Texts adopted
Wednesday, 5 October 2022 - Strasbourg
Situation of Roma people living in settlements in the EU
 Key objectives for the CITES CoP19 meeting in Panama
 The EU’s strategic relationship and partnership with the Horn of Africa
 Access to water as a human right – the external dimension
 The EU’s response to the increase in energy prices in Europe

Situation of Roma people living in settlements in the EU
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European Parliament resolution of 5 October 2022 on the situation of Roma people living in settlements in the EU (2022/2662(RSP))

The European Parliament,

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

–  having regard to the European Social Charter,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to the Council of Europe legal framework for minority protection, the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, particularly on manifestly discriminatory practices of segregating Roma children in education, and the case law of the Court of Justice,

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

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

–  having regard to Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives(3) (the Waste Framework Directive),

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law(4),

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

–  having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Commission communication of 4 March 2021 on the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan (COM(2021)0102),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 February 2011 on an EU Strategy on Roma Inclusion(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 December 2013 on gender aspects of the European Framework of National Roma Inclusion Strategies(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 February 2019 on the need for a strengthened post-2020 Strategic EU Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies and stepping up the fight against anti-Gypsyism(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 June 2020 on the European Disability Strategy post-2020(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 17 September 2020 entitled ‘The implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies: combating negative attitudes towards people with Romani background in Europe’(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 21 January 2021 on access to decent and affordable housing for all(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 March 2021 on children’s rights in view of the EU Strategy on the rights of the child(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 April 2022 on the EU’s protection of children and young people fleeing the war in Ukraine(12),

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

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

–  having regard to the FRA monitoring framework for an EU Roma Strategic Framework for Equality, Inclusion and Participation,

–  having regard to the FRA bulletin of 29 September 2020 entitled ‘Coronavirus pandemic in the EU – Impact on Roma and Travellers’,

–  having regard to the FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless) statement of 26 October 2020 entitled ‘The Housing Situation for Roma in the EU Remains Difficult’,

–  having regard to the European Network on Statelessness briefing of 10 March 2022 entitled ‘Stateless people and people at risk of statelessness forcibly displaced from Ukraine’,

–  having regard to the Unicef position paper of June 2012 entitled ‘The Right of Roma Children to Education’,

–  having regard to Special Report No 14/2016 of the European Court of Auditors of 28 June 2016 entitled ‘EU policy initiatives and financial support for Roma integration: significant progress made over the last decade, but additional efforts needed on the ground’,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 18 September 2020 entitled ‘A Union of equality: EU anti-racism Action Plan 2020-2025’ (COM(2020)0565),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 7 October 2020 entitled ‘A Union of Equality: EU Roma strategic framework for equality, inclusion and participation’ (COM(2020)0620),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 24 November 2020 entitled ‘Action plan on Integration and Inclusion’ (COM(2020)0758),

–  having regard to the Council recommendation of 12 March 2021 on Roma equality, inclusion and participation(13),

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

–  having regard to Council Recommendation (EU) 2021/1004 of 14 June 2021 establishing a European Child Guarantee(14),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 5 March 2020 entitled ‘A Union of Equality: Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025’ (COM(2020)0152),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 3 March 2021 entitled ‘Union of Equality: Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030’ (COM(2021)0101),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (COM(2008)0426),

–  having regard to 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(15) (the Temporary Protection Directive),

–  having regard to the questions to the Council and to the Commission on the situation of Roma people living in settlements in the EU (O-000022/2022 – B9‑0018/2022 and O‑000023/2022 – B9‑0019/2022),

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

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

A.  whereas EU values prevail in a society which respects diversity, pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and gender equality; whereas the Member States have a particular responsibility to guarantee these values for all, including Roma people;

B.  whereas ‘Roma’ is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of different people of Romani origin such as Roma, Sinti, Kale, Romanichels and Boyash/Rudari; whereas it also encompasses groups such as Ashkali, Egyptians, Yenish, Dom, Lom, Rom and Abdal, as well as traveller populations, including ethnic Travellers or those designated under the administrative term gens du voyage, and people who identify as Gypsies, Tsiganes or Tziganes, without denying their specificities;

C.  whereas Roma people are Europe’s largest ethnic minority; whereas an unacceptably high number of Roma people in Europe still live in poverty and are socially excluded, enduring extremely precarious, unsafe and overcrowded living conditions in segregated rural and urban areas; whereas the issue of Roma people living in settlements is not limited to one country and is therefore a European problem and needs to be addressed as such; whereas spatial segregation represents a key cause of and mutually reinforces unequal access to healthcare, early childcare and education, employment and basic services, including road access, water supplies, sanitation and sewage facilities, electricity and waste collection; whereas it not only has physical and economic consequences, but also psychological and sociological ones, both for individuals and communities; whereas intergenerational poverty in Roma settlements is of a socioeconomic nature, with serious ramifications for Roma people’s physical and mental health and well-being, life opportunities and enjoyment of their fundamental human rights;

D.  whereas Roma face higher rates of low work intensity, job insecurity and unemployment, and are often in atypical or precarious employment situations, hindering their access to unemployment schemes and pension entitlements; whereas Roma lack employment networks and suffer discrimination in access to employment and in the workplace, and are also concentrated in socio-economically disadvantaged regions; whereas the 6 million Roma people residing in the EU represent a significant and growing part of its population and have enormous potential, which it will only be possible to realise if their employment and social inclusion situations are improved;

E.  whereas according to the EU-MIDIS II, only one in four Roma aged 16 years or older reported being employed or self-employed as their main activity and whereas Roma women reported much lower employment rates than Roma men – 16 % compared with 34 %; whereas the situation of young people was particularly worrying with, on average, a Roma NEET (not in education, employment or training) rate of 63 % compared with the EU average of 12 %; whereas, for this age group, the results also showed a considerable gender gap, with 72 % of young Roma women being classed as NEET compared with 55 % of young Roma men; whereas this is in stark contrast with the rest of the population (35 %); whereas as many as 80 % of Roma people were reported as living below their country’s at-risk-of-poverty threshold; whereas every third Roma person lived in housing without tap water and 1 in 10 people lived in housing without electricity; whereas every third Roma child experienced one of their family members going to bed hungry at least once a month and almost half of Roma aged 6-24 did not attend school;

F.  whereas the lack of significant policy measures or investment, limited availability and low quality of social housing, discrimination in the housing market and segregation keep the gap in accessing housing between Roma and non-Roma almost unchanged(16);

G.  whereas Roma people living in settlements should have access to decent housing that is accessible, affordable, environmentally safe, healthy and desegregated;

H.  whereas deep-rooted structural and institutional anti-Gypsyism continues to exist at all levels of EU society and is a major barrier to Roma people fully enjoying their fundamental rights as EU citizens in all spheres of life, including employment, housing, education, healthcare, care, social protection and other key public services; whereas 41 % of Roma in the nine EU Member States surveyed for the EU-MIDIS II felt discriminated against because of their Roma background in at least one area of daily life, such as looking for work, work, housing, health and education; whereas the integration of Roma requires sensitivity to local contexts, to intra-Roma ethnic and socioeconomic diversity and social mobility barriers and to intersecting forms of discrimination, particularly with regard to gender, age and disability; whereas gender equality and the situation of Roma children and young people are two key areas of intervention for the social inclusion of Roma that are insufficiently addressed both at EU and national level;

I.  whereas the situation in Roma settlements is in violation of human and fundamental rights as enshrined in the EU Treaties, the European Convention on Human Rights, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Social Charter, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as of the principles recognised in the European Pillar of Social Rights; whereas it is alarming that these rights are not being respected in practice with regard to Roma people living in settlements;

J.  whereas the vicious circle of intergenerational poverty in marginalised Roma settlements is a complex phenomenon that needs to be addressed horizontally across different interconnected policy areas, in a comprehensive manner and with the close cooperation of all relevant stakeholders; whereas effective solutions require full engagement at the EU, national, regional and local levels in cooperation with civil society initiatives, including charitable and church-based organisations, social partners and private actors, learning from best practices and innovative solutions across Member States and replicating them on a wider scale;

K.  whereas many local and regional authorities and representatives of civil society have been actively working with Roma people living in settlements over time with proven and innovative approaches and projects, but often do not make use of available European structural and investment funds (ESIF) because the processes are highly burdensome and complex; whereas the most common barriers to access to ESIF identified are the absence of a partnership approach; late reimbursement of payment requests; payment of ESIF to the beneficiary based on a reimbursement system being the most frequent option, making the beneficiary dependent on own resources; lengthy and repeated public procurement checks; lack of consistency between the findings of the checks, resulting in beneficiaries being blamed for mistakes which can require the return of funding, thus risking the reallocation of resources from other areas or even insolvency; poor involvement and cooperation with beneficiaries by controllers from managing or intermediate authorities during the procurement process; and the setting of arbitrary limits and requirements for different aspects of projects;

L.  whereas Roma face disproportionate barriers in accessing health services, which are exacerbated by a lack of insurance or personal identification documents, discrimination by health professionals and segregation in healthcare facilities; whereas persisting health inequalities, including the specific impact of spatial segregation and overcrowded housing on health, puts Roma in a vulnerable position;

M.  whereas all 27 Member States have committed to work towards ending homelessness by 2030 by signing the Lisbon Declaration of June 2020 and setting up the European Platform on Combating Homelessness, which aims to promote policies based on a person-centred, housing-led and integrated approach;

N.  whereas the EU provides significant financial support for social inclusion measures, including for measures promoting the inclusion of Roma, especially the most deprived; whereas the Member States’ planning documents indicate that EUR 1,5 billion was earmarked for the socioeconomic integration of vulnerable groups of individuals during the 2014-2020 programming period(17);

O.  whereas there is a persisting gap between Roma and non-Roma populations at all levels of education; whereas in 2018, only 53 % of Roma children aged 4-6 participated in early childhood education according to the EU-MIDIS II; whereas there is widespread segregation of Roma students in schools despite the legal prohibition of such practices and their incompatibility with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights; whereas such educational segregation usually takes three different forms: attendance by disproportionate numbers of Roma children of ‘special’ schools for children with intellectual disabilities, segregated classes or sections for Roma pupils within ‘mixed’ schools and the prevalence of ‘ghetto schools’; whereas Roma children face additional obstacles to equal participation in education, including failure to cover the costs associated with education (including early childhood education and care), spatial segregation, lack of childcare facilities nearby or unequal or no access to online and/or distance learning; whereas poverty and lack of access to basic services has a considerable impact on children’s physical, mental and emotional development, and increases their chances of lagging behind in all aspects of their adult life;

P.  whereas low pre-school attendance is a principal determinant of premature dropout rates among Roma, which are further exacerbated by starting school late and irregular school attendance; whereas early dropouts occur mostly at the point of transition between school types; whereas secondary education participation is obstructed by factors such as travel, segregation in housing and ill-functioning guidance services; whereas educational gaps are further aggravated by the growing digital divide between Roma and non-Roma children;

Q.  whereas during the pandemic, Roma people faced higher risks of contracting COVID‑19 owing to entrenched health and social inequalities and were disproportionately affected by measures taken to contain the virus; whereas the negative social and economic consequences of the pandemic have been particularly detrimental for the Roma population in the EU owing to high shares of Roma being involved in the informal economy and seasonal work and the lack of measures adapted to their specific situations in policies for mitigating the consequences of the health crisis; whereas the pandemic gave rise to public scapegoating and hate speech against Roma; whereas the health emergency has once again revealed a critical discrepancy between the scale of local-level needs and the capacity to address them and has highlighted the need for immediate and long-term policy measures, particularly in the areas of employment, education and housing(18);

R.  whereas equality data collection refers to the collection of all types of disaggregated data used to assess the comparative situation of specific groups at risk of discrimination, design public policies that contribute to promoting equality and assess their implementation, based on evidence and not mere assumptions; whereas the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EU and national measures for the social inclusion of Roma have been impeded by the lack of comprehensive quality data disaggregated by ethnicity;

S.  whereas many Roma people live in areas where they are disproportionally exposed to environmental degradation and pollution stemming from waste dumps and landfills or contaminated sites and deprived of access to basic environmental services and public utilities;

T.  whereas Roma women are subjected to multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination based on a combination of their ethnicity, gender and social status as well as to gender-based violence, which was particularly visible during the COVID-19 pandemic; whereas equality between women and men must be ensured and fostered in all areas, including labour market participation, employment conditions, including wages, education and training, and career changes and progression;

U.  whereas approximately 10-20 % of the estimated 400 000 Roma people living in Ukraine are stateless or at risk of statelessness(19); whereas Roma refugees fleeing war in Ukraine without documentation confirming their Ukrainian citizenship or their residence status are in a particularly vulnerable situation;

Need for action at national level

1.  Deplores the fact that there are still people in the EU without access to safe and decent housing, clean drinking water, electricity, sanitation, sewage and waste treatment facilities, education, employment, healthcare and care services; is deeply concerned by the substantial gap between the declarations and commitments on a strong social Europe and the reality on the ground, also in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the lack of progress in improving access to basic infrastructure during the previous programming period; calls on the Commission and the Member States to urgently address the situation of Roma people living in settlements in a comprehensive and effective manner, with appropriate short- and long-term policies supported by sufficient EU and national funding, in order to ensure Roma in the EU and neighbouring countries are not left behind; highlights the fact that such catastrophic conditions, as well as the negative psychological and sociological impact of segregation, not only affect the people living within the settlements, but also impact the wider community;


2.  Stresses that access to decent desegregated housing is key to breaking the vicious circle of intergenerational poverty and social exclusion; notes that access to housing is a precondition for human dignity and is closely linked to the full enjoyment of human rights; acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic showed that poor housing conditions represent a systemic risk for the public health system, placing a disproportionate burden on Roma people, especially Roma women; reiterates its call on the Member States to prevent and tackle homelessness and address housing exclusion through long-term solutions such as adequate social housing, affordable rental housing programmes and targeted housing allowances that are part of integrated national strategies with a focus on housing-led and ‘housing first’ approaches guaranteeing citizens’ effective equal access to adequate desegregated housing and essential services without discrimination; calls on the Member States to implement the concept of ‘adequate housing’ for all, including Roma people, as defined by the UN(20); calls for priority to be given to desegregation approaches utilising or investing in integrated social housing, alongside funding of accessible quality social services and quality field social work involving the consultation and participation of members of the Roma community as a way for Roma to leave settlements; highlights the use of e-pay cards for receiving social welfare benefits accompanied by the necessary digital infrastructure as an additional tool for sound financial management for Roma people living in settlements, to ensure dignified living and the possibility to leverage such benefits to access financial resources, for example through microloans; calls on the Member States to urgently explore their possible use; stresses that e-pay cards can be one of the solutions to address socio-economic problems related to usury, substance abuse and gambling in the settlements;

3.  Acknowledges that many Roma settlements are located in unsafe, risky and illegally occupied land, which presents a major obstacle to finding an effective way to improve Roma living conditions and is a barrier to EU investments; calls on the Member States to address the problem on a centralised, national level while working in close cooperation with local and regional authorities through the implementation of housing-related policies, including social housing and innovative policies;


4.  Stresses the critical role of preschool education in success at further educational stages, in obtaining decent and quality employment and in breaking the cycle of disadvantage; notes the significant gap in preschool attendance between Roma and non-Roma children and the link between residential and educational segregation, which are key drivers of school dropout rates; calls on the Member States to adopt all necessary measures to reach the Barcelona objectives as soon as possible, with particular emphasis on measures promoting and facilitating pre-schooling for Roma children; also calls on the Commission to address the gaps in access to quality childcare between Roma and non-Roma children in the upcoming revision of the Barcelona objectives within the European care strategy package; calls on the Member States, furthermore, to guarantee effective and free access to kindergartens for all Roma children living in settlements to ensure their participation, in line with the European Child Guarantee; calls on the Member States to systematically monitor dropout risks and inequalities in access to education at all levels to allow for timely interventions, both in terms of pedagogical help and individual counselling, as well as extra-curricular activities for children and their parents; stresses that engaging Roma parents in a meaningful way would also help address the risk of children dropping out of school; calls on the Member States to put in place measures and schemes to motivate young Roma students who have completed statutory education periods to finish their secondary education, for example special allowances;

5.  Deplores the persisting segregation of Roma children in special education and programmes outside mainstream educational systems, often stemming from misdiagnoses as disabilities based on the results of culturally and linguistically biased tests; underlines that standardised psychological testing utilised in some Member States should not be used as an eliminatory instrument to delay entry into regular school programmes; calls on the Member States to put in place mechanisms to review and, where necessary, reverse diagnostic decisions; regrets, furthermore, the persistent discrimination against and segregation of Roma children in several Member States within mainstream schools, including through segregated classes and floors, segregation within classes and segregated dining; highlights that segregated schooling is based on reduced curricula, which rarely enables Roma students to enter the general school system, higher education or subsequent employment; calls on the Member States to eradicate practices of continued segregation of Roma children, implement comprehensive desegregation strategies with clear targets and sufficient resources to implement them with clear and ambitious timetables, adopt inclusive learning methods, guarantee full access for Roma children to school-based activities and implement anti-discrimination campaigns in schools; calls on all Member States to prioritise the specific educational needs of Roma and vulnerable children, with a view to guaranteeing their right to participation, education and good learning outcomes, effectively reducing the educational gap between Roma and non-Roma and preventing segregation; highlights the importance of integrating Roma children into the official national curricula, including for vocational education and training;

6.  Deplores the fact that Roma-majority schools have substandard funding, facilities and curricula; calls on the Member States to invest in pre- and in-service training for teachers to enhance their capacity to provide appropriate teaching for Roma children, especially focused on sensitivity to Roma culture and identity, non-discrimination as a human right and positive strategies for promoting tolerance and tackling discriminatory behaviour and anti-Gypsyism(21),which contributes to prejudice and ill-informed views on the capacity and willingness of Roma children to learn and leads to low academic expectations; calls on the Member States to allocate more financial resources for quality teaching assistants, ensuring the smooth integration of children from Roma settlements into mainstream education; calls on the Member States to introduce comprehensive age-appropriate sexuality and relationship education and education regarding responsible parenthood for young people in schools, also as a means of preventing underage pregnancies among Roma girls living in settlements, which further contributes to the vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty;

7.  Stresses that lockdowns to contain COVID-19 further deepened existing inequalities in education in several Member States, leaving Roma children, especially those living in segregated Roma settlements, without access to online education owing to a lack of access to digital infrastructure, connectivity and digital teaching materials; calls on the Member States to ensure that EU emergency funds allocated for tackling COVID-19, such as those provided under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, specifically reflect the needs of Roma and vulnerable children and ensure quality, affordable services in Roma communities, including through specific indicators in the national recovery and resilience plans; calls on the Member States to pursue new avenues of inclusion and engagement of Roma children in digital education, including greater investments in improving the accessibility of digital infrastructure and digital literacy in order to prepare them for the digital era; calls on the Member States to support the education of Roma women and girls, with a particular emphasis on the importance of STEM, and tackle their school dropout rate;

Health and environment

8.  Is alarmed by higher infant mortality rates in Roma populations compared to non-Roma populations, especially of those living in settlements; emphasises that children in Roma settlements are being born into poverty and an environment that is not conducive to healthy physical and psychosocial development; calls on the Commission to monitor investment and implementation by Member States of the European Child Guarantee and the specific targets set in the national action plans for Roma children, notably regarding their particularly disadvantaged situation, which manifests itself in poor educational outcomes and school dropout rates; calls on the Member States to adopt necessary measures supported by significantly increased public investment for the swift and efficient implementation of the European Child Guarantee and strongly encourages the Member States to allocate more than the minimum 5 % of European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) resources under shared management to supporting activities under the guarantee; calls on the Member States to urgently take action to ensure that children in Roma settlements are supported by healthcare professionals from birth and start treatment if necessary, as well as to recognise psychological or physical abuse of children, with an obligation to notify the competent authorities of all such cases; recalls the over-representation of Roma children in care institutions and stresses the need for a child-centred approach that pays close attention to the rights and needs of the most vulnerable; calls on the Member States, to this end, to make early childhood intervention centres and community centres employing field social workers, pedagogical staff and health professionals, including Roma health and educational mediators and assistants, widely available and accessible;

9.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support health awareness and healthy living conditions in deprived communities, in particular Roma settlements, through mobile medical screening stations and prevention activities; further stresses that gender equality in medical care organisations must be respected in accordance with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and that initiatives such as the establishment of a network of nurses and care homes, regular visits to paediatricians, adult general practitioners, family support services, home care and care services for older persons and other persons in need of care and support should be available and accessible;

10.  Emphasises the environmental risks to the health and lives of Roma people living in settlements, as well as the wider community, caused by toxic waste surrounding their settlements; calls on the Member States to urgently address the situation in order to reduce the disproportionate exposure of Roma to such risks and to develop comprehensive waste management systems and infrastructure in line with the European Waste Framework Directive(22); calls on the Member States to develop strategies to raise awareness within the affected communities of the dangers caused by toxic waste and the lack of proper waste management in Roma settlements; stresses the role of the Commission in enforcing EU legislation in this regard; calls on the Commission and the Member States to make targeted use of the policy tools and resources for tackling energy crises and for ensuring a just green energy transition in order to ensure Roma communities have access to clean, affordable and secure energy, to prevent further deterioration of energy poverty and to improve the health of Roma people living in settlements;

11.  Recalls that under the new binding EU standards for equality bodies, Member States should support these bodies’ increased litigation powers by giving them legal standing before the courts in individual and collective complaints and ex officio and should support their legally binding decision-making power, including in situations where there are multiple institutions comprising the national equality body, so that they are able to address, identify and sanction intersectional discrimination, which often affects Roma; is of the opinion that the Member States should ensure that these bodies’ mandates cover all forms of discrimination, including victimisation and hate speech;

Employment and social inclusion

12.  Notes that high rates of long-term unemployment in Roma settlements and the prevalence of Roma NEETs are compounded by the social exclusion and poverty faced by their inhabitants; calls on the Member States to invest in social enterprises and best practices with the aim of employing the long-term unemployed; calls on them to also invest in programmes for Roma NEETs such as vocational training, especially on digital skills and green jobs, including through the recovery programmes; believes that the Commission’s action plan for the social economy can support Member States’ efforts in this regard with guidance on taxation, access to State aid and social public procurement for social economy organisations; believes the forthcoming proposal for a Council recommendation on developing the social economy framework should ensure an intersectional approach targeting vulnerable groups, including Roma, and Roma women in particular, who face even bigger obstacles than Roma men in accessing the labour market; calls on the Member States, furthermore, to support quality and sustainable job creation, the regularisation of informal work and accessible bridges to employment for Roma workers such as public employment schemes, which can be a temporary solution for unemployment and an opportunity to requalify and do further training; recalls that many Roma people are long-term unemployed, which affects their entitlement to benefits and pensions; stresses the importance of national minimum income schemes combined with incentives to (re)integrate into the labour market in combating poverty and social exclusion; urges the Member States to support wage transparency and ethnic- and gender-neutral job evaluations, promote wages that provide for a decent standard of living and launch anti-discrimination and training campaigns to combat anti-Gypsyism and promote diversity in the workplace, targeting recruiters, employers and co-workers;

13.  Notes that community centres play a key role in working with Roma people living in settlements; calls on the Member States to ensure that every Roma settlement has an adequately equipped community centre in order to provide space for educational activities, for example kindergartens, afterschool care facilities for schoolchildren, leisure activities for both children and adults and hygiene facilities, with the Roma community involved in the maintenance and running of the premises;

14.  Calls on the Member States to make youth employment, especially of young Roma women, a priority in the implementation of their national Roma integration strategies; calls on the Member States to take full advantage of the reinforced Youth Guarantee to advance employment and social inclusion among young Roma people; points to the untapped potential of highly educated young Roma people as a driver of positive change in Roma communities and in tackling deeply rooted prejudice and stereotypes among the majority population;

15.  Calls on the Member States to ensure proper involvement of social-legal protection bodies in children and social guardianship cases in marginalised Roma settlements in order to ensure that children receive the protection and care necessary for their well-being and development, while respecting their best interests; calls for further coordinated efforts and an appropriate framework of measures to be put in place to eliminate adverse phenomena in the settlements, such as usury, child sexual exploitation, substance abuse, gambling and labour exploitation; deplores the high rate of forced begging among Roma children and calls on the Member States who have not done so to put in place legislation that protects children and bans forced begging; underlines the need for police forces to recognise the specific conditions of Roma people and for the Member States to provide training for police forces to counter discrimination and criminalisation of Roma people, both internally and in the majority population; calls on the Member States to rigorously investigate incidents of police abuse to ensure there is no impunity for violence, intimidation measures and ill treatment against Roma individuals or communities and to address the inadequate access to justice for Roma;

16.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to work with the Member States on a common methodology to collect and publish equality data disaggregated by ethnicity and different types of settlements, where recognised in national law, with full respect for privacy and fundamental rights standards, in order to assess the situation of Roma people and effectively evaluate progress in the implementation of measures under the EU Roma strategic framework for tackling the root causes of their social and economic exclusion; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to include specific targets for Roma employment in the Social Scoreboard;

17.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote the strengthening of social dialogue and the collective representation of Roma workers as a means of facilitating their access to quality jobs with decent working conditions; calls on the Member States to improve their public work schemes in order to allow Roma people and other individuals in vulnerable situations to develop and improve relevant skills;

Use of EU and national funding

18.  Is concerned that in some Member States, the use of resources earmarked for Roma people has been low thus far, risking a significant loss of financial resources by the end of the current programming period; regrets that current systems and conditions set for drawing down ESIF in a number of Member States do not allow for their smooth and efficient absorption, often owing to bureaucratic and structural barriers in national systems; recalls, in this regard, the need to reduce administrative burden, promote the use of simplified cost options and provide further assistance and flexibility, including direct distribution of funds to regional and local policies and civil society programmes to make it easier for managing authorities and beneficiaries responding to the immediate needs of Roma people living in settlements in the EU to use them; calls on the Member States and the Commission to urgently increase funding for the European Child Guarantee with a dedicated budget of at least EUR 20 billion in order to combat the poverty that is affecting children and their families and to contribute to the goal of reducing poverty by at least 15 million by 2030 – including at least 5 million children across all the Member States;

19.  Points to a lack of political will in some local authorities in the Member States who are reluctant to implement new projects to improve the living conditions of Roma people in settlements; calls on the Member States and their managing authorities to pay special attention to such local authorities and to implement strategies to motivate them to change their negative approach, including through possible conditionality mechanisms; stresses, in this regard, the need to ensure Roma political participation and representation at all levels and to tackle harmful negative stereotypes which fuel discriminatory attitudes and behaviours among the non-Roma population; further points to the existence of structural barriers in some Member States that hinder the implementation of projects by local authorities and civil society and urgently calls on those Member States to remove them and to offer clear support instruments to local authorities to help them engage in new projects focused on Roma people living in settlements and their wider community;

20.  Notes that it often takes generations to achieve significant progress in socio-economic empowerment and Roma integration; calls on the Member States to urgently make full use of available funding instruments and resources at both national and EU level to create favourable conditions for the sustainable funding and implementation of continuous programmes and projects in an efficient, integrated, coordinated and flexible way and eliminate any obstacles, including direct and indirect forms of discrimination, that hinder the absorption of funding, in particular the ESF+, the European Regional Development Fund and the Recovery and Resilience Facility; calls on the Commission to support, monitor and evaluate the Member States’ actions in this regard through their national recovery and resilience plans, national Roma strategic frameworks, European Child Guarantee national action plans, the EU anti-racism action plan and European Semester country-specific recommendations; calls on the Commission and Member States, in particular, to ensure that EU measures and funding reach Roma people living in settlements and emphasises that targeted actions and initiatives should be primarily based on the bottom-up principle and come from the local level and municipalities that are closest to the communities in question, with financial and administrative assistance supported at the national or EU level; calls on the Member States, in this regard, to make better use of available financial resources for technical assistance and to ensure that direct technical assistance is widely provided to both administrators and specific applicants; urges the Commission to make sure that the identification of settlements and specific policies and measures to address their situations are incorporated in the 2021-2027 EU cohesion fund programmes and European Semester country-specific recommendations;

21.  Calls for a comprehensive and in-depth impact and performance analysis by the European Court of Auditors of the use of ESIF, especially the ESF+ and the European Regional Development Fund, for the years since the EU strategy for Roma inclusion was established in 2011, with a particular focus on spending on Roma settlements and related social issues;

Need for action at EU level

22.  Highlights that current practices in some Member States with regard to Roma people living in settlements show evaluation of projects based on quantitative outputs alone is insufficient and can even be misleading as to the reality on the ground, as it means there is no information on the quality of projects’ progress; warns that as a consequence, this could lead to decisions that pose a threat to the sound financial management of the EU budget; calls, therefore, for a swift application of the general regime of conditionality for the protection of the EU budget in relation to the relevant Member States; notes that the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, the European Child Guarantee and the EU Roma strategic framework for equality, inclusion and participation for 2020-2030 constitute a credible benchmark for qualitative assessment; calls for particular attention to be given to intersectional discrimination and to addressing the rights and needs of the most vulnerable groups, especially people with disabilities, children and women, when carrying out qualitative assessments; believes it is essential that the Commission require concrete qualitative outcomes that better reflect the reality on the ground, in addition to quantitative outputs, when evaluating individual projects funded by the ESIF in marginalised Roma settlements; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to start monitoring and evaluating projects based first and foremost on its own observations from on-site visits in order to decrease its dependence on information from governments and media reports and strengthen oversight of the EU budget; further stresses, in this regard, the need to strengthen the FRA Roma division by recruiting Roma researchers;

23.  Calls for the Commission and Parliament to carry out regular missions to examine the situation of Roma people living in settlements in different Member States, if possible periodically, in order to contribute to raising awareness among both policymakers and the public, to exchange information on the challenges Roma people face between Member States and relevant authorities, and to exchange best practices and coordination at the EU level;

24.  Stresses that the Commission must robustly act as the guardian of the Treaties to ensure the full and correct implementation of EU law and to take appropriate and timely action where Member States fail to do so, particularly with regard to breaches of EU citizens’ rights, including those of Roma; notes that infringement procedures, such as the cases of educational segregation of Roma pupils, have not resulted in effective elimination of causes of discrimination; firmly believes that the Commission should do everything in its power to prevent violations of human rights and the fundamental values of the EU, starting with effective prevention of the use of EU funds for supporting discriminatory practices in the Member States; calls on the Commission, therefore, to establish an early warning mechanism for reporting risks of abuse or misuse of ESIF and other EU funds earmarked for addressing the situation of Roma people in marginalised settlements; is of the opinion that the lack of action and commitment of some Member States to solve the issue of Roma people living in settlements, as well as structural and bureaucratic barriers, could constitute a violation of the founding values of the EU as enshrined in Article 2 TEU, namely human dignity, equality and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities; calls on the Council and the Commission to investigate the situation of Roma living in marginalised settlements with a view to determining whether such settlements and their conditions pose a clear risk of a serious breach of the EU Treaties;

25.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen the active engagement and meaningful participation of Roma – especially Roma women, young people and other under-represented groups – in the development, implementation and monitoring of public policies and of projects aimed towards them at the EU, national, regional and local levels so they can be actively involved in shaping the EU’s future and can contribute to changing perceptions in EU societies; believes that Roma participation and leadership should be a qualitative target under national Roma strategic frameworks; believes that support for elected Roma officials in municipal councils should be encouraged as an example of good practice for advancing social inclusion and the democratic participation of Roma;

26.  Notes that significant parts of the Roma population struggle with poverty, social exclusion and limited access to employment or services such as education, healthcare and housing, also as a result of anti-Gypsyism and structural discrimination; calls on the Commission and the Member States to tackle anti-Gypsyism in all areas of society through effective legislative and policy measures, both in the Member States and in enlargement countries; calls on the Member States to mainstream the fight against racism and anti-Gypsyism in all of the European Pillar of Social Rights principles, as it is a key structural driver of Roma exclusion; highlights the need to end any form of structural and institutional anti-Gypsyism, segregation and discrimination in education, employment, health, housing and access to social protection and other services; considers that the fight against anti-Gypsyism is a horizontal issue and that it should be taken into account in all relevant areas of EU policy; calls on the Commission to strengthen the implementation of the Racial Equality Directive and on the Member States to develop and implement effective and ambitious national plans against racism and racial discrimination, with a focus on all forms of racism, including anti-Gypsyism, drawing inspiration from the common guiding principles adopted by the Commission; calls on the Member States to set clear and measurable objectives for the fight against discrimination and anti-Gypsy speech and crime, in line with Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating racism and xenophobia; calls on the Council, furthermore, to unblock negotiations on the horizontal anti-discrimination directive(23) as it is a prerequisite for achieving equality in the EU;

27.  Emphasises the need to acknowledge the cultural and linguistic heritage of Roma people and encourages the Commission and the Member States to preserve and promote Roma culture and public awareness through programmes and the media at their respective levels, thus contributing to the diversity of the EU community;

28.  Urges the Commission to step up its efforts to gradually eradicate marginalised Roma settlements across the EU by launching an EU action plan to eradicate Roma settlements by 2030, with the aim of reinforcing the use of existing policy and financial instruments; emphasises that this EU action plan should provide guidelines, establish priorities and concrete targets and envisage a component of transnational cooperation and exchange of positive practices between Member States;

29.  Underlines that the issues of Roma people living in settlements are cross-sectoral and require the attention and coordinated involvement of several commissioners and directorates-general at EU level; calls, therefore, for the creation of the post of Commission coordinator for Roma inclusion and equality to comprehensively monitor progress across relevant policy instruments and to liaise directly with Roma people in order to relay the reality of their situations and concerns to the Commission’s Task Force on Equality, as well as, inter alia, to the national Roma contact points, the FRA, the EURoma network, the European Roma Platform and the High-Level Group on Non-discrimination, Equality and Diversity in order to create synergies and achieve Roma people’s equality, inclusion and participation in the EU;

30.  Similarly calls for the establishment of a Parliament coordinator for Roma inclusion position, to be filled by one of the vice-presidents of Parliament, who would work to ensure that Roma issues are mainstreamed throughout Parliament’s relevant policy and legislative work; calls, at the same time, for the establishment of a Roma mainstreaming network to be chaired and coordinated by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and composed of a representative of each European Parliament Committee in order to complement and strengthen the work of the coordinator, producing a synergic effect in ensuring that the interconnected and complex issues facing the Roma community are addressed with a comprehensive, horizontal approach; believes that both Parliament’s coordinator and Roma mainstreaming network should work closely with its Intergroup on Anti-Racism and Diversity;

31.  Points to the additional challenges and the need for strengthened cooperation between the Member States related to the free movement of people within the EU as well as the situation of Roma people fleeing the war in Ukraine; calls on the Member States to take effective measures against segregation of intra-EU Roma migrants and Roma refugees from Ukraine and protect them against unlawful expulsions and discrimination in access to essential services, especially in the fields of housing, education and employment; calls on the Member States to ensure that refugees, including Roma, are not profiled or discriminated against when applying for temporary protection under the Temporary Protection Directive and are not forced to apply for asylum, and also calls on them to engage civil society organisations in ensuring that in-kind assistance, free transportation and accommodation benefit everyone fleeing Ukraine equally; calls on the Member States to step up their efforts to ensure registration of birth certificates for Roma children is properly enforced to put an end to childhood statelessness among Roma communities across the EU;

32.  Takes note of the Council of Europe Strategic Action Plan for Roma and Traveller Inclusion (2020-2025); calls on the Commission and the Member States to further combine their efforts to foster equal opportunities, diversity and social inclusion and fight discrimination and anti-Gypsyism with those of the Council of Europe;

33.  Points out that programmes and instruments such as Erasmus Plus and the Youth Guarantee give opportunities to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and Roma people and their organisations;

o   o

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

(1) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(2) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.
(3) OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3.
(4) OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 55.
(5) OJ C 199 E, 7.7.2012, p. 112.
(6) OJ C 468, 15.12.2016, p. 36.
(7) OJ C 449, 23.12.2020, p. 2.
(8) OJ C 362, 8.9.2021, p. 8.
(9) OJ C 385, 22.9.2021, p. 104.
(10) OJ C 456, 10.11.2021, p. 145.
(11) OJ C 474, 24.11.2021, p. 146.
(12) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0120.
(13) OJ C 93, 19.3.2021, p. 1.
(14) OJ L 223, 22.6.2021, p. 14.
(15) OJ L 212, 7.8.2001, p. 12.
(16) FEANTSA statement entitled ‘The Housing Situation for Roma in the EU Remains Difficult’.
(17) European Court of Auditors special report No 14/2016.
(18) FRA bulletin entitled ‘Coronavirus pandemic in the EU – Impact on Roma and Travellers’.
(19) European Network on Statelessness briefing entitled ‘Stateless people and people at risk of statelessness forcibly displaced from Ukraine’.
(20) Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
(21) Unicef position paper entitled ‘The Right of Roma Children to Education’.
(22) Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on waste and repealing certain Directives (OJ L 312, 22.11.2008, p. 3).
(23) Commission proposal for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Key objectives for the CITES CoP19 meeting in Panama
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European Parliament resolution of 5 October 2022 on the EU strategic objectives for the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held in Panama from 14 to 25 November 2022 (2022/2681(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the 2019 global assessment report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) on biodiversity and ecosystem services,

–  having regard to the 2020 report of the UN Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization entitled ‘State of the World’s Forests 2020’, which underlines the key role of forests in providing a habitat for more than 80 % of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, offering countless ecosystem services and ensuring a livelihood for many communities, including indigenous people,

–  having regard to marine and coastal biodiversity,

–  having regard to the forthcoming 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held from 14 to 25 November 2022 in Panama (CoP19),

–  having regard to UN General Assembly resolution 75/311 of 26 July 2021 on tackling illicit trafficking in wildlife,

–   having regard to CITES Resolution Conf. 12.10 (Rev.CoP15) on registration of operations that breed Appendix-I animal species in captivity for commercial purposes,

–   having regard to CITES Decisions 18.226 and 18.227 on trade in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus),

–   having regard to CITES Decisions 18.81-18.85 on wildlife crime linked to the internet,

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 – Bringing nature back into our lives’ (COM(2020)0380), and to the European Parliament resolution of 9 June 2021 thereon(1),

–   having regard to the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora(2), which aims to promote the maintenance of biodiversity and forms the cornerstone of the EU’s nature conservation policy,

–   having regard to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, to be held from 7 to 19 December 2022 in Montreal, Canada,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal for a directive of the European Parliament of the Council on the protection of the environment through criminal law and replacing Directive 2008/99/EC (COM(2021)0851),

–  having regard to the questions to the Council and to the Commission on key objectives for the Conference of the Parties to CITES in Panama from 14 to 25 November 2022 (O‑000038/2022 – B9‑0023/2022 and O‑000039/2022 – B9‑0024/2022),

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

A.  whereas the unprecedented global decline in biodiversity, which is currently occurring at a rate tens to hundreds of times faster than the natural rate of species extinction, is the direct result of human activity and is threatening around 1 million animal and plant species with extinction; whereas available evidence suggests that it is not too late to halt and reverse current trends in biodiversity loss;

B.  whereas biodiversity contributes positively to the health of the human population; whereas up to 80 % of medicines used by humans are of natural origin;

C.  whereas the oceans, which represent 95 % of the biosphere, are one of the most important carbon sinks, as they regulate the climate and absorb CO2 from the atmosphere;

D.  whereas it is important to protect marine and coastal biodiversity and tackle the threats posed to it by the unregulated or poorly regulated use of living marine resources; whereas it is also important to protect freshwater biodiversity, which is declining to a greater extent than marine and terrestrial ecosystems, with freshwater populations declining 83 % between 1970 and 2014;

E.  whereas the vast majority of species subject to trade are not protected by CITES; whereas international trade in such species remains unregulated and contributes significantly to driving wild populations towards extinction;

F.  whereas CITES is the largest global wildlife conservation agreement, with 184 signatory parties, including the EU and its 27 Member States; whereas it recognises that wild fauna and flora in their many unique and varied forms are an irreplaceable part of the natural systems of the Earth that must be protected for generations to come;

G.  whereas the aim of CITES is to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not pose a threat to the survival of the species in the wild;

H.  whereas both the illegal and legal trade in and the use of wildlife and the destruction of natural habitats contribute significantly to biodiversity decline, undermine global efforts in the fight against climate change and are both a cause and a consequence of corruption;

I.  whereas Appendix I of CITES includes all species threatened with extinction that are or may be affected by trade; whereas Appendix II includes all species that may become threatened with extinction unless trade in specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation to avoid utilisation incompatible with their survival and unless trade in these species is brought under effective control;

J.  whereas wildlife trade increases contact between humans and wildlife and creates a potentially high risk that zoonoses will emerge and spread; whereas as 70 % of all emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic, wildlife trade poses serious risks to the health of both animals and humans; whereas there is a need for better and more exhaustive control of the meat trade and the trade in live animals; whereas experts advise limiting zoonotic risks by addressing markets with live animals and by developing a ‘positive list’ of animal species that may be transported internationally, taking into account zoonotic risks and other considerations such as animal welfare, conservation status and population trends;

K.  whereas the cost of global strategies to prevent pandemics through reducing the illegal wildlife trade, avoiding land-use changes and increasing surveillance is estimated to be between USD 22 billion and USD 31 billion(3), only a small fraction of the cost incurred by a pandemic;

L.  whereas 19 Member States have supported the Cypriot Government’s position paper on a new EU legislative framework for an EU-wide positive list of animals allowed as pets, which was presented at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting of 24 May 2022;

M.  whereas the EU is a major hub, transit point and destination for legally and illegally sourced specimens of wild fauna and flora, whether living or dead, body parts or products thereof; whereas in 2019, reported import transactions of CITES-protected wildlife into the EU accounted for 36 % of the total volume of imports;

N.  whereas between 2014 and 2018, the EU imported the second-most hunting trophies from CITES-listed wildlife species, following only the United States; whereas an increasing number of European countries are taking or considering steps to ban imports of hunting trophies;

O.  whereas international trade in wild fauna and flora amounts to billions of euros each year and involves millions of such plants and wildlife; whereas wildlife trafficking has become the fourth largest black market, after the drug, people and arms markets; whereas wildlife trafficking offences are often not punished severely enough to act as a deterrent and whereas middle-to-high level actors are rarely prosecuted;

P.  whereas the internet plays a key role in facilitating wildlife trafficking;

Q.  whereas increased efforts to improve transparency and the effective participation of civil society in decision-making are essential;

R.  whereas the EU has a clear role to play to set up constructive collaborations and exchanges between governmental and non-governmental sanctuaries and rescue centres to secure long-term and species-appropriate solutions for seized wildlife;

S.  whereas traditional medicines are among the main CITES-related commodity seizures reported by Member States; whereas the use of wild animals in traditional medicines damages biodiversity, especially when red-listed species are concerned; whereas demand for traditional medicines with animal ingredients is leading to increased illegal trade in wild animals;

T.  whereas pelagic shark populations have dropped by 71 % since 1970, more than 50 % of shark species are threatened or near threatened with extinction(4), and hunting them for trade in their body parts is one of the main causes of this decline; whereas 20 % of reef shark populations have been found to be functionally extinct; whereas in 2020, EU Member States were the source of over 45 % of all shark fin-related products imported into three major trading centres: Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan;

U.  whereas following population declines across Africa by more than 60 % for African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) and 86 % for African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) within three generations, in 2021, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) raised the threat level for the African savannah elephant from vulnerable to endangered and separately listed African forest elephants as critically endangered(5);

V.  whereas poaching for the ivory trade is the main driver of population declines in African elephants; whereas the illegal ivory trade harms economic development, fosters organised crime, promotes corruption and fuels conflicts; whereas ivory trafficking has increased significantly following the introduction of legal sales;

W.  whereas it is forbidden to trade wild tigers; whereas EU wildlife trade regulations nonetheless fail to prevent the trade of captive-bred tigers and their body parts, even though CITES Decision 14.69 on captive-bred and ranched specimens opposes the commercial breeding and trade in tigers for their parts; whereas Member States continue to import and export live tigers and tiger parts registered under the CITES code of commercial trade;


1.  Underlines the clear need for a more precautionary approach to the protection of wildlife given the continued threat posed by the wildlife trade to individual animals, species, human and animal health and the environment;

2.  Calls for increased alignment between CITES and the CBD, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and other biodiversity-related treaties and agreements to effectively achieve international commitments regarding biodiversity conservation;

3.  Is concerned that the market for exotic pets and the range of affected species are growing both within the EU and internationally;

4.  Stresses that the environmental footprint of the EU’s production and consumption should urgently be reduced in order to stay within planetary limits;

5.  Underlines that the ecosystem services and resources that forests provide are essential to people around the world; calls for the EU and the Member States to push for the adoption of a CITES resolution on forests at CoP19 to ensure that CITES-listed tree species are properly protected and that any trade in them is only conducted when it is legal, sustainable and traceable;

6.  Stresses that engaging women in wildlife conservation is a win-win for gender equality and environmental sustainability and allows more targeted and effective actions to fight against wildlife trafficking; calls on the Commission to partner with the CITES Secretariat to bring gender mainstreaming into CITES and to support gender-sensitive initiatives to influence and address criminal behaviours related to wildlife and wildlife conservation; considers that CITES enforcement, decision-making and implementation should promote gender equality and calls for the EU and the Member States to push for a gender action plan for CITES, which could be introduced through a resolution;

Implementation, compliance and enforcement

7.  Highlights that the 2019 global assessment report of the IPBES on biodiversity and ecosystem services identifies a series of weaknesses in CITES, such as compliance, enforcement, the need for science-based quotas, funding, combating corruption and demand reduction; underlines that these weaknesses should be tackled in order to better implement the convention and urges all parties to work to address these issues thoroughly;

8.  Regrets the inadequate enforcement of bans and restrictions on the trade in protected species due to a lack of capacity and resources dedicated by the parties; calls on all parties to step up their enforcement of the convention;

9.  Expresses concern that the parties to CITES are not being held accountable for failing to effectively implement the provisions of the convention, including the requirement to base import and export permits on scientifically robust advice that such imports or exports will not be detrimental to the survival of the species (non-detriment findings);

10.  Calls for the consistent and impartial application of the instruments provided for in CITES and the decisions taken under it to promote compliance with the convention, including the Compliance Assistance Programme; calls for the EU and all parties to develop measures to ensure adequate and timely compliance with the convention, including by dedicating the necessary resources to it and by adopting effective national legislation to implement decisions and resolutions adopted in the framework of the convention; calls for mutual cooperation between the parties and for the sharing of best practices;

11.  Calls furthermore for the EU and its Member States to adopt strict measures, including dissuasive sanctions, in cases of non-compliance when it is found that a party is undermining the effectiveness of the convention and is not effectively stopping illegal or unsustainable exploitation and trade, and, as a last resort, to suspend trade with the offending party;

12.  Calls on all parties to work to ensure protection for whistleblowers, journalists, wildlife rangers and environmental and human rights defenders, who play an essential part in protecting the environment and in putting a stop to the illegal wildlife trade;

13.  Insists that transnational wildlife crime should be recognised by all parties as serious organised crime that should be reflected in the allocation of resources and entail the active involvement of specialised police and customs investigation agencies;

14.  Underlines the key role of police and customs and urges all EU Member States to establish specialised units focusing on wildlife crime at the national level with mandates covering the whole territory of the state and not limited to certain regions or to any other territorial units; calls on the Member States to mandate that these specialised units actively engage in international cooperation and coordination; stresses that cooperation with the relevant authorities in the Member States on illegal wildlife trade issues could be further revised and strengthened through the EU Enforcement Group, which gathers law enforcement officers from all EU Member States, as well as the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), Eurojust, Interpol, the World Customs Organization and the CITES Secretariat; calls for the EU and its Member States to strengthen law enforcement training on the wildlife trade;

15.  Highlights the need for a database of experts in biology and/or ecology, both to identify species and prosecute wildlife crimes, such as poaching, trafficking and illegal exploitation, and to provide law enforcement bodies at local, regional, national and international level with a better understanding of the phenomenon;

16.  Stresses the benefits of a database of law enforcement management information systems in the fight against organised crime and the illegal wildlife trade; urges the Commission and the Member States to create an EU-wide database of court cases on environmental crimes, including wildlife crimes, and on the actions carried out in the field of environmental crimes by law enforcement bodies; believes that such a database should allow the centralised collection of data and increase the level of digitalisation and knowledge; notes that reviewing historical cases can be useful for authorities, agencies and organisations in the field;

17.  Recalls its resolution of 9 June 2021 entitled ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Bringing nature back into our lives’, which called on the Commission to facilitate capacity building, including knowledge transfers, technology sharing and skills training for beneficiary countries to implement CITES and other conventions and agreements essential to the protection of biodiversity under the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe and the World Trade Organization’s Aid for Trade initiative; insists on the need to strengthen cooperation programmes with non-EU countries for the conservation of their native biodiversity, including inter-parliamentary dialogue, and to assist developing countries in implementing these programmes;

18.  Regrets that the EU is not implementing the CITES recommendations set out in Resolution Conf. 12.10 (Rev.CoP15) on registration of operations that breed Appendix-I animal species in captivity for commercial purposes; is concerned that this creates loopholes and facilitates illegal trade; calls on Member States to fully implement this resolution and register all relevant breeding facilities for these species providing complete and accurate registration applications to both the Commission and the CITES Secretariat; urges the Commission and Member States to oppose any efforts to weaken the system for registration of captive-breeding operations for Appendix-I species;

19.  Encourages and supports the implementation of modern and innovative methods to label and track CITES-listed species or derived products in order to allow the differentiation between captive-bred and wild-caught individuals and derivatives;

Decision-making, transparency and reporting

20.  Welcomes the annual illegal trade reports as a significant step towards developing a better understanding of wildlife trafficking and urges the EU and all parties to submit them in a timely manner; highlights that these reports should include information on permits and certificates granted, quantities and types of specimens and names of species as included in Appendices I, II and III;

21.  Urges all parties and the EU to ensure transparency in the CITES Secretariat’s non-sensitive activities and operations, including by making the annual illegal trade reports publicly available, and to guarantee that data is uploaded in a timely manner to the CITES trade database, including information on the commissioning of reports, the development of terms of reference and the selection of consultants; urges all parties to make further efforts to ensure that discrepancies in export and import permits are minimised;

22.  Considers that more transparency in the commercial trade of Appendix-I species, including captive-bred animals, is key to fighting corruption and the illegal trade, trafficking and laundering of specimens;

23.  Calls for better record-keeping for Appendix I, including on specimens bred and kept in captivity and on the development of risk indicators in relation to environmental, security and husbandry practices, such as greater detail on how records are kept, data is managed and reporting is done, how the stock/inventory system is run and how it is audited and secured in terms of transport, storage and disposal;

24.  Reiterates its call on the Commission and the Member States to lead efforts to end the commercial trade in endangered species and their parts and its call for the full and immediate ban at European level of the commercial trade, export or re-export of ivory within the EU and to destinations outside the EU, including ‘pre-convention’ ivory, while pointing out that limited exceptions should remain possible for scientific imports and exports and musical instruments legally acquired before 1975, and for trade in artefacts and antiques produced before 1947, provided that they are accompanied by a valid certificate; asks for similar restrictions for other endangered species, such as tigers and rhinos; calls for the implementation of such a ban without further delay;

25.  Welcomes the amendments to Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006(6) and the revised guidance document on the EU regime governing trade in ivory and urges the Commission to strictly monitor the implementation of the revised regulation by the Member States; calls on the Commission and the Member States to transform these rules into legally binding legislation and to close any remaining loopholes;


26.  Notes with concern that many CoP18 decisions remain unfunded; calls on all parties to guarantee sufficient funding for the proper implementation of the entire convention, including its enforcement; calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase financial and other support for the implementation of CITES decisions;

27.  Highlights that the implementation of many of the CITES decisions is subject to the availability of external funding; calls for the EU and all parties to the convention to explore mechanisms for ensuring that external funding for CITES decisions is consistent with the priorities of their work programmes and that development support granted by the EU to recipient countries does not threaten the viability of wild species, biodiversity, natural habitats, ecosystems and the services they provide;

28.  Expresses concern about the increasing workload of the CITES Secretariat, the Conferences of the Parties and the committees in relation to their available resources; calls for the EU to show leadership in addressing this issue; urges, inter alia, all parties to support the robust implementation of draft decisions and recommendations emerging from the CITES Standing Committee;

CITES 2021-2030 strategic vision

29.  Welcomes the recognition of the interlinkages between CITES and the Sustainable Development Goals, the CBD and the IPBES’s findings;

30.  Believes that the review of the CITES strategic vision should be addressed at CoP19, in the light of the CBD Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) to be adopted this year, to ensure that CITES contributes to the implementation of the GBF;

31.  Urges the parties to achieve the aim of having only legal and ecologically sustainable trade in wild fauna and flora by 2025; emphasises that the goal should be to eliminate illegal trade in CITES-listed wildlife species, including captive-bred species, not only to reduce it;

32.  Stresses that decisions adopted by CITES bodies should be based on scientific criteria aimed at the conservation of species, on the best available scientific information and on the precautionary principle;

33.  Regrets the omission of the critical issue of animal welfare in the vision statement, calls on the Commission and the Member States and all other parties to address this omission;

Strengthening the EU’s role in the global fight against wildlife trafficking

34.  Regrets the implementation gaps in the EU wildlife trade regulations, as they do not cover all critical species and do not provide the same level of protection for captive-bred animals; urges the Commission to review and expand the existing legislation regulating the wildlife trade to ensure that the import, trans-shipment, export, purchase, sale or transport of wild animals or plants that are taken, possessed, transported or sold in violation of the law of the country of origin or transit is prohibited;

35.  Reiterates its call on the Commission and the Member States to lead efforts to end the commercial trade in endangered species and their parts; stresses the importance of developing SMART (spatial monitoring and reporting tool) targets to this end;

36.  Emphasises that there should be systemic inclusion of illegal wildlife trade and sustainable consumption in EU trade policy; reiterates its call to the Council to consider the CBD an essential element of free-trade agreements (FTAs) provided that mandatory mechanisms for reviewing national targets are agreed upon(7); asks the Council to also make CITES and the Paris Agreement essential components of FTAs, and to urge for their effective implementation; highlights the importance of the upcoming reform of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Regulation(8) in providing for effective implementation of multilateral conventions on climate and environmental aspects covered by the regulation, including the CBD;

37.  Urges the Commission to adapt the European TRACES (Trade Control and Expert System) database in order to collect and make publicly available accurate information on the species, volume and origin of all marine ornamental fish in trade and thus monitor this currently unregulated and often unsustainable trade for which the EU is a major import market;

38.  Reiterates its call for the EU Member States to establish a science-based EU-wide positive list of animals allowed as pets, under appropriate welfare conditions, without harm to populations in the wild and to European biodiversity; stresses, in this regard, the need for a Commission study to facilitate the adoption of this list, which should be based, among other inputs, on the existing experience of Member States and lessons learned;

39.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to take immediate effective action in the framework of its commitments outlined in the EU biodiversity strategy to ban the import of hunting trophies derived from CITES-listed species;

40.  Welcomes the EU’s efforts to provide development support to anti-wildlife trafficking efforts in developing countries; calls on the Commission to support the efforts of partner countries that are sources of wildlife and wildlife products, transit points, and/or destinations for sellers and buyers to develop viable economic alternatives for the livelihoods and sustainability of local communities;

EU action plan against wildlife trafficking

41.  Welcomes the revision and continuation of the EU action plan against wildlife trafficking; calls on the Commission to publish an ambitious EU action plan without delay;

42.  Stresses however, that the success of the future EU action plan against wildlife trafficking will largely depend on the allocation of resources; calls therefore on the EU and its Member States to earmark specific budgetary allocations for its implementation;

43.  Is of the opinion that the action plan has not provided sufficient impetus to tackle the role of EU citizens in driving demand for illegal wildlife products both at home and in the EU’s neighbourhood and believes the EU action plan should be strengthened; calls on the Commission to implement evidence-based demand reduction initiatives in key consumer countries, including those within the EU;

44.  Stresses that the EU action plan against wildlife trafficking should receive adequate funding, including assistance to non-EU countries and to wildlife rescue centres and sanctuaries;

45.  Believes that the new EU action plan should pave the way for better law enforcement and inspection activities by relevant authorities across the Union, and towards improved data collection and data access, which will enable better trend assessments and risk analysis; calls on the Commission and Member States to allocate sufficient human and financial resources to implement the action plan, and to invest in capacity building and training of enforcement and judicial authorities; underlines that sharing and deepening relevant officials’ knowledge and raising public awareness must be made an integral part of the future plan;

46.  Calls further on the Commission to create clear and implementable targets and actions as part of the action plan and to develop a clear monitoring and evaluation mechanism;

47.  Considers it crucial that the action plan be fully in line with the biodiversity strategy for 2030, and ensure synergies with relevant EU legislation and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework; strongly believes that the action plan should identify and focus in particular on priority species and address the issue of nationally protected species illegally traded in the EU;

48.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to tackle both online and offline trade in the revised EU action plan against wildlife trafficking, ensuring that wildlife cybercrime is given the same level of priority as other forms of cybercrime that threaten human health, the environment, the economy, security and education, inter alia, through communication, cooperation and coordination across the public and private sectors concerned; calls on the Commission to promptly evaluate how the Digital Services Act(9) could act as a tool to address the illegal online trade in animals and plants;

49.  Notes that there is evidence that the legal trade in wild animals serves as cover for illegal trade activities, provides abundant laundering opportunities and complicates enforcement; calls on the EU to address both the legal and illegal trade in wild animals in the revision of the EU action plan against wildlife trafficking;

50.  Stresses that the action plan should adopt a comprehensive approach from source to consumer;

51.  Considers it important that the action plan involve and engage with the private sector to fight against illegal wildlife trafficking, and that sufficient public and private investments be made in research to increase our understanding of the wildlife trade;

52.  Emphasises that the revised action plan should integrate human rights and gender, recognise the role of civil society organisations, include stakeholder consultations and ensure public participation;

Organised crime, cybersecurity and confiscated animals

53.  Urges Member States, through their competent institutions, to build cross-border cooperation and coordination with various relevant international authorities and institutions in order to combat the involvement of organised criminal groups in the illegal trade in wildlife species;

54.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to promote the preparation and adoption of an ambitious and effective protocol on environmental crime under the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, as referred to in the 2021-2025 EU strategy to tackle organised crime(10), which would include a provision obliging the parties to criminalise the import of and trade in wildlife that has been taken illegally from its country of origin;

55.  Strongly welcomes the proposal for the revision of the Environmental Crime Directive (2008/99/EC) to include most forms of environmental crime offences such that they are punishable by harmonised, dissuasive, effective and proportionate sanctions or penalties;

56.  Calls on the Commission to ensure coordination in the implementation of the Environmental Crime Directive, the EU wildlife trade regulations and the revised EU action plan against wildlife trafficking, making the most effective use of the tools offered under the different frameworks;

57.  Calls for the inclusion of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and underwater noise pollution among the listed criminal offences in the revised Environmental Crime Directive;

58.  Regrets that animal welfare considerations are absent from the proposal; calls on the Commission to ensure that cruelty against animals is considered as an aggravating circumstance enabling increased penalties under the revised Environmental Crime Directive;

59.  Urges the Commission to adopt specific EU guidance to tackle wildlife cybercrime, ensuring harmonised policies in Member States and the collaboration between all relevant stakeholders;

60.  Urges the Member States to effectively and fully implement CITES Decisions 18.81-18.85 on wildlife crime linked to the internet, while making full use of Interpol’s guidelines entitled ‘Wildlife Crime Linked to the Internet - Practical Guidelines for Law Enforcement Practitioners’, developed to implement the relevant provisions of CITES Decision 17.93;

61.  Urges the EU to promote and support initiatives to significantly increase wildlife rescue and rehabilitation capacity through resources, funding, training and, importantly, the establishment of a network of competent and accredited rescue facilities and sanctuaries and national action plans for the management of confiscated live animals;

62.  Notes that lack of national rescue and sanctuary capacity may contribute to the lack of enforcement of relevant provisions related to the wildlife trade by a Member State and may result in measures inadequate to deter wildlife crime; considers that the revised Environmental Crime Directive could, for example, include rules for the management of the confiscated profits, including appropriate care of confiscated live animals;

63.  Underlines the importance of undertaking financial investigations and asset recovery procedures systematically; calls on the EU and its Member States to support measures aimed at seizing disruptive illicit financial flows and the proceeds of wildlife crime;

64.  Calls on Member States to implement and promote consistent and transparent reporting on all seized or confiscated live animals to CITES, Europol and the countries of origin;

One Health approach and role of CITES in reducing the risk of future zoonotic disease emergence associated with the international wildlife trade

65.  Recalls that according to IPBES, 70 % of emerging diseases and pandemics are of animal origin; expresses, not least in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its deep concern about the increasingly frequent emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases that are transferred from animals to humans (anthropozoonoses), which is exacerbated by climate change, environmental degradation, land-use changes, deforestation, the destruction of and pressure on biodiversity and natural habitats, illegal trafficking of wild animals, and unsustainable food production and consumption patterns; underlines the need to improve knowledge about the links between disease emergence on the one hand and the legal and illegal wildlife trade, conservation and ecosystem degradation on the other;

66.  Points out that the risk of pandemics can be significantly lowered by reducing human activities that drive biodiversity loss and that the estimated cost of reducing the risk of pandemics is 100 times lower than the cost of responding to them; stresses that it is of the utmost importance to protect and restore wildlife habitats to prevent another pandemic of animal origin; urges all parties to step up their efforts;

67.  Urges the EU and all other parties to ensure the welfare of live animals in trade as well as those held in breeding facilities, recognising scientific evidence that poor welfare conditions in holding, transport and trade are linked to the outbreak and spread of diseases and thus threaten both animal and human health; stresses the benefit of an EU-wide positive list of animals allowed as pets in this regard;

68.  Calls on the Commission to use the regulatory dialogues provided for in FTAs to promote stringent EU sanitary, phytosanitary and animal welfare standards in order to minimise the risk of future epidemics and pandemics; calls further on the Commission to consider, if necessary, the adoption of a moratorium on imports of wild animals or other species from emerging infectious disease hotspots in order to address any safety concerns;

69.  Emphasises the important role that CITES should play in preventing future pandemics as the international wildlife trade regulator;

70.  Underlines the World Health Organization, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations Environment Programme guidance calling on national competent authorities to suspend the trade in live caught wild animals of mammalian species for food or breeding purposes and close sections of food markets selling live caught wild animals of mammalian species as an emergency measure unless demonstrable effective regulations and adequate risk assessment are in place and underlines the IPBES recommendations to remove live species in wildlife trade that are identified by expert review as being a high risk for the emergence of disease; calls on the Commission and the EU Member States to support the global community in addressing the commercial trade and sale in markets of live wildlife for human consumption, particularly birds and mammals, with a view to phasing out this trade as a key step towards achieving the goal of preventing future pandemics of zoonotic origin;

71.  Underlines the important role of the Commission and Member States in coordinating and supporting the ‘One Health’ approach in the EU and advocating it at all international forums; calls for the urgent adoption of a new resolution that encourages parties to institutionalise a ‘One Health’ approach to wildlife use and trade, using the operational definition of One Health developed by the One Health High-Level Expert Panel, when implementing the convention and in their national laws, and to undertake appropriate risk analyses and prevention programmes with respect to animal, human and environmental health when considering applications for wildlife trade-related permits and certificates;

72.  Notes with concern that significant quantities of meat from domestic and wild animals are still smuggled into Member States by air passengers, posing risks to animal and human health and biodiversity; calls on the Commission to step up data collection on this issue with the Member States and to support and coordinate an EU response to illegal meat imports;

73.  Welcomes CITES’s intention to work with the OIE to develop a joint programme of work to collaboratively fill knowledge gaps and identify effective and practical solutions for reducing pathogen spill-over risks in wildlife supply chains; encourages CITES to continue strengthening active collaboration with other international organisations and conventions involved in zoonotic disease prevention taking a ‘One Health’ approach;

74.  Recalls the importance of indigenous peoples’ and local community engagement in relation to species conservation and the implementation of the convention; recognises the dependence of some communities on CITES-listed species for their livelihoods; regrets that a certain level of recognition of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) is lacking in CITES, contrary to CBD; considers that CITES meetings would benefit from greater representation of IPLCs and participation by them, and regrets the lack of progress made so far; urges the parties and the Secretariat to continue the work to define and implement effective mechanisms to ensure that IPLCs’ voices are heard;

75.  Calls on the World Health Organization to take a stance against the use of wild animals in medicines, in particular against the use of species classified as (near) threatened, vulnerable or endangered on the IUCN red list;

Amendments to the CITES appendices

76.  Expresses its strong support for the listing proposals submitted by the EU and its Member States to amend the appendices to CITES;

77.  Calls on the EU Member States to support proposals to CoP19 to list species or to move them from Appendix II to Appendix I that are put forward or supported by range countries;

78.  Calls on the EU Member States and all other parties to support proposals submitted to CoP19 to better protect reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish and mammals that are threatened by the international trade for the pet market, acknowledging that the market for exotic pets and the range of affected species are growing both within the EU and internationally;

79.  Calls for the EU and all parties to CITES to adhere to the precautionary principle with regard to species protection in all their formal positions on working documents and listing proposals, and to take full account, in particular, of the user-pays principle, the principle of preventive action, the principle of the best available scientific information and the ecosystem approach;

80.  Urges the EU to call for a revision of Resolution Conf. 9.21 (Rev. CoP18) on the interpretation and application of quotas for species included in Appendix I, to increase the frequency with which quotas of these species, which have the highest level of protection under the appendices, are reviewed, since the current timeframe of nine years (three intersessional periods) is too long;

81.  Supports the recommendations to strengthen the protection and conservation of species, including sharks and rays, marine turtles, seahorses, big cats, elephants, Tibetan antelope and saiga antelope;

82.  Urges the EU to support the establishment of a transparent and inclusive process for a further comprehensive, time-bound review of Resolution Conf. 10.21 on the transport of live specimens and the associated CITES guidance on non-air transport; calls for the constitution of a joint working group on the transport of animals and plants committee with a mandate to manage the regular review of the guidelines and to develop amendments to Resolution Conf. 10.21 (Rev. CoP16), to improve detailed transport requirements clarifying responsibilities for compliance, and to review their implementation by the parties;

83.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to support the adoption of a decision proposed by the Standing Committee to reconvene the CITES Rhinoceros Enforcement Task Force, highlighting the fact that poaching and illegal trade in rhinoceros horn remain major threats to the survival of African and Asian rhinoceroses;

Species-specific matters

Sharks and rays

84.  Underlines that sharks and rays play a key role in keeping ocean life healthy and that new research released since CITES CoP18 now shows that 37 % of shark and ray species are already threatened with extinction, which is the second-highest rate among all vertebrate groups after amphibians(11); highlights that one of the primary drivers of these declines is the international trade in their products and that the EU is a major exporter of, and trader in, shark parts and products;

85.  Regrets that to date only 25 % of species affected by the fin trade are listed in CITES Appendix II; urges the EU to ask the Secretariat, Standing Committee and CITES parties to further explore and address the worrying and critical mismatch identified in SC74 Doc. 67.2 between the catch and trade levels of CITES-listed shark species and to identify potential sources of underreporting or illegal trade in CITES-listed shark species;

86.  Welcomes, therefore, the Commission proposal for a Council decision which includes an Appendix II proposal that would bring the entire family of hammerhead sharks under the CITES regulation;

87.  Urges the EU, which plays a key role in global shark fisheries and trade, to support the proposal led by the host country of CoP19, Panama, to list requiem sharks (family Carcharhinidae) in Appendix II, with the rest of the family Carcharhinidae qualifying to be included as lookalike species due to the similarity in their appearance;

Big cats

88.  Recognises that some of the big cat species are among the most endangered CITES species, with populations continuing to decline to the point of recent national-level extinctions, and that the conservation of, and trade in, CITES big cat species has suffered from a lack of attention and financial support comparative to other CITES matters;

89.  Urges the EU to establish a big cat species conservation fund that would, inter alia, support the implementation of CITES big cat species-specific resolutions and decisions and the implementation of time-bound, country-specific recommendations and the CITES big cat task force outcomes and outputs;

90.  Urges further the EU to ensure that the CITES Secretariat takes a risk-based approach to the implementation of the CITES missions to countries with captive Asian big cat facilities of concern;

91.  Notes with great concern that all five species of the Panthera genus (tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, and snow leopard) have an unfavourable conservation status varying from ‘near threatened’ to ‘endangered’ while their populations are decreasing;

92.  Urges all the parties to prohibit commercial trade, without exception, in the five species of the Panthera genus (tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards and snow leopards); calls, furthermore, on the Member States to prohibit captive breeding of these species by private entities, other than licensed zoos, as this can facilitate their illicit trade;

93.  Points out that the legal commercial trade in captive-bred species such as tigers and other big cats is highly detrimental as it stimulates demand, complicates enforcement, and provides abundant laundering opportunities;

94.  Calls for the closure of tiger farms and for an end of all commercial trade in captive-bred tigers and their parts;

95.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States and all CITES parties to ensure that the African lion is included in Appendix I to give it optimal protection status and calls for a crackdown on the illegal trade in the African lion, which is mainly with Asian countries;


96.  Calls on the Commission to fully support and actively advocate the inclusion of all African elephant populations in Appendix I of CITES and to oppose moving any elephant populations from Appendix I to Appendix II;

97.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to support the development of a simple and unified legal framework on the trade in live African elephants caught in the wild, limiting exports to in situ conservation programmes or secure areas in the wild, within the species’ natural and historical range in Africa;

98.  Highlights the position of the African elephant range states belonging to the African Elephant Coalition and of the IUCN Species Survival Commission – African Elephant Specialist Group, which do not endorse the removal of African elephants from the wild for any captive use;

99.  Urges the EU to highlight the poor ongoing implementation of all provisions of CITES Decisions 18.226 and 18.227, and to strongly encourage all the parties to address these provisions in full, while being cognizant of commitments by several Asian elephant range states to implement more secure systems of registration, marking and tracing of live Asian elephants;

100.  Urges the closure of all remaining legal domestic ivory markets, such as that in Japan, as a matter of urgency and calls on the EU and all the parties to oppose any proposals seeking to remove restrictions on the trade in ivory;

101.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to require increased transparency and improved management of ivory stocks and stockpiles, and encourage their destruction;

102.  Calls on the EU to follow up its suggestion to the 74th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee and ensure inclusion in Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) reports, including the report to be submitted to CoP19, of an analysis of ivory seizures connected to each party with legal domestic markets for the commercial trade in ivory, and to request the CITES Secretariat to use information collected via the Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE), ETIS and the National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) process to conduct an analysis of where the largest undeclared stockpiles are likely to exist;

103.  Urges the EU and its Member States to support recommending a review of the NIAP process to ensure it remains fit for purpose, and calls for further efforts by the parties concerned under the NIAP process on ivory stockpiles;

104.  Calls on the EU to ensure that the ETIS remains the robust mechanism and information source on trends in illegal ivory trade that it has proven to be for over two decades;

Other species

105.  Calls for the EU and all the parties to:

   support proposals to list the common hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius, in Appendix I, given the ongoing concerns over population declines and trade in the species;
   support proposals to include additional turtle species in the CITES appendices, including those in the genera Kinosternon, Claudius and Staurotypus;
   support the proposal led by Costa Rica with support from other range states to list glass frogs (family Centrolenidae) on Appendix II of CITES to ensure that trade in these species is legal and sustainable;
   urge Botswana to report on any activities it is implementing to address rhinoceros poaching and illegal trade under Resolution Conf. 9.14 (Rev.CoP17) on conservation of and trade in African and Asian rhinoceroses, given the serious concerns over the increase in rhinoceros poaching in Botswana since CoP18;
   advance decisions and/or amendments to Resolution Conf. 17.10 on conservation of and trade in pangolins to encourage those parties with domestic markets to take all measures to close those markets and to destroy their pangolin stockpiles;
   advance decisions that hold Mexico to account for its failure to prevent illegal fishing and trade in Totoaba macdonaldi, an Appendix I listed species, which is driving the vaquita (Phocoena sinus) to extinction, including consideration of a suspension in the commercial trade of CITES-listed species consistent with Res. Conf. 14.3;

106.  Calls on Hong Kong and China to step up their border controls to stop imports of totoaba, mainly destined for China;

107.  Urges all the parties to prohibit the trade in totoaba completely;

o   o

108.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and its Secretariat.

(1) OJ C 67, 8.2.2022, p. 25.
(2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.
(3) Food and Agriculture Organization, ‘The State of the World’s Forests 2022 – Forest pathways for green recovery and building inclusive, resilient and sustainable economies’, Rome, 2022.
(4) International Fund for Animal Welfare, ‘Supply and demand: the EU’s role in the global shark trade’, 2022.
(5) IUCN, ‘African elephant species now Endangered and Critically Endangered – IUCN Red List’, 25 March 2021.
(6) Commission Regulation (EC) No 865/2006 of 4 May 2006 laying down detailed rules concerning the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein (OJ L 166, 19.6.2006, p. 1).
(7) OJ C 67, 8.2.2022, p. 25.
(8) Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 732/2008 (OJ L 303, 31.10.2012, p. 1).
(9) Commission proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Single Market For Digital Services (Digital Services Act) and amending Directive 2000/31/EC (COM(2020)0825).
(10) Commission communication of 14 April 2021 on the EU strategy to tackle organised crime 2021-2025 (COM(2021)0170).
(11)  IUCN Species Survival Commission – Shark Specialist Group, ‘New Global Study Finds Unprecedented Shark and Ray Extinction Risk’, 6 September 2021.

The EU’s strategic relationship and partnership with the Horn of Africa
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European Parliament recommendation of 5 October 2022 to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the EU’s strategic relationship and partnership with the Horn of Africa (2021/2206(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 10 May 2021 entitled ‘The Horn of Africa: a geo-strategic priority for the EU’, and in particular paragraph 28 thereof regarding access to and respect for sexual and reproductive health and rights,

–  having regard to the final joint statement of 18 February 2022 of the sixth European Union-African Union Summit entitled ‘A Joint Vision for 2030’,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 25 June 2018 on the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 September 2020 on EU-African security cooperation in the Sahel region, West Africa and the Horn of Africa(1),

–  having regard to the Strategic Compass for Security and Defence, adopted on 21 March 2022,

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 March 2021 on a new EU-Africa Strategy – a partnership for sustainable and inclusive development(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 25 November 2021 on the situation in Somalia(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 September 2021 on the situation in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 January 2022 on the political crisis in Sudan(5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 26 November 2020 on the situation in Ethiopia(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 October 2021 on the humanitarian situation in Tigray(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 11 February 2021 on the political situation in Uganda(8),

–  having regard to its resolution of 24 October 2019 on the situation of LGBTI people in Uganda(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 8 October 2020 on Eritrea, notably the case of Dawit Isaak(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2016 on the situation in Eritrea(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2017 on South Sudan(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2016 on Djibouti(13),

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106, 2122, 2242, 2467 and 2493 on women, peace and security,

–  having regard to UN Security Council resolutions 2250, 2419 and 2535 on youth, peace and security,

–  having regard to the resolutions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights of May 2014 on protection against violence and other human rights violations against persons on the basis of their real or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity and May 2017 on the situation of human rights defenders in Africa,

–  having regard to the guidelines on freedom of association and assembly adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights during its 60th ordinary session in May 2017,

–  having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 25 March 2020 on the EU action plan on human rights and democracy for 2020-2024 (JOIN(2020)0005),

–  having regard to the EU action plan on human rights and democracy for 2015-2019, and in particular action 22(b) thereof, which outlines the responsibility of the European External Action Service, the Commission, the Council and the Member States to develop and implement an EU policy on transitional justice,

–  having regard to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction and the Convention on Cluster Munitions,

–  having regard to the agreement signed at the third Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration in Nairobi, Kenya on 1 April 2022,

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 2628 of 31 March 2022, which reconfigured the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS),

–  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 on the Rights of the Child of 1989,

–  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

–  having regard to the UN General Assembly resolution of 25 September 2015 entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York,

–  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief of 1981,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 February 2020 on an EU strategy to put an end to female genital mutilation around the world(14),

–  having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,

–  having regard to the report of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission/Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Joint Investigation into Alleged Violations of International Human Rights, Humanitarian and Refugee Law Committed by all Parties to the Conflict in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia of 3 November 2021 and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission report of 11 March 2022 on violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the Afar and Amhara regions of Ethiopia conducted between September and December 2021,

–  having regard to the UN Human Rights Council resolution of 17 December 2021 establishing an international commission of human rights experts to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the allegations of violations and abuses committed since 3 November 2020 by all parties to the conflict in Ethiopia,

–  having regard to the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan of 12 September 2018,

–  having regard to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute background paper of December 2020 entitled ‘The European Union Training Mission in Somalia: an assessment’,

–  having regard to Rule 118 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A9-0207/2022),

A.  whereas the Council conclusions of 10 May 2021 establish a new strategy for the Horn of Africa and give new impetus to the EU’s partnership with the region, which is of primary strategic relevance for the Union;

B.  whereas the Horn of Africa is a strategically important region for the EU in political, economic and commercial terms, with which Europe has long-standing political and economic ties; whereas the Horn of Africa has the potential to grow in economic and political terms, but is facing a number of critical hurdles, including the COVID‑19 crisis, the adverse impact of climate change, increasing water scarcity and food insecurity, desertification and deforestation, low resilience to natural disasters, population growth and urbanisation, combined with limited job creation and deep inequalities, a lack of proper infrastructure, instability and political challenges, among others; whereas democracy, good governance, accountability, the rule of law, human rights, gender equality and inclusive and participative societies are preconditions for peace and regional stability;

C.  whereas the countries of the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, South Sudan and Djibouti) face common risks and threats, including the immediate and long-term impacts of climate change, jihadist terrorism, ethnic tensions and problems of weak governance; whereas all countries in the region are characterised by persistent fragilities due to ongoing conflicts and grave human rights violations perpetrated by all parties to the conflict, including the enrolment of child soldiers, targeted attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and the practice of sexual violence against women and girls; whereas impunity for war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law remain the norm, while the pursuit of justice for victims has largely proved elusive; whereas in December 2021, the UN Human Rights Council established the UN Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia to investigate possible war crimes and other violations;

D.  whereas the overall stability of the Horn of Africa has further deteriorated since the start of the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in November 2020, and is jeopardised by difficult political transitions ongoing in a number of countries; whereas the humanitarian situation across Ethiopia remains dramatic owing to conflict, drought and large-scale internal displacement; whereas a humanitarian truce was announced by the federal government on 24 March 2022 in order to facilitate the provision of aid to Tigray, which has been cut off by the conflict; whereas hostilities in the northern region of Ethiopia resumed on 24 August 2022; whereas despite remaining very brutal, the conflict in Ethiopia has now entered a different phase, given the public commitment to a negotiated solution under an African Union-led framework made by both parties to the conflict; whereas the construction and second filling phase of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam built on the upstream Nile by Ethiopia continues to cause tensions between Ethiopia and its neighbouring countries;

E.  whereas the EU is a major, long-standing and reliable partner for peace, security, sustainable development and humanitarian assistance in the region, and whereas due consideration must be given to this partnership for peace, security, democracy, sustainable development and humanitarian aid; whereas existing regional organisations and other initiatives such as the African Union and Combined Joint Task Force are also leading actors in addressing the Horn of Africa’s security concerns;

F.  whereas the first China-Horn of Africa Peace, Governance and Development Conference took place on 20 and 21 June 2022; whereas the Chinese Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Xue Bing, who was present at the meeting offered Beijing’s unconditional support for the resolution of conflicts in the region, while calling for the countries there to be independent from foreign interference;

G.  whereas the humanitarian situation in South Sudan is deteriorating as a result of tensions and conflicts, local inter-communal violence and recurrent floods; whereas the UN estimated that Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya needed urgent humanitarian assistance of USD 4,4 billion in 2022 in order to reach 29,1 million people; whereas as of April 2022, only 5 % of those needs had been met by the international community; whereas the drought has already caused the deaths of some 3 million livestock animals across southern Ethiopia and in the arid regions in Kenya, and around 30 % of households’ herds have died in Somalia; whereas the locust invasion in East Africa is the worst in 25 years for Ethiopia and Somalia and the worst in 70 years for Kenya and poses a major threat to food security in the region; whereas about 568 000 children were admitted for severe acute malnutrition treatment in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia from January to June 2022, and around 6.5 million children are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in these three countries; whereas the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group currently estimates that between 23 and 26 million people could face high levels of acute food insecurity by February 2023 due primarily to the drought in the region if the October to December rains fail; whereas experts have predicted that more frequent cross-border movements of locusts between Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia will further exacerbate an already precarious food security situation; whereas the disastrous consequences of the war in Ukraine, with food, fuel and commodity prices having now reached unprecedented levels, are exacerbating the serious food crisis in the countries of the Horn of Africa;

H.  whereas the COVID-19 pandemic left the region with health, socio-economic and political challenges by deepening poverty, increasing inequality and exacerbating structural and entrenched discrimination, with a devastating impact on human rights and civil liberties, particularly for minority groups and vulnerable people; whereas in this context some governments have used COVID-19 legislation to repress human rights;

I.  whereas the Horn of Africa remains a region of origin, transit and destination for major migration flows to other countries in the wider region as well as to the EU; whereas poverty and insecurity feed off each other and are two of the most important drivers of mass population displacement in the Horn of Africa, particularly among young people; whereas there are over 7,7 million migrant workers in East Africa and the Horn of Africa with Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda hosting the highest number of international migrants in search of better economic opportunities and better livelihoods;

J.  whereas political tensions, conflicts, natural disasters and the consequences of climate change are at the root of the considerable refugee and displaced populations in most regions; whereas the humanitarian and security situation in camps for refugees and internally displaced persons remains precarious; whereas Kenya is home to the Dadaab refugee camp, one of the largest in the world, which hosts over 220 000 registered Somali refugees fleeing civil war and climate hardship; whereas tensions between Kenya and Somalia are on the rise over the management of the camp, while refugees continue to have to survive in difficult conditions, depending on the support of the UN for their livelihoods;

K.  whereas the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden are turning into areas of increasing concern, where regional and international actors have considerable and often diverging economic and security interests at a global crossroads and choke point for commodities trading, with more than 12 % of global seaborne cargo and 40 % of Asia’s trade with Europe transiting through the Red Sea; whereas stability, maritime security and freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden are crucial for ensuring global energy flows and European energy security, as approximately 6,2 million barrels of crude oil and other petroleum products transit through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait every year (around 9 % of global seaborne shipments), 3,6 million of which are destined for Europe; whereas the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing conflict in the country will further increase the relevance of this trade route; whereas while pursuing the green and sustainable transitions of the European Green Deal, the short‑term need to reduce dependency on Russia and diversify suppliers will make freedom of navigation and maritime security in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden even more crucial in geostrategic terms; whereas consideration must be given to the importance of the Red Sea region regarding stability in the Horn of Africa, its significance as a trade and connectivity axis and its concerns, which are shared by the EU, over stability and freedom of navigation;

L.  whereas the 11th ministerial meeting of the Horn of Africa initiative took place at the EU-AU Summit, with Team Europe members also attending for the very first time; whereas the initiative has mobilised over USD 4,5 billion from its three development partners: the EU, the African Development Bank and World Bank Group; whereas since 2019, the EU has supported 64 projects in the Horn of Africa under the EU Trust Fund, focusing mainly on greater economic and employment opportunities and improved governance and conflict prevention;

M.  whereas gender discrimination and other forms of inequality remain entrenched in many countries in the region, including gender-based violence and high levels of conflict-related sexual violence, limited access to sexual and reproductive health, early and forced marriages, the exclusion of pregnant girls from schools, and the practice of female genital mutilation, which remains a long-held custom in the countries of the Horn of Africa;

N.  whereas LGBTIQ people continue to face harassment, arrest, prosecution and gender-based violence and sometimes even risk being killed for their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression and sex characteristics; whereas with the exception of Djibouti, consensual sexual acts between same-sex persons are criminalised in all countries of the Horn of Africa; whereas this criminalisation is used to legitimise discriminatory treatment towards LGBTIQ people and whereas repealing discriminatory criminal provisions is a necessary first step towards protecting LGBTIQ people from violence; whereas none of the countries in the Horn of Africa have legal provisions in place to legally recognise trans persons or protect intersex persons from intersex genital mutilation;

O.  whereas as of 1 April 2022, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) was replaced by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), with the primary objective of handing over to the Somalian national army forces in 2024; whereas the tasks of the new mission include, inter alia, reducing the threat posed by al‑Shabaab, helping to strengthen the Somali joint security and police forces, ensuring the gradual transfer of security responsibilities to Somalia, and supporting the peace and reconciliation efforts of the Federal Government of Somalia and the member countries of the federation; whereas UN Security Council Resolution 2608 on piracy, which was the basis for the EU naval force Operation Atalanta, has not been renewed and, as a result, access to Somali territorial waters is restricted; whereas the security situation is fragile and giving cause for concern, with the terrorist group al-Shabaab remaining active; whereas elections were held 12 months behind schedule; whereas the country is facing increasing financial difficulties that are compromising its ability to pay; whereas EU financial aid has been suspended since September 2020 because of failure to complete the electoral process, although direct support for vulnerable populations is continuing; whereas according to humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs), since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the prices of wheat and oil have increased by 300 % in a number of regions in Somalia, which imports 90 % of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia; whereas according to the UN, over 38 % of Somalia’s population was suffering from severe food insecurity as of March 2022;

P.  whereas the failure to renew UN Security Council Resolution 2608 limits the access of Operation Atalanta to Somalian territorial waters;

Q.  whereas China has appointed a special envoy for Horn of Africa affairs; whereas China has increased its military and diplomatic presence in and economic cooperation with countries in the region;

R.  whereas there has been a political stalemate in Sudan since the coup of 25 October 2021 and very difficult negotiations between civilians and the military; whereas the security situation in Darfur, which has seen renewed outbreaks of violence since November 2021, is very worrying; whereas Sudan faces a dire economic situation, coupled with the suspension of payments from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund pending a viable political solution and the establishment of a civilian government, as well as the suspension of financial aid from the Commission, although direct aid to the population has been maintained; whereas Russia’s planned military base will afford it strategic access to the Red Sea;

S.  whereas over 10 years since South Sudan’s independence in 2011, the implementation of the peace agreement signed in 2018 has been delayed; whereas President Salva Kiir intends to hold general elections in 2023 in accordance with the deadline set out in the peace agreement; whereas the political and military fragmentation of the country, both between and within different political groups, military factions and ethnic groups, is giving cause for concern;

T.  whereas the political landscape in Kenya is deeply polarised; whereas general elections were held on 9 August 2022; whereas the country is struggling economically as a result of the global consequences of the COVID‑19 pandemic and accumulated debt; whereas Kenya could play a constructive role in regional peace and security; whereas the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy visited Kenya twice this year, once on 10 September 2022, as part of a regional tour to Kenya, Mozambique and Somalia, and once on 29 January 2022 to formally launch the EU-Kenya strategic dialogue, for which the economy, trade and investment have been identified as the key priorities;

U.  whereas the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was re-elected for a sixth term following the elections held on 14 January 2021; whereas on 30 November 2021, a military operation was launched in Ituri and North Kivu in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo in response to a series of attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces, a Daesh-affiliated armed terrorist group with roots in Uganda;

V.  whereas President Isaias Afwerki of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice has led Eritrea since its independence in 1993; whereas the democratisation process that began with the adoption of the Eritrean Constitution in 1997 has since stalled; whereas the Eritrean regime has clamped down on most fundamental freedoms and the human rights situation is giving cause for great concern; whereas Eritrea is one of the least developed countries (LDCs); whereas its two principal donors are the Global Fund and the European Commission, with the EU currently channelling EUR 20 million into a road improvement project in Eritrea through the Emergency Trust Fund, after having decommitted more than EUR 100 million in 2021 as a result of Eritrea’s involvement in the conflict in northern Ethiopia;

W.  whereas Djibouti is in an eminently strategic position on the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, one of the busiest maritime corridors in the world, which controls access to the Red Sea, thus facilitating a growth model centred on the development of infrastructure (ports and railways); whereas on 9 April 2021, the incumbent President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh won the elections for the fifth consecutive time; whereas Djibouti is at the epicentre of the crisis sweeping round from the Sahel to the Middle East and, while a stable country, its immediate environs are unstable; whereas consideration must be given to Djibouti’s significant military involvement with ATMIS in the fight against al-Shabaab Somali terrorists;

1.  Recommends that the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy:


The impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine on the Horn of Africa

   (a) undertake a comprehensive evaluation of previous EU strategies and commitments towards the Horn of Africa in order to identify lessons learned and to recalibrate the EU engagement in the region accordingly; recognise that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has worrying immediate and long-term consequences for the Horn of Africa, and that as a response, the EU must adjust its engagement with the region; respond to the fact that – as a consequence of Russia’s illegal action – the overall security situation in the region is negatively affected; address the fact that Russia has already well-established, multifaceted links and influence in the region, including through investments (both civilian and military) and the deployment of paramilitary groups such as the Wagner Group in Sudan, and recognise that these actions have the potential to further destabilise neighbouring areas; counter the Russian attempts to orchestrate misinformation and disinformation campaigns in the region aimed at fomenting anti-EU sentiment by setting up a comprehensive EU public communications strategy to counter and overcome Russian efforts, combined with concrete action and commitments that take into account the needs of the local population; condemn the spread of narratives justifying Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, as exemplified by the Sudanese General Hemetti’s statement of 23 February 2022, when he falsely claimed that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine was to ‘protect’ Russia; scale up EU diplomatic, political, financial and humanitarian engagement with the AU, its regional components, and individual countries by putting in place concrete action which demonstrates the EU’s commitment to the region in order to foster local and regional approaches to prevent further regional instability, reduce their vulnerability to foreign influence, and address and respond to the negative consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine; immediately deepen diplomatic engagement with the governments in the region to discuss and clarify the devastating short, medium and long-term impacts of the Russian objectives and operations in the region; acknowledge that the ongoing Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, in particular the Russian naval blockade, disrupts supply chains and severely impacts the food security of the Horn of Africa, both in the short and medium term, as around 90 % of its wheat is imported from the Russian Federation and Ukraine; take account of the fact that at least 20 million people were already at risk of famine due to unprecedented drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia and the locust swarm crisis; significantly scale up EU support and assistance to the Horn of Africa to obviate the risk of famine or difficulties in accessing food; recognise the funding gaps for the region for the next six months, namely USD 437 million according to the World Food Programme and USD 130 million according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and do its utmost to help plug these gaps and go beyond the EUR 21,5 million in additional EU humanitarian aid already committed;

Guiding principles

   (b) fully recognise the potential and the strategic relevance of the region, and develop a truly strategic vision for cooperation and engagement by continuously working to implement and adapt the Horn of Africa strategy in the light of recent developments in the region, giving new impetus to a mutually beneficial relationship based on coherent, timely and effective consultations and common values, interests and prospects; move from an obsolete donor recipient mentality to a partnership on an equal footing between the EU and the Horn of Africa countries in order to create the conditions for sustainable and peaceful development in the region;
   (c) coordinate EU initiatives and support with African counterparts by favouring African ownership of the programmes, thus helping to find African solutions to African problems; adopt, in this regard, a conditionality approach, including on security issues, based on the more for more and less for less principle; note that development aid is sometimes used inefficiently and occasionally misused by governments of the recipient countries; facilitate the strengthening of a bottom-up approach, where local communities and civil society organisations can work to build their own capacities and prepare, coordinate and organise themselves better to become more resilient;
   (d) coordinate efforts in the region with the AU and its regional components, most notably the East African Community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), as well as with the UN and other like-minded international and regional organisations, financial institutions and individual countries; maintain support for ongoing missions in the area that help these efforts, including EU common security and defence policy missions, in order to contribute to a collective response designed to achieve stability and development; encourage the UK to coordinate with the EU in its efforts in the region;
   (e) adopt a proactive, inclusive and cooperative approach based on constructive engagement with countries and actors present in the Horn of Africa, sharing EU best practices and experience in integrating matters relating to security, economic development and financial, social and cultural issues to foster effective cooperation across the region and in the maritime domain, while also acting as a facilitator of dialogue with all parties involved, in particular through the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa;

Regional peace and security

   (f) recognise that insecurity and instability in the Horn of Africa represents a serious threat to the economic and social prospects of the whole of Africa, as well as to the EU’s and regional security concerns; contribute to regional security and stability with an integrated approach, fostering the link between humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and peace through civilian conflict prevention, the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict resolution, mediation, capacity-building and reconciliation activities; mainstream youth inclusion and the full, equal and meaningful representation and active participation of women in peace and security issues, including through the support and implementation of the UN Agendas on Youth, Peace and Security and on Women, Peace and Security, formulating concrete short and medium-term commitments and identifying how this will be measured and reported objectively; support African-owned processes within the AU, IGAD and the East African Community, and address the root causes of conflicts, extremism and radicalisation such as extreme poverty and inequality, the consequences of climate change namely scarce resources such as arable land and water, and long-standing border disputes through political, financial, operational and logistical support; strengthen the EU‑AU strategic partnership as regards conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping; strengthen the cooperation with the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities in this regard; endorse the concept of human security as a complement to state security approaches which puts measures and institutions at the service of its people; support the necessary clearance of and tackle the contamination caused by landmines, cluster munitions and other explosives, which prevent social and economic development and have a disproportionate impact on children, women and marginalised groups;
   (g) address the possible insecurities and tensions arising from Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the sharing of Nile waters with Sudan and Egypt located downstream; call on the three countries to return to the negotiating table and work with them to find a diplomatically negotiated solution within the appropriate forums under the auspices of the AU and IGAD, taking into account Ethiopia’s interest in generating hydropower as well as the concerns of riparian states vis-à-vis water security, and overcoming the risks related to unilateral attitudes towards the use of shared environmental resources; take account of the fact that the effects of climate change pose a major challenge to the Horn of Africa and require the region to cooperate closely in the production of sustainable energy as well as resource sharing, and recognise that the European Green Deal offers important opportunities for cooperation; provide financial and technical assistance as well as share innovative technologies, best practices and lessons learned with our African partners in order to reap the benefits of the green transition and the water-food-energy nexus, and increase investment in the region’s transition, including integrated infrastructure such as transnational energy grids;
   (h) coordinate with international partners and organisations to provide timely and sufficient humanitarian aid and assistance to the countries affected by conflicts, extreme drought and other natural disasters and by the Russian aggression in Ukraine, which has contributed to soaring food and fuel costs and disrupted global supply chains; recognise the linkages between the climate crisis, peace and conflicts and the need for peace building and climate adaptation and mitigation efforts to address these, and address climate security as a core element of any comprehensive regional strategy; take the lead in convening the donor community for an exceptional pledging conference for the Horn of Africa in order to avoid the region being hit by hunger once again;
   (i) acknowledge the positive impacts of the commitment shown by the EU and its international partners through missions and operations such as Operation Atalanta, the EU Capacity-Building Mission in Somalia and the EU Programme to Promote Regional Maritime Security, both by preventing piracy attacks before they happen and reducing the success rate of those that do, and deplore the failure to renew UN Security Council Resolution 2608, which unfortunately limits the access of the operation to Somalian territorial waters; commend the positive results already achieved by the EU Capacity-Building Mission in Somalia in the area of civilian law enforcement, and ensure that the mission has the means and personnel it needs to be effective; call on the Member States to show adequate commitment to ATMIS and the EU Training Mission in Somalia, both in terms of personnel and means, in order to empower the Somali armed forces to enable them to take ownership of security in the country while fully complying with international humanitarian law and international human rights law; underline the need for the EU to confirm its position as a credible partner for Somalia, supporting ATMIS as a part of an integrated approach adopted in coordination with common security and defence policy missions in Somalia, the European Peace Facility (EPF), humanitarian aid operations and the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation instrument;
   (j) express concern about the persistent activity of radical militant Islamist terrorist groups operating across the Horn of Africa and in neighbouring countries, most notably al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda and Daesh, which are highly adaptable and able to gain a lasting foothold among the population; call on the EU and its Member States to focus on the spread of jihadism in the region and provide tailored and effective assistance to the countries affected in countering both the immediate effects of this expansion and the complex root causes that lead to extremism, radicalisation, violence, terrorism and the susceptibility to recruitment; recognise that the relevance and capability to operate of terrorist organisations in the region are further strengthened by the permeability of national borders, and support national and regional efforts to increase border security; work in cooperation with individual countries and regional organisations, most notably the East African Community, IGAD and the Eastern Africa Standby Force, in order to adopt a regional approach to fighting terrorism and addressing its root causes;
   (k) provide tailored and request-driven support to the AU, its regional components and individual countries in their efforts to improve the conditions for security and stability; maintain the support provided via the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation instrument’s policy of capacity-building in support of security and development and the EPF, in particular to Operation Atalanta and the EU Training Mission in Somalia, and ensure that it complies with the EU Common Position on Arms Exports and fully respects human rights and humanitarian law, obligations of ex ante risk assessment, permanent monitoring of the supply of military technology to third country actors and effective transparency provisions including the traceability and proper use of the material delivered to partners under the EPF, in order to help build an accountable, robust and reliable security sector; fully exploit the potential of the EPF in this regard and ensure continuity with the former African Peace Facility in terms of the quality and quantity of funding of African-led initiatives; ensure that all EPF financing commitments entered into with the Horn of Africa before Russia’s criminal invasion of Ukraine are fulfilled; ensure the funding of the civilian component of ATMIS;

Democracy, human rights and the rule of law

   (l) fully support democratic transitions, the rule of law, state-building processes and an open political space that is suitably adapted to different local contexts; support strategies to foster inclusive reconciliation processes with the aim of establishing credible and representative institutions that provide for the participation of the various communities; engage in particular with Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan to scale up efforts to include under-represented communities and women in high-level politics and governing bodies and assist partner countries in addressing disaffection towards and a lack of trust in national authorities through confidence-building measures; stand ready to deploy, whenever necessary, EU election observation missions to support electoral processes before and during elections; recognise the potential of parliamentary diplomacy as a tool to foster dialogue and build a holistic partnership between the EU, the AU and individual countries;
   (m) work in partnership with the EU’s African counterparts and increase cooperation with civil society to identify and address the main challenges and priorities in the region, including human dignity and rights, democratic and fundamental rights, rule of law challenges and mitigating the COVID-19 health crisis; call on national authorities to abide by the Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and to respect media freedom, including by ensuring that media outlets can operate independently; express concern about the persistent violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, expression and sex characteristics; call on the national authorities to repeal discriminatory provisions, including through a review of their criminal codes; enhance their support to human rights defenders in the region; show flexibility in making use of all of the tools at their disposal and fully implement the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, ensuring internal protection mechanisms are upheld and coordinating in granting visas to those seeking to leave the country; call on national authorities in the region to provide a working environment conducive to civil society, as well as specific legislative measures to recognise and protect human rights defenders and prevent their harassment and arbitrary detention; recognise the link between corruption and widespread violations of human rights and strengthen EU support to combat corruption in the region; scale up the delivery of life-saving and life-sustaining assistance to help people and communities impacted by the drought while working to enable communities to pursue self-reliance and build resilience against future shocks; call on governments across the region to ensure that humanitarian workers can access people in need of assistance;
   (n) mainstream transitional justice into its conflict management approach in the region; prioritise, as part of the EU’s support for transitional justice efforts, locally and nationally driven processes as well as local and regional experts; step up the EU’s engagement with partner countries and with international and regional organisations to support the fight against impunity and promote truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence;
   (o) call on governments to take action to protect women’s and girls’ rights to equality, health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights and education, and to allow them to live free from gender-based violence and discrimination, ensuring a gender-sensitive approach in order to bridge the increasing gender gap during crises and conflicts; commend the progress made in improving access to healthcare in the region, such as in Kenya and Uganda, in particular access to life-saving HIV treatment and access to other sexual and reproductive health services, and strengthen the EU’s support for sexual and reproductive health and rights, which are indispensable for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and gender equality; streamline actions against female genital mutilation in all of the EU’s external activities, as reiterated in Parliament’s resolution of 12 February 2020, paying particular attention to the Horn of Africa, which has the highest prevalence of female genital mutilation in the world, including in its most severe forms; call on the national authorities in the Horn of Africa to implement laws to ban female genital mutilation and ensure those laws are respected; scale up initiatives to involve women in politics to encourage better policy-making and help put an end to female genital mutilation and forced marriage;

Sustainable and inclusive economic development – society

   (p) take note of the region’s demographic development and recognise the role of young people and women in achieving sustainable economic development; strengthen EU support in the field of access to education and vocational training, and the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce, according to the needs of the labour market; insist that empowering and offering real prospects to the younger generations and women could bring multiple benefits to the whole region; support capacity-building for local vaccine manufacturing and assist in strengthening local health systems and supporting structural reforms in the health sector; urge national authorities to ensure universal access to healthcare based on the principles of non-discrimination and equal treatment; take note that terrorism and jihadism play a major role in preventing economic growth in the whole of the Horn of Africa; take note of al-Shabaab’s economic presence in the Horn of Africa through charcoal smuggling and the extortion of farmers, businesses and aid organisations; provide technical support to empower the diaspora in Europe to step up business relations with the region, notably by allowing remittances to be sent through legal, transparent and trusted channels;
   (q) recognise that climate change seriously affects the Horn of Africa, with far-reaching consequences for the stability of the region; scale up common actions in the fight against climate change, in particular in mitigation, adaptation, resilience and disaster risk management; share the benefits of the European Green Deal, enshrined in the European Climate Law, with our partners and support them in adopting their own climate transition agendas by sharing best practices and aligning EU initiatives in this field with existing African initiatives; pay special attention to the human and food security implications of climate change and the need for the EU and its partners to conduct a climate-proof security and defence policy in line with the ambitions of the EU’s Climate Change and Defence Roadmap as part of the Strategic Compass for Security and Defence; work together with African counterparts in adopting new and innovative ways to fully unleash the region’s potential, including by exchanging best practices and adopting new technologies for sustainable agriculture that would empower local entrepreneurship, with the ultimate aim of reducing the dependency on imports of food and agricultural products and stimulating inclusive and sustainable economic growth; support the calls of LDCs for the provision of specific financing for losses and damages associated with the adverse effects of climate change and support the reconstruction of the regions affected and their economic revival by adopting additional special measures for the funding of reconstruction and recovery; consider encouraging the Member States to further use targeted debt suspension, relief or cancellation on a case-by-case basis for the most vulnerable LDCs and small island developing states, with the specific purpose of contributing to the fight against climate change as part of a wider international framework;
   (r) promote coordination and work with the relevant Commission directorates-general in order to ensure that the revision of the EU’s trade policy brings about sustainable economic growth for the region, notably by making the trade and sustainable development chapters of free trade agreements fully enforceable; note that efforts are needed to prevent human rights infringements and environmental abuses by EU-based corporations operating in the Horn of Africa and ensure that the forthcoming Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive is fit for purpose and brings about actual progress in terms of human rights and the environment for local communities; take particular care to assess and prevent any violation linked to the EU’s own policies, projects and funding in the region, including by creating a complaints mechanism for individuals or groups whose rights may have been violated by EU activities in these countries; urge public financial institutions, including the European Investment Bank, together with the Commission, to make sure that EU investments are aligned with the international environmental and climate goals, in particular the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and are used to steer a just climate transition along the lines of the European Green Deal objectives; ensure that no investment in the region should finance sectors that fuel the climate crisis, primarily fossil fuel industries;
   (s) devote particular attention to widespread, locally-owned projects, especially in the most remote areas, that are less invasive from an environmental point of view but more effective in improving people’s lives, i.e. off-grid solar power systems, irrigation systems, water purification and sanitation systems, and ensure that EU investments in sustainable energy in Africa primarily benefit the local population with the objective of ending energy poverty; call on the EU to help farmers in the Horn of Africa to reduce their dependency on mineral fertilisers and find agronomic alternatives through its external and development policy to address the climate and environmental impacts of fertilisers; urge the Member States to work with the Commission to prioritise partnerships with domestic companies in LDCs that pursue sustainable and inclusive business models;


   (t) point out that the Horn of Africa is home to some of the main countries of origin, transit and destination for significant migratory flows to other countries in the region as well as the EU; adopt an approach to cooperation on migration that is holistic, conflict-sensitive and context-specific and that puts humans first, in line with the Khartoum Process, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the work of the Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration for the East and Horn of Africa, taking into account the different drivers of migration in the region and the persistent vulnerabilities of migrants, upholding the rights of migrants and refugees and recognising the benefits of circular migration and regional mobility in the wider region; work with the EU’s partners to resume the activities of the Khartoum Process to reconfigure it in such a way that reflects the current reality and the various limitations on travel; develop a long-term partnership that focuses on safe, orderly and regular migration; find a sustainable solution with partner countries in the Horn of Africa to mitigate the consequences of migration towards European external borders; foster enhanced cooperation on border security and the fight against cross-border criminal activities, including human trafficking and illicit trade in weapons and cultural heritage; ensure that all migration cooperation and readmission agreements with the region strictly comply with international human rights and refugee law, in particular the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol thereto; ensure that the financial resources mobilised through the EU Trust Funds focus on projects capable of addressing the root causes of migration in the long term;
   (u) provide immediate assistance and long-term support to the countries hosting and assisting refugees in order to secure their protection; facilitate the resettlement of displaced persons and internally displaced persons; coordinate diplomatic efforts to call on the governments of countries in the region involved in ongoing conflicts to halt indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to protect the civilian population, including taking all steps to ensure that refugees and internally displaced persons are protected and given full access to humanitarian aid, including food, water and shelter; provide support to countries in the region to mainstream efforts with a view to supporting the appropriate reforms to ensure better management of pastoral mobility and reduce economic vulnerability during crises such as droughts in order to better control the factors that contribute to tensions and conflicts involving pastoral communities;

Regional integration

   (v) adopt a Team Europe approach in the region, working with the AU, regional organisations and a wide spectrum of partners and actors, including from the private sector, in supporting African-owned initiatives; keep monitoring and supporting the Horn of Africa Initiative, in which the EU is a strategic partner, and its objective of crowding in capital to support connectivity and unlock opportunities in the region, creating jobs, mitigating emerging risks, strengthening resilience and paving the way for better neighbourly relations;
   (w) acknowledge that safe and efficient infrastructure is key to consistent, sustainable and fair development in the region; fully exploit the potential of new EU-sponsored initiatives aimed at enhancing regional integration and connectivity; increase consultation and coordination with African counterparts in the definition of specific projects to be developed in the Global Gateway framework, building on the positive outcomes of the sixth EU-AU Summit; properly illustrate the Global Gateway as a greener, fairer and more sustainable long-term plan, especially in comparison with the alternatives proposed by other actors; support countries in the region seeking to join the World Trade Organization and support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, and continue supporting and strengthening the AU, the East African Community and IGAD to promote economic cooperation, increase regional integration and foster stability and diplomacy; recognise that the prospects for stabilisation and sustainable development of the Horn of Africa are deeply interlinked with those of neighbouring regions; consider developing an EU strategy for the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden;

Influence of third actors

   (x) underline their concern regarding the increasingly prevalent and multifaceted influences and rivalries of third parties that do not share the EU’s values and objectives in the region, including China and Russia, which are operating with ambitions to promote strictly bilateral interests; recognise that the increasing presence of these actors in the region, particularly in the economic, energy, security – including maritime security – and military spheres, also through propaganda and disinformation campaigns aimed at magnifying the role they are playing there, while undermining the actions of their competitors, including the EU, jeopardises regional peace, European efforts and assistance, and the EU’s role as a privileged partner; consider taking all the appropriate action to counter these interferences; promote the EU’s support through a holistic approach to the region, fostering economic cooperation and conflict prevention as opposed to the approach of third actors, which is aimed at exacerbating a fragmented environment and escalating geopolitical concerns; take stock of China’s consistent and multisectoral investments in the region, while assessing the consequences thereof, including the increased dependency of African states, and addressing China’s rising presence and influence; call on Turkish authorities to align with EU policies and to better coordinate efforts with EU initiatives, most notably the EU Training Mission in Somalia, in order to be more effective and achieve better outcomes in terms of security and stability, thereby ushering in a swift and genuine democratic transition; strengthen coordination with African counterparts in defining the priority areas to which EU investments should be devoted, and pledge sufficient resources to achieve this; take note of third parties’ military build-up in the region, most notably Russia’s advanced plans to construct a naval base in the Sudanese coast facing the Red Sea, and the Chinese inauguration of a military base in Djibouti in 2017; pay particular attention to the increasing activities of private security companies, such as the Russian-sponsored Wagner Group, which is operating in Sudan, hampering the democratic transition and exploiting domestic weaknesses at the expense of local populations, in order to avoid the similar negative repercussions witnessed in other regions, and work closely with the AU and the individual countries of the Horn of Africa to create and operationalise an efficient, accountable and reliable national security apparatus in each country; call on all EU Member States to ratify the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries; assess the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on EU influence in the region;
   (y) reinforce strategic communications through effective and fact-based public information campaigns in order to be more present at a local level and inform about EU actions, objectives and sponsored initiatives in the region to increase the EU’s visibility and underline the objective of generating added value for local communities, sustainable development, peace and security and inclusive growth, while also countering disinformation and false narratives from third parties; mandate the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa to focus on regional activities and enhance the EU’s visibility, its presence and engagement with all countries in the region to foster closer relations; ensure greater transparency and visibility of the work of the EU Special Representative, ensuring that the EU Special Representative prioritises conflict resolution, human rights and democracy support in her engagement with her interlocutors from the region and engages proactively with civil society actors, human rights defenders and voices of dissent, which may be under threat or targeted by the local authorities;

Country-specific issues

   (z) in addressing the following specific issues relating to the countries of the Horn of Africa:


   (i) recognise the geostrategic importance of Djibouti; take note of Djibouti’s positive contribution to peace, security and regional cooperation in the Horn of Africa, in particular in hosting the logistical platform of Operation Atalanta and the military presence of EU Member States; point out that construction projects in Djibouti are being largely funded by China with estimated infrastructural investment of USD 9,8 billion; express concern over the establishment of a Chinese naval base in Djibouti for long-range military projection and over China’s takeover of the strategic port of Doraleh and Djibouti’s rising public foreign debt, contracted through loans from China; engage with the country, which is at the crossroads of one of the most transited migration routes in the world, in assisting its efforts to host refugees from the region and the implementation of its global and regional commitments; share EU know-how and best practices in water management, as Djibouti is one of the world’s most arid countries experiencing extreme drought; express regret at the fact that no independent media has been authorised to broadcast from Djibouti; call for protection for the sources of the independent Djiboutian media, which have no choice but to broadcast and express themselves from abroad;


   (ii) condemn the total alignment of Eritrea with the Russian narrative and propaganda, and express concern that Eritrea could become a platform for Russian influence in the Horn of Africa; call on Eritrean authorities to cease their military involvement in the Ethiopian civil conflict, while also facilitating a peace agreement between Ethiopian federal authorities and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front that would include the termination of the group’s missile attacks on Eritrean soil; call on Eritrean authorities to take concrete steps towards internal reconciliation and to release all political prisoners without condition, including the Swedish-Eritrean writer and journalist David Isaak, who has been detained since 2001; constantly monitor the internal situation, and consider a gradual and commensurate reduction of EU sanctions if tangible and objective improvements are made;


   (iii) support all diplomatic efforts towards ending the ongoing conflict within Ethiopia, an important player in the Horn of Africa, both at a national level and, in particular, through the AU’s mediation track, which is going to announce a trio of high-level mediators, chaired by the High Representative for the Horn of Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, in order to prioritise agreement on a permanent ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian access to all areas and the immediate withdrawal of Eritrean forces, and to facilitate accountability and internal reconciliation; insist that the national dialogue must be as inclusive, broad and transparent as possible, including representatives from civil society and opposition parties, in order to fulfil the goal of being a true catalyst for reconciliation; coordinate support between the relevant national and international institutions and the Ethiopian Government in the resumption of health, education and other public facilities and services, including relief services to internally displaced persons and populations affected by conflict; take note of the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report on crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing in Western Tigray; welcome the establishment of an international commission of human rights experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE) by the UN Human Rights Council to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into allegations of violations and abuses committed in Ethiopia since 3 November 2020 by all parties to the conflict, working as a complement to the Ethiopian Inter-Ministerial Taskforce (IMTF) on accountability and the findings of the Joint Investigation Team, published in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights/Ethiopian Human Rights Commission report in November 2021; support transitional justice to hold the perpetrators of human rights violations accountable for the serious crimes they have committed in the context of the conflict in Ethiopia, in particular by supporting the role of all institutions involved, such as the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, the UN Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court; take note of some positive developments in the country, such as the humanitarian truce of 24 March 2022 and the release of some political prisoners, increased humanitarian access during the truce, and public declarations by the Ethiopian Government and Tigrayan leadership that they would commit to AU-led peace talks; carefully assess the developments in Ethiopia with a view to taking further measures if the situation deteriorates; at the same time, continue to call for a peaceful resolution of the conflict and the launch of peace talks without delay and explore the possible role of the EU in the mediation process; be ready to gradually reinstate budget support and EU assistance if certain conditions are met, inter alia the cessation of hostilities, full and unhindered humanitarian access across Ethiopia, including in the Tigray region, accountability for the crimes committed in the context of the conflict and the withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the country;


   (iv) underline Kenya’s potential as a key actor in the Horn of Africa in political and economic terms for enhancing regional stability and playing a constructive role in achieving peace and security; support the commitment to a renewed strategic partnership with Kenya; deepen EU-Kenya relations by exploiting the full potential of the EU-Kenya Strategic Dialogue; welcome the decision to deploy an EU Election Observation Mission for the presidential elections in August 2022; commend the peaceful resolution of the electoral dispute following the presidential elections and note the responsible role that the Kenyan courts played in it; call on the Kenyan authorities to properly assess the upcoming final Electoral Observation Mission report and draw the necessary conclusions in order to further reform and improve the country’s electoral processes; commend Kenya’s efforts to collaborate on environmental challenges, welcoming in particular the approval by the UN Environment Assembly meeting in Nairobi in March 2022 of a resolution to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024;


   (v) point out that the precarious security situation in Somalia is giving cause for great concern and, if not firmly contained, could become a major factor in destabilising the entire Horn of Africa and even areas further afield; welcome the conclusion of the Somalian presidential elections and the peaceful transfer of power; call on the newly elected president to form an inclusive cabinet and on the new government to make progress on critical national priorities, including addressing the dire humanitarian situation in the country; evaluate the resumption of support from Europe; welcome the benefits of EU involvement in Somalia; underline the obvious added value of advisory missions to command structures and thus encourage the involvement of European participants in EU Training Mission operations; fully support efforts by ATMIS to promote human rights in Somalia and peacekeeping efforts against al-Shabaab, which is threatening the security of democracy and the rule of law in the country; work together with AU and Somali institutions to revise the mandate of ATMIS, focusing on institution building, and providing sufficient financial support through the EPF; coordinate efforts with the AU and IGAD to stimulate a process of nation building within Somalia that puts civil society at its core; ensure that the revision of ATMIS is carried out in parallel with the gradual reinforcement of Somali armed forces and civilian security apparatus, which should become the final guarantors of security in the country; consult with the Somali authorities with the aim of identifying new forms of bilateral cooperation with the EU to strengthen Somalia’s capacity to guarantee maritime security and avoid any risk of piracy re-emerging within its territorial waters; support a thorough assessment of the performance of ATMIS troops in the light of efforts to prevent crimes perpetrated by regular armies in Somalia;

South Sudan

   (vi) take note of the extension of the mandate of the government for another two years, but underline its obligation to make progress on the implementation of the peace agreement and to prepare for free and fair elections; fully support the early implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan through the main monitoring structures such as the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, working closely with the AU and IGAD; coordinate with and support other international and regional actors in South Sudan, such as the AU, IGAD, the UN and the Troika (the US, UK and Norway), to continue with robust engagement in pressuring the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity to keep implementing the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, in particular its pre-transitional tasks including women’s representation, as detailed in the agreement;


   (vii) reiterate the condemnation of the military coup of October 2021 and the violence committed in the ensuing crackdown; coordinate with other actors in the region to put pressure on the military to establish a clear timetable for the reinstatement of civilian rule, leading to fair, open and transparent general elections as soon as possible; take note of the military’s declared intention to hand over power to the civilian authorities, and call for this transition to be implemented without any undue delay; call on the civilian political authorities to increase coordination and cooperation in order to present clear plans to ensure a peaceful transition; underline that a swift solution is needed, since any further delay would exacerbate the deterioration of the economy and the humanitarian situation throughout the country, and would aggravate the already immense challenges that the people of Sudan are facing; support civil society and activists on the ground and call for the liberation of detained peaceful activists and political prisoners; reiterate their firm support for the ongoing efforts of the Tripartite Mechanism to help reconcile the differences between the Sudanese parties and initiatives, facilitate the restoration of the transition to democracy and smooth its path towards civil and democratic transformation; emphasise that a transitional justice process needs to be launched in order to bring perpetrators of human right violations to justice and lay the groundwork for national reconciliation; enhance EU action on the ground in terms of humanitarian aid and direct support for the population, improving the living conditions of local communities, while also reducing exposure to Russian and Chinese influences; express deep concern over the planned establishment of a Russian naval base in Port Sudan, which would have negative repercussions for the peace and security of the Red Sea;


   (viii) recognise the important role played by Uganda in the mediation process that brought about the peace agreement in South Sudan; welcome the contribution of the Ugandan armed forces to ATMIS, and coordinate with the country with a view to the future of the mission; support the new parish model and other endeavours to fight poverty through a grassroots approach; express regret at the conditions under which the presidential elections of January 2021 were conducted and call on Ugandan national authorities to promote an open political space conducive to fair and transparent elections, while also refraining from limiting access to media and social media; underline the fact that the right to free and prior informed consent of indigenous people and local communities is enshrined in international law and call on the Ugandan national authorities to uphold all fundamental human rights on all occasions; express concern, in this regard, about the severe human rights violations reported in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline project as well as the associated risks of irreversible harm to the environment and climate; call on the EU to urgently adopt the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive in order to hold European companies accountable when their activities are linked to such violations;

2.  Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and, for information, to the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the UN.

(1) OJ C 385, 22.9.2021, p. 24.
(2) OJ C 494, 8.12.2021, p. 80.
(3) OJ C 224, 8.6.2022, p. 99.
(4) OJ C 117, 11.3.2022, p. 114.
(5) OJ C 336, 2.9.2022, p. 14.
(6) OJ C 425, 20.10.2021, p. 132.
(7) OJ C 132, 24.3.2022, p. 205.
(8) OJ C 465, 17.11.2021, p. 154.
(9) OJ C 202, 28.5.2021, p. 54.
(10) OJ C 395, 29.9.2021, p. 50.
(11) OJ C 50, 9.2.2018, p. 57.
(12) OJ C 307, 30.8.2018, p. 92.
(13) OJ C 76, 28.2.2018, p. 35.
(14) OJ C 294, 23.7.2021, p. 8.

Access to water as a human right – the external dimension
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European Parliament resolution of 5 October 2022 on access to water as a human right – the external dimension (2021/2187(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 64/292 of 28 July 2010, which recognises the human right to clean drinking water and sanitation,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 68/157 of 18 December 2013 entitled ‘The human right to safe drinking water and sanitation’,

–  having regard to UN Human Rights Council Resolution 45/8 of 6 October 2020 entitled ‘The human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation’,

–  having regard to UN Human Rights Council Resolution 48/13 of 8 October 2021 entitled ‘The human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment’,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 71/222 of 21 December 2016 entitled ‘International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development” 2018‑2028’,

–  having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 75/212 of 21 December 2020 on the United Nations Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action, ‘Water for Sustainable Development’, 2018-2028 (UN 2023 Water Conference),

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

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

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the General Comments of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

–  having regard to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,

–  having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights, as proclaimed by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on 17 November 2017,

–  having regard to General Comment No 15 (2002) of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the right to water,

–  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of 1989 (No 169),

–  having regard to the 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), initially negotiated as a regional instrument and opened up in 2016 for accession to all UN Member States,

–  having regard to the 1997 Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (Watercourses Convention),

–  having regard to the 1999 UNECE-WHO Protocol to the Water Convention on Water and Health, which provides a framework to translate the human rights to water and sanitation into practice,

–  having regard to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 6 on safe drinking water and sanitation, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,

–  having regard to the UN report of 19 March 2019 on the development of the world’s water resources entitled ‘Leaving no one behind’,

–  having regard to the 2020 and 2021 ‘State of Food and Agriculture’ reports published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization,

–  having regard to the report of 16 July 2021 by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation on risks and impacts of the commodification and financialisation of water on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, and to his report of 21 July 2020 on human rights and the privatisation of water and sanitation services,

–  having regard to the UN World Water Development Report 2021: Valuing Water,

–  having regard to the EU Human Rights Guidelines of 17 June 2019 on Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation,

–  having regard to Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy(1) (Water Framework Directive),

–  having regard to Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 December 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2006/118/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration(3),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2020/2184 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2020 on the quality of water intended for human consumption(4),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 March 2014 on the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Water and sanitation are a human right! Water is a public good, not a commodity!’ (COM(2014)0177),

–  having regard to Directive 2008/99/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on the protection of the environment through criminal law(5),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 19 November 2018 on water diplomacy, of 17 June 2019 on the EU Human Rights Guidelines on safe drinking water and sanitation and of 19 November 2021 on water in the EU’s external action,

–  having regard to the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Right2Water’ and its resolution of 8 September 2015 on the follow-up to the European Citizens’ Initiative Right2Water(6),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2021 on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Bringing nature back into our lives(7),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 March 2021 with recommendations to the Commission on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability(8),

–  having regard to existing successful methods of cross-border cooperation such as exchanges of views between water and wastewater utilities in the Nordic countries dating back to the 1980s, the 1970 formation of a joint Nordic Association for Hydrology, the annual Nordic Water Advisers Meeting, the Nordic water forums and extensive Nordic cooperation regarding water management issues,

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

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A9-0231/2022),

A.  whereas Resolution 64/292 of the UN General Assembly recognises ‘the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights’; whereas the absence of water is incompatible with life and both rights are interdependent and essential for a dignified life; whereas there can be no sustainable and universal access to clean water without functioning sanitation chains; whereas water and waterways also have a strong cultural, spiritual and religious dimension stemming from their fundamental role in society’s life;

B.  whereas Principle 20 of the European Pillar of Social Rights on access to essential services includes an explicit reference to the right of citizens to water and sanitation;

C.  whereas the denial of the human right to water has repercussions on enjoyment of the right to life and health, considering that contaminated water, the inadequate management of wastewater and poor sanitation are linked to the transmission of serious diseases and even death; whereas water and sanitation services are one of the cornerstones of public health; whereas diarrhoeal diseases are the fourth cause of death among children under five and a leading cause of chronic malnutrition; whereas access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene is indispensable for ensuring global resilience against pandemics and other infectious diseases, and to combat the emerging threat of antimicrobial resistance;

D.  whereas the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the most vulnerable people the hardest and has once again highlighted the need for clean and sufficient water and sanitation globally; whereas availability and access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH), including for vulnerable or marginalised people, is fundamental to fighting COVID-19;

E.  whereas 80-90 % of wastewater in developing countries is discharged directly into rivers, lakes and seas, causing water-borne diseases and severely damaging the environment; whereas the lives of millions of impoverished persons depend on the good status of water sources, not only for the supply of drinking water but also for the production of food through agriculture, livestock rearing and fishing;

F.  whereas the lack of respect for, protection of and compliance with the human right to water and sanitation often hinder the right to education; whereas children, and in many cases girls, have to walk an average distance of six kilometres every day to fetch water, which prevents them from attending school; whereas the opportunity costs of collecting water are high and have far-reaching effects as they shorten considerably the time available for other important activities;

G.  whereas many children stop going to school because of illnesses related to unsafe water or poor hygiene practices; whereas one in three children does not have appropriate access to water and sanitation in schools; whereas the UN’s 2021 Sustainable Development Goals Report shows that globally, more than a fifth of primary schools lacked access to basic drinking water or single-sex toilets and more than a third lacked basic handwashing facilities; whereas many girls are also forced to drop out of school when they are unable to access gender-appropriate toilets and manage their menstruation in a dignified manner;

H.  whereas children with disabilities also suffer difficulties in accessing education due to the lack of adapted toilets and sanitation facilities; whereas UNESCO reports that more than 90 % of all children with disabilities do not attend school, and girls with disabilities are far more likely to drop out of school than boys with disabilities; whereas drinking water is imperative for concentration during learning;

I.  whereas the disadvantages faced by many women and girls, people with certain disabilities and elderly people with regard to water, sanitation and hygiene manifest themselves in multiple ways that impact on their overall health, well-being and dignity, reproductive health, education, nutrition, security, and economic and political participation; whereas mainly mothers of children with disabilities are forced out of work life to manage their children’s toileting activities and in order to take care of their children’s home-schooling when schools lack accessible toilets;

J.  whereas in many countries of the Global South, women and girls are traditionally responsible for domestic water supply and these responsibilities make them more vulnerable to disease and violence; whereas women and girls are more at risk of being victims of attacks, sexual and gender-based violence, harassment and other threats to their security when they are collecting water for the household, when they visit sanitation facilities outside their homes;

K.  whereas, as indicated in the EU Human Rights Guidelines on safe drinking water and sanitation, the human right to water and sanitation encompasses the dimensions of availability, accessibility, acceptability, quality and affordability and the principles of the human rights-based approach (non-discrimination, accountability, transparency, participation, etc.);

L.  whereas the sixth UN SDG is to ensure that the entire world has universal and equitable access to safe drinking water and sanitation by 2030; whereas despite progress, this goal remains severely off-track and under-financed, according to the latest status report by UN-Water, and significant challenges remain both to its achievement and in addressing great inequalities between and within countries in access to basic water and sanitation services;

M.  whereas the UN’s 2021 Sustainable Development Goals Report shows that, in 2020, 2 billion people still lacked safely managed drinking water, 3,6 billion lacked safely managed sanitation, and 2,3 billion lacked basic hygiene provisions, and that 129 countries were not yet on track to having sustainably managed water resources for 2030; whereas access to water creates conditions propitious for economic development and these conditions will allow vulnerable people to gain financial independence;

N.  whereas achieving a universal safely managed water supply and sanitation would yield net benefits of between USD 37 billion and USD 86 billion per year between 2021 and 2040;

O.  whereas water is a limited resource; whereas per capita freshwater availability has drastically fallen over the past two decades; whereas an unbalanced distribution of population growth and depopulation of rural areas, agricultural intensification, the effects of climate change and environmental degradation, as well as certain unlawful and polluting practices in water use, are posing ever-greater water access problems in many regions and will cause even more access problems in the future;

P.  whereas much of the net growth in global population up to 2050 will occur in the cities of developing countries, thus increasing urban demands for water and food; whereas according to the UN World Water Development Report 2019, by 2050 we could be using 20-30 % more water than we do today, and whereas according to the World Bank, urban water demand is projected to increase by 50-70 % over the three next decades;

Q.  whereas 125 out of 154 developing countries have included freshwater resources and terrestrial and wetland ecosystems as the highest priority areas in their national climate adaptation plans, in line with SDG 13;

R.  whereas global warming is a major cause of water scarcity; whereas the ongoing climate crisis, with increasing droughts, floods and torrential rains, is exacerbating inequalities in distribution of water; whereas about 90 % of all natural disasters are water-related and water accounts for 70 % of all deaths linked to natural disasters; whereas according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970 – 2019), out of the top 10 disasters during this period, the hazards that led to the largest human losses during the period have been droughts, storms and floods; whereas, according to the OECD, nearly 20 % of the world’s population will be at risk from floods in 2050;

S.  whereas water stress, defined by the UN as the point at which the demand for water is higher than the quantity available or when its use is restricted by its low quality, could in some cases be a driver of induced displacement and migration; whereas, according to the UN’s water development reports, five of the world’s eleven regions, accounting for two thirds of the global population, are currently experiencing water stress; whereas, according to the UN’s 2020 Sustainable Development Goals Report, water scarcity could displace some 700 million people by 2030;

T.  whereas deforestation, land grabbing and natural resource overexploitation and extraction activities, including by organised crime groups, have a considerable impact on the water level of rivers and lakes, alter the water cycle, and contribute towards the drying-up of rivers and lakes as well as the pollution of the exploited areas;

U.  whereas freshwater ecosystems, while covering less than 1 % of the earth’s surface, harbour more than 10 % of all species and delicate biodiversity; whereas around 70 % of the world’s fresh water is used for agriculture, while the remainder is divided between industrial use (19 %), mainly in the food, textile, energy, industrial, chemical, pharmaceutical, and mining sectors, and domestic use (11 %), including human consumption;

V.  whereas healthy ecosystems enable the improvement of water quantity and quality, while increasing resilience to climate change;

W.  whereas agriculture is the largest consumer of the world’s freshwater resources; whereas one third of arable land worldwide is used to feed livestock; whereas the FAO’s 2020 report entitled ‘The State of Food and Agriculture – Overcoming water challenges in agriculture’ suggests that food productivity and rural incomes can be significantly enhanced through investments in new irrigation systems or the adaptation and modernisation of existing ones, and that this should be combined with improved water management practices including improved agricultural practices; whereas land grabbing has negative implications for water availability and quality, dispossesses local communities of water sources and violates their human right to safe drinking water;

X.  whereas the energy sector is currently responsible for 10 % of global water extraction and its water consumption is expected to rise by almost 60 % by 2040;

Y.  whereas certain abusive and in many cases illegal extractive industries have a considerable impact on surface and groundwater resources, pollution and the destruction of glaciers, forests, wetlands, rivers and other water sources vital for human consumption;

Z.  whereas the textile industry counts among the sectors that consume the most water in the world, and whereas apparel and textiles are produced in some of the world’s most water-scarce regions; whereas this industry is ranked as the second-most polluting in the world and a large part of that pollution ends up in bodies of water; whereas the Commission plans to adopt, in the first quarter of 2022, the ‘EU strategy for sustainable textiles’, which sets out to help the EU to move towards a circular economy in which textile products are designed to last longer and be reusable, repairable, recyclable and energy efficient;

AA.  whereas the growing demand for water is causing water resources to be overexploited and water’s scarcity has made it a disputed resource; whereas, according to the UN, conflicts over water are expected in some 300 areas across the world by 2025;

AB.  whereas the preservation of water resources is under attack and damages to the quality of water have been made a criminal offence in many countries; whereas in recent years, environmental and water rights defenders have been subjected to an ever-increasing number of attacks including killings, kidnappings, torture, gender-based violence, threats, harassment, intimidation, smear campaigns, criminalisation, judicial harassment, forced eviction and displacement, and whereas there is an urgent need to support them proactively and protect their life and safety; whereas several finalists for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought are under attack for their role in defending water and common goods; whereas the defenders of the waters of the Guapinol river were imprisoned for more than two years before their release; whereas Lolita Chávez has been in exile for four years for her defence of the territory against the activities of hydroelectricity companies in Iximulew (Guatemala); whereas Berta Cáceres was assassinated in 2016 for her defence of the Blanco and Gualcarque rivers, and those who ordered the crime have still not been convicted;

AC.  whereas, according to Global Witness, more than a third of the land and environmental defenders murdered worldwide between 2015 and 2019 belonged to indigenous communities, whose land and water management skills are crucial in combating the climate crisis and biodiversity loss;

AD.  whereas denying access to water and destroying water infrastructure have been used as an essential tactic by occupying powers to annex occupied territories and displace people from their lands;

AE.  whereas the EU Water Framework Directive recognises that ‘water is not a commercial product like any other but, rather, a heritage which must be protected, defended and treated as such’;

AF.  whereas since 6 December 2020, water has been traded on the Wall Street commodities futures market; whereas, in the words of Pedro Arrojo, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, ‘water has a set of vital values for our society that the market logic does not recognise and therefore, cannot manage adequately, let alone in a financial space so prone to speculation’; whereas, according to various UN experts, the application of a speculative approach to the management of goods that are essential for individuals’ lives and dignity infringes the human rights of people in situations of poverty, worsens gender inequality and increases the vulnerability of marginalised communities;

AG.  whereas governments have a duty to guarantee minimum essential levels of water and sanitation for all; whereas the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation of 16 July 2021 stresses that water should be considered as a public good and should be managed under an approach grounded on human rights, guaranteeing the right to water and sanitation and the sustainability of aquatic ecosystems; whereas water supply and sanitation are services of general interest, and revenues from the water management cycle should cover any related expenses and improvement costs, provided that the public interest is safeguarded;

AH.  whereas, as recognised by the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, states are obliged to respect, protect and fulfil these rights and third parties should strictly refrain from interfering with the enjoyment of the rights to water and sanitation;

AI.  whereas workers who work in the sanitation chain face many risks, including health risks resulting from precarious working conditions; whereas they are often informal workers who are not protected by labour laws; whereas the enjoyment of the rights to water and sanitation should not come at the expense of the safety, dignity and well‑being of sanitation workers;

1.  Reaffirms the right to safe drinking water and sanitation as a human right, both rights being complementary; underlines that access to clean drinking water is indispensable to a healthy and dignified life and is essential for the development of human dignity; highlights the fact that the right to water is a fundamental precondition for the enjoyment of other rights, and as such must be guided by a logic grounded in the public interest, and common public and global goods;

2.  Underlines that the adequate access to WASH facilities and the right to health and life are mutually dependent and are an essential prerequisite for public health and human development; underlines the need for clean water in the context of pandemics and calls for corresponding action and strategies and policies on the part of the Commission, the Member States and third countries so that adequate protection can be offered to everyone;

3.  Underlines that enshrining the right to safe drinking water and sanitation as a human right was a crucial milestone on the road to greater social and environmental justice; affirms that progress could be improved by affording the sector higher political priority and ensuring better implementation and monitoring of policies, more efficient funding and accountability and public participation, especially among the most marginalised in society, in particular in developing countries; emphasises that assistance for providing safe drinking water and sanitation should be given high priority in the allocation of EU funds and in assistance programming;

4.  Recalls the responsibility of states to promote and safeguard all human rights, which are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and which must be promoted and applied in a fair, equitable and non-discriminatory manner; reiterates, therefore, that states must ensure universal, proper and affordable access to sufficient, quality and safe drinking water and improved access to water for sanitation and hygiene purposes; recalls that the right to water means that water supply services must be accessible for all;

5.  Recalls that states that ratify a human rights treaty undertake to protect, respect and fulfil the commitments adopted in the international, national, regional and local framework for the protection of these rights; takes the view in this regard that the international community’s recognition of the right to water and sanitation must encompass protection and enforceability arrangements and, therefore, calls on the EU to promote protection mechanisms at international, regional and national level to ensure that upholding the right to water and sanitation is not optional for states but rather an enforceable right; calls on the EU and Member States to lead by example and to ratify the relevant conventions such as the Protocol on Water and Health and the 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes;

6.  Urges the EU and its Member States to promote the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation and their normative development in multilateral and regional forums, including by supporting the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation; stresses the importance of his work and that of his predecessors as well as the works under other UN human rights mechanisms related to the human rights to water and sanitation;

7.  Underscores the importance of the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation and urges the EU institutions and the Member States, to implement them in and towards third countries and in multilateral forums; stresses the importance of training EU staff in this regard; calls on the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to regularly report to Parliament and its relevant (sub)committees on how they have applied these guidelines, providing specific examples of their activities and their impact;

8.  Calls on EU delegations and Member States’ missions, as pointed out by the EU guidelines, to raise issues related to the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, as well as the situation of human rights defenders and NGOs promoting these rights, in their bilateral dialogues with partner countries, notably in the framework of human rights and sectoral dialogues;

9.  Stresses that progressing towards the recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, as laid out in Resolution 48/13 of the UN Human Rights Council on the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, is an enabling condition to reach safe drinking water and sanitation for all; in this regard welcomes the normative developments at international level in relation to environmental crimes, including ecocide;

10.  Encourages developing countries to join and to strive for the full implementation of the two UN global water conventions, namely the UN Water Convention and the UN Watercourses Convention, as important tools to support water diplomacy, peace and conflict prevention through transboundary water cooperation;

11.  Maintains that the full exercise of the right to water depends on the preservation of biodiversity and the climate, and therefore demands that water management should respond primarily to environmental – being a basic need for plants, animals and humans – and social interests including labour integration and increasing the incomes and safety conditions of people in poverty;

12.  Stresses that improved water supply and sanitation, and better management of water resources, can boost countries’ sustainable economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction;

13.  Underlines the need for anticipatory actions in the field of access to water and sanitation, and the need to have reliable and comparable indicators to measure progress or regression in access to water and sanitation;

14.  Stresses that certain development models that favour vast projects and large-scale business activities undermine the availability and quality of water in all countries, increase competition for water and exacerbate other water-related conflicts; insists on the importance, in this context, of investment in sustainable drinking water solutions such as the restoring of aquatic ecosystems to a healthy state, the recycling of wastewater, the desalination of seawater in coastal areas, and improvements to sewage systems, irrigation and agricultural practices;

15.  Underlines that the inefficient management of water resources and pollution caused by abusive industrial activities negatively affect the exercise of the human rights to water and sanitation;

16.  Calls on the Commission to discourage practices that are a threat to the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation and to make those practices subject to environmental and human-rights impact assessments;

17.  Recognises the important work undertaken by environmental rights defenders, and the need to support them proactively and protect their life and safety, in particular those safeguarding the right to water, and roundly condemns the crimes such as the killings, abductions, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, threats, harassment, intimidation, smear campaigns, criminalisation, judicial harassment, forced evictions and displacements carried out by numerous state and non-state perpetrators, including governments and multinational corporations;

18.  Calls for the EU to support the crucial work done by environmental rights defenders and civil society organisations; urges the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States to live up to the commitment undertaken in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and to monitor and raise individual cases of environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs), notably of the winners and finalists of the Sakharov Prize, who are being attacked for their roles in defending water and common goods;

19.  Stresses that the safety and freedom of EHRDs to operate without violence and intimidation should be promoted; expects EU delegations to prioritise their support for EHRDs and to respond systematically and in a robust manner to any threats or attacks against them or their relatives and to report back to Parliament on actions taken on such cases; calls for the EU and its Member States to increase protection and prevention mechanisms for EHRDs; reiterates its call for a coordinated EU-wide scheme for issuing short-term visas for the temporary relocation of human rights defenders, notably those working to promote and protect environmental rights or indigenous rights, who are particularly under attack;

20.  Calls on states to respect the right to social protest and the right to peaceful assembly, in particular in the context of opposition to projects that compromise the enjoyment of the human rights to drinking water and sanitation; calls on officials of EU Delegations and Member States’ embassies in this context, and as indicated by the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, to visit human rights defenders in custody or under house arrest and attend their trials as observers;

21.  Recalls that indigenous people play an important role for the sustainable management of natural resources and the conservation of biodiversity; asks the EU and its Member States to recognise and protect indigenous people’s rights to customary ownership and control of their lands and natural resources as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People and ILO Convention No 169, and to comply with the principle of free, prior and informed consent; requests that the Member States which have not yet done so ratify ILO Convention No 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples; expresses particular concern at the significant impact of certain mega-projects, including infrastructure projects, extractive industries projects and energy production projects, on the human rights to water and sanitation, notably for indigenous peoples; insists on the importance of ensuring that genuine and comprehensive human rights impact assessments are carried out and that the affected population and civil society groups are consulted in good faith and that, when relevant, indigenous people have provided their free, prior and informed consent in relation to any mega-project; calls on state and non-state actors to avoid actions that jeopardise the rights of indigenous people, descendants of Africans and rural communities to the land, water, ecosystems and biodiversity and calls on the competent authorities to give them legal recognition of their titles, tenancies, rights and responsibilities; insists on the importance of holding open, inclusive and participative consultations in relation to major public decisions as regards water management;

22.  Calls on the Commission to check carefully that the infrastructure and energy projects financed through the various development cooperation and external policy instruments, including the European Investment Bank, uphold and neither jeopardise human rights including the human right to water and sanitation, and the SDGs, nor contribute to the expulsion of indigenous peoples from their lands and territories;

23.  Stresses the need for an increased focus on sustainable and resilient water and sanitation infrastructure to support communities through the implementation of disaster risk reduction measures and by making use of all of the necessary water risk mapping tools and early warning systems; calls on the Commission to support the Resilient Water Accelerator;

24.  Condemns the fact that gender inequalities still exist in terms of exercising the human rights to drinking water and sanitation, and that the lack thereof leads to gender discrimination; also notes with concern that these have a devastating effect on women’s rights, in particular as a result of the specific needs of women and girls with regard to menstrual hygiene and health, making it difficult for women and girls to lead safe and healthy lives; highlights that affordable access to water and adequate sanitation and hygiene (WASH facilities) is an essential prerequisite for public health and human development, including the right to education for girls, and insists that the WASH sector in developing countries should be given high priority in EU development policy;

25.  Calls for women and girls to be protected from physical threats and assaults, including sexual violence, when collecting household water and when accessing sanitation facilities outside their homes; calls for measures to be taken to reduce the time spent by women and girls in collecting household water, with the aim of addressing the adverse impact of deficient water and sanitation services on girls’ access to education;

26.  Stresses that the EU and its Member States must, in close cooperation with the UN and the international community, work closely with recipients of foreign aid in order to eradicate global water poverty, while ensuring adequate sanitation for all; calls on all states to fulfil their commitments under CEDAW and in particular Article 14 thereof, which requires of states parties to ensure women from rural areas have the right to enjoy adequate living conditions, inter alia in relation to sanitation and water supply;

27.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to apply a transformative and intersectional gender-sensitive approach to water resource management and water supply sanitation programmes, and to include policies accompanied by concrete action plans and adequate funding in accordance with the EU external funding instruments and the Gender Action Plan (GAP III), the EU’s agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment in external action for 2021-2025; calls for leadership by women to be promoted and for their full, effective and equal participation in planning, decision-making and applying decisions on water and sanitation management;

28.  Stresses that access to safe drinking water is one of the major current problems, especially since nearly 60 % of aquifer resources cross political territorial borders; recalls that, in its conclusions of 2018, the Council condemned the use of water as a weapon of war and considered that ‘in this context, destroying water infrastructures, polluting water or diverting watercourses in order to limit or prevent access to water could constitute violations of international law’; reminds that the intentional deprivation of water leading to the extermination of civilians is a crime against humanity according to Statute of the International Criminal Court and that it may also be considered a war crime, as any attack against or destruction of drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works is banned under the 1949 Geneva Conventions;

29.  Is gravely concerned that violations of the right to water and sanitation in occupied territories aim to displace people from their lands and is worried about the denial of access to adequate water supply, resources and infrastructure; recalls that all peoples, including peoples under occupation, enjoy the sovereign right to control their natural wealth; calls on occupying powers to take immediate measures to guarantee access to and fair distribution of water to those living in occupied territories and, in particular, in line with the UN General Assembly Resolution 73/255 of 20 December 2018, to guarantee that those living in occupied territories have control over their water resources, including the management, extraction and distribution of water;

30.  Calls for the EU to establish a political strategy to facilitate solutions in these areas and encourage the countries situated in the most important areas of conflict related to water to sign the Water Convention;

31.  Is gravely concerned about the lack of access to water and sanitation in refugee camps; underlines that countries are obliged to safeguard the right to sanitary facilities and water for refugees;

32.  Underlines that while water can at times act as a conflict indicator, it can also have a positive role in promoting peace and cooperation; supports the EU’s diplomatic engagement on transboundary water cooperation as a tool for peace, security and stability, and emphasises the importance of integrated water resource management and the need for greater complementarity between humanitarian, development and peace actions in order to address urgent needs and to intervene earlier to address root causes and prevent the onset of humanitarian water and sanitation crises;

33.  Stresses that companies worldwide must ensure that their activities do not encroach on or abuse the enjoyment of the human right of access to safe drinking water in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the declarations, pacts and treaties of the United Nations that have included this right; calls, furthermore, for countries to aim at achieving the goals set under SDG 6 and to adopt legislation to ensure that companies do not hinder equal access to an adequate supply of water; urges the EU and its Member States to constructively participate in the work of the UN Intergovernmental Working Group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, with a view to establishing an international binding instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other companies in international human rights law;

34.  Calls on the EU delegations and Member States’ missions in non-EU countries to be particularly vigilant in relation to companies, including those based in the EU, that could deny or undermine the enjoyment of the rights to water and sanitation; underlines that victims of such violations need to have access to effective judicial or other appropriate remedies as well as grievance mechanisms;

35.  Emphasises that European companies, when operating in non-EU countries, must comply with the same legal obligations in respect of corporate reinforcement and due diligence that apply to their operations in the EU; highlights the importance of preventing, addressing and mitigating any adverse impacts on the human rights to water and adequate sanitation within mandatory diligence frameworks; calls on the Commission and the Member States to consider and study how to provide more information and ensure transparency for consumers on the sustainability impact of products on water resources, including in terms of water footprint;

36.  Highlights the fact that, as several UN experts have stated, water is too often treated as a commodity without further social and cultural considerations, in breach of basic human rights, which contributes to increasing environmental degradation and exacerbating the vulnerability of the poorest and most marginalised in society, flying in the face of the SDGs; recalls that water supply and sanitation are services of general interest and not commodities – they are neither a luxury nor a consumer product and therefore must not be traded as such; underlines the finite nature of water and calls on the Commission and the Member States to take preventive action to combat global water scarcity and to support non-EU countries in measures to combat water scarcity;

37.  Calls on states to take legal measures preventing water from being subject to financial speculation on futures markets and to promote an appropriate governance framework for water and sanitation services under a approach primarily grounded in human rights and common good considerations; calls on the EU and national governments to promote and support independent water regulatory bodies that can help enforce human rights standards;

38.  Recalls that, as the EU Water Framework Directive recognises, water is not a mere commodity but a public good that is vital to human life and dignity; notes that water services are services of general interest and of special nature that fall, therefore, primarily within the public interest; recalls the importance for EU external policies and instruments such as trade and investment agreements and the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe, as well as the activities of European companies, of upholding the human right to drinking water and sanitation in the countries concerned;

39.  Underlines that water is a common public good and that an adequate, continuous and high-quality supply of water must be guaranteed; calls on states and donors to strengthen their promotion of the provision of water and sanitation as essential public services for all, including through investments that enhance access to water and sanitation services and maintain existing infrastructures and the provision and use of services; considers that investing in the reinforcement of capacities and the governance of water systems, as well as in their operation and maintenance, is vital in order to create robust and sustainable water and sanitation services;

40.  Calls on the EU to support third countries in their actions to guarantee universal and non-discriminatory access to water and sanitary facilities and to guarantee a minimum subsistence level of water supplies to households experiencing economic or social vulnerability;

41.  Calls for the EU also to invest in the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems (including forests, floodplains, wetlands, etc.), which often provide more cost-effective and sustainable water management solutions than conventional infrastructure remedies in terms of water storage, water treatment, erosion control, and moderate and extreme weather events;

42.  Urges states to adopt the model for the provision of water and sanitation that is best suited and to engage in a transparent and robust process to improve the effective enjoyment of the human rights to water and sanitation in their societies; calls on governments to increase public investments in sustainable water-related infrastructure and to safeguard water as an essential public good;

43.  Points out the need to reconcile water usage with the application of emerging technologies for conservation, the reduction of water pollution and the recycling of wastewater in order to improve the way water is provided, treated and disposed of;

44.  Calls for the EU to support sustainable water management in the agricultural sector, which mobilises over 70 % of water resources, through investing in sustainable irrigation and water storage systems, through optimising and reducing the use of fresh water in agriculture along the whole supply chain, through reducing food waste and through fostering agro-ecology by restoring the wetlands, as well as through reducing, where possible, the use of pesticides and fertilisers that pose a risk of water pollution, especially to groundwater;

45.  Recalls that access to water is also an energy-use challenge both in terms of production and extraction; stresses, in this context, the importance of fostering better energy management, as well as reuse solutions for treated wastewater, in order to limit fresh water consumption by means of wastewater treatment;

46.  Calls on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to disincentivise the imposition of conditions requiring governments to privatise water and sanitation services when providing grants, loans and technical assistance;

47.  Calls on the Commission to ensure adequate financial support for capacity-development actions in the water domain, cooperating with existing international platforms and institutions; supports the Global Water Solidarity Platform launched by the UN Development Programme in order to engage local authorities in finding solutions to water challenges; welcomes the UN 2023 Water Conference as an opportunity to develop cross-sectoral approaches in order to achieve water-related targets and goals and to get SDG 6 back on track;

48.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to encourage non-EU countries to grant stakeholders including civil society organisations and indigenous and local communities working to address breaches of the rights to water and sanitation, adequate resources and access to relevant information and to give them the ability to participate meaningfully in water-related decision-making processes, when appropriate, with a view to ensuring their engagement for informed and outcome-oriented contributions to water policy design and implementation; believes that in realising the human right to drinking water, it is vitally important to promote and strengthen networks of human rights experts, civil society organisations and community representatives at all levels and in that sense, calls on governments to design mechanisms for an inclusive system of water governance;

49.  Calls for the EU to help third countries in respecting, fulfilling and promoting the rights of workers in the wastewater treatment industry, including their rights to dignity, safety and health and the right to organise themselves;

50.  Underlines that people living in poverty, in particular women and girls, minorities and people with physical and/or mental disabilities, are hit hardest by a lack of access to safe and clean water and sanitation; stresses that inequalities in access to water and sanitation are often attributable to systemic inequalities or exclusion; calls on governments to monitor inequalities in access to water and sanitation and to take decisive actions such as to encourage investment in sanitation and supply systems, including public systems, promoting efficiency and the conservation of water, as a scarce resource; calls on them moreover to guarantee the absence of discrimination in access to water and sanitation services, as public goods, ensuring the provision thereof for all, in particular by affording priority to access for women, girls and vulnerable groups with a view to remedying systemic exclusion and discrimination; encourages the authorities to review their legislative, political and practical frameworks in the area of water through the lens of human rights principles and standards in order to help guide actions aimed at tackling obstacles to progress;

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

(1) OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 375, 31.12.1991, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 372, 27.12.2006, p. 19.
(4) OJ L 435, 23.12.2020, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 328, 6.12.2008, p. 28.
(6) OJ C 316, 22.9.2017, p. 99.
(7) OJ C 67, 8.2.2022, p. 25.
(8) OJ C 474, 24.11.2021, p. 11.

The EU’s response to the increase in energy prices in Europe
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European Parliament resolution of 5 October 2022 on the EU’s response to the increase in energy prices in Europe (2022/2830(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources(1),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018 amending Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency(2),

–  having regard to Directive (EU) 2018/844 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings and Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency(3),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 June 2019 on the internal market for electricity(4),

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

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2017/1938 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2017 concerning measures to safeguard the security of gas supply(6),

–  having regard to 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’)(7),

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

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council regulation on an emergency intervention to address high energy prices (COM(2022)0473),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 18 May 2022 on short-term market interventions and long-term improvements to the electricity market design – a course for action (COM(2022)0236),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 October 2021 entitled ‘Tackling rising energy prices: a toolbox for action and support’ (COM(2021)0660),

–  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 the Commission communication of 18 May 2022 on the REPowerEU Plan (COM(2022)0230),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 23 March 2022 entitled ‘Temporary Crisis Framework for State Aid measures to support the economy following the aggression against Ukraine by Russia’ (C/2022/1890),

–  having regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights action plan,

–  having regard to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and in particular the 2015 Paris Agreement thereof, which entered into force on 4 November 2016,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the European Council summit of 24 and 25 March 2022,

–  having regard to its resolution of 21 October 2021 on the climate, energy and environmental State aid guidelines (CEEAG)(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 January 2020 on the European Green Deal(10),

–  having regard to its resolution of 21 January 2021 on access to decent and affordable housing for all(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 10 February 2021 on the New Circular Economy Action Plan(12),

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

A.  whereas Russia’s war of aggression is having a significant impact on the EU’s citizens and the economy, notably through a dramatic rise in energy and food prices, is causing immense suffering for the people of Ukraine and constitutes a direct attack on European values;

B.  whereas the euro area inflation rate gradually reached 10 % in September 2022, with more than half of euro area countries suffering from double-digit rates and with some hitting as high as 24 % inflation;

C.  whereas already in 2020, before the spiral of rising prices began, about 36 million Europeans were unable to keep their homes adequately warm; whereas more than 50 million households in the EU already experience energy poverty and whereas this major challenge will be further exacerbated by the current energy crisis, leading to possible delays in access to basic needs, care, education and healthcare, in particular for children and young people;

D.  whereas plants across a broad range of European industries such as steel, aluminium, fertilisers and the power industry itself have been forced to put workers on furlough and shut down production lines, as the high gas and power prices are causing businesses to sustain losses; whereas these closures have a domino effect on other industries hit by the supply shocks and could do long-term damage to Europe’s industrial base;

E.  whereas companies are suffering from increased production costs owing to higher raw material prices, constrained supply chains and increased transport and energy prices, combined with changing consumer behaviour;

F.  whereas the soaring price of power has pushed up the margin requirements for electricity producers, which are hedging their sales on the futures market to unprecedented levels;

G.  whereas the energy and digital transitions will substantially increase the demand for certain types of raw materials, while the EU is at the same time dependent on only a few countries and companies for its supply of those same materials;

H.  whereas the COVID-19 crisis and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine have led to disrupted supply and value chains, creating supply shortages and resulting in rising production costs;

I.  whereas the 20th principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights on access to essential services states that everyone has the right to access essential services of good quality, including water, sanitation, energy, transport, financial services and digital communications; whereas access to these services should be available;

J.  whereas the EU framework on services of general economic interest should be updated to better protect vulnerable consumers from the current situation;

K.  whereas in her State of the Union address on 14 September 2022, the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen stated that Russia is continuing to actively manipulate our energy market;

L.  whereas spot gas prices recorded at the Dutch Title Transfer Facility (TTF), which had remained below 25 EUR/MWh in the last four years, have increased sharply since August 2021, in particular since the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, reaching more than 200 EUR/MWh in mid-August 2022, where they have remained; whereas Russia’s actions are an example of an unprovoked attack on the EU gas market;

M.  whereas the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has declared that while ‘open and well-functioning commodity derivatives markets play an essential role for price discovery’, due to the recent period of extreme stress, ‘measures to contain excessive volatility could be helpful in improving the overall functioning’ of those markets; whereas ESMA also pointed out that the framework of the second Market Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) already provides for ‘a set of volatility mechanisms (notably trading halts and price collars)’, while noting that ‘in the extreme circumstances that commodity derivatives markets (and energy markets in particular) have experienced over the past months, the number of times that trading halts have been triggered on the relevant EU trading venues seems to be very low’(13);

N.  whereas in her State of the Union address on 14 September 2022, the Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that the Commission’s proposal will raise more than EUR 140 billion ‘for Member States to cushion the blow directly’; whereas several Member States have introduced temporary schemes for a tax on windfall profits;

O.  whereas Member States should be the main actors responsible for their own energy mix, for identifying the main issues faced by their citizens and economies, and for resolving them;

P.  whereas the dramatic increase in electricity prices is putting pressure on households, numerous European citizens, in particular those at risk of poverty and those from vulnerable groups, non-governmental organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and industry, and risks causing wider social and economic harm;

Q.  whereas the assessment by the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators of the EU Wholesale Electricity Market Design showed that cross-border trade delivered EUR 34 billion of benefits to consumers in 2021, while helping to smoothen price volatility, and that it enhances each Member State’s security of supply and resilience to price shocks;

R.  whereas saving and reducing energy constitutes an affordable, safe and clean option to reduce the EU’s reliance on fossil fuel imports from Russia; whereas EU Member States save only 0.8 % of final energy consumption;

Introductory considerations

1.  Considers that the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine and the weaponisation of fossil energy supply has dramatically exacerbated existing instability in the energy market; deplores the fact that this situation has further increased energy prices and thus led to extremely high inflation, rising social inequalities, energy and mobility poverty, high food prices and a cost of living crisis, and that a significant risk of closure for businesses across different sectors and unemployment persists;

2.  Is deeply concerned about high energy prices across the EU and calls on the Member States to immediately tackle the impact of this and of the associated inflation on household incomes, health and well-being, particularly for the most vulnerable people, as well as on businesses, including SMEs, and the economy in general;

3.  Believes that exceptional times require exceptional emergency measures, where the EU needs to act together and in a united a fashion as ever; insists that all measures adopted at EU level to fight the energy prices crisis must be fully compatible with the Union’s climate goals in the long term, including the European Green Deal, and advance the EU’s open strategic autonomy; asks the Commission, in this respect, to analyse the cumulative impacts of EU and national emergency measures, ensuring that they are consistent with the Union’s objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest; insists that all of the measures proposed should acknowledge the diversity of national circumstances and therefore grant the necessary flexibility for their implementation; calls for the Member States and economic actors to show greater solidarity in order to tackle this crisis fairly;

4.  Reiterates its call from May 2022 for an immediate and full embargo on Russian imports of oil, coal, nuclear fuel and gas, and for Nord Stream 1 and 2 to be completely abandoned;

Impact on citizens and the economy

5.  Urges the Member States to ensure access to affordable and clean heating and electricity and to avoid people being obliged to choose between eating or heating; alerts Member States that consumers that cannot afford their rising energy bills should not be cut off and underlines the need to avoid home evictions for vulnerable households that are unable to pay their bills and rental costs; stresses the need to better protect consumers from the suspension or withdrawal of fixed-rate contracts by suppliers, and to prevent exorbitant pre-payments for gas and electricity by consumers; calls on the Commission to assess the need for stronger pre-contractual information requirements in the energy sector, in particular for distance sales;

6.  Is deeply concerned about the impact of high energy prices on households and businesses and the discrepancies in the abilities of different Member States to support them, as evidenced in recent announcements; highlights the need for unprecedented solidarity among the Member States and for a common response, instead of divisive unilateral actions;

7.  Calls on the Member States to urgently maintain and reinforce public, social and cultural services jeopardised by rising energy prices for an increasing number of people in need, including services managed by local authorities, such as social housing, public baths, education establishments and hospitals; recalls that local authorities have also been hit by the crisis and must be protected as well;

8.  Calls on the Member States to put in place plans and strategies in the areas of housing, access to basic social needs, the protection of social infrastructure, critical healthcare services and financial assistance to SMEs; highlights that this support should be particularly targeted to those population groups in the most critical situation;

9.  Stresses that households across the Member States face significant challenges such as the erosion of their purchasing power; highlights that many people in Europe were already in vulnerable situations before and warns that related inflation, in particular rising food and energy prices, may make the situation unbearable for low-income households, with the middle class being increasingly affected; calls on the Member States to consider exempting staple foods from VAT throughout the entire EU for the duration of the crisis, to facilitate access to essential goods and tackle food shortages and rising housing prices;

10.  Underlines that the existing framework allows Member States to temporarily exempt households from, or apply a reduced rate of, tax on electricity, natural gas, coal and solid fuels; encourages Member States to make full use of the existing options to cut taxes on energy products; calls on the Commission to consider giving Member States space to introduce further temporary exemptions or reductions on excise duties and energy taxes to alleviate the burden on households and businesses;

11.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to inform citizens and businesses, in particular SMEs, on how they can prepare for the winter ahead and on how to improve energy efficiency and reduce their energy demand, including practical, effective and realistic saving tips around the cost of living and energy costs, as well as information on consumer rights; encourages the Member States to promote energy-saving devices for vulnerable households;

12.  Asks the Member States to consider providing temporary support to vulnerable transport users in order to help absorb the increase in prices, including public transport vouchers; calls for the adoption of structural policies to further promote reliable and affordable public transportation networks and active modes of mobility, such as cycling or walking;

13.  Calls on the Member States to address the impact of the energy crisis on the labour market by supporting workers who are temporarily in ‘technical unemployment’ because employers were forced to limit or suspend their activity, including solo self‑employed workers, and by providing assistance to small businesses to retain staff and maintain their activities; recalls that short-time working arrangements proved their worth in the pandemic and should be implemented, with EU financial support where necessary, to avoid job losses; calls on the Commission and the Council to reinforce the European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) to support short-time work schemes, workers’ income and workers that would be temporarily laid-off because of the increase in energy prices;

14.  Calls on the Member States to support companies in the face of soaring prices, in consultation with the representatives of employers and employees in the sectors that are witnessing the greatest impact, and to implement anti-crisis measures including through social dialogue and collective bargaining; calls on the Commission to take the necessary measures to help energy-intensive industries, including offering due guarantees on environmental protection and on maintaining employment;

15.  Stresses that social guarantees are key in the current crisis and urges the Member States and the Commission to involve trade unions to design and implement anti-crisis measures through social dialogue;

16.  Recognises that the cumulative effect of high energy prices and disrupted supply chains may endanger European businesses and the jobs they provide; calls for the burden on businesses, particularly SMEs, to be eased immediately;

17.  Underlines that the primary objective of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) monetary policy is to maintain price stability, and thus ensure that inflation is low, stable and predictable; recalls that the ECB’s target inflation rate is 2 %;

Climate commitments, deployment of renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure

18.  Recalls that the cheapest energy is that which we do not consume and that energy efficiency and energy-saving measures will not only help the EU in the short term, but will also help us to achieve the Union’s 2030 climate commitments contained in the Fit for 55 package and the RePowerEU initiative, such as the reduction of gas imports and consumption;

19.  Believes that achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal will make our energy systems more efficient, more renewables-based, stronger in the face of crises and more resilient to external shocks, ensure stable and affordable energy and contribute to open strategic autonomy;

20.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, as it is the best way to end dependency on natural gas and to meet the Union’s climate commitments; recalls the ongoing recasts of Directive (EU) 2018/2001 (RED III and RED IV), and is convinced that a quick completion of the legislative procedures will accelerate the roll-out of renewables across the EU;

21.  Stresses that residential heating must be decarbonised through smart electrification and affordable, renewable-based district heating solutions; calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase support for building renovations, and to provide adequate funding for investments in energy efficiency measures, in particular for buildings with the poorest energy performance and the most vulnerable neighbourhoods; welcomes the decision of some Member States to ban the instalment of gas boilers in new buildings; stresses the importance and immediate benefits of rapidly deploying solar energy in buildings, nearby renewables, heat pumps as well as other fast and easy-to-install solutions;

22.  Encourages the Commission and the Member States to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy sources, in particular by removing administrative barriers and simplifying and accelerating permitting processes, including for households;

23.  Supports the idea, as part of REPowerEU, of auctioning allowances in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) as an exceptional measure to generate EUR 20 billion and thereby finance the infrastructure needed to make us less dependent on Russian gas and oil, including investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency; calls for this intervention to be sped up to mobilise the necessary revenues by the end of 2025; welcomes the fact that this could have the potential effect of mitigating ETS prices in the short term and thus electricity prices and energy costs for industry, while recognising that the ETS is not the main driver of the recent increase in energy prices; reiterates its own 2030 climate targets, with which this ETS intervention is fully in line;

24.  Stresses that real-time electricity price signals can unlock more flexible demand, in turn reducing expensive and gas-intensive peak supply needs; calls on the Member States, therefore, to better manage the flexibility needs of EU power systems through enhanced grids, dispatchable low-emissions generation, and various large-scale and long-term energy storage technologies in order to reduce industrial electricity and gas demand in peak hours;

25.  Calls on the Member States to fully transpose Directive (EU) 2018/2001, particularly in order to remove obstacles to the creation of energy communities; calls on the Member States to adopt further action for renewable self-consumption; calls on Member States to create the appropriate conditions for the development of at least one renewable energy community per municipality, so that citizens can produce, consume, store and resell their own renewable energy;

26.  Calls for the ongoing legislative procedure on the Energy Efficiency Directive to be accelerated, as its provisions will help users to reduce their energy consumption and thus reduce their energy expenditure;

27.  Underlines that the creation of a fully integrated single market for energy that provides for a truly resilient European energy network, including the construction of new interconnectors, as demonstrated by that connecting the Iberian Peninsula with France, and better trading platforms, would alleviate the price pressure on businesses and consumers in the short term, and establish energy independence and resilience in the long term; recognises that the reform of the EU’s internal energy market must be pursued more consistently, that overly high dependencies need to be avoided and that key infrastructure needs to remain in EU hands, thereby fostering open strategic autonomy; considers that all options must be on the table to keep energy affordable and to achieve climate neutrality;

28.  Stresses that investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and the necessary infrastructure, including targeted, well-defined cross-border projects with investments through NextGenerationEU and REPowerEU, help the EU to achieve energy sovereignty, open strategic autonomy and energy security; calls on the Commission and the Member States to accelerate such key infrastructure projects based on renewable energy and clean hydrogen by facilitating permitting process, while paying due regard to public participation and environmental impact assessment procedures;

29.  Notes that some Member States are reconsidering their nuclear and coal phase-outs where power plants could contribute to the security of the EU’s energy supply and to keeping energy prices down; considers that the extension of the service time of the existing nuclear power plants should be done while ensuring their safe operation and the correct management and disposal of nuclear waste; highlights that the postponement of coal-based installations should be temporary, for just as long as the current crisis lasts, and should be accompanied by a concrete calendar for their substitution with other energy sources;

30.  Recalls that about a quarter of the electricity and half of the low-carbon electricity in the EU is generated by nuclear energy; notes that while some Member States oppose nuclear energy, a number of Member States are preparing to build new nuclear power stations; reiterates that Member States remain fully responsible for deciding their energy mix and for designing options to ensure affordable, stable and clean energy for their citizens and businesses and for choosing the most appropriate pathway for the Member State to contribute to achieving the Union’s climate and energy targets, taking into account each Member State’s specific features and constraints;

31.  Express its deepest concern about the recent act of sabotage on Nord Stream infrastructure, releasing 300 000 metric tonnes of one of the most powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere according to German estimates(14), which the UN Environment Programme says may be the biggest single methane release ever recorded; points to how the effects of this blast and methane leak will contribute to climate change and air pollution, undermining EU climate efforts, and further points to the harmful impact of the blasts and subsequent gas leaks on the marine environment; insists that the emissions released are accounted for; expresses concern also at the reports of unidentified drones detected near oil and gas platforms on the Norwegian continental shelf; draws attention to the fact that these incidents provoked a spike in gas prices on TTF markets and that the methane leaks caused ‘a climate and ecological disaster’;

32.  Stresses that the intentional disruption of European energy infrastructure has the potential to significantly exacerbate the current energy crisis, including at a macro‑regional level; urges the Member States and energy companies to immediately adopt measures to step up the security of their energy infrastructure;

Emergency measures on the energy market

33.  Considers that companies that have benefited from windfall profits must help to mitigate the negative impacts of the crisis; takes note of the State of the Union address by President von der Leyen on 14 September 2022; welcomes in principle the (Commission’s proposal and subsequent) Council agreement to establish a temporary emergency cap on market revenues obtained from the generation and sale of electricity by using inframarginal generation technologies and to put in place a temporary solidarity contribution mechanism from the fossil fuel sector, which is benefiting from the current market situation; recalls, in this regard, its previous position expressed in its resolution of 19 May 2022(15); regrets that the Commission proposed its plans in the form of a Council regulation, using Article 122 TFEU as the legal basis, instead of a legislative co-decision procedure; recalls that this instrument should only be used for emergency situations; confirms that Parliament stands ready to act swiftly on this pressing issue if called upon, as it requires full democratic legitimacy and accountability;

34.  Calls on the Member States to swiftly implement these measures; considers that interventions in the energy market should be of a temporary and targeted nature and that fundamental market principles and the integrity of the single market must not be endangered; notes that the established mechanism could potentially lead to a disparity in revenues among the Member States;

35.  Takes note of the fact that solidarity contributions are being proposed for companies in the crude oil, natural gas, coal and refinery sectors; notes with concern that some of the largest energy companies in the EU may not be subject to the contribution; calls on the Commission and the Council to design the solidarity contribution in such a way as to prevent tax avoidance; notes that Member States could strengthen the proposal further; calls on the Commission to assess an adequate profit margin in the light of the emergency situation and to take further steps towards introducing a tax on windfall profits for energy companies that have benefited excessively from the energy crisis;

36.  Recalls that windfall profits do not correspond to any regular profits that large firms would have or could have expected to obtain under normal circumstances had unpredictable events, such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine not taken place;

37.  Stresses that the revenues of windfall profits should benefit consumers and businesses, in particular to support vulnerable households and SMEs including through price caps; underlines that this must go hand in hand with massive innovation and investments in renewable energies and energy efficiency and energy infrastructure, such as distribution grids, rather than incentivising households and companies to consume more subsidised energy;

38.  Highlights the particular relevance, in the current context, of the public revenue that would be yielded from the implementation of the Pillar II Directive in the EU, which implements the OECD global tax deal on minimum effective corporate taxation; reiterates its call on the Council to swiftly adopt the Pillar II Directive so as to ensure that the agreement is effective by January 2023;

39.  Welcomes the energy demand obligations and goals introduced by the proposed Council regulation to tackle the problems of high energy prices and security of energy supply; urges the Member States to ensure that the measures they chose to adopt to implement the above obligations must not pose additional burdens for vulnerable households and consumers, businesses, SMEs or those living in energy poverty;

40.  Takes note of the Commission’s intention to discuss a reform of the electricity market design and is ready to carefully analyse any proposal; considers that any reform of the electricity market should be in line with the EU’s climate goals, notably the objective of achieving climate neutrality in the EU by 2050, and that electricity markets should send out the right price signal to invest in decarbonisation and allow citizens and industries to benefit from secure, affordable and clean energy, while addressing the disproportionate profits in the electricity market; calls on the Commission to analyse the possibility of decoupling electricity prices from the price of gas;

41.  Calls on the Commission to analyse the need to put in place additional measures to address the crisis, including temporary wholesale and import price caps; calls on the Commission to propose, after a positive analysis, an appropriate price cap on gas imports from pipelines, primarily from Russia; encourages the Commission and the Council to upgrade the EU Energy Platform and transform it into a tool for the joint procurement of energy sources in order to strengthen the EU’s bargaining power and lower the cost of imports; welcomes the Commission’s decision to set up a task force to negotiate gas prices with third countries;

42.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission, at the request of the Member States, is assessing possible solutions to provide needed liquidity for energy companies facing high margin calls on the futures markets for electricity and gas;

Speculation in the energy market

43.  Recalls that the disruptions in energy supply driven by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine have increased volatility and instability in the energy derivatives markets, and that this may have a cascade effect on the financial markets;

44.  Calls for increased transparency and regulatory oversight of market-based and over‑the‑counter gas trading and on acquisition prices;

45.  Welcomes the antitrust lawsuit initiated by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition against Gazprom for abuse of its dominant position, and urges the Commission to swiftly conclude the procedure and adopt the necessary decisions; stresses that the Commission must make use of all the available tools under competition law to tackle market distortions and unfair price manipulation in the energy markets; believes that when it comes to identifying violations of competition law in the area of electricity and gas, the Commission must also consider applying structural measures as remedies;

46.  Notes that the Commission recognises(16) that Europe is experiencing manipulations of the gas market, which in turn have repercussions on electricity prices; calls for an end to speculation and manipulation in the gas market and calls for measures to be taken vis-à-vis the functioning of the TTF and the entities entitled to operate in the market; considers that these measures might include applying a trading halt mechanism in the TTF in the event of excessive price fluctuations and price collars, as suggested by ESMA, in order to decouple the indexation of contracts from the TTF hub; welcomes the Commission’s proposal to look into an alternative EU benchmark to the TTF for pipeline gas and liquefied natural gas; calls on the Commission, in particular its Directorate-General for Competition, and on ESMA, to closely monitor the European gas market for possible cases of market dominance or lack of transparency;

47.  Calls on the relevant competent authority to investigate, report and address possible cases of market abuse or market manipulation in commodity markets in general and in the gas market in particular;

48.  Calls on the Commission to look closely into the activities of financial players that contributed to the volatility in carbon price; urges the Commission to take action to eliminate the influence of speculative capital on the EU ETS allowances market;

o   o

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

(1) OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 82.
(2) OJ L 328, 21.12.2018, p. 210.
(3) OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 75.
(4) OJ L 158, 14.6.2019, p. 54.
(5) OJ L 158, 14.6.2019, p. 125.
(6) OJ L 280, 28.10.2017, p. 1.
(7) OJ L 243, 9.7.2021, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 283, 31.10.2003, p. 51.
(9) OJ C 184, 5.5.2022, p. 163.
(10) OJ C 270, 7.7.2021, p. 2.
(11) OJ C 456, 10.11.2021, p. 145.
(12) OJ C 465, 17.11.2021, p. 11.
(13) Letter from the Executive Director of ESMA, Verena Ross, to the Director-General of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Financial Stability, John Berrigan, 22 September 2022.
(14) German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection.
(15) European Parliament resolution of 19 May 2022 on the social and economic consequences for the EU of the Russian war in Ukraine – reinforcing the EU’s capacity to act (Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0219).
(16) Statement by Commission President von der Leyen on energy, 7 September 2022.

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