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Thursday, 20 October 2022 - Strasbourg
Non-acceptance of Russian travel documents issued in Ukraine and Georgia***I
P9_TA(2022)0370
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 Consolidated text

Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 20 October 2022 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the non-recognition of Russian travel documents issued in occupied foreign regions (COM(2022)0662 – C9‑0302/2022 – 2022/0274(COD))(1)
AMENDMENTS BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
to the Commission proposal
---------------------------------------------------------

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

[Amendment 1]

(1) The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committee responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (C9-0302/2022).


Proposal for a
Decision (EU) 2022/… of the European Parliament and of the Council on the non-acceptance of Russian travel documents issued in Ukraine and Georgia

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Articles 77(2)(a) and (b) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

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

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure,

Whereas:

(1)  In reaction to the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation in 2014 and to its continued destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine, the European Union has already introduced economic sanctions in response to Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, linked to the incomplete implementation of the Minsk Agreements; sanctions in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine; and sanctions in response to the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.

(2)  As a signatory of the Minsk agreements, the Russian Federation has had a clear and direct responsibility to work towards finding a peaceful settlement of the conflict in line with these principles. With the decision to recognise the non-government controlled regions of eastern Ukraine as independent entities, the Russian Federation has clearly violated the Minsk agreements, which stipulate the full return of these areas to the control of the Ukrainian government.

(3)  That decision ▌and the ensuing decision to send Russian troops into these areas further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence, constitute a severe breach of international law and international agreements, including the UN Charter, Helsinki Final Act, Paris Charter and the Budapest Memorandum.

(3a)  On 24 February 2022, the European Council, together with its international partners, condemned in the strongest possible terms Russia's unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine and expressed full solidarity with Ukraine and its people. Furthermore, the European Council demanded that Russia immediately cease its military actions, unconditionally withdraw all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders(1). This position was reiterated by the European Council on 25 March 2022, 31 May 2022 and 24 June 2022(2).

(4)  A military aggression which takes place in a country bordering the European Union, such as that which has occurred in Ukraine and which has given rise to the restrictive measures, justifies measures designed to protect the essential security interests of the European Union and its Member States.

(5)  Since the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula on 18 March 2014, Russia has issued Russian international passports to residents of Crimea. On 24 April 2019, the President of the Russian Federation signed a decree simplifying the procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship by residents of the non-Government controlled areas of Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including the issuance of Russian international passports to those residents. By means of the decree of 11 July 2022, the Russian Federation has extended the practice of handing out ordinary Russian international passports to other non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine, notably the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. In May 2022, the Russian Federation introduced a simplified Russian naturalisation procedure for orphan children from the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic, as well as Ukraine. The decree also applies to children without parental care and legally incapable persons who are inhabitants of those two occupied regions. The systematic issuance of Russian passports in those occupied regions constitutes a further infringement of international law and Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. With regard to Georgia, the European Council on 1 September 2008, strongly condemned Russia’s unilateral decision to recognise the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and urged other countries not to recognise their independence.(3)

(5a)  The Union and its Member States as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have not recognised the illegal annexation and have condemned the illegal occupation of regions and territories of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. This concerns in particular the annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, occupation of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but also further illegal occupation in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, namely the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. Russian travel documents issued in those regions are not recognised or in the process of not being recognised by Member States as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The same applies to travel documents issued in the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia which are currently not under the control of the Georgian government (“breakaway territories”).

(6)  In order to ensure a common visa policy and a common approach to checks to which persons crossing the external borders are subject, all Russian travel documents issued in or to persons resident in occupied ▌regions or territories in Ukraine or breakaway territories in Georgia listed in the Annex to this Decision should not be accepted as valid travel documents for the purposes of issuing of a visa and of crossing the external borders. Member States should be able to make a derogation for persons who were Russian citizens on the date on which the Russian documents started to be issued in the respective occupied region or territory or in a breakaway territory or to descendants of such persons.

(6a)  This Decision does not affect Member States' competence for the recognition of travel documents.

(6b)  For reasons of legal certainty and transparency, the Commission should draw up, with the assistance of Member States, a list of not accepted Russian travel documents, per region or territory. The list to be drawn up by the Commission should include the dates from which those Russian travel documents started to be issued in those regions or territories and from which the travel documents issued after those dates should not be accepted.

The list should be adopted by means of an implementing act, be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and be incorporated in the list of travel documents established under Decision No 1105/2011/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council(4), and set out in the accompanying table of travel documents issued by third countries and territorial entities and which is publicly available online.

(10)  This Decision does not affect the right to free movement of Union citizens and their respective family members, including the possibility for such family members to enter the territory of the Member States without a valid travel document within the meaning in particular of Directive 2004/38/EC and the agreements on free movement of persons concluded by the Union and the Member States, of the one part, and certain third countries, of the other part. Directive 2004/38/EC permits, under the conditions specified therein, restrictions to free movement on grounds of public policy, public security and public health.

(11)  This Decision respects fundamental rights and observes the principles recognised in particular by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. This Decision should not affect the right to asylum.

(12)  As recalled in the Communication from the Commission on Providing operational guidelines for external border management to facilitate border crossings at the EU-Ukraine borders, Member State are free to authorise entry of third-country nationals who do not fulfil one or more of the conditions laid down in Article 6(1) of Regulation (EU) 2016/399 (entry conditions for third country nationals) to their territory on humanitarian grounds, on grounds of national interest or because of international obligations. This wide derogation should be applied in the current crisis to allow entry to all those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. Member States retain the possibility to allow holders of travel documents targeted by this Decision who have not exercised their right to apply for international protection to enter the territory of the Member States in individual cases, as provided for in Articles 25 and 29 of Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 and Article 6(5) of Regulation (EU) No 2016/399.

(12a)  In order to take into account relevant legal and political developments, the power to adopt acts in accordance with Article 290 TFEU should be delegated to the Commission to amend this Decision by adding or removing regions or territories included in the Annex. 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.

(12b)  In order to allow the Union to respond quickly in a rapidly evolving situation, it is appropriate to provide for the immediate application of the relevant delegated act amending the Annex to this Decision, where imperative grounds of urgency so require. Where the urgency procedure is followed, it is of particular importance that the Commission carry out appropriate consultations during its preparatory work, including consultations at expert level.

(13)  The objective of this Decision is to strengthen the functioning of the common visa policy and the Schengen area. Those objectives cannot be achieved by Member States acting alone. Therefore, introducing an obligation to not accept certain travel documents for the purposes of issuing of a visa and of crossing the external borders at Union level is necessary. The Union may therefore adopt measures in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity as set out in Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union. In accordance with the principle of proportionality, as set out in that Article, this Decision does not go beyond that what is necessary in order to achieve the objectives.

(14)  In accordance with Articles 1 and 2 of the Protocol No 22 on the Position of Denmark annexed to the Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Denmark is not taking part in the adoption of this Decision and is not bound by it or subject to its application. Given that this Decision builds upon the Schengen acquis, Denmark shall, in accordance with Article 4 of that Protocol, decide within a period of six months after the Council has decided on this Decision whether it will implement it in its national law.

(15)  This Decision constitutes a development of the provisions of the Schengen acquis in which Ireland does not take part(6); Ireland is therefore not taking part in the adoption of this Decision and is not bound by it or subject to its application.

(16)  As regards Iceland and Norway, this Decision constitutes a development of the provisions of the Schengen acquis within the meaning of the Agreement concluded by the Council of the European Union and the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway concerning the association of those two States with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis(7) which fall within the area referred to in Article 1, points A and B of Council Decision 1999/437/EC(8).

(17)  As regards Switzerland, this Decision constitutes a development of the provisions of the Schengen acquis within the meaning of the Agreement between the European Union, the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on the Swiss Confederation's association with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis(9) which fall within the area referred to in Article 1, points A and B, of Decision 1999/437/EC read in conjunction with Article 3 of Council Decision 2008/146/EC(10).

(18)  As regards Liechtenstein, this Decision constitutes a development of the provisions of the Schengen acquis within the meaning of the Protocol between the European Union, the European Community, the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein on the accession of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the Agreement between the European Union, the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on the Swiss Confederation's association with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis(11) which fall within the area referred to in Article 1, points A and B, of Decision 1999/437/EC read in conjunction with Article 3 of Council Decision 2011/350/EU(12).

(19)  As regards Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia, Article 1, point (a) of this Decision constitutes an act building upon, or otherwise relating to, the Schengen acquis within, respectively, the meaning of Article 3(2) of the 2003 Act of Accession, Article 4(2) of the 2005 Act of Accession and Article 4(2) of the 2011 Act of Accession, whereas Article 1, point (b) constitutes an act building upon, or otherwise relating to, the Schengen acquis within, respectively, the meaning of Article 3(1) of the 2003 Act of Accession, Article 4(1) of the 2005 Act of Accession and Article 4(1) of the 2011 Act of Accession.

(20)  Due to the urgency of the situation and the ongoing illegal Russian presence in foreign regions, this Decision should enter into force on the first day following that of its publication,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

Russian travel documents issued in or to persons resident in Russian-occupied ▌ regions or territories in Ukraine or breakaway territories in Georgia listed in the Annex shall not be recognised accepted as valid travel documents for the following purposes:

(a)  the issuing of a visa in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 810/2009;

(b)  the crossing of the external borders in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/399.

The Commission is empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 2a to amend the Annex by adding or removing regions or territories, when this is necessary to take into account relevant legal and political developments.

Where, in the case of a rapidly evolving situation, imperative grounds of urgency so require, the procedure provided for in Article 2b shall apply to delegated acts adopted pursuant to this Article.

Article 1a

By way of derogation from Article 1, a Russian travel document referred to in Article 1 may be accepted:

—  if its holder was a Russian citizen before the dates indicated in the implementing act referred to in Article 2. This shall apply also to descendants of such Russian citizen;

—  if its holder was a child or legally incapacitated person at the time that holder obtained Russian citizenship through the simplified naturalisation procedure under Russian law.

Member States may allow holders of travel documents covered by this Decision to enter the territory of the Member States in individual cases, as provided for in Articles 25 and 29 of Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 and Article 6(5) of Regulation (EU) 2016/399.

This decision shall not affect the Union asylum acquis and in particular the right to apply for international protection.

Article 2

The Commission shall draw up, with the assistance of the Member States, a list per region, territory or breakaway territory identified in the Annex of the travel documents referred to in Article 1. That list shall indicate the dates from which those travel documents started being issued in the occupied regions or territories including breakaway territories.

That list shall be adopted by means of an implementing act, be published in the Official Journal and be incorporated in the list of travel documents established by Decision No 1105/2011/EU.

Article 2a

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 1 shall be conferred on the Commission for a period of two years.

3.  The delegation of power referred to in Article 1 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 1 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 2b

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 2a(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 3

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

Done at Brussels,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

ANNEX

Ukraine

Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol

Donetsk region

Luhansk region

Kherson region

Zaporizhzhia region

Georgia

Abkhazia

South Ossetia

(1) European Council conclusions 24 February 2022.
(2) European Council conclusions of 25 March 2022, 31 May 2022 and 24 June 2022.
(3) Presidency Conclusions of the extra ordinary European Council 1 September 2008 (12594/2/08 REV 2).
(4) Decision No 1105/2011/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the list of travel documents which entitle the holder to cross the external borders and which may be endorsed with a visa and on setting up a mechanism for establishing this list (OJ L 287, 4.11.2011, p. 9).
(5) OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
(6)This Decision falls outside the scope of the measures provided for in Council Decision 2002/192/EC of 28 February 2002 concerning Ireland's request to take part in some of the provisions of the Schengen acquis (OJ L 64, 7.3.2002, p. 20).
(7)OJ L 176, 10.7.1999, p. 36.
(8)Council Decision 1999/437/EC of 17 May 1999 on certain arrangements for the application of the Agreement concluded by the Council of the European Union and the Republic of Iceland and the Kingdom of Norway concerning the association of those two States with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis (OJ L 176, 10.7.1999, p. 31).
(9)OJ L 53, 27.2.2008, p. 52.
(10)Council Decision 2008/146/EC of 28 January 2008 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Agreement between the European Union, the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on the Swiss Confederation's association with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis (OJ L 53, 27.2.2008, p. 1).
(11)OJ L 160, 18.6.2011, p. 21.
(12)Council Decision 2011/350/EU of 7 March 2011 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Protocol between the European Union, the European Community, the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein on the accession of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the Agreement between the European Union, the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on the Swiss Confederation's association with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis, relating to the abolition of checks at internal borders and movement of persons (OJ L 160, 18.6.2011, p. 19).

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