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Speech – House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus – Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament

 (Check against delivery)

I should like to thank President Syllouris and all of you for inviting me to address the House of Representatives today.

Over the last decade, our Union has experienced the worst economic crisis in its history.

It is a crisis which has had a seriously damaging impact on the economic and social fabric of the Union, widening social and regional disparities.

Cyprus, too, has paid a very high price.

Now, however, growth has returned to Europe. Your island is recovering lost ground, and doing so quickly.

With a growth rate of 3%, you are doing better than the European average.

Nevertheless, our citizens still have feelings of disaffection towards the Union, feelings of distance which we must overcome.

Remedying this is the priority I have set for my term of office.

Our citizens want a Europe which listens and comes up with practical answers to their problems.

According to the findings of the most recent Eurobarometer survey, Cypriots have the same concerns as most Europeans: unemployment, terrorism, peace, stability and security.

On this last point, the European Parliament and the Union as a whole are right behind Cyprus in its efforts to achieve an agreement on the issue of reunification which is consistent with the criteria laid down by the United Nations and with the principles underpinning our Union.

 

Growth and jobs

If our priority is to create jobs, then we must invest in the real economy. The Union must make support for firms of all sizes the focus of its efforts.

If we are to compete in an ever more globalised and digitalised world, we need investment in infrastructure, transport, energy efficiency, networks and logistics.

The first step, therefore, must be to complete the single market in goods and services, the single energy market and the digital single market.

We also need to make it easier for firms to access funding.

Here, the aim must first be to complete the Banking Union and the single market in capital as quickly as possible.

The digital revolution is transforming manufacturing, the fabric of our society, our whole way of life in fact.

We must seize this opportunity to make our economic system more competitive. At the same time, we must make sure that no one who is struggling is left behind.

The Union must be a project which brings prosperity to everyone.

Investment in training is a key priority.

Last week, I signed, on behalf of the European Parliament, the EU budget for 2018. We fought to secure more funding for education and training, for SMEs, for research and for innovation.

The next EU budget must meet citizens’ real expectations. If we are to do that, we need proper resources and strong political leadership.

If we are to bring the Union closer to its citizens, after 10 years of crisis, we need far-reaching reforms.

The economic governance package presented by the Commission last Wednesday will take us in the direction that the European Parliament has been advocating: a European Monetary Fund, a Finance Minister, and more resources for investment, convergence and assistance for countries in difficulty.

We must be ambitious. If we are to make real progress, we need measures which go beyond the day-to-day running of the economy.

The European Parliament is calling for more transparent and more democratic economic governance which involves the national parliaments.

We need to complete the Fiscal, Economic and Political Union. Only together can we stand up to the giants, such as China and the United States, and meet the global challenges of terrorism, security, immigration and climate change.

 

Security and terrorism

In a practical response to the problem of terrorism, the European Parliament has set up a special committee to assess the current anti-terrorism laws and suggest ways of remedying their shortcomings. The committee’s recommendations are expected in a few months’ time.

We need to work together more effectively.

One key step would be to set up a European equivalent of the FBI to act as a clearing house for information and intelligence among the Member States.

 

Immigration

Last month, the European Parliament approved an important step forward, in the form of the overhaul of the Dublin Regulation.

Asylum seekers must be allocated fairly among all the Member States.

Responsibility for dealing with them cannot be allowed to fall exclusively on the shoulders of the ‘country of first entry’.

We cannot leave a few countries to manage a huge influx of people on their own. The Union must show solidarity, for example by providing support through regional cohesion funds.

I shall put this message across again at next week’s European Council meeting.

 

Partnership with Africa

If we want to address the problem of migration at its roots, we need to look to Africa.

Two weeks ago, I was in Abidjan, in Côte d’Ivoire, attending the African Union-European Union Summit. There, I emphasised once again the importance of a strong partnership with Africa.

Here, in Nicosia, you are only too well aware of this.

We are tied to Africa by history and geography, by common languages and values. We must use the advantage that gives us to find effective solutions to common challenges.

If we fail to offer young Africans, whose numbers will increase still further over the next few decades, prospects and jobs, we will never be able to address the migration crisis effectively.

We need a new approach: aid must give way to development, to a partnership of equals, to a strategy which focuses on people, on the real economy, on SMEs and on entrepreneurs.

For that we need a genuine ‘Marshall Plan’ for Africa, with a budget of EUR 40 billion which, through the leverage effect it generates, attracts investment of EUR 500 billion in infrastructure, digital technologies, transport and training.

 

Conclusions

Every European citizen can count on two parliaments: their national parliament, and the European Parliament.

We have complementary roles. Many of our laws are the fruit of our cooperation.

We must work together to build citizens’ trust in our Common European House.

I am thinking of the work we are doing with the Conference of Parliamentary Committees (COSAC), the Interparliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSF-IPC) and the recently established Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group (JPSG) on Europol.

The European Parliament is ready to support this House of Representatives and the calls it makes.

I have been informed that a delegation from this House has been invited to visit Brussels in January.

We must continue along that path.

I invite you all to take part in the debate on the future of the Union and to raise awareness of the 2019 European elections, when the Cypriot people will go to the polls to elect their own representatives in Europe.

Thank you.

Text adopted – European Defence Union – P8_TA(2016)0435 – Tuesday, 22 November 2016 – Strasbourg – Final edition

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty of Lisbon,

–  having regard to Title V of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Article 42(6) TEU on permanent structured cooperation,

–  having regard to Article 42(7) TEU on the defence alliance,

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

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

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 18 December 2013 and 25‑26 June 2015,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 25 November 2013 and 18 November 2014 on the common security and defence policy,

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 April 2016 on the EU in a changing global environment – a more connected, contested and complex world(1)
,

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2012 on the EU’s mutual defence and solidarity clauses: political and operational dimensions(2)
,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 January 2009 on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union 2004-2008(3)
, which stipulates in its paragraph 89 that ‘fundamental rights do not stop at barrack gates’ and that ‘they also fully apply to citizens in uniform’ and recommends that ‘the Member States ensure that fundamental rights are also observed in the armed forces’,

–  having regard to the final conclusions of the interparliamentary conferences on the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and the common security and defence policy (CSDP) of the Hague of 8 April 2016, of Luxembourg of 6 September 2015, of Riga of 6 March 2015, of Rome of 7 November 2014, of Athens of 4 April 2014, of Vilnius of 6 September 2013, of Dublin of 25 March 2013 and of Paphos of 10 September 2012,

–  having regard to the recent statement made by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) at the ‘Gymnich meeting’ of EU foreign ministers of 2 September 2016, which again referred to the ‘window of opportunity’ for solid progress to be made among Member States in the field of defence,

–  having regard to the document entitled ‘Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe – A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy’ presented by the VP/HR on 28 June 2016,

–  having regard to the progress report of 7 July 2014 by the VP/HR and the Head of the European Defence Agency on the implementation of the European Council conclusions of December 2013,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 24 July 2013 entitled ‘Towards a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector’ (COM(2013)0542),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 24 June 2014 entitled ‘A new Deal for European Defence’,

–  having regard to the Commission’s report of 8 May 2015 on the implementation of its communication on defence,

–  having regard to the evaluations of Directive 2009/81/EC of 13 July 2009 on the coordination of procedures for the award of certain works contracts, supply contracts and service contracts by contracting authorities or entities in the fields of defence and security and of Directive 2009/43/EC on intra-EU transfers of defence-related products,

–  having regard to the joint declaration of 8 July 2016 by the presidents of the European Council and the Commission and the Secretary-General of NATO,

–  having regard to the joint communication of 11 December 2013 by the VP/HR and the Commission entitled ‘The EU’s comprehensive approach to external conflicts and crises’ (JOIN(2013)0030), and to the related Council conclusions of 12 May 2014,

–  having regard to the statement by the Italian Defence and Foreign Ministers of 10 August 2016 calling for a ‘Defence Schengen’,

–  having regard to the joint statement by the German and French Foreign Ministers of 28 June 2016 on ‘A strong Europe in an uncertain world’,

–  having regard to the potential secession of the UK from the EU,

–  having regard to the results of Eurobarometer 85.1 of June 2016,

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (A8-0316/2016),

A.  whereas in recent years the security situation in and around Europe has significantly worsened and has created arduous and unprecedented challenges that no single country or organisation is able to face alone; whereas Europe is experiencing the threat of terrorism in its territory more than ever, while terrorism and the scourge of constant violence in North Africa and the Middle East continue to expand; whereas solidarity and resilience require the EU to stand and to act together and systematically, and to do so in concert with our allies and partners and third countries; whereas prevention, the sharing of sensitive security information, ending armed conflict, overcoming widespread human rights abuses, the spread of democracy and the rule of law and the fight against terrorism are priorities for the EU and its citizens and should be the subject of engagement within as well as outside the EU’s borders, including through an corps of military engineers created to address some very practical challenges related to climate change effects and natural disasters in third countries; whereas Europe should be stronger and quicker in real threat situations;

B.  whereas terrorism, hybrid threats, economic volatility, cyber and energy insecurity, organised crime and climate change constitute the main security threats of an everyday more complex and interconnected world in which the EU should do its best and search for the means to guarantee security and deliver prosperity and democracy; whereas the current financial and security context requires European armed forces to collaborate closer and military personnel to train and work more and better together; whereas according to Eurobarometer 85.1 in June 2016, approximately two thirds of EU citizens would like to see greater EU engagement in matters of security and defence policy; whereas internal and external security are becoming increasingly blurred; whereas special attention should be paid to preventing conflict, addressing the root causes of instability and ensuring human security; whereas climate change is a major threat to global security, peace and stability that amplifies threats to traditional security, inter alia by diminishing access to fresh water and foodstuffs for populations in fragile and developing countries and thus leading to economic and social tensions, forcing people to migrate, or creating political tensions and security risks;

C.  whereas the VP/HR has included the security of the Union as one of the top five priorities in her ‘Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy’;

D.  whereas the Treaty of Lisbon requires the Member States to make available appropriate capacities for civilian and military CSDP missions and operations; whereas the security and defence-building capacity enshrined in the Treaties is far from optimal; whereas the European institutions may also have a very significant role to play in launching political initiatives; whereas Member States have so far shown a lack of will to build a European Security and Defence Union, fearing that it would become a threat to their national sovereignty;

E.  whereas the cost of non-Europe in defence and security is estimated at EUR 26,4 billion annually(4)
, as the result of duplication, overcapacity and barriers to defence procurement;

F.  whereas Article 42 TEU requires the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy as part of the CSDP, which will lead to an EU common defence when the European Council so decides voting unanimously; whereas Article 42(2) TEU also recommends to the Member States the adoption of such a decision in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements;

G.  whereas Article 42 TEU also provides for the creation of defence institutions, as well as for the definition of a European capabilities and armaments policy; whereas that article also requires that the EU’s efforts should be NATO-compatible, complementary and mutually reinforcing; whereas a common Union defence policy should reinforce Europe’s capacity to promote security within and beyond its borders, as well as strengthening the partnership with NATO and transatlantic relations, and will therefore enable a stronger NATO, consequently further promoting a more effective territorial, regional and global security and defence; whereas the recent joint declaration by the NATO Warsaw summit of 2016 on the NATO-EU strategic partnership recognised the role of NATO and the support the EU can give in achieving common goals; whereas a European Defence Union (EDU) should ensure the maintenance of peace, conflict prevention and a strengthening of international security, in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter;

H.  whereas the EU battlegroups, which reached full operational capability in 2007 and are designed to be used for military tasks of a humanitarian, peacekeeping and peacemaking nature, have not yet been used, despite the opportunity and need arising, owing to procedural, financial and political obstacles; highlights that this represents a missed opportunity in terms of strengthening the EU’s role as an important global player for stability and peace;

I.  whereas except for the creation of the European Defence Agency (EDA), none of the other missing elements of the EU common security and defence policy have so far been conceived, decided or implemented; whereas the EDA still needs an overhaul of its organisation to allow it to develop its full potential and prove that it generates added value, makes the CSDP more effective and can lead to harmonised national defence planning processes in those fields which are relevant for CSDP military operations in line with the Petersberg tasks as described in Article 43 TEU; encourages all Member States to participate in and commit to the EDA in order to realise this goal;

J.  whereas the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy requires that the EU systematically encourage defence cooperation over the full spectrum of capabilities, in order to respond to external crises, help build our partners’ capacities, guarantee Europe’s safety, and create a solid European defence industry as being critical for the Union’s strategic autonomy of decision and action; whereas any measures must be agreed upon by all members of the Council before implementation;

K.  whereas the European Council of June 2015, which partially focused on defence, called for fostering greater and more systematic European defence cooperation with a view to delivering key capabilities, including through the use of EU funds where appropriate, noting that military capabilities remain owned and operated by the Member States;

L.  whereas France invoked Article 42(7) TEU on 17 November 2015 and subsequently requested and managed the other Member States’ aid and assistance contributions on a purely bilateral basis;

M.  whereas the EU-level White Book on security and defence should further strengthen the CSDP and enhance the EU’s ability to act as a security provider in accordance with the Lisbon Treaty, and could represent a useful reflection on a future and more effective CSDP; whereas CSDP missions and operations are mostly located in regions such as the Horn of Africa and the Sahel which are heavily affected by negative consequences of climate change, such as drought and land degradation;

N.  whereas the Dutch Council Presidency promoted the idea of an EU White Book; whereas the Visegrád countries have welcomed the idea of a stronger European defence integration; and whereas Germany called for a European Security and Defence Union in White Paper of 2016 on ‘German Security Policy and the Future of the Bundeswehr’;

O.  whereas gradual defence integration is our best option for doing more with less money, and the White Book could offer a unique opportunity to propose additional steps;

European Defence Union

1.  Recalls that to ensure its long-term security, Europe needs political will and determination underpinned by a broad set of relevant policy instruments, including strong and modern military capabilities; encourages the European Council to lead the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy and to provide additional financial resources to ensure its implementation, with a view to its establishment under the next multiannual political and financial framework of the EU (MFF); recalls that the creation of the common Union defence policy is a development and implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy under the Lisbon Treaty, which is bound by international law and is actually indispensable to enable the EU to promote the rule of law, peace and security globally; welcomes in this regard all ongoing activities of Member states aimed at further integrating our common defence efforts, also taking into account the very important contributions which the White Book on Security and Defence would make;

2.  Urges the EU Member States to unleash the full potential of the Lisbon Treaty with regard to the CSDP in particular, with special reference to the permanent structured cooperation of Article 42(6) TEU or the start-up fund of Article 41(3) TEU; recalls that the Petersberg tasks of Article 43 TEU consist of a long list of ambitious military tasks such as joint disarmament operations, humanitarian and rescue tasks, military advice and assistance tasks, conflict prevention and peacekeeping tasks, and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking and post-conflict stabilisation; recalls that the same article also states that all these tasks may contribute to the fight against terrorism, including by supporting third countries in combating terrorism in their territories; stresses that the current state of the CSDP does not allow the EU to fulfil all the tasks listed; believes that the order of the day should be to systematically work on ways to allow the EU to fulfil the objectives of the Lisbon Treaty;

3.  Is of the opinion that a truly strong EDU has to offer guarantees and capabilities to Member States beyond their individual ones;

4.  Believes that the way to a EDU needs to start from a thoroughly revised CSDP, based on a strong defence principle, efficient financing and coordination with NATO; considers that, as a necessary step, with the increasing integration of internal and external security, the CSDP needs to move beyond external crisis management so as to truly ensure the common security and defence and allow the Union’s engagement at all stages of crises and conflicts, by using the full spectrum of instruments at its disposal;

5.  Highlights the need for the establishment of a Council format of Defence Ministers to provide sustained political leadership and coordinate the framing of a European Defence Union; calls on the Council of the European Union to establish, as a first step, a permanent meeting format bringing together defence ministers of Member States which are committed to deeper defence cooperation as a forum for consultation and decision-making;

6.  Calls on the President of the Commission to establish a standing ‘defence matters’ working group of members of the Commission, to be chaired by the VP/HR; calls for Parliament to be associated with permanent representatives in this group; supports further involvement of the Commission in defence, through well-focused research, planning and implementation; calls on the VP/HR to mainstream climate change into all EU external action and in particular into the CSDP;

7.  Considers that the worsening perception of risks and threats in Europe make the establishment of the European Defence Union a matter of urgency, particularly given the increasing deterioration in the security environment at the EU’s borders, especially in its eastern and southern neighbourhoods; notes that this is also reflected in the security strategies of the Member States; stresses that the situation deteriorated notably and progressively in 2014, with the birth and expansion of the self-declared Islamic State and subsequently the use of force by Russia;

8.  Is of the opinion that the EDU needs to be based on a periodic joint security threat assessment of the Member States, but must also be flexible enough to satisfy Member States’ individual security challenges and needs;

9.  Takes the view that the Union should dedicate own means to fostering greater and more systematic European defence cooperation among its Member States, including permanent structured cooperation (PESCO); is convinced that the use of EU funds would be a clear expression of cohesion and solidarity, and that this would allow all Member States to improve their military capabilities in a more common effort;

10.  Believes that a strengthened European defence cooperation would lead to greater effectiveness, unity, and efficiency, as well as boosting EU assets and capabilities and having positive potential effects on defence research and industrial matters; highlights that only through such deeper cooperation, which should gradually develop into a real EDU, will the EU and its Member States be able to acquire the technological and industrial capabilities needed to enable them to act more rapidly as well as autonomously and effectively, addressing today’s threats in a responsive and efficient manner;

11.  Encourages all Member States to make more binding commitments to one another by establishing permanent structured cooperation within the Union framework; encourages Member States to establish multinational forces within the PESCO framework, and make those forces available to the CSDP; underlines the importance and necessity of all Member States’ implication in a permanent and efficient structured cooperation; believes that the Council should normally entrust the implementation of the task of peacekeeping, conflict prevention and strengthening international security to those multinational forces; suggests that both the policymaking processes at EU level and the national processes should be designed to allow a rapid crisis response; is convinced that the EU battlegroup system should be renamed and used and further developed to that end, politically, in modularity and with effective funding; encourages the set-up of an EU Operational Headquarters as a precondition for effective planning, command and control of common operations; underlines that PESCO is open to all Member States;

12.  Calls on the Member States to particularly recognise the right of military personnel to form and join professional associations or trade unions and involve them in a regular social dialogue with the authorities; invites the European Council to take concrete steps towards the harmonisation and standardisation of the European armed forces, in order to facilitate the cooperation of armed forces personnel under the umbrella of a new European Defence Union;

13.  Notes that all Member States have difficulties in maintaining a very broad range of defensive capabilities, mostly because of financial constraints; calls, therefore, for more coordination and clearer choices about which capabilities to maintain, so that Member States can specialise in certain capabilities;

14.  Encourages Member States to look for further avenues for joint purchase, maintenance and upkeep of forces and material; suggests that it may be useful to look first at the pooling and sharing of non-lethal material, such as transport vehicles and aircraft, refuelling vehicles and aircraft, and other support material;

15.  Believes that interoperability is key if Member States’ forces are to be more compatible and integrated; stresses, therefore, that Member States must explore the possibility of joint procurement of defence resources; notes that the protectionist and closed nature of EU defence markets makes this more difficult;

16.  Stresses that a revision and broadening of the Athena mechanism is needed to make sure that EU missions can be funded from collective funds instead of most of the costs falling to the individual participating Member States, thereby removing a potential hurdle for Member States to commit forces;

17.  Calls on the European Parliament to establish a full-fledged Committee on Security and Defence to monitor the implementation of permanent structured cooperation;

18.  Believes that a strong and increasing role for the EDA is indispensable for an efficient EDU in terms of coordinating capability-driven programmes and projects and establishing a common European capabilities and armaments policy, in pursuit of greater efficiency, elimination of duplication and reduction of costs and on the basis of a catalogue of very precise capability requirements for CSDP operations and harmonised national defence planning and procurement processes with regard to those specific capabilities; believes this should follow a defence review of Member States’ sets of forces and a review of past EDA activities and procedures; calls on the EDA to demonstrate which capability gaps that were identified in the headline goals and capability development plan were filled within the framework of the Agency; is convinced that pooling and sharing initiatives and projects are excellent first steps towards enhanced European cooperation;

19.  Encourages the Commission to work in liaison with the EDA to strengthen the industrial and technological base of the defence sector, which is vital for European strategic autonomy; believes that the key to sustaining the industry is an increase in defence spending by Member States, as well as ensuring that the industry remains globally competitive; notes that the current fragmentation of the market represents a weakness for the competitiveness of the European defence industry; believes that collaborative research can help reduce such fragmentation and improve competitiveness;

20.  Strongly believes that only a joined-up approach to capability development, including through the consolidation of functional clusters such as European Air Transport Command, can generate the economies of scale that are needed to underpin a European Defence Union; further believes that strengthening the EU’s capabilities through joint procurement and other forms of pooling and sharing could provide a much-needed boost to Europe’s defence industry, SMEs included; supports targeted measures to incentivise such projects, in order to reach the EDA benchmark of 35 % of total spending in collaborative procurement, as called for by the EU Global Strategy; believes that the introduction of a European Defence Semester, whereby Member States would consult each other’s planning cycles and procurement plans, could help overcome the current state of defence market fragmentation;

21.  Stresses that cybersecurity is by its very nature a policy area in which cooperation and integration are crucial, not only between EU Member States, key partners and NATO, but also between different actors within society, since it is not only a military responsibility; calls for clearer guidelines on how EU defensive and offensive capabilities are to be used and in what context; recalls that Parliament has repeatedly called for a thorough revision of the EU dual-use export regulation in order to avoid software and other systems which can be used against EU digital infrastructure or to violate human rights falling into the wrong hands;

22.  Points to the recent publication by the High Representative of the Global Strategy, which constitutes a cohesive framework for priorities for action in the field of foreign policy and for defining future developments in European defence policy;

23.  Recalls the four collective investment benchmarks approved by the EDA Ministerial Steering Board in November 2007, and is concerned at the low level of collaboration, as demonstrated in the Defence Data Report published in 2013;

24.  Calls on the VP/HR to take an initiative to bring together major companies and stakeholders of the European defence industry with the aim of developing a European drone industry;

25.  Calls on the VP/HR to take an initiative to bring together major companies and stakeholders of the European defence industry to develop strategies and a platform for the joint development of defence equipment;

26.  Calls on the VP/HR to enhance cooperation between national cybersecurity strategies, capabilities and command centres and the EDA, as part of permanent structured cooperation to help protect against and counter cyberattacks;

27.  Calls for the further development of the EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework in order to boost Member States’ cyberdefence capabilities, operational cooperation and information sharing;

28.  Notes the ongoing work on setting up a preparatory action for a future EU defence research programme, and urges its effective launch as soon as possible, as requested by the European Council in 2013 and 2015 and following a pilot project initiated by the EP; stresses that the Preparatory Action should be provided with a sufficient budget, of at least EUR 90 million for the next three years (2017-2020); takes the view that the preparatory action should be followed by a major dedicated EU-funded research programme as part of the next MFF starting in 2021; notes that the European Defence Research Programme will need a total budget of at least EUR 500 million per year over that period in order to be credible and make a substantial difference; calls on the Member States to outline future cooperative programmes in which EU-funded defence research can build a starting point, and calls for the establishment of the start-up fund for preparatory activities in the lead-up to military operations, as provided for in the Lisbon Treaty; notes the Commission’s defence-related initiatives such as the Defence Action Plan, the Defence Industrial Policy and the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base;

29.  Stresses that the launching of CSDP missions, such as EUNAVFOR MED, contributes to the achievement of a European Defence Union; calls on the EU to continue and step up missions of this kind;

30.  Considers it important to use the European Semester procedure to introduce forms of closer cooperation in the field of security and defence;

31.  Stresses the importance of putting in place the necessary measures that encourage a functioning, fair, accessible and transparent European defence market that is open to others, promote future technological innovation, support SMEs and stimulate growth and jobs, in order to enable Member States to achieve a much more efficient and effective use and maximisation of their respective defence and security budgets; notes that a solid European defence, technological and industrial base needs a fair, functioning and transparent internal market, security of supply and a structured dialogue with defence-relevant industries; is concerned that progress towards improved competitiveness, anti-corruption measures and greater transparency in the defence sector has been slow so far, and that a sound European defence industrial policy and respect for internal market rules are still lacking; is of the opinion that an integrated and competitive European defence arms market needs to provide incentives and rewards to all Member States and supply all buyers with adequate and affordable means responding to their individual security needs; stresses the need to ensure that the Defence Procurement Directive and the Intra-Community Transfers Directive are correctly applied across the EU; urges the Commission and the Member States to guarantee the full implementation of the two defence-related directives of the so-called ‘Defence Package’;

32.  Calls on the Commission to play its role through the Defence Action Plan, to support a strong industrial base that is able to deliver on the strategic capability needs of Europe, and to identify where the EU could provide added value;

33.  Is convinced that in progressively framing the common Union defence policy, the EU should make provision, in agreement with the Member States concerned, for participation in capability programmes they undertake, including participation in the structures created for the execution of those programmes within the Union framework;

34.  Encourages the Commission, working in liaison with the EDA, to act as a facilitator and enabler for defence cooperation via the mobilisation of EU funds and instruments aimed at the development of defence capabilities programmes by Member States; recalls that the European Defence Action Plan should be a strategic tool to foster cooperation in defence at European level, in particular through an EU-funded Defence Research Programme and through measures strengthening industrial cooperation across the entire value chain;

35.  Warmly welcomes the strategic autonomy concept developed by the VP/HR as part of the EU global strategy; believes that this concept should be applied both in our strategic priorities and in strengthening our capacities and our industry;

36.  Welcomes the joint declaration by the presidents of the European Council and the Commission and the NATO Secretary-General of 8 July 2016, which emphasises the need for cooperation between the EU and NATO in the area of security and defence; is convinced that EU-NATO cooperation should involve cooperating in the east and the south, countering hybrid and cyber threats and improving maritime security, as well as harmonising and coordinating the development of defence capabilities; considers that cooperation on technological, industrial and military capabilities offers the prospect of improving compatibility and synergy between both frameworks, thus ensuring greater efficiency of resources; recalls that speedy implementation of the above declaration is essential, and calls in this respect on the EEAS, together with relevant counterparts, to develop concrete options for implementation by December 2016; considers that the Member States should develop capabilities that can be deployable under the CSDP in order to make possible autonomous action in cases where NATO is not willing to act or where an EU action is more appropriate; is convinced that this would also strengthen NATO’s role in security and defence policy, and in collective defence; underlines that cooperation between EU and NATO for facilitating a stronger and efficient defence industry and defence research represents a strategic priority and its speedy implementation is crucial; is convinced that working together on prevention, analysis and early detection by means of efficient information and intelligence sharing will increase the EU’s capacity to counter threats, including hybrid threats; remains convinced that NATO is the primary provider of security and defence in Europe; emphasises the need to avoid overlaps between NATO and EU instruments; believes that the EU has potential also in civil aspects to make a key difference in unstable regions; insists, however, that while NATO’s role is to protect its mainly European members from any external attack, the EU should aspire to be truly able to defend itself and act autonomously if necessary, taking greater responsibility in this by improving equipment, training and organisation;

37.  Notes that while NATO must remain the foundation of collective defence in Europe, the political priorities of NATO and the EU may not always be identical, not least in the context of the US pivot to Asia; further notes that the EU possess a unique set of security-related instruments which are not available to NATO, and vice versa; is of the opinion that the EU should assume greater responsibility for security crises in its immediate neighbourhood, and thus contribute to NATO’s tasks, especially in the context of hybrid warfare and maritime security; believes that, in the long run, reform of the Berlin Plus arrangements may prove necessary, also to enable NATO to make use of the EU’s capabilities and instruments; underlines that the EU’s ambition of strategic autonomy and framing a European Defence Union must be realised in full synergy with NATO, and must lead to more effective cooperation, equitable burden-sharing and a productive division of labour between NATO and the EU;

38.  Is convinced that EU-NATO cooperation should involve building resilience together in the east and the south as well as defence investment; considers that cooperation on capabilities offers the prospect of improving compatibility and synergy between both frameworks; is convinced that this would also strengthen NATO’s role in security and defence policy, and in collective defence;

39.  Is deeply concerned over reports that administrative procedures are unnecessarily slowing down the generation of forces for CSDP missions and the cross-border movement of rapid response forces inside the EU; calls on the Member States to establish an EU-wide system for the coordination of rapid movement of defence forces personnel, equipment and supplies for the purposes of the CSDP, where the solidarity clause is invoked and where there is an obligation to provide aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter;

40.  Calls for the establishment of practical arrangements and guidelines for future activation of Article 42(7) TEU; calls on the Member States to make the necessary arrangements for the implementation of that article, in order to allow individual Member States to effectively manage other Member States’ aid and assistance contributions, or to have them effectively managed within the Union framework; calls on the Member States to aim for the target of 2 % of GDP for defence spending, and to spend 20 % of their defence budgets on equipment identified as necessary through the EDA, including related research and development, thus closing the gap with EDA’s four collective investment benchmarks;

41.  Is of the opinion that the challenges which financial constraints represent to national budgets are at the same time accompanied by opportunities for progress arising from the evident need for closer cooperation between Member States in defence matters; welcomes the decision by some Member States to stop or reverse the trend to cut defence spending;

42.  Believes that Parliament should play a prominent role in the future European Defence Union, and considers, therefore, that the Subcommittee on Security and Defence should become a fully-fledged parliamentary committee;

43.  Calls on the VP/HR to launch an EU security and defence White Book which will be based on the EU’s global strategy as endorsed by the European Council; asks the Council to assign the task of drafting this document without delay; regrets the suggestion of the VP/HR to the EU defence ministers that there should be only an implementation plan on security and defence instead of a comprehensive White Book process; takes the view that such an implementation plan should be a precursor to a regular security and defence White Book process, which should provide a useful basis for quantifying possible Union contributions in security and defence policy for each legislative term in a specific and realistic manner;

44.  Is convinced that the EU security and defence White Book should be the result of coherent intergovernmental and interparliamentary processes and contributions from the various EU institutions, which should be underpinned by international coordination with our partners and allies, including NATO, and by comprehensive interinstitutional support; calls on the VP/HR to revise its initial timetable in order to start a targeted consultation with Member States and parliaments;

45.  Considers that, on the basis of the EU global strategy, the White Book should encompass the EU’s security and defence strategy, the capabilities deemed necessary for the deployment of that strategy, and the measures and programmes at both Member State and EU level for delivering those capabilities, which should be based on a collaborative European capabilities and armaments policy while taking into account that defence and security remain a national competency;

46.  Takes the view that the White Book should take the form of an interinstitutional agreement of a binding nature which would set out all Union initiatives, investments, measures and programmes across the respective multiannual political and financial framework in the EU; is convinced that Member States, partners and allies should take that interinstitutional agreement into account in their own security and defence planning, with a view to ensuring mutual consistency and complementarity;

Launch initiatives

47.  Considers that the following initiatives should be launched immediately:

   the preparatory action on CSDP research starting in 2017, which will be continued until 2019;
   a subsequent more ambitious and strategic defence research programme, bridging the gap to the next MFF, if the necessary additional financial resources are provided by the Member States or through cofinancing from Member States under Article 185 TFEU;
   a European defence semester to assess the progress made in the Member States’ defence-related budgetary efforts;
   a strategy outlining the steps to take to realise the establishment and implementation of the European Defence Union;
   consideration of the creation of a permanent Council of defence ministers;
   support for the initiative by NATO which will place multinational battalions in Member States when and where necessary, in particular for the necessary infrastructure development (including housing);
   development of the regular White Book process, for a first application in the framework of the planning of the next MFF;
   a stakeholder conference on the subjects of development of a European armaments and capability policy and harmonisation of the respective national policies on the basis of an EU defence review;
   resolution of the legal issues preventing the implementation of the joint communication on capacity-building to promote security and development in third countries;
   reform of the EU battlegroups concept, aiming at the establishment of permanent units which would be independent of any lead nation and subject to systematic joint training;
   creation of the military start-up fund as foreseen in Article 41(3) TEU, which would help launch military CSDP operations much faster;
   an action plan to strengthen and broaden the Athena mechanism so as to provide more Community funds for EU missions;
   reform of the Athena mechanism aiming at enlarging its potential for cost-sharing and common funding, especially with regard to the deployment of EU battlegroups or of other rapid response assets and to building the capacity of military actors in partner countries (training, mentoring, advice, provision of equipment, infrastructure improvement and other services);
   a reflection process on foreign direct investment in critical industries in the defence and security field and on service providers, with a view to developing EU-level legislation;
   a reflection process on dual-use standardisation with a view to developing EU-level legislation;
   a reflection on establishing a permanent headquarters for command and control for CSDP military operations;
   an EU-wide system for the coordination of the rapid movement of defence forces’ personnel, equipment and supplies;
   initial elements of the European Defence Action Plan, to be based on an EU White Book on Security and Defence;
   initial EU-NATO projects on countering and preventing hybrid threats and on building resilience, on cooperation on strategic communications and response, on operational cooperation including at sea and on migration, on coordination on cybersecurity and defence, on defence capabilities, on strengthening the defence technological, research and industrial base, on exercises, and on building the defence and security capacity of our eastern and southern partners;
   measures to increase cooperation and trust between cybersecurity and defence actors;

48.  Proposes that the European Defence Union be launched as a matter of urgency, in two stages and on the basis of a system of differentiated integration:

   (a) activation of permanent structured cooperation, which has already been approved by Parliament and included in the Commission President’s ‘New Start’ programme;
   (b) implementation of the action plan for the VP/HR’s global foreign policy and security strategy;

o
o   o

49.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the EU agencies in the space, security and defence fields, and the national parliaments.

(1) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0120.
(2) OJ C 419, 16.12.2015, p. 138.
(3) OJ C 46 E, 24.2.2010, p. 48.
(4) ‘The Cost of Non-Europe in Common Security and Defence Policy’, European Parliament Research Service (2013), p. 78.

Daily News 29 / 11 / 2017

Intellectual property: Protecting Europe’s know-howand innovation leadership 

The Commission today presents measures to ensure that intellectual property rights (IPR) are well protected, thereby encouraging European companies, in particular SMEs and start-ups, to invest in innovation and creativity. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth Investment and Competitiveness, said: “Europe’s economic growth and competitiveness largely depends on our many entrepreneurs investing in new ideas and knowledge. This package improves the application and enforcement of intellectual property rights and encourages investment in technology and product development in Europe.” Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, added: “Today we boost our collective ability to catch the ‘big fish’ behind fake goods and pirated content which harm our companies, our jobs, our health and safety. We are also placing Europe as a global leader with a patent licensing system conducive to the roll-out of the Internet of Things from smartphones to connected cars.” Today’s initiatives will make it easier to act efficiently against breaches of IPR, facilitate cross-border litigation, and tackle the fact that 5% of goods imported into the EU (worth €85 billion) are counterfeited or pirated. When it comes to Standard Essential Patents (SEPs), the Commission encourages fair and balanced licensing negotiations which ensure that companies are rewarded for their innovation while allowing also others to build on this technology to generate new innovative products and services. Vice-President Katainen and Commissioner Bieńkowska will hold a press conference following the College meeting which will be broadcasted live here. A press release, a MEMO and three factsheets (on Intellectual Property Rights, and Why IPRs matter, and on SEPs) are available. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: + 32 229 56182; Maud Noyon – Tel.: +32 229 80379; Victoria von Hammerstein – Tel.: +32 229 55040)

L’avenir de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation- Présentation des orientations de la Commission pour une politique agricole commune flexible, juste et durable

Le collège des commissaires a adopté aujourd’hui les orientations de la Commission pour simplifier et moderniser la politique agricole commune (PAC) dont les principaux objectifs demeurent le soutien aux agriculteurs et le développement d’une agriculture durable et verte. L’initiative phare présentée dans la Communication, intitulée “l’avenir de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation”, consiste à renforcer les compétences des États membres en matière de choix et de modalités d’affectation des ressources de la PAC afin d’atteindre des objectifs communs ambitieux dans les domaines de l’environnement, de la lutte contre le changement climatique et de la durabilité. Jyrki Katainen, vice-président chargé de l’emploi, de la croissance, de l’investissement et de la compétitivité, a déclaré: «La politique agricole commune nous accompagne depuis1962. Nous devons veiller, d’une part, à ce qu’elle continue de fournir aux consommateurs des denréesalimentaires saines et de qualité tout en créant des emplois et de la croissance dans les zones rurales,et, d’autre part, à ce qu’elle évolue parallèlement aux autres politiques.“. Phil Hogan, commissaire pour l’agriculture et le développement rural, a dit: «La Communication publiée aujourd’hui apporte l’assurance que la politique agricole commune permettra la réalisation d’objectifs nouveaux et émergents, tels que la promotion d’un secteur agricole intelligent et résilient, le renforcement de la protection de l’environnement et de l’action en faveur du climat et la consolidation du tissu socio-économique dans les zones rurales.” La structure actuelle à deux piliers sera maintenue, mais l’approche plus simple et plus flexible qui est prévue comprendra les mesures  précises visant à permettre la réalisation des objectifs convenus au niveau de l’UE. Chaque pays de l’UE élaborera ensuite son propre plan stratégique – qui sera approuvé par la Commission – dans lequel il indiquera comment il envisage d’atteindre les objectifs. Les propositions législatives mettant en œuvre les objectifs définis dans la Communication seront présentées par la Commission avant l’été 2018, après la proposition du cadre financier pluriannuel. La Communication sur “l’avenir de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation” est en ligne. Un communiqué de presse ainsi qu’un mémo seront disponibles en ligne dans toutes les langues au début de la conférence de presse du Vice-Président Katainen et du Commissaire Hogan (aux alentours de 12h45) sera retransmise en direct sur EbS. (Pour plus d’informations: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52509)

Brexit: European Commission proposes legislative amendments for the relocation of the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority from London

The European Commission has today made two legislative proposals to amend the founding Regulations of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA). This follows last week’s agreement in the margins of the General Affairs Council (Article 50 format) to move the EMA and the EBA from London to Amsterdam and Paris, respectively. The Commission is acting swiftly in order to provide legal certainty and clarity, ensuring that both Agencies can continue to function smoothly and without disruption beyond March 2019. Under the ordinary legislative procedure, the co-legislators (the European Parliament and the Council) are expected to give priority to the handling of these legislative proposals. (full press release available here) (For more information: Margaritis Schinas: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229-91382, Daniel Ferrie – Tel.: +32 229 86500)

 

Commission proposes to extend Single Resolution Board Chair’s term of office

The European Commission has today proposed to extend the mandate of Ms Elke König, Chair of the Single Resolution Board (SRB), for five years as of 24 December 2017. Ms König, a German national, was appointed Chair of the SRB at the end of 2014 for an initial period of three years. Ms König, a former President of the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, has spent all her career in the financial and insurance sector. In 2010 and 2011, Ms König was a member of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) in London. Today’s decision follows a hearing of the SRB Board’s plenary session on 10 October 2017. The proposal will now be transmitted to the European Parliament for approval, and the Council will also be informed. Following that approval, the Council would have to adopt an implementing decision to extend the mandate (For more information: Alexander Winterstein – Tel.: +32 229 93265; Andreana Stankova – Tel.: +32 229 57857)

64 millions d’euros du fonds de Cohésion pour un environnement mieux protégé en Croatie

Le Fonds de Cohésion de l’UE investit 64,3 millions d’euros dans des infrastructures de gestion de l’eau dans l’agglomération de Varaždin, au Nord du pays. “Ce projet est un nouvel exemple concret de la valeur ajoutée d’une Union européenne qui se soucie de l’environnement et de la santé de ses citoyens,” a commenté la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Crețu. Plus de 200 km d’égout et 108 postes de pompages vont être construits dans le cadre de ce projet financé par l’UE, qui contribuera à protéger l’environnement et assurer un accès à une eau plus saine pour près de 95 000 personnes.  Les travaux devraient être achevés à l’automne 2021. (Pour plus d’informations:Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)

Better rail connections in Sicily thanks to Cohesion policy investments

Over €105 million from the European Regional Development Fund is invested in the modernisation of the Messina-Palermo railway line, on the section between the Fiumetorto train station and the village of Ogliastrillo. The EU-funded project covers the doubling of the tracks, for enhanced safety and reduced travel time between the two Sicilian cities. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Creţu commented: “This project will give a boost to tourism, shorten travel time and promote clean mobility in this beautiful region; that is EU money well spent.” TheMessina-Palermo line is an important section of the Italian national and regional transport plan, and it is also part of the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T), stretching from Finland and Sweden in the North to the southern Italian ports and Malta in the South. Works should be completed in December 2019. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel .: +32 229 58615, Sophie Dupin from Saint-Cyr – Tel .: +32 229 56169)

EU delivering on climate commitments through enhanced global partnerships

To cooperate more closely with major economies to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change and on environmentally-friendly practices more broadly, the European Union has launched new strategic partnerships. These include a programme co-financed by the EU’s Partnership Instrument (worth €20 million) and co-financed by the German International Climate Initiative with €5 million) to advance bilateral cooperation on climate change and contribute to improved public awareness. In addition, and following the 14th EU – India Summit which reinforced the strategic importance of India as a key partner of the European Union in the fields of climate action, environment, climate change and urbanisation, the EU is also launching a programme entitled “Business Support to the EU-India Policy Dialogues”, worth €3.8 million, to develop the EU – India partnership further by promoting sustainable energy, urbanisation and environmentally friendly practices, with technical solutions from EU businesses. This will also contribute to an increased and diversified presence of EU companies in the Indian market. See the full press release here. (For more information:Maja Kocijančič – Tel.: +32 229 86570; Adam Kaznowski – Tel.: +32 229 89359)

State aid: Commission approves €3.1 million investment aid for CO2 transport infrastructure in The Netherlands

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, Dutch plans to grant €3.1 million of public support to the company OCAP CO2 B, for the construction of CO2 transport infrastructure in PrimA4a, in the Greenport of Aalsmeer. This measure is expected to reduce 21 kilotonnes of CO2 emissions per year. In particular, the infrastructure will transport waste CO2 (e.g. from Shell) to greenhouses in the PrimA4a horticulture area, which need CO2 for their crop growth. Currently, these greenhouses produce their own CO2 using heating systems such as cogeneration systems or gas fired boilers. In summer, when heating is not needed, the greenhouses nevertheless use their heating systems for the sole purpose of CO2 generation. Thanks to this measure, greenhouses in future will be able to use excess waste CO2 instead. This will benefit the environment by reducing the use of primary energy sources to produce CO2. The Commission assessed and approved the measure by applying principles set out under the Commission’s 2014 Guidelines on State aid for Environmental protection and Energy. More information on today’s decision will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number SA.48816. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

Concentrations: la Commission autorise l’acquisition du contrôle conjoint d’ADTIM par DIF et CDC

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l’acquisition du contrôle en commun de la société ADTIM basée en France, par les sociétés DIF Management Holding B.V. (“DIF”) basée aux Pays Bas, et la Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (“CDC”) basée en France. ADTIM est une société délégataire de service public d’un organisme public local français (Syndicat mixte Ardèche Drôme Numérique) qui fournit des services de télécommunications. DIF est un gestionnaire de fonds indépendant qui investit dans des projets d’infrastructure à long terme liés au capital-investissement. CDC est un établissement public français à statut juridique spécial, exerçant des activités d’intérêt général, dont la gestion de fonds privés. La Commission a conclu que l’acquisition envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence compte tenu de son impact très limité sur la structure du marché. L’opération a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée du contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d’affaire M.8602. (Pour plus d’informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

 

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Curaeos Holding by EQT

The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Curaeos Holding B.V. of the Netherlands by EQT Fund Management S.à.r.l. of Luxembourg. Curaeos Holding is an international dental services provider which owns dental clinics, dental labs and a dental products distribution business. It also operates a migraine clinic in Germany. EQT is an investment fund making investments primarily in Northern and Continental Europe. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because EQT is not engaged in any business activity related to Curaeos Holding’s business. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8698.  (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

Concentrations: la Commission autorise l’acquisition de Maersk Olie og Gas par Total

La Commission européenne a approuvé, en vertu du règlement européen sur les concentrations, l’acquisition de la société danoise Maersk Olie og Gas A/S par l’entreprise française Total S.A. Maersk Olie og Gas est présente dans les secteurs de l’exploration, la production et le négoce de pétrole brut et de gaz naturel. Total est un producteur et fournisseur international d’énergie, intégré et présent dans tous les secteurs de l’industrie pétrolière et gazière. La Commission a conclu que l’ operation envisagée ne soulèverait pas de problème de concurrence du fait de la faiblesse relative des parts de marchés combinées à l’issue de l’opération. L’operation a été examinée dans le cadre de la procédure simplifiée de contrôle des concentrations. De plus amples informations sont disponibles sur le site internet concurrence de la Commission, dans le registre public des affaires sous le numéro d’affaire M.8662. (Pour plus d’informations: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)

Eurostat: Household energy prices in the EU down compared with 2016

In the European Union (EU), household electricity prices slightly decreased (-0.5%) on average between the first half of 2016 and the first half of 2017 to stand at €20.4 per 100 kWh. Across the EU Member States, household electricity prices in the first half of 2017 ranged from below €10 per 100 kWh in Bulgaria to more than €30 per 100 kWh in Denmark and Germany. A press release is available here. (For more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.: +32 229 56182; Maud Noyan – Tel.: +32 229 80379)

Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)

Address by Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, at the African Union-European Union Summit

(check against delivery)

I would like to begin by thanking President Ouattara for hosting this African Union‑European Union Summit here in Côte d’Ivoire.

This meeting has come at a very important juncture.

It rounds off a year of events focusing on Africa which began with the France–Africa Summit in Bamako. This was followed by the World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, the European Development Days in Brussels and the G20 African Partnership Conference in Berlin.

And now here we are in Abidjan.

The very fact that we are meeting shows that at long last we have collectively grasped the importance of our partnership.

The time has come to translate words into actions, and this summit needs to be the guarantor of that.  

This is what our citizens are asking us, both in Europe and in Africa.

Last week, the European Parliament held an ‘Africa week’ of parliamentary activities, including a high-level conference on the need to reinvigorate our partnership.

As I often say, we need to look at Africa through African eyes, and not European ones.

That is why we invited many delegations from African countries to that event, starting with the Central African Republic – I thank President Touadéra once again for attending.

There were also delegations from Mali – thank you, President Keita, for sending two of your government ministers – Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco and a number of other countries.

The official bodies of the African Union also sent senior representatives, starting with my counterpart, the President of the Pan-African Parliament.

The European Parliament, as a directly elected institution, naturally attaches great importance to good relations between our two continents.

I would go still further and say that it regards such good relations as an absolute necessity.

We are tied by a common history, by our geography, by shared values and languages.

We have to nurture this comparative advantage on a daily basis not to let it slip away.

We do not only have common bonds, but also, and above all, common challenges and interests.

Let us not forget that together we represent more than one third of the countries in the world.

Together we can adopt common positions and achieve common goals in multilateral fora, such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation, as we did during the negotiations on the Paris climate agreement.

This is our strength and that is the strategic interest which should bring us together and give us unity of purpose.

As I said, we have common challenges and interests. I will name just four: migration flows; the fight against terrorism; addressing climate change; economic growth and employment.

We must take action now in these four areas or it may be too late.

This time we are faced with an emergency in the form of Africa’s population explosion: 1 billion people today, 2.5 billion by 2050 and 4.4 billion by 2100.

Hence the theme of this Summit: youth.

Because of this population explosion, in the very near future Africa will have to create several million jobs to cater for the new arrivals on the job market.

It is those young people that we must offer a tangible response in the form of job opportunities and decent living conditions. In short, we must offer hope.

But first we need a new approach, one that is no longer be based solely on development assistance, but rather on a partnership of equals and on large-scale investment with the aim of developing the continent – with the focus on people, on the real economy, on SMEs and on entrepreneurs.

We have a duty to be ambitious.

That is why I keep saying that we need a genuine Marshall Plan for Africa with a budget of EUR 40 billion.

There is untapped potential in Africa. Genuine opportunities exist in a range of sectors – think of digitalisation, agriculture and rural development. But this also calls for high‑quality training and education –  not least for future leaders and managers.

University exchanges, legal migration and mobility must be used to drive development.

We must facilitate university exchanges, support the financing of exchanges through Erasmus+ and expand young entrepreneur exchange programmes.

This requires a joint effort from us, the European and African institutions, but also from the member countries – which means you.

I welcome on this score the initiatives taken by Chancellor Merkel and the German G20 Presidency, by Paolo Gentiloni and the Italian G7 Presidency and by President Macron, in particular as regards the Sahel.

This is a key region, and we must do everything we can to prevent it from collapsing and destabilising Africa as a whole, since this would create enormous risks for both our continents.

The Sahel is a perfect example of why a holistic approach is needed, because business, trade and investment can only flourish and generate jobs and sustainable, inclusive growth in a climate of peace, security, stability, respect for human rights and good governance.

The task ahead of us is a huge one.

Let me end, therefore, with an appeal.

Our summits take place every three years. That is barely enough to nurture a privileged relationship. We must meet more often. I therefore propose to meet every two years.

More than that, we must meet in between our summits for follow-up meetings for implementation at several levels including also the participation of civil society, the younger generations and the economic actors who will indeed materialise and push forward our ambitions. 

That was the thrust of the declaration which was adopted at yesterday’s Parliamentary Summit and which my counterpart from the Pan-African Parliament and I are submitting to you today.

Thank you.

Report – Annual Report on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy – A8-0351/2017 – Committee on Foreign Affairs

on the Annual report on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy

(2017/2123(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty of Lisbon,

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 20 December 2013, 26 June 2015, 15 December 2016, and 22 Jun 2017,

–  having regard to the Annual Report from the Council to the European Parliament on the common foreign and security policy,

–  having regard to the Annual Report on the implementation of the common foreign and security policy (2017/2121(INI)),

–  having regard to its resolution of 13 September 2017 on arms export: implementation of Common Position 2008/944/CFSP(1),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the Common Security and Defence Policy of 25 November 2013, 18 November 2014, 18 May 2015, 27 June 2016, 14 November 2016 and 18 May 2017, and the Council conclusions on the EU Global Strategy of 17 July 2017,

–  having regard to the 19th Franco-German Ministerial Council meeting in Paris on 13 July 2017,

–  having regard to the informal meeting of defence ministers and the informal meeting of foreign affairs ministers (Gymnich) in Tallinn on 6-9 September 2017,

–  having regard to the meeting of EU Ministers of Defence on 30 November 2011,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 September 2013 on ‘EU’s military structures: state of play and future prospects’(2),

  having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2016 on the European Defence Union(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 November 2016 on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy(4),

  having regard to its resolution of 16 March 2017 on ‘Constitutional, legal and institutional implications of a common security and defence policy: possibilities offered by the Lisbon Treaty’(5),

  having regard to its resolution of 5 July 2017 on the mandate for the trilogue on the 2018 draft budget(6),

–  having regard to the document entitled ‘Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe – A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy’, presented by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on 28 June 2016,

–  having regard to the document entitled ‘Implementation Plan on Security and Defence’, presented by the VP/HR on 14 November 2016,

–  having regard to the communication from the Commission of 30 November 2016 to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the European Defence Action Plan (COM(2016)0950),

–  having regard to the joint declaration of 8 July 2016 by the Presidents of the European Council and the Commission and the Secretary-General of NATO, the common set of proposals endorsed by NATO and EU Councils on 6 December 2016 and the Progress report on the implementation thereof adopted on 14 June 2017,

–  having regard to the Bratislava Declaration of 16 September 2016,

–  having regard to the new defence package presented by the Commission on 7 June 2017 in the press release ‘A Europe that defends: Commission opens debate on moving towards a Security and Defence Union’,

–  having regard to the Reflection Paper on the Future of European Defence of 7 June 2017,

–  having regard to Eurobarometer 85.1 of June 2016, according to which half of EU citizens surveyed consider EU action insufficient and two thirds of them would like to see greater EU engagement through Member States’ commitment in matters of security and defence policy,

–  having regard to the crisis management concept of the Council for a new civilian CSDP mission in Iraq of 17 July 2017 and to the Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/1425 of 4 August 2017 on a European Union stabilisation action in the Malian regions of Mopti and Segou,

–  having regard to the EU Policy on Training for CSDP adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 3 April 2017,

–  having regard to the Council Decision of 23 October 2017 on the position to be adopted, on behalf of the European Union, within the EEA Joint Committee concerning an amendment to Protocol 31 to the EEA Agreement (Union’s Preparatory Action on Defence Research);

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (A8-0351/2017),

The Union’s strategic environment

1.  Underlines that the rules-based international order and the values defended by Western democracies, and the peace, prosperity and freedoms which this post-World War II order guarantees and which correspond to the foundations on which the European Union is built, are facing an unprecedented number of conventional and hybrid challenges, as societal, economic, technological and geopolitical trends point to the growing vulnerability of the world’s population to shocks and stresses – such as interstate conflicts, natural disasters, extreme weather events, water crises, state collapse and cyber-attacks – that need a united and coordinated response; recalls that security is a key concern for European citizens; states that the Union’s external action is to be guided by the values and principles enshrined in Article 21 TEU;

2.  Stresses that no single Member State can alone tackle any of the complex security challenges we are facing today, and in order for the EU to be able to respond to this internal and external challenges it needs to step up its efforts towards concrete strong cooperation in the context of CFSP/CSDP, be an effective global player, which implies speaking with one voice and acting together, and focus its resources on strategic priorities; takes the view that it is necessary to tackle the root causes of instability, which are poverty and raising inequality, bad governance, state collapse and climate change;

3.   Deplores the fact that transnational terrorist and criminal organisations are increasing in strength and number, potentially facilitated by the defeat of ISIS/Da’esh and the fact that its fighters are fleeing, while instability simultaneously spreads in the southern regions and in the Middle East, as fragile and disintegrating states such as Libya give up on large ungoverned spaces vulnerable to outside forces; expresses its continued concern over the transnational dimension of the terrorist threat in the Sahel region; deeply deplores that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s ongoing nuclear and ballistic missile-related activities have generated increased tension in the region and beyond, posing a clear threat to international peace and security;

4.   Stresses that to the east, Russia’s war against Ukraine is still ongoing, the Minsk agreements – without which there can be no solution to the conflict – have not been implemented and the illegal annexation and militarisation of Crimea, and the imposition of anti-access and area denial systems, continue; is deeply concerned that Russia’s excessive exercises and military activities without international observation, hybrid tactics, including cyber-terrorism, fake news and disinformation campaigns, economic and energy blackmail are destabilising the Eastern Partnership countries and the Western Balkans, as well as are being targeted at Western democracies and increasing tensions within them; is concerned that the security environment surrounding the EU will remain highly volatile for years to come; reiterates the strategic importance of the Western Balkans for the security and stability of the EU and the need to focus and strengthen the EU’s political engagement towards the region, including by strengthening the mandate of our Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions; is firmly convinced that in order toovercome the EU’s vulnerability there is a need for more integration as well as coordination;

5.  Deplores the terrorist threat that is quickly expanding both within Europe and beyond its borders; considers that an incomplete answer on the military level will inevitably lead to ever-growing internal security threats; urgently calls for an European anti-jihadist pact that can tackle these threats in an effective manner;

6.  Believes that terrorism represents today one of the key challenges to the security of EU citizens, requiring swift, firm and coordinated action, both at internal and external level, in order to prevent further terrorist attacks and to fight its root causes; points out, in particular, the need to prevent radicalisation, to block any source of financial resources to terrorist organisations, to tackle terrorist propaganda and block the use of the internet and social networks for this purpose, including through an automated removal service, and to improve intelligence sharing between Member States, as well as with third countries, NATO and other relevant partner organisations; believes that the mandate of our CSDP missions should include the fight against terrorism in order to contribute more consequently to deradicalisation programmes, notably EULEX in Kosovo and EUFOR ALTHEA in Bosnia Herzegovina, countries that are confronted with an important number of fighters returning from abroad;

7.  Is deeply concerned about the increasingly deadly terrorist threat in the Sahel belt as well as its extension to Central Africa, and the instability in the East (Syria, Iraq, Palestine); calls on the VP/HR to ensure that an executive mandate is granted to the CSDP missions and to intervene in a decisive and determined manner;

8.  Believes that, under the current EU enlargement policy, a credible accession process grounded on extensive and fair conditionality remains an important tool for promoting security by enhancing the resilience of countries in the south-eastern Europe;

9.   Believes that in a challenging security environment, and at a moment when the EU and NATO are endeavouring to broaden and deepen their cooperation, through Brexit the EU will lose part of its military capability and will possibly no longer be able to benefit from the UK’s expertise, and vice versa; notes that Brexit gives new momentum to initiatives that have long been blocked, and could open the door to new proposals; stresses the importance of continuing close defence cooperation between the EU and the post-Brexit UK, including in, but not limited to, the areas of intelligence sharing and counterterrorism; considers that, if it so requests, the UK should also be able to participate in CSDP missions as part of a new EU-UK defence cooperation relationship;

10.   Welcomes the renewed US commitment to European security; stresses that the EU stands firmly committed to the transatlantic community of common values and interests; is at the same time convinced that an accountable and self-confident CFSP is needed and that, in this context, the EU must become a self-assured foreign-policy actor;

Institutional framework

11.   Believes strongly that, whenever necessary, the EU should take decisive action to determine its future, as internal and external security are becoming increasingly intertwined, and as this has a direct impact on all European citizens; warns that the lack of a common approach could lead to uncoordinated and fragmented action, allows multiple duplications and inefficiency and, as a result, would make the Union and its Member States vulnerable; is therefore of the opinion that the EU should be able to act effectively along the entire spectrum of internal-external security instruments, up to the level of Article 42(7) TEU; stresses that the framing of a common Union defence policy referred to in Article 42(2) TEU has the objective of establishing a common defence and endowing the Union with strategic autonomy to enable it to promote peace and security in Europe and in the world; emphasises the practical and financial benefits of further integrating European defence capabilities;

12.   Underlines that the EU needs to apply the entire tool-box of available policy instruments – from soft to hard power and from short-term measures to long-term policies in the area of classical foreign policy, encompassing not only bilateral and multilateral efforts in diplomacy, development cooperation, civilian and economic instruments, emergency support, crisis prevention and post-conflict strategies, but also peacekeeping and peace-enforcing, also in line with the civilian and military means described in Article 43(1) TEU – in order to cope with the rising challenges; believes that the CSDP should be built on the principle that European security cannot be guaranteed by relying merely on military assets; considers that EU foreign actions should include an assessment of their impact on EU´s people-centred strategic interests of enhancing human security and human rights, strengthening international law and promoting sustainable peace; underlines the need for the EEAS to step up its capacities to better anticipate crises and counter security challenges at the point of their inception; stresses the need for a more coherent and better coordinated interaction between military, civilian, development and humanitarian actors;

13.  Welcomes the visible progress made in framing a stronger European defence stance since the adoption of the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy (EUGS) in June 2016; welcomes, in particular, the launching of a European Defence Fund (EDF), the proposed scaling-up of the Preparatory Action on Defence Research and the legislative proposal for a European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP); calls on the Member States to increase their future financial contributions to the EU budget in order to cover all additional costs incurred by the EU in connection with the EDF;

14.   Welcomes EFTA’s adhesion to the preparatory action on defence research, and welcomes in particular the Norwegian contribution of EUR 585 000 for 2017; expresses its wish that Norway may continue to participate in Union-funded programmes that have defence implications or are in the defence remit;

15.   Calls on the Commission and the VP/HR, to keep Parliament immediately and fully informed at all stages about any conclusion of, or amendment to, international agreements that have defence implications or are in the defence remit; considers that any third-country financial contribution has important budgetary implications for the Union, as a third country could affect the Union’s financial interests in a manner well beyond the size of its contribution by withholding necessary export licenses; stresses that where third parties contribute to Union-funded programmes that have defence implications or are in the defence remit, Parliament expects the Commission and the VP/HR to assess the impact of such participation as regards the Unions’ strategic policies and interests before making a proposal, and to inform Parliament about this assessment;

16.   Highlights the facts that the Commission and an increasing number of Member States have committed themselves to launching the European Defence Union (EDU) and that there is a strong support for this among European citizens; stresses that this corresponds to a demand from EU citizens and from Parliament, notably through numerous appeals expressed in its previous resolutions; highlights the greater efficiency, and the elimination of duplication and reduction of costs, that will result from stronger European defence integration; stresses, however, that the launch of a real EDU requires continued political will and determination; urges the Member States to commit themselves to a common and autonomous European defence, and to aim to ensure that their national defence budgets amount to at least 2 % of their respective GDPs within a decade;

17.  Is convinced that the only way to increase the Union’s ability to fulfil its military tasks is to increase efficiency significantly with regard to all aspects of the processes that generate military capabilities; recalls that the EU-28 spends 40 % of its GDP total on defence, but only manage to generate 15 % of the capabilities that the USA gets out of the same processes, which points to a very serious efficiency problem;

18.   Calls on the VP/HR and the Commission to act on Parliament’s calls for an EU Security and Defence White Book in the context of preparing the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), as requested in Parliament’s resolutions of 22 November 2016, 23 November 2016 and 16 March 2017; considers that building the EDU, linking the its strategic orientation with EU contributions to capability development and shaping the European institutional framework for defence, are elements that need to be underpinned by an interinstitutional agreement; stresses that with a comprehensive and trustworthy effort on the part of all stakeholders it is possible to increase the scope and efficiency of defence spending; calls for a powerful role in this process to be defined for neutral countries such as Austria and Sweden, without calling into question the neutrality of individual Member States;

19.  Stresses that, in addition to a description of the strategic environment and the strategic ambitions, the EU Security and Defence White Book should identify, for the next MFF, the required and available capabilities, as well as any capability shortfalls, in the form of the EU Capability Development Plan (CDP), and should be complemented by a broad outline of the intended Member State and Union actions under the MFF and in the longer term; 

20.  Welcomes the newly demonstrated political will to make CSDP more effective; supports any attempt to unleash the full potential of the Lisbon Treaty by making cooperation between Member Stakes work, and to make the operationally relevant capabilities for fulfilling Article 43(1) TEU tasks available, by:

a) urgently installing the start-up fund as foreseen by the Treaty in order to allow fast deployment of operations;

b) establishing permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on those military aspects that are necessary to implement CSDP tasks such as permanently pooled military units;

c) reforming the intergovernmental joint financing mechanism Athena in order to operationalise solidarity between those Member States that can only contribute financially and those that can only contribute with troops to a CSDP operation;

d) making pooling and sharing of capabilities the rule and not the exception, and moving towards the implementation of a majority of the 300 proposals presented by the 28 Chiefs of Defence in 2011;

e) pooling national resources with regard to research, development, procurement, maintenance and training;

f) coordinating national defence planning (Coordinated Annual Review on Defence, CARD) as currently planned;

g) initiating common rules for military certification and a common policy on security of supply;

h) enforcing, on the part of the Commission, internal market rules in line with the 2009 Defence Procurement Directive with regard to national defence procurement projects;

21.  Welcomes the Commission’s intention to propose a specific programme for defence research, with a dedicated budget and own rules, under the next MFF; stresses that Member States should make additional resources available to that programme, without interfering with existing framework programmes funding research, technological development and innovation, as requested in Parliament’s resolution of 5 July 2017; renews its previous calls on the Commission to provide for Union participation in defence research and development programmes undertaken by Member States, or jointly with industry where appropriate, as referred to in Articles 185 and 187 TFEU;

22.   Welcomes the Commission’s proposal for a EDIDP; underlines that any Union action to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States in the defence remit should have the objective of contributing to the progressive framing of a common defence policy, as referred to, inter alia, in Article 2(4) TFEU, and therefore of covering common development, standardisation, certification and maintenance, leading to cooperative programmes and a higher degree of interoperability; calls on the Commission to promote the new EDIDP as widely as possible, and, in particular, to encourage SMEs to participate in joint, cross-border projects;

23.  Considers that exports by Member States of weapons, ammunitions and defence-related goods and services form an integral part of EU foreign, security and defence policy;

24.  Urges the Council to take concrete steps towards the harmonisation and standardisation of the European armed forces, in accordance with Article 42(2) TEU, in order to facilitate the cooperation of armed forces personnel under the umbrella of a new EDU, as a step towards the progressive framing of a common EU defence policy;

25.  Stresses that the use of all possibilities provided for in the Treaty would improve the competitiveness and functioning of the defence industry within the single market by further stimulating defence cooperation through positive incentives, targeting projects that Member States are not able to undertake, reducing unnecessary duplication and promoting a more efficient use of public money; is of the opinion that the outputs of such strategic cooperative programmes have great potential as dual-use technologies and, as such, bring extra added value to Member States; emphasises the importance of developing European capabilities and an integrated defence market;

26.  Calls for the establishment of precise and binding guidelines to provide a well-defined framework for future activation and implementation of Article 42(7) TEU;

27.  Calls on the Commission, the Council and the VP/HR to engage, together with Parliament, in an interinstitutional dialogue on the progressive framing of a common defence policy; stresses that, under the next MFF, a fully-fledged EU defence budget should be established for all the internal aspects of CSDP and that a doctrine for its implementation should be developed within the remit of the Lisbon Treaty; underlines the need for a revision of the Athena mechanism in order to widen the range of operations considered as a common cost and incentivise participation in CSDP missions and operations;

28.  Points out that this new defence budget will have to be financed through new resources in the next MFF;

29.  Believes that decision-making on CSDP issues could be more democratic and transparent; proposes, therefore, to turn its Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) into a fully fledged parliamentary committee, enabling it to gain greater powers of scrutiny and accountability over the CSDP and to play a prominent role in its implementation, in particular by scrutinising legal acts pertaining to security and defence;

30.  Regrets the lack of cooperation and information-sharing among security and intelligence services in Europe; believes that more cooperation between intelligence services could help counter terrorism; calls, in this regard, for the establishment of a fully fledged European intelligence system;

Permanent Structured Cooperation

31.   Welcomes the willingness of Member States to make binding commitments within the CSDP framework, thereby implementing an ambitious and inclusive Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), and calls for its swift establishment by the Council; underlines that the desired inclusiveness of participation must not compromise either full commitment to the CSDP or a high level of ambition among participating Member States; points to the necessity to set clear participation criteria, leaving other Member States the option to join at a later stage; believes that activities within PESCO should always be in full alignment with CSDP;

32.  Stresses that PESCO should develop within the EU framework and that it should benefit from effective Union support, in full respect of Member States’ competences in defence; renews its call for appropriate PESCO funding to be provided from the Union budget; considers that participation in all Union agencies and bodies falling under the CSDP, including the European Security and Defence College (ESDC), should be made a requirement under PESCO; renews its call for the EU Battlegroup System to be considered as a common cost under the revised Athena mechanism;

33.  Stresses that it is necessary to ease the administrative procedures that are unnecessarily slowing down the generation of forces for CSDP missions and the cross-border movement of rapid response forces inside the EU; calls on the Member States to establish an EU-wide system for the coordination of rapid movement of defence force personnel, equipment and supplies for the purposes of CSDP, where the solidarity clause is invoked and where all Member States have an obligation to provide aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter;

34.  Demands the establishment of a fully fledged EU civilian-military strategic headquarters under PESCO – to be composed of the existing Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC), the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC), and the Crisis Management and Planning Directorate (CMPD) – providing a platform for integrated operational support throughout the entire planning cycle, from the initial political concept to detailed plans;

35.  Encourages the Member States participating in PESCO to set up a permanent ‘European Integrated Force’, composed of divisions of their national armies, and to make it available to the Union for the implementation of the CSDP as foreseen by Article 42(3) TEU;

36.  Considers that a common cyber defence policy should be one of the first building blocks of the European Defence Union; encourages the VP/HR to develop proposals for establishing, within the framework of PESCO, an EU cyber defence unit;

Defence Directorate-General

37.  Calls for the evaluation, in close coordination with the VP/HR, of the opportunity to establish a Directorate-General for Defence within the Commission (DG Defence), which would drive the Union’s actions to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the Member States aimed at the progressive framing of a common defence policy, as foreseen by Article 2 TFEU;

38.   Considers that the proposed DG Defence should have the responsibility to ensure open borders for the free movement of troops and equipment, as a necessary prerequisite for ensuring the degree of strategic autonomy, inter-operability, security of supply, standardisation and military certification arrangements required for: EU contributions to programmes under the CSDP and PESCO; EU-funded defence research; the EU’s strategic autonomy; the competitiveness of Europe’s defence industry, including SMEs and mid-cap companies forming the European defence supply chain; and the interinstitutional arrangements in the defence remit, including the EU Security and Defence White Book; stresses that the proposed DG Defence should contribute to better coordination of tasks among the various actors with a view to achieving greater policy coherence and consistency;

39.   Underlines that the proposed DG Defence should work in liaison with the European Defence Agency (EDA); considers that the EDA should be the implementing agency for Union actions under the European Capabilities and Armaments policy, where this is foreseen by the Lisbon Treaty; renews its call on the Council to ensure that the administrative and operational expenditure of the EDA is funded from the Union budget; notes that EDA’s increasing new roles and responsibilities should be followed by an increase of its budget, stressing at the same time that the possible establishment of a DG Defence, and renewed efforts to make CSDP more effective, should not lead to resources being diverted to the growth of bureaucratic structures and to duplicating structures;

Coordinated strategic and annual defence reviews

40.  Welcomes the strategic review of the EU’s Capability Development Plan (CDP) due to be completed in spring 2018; underlines that the CDP will serve to foster collaboration among Member States in efforts to fill capability gaps in the context of the EDA;

41.  Welcomes the establishment of the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) process; considers that CARD should contribute to the standardisation and harmonisation of the investments and capabilities of national armed forces in an effective manner, ensuring the Union’s strategic and operational autonomy and coherence, and allowing Member States to invest more efficiently together in defence; welcomes the proposal to launch a trial run in 2017;

42.  Encourages Member States to explore the possibility of joint procurement of defence resources;

43.  Emphasises that CARD should be based on the EU Security and Defence White Book and the CDP, and should address the full spectrum of CSDP-related capabilities, in particular those of the Member States participating in PESCO; considers that CARD should deliver a set of concrete proposals to fill gaps and identify where Union action would be appropriate, to be taken into account in EU budget planning for the following year; underlines the need for the Commission and the EDA to work together in designing the annual work programmes under the capability and research windows of the proposed EDF; points out that the EDA should have a distinct role not only in designing the programme, but also in the management of projects financed from the capability window;

44.  Stresses the need for close coordination of all CSDP-related activities, in particular CARD, PESCO and the EDF;

45.  Considers that the Commission should take up the results of CARD and initiate an interinstitutional agreement that establishes the scope and funding of subsequent Union actions; considers that, drawing on the interinstitutional agreement, the Council and the Commission should take the necessary decisions in their respective remits to authorise such actions; calls for interparliamentary cooperation on defence to review CARD, and for the subsequent development of defence capabilities on a regular basis;

CSDP missions and operations

46.   Thanks the more than six thousand women and men who have given good and loyal service in the Union’s civilian and military missions on three continents; values these missions as Europe’s common contribution to peace and stability in the world; regrets, however, that the efficiency of these missions can still be jeopardised by structural weaknesses, uneven contributions from Member States and unsuitability to the operational environment, deploring in particular the limitations in the CSDP missions mandate; stresses, in this context, the need for real effectiveness that can only be achieved with the provision of proper military equipment, and urges the Council and the VP/HR to make use of the possibilities provided for in Article 41.2 TEU to this end; welcomes the increase in Member States’ defence spending in support of our service members; takes the view that this trend needs to be sustained, strengthened and coordinated at EU level; calls for effective measures to be taken to ensure that lessons learned and experience gained as regards the human dimension of CSDP missions are assessed and taken into account when future CSDP missions are designed;

47.  Welcomes the presentation of the first annual report on the CSDP by the VP/HR; believes, however, that this report should not be of quantitative nature only, describing achievements with statistical data and detailed information, but also focus in the future on evaluating the political impact of CSDP activities in improving the security of our citizens;

48.  Calls on the VP/HR, the Commission and Member States to orient CSDP missions and operations more toward the priorities of the EU Global Strategy as well as the local and regional realities;

49.  Believes in the need to contribute further to crisis management and prevention and, specifically, to provide assistance to the reconstruction and stabilisation of Iraq; welcomes the recent decision by the Council to launch a new civilian CSDP mission in support of security sector reform in Iraq, and expects that the EU takes over the international lead in this area, including in counter-terrorism and civilian reconstruction; calls on the EU to ensure that this time there will be better coordination among participating Member States, and with regional as well as local actors;

50.  Welcomes the activities of EU NAVFOR Med and asks the VP/HR and the Member States to increase the support for local security actors on the southern shore of the Mediterranean;

51.  Expects from the VP/HR and the Council that EUBAM Libya will be relaunched at the occasion of the renewal of the mandate reaching out to local security actors on Libya’s southern borders; calls on the VP/HR and the Member States to come up with fresh ideas on how to tackle the security concerns in the Sahel zone by linking it to EUBAM Libya within its comprehensive and integrated approach and in support of the German-French initiative; welcomes the Council decision of 4 August 2017 on a European Union stabilisation action for Mali in the Mopti and Segou regions; calls, in this regard, on the VP/HR to inform Parliament how this measure interacts with CSDP missions and operations in the region;

52.  Welcomes the success of Operation EUFOR ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina in achieving a military end state; is, however, concerned that the political end state has not yet been achieved;

53.   Welcomes the recent establishment of a nucleus for a permanent EU operational headquarters, the Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC), as demanded by Parliament in its resolution of 12 September 2013, as it is a precondition for effective planning, command and control of common operations; calls on the Member States to staff it with adequate personnel so that it becomes fully functional, and to task it to plan and command executive military CSDP operations such as EUFOR ALTHEA;

54.  Considers that, as a consequence of the UK’s announcement of withdrawal from the Union, the command option of EU NAVFOR Somalia / Operation Atalanta needs to be reviewed; stresses the success of the operation, thanks to which not a single vessel has been boarded by pirates since 2014; welcomes the extension of the operation until 2018;

55.  Notes that only 75 % of the positions in civilian CSDP missions are filled; regrets, in this regard, that the EU staff regulations, which would provide better conditions and protection to mission staff, do not apply to personnel employed by the missions even though they are funded from the Union budget; is convinced that this impedes the effectiveness of the missions; urges the Member States to ensure that all vacant posts in all missions are swiftly filled;

56.  Welcomes the adoption of the EU Policy on Training for CSDP and the important role the European Security and Defence College (ESDC) plays as central training institution embedded within the CSDP structures; calls on the Member States to provide adequate financial, personnel and infrastructural resources for the ESDC;

57.  Regrets that Member States are failing to deploy in a swift manner the staff necessary for the preparatory and set-up stages of civilian CSDP missions; welcomes, in this context, the proposal developed jointly by the EEAS and Commission services for a multi-layered approach in order to speed up the deployment of civilian CSDP missions;

58.  Encourages further efforts to speed up the provision of financing for civilian and civil-military missions and to simplify decision-making procedures and implementation; believes, in this context, that the Commission should introduce, by delegated acts in accordance with Article 210 of the Financial Regulation, specific procurement rules to the crisis management measures under the CSDP in order to facilitate the rapid and flexible conduct of operations;

59.  Welcomes the establishment of the Mission Support Platform (MSP) in 2016; regrets the limited size and scope of the MSP, and reiterates its call for further progress towards a shared services centre that would allow further efficiency gains by providing a central coordination point for all mission support services;

60.  Urges the EEAS and the Council to step up their ongoing efforts to improve cyber security, in particular for CSDP missions, inter alia by taking measures at EU and Member State levels to mitigate threats to the CSDP, for instance by building up resilience through education, training and exercises, and by streamlining the EU cyber-defence education and training landscape;

61.  Believes that the EU and its Member States face an unprecedented threat in the form of state-sponsored cyber attacks as well as cyber crime and terrorism; believes that the nature of cyber attacks makes them a threat that needs an EU-level response; encourages the Member States to provide mutual assistance in the event of a cyber attack against any one of them;

62.  Calls on the Member States to apply full burden sharing to military CSDP missions by progressive enlargement of common funding toward full common funding, which should enable and encourage more Member States to contribute their capabilities and forces, or just funds; underlines the importance of reviewing the Athena mechanism in this regard and of covering all costs related to the financing of military CSDP operations;

63.  Urges the Council to act in accordance with Article 41(3) TEU and to adopt without delay the decision of establishing a start-up fund for the urgent financing of the initial phases of military operations for the tasks referred to in Article 42(1) and Article 43 TEU; urges the Council to resolve current problems with financing hybrid missions; calls for more flexibility in the EU’s financial rules in order to support its ability to respond to crises and for the implementation of existing Lisbon Treaty provisions;

EU-NATO cooperation

64.  Believes that, in the current context, the strategic partnership between the EU and NATO is fundamental to addressing the security challenges facing the Union and its neighbourhood; considers that the EU-NATO Joint Declaration and the subsequent implementation actions have the potential to move cooperation and complementarity to a higher level and to mark a new and substantive phase of the strategic partnership; welcomes the common set of 42 proposals, of which as many as 10 seek to increase resilience against hybrid threats, aimed at strengthening both cooperation and coordination between the two organisations; notes that this work will be taken forward in the spirit of full openness and transparency, in full respect of the decision-making autonomy and procedures of both organisations, and will be based on the principles of inclusiveness and reciprocity without prejudice to the specific character of the security and defence policy of any Member State; praises the cooperation being undertaken in combating cyber threats, developing strategic communications and coordinating maritime activities and joint exercises, and points to the excellent cooperation and complementarity of the EU’s Operation Sophia and NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian; welcomes as well the publication in June 2017 of the two organisations’ first joint implementation report and the progress made in implementing the common set of proposals, and calls for continued progress; stresses the EU’s full commitment to the transatlantic community of common values and interests;

65.  Notes that a stronger EU and a stronger NATO are mutually reinforcing; considers that Member States need to increase their efforts to act both within an EDU and as autonomous regional security providers, and in a complementary role within NATO, where appropriate; notes that, as set out in EUGS, the EU must contribute to: (a) responding to external conflicts and crises; (b) building the capabilities of partners; and (c) protecting the Union and its citizens; welcomes the set of initiatives that are underway to implement EUGS in the field of security and defence, to develop stronger relations between the EU and NATO, and to enable EU Member States to engage in defence research and develop defence capabilities together; is of the opinion that the security and protection of Europe will increasingly depend on both organisations acting within their remits; calls for efforts to improve cooperation in countering hybrid threats, including through the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, and in the exchange of information and intelligence;

66.  Stresses the importance of cooperation and integration in cyber security, not only between Member States, key partners and NATO, but also between different actors within society;

CSDP partnerships

67.  Stresses that partnerships and cooperation with countries that share EU’s values contribute to the effectiveness and the impact of the CSDP; welcomes, in this regard, the contributions of Albania, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Georgia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zeeland, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States;

68.  Welcomes the signature of the EU-US Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) of 7 December 2016; calls on the VP/HR to inform Parliament about how this agreement has improved the conditions for, and protection of, CSDP mission staff;

69.  Invites the VP/HR and the Member States to establish EU military attachés in EU delegations contributing to the implementation of the strategic objectives of the Union;

70.  Welcomes the proposal of the Commission to review the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) in order to support actions carried out under the Capacity Building in Support of Security and Development (CBSD) initiative, which will enable the EU to fund capacity building and resilience and help strengthen the capabilities of partner countries; encourages the EEAS and the Commission to implement the CBSD initiative without delay, to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of CSDP missions and to provide a more flexible and integrated EU approach that takes advantage of civil-military synergies;

°

°  °

71.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the European Council, the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of NATO, the EU agencies in the space, security and defence fields, and the governments and national parliaments of the Member States.

(1)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0344.

(2)

Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0381.

(3)

Texts adopted, P8_TA (2016)0435.

(4)

Texts adopted, P8_TA (2016)0440.

(5)

Texts adopted, P8_TA (2017)0092.

(6)

Texts adopted, P8_TA (2017)0302.