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Report – Arms export: implementation of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP – A8-0264/2017 – Committee on Foreign Affairs

on arms export: implementation of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP

(2017/2029(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the principles enshrined in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), notably the promotion of democracy and the rule of law and the preservation of peace, prevention of conflicts and strengthening of international security,

–  having regard to Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment (hereinafter ‘the Common Position’)(1),

–  having regard to the 17th(2) and 18th(3) EU Annual Reports, drawn up according to Article 8(2) of the Common Position,

–  having regard to Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/2309 of 10 December 2015 on the promotion of effective arms export controls(4) and Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/915 of 29 May 2017 on Union outreach activities in support of the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty(5),

–  having regard to the updated Common Military List of the European Union adopted by the Council on 6 March 2017(6),

–  having regard to the User’s Guide to the Common Position defining common rules governing the control of exports of military technology and equipment,

–  having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy of 25 June 2012 and point 11(e) thereof, and to the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019) of 20 July 2015 and point 21(d) thereof,

–  having regard to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013(7), which entered into force on 24 December 2014,

–  having regard to Council Decision 2013/768/CFSP of 16 December 2013 on EU activities in support of the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty, in the framework of the European Security Strategy(8),

–  having regard to Directive 2009/43/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 simplifying terms and conditions of transfers of defence-related products within the Community(9),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 of 5 May 2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items(10), as amended by Regulation (EU) No 599/2014 of 16 April 2014, and to the list of dual-use goods and technology in its Annex I (hereinafter ‘Dual-Use Regulation’),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/2134 of 23 November 2016 amendingCouncil Regulation (EC) 1236/2005 concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment(11),

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the matter, in particular those of 17 December 2015(12) on implementation of the Common Position, of 25 February 2016 on the humanitarian situation in Yemen(13), of 14 December 2016 on the Annual Report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter 2015(14), and of 27 February 2014 on the use of armed drones(15),

–  having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2017 on private security companies(16),

–  having regard to Rules 52 and 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0264/2017),

A.  whereas the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence is laid down in Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations;

B.  whereas the latest data(17) show that international transfers of major weapons between 2012-2016 reached their highest volume for any five-year period since the end of the Cold War, and were 8.4 % higher than the figure for the 2007-2011 period;

C.  whereas arms exports and transfers have an impact on human security, human rights, democracy, good governance and socio-economic development; whereas arms exports also contribute to circumstances that force people to flee from their countries; whereas this calls for a strict, transparent, effective and commonly accepted and defined arms control system;

D.  whereas the latest figures(18) show that exports from the EU28 amounted to 26 % of the global total in 2012-2016, which makes the EU28 collectively the second largest arms supplier in the world after the USA (33 %) and followed by Russia (23 %); whereas, according to the most recent report by the Working Party on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM), EU countries were granted arms export licences with a total value of EUR 94.40 billion in 2014;

E.  whereas the latest figures(19) show that arms exports to the Middle East rose by 86 % and accounted for 29 % of global exports between 2012-2016;

F.  whereas the latest official EU data indicate that the Middle East was the most significant region in terms of arms exports for the EU-28 in 2015, with a total of EUR 78.8 billion in authorised arms exports licences;

G.  whereas some arms transfers from EU Member States to unstable and crisis-prone regions and countries were used in armed conflicts or for internal repression; whereas some of these transfers were reportedly diverted into the hands of terrorist groups, for example in Syria and Iraq;whereas, in some cases, the arms exported to certain countries, for example Saudi Arabia, have been used in conflicts such as that in Yemen; whereas such exports clearly violate the Common Position and thus highlighting the necessity for better scrutiny and transparency;

H.  whereas there is no standardised verification and reporting system providing information as to whether, and to what extent, individual Member States’ exports violate the eight criteria, and whereas there are no sanction mechanisms either, should a Member State engage in exports which are clearly not compatible with the eight criteria;

I.  whereas investigations by the Bonn International Conversion Centre (BICC) have revealed that in Germany alone in 2015, for example, 4 256 arms export licences were issued for exports to 83 countries that were rated problematic with a view to the Common Position(20);

J.  whereas both the global and regional security environment has dramatically changed, especially with regard to the Union’s southern and eastern neighbourhood, and this highlights the urgent need to improve methodologies with regard to producing information for export licensing risk assessments and to make them more secure;

K.  whereas some Member States have recently signed strategic agreements on military cooperation including transfers of large quantities and high-quality military technology with non-democratic countries in the Middle East and North African region;

L.  whereas, as enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, eradicating poverty is the primary objective of EU development policy, and whereas this is also one of the priorities of the EU’s external action in seeking to build a more stable and prosperous world; whereas supplying weapons to countries in conflict, as well as enabling the spread of violence, curtails those countries’ development potential;

M.  whereas the industrial landscape of defence in Europe is a sector of key importance and is, at the same time, characterised by overcapacities, duplication and fragmentation, which acts as a brake on the competiveness of the defence industry and which has led to expanding export policies;

N.  whereas the European Parliament resolution of 25 February 2016 on the humanitarian situation in Yemen called on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) to launch an initiative to impose an EU arms embargo on Saudi Arabia;

O.  whereas the situation in Yemen has since further deteriorated also due to military action carried out by the Saudi-led coalition; whereas some Member States have stopped providing arms to Saudi Arabia because of its actions in Yemen while others have continued supplying military technology contrary to criteria 2, 4, 6, 7 and 8;

P.  whereas the European Parliament resolution of 14 December 2016 on the Annual Report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter 2015 stressed that human rights should bea priority, and called on the Member States to agree to move towards a more modern, flexible and human rights-based export policy, especially in relation to countries with proven track records of violent internal repression and human rights violations;

Q.  whereas the EU Global Strategy for the Foreign and Security Policy should serve to improve policy coherence on arms export control;

1.  Notes that states have the legitimate right to acquire military technology for the purposes of self-defence; underlines that maintaining a defence industry serves as part of the self-defence of the Member States; recalls that one of the motivations behind the establishment of the Common Position was to prevent European weaponry from being used against Member States’ armed forces as well as to prevent human rights abuses and the prolongation of armed conflict; reiterates that the Common Position is a legally binding framework that sets minimum requirements which Member States have to apply in the field of arms export controls, and that it includes the obligation to assess a request for an export licence against all eight criteria listed in it;

2.  Notes that the development of defence equipment is an important tool for the defence industry and that the yet to be developed competitive and innovative European Defence Technological and Industrial Base should serve as an instrument for guaranteeing the security and defence of Member States, Union citizens and contribute to the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and in particular the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP); calls on the Member States to overcome the current lack of efficiency in defence spending due to duplication, fragmentation, lack of interoperability and to aim for the EU to become a security provider also by better controlling arms exports; reiterates that Article 10 of the Common Position states that considerations of economic, commercial and industrial interests by Member States must not affect the application of the eight criteria regulating arms exports;

3.  Notes, however, that military technology does at times reach destinations and end users that do not meet the criteria of the Common Position; is concerned that the proliferation of weapon systems in wartime and in situations with significant political tension, may disproportionately affect civilians; is alarmed at the global arms races and at military approaches to solving political conflict and turmoil; underlines that conflicts should be solved by diplomatic means as a priority;

4.  Urges the Member States and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to significantly improve the consistency of the implementation of the Common Position in order to enhance the security of civilians who are suffering because of conflict and human rights abuses in third countries, the security of the Union and its citizens, and create a level playing field for EU companies; stresses, in this regard, that a consistent implementation of the Common Position is essential for the EU’s credibility as a values-based global actor;

5.  Encourages countries in the process of attaining candidate status, or countries otherwise wishing to engage themselves on the path of EU accession, to apply the provisions of the Common Position; welcomes the fact that Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Georgia, Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Norway have aligned themselves with the criteria and principles of the Common Position and are thereby also pursuing further alignment with the CFSP and CSDP; calls on Member States to cooperate closely with third countries that have made a formal commitment to upholding the criteria of the Common Position especially with a view to improving the exchange of information and ensuring greater transparency in the granting of licences; calls furthermore on the EEAS to especially encourage European countries to align with the Common Position to ensure a securer wider European area;

6.  Calls on the Member States and the EEAS to cooperate closely to prevent risks arising from the diverting and stockpiling of weapons, such as illegal arms trafficking and smuggling; stresses the risk of weapons exported to third countries re-entering the EU via arms smuggling and trafficking;

7.  Notes the high degree of liability for the Union in terms of the security risk from the absence of a stronger support and commitment from the EU on the decommissioning of the many arms stockpiles still existing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Ukraine;

8.  Believes that the export licensing risk assessment methodology should incorporate a precautionary principle and that Member States, in addition to assessing whether specific military technology might be used for internal repression or other undesired ends (functional approach), should also assess risks based on the overall situation in the country of destination (principled approach);

9.  Notes that in the context of Brexit, it would be important for the United Kingdom to remain bound by the Common Position and to apply its operative provisions as other European third countries do;

10.  Asks the Member States and the EEAS to develop a dedicated strategy to provide formal protection for whistle-blowers reporting practices by organisations and companies in the weapons industry that breach the criteria and principles set out in the Common Position;

11.  Stresses the importance of coherence between all the Union’s export control regimes, especially as regards the interpretation of the control criteria; reiterates in addition the importance of coherence between export control and other foreign policy instruments, as well as trade instruments, such as the Generalised System of Preferences and the Conflict Minerals Regulation;

12.  Reiterates the detrimental effect that the uncontrolled export of cyber-surveillance technologies by EU companies can have on the security of the EU’s digital infrastructure and on human rights; stresses, in this regard, the importance of a rapid, effective and comprehensive update of the EU’s Dual-Use Regulation and calls on the Council to adopt an ambitious timeline on this issue;

13.  Stresses the importance of effectively limiting arms exports to private security companies as an end user, and that any such licence be granted only when, after thorough diligence checks, it is determined the private security company in question has not participated in human rights violations; emphasises that accountability mechanisms must be put in place in order to ensure the responsible use or arms by private security companies;

Implementation of the Common Position criteria

14.  Notes that according to the Annual Reports, criterion 1 was invoked 81 times for denials in 2014 and 109 times in 2015;

15.  Reiterates its call on the VP/HR to launch an initiative aimed at imposing an EU arms embargo on countries that are accused of serious breaches of international humanitarian law, notably with regard to the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure; stresses once again that the continued licensing of weapons sales to such countries constitutes a breach of the Common Position;

16.  Notes that according to the Annual Reports, criterion 2 was invoked 72 times for denials in 2014 and 89 times in 2015; deplores the fact that the data reveal the lack of a common approach to the situation in Syria, Iraq and Yemen in particular; encourages the Member States and the EEAS to embark on a discussion on the extension of criterion 2 to include democratic governance indicators, as such assessment criteria could help establish further safeguards against the unintended negative consequences of exports; believes, furthermore, that a more principled approach to risk assessment would focus on overall respect of international humanitarian and human rights law by the recipient;

17.  Believes that exports to Saudi Arabia are non-compliant with at least criterion 2 regarding the country’s involvement in grave breaches of humanitarian law as established by competent UN authorities; re-iterates its call from 26 February 2016 on the urgent need to impose an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia;

18.  Notes that according to the Annual Reports, criterion 3 was invoked 99 times for denials in 2014 and 139 times in 2015; stresses the need, within the context of criterion 3, to assess recent arms transfers by Member States to non-state actors, including the provision of technical assistance and training, in light of the 2002 Joint Action 2002/589/CFSPon the European Union’s contribution to combating the destabilising accumulation and spread of small arms and light weapons (SALW); recalls that the Joint Action states that no SALW should be transferred by Member States to non-state actors;

19.  Notes that according to the Annual Reports, criterion 4 was invoked 57 times for denials in 2014 and 85 times in 2015; deplores the fact that military technology exported by the Member States is being used in the conflict in Yemen; urges the Member States to comply with the Common Position in a consistent manner on the basis of a thorough long-term risk assessment;

20.  Notes that according to the Annual Reports, criterion 5 was invoked 7 times for denials in 2014 and 16 times in 2015; recalls that this criterion refers to the security interests of Member States and allied nations, while recognising that these interests cannot affect considerations of the criteria on respect for human rights and on regional peace, security and stability;

21.  Notes that according to the Annual Reports, criterion 6 was invoked 6 times for denials in 2014, while no denial was notified for 2015; expresses its concern over reports of the diversion of arms exports by Member States to non-state actors, including terrorist groups, and warns that these weapons could be used against civilians, within and outside of EU territory; reiterates the importance of tighter controls over such arms exports in order to honour international commitments concerning the fight against terrorism and organised crime;

22.  Is concerned about possible diversions of exports to Saudi Arabia and Qatar to armed non-states actors in Syria who commit serious violations of human rights law and humanitarian law, and calls on COARM to address the matter with urgency; acknowledges that most of the arms in the hands of insurgents and terrorist groups have come from non-European sources;

23.  Notes that according to the Annual Reports, criterion 7 was invoked 117 times for denials in 2014 and 149 times in 2015; expresses its concern, inter alia, over the alleged diversions of exports of SALW from European countries to certain destinations from which these exports were diverted in order to supply non-state actors and other end-uses non-compliant with the Common Position in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan; points to the urgent need to base assessments of the risk of diversion on more than just an acceptance of commitments made by a recipient state in an end-user certificate; highlights the need for effective mechanisms of post-shipment controls to ensure that arms are not being re-exported to unauthorised end users; highlights the potential role that the EEAS could play in supporting Member States’ efforts in this area;

24.  Notes that according to the Annual Reports, criterion 8 was invoked once for denials in 2014, while no denial was notified for 2015; recognises that better implementation of criterion 8 would constitute a decisive contribution to the EU’s Policy Coherence on Development objectives and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 16.4; calls on Member States and the EEAS to update the User’s Guide to Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP in this respect and to focus on the potential development harm done by the use of arms;

25.  Calls on the Member States and the EEAS to add a new criterion to the Common Position in order to ensure that, when granting authorisations, due account is taken of the risk of corruption concerning the relevant exports;

Boosting the exchange of information among the Member States

26.  Calls on the Member States and the EEAS to improve consistency in the implementation of the Common Position and to strengthen mechanisms for exchange of information by making available qualitatively and quantitatively better information for export licensing risk assessments based on a secured and extensive digitalisation of the current system, as follows:

a)  providing more information on export licences and actual exports shared systematically and in a timely manner, including on end users of concern, cases of diversion, end-user certificates that are forged or otherwise of concern, and suspect brokers or transport companies, in accordance with domestic laws;

b)  maintaining a list of entities and individuals convicted of violating arms export-related legislation, of cases of identified diversion, and of persons who are known or suspected to be involved in illegal arms trading or in activities that pose a threat to international and nationalsecurity;

c)  sharing the best practices adopted for implementing the eight criteria;

d)  turning the current User’s Guide into an interactive online resource;

e)  turning the EU Annual Report into a searchable online database by the end of 2018, with the new format to be applied to the 2016 data;

f)   promoting clear, well-established cooperation procedures between law enforcement agencies and border authorities, based on the exchange of information, in order to strengthen cooperation on security and eradicate illegal arms trading, which poses a risk to the security of the EU and its citizens;

27.  Welcomes the intention of COARM to involve the EEAS more systematically when preparing discussions on the situation in countries of destination and potential end users; insists on the importance of regular consultation of the Working Party on Human Rights (COHOM) in this process;

28.  Notes that effective information exchange and cooperation also require meetings of policy, licensing and enforcement staff and encourages provisions of sufficient resources to this end; believes that a crucial factor in strengthening the implementation of the Common Position lies in expanding relevant capacities of Member States; calls on the Member States and the EEAS to increase the number of personnel working on export-related issues both at national and EU level; encourages the establishment of EU funds to be used for capacity-building among licensing and enforcement officials in Member States;

29.  Stresses the need to develop an approach to address situations where Member States make a different interpretation of the 8 criteria of the Common Position for exports of products that are essentially alike, to similar destinations and end users, in order to preserve the level playing field and the EU’s credibility abroad; believes that it is also time to consider a stronger role for EU institutions with regard to the licensing process at Member State level, in particular with regard to such situations; calls on the Member States to support the creation of an arms control supervisory body under the auspices of the VP/HR; considers that an opinion should be issued to Member States that plan to grant a licence which has been denied by another Member State or Member States;

30.  Stresses the urgent need to enhance the role of EU Delegations in assisting Member States and the EEAS with their export licensing risk assessments and the implementation of end-user controls, post-shipment controls and on-site inspections;

31.  Urges Member States to create a provision in the Common Position to make sure that an EU embargo against a third country would automatically revoke licences that had already been granted for goods covered by the embargo;

32.  Urges all Member States to continue to lend assistance to non-EU countries in drafting, updating, and implementing, where appropriate, legislative and administrative measures so as to ensure that an export control system for weapons and military technology is established;

Strengthening compliance with reporting obligations

33.  Finds regrettable the very late publication of the 17th EU Annual Report, which took place at least 17 months after the licences were issued or the exports took place; finds regrettable, moreover, that the 18th EU Annual Report was only made public in March 2017;

34.  Criticises the violations of the eight criteria by Member States; considers that a uniform and consistent application of the eight criteria should be promoted; notes the lack of provisions on sanctions for Member States that fail to comply with the eight criteria when granting licences and advises Member States to make provision for arrangements to conduct independent checks; believes that it is time to launch a process leading to a mechanism which sanctions those Member States which do not comply with the Common Position;

35.  Recalls that according to Article 8(2) of the Common Position, all Member States are obliged to report on their arms exports, and calls on all Member States to comply with their obligations; regrets that the number of Member States making full submissions to the EU Annual Report via disaggregated data on licences and actual exports was 21 for the 17th Annual Report and only 20 for the 18th; asks all Member States, including the three main arms-exporting Member States, France, Germany and the UK, which have not made full submissions, to provide a full set of data regarding their past exports with a view to the next annual report;

36.  Calls for a more standardised and timely reporting and submission procedure to be guaranteed, by setting a strict deadline for submitting data of no later than January following the year in which the exports took place, and by setting a fixed publication date of no later than March following the year of exports;

37.  Takes the view that the Common Position should be complemented by a regularly updated, publicly accessible list, with detailed reasons, providing information on the extent to which exports to particular recipient countries are, or are not, in line with the eight criteria;

38.  Considers that a standardised verification and reporting system should be established to provide information as to whether, and to what extent, individual EU Member States’ exports violate the eight criteria;

39.  Urges all the Member States to comply fully with their reporting obligations set out in the Common Position; stresses that high-quality data on actual deliveries is essential for understanding how the eight criteria are applied; calls on the Member States and the EEAS to explore how to use data generated by customs authorities, including by creating specific customs codes for military goods;

40.  Recognises that all EU Member States are signatories to the ATT; calls for universalisation of the ATT and for more focus to be placed on those countries that are not signatories, including Russia and China; also commends the outreach efforts regarding the ATT and supports its effective implementation;

Modernising related tools

41.  Urges revision of the Common Military List and the lists annexed to the Dual-Use Regulation so as to ensure full coverage of all relevant unmanned systems; recalls its resolution of 27 February 2014 on the use of armed drones, and in particular paragraph 2(c) which called for armed drones to be included in relevant arms control regimes;

42.  Encourages the Member States to undertake a more detailed examination of licensed production by third countries and to ensure stronger safeguards against undesired uses; demands the strict application of the Common Position regarding licensed production in third countries; encourages the Member States to consider the third country’s attitude and status with regard to the ATT when deciding on transfers that would enhance the manufacturing and/or export capacity of that country as regards military equipment;

43.  Finds that the implementation of Directive 2009/43/EC simplifying terms and conditions of transfers of defence-related products within the Community should be in consistent with the implementation of the Common Position, including spare parts and components; notes that the Common Position is non-restrictive in scope and, accordingly, the eight criteria also apply to exports within the EU;

44.  Is concerned about cybersecurity challenges, particularly the breakthroughs in hacking methods used to access information and data of national licensing authorities; urges the Member States and the Commission to invest sufficient funds in technology and human resources to train individuals in specific cybersecurity programmes and methods in order to prevent and address these cybersecurity challenges;

The role of parliaments and public opinion

45.  Notes that not all EU national parliaments scrutinise governmental licensing decisions by, inter alia, producing annual arms exports reports, and, in this regard, calls for a general increase in parliamentary and public oversight; points to the European Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, which provide for the possibility of regular responses to the EU Annual Reports on Arms Exports;

46.  Welcomes regular consultations with national parliaments, arms export control authorities, industry associations and civil society as central to meaningful transparency; calls on COARM, all the Member States and the EEAS to enhance dialogue with civil society and consultations with national parliaments and arms export control authorities; encourages national parliaments, civil society and academia to exercise independent scrutiny of the arms trade, and calls on the Member States and the EEAS to support such activities, including by financial means;

o

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

(1)

OJ L 335, 13.12.2008, p. 99.

(2)

OJ C 163, 4.5.2016, p. 1.

(3)

Not yet published.

(4)

OJ L 326, 11.12.2015, p. 56.

(5)

OJ L 139, 30.05.2017, p. 38.

(6)

OJ C 97, 28.03.2017, p.1.

(7)

Arms Trade Treaty, UN, 13-27217.

(8)

OJ L 341, 18.12.2013, p.56.

(9)

OJ L 146, 10.6.2009, p. 1.

(10)

OJ L 134, 29.5.2009, p. 1.

(11)

OJ L 338, 13.12.2016, p. 1.

(12)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0472.

(13)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0066.

(14)

Texts adopted, P8_TA (2016)0502.

(15)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2014)0172.

(16)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0289.

(17)

‘Trends in international arms transfers, 2016’ (SIPRI Fact Sheet, February 2017).

(18)

ibid.

(19)

ibid.

(20)

2016 report on arms exports, Gemeinsame Konferenz Kirche und Entwicklung (GKKE) (Joint Conference on Church and Development), p. 54.

Draft report – Annual Report on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy – PE 609.294v01-00 – Committee on Foreign Affairs

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Draft report – The EU-Africa Strategy: a boost for development – PE 606.307v01-00 – Committee on Development

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Motion for a resolution on the European Parliament’s priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2018 – B8-2017-0435

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission, in particular Annex IV thereto,

–  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016,

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration on the EU’s legislative priorities for 2017 of 13 December 2016,

–  having regard to the Conference of Committee Chairs’ Summary Report, which provides complementary input to this resolution from the point of view of parliamentary committees and which the Commission should take duly into account when drafting and adopting its Work Programme for 2018,

–  having regard to Rule 37(3) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the role of the Commission is to promote the general interest of the Union, to take appropriate initiatives to that end, to be committed to applying the rule of law, which is based on the core European values and is fundamental to Europeans living together in peace, to exercise coordinating, executive and management functions, and to initiate legislation;

B.  whereas the Commission has a duty to uphold the Treaties and enforce EU laws; noting with strong regret that both the implementation of EU policies and the enforcement of EU laws and rules are weak, as has become visible in areas such as environmental standards, fundamental rights and the rule of law, free movement of persons, and the Schengen area; whereas the Commission should make implementation and enforcement a top priority in 2017-2018;

AN AREA OF JUSTICE AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS BASED ON MUTUAL TRUST

Justice

1.  Calls once again on the Commission to put forward a legislative proposal on EU administrative law which will guarantee an open, efficient and independent European administration, and to take due account of Parliament’s proposal for an EU regulation in this regard;

2.  Calls on the Commission to take into account concerns over access to and ownership of data in its work on Building the European Data Economy and related liability issues for intermediary service providers and other online platforms in order to ensure legal certainty, increase consumer trust and ensure full compliance with citizens’ rights to privacy and full protection of personal data in the digital environment;

Security

3.  Calls on the Commission to ensure the efficient and coordinated implementation of the European Agenda on Security for the 2015-2020 period and its priorities in the fields of counter-terrorism and cross-border organised crime and cybercrime, focusing on effective security outcomes; reiterates its call for an in-depth evaluation focused on the operational effectiveness of relevant existing EU instruments and on the remaining gaps in this field, prior to the presentation of new legislative proposals as part of the European Agenda on Security; deplores, in this regard, the continued and systematic absence of impact assessments on several proposals presented as part of that agenda;

4.  Calls on the Commission to seek to adopt legal acts amending or replacing the Union acts in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters that were adopted before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, in particular Council Decision 2005/671/JHA and Council Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA on the exchange of information and intelligence between law enforcement authorities, including the exchange of information on terrorist offences, by proposing a horizontal legislative instrument to improve the exchange of law enforcement information and increase operational cooperation between Member States and with EU agencies, with a view to ensuring mandatory exchanges of information for the purpose of combating serious transnational crime;

5.  Calls on the Commission to submit without undue delay an amendment to the new Europol founding regulation, in order to develop a genuine European investigation capacity, equip the agency with a legal capacity to request the initiation of a criminal investigation, and foster the sharing and pooling of information at EU level;

6.  Calls on the Commission to mobilise expertise and technical and financial resources in order to ensure EU-level coordination and exchanges of best practices in the fight against violent extremism and terrorist propaganda, radical networks and recruitment by terrorist organisations through offline and online means, with a particular focus on prevention, integration and reintegration strategies with a clear gender perspective;

7.  Calls on the Commission to fulfil its duty as guardian of the Treaties and assess the compliance with EU primary and secondary law of measures recently adopted by Member States in the field of counter-terrorism and surveillance, bearing in mind that any limitations to fundamental rights should be duly reasoned, provided for by law, respect the essence of the rights and freedoms recognised by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and be subject to the principle of proportionality, in accordance with Article 52(1) of the Charter;

Fundamental rights

8.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to make every effort to unblock the proposal for a horizontal anti-discrimination directive; invites it to upgrade its List of Actions to advance LGBTI Equality to a full European response to the fundamental rights problems faced by LGBTI people, in the shape of an EU roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity;

9.  Calls on the Commission to speed up negotiations on the EU’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention, the first legally binding instrument on preventing and combating violence against women at international level; reiterates it call on the Commission to include a definition of gender-based violence in line with the provisions of the Victims’ Rights Directive and to present as soon as possible a legislative act for the prevention and combating of gender-based violence;

10.  Calls on the Commission to implement the actions outlined in its strategic engagement without delay and incorporate a systematic and visible gender equality perspective into all EU activities and policies;

11.  Encourages the Commission to continue to progress towards EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), taking into account the Court of Justice opinion on the matter and addressing the remaining legal challenges; urges the Commission to urgently seek solutions to the two most problematic issues relating to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), namely mutual trust and judicial review;

12.  Calls on the Commission to ensure a timely and compliant entry into force of the data protection package, and to support a successful completion of the legislative process for the adoption of the ePrivacy Regulation; urges furthermore that the confidentiality of electronic communication be protected by promoting the use of end-to-end encryption and prohibiting by EU law any obligation imposed by Member States on undertakings providing public communications networks or publicly available electronic communications services that would result in the weakening of the security of their networks and services;

TOWARDS A NEW POLICY ON MIGRATION

13.  Calls for EU legal migration instruments to be replaced by a single horizontal regulation to create a true EU legal migration policy;

14.  Calls for a standalone European humanitarian visa regulation;

15.  Calls for a revision of the Facilitation Directive to clarify the distinction between illegal smuggling activities and the actions of ordinary citizens helping people in need;

16.  Calls for implementation and monitoring reports on the functioning of the European Border and Coast Guard;

A UNION OF DEMOCRATIC CHANGE

17.  Invites the Commission to put forward a proposal for a democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights pact in the form of an interinstitutional agreement, along the lines of the recommendation made by Parliament in its legislative own-initiative report;

18.  Reiterates its call for the setting-up of an endowment for democracy grant-giving organisations that would support local actors promoting democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights within the Union;

19.  Points to growing efforts by third states and non-state actors to undermine through hybrid means, including disinformation, the legitimacy of democratic institutions inside the EU, and urges the Commission to strengthen its resilience against hybrid threats and its capacity to advance strategic communication inside and outside the EU, and to improve its ability to adequately counter false news and disinformation in a systematic manner;

A NEW BOOST FOR JOBS, GROWTH AND INVESTMENT

MFF revision, budget and employment

20.  Recalls that, under Article 25 of the MFF Regulation, the Commission must normally present a proposal for a new multiannual financial framework before 1 January 2018; expects that this proposal will address such priorities as a comprehensive reform of the own resources system on both the revenue and the expenditure side, a greater emphasis on the unity of the budget to ensure full parliamentary control over all expenditure, more budgetary flexibility, including a new special instrument to be counted over and above the MFF ceilings, adjustments to the duration of the MFF to align it with the political cycles of both Parliament and the Commission and the modalities of the decision-making process that would ensure the availability of the necessary financial resources;

21.  Underlines the need for an in-depth reform of the own resources system, based on principles of simplicity, fairness, transparency and accountability; strongly welcomes in this regard the final report of the High Level Group on Own Resources; calls on the Commission to present, by the end of 2017, an ambitious legislative package on own resources post-2020, which would aim at ensuring that the EU budget focuses on areas bringing the highest European added value, phasing out all forms of rebates and ending the ‘juste retour’ approach; expects that any new own resources should lead to a reduction in Member States’ GNI contributions;

22.  Calls on the Commission to maintain the allocation of cohesion policy funds and European Structural and Investment Funds at the level decided in the MFF in 2013; considers, on this basis, that technical adjustment should avoid any decrease in the budget for cohesion policy, given its importance in creating growth and jobs, ensuring cohesion within the EU, and, in particular, supporting SMEs and innovation and research, as well as a low-carbon economy and urban policies;

23.  Calls on the Commission to coordinate the EU Urban Agenda and thus ensure the coherent and integrated policy solutions that cities need at European level, and to guarantee the link with the Better Regulation agenda; calls on the Commission to strengthen its internal coordination of issues relevant to urban areas and, for example, expand the instrument of impact assessments so as to include the urban dimension more systematically;

24.  Considers that the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) is essential in tackling youth unemployment, which remains unacceptably high in the EU; calls on the Commission to secure adequate funding to fight youth unemployment and continuing the YEI up to the end of the current MFF, while at the same time improving its functioning and implementation and taking into account the latest findings of the European Court of Auditors special report on youth employment and the use of the YEI (No 5/2017); calls, furthermore, on the Commission to come forward with proposals to facilitate the employment of people aged over 50;

25.  Urges the Commission to put in place all suitable mechanisms for greater mobility among young people, apprenticeships included, as a way to address skills mismatches in the labour market and improve access to employment opportunities;

26.  Calls on the Commission to take further steps in the framework of the New Skills Agenda, such as developing a pan-European skills needs forecasting tool which would make it possible to estimate future skills needs and adapt them better to the jobs available on the labour market, including the blue growth agenda; recalls that, as part of the national strategies for digital skills, developed by Member States in the framework of the New Skills Agenda, it is important to provide adequate funding for educational institutions to ensure the development of the full range of digital skills that individual and companies need in an increasingly digital economy; calls on the Commission to assess and evaluate the financing and investment needs as regards overcoming the digital skills gap;

27.  Calls on the Commission to come forward with a Green Paper on inequality and how it is hampering economic recovery; encourages it to analyse and assess this issue as a first step towards proposing political solutions, and to take immediate action to reverse this trend so as to reduce inequalities and poverty, and increase social cohesion;

28.  Calls on the Commission to revise the Equal Treatment Directive and launch the legislative procedure for a directive following the 2014 Commission Recommendation on pay transparency with a view to eliminating the persistent gender pay gap;

Horizon 2020

29.  Recognises the enormous added value of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation framework programme for Europe; calls on the Commission to act upon its mid-term evaluation and take Parliament’s resolution into consideration; urges the Commission to continue working towards simplification while minimising barriers to participation and ensuring the highest socio-economic returns – both short-term and long-term – for all parts of the programme, and to work towards an ambitious proposal for the next framework programme; stresses that building synergies with the ESI Funds is needed to bridge the innovation gap within the EU;

A more efficient and multimodal transport policy

30.  Calls on the Commission to implement Article 3 of Regulation 551/2004 establishing a single European upper flight information region (EUIR) and to develop a connectivity index on the basis of other existing indices and the exploratory work already carried out by Eurocontrol and the Airport Observatory;

31.  Calls on the Commission to come forward with guidelines on the timing and instruments to ensure the development of a European approach to rail freight noise; urges the Commission to continue supporting the development of innovative technologies focused on moving more freight from road to rail (Shift2Rail);

32.  Urges the Commission to come forward with a proposal aimed at harmonising the different national legislations in order to enhance the establishment of the European internal market for road transport; calls on the Commission, wherever legitimate, to take the necessary measures against national laws distorting the European single market;

33.  Calls on the Commission to come forward with an integrated and harmonised legislative proposal for the roll-out of connected and automated driving, by enabling cross-border test facilities, drafting proportionate European legislation regarding liability, privacy and data protection and supporting public-private initiatives;

34.  Calls for concrete maritime measures to reduce discharges of ship-generated waste and cargo residues into the sea and to improve the availability and use of facilities in ports to receive ship waste; urges the Commission to support the development of innovative technologies with a special focus on autonomous shipping;

35.  Calls on the Commission to swiftly deliver a multimodal package to ensure an integrated approach to transport policies, which should also include provisions for passenger rights and integrated door-to-door mobility for passengers and freight; asks the Commission to step up its attention to and support for the digital transformation of the multimodal transport sector (e-Documents) and to initiate the deployment of multimodal infrastructure and services along the TEN-T networks;

A DEEPER AND FAIRER ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION

36.  Welcomes the Commission’s initiative to enhance cooperation with Parliament in the field of competition; calls on the Commission to continue and strengthen that practice and to consider the application of the ordinary legislative procedure in competition policy, in particular where fundamental principles and binding guidelines are concerned;

37.  Calls on the Commission to come up very rapidly with concrete proposals in the field of retail financial services, noting that retail finance in the EU should work in the interests of citizens and provide better products and more choice on the market;

38.  Calls on the Commission to take effective measures within the framework of the European Semester to ensure that Member States implement the country-specific recommendations and structural reforms in order to modernise their economies, increase competitiveness and tackle inequalities and imbalances;

39.  Urges the Commission to speed up the work on the completion of a Capital Markets Union (CMU), in order to help unleash investment in the EU to create growth and jobs; calls on the Commission to come forward with proposals that improve the business environment in the EU in order to attract more foreign direct investment;

40.  Calls on the Commission, in accordance with Parliament’s resolution of 12 April 2016 on the EU role in the framework of international financial, monetary and regulatory institutions and bodies(1), to streamline and codify the EU’s representation in multilateral organisations and bodies with a view to increasing the transparency, integrity and accountability of the Union’s involvement in those bodies, its influence, and the promotion of the legislation it has adopted through a democratic process;

41.  Calls on the Commission to foster growth by building on a three-dimensional approach aimed at reinforcing investment and financing innovation, including through the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and the CMU, conducting structural reforms to modernise economies and setting a common policy mix;

A CONNECTED DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET

42.  Is concerned by the delays taken by some of the legislative proposals contained in the Digital Single Market Strategy; considers that the EU institutions should not lose the momentum of the strategy and devote every possible effort to delivering and adopting the relevant proposals; asks the three institutions, at the time of its mid-term review, to commit at the highest level to giving them priority treatment in the legislative process so that citizens and businesses can benefit from their results;

43.  Welcomes efforts to develop and modernise the EU’s intellectual property laws, in particular in the area of copyright, in order to render them fit for the digital age and facilitate cross-border access to creative content, thereby creating legal certainty while protecting authors’ and performers’ rights; calls on the Commission to base any legislative initiative to modernise copyright on independent evidence as to the impact on growth and jobs, particularly as regards SMEs in this sector, access to knowledge and culture, intermediary liability, the open internet, fundamental rights and potential costs and benefits for the creative and cultural sectors; considers that copyright should maintain its primary function, which is to allow creators to gain rewards for their efforts through others making use of their work, while harmonising the exceptions and limitations in the field of research, education, preservation of cultural heritage and user generated content ; stresses that the important contribution of traditional methods of promoting regional and European culture should not be hampered by modernisation of reform proposals;

44.  Reiterates its calls for proposals to develop the potential of the cultural and creative sector as a source of jobs and growth; stresses, in this connection, the importance of enforcing as well as modernising intellectual property rights (IPR), and urges the Commission to follow up on its action plan to combat IPR infringements, including a review of the IPR Enforcement Directive, which is out of step with the digital age and inadequate to combat online infringements, and also to follow up on the Green Paper on chargeback and related schemes in the context of a potential EU-wide right to retrieve money unwittingly used to purchase counterfeit goods; calls on the Commission to further strengthen the remit of the EU Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, and welcomes its establishment of a group of experts on IPR enforcement;

45.  Calls on the Commission to ensure the preservation of the internet as an open, neutral, secured and inclusive platform for communication, production, participation and creation, and as a provider of cultural diversity and innovation; recalls that this is in the interests of all EU citizens and consumers and will contribute to the success of European companies globally; emphasises the need to ensure the rigorous application of the net neutrality principle as adopted in the ‘Connected Continent package’;

46.  Urges the Commission to come up with a notice and takedown directive in order to prevent the fragmentation of a digital single market, which would increase legal clarity by harmonising the procedures and safeguards for internet platforms and their users to take down content; stresses that the EU needs an effective due-process architecture to protect citizens from arbitrary content removals;

47.  Calls on the Commission to continue its efforts to secure the swift implementation of the EU e-Government Action plan and calls on the Commission to report back, after the launch in 2017 of the Once-Only Principle large-scale pilot project for businesses and citizens (TOOP);

A DEEPER AND FAIRER INTERNAL MARKET WITH A STRENGTHENED INDUSTRIAL BASE

The single market

48.  Regrets that the Commission has not listened so far to the repeated calls for the creation of a strong single market pillar within the European Semester, with a system of regular monitoring and identification of country-specific barriers to the single market, which have tended to be introduced lately with a greater impact, frequency and scope in Member States;

49.  Reiterates, therefore, its request to the Commission to issue recommendations focused on removing single market barriers in the country-specific recommendations; calls for an in-depth evaluation of single market integration and internal competitiveness; insists that the evaluation of the state of single market integration should become an integral part of the economic governance framework;

50.  Asks the Commission to focus its work on the implementation of the Single Market Strategy and in particular the legislative proposals for a Single Digital Gateway, which should be proposed without delay, and for a Single Market Information Tool; recalls in this context that, in its resolution on the Strategy, Parliament underlined that regulatory differences between Member States regarding differing labelling or quality requirements create unnecessary obstacles to the activities of suppliers of goods and to consumer protection, and to assessing which labels are essential and which are not essential for ensuring consumer information, and regrets that the Commission has not taken any steps in the matter;

51.  Calls on the Commission, with the support of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the national regulatory authorities, to closely monitor the effects of the abolition of retail roaming surcharges from 15 June 2017, in particular the correct implementation and enforcement of the directive with regard to exception schemes, the evolution of data consumption patterns and the retail tariff plans available; urges that the impact of correct implementation of the voluntary fair use policies will have to be assessed;

52.  Urges the Commission to adopt as a matter of urgency the proposal for a revised Commission implementing regulation on deactivation standards and techniques for ensuring that deactivated firearms are rendered irreversibly inoperable; reminds the Commission that its adoption of this new proposal was one the conditions for Parliament adopting the Firearms Directive and asks the Commission, therefore, to deliver without delay in order to close security loopholes and strengthen deactivation regimes in the EU;

53.  Reminds the Commission that the adoption of the Directive on network and information security was a first step that was needed but that cannot be considered sufficient in the medium and long term; asks the Commission to make sure that Member States abide by its provisions and to prepare the ground for a revision of the directive as soon as possible in order to reach a higher level of operational and strategic cooperation between the Member States;

Consumer rights

54.  Considers that the ongoing evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive is an important step towards ensuring that the directive has achieved its objectives and that the anticipated impacts, as described in the original impact assessment accompanying the proposal for the directive, have materialised;

55.  Underlines the need to complete the REFIT Fitness check of consumer law in time so that its results can still be used within this legislative term and that it includes the results of the evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive;

56.  Is concerned by allegations that qualitative characteristics of food as well as non-food products that are sold in the single market under the same brand and same packaging and with the use of other marketing texts could differ between Member States; asks the Commission to look into this question more closely;

A RESILIENT ENERGY UNION WITH A FORWARD-LOOKING CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY

57.  Calls on the Commission, following the adoption of various Energy Union, energy efficiency, market design, renewable energy and other energy-related legislative proposals and communications, to focus its attention on ensuring that Member States fully implement these; considers that, in cases where legal obligations are clearly not being met, the Commission should launch infringement procedures, the aim being to build a genuine Energy Union;

58.  Urges the Commission to complete as soon as possible its already delayed review of the legislation on CO2 emissions from cars and vans and from heavy duty vehicles, and to table legislative proposals for a fleet average emissions target for 2025 in line with the commitments made in the context of the agreement between the co-legislators in 2013;

59.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that the EU maintains its leadership role in the implementation and enforcement of the Paris Agreement; asks the Commission to propose Union-wide measures complementary to the EU’s commitment to a 40 % cut in domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a view to the 2018 facilitative dialogue under the agreement; urges the Commission to prepare a mid-century decarbonisation strategy consistent with the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, including intermediate milestones to ensure cost-efficient delivery of the EU’s climate ambitions; calls on the Commission also to evaluate the consistency of current EU policies in relation to the objectives of the Paris Agreement, including with regard to the EU budget, the phasing-out of fossil fuel subsidies and ocean governance, especially with regard to the importance of the ocean for our climate; calls on the Commission to develop measures to support an orderly transition to a low-carbon economy in order to mitigate the systematic economic risks associated with high-carbon financial assets; expects the Commission to ensure that the work programme reflects the Sustainable Development Goals by putting sustainability at the core of economic policy and reiterates the importance of fully implementing the 7th Environmental Action Programme 2014-2020;

60.  Urges the Commission to bring forward without any delay the initiatives listed in the Circular Economy Action Plan, including in the areas of product policy and food waste, and to monitor the progress towards a circular economy in the framework of the EU semester;

61.  Calls on the Commission to come forward with a legislative proposal on environmental inspections – fully respecting the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality – in order to step up the implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and standards;

Agriculture and fisheries policies

62.  Stresses the important role that sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors play in ensuring food security in the EU, providing jobs and improving environmental standards, and equally underlines the potential of European agriculture in contributing to climate change policies through innovation and adoption of policies which enhance the carbon sequestration potential of European agriculture;

63.  Calls on the Commission to simplify the implementation of the CAP and to cut red tape in order to increase its efficiency, alleviate the administrative burden on agricultural entrepreneurs, and make room for innovations that are indispensable for a forward-looking, competitive European agriculture sector; asks the Commission to ensure that the principle of better regulation is included in the upcoming CAP reform proposal which should provide more room and financial incentives for innovation in agriculture aimed at ensuring long-term food security in the EU, reducing agriculture’s impact on biodiversity and increasing its climate resilience;

64.  Calls on the Commission to make proposals to urgently address the continued loss of natural capital in Europe and to review existing policies, in particular the CAP, with a view to meeting the objectives of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy;

65.  Stresses the urgency and importance of taking action against the persistently growing threat of increased antimicrobial resistance, since this can have an enormous impact on citizens’ health and productivity as well as on the Member States’ health budgets; calls on the Commission, therefore, to come forward with a proposal for an EU action plan on how to implement in the Union the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance; calls on the Commission also to enhance measures already applied in the current Action Plan against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to ensure the consistent implementation thereof by all relevant parties;

66.  Reiterates that, in order to ensure the timely and proper implementation of the common fisheries policy adopted in 2013, the Commission must continue to come forward with legislative proposals for the adoption of renewed multiannual management plans for fish stocks;

67.  Highlights the importance of the strong control system laid down in the Control Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009), which modernised the EU’s approach to fisheries control in line with the measures adopted to combat illegal fishing; calls on the Commission to undertake a comprehensive follow-up and to propose, if necessary, their revision with a view to addressing shortcomings and ensuring proper implementation and enforcement;

68.  Considers that illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing is a form of organised crime on the seas, with disastrous worldwide environmental and socio-economic impacts and therefore calls on the Commission to take all necessary action against non-cooperating countries and all organisations contributing to IUU fishing;

TRADE

69.  Emphasises its support for an ambitious and values-based trade agenda which will strengthen the global rules-based system and contribute towards jobs and growth in Europe; welcomes, in this connection, the Commission’s efforts to conclude negotiations with Japan and to push ahead with other ongoing negotiations, such as with Mexico and Mercosur, as well as aiming to commence new ones with, for example, Australia and New Zealand and trying to unblock other negotiations, such as those with India;

70.  Calls on the Commission to reinvigorate the post-Nairobi WTO discussion, since multilateral trade negotiations must remain a priority matter for the EU even when they prove difficult; considers that it would also be worthwhile to look into new areas and issues within the WTO framework, such as digital trade, and welcomes the international initiatives taken by the Commission on investment protection;

71.  Stresses that the modernising and strengthening of the Union’s trade defence instruments is as a matter of urgency and of the utmost importance;

A STRONGER GLOBAL ACTOR

72.  Calls on the Commission to advance with setting up the European Defence Fund, which would encompass adequate funding for both collaborative research on defence technologies and the acquisition of joint assets by the Member States; encourages the Commission to step up the enforcement of the two directives framing the single market for defence and to come up with an initiative on development of shared industry standards for equipment and assets;

73.  Urges to Commission to pay particular attention to the rising tension in the Western Balkans and to seek ways to enhance the EU’s engagement in favour of reconciliation and reforms in all of the countries concerned;

74.  Commends the Commission for its emphasis on the Neighbourhood Policy, both eastern and southern, but underlines that the policy must acquire a more political content, notably through a combination of increased financial assistance, reinforced democracy support, market access and improved mobility; stresses that the policy needs to clearly identify areas of action in order to better address the challenges which the neighbouring countries are facing;

75.  Calls on the Commission to prioritise digitalisation as an integral part of the EU´s foreign policy instruments and to embrace it as an opportunity such as by leading in the fields of internet governance, people´s human rights online, state norms in cyberspace, cybersecurity and freedom online, access and development, digital literacy and net neutrality;

76.  Stresses that the promotion of, and respect for, human rights, international law and fundamental freedoms must be a central common denominator across EU policies; calls on the Commission not to neglect the importance of protecting human rights in the context of counter-terrorism measures; urges the Commission to actively continue pushing for human rights to be implemented effectively through all agreements, in particular the trade, political dialogue and cooperation and association agreements subscribed by the EU, in particular the so-called ‘democracy clause’ and Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement; calls on the Commission to make a clear monitoring of the human rights situation in the countries with which the EU has agreements;

77.  Calls on the Commission to continue to work to help ensure accountability for war crimes, human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, including the confirmed use of chemical weapons; expresses its continued grave concern at the deliberate restrictions that are put in the way of the provision of humanitarian aid and reiterates its call on the Commission to make every possible effort to help ensure that full, unhindered, safe and sustainable country-wide humanitarian access for the UN and other humanitarian organisations is secured in countries where it is needed;

78.  Calls on the Commission to put forward an implementation plan for the revised European Consensus;

79.  Urges the Commission to show ambition in its updated EU Global Strategy and to better position the EU in a rapidly changing world to deliver the institutional and policy changes for the effective implementation of the Agenda 2030; calls on the Commission also to come forward with a proposal for an overarching Sustainable Development Strategy, encompassing all relevant internal and external policy areas, including the UN process, a detailed timeline up to 2030, a concrete implementation plan and a specific procedure ensuring Parliament’s full involvement and to provide information regarding the plan for implementation, monitoring, follow-up and incorporation of the 2030 Agenda into the EU’s internal and external policy;

80.  Emphasises its support for an ambitious External Investment Plan (EIP); believes that the implementation of the upcoming European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) and the EU Trust Fund for Africa will be key in assessing the effectiveness of current efforts; calls on the Commission to give an active and effective impulse to the EU’s external policy; stresses that the EU should be a major actor that provides efficient responses to the challenges that Europe is facing, in order achieve the SDGs by 2030 and address the root causes of irregular and forced migration;

81.  Recalls the need to review the Humanitarian Aid Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/96 of 20 June 1996), in order to make the EU’s humanitarian assistance more efficient and compliant with international humanitarian law, especially in view of the urgent need for comprehensive action against famine and to ensure a sustainable future for the millions of people affected by conflicts or natural or man-made disasters, as well as for education in the context of protracted crises;

82.  Calls on the Commission to increase its efforts to safeguard the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls throughout the world, and to guarantee that the Global Gag Rule will not restrict EU humanitarian aid funds and the work of foreign family-planning organisations that the EU is funding;

83.  Calls on the Commission to present a legislative proposal on accompanying measures for the ‘Conflict Minerals Regulation’ (2014/0059(COD)) in line with the relevant Joint Communication (JOINT (2014) 8);

84.  Calls on the Commission, given the global nature of the garment industry and of its shortcomings in terms of improving worker’s conditions, to go beyond the presentation of a staff working document on the flagship initiative on the garment sector and to present a legislative proposal for due diligence obligations in the supply chain in the garment sector;

85.  Calls on the Commission to assist developing countries in combating fraud and tax evasion through the establishment of a comprehensive and binding framework;

86.  Calls on the Commission to take an ambitious approach in the context of the future negotiations for the Post-Cotonou Agreement with a view to a binding agreement, tailored to the new realities, with a strong political dimension and an economic development dimension, and oriented towards a framed market economy and inclusive growth;

*

*  *

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

Briefing – International Agreements in Progress: EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement – Stimulus for negotiations in the region – 15-06-2017

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement – Stimulus for negotiations in the region

15-06-2017

Singapore is the first member country of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and second Asian economy after South Korea to have concluded a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU, in October 2014. Moreover, this is the first comprehensive FTA negotiated and finalised by the EU after the Treaty of Lisbon came into effect. As a ‘new generation’ trade agreement, the EU-Singapore FTA (EUSFTA) in many aspects goes further than current World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments. Moreover, not only does the agreement provide improved access to the Singaporean market, it is also beneficial for European companies operating from Singapore across the Southeast Asian region. Following the conclusion of the EUSFTA negotiations, the Commission sought an opinion from the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) on the allocation of competences between the EU and the Member States. On 16 May 2017, the CJEU issued its opinion, stating that the EUSFTA also covers shared competences. As the EUSFTA is considered a model for successive new generation EU FTAs, the CJEU’s opinion is extremely relevant for all ongoing FTA negotiations and pending agreements.

Singapore is the first member country of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and second Asian economy after South Korea to have concluded a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU, in October 2014. Moreover, this is the first comprehensive FTA negotiated and finalised by the EU after the Treaty of Lisbon came into effect. As a ‘new generation’ trade agreement, the EU-Singapore FTA (EUSFTA) in many aspects goes further than current World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments. Moreover, not only does the agreement provide improved access to the Singaporean market, it is also beneficial for European companies operating from Singapore across the Southeast Asian region. Following the conclusion of the EUSFTA negotiations, the Commission sought an opinion from the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) on the allocation of competences between the EU and the Member States. On 16 May 2017, the CJEU issued its opinion, stating that the EUSFTA also covers shared competences. As the EUSFTA is considered a model for successive new generation EU FTAs, the CJEU’s opinion is extremely relevant for all ongoing FTA negotiations and pending agreements.