Index 
Texts adopted
Thursday, 7 July 2022 - Strasbourg
The arrest of Cardinal Zen and the trustees of the 612 relief fund in Hong Kong
 The situation of indigenous and environmental defenders in Brazil, including the killing of Dom Philips and Bruno Pereira
 The situation in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province
 Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Temporary measures concerning driver documents issued by Ukraine ***I
 Identification of the violation of Union restrictive measures as crimes under Article 83(1) of the TFEU ***
 Exceptional macro-financial assistance to Ukraine ***I
 Sustainable aviation fuels (ReFuelEU Aviation Initiative) ***I
 Financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2021
 Control of the financial activities of the European Investment Bank - annual report 2020
 Protection of the European Union’s financial interests - combating fraud - annual report 2020
 Better regulation: Joining forces to make better laws
 US Supreme Court decision to overturn abortion rights in the United States and the need to safeguard abortion rights and Women’s health in the EU

The arrest of Cardinal Zen and the trustees of the 612 relief fund in Hong Kong
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2022 on the arrest of Cardinal Zen and the trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund in Hong Kong (2022/2751(RSP))
P9_TA(2022)0291RC-B9-0358/2022

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 20 January 2022 on violations of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong(1), of 8 July 2021 on Hong Kong, notably the case of Apple Daily(2), and of 21 January 2021 on the crackdown on the democratic opposition in Hong Kong(3), and to its other and previous resolutions on China,

–  having regard to the 24th annual report of the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 20 May 2022 on the political and economic developments in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2021 (JOIN(2022)0016),

–  having regard to the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (National Security Law), in force since 30 June 2020,

–  having regard to the Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the Chief Executive election in Hong Kong held on 8 May 2022,

–  having regard to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China adopted on 4 April 1990, which entered into force on 1 July 1997 (Hong Kong Basic Law),

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the question of Hong Kong of 19 December 1984, also known as the Sino-British Joint Declaration, registered by the Chinese and British Governments at the United Nations on 12 June 1985,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948,

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

A.  whereas the promotion of and respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law should be at the centre of the EU’s relations with China, in line with the EU’s commitment to upholding these values in its external action and China’s commitment to adhering to them in its own development and international cooperation;

B.  whereas on 11 and 12 May 2022, the police arrested the trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund in Hong Kong, which provides humanitarian and financial support to persons injured, arrested or threatened during the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill protests – retired Roman Catholic bishop Cardinal Joseph Zen, former legislator Cyd Ho, singer-activist Denise Ho, academic Hui Po-Keung and senior barrister Margaret Ng – on charges of collusion with foreign forces (Article 29 of the National Security Law);

C.  whereas some 10 000 people have been arrested by the Hong Kong authorities since the 2019 protests; whereas 2 500 people have been prosecuted and more than 1 100 people have been convicted; whereas as of 28 March 2022, nearly 200 people had been arrested under the National Security Law; whereas at the start of 2022, there were 721 political prisoners in Hong Kong;

D.  whereas the 24th annual report of the Commission and the High Representative covering the political and economic developments in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) in 2021 concludes that the space for civil society is continuing to shrink;

E.  whereas the review by the UN Human Rights Committee of Hong Kong’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is ongoing and is expected to be finalised in July 2022;

1.  Condemns the arrests of Cardinal Joseph Zen, one of the strongest advocates of the city’s pro-democracy movement, and of the other four trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund in Hong Kong, which constitute an attack on the freedoms guaranteed in the Hong Kong Basic Law, including the freedom of religion or belief, particularly following the closure of over 60 civil society groups, and are symptomatic of the continued efforts of the People’s Republic of China to systematically destroy the last remnants of Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms and to suppress the pro-democracy movement; believes that the arrest is a clear demonstration of John Lee Ka-Chiu’s stated intention to oppress all critical voices even more strongly and to further intensify the crackdown;

2.  Calls on the authorities of the Hong Kong SAR to drop all charges against Cardinal Zen and the other four trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund – Cyd Ho, Denise Ho, Hui Po-Keung and Margaret Ng – and to release Cyd Ho; urges the authorities of the Hong Kong SAR to allow the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund to resume its financial, legal and humanitarian support of those who benefited from it;

3.  Calls on the Member States to step up efforts to implement the Council conclusions of July 2020, including ‘lifeboat schemes’ for Hong Kong pro-democracy activists and political leaders, for example by facilitating the issuing of emergency visas and providing temporary shelter; calls on the Vatican to give full support to Cardinal Zen and other religious leaders who face persecution or the risk of detention under the national security regime in Hong Kong; further calls on the Vatican to strengthen its diplomatic efforts and its leverage on the Chinese authorities, and to demand that all charges against Cardinal Zen be dropped and an end to persecution and human rights violations;

4.  Underlines that, 25 years since the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, when the Chinese authorities assumed sovereignty while promising to respect the city’s freedoms and rights protected in the Basic Law, and two years since the introduction of the so-called National Security Law in Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China is in continued breach of its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration to uphold Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ model, the rule of law, and basic human rights as enshrined in the Hong Kong Basic Law and in line with its domestic and international obligations as a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

5.  Urges the Chinese authorities to repeal the National Security Law completely and to recommit to upholding the Hong Kong Basic Law, which guarantees freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of religion and belief;

6.  Stresses that the election of John Lee was held in blatant violation of key democratic principles and political pluralism and in disregard of the right of the citizens of Hong Kong to universal suffrage; stresses that Beijing’s electoral reforms and the fact that former Security Minister and police officer John Lee was handpicked for the role of Chief Executive show that Hong Kong’s Government is no longer independent from Beijing under the previous ‘One Country, Two Systems’ model and that all political opposition has been oppressed;

7.  Deplores the decision by the Hong Kong authorities to ban, for the third consecutive year, the annual 4 June Tiananmen Square vigil;

8.  Reiterates its call for the Council to introduce targeted sanctions under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (the EU’s Magnitsky-style sanctions) against John Lee and all other Hong Kong and PRC officials responsible for the ongoing human rights crackdown in the city; further reiterates its urgent call for the remaining 10 EU Member States who have not done so to suspend active extradition treaties with the PRC and Hong Kong;

9.  Reiterates its call for the European External Action Service (EEAS) to ensure adequate resources for the European Union Office to Hong Kong (EU Office) so that it can continue conducting and adequately stepping up trial observation, prison visits and human rights monitoring, by releasing public statements, appointing a human rights focal point among its staff for human rights defenders and raising their cases with the authorities at all levels; calls on the EEAS and the EU Office to report regularly on the most prominent trials, as well as on the evolution of the human rights situation in Hong Kong more generally;

10.  Urges the EU Office and the diplomatic personnel of the Member States to do everything they can to provide the human rights activists in Hong Kong with all the support they need and to help safeguard their rights, notably by visiting political prisoners in jail, issuing emergency visas and providing temporary shelter in the Member States to those fleeing Hong Kong; deplores the climate of fear that the National Security Law has generated among Hong Kong civil society, including as a result of the introduction of the arbitrary offence of ‘collusion with foreign and external forces’;

11.  Supports the call issued by 50 United Nations human rights experts to establish a special mandate at the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on human rights conditions across China, including Hong Kong;

12.  Reiterates its call for the Commission and the Member States to review the agreement between the EU and Hong Kong/China on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters, the status of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels, and Hong Kong’s seat in the World Trade Organization;

13.  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 the People’s Republic of China, the EU Office in Hong Kong, all consular offices of the EU Member States in Hong Kong, the Holy See and the Chief Executive and Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

(1) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0011.
(2) OJ C 99, 1.3.2022, p. 178.
(3) OJ C 456, 10.11.2021, p. 242.


The situation of indigenous and environmental defenders in Brazil, including the killing of Dom Philips and Bruno Pereira
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2022 on the situation of indigenous and environmental defenders in Brazil, including the killing of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira (2022/2752(RSP))
P9_TA(2022)0292RC-B9-0348/2022

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Brazil,

–  having regard to its resolution of 19 May 2021 on the effects of climate change on human rights and the role of environmental defenders on this matter(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 3 July 2018 on violation of the rights of indigenous peoples in the world, including land grabbing(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 October 2020 with recommendations to the Commission on an EU legal framework to halt and reverse EU-driven global deforestation(3),

–  having regard to the statements of Reporters Without Borders, the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (UNIVAJA), Amnesty International, Survival International, Greenpeace, Human Rights Watch and the World Wide Fund for Nature on the murders of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips,

–  having regard to the EU-Brazil Strategic Partnership signed in July 2007,

–  having regard to the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007 and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders of 1998,

–  having regard to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (No 169) adopted on 27 June 1989 and signed by Brazil,

–  having regard to the Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil, in particular Article 231 thereof on the recognition of indigenous land,

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

A.  whereas on 5 June 2022, British journalist Dom Phillips, a contributor to The Guardian newspaper, and the Brazilian indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, a former civil servant at the National Indian Foundation (Funai), disappeared in the Javari Valley, between the riverside community of São Rafael and the city of Atalaia do Norte in the state of Amazonas in northern Brazil; whereas their corpses were discovered on 15 June 2022;

B.  whereas on 15 June 2022 the Brazilian Federal Police reported that one of the two people arrested on suspicion of involvement in their disappearances had confessed to murdering them;

C.  whereas the NGO Global Witness reported that in 2020 more than 20 land and environmental defenders had been killed in Brazil, placing the country fourth in the ranking of countries with the highest number of such killings in the world, with most of these crimes remaining unpunished; whereas in Brazil, nearly three quarters of killings occur in the Amazon region and target indigenous defenders;

D.  whereas the ongoing deterioration of human rights in Brazil is taking place in a context of restrictive legislative changes and defunding of environmental agencies, as well as growing endemic violence; whereas the indigenous peoples of Brazil have been suffering systematic aggressions and lack of protection of their rights, as well as an increasing number of attacks and murders; whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally affected indigenous communities in Brazil;

E.  whereas the current Brazilian constitution adopted in 1988 and the country’s legal framework enshrine indigenous peoples’ original right to their ancestral lands, without any kind of time limitation for the recognition of this right; whereas it is the duty of the state to regulate and protect this right;

F.  whereas on 22 October 2021, several local civil society groups participated in a public hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to denounce violations against human rights defenders and environmental defenders in Brazil; whereas in August 2021, the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) organisation filed a complaint before the International Criminal Court against President Bolsonaro for crimes against humanity and genocide ‘based on his explicit, systematic and intentional anti-indigenous policies’;

G.  whereas indigenous peoples contribute to the protection of the rainforest and other ecosystems, and thus play a crucial role in preserving biodiversity in the region and preventing climate change; whereas Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips were deeply committed to the critical task of preserving the Amazon rainforest and its biodiversity;

H.  whereas the Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world and plays a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide, reducing greenhouse gases and maintaining regional and global weather patterns; whereas the Javari Valley is located in the Amazon on the Brazilian border with Peru and Colombia; whereas this region is home to the largest concentration of indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation in the world, and access to it is only possible through other areas and by river;

I.  whereas the Javari Valley, like other regions of the Brazilian Amazon, is the site of intense conflicts led by organised crime and land invaders involved in illicit fishing, hunting, mining, illegal logging and drug trafficking; whereas 80 % of deforestation worldwide is caused by the conversion of forests to agricultural land for commodities such as beef, soy and palm oil; whereas deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased dramatically since 2019, including a 22 % jump in 2021 compared to 2020, the highest rate since 2006;

J.  whereas the promotion of and respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law should remain at the centre of the long-standing relationship between the EU and Brazil, in line with the EU’s commitment to upholding these values in its external action and the interest Brazil has expressed in adhering to them in its own development and international cooperation;

1.  Strongly condemns the brutal murder of environmental and human rights defenders as well as indigenous people in Brazil, most recently the killing of journalist Dom Phillips and activist Bruno Pereira; calls on the Brazilian authorities to conduct an exhaustive, impartial and independent investigation into these murders and to ensure full compliance with due process rights at all times;

2.  Strongly condemns the increasing violence, attacks and harassment against human rights and environmental defenders, indigenous peoples, minorities and journalists; deplores the continuous aggressive rhetoric, verbal attacks and intimidating statements by President Bolsonaro; deplores the sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated against women, girls and environmental and indigenous defenders, and recalls that these constitute a serious violation of their human rights and dignity;

3.  Demands that the Brazilian authorities take immediate action to prevent human rights violations and protect environmental and indigenous defenders; emphasises Brazilian authorities’ responsibilities and the importance of taking appropriate measures to protect indigenous peoples’ rights to land, territories and their traditional livelihoods, as well as to protect them from all forms of violence and discrimination; calls on the Brazilian authorities to implement international recommendations to ensure protection for these defenders, and to take measures to stop the persecution, criminalisation and stigmatisation of indigenous peoples and other traditional communities;

4.  Stresses that illegal gold mining threatens the forests and biodiversity in protected areas and exposes indigenous populations to contaminants; deplores the increasing deforestation rates in indigenous lands, especially in the Brazilian Amazon; calls on the Brazilian Government to strengthen and better enforce legislation against illegal deforestation and mining, and to seek sustainable alternatives to the extractive policies that are targeting indigenous territories;

5.  Regrets the dismantling by the current Brazilian Government of government agencies such as Funai, which oversees indigenous affairs, and Ibama, Brazil’s main environmental enforcement body; urges the Brazilian Government to reinstate and strengthen the capacities of these bodies to ensure effective enforcement of environmental laws and the rights of indigenous peoples;

6.  Is deeply concerned by the potential effects of bill PL 191/2020, known as the ‘bill of devastation’, and bill PL 490/2007 on the demarcation of indigenous lands; expresses deep concern about draft laws currently under discussion in the Brazilian Congress which could lead to increased deforestation and the destruction of indigenous peoples’ livelihoods;

7.  Demands the recognition and protection of the lands traditionally occupied by indigenous peoples, including by resuming the demarcation of indigenous territories and protecting these territories from illegal land seizures; reiterates the importance of ensuring compliance with the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (No 169);

8.  Stresses the importance of corporate due diligence and sustainable and transparent corporate accountability as significant and indispensable means to prevent and protect against severe human rights and environmental violations; urges European companies to ensure human rights due diligence throughout their supply chains in Brazil; reiterates that the proposed EU regulation on deforestation-free products must include the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights and human rights and ensure that rights violations are not involved in the production of products placed on the European market; calls on the Commission to ensure that any cooperation framework includes strong, binding and enforceable provisions on the protection of human rights, including the rights of indigenous communities, and to promote respect for international standards and commitments, including on deforestation;

9.  Urges the Government of Brazil to fulfil its commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change; strongly encourages the Brazilian state to tackle environmental crimes and implement a new sustainable approach to the Amazon in order to fulfil the conditions set out in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) accession roadmap and to fully align with OECD standards in order to qualify for membership of the organisation;

10.  Calls on the European External Action Service and the Member States to continue supporting civil society and environmental and humanitarian organisations, prioritising the promotion of human rights, democracy, the rule of law, equality and media freedom in Brazil, and to cooperate with international partners to promote these aims; asks the EU Delegation to Brazil to closely monitor the state of democracy in the country and to provide logistical and technological support to human rights, environmental and indigenous defenders; calls on the Commission to ensure that its cooperation assistance enhances support for civil society, in particular human rights defenders, indigenous peoples and traditional communities; calls on the EU Delegation and the Member States with diplomatic missions in Brazil to fully implement the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and to provide all appropriate support to human rights defenders;

11.  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 EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the pro tempore Presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly and the President, Government and Congress of Brazil.

(1) OJ C 15, 12.1.2022, p. 111.
(2) OJ C 118, 8.4.2020, p. 15.
(3) OJ C 404, 6.10.2021, p. 175.


The situation in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2022 on the situation in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province (2022/2753(RSP))
P9_TA(2022)0293RC-B9-0350/2022

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Tajikistan,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

–  having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,

–  having regard to the 12th EU-Tajikistan annual Human Rights Dialogue,

–  having regard to the EU statement on the latest developments in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in Tajikistan at the OSCE Permanent Council No 1375 in Vienna of 26 May 2022,

–  having regard to the joint statement of 18 May 2022 on Developments in GBAO from the Delegation of the European Union to Tajikistan and the Embassies of France, Germany, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America,

–  having regard to the UN Special Rapporteurs’ joint letter to the Government of Tajikistan of 11 March 2022,

–  having regard to the statement of 20 May 2022 by the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues,

–  having regard to the previous reports and statements of the UN Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Tajikistan,

–  having regard to the UN Human Rights Council outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Tajikistan adopted on 23 March 2022,

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

A.  whereas protests erupted in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) in May 2022, following months of persecution of local residents after the protests of November 2021; whereas Tajik citizens in the GBAO were peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly in order to protest against abuses against their community when the law enforcement agencies initiated their violent crackdown;

B.  whereas on 25 November 2021, a group of law enforcement agents tortured and killed a young representative of the Pamiri minority, Gulbiddin Ziyobekov, who they accused of attacking a deputy prosecutor; whereas following his death, peaceful civilian protests took place, demanding an investigation into the circumstances of the killing, the withdrawal of most of the military troops stationed in Khorugh, the dismantling of the military checkpoints in Khorugh, and the removal of the newly appointed Governor Alisher Mirzonabotov; whereas, as a result, the police shot into a crowd, killing several protesters and injuring many others;

C.  whereas from November 2021 to May 2022, the government and the protest leaders tried to negotiate a resolution to the crisis; whereas on 16 May 2022, the protests started again as a reaction to the lack of an investigation into the killing of Gulbiddin Ziyobekov in November 2021;

D.  whereas the Tajik authorities claim the protests were organised by criminal groups with connections to terrorist organisations; whereas the police violently dispersed the protests, with military support deployed from the capital, Dushanbe; whereas on 18 May 2022, the Tajik authorities announced a special ‘anti-terrorism operation’ and reportedly used tear gas grenades and live ammunition against protesters;

E.  whereas human rights organisations have accused the Tajik authorities of violating basic human rights, as cases of torture of detainees, kidnapping and looting by law enforcement agencies have been reported; whereas several people were killed during the violent clashes, with reports of alleged extrajudicial killings; whereas the Tajik police detained a significant number of Gorno-Badakhshan locals in connection with the protests;

F.  whereas the independent media and civil society are increasingly being subjected to intimidation, arbitrary detention and attacks; whereas Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva, a prominent representative of the Pamiri minority, independent journalist and civil rights activist, was arbitrarily arrested and charged with the criminal offence of publicly calling for violence to force the government to change the constitutional order; whereas she faces up to 15 years’ imprisonment; whereas the police have categorised her case as ‘secret’, which makes monitoring it impossible;

G.  whereas freedom of the media and expression have been continually suppressed in the country since 2015, and the recent violence in the GBAO has further increased pressure on the media not to report on events, under threat of closure, or to report only the state-supported version of events, including smear campaigns against local residents; whereas a court in Dushanbe recently ordered two independent bloggers, Daleri Imomali and Abdullo Ghurbati, to be detained for two months pending trial on charges of cooperating with banned organisations and political parties and allegedly beating a police officer;

H.  whereas at least 13 members of the civil society organisation ‘Commission 44’, including the director of the Pamir Lawyers’ Association, Manuchehr Kholiknazarov, and Faromuz Irgashov and Khursand Mamadshoev, were detained on 28 and 29 May 2022 in the GBAO on trumped-up charges;

I.  whereas the central government cut internet and mobile connections in the GBAO in May; whereas connections had previously been cut in November and only partially restored in late March, leaving GBAO residents with no internet for four months; whereas this has made international civil society organisations’ communication with the region extremely difficult and has deprived the region’s population of their right to access information;

J.  whereas most of the population of the GBAO belong to a linguistic and religious minority; whereas the GBAO has traditionally been distinguished by its relatively strong and well-developed civil society and non-government sector; whereas since 2012, harassment and persecution by the Tajik authorities in the GBAO has periodically escalated to violent stand-offs between the population and the military; whereas under the current president, Emomali Rahmon, the autonomous region has gradually come under the complete control of the Tajik authorities through the purging of local leaders from government and the suppression of civil society and journalists in particular;

K.  whereas the GBAO is the poorest region in Tajikistan, with the highest unemployment rate, and suffers from an unequal distribution of income from the exploitation of precious stone mines, the main natural resource of the province; whereas the GBAO has been severely hit economically by Russia’s illegal, unjustified and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine and the subsequent economic sanctions;

1.  Deeply regrets the loss of life in the GBAO and strongly condemns the Tajik authorities’ violent crackdown on protesters, journalists, bloggers, lawyers and activists in November 2021 and May 2022 for expressing their opinion and protesting peacefully; expresses its grave concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in the GBAO;

2.  Urges the Government of Tajikistan to respect and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including people’s right to life, peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of the media, in the GBAO and in the rest of the country, in line with international law; calls on the Tajik authorities to refrain from excessive use of force against protesters and from targeted harassment of residents of the GBAO;

3.  Condemns all attempts to intimidate media workers, human rights defenders, independent lawyers and civil society, or interfere with their legitimate work, and calls on the Tajik authorities to stop all harassment against them, so they can carry out their work without any hindrance or fear of reprisals;

4.  Calls on the Tajik authorities to immediately release those who have been arbitrarily detained and to drop all charges against them, as well as to stop the political persecution of human rights defenders and influential supporters of the protesters, including Ulfatkhonim Mamadshoeva, Daleri Imomali, Abdullo Ghurbati, Manuchehr Kholiknazarov, Faromuz Irgashov, Khursand Mamadshoev, Chorshanbe Chorshanbiev and Amriddin Alovatshoev;

5.  Calls on the Tajik authorities to immediately set up an effective and independent investigation into the violent clashes in the GBAO during and after the May 2022 and November 2021 protests, in particular into the use of force by law enforcement representatives, the deaths of civilians and the reports about the alleged acts of torture by the security forces, including alleged extrajudicial killings of peaceful protesters and regular residents of several GBAO villages, as well as the killing of Gulbiddin Ziyobekov that occurred on 25 November 2021, as peacefully demanded by the protesters; insists that all those responsible be brought to justice and that the victims be compensated;

6.  Stresses the importance of the right to a fair trial and calls on the Tajik authorities to stop classifying investigations and prosecutions as ‘secret’; urges the Tajik authorities to give defence lawyers and activists fair, open and transparent trials, to provide substantive protections and procedural guarantees, in accordance with Tajikistan’s international obligations, and to authorise the reinvestigation by international organisations of all reported violations of human rights and dignity; insists that all those detained in connection with the protests and situation in the GBAO must be protected from torture and ill treatment, have free and unimpeded access to a lawyer of their own choice and to independent doctors and be free to communicate with their family members, in accordance with international law; recalls that the admission of guilt obtained under torture in any proceeding violates the rights to due process and a fair trial and is prohibited without exception;

7.  Urges the Tajik authorities to fully restore communications and full internet access in the GBAO to ensure that residents are able to access information, and to refrain from cutting communication links in the future; calls on the Tajik authorities to stop spreading disinformation about the protests and developments in the GBAO on state television;

8.  Urges the Tajik authorities to allow immediate, unlimited and unconditional access to the GBAO, including its Rushon District, to international humanitarian and human rights organisations so they can monitor the situation, document human rights violations and provide assistance to the victims; calls on the Tajik authorities to open invitations to all UN Special Rapporteurs and implement the recommendations of international and regional bodies, including those of a group of UN Special Rapporteurs issued in March 2022;

9.  Calls on the Tajik authorities to reopen access to the GBAO for residents, to keep transport routes open to the whole region and to make every effort to stop a humanitarian crisis from unfolding there by providing goods and medical care for the population;

10.  Calls on Tajikistan to address the concerns of GBAO residents in good faith and to engage in a constructive dialogue with the residents of the GBAO and civil society representatives, such as ‘Commission 44’, in order to achieve a sustainable settlement and peaceful future for the region, as well as to implement conflict prevention measures that meet international human rights standards;

11.  Echoes the calls of the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Fernand de Varennes, for an end to be put to the repression of the Pamiri minority in the GBAO and for their protection; recalls the importance of implementing international standards on non-discrimination and the protection of indigenous and minority populations in Tajikistan, including in the areas of education, health, culture and business;

12.  Emphasises that the legitimate fight against terrorism and violent extremism should not be used as a pretext to suppress opposition activity, hinder freedom of expression or hamper the independence of the judiciary; recalls that the fundamental freedoms of all Tajik citizens must be guaranteed, as well as the rule of law;

13.  Reiterates that the free and independent work of civil society organisations and the media is a cornerstone of any democratic society; calls, therefore, on the Commission, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Member States to increase support for civil society, independent non-governmental organisations, human rights defenders and the independent media active in Tajikistan, including funding and emergency visas for those in need of protection;

14.  Calls on the EU delegation and the national diplomatic representations in Tajikistan to closely monitor the situation and trials in situ, to publicly raise cases of human rights defenders, to support victims of human rights violations and to ensure that independent investigations take place;

15.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) and on the Member States to continuously raise the issue of human rights in Tajikistan and the GBAO at international organisations, such as the UN; calls on the Tajik authorities to ensure proper follow-up to and implementation of the Universal Periodic Review outcome recommendations;

16.  Calls for the UN and the EU to closely monitor the implementation of the rule of law in Tajikistan, especially the freedoms of assembly, association and expression, even in security-related crisis situations; calls on the EU delegation in Dushanbe to continue to play an active role in resolving this crisis; calls on the VP/HR and the EEAS to raise these concerns with the Tajik authorities, in particular as part of the next EU-Tajikistan Human Rights Dialogue, and to take all necessary diplomatic measures to effectively enhance respect for human rights by Tajikistan’s authorities;

17.  Asks the Council, the EEAS and the Commission to mainstream human rights and civil society consultations across any dialogues between the EU, its Member States and Tajikistan, as well as to live up to the EU’s commitment to gender mainstreaming;

18.  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 EU Special Representative for Central Asia, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the UN Human Rights Council, and the President, Government and Parliament of Tajikistan.


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Temporary measures concerning driver documents issued by Ukraine ***I
PDF 123kWORD 52k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 7 July 2022 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down specific and temporary measures, in view of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, concerning driver documents issued by Ukraine in accordance with its legislation (COM(2022)0313 – C9‑0201/2022 – 2022/0204(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2022)0313),

–  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 (C9-0201/2022),

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

–  after consulting the European Economic and Social Committee,

–  after consulting the Committee of the Regions,

–  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 7 July 2022 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2022/… of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down specific and temporary measures, in view of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, concerning driver documents issued by Ukraine in accordance with its legislation

P9_TC1-COD(2022)0204


(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,

After consulting the European Economic and Social Committee,

After consulting the Committee of the Regions,

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure(1),

Whereas:

(1)  On 24 February 2022, Russian armed forces initiated a large-scale invasion of Ukraine at multiple locations from the Russian Federation, from Belarus and from non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine. Consequently, substantial areas of Ukrainian territory now constitute areas of armed conflict from which millions of persons have fled or are fleeing.

(2)  As a result of this unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, millions of persons have been displaced. In response, the Council has for the first time established the existence of a mass influx into the Union of displaced persons who have had to leave Ukraine as a consequence of an armed conflict in accordance with Council Directive 2001/55/EC(2) by adopting Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382(3), which sets out the categories of displaced persons entitled, in the Union, to temporary protection or adequate protection under national law.

(3)  Driving licences enhance the mobility of their holders and facilitate their everyday lives by permitting them to drive power-driven vehicles. A certificate of professional competence is required for the holder to work as a professional driver transporting goods and passengers for an undertaking established in the Union. In the current context, both types of document promote the participation of persons enjoying temporary protection or adequate protection under national law in economic and social activities in their new environment.

(4)  In accordance with Annex XXXII to the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part(4), Ukraine has approximated its laws to the provisions of Directive 2003/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(5), in particular in order to allow the issuing of the corresponding certificates of professional competence to bus and truck drivers engaged in international operations.

(5)  The Convention on Road Traffic concluded at Vienna on 8 November 1968 (the ʻVienna Convention on Road Traffic’), to which Ukraine is a party, provides for certain rules which allow for the recognition of driving permits under certain conditions. However, not all Member States are parties to that convention. In addition, there is currently no harmonised Union framework for the exchange of driving licences or certificates of professional competence issued by third countries, such as Ukraine. The requirements related to a possible exchange of driving licences are mostly laid down in the national legislation of Member States, or under existing bilateral agreements between those Member States and Ukraine. Diverging requirements between the different Member States, particularly as regards the recognition of driving licences and certificates of professional competence, may adversely affect the life and the freedoms of displaced persons fleeing Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, at a time when those persons are especially vulnerable.

(6)  In this context, it is therefore appropriate to have a common Union framework applicable to the recognition of driving licences issued by Ukraine and held by persons enjoying temporary protection or adequate protection under national law. To reduce the burden on such persons and on the authorities of the Member States, driving licences duly issued by Ukraine to those persons should be recognised for as long as the period of their temporary protection lasts, without the need for their holders to exchange them.

(7)  The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic requires the holders of driving permits to present international driving permits for their rights to drive to be recognised in certain cases. Such holders may also be required to present a certified translation of their driving permits. However, those requirements constitute a disproportionate burden on the people displaced from Ukraine and are unlikely to be complied with in many cases. Therefore, such persons enjoying temporary protection or adequate protection under national law should not be required to present such documents on the territory of the Union. That recognition should be without prejudice to the application of criminal and police rules, subject to the principle of territoriality.

(8)  Despite the fact that Ukraine has already approximated its national law to Directive 2003/59/EC for drivers engaged in international transport operations, Ukrainian professional drivers seeking to work for road transport undertakings established in the Union still need to complete the appropriate qualification and training in a Member State. It should therefore be possible for Member States ▌to issue a driver qualification card, as referred to in Directive 2003/59/EC, to the persons concerned, or to mark the special temporary Union code ‘95.01 (max 06.03.2025)’ on the relevant driving licence, to persons enjoying temporary protection or adequate protection under national law and holding the driver qualification card issued by Ukraine in accordance with the Ukrainian national legislation for the purpose of giving to the persons concerned rights on a temporary basis similar to ▌those of the persons qualified to carry out the activity of driving covered by Article 1 of Directive 2003/59/EC. To that end, Member States may adopt national rules laying down the scope and duration of complementary compulsory training and of a subsequent test, in order to ensure that the persons concerned meet the standards ▌of Directive 2003/59/EC. In the case of a declaration of the loss or theft of a driver qualification card issued by Ukraine, Member States should ▌be in a position to verify, including with the competent authorities of Ukraine, that the person concerned holds a valid certificate of professional competence issued by Ukraine ▌. As a complementary measure, it should be possible for the special temporary Union code to be marked on the driver attestation issued for the driver.

(9)  As driving licences and driver qualification cards usually have a limited period of validity, they need to be regularly renewed. The current context does not allow Ukraine to carry out its tasks in a normal fashion, which is why it may not be in a position to renew existing administrative documents. Member States should therefore take into account information that Ukraine may provide to them and to the Commission through official channels.

(10)  The circumstances of fleeing war often entail the loss or theft of driving licences, or their being left behind in the war zone without an immediate possibility of recovering them. In such case, Member States should be allowed to issue temporary driving licences that replace the original ones for the duration of the temporary protection, provided that the competent authorities of the Member States are in a position to verify the information provided by the displaced persons, for example by accessing the national registers of Ukraine. Such temporary driving licences should be mutually recognised in the Union, and their administrative validity should not exceed the duration of the temporary protection.

(11)  The issuance of temporary driving licences in the case of lost or stolen Ukrainian driving licences and the establishment of complementary compulsory training sessions for holders of the driver qualification card are optional measures that might require proportionate national implementing measures. Such national measures should be adopted in accordance with the relevant procedures set in each Member State.

(12)  The fight against fraud and forgery is instrumental in maintaining road safety and law enforcement. In this respect, the implementation of this Regulation should be accompanied by administrative cooperation between Ukraine and the Union for the purpose of supporting the verification of the validity and authenticity of driver documents issued by Ukraine.

(13)  Since the objective of this Regulation cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather, by reason of the scale and 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 in order to achieve that objective.

(14)  To minimise the administrative burden on Member States and avoid multiple renewals, the expiry date recorded on driver documents issued in accordance with this Regulation should correspond to the current maximum possible duration of the temporary protection in respect of displaced persons from Ukraine, taking into account the possible extensions thereof pursuant to Article 4 of Directive 2001/55/EC. However, notwithstanding the expiry recorded on the documents, their validity should correspond to the duration of the temporary protection.

(15)   In view of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the urgency to lay down specific and temporary measures concerning driver documents issued by Ukraine in accordance with its legislation, it is considered to be appropriate to invoke the exception to the eight-week period provided for in Article 4 of Protocol No 1 on the role of national Parliaments in the European Union, annexed to the TEU, to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and to the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community.

(16)   In view of the need to lay down specific and temporary measures concerning driver documents issued by Ukraine in accordance with its legislation without delay, this Regulation should enter into force as a matter of urgency on the fifth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

(17)  In view of the exceptional circumstances that justify this Regulation and the specific objectives pursued, it is appropriate that its application be limited in time,

HAVE ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Subject-matter

This Regulation lays down specific and temporary measures applicable to driver documents issued by Ukraine in accordance with its legislation and held by persons enjoying temporary protection or adequate protection under national law in accordance with Directive 2001/55/EC and Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382.

Article 2

Definition

For the purposes of this Regulation, “driver documents issued by Ukraine” means:

(a)  driving licences issued by Ukraine, proving that, and under what conditions, a driver is authorised to drive under the law of Ukraine; or

(b)  driver qualification cards issued by Ukraine in accordance with its national legislation adopted to implement Directive 2003/59/EC, pursuant to Article 368(1) of, and Annex XXXII to, the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part, to drivers of road vehicles engaged in the international carriage of goods or passengers by road falling under the scope of that Directive.

Article 3

Recognition of driving licences issued by Ukraine

1.  Valid driving licences issued by Ukraine shall be recognised in the territory of the Union when their holders enjoy temporary protection or adequate protection under national law in accordance with Directive 2001/55/EC and Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 ▌until the moment when that temporary protection ceases to apply. That recognition is without prejudice to the application of national provisions on the restriction, suspension, withdrawal or cancellation of the right to drive on the territory of that Member State, in accordance with the principle of territoriality of criminal and police laws.

2.  Where a person enjoying temporary protection or adequate protection under national law in accordance with Directive 2001/55/EC and Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 is in possession of a valid driving licence issued by Ukraine, Member States shall not require the presentation of its certified translation or an international driving permit, as referred to in Article 41(2) of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Member States may require the presentation of a passport, document of temporary residency or other adequate document in order to verify the identity of the holder of the driving licence.

Article 4

Driver qualification cards and driver attestations

1.  At the request of a person who holds a driver qualification card issued by Ukraine as referred to in Article 2, point (b), of this Regulation, who enjoys temporary protection or adequate protection under national law in accordance with Directive 2001/55/EC and Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382, the Member State where that person has been granted a temporary residence permit or the Member State where that person enjoys adequate protection under national law may:

(a)  by way of derogation from point 12 of Annex I to Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council(6), mark a special temporary Union code ‘95.01 (max 06.03.2025)’, which means “Driver holding a CPC meeting the obligation of professional aptitude – special issuance only for the duration of temporary protection▌ in field 12 of side 2 of the driving licence of the person concerned, provided that that person also holds a Union model driving licence issued by that Member State; or

(b)  issue to that person a driver qualification card with a special temporary Union code ‘95.01 (max 06.03.2025)’in field 10 of side 2 thereof as referred to in Article 10(1) of Directive 2003/59/EC.

By way of derogation from Article 10(2) of Directive 2003/59/EC, a driver enjoying temporary protection or adequate protection under national law who holds a driver qualification card issued by Ukraine for the carriage of goods by road shall also be allowed to prove that he or she has the qualification and training referred to in paragraph 4 of this Article by means of the driver attestation provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council(7), provided that it bears the Union code ‘95.01 (max 06.03.2025)’.

For the purposes of this Regulation, the issuing Member State shall indicate the Union code ‘95.01 (max 06.03. 2025)’ in the remarks section on the driver attestation, in accordance with Article 5 of Regulation (EC) 1072/2009, if the holder concerned has fulfilled the training and test requirements and the minimum standards of physical and mental fitness provided for in this Article.

2.  The driver qualifications cards and the mark on the driving licences referred to in paragraph 1 points (a) and (b) of this Article and driver attestations referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 1 of this Article shall be mutually recognised in the territory of the Union. The holders of such driver qualification cards, ▌such ▌driving licences marked with the special temporary Union code ‘95.01 (max 06.03.2025)’ or such driver attestations marked with the special temporary Union code ‘95.01 (max 06.03.2025)’ shall be deemed to have fulfilled the requirement of compulsory initial qualification necessary to carry out the activity of driving laid down by Article 3 of Directive 2003/59/EC.

3.  Without prejudice to any future acts of the Union concerning the duration of the temporary protection, by way of derogation from points 4(b) and 11 of Annex I to Directive 2006/126/EC and point 4(b) of Annex II to Directive 2003/59/EC, the expiry date on such driver qualification cards or attached to the special temporary Union code marked on the driving licences shall be 6 March 2025.

However, notwithstanding that date marked on those documents, their administrative validity shall correspond to the duration of the temporary protection in respect of displaced persons from Ukraine, as referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2001/55/EC, of the adequate protection under national law of the holder, or of the period of validity of the driving licence, whichever ends the earliest. The holder shall be adequately informed of such a limitation.

4.  Prior to issuing the driver qualification card or marking the special temporary Union code ‘95.01 (max 06.03.2025)’ on the driving licence or on the driver attestation referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, Member States shall require the holder of the driver qualification card issued by Ukraine referred to in Article 2, point (b), to undergo complementary compulsory training concluding with a test for the purpose of verifying that the driver has the level of knowledge required by Section 1 of Annex I to Directive 2003/59/EC.

The duration of the complementary compulsory training shall be at least 35 hours and shall not exceed 60 hours, including at least 2,5 hours of individual driving as specified in point 2.1 of Section 2 of Annex I to Directive 2003/59/EC. Such training may take place in the form of compulsory periodic training as specified in section 4 of Annex I to Directive 2003/59/EC. With regard to the specific training needs to be taken into account in this context, an emphasis should be placed on the driver acquiring knowledge of the rules in Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council(8).

At the end of that training, Member States’ competent authorities or the entity designated by them shall test the driver in writing or orally or by means of a computer-based test in designated testing facilities.

Member States shall inform the Commission of national rules adopted in accordance with this paragraph prior to issuing the driver qualification card or to marking the driving licence referred to in paragraph 1.

5.  In the event of loss or theft of a driver qualification card referred to in Article 2, point (b), of this Regulation, held by a person enjoying temporary protection or adequate protection under national law in accordance with Directive 2001/55/EC and Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382, the Member State where that person has been granted a temporary residence permit or where that person enjoys adequate protection under national law may, at the request of that person, verify, including with the competent authorities of Ukraine, that that person is the holder of a valid certificate of professional competence issued by Ukraine in accordance with its national legislation and that that person is not in possession of a document marked or issued in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article by another Member State.

After carrying out that verification, the Member State concerned may issue the driver qualification card or mark the special temporary Union code ‘95.01 (max 06.03.2025)’ on the driving licence or on the driver attestation, in accordance with the procedures set out in paragraphs 1 to 4.

6.  Where a person referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article does not hold a Union model driving licence issued by a Member State, Member States shall require an examination applying minimum standards of physical and mental fitness for driving in accordance with national law adopted to transpose Annex III to Directive 2006/126/EC prior to the issuance of a driver qualification card or to the marking of the special temporary Union code on the driver attestation in accordance with this Article.

7.  When the period of application in respect of displaced persons from Ukraine, as referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2001/55/EC comes to an end, the driver qualification cards, driver attestations issued by the Member States and the special temporary Union code marked on the driving licence in accordance with this Article shall be null and void.

Article 5

Extension of the validity of expired driver documents issued by Ukraine

Without prejudice to Articles 3, 4 and 6, where Ukraine adopts decisions to extend the validity of ▌driver documents issued by Ukraine having expired after 31 December 2021, Member States shall, for the purposes of Articles 3, 4 and 6, consider the holders of the relevant driver documents issued by Ukraine to be in possession of a valid documentprovided that Ukraine informs the Commission and the Member States of its decision to extend the validity of those driver documents. This information shall be communicated through appropriate official channels ▌.

Article 6

Lost or stolen driving licences issued by Ukraine

1.  Where a person enjoying temporary protection or adequate protection under national law in accordance with Directive 2001/55/EC and Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 declares the loss or theft of his or her driving licence, the Member State where that person has been granted a temporary residence permit or enjoys adequate protection under national law may, at the request of that person, verify, including with the competent authorities of Ukraine, the driving rights acquired by that person in conformity with the legislation applicable in Ukraine and that no other Member State has already issued a driving licence to that person in accordance with this Article, in particular in order to ascertain that the driving licence has not been restricted, suspended or withdrawn.

2.  By way of derogation from Article 11(6) of Directive 2006/126/EC, after carrying out the verification referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, a Member State may issue a driving licence of the same category or categories to the person concerned based on the Union model set out in Annex I to Directive 2006/126/EC. In such case, and by way of derogation from point 12 of Annex I of Directive 2006/126/EC, Member States shall introduce in the driving licence a special temporary Union code ‘99.01(max 06. 03.2025)’ in field 12, which means “Special issuance valid only for the duration of temporary protection (lost or stolen UA licence)”.

Upon carrying out the verification referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article and prior to issuing a driving licence referred to in this paragraph for categories AM, A1, A2, A, B, B1 and BE, Member States may require an examination applying the minimum standards of physical and mental fitness for driving in accordance with national law adopted to transpose Annex III to Directive 2006/126/EC.

Upon carrying out the verification referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article prior to issuing a driving licence referred to in this paragraph for categories C, CE, C1, C1E, D, DE, D1 and D1E, Member States shall require an examination applying the minimum standards of physical and mental fitness for driving in accordance with national law adopted to transpose Annex III to Directive 2006/126/EC.

3.  The driving licence referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article shall be mutually recognised in the Union. Without prejudice to any future acts of the Union concerning the duration of the temporary protection, by way of derogation from points 4(b) and 11 of Annex I to Directive 2006/126/EC, the expiry date on such driving licence shall be 6 March 2025. However, notwithstanding that date marked on such driving licence, its administrative validity shall correspond to the duration of the temporary protection in respect of displaced persons from Ukraine, as referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2001/55/EC, or the duration of the temporary protection or of the adequate protection under the national law of the holder, whichever ends the earliest. The holder shall be adequately informed of such a limitation.

4.  Where the verification referred to in paragraph 1 is not possible, the Member State in question shall not issue the driving licence referred to in paragraph 2. In that case, the Member State may issue a driving licence valid exclusively on its territory to the person concerned, in accordance with its national law. Such a licence shall be different from the model laid down in Annex I to Directive 2006/126/EC.

5.  When the period of application of temporary protection for displaced persons from Ukraine, as referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2001/55/EC, has come to an end, the driving licences issued by the Member States in accordance with this Article shall be null and void.

Article 7

Prevention of fraud and forgery

When applying this Regulation, Member States shall use all appropriate means to prevent and combat fraud in connection with driver documents issued by Ukraine, and their forgery ▌.

Member States may, at any moment, verify the validity of the driver documents issued by Ukraine. Member States may refuse to recognise such a driver document in the event of a negative answer or absence of answer from the Ukrainian authorities consulted by them on the rights claimed by the holder of a driver document issued by Ukraine and when there are serious doubts as to the authenticity of the driver document which suggest that road safety could be endangered.

Member States shall not apply the provisions of this Regulation to driver documents issued by Ukraine in electronic format if they are not able to verify their authenticity, integrity and validity.

Article 8

Monitoring

The Commission shall inform the European Parliament and the Council of the implementation of this Regulation, once every six months after the entry into force of this Regulation, mainly on the basis of information provided by the Member States to the Commission.

Article 9

Entry into force and application

1.  This Regulation shall enter into force on the fifth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

2.  This Regulation shall cease to apply on the day following that on which the period of application of temporary protection in respect of displaced persons from Ukraine, as referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2001/55/EC, comes to an end, in accordance with Article 6 of that Directive.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Done at ...,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1) Position of the European Parliament of 7 July 2022.
(2)Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof (OJ L 212, 7.8.2001, p. 12).
(3)Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 of 4 March 2022 establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary protection (OJ L 71, 4.3.2022, p. 1).
(4)OJ L 161, 29.5.2014, p. 3.
(5)Directive 2003/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2003 on the initial qualification and periodic training of drivers of certain road vehicles for the carriage of goods or passengers, amending Council Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85 and Council Directive 91/439/EEC and repealing Council Directive 76/914/EEC (OJ L 226, 10.9.2003, p. 4).
(6) Directive 2006/126/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on driving licences (OJ L 403, 30.12.2006, p. 18).
(7) Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 on common rules for access to the international road haulage market (OJ L 300, 14.11.2009, p. 72).
(8) Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport and amending Council Regulations (EEC) No 3821/85 and (EC) No 2135/98 and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85 (OJ L 102, 11.4.2006, p. 1).


Identification of the violation of Union restrictive measures as crimes under Article 83(1) of the TFEU ***
PDF 115kWORD 49k
European Parliament legislative resolution of 7 July 2022 on the draft Council decision on identifying the violation of Union restrictive measures as an area of crime that meets the criteria specified in Article 83(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (10287/1/2022 – C9‑0219/2022 – 2022/0176(NLE))

(Consent)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (10287/1/2022),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 83(1), third subparagraph, of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C9-0219/2022),

–  having regard to Rule 105(1) and (4) and Rule 163 of its Rules of Procedure,

1.  Gives its consent to the draft Council decision;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and the Commission.


Exceptional macro-financial assistance to Ukraine ***I
PDF 123kWORD 43k
Resolution
Consolidated text
European Parliament legislative resolution of 7 July 2022 on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Coucil providing exceptional macro-financial assistance to Ukraine (COM(2022)0450 – C9-0221/2022 – 2022/0213(COD))

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council (COM(2022)0450),

–  having regard to Article 294(2) and Article 212 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, pursuant to which the Commission submitted the proposal to Parliament (C9-0221/2022),

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

–  having regard to the undertaking given by the Council representative by letter of 6 July 2022 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 7 July 2022 with a view to the adoption of Decision (EU) 2022/… of the European Parliament and of the Council providing exceptional macro-financial assistance to Ukraine

P9_TC1-COD(2022)0213


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 212 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(1),

Whereas:

(1)  An association agreement between the Union and Ukraine(2), including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, entered into force on 1 September 2017. Given that the European Council of 23 June 2022 recognised the European perspective of Ukraine and decided to grant the status of candidate country to Ukraine, Ukraine should be considered to be eligible to receive macro-financial assistance from the Union.

(2)  In spring 2014, Ukraine embarked on an ambitious reform programme with the aim of stabilising its economy and improving the livelihoods of its citizens. The fight against corruption, as well as constitutional, electoral and judicial reforms are among the top priorities on the agenda. The implementation of those reforms was supported by six consecutive macro-financial assistance programmes, under which Ukraine has received assistance in the form of loans for a total of EUR 6,2 billion. The latest emergency macro-financial assistance, which was made available in the context of mounting tensions at the border with Russia, pursuant to Decision (EU) 2022/313 of the European Parliament and of the Council(3), provided EUR 1,2 billion in loans to Ukraine, disbursed in two instalments of EUR 600 million in March and May 2022.

(3)  Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine since 24 February 2022 has caused Ukraine a loss of market access and a drastic drop in public revenues, while public expenditures to address the humanitarian situation and to maintain the continuity of State services have increased markedly. In this very uncertain and volatile situation, the best estimates of Ukraine’s funding needs by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) point to an extraordinary funding gap of around USD 39 billion in 2022 ,of which around half could be met if the international support pledged thus far would be fully disbursed. The swift provision by the Union of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine under this Decision, as a first stage of the implementation of the full exceptional macro-financial assistance of up to EUR 9 billion, is, under the current extraordinary circumstances, considered to be an appropriate short-term response to the immediate most urgent funding needs of Ukraine and to the sizeable risks to the macro-financial stability of the country. The Union’s macro-financial assistance is to support Ukraine’s macro-financial stabilisation and strengthen the resilience of the country, thereby contributing to the public debt sustainability of Ukraine and its ability to ultimately be in a position to repay its financial obligations.

(4)  The determination of the amount of the Union’s macro-financial assistance under this Decision, while also taking into account the planned full exceptional macro-financial assistance, is based on a quantitative assessment of Ukraine’s residual external funding needs, conducted in cooperation with the IMF and other international financial institutions, and takes into account Ukraine’s capacity to finance itself with its own resources. This determination also takes into account expected financial contributions from bilateral and multilateral donors, the need to ensure fair burden sharing between the Union and other donors, as well as the pre-existing deployment of the Union’s other external financing instruments in Ukraine and the added value of the overall Union involvement. The Ukrainian authorities’ commitment to close cooperation with the IMF on the design and implementation of short-term emergency measures and their intent to work with the IMF on an appropriate economic programme when conditions permit should be acknowledged. The Union’s macro-financial assistance should aim to maintain macro-financial stability and resilience under the war circumstances. The Commission should ensure that the Union’s macro-financial assistance is legally and substantially in accordance with the key principles and objectives of the measures taken within the different areas of external action and other relevant Union policies.

(5)  The Union’s macro-financial assistance should support the Union’s external policy towards Ukraine. The Commission and the European External Action Service should work closely together throughout the macro-financial assistance operation in order to coordinate, and ensure the consistency of, Union external policy.

(6)  A precondition for granting the Union’s macro-financial assistance should be that Ukraine respect effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system, and the rule of law, and guarantee respect for human rights. The ongoing war, and in particular the current state of martial law, should not encroach on those principles, despite the concentration of power in the executive branch.

(7)  In order to ensure that the Union’s financial interests linked to the Union’s exceptional macro-financial assistance are protected efficiently, Ukraine should take appropriate measures relating to the prevention of, and fight against, fraud, corruption and any other irregularities linked to that assistance. In addition, provision should be made in the loan agreement for the Commission to carry out checks, for the Court of Auditors to carry out audits, and for the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to exercise its competences, in accordance with Articles 129 and 220 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council(4) (the ‘Financial Regulation’).

(8)  The Union’s macro-financial assistance under this Decision, as a first stage of the implementation of the planned full exceptional macro-financial assistance to Ukraine, should be linked to stringent reporting requirements, to be set out in a memorandum of understanding (MoU). Those stringent reporting requirements should aim, under the current war circumstances, to ensure that the funds are used in an efficient, transparent and accountable manner. Policy conditions, which should aim to strengthen the immediate resilience of Ukraine and its longer-term debt sustainability, thereby reducing risks linked to the repayment of its outstanding and future financial obligations, will be attached to future macro-financial assistance operations.

(9)  In order to ensure uniform conditions for the implementation of this Decision, implementing powers should be conferred on the Commission. Those powers should be exercised in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council(5).

(10)  The macro-financial assistance of up to EUR 1 billion under this Decision constitutes a financial liability for the Union within the overall volume of the External Action Guarantee under Regulation (EU) 2021/947 of the European Parliament and of the Council(6).

(11)  In accordance with Article 210(3) of the Financial Regulation the contingent liabilities arising from budgetary guarantees or financial assistance borne by the budget are to be deemed sustainable, if their forecast multiannual evolution is compatible with the limits set by Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2093(7) and the ceiling on annual payment appropriations set out in Article 3(1) of Council Decision (EU, Euratom) 2020/2053(8). In order to enable the Union to provide substantial support to Ukraine through macro-financial assistance in a financially safe manner, while preserving the high credit standing of the Union and, hence, its capacity to deliver effective financing in the context of both its internal and external policies, it is essential to adequately protect the Union budget from the materialisation of those contingent liabilities and to ensure they are financially sustainable within the meaning of Article 210(3) of the Financial Regulation.

(12)  In accordance with the principle of sound financial management it is necessary, before proceeding with the provision of additional loans under the exceptional macro-financial assistance to Ukraine, to reinforce the resilience of the common provisioning fund with means commensurate to the risks arising from the contingent liabilities linked to the Union’s macro-financial assistance to Ukraine under this Decision. Without such a reinforcement, the Union budget would not be able to provide, on financially safe grounds, the assistance that the war-related needs of Ukraine require. To protect the Union budget, based on the current assessment, the envisaged coverage for the Union’s full exceptional macro-financial assistance loans of up to EUR 8,8 billion to Ukraine, including this instalment of EUR 1 billion, should be at 70 % of the loan value.

(13)  On that basis, the provisioning rate for the loan of EUR 1 billion should be set at 70 %, instead of applying the general rule set out in Article 31(5), third subparagraph, of Regulation (EU) 2021/947. The corresponding amount of EUR 700 million should be financed from the financial envelope for geographic programmes under Regulation (EU) 2021/947. This amount should be committed and paid into a dedicated compartment of the common provisioning fund in the period up to 2027.

(14)  Given the increased provisioning rate for this instalment of the Union’s macro-financial assistance, it is appropriate to manage the financial liability from the macro-financial assistance under this Decision separately from other financial liabilities under the External Action Guarantee. Furthermore, it is proposed to use the provisioning set aside in the common provisioning fund in respect of macro-financial assistance under this Decision solely for financial liabilities under this Decision, instead of in accordance with the general rule set out in Article 31(6) of Regulation (EU) 2021/947. That should be followed by the exclusion of the provisioning set aside in respect of macro-financial assistance under this Decision from the application of the effective provisioning rate implemented in accordance with Article 213 of the Financial Regulation.

(15)  Since the objective of this Decision, namely to provide the Union’s macro-financial assistance to Ukraine with a view to supporting, in particular, its economic resilience and stability, cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States but can rather, by reason of its scale and effects, 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 Decision does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve that objective.

(16)  In view of the urgency entailed by the exceptional circumstances caused by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression, it is considered to be appropriate to invoke the exception to the eight-week period provided for in Article 4 of Protocol No 1 on the role of national Parliaments in the European Union, annexed to the TEU, to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and to the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community.

(17)  Given the difficult situation of Ukraine caused by Russia’s war of aggression, and to support it on its long-term stability path, it is appropriate to derogate from Article 220(5), point (e), of the Financial Regulation and to allow the Union the possibility to cover the interest rate costs related to the loan under this Decision and to waive the administrative costs otherwise to be borne by Ukraine. The interest rate subsidy should, exceptionally, be granted as an instrument deemed appropriate to ensure the effectiveness of the support within the meaning of Article 220(1) of the Financial Regulation and should be borne by the Union’s budget. During the period of the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 the interest rate subsidy should be borne by the financial envelope referred to in Article 6(2), point (a), first indent, of Regulation (EU) 2021/947. It should be possible for Ukraine to request the interest rate subsidy and the waiver of administrative costs each year by the end of March. To allow for flexibility in the repayment of the principal, it should also be possible to roll over the associated borrowings contracted on behalf of the Union, by derogation from Article 220(2) of the Financial Regulation.

(18)  In light of the situation in Ukraine, this Decision 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 DECISION:

Article 1

1.  The Union shall make available to Ukraine macro-financial assistance of a maximum amount of EUR 1 billion (the ‘Union’s macro-financial assistance’) with a view to supporting Ukraine’s macro-financial stability. The Union’s macro-financial assistance shall be provided to Ukraine in the form of a loan.

2.  In order to finance the Union’s macro-financial assistance, the Commission shall be empowered, on behalf of the Union, to borrow the necessary funds on the capital markets or from financial institutions and to on-lend them to Ukraine. The loan shall have a maximum average maturity of 25 years.

3.  The financial envelope referred to in Article 6(2), point (a), first indent, of Regulation (EU) 2021/947 shall be used to cover the costs of interest payments related to the macro-financial assistance during the period of the multiannual financial framework 2021-2027, as an interest rate subsidy referred to in Article 5(2) of this Decision.

4.  The release of the Union’s macro-financial assistance shall be managed by the Commission in a manner consistent with the agreements or understandings reached between the Commission and Ukraine in the MoU referred to in Article 3(1).

5.  The Commission shall regularly inform the European Parliament and the Council of developments regarding the Union’s macro-financial assistance, including disbursements thereof, and shall provide those institutions with the relevant documents in due time.

6.  The Union’s macro-financial assistance shall be made available for a period of 12 months, starting on the first day after the entry into force of the MoU referred to in Article 3(1).

7.  If the financing needs of Ukraine decrease fundamentally during the period of the disbursement of the Union’s macro-financial assistance compared to the initial projections, the Commission shall reduce the amount of the assistance, suspend it or cancel it.

Article 2

1.  A precondition for granting the Union’s macro-financial assistance shall be that Ukraine respect effective democratic mechanisms, including a multi-party parliamentary system, and the rule of law, and guarantee respect for human rights.

2.  The Commission and the European External Action Service shall monitor the fulfilment of the precondition set out in paragraph 1 throughout the life-cycle of the Union’s macro-financial assistance, in particular before disbursements are made, also taking into account the circumstances in Ukraine and the consequences of the application there of martial law.

3.  Paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article shall apply in accordance with Council Decision 2010/427/EU(9).

Article 3

1.  The Commission shall agree with Ukraine on clearly defined reporting requirements to which the Union’s macro-financial assistance is to be linked. The reporting requirements shall be set out in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 8(2).

2.  The reporting requirements shall ensure, in particular, that the Union’s macro-financial assistance is used in an efficient, transparent and accountable manner. The Commission shall regularly monitor the implementation of those reporting requirements.

3.  The detailed financial terms of the Union’s macro-financial assistance shall be laid down in a loan agreement to be concluded between the Commission and Ukraine.

4.  The Commission shall verify, at regular intervals, the implementation of the Union’s macro-financial assistance, and in particular of the reporting requirements set out in the MoU. The Commission shall inform the European Parliament and the Council about the results of that verification.

Article 4

1.  Subject to the requirements referred to in paragraph 2, the Union’s macro-financial assistance shall be made available by the Commission in a single instalment, in the form of a loan. The Commission shall decide on the timeframe for the disbursement of the instalment. The instalment may be disbursed in one or more tranches.

2.  The Commission shall decide on the release of the instalment, subject to its assessment of the following requirements:

(a)  respect for the precondition set out in Article 2(1);

(b)  entry into force of the MoU, which shall provide for the setting-up of a reporting system applicable during the entire period of the loan.

3.  Where the requirements set out in paragraph 2 are not met, the Commission shall temporarily suspend or cancel the disbursement of the Union’s macro-financial assistance, or take appropriate measures pursuant to the loan agreement. In such cases, it shall inform the European Parliament and the Council of the reasons for the suspension or cancellation.

4.  The Union’s macro-financial assistance shall in principle be disbursed to the National Bank of Ukraine. Subject to the provisions to be agreed in the MoU, including a confirmation of residual budgetary financing needs, the Union funds may be disbursed to the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance as the final beneficiary.

Article 5

1.  The borrowing and lending operations shall be carried out in accordance with Article 220 of the Financial Regulation.

2.  By derogation from Article 220(5), point (e), of the Financial Regulation, the Union may bear interests, by granting an interest rate subsidy, and administrative costs related to the borrowing and lending, with the exception of costs related to early repayment of the loan, in respect of the loan under this Decision.

3.  Ukraine may request the interest rate subsidy and coverage of the administrative costs by the Union by the end of March of each year.

4.  Where necessary, by derogation from Article 220(2) of the Financial Regulation, the Commission may roll over the associated borrowings contracted on behalf of the Union.

5.  The Commission shall inform the European Parliament and the Council of developments in the operations referred to in paragraphs 2 and 3.

Article 6

During the implementation of the Union’s macro-financial assistance, the Commission shall re-assess, by means of an operational assessment, the soundness of Ukraine’s financial arrangements, the administrative procedures, and the internal and external control mechanisms which are relevant to the assistance.

Article 7

1.  For the Union’s macro-financial assistance provided in the form of a loan under this Decision, the provisioning rate of 70 % shall apply instead of the general rule set out in Article 31(5), third subparagraph, of Regulation (EU) 2021/947.

2.  Instead of the general rule set out in Article 31(6) of Regulation (EU) 2021/947, the financial liabilities from the Union’s macro-financial assistance provided in the form of a loan under this Decision shall be covered separately from other financial liabilities under the External Action Guarantee and the provisioning set aside in the common provisioning fund in respect of the Union’s macro-financial assistance provided in the form of a loan under this Decision shall be used solely for the financial liabilities derived therefrom.

3.  By way of derogation from Article 213 of the Financial Regulation, the effective provisioning rate shall not apply to the provisioning set aside in the common provisioning fund in respect of the Union’s macro-financial assistance provided in the form of a loan under this Decision.

Article 8

1.  The Commission shall be assisted by a committee. That committee shall be a committee within the meaning of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011.

2.  Where reference is made to this paragraph, Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 shall apply.

Article 9

1.  By 30 June of each year, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and to the Council, as part of its annual report, an assessment of the implementation of this Decision in the preceding year, including an evaluation of that implementation. That report shall:

(a)  examine the progress made in implementing the Union’s macro-financial assistance;

(b)  assess the economic situation and prospects of Ukraine, as well as the implementation of the requirements referred to in Article 3(1);

(c)  indicate the connection between the requirements and conditions set out in the MoU, Ukraine’s ongoing macro-financial situation, and the Commission’s decision to release the instalment of the Union’s macro-financial assistance.

2.  Not later than two years after the end of the availability period, the Commission shall submit to the European Parliament and to the Council an ex-post evaluation report, assessing the results and efficiency of the completed Union’s macro-financial assistance and the extent to which it has contributed to the aims of the assistance.

Article 10

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

Done at ...,

For the European Parliament For the Council

The President The President

(1)Position of the European Parliament of 7 July 2022.
(2)Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part (OJ L 161, 29.5.2014, p. 3).
(3)Decision (EU) 2022/313 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 February 2022 providing macro-financial assistance to Ukraine (OJ L 55, 28.2.2022, p. 4).
(4) 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 (OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1).
(5)Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 laying down the rules and general principles concerning mechanisms for control by Member States of the Commission’s exercise of implementing powers (OJ L 55, 28.2.2011, p. 13).
(6) Regulation (EU) 2021/947 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 June 2021 establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe, amending and repealing Decision No 466/2014/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EU) 2017/1601 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 480/2009 (OJ L 209, 14.6.2021, p. 1).
(7)Council Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2093 of 17 December 2020 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2021 to 2027 (OJ L 433I, 22.12.2020, p. 11).
(8)Council Decision (EU, Euratom) 2020/2053 of 14 December 2020 on the system of own resources of the European Union and repealing Decision 2014/335/EU, Euratom (OJ L 424, 15.12.2020, p. 1).
(9)Council Decision 2010/427/EU of 26 July 2010 establishing the organisation and functioning of the European External Action Service (OJ L 201, 3.8.2010, p. 30).


Sustainable aviation fuels (ReFuelEU Aviation Initiative) ***I
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Amendments adopted by the European Parliament on 7 July 2022 on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on ensuring a level playing field for sustainable air transport (COM(2021)0561 – C9-0332/2021 – 2021/0205(COD))(1)
P9_TA(2022)0297A9-0199/2022

(Ordinary legislative procedure: first reading)

Text proposed by the Commission   Amendment
Amendment 1
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 1
(1)  Over the past decades, air transport has played a crucial role in the Union's economy and in the everyday lives of Union citizens, as one of the best performing and most dynamic sectors of the Union economy. It has been a strong driver for economic growth, jobs, trade and tourism, as well as for connectivity and mobility for businesses and citizens alike, particularly within the Union aviation internal market. Growth in air transport services has significantly contributed to improving connectivity within the Union and with third countries, and has been a significant enabler of the Union economy.
(1)  Over the past decades, air transport has played a crucial role in the Union's economy and in the everyday lives of Union citizens, as one of the best performing and most dynamic sectors of the Union economy. It has been a strong driver for economic growth, jobs ,trade and tourism, as well as for connectivity and mobility for businesses and citizens alike, as well as one of the main connector between outermost regions and the mainland, particularly within the Union aviation internal market. Growth in air transport services has significantly contributed to improving connectivity, fostering cohesion and reducing regional disparities within the Union, in particular for peripheral, outermost, sparsely populated and insular regions, as well as with third countries, and has been a significant enabler of the Union economy.
Amendment 2
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 2
(2)  From 2020, air transport has been one of the hardest hit sector by the COVID-19 crisis. With the perspective of an end to the pandemic in sight, it is expected that air traffic will gradually resume in the coming years and recover to its pre-crisis levels. At the same time, emissions from the sector have been increasing since 1990 and the trend of increasing emissions could return as we overcome the pandemic. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare for the future and make the necessary adjustments ensuring a well-functioning air transport market that contributes to achieving the Union’s climate goals, with high levels of connectivity, safety and security.
(2)  The Union has established legal obligations under Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest and to achieve a reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % compared to 1990 by 2030. In order to achieve this, all economic sectors, including the transport sector, has to take rapid steps to decarbonise. For the aviation sector, this necessitates a strong ramp-up of the production, supply and uptake of sustainable aviation fuels. From 2020, air transport has been one of the hardest hit sector by the COVID-19 crisis. It is expected that air traffic will gradually resume in the coming years and recover to its pre-crisis levels. The International Civil Aviation Organisation estimates per annum growth in Europe of up to 3 % a year until 2050 for passenger traffic, and 2.4 % for freight traffic. At the same time, emissions from the sector have been increasing since 1990 and the trend of increasing emissions could quickly return as we overcome the pandemic. Therefore, it is imperative to prepare for the future and make the necessary adjustments ensuring a well-functioning air transport sector that contributes fully to achieving the Union’s climate goals, with high levels of connectivity, affordability, safety and security.
Amendment 3
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 3
(3)  The functioning of the Union air transport sector is determined by its cross-border nature across the Union, and by its global dimension. The aviation internal market is one of the most integrated sectors in the Union, governed by uniform rules on market access and operating conditions. The air transport external policy is governed by rules established at global level at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), as well as by comprehensive multilateral or bilateral agreements between the Union or its Member States, and third countries.
(3)  The functioning of the Union air transport sector is determined by its cross-border nature across the Union, and by its global dimension. The aviation internal market is one of the most integrated sectors in the Union, governed by uniform rules on market access and operating conditions. The Union's external air transport policy is governed by rules established at global level at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and in comprehensive multilateral or bilateral agreements between the Union or its Member States, and third countries. It is therefore important that the Union sustains the efforts made at international, multilateral and bilateral level to promote a high level of ambition and convergence in the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels, while providing for an international level playing field.
Amendment 4
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 4
(4)  The air transport market is subject to strong competition between economic actors across the Union, for which a level playing field is indispensable. The stability and prosperity of the air transport market and its economic actors relies on a clear and harmonised policy framework where aircraft operators, airports and other aviation actors can operate on the basis of equal opportunities. Where market distortions occur, they risk putting aircraft operators or airports at a disadvantage with internal or external competitors. In turn, this can result in a loss of competitiveness of the air transport industry, and a loss of air connectivity for citizens and businesses.
(4)  The air transport market is subject to strong competition between economic actors globally and across the Union, for which a level playing field is indispensable. The stability and prosperity of the air transport market and its economic actors relies on a clear and harmonised policy framework where aircraft operators, airports and other aviation actors can operate on the basis of equal rules and opportunities, leading to a vibrant sector and to job opportunities. To a large extend intra-EU flights are part of global itineraries set in a global market. The same is valid for itineraries from non-EU to non-EU destinations through European airports. Where market distortions occur, aircraft operators or airports are put at risk for a disadvantage with internal or external competitors. In turn, this can result in a loss of competitiveness of the air transport industry, putting air transport businesses and jobs at risk, and a loss of air connectivity and transport choices for citizens and businesses.
Amendment 5
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 5
(5)  In particular, it is essential to ensure a level playing field across the Union air transport market regarding aviation fuel, which account for a substantial share of aircraft operators’ costs. Variations in fuel prices can affect significantly aircraft operators’ economic performance and negatively impact competition on the market. Where differences in aviation fuel prices exist between Union airports or between Union and non-Union airports, this can lead aircraft operators to adapt their refuelling strategies for economic reasons. Fuel tankering increases aircraft’s fuel consumption and results in unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. Fuel tankering by aircraft operators accordingly undermines of the Union’s efforts towards environmental protection. Some aircraft operators are able to use favourable aviation fuel prices at their home base as a competitive advantage towards other airlines operating similar routes. This can have detrimental effects on the competitiveness of the sector and be harmful to air connectivity. This Regulation should set up measures to prevent such practices in order to avoid unnecessary environmental damage as well as to restore and preserve the conditions for fair competition on the air transport market.
(5)  In particular, it is essential to ensure a level playing field across the Union air transport market regarding aviation fuel, which account for a substantial share of aircraft operators’ costs. Variations in fuel prices can affect significantly aircraft operators’ economic performance and negatively impact competition on the market, reduce the attractiveness of the aviation sector and therefore mobility, with high fuel prices translating directly into high end-consumer fares. Where differences in aviation fuel prices exist between Union airports or between Union and non-Union airports, this can lead aircraft operators to adapt their refuelling strategies for economic reasons. Fuel tankering increases aircraft’s fuel consumption and results in unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. Fuel tankering for economic reasons by aircraft operators accordingly undermines of the Union’s efforts towards environmental protection. Some aircraft operators are able to use favourable aviation fuel prices at their home base as a competitive advantage towards other airlines operating similar routes. This can have detrimental effects on the competitiveness of the sector, leading to market distortions and be harmful to air connectivity. This Regulation should set up measures to prevent such practices in order to avoid unnecessary environmental damage as well as to restore and preserve the conditions for fair competition on the air transport market. Nevertheless, this Regulation should also take into account the fact that fuel tankering at times occurs in order to comply with fuel safety rules and in such cases is justified by safety reasons. Furthermore, fuel tankering can be the consequence of specific operational difficulties for some aircraft operators at some airports, inter alia in terms of disproportionate longer turnaround time for aircraft or reduced airport capacity at peak times. The Commission should therefore closely monitor, evaluate and analyse cases of fuel tankering and their underlying reasons and, where appropriate, come forwards with legislative proposals to amend this Regulation.
Amendment 6
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 6
(6)  A key objective of the common transport policy is sustainable development. This requires an integrated approach aimed at ensuring both the effective functioning of Union transport systems and protection of the environment. Sustainable development of air transport requires the introduction of measures aimed at reducing the carbon emissions from aircraft flying from Union airports. Such measures should contribute to meeting the Union’s climate objectives by 2030 and 2050.
(6)  A key objective of the common transport policy is sustainable development. This requires an integrated approach aimed at ensuring both the effective functioning of Union transport systems, compliance with labour and social regulations, and protection of the environment. Sustainable development of air transport requires the introduction of measures, including economic instruments, aimed at reducing the carbon emissions from aircraft flying from Union airports and developing a market for the production and supply of sustainable aviation fuels. Such measures should contribute to meeting the Union’s climate objectives by 2030 and 2050.
Amendment 7
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7
(7)  The Communication on a Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy10 adopted by the Commission in December 2020 sets a course of action for the EU transport system to achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient. The decarbonisation of the air transport sector is a necessary and challenging process, especially in the short term. Technological advancements, pursued in European and national research and innovation aviation programmes have contributed to important emission reductions in the past decades. However, the global growth of air traffic has outpaced the sector’s emissions reductions. Whereas new technologies are expected to help reducing short-haul aviation’s reliance on fossil energy in the next decades, sustainable aviation fuels offer the only solution for significant decarbonisation of all flight ranges, already in the short term. However, this potential is currently largely untapped.
(7)  The Communication on a Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy10 adopted by the Commission in December 2020 sets a course of action for the EU transport system to achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient. The decarbonisation of the air transport sector is a necessary and challenging process, especially in the short term. Technological advancements, and a clear commitment from industry, pursued in European and national research and innovation aviation programmes have contributed to important emission reductions in the past decades. However, the global growth of air traffic has outpaced the sector’s emissions reductions. Whereas new technologies, including the development of zero-emission electric- or hydrogen-powered aircrafts, are expected to help reducing short-haul aviation’s reliance on fossil energy in the next decades and can play an important role in commercial aviation in the medium and long term, sustainable aviation fuels offer a promising solution for significant decarbonisation of all flight ranges, both in the short and in the medium and long term. However, this potential is currently largely untapped and needs support over time for the further development and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels and for research into new aircraft engines and technologies.
__________________
__________________
10 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy – putting European transport on track for the future (COM/2020/789 final), 9.12.2020.
10 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy – putting European transport on track for the future (COM/2020/789 final), 9.12.2020.
Amendment 8
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 7 a (new)
(7a)   The overarching principle of energy efficiency first should be implemented across all sectors, going beyond the energy system to include the transport sector, including aviation. In particular, it should be integral to policy, planning and investment decisions related to the deployment of more energy efficient engines and sustainable alternative fuels and technologies, including as regards the rapid development of planes propelled by renewable electricity or green hydrogen.
Amendment 9
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 8
(8)  Sustainable aviation fuels are liquid, drop-in fuels, fully fungible with conventional aviation fuel and compatible with existing aircraft engines. Several production pathways of sustainable aviation fuels have been certified at global level for use in civil or military aviation. Sustainable aviation fuels are technologically ready to play an important role in reducing emissions from air transport already in the very short term. They are expected to account for a major part of the aviation fuel mix in the medium and long term. Further, with the support of appropriate international fuel standards, sustainable aviation fuels might contribute to lowering the aromatic content of the final fuel used by an operator, thus helping to reduce other non-CO2 emissions. Other alternatives to power aircraft, such as electricity or liquid hydrogen are expected to progressively contribute to the decarbonisation of air transport, beginning with short-haul flights.
(8)  Sustainable aviation fuels are aviation fuels that comprise liquid, drop-in fuels, fully fungible with conventional aviation fuel and compatible with existing aircraft engines, as well as hydrogen and electricity. Several production pathways of sustainable aviation fuels have been certified at global level for use in civil or military aviation. Sustainable aviation fuels are technologically ready to play an important role in reducing emissions from air transport already in the very short term. They are expected to account for a major part of the aviation fuel mix in the medium and long term. Further, with the support of appropriate international fuel standards and EASA’s support for the design of those standards, sustainable aviation fuels might contribute to lowering the aromatic content of the final fuel used by an operator, thus helping to reduce other non-CO2 emissions. Other sustainable aviation fuels, such as electricity or hydrogen, are very promising technologies and are expected to progressively contribute to the decarbonisation of air transport, beginning with short-haul flights. This Regulation will further accelerate scientific development and deployment of these technologies, as well as commercial innovation in respect of them, by allowing economic operators to consider those technologies in relation to the mandate on sustainable aviation fuels, as set out in this Regulation, when those technologies become mature and commercially available. This will also increase market certainty and predictability and act as an incentive for the investments in those new technologies that are necessary.
Amendment 10
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 9
(9)  The gradual introduction of sustainable aviation fuels on the air transport market will represent an additional fuel cost for airlines, as such fuel technologies are currently more expensive to produce than conventional aviation fuel. This is expected to exacerbate the pre-existing issues of level playing field on the air transport market as regards aviation fuel, and to cause further distortions among aircraft operators and airports. This regulation should take measures to prevent that the introduction of sustainable aviation fuels affects negatively the competitiveness of the aviation sector by defining harmonised requirements across the Union.
(9)  The gradual introduction of sustainable aviation fuels on the air transport market will represent an additional fuel cost for airlines, as such fuel technologies are currently more expensive to produce than conventional aviation fuel. This is expected to exacerbate the pre-existing issues of level playing field on the air transport market as regards aviation fuel, and to cause further distortions among aircraft operators and airports, also in the context of the implementation of CORSIA and ETS emission schemes. This regulation should take measures to prevent that the introduction of sustainable aviation fuels affects negatively the competitiveness of the aviation sector by defining harmonised requirements across the Union, including common definitions and common EU-level target-setting.
Amendment 11
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 10
(10)  At global level, sustainable aviation fuels are regulated at ICAO. In particular, ICAO establishes detailed requirements on the sustainability, traceability and accounting of sustainable aviation fuels for use on flights covered by the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). While incentives are set in CORSIA and sustainable aviation fuels are considered an integral pillar of the work on the feasibility of a Long-Term Aspiration Goal for international aviation, there is currently no mandatory scheme on the use of sustainable aviation fuels for international flights. Comprehensive multilateral or bilateral air transport agreements between the EU or its Member States, and third countries generally include provisions on environmental protection. However, for the time being, such provisions do not impose on contracting parties any binding requirements on the use of sustainable aviation fuels.
(10)  At global level, sustainable aviation fuels are regulated and defined at ICAO, where countries agree on detailed requirements on the sustainability, traceability and accounting of certified sustainable aviation fuels pathways for use on flights covered by the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation(CORSIA). While incentives are set in CORSIA and sustainable aviation fuels are considered an integral pillar of the work on the feasibility of a Long-Term Aspiration Goal for international aviation, there is currently no mandatory scheme on the use of sustainable aviation fuels for international flights. Comprehensive multilateral or bilateral air transport agreements between the EU or its Member States, and third countries generally include provisions on environmental protection. Currently, such provisions do not impose on contracting parties any binding requirements on the use of sustainable aviation fuels.
Amendment 12
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 10 a (new)
(10a)  In order to prevent distortions of competition in the international aviation market, that could lead to the loss of traffic flows connecting through EU airports and to carbon leakage and in order to create a global market of sustainable aviation fuels, the Union external aviation policy should take a global lead in the shift towards the use of sustainable fuels, engage in international negotiations to harmonise definitions and standards of sustainable air fuels and promote international convergence on the rules concerning the production, uptake and uplift of sustainable aviation fuels. It is therefore important that the Union sustains its efforts at ICAO and strives for an ambitious global system that promotes a global market for sustainable aviation fuels and provides for an international level playing field. The Commission and Member States should therefore advocate at the ICAO General Assembly to immediately start negotiations for an ambitious global policy framework at ICAO level for the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels. Once such a global policy framework is adopted, the Commission should ensure that the provisions of this Regulation are compatible, consistent and complementary to the global framework and the international standards, thereby securing a coherent implementation and a level playing field at international level. In addition, the Commission and Member States should aim to ensure that comprehensive multilateral and bilateral air transport and air services agreements integrate equivalent, binding provisions on a blending mandate for the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels. Furthermore, the Commission should regularly assess whether the provisions of this Regulation have an adverse effect on the functioning of the internal market in aviation, the sector’s competitiveness, the international level playing field with regards to air carriers and airport hubs and possible re-routing leading to carbon leakage and, where appropriate, present remedies to address these adverse effects.
Amendment 13
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 12
(12)  Therefore, uniform rules need to be laid down for the aviation internal market to complement Directive (EU) 2018/2001 and to deliver on its overall objectives by addressing the specific needs and requirements arising from the EU aviation internal market. In particular, the present Regulation aims to avoid a fragmentation of the aviation market, prevent possible competitive distortions between economic actors, or unfair practices of cost avoidance as regards the refuelling of aircraft operators.
(12)  Therefore, uniform rules need to be laid down for the aviation internal market to complement Directive (EU) 2018/2001 and to deliver on its overall objectives by addressing the specific needs and requirements arising from the EU aviation internal market and promoting sustainable fuels in aviation. In particular, the present Regulation aims to avoid a fragmentation of the Union aviation market, prevent possible competitive distortions between economic actors, or unfair practices of cost avoidance as regards the refuelling of aircraft operators and promote innovation and production in the Union. Targeted support and financing is required from Union and national levels, as well as incentivising public and private partnerships to accelerate the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels.
Amendment 14
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 15
(15)  The present Regulation should apply to aircraft engaged in civil aviation, carrying out commercial air transport flights. It should not apply to aircraft such as military aircraft and aircraft engaged in operations for humanitarian, search, rescue, disaster relief or medical purposes, as well as customs, police and fire-fighting operations. Indeed, flights operated in such circumstances are of exceptional nature and as such cannot always be planned in the same way as regular flights. Due to the nature of their operations, they may not always be in a position to fulfil obligations under this Regulation, as it may represent unnecessary burden. In order to cater for a level playing field across the EU aviation single market, this regulation should cover the largest possible share of commercial air traffic operated from airports located on EU territory. At the same time, in order to safeguard air connectivity for the benefits of EU citizens, businesses and regions, it is important to avoid imposing undue burden on air transport operations at small airports. A threshold of yearly passenger air traffic and freight traffic should be defined, below which airports would not be covered by this Regulation; however, the scope of the Regulation should cover at least 95% of total traffic departing from airports in the Union. For the same reasons, a threshold should be defined to exempt aircraft operators accountable for a very low number of departures from airports located on EU territory.
(15)  The present Regulation should not apply to aircraft engaged in operations for humanitarian, search, rescue, disaster relief or medical purposes, since flights operated in such circumstances are of exceptional nature and as such cannot always be planned in the same way as regular flights. Due to the nature of their operations, they may not always be in a position to fulfil obligations under this Regulation, as it may represent unnecessary burden. This Regulation should apply to aircraft engaged in civil aviation, carrying out commercial air transport flights. It should not apply to military aircrafts or to aircrafts engaged in customs, police and fire-fighting operations. In order to cater for a level playing field across the EU aviation single market and to favour the development of the SAF market and the necessary infrastructure for SAF across the entire EU, it should cover all commercial air traffic operated from airports located on EU territory. At the same time, in order to safeguard air connectivity for the benefits of EU citizens, businesses and regions, to provide for the necessary flexibility to enable fuel suppliers to provide and airlines to uplift sustainable aviation fuels in the most cost-effective manner, and to avoid imposing an undue burden on air transport operations at small airports, a flexibility mechanism, including book & claim elements, should be set up as a transitional phase. In order to prevent undue distortions of competition in the internal market, after that transitional period the requirements laid out in this Regulation should apply equally in the long term to all Union airports and to all commercial aircraft operators taking off or landing in a Union airport.
Amendment 15
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 15 a (new)
(15a)  It is essential that less-connected European regions, such as insular and outermost regions, that often rely on aviation as the sole means of connection, are not disproportionally affected by the obligations resulting from this Regulation and that access of these regions to essential goods and services is ensured. In order to help safeguarding the air-connectivity of regions with fewer alternative transport options, attention should be paid to the possible effects of the provisions in this Regulation with regards to the affordability, competitiveness and potential price increases of air routes connecting remote regions and other areas of the Union.
Amendment 16
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 16 a (new)
(16a)  It is essential that the pool of eligible sustainable feedstock be as inclusive as possible, in order to maximise the potential for scaling up the production of sustainable aviation fuels at affordable costs. The list of feedstock eligible under the present Regulation should not be static but evolving over time to include new sustainable feedstock. For that purpose, in line with article 28(6)of Directive (EU) 2018/2001, the Commission should review at least every two years the list of feedstock set out in Parts A and B of Annex IX with a view to adding new feedstock. New feedstock added to Annex IX should become directly eligible for production of sustainable aviation fuels under the present Regulation.
Amendment 17
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 17
(17)  For sustainability reasons, feed and food crop-based fuels should not be eligible. In particular, indirect land-use change occurs when the cultivation of crops for biofuels displaces traditional production of crops for food and feed purposes. Such additional demand increases the pressure on land and can lead to the extension of agricultural land into areas with high-carbon stock, such as forests, wetlands and peatland, causing additional greenhouse gas emissions and loss of biodiversity concerns. Research has shown that the scale of the effect depends on a variety of factors, including the type of feedstock used for fuel production, the level of additional demand for feedstock triggered by the use of biofuels and the extent to which land with high-carbon stock is protected worldwide. The highest risks of indirect land-use change have been identified for biofuels, fuels produced from feedstock for which a significant expansion of the production area into land with high-carbon stock is observed. Accordingly, feed and food crop-based fuels should not be promoted. This approach is in line Union policy and in particular with Directive (EU) 2018/2001 which limits and sets a cap on the use of such biofuels in road and rail transport, considering their lower environmental benefits, lower performance in terms of greenhouse reduction potential and broader sustainability concerns. In addition to the greenhouse gas emissions linked to indirect land-use change – which is capable of negating some or all greenhouse gas emissions savings of individual biofuels – indirect land-use change poses risks also to biodiversity. This risk is particularly serious in connection with a potentially large expansion of production determined by a significant increase in demand. The aviation sector has currently insignificant levels of demand for food and feed crops-based biofuels, since over 99% of currently used aviation fuels are of fossil origin. It is therefore appropriate to avoid the creation of a potentially large demand of food and feed crops-based biofuels by promoting their use under this Regulation. The non-eligibility of crop-based biofuels under this Regulation also minimises any risk to slow down the decarbonisation of road transport, which could otherwise result from a shift of crop-based biofuels from the road to the aviation sector. It is essential to minimise such a shift, as road transport currently remains by far the most polluting transport sector.
(17)  For sustainability reasons, feed and food crop-based fuels, including high indirect land-use change risk biofuels such as those derived from palm oil, should not be eligible. In particular, indirect land-use change occurs when the cultivation of crops for biofuels displaces traditional production of crops for food and feed purposes. Such additional demand increases the pressure on land and can lead to the extension of agricultural land into areas with high-carbon stock, such as forests, wetlands and peatland, causing additional greenhouse gas emissions and loss of biodiversity concerns. Research has shown that the scale of the effect depends on a variety of factors, including the type of feedstock used for fuel production, the level of additional demand for feedstock triggered by the use of biofuels and the extent to which land with high-carbon stock is protected worldwide. The highest risks of indirect land-use change have been identified for biofuels, fuels produced from feedstock for which a significant expansion of the production area into land with high-carbon stock is observed. Accordingly, feed and food crop-based fuels should not be promoted. This approach is in line Union policy and in particular with Directive (EU)2018/2001 which limits and sets a cap on the use of such biofuels in road and rail transport, considering their lower environmental benefits, lower performance in terms of greenhouse reduction potential and broader sustainability concerns. In addition to the greenhouse gas emissions linked to indirect land-use change – which is capable of negating some or all greenhouse gas emissions savings of individual biofuels – indirect land-use change poses risks also to biodiversity. This risk is particularly serious in connection with a potentially large expansion of production determined by a significant increase in demand. The aviation sector has currently insignificant levels of demand for food and feed crops-based biofuels, since over 99% of currently used aviation fuels are of fossil origin. It is therefore appropriate to avoid the creation of a potentially large demand of food and feed crops-based biofuels by promoting their use under this Regulation. The non-eligibility of crop-based biofuels under this Regulation also minimises any risk to slow down the decarbonisation of road transport, which could otherwise result from a shift of crop-based biofuels from the road to the aviation sector. It is essential to minimise such a shift, as road transport currently remains by far the most polluting transport sector.
Amendment 18
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 17 a (new)
(17a)  Accurate and correct information about the characteristics of sustainable aviation fuels is of major importance for the proper functioning of this Regulation. In order to promote consumer confidence and ensure transparency and traceability, fuel suppliers are responsible to provide the correct information with regards to the characteristics of the fuel supplied, its sustainability characteristics and the origin of feedstock used in the production of the fuel. That information is reported in the Union Database, established under Article 28 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001 (the Renewable Energy Directive). Fuel suppliers that have been proven to have provided misleading or inaccurate information regarding the characteristics or origin of the fuels they supply should be subject to a penalty. Member States have to ensure that fuel suppliers enter timely and accurate information in the Union Database and that that information is verified and audited. In order to combat possible fraud and since a substantial part of the feedstock needed for the production of sustainable aviation fuels comes from outside the Union, it is necessary for Member States, in cooperation with the relevant European bodies, to strengthen the control mechanism for shipments, including by carrying out on-site inspections. In this respect, the Commission will publish an Implementing Regulation on sustainability certification in line with Article 30(8) of the Directive (EU) 2018/2001 in order to further harmonise and strengthen the rules on reliability, transparency and independent auditing as well as on cooperation of competent authorities of the Member States in audit supervision.
Amendment 19
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 18
(18)  A single, clear and robust sustainability framework is necessary to provide certainty for the aviation and fuels industries actors, on the eligibility of sustainable aviation fuels under this Regulation. To ensure consistency with other related EU policies, the eligibility of sustainable aviation fuels should be determined according to compliance with the sustainability criteria established in Article 29 of Directive 2018/200112 .
(18)  A single, clear and robust sustainability framework is necessary to provide legal certainty and continuity for the aviation and fuels industries actors, on the eligibility of sustainable aviation fuels under this Regulation. To ensure consistency with other related EU policies, the eligibility of sustainable aviation fuels should be determined according to compliance with the sustainability criteria established in Article 29 of Directive 2018/200112 .
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12 https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32018L2001&from=fr
12 https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32018L2001&from=fr
Amendment 20
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 19
(19)  The present Regulation should aim to ensure that aircraft operators can compete on the basis of equal opportunities as regards the access to sustainable aviation fuels. To avoid any distortions on the air services market, all Union airports covered by this Regulation should be supplied with uniform minimum shares of sustainable aviation fuels. Whereas the market is free to supply and use larger quantities of sustainable fuel, this Regulation should ensure that the mandatory minimum shares of sustainable aviation fuels are the same across all the covered airports. It supersedes any requirements established directly or indirectly at national or regional level requiring aircraft operators or aviation fuel suppliers to uptake or supply sustainable aviation fuels with different targets than the ones prescribed under this Regulation. In order to create a clear and predictable legal framework and in doing so encourage the market development and deployment of the most sustainable and innovative with growth potential to meet future needs fuel technologies, this Regulation should set out gradually increasing minimum shares of synthetic aviation fuels over time. Setting out a dedicated sub-obligation on synthetic aviation fuels is necessary in view of the significant decarbonisation potential of such fuels, and in view of their current estimated production costs. When produced from renewable electricity and carbon captured directly from the air, synthetic aviation fuels can achieve as high as 100% emissions savings compared to conventional aviation fuel. They also have notable advantages compared to other types of sustainable aviation fuels with regards to resource efficiency (in particular for water needs) of the production process. However, synthetic aviation fuels’ production costs are currently estimated at 3 to 6 times higher than the market price of conventional aviation fuel. Therefore, this Regulation should establish a dedicated sub-obligation for this technology. Other types of synthetic fuels, such as low carbon synthetic fuels achieving high greenhouse gas reductions, could be considered for inclusion in the scope of this Regulation in the course of future revisions, where such fuels become defined under the Renewable Energy Directive.
(19)  The present Regulation should aim to ensure that aircraft operators can compete on the basis of equal opportunities as regards the access to sustainable aviation fuels. To avoid any distortions on the air services market, all Union airports covered by this Regulation should be supplied with uniform minimum shares of sustainable aviation fuels. Whereas the market is free to supply and use larger quantities of sustainable fuel, this Regulation should ensure that the mandatory minimum shares of sustainable aviation fuels are the same across all the covered airports. The availability of feedstock and the production capacity of sustainable aviation fuel are not unlimited. A situation in which some Member States would adopt higher overall sustainable aviation fuel supply obligations at national level will intensify the competition for feedstock with other transport and energy sectors and could lead to shortages of supply in other regions. This would undermine the ability of aircraft operators in these regions to decarbonise, and unfairly increase the cost to those aircraft operators of compliance notably with the EU ETS, leading to market distortions and an overall competitive disadvantage. Therefore, common EU-level target setting for the overall production and for the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels should be set. This Regulation supersedes any requirements established directly or indirectly at national or regional level requiring aircraft operators or aviation fuel suppliers to uptake or supply sustainable aviation fuels with different targets than the ones prescribed under this Regulation. In order to create a clear and predictable legal framework and in doing so encourage the market development and deployment of the most sustainable and innovative with growth potential to meet future needs fuel technologies, this Regulation should set out gradually increasing minimum shares of synthetic aviation fuels over time. Setting out a dedicated sub-obligation on synthetic aviation fuels is necessary in view of the significant decarbonisation potential of such fuels, and in view of their current estimated production costs. When produced from renewable electricity and carbon captured directly from the air, synthetic aviation fuels can achieve as high as 100% emissions savings compared to conventional aviation fuel. They also have notable advantages compared to other types of sustainable aviation fuels with regards to resource efficiency (in particular for water needs) of the production process. However, synthetic aviation fuels’ production costs are currently estimated at 3 to 6 times higher than the market price of conventional aviation fuel. Therefore, this Regulation should establish a dedicated sub-obligation for this technology. Other types of synthetic fuels, such as low carbon synthetic fuels achieving high greenhouse gas reductions, could be considered for inclusion in the scope of this Regulation in the course of future revisions, where such fuels become defined under the Renewable Energy Directive. Furthermore, synthetic aviation fuels with CO2 derived from direct air capture (DAC) can play an important role due to their ability to sustainably source carbon and should be further promoted.
Amendment 21
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 19 a (new)
(19a)  The availability of feedstock and the production capacity of sustainable aviation fuel are not unlimited. An intensified competition for limited feedstock could lead to shortages of supply and market distortions and thereby negatively affect the competitiveness of the aviation sector as a whole. In order to ensure a level playing field and avoid a fragmentation of the internal market, harmonised requirements should apply across the Union about the minimum shares of SAF uptake. However, while ensuring the achievement of these EU harmonised volume shares in accordance with Annex I, Member States may take national measures, supportive policies and initiatives aiming at increasing the level of production and uptake of sustainable aviation fuels, including synthetic aviation fuels, on their territory, for instance by providing financial support. Such national actions should be transparent, non-discriminatory, proportionate and of a general nature open to all enterprises. Furthermore, as this Regulation does not define a maximum share of sustainable aviation fuels, airlines and fuel suppliers may pursue more ambitious environmental policies with higher sustainable aviation fuels uptake and supply in their overall network of operations, while avoiding fuel tankering. To this end, airlines and fuel suppliers could, by means of contractual arrangements, agree on mutual commitments to produce, supply and purchase predetermined quantities of sustainable aviation fuels, including those exceeding the minimum volume shares set out in Annex I. Such contractual arrangements may also cover liability and establish conditions for financial compensation in cases of non-delivery.
Amendment 22
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 19 b (new)
(19b)  Consumer demand can play an important role in the development towards a more sustainable aviation. However, for consumers to be able to make an informed choice, more robust, reliable, independent and harmonised information is needed on the environmental impact of flights, in line with the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy Action Plan. To this end, a comprehensive Union labelling system for the environmental performance of aviation should be established that can provide users of aviation services clear, transparent, comprehensive, user-friendly and easily understandable information about the environmental performance of aviation. This will drive consumers’ choices and further promote the use of sustainable aviation fuels and other sustainability measures by aircraft operators. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is already responsible for environmental certification of aircraft and has been working together with stakeholders to develop an environmental labelling system for aviation that covers aircraft, aircraft operators and commercial flights. EASA should be tasked with the further development, implementation and functioning of such system to ensure independence, technical robustness and synergies with other EU measures.
Amendment 23
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 20
(20)  It is essential to ensure that the minimum shares of sustainable aviation fuels can be successfully supplied to the aviation market without supply shortages. For this purpose, sufficient lead-time should be planned to allow the renewable fuels industry to develop production capacity accordingly. The supply of sustainable aviation fuels should become mandatory starting in 2025. Similarly, in order to provide legal certainty and predictability to the market and drive investments durably towards sustainable aviation fuels production capacity, the terms of this Regulation should be stable over a long period of time.
(20)  It is essential to ensure that the minimum shares of sustainable aviation fuels can be successfully supplied to the aviation market without supply shortages. For this purpose, sufficient lead-time should be planned and a flexibility mechanism put in place to allow the renewable fuels industry to develop production capacity accordingly and to allow aviation fuel providers and aircraft operators to meet their obligations in the most cost-effective way, without reducing the overall environmental ambitions of this Regulation. The supply of sustainable aviation fuels should start in 2025, with the flexibility provided for in the SAF flexibility mechanism. Similarly, in order to provide legal certainty and predictability to the market and drive investments durably towards sustainable aviation fuels production capacity, the terms of this Regulation should be stable over a long period of time.
Amendment 24
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 21
(21)  With the introduction and ramp-up of sustainable aviation fuels at Union airports, practices of fuel tankering may be exacerbated as a consequence of aviation fuel costs increases. Tankering practices are unstainable and should be avoided as they undermine the Union’s efforts to reduce environmental impacts from transport. Those would be contrary to the aviation decarbonisation objectives as increased aircraft weight would increase fuel consumption and related emissions on a given flight. Tankering practices also put at risk the level playing field in the Union between aircraft operators, and also between airports. This Regulation should therefore require aircraft operators to refuel prior to departure from a given Union airport. The amount of fuel uplifted prior to departures from a given Union airport should be commensurate with the amount of fuel necessary to operate the flights departing from that airport, taking into account the necessary compliance with fuel safety rules. The requirement ensures that equal conditions for operations in the Union applying equally to Union and foreign operators, while ensuring high level of environmental protection. As the Regulation does not define a maximum share of sustainable aviation fuels in all aviation fuels, airlines and fuel suppliers may pursue more ambitious environmental policies with higher sustainable aviation fuels uptake and supply in their overall network of operations, while avoiding fuel tankering.
(21)  With the introduction and ramp-up of sustainable aviation fuels at Union airports, practices of fuel tankering for economic reasons may be exacerbated as a consequence of aviation fuel costs increases. Tankering practices for economic reasons are unstainable and should be avoided as they undermine the Union’s efforts to reduce environmental impacts from transport. Those would be contrary to the aviation decarbonisation objectives as increased aircraft weight would increase fuel consumption and related emissions on a given flight. Tankering practices also put at risk the level playing field in the Union between aircraft operators, and also between airports. This Regulation should therefore require aircraft operators to refuel prior to departure from a given Union airport. The amount of fuel uplifted prior to departures from a given Union airport should be commensurate with the amount of fuel necessary to operate the flights departing from that airport, taking into account the necessary compliance with fuel safety rules. The requirement ensures that equal conditions for operations in the Union applying equally to Union and foreign operators, while ensuring high level of environmental protection. As the Regulation does not define a maximum share of sustainable aviation fuels in all aviation fuels, airlines and fuel suppliers may pursue more ambitious environmental policies with higher sustainable aviation fuels uptake and supply in their overall network of operations, while avoiding fuel tankering. To ensure a level playing field both for intra-EU and extra-EU flights, the Commission should regularly monitor, evaluate and report on fuel tankering cases.
Amendment 25
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 21 a (new)
(21a)  The further uptake of sustainable aviation fuels, that typically have lower aromatic concentrations and lower sulphur content, will contribute to reducing the non-CO2 climate impacts. A further reduction of the aromatic and sulphur content in aviation fuels could reduce contrail cirrus formation, improve air quality in and around airports, and increase the quality of the fuel for the benefit of airlines, both through high energy density and lower maintenance costs due to lower soot levels. However, reducing the aromatic concentrations in aviation fuels needs to be done while adhering to international fuel safety rules and preserving an international level playing field. Therefore, EASA should monitor the aromatics and sulphur content of conventional aviation fuels. The Commission should, by 1 January 2025 at the latest, present a report to the European Parliament and to the Council assessing possible measures, including, where appropriate, legislative proposals and fuel quality standards, to optimise the aromatic content in aviation fuel.
Amendment 26
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 21 b (new)
(21b)   In addition to its climate warming effects, aviation also negatively impacts air quality. The most significant pollutants are particulate matter (PM), including ultra-fine particles, nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), with some of these primary pollutants producing other pollutants1a. While more research is needed on the health effects of ultrafine particles, several studies have demonstrated short-term and long-term effects of exposure to ultrafine particles, including mortality, cardiovascular, ischemic heart disease and pulmonary morbidity1b. Air pollution also contributes to biodiversity loss through damage to ecosystems.
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1a EASA, aviation and air pollution: https://www.easa.europa.eu/eaer/topics/adapting-changing-climate/air-quality
1b WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines 2021: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/345329/9789240034228-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Amendment 27
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 22
(22)  Airports covered by this Regulation should ensure that all the necessary infrastructure is provided for delivery, storage and refuelling of sustainable aviation fuel, so as not to constitute an obstacle with respect to the uptake of such sustainable aviation fuel. If necessary, the Agency should be able to require a Union airport to provide information on the infrastructure available allowing for seamless distribution and refuelling of aircraft operators with sustainable aviation fuels. The role of the Agency should allow airports and airlines to have a common focal point, in the event where technical clarification is necessary on the availability of fuel infrastructure.
(22)  It is important to ensure that all the necessary infrastructure is provided for delivery, storage and refuelling of sustainable aviation fuel, as well as continued and uninterrupted access for fuel suppliers to transport fuel infrastructure, so as not to constitute an obstacle with respect to the uptake of such sustainable aviation fuel. This Regulation should take due account of the diverse governance models for airports across the Union. In this regard, airports covered by this Regulation, or, where applicable, the relevant managing body to which the centralised infrastructure of the airport has been reserved by the Member State concerned as referred to in Article 8 of Council Directive 96/67/EC (“Groundhandling Directive”), should therefore take all necessary measures to provide the infrastructure necessary for the delivery, storage and uplifting of such sustainable aviation fuels and the access of aircraft operators to them. Where the ultimate responsibility for providing the fuel infrastructure at Union airport is assumed, pursuant contractual arrangements, by an entity other than the Union airport, or where applicable, the managing body of an airport, that entity should be responsible under the contractual arrangement for complying with the obligation under Article 6 of this Regulation. If necessary, the Agency should be able to require a Union airport to provide information on the infrastructure available allowing for seamless distribution and refuelling of aircraft operators with sustainable aviation fuels. The role of the Agency should allow airports and airlines to have a common focal point, in the event where technical clarification is necessary on the availability of fuel infrastructure. When electric or hydrogen-powered aircrafts become mature and commercially available, it will be necessary for airports covered by this Regulation to take all necessary measures to facilitate an appropriate infrastructure for hydrogen and electric recharging for aircrafts, in accordance with the respective deployment plan of the national policy framework, as set out in the proposed Regulation on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure. Furthermore, the provision of electricity supply to stationary aircraft should be ensured, inline with Article 12 of Regulation XXX [AFIR Regulation].
Amendment 28
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 22 a (new)
(22a)  Many Union airports are supplied with aviation fuel principally via pipelines from refineries or blending stations where SAF blending to meet safety and sustainability specifications needs to take place. Member States should take all necessary measures to allow the continued and uninterrupted access of aviation fuel suppliers to civil transport aviation fuels infrastructure to supply both conventional aviation fuels and aviation fuels containing shares of sustainable aviation fuels. Delivering SAF to Union airports in sufficient quantities to meet the provisions set out in Annex I by alternate means such as by road/ truck from refineries and blending stations is logistically, practically and from a cost and CO2 penalty perspective infeasible. It will be essential to use these pipelines in addition to pipelines owned by fuel suppliers - where they exist - as well as rail facilities already in place, in order to deliver the minimum SAF required under this Regulation.
Amendment 29
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 24
(24)  Aircraft operators should also be required to report yearly on their actual aviation fuel uplift per Union airport, so as to prove that no fuel tankering was performed. Reports should be verified by independent verifiers and transmitted to the Agency for monitoring and assessment of compliance. Verifiers should determine the accuracy of the yearly aviation fuel required reported by the operators using a tool approved by the Commission.
(24)  Aircraft operators should also be required to report yearly on their actual aviation fuel uplift per Union airport, so as to prove that no fuel tankering for economic reasons was performed. Reports should be verified by independent verifiers and transmitted to the Agency for monitoring and assessment of compliance. Verifiers should determine the accuracy of the yearly aviation fuel required reported by the operators using a tool approved by the Commission.
Amendment 30
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 26 a (new)
(26a)  The introduction in the Union of a mandate on the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels could lead to an undue competitive disadvantage for EU airlines operating direct long-haul flights from a Union airport in comparison with their competitors connecting via an airport hub outside the Union. In order to further promote the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels in the Union, for which prices are predicted to have a substantial price difference compared to conventional fuel in the foreseeable future, airlines should be able to claim free allowances for the uplifting of sustainable aviation fuels under the ETS scheme.
Amendment 31
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 27
(27)  It is essential that aircraft operators can claim the use of sustainable aviation fuels under greenhouse gas schemes such as the EU Emissions Trading System or CORSIA, depending on the route of their flights. However, it is essential that this regulation should not lead to a double counting of emissions reductions. Aircraft operators should only be allowed to claim benefits for the use of an identical batch of sustainable aviation fuels once. Fuel suppliers should be requested to provide free of charge to aircraft operators any information pertaining to the properties of the sustainable aviation fuel sold to that aircraft operator and that is relevant for reporting purposes by the aircraft operator under this Regulation or greenhouse gas schemes.
(27)  In order to promote the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels, that have a substantial price difference compared with conventional fuels, it is essential that aircraft operators can claim the use of sustainable aviation fuels under greenhouse gas schemes such as the EU Emissions Trading System or CORSIA, depending on the route of their flights. However, it is essential that this regulation should not lead to a double counting of emissions reductions. Aircraft operators should only be allowed to claim benefits for the use of an identical batch of sustainable aviation fuels once. Fuel suppliers should be requested to provide free of charge to aircraft operators any information pertaining to the properties of the sustainable aviation fuel sold to that aircraft operator and that is relevant for reporting purposes by the aircraft operator under this Regulation or greenhouse gas schemes.
Amendment 32
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 28
(28)  In order to ensure a level playing field of the aviation internal market and the adherence to the climate ambitions of the Union, this Regulation should introduce effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties on aviation fuel suppliers and aircraft operators in case of non-compliance. The level of the penalties needs to be proportionate to the environmental damage and to the prejudice to the level-playing field of the internal market inflicted by the non-compliance. When imposing administrative fines, the authorities should take into account the evolution of the price of aviation fuel and sustainable aviation fuel in the reporting year;
(28)  In order to ensure a level playing field of the aviation internal market and the adherence to the climate ambitions of the Union, this Regulation should introduce effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties on aviation fuel suppliers and aircraft operators in case of non-compliance. The level of the penalties needs to be proportionate to the environmental damage and to the prejudice to the level-playing field of the internal market inflicted by the non-compliance. When imposing administrative fines and other penalties, the authorities should take into account the evolution of the price of aviation fuel and sustainable aviation fuel in the reporting year and may also take into account the degree of non-compliance, for example in the case of repeated infringements.
Amendment 33
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 29
(29)  The penalties for the suppliers who fail to meet the targets set in this Regulation should be complemented by the obligation to supply the market with the shortfall of meeting the quota in the subsequent year;
(29)  The penalties for the suppliers who fail to meet the targets set in this Regulation should be complemented by the obligation to supply the market with the shortfall of meeting the quota in the subsequent year. Nevertheless, in order to avoid an undue dual penalty in cases that are outside the direct control of the fuel supplier, the obligation to supply the market with the shortfall should not apply when the Commission assesses that this shortfall is caused by insufficient resources being available.
Amendment 34
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 29 a (new)
(29a)  The successful transition to sustainable aviation requires an integrated approach and the appropriate enabling environment to stimulate innovation, involving both public and private investment in research and development and support for the redeployment, re-skilling and up-skilling of workers, as well as technological and operational measures, and the deployment of sustainable aviation fuels and of zero-emission technologies, including the necessary refuelling and recharging infrastructure in airports, taking into account the energy efficiency first principle. For this purpose, the revenues generated by the penalties under this Regulation should be allocated to a new Sustainable Aviation Fund. Furthermore, the setting up, on a voluntary basis and under the coordination of the Commission, of a European SAF Alliance, within one year after the entry into force of this Regulation, could help foster the further development and scaling-up of SAF production in Europe, inter alia by bringing together the entire industrial value chain, encouraging the roll-out of the most innovate technologies and identifying policies and market developments, taking into consideration the principle of technology neutrality.
Amendment 35
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 29 b (new)
(29b)  Research and innovation will play a substantial role in the development of sustainable and synthetic aviation fuels and the production capacity building. A respective investment priority should be clearly set within the relevant Union funding programmes identified by the Commission.
Amendment 36
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 29 c (new)
(29c)  The development and production of sustainable aviation fuels has to be exponentially increased in the coming years. The Union and the Member States should invest in the research and production of sustainable aviation fuel projects as they present both an environmental and an industrial opportunity. The production of sustainable air fuels should be concentrated inside the Union, creating industrial, labour and research opportunities in all the Member States.
Amendment 37
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 30
(30)  This Regulation should include provisions for periodic reports to the European Parliament and the Council on the evolution of the aviation and fuels markets, the effectiveness of key features of the Regulation such as the minimum shares of sustainable aviation fuels, the level of administrative fines or policy developments on sustainable aviation fuels uptake at international level. Such elements are key to provide a clear state of play of the sustainable aviation fuels market and should be taken into account when considering a revision of the Regulation.
(30)  This Regulation should include provisions for periodic reports to the European Parliament and the Council on the evolution of the aviation and fuels markets, the effectiveness of key features of the Regulation such as the minimum shares of sustainable aviation fuels, the level of administrative fines or policy developments on sustainable aviation fuels uptake at international level, taking due account of the “one in, one out” principle and the aim of regulatory simplification. Such elements are key to provide a clear state of play of the sustainable aviation fuels market and should be taken into account when considering a revision of the Regulation.
Amendment 38
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 31
(31)  A transitional period of 5 years should be provided to allow for a reasonable amount of time for aviation fuel suppliers, Union airports and aircraft operators to make the necessary technological and logistical investments. During this phase, aviation fuel containing higher shares of sustainable aviation fuel may be used to compensate for lower shares of sustainable aviation fuels or for the reduced availability of conventional aviation fuel at other airports.
(31)  A flexibility mechanism should be set up with a transitional period of 10 years from the date of application of this Regulation to fuel suppliers and aircraft operators to allow them a reasonable amount of time to make the necessary technological and logistical investments. During this phase, elements of a book & claim system may be used, allowing aviation fuel suppliers to use fuel containing higher shares of sustainable aviation fuel compensate for lower shares of sustainable aviation fuels or for the reduced availability of conventional aviation fuel at minor or logistically constrained airports, and for aircraft operators to buy a certificate linked to the amount of SAF acquired, while guaranteeing a high level of environmental integrity. That flexibility mechanism would also help to safeguard air-connectivity by preventing less connected European regions with fewer alternative transport from being disproportionally affected. In order to prevent market players from abusing any possible dominant market position, during this transitional period the Commission should make full use of its competition powers under Article 102 TFEU. After that transitional period of 10 years, in order to prevent undue distortions of competition in the internal market, all Union airports covered by this Regulation should be supplied with uniform minimum shares of sustainable aviation fuels.
Amendment 39
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 31 a (new)
(31a)  In order to achieve the Union's climate targets for 2030 and 2050 and the target of 1,5 °C of the Paris Agreement, the Commission should develop a roadmap on how and when fossil free aviation is achieved.
Amendment 40
Proposal for a regulation
Recital 31 b (new)
(31b)  The transition to sustainable aviation fuels will also have the secondary effect of reducing dependence on fossil fuel imports from third countries, thus increasing the Union’s energy security. The need for this move is only accentuated by the current international political situation.
Amendment 41
Proposal for a regulation
Article 1 – title
Subject matter
Subject matter and objective
Amendment 42
Proposal for a regulation
Article 2 – paragraph 1
This Regulation shall apply to aircraft operators, Union airports, and to aviation fuel suppliers.
This Regulation shall apply to aircraft operators, Union airports, or where applicable, the managing body of an airport, and to aviation fuel suppliers.
Amendment 43
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – indent 1
—  ‘Union airport’ means an airport as defined in Article 2(2) of Directive 2009/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council13 , where passenger traffic was higher than 1 million passengers or where the freight traffic was higher than 100000 tons in the reporting period, and is not situated in an outermost region, as listed in Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;
—  ‘Union airport’ means an airport as defined in Article 2(1) of Directive 2009/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council13 which is not situated in an outermost region, as listed in Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union or an airport situated in an outermost region which has been notified as a Union airport to the Commission, the Agency and the competent authorities.
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13 Directive 2009/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2009 on airport charges
13 Directive 2009/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2009 on airport charges
Amendment 44
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – indent 2
—  ‘aircraft operator’ means a person that operated at least 729 commercial air transport flights departing from Union airports in the reporting period or, where that person may not be identified, the owner of the aircraft;
—  ‘aircraft operator’ means a person that operated at least 52 commercial air transport flights departing from Union airports in the reporting period or, where that person may not be identified, the owner of the aircraft, or a person that operated air transport flights departing from a Union airport, which has requested the Commission to be treated as an aircraft operator for the purpose of this Regulation and has informed accordingly the Commission, the Agency and the competent authorities;
Amendment 45
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – indent 2 a (new)
—  'managing body of the airport`-means a managing body within the meaning of Article 3 of Directive 96/67 /EC, or another body to which the Member State concerned has reserved the management of the centralised infrastructures for fuel distribution systems pursuant to Article 8 of Directive 96/67/EC;
Amendment 46
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – indent 5
—  ‘sustainable aviation fuels’ (‘SAF’) means drop-in aviation fuels that are either synthetic aviation fuels, advanced biofuels as defined in Article 2, second paragraph, point 34 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001, or biofuels produced from the feedstock listed in Part B of Annex IX to that Directive, which comply with the sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions criteria laid down in Article 29(2) to (7) of that Directive and are certified in accordance with Article 30 of this Directive;
—  ‘sustainable aviation fuels’ (‘SAF’) means aviation fuels that are either: synthetic aviation fuels, liquid and gaseous fuels that are produced from waste processing gas and exhaust gas of non-renewable origin which are produced as an unavoidable and unintentional consequence of the production process in industrial installations, as referred to in Article 2, second paragraph, point 35 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001, which comply with the greenhouse gas emissions savings threshold referred to in Article 25(2), second subparagraph of that Directive, advanced biofuels as defined in Article 2, second paragraph, point 34 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001, or biofuels produced from the feedstock listed in Part B of Annex IX to that Directive, which comply with the sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions criteria laid down in Article 29(2) to (7) of that Directive and are certified in accordance with Article 30 of this Directive. Until 31 December 2034 sustainable aviation fuels may also include biofuels which comply with the sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions criteria laid down in Article 29 of Directive (EU)2018/2001 and are certified in accordance with Article 30 of that Directive, with the exception of biofuels produced from ‘food and feed crops’ as defined in Article 2, second paragraph, point 40 of that Directive;
Amendment 47
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – indent 8
—  ‘synthetic aviation fuels’ means fuels that are renewable fuels of non-biological origin, as defined in Article 2, second paragraph, point 36 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001, used in aviation;
—  ‘synthetic aviation fuels’ means renewable hydrogen or renewable electricity or fuels that are renewable fuels of non-biological origin, as defined in Article 2, second paragraph, point 36 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001, used in aviation.
Amendment 48
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – indent 9 a (new)
—  ‘electricity from renewable energy sources’ or ‘renewable electricity’ means electricity produced from renewable energy sources as defined in Article2, second paragraph, point 1 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001;
Amendment 49
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – indent 9 b (new)
—   ‘hydrogen from renewable energy sources’ or ‘renewable hydrogen’ means hydrogen produced from renewable electricity or from fuels that are renewable liquid or gaseous fuels of non-biological origin, as defined in Article 2, second paragraph, point 36 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001;
Amendment 50
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – indent 13
—  ‘yearly aviation fuel required’ means the amount of aviation fuel necessary to operate the totality of commercial air transport flights operated by an aircraft operator, departing from a given Union airport, over the course of a reporting period;
—  ‘yearly aviation fuel required’ means the amount of aviation fuel defined as ‘trip fuel’ and ‘taxi fuel’ under Commission Implementing Regulation 2021/1296 necessary to operate the totality of commercial air transport flights operated by an aircraft operator, departing from a given Union airport, over the course of a reporting period;
Amendment 51
Proposal for a regulation
Article 3 – paragraph 1 – indent 16 a (new)
—  ‘SAF flexibility mechanism’ means a system to be established for a period of 10 years from the date of application of Article 4 and Article 5 in accordance with Article 15 by which the supply and uptake of sustainable aviation fuels is driven by market freedom with flexibility for aircraft operators and aviation fuel suppliers to arrange the distribution and use of sustainable aviation fuels in a cost-effective way at the Union airports of their choice and in proportion with their needs. Such system, incorporating elements of a book & claim scheme, may enable aircraft operators to purchase sustainable aviation fuels through contractual arrangements with aviation fuel suppliers and to claim its use at Union airports, where applicable, under a greenhouse gas scheme in accordance with Article [...] of Directive (EU) 2021/0207.
Amendment 52
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1
Aviation fuel suppliers shall ensure that all aviation fuel made available to aircraft operators at each Union airport contains a minimum share of sustainable aviation fuel, including a minimum share of synthetic aviation fuel in accordance with the values and dates of application set out in Annex I.
Without prejudice to Article 13, aviation fuel suppliers shall ensure that all aviation fuel made available to aircraft operators at each Union airport contains a minimum share of sustainable aviation fuel, including a minimum share of synthetic aviation fuel in accordance with the values and dates of application set out in Annex I.
Amendment 134
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 1 a (new)
The following sustainable aviation fuels shall be excluded from the calculation of the minimum shares of sustainable aviation fuels set out in Annex I:
Sustainable aviation fuels made from food and feed crops, intermediate crops, palm fatty acid distillate and all palm and soy-derived materials, and soap stock and its derivatives.
Amendment 53
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2
Without prejudice to the application of Article 11(3) and (4), where an aviation fuel supplier fails to supply the minimum shares set out in Annex I for a given reporting period, it shall at least complement that shortfall in the subsequent reporting period.
Without prejudice to the application of Article 11(3) and (4), where an aviation fuel supplier fails to supply the minimum shares set out in Annex I for a given reporting period, it shall report the shortfall, and the reasons for it, to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. Where the Commission assesses that this shortfall is not caused by lack of resource availability, the fuel supplier shall make every possible effort to at least complement that shortfall in the subsequent reporting period.
Amendment 54
Proposal for a regulation
Article 4 – paragraph 2 a (new)
Fuel suppliers may demonstrate compliance with the obligation contained in paragraph 1 by using the mass balance system referred to in Article 30 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001.
Amendment 55
Proposal for a regulation
Article 5 – paragraph 1
The yearly quantity of aviation fuel uplifted by a given aircraft operator at a given Union airport shall be at least 90% of the yearly aviation fuel required.
The yearly quantity of aviation fuel uplifted by a given aircraft operator at a given Union airport shall be at least 90% of the yearly aviation fuel required, taking into account the necessary compliance with fuel safety rules.
Amendment 56
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – title
Obligations of Union airports to provide the infrastructure
Obligations to provide infrastructure at Union airports
Amendment 57
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 1
Union airports shall take necessary measures to facilitate the access of aircraft operators to aviation fuels containing shares of sustainable aviation fuels in accordance with Annex I and, shall provide the infrastructure necessary for the delivery, storage and uplifting of such fuels.
Union airports, or where applicable, the managing body of an airport shall take all necessary measures to facilitate the access of aircraft operators to aviation fuels containing shares of sustainable aviation fuels in accordance with Annex I and, shall provide the infrastructure necessary for the delivery, storage and uplifting of such fuels, including an appropriate infrastructure for hydrogen refuelling and electric recharging for aircrafts, commensurate with the uptake of those aircraft, in accordance with the respective deployment plan of the national policy framework, as set out in Article 13(l) of Regulation [… ]on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure [AFIR].
Amendment 58
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 2
Where aircraft operators report difficulties to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (‘the Agency’) in accessing aviation fuels containing sustainable aviation fuels at a given Union airport for lack of adequate airport infrastructure, the Agency may request the Union airport to provide the information necessary to prove compliance with paragraph 1. The Union airport concerned shall provide the information without undue delay.
Where aircraft operators report difficulties to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (‘the Agency’) in accessing aviation fuels containing sustainable aviation fuels at a given Union airport for lack of adequate airport infrastructure, the Agency shall, where appropriate, request the Union airport, or where applicable, the managing body of the airport, to provide the information necessary to prove compliance with paragraph 1. The Union airport or where applicable, the managing body of the airport, concerned shall provide the information without undue delay.
Amendment 59
Proposal for a regulation
Article 6 – paragraph 3
The Agency shall assess the information received and inform the Commission if such information allows to conclude that the Union airport does not fulfil its obligations. Union airports shall take the necessary measures to identify and address the lack of adequate airport infrastructure in 5 years after the entry into force of the Regulation or after the year when they exceed one of the thresholds in Article 3(a).
The Agency shall assess the information received and inform the Commission if such information allows to conclude that the Union airport, or where applicable, the managing body of the airport, does not fulfil its obligations. Union airports, or where applicable, the managing body of the airport, shall take all necessary measures to identify and address the lack of adequate airport infrastructure by 3 years after the entry into force of the Regulation.
Amendment 60
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
By 31 March of each reporting year, aircraft operators shall report the following information to the Agency:
By 31 March of each reporting year, aircraft operators shall report the following information relative to the reporting period to the Agency:
Amendment 61
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 1 – point a
(a)  The total amount of aviation fuel uplifted at each Union airport, expressed in tonnes;
(a)  The total amount of aviation fuel uplifted at each Union airport, expressed in tonnes of kerosene equivalent;
Amendment 62
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 1 – point b
(b)  The yearly aviation fuel required, per Union airport, expressed in tonnes;
(b)  The yearly aviation fuel required, per Union airport, expressed in tonnes of kerosene equivalent;
Amendment 63
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 1 – point d
(d)  The total amount of sustainable aviation fuel purchased from aviation fuel suppliers, for the purpose of operating their flights departing from Union airports, expressed in tonnes.
(d)  The total amount of sustainable aviation fuel purchased from aviation fuel suppliers, for the purpose of operating their flights departing from Union airports, expressed in tonnes of kerosene equivalent.
Amendment 64
Proposal for a regulation
Article 7 – paragraph 1 – point e
(e)  For each purchase of sustainable aviation fuel, the name of the aviation fuel supplier, the amount purchased expressed in tonnes, the conversion technology, the characteristics and origin of the feedstock used for production, and the lifecycle emissions of the sustainable aviation fuel. Where one purchase includes sustainable aviation fuels with differing characteristics, the report shall provide this information for each type of sustainable aviation fuel.
(e)  For each purchase of sustainable aviation fuel, the name of the aviation fuel supplier, the total amount purchased expressed in tonnes of kerosene equivalent, the conversion technology, the characteristics and origin of the feedstock used for production, and the lifecycle emissions of the sustainable aviation fuel. Where one purchase includes sustainable aviation fuels with differing characteristics, the report shall provide this information for each type of sustainable aviation fuel.
Amendment 65
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
Aircraft operators shall not claim benefits for the use of an identical batch of sustainable aviation fuels under more than one greenhouse gas scheme. Together with the report referred to in Article 7, aircraft operators shall provide the Agency with:
Aircraft operators shall be entitled to claim the allocation of free allowances under the ETS scheme for the uplifting of sustainable aviation fuels in accordance with [Article 3c(5a))] of Directive 2003/87/EC. Aircraft operators shall not claim benefits for the use of an identical batch of sustainable aviation fuels under more than one greenhouse gas scheme. Together with the report referred to in Article 7, aircraft operators shall provide the Agency with:
Amendment 66
Proposal for a regulation
Article 8 – paragraph 2
For the purpose of reporting sustainable aviation fuels use under the provisions of Article 7 of this Regulation, or under a greenhouse gas scheme, aviation fuel suppliers shall provide aircraft operators with the relevant information free of charge.
For the purpose of reporting sustainable aviation fuels use under the provisions of Article 7 of this Regulation, or under a greenhouse gas scheme, aviation fuel suppliers shall provide aircraft operators with the relevant information relative to the reporting period free of charge not later than 31 January of each reporting year.
Amendment 67
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1 – introductory part
By 31 March of each reporting year, aviation fuel suppliers shall report in the Union Database referred to in Article 28 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001, the following information relative to the reporting period:
By 31 January of each reporting year, aviation fuel suppliers shall report in the Union Database referred to in Article 28 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001, the following information relative to the reporting period:
Amendment 68
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1 – point a
(a)  The volume of aviation fuel supplied at each Union airport;
(a)  The amount of aviation fuel supplied at each Union airport, expressed in tonnes of kerosene equivalent;
Amendment 69
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1 – point b
(b)  The volume of sustainable aviation fuel supplied at each Union airport, and for each type of sustainable aviation fuel, as detailed in point c);
(b)  The amount of sustainable aviation fuel supplied at each Union airport, expressed in tonnes of kerosene equivalent, and for each type of sustainable aviation fuel, as detailed in point c);
Amendment 70
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1 – point c
(c)  The lifecycle emissions, origin of feedstock and conversion process of each sustainable aviation fuel type supplied at Union airports.
(c)  The lifecycle emissions, characteristics and origin of feedstock and conversion process of each sustainable aviation fuel type supplied at Union airports.
Amendment 71
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1 – point c a (new)
(ca)  where applicable, the amount of hydrogen and/or electricity, supplied at each Union airport, expressed in tonnes of kerosene equivalent.
Amendment 72
Proposal for a regulation
Article 9 – paragraph 1 – point c b (new)
(cb)  The average aromatic, naphthalene and sulphur content of aviation fuel per each batch supplied at each Union airport.
Amendment 73
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 – paragraph 1
(1)  Member States shall designate the competent authority or authorities responsible for enforcing the application of this Regulation and for imposing the fines for aircraft operators, Union airports and fuel suppliers. Member States shall inform the Commission thereof.
(1)  Member States shall designate the competent authority or, where applicable and in accordance with national law, authorities responsible for enforcing the application of this Regulation and for imposing the fines on aircraft operators, on Union airports, or where applicable, on the managing bodies of airports, and on fuel suppliers. Member States shall inform the Commission thereof.
Amendment 74
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 – paragraph 2
(2)  The Agency shall send the data received pursuant to Articles 7 and 9 to the competent authorities of the Member States. The Agency shall also send to the competent authorities data aggregated for the aircraft operators and aviation fuels suppliers for which the authorities are competent pursuant to paragraphs 3, 4 and 5.
(2)  The Agency shall send the data received pursuant to Articles 7 and 9 to the competent authorities of the Member States. The Agency shall also send to the competent authority or authorities data aggregated for the aircraft operators and aviation fuels suppliers for which the authorities are competent pursuant to paragraphs 3, 4 and 5.
Amendment 75
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 – paragraph 3
(3)  The competent authorities in respect of an aircraft operator shall be determined pursuant to Commission Regulation (EC) No 748/200916 .
(3)  The competent authority or authorities in respect of an aircraft operator shall be determined pursuant to Commission Regulation (EC) No 748/200916 .
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16 Commission Regulation (EC) No 748/2009 of 5 August 2009 on the list of aircraft operators which performed an aviation activity listed in Annex I to Directive 2003/87/EC
16 Commission Regulation (EC) No 748/2009 of 5 August 2009 on the list of aircraft operators which performed an aviation activity listed in Annex I to Directive 2003/87/EC
Amendment 76
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 – paragraph 4
(4)  The competent authorities in respect of Union airports shall be determined on the basis of the respective territorial jurisdiction.
(4)  The competent authority or authorities in respect of Union airports shall be determined on the basis of the respective territorial jurisdiction.
Amendment 77
Proposal for a regulation
Article 10 – paragraph 5
(5)  The competent authorities in respect of aviation fuel suppliers shall be determined pursuant to their Member State of establishment.
(5)  The competent authority or authorities in respect of aviation fuel suppliers shall be determined pursuant to their Member State of establishment.
Amendment 78
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 1
(1)  Member States shall lay down the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions adopted pursuant to this Regulation and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties provided for must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. Member States shall notify these provisions to the Commission by 31 December 2023 at the latest and shall notify it without delay of any subsequent amendment affecting them.
(1)  The Commission shall lay down the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions adopted pursuant to this Regulation and Member States shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties provided for must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. The Commission shall deliver these provisions to Member States by 31 December 2023 at the latest and shall notify it without delay of any subsequent amendment affecting them.
Amendment 79
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 2
(2)  Member States shall ensure that any aircraft operator failing to comply with the obligations laid down in Article 5 is liable to an administrative fine. That fine shall be at least twice as high as the multiplication of the yearly average price of aviation fuel per tonne and of the total yearly non-tanked quantity;
(2)  Member States shall ensure that any aircraft operator failing to comply with the obligations laid down in Article 5 is liable to an administrative fine. That fine shall be twice as high as the multiplication of the yearly average price of aviation fuel per tonne and of the total yearly non-tanked quantity. An aircraft operator may be exempted from an administrative fine if it can prove that its failure to comply with the obligations laid down in Article 5 is caused by exceptional and unforeseeable circumstances, outside of its control, the effects of which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken;
Amendment 80
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 2 a (new)
(2a)  Member States shall ensure that any Union airport, or where applicable, the managing body of an airport, failing to comply with the obligations laid down in Article 6 is liable to an administrative fine.
Amendment 81
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 3
(3)  Member States shall ensure that any aviation fuel supplier failing to comply with the obligations laid down in Article 4 relative to the minimum share of sustainable aviation fuels is liable to an administrative fine. That fine shall be at least twice as high as the multiplication of the difference between the yearly average price of conventional aviation fuel and sustainable aviation fuel per tonne and of the quantity of aviation fuels not complying with the minimum share referred to in Article 4 and Annex I;
(3)  Member States shall ensure that any aviation fuel supplier failing to comply with the obligations laid down in Article 4 relative to the minimum share of sustainable aviation fuels or any fuel supplier that has been proven to have provided misleading or inaccurate information regarding the characteristics or origin of the fuel it supplied, is liable to an administrative fine. That fine shall be twice as high as the multiplication of the difference between the yearly average price of conventional aviation fuel and sustainable aviation fuel per tonne and of the quantity of aviation fuels not complying with the minimum share referred to in Article 4 and Annex I;
Amendment 82
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 4
(4)  Member States shall ensure that any aviation fuel supplier failing to comply with the obligations laid down in Article 4 relative to the minimum share of synthetic aviation fuels is liable to an administrative fine. That fine shall be at least twice as high as the multiplication of the difference between the yearly average price of synthetic aviation fuel and conventional aviation fuel per tonne and of the quantity of the aviation fuel not complying with the minimum share referred to in Article 4 and Annex I;
(4)  Member States shall ensure that any aviation fuel supplier failing to comply with the obligations laid down in Article 4 relative to the minimum share of synthetic aviation fuels is liable to an administrative fine. That fine shall be twice as high as the multiplication of the difference between the yearly average price of synthetic aviation fuel and conventional aviation fuel per tonne and of the quantity of the aviation fuel not complying with the minimum share referred to in Article 4 and Annex I;
Amendment 83
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 5 a (new)
(5a)  Member States shall have the necessary legal and administrative framework in place at national level to ensure that information entered by fuel suppliers in the Union Database referred to in Article 28 of Directive (EU) 2018/2001 is accurate, verified and audited.
Amendment 84
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 6
(6)  Member States shall ensure that any aviation fuel supplier which has accumulated a shortfall from the obligation laid down in Article 4 relative to the minimum share of sustainable aviation fuels or of synthetic fuels in a given reporting period, shall supply the market in the subsequent reporting period with a quantity of that respective fuel equal to that shortfall, additional to their reporting period obligation. Fulfilling this obligation shall not exonerate the fuel supplier from the obligation to pay the penalties laid out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of this Article;
(6)  Member States shall ensure that any aviation fuel supplier which has accumulated a shortfall from the obligation laid down in Article 4 relative to the minimum share of sustainable aviation fuels or of synthetic fuels in a given reporting period, where the Commission assesses that this shortfall is not caused by insufficient resources being available, shall make every possible effort to supply the market in the subsequent reporting period with a quantity of that respective fuel equal to that shortfall, additional to their reporting period obligation. Fulfilling this obligation shall not exonerate the fuel supplier from the obligation to pay the penalties laid out in paragraphs 3 and 4 of this Article;
Amendment 85
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 – paragraph 7
(7)  Member States shall have the necessary legal and administrative framework in place at national level to ensure the fulfilment of the obligations and the collection of the administrative fines. Member States shall transfer the amount collected through those administrative fines as contribution to the InvestEU Green Transition Investment Facility, as a top-up to the EU guarantee.
(7)  Member States shall have the necessary legal and administrative framework in place at national level to ensure the fulfilment of the obligations and the collection of the administrative fines. Member States shall transfer the amount collected through those administrative fines as contribution to the Sustainable Aviation Fund, established under Article 11a.
Amendment 86
Proposal for a regulation
Article 11 a (new)
Article 11a
Sustainable Aviation Fund
1.   A Sustainable Aviation Fund (‘the Fund’) shall be established for the period from 2023 to 2050 to accelerate the decarbonisation of the aviation sector without hampering its highly integrated internal market, and in particular to support investment in innovative technologies and infrastructure for the production, uptake, deployment and storage of sustainable aviation fuels, other innovative aircraft propulsion technologies, including hydrogen and electricity, research for new engines and direct air capture technology, a process by which CO2 is captured directly from the air and not from point sources, and efforts to reduce the non-CO2 effects of aviation. All investment supported by the Fund shall be made public and shall be consistent with the aims of this Regulation.
2.   The Fund shall constitute an integral part of the EU budget and shall be budgeted within the MFF ceilings. The revenues generated by the penalties under this Regulation should be allocated to the Fund.
3.   The Fund shall be managed centrally through a Union body whose governance structure and decision making process shall be transparent and inclusive, in particular in the setting of priority areas, criteria and grant allocation procedures. Relevant stakeholders shall have an appropriate consultative role. All information on the investments and all other relevant information on the functioning of the Fund shall be made available to the public.
Amendment 87
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1 – point a
(a)  The amount of sustainable aviation fuel purchased by aircraft operators at Union level in aggregate, for use on flights departing from a Union airport, and by Union airport;
(a)  The amount of sustainable aviation fuel purchased by aircraft operators at Union level in aggregate, for use on flights covered by this Regulation departing from a Union airport, and by Union airport;
Amendment 88
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1 – point b
(b)  The amount of sustainable aviation fuel and of synthetic aviation fuel supplied at Union level in aggregate and by Union airport;
(b)  The amount of sustainable aviation fuel and of synthetic aviation fuel supplied at Union level in aggregate, by Member State, per type of fuel feedstock, and by Union airport;
Amendment 89
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1 – point b a (new)
(ba)  Where available, the amount of sustainable aviation fuel supplied and purchased by aircraft operators in the neighbouring countries of the Union with which a European Air Services Agreement has been concluded;
Amendment 90
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1 – point c
(c)  The state of the market, including price information, and trends in sustainable aviation fuel production and use in the Union;
(c)  The state of the market, including price information, and trends in sustainable aviation fuel production and use in the Union and per Member State;
Amendment 91
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1 – point d
(d)  The status of compliance of airports regarding obligations set out in Article 6;
(d)  The status of compliance of airports, or where applicable, the managing body of an airport, regarding obligations set out in Article 6;
Amendment 92
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1 – point e
(e)  The compliance status of each aircraft operator and aviation fuel supplier having an obligation under this Regulation in the reporting period;
(e)  The compliance status of each aircraft operator and aviation fuel supplier having an obligation under this Regulation in the reporting period, including those that have been notified as aircraft operator, pursuant to Article 3, paragraph 1, indent 2;
Amendment 93
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1 – point f
(f)  The origin and the characteristics of all sustainable aviation fuels purchased by aircraft operators for use on flights departing from Union airports.
(f)  The origin and the characteristics of all sustainable aviation fuels purchased by aircraft operators for use on flights covered under this Regulation departing from Union airports.
Amendment 94
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 – paragraph 1 – point f a (new)
(fa)  The average aromatic, naphthalene and sulphur content of aviation fuel supplied at Union level in aggregate and by Union airport.
Amendment 95
Proposal for a regulation
Article 12 a (new)
Article 12a
Union labelling system for the environmental performance of aviation
1.   In order to further promote the decarbonisation of the aviation sector and increase the transparency of information to consumers regarding the environmental performance by aircraft operators, the Commission shall set up a comprehensive Union labelling system for the environmental performance of aviation, to be developed and implemented by EASA, which shall apply to aircraft operators and commercial air transport flights subject to this Regulation.
2.   By 1 January 2024, the Commission shall adopt a delegated act in accordance with Article 13a (new) to supplement this Regulation by setting out the detailed provisions and technical standards for the functioning of the Union labelling system for the environmental performance of aircrafts, aircraft operators and commercial flights.
Amendment 96
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – title
Transitional period
SAF flexibility mechanism
Amendment 97
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 1
By way of derogation from Article 4, from 1 January 2025 until 31 December 2029, for each reporting period, an aviation fuel supplier may supply the minimum share of sustainable aviation fuel defined in Annex I as a weighted average over all the aviation fuel it supplied across Union airports for that reporting period.
By way of derogation from Article 4, and during the period of 10 years from the date of application for Article 4 and 5 in accordance with Article 15, for each reporting period, an aviation fuel supplier may justify its supply of sustainable aviation fuels defined in Annex I by reference to a SAF flexibility mechanism, defined in Article 3, indent 16a (new).
Amendment 98
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 1 a (new)
By 1 January 2025, the Commission shall adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 13a to supplement this Regulation by laying down detailed arrangements for the SAF flexibility mechanism, guaranteeing a level playing field and a high level of environmental integrity, as well as minimising the risk of fraud, irregularities and double claiming. Such detailed arrangements, incorporating elements of a book & claim scheme, may enable the setting up of a system of tradability of sustainable aviation fuel, including detailed rules regarding the registration, allocation, accounting and reporting of the supply and uptake of sustainable aviation fuels.
Amendment 99
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 – paragraph 1 b (new)
During the period set out in paragraph 1, the Commission shall regularly monitor the integrity and transparency of the market for sustainable aviation fuels, drawing, where appropriate, on information contained in the Union Database and other data reported to the competent authorities. The Commission shall in particular examine the functioning of the market, including with regard to any market volatility, unusual price evolution or trading behaviour of market participants that might indicate possible monopolistic behaviour, making full use of its powers under Article 102 TFEU to prevent actors on the market from abusing a dominant market position.
Amendment 100
Proposal for a regulation
Article 13 a (new)
Article 13a
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 Articles 12a and 13 shall be conferred on the Commission for an indeterminate period of time from [the entry into force of this Regulation].
3.   The delegation of power referred to in Articles 12a and 13 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 on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016.
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 Articles 12a and 13 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 one month at the initiative of the European Parliament or of the Council.
Amendment 101
Proposal for a regulation
Article 14 – paragraph 1
By 1 January 2028 and every five years thereafter, the Commission services shall present a report to the European Parliament and the Council, on the evolution of the aviation fuels market and its impact on the aviation internal market of the Union, including regarding the possible extension of the scope of this Regulation to other energy sources, and other types of synthetic fuels defined under the Renewable Energy Directive, the possible revision of the minimum shares in Article 4 and Annex I, and the level of administrative fines. The report shall include information, where available, on development of a potential policy framework for uptake of sustainable aviation fuels at ICAO level. The report shall also inform on technological advancements in the area of research and innovation in the aviation industry which are relevant to sustainable aviation fuels, including with regards to the reduction of non-CO2 emissions. The report may consider if this Regulation should be amended and, options for amendments, where appropriate, in line with a potential policy framework on sustainable aviation fuels uptake at ICAO level.
By 1 January 2026 and every three years thereafter, the Commission services shall present a report to the European Parliament and the Council, on the application of this Regulation, the evolution of the aviation fuels market and the impact on the competitiveness and the functioning of the aviation internal market of the Union, including, where appropriate, available policy options to address other energy sources, and other types of synthetic fuels defined under the Renewable Energy Directive, while taking due account of the principle of technological neutrality, the possible revision of the SAF definition and the minimum shares in Article 4 and Annex I, the scope of the Regulation and the level of administrative fines. The report shall include an assessment, based on available information, of the impact of this Regulation, as well as its comprehensive impact and interplay with the adapted legislative framework applicable to the sector as a whole, on the functioning of the internal market in aviation, the sector’s competitiveness, possible re-routing leading to carbon leakage, the international level playing field with regards to air carriers and airport hubs, the effect on air mobility and connectivity, cost effectiveness of GHG emissions reductions, investment needs and socioeconomic impacts as well as the related employment and training needs and, where available, information on development of a potential policy framework for uptake of sustainable aviation fuels at ICAO level. The report shall include detailed information on the enforcement of this Regulation. The report shall also inform on technological advancements in the area of research and innovation in the aviation industry which are relevant to sustainable aviation fuels, including with regards to the reduction of non-CO2 emissions or direct air capture (DAC) technologies. The report shall, where appropriate, be accompanied by legislative proposals to amend this Regulation where appropriate, in line with a potential policy framework on sustainable aviation fuels uptake at ICAO level. The report shall also specifically evaluate the impact of this Regulation on the air-connectivity of less connected remote regions and islands, including its effects on the availability and affordability of air transport to and from these territories. The Commission shall regularly monitor, evaluate and analyse cases of fuel tankering. Every year, the Commission shall submit a report containing its findings to the European Parliament and the Council. At the latest by three years after the date of entry into force of this Regulation, the Commission shall, on the basis of these findings, evaluate the provisions concerning fuel tankering and, where appropriate, submit a legislative proposal to amend those.
Amendment 102
Proposal for a regulation
Annex I
Annex I (volume shares)
Annex I (EU harmonised volume shares)
(a)  From 1 January 2025, a minimum share of 2% of SAF;
(a)  From 1 January 2025, a minimum share of 2% of SAF; of which a minimum share of 0,04 % of synthetic fuels;
(b)  From 1 January 2030, a minimum share of 5% of SAF, of which a minimum share of 0.7% of synthetic aviation fuels;
(b)  From 1 January 2030, a minimum share of 6% of SAF, of which a minimum share of 2% of synthetic aviation fuels;
(c)  From 1 January 2035, a minimum share of 20% of SAF, of which a minimum share of 5% of synthetic aviation fuels;
(c)  From 1 January 2035, a minimum share of 20% of SAF, of which a minimum share of 5% of synthetic aviation fuels;
(d)  From 1 January 2040, a minimum share of 32% of SAF, of which a minimum share of 8% of synthetic aviation fuels;
(d)  From 1 January 2040, a minimum share of 37% of SAF, of which a minimum share of 13% of synthetic aviation fuels;
(e)  From 1 January 2045, a minimum volume share of 38% of SAF, of which a minimum share of 11% of synthetic aviation fuels;
(e)  From 1 January 2045, a minimum volume share of 54% of SAF, of which a minimum share of 27% of synthetic aviation fuels;
(f)  From 1 January 2050, a minimum volume share of 63% of SAF, of which a minimum share of 28% of synthetic aviation fuels;
(f)  From 1 January 2050, a minimum volume share of 85% of SAF, of which a minimum share of 50% of synthetic aviation fuels;
Amendment 103
Proposal for a regulation
Annex II

Text proposed by the Commission

Annex II – Template for aircraft operator reporting

Union airport

ICAO code of Union airport

Yearly aviation fuel required (tonnes)

Actual aviation fuel uplifted (tonnes)

Yearly non-tanked quantity (tonnes)

Total yearly non-tanked quantity (tonnes)

Amendment

Annex II – Template for aircraft operator reporting

Union airport

ICAO code of Union airport

Yearly aviation fuel required (tonnes of kerosene equivalent)

Actual aviation fuel uplifted (tonnes of kerosene equivalent)

Yearly non-tanked quantity (tonnes of kerosene equivalent)

Total yearly non-tanked quantity (tonnes of kerosene equivalent)

Template 2

Fuel supplier

Amount purchased (tonnes of kerosene equivalent)

Conversion technology

Characteristics

Origin of feedstock

Lifecycle emissions

(1) The matter was referred back for interinstitutional negotiations to the committee responsible, pursuant to Rule 59(4), fourth subparagraph (A9-0199/2022).


Financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2021
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2022 on the financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2021 (2021/2203(INI))
P9_TA(2022)0298A9-0165/2022

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 15, 126, 174, 175, 177, 208, 209, 271, 308 and 309 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and to Protocol No 5 to the Treaties on the Statute of the European Investment Bank (EIB),

–  having regard to the EIB’s approval of the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU of 7 October 2016,

–  having regard to the EIB Group’s Complaints Mechanism Procedures, published on 13 November 2018,

–  having regard to the EIB’s energy lending policy, published on 14 November 2019,

–  having regard to the adoption of the Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025 by the EIB Board of Directors on 11 November 2020 and to the EIB’s new climate strategy of 15 November 2020,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Operational Plan 2021, published on 20 January 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Investment Report 2020/2021: Building a smart and green Europe in the COVID-19 era, published on 21 January 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Financial Report 2020, published on 3 May 2021, and its report on EIB financing and borrowing activities 2020, published on 5 May 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Operations Evaluation Activity Report 2020 and Work Programme 2021-2023, published on 3 June 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB publication of 14 June 2021 entitled ‘A partnership with Africa: How the European Investment Bank delivers on EU policies in Africa and our future plans for development and partnership across the continent’,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Charter for Internal Audit, published on 29 July 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group anti-fraud policy, published on 5 August 2021, and its EIB Fraud Investigations Activity Report 2020, published on 29 July 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Risk Management Disclosure Report 2020, published on 9 August 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group evaluation policy, published on 19 August 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Diversity and Inclusion 2020 Progress Report, published on 12 October 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Cohesion Orientation 2021-2027, published on 13 October 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Climate Adaptation Plan, published on 26 October 2021,

–  having regard to the Tripartite Agreement between the European Commission, the European Court of Auditors and the European Investment Bank, which came into force in November 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group transparency policy, published on 18 November 2021, and to its whistleblowing policy, published on 24 November 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Investment Survey 2021 – European Union overview, published on 2 December 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Corporate Governance Report 2020, published on 9 December 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Impact Report 2020: climate action, environmental sustainability and innovation for decarbonisation, published on 20 December 2021, to its report entitled ‘The path to a better planet: Adapting to climate change and aligning with the Paris Agreement’, published on 28 October 2021, and to the EIB Climate Adaptation Plan: supporting the EU adaptation strategy to build resilience to climate change, published on 26 October 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group PATH Framework – Supporting the counterparties on their pathways to align with the Paris Agreement (Paris Alignment for Counterparties), published on 26 October 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Investment Report 2021/2022 – Key Findings: Recovery as a springboard for change, published on 12 January 2022,

–  having regard to the EIB’s 2020 activity report entitled ‘Crisis Solutions’, published on 20 January 2021, and its 2021 activity report entitled ‘The Innovation Response’, published on 27 January 2022,

–  having regard to the judgment of the General Court (First Chamber) of 30 March 2022 in Case T-299/20, KF v EIB,

–  having regard to the comments issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in August 2021 on the Draft Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework (ESSF) of the EIB Group,

–  having regard to cases 1065/2020/PB, 1251/2020/PB and 1252/2020/PB concerning the EIB, which were decided by the European Ombudsman on 21 April 2022,

–  having regard to the European Ombudsman’s recommendation in case 2168/2019/KR on how the European Banking Authority handled the move of its former Executive Director to become CEO of a financial industry lobby, and its decision in case OI/3/2021/KR on how the European Defence Agency handled the application by its former Chief Executive to take on senior positions at Airbus,

–  having regard to the European Court of Auditors Special Report of 26 May 2021 entitled ‘Gender mainstreaming in the EU budget: time to turn words into action’,

–  having regard to the Environmental and Social Policy of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development of April 2019,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Operational Plan 2022-2024, published on 27 January 2022,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework, adopted on 2 February 2022,

–  having regard to the EIB’s Ukraine Solidarity Urgent Response, adopted on 4 March 2022,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 October 2020 entitled ‘Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability – Towards a Toxic-Free Environment’ (COM(2020)0667),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 December 2019 on the European Green Deal (COM(2019)0640) and to Parliament’s resolution of 15 January 2020 thereon(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communications of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 – Bringing nature back into our lives’ (COM(2020)0380) and ‘A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system’ (COM(2020)0381),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 11 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 12 May 2021 entitled ‘Pathway to a Healthy Planet for All – EU Action Plan: “Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil”’ (COM(2021)0400),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 8 March 2022 entitled ‘REPowerEU: Joint European Action for more affordable, secure and sustainable energy’ (COM(2022)0108),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/523 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 March 2021 establishing the InvestEU Programme(2),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/1056 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 June 2021 establishing the Just Transition Fund(3) and to Regulation (EU) 2021/1229 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 July 2021 on the public sector loan facility under the Just Transition Mechanism(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/947 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 June 2021 establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe(5),

–  having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals,

–  having regard to the 2019 report by Counter Balance entitled ‘Is the EIB up to the task in tackling fraud and corruption? Challenges for the EU Bank’s governance framework’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2020 on institutions and bodies of the Economic and Monetary Union: preventing post-public employment conflicts of interest(6),

–  having regard to the European Ombudsman’s letter of 22 July 2016 to the President of the EIB on conflict of interest issues and to the President of the EIB’s reply of 31 January 2017,

–  having regard to the European Ombudsman’s inspection report of 18 May 2022 in case OI/1/2021/KR on how the Commission handles the challenge of ‘revolving door’ situations involving its (former) staff members,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgets (A9-0165/2022),

A.  whereas under Article 309 TFEU, the EIB is tasked with contributing to the achievement of the EU’s objectives, including through various investment instruments such as loans, equities, guarantees, risk-sharing facilities and advisory services;

B.  whereas the EIB signed loans for approximately EUR 95 billion in 2021 and supported circa 430 000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps, which are the backbone of the EU single market; whereas EUR 75 billion was linked to EIB Group operations and the remaining loans were in the framework of the European Guarantee Fund; whereas EUR 20,7 billion of the EIB Group’s financing supported innovation, including investment in digitalisation and the promotion of skills and training for the digital world, making a substantial contribution to EU global competitiveness and employment; whereas the total signature amount is more than any other multilateral bank and a record for the EIB;

C.  whereas Russia attacked Ukraine on 24 February 2022, creating a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and fundamentally impacting the economic and security situation in the EU and its neighbourhood; whereas the EIB’s Board of Directors approved a EUR 668 million Emergency Solidarity Package for Ukraine on 4 March, followed by subsequent payments to the Government of Ukraine for the most urgent needs; whereas the EIB pledged EUR 4 billion at Stand Up For Ukraine, a global fundraising event to support the victims of the Russian invasion and support Ukrainian war refugees in Member States, with a view to financing key social infrastructure, including housing, schools, hospitals and kindergartens;

D.  whereas the coronavirus pandemic has been a severe global shock with far-reaching social and economic consequences; whereas during the pandemic, the EIB signed around EUR 6,3 billion worth of loans as part of the COVID-19 response in the health sector, including projects for health and hospital infrastructure and medical equipment, as well as strengthening the medical health system with pandemic preparedness interventions; whereas resources mobilised during the pandemic have been an attractive target for fraud and corruption, as underlined in the EIB Fraud Investigations Activity Report 2020; whereas the EIB should take the necessary measures to ensure that resources reach their intended beneficiaries;

E.  whereas the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and the illegal, unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against and invasion of Ukraine have had a major impact on fair, inclusive and sustainable growth, investment, resilience, employment, education and socio-economic inequalities; whereas high inflation and rising energy, fuel and food prices disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged households in society;

General remarks

1.  Stresses the fundamental role of the EIB as the EU’s public bank and the only international financial institution that is entirely owned by Member States and fully guided by EU policies and standards in supporting the social and economic recovery and targeting investments for attaining the EU’s objectives; takes note of the EIB Investment Report 2021/2022 and the EIB Group Operational Plan 2022-2024; welcomes the EIB’s record investment of almost EUR 95 billion of financing in 2021 and the bank’s focus on the EU’s long-term challenges of climate change, social cohesion and digital transformation;

2.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s illegal, unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against and invasion of Ukraine, as well as the involvement of Belarus in this aggression; underlines the fact that the war has created a severe humanitarian crisis and has had a fundamental impact on the economic and security situation in the EU and its neighbourhood, which needs to be reflected in the EIB’s activities and investment plans more broadly;

3.  Welcomes the EIB’s reaction to the Russian invasion in Ukraine by approving the Emergency Solidarity Package, which consists inter alia of immediate financial support of EUR 668 million to the Ukrainian authorities by accelerating disbursements under existing loans and a commitment to accelerate the delivery of an additional EUR 1,3 billion; notes that this package includes both immediate financial support and support to infrastructure in the medium and longer term, including rebuilding efforts as soon as a free and independent Ukraine is re-established after the war; calls on the EIB to work on action plans for incentivising EU direct investments in Ukraine, including new post-war economic and social projects, such as schools, social housing and hospitals; highlights the importance of coordinated efforts in the response to the Ukraine crisis;

4.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to swiftly put in place a reporting mechanism to inform competent authorities about any and all assets held in European financial institutions by Russian and Belarusian natural and legal persons with links to the Putin and Lukashenka regimes, including in the EIB Group where relevant; calls on the EIB to be highly vigilant and closely follow new sanctions and measures agreed by the Council; recalls that the EIB ceased its operations in Russia following the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014; expects the EIB, furthermore, to halt the involvement of any Russian direct or indirect partners involved in investment projects, including through financial intermediaries;

5.  Calls on the Member States, in their capacity as shareholders, to increase the EIB’s capitalisation to enable more long-term loans and innovative instruments to finance projects with great potential for sustainability, social and innovation gains in key EU policy areas like digitalisation and the green transformation while maintaining the EIB’s current high credit rating;

6.  Welcomes the fact that the EIB supported more than 430 000 SMEs employing 4,5 million people in 2021; calls on the EIB, however, to provide additional growth capital to enable SMEs to scale up their operations; notes that the current high energy prices also impact SMEs’ competitiveness; invites the EIB to assess whether the current level of support for SMEs is sufficient in the context of high energy prices and rising costs of raw materials;

7.  Applauds the fact that a record EUR 20,7 billion of the EIB’s financing went to supporting innovation in 2021, including investment in digitalisation and the promotion of skills and training for the digital world; considers that this kind of investment is of paramount importance to maintain Europe’s competitiveness and pursue the EU’s strategic autonomy and is particularly relevant to employees in sectors requiring significant adjustment and requalification;

8.  Welcomes the new Cohesion Orientation, which commits to increasing EIB lending activities to 45 % of total EU-27 lending in cohesion regions by 2025 and to 23 % in least developed regions; stresses the importance of increased climate action in the regions concerned, with a view to promoting economic, social and territorial convergence and a just transition leaving no one behind, and stresses that investments should be selected on the basis of financial, economic and technical merit; calls on the EIB to continue to address systemic deficiencies that prevent certain regions or countries from taking full advantage of EIB financial opportunities, inter alia by strengthening its efforts to expand its loan activities by providing technical assistance, capacity-building and advisory support, especially in innovation, digitalisation, infrastructure, SME support and projects aimed at generating high-quality employment, and by prioritising projects that reduce inequalities and promote social diversity and inclusion; calls, in this regard, for increased support for advisory services such as the Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions (JASPERS), the European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) and Fi-Compass;

9.  Applauds the timeliness of the European Guarantee Fund to help mitigate the negative social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including by supporting SMEs; notes that as of 31 December 2021, the EIB approved EUR 23,2 billion in European Guarantee Fund operations (95 % of the EUR 24,4 billion available), which represents about one third of what the EIB Group normally invests in a year; notes that without transparency regarding its final beneficiaries, it is difficult to draw conclusions about the fund’s impact on the European economy; calls, therefore, for a thorough assessment of the fund, evaluating to what extent the EIB’s involvement brought added value and to what extent the fund delivered on its objectives as the instrument is phased out, and the level of transparency in its implementation; calls for the assessment to be made public; welcomes the fact that an evaluation of the European Guarantee Fund is on the way and looks forward to receiving it;

10.  Takes note of the new Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework (ESSF); welcomes the adoption of sustainable finance as an operating model; calls for its swift implementation and for the EIB to establish clear and stringent procedures on how to carry out due diligence; calls, in addition, for all provisions in the ESSF to be properly reflected in contracts and for the application of the do no significant harm principle in all EIB operations;

11.  Welcomes the signature of the InvestEU agreement between the EIB and the Commission on 7 March 2022 and the fact that the European Investment Fund is a separate implementing partner; calls for the swift implementation of the new InvestEU Advisory Hub and underlines the need to speed up negotiations with other implementing partners;

Climate bank

12.  Welcomes the fact that 43 % of lending in 2021 was climate and environment related – up from 40 % in 2020 – and applauds the intention to meet the climate landing target in 2022; further welcomes the fact that – excluding the European Guarantee Fund mandate, which specifically targets SMEs hit by the pandemic – the EIB’s green financing share actually rose to 51 %; reiterates that all of the EIB’s financial flows should be fully consistent with net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest and with the EU’s increased climate objective for 2030; underlines that the climate transition must be inclusive and fair; stresses that green investments must be viable and the EIB must maintain a high credit standing (AAA); calls on the EIB, in this regard, to leverage its lending, financial instruments, technical assistance and advisory services to support people and regions facing socio-economic challenges deriving from the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy; highlights that the Climate Bank Roadmap (CBR) is a good starting point, but further action will be needed to ensure alignment with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, while keeping the 1,5 ºC objective within reach, and a just transition; reiterates that large-scale change can only be achieved if industry is taken on board and the necessary incentives are provided for innovative climate solutions and for creating high-quality jobs; calls for all action plans for the implementation of the CBR to be made public as soon as possible in order to provide an overview of the actions planned to achieve the targets and to assess their adequacy;

13.  Looks forward to the CBR’s mid-term review and stresses that it must serve to boost the transformation of the institution into a genuine climate bank which facilitates the preservation of natural resources and the protection of the environment; expects all lending to be harmonised with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, while keeping the 1,5 ºC objective within reach, and the EU’s climate and environmental commitments; calls for the CBR mid-term review to include a solid assessment of less carbon-intensive alternatives and ‘Scope 3’ emissions for each project; expects detailed annual progress reports on the CBR for all operations as of 2023, including the degree to which it is aligned with the EU’s climate objectives;

14.  Welcomes the Paris Alignment for Counterparties and expects it to be implemented in full; reiterates its call for financial intermediaries and not only corporate clients to have decarbonisation plans as soon as possible and by the end of 2025 at the latest; stresses that such new requirements must not be to the detriment of access to finance for SMEs; calls for a focus on the credibility of short-term decarbonisation plans; calls for stringent implementation of those plans and greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and for an evaluation to ascertain whether these can be included in contractual clauses between the EIB and its clients; expects the EIB to systematically check and ensure compliance, in particular as regards ESSF implementation;

15.  Welcomes the EIB’s increasing investments in energy in Europe, rising from EUR 10 billion in 2018 to over EUR 14 billion in 2021; calls on the EIB, in the light of the recent geopolitical developments, to speed up and increase investments in the EU’s energy security and reaffirms that enhancing EU energy security is compatible with the EIB’s role as a climate bank, as well as the aim of reducing energy poverty, which is becoming especially acute due to rapidly rising energy and fuel prices; reiterates its call on the EIB to implement the principle of energy efficiency in full and to set an objective of tackling energy poverty in its energy lending; reiterates its support for the EIB’s 2019 energy lending policy; calls on the EIB to prioritise funding for renewable energy investments, energy efficiency and energy security, which will increase the EU’s independence from third countries; calls on the EIB to scale up lending for such projects to help quickly reduce dependence on energy and raw material imports from Russia and other third countries;

16.  Welcomes the EIB Climate Adaptation Plan and the commitment to increase the share of climate action for adaptation to 15 % of the overall climate target by 2025; reiterates its call for harmonised screening methods to assess physical climate risk for all EIB lending activities, including those conducted through financial intermediaries;

17.  Recalls, in view of the upcoming mid-term review of the energy lending policy, the statement made by President Hoyer at the EIB Group’s annual press conference on 27 January 2022: ‘We believe that we have a mission to concentrate on sustainability and achieving the Paris goals with the means of a long-term investor institution. [...] Therefore I don’t see a change in our energy lending policy’; calls on the EIB to respect the recommendations of the Platform on Sustainable Finance and stop financing stranded assets and activities that are incompatible with the goals of the European Green Deal and related EU strategies; calls on the EIB to particularly focus on investments in projects that increase the security of energy supply by diversifying energy sources and suppliers, as well as reducing the EU’s dependence on energy from third countries; encourages the EIB to cooperate with local and regional authorities and facilitate financing for smaller projects, including community-led initiatives that focus on renewable energy sources; calls on the EIB to ensure that its investments in social and affordable housing, which are to be welcomed, also contribute to improvements in energy efficiency;

18.  Regrets the delays in the transport lending policy review; expects a proposal to be devised that is fully aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, while keeping the 1,5 ºC objective within reach, including a vision for the EIB’s role in decarbonising mobility with a specific focus on company level transition; expects EIB loans to reduce the environmental impact of transport, while improving the quality and affordability of the services provided, and expects no new loans to be granted that hinder transport decarbonisation or the transition towards more sustainable and affordable zero-emission mobility; stresses the major risk of stranded assets in the transport sector; believes that more funding should be directed at zero-emission mobility, especially cycling and the development and modernisation of public transport, multimodal services, including as part of sustainable urban design projects, and better transport services for underserved communities and localities; calls for more funding to decarbonise the maritime sector;

Biodiversity and sustainability

19.  Welcomes the updated ESSF standard 4, namely the inclusion of ‘halt and reverse biodiversity loss’ as a principle, and limiting offsetting, in particular in high biodiversity areas, and calls for its diligent implementation; welcomes the efforts made to strengthen biodiversity risk assessment and due diligence through the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool; expects the data used to be up to date; is concerned, however, at the use of outdated data; expects the EIB to comply with Articles 11 and 191 TFEU and to stop disbursing funds, and to withdraw them if necessary, if evidence or a serious risk of adverse impacts on the climate, the environment or local communities is formally established, inter alia via environmental impact assessments;

20.  Recalls the target of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 to unlock at least EUR 20 billion per year for spending on nature; underlines that society as a whole benefits from nature restoration, which is critical for a wide range of economic sectors, and that the cooperation of Member States with the EIB and other financial institutions can be key to closing the financing gap; acknowledges the challenges and progress achieved during the implementation of the Natural Capital Financing Facility; reiterates its call for a grant component to be provided under the facility or any successor instrument, taking the model of the Just Transition Mechanism as inspiration, to support initial scaling-up of local projects and facilitate revenue generation; calls for the launch of an independent public evaluation embedded within a broader assessment of supporting ecosystem and biodiversity restoration; notes that new instruments are due to replace the Natural Capital Financing Facility under the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework; urges the EIB, therefore, to exclude biodiversity offset projects in protected areas and high biodiversity areas from new instruments;

21.  Notes that Ukraine and Russia are major producers of food crops including wheat, corn and barley; notes that the war has severely impacted the Ukrainian agriculture sector; notes, furthermore, that Russia and Belarus are major producers of fertilisers; regrets that the war may have major spill-over effects on cross-border supply chains, food and fertiliser prices, the affordability of food in the EU, and the security and affordability of food globally; encourages the EIB to use its operations to facilitate the implementation of the goals of the European Green Deal, the farm to fork strategy and the biodiversity strategy for 2030, as well as all relevant and upcoming EU regulations on deforestation-free products and restoration stemming from these strategies; calls on the EIB not to support activities that hinder the transition towards a fully sustainable agriculture sector and natural resource management projects that do not respect planetary boundaries; calls for the EIB not to support any form of industrial farming or farming practices that do not comply with EU animal welfare standards, as set out in Parliament’s recommendation of 20 January 2022 to the Council and the Commission following the investigation of alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to the protection of animals during transport within and outside the Union(7);

22.  Reiterates its call for the EIB to support the goals of the EU chemicals strategy for sustainability as part of its new operations, by boosting innovation for safe and sustainable-by-design chemicals, materials and products, the circular economy action plan based on non-toxic material cycles and the action plan towards zero pollution for water, air and soil; welcomes the doubling of the Clean Oceans initiative (from EUR 2 to 4 billion by 2025) to reduce plastic waste; underlines that emphasis should be placed on projects aimed at finding sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics; calls on the EIB not to fund or contribute in any way to the development of deep sea mining; welcomes the EIB’s decision to provide technical assistance and project financing to the Global Methane Commitment;

23.  Welcomes the ongoing multi-currency issuance of climate awareness bonds and sustainability awareness bonds; welcomes, moreover, the commitment to aligning with the EU Green Bonds Standard and any future ‘Social Bond Standard’, to increasing transparency in particular, and to improving bond allocation and impact reporting; insists that any such steps taken must not lead to standards being lowered;

Social responsibility, health and gender

24.  Welcomes the inclusion of labour rights in ESSF standard 8 and calls for the stringent implementation of the latter; calls on the EIB to ensure that labour rights are better accounted for in its operations through the inclusion of contractual clauses requiring promoters to assess labour risks, and to ensure that labour rights are fully protected throughout the entire supply chain; calls on the EIB to help support an inclusive recovery following the pandemic through investments in the social sector, including in energy-efficient social housing, education, health and skills, and underlines the importance of developing fair, safe and healthy working conditions and respecting labour rights;

25.  Welcomes the fact that the EIB has played a key role in supporting the EU’s response to the health crisis; calls on the EIB to continue investments in making the public health sector more resilient, curbing the long-term negative impacts of the pandemic and enhancing preparedness for future pandemics;

26.  Underlines that development investments which involve women and take their needs into account are more effective and sustainable; calls on the EIB to contribute to the full implementation of the EU’s gender commitments including the third gender action plan, by systematically collecting targeted gender-disaggregated data and making it public; urges the EIB to assess the gender impact of projects within and outside the EU, and to report on the results of its assessments; considers that data should be collected on projects to demonstrate how they are contributing to gender equality and women’s empowerment; urges the EIB to assess the gender impact of projects and to liaise with independent experts to this end; calls on the EIB to ensure its advisory and technical assistance is equipped to advance gender equality and inclusive development, notably by having the necessary expertise, with a particular focus on training; highlights the need to step up lending to female-led SMEs to promote a gender-equal recovery;

27.  Regrets that the EIB failed to meet its original gender balance targets for 2021 and that women remain underrepresented in senior positions at the EIB; calls on the EIB, therefore, to step up its efforts to improve the gender balance across all levels of the organisation;

28.  Underlines the role of the EIB in contributing to the fulfilment of European priorities; expects the bank to support projects that deliver on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Sustainable Development Goals and the social recommendations identified in the country-specific recommendations under the European Semester; stresses the importance of dialogue and consultation with civil society organisations and encourages the EIB to strengthen its commitment to such activities; welcomes the EIB’s investment in education and reiterates its call on the EIB to increase its investment in education in order to help mitigate the severe impacts of the coronavirus crisis on education systems globally;

NDICI – EIB Global

29.  Expresses its support for EIB Global and considers that the EIB can play a key role in supporting the EU’s strategic interests; recalls that the EIB’s geographical scope is aligned with that of the World Bank; expects EIB investments in third countries to be fully aligned with EU climate, biodiversity and social standards applicable to intra-EU lending and with EU external action policies, including investments made as an implementing partner in the Global Gateway initiative; calls on the EIB to increase its engagement in less developed countries and those experiencing conflict and extreme poverty; calls for public consultation and full transparency on the strategies linked to EIB Global with a particular focus on the role of recipient countries and specific chapters on human rights due diligence; calls for full accountability and transparency of EIB Global’s governing body and Advisory Council, including proactive publication of the agendas and minutes of meetings of its new Advisory Council; calls for staff to be given suitable training in development matters to help them implement EU Global and Team Europe initiatives; calls on the Commission to clarify the use of the guarantees under the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus managed by the EIB and other financial institutions in the implementation of the Global Gateway initiative;

30.  Recalls the EU’s global commitment to defending and promoting human rights, which are indivisible, universal and interdependent; views the new ESSF as a good starting point, but reiterates its repeated request that additional action will be needed to ensure further improvements in the protection of human rights and in procedures to prevent human rights violations; recalls that the EIB is directly bound by the Charter of Fundamental Rights; points to the comments made by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the EIB’s draft ESSF and urges the EIB to take them fully and promptly into account, particularly those on human rights due diligence and the integration of human rights into its due diligence procedures, human rights impact assessments, and the need for the EIB’s general human rights commitment to be anchored in a responsibility to respect human rights; calls for these issues to be addressed in the upcoming statement on human rights; strongly believes that the EIB should not disburse loans in the event of clear human rights retaliations; calls for the EIB to make every effort to protect local communities, including by withdrawing funding where appropriate; expects, furthermore, immediate action to be taken when a client or beneficial owner is involved in reprisals against a human rights or environmental rights defender; expects the EIB to implement Parliament’s long-standing requests for it to avoid such situations, notably by establishing contractual requirements, including a requirement to obtain free, prior and informed consent from local communities, where applicable under international law, including for projects financed through financial intermediaries; expects the EIB to request that its clients conduct human rights impact assessments of their projects, as well as continuously monitoring the implementation of those projects on the ground, in order to prevent any abuse, unfair expropriation or violence against local populations; calls, in this regard, for the EIB to actively engage with local communities and inform them of their rights accordingly, with a particular focus on implementing free, prior and informed consent, including their access to the Complaints Mechanism;

31.  Believes that the implementation of EIB Global should be able to rely on an adequate level of staff based outside its Luxembourg headquarters to ensure a presence on the ground and effective cooperation with the European External Action Service and its delegations, as on-site expertise and follow-up of projects is key to supporting local communities; calls for a reinforcement of staff on the ground, especially local workers, in order to meet local needs with strengthened technical skills, including expertise on human rights and gender equality; expects a concrete human resources plan to be published in 2022 for the implementation of EIB Global and calls on the EIB to urgently strengthen mechanisms to fight fraud, corruption and other prohibited conduct, especially as part of efforts to increase its presence outside the EU; urges the EIB to expand its cooperation with national authorities in partner countries; recalls that the Nairobi regional headquarters has been in operation since 2019; welcomes the decision of November 2021 to upgrade it into the EIB’s new Nairobi Hub, facilitating cooperation with Kenyan, African, Team Europe and global partners, contributing to a better reflection of private and public investment priorities, and expanding expertise on climate action, innovation and digital investment;

32.  Stresses the importance of coherence, additionality and efficiency of development finance; calls on the EIB, in this regard, to strengthen cooperation with key partners; calls on the EIB to facilitate the participation of smaller development finance actors in its operations; calls on the EIB, furthermore, to place greater emphasis on crowding in private investment and on mobilising domestic resources in less developed countries;

Transparency and governance

33.  Recalls the overall goal of publishing information about projects three weeks before they are approved by the EIB Board; is concerned by the fall in transparency, specifically with regard to making information about projects publicly available in a timely manner; recalls that in 2010, 96,1 % of all projects were published three weeks before Board approval, falling to just 60 % in 2020; notes that according to the EIB, this downward trend is a consequence of the EIB’s greater engagement with companies in the private sector; regrets the increasing use of provisions on business confidentiality; acknowledges, in this context, the particular importance of both provisions on business confidentiality, in particular for SMEs, and transparency as a core element in protecting democratic principles, including human rights, and calls on the EIB to strike a balance between the two, bearing in mind that EIB funds are public money and should always be subject to public scrutiny and accountability; calls for more transparency and accountability, including towards EU institutions and Parliament in particular; highlights, in addition, that some recent projects that have required an environmental impact assessment have only been published after approval; recalls, furthermore, that the best standard with regard to private investors is to publish all projects at least 30 days before approval and that the International Finance Corporation (a member of the World Bank Group), which only finances projects in the private sector, publishes environmental impact assessments 60 days before financing decisions are taken; recalls that companies listed on the stock exchange have to operate under applicable capital market regulations, which include provisions on information sharing; points to the European Ombudsman’s recent recommendations on the need for the EIB to adopt a ‘more ambitious approach to its disclosure practice’, to act in line with EU transparency laws, and to be more transparent with regard to the potential environmental impact of the projects it finances; urges the EIB to implement these recommendations as soon as possible;

34.  Reiterates its request for an interinstitutional agreement between Parliament and the EIB in order to improve access to EIB documents and data and enhance democratic accountability, including the ability to submit questions for written answer to the EIB and the organisation of hearings and economic dialogues;

35.  Calls on the EIB to step up its reporting to Parliament regarding its decisions, progress achieved and the impact of its lending activities, notably through regular structured dialogues;

36.  Considers the new transparency policy a missed opportunity; calls on the EIB to reflect on critical assessments and regrets the fact that the EIB has partly ignored Parliament’s very clear demands to improve its transparency policy in line with other financial institutions’ best practices and standards; welcomes the publication of additionality impact statements for the EIB’s operations as part of its additionality and impact measurement framework; regrets the fact that the new policy makes only minor advances for proactive publication, including for projects of more than EUR 50 million implemented by financial intermediaries, despite the need for the EIB to operate on the basis of ‘presumption of disclosure’ to fulfil its mission as the EU’s public bank; notes that the new policy does not create an obligation for the EIB to proactively publish information on project selection, in particular due diligence information, before the decision by the EIB Board, in line with the practices of international financial institutions; is also concerned about the exceptions for access to documents based on third-party commercial interests and the Market Abuse Directive(8); regrets, in addition, that the policy fails to provide for timely disclosure of the minutes of the Board and Management Committee; calls for these shortcomings to be urgently addressed; calls for the transparency policy to be aligned with that of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on mandatory disclosure for intermediaries of projects with high environmental risks and reiterates its calls for transparency requirements aligned with those for hydropower to be extended to all infrastructure projects, including those financed by financial intermediaries;

37.  Calls, in this regard, for an ambitious standard for financial intermediaries following stringent tax, transparency, environmental and social standards; calls for the EIB to amend, as soon as possible, its template for contractual clauses on environmental matters and, accordingly, the contracts with financial intermediaries setting requirements on what environmental information must be collected and published; stresses, however, that such new requirements must not be to the detriment of access to finance for SMEs;

38.  Takes note of the updated code of conduct and welcomes the more stringent rules on conflicts of interest and the commitment for a periodic review; regrets that, despite repeated requests, there is no provision excluding vice-presidents from overseeing operations in their countries of origin and insists that this be addressed in the next review;

39.  Expresses serious concerns at the lack of social dialogue at the EIB, in particular to address concerns about harassment, the working environment and working conditions; expects the EIB management to ensure zero tolerance of all forms of misconduct and to implement the necessary changes to prevent misconduct as a matter of urgency; urges the EIB management to engage in genuine dialogue with staff in order to address their concerns and to foster trust and a culture of accountability; encourages the bank to launch surveys and consultations of its staff;

40.  Asks the Commission to publish the rationale for its opinion under the Article 19 procedure;

Zero tolerance against fraud

41.  Takes note of the new anti-fraud policy and underlines the importance of inclusive cooperation when developing key anti-fraud policy tools; is concerned that the EIB’s policy on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism fails to address major shortcomings, namely the inclusion of the requirements from the EU’s fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive(9), in particular publication of ‘know your customer’ checks before any project is approved; deplores, moreover, the lack of improvement in transparency standards, namely making the granting of direct and indirect loans subject to publication by the beneficiaries of tax and accounting data of the beneficiaries and financial intermediaries involved in financing operations; regrets the fact that the EIB has not commissioned independent audits of its application of anti-money laundering standards; expects the EIB to align itself with the EU’s evolving regulatory framework and practices on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism in order to enable the bank to effectively prevent involvement in prohibited conduct and to take corrective action, notably by excluding entities, recovering funds and availing itself of other contractual and legal remedies;

42.  Calls on the EIB to commit to strengthening its policy against tax fraud, tax evasion and tax avoidance, including by refraining from funding beneficiaries or financial intermediaries and from cooperating with financial partners with a proven negative track record; calls on the EIB to enforce prevention measures and regular tax assessments against non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, tax and fiscal fraud and tax evasion, as well as illegal and aggressive tax avoidance; calls on the EIB to subject the granting of direct and indirect loans to the publication of country-by-country tax and accounting data by the beneficiaries and to the sharing of beneficial ownership data on the beneficiaries and financial intermediaries involved in financing operations, by including a specific clause in the contracts it signs with its clients; calls on the EIB Group to align its policy towards weakly regulated, non-transparent and non-cooperative jurisdictions and tax good governance with evolving European and international regulatory developments in the area of tax integrity as well as tax good governance standards and policies; underlines that international cooperation is key in combating fraud, corruption and other prohibited conduct effectively; calls on the EIB to refer suspected prohibited conduct to authorities within and outside the EU for further investigation and criminal prosecution, and to provide assistance as requested;

43.  Reiterates its call for the suspension of funding where local authorities have been notified and/or engaged in legal procedures against possible violations of the relevant legislation, at least until investigations and judicial processes at national level are concluded;

44.  Recalls that the Commission asked the EIB to share more information on the effective application of contractual clauses enabling the EIB to halt or withdraw funding and expects Parliament to have full access to this information; expects thorough monitoring that fully takes into account concerns expressed by relevant parties and stakeholders, in particular for human rights and rule of law violations;

45.  Reiterates its demand for the EIB to strengthen the autonomy and efficiency of its Complaints Mechanism Office and Fraud Investigation Division; is concerned that there has been at least one very clear EIB Complaints Mechanism report concluding that the EIB’s environmental and social standards had been breached; welcomes, therefore, the fact that the bank took action following a Complaints Mechanism report to suspend disbursement; believes, however, that there are lessons to be learned about improving the screening of project compliance with the bank’s own policies and in informing the public about projects; recommends that for complex projects, the bank should seek assistance from local environmental and social experts in order to assess projects more thoroughly and acquire a better understanding of specific contexts; calls on the EIB, furthermore, to ensure that standards are upheld throughout the entire project cycle and to take corrective action where standards are not complied with, either by taking effective, meaningful and immediate remedial action, where possible, or by bringing the project to a swift halt; expresses concern that, where a project might involve a conflict of interest, it still remains unclear how the harm caused will be mitigated; calls on the EIB to commit to reinforcing its transparency culture by further strengthening ethical interest representation, notably by introducing a transparency register requiring the management committee members to disclose their meetings with interest representatives; urges the EIB, furthermore, to avoid post-public employment without a sufficient cooling-off period, which should be established with due regard for the recent European Ombudsman recommendations in relation to the European Banking Authority and the European Defence Agency, as it constitutes a risk not only to the EIB’s reputation but also its independence;

46.  Welcomes the working arrangement with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office and calls for its full and diligent implementation, in particular as regards reporting;

47.  Welcomes the signing of the working arrangement between the EIB and Europol on 29 October 2021, which seeks to facilitate the sharing of information and expertise in the fight against fraud and corruption; expects this arrangement to be implemented in full;

48.  Reiterates its call on the EIB to enhance its relationship with the European Ombudsman and the European Anti-Fraud Office;

49.  Welcomes the renewed tripartite agreement between the European Court of Auditors, the EIB and the Commission, which strengthens the court’s auditing rights with regard to EU revenue and expenditure managed by the EIB, while paying due respect for existing data confidentiality provisions; notes, however, that data relating to the activities of the EIB’s own funds remains outside the scope and mandate of the court’s audits;

o
o   o

50.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the European Investment Bank.

(1) OJ C 270, 7.7.2021, p. 2.
(2) OJ L 107, 26.3.2021, p. 30.
(3) OJ L 231, 30.6.2021, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 274, 30.7.2021, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 209, 14.6.2021, p. 1.
(6) OJ C 270, 7.7.2021, p. 113.
(7) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0015.
(8) Directive 2014/57/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on criminal sanctions for market abuse (OJ L 173, 12.6.2014, p. 179).
(9) Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing (OJ L 141, 5.6.2015, p. 73).


Control of the financial activities of the European Investment Bank - annual report 2020
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2022 on the control of the financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2020 (2021/2235(INI))
P9_TA(2022)0299A9-0173/2022

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the European Investment Bank (EIB) Activity Report 2020, published on 20 January 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Financial Report 2020, published on 3 May 2021, and the EIB report on financing and borrowing activities 2020, published on 5 May 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Operational Plan 2020, which was approved by the EIB’s Board of Directors on 12 December 2019 and published on 30 January 2020,

–  having regard to the 2020 European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) report from the EIB to the European Parliament and the Council on 2020 EIB Group financing and investment operations under EFSI,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025, adopted by the EIB’s Board of Directors in November 2020 and published on 14 December 2020, and to the EIB Climate Strategy, adopted in November 2020 and published on 15 November 2020,

–  having regard to the best banking practice guiding principles of the European Investment Bank, approved by the Board of Governors of the EIB in 2018 and published on 3 October 2018,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Sustainability Report 2020, published on 27 May 2021, and the report entitled ‘EIB 2020 Sustainability Disclosures in accordance with SASB Framework (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board)’, published in April 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Group Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework, adopted on 2 February 2022,

–  having regard to the guidance note to EIB promoters on environmental and social performance in EIB-financed operations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak crisis, adopted on 29 May 2020,

–  having regard to the report on the implementation of the EIB Group Transparency Policy in 2020, published on 16 April 2021,

–  having regard to the leaflet of 2 February 2021 entitled ‘European Investment Bank’s engagement with civil society – 2020 highlights’,

–  having regard to the EIB Audit Committee Annual Reports for the year 2020, published on 8 October 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Fraud Investigations Activity Report 2020, published on 29 July 2021,

–  having regard to the EIB Compliance Activity Report 2020, published on 10 May 2021,

–  having regard to the 2020 Annual Report of the EIB Ethics and Compliance Committee, published on 29 September 2021, and to its operating rules,

–  having regard to the codes of conduct for EIB Group staff, for members of its Audit Committee and for its Management Committee,

–  having regard to the EIB Group’s Risk Management Disclosure Report 2020, published on 9 August 2021, and its high-level risk appetite statement,

–  having regard to the EIB’s 2020 European Investment Advisory Hub Report, published on 15 July 2021,

–  having regard to Articles 3 and 9 of the Treaty on European Union,

–  having regard to Articles 15, 126, 174, 175, 208, 209, 271, 308 and 309 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), to Protocol No 5 thereto on the Statute of the EIB and to Protocol No 28 thereto on economic, social and territorial cohesion,

–  having regard to the Rules of Procedure of the EIB,

–  having regard to the Tripartite Agreement between the European Commission, the European Court of Auditors and the European Investment Bank (the Tripartite Agreement), which came into force in November 2021,

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 July 2021 entitled ‘Control of the financial activities of the European Investment Bank – annual report 2019(1),

–  having regard to 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(2) (the EU Taxonomy Regulation),

–  having regard to 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)(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, and amending Directives 2009/138/EC and 2013/36/EU(5) (the Fifth AML Directive),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0173/2022),

A.  whereas the EIB is treaty-bound to contribute to EU integration, economic and social cohesion and regional development, in accordance with Article 309 TFEU and Protocol No 28, as well as to the balanced and steady development of the internal market;

B.  whereas the EIB Group remains committed to continuing to increase its share of financing dedicated to supporting climate action and environmental sustainability and remains focused on its statutory mission of supporting cohesion;

C.  whereas public policy goals such as territorial and social cohesion, sustainable development, and tackling (youth) unemployment, poverty and social exclusion should be the core focus and targets of the EIB in its task of contributing to the balanced and steady development of the internal market;

D.  whereas the EIB is bound by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and whereas human rights principles are integrated into its due diligence procedures and standards, including publicly available ex ante assessments;

E.  whereas the EIB was at the forefront of tackling the COVID-19 crisis in the European Union, notably playing its part with a prompt support programme focused on those clients and sectors most affected by the crisis, and also established a new instrument called the Pan-European Guarantee Fund in 2020, which provides much-needed capital for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);

F.  whereas in November 2019, the EIB expressed its ambition to align all its financing activities with the principles and goals of the Paris Agreement by the end of 2020 and to work in coordination with the European External Action Service and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development;

G.  whereas the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 required a significant effort from the EIB to offer additional support to businesses and especially SMEs, which have been hit particularly hard by the effects of the crisis, and to contribute to EU objectives;

H.  whereas the EIB’s AAA rating is necessary to ensure appropriate market sources of financing at most preferential rates and must, therefore, be preserved;

I.  whereas the EIB should deliver added value with the highest level of integrity, good governance, transparency and accountability, and in accordance with the applicable best banking practice;

J.  whereas combating all forms of money laundering, financing of terrorism, organised crime and harmful tax practices should remain a constant priority of the EIB;

K.  whereas the EIB plays an important role outside the EU, through its external lending activities, as the biggest multilateral financial institution in the world;

Performance of the EIB’s financial operations

1.  Notes that in 2020, the bank’s new lending signatures amounted to EUR 66,1 billion, in line with the target set in the 2020 operational plan and above those of both 2019 (EUR 63,3 billion) and 2018 (EUR 55,6 billion); points out that the biggest share was allocated in Italy, Spain and France (15 %, 13 % and 11 % of the total signatures respectively) and that the transport, global loans and energy sectors received the largest shares (29,3 %, 20,5 % and 14,9 % respectively);

2.  Reiterates its call for a fair and transparent geographical distribution of projects and investment with a focus on less-developed regions, especially with regard to innovation, digitalisation and infrastructure, with a view to promoting inclusive growth and economic, social and territorial convergence and cohesion; calls for the EIB to address recurring shortcomings that prevent certain regions and countries from taking full advantage of the EIB’s financial activities;

3.  Observes that as at 31 December 2020, the outstanding volume of signed loans had slightly decreased to EUR 558,7 billion (from EUR 560,3 billion at the end of 2019), of which 82,2 % was for projects within the EU (2019: 81,4 %); notes that the EIB’s disbursed loan portfolio amounted to EUR 444,6 billion compared to EUR 447,5 billion at the end of 2019;

4.  Notes that the outbreak of COVID-19 considerably changed the EIB’s disbursement profile in 2020, with more than 50 % of the target reached in the first half of the year thanks to the bank’s fast-tracking and reprioritising of the existing disbursements pipeline to support clients’ liquidity needs; notes that disbursements reached EUR 58,3 billion in 2020;

5.  Takes note of the net profit of EUR 1,7 billion reported by the EIB for 2020, in comparison to EUR 2,4 billion in 2019;

6.  Observes with appreciation the EIB’s role as the largest supranational issuer of green and social use-of-proceeds bonds, as well as the growing interest of sustainable investors in this type of issuance in the context of the European Green Deal and the EU Taxonomy Regulation; notes that in 2020, the EIB marked a record of EUR 10,5 billion equivalent issuance in sustainability debt products;

7.  Notes that as a result of the replacement of the United Kingdom’s share in the EIB’s capital, the EIB’s paid-in capital base has grown by EUR 0,5 billion and its callable capital has increased compared to the situation before Brexit;

8.  Notes that the overall loan portfolio continued to perform well, with only 0,4 % impaired loans at the end of 2020 (compared with 0,4 % at the end of 2019); observes that the portion of payments overdue by more than 90 days remains very low, totalling EUR 117,1 million at the end of 2020 (compared with EUR 146,0 million at the end of 2019) and representing only 0,03 % of the risk portfolio;

9.  Notes with appreciation that despite the general context of uncertainty in the global financial markets owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EIB continues to maintain a robust liquidity position; underlines that the bank’s total liquidity ratio remains well within internal limits, covering 78,1 % of projected net cash outflows (compared to 88,6 % in 2019);

10.  Calls on the EIB to prioritise, through its lending activities for social, green and sustainable projects, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

11.  Calls on the EIB to play an active role in supporting projects that contribute to the just transition, such as research, innovation and digitalisation, SMEs’ access to finance and social investment and skills; reiterates its calls for the EIB to provide targeted financing for just transition initiatives as a matter of priority, while taking into account the additionality that EIB financing can provide in combination with other sources; stresses, moreover, that coordination with other financing instruments is crucial given that the EIB alone cannot finance all of these initiatives;

12.  Notes that in the present difficult context (an ongoing pandemic and the Russian aggression against Ukraine), the gap between economic situations and the capacities of the Member States has widened, and underlines the importance of ensuring that the most affected regions and countries can adjust to the new circumstances so that no one is left behind;

Actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic

13.  Congratulates the EIB Group, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, on its ability to remain fully operational and to continue conducting its activities in the normal course of business; points out that the COVID-19 pandemic did not have direct material adverse financial impacts on the EIB;

14.  Notes that in March and April 2020, the Commission and the EIB Group redirected EUR 1 billion of available EFSI resources to existing guarantee instruments (InnovFin SMEG and COSME LGF) managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) to the benefit of the hard-hit SME and mid-cap sector in the EU;

15.  Acknowledges that the EIB has made available financing for investments in the healthcare sector, such as those by European companies involved in vaccine research and developing therapeutic and diagnostic solutions to combat COVID-19; notes that signatures of the EIB healthcare pipeline at the end of 2020 amounted to EUR 5,2 billion, of which EUR 175 million for applied research for COVID-19 vaccines;

16.  Calls on the EIB to continue to prioritise investments in health infrastructure, personnel training and the quality of national health services in order to reduce inequalities between countries;

17.  Welcomes the EIB’s role in the success of the BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine through the signature in June 2020 of a EUR 100 million loan facility, making it the first financial investor to back BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine programme;

18.  Underlines that the EIB, at the same time, offered support to global programmes to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, especially in the developing world;

19.  Stresses that the EIB Group pledged EUR 6,5 billion to support countries outside the EU, including over EUR 1 billion to Ukraine for infrastructure, environment, innovation and post-COVID-19 recovery and EUR 1,7 billion to support the social and economic recovery of the Western Balkans from the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a EUR 3,3 billion financial support package for the region announced by the Commission;

20.  Points out that in March 2020, the EIB Group introduced a support action plan aiming to mobilise up to EUR 28 billion for SMEs hit by the COVID-19 outbreak; notes that between the pandemic’s outbreak and the end of 2020, the EIB approved 172 standalone operations for a total amount of EUR 33,9 billion (out of a total approved volume of EUR 82,8 billion) and that it also topped up 68 existing credit lines by a total of EUR 4,6 billion;

21.  Welcomes the establishment of the Pan-European Guarantee Fund as a new instrument within the EIB’s portfolio that will provide up to EUR 200 billion of additional financing; notes that as at 31 December 2020, the EIB had approved EUR 2,7 billion of financing, with the aim of mobilising EUR 27,8 billion of total financing;

EIB support in key policy areas

22.  Welcomes the adoption in October 2020 of the thematic report on the evaluation of EIB cohesion financing from 2007 to 2018; notes that for most of the period under review, the EIB attained its annual cohesion financing targets, although with increasing difficulty in the most recent years;

23.  Notes that EIB cohesion lending from 2014 to 2020 totalled EUR 123,8 billion and that in 2020 alone, this lending amounted to EUR 19,5 billion; notes further that in 2020, 34 % of all EIB signatures within the EU-27 were for projects and beneficiaries located in EIB cohesion priority regions, selected from among less-developed regions and transition regions;

24.  Is aware that the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have deepened the structural differences across Member States, making the EIB’s statutory mission to support cohesion all the more necessary; welcomes, in this regard, the adoption of the EIB cohesion orientation 2021-2027; notes that by 2025, the EIB aims to dedicate 45 % of its annual EU lending to cohesion regions and asks the EIB to report annually on the implementation of the cohesion orientation targets and priorities;

25.  Notes that in 2020, the EIF launched the Skills & Education Guarantee Pilot to stimulate investments in education, training and skills, and that the initiative is well-suited to addressing the upcoming needs of labour markets, having specific regard to the digital and green transitions;

26.  Reiterates its call for the strengthening of technical assistance for local and regional authorities, in line with the EIB’s policy of ‘lending, blending and advising’, and their financial expertise, especially in regions with low investment capacity, and for the strengthening of projects of common interest to several Member States which are of such a size or nature that they cannot be entirely financed by the various means available in the individual Member States, before project approval, in order to improve access to EIB funding; invites the EIB Group to intensify cooperation with national promotional banks and institutions;

27.  Notes that in 2020, the EIB reached its target of providing USD 100 billion of financing over the five years between 2016 and 2020 to fight the climate emergency, as announced in 2015 at the Paris climate conference; highlights that in 2020 alone, the EIB invested around EUR 24,2 billion (2019: EUR 19,3 billion) in climate action and that, exceeding its initial target of 28 %, it reached a record level of 37,4 % climate financing, thus confirming the EIB as the largest multilateral financer of climate action;

28.  Notes that the EIB continues to increase its share of financing dedicated to climate action and environmental sustainability, with the aim of reaching 50 % of its business activity by 2025;

29.  Notes that in July 2020, the EIB adopted project carbon footprint methodologies to provide guidance to EIB staff on how to calculate the carbon footprint of the investment projects financed by the bank; takes note of the EIB’s decision to refuse financing of any climate-negative projects involving traditional fossil fuels; calls on the EIB to encourage green projects in order to facilitate the energy transition and the achievement of the Paris objectives;

30.  Welcomes the launch of The City Climate Gap Fund, a new advisory facility aiming to provide early-stage assistance supporting climate-smart projects in cities in developing and emerging countries;

31.  Takes note of the EIB’s development of a counterparty-level assessment methodology known as the ‘Climate Risk Screening Tool’, which has been in use since July 2020 to assess and monitor climate risk across the EIB Group’s portfolio and to report to the EIB Group’s governing bodies;

32.  Notes that the process of updating the EIB Group’s environmental and social policy started in 2020 and led to the approval in February 2022 of the new Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework; welcomes the revised EIB environmental and social standards included in the framework, especially those related to labour rights, biodiversity and environmental protection; notes that the EIB is bound by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and that human rights principles are fully integrated into the due diligence procedures and standards at project level, including by allowing for the suspension of disbursements in the event of serious violations of human rights; welcomes the fact that the EIB and its promotors are required to consider human rights as part of the environmental and social impact assessment process; calls on the EIB and its intermediaries to disclose details of actual environmental and social risks or impacts linked to operations carried out through partners; stresses that any new requirements should not create more bureaucracy for SMEs; calls on the EIB to ensure that its complaints mechanism is easily accessible, timely and effective, in order to detect and redress any possible human rights violations in EIB-related projects; asks the EIB to report to Parliament and the EIB Board of Governors on this issue;

33.  Take notes that the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline and Trans Adriatic Pipeline, even if they are not aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement, are strategic for the EU’s energy supply, especially in terms of the strategy to diversify suppliers;

34.  Supports the EIB’s commitment to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and to align its actions with the European Green Deal; welcomes the upcoming revision of the transport lending policy, which will be in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and is planned to be adopted in June or July 2022; stresses that such new requirements must not be to the detriment of access to finance for SMEs; reiterates the need for the policy to avoid locking in carbon-intensive assets and to support modal shifts towards zero-carbon mobility both for freight and passengers at urban and inter-urban levels;

35.  Encourages the EIB to support the development of transport infrastructure projects, including railways and motorways, which are sustainable and environmentally friendly and can contribute to tackling territorial and social disparities between regions and countries in the EU;

36.  Stresses the need to focus on long-term financing, namely by supporting projects that would not be financed otherwise, in particular projects of innovative start-ups and SMEs; emphasises, however, that the EIB’s financing activities are no substitute for sustainable fiscal policies in the Member States; calls on the EIB to increase investment in breakthrough innovations, especially for the green transition, in order to support EU companies;

37.  Calls on the EIB to increase financing to boost the technological transition, support the development of skills adapted to current and future labour market needs, further promote investment in the digital skills of employees and entrepreneurs, digital infrastructure and capacity-building for digitalisation, provide funds for long-term research and innovation to SMEs, support the social economy and enhance social and territorial cohesion, namely by filling current gaps in investment in public housing and infrastructure;

38.  Calls on the EIB to develop a specific human rights strategy and an action plan for its implementation; calls on the EIB to align its financing strategy with the levels of ambition and commitment to common values and objectives shown by the EU’s partner countries;

39.  Welcomes the adoption in 2019 by the EIB of the 2X Challenge criteria aimed at mobilising relevant resources in support of women’s empowerment and gender equality and providing a clear framework for gender lens investing through intermediated lending outside the EU; asks the EIB to introduce similar criteria for operations within the EU covering both intermediated and direct lending operations;

40.  Commends the EIB’s signing in 2020 of the Paris Development Banks statement on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; notes that the EIB Group Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025 adopted in 2020 highlights the provision of gender-responsive climate finance as a thematic priority area for the EIB Group; welcomes the introduction of a gender tag for all EIB operations to enable the EIB to identify operations likely to contribute to gender equality;

41.  Notes that EUR 99,4 billion worth of loans had been granted in 102 different countries as at the end of 2020, of which EUR 9,3 billion were signed in 2020, mostly under the EIB external lending mandate;

42.  Calls on the EIB to make full use of its toolkit to combat tax avoidance for projects financed in non-EU countries;

43.  Maintains that international financial institutions have to eliminate the risk that EU funding might directly or indirectly contribute to tax evasion and tax fraud;

44.  Reiterates that the EIB’s external operations are expected to contribute to EU policy objectives, fostering developing countries’ sustainable economic, social and environmental development, particularly in the most disadvantaged countries, as well as compliance, in line with objectives approved by the EU; recognises poverty eradication, domestic resource mobilisation and human rights as core topics within the EU development finance architecture; recalls that stakeholder engagement is the cornerstone of sustainable and inclusive development;

45.  Calls on the EIB to continue supporting the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals through its activities falling under specific mandates decided by the Council and Parliament;

46.  Supports the Council conclusions adopted on 14 June 2021 calling on the EIB to enhance its contribution to the EU’s development efforts through dedicated strategies, a stronger presence on the ground globally and better coordination with partners in a genuine Team Europe approach, with a view to developing innovative joint actions and ensuring the visibility of EU external financing;

47.  Notes that by June 2020, the EIB had surpassed, in terms of approvals, the EFSI target of mobilising at least EUR 500 billion of investment by the end of 2020; notes, furthermore, that based on signatures at EIB Group level worth close to EUR 82,8 billion, investment supported by the EFSI is estimated at approximately EUR 491,7 billion;

48.  Encourages the EIB to become more involved in the agricultural sector; underlines that the financial needs of farmers, especially young and new entrants, are significant, and that farmers and businesses in this sector have a lower rate of success when applying for financing; highlights that the EIB has taken certain steps to tackle this issue; calls for the EIB to carry out further work on new financial tools that will boost accessibility for the agricultural sector; insists, in this context, that EIB financing needs to support the transition of the agricultural sector in line with EU policy objectives, including greater respect for animal welfare, and should avoid contributing to stocking densities exceeding the carrying capacity of the land;

Enhancing transparency and accountability in EIB corporate governance and activities

49.  Notes that in 2020, the EIB Group created a group risk and compliance function overseen by the group chief risk officer; notes that the group chief risk officer oversees and reports on all group risks, including compliance risks, and that the chief compliance officer at the head of the EIB compliance function reports to the group chief risk officer, as well as to the Management Committee, the relevant committees of the EIB Board of Directors and the Audit Committee; asks the EIB to explain how the independence of the chief compliance officer is preserved and how overlaps of their responsibilities with those of the chief risk officer are avoided;

50.  Welcomes the performance in 2020 of the first compliance risk assessment by the Office of the Chief Compliance Officer, which was aimed at identifying the compliance risk exposure of the EIB’s business activities in the geographical locations in which it operates, including exposure to money laundering and financing of terrorism (ML-FT), organised crime risks, sanctions, non-compliant jurisdictions/tax good governance, market integrity and conduct and procurement risks; remarks that in 2020, the key risk indicators were updated in the ML-FT dashboard to offer more granular information on ML-FT related risks;

51.  Welcomes the decision of the Management Committee to devote additional human resources to strengthening the EIB’s compliance function; welcomes the signature by both the EIB and EIF in March 2020 of memoranda of understanding with the Luxembourg Financial Intelligence Unit;

52.  Notes that the EIB Group Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT) Framework was revised in December 2020, taking stock of the Fifth AML Directive, and that a comprehensive EIB Group AML-CFT and organised crime policy was adopted in July 2021; takes the view that effective coordination with other relevant competent authorities is material to the success of the policy;

53.  Takes note of the new Tripartite Agreement signed between the European Court of Auditors (ECA), the EIB and the Commission allowing greater access and improved streamlining of audited EIB documents; reiterates, however, its calls for the extension of the right of access to information by the ECA with respect to EIB operations implementing EU policies; regrets the fact that the Commission and the EIB refer to the definition of the ECA’s mandate as laid out in the TFEU in order to prevent the Court from accessing information related to EIB operations whose sole reason to exist is the implementation of EU policies;

54.  Is of the opinion that the work of the EIB Audit Committee is not alternative but is rather complementary to that of the ECA; deplores the fact that the Tripartite Agreement, which was renewed on 11 November 2021 by the EIB, the Commission and the ECA, does not offer a satisfactory solution and that its renewal maintains the status quo without any meaningful improvement, in particular in relation to the ECA’s auditing powers over activities of the EIB;

55.  Notes that in 2020, the EIB complaint mechanism registered 77 new cases, handled 137 cases and closed 94 cases; welcomes the fact that the EIB’s complaint mechanism systematically monitors the implementation of its recommendations and suggestions for improvement by EIB services; calls on the EIB to adequately address the findings of the complaint mechanism;

56.  Welcomes the substantial progresses made in 2020 towards the full implementation of the EIB exclusion policy, in particular through the creation of the new Policy and Exclusion Unit in the Inspectorate-General’s Fraud Investigations Division (IG/IN), and the appointment of the Exclusion Committee in October 2020;

57.  Reiterates its call on the EIB to run a comprehensive analysis of the nature of the financial support affected by alleged misbehaviour and of the geographical distribution of such cases, to facilitate the identification of systemic weaknesses deserving of attention and resources; welcomes in this regard, that the IG/IN has developed several industry-leading prevention and detection tools over the last 10 years;

58.  Takes note of the adoption of the revised EIB Group anti-fraud policy in July 2021;

59.  Notes the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to the carrying out of fraud investigations in 2020 by the IG/IN, which nevertheless issued 52 recommendations and opinions; notes that approximately 89 % of the cases investigated fall within the areas of fraud, corruption and collusion and asks the EIB to report on its partnership and cooperation with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) with respect to such cases;

60.  Welcomes the working arrangement with the EPPO signed in December 2021 and calls for its full and diligent implementation, in particular as regards reporting; highlights in this regard that the IG/IN started its collaboration with the EPPO months before the working arrangement was signed and reported a total of 17 cases in 2021;

61.  Notes with appreciation that in 2021 the EIB also enhanced its cooperation with Europol by signing a cooperation agreement aiming to foster the prevention of and fight against all forms of serious international and organised crime, cybercrime and terrorism;

62.  Believes that the revision of the Financial Regulation(6) offers the opportunity to explore avenues for synergies between the Commission’s Early Detection and Exclusion System and the EIB’s exclusion policy;

63.  Is concerned by the several cases closed by OLAF in 2020 that were focused on education allowances unduly granted to staff members of the EIB; welcomes the EIB’s revision and reform of the allowances system and the correction of many of the errors detected by OLAF, including steps to recover the undue payments; asks the EIB to report to Parliament on the outcome of the follow-up to OLAF’s recommendations;

64.  Is very concerned by the decline in transparency at the EIB: in 2010, 96,1 % of all projects were published three weeks before board approval, falling to just 60 % in 2020; recalls that the EIB group transparency policy allows for only a limited number of project summaries not to be published before board approval and in some cases not before loan signature in order to protect justified interests such as commercial secrets; welcomes the fact that, ultimately, all projects are subject to publication by the EIB;

65.  Calls on the EIB to improve the transparency of its activities by adopting a transparency register for public scrutiny of organisations seeking to influence the legislative process and to prevent cases of corruption or conflict of interest;

66.  Calls for more transparency and accountability, also towards EU institutions, in particular Parliament; suggests holding a quarterly dialogue with relevant Parliament committees to give them the opportunity to contribute to the investment strategy of the EIB and ensure adequate oversight; stresses the importance of greater scrutiny by Parliament over decisions of the EIB Board of Directors and better information sharing from the Commission to increase its transparency towards Parliament on the positions it takes in EIB Board of Directors meetings;

67.  Is concerned that the new transparency policy does not reflect Parliament’s very clear demands for improvements in line with other financial institutions’ best practices and standards; calls on the EIB to align its transparency policy on mandatory disclosure for intermediaries of projects with high environmental and human rights risks with that of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development;

68.  Notes that in 2020, the European Ombudsman notified the EIB about four new inquiries relating to the application of the transparency policy; asks the EIB to report on the implementation of the recommendation of the Ombudsman on these inquiries;

69.  Regrets that the EIB still does not fully disclose the details of the beneficial ownership of its clients; reiterates its calls for enhanced transparency regarding the EIB’s operations through financial intermediaries such as commercial banks and investment funds, within the relevant legislative framework, including the General Data Protection Regulation, and for the definition of standard reporting obligations that can provide an adequate level of data and information; recalls, in this regard, that Article 30 of the Fifth AML Directive imposes an obligation on Member States to collect and store accurate and current information on ultimate beneficial ownership of companies in a national register and to ensure that this information is accessible in all cases; asks the EIB to use the available tools and to implement the standards promoted by the Fifth AML Directive to make such data accessible, and to ensure full cooperation with the future authority for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism; invites the EIB to explore the feasibility of working arrangements and memoranda with the relevant partners to make pertinent information available and to eliminate the risk of opacity in the relevant procedures;

70.  Reiterates its request for the Commission’s opinions on the EIB’s financing operations, issued under Article 19 of the EIB Statute, to be made accessible; considers that access to such information under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 is not the most effective way to provide data for political scrutiny; calls on the Commission and the EIB to agree on the systematic and secure transmission of such opinions to Parliament;

71.  Notes that in 2020, the Ethics and Compliance Committee adopted three decisions concerning activities of former Management Committee members during their respective cooling-off periods; calls on the committee responsible to guarantee that during cooling-off periods, former Management Committee members carry out no business relations or lobbying activities with the EIB Group, irrespective of the portfolios held during their Management Committee mandates; reiterates the importance of putting in place policies preventing conflict of interest and revolving door phenomena;

72.  Takes note of the updated codes of conduct of the Management Committee and the EIB Board of Directors of August 2021; welcomes the introduction of a longer cooling-off period for the members of the Management Committee (24 months instead of 12) and for the members of the Board of Directors (12 months instead of 6); notes that there is no provision excluding vice-presidents from overseeing operations; understands that this allows for the necessary country-specific expertise in projects; is convinced that the EIB will continue to carry out project assessment alongside monitoring objective technical, financial and economic indicators, making the project’s quality the decisive factor in deciding whether or not to grant financing;

73.  Reiterates its call for the EIB to apply more stringent tax transparency standards; stresses the need to make the disbursement of direct and indirect loans conditional on the publication of country-by-country tax and accountancy data and on the disclosure of information on beneficial ownership by the beneficiaries and financial intermediaries involved in financing operations, without any derogations;

74.  Takes note of the revised EIB Group whistleblowing policy of November 2021, which also grants protection to whistleblowers who are not EIB staff members;

75.  Asks the EIB to inform Parliament about the revision of the EIB Group guidelines on conflicts of interest;

76.  Expresses serious concerns about the lack of social dialogue at the EIB, in particular to address concerns about harassment allegations and the working environment; encourages the EIB management to engage in constructive dialogue with staff in order to address their concerns and to foster trust and a culture of accountability; encourages the EIB to continue launching surveys and consultations across its staff; notes the negative outcomes of staff surveys in recent years and at the same time urges the EIB to implement tangible measures aimed at fixing issues reported by staff members, particularly those which relate to internal mobility concerns; takes note of the EIB’s efforts to include surveys as part of its continuous listening approach in order to foster staff engagement e.g. through its recent health and wellbeing survey;

77.  Notes with concern that only 29,5 % of management positions at the EIB were held by women at the end of 2020 (30 % at the end of 2019); reiterates its concern about the persistent lack of diversity and gender balance at senior management level and within the EIB Group’s governing bodies, as well as the very high share of women in support functions;

78.  Underlines that the Board of Directors is made up of Member State representatives and that vice-presidents are nominated by Member States; notes that despite the Member States’ nomination competence, the EIB President’s calls for diversity have led to a significant improvement of the gender balance; highlights, in this regard, the fact that the bank’s Management Committee and Board of Directors have a respective share of women of 33 % and 48 %; calls on the Member States to evaluate the gender balance situation and nominate more women for vice-presidencies and to the EIB Board of Directors;

79.  Reiterates its call to the EIB to ensure proper geographical representation from all Member States in its administration, taking into consideration the competencies and merits of the candidates, and calls on it to publish, annually, a gender and nationality breakdown of middle and senior management positions;

Follow-up to Parliament’s recommendations

80.  Calls on the EIB to continue reporting on the state of play and status of the previous recommendations issued by Parliament in its annual resolutions, especially as regards:

   a) impacts (economic, environmental and social) of its investment strategy and results achieved in contributing to the balanced and steady development of the internal market in the interests of the EU;
   b) actions adopted to enhance the prevention of conflicts of interest;
   c) measures to strengthen transparency following integrity due diligence of clients in order to prevent tax avoidance, fraud and corruption;
   d) follow-up to the calls and requests adopted via the present resolution;

o
o   o

81.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission and asks that the Council and EIB Board of Directors hold a debate on Parliament’s positions presented herein.

(1) OJ C 99, 1.3.2022, p. 34.
(2) OJ L 198, 22.6.2020, p. 13.
(3) OJ L 119, 4.5.2016, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 145, 31.05.2001, p.43.
(5) OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 43.
(6) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union (recast) (COM(2022)0223).


Protection of the European Union’s financial interests - combating fraud - annual report 2020
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2022 on the protection of the European Union’s financial interests – combating fraud – annual report 2020 (2021/2234(INI))
P9_TA(2022)0300A9-0175/2022

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 310(6) and 325(5) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the annual reports of the Commission and of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 20 September 2021 entitled ‘32nd Annual Report on the protection of the European Union’s financial interests – Fight against fraud –2020’ (COM(2021)0578),

–  having regard to the OLAF Report 2020(1) and the 2020 Annual Report of the OLAF Supervisory Committee(2),

–  having regard to OLAF Supervisory Committee Opinion No 1/2021 of January 2021 on OLAF’s recommendations not followed by the relevant authorities,

–  having regard to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) 2021 Annual Report,

–  having regard to the annual report of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) on the implementation of the EU budget and on the activities funded by the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th European Development Funds (EDFs) for the 2020 financial year, together with the institutions’ replies,

–  having regard to the publication of the ECA entitled ‘2020 EU audit in brief – Introducing the 2020 annual reports of the European Court of Auditors’,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 September 2013 concerning investigations conducted by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2223 of 23 December 2020 amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 883/2013, as regards cooperation with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office and the effectiveness of the European Anti-Fraud Office investigations (OLAF Regulation)(4),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law(5),

–  having regard to Special Report No 01/2019 of the ECA entitled ‘Fighting fraud in EU spending: action needed’,

–  having regard to the Commission report of September 2021 entitled ‘VAT Gap Report 2021’,

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2017 on the fight against fraud to the Union’s financial interests by means of criminal law (PIF Directive)(6),

–  having regard to Commission report of 6 September 2021 on the implementation of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2017 on the fight against fraud to the Union’s financial interests by means of criminal law (COM(2021)0536),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/1939 of 12 October 2017 implementing enhanced cooperation on the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO Regulation)(7),

–  having regard to Decision (EU) 2019/1798 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 appointing the European Chief Prosecutor of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office(8),

–  having regard to Commission communication of 14 December 2020 on the review of the European Union under the Implementation Review Mechanism of the United Nation Conventions against Corruption (UNCAC) (COM(2020)0793),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 30 September 2020 entitled ‘2020 Rule of Law Report – The rule of law situation in the European Union’ (COM(2020)0580),

–  having regard to Council Decision (EU, Euratom) 2020/2053 of 14 December 2020 on the system of own resources of the European Union(9),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2092 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2020 on a general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union budget(10),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 29 April 2019 entitled ‘Commission Anti-Fraud Strategy: enhanced action to protect the EU budget’ (COM(2019)0196),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 250/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 establishing a programme to promote activities in the field of the protection of the financial interests of the European Union (Hercule III programme)(11),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 16 December 2021 entitled ‘Final evaluation of the Regulation (EU) No 250/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 establishing a programme to promote activities in the field of the protection of the financial interests of the European Union (Hercule III programme) and repealing Decision No 804/2004/EC’ (COM(2021)0809),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/785 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2021 establishing the Union Anti-Fraud Programme(12),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 14 April 2021 on the EU Strategy to tackle Organised Crime 2021-2025 (COM(2021)0170),

–  having regard to its recommendation of 17 February 2022 to the Council and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy concerning corruption and human rights(13),

–  having regard to the opinion of the Advocate General of 9 September 2021 in Case C‑213/19, European Commission v United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland(14),

–  having regard to the judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 8 March 2022 in Case C‑213/19, European Commission v United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland(15),

–  having regard to the judgment of the General Court of 1 September 2021 in Case T-517/19, Andrea Homoki v European Commission(16),

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Budgetary Control (A9-0175/2022),

A.  whereas de jure, the Member States and the Commission have a shared responsibility and must work closely together to protect the Union’s financial interests and fight fraud and corruption; whereas de facto, the Member States’ authorities manage approximately three quarters of EU budget expenditure and collect the Union’s traditional own resources (TOR);

B.  whereas the Commission should fulfil its respective responsibilities under shared management for supervision, control and audit;

C.  whereas according to Article 83 TFEU, corruption is one of the particularly serious crimes with a cross-border dimension;

D.  whereas the consequences of corruption jeopardise the Union’s financial interests and the EU economy as a whole, representing a serious threat to democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law across Europe, with a serious detrimental impact on citizens’ trust in democratic institutions in the EU and in the Member States;

E.  whereas the diversity of legal and administrative systems in the Member States needs to be adequately addressed in order to overcome irregularities and combat fraud and corruption;

F.  whereas VAT is an important revenue source for national budgets and whereas VAT-based own resources constituted 12,3 % of the total Union budget revenue in 2020;

1.  Welcomes the 32nd annual report on the protection of the European Union’s financial interests and the fight against fraud 2020 (PIF report) and welcomes the new graphic version adopted, which is certainly more accessible to EU citizens;

2.  Recalls that 2020 is the final year of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020, despite the fact that programmes only need to be finished in 2023, and also the year of the adoption of the MFF for 2021-2027, NextGenerationEU and the rule of law conditionality mechanism;

3.  Takes note of the fact that all 26 Member States bound by the PIF Directive have notified full transposition of its main provisions into national law; notes, however, that the Commission report on the implementation of Directive (EU) 2017/1371 highlights outstanding conformity issues to be addressed, including some to enable effective investigations and prosecutions by the EPPO; calls on the Commission to monitor the situation and encourage Member States to resolve these issues, and to report to the discharge authority in that regard;

4.  Notes that the PIF report highlights the risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic both in terms of revenue and expenditure; notes, in particular, that customs fraud appears to have affected EU Member States to differing degrees; notes, moreover, that the use of simplified procedures and the lower quality of tender specifications in the emergency pose risks to competitive public procurement, in particular by increasing the risk of conflicts of interest and corruption, and by inflating costs or reducing the quality of implementation; notes that proper focus was placed on the healthcare sector and the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), and on the additional risks;

5.  Underlines that COVID-19 may bring new opportunities for fraudsters, owing to the increased risks related to the management of the crisis and the introduction of simplified and urgent procedures in the context of the pandemic, which are prone to abuse; underlines, moreover, the increased pressure on the authorities managing EU funds due to delays and new stress factors that could benefit fraudsters, via inflation, for example; emphasises that all these new risks require adaptation of the control strategies and a focus on prevention through specific mitigating measures and targeted actions to detect future irregularities and fraud; calls on all Member States to maintain a high level of control over and monitoring of emergency spending, especially in the context of urgent procedures; recalls the importance of completing the transition to e-procurement procedures;

6.  Is of the opinion that the experiences gained during the COVID-19 outbreak require specific consideration in the framework of the post-evaluation of the MFF 2014-2020; asks the Commission to duly integrate into such evaluations aspects related to risk assessment, risk management and mitigating measures in respect of irregularities and fraud, as components of a comprehensive analysis on effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value and as lessons for future design and conduct; is of the opinion that the post-evaluation of the MFF should be concluded at the latest before the midterm evaluation of the MFF 2021-2027 in order to learn from the past and to better prepare for the future by enabling the conclusions drawn/lessons learned to be channelled into the improvement of the MFF 2021-2027; asks the Commission to examine, in the post-evaluation of the MFF 2014-2020, whether the MFF 2014-2020 reached its targets, how programme spending contributed to the goals of the EU and the Member States, and how the EU funds were affected by fraud and corruption in this period;

7.  Recalls that the new multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2021-2027, coupled with the NextGenerationEU recovery plan, provides the EU with unprecedented funds of EUR 1.8 trillion; stresses that an unprecedented level of attention and control is also required in order to guarantee that these funds are able to make the best contribution to the common goals of the Union;

8.  Stresses the need for complete transparency in accounting for the transfers and loans provided for under the RRF and calls on the Commission to provide for Parliament to have full access to information;

Detected fraudulent and non-fraudulent irregularities

9.  Notes that the total number of fraudulent and non-fraudulent irregularities reported in 2020 amounted to 11 755 cases overall, and involved a value of approximately EUR 1.46 billion; notes the new approach of the MFF 2021-2027, which focuses on EU added value;

10.  Notes that the number of detected irregularities reported as fraudulent is an indication of the level of detection and of the capacity to intercept potential fraud by Member States and Union bodies, and recalls that it is not a direct indicator of the level of fraud affecting the Union budget or a specific Member State; notes that the detection and reporting of an irregularity implies that corrective measures have been taken in order to protect the Union’s financial interests and that, whenever relevant, criminal proceedings have been launched;

11.  Takes note of the number of fraudulent irregularities reported in 2020 (1 056 cases) and their related financial value (approximately EUR 374 million); notes that the number of fraudulent irregularities detected varies considerably among Member States; recalls that the these figures demonstrate the results of Member States’ efforts to counter fraud and other illegal activities and should not be interpreted as an indication of the level of fraud in the Member States; expresses concern about the different criminal law approaches to protecting the EU budget among the Member States; calls on the Commission to address the discrepancies between the Member States’ practices and to consider the introduction of new harmonising measures;

12.  Notes that the number of reported cases in 2020 compared with the five-year average (2016-2020) declined for both fraudulent and non-fraudulent irregularities related to EU revenue, and that the related financial value increased for fraudulent irregularities but decreased for non-fraudulent irregularities;

13.  Takes into consideration the fact that the number of non-fraudulent irregularities registered in 2020 (10 699 cases, of which 6 696 cases related to expenditure) was lower than in the previous years, and that the drop in detection and reporting in certain areas of spending cannot easily be explained and is of concern; notes that the total related financial value of these cases is approximately EUR 1.09 billion;

14.  Underlines that the drop in the total number of reported irregularities cannot be considered as a sign of positive or negative development on its own, but should be seen in the context of new, emerging challenges and linked to new ways of managing and spending EU funds;

15.  Notes that fraud is becoming increasingly appealing for organised crime groups(17); regrets that many Member States do not have specific legislation in place to effectively tackle organised crime, including of mafia type, which is constantly growing, especially in relation to cross-border activities;

16.  Is of the opinion that crimes committed by government officials affect or may affect the EU’s financial interests considerably, and a comprehensive and effective anti-corruption framework is therefore needed in the Member States;

Revenue – own resources fraud

17.  Observes that in 2020, 451 irregularities were reported as revenue-related fraud, 9 % lower than the average number of cases reported each year for 2016-2020; notes, moreover, that the affected amount of TOR estimated and established (EUR 108 million) in 2020 was 6 % greater than the average estimated and established amount for each year in 2016-2020; notes that most cases reported in 2020 as fraudulent or non-fraudulent and affecting EU revenue relate to undervaluation, incorrect classification/mis-description of goods or smuggling; notes, moreover, that inspections by national anti-fraud services were the most successful method of detecting fraud and that they surpassed post-release controls and release controls in detecting fraudulent duty evasion;

18.  Points out that in 2020, 4 003 irregularities were detected and reported as non-fraudulent, 9 % lower than the average number reported each year in 2016-2020, and that the total estimated and established amount of TOR (EUR 382 million) was 8 % lower than the average estimated and established amount for each year in 2016-2020;

19.  Notes that, according to the 2021 VAT Gap Report, in 2019 the EU VAT Gap dropped to EUR 134 billion in nominal terms (a decrease of almost EUR 6.6 billion with respect to 2018); notes, moreover, that the study only provides fast estimates for 2020 for 18 Member States owing to significant changes in the tax regimes and structures of the economies following the outbreak of the pandemic, which means that it is not yet possible to judge whether the EU-wide VAT Gap will decline or incline in 2020; notes that the econometric analyses confirmed that the VAT Gap is influenced by a group of factors, of which, within the control of tax administrations, the share of IT expenditure and the application of additional information obligations for taxpayers proved to have the highest statistical significance in explaining the size of the VAT Gap;

20.  Concludes, on the basis of variations in annual detection rates, that not all Member States’ customs authorities suffered in the same way from the COVID-19 pandemic;

21.  Calls on Member States to assess the risks and shortcomings of their respective national customs control strategies, with the aim of improving the flexibility of customs checks and reducing the potential impact of unexpected future events; calls on the Commission to help Member States to ensure the implementation of uniform controls within the EU;

22.  Notes that in 2020, footwear, textiles, vehicles, and electrical machinery and equipment were the types of goods most affected by fraud and irregularities in terms of numbers of cases and monetary value, and that most cases related to undervaluation, incorrect classification/mis-description of goods or smuggling;

23.  Takes note of the Advocate General’s opinion of 9 September 2021 concerning the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) proceedings against the UK for alleged undervaluation fraud concerning textiles and shoes imported from China via the UK, based on the investigations carried out by OLAF and by the Commission’s own resources management; notes the Court’s judgment of 8 March 2022 declaring that the UK has failed to fulfil its obligations by failing to apply effective customs control measures and make available to the Commission the correct amount of traditional own resources in respect of the imports concerned;

24.  Notes that the CJEU partly rejected the Commission’s calculation due to a considerable uncertainty regarding the accuracy of the amounts of own resources claimed by the Commission and the Commission has not established the full amounts to the requisite legal standard; notes that the CJEU approved the method used by the Commission for estimating the amount of TOR losses for part of the infringement period and stated that it is for the Commission to recalculate the losses of EU own resources remaining due; calls on the Commission to explain to the discharge authority what the errors in the calculation consisted of and how it intends to remedy the error in the calculation of the losses to the requisite legal standard, and to inform the discharge authority about the result of the new calculations;

25.  Notes that over the past five years, the annual recovery rate has varied between 52 % and 71 % and that the recovery rate for cases reported in 2020 is currently 71 %; notes, however, that recovery rates vary among the Member States owing to factors such as the type of fraud or irregularity, or the type of debtor involved; notes that in 2020, China remained the country from which the most goods affected by fraudulent and non-fraudulent irregularities originated;

Expenditure fraud

26.  Observes that 605 expenditure irregularities were reported as fraudulent in 2020, with a related financial value of EUR 266 million;

27.  Notes that the number of expenditure irregularities reported as non-fraudulent in 2020 was 6 696;

28.  Notes that the PIF report mentions the importance of transparency with regard to the use of public funds, as it constitutes a deterrent element and involves civil society in improving trust; calls on the Commission to work towards increasing the transparency of beneficiaries, including contractors, sub-contractors and beneficial owners of EU funds; calls on Member States to also strengthen transparency in the use of EU funds, particularly for emergency procurement, since eight Member States reported that they have still not done so;

29.  Notes that, over the period 2016-2020, the detection of fraud in the context of the common agricultural policy (CAP) was concentrated in a small number of Member States and that this was not substantiated by a similar level of payments to those Member States from the CAP budget; notes moreover that, the majority of fraudulent irregularities concerning support to agriculture involved the use of false documents or false requests for aid, and that their number remained largely stable; observes furthermore that, as a proportion of the payments received by the Member States, the rural development part of the budget was more affected by fraud than support for agriculture, with the exception of market measures, for which incidences of fraud were higher than for rural development; notes that in relation to rural development, the falsification of documents was the main fraudulent practice; underlines that more investigations need to be carried out and further appropriate measures put in place against the use of EU funds in agriculture-related activities by companies that do not respect employment laws or the fundamental rights of workers, as demonstrated by the situation of workers in agriculture, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic; is concerned by the fact that the reporting of fraud related to rural development for 2014-2020 had a slow start, which might indicate insufficient detection efforts in EU Member States;

30.  Notes that between 2016 and 2020, the number of irregularities reported related to the Cohesion Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Fisheries Funds for the 2014-2020 programming period increased; stresses, however, that for all funds, and in particular the European Regional Development Fund, as regards non-fraudulent irregularities, this increase was limited, highlighting an exceptional fall in the number of detected irregularities (and related financial amounts) in comparison to the previous programming period; notes, moreover, that in relation to the 2007-2013 programming period, the number of fraudulent and non-fraudulent irregularities decreased for the Cohesion Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Fisheries Funds, in line with the implementation cycle; notes that a number of implementation rules changed from one programming period to the next;

31.  Is of the opinion that companies and organisations which involve offshore companies and organisations in their ownership structures should be excluded from the use of EU funds;

32.  Points out that complete transparency in accounting for expenditure is essential, particularly with regard to infrastructure works financed directly through EU funds or financial instruments; calls on the Commission to provide for EU citizens to have full access to information on co-financed projects;

External dimension of the protection of the EU’s financial interests

33.  Is of the opinion that EU institutions and bodies should put more emphasis on the funds spent in non-EU countries in order to verify that those funds are spent in accordance with the rules and without the involvement of fraud or corruption, and to confirm whether they contribute to the goals of the Union’s development and external policy; recommends the suspension of budgetary support in non-EU countries where authorities manifestly fail to take genuine action against widespread corruption, while ensuring that the assistance reaches the civil population through alternative channels;

34.  Notes that until the end of 2020, EU spending on development cooperation was spread over several funds, and that the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) consolidates all the earlier funding options into one instrument as part of both the annual budget and the MFF 2021-2027; points out that the NDICI has an overall allocation of EUR 79.5 billion for the period 2021-2027; recommends the mainstreaming of an anti-corruption approach into all EU external action instruments, including in the NDICI, the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) and EU trust funds; calls for greater priority to be given to the fight against corruption in pre-accession negotiations and the establishment of a set of criteria with a strong conditionality framework and a focus on capacity building, such as via specialised anti-corruption bodies;

35.  Regrets that according to ECA Special Report No 01/2022, EUR 700 million in financial support for the improvement of the rule of law in the Western Balkans provided by the EU between 2014 and 2020 had little impact on fundamental reforms; calls on the Commission to send clear signals to those candidate countries in which a backlash against rule of law standards is jeopardising or delaying their accession to the EU;

36.  Calls for the inclusion in all EU-third country trade and investment agreements of a strong and mandatory conditionality framework with transparency provisions and binding and enforceable anti-corruption clauses; recommends that, as a last resort, the EU should impose sanctions or suspend agreements in the event of serious acts of corruption;

37.  Calls for the monitoring of corruption risks involved in large-scale construction and investment projects undertaken by authoritarian non-EU countries in Member States, paying particular attention to transparency in these projects, which often raise concerns about non-transparent financing or fiscal risks;

38.  Considers that Parliament should be fully involved in the spending of all grants, loans and other financial help that the EU provides to Ukraine;

Digitalisation in the service of the protection of the EU’s financial interests

39.  Calls for a greater degree of digitalisation, interoperability of comparable data systems and harmonisation of reporting, monitoring and auditing in the EU; calls on the Commission to explore the possibility of using AI in the service of the protection of the EU’s financial interests and, to this end, reiterates its call on the Commission and the Member States to harmonise definitions in order to obtain comparable data across the EU; is of the opinion that all EU bodies working in the field of the protection of the EU’s financial interests, including OLAF, the EPPO, Eurojust, Europol and the ECA, should have direct and timely access to data systems such as ARACHNE and the Early Detection and Exclusion System (EDES);

40.  Considers that the use of the ARACHNE risk scoring tool in the MFF 2021-2027 and the NextGenerationEU recovery plan, especially with regard to the implementation of the RRF should be made mandatory as soon as possible; suggests that ARACHNE should be indicated as one of the main tools endowing the national anti-fraud strategies (NAFS) that the Member States are expected to adopt in order to improve the integration of anti-fraud architecture; recalls the observations outlined by Parliament in its resolution of 24 November 2021(18) on the revision of the Financial Regulation, and reiterates once more its urgent call for the Commission to establish an EU-wide, mandatory, integrated and interoperable system building on, but not limited to, existing tools such as ARACHNE and EDES; recalls that this system must contain information on all EU co-financed projects, beneficiaries and beneficial owners, and allow for the aggregation of all individual amounts concerning the same beneficiary or beneficial owner; calls on the Commission, moreover, to assess, and to report to Parliament, the reasons preventing Member States from fully adopting and using ARACHNE; believes that making the system more user-friendly could encourage national authorities to adopt and use it;

41.  Urges the Commission to extend the scope of EDES to include the funds under shared management in the context of the revision of the Financial Regulation(19);

42.  Calls on the Commission to continue providing the Member States with full information on direct expenditures, for example by means of the Financial Transparency System, in particular in the framework of the RRF, which will also help to avoid double funding;

The Commission’s (2019) anti-fraud strategy

43.  Notes that by June 2021, two thirds of the actions of the Commission’s 2019 anti-fraud strategy had been implemented, while implementation of the remaining third was ongoing; calls on the Commission to report on the implementation of the remaining actions; notes, moreover, that good progress was made on a number of actions aimed at increasing coordination and cooperation between Commission departments and equipping the Commission with a more effective system of anti-fraud oversight; notes that the monitoring of the follow-up to OLAF recommendations was made more efficient in 2020, taking stock of about 1 400 financial recommendations issued between January 2012 and June 2019;

44.  Is aware that the new Commission anti-fraud strategy (CAFS), adopted in 2019, asked for the enhanced strategic analysis of fraud-related data and the identification of relevant and reliable indicators to successfully fight against fraud; recalls the conclusions of ECA Special Report No 01/2019 entitled ‘Fighting fraud in EU spending: action needed’, which points out that the Commission lacks comprehensive and comparable data on levels of detected fraud in EU spending;

45.  Regrets that little support has been given to Member States in the first years of implementation of the CAFS, as has also been pointed out by some delegations during debates in the Council; reiterates that comprehensive and comparable data on the scale, nature and causes of fraud is essential to make even more meaningful the investigative actions by OLAF and, since it has taken up operational activities, the EPPO; recalls that Member States have a frontline responsibility for managing about 80 % of the expenditure budget and for collecting almost all the revenue; highlights the important role Member States therefore play in protecting the EU’s financial interests, with a key role played by the NAFS, whose establishment should be a priority in all Member States;

46.  Emphasises that a system enabling the authorities to exchange information would facilitate the cross-checking of accounting records for transactions between two or more Member States in order to prevent cross-border fraud in respect of the structural and investment funds, thus ensuring a cross-cutting and comprehensive approach to the protection of Member States’ financial interests;

Member State level: national anti-fraud strategies (NAFS) and anti-fraud coordination services (AFCOS)

47.  Notes with concern that by the end of 2020, only 14 Member States reported having adopted a NAFS, up from 10 in 2019, with five others considering adopting or preparing a NAFS; notes, however, that these strategies vary in scope and depth and that some need to be updated; is further concerned that eight Member States have not yet started working on setting up their NAFS; calls for more Member States to adopt a NAFS and to report it to the Commission; calls on the Commission to provide tangible support and advice to the Member States, by way of guidelines on drafting NAFS and advisory services on the setting-up and functioning of AFCOS, and reiterates its call for analysis of the adopted NAFS and of the reasons for which some Member States do not adopt a NAFS;

48.  Stresses the importance of better coordinated, holistic anti-fraud efforts in Member States, with NAFS to be updated to face the new risks posed by the increased amounts of the EU funds, including the new MFF 2021-2027 and NextGenerationEU, and by the COVID-19 pandemic; calls on the Commission to assess the NAFS that have been adopted, to examine why Member States are lagging behind in adopting them, and to push the remaining Member States to progress with the adoption;

49.  Recalls that AFCOS should facilitate effective cooperation and information sharing with OLAF; regrets, however, that only some Member States effectively coordinate the fight against fraud and corruption affecting the EU’s financial interests;

50.  Commends OLAF on its invaluable contribution to the protection of the EU’s financial interests; stresses that OLAF is chronically understaffed and lacks financial resources;

OLAF and EPPO

51.  Welcomes the revised OLAF Regulation, which was adopted in December 2020 and entered into force on 17 January 2021, and which sharpens the investigative tools to fight fraud against the EU budget, setting out clearer rules and governing cooperation between the EPPO and OLAF; takes note of OLAF’s internal reorganisation in June 2020; asks the EPPO and OLAF to avoid any overlapping of work and any delays in proceedings; is of the opinion that OLAF and the EPPO should complement each other’s work and focus their investigations on those fields where the other institution has no competences;

52.  Emphasises the importance of OLAF adhering to the highest standards in its investigations and fully complying with all rule of law requirements;

53.  Welcomes the fact that Article 9(a) of the revised OLAF Regulation envisages a controller of procedural guarantees responsible for monitoring OLAF’s compliance with procedural guarantees and handling complaints by persons concerned; notes that the controller of procedural guarantees has not yet been appointed; is very concerned by complaints from persons concerned by OLAF investigations regarding violations of their rights, which compromised their ability to defend themselves against the allegations made against them; calls on OLAF and the controller of procedural guarantees to make sure that the procedural rights of persons concerned are fully respected;

54.  Is concerned about the decrease of the indictment rate from 53 % in the 2007-2014 period to 37 % in the 2016-2020 period in the cases put forward to the Member States by OLAF; calls on the Member States’ authorities to cooperate closely with OLAF and examine the transmitted investigation reports and the judicial recommendations carefully, and to open criminal cases wherever they are necessary to ensure that misused EU funds are recovered; invites OLAF to review its previous analysis of the reasons for the low indictment rate and to follow the recommendations issued by its Supervisory Committee in Opinion No 1/2021, such as a review of the current system of monitoring procedures and more timely cooperation with national judicial authorities; calls on OLAF to regularly follow up on its judicial recommendations and add data about them into its annual report;

55.  Is of the opinion that OLAF should also follow up on its financial recommendations in order to compare them with the amounts recovered at the end of the procedures by the Commission and contribute to the overall monitoring of the recovery of funds;

56.  Notes that the Hercule III programme was deployed by OLAF to strengthen the operational capacity of national and regional anti-fraud authorities in the domain of training activities and IT support until 2020; notes that the assessment of Hercule III was finalised at the end of 2021 and that it was concluded that the programme was highly relevant and effective in protecting the EU’s financial interests, as it had successfully met its general, specific and operational objectives; notes that Hercule III has been replaced by the EU Anti-Fraud Programme for the duration of the MFF 2021-2027;

57.  Recognises the principle of confidentiality of OLAF investigations; is of the opinion, however, that there is an overarching public interest and that EU citizens also have the right to access the reports and recommendations relating to closed OLAF investigations and national follow-up procedures, as recognised by the CJEU in Case T-517/19; therefore asks OLAF to set up a mechanism to publish the reports and recommendations for which there is no longer any legitimate reason to maintain the principle of confidentiality;

58.  Takes note of the working arrangement signed on 3 September 2021 for a framework cooperative relationship between both the EPPO and the ECA; notes, moreover, the administrative arrangements signed in 2019 between OLAF and the ECA;

59.  Welcomes the fact that the EPPO became operational on 1 June 2021; welcomes its first annual report; welcomes the fact that the EPPO has opened 576 investigations since becoming operational and that it has requested that a total of EUR 154.3 million be seized, of which the seizure of EUR 147 million was granted; is concerned about the EPPO’s estimate that the total damages caused by fraud and corruption amount to EUR 5.4 billion; deeply regrets that five Member States – Poland, Hungary (the two biggest beneficiaries of EU funds), Sweden, Denmark and Ireland – are not participating in the EPPO; calls on these Member States to join the EPPO as soon as possible; is concerned that Poland refuses any kind of cooperation with the EPPO, while coming top of the non-participating countries in terms of the number of investigations involving its citizens; urges the non-participating Member States to sign cooperation agreements with the EPPO; is of the opinion that the failure of Member States to cooperate with the EPPO has a direct effect on the protection of the EU’s financial interest; calls on the Commission to incentivise participation in the EPPO through positive measures;

60.  Welcomes the joint efforts of OLAF and Europol to assess the threats and vulnerabilities of the RRF instrument; welcomes the working arrangement between OLAF and Europol, which entered into force on 9 October 2020, and the agreement between Europol and the EPPO, which entered into force on 19 January 2021;

61.  Highlights the role of the EPPO in the new anti-fraud infrastructure; notes, moreover, the working arrangements agreed in 2020 and signed in July 2021 between the EPPO and OLAF, especially as regards the exchange of information, case management and operational cooperation;

62.  Notes that in July 2020 the Council appointed the 22 European prosecutors; recalls that the EPPO is to work hand in hand with national law enforcement authorities and that it exercises the function of prosecutor in the competent courts of the participating Member States while at the same time closely cooperating with EU agencies and bodies such as Eurojust, Europol and OLAF; notes that this unique position is designed to enable the EPPO to draw upon existing experience and best practices at national and EU level; expects the Commission to duly consider the EPPO’s reassessment of its staff needs based on its workload experience and to make the financial adjustments required to guarantee its operational effectiveness and efficiency;

63.  Notes the observations and considerations expressed by the European Chief Prosecutor on the need to amend the EPPO Regulation; calls on the Commission to engage in a discussion with the EPPO to identify the improvements needed to enhance its operational effectiveness; asks the Commission to report to Parliament in line with Article 119 (1) of the EPPO Regulation;

64.  Stresses the need for the creation of an EU Green Prosecutor through the extension of the EPPO’s mandate in accordance with Article 86(4) of the TFEU in order to improve the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation, combat serious environmental crimes with a cross-border dimension and protect the EU budget; insists on the need to increase the EPPO’s budget and staffing in order to ensure it has capacity to effectively fulfil its role in all its areas of competence;

65.  Notes the role of AFCOS in coordinating at Member State level the legislative, administrative and investigative obligations and activities in relation to the protection of the EU’s financial interests and in ensuring cooperation with OLAF;

66.  Welcomes Operation Sentinel launched by Europol, which is intended to focus on proactive intelligence sharing, information exchange and supporting the coordination of operations to tackle fraud against COVID-19 EU recovery funds, as the operation aims to map vulnerabilities inherent in national allocation systems, detect fraud schemes used to target the fund allocation system and support high-priority investigations against high-value objectives; welcomes the involvement of the EPPO, OLAF and 21 EU Member States; is concerned about the fact that the Member States which are major beneficiaries of cohesion funds, among others Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria, are not participating in the operation; calls on all Member States to join the operation; calls on the Member States, furthermore, to cooperate closely with one another and with the EU bodies to enable action to be taken against fraud involving several countries at once;

67.  Calls on OLAF, the EPPO, Europol, the AFCOS designated by national legislation, and the other EU and national agencies responsible to keep strengthening the exchange of information, reciprocate support and ensure complementarity in their operational activities, as agreed in the established working arrangements and regulations; highlights that the complex anti-fraud architecture in place requires close cooperation between the various players, at both EU and national level; underlines that more efforts are needed to prevent and fight fraud, corruption and other illegal activities, including closer cooperation with national authorities, between Member States and at EU level;

Rule of law and the fight against corruption

68.  Welcomes the adoption of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2092 on a general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union budget; reiterates that it entered into force on 1 January 2021 and that it has therefore been applicable since then; welcomes the judgments of the CJEU of 16 February 2022 concerning the actions brought by Hungary and Poland against the conditionality mechanism and its conclusions confirming that the EU does indeed have competences regarding the rule of law in the Member States and that the Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism is perfectly in line with EU law;

69.  Is of the opinion that it is high time for the Commission to fulfil its duties as ‘guardian of the Treaties’ and to tackle the ongoing violations of the principles of the rule of law in several Member States, particularly Poland and Hungary, given that these violations represent a serious danger to the Union’s financial interests since compliance with these principles is a prerequisite for sound financial management in general and the efficient and effective management of EU funds; welcomes the Commission’s announcement that it will apply the Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism by sending a written notification under Article 6(1) of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2020/2092 to Hungary; is of the opinion that the rule of law is a universal concept and that the Commission should consider the application of the Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism to all Member States which fail to respect the rule of law without exception; warns that the delays might already be having a detrimental impact on the financial interest of the EU and the state of the rule of law in certain Member States;

70.  Calls on the Commission to take account of Parliament resolutions related to the breaches of rule of law by the Polish and Hungarian governments; calls on these governments to fully cooperate with the Commission and fulfil the conditions required for the release of funds; is of the opinion that if these Member States fail to comply with these conditions, the Commission should temporarily and directly manage the EU funds via local governments and civil society organisations;

71.  Recalls that compliance with the rule of law and with Article 2 of the TEU are prerequisites for gaining access to funds, that the Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism is fully applicable to the RRF and that no measures should be financed under the RRF that are contrary to the EU values enshrined in Article 2 of the TEU;

72.  Insists that no payments can be made to Poland under the RRF until its full implementation of all relevant judgments of the CJEU and the European Court of Human Rights, and until its national authorities have acknowledged the primacy of EU law;

73.  Urges the Commission to ensure, in order to increase transparency, that Parliament is kept fully apprised about all negotiations between the Commission and national authorities, and to inform Parliament immediately about any relevant developments;

74.  Calls on the Commission to use all tools at its disposal to ensure compliance with the values enshrined in Article 2 of the TEU and with the primacy of EU law; stresses that the Commission and the Council are politically accountable to Parliament for their actions;

75.  Recognises all efforts made especially by Member States neighbouring Ukraine in welcoming people fleeing the war there; is of the opinion that the EU has an obligation to help Member States bear these exceptional burdens; recalls, however, that no payment can be made if a Member State refuses to abide by CJEU rulings and to acknowledge the primacy of EU law; stresses the need for Parliament to be kept fully informed about all allocations for these purposes and the use of EU funds for helping Ukrainian refugees in beneficiary Member States;

76.  Recognises the importance of the annual rule of law report and the fact that the fight against corruption is an integral part of the report; is of the opinion, however, that it cannot substitute the anti-corruption report; welcomes the Commission’s intention to equip the rule of law report with specific recommendations to the Member States; is of the opinion that the Commission should consider the establishment of a corruption index based on strict and easy-to-apply criteria and should reflect upon the performance of the Member States in fighting corruption and add its findings to the anti-corruption chapter of the rule of law report;

77.  Is very concerned by the findings of the 2020 Rule of Law Report, which highlights concerns about the effectiveness of the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of corruption cases, including high-level cases in several Member States; insists that high-level corruption must be systematically prosecuted;

78.  Highlights the detrimental effects of corruption on the rights of citizens; reiterates, therefore, its recommendation that the EU should become a member of the Group of States against Corruption, bearing in mind the specific nature of the EU, its institutions and EU law; calls on the Commission to present a possible plan for membership, within the framework of Article 83 of the TFEU and in conjunction with Article 218 TFEU; reiterates its call, moreover, for the Commission to present a plan on the setting-up of an internal corruption evaluation mechanism for the EU institutions;

79.  Calls on the Commission to provide for proper legal protection for investigative journalists along the lines of that provided for whistleblowers;

80.  Recognises the crucial role of media pluralism and journalists in protecting the Union’s financial interests by uncovering fraud and corruption; calls on Member States to ensure their protection and the protection of their sources; encourages a swift adoption and implementation of the directive on strategic lawsuits against public participation (the anti-SLAPP directive); calls on the Commission and Member States to fight against any kind of illegal use of spyware and hacking software such as Pegasus or Predator; believes that transparency is the best way to fight against fraud and corruption;

81.  Stresses the need to make the disbursement of direct and indirect loans conditional on the publication of country-by-country tax and accountancy data, and on the disclosure of information on beneficial ownership by the beneficiaries and financial intermediaries involved in financing operations;

82.  Takes the view that funds should be repaid whenever cases of corruption or fraud have been proven;

The anti-fraud architecture of the EU and the Commission’s annual reporting

83.  Considers that the financing of the EU has entered a new era with the adoption of the NextGenerationEU recovery plan and that this provides the EU’s anti-fraud architecture with additional challenges; is therefore strongly of the opinion that the anti-fraud architecture needs to be further strengthened; stresses that OLAF, the EPPO, Europol and Eurojust are understaffed and lacking in financial resources; notes that Europol and Eurojust are especially overburdened in the light of their newly adopted mandates and EU-wide operations targeting criminal assets in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine; reminds the Commission and the Council that every euro spent on monitoring and investigation returns to the EU budget;

84.  Welcomes the NextGenerationEU – Law Enforcement Forum (NGEU-LEF), a joint initiative co-led by Europol and Italy, which brings together Europol, the EPPO, OLAF, Eurojust, the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training and the Member States, to establish a joint way forward in preventing and countering the threats against NextGenerationEU funds and the EU’s financial interest;

85.  Endorses the call of the Commission for ‘European vision’ in cooperation between and the coordination of the actions of EU bodies and national authorities; believes that a more structured holistic approach is needed in order to avoid overlapping, to share and exchange information and to foster the integration of the several existing layers of the anti-fraud architecture and achieve a result that is bigger than the sum of its components;

86.  Calls on the Commission to explore new avenues for making the annual PIF report a comprehensive analysis alongside other annual reports and sources of information, by enhancing and promoting dialogue between Europol, Eurojust and the EPPO, and by identifying trends in fraudulent and non-fraudulent irregularities, diagnosing weaknesses, and learning useful lessons to enhance the adoption of fraud-proofing measures by all stakeholders;

87.  Notes the need for a specific annual Commission report on the analysis and state of play of the overall anti-fraud infrastructure, assessing, among other things, the level of interoperability of EU actors in the fight against fraud, and addressing possible links with the European Semesters and country reports, the anti-corruption report, and the application of the Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism;

88.  Highlights that in order to combat corruption effectively so as to avoid illegal lobbying and revolving door situations and to protect the EU’s financial interests, the Commission should adopt a holistic, coherent, systematic and consistent approach by developing better rules on transparency, incompatibilities and conflicts of interest, as well as on strengthening internal control mechanisms; underlines that improved transparency on beneficiaries of EU and national funding will also be important to cope with the new and challenging international context;

89.  Reiterates the unsatisfactory level of analysis provided in the annexes to the PIF report regarding cases of conflicts of interest; calls for the Commission to engage in such analysis, in line with Article 61 of the Financial Regulation and the issuing on 7 April 2021 of the ‘Guidance on the avoidance and management of conflicts of interest under the Financial Regulation’ for the benefit of the Member States;

o
o   o

90.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

(1) OLAF, Twenty-first report of the European Anti-Fraud Office, 1 January to 31 December 2020, 2020.
(2) OLAF Supervisory Committee, Annual Report 2020, June 2021.
(3) OJ L 248, 18.9.2013, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 437, 28.12.2020, p. 49.
(5) OJ L 305, 26.11.2019, p. 17.
(6) OJ L 198, 28.7.2017, p. 29.
(7) OJ L 283, 31.10.2017, p.1.
(8) OJ L 274, 28.10.2019, p. 1.
(9) OJ L 424, 15.12.2020, p. 1.
(10) OJ L 433I, 22.12.2020, p. 1.
(11) OJ L 84, 20.3.2014, p. 6.
(12) OJ L 172, 17.5.2021, p. 110.
(13) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0042.
(14) Opinion of Advocate General Pikamäe of 9 September 2021, Case C‑213/19, European Commission v United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, EU:C:2021:724.
(15) Judgment of 8 March 2022, Case C‑213/19, European Commission v United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, EU:C:2021:724.
(16) Judgment of the General Court, 1 September 2021, Case T-517/19, Andrea Homoki v European Commission, EU:T:2021:529.
(17) Commission communication of 14 April 2021 on the EU Strategy to tackle Organised Crime 2021-2025 (COM(2021)0170).
(18) OJ C 224, 8.6.2022, p. 37.
(19) 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, OJ L 193, 30.7.2018, p. 1.


Better regulation: Joining forces to make better laws
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2022 on Better regulation: Joining forces to make better laws (2021/2166(INI))
P9_TA(2022)0301A9-0167/2022

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Protocol No 1 on the role of national parliaments in the European Union,

–  having regard to Protocol No 2 on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality,

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

–  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 entitled ‘Better regulation: Joining forces to make better laws’ (COM(2021)0219),

–  having regard to the Commission staff working document of 3 November 2021 entitled ‘Better Regulation Guidelines’ (SWD(2021)0305),

–   having regard to the development cooperation objectives in Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 5 May 2021 entitled ‘Updating the 2020 New Industrial Strategy: Building a stronger Single Market for Europe’s recovery’ (COM(2021)0350),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2020 entitled ‘A New Industrial Strategy for Europe’(1),

–  having regard to the better regulation toolbox, which complements the Better Regulation Guidelines, both from November 2021,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 16 December 2003 on better law-making, and to its most recent version, the Interinstitutional Agreement of 13 April 2016 on Better Law-Making(2),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 24 March 2021 on the EU strategy on the rights of the child (COM(2021)0142),

–  having regard to the opinion of the European Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Better regulation: Joining forces to make better laws’ (CDR 4071/2021),

–  having regard to the report of 10 July 2018 presenting the findings of the Task Force on Subsidiarity, Proportionality and ‘Doing Less More Efficiently’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 June 2021 on European Union regulatory fitness and subsidiarity and proportionality – report on Better Law Making covering the years 2017, 2018 and 2019(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2022 on Parliament’s right of initiative(4),

–  having regard to the European Court of Auditors special report No 16/2018 of 12 June 2018 entitled ‘Ex-post review of EU legislation: a well-established system, but incomplete’,

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2016 for an open, efficient and independent European Union administration(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 December 2020 on a new strategy for European SMEs(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal, which welcomes the commitment by the Commission to ensure that all EU actions should help the EU achieve a sustainable future and a just transition, and to update the better regulation guidelines accordingly, requiring, inter alia, that a ‘sustainability first’ principle be integrated into the Better Regulation Agendas of the EU and its Member States(7),

–  having regard to President von der Leyen’s speech of 16 July 2019(8),

–  having regard to the plenary debate of 7 June 2021 on the ‘State of the SMEs Union – Implementation of the better regulation agenda / Reduction target for administrative burden’(9),

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

–  having regard to the opinions of the Committee on Development, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Committee on Petitions,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs (A9-0167/2022),

A.  whereas better law-making is a common goal for all EU institutions, and should be achieved by increasing transparency, accountability and cooperation between the institutions, Member States, citizens and stakeholders, ensuring full respect of all fundamental European values, including democracy, the rule of law and human rights; whereas transparency, integrity and accountability are also essential prerequisites of a democracy based on the rule of law; whereas European legislation should be fit for purpose, proportionate, clear, transparent and comprehensive in order to effectively benefit citizens and stakeholders; whereas better regulation helps to ensure that EU policies and legislation are geared towards the future, taking account of the faster pace of technological, societal and environmental developments; whereas, therefore, it will be increasingly important to back up regulatory proposals with evidence based on the most appropriate assessments and reliable peer-reviewed scientific evidence, as well as respect for the precautionary principle; in this regard, calls on the Commission to manage the evidence transparently, and to ensure that it is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable; underlines that quality law-making cannot be reduced to quantitative targets for the short-term reduction of burdens and costs alone, but should deliver for everyone as a long-term investment in the shared prosperity of our societies and our future;

B.  whereas the Commission should fully comply with the provisions of Article 6(4) of the European Climate Law(10), which provides that any draft measures and legislative proposals need to be consistent with the fulfilment of the Union’s climate neutrality objective by 2050; whereas, to this end, the Commission must assess the consistency of all draft measures or legislative proposals, including budgetary proposals, with climate neutrality objectives and whether they ensure progress on adaptation to climate change;

C.  whereas the new climate consistency checks have only been applied to impact assessments of draft legislative measures and proposals as of 1 January 2022, in spite of the entry into force of the European Climate Law in July 2021, meaning that the provisions of the law have not been implemented for a number of proposals relevant to the European Green Deal;

D.  whereas the approach for checking compliance with the European Climate Law in impact assessments and evaluations is outlined in the communication on better regulation and in the subsequent guidelines and toolbox; whereas the Commission, however, should apply these checks systematically and do so at the beginning of the process of preparing a new draft measure or a fitness check of existing legislation so that it can genuinely guide policy choices; whereas the European Climate Law obliges the Commission to provide reasons in the event of non-alignment of a draft measure or legislative proposal with the objectives of the European Climate Law, as part of the consistency assessment referred to in Article 6(4);

E.  whereas in 2021 the Commission adopted its communication entitled ‘Better regulation: Joining forces to make better laws,’ its guidelines thereon and accompanying toolbox;

F.  whereas better law-making is a means to guarantee legal certainty and should deliver for all and serve the general interest of European society, businesses, workers, citizens, consumers and the environment; whereas high-quality legislation serves the public interest since it directly affects the competitiveness of the EU, its territories and businesses, and also represents a tool for strengthening democracy and direct citizen participation at both national and regional level;

G.  whereas a need for regulatory review exists and, where necessary and appropriate, also for simplification, in order to remove obstacles to the implementation of legislation, including across borders, and to make laws more effective, transparent and comprehensive for the beneficiaries, whether they be citizens or businesses;

H.  whereas the better regulation principles and tools should remain policy-neutral in order to guarantee an objective definition of problems and real alternative policy options to be considered by the Commission, the Council and Parliament;

I.  whereas better law-making must aim to serve the EU’s ambitions and especially its long-term objectives, such as generating economic growth, boosting investment and job creation, ensuring a more competitive and democratic Europe, social progress and the binding objective of Union climate neutrality by 2050, and the long-term priority objective for 2050 that citizens live well, within the limits of our planet; whereas sustainability should be at the heart of quality law-making, placing social, economic and environmental considerations on an equal footing; whereas, by applying the principles of better regulation, the Commission should identify the most effective solutions to maximise benefits, while simultaneously minimising the associated costs;

J.  whereas the Commission has committed itself to step up efforts to promote and improve the inclusive and systemic participation of children in the decision-making process at EU level, notably through child-specific consultation, for relevant future initiatives;

K.  whereas well carried out ex ante and ex post impact assessments, public consultations and the ‘evaluate first principle’ are essential tools for well-informed, better, efficient, accountable and transparent law-making that is tailored to the needs of the beneficiaries; whereas this contributes to the quantification of impacts, factoring in their cost-benefit ratio; whereas such assessments should consider economic, social and environmental aspects with an equal level of detailed analysis and accuracy, taking into account both qualitative and quantitative evidence, also including the impact of policy measures on fundamental rights; whereas the European Court of Auditors published a special report in 2018 with a set of recommendations to improve the quality of ex post reviews;

L.  whereas the ‘Have Your Say’ web portal aims to boost involvement of citizens and stakeholders in EU policy-making and has proven to be a useful tool for the preparation of EU policies; whereas the Commission launched a new version of the tool on 3 July 2020 in order to further improve its consultations and communication with the public and increase transparency; whereas the European Court of Auditors published a special report in 2019(11) with a set of recommendations to further improve this portal, especially to make it more user-friendly, including with regard to outreach and transparency, as well as the use and availability of translations;

M.  whereas the Regulatory Scrutiny Board assesses the quality of impact assessments as well as of fitness checks and major evaluations to support high-quality decision-making; whereas around one third of impact assessments in 2021 received a negative first opinion; whereas the Board can play an important role in improving European legislation;

N.  whereas respect for multilingualism is a prerequisite for the EU institutions to work properly; whereas Article 1 TEU provides that decisions at EU level must be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen; whereas publicly available European Union websites for funding and tender opportunities within the framework of the EU programmes are often published in the English language first; whereas the translation of these websites can take several months; whereas the availability of these websites in all official languages of the EU is important for fair competition;

O.  whereas the aim of the regulatory fitness and performance (REFIT) programme and the Fit for Future Platform (F4F) is to simplify EU laws and reduce unnecessary administrative and regulatory burdens, as well as costs, with a view to improve regulatory compliance and implementation, while achieving the underlying policy objectives, by focusing on regulatory offsetting and fitness checks of previous, current and future legislation;

P.  whereas the Commission introduced the ‘one in, one out’ approach with the intention of offsetting new burdens resulting from the Commission’s legislative proposals by removing already existing burdens in the same policy area;

Q.  whereas the ‘one in, one out’ approach can feed into the REFIT programme by extending it beyond assessing unnecessary burdens arising from individual pieces of existing legislation also to include new legislation and to look at entire policy areas; whereas, at the same time, the ‘one in, one out’ approach needs clarification concerning its implementation in practice, since legislation should always benefit citizens, businesses, workers and consumers;

R.  whereas achieving the benefits of simplification efforts at European level may also be reliant on the co-legislators maintaining the relevant provisions and depends on the choices made by the Member States when transposing them into national law, and on greater efforts from the Commission to coordinate and hold consultations with Member States and local and regional authorities;

S.  whereas in its communication of 24 October 2017 entitled ‘Completing the Better Regulation Agenda: Better solutions for better results’ (COM(2017)0651) the Commission expressed reservations about the ‘one in, one out’ approach and ‘fixing ex ante burden reduction targets’, considering that it ‘would create deregulatory pressures and impair its political responsibility to deliver what needs to be done when it needs to be done’;

T.  whereas according to information published on EUR-Lex(12) the Commission adopted or amended 1 977 legislative or non-legislative acts in 2021; whereas in the same period 1 008 legislative or non-legislative acts were repealed or expired;

U.  whereas the Treaties grant Parliament the direct right of initiative only in very limited cases; whereas Parliament has called for increasing its right of initiative in its resolution on Parliament’s right of initiative;

V.  whereas the functioning of the European Union is founded on representative democracy;

1.  Welcomes the Commission’s aim that EU laws should deliver maximum benefits to citizens and businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and its intention to make the approach to better law-making more dynamic and adaptable to further developments; further welcomes the Commission’s commitment to making better use of strategic foresight, and calls for its integration into impact assessments and evaluations; underlines that the better regulation agenda should support the green transition of the Union’s economy by allowing, inter alia, innovative and enabling technologies to be brought to market more efficiently; welcomes the Commission’s intention to improve the analysis and reporting of proposals’ impacts, for example on competitiveness and SMEs, territoriality, sustainability, equality, subsidiarity and proportionality, which could also help identify gaps, needs and opportunities, as well as help discover existing risks and trends, and therefore contribute to defining policy priorities and devising strategic planning with a long-term perspective, especially in the least developed countries and with regard to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs);

2.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to acknowledge the need for better regulation and simplification, taking into account economic, environmental, gender and social impacts in an integrated and balanced way;

3.  Further welcomes the Commission’s commitment to mainstream the SDGs in all its legislative proposals, in line with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, to paying greater attention to gender equality and equality for all, and to ensuring that the ‘do no significant harm’ and precautionary principles are applied across all policy areas; calls for impact assessments also to take into account the impact on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda as a whole; notes with concern that by referring only to ‘relevant SDGs’, the integrated and holistic nature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development risks being overlooked; recalls the EU’s commitment to being a global front runner in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, together with its Member States and their local and regional authorities, and in close cooperation with its international partners; regrets the fact that the Commission has not yet developed an integrated and holistic SDG implementation strategy; recalls that the EU must raise its visibility in developing countries through efficient communication on its cooperation and spending programmes;

4.  Supports the commitment to improved analysis and reporting of environmental impacts in all EU policies through mandatory assessment of the ‘do no significant harm’ principle, and the fact that this assessment is to be applied to proposals from across all policy areas, in order to avoid uneven application; calls for the Commission to clearly define the ‘do no significant harm’ principle in order to ensure its consistent application; welcomes the proposal that sustainability and digitalisation should be better taken into account in law-making; underlines that the assessment of the ‘do no significant harm’ principle must take into account the broader costs and benefits to society, such as in the area of public health, and environmental impacts;

5.  Recommends that the Commission consider implementing a ‘sustainability first’ approach and adopting it for all policy development and evaluation, prioritising long-term sustainability considerations; notes that ‘strategic foresight’ will support the REFIT programme, which identifies opportunities to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens and ensures that existing EU legislation remains ‘fit for the future’;

6.  Calls, in this regard, for the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) to be taken systematically into account in the strategic foresight process; welcomes in this regard the work of the Fit for Future (F4F) Platform, which brings together the expertise of, inter alia, public administrations, non-governmental organisations and small and large businesses in regular meetings to improve existing EU legislation; notes that this platform could also be used to discuss broader themes, such as the green transition;

7.  Recalls that protecting, promoting and facilitating the fulfilment of human rights and democracy is a key priority of EU external action as enshrined in Article 21 TEU and that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also applies to its external action; highlights that the EU has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to remain an influential player on the world stage and to keep playing a leading role as a global defender of democracy and human rights; regrets, therefore, that the proposal remains limited in translating the tool on fundamental rights in the EU’s better regulation toolbox into the guidelines on the EU’s global commitment and its Treaty-based obligation to human rights; underlines, therefore, the importance of the human rights impacts of all EU external policies, including trade policy and development cooperation, particularly regarding vulnerable groups;

8.  Underlines therefore that the guidelines should be revised and effectively implemented to ensure that human rights are systematically duly taken into account, obliging the EU not to take any action that would prevent or make more difficult the realisation of human rights; underlines that the gender impact should be mainstreamed in all reporting and that, in addition to the general assessment of the human rights situation, human rights impact assessments need to include gender-disaggregated data and evaluate the specific human rights impact on women;

9.  Underlines that environmental and health-related legislation has a direct impact on the life of EU citizens; calls, therefore, on the Commission to draw up a short explanatory memorandum in accessible, non-expert language to accompany all legislative proposals, and to take all appropriate measures to ensure that all EU citizens can understand the essence of a legislative proposal, including the potential effects on their lives;

10.  Welcomes the fact that, in line with the Commission communication of 9 March 2021 entitled ‘2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the digital decade’ (COM(2021)0118), better regulation will aim to promote the ‘digital by default’ principle in future EU legislation as an important tool to support the digital transformation; stresses that technologies such as AI can enhance the legislative process and improve access to information, as well as make legislation more understandable to citizens and companies; calls on the Commission to apply regulatory sandboxes(13) to legislation related to the digital transformation on a case-by-case basis and taking into account EU added value and proportionality, especially with a view to supporting SMEs and start-ups; calls, however, for these sandboxes to be strictly limited in time and scope, properly supervised and in line with EU acquis on personal data protection and fundamental rights;

11.  Considers the development of new forms of digitalisation processes in the decision-making of all three institutions to be an essential challenge and opportunity to strengthen the quality of EU law-making in the digital era; believes that the commitments of the three institutions on such developments should be clearly identified and included in a revised Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making (IIA on BLM); calls on legislators to employ digitalisation in order to avoid unnecessary administrative burdens and to facilitate legislative work;

12.  Welcomes the Commission’s intention to introduce a digital single reporting instrument for undertakings, consolidating reporting requirements arising from the revision of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), the taxonomy, but also the reporting requirements from the Fit for 55 package in a single tool, which has been designed with specific requirements and ready-made Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and standards, accessible in a modular and digital way for companies and other organisations;

13.  Stresses the importance of easy access for citizens to the sources of law and the need to create a single transparent website where the entire legislative process and additional documents of all EU institutions can be followed;

14.  Notes that trade still relies on a large number of paper documents; believes that digitalisation and the use of electronic trade documents reduce cost and complexity; calls on the Commission to take advantage of the digital era and tools to reduce certain types of burdens or obligations; stresses the need to explore the use of electronic trade documents, which will increase efficiency and security, and reduce administrative burdens;

15.  Highlights that there are 22.6 million(14) SMEs in the EU and that the Commission should therefore not only perform the SME test more systematically, but should also provide for a mandatory SME test to be performed in all legislative proposals where this is applicable; stresses that such a test should clearly identify how simplification could be attained in terms of costs and benefits, and, where possible, formulate additional recommendations to avoid unnecessary administrative or regulatory burdens for SMEs;

16.  Recalls that the application of the ‘Think Small First’ principle enshrined in the Small Business Act is an essential element of the proportionality test carried out prior to any legislative proposal and should aim at ensuring that SMEs’ voices are heard and that their interests are taken on board as early as possible, in order to foster the development of SMEs, which are the backbone of our European economy;

17.  Calls on the Commission to create the position of SME Envoy to help minimise unnecessary administrative and regulatory burdens across Member States, and who should be appointed with horizontal competences within the Presidency’s Cabinet;

18.  Recalls that the Common Commercial Policy is an exclusive competence of the Union and that the provisions of Article 207 TFEU should be robustly defended and preserved; insists on the need to avoid lengthy ratification procedures regarding trade and investment agreements which contain mixed elements, in order to ensure their timely entry into force;

19.  Strongly believes that all Europeans must be able to follow the EU legislative process; welcomes the Commission’s initiative to make the ‘Have your say’ web portal more accessible to people with disabilities and to consolidate public consultations into a single ‘call for evidence’; calls for all related documents, questionnaires and contributions to be available in all EU official languages as soon as possible; calls for greater transparency of the decision-making process and especially on how replies are taken into account, including by ensuring that replies are properly weighted according to their representativeness, depending on whether they represent individual or collective interests; notes that the design and choice of consultation has a significant effect on the type of input received and the outcome itself; urges the Commission to ensure that all calls for evidence it launches are neutral and unbiased, including by employing questionnaires that are designed in a manner which is evidence-based and formulated with open questions, where applicable; further recalls that petitions to Parliament are a vital form of citizen’s participation and feedback, which the Commission should regularly assess and address;

20.  Calls for greater transparency in the consultation process and for the publication of summary reports of the consultations, available in all EU languages and also accessible to people with disabilities;

21.  Considers that the Commission, in its efforts to ensure that EU policies draw on a clear understanding of policy areas subject to rapid structural change, such as the environment and digitalisation, should make use of the input included in the petitions of citizens and civil society organisations; considers citizens’ participation key in policy areas such as fundamental rights, respect for the rule of law and the fight against all forms of discrimination on any grounds whatsoever;

22.  Believes that the quality of legislation affecting developing countries is determined, among other parameters, by its legitimacy and effectiveness, which in turn depend on the nature of the consultation process, on how responsive that legislation is to the needs of the countries concerned, and whether its implementation achieves the desired results without causing harm; welcomes the Commission’s focus on improving the understanding of the needs and impacts of EU legislation outside the EU by increasing engagement with external partners; calls on the Commission to make this engagement effective by ensuring inclusive, meaningful and effective consultation processes, involving affected stakeholders such as social partners and civil society representatives in developing countries, as well as experts and businesses in the various areas concerned; suggests that the outcome of those consultations and the evidence gathered should truly be used as input when drafting the legislation and, in particular, that the context and the specific needs of affected stakeholders in partner countries where the consultation is to be carried out be taken into account; welcomes the initiative to make consultation processes more focused, clearer and user-friendly; calls on the Commission to ensure that the envisaged simplification of the public consultation process does not harm its effectiveness; highlights the role that the EU delegations can play, particularly in developing countries, and the need to make available the instruments and resources needed for the implementation of these consultations;

23.  Calls for the EU institutions to respect the principles, rights and obligations enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and EEC Council Regulation No 1/1958, as well as in internal guidelines and decisions, such as the Code of Good Administrative Behaviour, in the field of multilingualism;

24.  Calls for the EU institutions to provide the necessary human resources to ensure that multilingualism is respected throughout the different stages of the legislative process;

25.  Considers the uniformity of linguistic versions in the official EU languages as a crucial prerequisite for a reliable interpretation of existing regulations by courts and EU and Member States’ authorities, and thus as an important contribution to the uniform application and enforcement of EU law; calls for the institutions to substantially meet these requirements in the course of future law-making;

26.  Calls for all European Union websites on funding and tender opportunities to be translated simultaneously into all official languages of the EU, as their initial exclusive availability in the English language puts Member States which do not have English as an official language at a disadvantage;

27.  Insists on the strong links between the implementation of the NextGenerationEU recovery package and the objective of ensuring stronger resilience of EU societies, and the need for the EU institutions to reach out to Union citizens in order to raise awareness about the fundamental nature of these political tasks and their implementation; believes that such outreach should ultimately contribute to more flexible and more effective interinstitutional decision-making capable of responding in a robust and decisive manner to the experiences of the pandemic;

28.  Calls for a stronger political dialogue between the EU institutions and national parliaments, local and regional authorities, the European Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee;

29.  Acknowledges the current trend where, within the scope of Protocols No 1 and No 2, national parliaments aim for more engagement through the political dialogue on EU policies in order to develop a greater added value for citizens; further acknowledges requests for similar forward-looking involvement of the European Committee of the Regions in this regard by providing own-initiative opinions;

30.  Recalls that a significant proportion of EU legislation is implemented at sub-national levels which have valuable first-hand experience in applying EU legislation in close contact with the local economy, social partners, civil society and citizens, and can help strengthen the effectiveness and visibility of EU actions;

31.  Reiterates the specificity of local and regional authorities and the need for tailor-made consultations; recommends that the Commission consult the European Committee of the Regions proactively in the development of open consultations and roadmaps for proposals that significantly affect sub-national levels of government;

32.  Stresses that active subsidiarity is an integral component of the better regulation agenda; welcomes, in this regard, the fact that the Commission is making increased use in its legislative proposals of the subsidiarity assessment grid, as suggested in its communication of 23 October 2018 entitled ‘The principles of subsidiarity and proportionality: Strengthening their role in the EU’s policymaking’ (COM(2018)0703);

33.  Expects the Conference on the Future of Europe also to pave the way for further reforms related to the principle of subsidiarity, in particular by also applying subsidiarity in EU governance processes;

34.  Acknowledges that better regulation is a shared objective and a responsibility of all EU institutions; confirms that, as co-legislator, Parliament will streamline its internal services to better contribute to the assessment and monitoring of the impact on developing countries of EU legislation with external dimensions, including of the relevant texts adopted by Parliament relating to legislative procedures and EU spending programmes; confirms also that it will reinforce accordingly the cooperation and coordination between committees, strengthen the expertise on development policies throughout all the relevant committees and clarify the role that the Committee on Development is called on to play as guarantor of the principle of policy coherence for development, as stated in the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (Annex VI), all this with the aim of improving the quality and effectiveness of EU legislation;

35.  Recalls that the continuous and attentive review of citizens’ petitions presents great opportunities to make better regulation more inclusive and efficient, and to improve policymakers’ understanding of local and regional realities and of citizens’ concerns and priorities; acknowledges that EU legislation should ensure the equal treatment of citizens and businesses, and the effective enforcement of citizens’ rights throughout the Union and that the strong and equal enforcement of existing European rules should be guaranteed;

36.  Recalls the importance of maintaining close contact between the co-legislators in advance of interinstitutional negotiations, including by inviting representatives of other institutions to informal exchanges of views on a regular basis, in line with the commitment outlined in paragraph 34 of the IIA on BLM; regrets that this commitment has not given rise to any new cooperation structures or to systematic practices for facilitating these exchanges; suggests that the co-legislators agree on a code of good practice in this respect;

37.  Strongly believes that more emphasis must be put on institutional consultation, coordination and cooperation between and within EU institutions; urges the Commission to streamline its internal procedures to systematically associate DG INTPA with all impact assessments, in particular for internal legislation with potential effects beyond the EU, and to duly take into account the inputs, suggestions and recommendations provided by this DG in the framework of policy coherence for development; calls on the Commission to reinforce the involvement and meaningful participation of DG INTPA during interservice consultations and in the GRI (Interinstitutional Relations Group) and the EXCO (Group for External Coordination), and to take duly into consideration the inputs from this leading DG concerning development cooperation and developing countries;

38.  Calls for the mainstreaming of children’s rights in EU legislation through providing for children’s rights impact assessments of the legislative proposals; calls in this regard for the introduction of a children’s rights test in the framework of the impact assessments toolbox, which could consist of consultation of stakeholders, including a child participation mechanism, the identification of affected areas, the measurement of the impact on children and the assessment of alternative mechanisms;

39.  Encourage the Commission, following its commitment enshrined in the EU strategy on the rights of the child, to launch more public consultations addressed to children and adolescents and actively use the EU Child Participation Platform to include the voice of young citizens in the EU decision-making process;

40.  Calls for the institutions to take all necessary measures to ensure the participation of vulnerable people, such as disabled people, in the EU decision-making process; highlights the need for better access to information for all citizens; calls for the launch of more public consultations targeted at particular groups, such as children, young people or older people; calls on all EU decision-makers to take stakeholders’ input into account and ensure effective follow-up in the ensuing decision-making processes;

41.  Calls for the development of impact markers for specific issues such as impacts on vulnerable groups; praises, in this regard, the UNICEF proposal for a child marker evaluating the impact of policies on children and calls for the development of similar mechanisms in other policy areas;

42.  Calls on the Commission to perform impact assessments on all legislative proposals, without exception; deeply regrets that this was not the case for several politically sensitive proposals in the past; recalls that on several occasions Parliament has carried out its own impact assessments in replacement of the Commission’s in order to inform policy-making; calls for a sufficient amount of time and resources to be allocated to impact assessments in order to ensure their quality; nevertheless, recalls that impact assessments help to inform political decision-making, but should never replace or unduly delay the legislative process; highlights, however, that the main focus during the EU’s legislative process should be on quality, transparency and state-of-the-art knowledge and data in the impact assessments and not on the speed at which initiatives are completed; calls for impact assessments to be published immediately upon their completion, and not only when the policy proposal is presented, thus ensuring greater transparency on how EU decisions are taken; acknowledges that the effective implementation of better regulation and, in particular, of the ex ante impact assessments will require an appropriate level of resources; urges the Commission to allocate the appropriate means in this regard;

43.  Highlights and regrets the acknowledged lack of impact assessments for several key legislative files, which can only partly be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and notes the Commission’s intention to publish an analytical staff working document with proposals or within three months of their adoption, in cases where an impact assessment was not prepared; stresses that while this is a welcome step towards more transparency, it should not lead to the Commission circumventing its impact assessment obligations, and that the Commission should publish staff working documents at the same time as the legislative proposal;

44.  Welcomes the intention of the Commission to strengthen territorial impact assessments and rural proofing(15), in order to better take into account the needs and specificities of different EU territories, such as urban/rural areas, cross-border areas and outermost regions; recalls the importance of territorial impact assessments for the European Committee of the Regions, including rural impact assessments, urban impact assessments and cross-border impact assessments;

45.  Highlights the need to develop additional tools to assess the environmental impacts of new policies, initiatives and legislation where existing tools are insufficient, in order to ensure that the green ambitions of the von der Leyen Commission, together with its focus on the UN SDGs, become more prominent in the Commission’s impact assessments and legislative proposals; in this regard, calls for the costs that may arise from policy inaction, notably in the areas of health, the climate, the environment and the social dimension, and the cumulative effects arising from delays to be considered; considers that impact assessments must pay equal attention to the evaluation of the economic, social, health and environmental consequences of the Commission’s proposals in particular, and that the impact on the fundamental rights of citizens and on equality between women and men must be assessed;

46.  Regrets the fact that impact assessments of Union policy and legislation on developing countries, in particular of non-development internal legislation, remain few in number and do not properly assess and address the potential impact on developing countries; strongly believes that ex ante impact assessments are a valuable tool for identifying and addressing potential risks of a policy and/or legislative proposal on developing countries, and in particular on the least developed countries; calls on the Commission to pay more attention to the impact of EU legislation on developing countries and to respect and promote the objectives of development cooperation in these initiatives, when relevant, particularly in areas such as migration, environment, agriculture and combating transnational crime, such as organised crime, drug and human trafficking and money laundering; urges the Commission to translate the impact assessments’ conclusions into legal provisions in its non-development legislative acts, so as to better reflect the EU’s commitment to Article 208 TFEU;

47.  Expresses concerns about the implementation of the provisions of the European Climate Law in cases where no impact assessment is performed, especially for politically sensitive proposals, including secondary legislation; recalls that, as agreed under the IIA, the Commission should carry out impact assessments of its legislative and non-legislative initiatives, delegated acts and implementing measures that are expected to have significant economic, environmental or social impacts;

48.  Notes that tool 35 contains elements to guide the performance of impact analyses in developing countries and expects that this tool will be used extensively; considers that the current sectors for which impact assessments should be prioritised need to mirror current and future challenges of the Union and reflect Parliament’s positions, and should show a clear correspondence with the relevant areas of EU law, so as to facilitate the identification of legislation to which particular attention needs to be paid; suggests that the toolbox needs to be further strengthened in order to facilitate the identification and analysis of potential economic, social and environmental impacts in developing countries; suggests that a new heading, ‘Impact on developing countries’, be introduced for specific tools in the toolbox, including, but not limited to, tools 23, 25 and 26; suggests that under that heading, a number of guiding questions be inserted in order to detect whether legislation contributes to the objectives of development policy and to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in both the EU and developing countries; recalls that human rights impacts, including on children, indigenous people, LGBTIQ people and other vulnerable groups, in developing countries are of importance for European development cooperation; in this regard, calls on the Commission to introduce separate categories of impact assessments on human rights, gender and women’s rights and on the rule of law and good governance in developing countries; recalls that in order to learn from past actions and improve in the future, it is also important to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of the procedures and tools, and, in this regard, calls on the Commission to regularly report back to Parliament on the implementation of tool 35;

49.  Underlines the importance of interlinking human rights impact assessments with the new EU human rights due diligence policy framework by ensuring that the data generated on corporate human rights and environmental risks per sector, business activities and value chains feed into EU-level and national enforcement and monitoring bodies, providing for measurable benchmarks and substantive content;

50.  Recalls that Parliament has set up a dedicated directorate, the Directorate for Impact Assessment and European Added Value, to be able to carry out ex ante and ex post impact assessments with a view to supporting evidence-based policy-making and calls for enough funding and human resources for this directorate and other Parliament services which are designed to support Members’ capacity to improve their function as co-legislators;

51.  Recalls that Parliament assessments should take into account the effectiveness of the provisions in terms of achieving their objectives, ensuring value for money and keeping real costs proportional to benefits, their suitability and relevance to emerging needs, their added value and their internal and external coherence with other policy areas;

52.  Supports the Commission’s commitment to policy reviews and encourages the Commission to make greater use of ex post assessments to evaluate the effectiveness and benefits of legislation which in turn can help inform future policy developments and improve regulatory approaches; stresses the importance of the ‘evaluate first’ principle for ensuring that lessons learnt from the past can influence future policy cycle action; is seriously concerned about the increasing trend of evaluations and impact assessments being carried out in parallel, although evaluation results should feed into any revision of legislation;

53.  Welcomes the fact that quality control for evaluations and their supporting studies has been standardised through interservice groups and quality checklists; observes, however, that the same quality controls are not in place regarding ex post reviews other than evaluations; encourages the Commission to define a set of minimum quality standards for ex post reviews other than evaluations with a view to ensuring their quality across the Commission’s services; considers that such minimum quality standards should require ex post reviews to include a detailed outline of the methodology used, including data collection and analysis tools, a justification of its choice and the limitations involved;

54.  Highlights that monitoring and review clauses in legislation ensure that the necessary data is collected and evaluated; invites the Commission, in cooperation with the European Parliament and the Council, in the context of the existing IIA, to develop an interinstitutional toolbox on review and monitoring clauses, containing, among other things, a taxonomy of possible outcomes and/or ex post reviews that can be requested and guidance on drafting monitoring clauses, both for the EU institutions or bodies and the Member States;

55.  Stresses that ex post evaluations are also an important tool to assess the impact of legislation on citizens and businesses, whereby special attention should be given to the impact on SMEs, and calls on the Commission to enable the F4F Platform and the Member States to provide feedback on the Commission’s cost and benefits estimates after implementation;

56.  Stresses that better law-making objectives need to be regularly reviewed and evaluated against the criteria of the better law-making agenda, including monitoring and reporting; underlines that the objectives need to be well-balanced, proportionate and evaluated in terms of their effectiveness; recalls the importance of comparable EU-wide data for the purposes of this evaluation and calls on the Commission to examine whether the use of the better regulation tools have helped to achieve objectives such as improved policy outcomes;

57.  Welcomes the Commission’s renewed commitment to transparency of the evaluation process and calls for the publication of multiannual evaluation plans, including the relevant background information used; further emphasises the need to increase the availability of public, complete and accessible evidence supporting impact assessments and evaluations, and welcomes, in this regard, the Commission’s intention to improve its evidence registers and the links between them as well as to make its internal databases and repositories easily publicly accessible; supports, in this regard, the Commission’s intention to set-up a Joint Legislative Portal, which should provide the most intuitive layout and user-friendly experience possible in order to avoid information overload and insists on the need to make this joint portal fully operational by the end of 2022; endorses the objective of increased cooperation between the institutions to facilitate and streamline access to all of the data collected on a given policy initiative throughout the legislative process;

58.  Underlines that EU-funded pilot projects and proofs of concept, where possible, can contribute to shape the drafting of legislation, as well as facilitate its implementation and enforcement;

59.  Stresses that it is important that the Commission answer written questions from Parliament in due time; regrets the fact that in the past, the vast majority of written questions have been answered late and insists that the Commission improve its response time to written questions; points out that the quality of the replies to Parliament’s questions is often very poor and calls, therefore, for an immediate and structurally significant improvement of the Commission’s answers to parliamentary questions;

60.  Stresses that transparency from the European institutions is key to the legislative process, as citizens have a right to know how laws affecting them are made; welcomes the agreement that was recently reached on the Transparency Register with the Council; regrets the fact that not all EU institutions and bodies, as well as Member States’ representations, are obliged to apply the Transparency Register;

61.  Calls for further improvement within all institutions of the transparency of discussions and decisions; deplores the lack of transparency in the Council’s decision-making process and the practice of over-classifying documents and applying a very broad interpretation of the exceptions included under Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, in particular with regard to the protection of the decision-making process and the protection of legal advice, which often means that the principle of overriding public interest in the disclosure of related documents is not applied; believes that the use of secrecy exceptions for Council documents should be applied in a coherent system with independent oversight and consistency with the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU); urges the Council to increase the number and type of relevant documents they make public, in particular the positions expressed by the Member States, so that the public has the opportunity to know what position their government took on their behalf at EU level and also to contribute to enhancing the scrutiny of EU decision-making by national parliaments, applying to all decisions, from legislative files to implementing and delegated acts;

62.  Recalls that transparency and publicity in relation to an ongoing legislative procedure are inherent to the legislative process and can therefore be applied to access to documents for trilogues as stated by the CJEU in its case-law, in case T-540/15, Emilio De Capitani v European Parliament in particular; believes that the EU needs to develop a more ambitious access to documents policy and provide for better application of the existing rules, including for documents related to internal, trilogue and international negotiations; recalls that, according to the European Ombudsman, restrictions on access to documents, particularly legislative documents, should be exceptional and limited to what is absolutely necessary; adds, furthermore, that openness and transparency confer greater legitimacy on and confidence in the democratic legislative process of the EU; regrets the practice whereby ‘efficiency of the institution’s decision-making process’ is routinely invoked to refuse access to legislative preparatory documents;

63.  Considers that Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 on public access to documents could be reviewed so that, for example, digitalisation and digital document management, existing case-law on transparency and access to documents, and general developments in the public perception of transparency would be fully taken into account; emphasises that any revision should lead to more, not less, transparency;

64.  Stresses that open, efficient, transparent and independent administrative and legislative decision-making processes are a precondition of high-quality policies and regulation; emphasises that the introduction of harmonised administrative procedures could contribute positively to good governance and regulatory practices in the EU and reinforce the connection between expert decision-making and democratic legitimacy; recalls that in its resolutions of 15 January 2013, 9 June 2016 and 20 January 2021, Parliament called for the adoption of a regulation on an open, efficient and independent EU administration under Article 298 TFEU, and notes that this request has not been followed up by a Commission proposal; calls, therefore, once again on the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal on a European law of administrative procedure, taking into account the steps taken so far by Parliament in this field;

65.  Recalls the need to apply consistent principles of legislative drafting, in particular transparency, accountability, as well as clarity and precision, in line with the principles recognised by CJEU jurisprudence;

66.  Points out that bodies with even lower levels of transparency such as the Eurogroup should, as a first step, be subject to the Council’s rules of procedure, and make available to the public the voting procedures, minutes, results and explanation of votes, and its deliberations;

67.  Takes note of the use of instruments such as the REFIT and the F4F Platform to identify opportunities for simplification and reducing unnecessary costs and administrative burdens before the Commission proposes a revision, while ensuring the highest standards of protection and enhancing compliance with EU law; recalls that the F4F Platform’s role is also to assess whether specific Union legislation and its objectives remain future-proof, proportionate, and adapted to new challenges, while focusing on regulatory offsetting;

68.  Calls on the Commission to step up its efforts to identify the most effective solutions by applying the principles of better regulation so that, for the purposes of EU policies, benefits can be maximised and associated costs simultaneously minimised in the interests of the beneficiaries; underlines the need for the consistent application of the ‘think small first’ principle and the strengthening of the principle of being ‘big on big things, small on small things’ in order to ensure a proper focus on SMEs in EU and national legislation, and as the basis for a new interinstitutional commitment to reducing administrative burdens;

69.  Welcomes the Commission’s decision to establish a subgroup within the F4F Platform consisting of the European Committee of the Regions’ Network of Regional Hubs; calls on the Commission to give meaningful follow-up to the platform’s opinions and to reinforce the evidence-based approach of its ex post and ex ante evaluations with local and regional expertise;

70.  Recalls that mid-term reviews and sunset clauses are useful tools to ensure that our EU laws are always up to date or are withdrawn in a timely manner after serving their purpose; considers that the Commission should develop and introduce a more integrated approach on sustainability that would better take into account the interplay of the economic, social and environmental impacts of EU policies and legislation; recommends that the F4F Platform identify and explore legislation that runs counter to the European Green Deal and wider SDG objectives, including by adopting a ‘think sustainability first’ approach in this context;

71.  Reiterates its call on the Commission(16) to facilitate the achievement of the European Green Deal by tackling obstacles and red tape that may slow down its implementation, by paying special attention to the implications and costs of applying Union laws, especially for SMEs;

72.  Recalls that the assessment of ‘unnecessary burden’ needs to consider ‘net’ effects of EU legislation at different administrative levels, while taking the principle of subsidiarity fully into account, where the adoption of one piece of EU-level legislation, especially in the form of directly applicable EU regulations, can result in a lower administrative burden at national or local levels, as well as improve the functioning of the internal market by making the rules transparent and predictable and ensuring that they are uniformly applied in all EU Member States, thereby also reducing the cost and impact of negative environmental, climate and health-related externalities; notes that making EU legislation clearer to comply with, for instance via the better regulation agenda, might support the uniform application of EU legislation;

73.  Notes that further progress needs to be achieved, in particular in the realm of the simplification and standardisation of forms and procedures, with the consistent implementation of the ‘once only’ and ‘digital by default’ principles, both at EU and Member State level;

74.  Believes that all international trade and investment agreements need to be ‘fit for the future’ in all their dimensions, thereby promoting economic, social and environmental sustainability and contributing to the fulfilment of international commitments; stresses, in this regard, the importance of conducting sustainability impact assessments prior to launching trade and investment negotiations; underlines the need to develop and to make use of a more integrated approach on sustainability that would better take into account the interplay of the economic, social and environmental impacts of EU legislation, policies and initiatives, including its trade and investment agreements, by also taking into account the cumulative impact that different legislative proposals, as well as trade and investment agreements, could have overall;

75.  Believes that the EU institutions should draw on expertise from different policy areas in order to ensure optimal decision-making and adopt highly effective measures; calls for all three EU institutions to improve coordination between their internal bodies and to avoid working in silos; stresses the importance of promoting coherent regulatory systems through, for example, the harmonisation of concepts across related legislative initiatives, as this can improve compliance;

76.  Stresses the need to explore innovative legislative approaches such as legal design; highlights that legal design is a human-centred approach that can help bridge the gap between EU citizens, stakeholders and EU legislation; recalls that a human-centred approach postulates that legislation ought to be primarily created with citizens and stakeholders in mind and should be easily understandable;

77.  Draws the attention of the Council and the Commission to the recommendations made by Parliament’s Focus Groups underlining the need to revise Rules 132 and 166 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure on access to the Council and the Commission so as to allow MEPs to attend or be questioned during meetings of Council working groups, the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) or Council;

78.  Stresses the requirement set out in Article 218(10) TFEU to keep the European Parliament immediately and fully informed at all stages of the procedure related to agreements between the Union and third countries or international organisations; deplores the fact that Parliament is not granted access to the different proposals related to the negotiating positions of the contracting parties to international trade and investment agreements; considers that the IIA on BLM, which acknowledges the importance of ensuring that each institution can exercise its rights and fulfil its obligations enshrined in the Treaties regarding the negotiation and conclusion of international agreements, should be adequately implemented in this regard;

79.  Underlines the need to ensure the proportionality of regulatory requirements in the context of international trade instruments;

80.  Stresses that established practices in relation to the provisional application of trade and investment agreements should be applied to all international agreements, in order to ensure that no agreement is provisionally applied before Parliament has voted to give its consent;

81.  Believes that effective regulation must strike a balance between short-term needs and long-term challenges; underlines that ‘strategic foresight’ plays a key role in helping to future-proof EU policy-making by ensuring that assessments of new initiatives are grounded in a longer-term perspective, emphasising the added value of quality legislation as an investment in the future; welcomes the integration of ‘foresight elements’ into the Commission’s better regulation agenda in impact assessments and evaluations; considers, however, that the Commission should better align and combine its better regulation and strategic foresight activities in order to better integrate both processes; underlines that the Commission’s methodology for quantifying costs, deciding on trade-offs and implementing strategic foresight remains unclear, and urges the Commission to provide proof of how these approaches have been followed in practice; encourages the Commission to look into innovative cost assessment tools; strongly recommends in this regard also to take the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change established under Article 10(a) of Regulation (EC) No 401/2009 in connection with Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality into account in the strategic foresight process;

82.  Takes note of the involvement of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board in impact assessments, fitness checks, and major evaluations of current legislation, which improves the evidence-based work of the Commission; notes that the Regulatory Scrutiny Board can play a role in ensuring an unbiased and high-quality level of work from the Commission and that its expertise and experience could be used to carry out other tasks within the Commission; stresses that the Regulatory Scrutiny Board can only provide an effective check on the Commission’s work if its independence and impartiality are indisputably established; calls, in this regard, for the independence of the board and for the transparency of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board on meetings with stakeholders, reviews, recommendations and opinions to be significantly improved, including through making the use of the Transparency Register mandatory for members of the Board; underlines that the work of the Board should not ultimately affect the Commission’s capacity to propose legislation or unduly delay the adoption of legislative proposals; calls on the Commission to publish all of the Board’s opinions immediately after adoption, without any exception, in order to ensure coherence, transparency and accountability throughout the process, and also to deliver them to Parliament and the Council; further calls on the Commission also to make the draft evaluations and draft impact assessments that are submitted to the board available to the co-legislators; takes note that the Regulatory Scrutiny Board is composed of four members of the Commission and three external experts; calls on the Commission to reconsider the decision-making process of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board, as the current system allows opinions to be adopted without the input of external experts or to establish an independent Regulatory Scrutiny Board outside the Commission; further calls on the Commission to extend its collaboration with the Regulatory Scrutiny Board, strengthening it by providing more means for it to do its work and to ensure support from the Joint Research Centre;

83.  Takes note of the ‘one in, one out’ approach by which the Commission aims to offset newly introduced burdens by relieving citizens and businesses of equivalent burdens at EU level in the same policy area; takes note that the ‘one in, one out’ approach aims to strengthen the REFIT programme by extending it beyond the burdens arising from current acts to also include burdens from new legislation, as well as to manage the cumulative burden in each policy area; calls for the ‘one in, one out’ approach also to be based on relevant stakeholder involvement; notes that the Commission introduced this approach unilaterally, without a prior impact assessment or consultation; underlines that the implementation of this approach should not affect political imperatives or the objectives of better regulation, and emphasises that it should not lead to mechanical or mathematical decisions to repeal legislation, lower its standard or result in a chilling effect on legislation, and that its aim should be to modernise and reform EU legislation to face new challenges, including by replacing, merging and improving legislation; stresses nevertheless that, while additional unnecessary administrative burdens should be avoided when designing, transposing and implementing EU legislation, this approach should not be translated into deregulation or ‘no-regulation’, nor should it prevent Member States from maintaining or taking more ambitious measures and adopting higher social, environmental and consumer protection standards in cases where only minimum standards are defined by Union law;

84.  Insists that the effective implementation of EU law is essential in order to enhance citizens’ trust in EU policies and institutions; recalls that under Article 197 TFEU, such implementation must be regarded as a matter of common interest for the Member States; calls on the Member States to avoid adding unnecessary additional administrative or compliance burdens when transposing EU legislation, especially for SMEs, since so-called gold-plating practices are one of the main sources of unnecessary administrative burdens; considers nevertheless that the principle of better regulation should not prevent Member States’ parliaments from maintaining or taking more ambitious measures in cases where only minimum standards are set out in Union law; supports the Commission’s request to the Member States to report when they choose to add elements that do not stem from EU legislation;

85.  Recalls that the need for new legislation should not automatically imply that current legislation is no longer needed; in this regard, is of the opinion that a thorough impact assessment must equally be conducted for any potential repeal, to avoid unexpected consequences and undesirable effects; calls for this approach to be based on a transparent and evidence-based methodology giving proportionate consideration to all sustainability aspects, both in terms of benefits and costs, including the costs of non-compliance and inaction, and taking into account the administrative or economic impacts, while also looking at the EU acquis holistically and considering their social, environmental and public health impacts; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to make its ‘one in, one out’ calculator public and to obtain the support of the other EU institutions before applying this approach; considers that better law-making should primarily be based on qualitative rather than quantitative considerations; underlines the importance of quality legislation in delivering on EU flagship initiatives; welcomes the Commission communication’s commitment to work with Member States, regions and key stakeholders to remove obstacles and red tape hindering the progress of the green transition; stresses the importance of ex post evaluations to ensure that the EU is delivering on its commitments;

86.  Underlines, moreover, that, in applying the ‘one in, one out’ approach, all compliance costs, both administrative and adjustment costs, should be considered; stresses the need to ensure that this approach is applied by the Member States, as well as by local and regional authorities, during the relevant transposition process; encourages the exchange of best practices on compensatory measures, methodologies and the data collected;

87.  Stresses that trust in the enforcement of regulations plays an important role in the legitimacy of European legislation; calls on the Commission to increase its efforts in enforcing the EU’s laws and to effectively address all breaches of EU law;

88.  Stresses, in this regard, the importance of Parliament, the Council and the Commission engaging in a more structured cooperation in order to assess the implementation and effectiveness of Union law with a view to improving it; points out the need for the swift, timely and correct implementation of Union legislation by the Member States in order to properly assess the need for further legislation;

89.  Notes that the persistently large number of infringement procedures shows that the timely and correct implementation and application of EU law in the Member States remains a serious challenge and requests urgent measures to enhance the transparency of Commission decisions taken in such procedures; reiterates that the effective enforcement of EU legislation is a key part of the better law-making agenda; points out that excessive regulatory burdens for citizens and businesses can often be attributed to Member States’ compliance issues; calls on the Commission to enforce EU legislation in full and without undue delay and to leverage all existing tools; stresses that the Commission’s enforcement policy must be more predictable and transparent and reinforce legal certainty for all stakeholders;

90.  Invites the Conference on the Future of Europe to discuss the strengthening of the European Parliament’s right of legislative initiative, as it is the only democratically elected body in the EU and directly represents European citizens; recalls Commission President von der Leyen’s commitment to support Parliament’s right of initiative; regrets that this possibility has been regularly deferred to future Treaty revisions; stresses that a parliamentary right of initiative is an important feature of representative democracy at Member State level and sees the necessity to empower MEPs, as the direct representatives of EU citizens, by strengthening their right to shape the EU’s legislative agenda; welcomes the commitment of the Commission President to support the right of initiative of the European Parliament and the Commission’s commitment to always respond with a legislative act to requests under Article 225 TFEU; calls on the Council and the Commission to eliminate possible barriers to Parliament’s ability to exercise its power to propose legislative initiatives; considers that the Framework Agreement could be revised to ensure increased facilitation of this right; highlights the need to also clarify differences between the various types of Parliament reports and clarify the action requested from the Commission;

91.  Stresses that the Conference on the Future of Europe is an unparalleled initiative of directly engaging with the EU’s citizens in order to hear about their perspective on European policy-making; believes that, following the conclusion of the Conference, an evaluation must be made to explore the possibility of introducing practices that can increase citizen participation in the legislative process; underlines the importance of enabling citizens to fully exercise their democratic right to participate in the EU’s decision-making process through active interaction with their elected representatives, as well as promoting direct participation; suggests that the Commission reflect on integrating participatory mechanisms into the interinstitutional dialogue which leads up to its annual work programme;

92.  Notes EU citizens’ rapidly evolving understanding of the impact of EU governance on their daily lives and on future developments against the backdrop of an increasingly social media-driven information society, which accelerates and increases awareness about the functioning of EU decision-making and the demands on EU governance; reiterates that there is a need to fully engage citizens in the EU decision-making process beyond the act of voting and in other channels and instruments, in a manner which takes into account the entire policy cycle; reiterates the importance of effective participatory mechanisms and its call for the establishment of permanent participatory mechanisms in line with its resolution of 7 July 2021(17), and highlights the need to establish them at the European, national, regional and local levels, including the necessary tools for adequate horizontal and vertical coordination among institutions at different levels; considers that these mechanisms could build on, but not be limited to, online policy debate platforms, youth consultations and a continuation of the Citizens’ Panels;

93.  Points out that better law-making requires effective legislative procedures conducive to concluding EU decision-making procedures within a suitable time frame; regrets the fact that the special legislative procedures set out in the Treaties have too seldom been successfully concluded owing to the lack of commitment of the Council and in the absence of effective procedural guidelines;

94.  Welcomes the Conference on the Future of Europe’s deliberations on the participation of citizens in the EU decision-making process; highlights in particular the recommendations of Citizens’ Panel No 1, in particular recommendations 35, 36, 41, 46 and 48, as well of Citizens’ Panel No 2, in particular sub-stream 2.1, No 10 and No 11; sub-stream 3.1, No 16; sub-stream 4.1, No 24 and sub-stream 4.2, No 29 and No 32, and stream 5, Citizens’ Participation, especially No 39 thereof; insists on the need to meaningfully engage with the recommendations made in the final report on the Conference, which will be drawn up by the Executive Board in cooperation with the Conference Plenary on the basis of the Conference Plenary’s debates on the recommendations from the national and European Citizens’ Panels, as well as input from the Multilingual Digital Platform; considers that the panels’ recommendations clearly demonstrate that citizens are calling for more transparency in EU public debate and for more outreach and more information to be provided by the EU institutions through the active use of all communication channels, while emphasising the role of social media, which should accompany EU decision-making, including legislative processes; calls on the Commission, the Council and Parliament to implement the final conclusions of the Conference based on the Citizens Panels’ recommendations, in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Treaties;

95.  Recommends that the legislative process arising from the right of legislative initiative conferred on Parliament by the Treaties must include a request for the establishment of a legislative calendar for the initiatives concerned, similar to the ordinary legislative procedure; underlines, moreover, that any such special legislative procedure must respect the provisions of the IIA on BLM on the institutional obligation for all three institutions to negotiate and to do so in line with the principle of mutual sincere cooperation in Article 13(2) TEU;

96.  Considers that in cases in which Parliament exercises the right of initiative, such as on the regulations relating to its own composition, the election of its Members and the general conditions for the exercise of its functions, and the statute of the Ombudsman, as well as the constitution of temporary committees of inquiry, measures should be considered in a future Interinstitutional Agreement to avoid important institutional files becoming blocked;

97.  Stresses the important role played by Parliament as the institution representing the citizens of the EU, including in its oversight of and cooperation with the Commission and other institutions on behalf of the public and in ensuring a bottom-up approach regarding the effects of legislation on citizens; reiterates, therefore, the importance of safeguarding the role of Parliament in the preliminary assessment of future legislation, through existing parliamentary tools;

98.  Welcomes the Commission’s efforts to consolidate the consultation process, the commitment to report on each public consultation within eight weeks of its closure and the commitment to more actively publicising consultations in order to reach more citizens, stakeholders, including SMEs, and local and regional authorities; calls on the Member States to contribute to this process by promoting the consultations within their territories; notes that some stakeholders with greater financial resources can be more active in contributing to consultations; believes that the input collected needs to reflect a balanced view of the stakeholder landscape and this requires facilitating the collection of input from all stakeholders, including citizens and citizens’ representatives with fewer resources;

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

(1) OJ C 425, 20.10.2021, p. 43.
(2) OJ L 123, 12.5.2016, p. 1.
(3) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0316.
(4) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0242.
(5) OJ C 86, 6.3.2018, p. 126.
(6) OJ C 445, 29.10.2021, p. 2.
(7) OJ 270, 7.7.2021, p. 2.
(8) https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/SPEECH_19_4230
(9) P9_PV(2021)06-07(17).
(10) Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 2021 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulations (EC) No 401/2009 and (EU) 2018/1999 (‘European Climate Law’) (OJ L 243, 9.7.2021, p. 1).
(11) European Court of Auditors special report no 14/2019: ‘‘Have your say!’: Commission’s public consultations engage citizens, but fall short of outreach activities’.
(12) https://eur-lex.europa.eu/statistics/2021/legislative-acts-statistics.html; https://eur-lex.europa.eu/statistics/legal-acts/2021/legislative-acts-statistics-repealed-and-expired-acts.html
(13) Regulatory sandboxes are defined as concrete frameworks which, by providing a structured context for experimentation, enable, where appropriate in a real-world environment, the testing of innovative technologies, products, services or approaches – at the moment especially in the context of digitalisation – for a limited time and in a limited part of a sector or area under regulatory supervision, ensuring that appropriate safeguards are in place.
(14) https://www.statista.com/statistics/878412/number-of-smes-in-europe-by-size
(15) In its communication of 30 June 2021 entitled ‘A long-term Vision for the EU’s rural areas – Towards stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas by 2040’ (COM(2021)0345), the Commission describes rural proofing as follows: ‘Given the multidimensional nature of rural development and the fact the Treaties aim for economic, social and territorial cohesion, there is a need to review EU policies through a rural lens, considering their potential impacts and implications on rural jobs and growth as well as development prospects, social well-being and equal opportunities for all, and the environmental quality of rural areas’.
(16) The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety’s opinion on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2022 – all sections.
(17) OJ C 99, 1.3.2022, p. 96.


US Supreme Court decision to overturn abortion rights in the United States and the need to safeguard abortion rights and Women’s health in the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 7 July 2022 on the US Supreme Court decision to overturn abortion rights in the United States and the need to safeguard abortion rights and women’s heath in the EU (2022/2742(RSP))
P9_TA(2022)0302B9-0365/2022

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950,

–  having regard to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of 1979,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the ‘Charter’) of 2000,

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 June 2021 on the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU, in the frame of women’s health(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2022 entitled ‘Global threats to abortion rights: the possible overturning of abortion rights in the US by the Supreme Court’(2),

–  having regard to the decision of 24 June 2022 of the US Supreme Court, overturning, by five votes in favour and four against, the Roe v Wade ruling, thereby putting an end to the federal constitutional right to abortion,

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

A.  whereas the United States Supreme Court established a precedent in the landmark case of Roe v Wade (1973), later affirmed in Planned Parenthood v Casey (1992) and Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt (2016), guaranteeing the constitutional right to legal pre-viability abortion in the US; whereas the Supreme Court decided on 24 June 2022 to overturn, by five votes in favour and four against, the Roe v Wade ruling, putting an end to the federal constitutional right to abortion, allowing states to ban abortion at any point during pregnancy and opening up the possibility of complete bans on abortion;

B.  whereas, following the adoption of this decision by the Court, eight states have already banned abortion; whereas it is expected that 26 states may end up passing laws that almost completely outlaw abortion; whereas 13 states have what are known as ‘trigger’ laws, which immediately came into effect after Roe v Wade was overturned; whereas since then, there has been a growing number of demonstrations both within the US and worldwide to defend the right to abortion; whereas, in the meantime, resistance against the Court’s decision has been growing, notably with the publication on 24 June 2022 of a ‘Multi-State Commitment’ from the Governors of California, Oregon and Washington ‘to defend access to reproductive health care, including abortion and contraceptives, and committed to protecting patients and doctors against efforts by other states to export their abortion bans to our states’(3);

C.  whereas the lives of women and girls across the United States will be impacted by the Supreme Court’s decision, and its harmful consequences will be experienced most acutely by individuals in vulnerable situations; whereas other sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) could also be negatively impacted; whereas restrictions or a ban on the right to abortion in the US, the EU and worldwide will have a disproportionate impact on women in poverty, in particular racialised women, including Black women, Hispanic women and Indigenous women, as well as women from rural areas, LGBTIQ people, women with disabilities, adolescents, migrant women, including irregular migrants, and single-parent households headed by women; whereas public abortion services can provide universal access to safe and legal abortion for all women, including those in vulnerable socio-economic situations;

D.  whereas SRHR, including safe and legal abortion care, constitute a fundamental right; whereas criminalising, delaying and denying access to SRHR constitutes a form of violence against women and girls; whereas these restrictions and bans do not reduce the number of abortions, but only force people to travel long distances or to resort to unsafe abortions, also making them vulnerable to criminal investigation and prosecution, and affect the people who are most lacking in resources and information; whereas almost all deaths stemming from unsafe abortions occur in countries where abortion is severely restricted; whereas it is estimated that the annual number of maternal deaths in the US due to unsafe abortions would increase by 21 %(4) by the second year after a ban takes effect; whereas such deaths are entirely preventable; whereas abortion bans will also lead to an increase in deaths related to forced pregnancy;

E.  whereas among adolescent girls aged 15-19, pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death globally; whereas teenage mothers are significantly more likely to discontinue their studies and face unemployment, thereby exacerbating the cycle of poverty;

F.  whereas there is a growing concern about data protection in the context of Roe v Wade having been overturned; whereas through menstrual tracking apps or geolocation tools and search engines, data can be collected on people having approached an abortion clinic, purchased an abortion pill or searched for information; whereas people can potentially be flagged for this or the information collected used against them; whereas in states that have banned abortion or are going to do so, digital data on those seeking, providing or facilitating abortion can be used by the judicial authorities;

G.  whereas despite general progress in SRHR protection around the world, including in Europe, backsliding on the right to access safe and legal abortion is a grave concern; whereas the overturning of Roe v Wade could embolden the anti-abortion movement in the European Union; whereas Poland is the only EU Member State to have removed a ground for abortion from its laws, as the illegitimate Constitutional Tribunal ruled on 22 October 2020 to reverse the long-established rights of Polish women, entailing a de facto abortion ban; whereas abortion is banned in Malta; whereas medical abortion in early pregnancy is not legal in Slovakia and is not available in Hungary; whereas access to abortion is also being eroded in Italy(5); whereas access to abortion care is being denied in other EU Member States, such as recently in Croatia(6); whereas it is imperative for the EU and its Member States to defend SRHR and to stress that women’s rights are inalienable, and that they cannot be removed or watered down; whereas it is critical for the EU and its Member States to continue to make progress in guaranteeing access to safe, legal and timely abortion care in accordance with World Health Organization recommendations and evidence;

H.  whereas in Europe, women are still facing obstacles preventing them from enjoying their rights and freedoms, owing to legal restrictions, which neglect women’s rights and needlessly put their lives at risk; whereas in a recent case Andrea Prudente, an American tourist, was banned from having an abortion in Malta in spite of her life being in danger; whereas the human rights defender of women, Justyna Wydrzyńska, has been charged under Poland’s draconian anti-abortion law for having provided medical abortion pills to another woman;

I.  whereas the Charter enshrines the main fundamental rights and liberties for people living in the EU; whereas the protection of safe and legal abortion has direct implications for the effective exercise of the rights recognised in the Charter, such as human dignity, personal autonomy, equality and physical integrity;

J.  whereas on 9 June 2022, Parliament adopted a strong resolution entitled ‘Global threats to abortion rights: the possible overturning of abortion rights in the US by the Supreme Court’; whereas the recommendations of this resolution remain relevant and should be applied(7);

1.  Strongly condemns once again the backsliding in women’s rights and SRHR taking place globally, including in the US and in some EU Member States; recalls that SRHR are fundamental human rights which should be protected and enhanced and cannot in any way be watered down or withdrawn; calls on the governments of those states which have passed laws and other measures concerning bans and restrictions on abortion to repeal them and to ensure that their legislation is in line with internationally protected women’s human rights and international human rights standards;

2.  Proposes to include the right to abortion in the Charter; considers that a proposal should be submitted to the Council to amend the Charter as follows:

Article 7a (new):"“Article 7aRight to abortionEveryone has the right to safe and legal abortion.”;"

3.  Reiterates, in this context, its resolution of 9 June 2022 on the call for a Convention for the revision of the Treaties; expects the European Council to convene to this end; proposes that in this process, the right to safe and legal abortion be included in the Charter; calls for the European Parliament to be involved in every step of the process;

4.  Expresses its firm solidarity with and support for women and girls in the US, as well as to those involved in both the provision of and advocacy for the right and access to legal and safe abortion care in such challenging circumstances; supports, likewise, the calls for the US Congress to pass a bill that would protect abortion at federal level;

5.  Is deeply concerned about the fact that bans and other restrictions on abortion disproportionately affect women in poverty, in particular racialised women, including Black women, Hispanic women and Indigenous women, as well as women from rural areas, LGBTIQ people, women with disabilities, adolescents, migrant women, including irregular migrants, and single-parent households headed by women; stresses that women who, owing to financial or logistical barriers, cannot afford to travel to reproductive health clinics in neighbouring states or countries, are at greater risk of undergoing unsafe and life-threatening procedures, and of being forced to carry their pregnancy to term against their will, which is a violation of human rights and a form of gender-based violence(8);

6.  Calls on the US Government to ensure data protection for everyone, especially for those seeking, providing and facilitating abortions, by allowing private and secured access, stopping behavioural tracking, strengthening data deletion policies, encrypting data in transit, enabling end-to-end message encryption by default, preventing location tracking and ensuring that users are notified when their data is being sought(9);

7.  Stresses the lack of access to contraception and the existing unmet needs(10); stresses that priority should be given to combating sexual violence and to comprehensive, age-appropriate and evidence-based sexuality and relationship education for all, a range of high-quality, accessible, safe, affordable and, where appropriate, free contraceptive methods and supplies, and family planning counselling, as well as health services; acknowledges the role played by NGOs as service providers and as advocates for SRHR and encourages them to continue with their work;

8.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to step up their political support for human rights defenders and healthcare providers working to advance SRHR, as well as for women’s rights and SRHR civil society and grassroots organisations, which are key actors for gender-equal societies and crucial providers of SRHR services and information, particularly those working in challenging contexts in Europe; urges the Commission to protect and support these defenders against any persecution they might face;

9.  Is concerned about a possible surge in the flow of money funding anti-gender and anti-choice groups in the world, including in Europe;

10.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to legally recognise abortion and to defend respect for the right to safe and legal abortion and other SRHR; calls further for the EU to act as an advocate and make the recognition of this right a key priority in negotiations within international institutions and in other multilateral forums such as the Council of Europe, as well as to advocate its inclusion in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

11.  Condemns the fact that many women in the EU still cannot access abortion services as a result of the remaining legal, financial, social and practical restrictions in some Member States;

12.  Urges the Member States to decriminalise abortion and remove and combat obstacles to safe and legal abortion and access to SRHR; calls on the Member States to guarantee access to safe, legal and free abortion services, to pre-natal and maternal healthcare services and supplies, voluntary family planning, contraception, youth-friendly services, and to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, without discrimination;

13.  Recommends that a delegation to the US be organised as soon as possible to evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision and to support women’s rights NGOs and pro-choice movements in the country; requests that upcoming delegations of the European Parliament travelling to Washington consistently raise the issue of abortion rights and meet with women’s rights organisations;

14.  Calls on the European External Action Service, the EU Delegation to the US, the Commission and all EU Member States to use all instruments at their disposal to strengthen their actions to counteract the backsliding in women’s rights and SRHR, including by compensating for any possible reduction in US funding to SRHR globally, and by strongly advocating and prioritising universal access to safe and legal abortion and other SRHR in their external relations;

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 EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the President of the United States of America and his administration, the US Congress, and the US Supreme Court.

(1) OJ C 81, 18.2.2022, p. 43.
(2) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0243.
(3) https://www.gov.ca.gov/2022/06/24/west-coast-states-launch-new-multi-state-commitment-to-reproductive-freedom-standing-united-on-protecting-abortion-access/
(4) https://ncpolicywatch.com/2022/05/05/study-shows-an-abortion-ban-may-lead-to-a-21-increase-in-pregnancy-related-deaths/
(5) https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectId=0900001680687bdc; http://www.refreg.ep.parl.union.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2018/608853/IPOL_BRI(2018)608853_EN.pdf
(6) https://www.roda.hr/en/news/support-for-accessible-safe-and-legal-termination-of-pregnancy-in-croatia.html
(7) https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2022-0243_EN.html
(8) https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Women/WRGS/SexualHealth/INFO_Abortion_WEB.pdf
(9) https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/06/effs-statement-dobbs-abortion-ruling
(10) UNFPA state of world population report, ‘Seeing the Unseen: The case for action in the neglected crisis of unintended pregnancy’, 30 March 2022.

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