality of life in cities;
   e. promote the use of climate-friendly materials and services through public procurement;
   f. increase the number of green infrastructure projects; continue and add resources to the EU Strategy on Green Infrastructure;
   g. connect existing initiatives and share best practices across the Member States, as provided for in numerous initiatives and strategies, inter alia on urban planning, sustainable urbanism and infrastructure, nature-based solutions, green architecture, cleaner energy, pedestrian and cyclist mobility, efficient water resource management and sustainable and circular waste management on the basis of the waste hierarchy, which aims to achieve the target of zero waste or to reduce waste to a minimum through maximum use of recycling;
   h. create a roadmap for greening EU cities and maintaining green spaces by 2030, conveying the principle of ecological urbanism as a means to encourage harmonious links between rural and urban environments and to acknowledge their interdependence and the need for a bidirectional relationship;
   i. undertake educational activities aimed at various audiences with content tailored to the target group, in particular children;
   j. encourage initiatives to reduce urban traffic, and promote and invest in public transport;
   k. phase out the use of pesticides and herbicides in urban areas to protect residents and urban biodiversity;
   l. ensure the broadest possible participation of environmental NGOs in environmental protection and education activities;
   m. significantly increase urban roofing and facade greening to improve the urban climate, air quality and insulation;
   n. support urban gardening and the safeguarding and development of allotment areas as well as urban school gardening facilities throughout the EU, as these are an important pillar of environmental education for children;

12.  Calls on the Commission to take swift action to improve air quality in cities, particularly by reducing emissions through new urban mobility solutions that favour more efficient and environmentally sustainable public transport options;

13.  Highlights the importance of promoting and enabling citizen participation in the greening of urban areas and the maintenance of green areas through their involvement in sustainable spatial planning and implementation phases as appropriate, in order to achieve sustainable urban planning solutions, create ownership of relevant actions and have socially inclusive, resilient and low-emission cities that are attractive to their citizens; considers it important to ensure that members of the public are aware of how they can contribute to greening their cities, maintain green spaces and transform them into healthier environments; encourages municipalities and regions to support green initiatives submitted by citizens to the greatest extent possible and develop sponsorship projects for open spaces; urges municipalities and regions to adopt and implement ambitious initiatives for green cities;

14.  Urges the Commission to continue supporting ambitious measures to improve energy and resource efficiency; urges the Commission to help secure adequate funding for actions that contribute to sustainable urban development and green infrastructure, such as innovation partnerships and joint procurement schemes between EU cities; urges the Commission to help enhance the collective power of cities in order to quickly scale up efficient solutions; urges the Commission to support private sector participation via public-private partnerships, a more ambitious European Investment Bank programme and incentives for SMEs, which can play a crucial role in developing innovative sustainable solutions;

15.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and to the national parliaments.

(1) OJ L 20, 26.1.2010, p. 7.
(2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.
(3) OJ L 288, 6.11.2007, p. 27.
(4) OJ C 468, 15.12.2016, p. 190.
(5) As outlined in the Commission’s EU Strategy on Green Infrastructure: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ecosystems/strategy/index_en.htm.
(6) OJ C 356, 5.12.2013, p. 43.
(7) OJ C 67, 6.3.2014, p. 153.
(8) https://ec.europa.eu/environment/europeangreencapital/index_en.htm
(9) https://www.covenantofmayors.eu/en/
(10) European Environment Agency, Analysing and managing urban growth, European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, 2019, https://www.eea.europa.eu/articles/analysing-and-managing-urban-growth.
(11) European Commission, Urban Green Spaces Increase Happiness, European Commission, Brussels, http://ec.europa.eu/environment/europeangreencapital/space-increase-happiness/.

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