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Procedure : 2022/2048(INI)
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Document selected : A9-0292/2022

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PV 17/01/2023 - 13
CRE 17/01/2023 - 13

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PV 18/01/2023 - 13.4
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Texts adopted
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Wednesday, 18 January 2023 - Strasbourg
Implementation of the common foreign and security policy – annual report 2022

European Parliament resolution of 18 January 2023 on the implementation of the common foreign and security policy – annual report 2022 (2022/2048(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in particular Articles 21 and 36 thereof,

–  having regard to the report of 14 June 2022 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) entitled ‘CFSP Report – Our priorities in 2022’,

–  having regard to the ‘Strategic Compass for Security and Defence – For a European Union that protects its citizens, values and interests and contributes to international peace and security’, approved by the Council on 21 March 2022 and endorsed by the European Council on 24 March 2022,

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

–  having regard to the Versailles Declaration of 11 March 2022,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 23 and 24 June 2022 on Wider Europe, Ukraine, the membership applications of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, the Western Balkans, economic issues, the Conference on the Future of Europe and external relations,

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the 2022 Communication on EU Enlargement Policy of 12 October 2022 (COM(2022)0528),

–  having regard to the resolutions adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations of 2 March 2022 entitled ‘Aggression against Ukraine’ (A/RES/ES-11/L.1) and of 12 October 2022 entitled ‘Territorial integrity of Ukraine: defending the principles of the Charter of the United Nations’ (A/RES/ES -11/L.5),

–  having regard to its resolution of 9 March 2022 on foreign interference in all democratic processes in the European Union, including disinformation(1),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 19 October 2021 entitled ‘2021 Communication on EU Enlargement Policy’ (COM(2021)0644),

–  having regard to the resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations of 7 April 2022 entitled ‘Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council’ (A/RES/ES-11/L.4),

–  having regard to the report on the final outcome of the Conference on the Future of Europe of 9 May 2022,

–  having regard to its resolution on the follow-up to the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe of 4 May 2022(2),

–  having regard to Council Decision (CFSP) 2021/509 of 22 March 2021 establishing a European Peace Facility, and repealing Decision (CFSP) 2015/528(3),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on COVID-19, crisis management and resilience, security and defence, external aspects of migration and external relations adopted on 16 December 2021,

–  having regard to its recommendation of 23 November 2022 to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy concerning the new EU strategy for enlargement(4),

–  having regard to the NATO Strategic Concept adopted by the NATO Heads of State and Government at the NATO Summit in Madrid on 29 June 2022,

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 of 31 October 2000 which established the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda,

–  having regard to the joint communication of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Commission of 25 November 2020 on the EU Gender Action Plan (GAP) III entitled ‘An ambitious agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment in EU external action’ (JOIN(2020)0017),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2022 on the prospects of the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine(5),

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration on EU-NATO Cooperation signed on 10 January 2023 by the President of the European Council, the President of the Commission, and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,

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

–  having regard to the opinion of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A9-0292/2022),

A.  whereas the unprovoked and unjustified military aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, with the support of the Lukashenka regime in Belarus, has brought war back to the European continent and has caused serious destruction and suffering; whereas war crimes have been perpetrated by Russia against Ukraine; whereas this all significantly threatens and continues to challenge European and global security; whereas Russia has made nuclear threats; whereas global supply chains have been negatively affected and food security undermined in several areas of the world; whereas Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine has created economic uncertainty, led to a spike in energy prices, exacerbated the climate crisis and has considerable potential to further destabilise many Member States and third countries, especially those in the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership, and has therefore significantly changed the geopolitical context of the EU’s common foreign and security policy (CFSP); whereas the war of aggression against Ukraine was part of Putin’s plan to reshape the Euro-Atlantic security architecture; whereas this plan has been thwarted thanks to the Ukrainian army’s heroic defence; whereas since 2014 the EU has not been able to fully utilise its common security and defence (CSDP) instruments to effectively support Ukraine’s fight against Russia, although some improvements are visible this year; whereas in order to be perceived as a successful and credible global actor, the EU needs to further develop its capabilities and strengthen its political will to provide security in its immediate neighbourhood;

B.  whereas the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans are in need of peaceful conflict resolution, improved stability and security and increased mutual cooperation; whereas security in these regions is greatly threatened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the possibility of this aggression spilling over into neighbouring countries; whereas the destabilisation of our immediate neighbourhood threatens the stability, peace and security of the EU;

C.  whereas the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine highlights the need for stronger, more ambitious, credible, strategic and unified EU action on the world stage, and accentuates the necessity for the EU to autonomously set its own strategic objectives and develop and deploy the capabilities to pursue them; whereas it once again underlines the need for Europe to prioritise its energy independence;

D.  whereas the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine is a wake-up call for the EU, presenting an immediate threat to the European and global security order and to the security of the EU and its Member States; whereas Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has galvanised the momentum towards achieving a geopolitical redefinition of the CFSP and EU external action in general, with a bold vision guided by Union interests in the new geopolitical reality, with a genuine will to act and with transatlantic cooperation, in order to deliver strategically relevant results; whereas in the face of Russian aggression, Finland and Sweden have applied to join NATO; whereas this conflict shows the urgent need for the Member States to define a common perception of threats and demonstrate genuine solidarity with the frontline Member States; whereas this war has reaffirmed the role of NATO as the bedrock of European security and the indispensability of a strong transatlantic bond;

E.  whereas it is imperative for the Union to address its key vulnerabilities, such as its recent overdependence on Russia and the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC), and strengthen its resilience and preparedness in the face of threats emanating from totalitarian and non-democratic regimes;

F.  whereas Russia’s invasion also highlights the necessity, underlined by the citizen-driven outcomes of the Conference on the Future of Europe, for the Member States to demonstrate the necessary political will to transform the CFSP into a fully-fledged European policy;

G.  whereas the potential for fast, efficient and effective foreign policy, security and defence action as provided for by the Lisbon Treaty has been used and exploited only in a very limited way during the past decade due to a lack of political will by Member States; whereas, due to the changing European security environment, it is high time to use all instruments as provided for by the TEU, in particular as regards the CSDP; whereas the Lisbon Treaty contains features such as a military start-up fund under Article 41(3)(b), the possibility to form a small group with more ambitious security and defence objectives under Article 44, and the defining of a truly European capabilities and armaments policy under Article 42(3), which have existed since December 2009;

H.  whereas passerelle clauses could be used immediately to switch from the requirement of unanimity to qualified majority voting in specific policy areas; whereas the current threat to European security requires the immediate adaptation of certain working methods;

I.  whereas the Council has acted rapidly and in a united way and has to date adopted nine packages of sanctions against Russia because of its actions in Ukraine, including sanctions on individuals such as the freezing of assets and travel restrictions, economic sanctions that target the financial, trade, energy, transport, technology and defence sectors, restrictions on media, diplomatic measures, restrictions on economic relations with occupied Crimea and Sevastopol and with the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk not controlled by the government and measures relating to economic cooperation, all of which constitute solidarity and unity, but are still not enough to stop the aggressor;

J.  whereas the decline of media freedom and the rise of disinformation campaigns, foreign interference and attacks on journalists is a worldwide trend, most clearly evident in backsliding democracies and recalcitrant totalitarian states; whereas, internationally, the consequences for human rights, democracy, public participation and development are worrying; whereas the EU must strengthen its collaboration with like-minded partner countries to promote and defend media freedom and freedom of expression and to counter disinformation and foreign interference in third countries;

K.  whereas the long-standing instability and unpredictability of security at the EU’s borders and in its immediate neighbourhood pose a direct threat to the security of the EU and its Member States;

L.  whereas, at the direction of Vladimir Putin, the Government of the Russian Federation has continued to conduct acts of international terrorism against political opponents and sovereign states, which have culminated in its invasion and occupation of Ukraine since 2014;

M.  whereas the global consequences of the Russian Federation’s unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine are compounded by the impact of the ongoing and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in Wuhan, in the PRC; whereas the return of full-scale war to the European continent, economic instability and the Russian Federation’s deliberate instrumentalisation of energy volatility are resulting in immediate geopolitical uncertainty for citizens of the European Union, candidate Member States and prospective candidate Member States, as well as for partners around the world;

N.  whereas achieving strategic autonomy requires the Union to be able to pursue all matters of strategic significance to the EU without undue reliance on the capabilities of third states and actors, including through the elimination of vulnerabilities that leave the Union open to internal division and enforced concessions to authoritarian actors; whereas achieving strategic autonomy will allow the Union to further enhance its external action from a basis of strength, more effectively pursue and project its values-based interests and strengthen its contribution to global multilateralism, the peaceful resolution of conflict and the development of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights worldwide; whereas the EU will not be able to defend itself or be a credible actor without genuine investments in Member State defence; whereas despite the continued Russian aggression against Ukraine since 2014, the decision of NATO leaders to commit a minimum of 2 % of GDP to defence spending has only been implemented by a few allies who are Member States, in particular those on the Eastern flank; whereas meeting this threshold shows genuine will to strengthen European security and the EU’s position at the same time;

O.  whereas the voluntary accession of European states to the EU remains the Union’s most successful foreign policy instrument; whereas on 23 June 2022, European leaders granted Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova candidate status for EU membership and recognised Georgia’s European perspective; whereas in 15 December 2022, the European Council granted Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate status for EU membership, and the Republic of Kosovo submitted its application for EU membership;

P.  whereas the Union’s CFSP is guided by the values of democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity and respect for the principles of the UN Charter and international law; whereas the Union’s values, as enshrined in Article 2, Article 3(5) and Article 21 TEU, are in its immediate interest; whereas autocratic pressure on these democratic values continues to mount, eroding checks on abuse of power, increasing the incidence and severity of human rights violations and constricting space for civil society, independent media and democratic opposition movements; whereas, according to Freedom House, 2021 was the 16th consecutive year of global democratic decline;

Q.  whereas the effects of climate change are having increasingly severe impacts on different aspects of human life as well as on development opportunities, the worldwide geopolitical order and global stability; whereas those with fewer resources to adapt to climate change will be hardest hit by the impact of climate change; whereas EU foreign policy should focus more on promoting multilateral activities by cooperating on specific climate-related issues, building strategic partnerships and strengthening cooperation and interactions between state and non-state actors, including major contributors to global pollution;

R.  whereas the rules-based international order, founded on international law and the institutions of multilateralism, is under ever-increasing risk, both from within and from outside; whereas autocratic states, working alone and through concerted action, attempt to undermine multilateral organisations and agencies as well as international humanitarian and human rights law, subvert this law’s meaning through co-optation, or circumvent or thwart its implementation, while promoting the further development of autocratic norms in the EU and in third countries, including through the use of diplomatic, economic or military incentives and coercion and through disinformation campaigns; whereas Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its deliberate war crimes are an attack on the foundations of the multilateral rules-based global order;

S.  whereas the EU must improve its capacity to take swift and effective decisions, in particular under the CFSP, to speak with one voice and to act as a truly global player in response to crises;

1.  Points out that the EU’s swift, unified and sustained response to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and its ability to learn from and address previous geostrategic mistakes is a testament to the effectiveness of the EU’s foreign, security and defence policy guided by our shared values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law; underlines that, in order to enhance its role as a credible values-based foreign policy player, a reliable international partner and a credible security and defence actor, the Union must adopt and, in areas in which these are presently available, implement decision-making procedures conducive to this objective;

2.  Notes that the response of the EU to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine is being closely watched by many autocracies around the world and will have a decisive influence in shaping their behaviour on the international stage; underlines that in order to be a credible actor, the EU and its Member States need to increase their military, political and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and strengthen their defence in countering Russian threats to European security;

3.  Is convinced that ensuring the security, prosperity and leadership of the EU at global level is closely linked to consolidating the enlargement process, accelerating the accession of candidate and potential candidate countries and consolidating EU neighbourhood policy;

4.  Underscores that the tectonic shift in the geopolitical landscape caused by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and other international challenges, including the continued rise of global authoritarianism, increasing Sino-Russian cooperation, the PRC assertive foreign policy, the climate emergency and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic call for a swifter implementation of the concept of strategic autonomy, solidarity and for a geopolitical awakening of the EU, based on concrete and credible actions on priority thematic and geographical issues and at the same time show the need for closer cooperation with NATO and like-minded allies across the globe; stresses that in view of this, the direct or indirect support of a third country for the illegal positions of Russia, namely by voting with Russia at the UN General Assembly on relevant resolutions or by helping it circumvent EU sanctions, should bring clear, swift and specific consequences in our political and trade relations with that country;

5.  Emphasises that the Union can only fulfil its vocation as a global player and security provider on the basis of more flexible and efficient decision-making, including on security and defence policy;

6.  Emphasises that the Union’s actions should be guided and consistent with the values and principles on which the Union was founded, in line with Article 21 TEU;

7.  Considers that Article 21(2) TEU should be amended to include the concept of ‘strategic autonomy’ on the list of CFSP objectives in order for the EU to become an effective diplomatic and security actor by implementing its own foreign and security policy based on strong action through concrete measures, policies, budgets and commitments;

8.  Recalls that the Strategic Compass adopted by the Council in March 2022 gives the EU and its Member States strategic guidance and the tools to improve their defence capabilities, to become an effective security provider in an increasingly adversarial global and regional environment and a more assertive global actor for peace and human security; calls therefore on the VP/HR, the Commission and the Member States to prioritise its swifter and full implementation in cooperation with like-minded partners and in full complementarity with NATO and its Strategic Concept of 29 June 2022, while taking into account the lessons learned from the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine;

9.  Underlines the need for a strong communication campaign highlighting the benefits of the Strategic Compass for European security and European citizens;

10.  Highlights that in order to achieve the geopolitical redefinition necessary to respond to the current challenges, the EU should shape its CFSP on the basis of the following four actions:

   adapting the EU’s institutional and decision-making arrangements and generating political will and unity in foreign and security policy by adopting qualified majority voting in order to allow early preventive action and rapid responses,
   operationalising strategic autonomy and solidarity while strengthening its approach to multilateralism and alliances, reducing strategic dependencies on non-democratic regimes and enhancing the Union’s resilience,
   leading the reinforcement of multilateralism, strengthening and consolidating alliances and partnerships and building new strategic partnerships for a better world with like-minded democratic partners, while addressing the assertiveness of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes,
   enhancing parliamentary diplomacy as a preventive and effective foreign policy tool;

11.  Underscores that the ambitious commitment and rhetoric of the EU’s external human rights policy requires it to be consistent and exemplary; regrets therefore that in practice, the EU continues to be inconsistent towards comparable human rights situations worldwide; deplores, further, the deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation in a number of its own Member States, which undermines the credibility of the EU; calls on the EU and its Member States to lead by example and strictly uphold human rights;

12.  Stresses that the EU should remain committed to arms control and to multilateral agreements on disarmament and non-proliferation;

Strengthening the EU’s institutional and decision-making arrangements in foreign and security policy

13.  Welcomes the remarkable level of unity and resolve of the EU in responding swiftly and forcefully to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine; urges the Member States to maintain and, where necessary, increase this high and coherent level of support for Ukraine and its citizens in full alignment with Ukraine’s evolving needs and the EU’s commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity; calls for the same level of unity when faced with attacks against our democracies or common values in the future;

14.  Urges the Member States to maintain their unity and resolve and to build on this unprecedented level of cooperation; underscores the importance of unity and consistency with the Union’s founding values and principles and of preserving this unity and continuing to strengthen the strategic sovereignty, security and resilience of EU and the Member States through more efficient decision-making in CFSP, which could be achieved by:

   (a) switching as soon as possible to qualified majority voting for decisions in all areas of the CFSP, starting with priority areas within a year, such as the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime (EU Magnitsky Act) and other foreign policy areas, by using the passerelle clauses provided for in the Treaties, except for the creation of military missions or operations with an executive mandate under the CSDP, for which unanimity must still be required;
   (b) convening a convention by activating the procedure for revising the Treaties provided for in Article 48 TEU, with the objective of, inter alia, enshrining qualified majority voting for all matters relating to the EU’s CFSP in the Treaties;
   (c) striving to achieve a genuine military and defence union that is interoperable and complementary to the NATO Alliance and that can act independently when needed;
   (d) encouraging, pending the full application of qualified majority voting to decisions without military or defence implications, the use of constructive abstention in line with Article 31(1) TEU;
   (e) ensuring that Member States adhere to the principles of the Treaties¸ in both theory and practice, especially Articles 24 and 42(7) TEU and Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which call for the Member States to support the Union’s external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity; underlines that the conditions for the activation of Article 42(7) TEU and the modalities for support have never been clearly defined; considers it necessary to urgently develop a solidarity policy strategy and operational implementation measures for the mutual assistance clause stipulated in Article 42(7) TEU;
   (f) making full use of the integrated political crisis response (IPCR) mechanism and creating a European Security Council, comprised of Member State Ministers, in order to respond swiftly in emergency situations and to develop an integrated approach to conflict and crisis, as well as a Council of Defence Ministers;
   (g) implementing and making full use of the ‘Team Europe’ approach to coordinate and avoid duplication in the EU’s foreign and security policy while projecting unity;
   (h) providing sufficient funding, institutional capacity and technical support at EU and Member State level to prepare for and respond without delay to current, emerging and future challenges; calls in particular for increased financing for all EU external action;
   (i) introducing a role for Parliament for decisions on sending military and civilian security missions abroad;

believes, in light of the above, that it would be appropriate for Parliament to hold a plenary debate before relevant Council decisions and to adopt a resolution that would politically authorise an operation, including its objectives, means and duration;

15.  Urges the Member States to pursue the strict application of Article 31 TEU, which allows, inter alia, the Council to take certain decisions by qualified majority in CFSP matters without military implications, in particular those concerning sanctions and human rights, and, in the case of Article 42(7) TEU, to move to reinforced qualified majority voting; calls on the Member States to make full use of the passerelle clause contained in Article 31(3) TEU without further delay, especially in priority areas;

16.  Reiterates its support for the adoption and implementation of the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, enabling the EU to swiftly impose targeted restrictive measures against individuals, entities and bodies responsible for, involved in, or associated with serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide; welcomes the Commission’s intention to extend the scope of the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime in a timely manner to include acts of corruption, thereby acknowledging the close link between corruption and human rights violations; urges the Commission to augment this legislative proposal with avenues enabling an enhanced role for the European Parliament in proposing cases of serious human rights violations; reiterates its call on the Council to introduce qualified majority voting for the adoption of restrictive measures imposed under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime;

17.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to step up their support for civil society organisations, activists and investigative journalists engaged in the fight against corruption, by promoting the establishment of effective anti-corruption institutions, adopting robust regulatory frameworks and addressing secrecy jurisdictions and tax havens, in particular within their own jurisdictions;

18.  Highlights the fact that the enforcement of sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation is paramount to limiting its ability to pursue its war of aggression against Ukraine and must therefore be the highest priority; urges the Council to impose restrictive measures on third countries enabling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, whether by facilitating sanctions circumvention or by providing direct military assistance; welcomes the restrictive measures imposed on the regime in Belarus; welcomes the decision of the Council to impose restrictive measures on the Islamic Republic of Iran in view of its supply of unmanned aerial vehicles to the Russian Federation for use against Ukraine, in particular against civilian targets; calls for the expansion of restrictive measures in light of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s continued provision of unmanned aerial vehicles and planned provision of surface-to-surface missiles; strongly supports the proposal for a directive(6) criminalising the violation of Union restrictive measures and calls on the EUropean Public Prosecutor’s Office to be tasked with ensuring the consistent and uniform investigation and prosecution of such crimes throughout the EU;

19.  Expresses concern over the increasing frequency and intensity of environmental and climate disasters, which have particularly dire consequences for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable individuals and communities; recalls that the direct and indirect impacts of climate change undermine global peace and security while deepening existing vulnerabilities and inequalities and posing risks to human rights; underlines the fundamental role which the Commission and the Member States, in a joint ‘Team Europe’ approach, must play in the promotion of climate diplomacy globally in order to safeguard global peace and security, in particular through increased bilateral and multilateral engagement with international partners, the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and further commitments made, in particular, to developing partners, and the mainstreaming of climate action across all dimensions of its external action; urges the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to design and conduct robust EU climate diplomacy whose aim is to foster international cooperation on the Paris Agreement, strengthen the external dimension of the Green New Deal and provide tangible support for ambitious CO2 reduction targets in third countries;

20.  Insists on the full implementation and systematic integration of gender mainstreaming and the EU Gender Action Plan III (GAP III) in all EU external action, including trade and sustainable development policy, at all levels of engagement and in all relevant activities and concepts, including beyond the lifetime of the GAP III; urges the EEAS to enhance its geographical balance in order to have appropriate national representation reflecting the diversity of all Member States, as indicated in Article 27 of the Staff Regulations of Officials;

21.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to exercise leadership in implementing UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security; underlines that women play a key role in the prevention of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peace keeping, humanitarian response and post-conflict reconstruction; stresses the need for the EU to ensure women’s equal participation and full involvement in all efforts to maintain peace and security;

22.  Calls for the strengthening of the EEAS and EU delegations’ capacities by providing them their own and permanent EU instruments and resources for foreign affairs and human rights protection and promotion and the fight against disinformation; calls for an update of the Council Decision of 26 July 2010 in order to be able to better fulfil the EU’s objectives, values and interests worldwide;

23.  Urges the Member States and the Commission to strengthen the role of the VP/HR; points out that this can be achieved through a Treaty change that would make the VP/HR foreign minister of the Union, make them the main external representative of the Union in international forums and allow them to be present ex officio in negotiating formats initiated or led by Member States; supports the call from citizens of the Union expressing their wish in the Conference on the Future of Europe for the EU to speak with one voice;

24.  Takes note of the VP/HR’s speech at the 2022 Annual Conference of EU Ambassadors and expects that the shortcomings of the EU diplomatic service identified will be effectively addressed in order to strengthen its capacity and efficiency; calls for autonomous European diplomacy in all areas, including public, cultural, economic, climate, digital and cyber diplomacy, among others, determined by a common diplomatic culture and a real EU esprit de corps; welcomes the start of the pilot project entitled ‘Towards a European Diplomatic Academy’, which aims to promote the acquisition of common skills and competences to promote and effectively defend the EU’s principles and interests in the world; underlines that this pilot project should also focus on target groups for a future academy and allow the possibility of including those who are not Member State diplomats to become EU diplomats in the future;

25.  Underlines the strategic roles played by international cultural cooperation and cultural diplomacy in EU foreign policy in strengthening relations with partner countries, promoting the EU’s democratic values, protecting cultural heritage abroad, promoting intercultural dialogue, the mobility of artists and cultural professionals, conflict prevention, countering disinformation and foreign interference in third countries and in the fight against illicit trafficking, looting and destruction of cultural property; calls for the EU’s cultural diplomacy to be strengthened by mainstreaming culture as a strategic pillar across the Union’s external action and by developing an EU instrument that embodies the cultural aspects of the Union worldwide and fosters international cultural relations based on cultural cooperation and co-creation, actively involving civil society and the cultural sectors of third countries; stresses that this instrument could provide EU capacity-building and financial assistance to cultural, creative and innovative sectors of third countries’ civil society; supports the inclusion of culture in all current and future bilateral and multilateral agreements, with due respect for the commitments made under the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions;

26.  Stresses that geopolitical and humanitarian global crises demonstrate the need for the EU to obtain credible and first-hand information on current and possible external threats to the EU, in order to be able to react rapidly and effectively, as well as to better protect its interests abroad; calls for the strengthening of the EU Intelligence and Situation Centre and the EEAS Crisis Response Centre by enhancing their resources and capabilities;

27.  Highlights the need to clearly define the competences of the VP/HR, the President of the Commission and the President of the European Council as the current regulatory framework provided both by the Treaties and the interinstitutional agreements on the external representation of the EU abroad is unclear about the competences of each institutional role; considers that this lack of clarity can lead to some duplication in the EU’s external action or confuse the EU’s counterparts and/or interlocutors worldwide in their relations with the Union;

Operationalising strategic autonomy

28.  Underlines that the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the Russian Federation’s grave and massive destruction, war crimes and deliberate violations of human rights and the fundamental norms of international law have highlighted the need for a stronger, more ambitious, credible, strategic and unified EU presence and action on the world stage; emphasises the need for the EU to more vigorously set its own strategic objectives, as provided for in the Strategic Compass, and develop the capabilities and enablers to pursue them, while working both autonomously and in close cooperation with like-minded partners; is of the opinion that regaining all of Ukraine’s occupied territories, safeguarding its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, the swift completion of the legal procedure for the confiscation of assets frozen by sanctions, as well as bringing the perpetrators, including Vladimir Putin and the top military and civilian leadership of the Russian Federation, to justice internationally should be considered a goal of EU policy towards Ukraine;

29.  Recalls that the EU will only become an effective diplomatic and security actor through strong action and that the EU will only increase its strategic sovereignty and solidarity through concrete measures, policies, budgets and commitments;

30.  Welcomes the shift in the Member States’ approaches, which signifies a move towards enhanced EU strategic autonomy through the swift implementation of the main actions laid down in the Versailles Declaration and the Strategic Compass; notes that these highlight the need to strengthen EU and Member State defence capabilities and to contribute positively to European, transatlantic and global security, in close collaboration, complementarity and coordination with NATO when relevant to the EU, in particular when moving towards creating greater EU strategic autonomy;

31.  Welcomes the adoption on 10 January 2023 of the third joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation; urges the Union and those Member States who are also NATO allies to ensure the coherent implementation of the objectives and priorities highlighted in the Strategic Compass, NATO’s Strategic Concept and the third joint declaration; underlines that these strategic processes within NATO and the EU offer a unique opportunity to further intensify our consultations and cooperation in order to enhance the security of our citizens and promote peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area and beyond;

32.  Notes that European defence capabilities should be compatible and complementary with NATO, which remains the foremost security guarantor in Europe; underlines that the EU is a partner of NATO and that EU-NATO cooperation is mutually reinforcing and based on transparency, reciprocity, inclusiveness and on each organisation respecting the decision-making autonomy of the other;

33.  Stresses that any process for achieving EU strategic autonomy must be complementary to and compatible with NATO; notes, therefore, that the development of coherent, complementary and interoperable defence capabilities is essential for increasing the security of the Euro-Atlantic area in line with the principle of the single set of forces; reiterates that a European capability to act, either in partnership or autonomously, is essential for complementarity and for contributing to the fulfilment of NATO’s core tasks, as well as for enhancing conflict prevention, and is therefore essential for the security of the European continent as a whole;

34.  Considers that the Strategic Compass constitutes an important step towards a genuine European defence union and must form the foundation for developing a common strategic culture at the level of both the Union and its Member States; calls on the EU and the Member States to show the necessary unity and political will to swiftly implement the ambitious measures to which they have committed in the Strategic Compass, including the timely operationalisation of the EU Rapid Deployment Capacity; believes that the implementation of the Strategic Compass would bring the EU closer to the objective of strategic autonomy; underlines the need to take into account the effects of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and to shorten the deadlines for accomplishing all individual actions and projects;

35.  Recalls, however, that the capability gaps between the Member States and the key areas of effort required for defence have been correctly identified for some years by the European Defence Agency, the European Union Military Staff, the EEAS and the Commission; considers, therefore, that the ambitions set out in both the Strategic Compass and the Versailles Council Conclusions will only be of worth if they are effectively implemented by the Member States;

36.  Welcomes the swift and repeated use of the European Peace Facility (EPF) to provide the necessary support to enable Ukraine to defend and regain effective control over its entire territory within its internationally recognised borders; highlights the need to improve the Union’s ability to act with sustainable and appropriate funding by building on the EPF support already delivered to Ukraine, including through the Clearing House Cell, and to use the lessons learnt in the Union’s support for Ukraine to enhance its readiness for future scenarios; welcomes the Council’s decision of 12 December 2022 to increase the budget of the EPF by EUR 2 billion, while allowing for the possibility of a further increase of the EPF’s overall financial ceiling by a maximum total of EUR 5,5 billion by 2027, given the need to continue supporting arms and ammunition delivery to Ukraine and other partner countries, including on the African continent; urges the VP/HR to swiftly present a proposal to amend Council Decision (CFSP) 2021/509; stresses, further, the need to establish a second off-budget facility which would manage the development and generation of the entire life-cycle of capabilities, which includes common military research and development, procurement, training, maintenance and security of supply;

37.  Calls for an increase in financial and military assistance to Ukraine and for the immediate deployment of modern equipment, weapons and a next-generation air defence system; expresses its support for the decision by a number of Member States and international partners to provide Ukraine with infantry fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers; reiterates its call on the Member States to initiate the delivery of modern main battle tanks, including Leopard 2s, under a coordinated EU initiative through the EU Military Staff clearing house cell hosted by the EEAS; supports the establishment of the Military Assistance Mission to train the Ukrainian Armed Forces on EU soil and calls for its swift deployment; recognises the current work of the EU Advisory Mission for Civilian Security Sector Reform in Ukraine and welcomes the recent adjustment of its mandate in order to support Ukrainian authorities in facilitating the investigation and prosecution of any international crimes committed by the Russian armed forces and mercenaries in the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine;

38.  Reiterates its call on the VP/HR, the Member States and international partners to prepare a swift and decisive response should Russia deploy chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons against Ukraine;

39.  Welcomes the adoption of the joint communication of 18 May 2022 on the Defence Investment Gaps Analysis and Way Forward by the Commission and the High Representative and calls on Member States to jointly develop and procure the necessary capabilities to fill these gaps by making full use of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), the European Defence Fund (EDF), as well as new EU instruments to incentivise more joint procurement, which will help to increase the security of both Member States and NATO allies;

40.  Welcomes the fact that the Commission and the VP/HR launched the Global Gateway strategy on 1 December 2021 to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport and strengthen health, education and research systems across the world and in particular in the Global South; emphasises the geopolitical centrality of this trusted connectivity strategy, which integrates sustainable development with oriented, transformational, resilience-enhancing and values-based dimensions in a ‘Team Europe’ approach; calls for the effective governance of the Global Gateway; welcomes the first meeting of the Global Gateway Board, which took place on 11 December 2022 and to which Parliament was invited as an observer; asks to be duly involved in the decisions on the Global Gateway investment programmes and to be regularly informed about any developments, including budgetary implications;

41.  Believes that considerably more efforts are needed to enable this strategy to live up to its full potential and calls on the EU institutions and all Member States to accelerate its further development and speedier implementation; considers it essential to team up with like-minded partners in expanding the scale and impact of this strategy; calls for decisive steps at G7 level in order to address global infrastructure investment gaps, including by providing the necessary funding;

42.  Points out the high geopolitical significance of the EU Green Deal as a long-term tool that will influence the EU’s relations with third countries;

43.  Underlines the importance of an ambitious EU climate policy in order to achieve the European Green Deal goals, particularly its internationalisation and initiatives to respond to climate-related security risks; expects, given the current geopolitical shifts and challenges, the European Green Deal’s implementation to contribute to building new partnerships and diversifying the EU’s energy mix as alternatives to Russian fossil fuel supplies;

44.  Underlines the importance of stepping up the EU’s efforts, in cooperation with NATO and other international partners, to address and foster resilience against hybrid threats, cyberattacks, disinformation and propaganda campaigns, both within the Union and in third countries; calls on the Commission and the Member States, in close cooperation with NATO and non-NATO partners, to treat the protection of critical European infrastructure, including offshore pipelines, submarine communications and power cables, as a matter of highest priority; reiterates the urgent need for European institutions, agencies and other bodies to be properly protected against hybrid threats and attacks by foreign state actors; underlines the need to also develop their strategic communication capabilities through the StratCom Task Forces, including those directed at third countries and with a particular focus on the populations of Russia and Belarus, as well as to allocate adequate financial resources to this end and to equip themselves with secure communication systems and a rapid reaction capacity to counter attacks and to greatly increase their resilience;

45.  Welcomes the resolve displayed by the Union and most Member States in the pursuit of full energy independence from the Russian Federation and in diversifying their energy supply sources; reiterates its call for an immediate and full embargo on Russian imports of fossil fuels and uranium and for the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines to remain closed and be completely abandoned; emphasises that short-term diversification of energy sources should not be at the expense of meaningful human rights dialogue with alternative energy providers; notes that this highlights the essential nature of speeding up the green transition;

46.  Calls for initiatives to strengthen the resilience of strategic supply chains and EU critical infrastructure through regular comprehensive stress test exercises conducted by the Commission, including on health, energy, foodstuffs, semiconductors and critical raw materials, as well as offshore pipelines and cables, with a view to preventing severe supply chain disruptions and reducing EU dependencies on third countries, in particular those which do not share the Union’s values or with which the Union finds itself in a state of systemic rivalry, to non-critical levels; underlines the importance of enhancing the Union’s own capabilities in cooperation with like-minded partners; stresses that further cooperation with democratic partners is needed to secure the strategic resources used in the manufacturing of batteries, chips, semiconductors and other critical technologies and to decrease dependencies on non-democratic regimes for the supply of these resources;

47.  Underlines the strategic dimension for Europe of the space sector; underlines the need to ensure the Union’s visibility and credibility as an international space actor and in advancing the development of technologies that would ensure European strategic autonomy; calls for increased EU commitment to developing a comprehensive international space regulation, building upon, updating and reinforcing current UN treaties, declarations and legal principles underpinning space governance and taking account of rapid technological progress; underlines that this updated regulatory framework for space would further the sustainable and peaceful development of space while limiting and regulating its weaponisation and militarisation; welcomes the Commission’s announcement that it will present a space strategy for security and defence; considers that enhancing the EU’s strategic sovereignty in space is essential to its broader efforts to achieve all-encompassing strategic autonomy;

48.  Stresses that access to safe drinking water is one of the major problems of the 21st century, especially since nearly 60 % of aquifer resources straddle political territorial borders; underlines that water stress resulting from the increased freshwater needs of the world’s population, subject to the strategic control of rivers at their source by some countries can lead to the most serious conflicts if the use of flows is not provided for in an integrated and shared manner; urges the EU to establish a political strategy to facilitate solutions in these areas with high destabilising potential while encouraging countries in areas facing the most serious water-related conflicts to sign the 1992 Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes;

49.  Calls for the Union to develop its digital sovereignty, in particular in cyber security, in order to protect democracy and its institutions; stresses the specific threat that the new digital technologies pose for human rights defenders and others because they can be used for controlling, restricting and undermining their activities, as illustrated recently by the Pegasus Project revelations;

50.  Stresses that the Union, in cooperation with like-minded partners, should strive for global competitiveness in the research, development, production and deployment of drones;

51.  Welcomes the Commission’ announcement that it will work on proposals for a defence of democracy package, which would shield the Union from malign interference;

Leading the reinforcement of multilateralism and building partnerships for a better world

52.  Stresses the need to strengthen the UN as a priority and to develop a truly strategic partnership between the UN and the EU on global priorities such as climate action and human rights, but also for crisis management; emphasises that the Union must continue to take the lead in the promotion of a more relevant, resilient and effective multilateralism which forms the basis for inclusive policy dialogue, cooperation and convergence aimed at advancing human security, sustainable development and the prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts in full respect of international law and human rights; urges the Union and its Member States to speak with one voice in multilateral forums, strengthen ties with like-minded partners around the world, intensify outreach to third countries and their populations and pursue pragmatic sectoral multilateral solutions in areas in which doing so is in accordance with its values-based interests;

53.  Calls on the Commission, the Council, the EEAS and the Member States to come forward with sound proposals on how to achieve and guarantee an own and permanent seat for the Union in all multilateral forums, including the UN Security Council, in order to strengthen the EU’s actorness, coherence and credibility in the world;

54.  Underlines the importance of intensified diplomatic efforts to communicate our position in the most efficient way and to coordinate with like-minded democratic partners in order to maintain the strongest possible unity within the international community in condemning Russia and defending the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, international law and the rules- and values-based international order, within the UN and its Charter and other multilateral forums; stresses the importance of robust diplomatic actions in respect of countries that obstructed the vote or abstained on the UN Resolutions of 2 March and 12 October 2022 in order to highlight the gravity of Russia’s aggression and the need for an unanimous response from the international community; stresses that priority should be given to building strong and reliable alliances, partnerships and multilateral arrangements and to building strategic solidarity with like-minded countries;

55.  Underlines the need for EU unanimity in condemning Russian aggression and for leaders of some EU countries not to open separate lines of contact with Putin; stresses that negotiations with Russia should not be sought until and unless the Ukrainian authorities decide to enter into them and that until that happens, the EU should continue to provide financial, materiel and military assistance to Ukraine;

56.  Underscores that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has further highlighted the need for the EU to continue building alliances and understanding among partners and to intensify cooperation with existing like-minded partners around the globe, especially with transatlantic NATO allies, while expanding its partnerships, in particular with countries in the Global South;

57.  Underlines that, as NATO remains fundamental to the European security order, the EU and its Member States must commit to strengthening NATO’s European pillar, inter alia those Member States which are also NATO allies, by consistently meeting the NATO defence spending benchmark of 2 % of gross domestic product as of 2024 while preventing duplication, reducing fragmentation and enhancing interoperability; urges the two remaining NATO allies which have not yet done so to ratify Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to NATO without delay; considers that the strategic partnership with NATO should be based on trust; insists on consolidating and clarifying the strategic partnership with NATO in a reciprocal manner;

58.  Calls for the further strengthening of cooperation with NATO and other partnerships, such as the G7, and with other like-minded partners; points out that such partnerships should constitute an integral pillar of the CFSP;

59.  Calls on the EU and its international partners to make full use of all relevant instruments to fight impunity, including through enhanced support to the International Criminal Court and to special tribunals at national and international level, as well as by establishing flexible cooperation and funding mechanisms to swiftly collect and analyse evidence of international crimes; calls on the international community to make sure that all instigators and perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity are held fully accountable; urges the EU and its Member States to work towards the establishment of a special tribunal, as initiated by Ukraine and with support from the international community, to investigate and hold the Russian military and political leadership to account for the crime of aggression , as well as to continue their support for the International Criminal Court’s investigation into allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide currently being committed; reiterates its call on the Commission to present an EU action plan on impunity; stresses that this action plan should seek to better coordinate and harmonise Member States’ resources and efforts to prosecute war criminals in the EU; is of the view that transitional justice plays a fundamental role in securing peace in the long term and urges the Commission to develop an ambitious programme to build the capacity of Member States and third countries to apply the principle of universal jurisdiction in their domestic legal systems;

60.  Welcomes the first meeting of the European Political Community in October 2022 as a platform for discussion, dialogue and cooperation with close partners on the foreign policy and security challenges we are facing, with the aim of strengthening the security of the European continent and pursuing political and security cooperation based on shared interests; welcomes the fact that 44 countries took part in the first meeting in Prague, including close partners such as the UK; calls for the close involvement of Parliament in the clarification of the scope and the future work of this Community; underlines that, for the future success and coherence of this format, some level of alignment on democratic values and principles is essential; reiterates that the European Political Community may under no circumstances precipitate or form a pretext for delays to the EU accession of enlargement countries;

61.  Highlights the need to intensify the dialogue with the United Kingdom on possible avenues for future cooperation and coordination on foreign, security and defence policy, in line with the provisions of the Political Declaration and including in the framework of the EU-NATO partnership, the United Nations, the European Political Community and other international forums; urges closer EU cooperation with our British neighbours, as we are facing common challenges on foreign and security issues; regrets that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement does not include provisions on cooperation in foreign policy and defence; underlines the importance of coordinating sanctions regimes; calls for stronger involvement of the United Kingdom in European security and defence projects; welcomes in this regard the decision of PESCO members and the Council of 14 November 2022 to invite the UK to join the Military Mobility PESCO project, which would improve mutual rapid security and defence assistance;

62.  Urges the UK to ensure the full implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland, and to pursue practical, flexible and durable common solutions within the Protocol’s legal framework; stresses that the full implementation of the Protocol is fundamental for maintaining the peace and stability in Northern Ireland ensured by the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement, as well for the integrity and the proper functioning of the European single market;

63.  Underlines the importance of strong transatlantic cooperation, again highlighted in the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, based on shared values and objectives, and on the principle of partnership of equals in leadership and responsibility, while respecting the other party’s autonomy and specificities, interests and aspirations; applauds the role of the US in deterring Russia’s aggression, in particular through intelligence sharing, military assistance, humanitarian aid and political support and by bolstering the most exposed part of NATO's Eastern flank; underlines the need to further strengthen EU-US transatlantic cooperation by means of an ambitious transatlantic agenda; invites the political leadership and institutions of the United States to continue on a path of ever closer cooperation and coordination in all fields that are of interest in countering global threats affecting our shared values, security and prosperity;

64.  Welcomes the ongoing cooperation, determination and united stance in supporting Ukraine and in implementing an unprecedented sanctions regime with the goal of deterring Russia from continuing its illegal aggression and supporting Ukraine’s full liberation within its internationally recognised borders; fully supports and commits to pursuing synergies and shared foreign and security objectives by further deepening cooperation in the framework of the EU-US transatlantic dialogue, such as through transatlantic parliamentary diplomacy, and to addressing many of the key global challenges such as climate change and the threat posed by authoritarian and totalitarian regimes globally, including in Europe and Asia;

65.  Recommends that summits between the EU and the United States should be held on a regular basis and at least once a year in order to give a continued high level impetus to transatlantic cooperation; welcomes in this regard the work of the Transatlantic Trade and Technology Council and reiterates its proposal to establish a Transatlantic Political Council, which would serve as a forum for regular and effective institutional dialogue on foreign and security policy; welcomes the US’s strong commitment to European security, in particular its massive military aid to Ukraine and troop deployments on the eastern flank of NATO;

66.  Takes note of the 23rd EU-China Summit of April 2022; is deeply concerned by the outcome of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which highlights Xi Jinping’s geopolitical ambitions; notes that the relationship between the EU and the PRC is increasingly characterised by economic competition and systemic rivalry; reiterates its requests for a renewed, more assertive, comprehensive and coherent EU-China strategy that shapes relations with the PRC in the interest of the EU as a whole and takes full account of the challenges stemming from the PRC’s rise as a global actor and its increasingly oppressive domestic policies and assertive foreign policy, including towards the Union and towards candidate and potential candidate countries;

67.  Expresses concern at the wide range of political, economic and military instruments used by the PRC to increasingly strong-arm countries into submission and to seek to impose its authoritarian ideology on international organisations, such as the UN, to expand its presence, project power, and to adapt its strategy, intentions and military rearmament accordingly; is especially concerned about its partnership with the Russian Federation and their joint attempts to undermine the rules-based world order, which are contrary to our interests and values; condemns the PRC’s de facto pro-Russian position on Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine;

68.  Calls on the EU and the Member States to reconsider their dependency on the PRC and address economic dependencies in strategic sectors that may result in vulnerabilities; calls for greater coordination and cooperation between like-minded partners on issues of common concern, especially but not exclusively on issues such as strategic dependencies, economic coercion, political interference and disinformation, and to promote rules-based multilateralism and strategic solidarity between democracies;

69.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms the Chinese government-led system of forced labour and its crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, which represent a high risk of genocide; urges the Chinese government to end the systematic persecution of Uyghurs, including the appalling fact that Uyghur women are specifically targeted by the authorities, implementing an official scheme of targeted birth prevention measures, including forcing women of childbearing age to be subjected to abortions, intrauterine injections and sterilisation, measures that could meet the criteria for the worst crimes against humanity; remains deeply concerned about the situation in Tibet and the Chinese Communist Party’s policy targeting freedom of speech and the freedoms of thought, belief and religion;

70.  Reiterates its urgent call for the remaining 10 Member States who have not yet done so to suspend active extradition treaties with the PRC and Hong Kong; strongly condemns the PRC’s campaign of transnational repression targeting overseas and diaspora Chinese and Hong Kong individuals and members of ethnic and religious minority communities, notably on EU soil; urges the Commission and the Member States, in coordination with like-minded partners, to identify and close down any avenues that currently facilitate the PRC’s transnational repression efforts;

71.  Reiterates its condemnation of the PRC’s undermining of democracy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the imposition of the National Security Law in Hong Kong; calls on the Commission to review the autonomous status of Hong Kong in the light of the PRC’s breaches of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the crackdown on Hong Kong’s autonomy;

72.  Recalls that our ‘One China Policy’ is one of the cornerstones of EU-China relations; underlines that preserving peace, stability and the freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region remains of critical importance to the interests of the EU and its Member States; strongly condemns the PRC’s continued military provocations against Taiwan and reiterates its firm rejection of any unilateral change to the status quo in the Strait of Taiwan; expresses grave concern about the Chinese government’s position stated at the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th Party Congress that the PRC will never renounce the right to use force in Taiwan; reiterates that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait should not be unilaterally altered against the will of the Taiwanese people; welcomes the clear condemnation of PRC’s military exercises by Member States and partners in the region and underlines that our unity is key to deterring any aggression by the PRC and maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait; is of the view that the dispute between Taiwan and the PRC should be solved through peaceful dialogue without any preconditions;

73.  Calls on all competent EU institutions to urgently draw up a scenario-based strategy for tackling security challenges in Taiwan;

74.  Expresses its firm solidarity with the people of Taiwan and sees in Taiwan a like-minded partner that shares the common values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law; calls on the Commission and the VP/HR to establish strategic cooperation with Taiwan and to swiftly follow up on the recommendations contained in its resolution on EU-Taiwan political relations and cooperation of 21 October 2021 and to strengthen economic, trade, and investment relations with the island, including through a bilateral investment agreement and sectoral agreements, for instance on resilient supply chains, cooperation on custom inspection systems and certification of origins and market access agreements; calls on the VP/HR and the Commission to urgently begin an impact assessment, public consultation and scoping exercise on a bilateral investment agreement with the Taiwanese authorities in preparation for negotiations to deepen bilateral economic ties as a way to diversify supply chains in order to address EU’s vulnerabilities to the PRC; recommends posting a liaison officer at the European Economic and Trade Office to coordinate joint efforts on tackling disinformation and interference; recommends that the Commission connects and integrates the Global Gateway initiative with Taiwan’s new Southbound Policy;

75.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to cooperate with international partners in helping sustain democracy in Taiwan, free from foreign threats;

76.  Underlines that Taiwan is a key EU partner and democratic ally in the Indo-Pacific region that contributes to maintaining a rules-based international order and upholds fundamental values; strongly urges the EU and its Member States to intensify cooperation and pursue a comprehensive enhanced partnership with Taiwan, in particular essential cooperation on critical supply chain resilience and countering disinformation and foreign interference;

77.  Reiterates its advocacy for Taiwan’s meaningful participation as an observer in meetings, mechanisms and activities of international and multilateral bodies and organisations;

78.  Encourages increased economic, scientific, cultural and political interaction between the EU and Taiwan including at the most senior levels possible; highlights the importance of strengthening EU-Taiwan dialogue by deepening relations with civil society and fostering exchanges with Taiwanese media organisations and cultural exchanges, including establishing language schools;

79.  Calls on the PRC, in light of the reopening of its borders, to disclose complete and correct COVID-19 data in an intelligible and easily accessible way, including thus far absent data on hospitalisations, intensive care unit admissions and deaths;

80.  Welcomes the good cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Korea as a key strategic partner, sharing the same commitment to democracy, human rights, the rule of law and a market economy; welcomes the alignment of the Republic of Korea with the EU and the US in response to Russia’s war against Ukraine, in particular in adopting sanctions against Russia and Belarus; stresses the role of the Republic of Korea in supporting efforts towards a complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme; calls on Member States to support a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of this issue in close coordination with international partners; welcomes South Korea’s strengthened cooperation with NATO;

81.  Strongly condemns the DPRK’s continued ballistic missile and nuclear tests and other nuclear proliferation-related activities as well as the increase in weapon tests since the beginning of 2022, which present a major threat to international peace and security;

82.  Denounces in the strongest terms Qatar’s and Morocco’s alleged attempts to influence Parliament’s Members, former Members and staff through acts of corruption, thereby subverting the EU’s democratic process through malign interference;

83.  Considers that the protection and promotion of human rights must be at the heart of the EU’s partnership with Morocco given its strategic character for the EU and its interests in the region; urges Morocco to cease its harassment and intimidation of journalists, human rights defenders and diaspora activists, to release political prisoners, and to work, in partnership with the EU, towards further developing education, employment and healthcare opportunities with a particular focus on historically marginalised regions, such as the Rif;

84.  Strongly condemns authoritarian and illiberal regimes’ attacks against human rights and their universal character, as well as the corresponding erosion of their protection; calls on mature democracies and like-minded partners to adopt a defiant and public attitude reaffirming our commitment to defend the universality of human rights and the rule of law; calls on mature democracies and international and regional organisations to join forces by uniting under a global human rights framework in order to address threats and promote human rights worldwide;

85.  Underlines that the EU is committed to a free, open, connected and rules-based Indo-Pacific region; reiterates that the EU’s new Indo-Pacific Strategy needs to be implemented swiftly, as it offers our partners in the region an opportunity to address common challenges together, to defend the rules-based international order, international law and to stand up for the values and principles we share; underlines the importance of respecting free and open maritime routes in the Indo-Pacific, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; opposes unilateral actions in the South China Sea and reiterates its support for resolving disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law;

86.  Calls for enhanced EU presence in the wider Indo-Pacific region; underlines that cooperation with Pacific countries should be reinforced taking into account the real needs of our partners on the ground, highlights the importance of our cooperation with both the Pacific Islands Forum and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States for implementing the objectives set out in the EU’s Indo-Pacific Strategy; advocates stronger cooperation with countries in the region, in particular Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India, as well as Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); welcomes the EU-ASEAN commemorative summit, which took place on 14 December 2022; welcomes the conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement with New Zealand and the entry into force of the EU-Australia Framework Agreement;

87.  Underlines the important role that Japan plays in promoting stability in the region, and calls for a stronger strategic partnership between the EU and Japan across a wide range of areas, including the Indo-Pacific, connectivity, the defence of the multilateral rules-based order, trade and investment, security, digital transformation, climate action, research and innovation, frontier technologies, and resource analysis/mapping; reminds that Japan is one of the EU’s closest, like-minded partners with which it shares values and principles such as democracy, the rule of law, human rights, good governance, and multilateralism; strongly supports the conclusion of the EU - Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) and calls on the remaining Member States to proceed with the ratification of the agreement; encourages the negotiation of a security and information agreement between the EU and Japan as a step towards facilitating broader collaboration on security and defence;

88.  Notes that the ASEAN is a key partner for the EU; calls for a continued focus on the Asian continent, as many countries are exposed to the increasing fragility of supply chains and agri-food systems, and the erosion of macroeconomic stability arising from Russia’s unjustifiable, unprovoked and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, which has further stressed the global system which had already been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis;

89.  Strongly condemns the Myanmar military junta’s illegitimate rule and continued violent repression of the democratic aspirations of the people of Myanmar following its unlawful coup d’état, as well as Russia’s and the PRC’s support for the Tatmadaw; reaffirms its solidarity with the democratic aspirations of the people of Myanmar, represented by the National Unity Government (NUG), and calls on the EU and its Member States to initiate or, where applicable, enhance engagement with and support for the NUG, while reinforcing their restrictive measures against the Tatmadaw; urges ASEAN, in the light of the Tatmadaw’s unwillingness to achieve progress on the Five-Point Consensus, to work with the NUG, independent civil society and the international community to achieve a sustainable democratic resolution for Myanmar;

90.  Emphasises the need to strengthen the EU’s strategic partnerships with India in a comprehensive way; points out that relations with India are increasingly important and should be deepened through the ongoing trade negotiations and by enhancing synergies in bilateral cooperation with interested partners in Africa; recalls the importance of this partnership for the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); encourages the EU and India to make full use of the Connectivity Partnership concluded in 2021; welcomes the closer consultations on security and defence and the joint naval exercises with India and with other Indo-Pacific partners; calls for human rights and democratic values to be adequately addressed in the EU’s engagement with India;

91.  Is concerned about India’s stance on the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, its abstention in the votes on the UN Resolutions and especially on providing financial support for the Kremlin not only by not aligning with the sanctions against Russia, but also by increasing imports and purchasing Russian weapons and fossil fuels; expresses the hope that India will align its position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the EU and calls on the Council and VP/HR to continue diplomatic efforts in this regard;

92.  Reaffirms its unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Eastern Partnership countries within their internationally recognised borders; acknowledges that the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine is having a negative impact first and foremost on the Eastern Partnership countries; calls on the EU institutions and the Member States to start without delay a thorough reflection on a reform of the Eastern Partnership policy to make it fit for the future in light of the worsening geopolitical situation and on the basis of the strategic and political importance of the region to the EU and of the different challenges faced by Eastern Partnership countries; notes that security and peace in the Eastern Neighbourhood presupposes the upholding of international law, territorial integrity and fundamental rights and freedoms; underlines the importance of strengthening political and financial support and the presence of the Union in the region, in close cooperation with independent civil society;

93.  Underlines that Russia is also implementing an aggressive policy towards Georgia and Moldova; stresses that the Russian Federation continues to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova through the presence of its troops in the region of Transnistria and fosters political and social unrest by using energy as a weapon and through disinformation campaigns in order to put pressure on the government of Moldova and the European orientation of the country; calls on the Russian Federation to completely and unconditionally withdraw its military forces and armaments from the Transnistria region in an orderly manner, in accordance with the repeated requests of the Moldovan authorities; underlines that any resolution to the Transnistrian issue must respect Moldova’s sovereign right to choose its own foreign policy and defence orientation; acknowledges that Georgia was the first country to experience a full-scale Russian military aggression in August 2008, when Russia attempted to forcibly change the borders of a sovereign state in Europe, to occupy regions which are an indivisible part of Georgia — Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia — and take steps towards their de facto annexation, to expel hundreds of thousands of people from their homes as a result of ethnic cleansing and to divide societies with occupation lines; urges the EU to keep demanding that Russia must implement its obligations under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement; encourages the EU to strengthen its engagement in peaceful conflict resolution in the Eastern Partnership region;

94.  Welcomes the Union’s enhanced engagement with the countries of the Southern Caucasus, notably the swift adoption of an EU monitoring capacity mission along Armenia’s international border with Azerbaijan in order to monitor the situation in the region, build confidence and contribute to restoring peace and security; highlights the importance of decreasing Russian influence in the region through increased EU presence; calls on the Council to expand the number of deployed experts and increase the mission capacity, and calls for stronger presence in the region;

95.  Strongly condemns the latest military aggression by Azerbaijan on 12 September 2022 on the sovereign territory of Armenia, which constituted a breach of the ceasefire and is having serious consequences on the peace process; is also concerned by the alleged war crimes and inhuman treatment perpetrated by the armed forces of Azerbaijan against Armenian prisoners of war and civilians; reiterates that the territorial integrity of Armenia must be fully respected and underlines the EU’s readiness to be more actively involved in settling the region’s protracted conflicts; calls on the Azerbaijani authorities, therefore, to immediately withdraw from all parts of the territory of Armenia and to release the prisoners of war under their control; strongly denounces Azerbaijan’s illegal blockade of the Lachin corridor, in violation of the trilateral statement of 9 November 2020, as it threatens to precipitate an intentional humanitarian crisis for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh; demands that the Azerbaijani authorities restore freedom of movement through the Lachin corridor with immediate effect; recalls that only diplomatic means will bring a just and lasting response to the conflict that will benefit the populations of Armenia and Azerbaijan;

96.  Is convinced that a sustainable peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan cannot be achieved through military means but needs a comprehensive political settlement in accordance with international law, including the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, the 1975 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Helsinki Final Act, as well the OSCE Minsk Group’s 2009 Basic Principles of territorial integrity, self-determination and non-use of force;

97.  Supports the initiative taken by the President of the European Council Charles Michel to convene and mediate bilateral meetings of the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels and encourages the work on the ground by the EU’s special representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia; believes that the EU can play the role of an honest broker to prevent further escalation and achieve sustainable peace; urges Armenia and Azerbaijan to fully engage in the drafting of a comprehensive peace treaty; reiterates that such a treaty has to address all the root causes of the conflict, including the rights and security of the Armenian population living in Nagorno-Karabakh, the return of displaced persons and refugees to their homes under the control of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, inter-religious dialogue, the protection and conservation of cultural, religious and historical heritage and territorial integrity;

98.  Calls for the full implementation of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with Armenia and underlines the need to continue negotiations on the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the EU and Azerbaijan;

99.  Insists that any deepening of EU relations with Azerbaijan must remain conditional on the country making substantial progress on the respect for human rights, the rule of law, democracy and fundamental freedoms;

100.  Stresses the importance of a free, democratic, sovereign and prosperous Belarus ; reiterates its support for the Belarusian democratic opposition, which continues to resist the regime of the illegitimate leader and the regime’s complicity in the Russian invasion of Ukraine in spite of ongoing crackdowns; insists that all sanctions applied to the Russian Federation must be mirrored for the Belarusian regime while avoiding adverse consequences, in particular the provision of visas, for the Belarusian people; denounces disinformation by Lukashenka's regime and Russia about alleged threats to Belarusian territory; recognises the aspirations of the majority of the people of Belarus to live in a free, sovereign and democratic country and urges the Commission and the Member States to make adequate preparations, in cooperation with the formal representatives of the democratic opposition, to assist with the country’s future democratic transition; condemns attempts to destabilise Europe through artificial migration crises and calls on the EU and all partners to block and investigate human trafficking and people smuggling by Lukashenka’s regime and his accomplices;

101.  Highlights the hesitation and, in certain cases, unwillingness of Central Asian states to lend their support to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a sign of Russia’s decreasing regional influence; notes the PRC’s and Türkiye’s increasing engagement with the region, notably through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Belt and Road Initiative; calls for enhanced EU involvement in Central Asia, based on the respect for fundamental rights and the Union’s values-based interests, including through the Global Gateway;

102.  Calls on the Commission and the EEAS to pay particular attention to the countries of Central Asia in order to maintain stability and connectivity in this region, which is going through a delicate situation given its geographical location; considers that the EU strategy on Central Asia needs a thorough revision to reflect the profound shifts that have occurred in the region and around it since its adoption in 2019, such as the impact of Russia’s illegal war of aggression on Ukraine on geopolitical competition and economies of the states of the region, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the violent Taliban takeover of power there, power transitions in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, the violent conflict between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and the rising regional role of the PRC, among others; considers Central Asia to be a region of strategic interest to the EU in terms of security, connectivity, energy diversification, conflict resolution and the defence of the multilateral rules-based international order;

103.  Welcomes the fact that the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted the EU to reprioritise its enlargement policy; emphasises that, while the widening and deepening of the Union must go hand-in-hand, the necessity for EU internal reforms should not be a pretext for slowing the merit-based accession process; welcomes the granting of candidate status to Ukraine, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and calls for it to be granted to Georgia , provided that the priorities specified in the Commission’s opinion have been addressed; encourages the Council and the Commission to launch accession negotiations with the new candidate states as soon as possible after the fulfilment of the specific conditions specified by the Commission; welcomes the application for EU membership by the Republic of Kosovo; underscores that, while enlargement has proven to be the Union’s most effective foreign policy tool, expanding the area where European values and principles have a significant impact, its implementation should be reassessed to allow for the accelerated integration of accession countries that demonstrate strategic orientation towards the EU and unwavering commitment to EU-related reforms, democratic consolidation and foreign policy alignment, including through their phase-in into specific Union policies and initiatives;

104.  Highlights the need for sufficient and sustained support for the energy security of EU accession countries, with particular focus on those countries which remain substantially exposed to Russian manipulation of supply, as well as for the establishment of security compacts with accession countries vulnerable to Russian aggression;

105.  Calls for a more active and effective communication strategy and for efforts to be stepped up to promote the role and benefits of enlargement and close partnership between EU and Western Balkans countries and to advance EU funded projects, reforms and CSDP missions;

106.  Underlines that impunity which followed the 2008 invasion of Georgia is one of the factors that allowed Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine; is of the opinion that the Ukrainian victory not only will bring freedom to occupied regions of Ukraine, including Donbas and Crimea, but also to Belarus and will be decisive for the restoration of the territorial integrity of Georgia and Moldova;

107.  Calls on the EEAS to prepare a thorough report on violations of the 2008 ceasefire agreement given that the EU bears special responsibility as mediator of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement; calls on the EEAS to identify and communicate the provisions which have still not been fulfilled by the Russian Federation and submit recommendations which could induce the Russian Federation to fulfil them, in particular the withdrawal of its military forces from Georgia’s occupied territories and allowing the establishment of international security mechanisms in the country and allowing the EU unhindered access to the whole territory of Georgia pursuant to its mandate;

108.  Reaffirms that the future of the peoples of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia as well the Western Balkans lies within the EU; reaffirms its commitment to enlargement, to which there is no alternative and which is more than ever a geostrategic investment in a stable, strong and united EU; strongly believes that a prospect of full EU membership for the countries striving to become Member States of the EU is in the Union’s own political, economic and security interest; calls on Georgia to tangibly deliver on the priorities drawn up by the Commission and endorsed by the European Council in its conclusions of 23 and 24 June 2022;

109.  Welcomes the measures announced by the Commission for strengthening Ukraine, such as access to our internal market and lifting roaming fees; trusts that the same measures will be extended to the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, which is in equal need of strong signals of support from the EU and of concrete steps towards EU integration given the strong destabilising forces threatening their democracies;

110.  Reiterates the EU’s commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia within their internationally recognised borders and supports their efforts to fully enforce these principles; underlines the importance of the unity and solidarity of the Member States in this regard;

111.  Urges the Commission to closely monitor Russia’s destabilising actions in the Republic of Moldova and to provide the necessary support for the Moldovan authorities and civil society to respond to emerging threats;

112.  Insists that the EU’s foreign and security policy must be reformed to orient it towards crisis prevention, cooperative regional security cooperation, global climate and environmental action, strengthening both political and social human rights and ensuring the implementation of the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

113.  Reiterates its strong support for the European future and EU accession of all Western Balkans countries as full members of the EU family; calls on the Member States to renew their commitment to enlargement by delivering on the EU’s commitments to the Western Balkan countries, in particular by immediately lifting visa requirements for citizens of Kosovo; welcomes the granting of candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina ; underlines the importance of the European integration of these partner states for the stability and security of the European continent as a whole;

114.  Emphasises the necessity for the EU to reinforce the credibility of the enlargement process by safeguarding its merit-based nature, including by maintaining the central role accorded to democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law, as contained in chapters 23 and 24 of the acquis under the revised enlargement methodology, while avoiding the politicisation of the enlargement process through bilateral disputes; underlines that progress on the EU path should depend on sustained and irreversible progress made through the necessary EU-related reforms, in particular in the rule of law;

115.  Welcomes the start of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia and urges all relevant parties to pursue the necessary steps to enable Albania and North Macedonia’s swift progress; denounces the malign influence played by regional actors and Russian and other foreign interference in the countries of the Western Balkans;

116.  Stresses the importance of the full alignment of Western Balkan countries with the EU’s foreign and security policy, especially its policy of sanctions against third countries; regrets Serbia’s continued low level of alignment with the CFSP, notably with regard to the Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine; reiterates its position that further negotiating chapters should be opened only when Serbia strengthens its commitment to reform in the areas of democracy and rule of law and demonstrates full alignment with the CFSP; recalls that Serbia, as a country that strives towards European integration, has to adhere to the EU’s common values and rights;

117.  Emphasises the urgent need for the EU-led Prishtina-Belgrade dialogue process to be intensified with the objective of normalising bilateral relations on the basis of mutual recognition; denounces the continuous pattern of escalatory actions by Serbia and Serbian-sponsored actors, including through illegitimate blockades, violent attacks and the threat of military action, with the objective of forcing concessions and undermining the Republic of Kosovo; recalls its position that the independence of the Republic of Kosovo is irreversible and reiterates its call on the five Member States that have not yet done so to recognise Kosovo’s independence with immediate effect;

118.  Welcomes the European Council’s decision to grant candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina on 15 December 2022 on the understanding that a number of steps are taken to strengthen the country’s readiness for accession negotiations; urges the country’s political actors to show commitment and take significant steps towards EU membership by advancing on the eight steps in the Commission recommendation, by significantly making progress on the 14 key priorities and implementing the substantial set of reforms, including electoral reforms in accordance with the decisions of domestic and international courts in order to ensure the principles of equality and non-discrimination for all citizens and constituent peoples as enshrined in its constitution and in full respect of the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights in the Sejdić and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina case of 22 December 2009; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in swiftly implementing the key priorities and in preventing backsliding into nationalistic policies of the past; reiterates the need to ensure that every citizen’s rights, regardless of the ethnic, political and religious affiliation, are fully respected in line with ECHR rulings, Constitutional Court decisions and Venice Commission recommendations;

119.  Denounces the ongoing secessionist rhetoric and activity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the celebration by Bosnian state and third-country actors of national holidays proclaimed unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina; reiterates its call for the adoption of targeted sanctions against destabilising actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including those threatening its sovereignty and territorial integrity, notably Milorad Dodik, as well as other high-ranking officials of Republika Srpska and third-country officials providing political and material support for secessionist policies; calls on all Member States to ensure that such sanctions can be adopted by the Council;

120.  Commends the work of European Union Force (EUFOR) Operation Althea and welcomes the extension of its mandate beyond November 2022; recalls that this mission still plays a pivotal role for the security and stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina and calls on the EU and its international partners to increase its capacity;

121.  Notes that the Council acknowledged in the Strategic Compass that security and stability throughout the Western Balkans is still not a given and that there is a risk of potential spillover from the current deterioration of the European security situation; recalls that the Strategic Compass calls for support for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina;

122.  Expresses concern over the timing, content and manner of introduction of changes to the election law of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were proposed on election day by the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and which risk undermining democratic legitimacy and consolidating ethno-nationalism;

123.  Stresses the need for candidate and prospective candidate countries of the Western Balkans to fully align their policies to the EU’s CSFP and calls on the Commission and Member States to use the CSFP as a tool to enhance cooperation with Western Balkan countries; stresses that countries wishing to join the EU must fully align with fundamental values and common policies in light of Russia’s illegal war of aggression; emphasises that human rights and human dignity are non-negotiable and that therefore candidate countries must mainstream the rights of persons with disabilities, the LGBTI+ community, women and girls, and other vulnerable groups across all sectors and policies; calls for closer collaboration between the EU and candidate and potential candidate states on security and defence;

124.  Remains deeply concerned about reports that the Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement deliberately seeks to circumvent and undermine the centrality of democratic and rule of law reforms in EU accession countries; urges the Commission to inititate an independent and impartial investigation into whether the conduct engaged in and policies furthered by the Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct for the Members of the Commission and of the Commissioner’s obligations under the Treaties;

125.  Takes note of the 2022 report on Türkiye presented by the Commission on 12 October 2022; is deeply concerned by the fact that Türkiye’s government has not reversed the negative trend of deterioration of democracy, the rule of law, fundamental rights and the independence of the judiciary and that Türkiye’s foreign policy continues to be at odds with EU priorities under the CFSP, with an alignment rate of only 7 % in the reporting period; reiterates its position of 18 May 2022 that it cannot envisage any resumption of the accession negotiations with Türkiye; remains, however, committed to democratic and political dialogue with Türkiye, especially with its civil society;

126.  Deplores the fact that Türkiye has still not ratified the applications of Sweden and Finland to join NATO;

127.  Reiterates its appreciation for Türkiye’s condemnation of the unjustified Russian invasion and military aggression against Ukraine and for its role as facilitator between Ukraine and Russia, including through its vital contribution to the important deal to export Ukrainian grain; expresses, however, serious concern at the continuing lack of alignment with EU sanctions against Russia, particularly on the free movement of goods derived from the current custom union and against the backdrop of its recently strengthened trade and financial relations with Russia; stresses that Türkiye’s geopolitical role does not override the serious shortcomings in the human rights situation in the country, which remain the main obstacle for progress in EU-Türkiye relations;

128.  Reiterates its previous call for the EU to urgently define an overall strategy for its short‑, medium‑ and long-term relations with Türkiye, combining all aspects and policies, in order to foster a more stable, credible and predictable partnership, given that Türkiye plays a key role in the region and taking into account the country’s continuous destabilising activities in the Western Balkans, Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and South Caucasus and its ongoing democratic backsliding; deplores the Turkish government’s recent threatening rhetoric about Greece, a Member State and its NATO ally; urges all parties involved to reduce tensions and promote the resumption of diplomatic dialogue in order to find sustainable solutions for the disputes in the region;

129.  Regrets that more than 25 years after the launch of the Barcelona Process, the space of shared prosperity, stability and freedom with the Mediterranean countries in the Southern Neighbourhood has not been created; calls on the Commission to support the countries of the Southern Neighbourhood in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and to cushion its adverse effects on these countries and the supply shocks and price increases resulting from Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine in particular in the domain of food security and fertilisers; welcomes the UN-brokered Black Sea grain initiative; urges Russia to end the renewed weaponisation of food exports, which irresponsibly risks generating further food insecurity in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and to abide by the terms of the agreement in full; calls for the enhancement of energy partnerships with relevant countries in the region, taking full account of the need to diversify both energy suppliers and resources, while assisting partner countries in their respective green and digital transitions; calls for the promotion of secure fair and equitable access to vaccines around the world, including by temporarily lifting relevant patent rights;

130.  Calls on the Commission to fully implement the initiatives outlined in the joint communication of the Commission and the VP/HR of 9 February 2021 on the renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood and as adopted in Parliament’s recommendation on the Renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood;

131.  Stresses that the instability and insecurity in the European Southern Neighbourhood remains an ongoing challenge; calls on the EU and its Member States to step up cooperation with partner countries in the Southern Neighbourhood in order to mitigate the consequences of human trafficking and the smuggling of illicit weapons and cultural goods and to prevent violent extremism in order to preserve security and stability in the European Southern Neighbourhood;

132.  Stresses that the instability in Libya has consequences not only for its neighbouring countries, but also for Europe; underlines that the absence of a functioning state, divisions between factions and the proliferation of armed groups provide fertile ground for traffickers of drugs, arms and human beings;

133.  Denounces the continuous threat posed by Russia at the UN Security Council to extending Syria’s last humanitarian aid corridor, Bab al-Hawa, putting at risk more than four million people who depend on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs for food, medicine and other vital supplies;

134.  Is concerned by the dire economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan following the violent Taliban takeover, with particularly adverse effects on the rights of women and girls, ethnic and religious minorities, human rights defenders, independent media representatives and individuals who provided assistance to the EU and its Member States; expresses deep concern about the regional instability caused by the Taliban takeover and in particular about Taliban ambitions to expand their influence to neighbouring countries by building and strengthening terrorist networks across the region; notes that Pakistan is particularly vulnerable in this regard;

135.  Urges the Commission and the VP/HR to ensure the full and timely evacuation of staff of the EU Special Representative in Afghanistan and EUPOL Afghanistan, other particularly vulnerable persons, and their dependent spouses, children, parents, and unmarried sisters, in accordance with Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/151(7);

136.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure additional funding for humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan; reiterates its non-recognition of the Taliban regime; supports the five key benchmarks that were adopted by the Council on 21 September 2021 and serve as guiding principles for future engagement with the Taliban but believes that a major effort in defining a long-term strategy is needed to address the human rights emergency and gender-apartheid in Afghanistan today; calls on the EU to step up its support for justice for the victims of heinous crimes committed in Afghanistan, including women and girls, ethnic minorities and LGBTIQ+ people, and to provide all the necessary assistance to the recently renewed International Criminal Court investigation into crimes against humanity and war crimes in Afghanistan; expresses in the strongest terms its condemnation of the Taliban’s decisions to ban women and girls from attending secondary and university education and to prohibit the employment of women with non-governmental organisations, with potentially catastrophic humanitarian ramifications; urges the Commission and the Member States, together with the UN, civil society and international partners, to increase pressure on the Taliban to reverse these decisions without delay;

137.  Condemns the brutal crackdown by Iran, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on the demonstrations after the death of Mahsa Amini, following her violent arrest, abuse and ill-treatment by Iranʼs ‘morality police’; calls on the EU and its Member States to include the IRGC on the EU’s list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts (EU terrorist list) in the light of its terrorist activity, the repression of protesters and its supplying of drones to Russia; reiterates its support for the peaceful protest movement across the country, protesting against Mahsa Amini’s killing, the systemic and increasing oppression of women and the severe and mass violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms; is appalled by the unrestrained and disproportionate use of force by the Iranian police and security forces against peaceful protesters; condemns in the strongest terms the Islamic Republic’s execution of peaceful protesters; considers that the Iranian regime’s blatant disregard for the human dignity and democratic aspirations of its own citizens, as well as its support to the Russian Federation, necessitates further adjustments in the EU’s position towards Iran; urges the authorities of the Islamic Republic to annul, without delay, all death penalty sentences pronounced in the context of the ongoing protests and to impose an immediate moratorium on the death penalty with a view to its full abolition; calls for a robust EU response to Iran’s involvement in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine;

138.  Strongly supports the aspirations of the Iranian people, who want to live in a free, stable, inclusive and democratic country that respects its national and international commitments on human rights and fundamental freedoms; welcomes, in this regard, the restrictive measures imposed on Iranian individuals and entities, including the so-called morality police, for their role in the repression of the ongoing, women-led protests in Iran demanding equal rights and an end to the systematic discrimination of women and broader violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic; welcomes UN Human Rights Council Resolution S35/1 of 24 November 2022 on the establishment of an independent international fact-finding mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran and calls on the EU to fully support preparations for and the implementation of the mission; calls on the EEAS, the Commission and Member States to continue to raise human rights matters in all exchanges with Iran;

139.  Reiterates that sanctions against the IRGC leadership must not be lifted and calls for additional restrictive measures against the IRGC; calls on the Council to include the IRGC and its subsidiary forces, including the paramilitary Basij militia and the Quds Force, on the EU terrorist list ;

140.  Notes that non-proliferation is a cornerstone for the stabilisation of the Middle East and the Gulf region; calls for diplomatic efforts to be continued to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons; is of the opinion, however, that any further negotiations on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) cannot disregard Iran’s other harmful policies, projects and military programmes;

141.  Reiterates the need to support the JCPOA Treaty as well as the ongoing negotiations for its implementation;

142.  Takes the view that the EU should enhance the capabilities of StratCom Task Force South with the aim to further develop a concrete strategy for combating disinformation in the Southern Neighbourhood, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, aiming to counter fake news and propaganda in order to reinforce democracy and stability;

143.  Welcomes the ambition to strengthen the EU’s relations with the Gulf countries, as underlined in the joint communication to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘A strategic partnership with the Gulf’ of 18 May 2022; notes that there is a common interest in engaging more strategically with Gulf partners in particular as regards the promotion of regional security, cooperation, climate action and human rights as a key strategic objectives; calls on the EU and the Member States to continue to emphasise the respect for human rights and gender equality as well as the progressive alignment of values, in particular for countering Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and its consequences; deeply deplores the decision of OPEC+ to cut oil production, driven in particular by Saudi Arabia, that will worsen global inflation and undermine international efforts to fight Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine; takes note of the fact that the United Arab Emirates have been added to the list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring by the Financial Action Task Force because of its strategic deficiencies in preventing money laundering; is concerned that it has become a safe haven for Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the EU; emphasises that a true strategic partnership with the Gulf requires dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights and alignment in countering the Russian aggression in Ukraine;

144.  Reiterates its support for the Abraham Accords, which have normalised diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and which later led to Morocco and Sudan signing a normalisation agreement with Israel;

145.  Points out that on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the EU remains united in its commitment to achieving a two-state solution based on the parameters in the Council conclusions of July 2014 that allow the State of Israel to live side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition with an independent, democratic contiguous sovereign and viable State of Palestine, with Jerusalem as the future capital of both states; recalls that settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law; calls on the new Israeli Government to actively and credibly show its commitment to the two-state solution, which remains both a key objective of EU policy on the Middle East peace process and a key element of the EU-Israel partnership;

146.  Takes note of the resumption of the EU-Israel Association Council in 2022; notes that the purpose of the Association Council is not only to strengthen the EU-Israel partnership but also as a forum for dialogue on issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and as a means to revive the Middle East peace process; recalls and supports the EU position as laid out and unanimously approved by the Council in preparation for the 12th Association Council, which took place in Brussels on 3 October 2022; supports the efforts of the High Representative in bringing Arab leaders together with a view to making progress towards a comprehensive regional peace that ends the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and brings substantial security, trade and other cooperation to the region;

147.  Reiterates its position that all schoolbooks and school materials supported by Union funds must be in line with UNESCO standards of peace, tolerance, coexistence and non-violence;

148.  Welcomes the adoption of the Union’s multiannual contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), ensuring predictable support for Palestinian Refugees in line with the EU-UNRWA Joint Declaration 2021-2024; welcomes the Union’s additional contribution to the Agency under the Food and Resilience Facility for the purposes of addressing food insecurity; emphasises that UNRWA continues to contribute to regional stability and peace;

149.  Considers Israel to be an important partner of the EU commends Israel and Lebanon on the agreement on the delineation of their maritime boundary;

150.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, as well as the enabling role of the Lukashenka regime in Belarus; calls on the Russian leadership to end it immediately and withdraw unconditionally from the entire internationally recognised territory of Ukraine and any other country, in particular Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, whose territory or parts thereof it unlawfully occupies; urges Russia to guarantee a free flow of grain and other raw materials across the globe; calls on the Council to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state which uses means of terrorism; urges the international community to support all legitimate international and national processes, including under the principle of universal jurisdiction, in order to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes with a view to holding all those responsible for the countless war crimes and human rights violations, including mass rapes and forced deportation of Ukrainians, accountable before a court of law; reaffirms that Russia will have to compensate all the damages and destruction it has caused in Ukraine; notes that many Russian citizens are leaving Russia to avoid conscription; calls for all those who voluntarily assisted Russia in any way in this war or in the organisation of illegitimate referendums be held accountable and individually sanctioned;

151.  Welcomes the suspension of the EU-Russia Visa Facilitation Agreement; calls on the Member States to fully implement the Commission’s guidelines on general visa issuance for Russian applicants and checks on Russian citizens at the EU’s external borders, in full compliance with EU and international law, and to ensure that every asylum application by, inter alia, dissidents, deserters, draft dodgers and activists is dealt with on an individual basis, taking into account the security concerns of the host Member State and acting in accordance with the EU asylum acquis; calls on the Council and the Commission to closely monitor the Russian visa situation;

152.  Welcomes the adoption of the latest sanctions package against Russia; calls however on the Council to extend the list of individuals directly targeted by EU sanctions, taking into account the list of 6 000 individuals presented by Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation;

153.  Is strongly convinced that only Ukraine’s ultimate victory over Russia will defend the global order and deter other aggressive actors from conducting wars of aggression; calls on the competent EU institutions to jointly draw up end of war scenarios taking into account a potentially destabilised and weakened Russia and planning for its potential reform;

154.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the lead in the preparation of a multilateral mechanism overseeing, enforcing and disbursing the payment of Russian reparations to Ukraine;

155.  Takes note of the prevalence of support for Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine in many countries, in particular due to the effective nature of Russian and Chinese disinformation campaigns; encourages the VP/HR, the Commission and the Member States to enhance diplomatic outreach to these countries, to increase bilateral and multilateral cooperation and to intensify strategic communication; highlights the central role to be played by the Global Gateway in tackling shared challenges on the basis of democratic values, equal partnerships and environmental sustainability;

156.  Calls on the international community to mitigate as much as possible the negative spillover of the consequences of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine on the Arctic, where the preservation of peace, prosperity and stability should remain a priority; expresses its concern about Russian military activities in the Arctic and the changing security landscape in the region and reaffirms the strategic importance of the Arctic; calls for a stronger EU engagement in the region, taking into account the new security realities resulting from the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, as it is of key strategic importance for the EU in view of climate change, industrial and economic policies, free navigation as well as geostrategic influence and due to the growing Russian and Chinese interests and movements in this region;

157.  Calls for the active involvement of EU leaders in preventing nuclear threats arising from Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, including the safety of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant;

158.  Stresses the importance of strengthening relations with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) by updating the EU-LAC strategy, with a strong emphasis on joint efforts to strengthen the multilateral global order, international law and respect for democracy and human rights, in particular against the backdrop of the increasing and disproportionate influence of the PRC and Russia in the region in comparison with the EU and the increased threats to European supply chains due to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine; calls on the Member States and the EEAS to pursue proactive diplomacy in the region and further strengthen existing partnerships with like-minded countries , trade relations, investment, democracy support and interparliamentary cooperation; stresses, in this context, the importance of gender, climate change and indigenous people’s rights and of swiftly signing and ratifying the planned balanced and modernised association agreements with Chile, Mexico and Mercosur which include a legally binding and enforceable chapter on trade and sustainable development with a strong human rights dimension and alignment with the goals of the European Green Deal, provided that in the case of Mercosur, agreement is reached on the additional instrument for the meaningful pre-ratification of commitments; welcomes the conclusion of negotiations on the EU-Chile Advanced Framework Agreement; urges the Commission, in this regard, after more than two years of negotiation of the additional instrument to deliver a final agreement as soon as possible; underlines the need for the ratification of the Association Agreement between the EU and the countries of Central America by all parties;

159.  Expresses its support for the democratic and constitutional order of Peru, which was threatened by now former President Pedro Castillo and his allies when he attempted to illegally dissolve the Congress on 7 December 2022 in order to avoid his own impeachment; expresses its hope that the impeccable and responsible behaviour of the Peruvian authorities will only strengthen democracy in the country and calls for presidential and legislative elections to be held as early as possible to overcome the political impasse;

160.  Reiterates its firm commitment to the defence and promotion of democracy in Latin America; condemns the blatantly anti-democratic, violent far-right assault on Brazil’s democratic institutions, which took place on 8 January 2023, spurred by deliberate and widespread disinformation regarding the legitimacy of Brazil’s recent presidential election; expresses its full support for Brazil’s democratically elected president, Lula da Silva, and the Brazilian Government’s swift and decisive response to the insurrection;

161.  Emphasises that the EU’s relations with the African Union are of utmost importance in order to meet the needs of and develop the great potential of partner countries in Africa as well as pursue shared interests; calls on the Commission and the VP/HR to implement the commitments agreed on at the AU-EU Summit, to swiftly implement the Global Gateway projects in Africa and to strengthen partnerships on security, trade, health, development and assistance in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic with countries in the African continent, in line with the Strategic Compass, on the basis of equality and particularly with the aim of promoting the SDGs, digital and green transformations, human rights and the peaceful resolution of conflict in accordance with the principles of international law; underlines that EU engagement with Africa, including through development and trade cooperation, must prioritise contributing to strong and resilient societies, enhancing social equality and security and supporting democratic structures on the ground;

162.  Welcomes the allocation of funding under the European Development Fund to mitigating growing food insecurity resulting, among other reasons, from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; calls for further similar measures to be taken as necessary; reiterates its call to move towards a full partnership of equals with human development and the protection of natural resources at its core;

163.  Calls for a strong EU strategic communication and outreach campaign to African countries in order to counter the harmful narratives, in particular those being spread in the region by the Russian Federation and PRC;

164.  Denounces Russia’s democracy-endangering interference in Africa, in particular through the increased footprint of the Wagner group on the continent; strongly condemns the abuses and crimes committed by the Wagner group;

165.  Calls for an Africa-Europe partnership aiming to create an area of solidarity, security, peace and lasting prosperity; calls for swift EU actions to counter the growing presence of the Wagner group in several African countries, fuelling further instability and undermining the efforts in the fight against terrorism;

Enhancing parliamentary diplomacy as a foreign policy tool

166.  Highlights Parliament’s specific contribution to the EU’s foreign and security policy through its parliamentary diplomacy assets; calls for closer parliamentary scrutiny on matters of strategic relevance in European foreign affairs; recalls, among others, that there is intensive cooperation at political and technical level between the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada and Parliament;

167.  Notes that Parliament is actively involved in the CFSP through its specific instruments; underlines the importance and unique nature of Parliament’s democratisation programmes, such as the ‘Jean Monnet Dialogue’, aimed at fostering and strengthening the work of parliaments; recalls that all EU institutions should participate and work together in activities that aim to counteract global backsliding on democracy, including through election observation, mediation and dialogue activities, conflict prevention, the Sakharov Prize award and network and parliamentary diplomacy;

168.  Calls on the EEAS to adopt press freedom and freedom of expression as priorities and to take all the necessary steps to uphold, in full, the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline; urges EU delegations to improve preventive protective measures, plan for emergency responses to deteriorations in press freedom and provide demonstrable and visible support to local journalists and civil society;

169.  Calls for the improvement of the EU’s preventive diplomacy as a proactive foreign policy tool for preventing conflicts between third parties from breaking out and supporting them in finding peaceful solutions to rising tensions;

170.  Underlines the importance of the parliamentary assemblies as forums for cooperation and institutional dialogue, and their valuable contribution to European foreign policy action on matters of security, as well as the need to promote their activity and guarantee their proper functioning and development;

171.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to enable and strengthen parliamentary oversight of EU external action, including by continuing regular consultations with the VP/HR and the Commission, and by involving Parliament in the proper further implementation and scrutiny of the European Peace Facility and the Strategic Compass; recalls that Parliament engages in a degree of informal cooperation with the EEAS, which was enhanced following the Council Decision of 26 July 2010 and the High Representative’s declaration of political accountability of 2010; highlights that is necessary to further strengthen the framework for interinstitutional relations between Parliament and the EEAS, including its delegations; calls for a framework agreement on strengthening external action cooperation between the EEAS and the European Parliament, which could enhance the EU’s own foreign policy toolbox; underlines the need to use the mid-term review of the European Defence Fund (EDF) in order to introduce proper parliamentary oversight via delegated acts for work programmes; stresses the need to also establish a similar level of parliamentary oversight for the upcoming common procurement act (EDIRPA) and the European Defence Investment Programme (EDIP); underlines that for Parliament to properly fulfil its important role of democratic oversight it should be provided with the necessary information and documents in a transparent and timely manner;

172.  Recalls the important role of national parliaments in the Member States; underlines the key role the NATO Parliamentary Assembly can play and calls for a further strengthening of the European Parliament’s relations with it;

173.  Calls on all EU institutions and agencies, as well as the Member States, to commit sufficiently to the fight against disinformation and propaganda undermining their policies by stepping up strategic communication and narrative on their work; calls for increased support for strategic communication to be given to EU delegations and missions;

174.  Condemns any attempt by third countries to interfere with or corrupt elected officials; is resolved to fully investigate and properly address cases of corruption and improper actions by third countries seeking to buy influence in Parliament;

175.  Insists on Parliament’s right to information on CFSP matters under Article 36 TEU; points to the judgements of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the Mauritius Agreement(8) and the Tanzania Agreement(9), according to which the timely and comprehensive provision of information to Parliament is crucial to allow it to play its democratic scrutiny and advisory role in CFSP matters;

176.  Affirms that Parliament should make full use of its oversight and budgetary powers on Union decisions on international affairs; highlights the importance of Parliament’s democracy support programmes, which have great potential to reinforce the EU’s role around the world by engaging key political stakeholders and facilitating sustainable democratic governance in non-EU and EU accession countries;

o   o

177.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 347, 9.9.2022, p. 61.
(2) OJ C 465, 6.12.2022, p. 109.
(3) OJ L 102, 24.3.2021, p. 14.
(4) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0406.
(5) Texts adopted, P9_TA(2022)0443.
(6) COM(2022)0684.
(7) Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/151 of 3 February 2022 on a European Union action to support the evacuation of certain particularly vulnerable persons from Afghanistan (OJ L 25, 4.2.2022, p. 11).
(8) Judgment of 24 June 2014, European Parliament v Council of the European Union, C-658/11, ECLI:EU:C:2014:2025.
(9) Judgment of 14 June 2016, European Parliament v Council of the European Union, C-263/14, ECLI:EU:C:2016:435.

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