General Market

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

The European Parliament,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AN AREA OF JUSTICE AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS BASED ON MUTUAL TRUST

Justice

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

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

Security

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

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

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

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

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

Fundamental rights

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

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

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

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

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

TOWARDS A NEW POLICY ON MIGRATION

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

14.  Calls for a standalone European humanitarian visa regulation;

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

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

A UNION OF DEMOCRATIC CHANGE

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

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

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

A NEW BOOST FOR JOBS, GROWTH AND INVESTMENT

MFF revision, budget and employment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horizon 2020

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

A more efficient and multimodal transport policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

A DEEPER AND FAIRER ECONOMIC AND MONETARY UNION

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

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

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

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

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

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

A CONNECTED DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET

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

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

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

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

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

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

A DEEPER AND FAIRER INTERNAL MARKET WITH A STRENGTHENED INDUSTRIAL BASE

The single market

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consumer rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agriculture and fisheries policies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRADE

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

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

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

A STRONGER GLOBAL ACTOR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Government

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why a space strategy now?

The EU is developing three high quality space projects: Copernicus, a leading provider of Earth observation data across the globe; Galileo, Europe’s own global navigation satellite system (GNSS); and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), which provides precision navigation services to aviation, maritime and land-based users over most of Europe. A total of EUR 12 billion from the EU budget will be invested in these projects and in research over 2014-2020. Now that the infrastructure of EU space programmes is well advanced, the focus needs to shift to ensuring a strong market uptake of space data and services by the public and private sector. By generating more services which respond to people’s needs and new economic opportunities, every euro spent on EU space policy is a euro well spent. This is also in line with the Commission’s Budget for Results initiative.

The strategy also responds to a changing environment. Global competition is growing. Space activities are becoming increasingly commercial with greater private sector involvement. Major technological shifts are disrupting traditional industrial and business models in the sector. Europe needs to remain a leader in space. This requires a stable, predictable framework which stimulates investment and a strong research base, which is supported under the Horizon 2020 research programme.

Space resources will be used more strategically to support Europe’s competitiveness and help boost jobs, growth and investment in Europe. Space technologies and information will also support key political priorities such as monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, helping secure our borders and developing our digital economy.

2. What are the existing EU space programmes?

The EU has three flagships programmes in the field of space:

Copernicus , a leading provider of Earth observation data across the globe, already helps save lives at sea, improves our response to natural disasters such as earthquakes, forest fires or floods, and allows farmers to better manage their crops, collects data from earth observation satellites and ground stations, airborne and sea-borne sensors. It processes data and provides users with reliable and up-to-date information through a set of services in six thematic areas: land monitoring, marine monitoring, atmosphere monitoring, climate change, emergency management response and security. Most of these services are already operational and have been enabled by the earth observation data from the first four Copernicus Sentinel satellites, as well as a number of contribution missions from other operators. Three more satellites are to be launched next year and two more satellites by 2021.

Galileo, Europe’s own global satellite navigation system (“the European GPS”), will soon provide more accurate and reliable positioning and timing information for autonomous and connected cars, railways, aviation and other sectors. The deployment of Galileo is on track and initial services, which are the first step toward full operational capability of Galileo in 2020, will be available soon. The Galileo Services will gradually improve as more satellites are deployed and other services (e.g. commercial services) will be made available.

The European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) provides “safety of life” navigation services to aviation, maritime and land-based users over most of Europe. Safety of life means that the positioning information is so precise that, for example, an aircraft can safely land using it. All services provided by EGNOS are already fully operational and the number of users is growing.

The EU is also conducting other space-related activities, such as the funding of R&D through the Horizon 2020 programme. This has already yielded great results in the form of projects which use space generated data for such things as the monitoring of agricultural sustainability (SIGMA and AGRICAB projects), analysis of the chemical composition of our oceans (OSS2015) as well as providing support to urban planners to coordinate city resources (DECUMANOS) to name but a few. In addition, the EU contributes to the space surveillance and tracking support framework (SST). Operational since July 2016, the SST services detect and warn against possible collisions in Space and monitor re-entry of space debris into the Earth atmosphere.

3. When will we start to see EU space policy deliver in practice?

We already do! Some examples where European space policy is already providing practical support are:

  • Removal of the Costa Concordia in July 2014: Copernicus provided the operation with mapping of sea currents and monitoring services which made the long voyage across the Mediterranean to Genoa possible in terms of minimizing risk of further pollution.
  • The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano in March 2010: It generated a cloud of volcanic ash which caused massive disruption to air travel, forcing many European countries to close their air space. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service produced daily forecasts of the movements of the Eyjafjallajökull ash plume based on its global modelling system.
  • Earthquakes in Ecuador in April 2016 and more recently in central Italy in August 2016: The European Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre activated the EU Copernicus Emergency mapping service for damage assessment grading maps over the populated areas most affected by the quake. The maps based on satellite-imagery are produced to help understand the situation on the ground and thus help the rescue teams to find survivors in the rubble of the affected buildings. They are also able to assist in later months in the reconstruction and monitoring of recovery of the area. 
  • The European Coast and Border Guard Agency‘s missions in the Mediterranean: In 2015, 350 people were rescued after Copernicus satellites helped to spot four flimsy rubber dinghies leaving the coast of Libya. These also helped Greek authorities seize a ship smuggling 60 million cigarettes after tracking a suspect vessel in an operation coordinated through Eurosur. Spanish coastguards were able to locate a 7-metre migrant boat with engine failure which had been reported lost by Moroccan authorities, thereby rescuing 38 people, including three children.
  • Satellite navigation in farming: EGNOS is providing an important contribution to precision agriculture in the EU. Today 80 % of tractors which have GPS are also equipped with EGNOS, which allows farmers to determine crop lands with higher precision than ever before.
  • Landing of airplanes: Today 195 airports in Europe have implemented EGNOS landing procedures, on the one hand allowing them to save money on ground based landing infrastructure, and on the other hand making landing in difficult weather conditions more secure, thus avoiding delays and re-routing.

4. Who is responsible for space issues in Europe?

The Commission focuses on devising a space policy which fosters an innovative internal market for space-based applications for the benefit of European citizens. We also support the development of a robust European industry that can create jobs and growth and compete on the global stage. The EU is not financing any action regarding space exploration.

The EU also fully finances, owns and manages Copernicus, Galileo and EGNOS. However, the Commission has delegated the actual operations of the space infrastructure. The European Space Agency (ESA), an intergovernmental organization undertaking space exploration activities, deploys the Galileo infrastructure. The EU Agency dedicated to Global Navigation Satellites Systems –the GSA –is the exploitation entity of Galileo and EGNOS, responsible for market uptake. Copernicus satellite operations on the other hand are managed by the ESA and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), while the services are delegated to the European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), Mercator Ocean, the EU Satellite Centre and the Joint Research Centre. The European Coast and Border Guard uses Copernicus high-resolution images, for example to track suspect vessels at sea.

5. What new business models could emerge?

The possibilities opened up by the huge volumes of data from space and the precision signals of Galileo will lead innovators and entrepreneurs to new solutions that we perhaps cannot even imagine today. A number of innovative start-ups are already developing cutting-edge space based information and technology services. A good indication of what future solutions may look like come from The Commission’s Copernicus and Galileo prizes has awarded innovative space-driven applications. Recent winners include solutions which help farmers receive weekly updated maps on their crop health status (FieldSenseproject),provide real-time information about buildings and construction projects all over the world (Building Radar project) or develop mobile phones that allow us to use augmented reality superimposed on our surroundings (CybEarth project).

New services driven by space data will emerge, and as launch costs fall, for example when multiple small satellites can be launched, new technologies can be deployed to provide new products. But no one can predict exactly how things will unfold, any more than we might have tried to predict the future uses of the Internet back in 1990.

The Commission will monitor market developments and consider how to underpin this transformation through research and innovation, by making access to space data easier, promoting more private investment for such start-ups (in particular in the context of the Investment Plan for Europe), and support the emergence of European industrial space hubs and clusters in European regions.

6. Is space data available for free? And how can it be accessed?

Copernicus offers free, full and open access. Anyone can access Copernicus data and information (i.e. Copernicus Sentinel data and Copernicus service products and information) at no charge at any time through the Copernicus website. The Space Strategy will encourage the dissemination and take-up of these opportunities, offering countless possibilities for businesses, scientists, and public authorities, making Copernicus a real game changer in Earth Observation. The Commission will make it easier for innovative companies and start-ups to access space data via dedicated industry-led platforms in order to develop services and applications.

7. How will you encourage the Galileo signal uptake when there is such reliance on GPS?

As Galileo moves into its operational phase, it will begin to deliver tangible results.  

With additional satellites as well as due to its enhanced features, Galileo will significantly improve the precision of navigation as compared to the current GPS system. More satellites in orbit means more satellites are visible above the horizon so that more signals can be compared, giving a more precise location. Also Galileo receivers can distinguish between direct signals and reflections. This will particularly improve accuracy in cities, where a large part of the sky is obscured by buildings, which can compromise accurate positioning. In addition, Galileo will provide unprecedented timing accuracy, which is vital for the synchronisation of critical infrastructure such as telecommunication networks and electricity grids as well as for providing exact timing of financial transactions.

Thanks to Galileo, more accurate Search & Rescue service will become available to the international COSPAS SARSAT operations. These services depend on satellites detecting a signal from a distress beacon. The current satellites may take three or more hours before passing close enough to a beacon to detect it, and can only locate it to within 10 kilometres. The Galileo service picks up the signal within 10 minutes and narrows the range down to 5km, meaning that the area to be searched is just one quarter the size of the current area. This will help save lives at sea or in the mountains.

The Commission will also look at possible actions to introduce Galileoin mobile phones. This will build on the experience from a current project, which is already testing how Galileo signals can be used in emergencies by automatically providing the accurate location of the caller to public services.

Other sectoral measures will be taken to introduce Galileo into specific markets or areas for example in autonomous and connected cars, railways, aviation as well as in protecting critical infrastructures using time synchronisation.

In addition, a study will be launched to look into possible standardisation measures and putting in place a voluntary labelling and certification scheme for Galileo (and EGNOS).

8. Will we see a growing space industry and more European launchers?

Europe is already a major global space player. It has a strong and competitive industry, e.g. for satellites, launchers and related services/operations. The European space industry employs over 230 000 professionals and generates a value added estimated at EUR 46-54 billion. Europe manufactures one third of all the world’s satellites.

With 18 satellites currently in orbit and over 30 planned in the next 10-15 years, the EU is also the largest institutional customer for launch services in Europe. The Commission will aggregate the launch service needs of EU programmes and act as a smart customer of European reliable and cost-effective launch solutions.

It is crucial that Europe continues to have modern, efficient and flexible launch infrastructure facilities. In addition to measures taken by Member States and ESA, the Commission will consider ways to support such facilities within its areas of competence, for example through its contracts for launch services or other funding instruments where this corresponds to EU policy objectives or needs.

In the future, Ariane 6 and Vega C will progressively replace the current fleet, with a substantial cost reduction for access to space foreseen. The European Union will also continue to support research and innovation efforts, in particular to ensure Europe’s ability to react and anticipate disruptive changes such as reusability and small launchers.

9. Are Copernicus and Galileo purely civilian programmes?

Yes. The existing GNSS, as well as Galileo and Copernicus are purely civilian programmes entirely under civilian control. Some of the services and data can be used for emergency services, police, crisis management, border management or peace-keeping operations. The use of the services is to be decided by individual Member States, including any potential military use.

10. How can space contribute to Europes common security and defence capabilities?

EU space-based applications can provide additional operational capacity for the implementation of the common security and defence policy, notably with regard to precision navigation (Galileo), surveillance (Copernicus), communications (Govsatcom), autonomous access to space (launchers) and situational awareness (SST), and can contribute to European strategic autonomy and non-dependence. Space and defence technologies are also closely interlinked.

11. What is the link with upcoming European Defence Action Plan?

Space capabilities will be considered in the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP), principally as regards satellite communications. These provide infrastructure to support a range of vital capabilities to deal with security situations such as disaster response, border and maritime surveillance and terrorist attacks. In this respect, we expect the EDAP to tackle the area of secure satellite communications which can be used by EU and national public authorities (both civil and military). The EDAP’s coverage of this area would build on and be compatible with the proposals in the European Space Strategy.

12. What happens next?

The Commission invites the European Parliament and the Council to discuss and support this strategy, and its implementation In 2017 the Commission should start to implement the actions outlines in this strategy and initiate a regular structured dialogue with stakeholders to ensure its effective delivery and monitor its progress.

One of the foundations of the Space Strategy is strengthening partnerships between the Commission, Member States, ESA and GSA, together with all other relevant agencies such as EUMETSAT, stakeholders, industry, research and user communities.

Relations between the EU and ESA will be one of the cornerstones of success. Working together, sharing resources, expertise and investing in a common future, we can push the boundaries of what is possible. An important symbol of this cooperation is the EU-ESA Joint Statement on shared vision and goals which will be signed on the day of the adoption of the Space Strategy and which will offer a common reference framework for the respective strategies of the EU and ESA in space.

As part of the midterm review of the EU Space Programmes in 2017, the Commission will also examine the possibility to further simplify and improve the governance, transparency and accountability of EU space programmes through a single Financial Framework Partnership Agreement with ESA.

The Commission will continue its successful collaboration with EUMETSAT given its crucial role in the delivery of Copernicus. The role of the Galileo Space Agency (GSA) will also be strengthened to better support the exploitation of Galileo and EGNOS and to increase their market uptake. The Commission will consider extending the GSA’s responsibilities in certain security-related tasks to other EU space activities.

The Commission will also look at how EU space programmes can support the needs of various other EU agencies, such as the European Environment Agency, European Fisheries Control Agency, European Maritime Safety Agency, the European Coast and Border Guard Agency and others. It will work closely with the European External Action Service, the European Defence Agency and the European Union Satellite Centre, together with Member States and ESA to explore possible dual-use synergies in the space programmes.

For more information

IP/16/3530

General Market

Joint motion for a resolution on the strategic priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2017 – RC-B8-2016-0885

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Political Guidelines for the European Commission entitled ‘A New Start for Europe: My Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change’, presented by Jean-Claude Juncker on 15 July 2014,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 27 October 2015 entitled ‘Commission Work Programme 2016 – No time for business as usual’ (COM(2015)0610) and Annexes I to VI thereto,

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

–  having regard to the Conference of Committee Chairs’ Summary Report, which provides complementary input to this resolution from the point of view of parliamentary committees and which the Commission should take duly into account when drafting and adopting its Work Programme for 2017,

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 June 2016 on the decision to leave the EU resulting from the UK referendum(1),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 28-29 June 2016,

–  having regard to the contribution of the Committee of the Regions to the Commission’s 2017 Work Programme,

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

Introduction

A.  whereas the European integration process has brought peace and contributed to security and prosperity in Europe for decades;

B.  whereas Europe now faces many common and global challenges, but also increasing frustration and worry among many citizens about uncertain life prospects and a lack of opportunities that citizens expect decision-makers to respond to; whereas, if it is to succeed, the European Union cannot be reduced to an economic project; whereas it is urgent to win back the hearts of Europeans in favour of the European project and to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion;

C.  whereas the EU’s overlapping crises require effective European solutions, strongly anchored in a more democratic process through the community method, with the full involvement of the European Parliament and the national parliaments and in accordance with Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality;

D.  whereas the EU is our common home and must offer a place of safety and a stable economic environment for its citizens; whereas sustainability and economic growth are compatible and can be mutually reinforcing; whereas it is important to bring the EU out of the lengthy economic crisis by stepping up sustainable investments, reducing disparities and implementing agreed policies and developing better ones, in particular by deepening the internal market and improving the Economic and Monetary Union;

E.  whereas we have chosen to pursue a common future, as a community based on shared values and cherishing the richness and diversity of our traditions and history; whereas we want Europe to play its role and take up its responsibility on the global stage, committed to solidarity, multilateralism, our external partnerships and promoting convergence on better standards; whereas we want to secure our common project of shared peace, prosperity and democracy, with a view to creating an appealing future for all generations;

Improving the working and living conditions of European citizens

1.  Recalls that Europe’s economic recovery has been modest and unbalanced, with many regions of the Union still experiencing unacceptable levels of unemployment, poverty, inequality and a severe lack of prospects for younger generations; the EU must work therefore towards a dynamic and inclusive labour market embedded in the European social market economy model, improving citizens’ living conditions and enabling fair mobility; is convinced that all EU citizens must count on a fundamental set of fair working conditions and access to quality education, social protection and essential services which enable a work-life balance and meet the needs of a modern labour market within the EU; recognises that at the heart of a competitive and inclusive economy is its capacity to leverage the talent of women and men in all activities;

2.  Calls on the Commission, to that end, to build on the ongoing public consultation and Parliament’s forthcoming report by putting forward, in line with the subsidiarity principle and Treaty objectives, a proposal on a European pillar of social rights, to be translated into concrete initiatives, in particular to:

–  promote the accessibility and quality of early education, childcare and healthcare, which are crucial to ensuring that no child is left behind; the Commission should therefore reflect on further actions to develop social investment, and in particular to reduce child poverty;

–  close the skills gap and ensure access to quality education, training and lifelong learning for all;

–  reduce social inequalities and promote quality employment, especially for young people and the long-term unemployed in order to boost economic growth;

–  address work-life balance challenges and the gender gap in pay and pensions;

3.  Stresses that the Commission should monitor, encourage and support Member States’ efficient and effective spending of funds to boost youth employment and the creation of quality employment, in particular in regions with high unemployment levels, through programmes for jobs and growth such as those financed by the Youth Employment Initiative, the European Structural and Investment Funds, the European Fund for Strategic Investments and the European Investment Bank;

4.  Emphasises that the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States and social partners, should also reinforce the European social dialogue with a view to better reconciling labour markets and social protection demands in order to address social inequalities and competitiveness challenges;

Strengthening economic recovery and long-term competitiveness with a view to creating jobs and generating prosperity

5.  Is convinced that the EU can be a world leader by unleashing the full potential of its single market and promoting entrepreneurship, fair competition and investment in innovation;

6.  Holds the view that the EU must foster a strong and diversified European business landscape; points out that the EU’s competition policy is instrumental to the functioning of its social market economy; stresses that, if it is to remain competitive, fit for purpose and future-proof, European industry must become sustainable and go digital; shares the Commission’s philosophy that Europe has to be big on big things and small on small things;

7.  Calls for re-launching the sustainable growth and employment strategy Europe 2020, with a real ambition for the future, in particular for improving our social market economy model and implementing structural reforms to modernise Member States’ economies and bring about widely shared prosperity; is convinced that boosting employment and productivity remains the top priority, and that the EU needs targeted investments to accelerate the transition towards an innovative, resource-efficient, digital economy with a view to reindustrialising Europe and reshoring jobs;

8.  Asks the Commission to design a new, ambitious industrial strategy building on and complementing the circular economy package; points out that additional private and public investments are needed for energy transition, eco-innovative SMEs, research and education;

9.  Calls on the Commission to propose more measures which would foster research and development, innovation, cultural diversity and creativity as key drivers of job creation, while bearing in mind that companies’, and in particular SMEs’, access to capital is vital in order to encourage development and production of new products and services in both traditional and emerging sectors and effective protection of intellectual property rights;

10.  Considers that the single market needs to be further integrated, in particular in the digital area, creating a fair environment for consumers and SMEs and removing unjustified barriers; is deeply convinced that a globally competitive, innovative, citizen-oriented digital single market is a possible way forward to respond to the challenges of the 21st century;

11.  Expects the Commission to mobilise all its powers and competences to promote a transition to a better growth model consistent with the principles of sustainable development which entails its economic, social and environmental dimensions;

Responding to climate change and ensuring energy security

12.  Recalls that efforts must be stepped up to achieve the Energy Union, which will guarantee energy security and affordable and sustainable energy for all citizens and businesses;

13.  Notes the human and economic consequences of climate disasters in Europe; highlights the importance of continuing to address the root causes of climate change, while ensuring the competitiveness of our industry, with an ambitious climate strategy, including energy efficiency;

14.  Calls for necessarily ambitious targets to be set at EU level for greenhouse gas reductions and renewables and energy efficiency for the post-2020 period, in line with the Paris COP 21 Agreement;

15.  Asks the Commission to develop a common strategy for energy and climate diplomacy that would address these global concerns;

16.  Asks the Commission to identify efforts to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, while mitigating possible economic and social impacts;

Ensuring a consistent response to the increased inflow of refugees

17.  Is of the opinion that the European Union must work out concrete solutions to address the refugee emergency, in particular by addressing its root causes, by strengthening cooperation with countries of transit and origin of migration flows and by using all available policies and instruments to ensure their stabilisation, rehabilitation and development;

18.  Encourages the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to pursue necessary humanitarian assistance and ensure decent living conditions in refugee camps, combined with longer-term development programmes, especially in the field of education;

19.  Points out that the EU asylum and migration policy is not fit for purpose and needs a fundamental rethink, based on Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; holds that no reform of the Common European Asylum System should lead to lowering the current level of protection in EU asylum law;

20.  Calls for systematic, enforceable programmes to be organised for the direct resettlement and relocation of asylum-seekers;

21.  Calls for conditions to be created within the EU for a well-managed reception of asylum-seekers that would ensure their safety and humane treatment, paying particular attention to the needs of vulnerable groups; stresses, at the same time, that sufficient resources must be guaranteed to ensure labour market integration and social inclusion of refugees;

22.  Asks the Commission to make proposals for establishing a proper EU economic and legal migration policy that builds on existing instruments for students, researchers and highly skilled workers, and in the longer term for establishing more general rules governing entry and residence for those third country nationals seeking employment in the Union with a view to filling the gaps identified in the EU labour markets;

23.  Believes that, as international migration is a global phenomenon that is growing in scope, complexity and impact, the EU and the rest of the international community must assume their respective responsibilities in this field;

Addressing the security concerns of citizens

24.  Stresses that internal and external security are increasingly linked;

25.  Urges the Commission, following the adoption of the proposal for a European Border and Coast Guard, to ensure its rapid start-up, and allocation of the necessary human and logistical capacities;

26.  Calls on the Commission, with a view to addressing the threats of terrorism and violent extremism, to monitor closely the transposition and implementation of EU counter-terrorism measures, including effective police and judicial cooperation, timely sharing of information among national authorities and through Europol and Eurojust, and measures to tackle emerging trends of terrorism financing;

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

28.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure full implementation of security legislation already adopted; reiterates its call for an in-depth evaluation of the EU counter-terrorism strategy, assessing both the application of the adopted measures and their effectiveness; expects the Commission to update the security agenda as necessary in the light of the evolving terrorist threat;

29.  Calls on the Commission to present its announced proposals for a proper legal basis for the European Counter Terrorism Centre within Europol, proposals to improve and develop existing information systems, address information gaps and move towards interoperability, as well as proposals for compulsory information sharing at EU level, accompanied by necessary data protection safeguards;

Deploying an ambitious external action agenda: on neighbourhood and on the global system

30.  Calls for an ambitious the EU Global Strategy which positions the EU as a geopolitical player in a rapidly changing world, and expects the Commission and the European External Action Service to mobilise in a coherent way all EU external action instruments with a view to achieving improved global governance, wide convergence on better standards, improved security and stronger respect for human rights in the world; stresses, to that end, that the following key elements should be moved to the top of the EU’s external affairs agenda:

  –  Promoting stability and prosperity in the EU’s neighbourhood, through initiatives fostering development, democracy, good governance and the rule of law, by enhancing civilian conflict prevention and reconciliation measures, and activities in the context of the common security and defence policy, including with the appropriate involvement of NATO, which, for those states which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation;

  –  Reviving, with the support of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the common security and defence policy, which can no longer be the weakest link in the EU integration process; the security environment requires European defence to become a fully fledged policy that provides equal security for, and shows equal concern for the vital security preoccupations of, all Member States; structures, mechanisms or tools that already exist must become an operational reality;

  –  Moving forward the enlargement negotiation process by strengthening social, political and economic stability and democracy in the candidate countries, without concessions on the Copenhagen accession criteria;

  –  Making development cooperation policy more effective and better coordinated, and coherent with other instruments of the EU’s external action; ensuring coherence and consistency between development and security policies, as they are interlinked, interdependent and mutually reinforcing;

  –  Integrating the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) in the EU’s external and internal policies; urges the Commission to report on its plan for implementation, monitoring, follow-up and incorporation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs;

  –  Promoting trade as an important instrument for fostering growth, jobs and competitiveness and promoting EU standards relating to human rights and sustainable development; the Union’s trade defence instruments must be modernised and vigorously applied, and non-standard methodologies used where appropriate;

  –  Adopting solutions to counter hybrid threats and foster the resilience of the EU and Member States, as well as that of EU partners, notably in the EU neighbourhood;

Fair taxation policies for adequate resources

31.  Stresses that there has never been a more urgent need to step up the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance, which represents potential income to national budgets of up to EUR 1 trillion; considers that these resources could have been spent on investing in the future, boosting employment and reducing inequalities;

32.  Underlines that the Commission must continue to act without delay to ensure that profits are taxed in the European countries where the economic activity actually takes places and value created; the EU should work towards a mandatory common consolidated corporate tax base, step up efforts to investigate tax-related state aid breaches, apply common rules on the use and transparency of tax rulings and pursue a determined common approach to close down tax havens;

33.  Calls on the Commission to include in its fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance an external dimension, including as regards profits that leave the EU without being taxed;

Strengthening the EU budget and financial instruments

34.  Is of the opinion that, in order to act effectively, the EU needs a new financial and fiscal strategy; considers that the Commission should, to this end, propose measures based on the following principles and elements:

  –  Mobilising adequate resources swiftly; it is inevitable to reform the system of financing the Union by strengthening genuine own resources or introducing new ones, in order to make the Union budget more stable, more sustainable and more predictable; at the same time, it is important to respect the principle of universality and to improve transparency;

  –  For maximum results, EU budgetary instruments must be managed with close attention to performance and cost-effectiveness, while ensuring compliance and protecting EU financial interests;

  –  The EU should take steps to put together resources for responding to the challenges of high youth and long-term unemployment and the internal and external dimensions of the refugee emergency;

  –  After only two years of implementation, the multiannual financial framework (MFF) has reached its limits; furthermore, without a comprehensive mid-term revision of the MFF, the EU budget will be unable to address additional financial needs and new political priorities, and unable to avoid the resurgence of a payment crisis; calls on the Commission to present a review of the functioning of the MFF before the end of 2016 and to take decisive action to revise the ceilings of the MFF upward and expand its flexibility to respond to circumstances not foreseen in 2013;

  –  The European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) needs to be managed in a way that enables all Member States to undertake high levels of strategic investment in line with the EFSI regulation and ensures that funding for investment is contributing to the transition to a sustainable economy and society; the Commission’s proposal for the EFSI’s next phase should be based on these objectives;

  –  Effective implementation of cohesion policy for 2014-2020 should be accompanied by preparations for its post-2020 phase, respecting its true nature as set out in the Treaties, its importance for the development of the single market and its potential as an investment tool accessible to all regions in the EU; synergies between the European Structural and Investment Funds, the EFSI and other EU funding instruments should be strengthened with a view to accelerating smart, green, inclusive growth, with a credible balance between grants and financial instruments being developed and avoiding any decrease in cohesion policy budget;

  –  The Commission should present proposals to reduce the bureaucratic complexity of the CAP for farmers; the Commission should further devise improved instruments to deal with extreme crises on the agricultural markets; believes that framework legislation at EU level is necessary to tackle unfair trading practices in the food supply chain so as to ensure that European farmers and consumers may benefit from fair selling and buying conditions;

Completing the Economic and Monetary Union

35.  Insists on respecting the requirements in Union law regarding democratic accountability for decisions in the context of European economic governance;

36.  Holds the view that the EU needs to be working towards upward economic and social convergence, in full compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact rules and with the European Semester governance framework;

37.  Considers that the Commission should consistently improve its monitoring of debts, deficits and macroeconomic imbalances in a way that respects the Stability and Growth Pact and encourages economic growth and job creation, with increased attention to the euro area’s aggregate fiscal stance;

38.  Believes that the EU needs to improve the credibility, consistency, national ownership and democratic legitimacy of the European Semester in order to ensure that Member States implement the country-specific recommendations with structural reforms and investments aimed at modernising their economies and increasing competitiveness, pursue fiscal responsibility and tackle inequalities and imbalances;

39.  Calls for closer economic policy coordination with a view to addressing the euro area’s investment gaps and strengthening reform efforts in order to increase competitiveness and to sustain demand;

40.  Considers that the banking union needs to be completed, with risk-reduction measures going hand in hand with risk-sharing;

41.  Notes that the outcomes of the ongoing reflection on developing an Economic and Monetary Union fiscal capacity should be taken into account;

42.  Asks the Commission to present a consistent and well-substantiated set of proposals on completing the Economic and Monetary Union as identified by the Five Presidents’ Report;

Strengthening fundamental rights and democracy

43.  Is concerned that the ongoing crises have not only damaged the cohesion of European societies, but also shaken the faith of European citizens in democratic institutions at EU and sometimes national level; believes, therefore, that enhancing the EU’s democratic legitimacy and restoring trust in its capacity to serve the interests of citizens must be Europe’s highest priority;

44.  Recalls that many of today’s challenges, from climate change to asylum and migration, from financial markets to corporations’ supply chains, and from terrorist networks to failed and rogue states, are transnational and require European solutions defined through the community method, with the full involvement of the Commission and Parliament;

45.  Recalls that, as the guardian of the Treaties, the Commission is responsible for promoting the general interest of the Union (Article 17 TEU), namely peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples (Article 3 TEU); points out that Parliament also has a particular political responsibility in helping to overcome divisions between Member States, defend the general interest of Europeans and ensure democratic legitimacy for decisions taken at European level; calls on the Commission to ensure that all initiatives, including those of the European Council, are compliant with the provisions of the Treaties;

46.  Asks the Commission to take initiatives with a view to strengthening the European institutions and encouraging EU citizens to be more involved in European political life; calls for all the EU institutions to connect better with younger generations and their platforms for debate; believes that stronger actions are also possible to inform EU citizens about their rights, exploit the potential of the European Citizens’ Initiative and strengthen the role of the EU Ombudsman;

47.  Stresses that the Commission should put forward proposals for democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights, taking into consideration Parliament’s forthcoming report; believes that it should also continue to progress towards EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), taking into account the Court of Justice opinion on the matter and addressing the remaining legal challenges;

48.  Calls for all the EU institutions to strive for the highest possible standards of transparency, accountability and integrity and to fight conflicts of interest;

49.  Is committed to using all its tools and resources to act as a driving force in a renewed democratic process towards the reform of the European Union;

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50.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission.

General Market

Motion for a resolution on the strategic priorities for the Commission Work Programme 2017 – B8-2016-0893

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Political Guidelines for the European Commission, entitled ‘A New Start for Europe: My Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change’ and presented by Jean-Claude Juncker on 15 July 2014,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Commission Work Programme 2016 – No time for business as usual’ (COM(2015)0610), and Annexes 1 to 6 thereto,

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

–  having regard to the Conference of Committee Chairs’ Summary Report, which provides complementary input to this resolution from the point of view of parliamentary committees and which the Commission should take duly into account when drafting and adopting its Work Programme for 2017,

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 June 2016 on the decision to leave the EU resulting from the UK referendum(1),

–  having regard to the European Council conclusions of 28-29 June 2016,

–  having regard to the contribution of the Committee of the Regions to the Commission’s 2017 Work Programme,

–  having regard to the Commission statement of 6 July 2016 on the Commission Work Programme 2017,

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

A.  whereas the European integration process has brought peace and contributed to security and prosperity in Europe for decades;

B.  whereas Europe now faces many common and global challenges, but also increasing frustration and mistrust among many citizens about uncertain life prospects and a lack of opportunities that citizens expect decision-makers to respond to; whereas, if it is to succeed, European integration cannot let itself be reduced to a mere economic project; whereas it is urgent to win back the hearts of Europeans in favour of the European project and to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion;

C.  whereas the EU’s overlapping crises require effective European solutions, strongly anchored in a more democratic process through the community method, and with the full involvement of the European Parliament and the national parliaments;

D.  whereas the EU is our common house and it must offer a safe home and a stable economic environment with real equality of opportunity for its citizens; whereas sustainability and economic growth are compatible and can be mutually reinforcing; whereas it is important to bring the EU out of the lengthy economic crisis and deliver social progress by stepping up sustainable investments, reducing disparities and developing better policies, in particular by deepening the internal market and completing the Economic and Monetary Union;

E.  whereas we have chosen to pursue a common future, as a community based on shared values and cherishing the richness and diversity of our traditions and history; whereas we want Europe to play its role and take up its responsibility on the global stage, committed to solidarity, multilateralism, our external partnerships and promoting convergence on better standards; whereas we want to secure our common project of shared peace, prosperity and democracy, with a view to creating an appealing future for all generations;

Improving the working and living conditions of European citizens

1.  Recalls that Europe’s economic recovery has been modest and unbalanced, with many regions of the Union still experiencing unacceptable levels of unemployment, poverty, inequality and a severe lack of prospects for younger generations; stresses that the EU must therefore work towards a dynamic and inclusive labour market embedded in the European social market economy model, improving citizens’ living and working conditions at their places of origin and enabling fair mobility, while respecting in every Member State the core European principle of free movement of workers; is convinced that all EU citizens must count on a fundamental set of fair working conditions, full compliance with European standards on health and safety at work and access to quality education, social protection and essential services which enable a work-life balance;

2.  Calls on the Commission, to that end, to build on the ongoing public consultation and Parliament’s forthcoming report by putting forward, in line with Treaty objectives and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, an ambitious proposal on a European pillar of social rights, to be translated into concrete initiatives, in particular to:

  –  promote the accessibility, affordability and quality of early education, childcare and healthcare, which are crucial to ensuring that no child is left behind; the Commission should therefore reflect on further actions to develop social investment, and in particular to reduce child poverty through the adoption of an EU Child Guarantee;

  –  close the skills gap and ensure access to quality education, training, vocational training and lifelong learning for all;

  –  reduce social inequalities and promote quality jobs, especially for young people and the long-term unemployed;

  –  address work-life balance challenges and the gender gap in pay and pensions, including through new legislative proposals on the Maternity Leave Directive, the Carers’ Leave Directive and on paternity leave;

3.  Stresses that the Commission should monitor, encourage and support Member States’ efficient and effective spending of funds to boost youth employment and quality job creation, in particular in regions with high unemployment levels, through programmes financed by the Youth Employment Initiative, the European Structural and Investment Funds, the European Fund for Strategic Investments and the European Investment Bank;

4.  Emphasises that the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States and social partners, should also reinforce the European social dialogue with a view to better reconciling labour markets and social protection systems in order to address social inequalities and new challenges arising from globalisation and digitalisation;

5.  Underlines that the Commission should ensure the principle of non-discrimination and equal pay for equal work at the same place for all workers, regardless of the underlying contract, including for mobile and posted workers;

Strengthening economic recovery and long-term competitiveness with a view to creating jobs, raising living standards and generating prosperity

6.  Is convinced that the EU can be a world leader by unleashing the full potential of its single market and promoting entrepreneurship, fair competition and investment in innovation;

7.  Calls for re-launching the sustainable growth and employment strategy Europe 2020, with a real ambition for the future, in particular for improving our social market economy model and bringing about broadly shared prosperity; is convinced that boosting employment remains the top priority, and that the EU needs targeted investments to accelerate the transition towards an innovative, resource-efficient, digital economy with a view to reindustrialising Europe;

8.  Asks the Commission to design a new, ambitious industrial strategy that builds on and complements the Circular Economy Package; points out that additional private and public investments are needed for energy transition, eco-innovative SMEs, research and education;

9.  Calls on the Commission to propose more measures which would foster research and development, innovation, cultural diversity and creativity as key drivers of job creation, while bearing in mind that companies’, and in particular SMEs’, access to capital is vital in order to encourage development and production of new products and services in both traditional and emerging sectors and effective protection of intellectual property rights;

10.  Considers that the single market needs to be further integrated, in particular in the digital area, creating a fair environment for consumers and SMEs and removing unjustified barriers; is deeply convinced that a globally competitive, innovative, citizen-oriented digital single market is a possible way forward to respond to the challenges of the 21st century; considers that economic growth in the EU can be further expanded by fully exploring the potential of the travel and tourism sector, and stresses that the Commission must play a central role in ensuring that all priorities related to competitiveness, digitalisation, good governance, skills and qualifications, sustainability and connectivity in the tourism sector are taken into consideration across political frameworks;

11.  Expects the Commission to mobilise all its powers and competences to promote a transition to a better growth model consistent with the principles of sustainable development which entails its economic, social and environmental dimensions;

Responding to climate change and ensuring energy security

12.  Reiterates that efforts must be stepped up to achieve the Energy Union, with a view to guaranteeing energy security and affordable, sustainable energy for all citizens and businesses, paying particular attention to addressing energy poverty;

13.  Notes the human and economic consequences of climate disasters in Europe; highlights the importance of continuing to address the root causes of climate change with an ambitious climate strategy that includes energy efficiency;

14.  Calls for more ambitious targets to be set at EU level for greenhouse gas reduction, renewables and energy efficiency for the post-2020 period, in the context of the Paris UN climate change conference (COP 21) agreement;

15.  Asks the Commission to develop a common strategy for energy and climate diplomacy that would address these global concerns;

16.  Asks the Commission to coordinate efforts to phase-out fossil fuel subsidies;

Ensuring a consistent response to the increased inflow of refugees

17.  Is of the opinion that the European Union must work out concrete solutions to address the refugee emergency in line with international law, in particular by addressing its root causes, by strengthening cooperation with countries of transit and origin of migration flows and by using all available policies and instruments to ensure their stabilisation, rehabilitation and development;

18.  Encourages the Commission, in cooperation with the Member States, to pursue necessary humanitarian assistance and ensure decent living conditions in refugee camps, combined with longer-term development programmes, especially in the field of education;

19.  Points out that the EU asylum and migration policy is not fit for purpose and needs a fundamental rethink, based on Article 80 TFEU; maintains that no reform of the Common European Asylum System should lead to lowering the current level of protection in EU asylum law; calls on the Commission to promote a fair distribution of asylum-seekers between the Member States, replacing the current Dublin system, which is obsolete;

20.  Calls for systematic, enforceable programmes to be put in place urgently for the direct resettlement and relocation of asylum-seekers;

21.  Calls for conditions to be created within the EU for a well-managed reception of asylum-seekers that would ensure their safety and humane, gender-based treatment, paying particular attention to the needs of vulnerable groups; stresses, at the same time, that sufficient resources must be guaranteed to ensure labour market integration and social inclusion of refugees that ensures access to education, healthcare and social security; highlights, in this context, the need for increased funding for the European Social Fund and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) in the framework of the mid-term revision of the multiannual financial framework;

22.  Asks the Commission to make proposals for establishing a proper EU economic and legal migration policy that builds on existing instruments for students, researchers and highly skilled workers, and in the longer term for establishing more general rules based on equal treatment governing entry and residence for those third country nationals seeking employment in the Union with a view to filling the gaps identified in the EU labour market;

23.  Believes that, as international migration is a global phenomenon that is growing in scope, complexity and impact, the EU and the rest of the international community must assume their respective responsibilities in this field;

Addressing the security concerns of citizens

24.  Stresses that internal and external security are increasingly linked;

25.  Urges the Commission, following the adoption of the proposal for a European Border and Coast Guard, to ensure its rapid start-up, and allocation of the necessary human and logistical capacities, with a view to safeguarding the EU and completing the Schengen area with the accession of all Member States seeking to join;

26.  Calls on the Commission, with a view to addressing the threats of terrorism and violent extremism, to monitor closely the transposition and implementation of EU counter-terrorism measures, including effective police and judicial cooperation, timely sharing of information among national authorities and through Europol and Eurojust, and measures to tackle emerging trends of terrorism financing; stresses, furthermore, that the Commission should launch infringement proceedings against Member States that fail to comply with EU law in this area, especially as regards the effective exchange of information;

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

28.  Urges the Commission and the Member States to ensure full implementation of security legislation already adopted; reiterates its call for an in-depth evaluation of the EU counter-terrorism strategy, assessing both the application of the adopted measures and their effectiveness; expects the Commission to update the security agenda as required in the light of the evolving terrorist threat;

29.  Calls on the Commission to present its announced proposals for a proper legal basis for the European Counter Terrorism Centre within Europol, proposals to improve and develop existing information systems, address information gaps and move towards interoperability, as well as proposals for compulsory information sharing at EU level, accompanied by necessary data protection safeguards;

Deploying an ambitious external action agenda: on neighbourhood and on the global system

30.  Welcomes the presentation of the EU Global Strategy, which positions the EU as a geopolitical player in a rapidly changing world, and expects the Commission and the European External Action Service to mobilise in a coherent way all EU external action instruments with a view to achieving improved global governance, wide convergence on better standards, improved security and stronger respect for human rights in the world; stresses, to that end, that the following key elements should be moved to the top of the EU’s external affairs agenda:

–  Promoting stability and prosperity in the EU’s neighbourhood, through initiatives fostering development, democracy, good governance and the rule of law, by enhancing civilian conflict prevention and reconciliation measures, security dialogue and activities in the context of the common security and defence policy, including with the appropriate involvement of NATO, which, for those states which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation;

–  Reviving, with the support of the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the common security and defence policy, which can no longer be the weakest link in the EU integration process; ensuring that structures, mechanisms or tools that already exist become an operational reality;

–  Moving forward the enlargement negotiation process by strengthening social, political and economic stability and democracy in the candidate countries, without concessions on the Copenhagen accession criteria;

–  Making development cooperation policy more effective and better coordinated and coherent with other EU external action instruments, while respecting its primary objective as set out in the Lisbon Treaty, and ensuring coherence and consistency between development and security policies, as they are both interlinked, interdependent and mutually reinforcing;

–  Integrating the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) in the EU’s external and internal policies; urges the Commission to report on its plan for implementation, monitoring, follow-up and incorporation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs;

–  Promoting trade as an important instrument for fostering growth, jobs and competitiveness and promoting EU standards relating to human rights and sustainable development; the Union’s trade defence instruments must be modernised and vigorously applied, and non-standard methodologies used where appropriate;

–  Adopting solutions to counter hybrid threats and foster the resilience of the EU and Member States, as well as that of EU partners, notably in the EU neighbourhood;

–  Implementing the strategy for international cultural relations, an important soft diplomacy tool for improving relations with EU partner countries and supporting inclusive growth and job creation;

Fair taxation policies for adequate resources

31.  Stresses that there has never been a more urgent need to step up the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance, which represents potential income to national budgets of up to EUR 1 trillion; considers that these resources could have been spent on investing in the future, boosting employment and reducing inequalities;

32.  Underlines that the Commission must continue to act without delay to ensure that profits are taxed in countries where the actual economic activity and value is created in Europe; the EU should work towards a mandatory common consolidated corporate tax base, step up efforts to investigate tax-related state aid breaches, apply common rules on the use and transparency of tax rulings and pursue a determined common approach to close down tax havens;

33.  Calls on the Commission to include in its fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance an external dimension, preventing profits from leaving the EU without being taxed and fighting illicit capital flows from third countries that hinder development and undermine the fight against poverty;

Strengthening the EU budget and financial instruments

34.  Is of the opinion that, in order to act effectively, the EU needs a new financial and fiscal strategy; considers that the Commission should, to this end, propose measures based on the following principles and elements:

–  Mobilising adequate resources swiftly; it is inevitable to reform the system of financing the Union by strengthening genuine own resources or introducing new ones, such as a financial transaction tax, a reformed EU system of emissions trading and carbon taxation or taxation for multinational corporates, in order to make the Union budget more stable, more sustainable and more predictable; at the same time, it is important to respect the principle of universality and to improve transparency;

–  For maximum results, EU budgetary instruments must be managed with close attention to performance and cost-effectiveness, while ensuring compliance and protecting EU financial interests;

–  The EU should take steps to put together resources for responding to the challenges of high youth and long-term unemployment, poverty and social exclusion, and the internal and external dimensions of the refugee emergency;

–  After only two years of implementation, the multiannual financial framework (MFF) has reached its limits; furthermore, without a comprehensive mid-term revision of the MFF, the EU budget will be unable to address additional financial needs and new political priorities, and unable to avoid the resurgence of a payment crisis; calls on the Commission to present a review of the functioning of the MFF before the end of 2016 and to take decisive action to revise the ceilings of the MFF upward and expand its flexibility to respond to circumstances not foreseen in 2013;

–  The European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) needs to be managed in a way that maximises additionality, enables all Member States to undertake higher levels of strategic investment and ensures that funding for investment is contributing to the transition to a sustainable economy and society; EFSI governance should be reformed to enhance accountability and democratic control over this instrument; the Commission’s proposal for the EFSI’s next phase should be based on these objectives;

–  Effective implementation of cohesion policy for 2014-2020 should be accompanied by preparations for its post-2020 phase, respecting its true nature as set out in the Treaties, its importance for the development of the single market and its potential as an investment tool accessible to all regions in the EU; any decrease in cohesion policy budget should be avoided, and synergies between the European Structural and Investment Funds, the EFSI and other EU funding instruments should be strengthened with a view to accelerating smart, green, inclusive growth, with a credible balance between grants and financial instruments being developed;

–  Calls on the Commission to present proposals to reduce the bureaucratic complexity of the CAP for farmers; calls on the Commission to devise improved instruments to deal with extreme crises on the agricultural markets; believes that framework legislation at EU level is necessary to tackle unfair trading practices in the food supply chain so as to ensure that European farmers and consumers may benefit from fair selling and buying conditions;

Completing the Economic and Monetary Union

35.  Insists that democratic accountability must be ensured for all decisions taken in the context of European economic governance;

36.  Holds the view that the EU needs to be working towards upward economic and social convergence, in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Stability and Growth Pact rules and the European Semester governance framework;

37.  The Commission should continue its monitoring of debts, deficits and macroeconomic imbalances and seek to optimise the euro area’s aggregate fiscal stance in a way that respects the Stability and Growth Pact and encourages economic growth and job creation;

38.  Believes that the EU needs to improve the credibility, consistency, national ownership and democratic legitimacy of the European Semester in order to pursue fiscal responsibility and tackle inequalities and imbalances;

39.  Calls for closer economic policy coordination with a view to addressing the euro area’s investment gaps and strengthening reform efforts in order to increase competitiveness and job creation and to sustain demand;

40.  Considers that the banking union needs to be completed;

41.  Asks the Commission to consider with great attention the outcomes of the ongoing reflection on developing an Economic and Monetary Union fiscal capacity;

42.  Asks the Commission to present a consistent and well-substantiated set of proposals on completing the Economic and Monetary Union as identified by the Five Presidents’ Report; notes that this process should remain open to Member States committed to adopting the euro;

43.  Calls on the Commission to deliver on the promises made when presenting the Capital Markets Union and speed up the process of making European capital markets deeper, more harmonised and truly cross-border, with legislative initiatives that follow the community method, including proposals to upgrade in parallel the role and mission of the relevant supervisory authorities;

Strengthening fundamental rights and democracy

44.  Is concerned that the ongoing crises have not only damaged the cohesion of European societies, but also shaken the confidence of European citizens in democratic institutions at EU and sometimes national level; believes, therefore, that enhancing the EU’s democratic legitimacy and restoring trust in its capacity to serve the interests of citizens must be Europe’s highest priority;

45.  Recalls that many of today’s challenges, from climate change to asylum and migration, from financial markets to corporations’ supply chains, and from terrorist networks to failed and rogue states, are transnational and require European solutions defined through the community method, with the full involvement of the Commission and Parliament;

46.  Recalls that, as the guardian of the Treaties, the Commission is responsible for promoting the general interest of the Union (Article 17 TEU), namely peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples (Article 3 TEU); points out that Parliament also has a particular political responsibility in helping to overcome divisions between Member States, defend the general interest of Europeans and ensure democratic legitimacy for decisions taken at European level; at the same time, calls on national parliaments to exert full democratic control over their representatives in the European Council; and calls on the Commission to ensure that all initiatives, including those of the European Council, are based on the Treaties;

47.  Asks the Commission to take initiatives with a view to strengthening the European institutions and encouraging EU citizens to be more involved in European political life; calls for all the EU institutions to connect better with younger generations and their platforms for debate; believes that stronger actions are also possible to inform EU citizens about their rights, reform the European Citizens’ Initiative and strengthen the role of the EU Ombudsman;

48.  Calls on the Commission to enhance cooperation to ensure media literacy and to safeguard media diversity and press freedom;

49.  Asks the Commission to put forward proposals for a Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights Pact, taking into consideration Parliament’s forthcoming report; believes that it should also continue to progress towards EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), taking into account the Court of Justice opinion on the matter and addressing the remaining legal challenges; calls, as a matter of urgency, for the EU and all its Member States to ratify the Istanbul Convention in order to better protect women and girls from violence;

50.  Calls for all the EU institutions to strive for the highest possible standards of transparency, accountability and integrity, and to fight conflicts of interest that are detrimental to the efficiency, fairness and reliability of the laws;

51.  Asks the Commission to propose legislative provisions on the protection of whistle-blowers at EU level, providing legal ways of disclosure and effective sanctions;

52.  Is committed to using all its tools and resources to act as a driving force in a renewed democratic process towards the reform of the European Union;

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53.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission.