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  • Joint Statement 14th India-EU Summit, New Delhi, 6 October 2017

    European Commission – Statement

    Brussels, 6 October 2017

    1. The 14th annual Summit between India and the European Union (EU) was held in New Delhi on 6 October 2017. The Republic of India was represented by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The EU was represented by Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Mr. Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.
    1. The leaders reviewed the wide-ranging cooperation under the India-EU Strategic Partnership. Recognising that India and the EU are natural partners, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to further deepen and strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership based on shared principles and values of democracy, freedom, rule of law and respect for human rights and territorial integrity of States.
    1. The leaders expressed satisfaction at the progress made towards implementing the India-EU Agenda for Action 2020 – the roadmap for bilateral cooperation endorsed during the 13th India-EU Summit.
    1. The leaders committed to work in a result-oriented and mutually beneficial manner to further strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership by deepening their trade cooperation, enhancing investment flows in both directions and broadening dialogue and engagement on global and regional issues, including climate change, as well as migration and the refugee crisis, and resolved to further strengthen their bilateral and multilateral cooperation in these areas.
    1. The leaders commended the strong engagement of the European Investment Bank in India in a wide range of key sectors, in particular in the field of climate action and renewable energy.
    1. The leaders underlined the importance of regular high level contacts to enhance India-EU co-operation and mutual understanding. They noted the fruitful outcome of the India-EU Foreign Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi on 21 April 2017.

    Foreign Policy and Security Cooperation – Partners for Security

    1. They agreed that India and the EU, as the world’s largest democracies, share a desire to work closely together and with all relevant players to support a rules-based international order that upholds agreed international norms, global peace and stability, and encourages inclusive growth and sustainable development in all parts of the inter-connected and multipolar world. They welcomed the growing convergence on contemporary global issues and agreed to enhance India-EU cooperation in all multilateral fora. They also recognised their common responsibility towards ensuring international peace and security, and an open and inclusive international order.
    1. The leaders confirmed their commitment towards conflict prevention and sustaining peace as fundamental aspects of promoting security and prosperity, fostering non-proliferation and disarmament, and agreed on the need for the global community to unite to address the menace of terrorism and safeguard the security of the global commons – sea lanes, cyber space and outer space. They welcomed the 5th India-EU Foreign Policy and Security Consultations held in New Delhi on 25 August 2017 – a platform to further deepen cooperation in the political and security area.
    1. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to an open, free, secure, stable, peaceful and accessible cyberspace, enabling economic growth and innovation. In particular, the leaders reaffirmed that International Law is applicable in cyberspace, and that there was a need to continue and deepen deliberations on the applicability of International Law to cyberspace and set norms of responsible behaviour of States. The leaders welcomed the holding of the 5th Global Conference on Cyberspace in New Delhi on 23-24 November. The leaders noted that the bilateral Cyber Dialogue provided a strong foundation for existing and future cooperation and welcomed the holding of its latest round in New Delhi on 29 August this year, and the next India-EU Cyber Dialogue in Brussels in 2018.
    2. The leaders strongly condemned the recent terrorist attacks in many parts of the world, underlining their common concern about the global threat posed by terrorism and extremism. They adopted a Joint Statement on Cooperation in Combating Terrorism with a view to deepening their strategic and security cooperation, and expressed their strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, based on a comprehensive approach. The leaders resolved to step up cooperation through regular bilateral consultations and in international fora. In this context, they welcomed the India-EU Dialogue on Counter-Terrorism on 30 August 2017 in New Delhi, and the joint commitment to explore opportunities to, inter alia, share information, best practices, including regarding countering the on-line threat of radicalisation, and to engage in capacity building activities, such as training and workshops. They also emphasised the need to deepen cooperation within the UN and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
    3. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening global non-proliferation efforts as highlighted at the India-EU Non-proliferation and Disarmament Dialogue in New Delhi on 18 July 2017. The EU congratulated India on its admission to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The EU welcomed India’s subscription to The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC) and noted India’s intensified engagement with the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group, which strengthens global non-proliferation efforts.
    4. India and the EU reaffirmed their commitment to enhance maritime security cooperation in the Indian Ocean and beyond. Both sides noted the recent joint manoeuvres (PASSEX) between the EU Naval Force and the Indian Navy off the coast of Somalia, as a successful example of naval cooperation. The EU looks forward to India’s possible participation in escorting World Food Program vessels in the near future. They also underlined the importance of freedom of navigation, overflight and peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with the universally recognised principles of International Law, notably the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982. Both leaders attached importance to the security, stability, connectivity and sustainable development of Oceans and Seas in the context of developing the “blue economy”.
    5. Both sides agreed to enhance the India-EU space cooperation, including Earth observation.
    6. India and the EU reiterated the importance they attach to human rights cooperation, including on gender equality and women empowerment in all spheres of life. In this regard, they looked forward to the next session of their dialogue to be held in New Delhi and supported enhancing interaction in international fora, in particular the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council.
    7. The two sides expressed support to the Government and the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to achieve an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national peace and reconciliation. The two sides remain determined to counter all forms of terrorism and violent extremism, considering them fundamental threats to international peace and stability. India and the EU underline the importance of the regional and key international stakeholders to respect, support and promote a political process and its outcome in order to ensure peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan. The EU appreciated the positive role being played by India in extending development assistance in Afghanistan, including for building social and economic infrastructure, governance institutions and human resource development and capacity building. Both sides reconfirmed their commitment to promoting peace, security, and stability and supporting Afghanistan on its development path to become a self-reliable and prosperous state.
    8. India and the EU expressed deep concern at the recent spate of violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar that has resulted in the outflow of a large number of people from the state, many of whom have sought shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh. Both sides took note that this violence was triggered off by a series of attacks by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) militants which led to loss of lives amongst the security forces as well as the civilian population. Both sides recognised the need for ending the violence and restoring normalcy in the Rakhine state without any delay. They urged the Myanmar authorities to implement the Kofi Annan-led Rakhine Advisory Commission’s recommendations and work with Bangladesh to enable the return of the displaced persons from all communities to Northern Rakhine State. India and the EU also recognised the role being played by Bangladesh in extending humanitarian assistance to the people in need.
    9. India and the EU reaffirmed their support for the continued full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Iranian nuclear issue. They recognised confirmation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran is complying with its nuclear-related JCPOA commitments. India and the EU called for the full and effective implementation of the deal, which has been endorsed by the UN Security Council and is a crucial contribution to the non-proliferation framework and international peace, stability and security.
    10. Both sides condemned the nuclear test conducted by DPRK on 3 September 2017, which was another direct and unacceptable violation of the DPRK’s international commitments. They agreed that DPRK’s continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and its proliferation links pose a grave threat to international peace and security, and called for the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which has been endorsed by the UNSC and the Six Party Talks. Both sides stressed the responsibility of those who support DPRK’s nuclear and missile programmes. They also stressed the importance of unity of the international community in addressing this challenge, ensuring that all UNSC sanctions are fully implemented by the entire international community, so as to maximize pressure towards achieving a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.
    11. Regarding the situation in Syria, India and the EU reaffirmed the primacy of the UN-led Geneva process and called for full support for the intra-Syrian talks with a view to promoting a political solution in Syria. Protection of civilians and territorial integrity is fundamental and all parties to the conflict and their supporters are expected to live up to their commitments. India and the EU reaffirmed that only a credible political solution, as defined in UNSCR 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué will ensure the stability of Syria and enable a decisive defeat of Da’esh and other UN-designated terrorist groups in Syria. India and the EU agreed that the second Brussels Conference on Syria in spring 2018 will contribute to sustain international commitment to Syria.
    12. On the Middle East Peace Process, India and the EU reiterated calls on parties to engage constructively so that a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the two-state solution, could be achieved on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Arab Peace Initiative, for peace and stability in the Middle East.
    13. The two sides also reiterated their full support to the UN facilitated Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political process to forge a lasting solution to the political crisis in Libya. Establishing an inclusive government and building peace and stability in Libya is in the interest of the entire international community.
    14. India and the EU acknowledged the importance of connectivity in today’s globalised world. They underlined that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality and must follow principles of financial responsibility, accountable debt financing practices, balanced ecological and environmental protection, preservation standards and social sustainability.
    15. Both sides underlined the importance of ASEM as an informal platform for connecting Asia and Europe. Both sides also agreed to give new impetus to ASEM in the run up to the next ASEM Summit to be hosted in Brussels, where the focus would be on tackling global challenges together.
    16. The leaders underlined their strong support for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine through the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements by all parties in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2202 (2015).
    17. The EU hoped for a swift solution, through the due process of law in India, in the case of MV Seaman Guard Ohio, which concerns fourteen Estonian and six British citizens sentenced to prison by an Indian court.

      Global Challenges – Multilateral Cooperation

    18. Both sides reaffirmed their support to the new United Nations reform agenda on the three reform tracks of peace and security, development and management reform. The two sides’ commitment to stronger global governance also translates to reforming the bodies and organs of the UN system, including the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council as well as the revitalisation of the work of the General Assembly, better aligning the work of its committees with the 2030 Agenda.
    19. The two sides agreed to work bilaterally and with partners in the G20, the United Nations and other multilateral fora to address emerging challenges to international security, global economic stability and growth.
    20. The leaders reaffirmed the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and the importance of enhancing free, fair, and open trade for achieving sustainable growth and development. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together with all Members of the WTO to make the eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference a success with concrete results, which would reaffirm the centrality of the rules-based multilateral trading system and its importance for open and inclusive global trade.
    21. Both sides recalled the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the joint commitment to its implementation with the complementary new EU Consensus on Development and India’s “sab kasaath, sab kavikas” policy initiatives, and reaffirmed the importance of global partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and poverty alleviation. In this regard, they reiterated their commitment to collaborate on common priorities and looked forward to exploring the continuation of the EU-India Development Dialogue. Both sides also recognised the need to mutually reinforce the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
    22. The EU welcomed India’s contribution to peace and development in Africa, including its participation in UN Peacekeeping Missions. The EU and India expressed their commitment to enhancing their consultations and cooperation regarding Africa, with a view to optimising possible synergies between their respective initiatives. They looked forward to India’s participation as an observer at the next EU-African Union Summit.

      Partners in Prosperity through Increased Trade and Economic Cooperation; Partners in India’s Modernisation

    23. The EU leaders welcomed India’s efforts to promote economic and social development and expressed the EU’s continued interest in participating in India’s flagship initiatives such as “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Skill India”, “Smart City”, “Clean India,” and “Start-Up India”. The EU closely follows Prime Minister Modi’s economic reforms, including the historic introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which can facilitate ease of doing business and promotes market integration in India by realising a simple, efficient and nation-wide indirect tax system. Prime Minister Modi appreciated the ongoing participation by EU companies in the flagship initiatives and called for their deeper engagement in India’s developmental priorities. The EU side encouraged the greater participation of Indian business organizations into the Enterprise Europe Network. The leaders noted the progress made on EU-India cooperation on resource efficiency and circular economy. Both sides agreed to enhanced cooperation and exchange of experience and best practices in the field of Intellectual Property rights (IPR) and public procurement.
    24. The Leaders expressed their shared commitment to strengthening the Economic Partnership between India and the EU and noted the ongoing efforts of both sides to re-engage actively towards timely relaunching negotiations for a comprehensive and mutually beneficial India-EU Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
    25. Both parties recognised the importance of trade in agricultural products in general, and rice in particular, and agreed to work together to resolve issues that have the potential of disrupting trade. With regard to import tolerance level of tricyclazole in rice (Commission Regulation (EU) 2017 / 983) the relevant plant protection companies will be invited to present new scientific data in order for the European Food Safety Authority to carry out an additional risk assessment without delay. On this basis, the European Commission would expeditiously consider whether to review the above mentioned Regulation. Both sides supported the early institutionalisation of cooperation between the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), to focus on exchange of knowledge and expertise in the area of methodologies for data collection, risk assessment and risk communication. Furthermore, the EU and India have agreed to further strengthen their cooperation on food safety, notably by:
      • Strengthening existing dialogues like Agricultural and Marine Working Group, SPS-TBT Working Group to cover issues on food safety and agricultural trade between the relevant Indian ministries/departments and relevant European Commission services.
      • Initiating joint projects in areas such as good agricultural practices, development of traceability capacities, and cooperation in laboratory activities, including testing and monitoring.

      The EU would welcome India’s application for protection as a geographical indication of Basmati and shall process any such future application, as expeditiously as possible.

      India welcomes EU’s intention to expeditiously initiate the process of recognising additional seed varieties of Basmati rice under Article 28 of the GATT 1994 for duty derogation, as already requested by India.

    26. Leaders welcomed the establishment of an Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) for EU investments in India as a means to improve the business climate and hoped that the IFM will ease sharing of best practices and innovative technology from the EU to India. Leaders acknowledged that the “Make in India” initiative may offer investment opportunities for companies based in the EU Member States.
    27. Leaders welcomed the establishment of the South Asian Regional Representative Office of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in India and noted that its investments, especially in urban mobility and renewable energy projects, will support India-EU collaboration on the Climate Agenda. The leaders welcomed the new €500 million EIB loan agreement for Bangalore Metro Phase-II Project, which is part of EIBs enhanced commitment of €1.4 billion in loans to India in 2017.
    28. The leaders noted the ongoing positive discussions and the exchange of a Joint Declaration between the Interim Secretariat of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), and the European Investment Bank (EIB) aimed at mobilising investments for broad-based deployment of affordable solar energy applications across the 121 prospective member countries of the ISA.
    29. Both sides adopted a Joint Statement on Clean Energy and Climate Change, reaffirmed their commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement, and agreed to co-operate further to enhance its implementation. India and the EU noted that addressing climate change and promoting secure, affordable and sustainable supplies of energy are key shared priorities and welcomed the progress on the Clean Energy and Climate Partnership, adopted at the 2016 EU-India Summit, and reiterated their commitment to its implementation and further development, in accordance with the work programme agreed at the EU-India Energy Panel meeting in October 2016.
    30. India and the EU reaffirmed their commitment to undertake mutual cooperation for reducing the cost of development and deployment of renewable energy projects through technology innovation, knowledge sharing, capacity building, trade and investment, and project establishment.
    31. The leaders reiterated the importance of reconciling economic growth and environment protection. They highlighted the importance of moving towards a more circular economic model that reduces primary resource consumption and enhanced the use of secondary raw materials. They welcomed the contribution of the International Resource Panel, the Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (through the Indian Resource Panel) and of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) to developing strategies for this crucial economic transition. Both sides agreed that the newly established G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue will be an ideal platform for knowledge exchange and to jointly promote resource efficiency at a global level. Leaders also agreed to further intensify cooperation on addressing environmental challenges, such as water management and air pollution, acknowledged the progress in implementing the India-EU Water Partnership, including an agreed action programme, the increased cooperation opportunities on research and innovation, looking forward to the third India-EU Water Forum later in the month.
    32. The leaders agreed to work towards an enhanced cooperation on innovation and technology development aiming at actions strengthening cooperation between European and Indian industries and start-up ecosystems.
    33. The leaders welcomed the intensified technical cooperation between the Indian and European telecom standardisation bodies (TSDSI and ETSI), supported by the EU, and focusing on future global standards for 5G, Intelligent Transport Systems, Internet of Things, Future Networks and telecom security. Both sides encouraged the stakeholders to broaden this cooperation, demonstrate concrete technological solutions, and strengthen links between “Digital India” and “Digital Single Market for Europe.”
    34. Both sides noted positive exchanges on Internet Governance, on increasing the ease of doing business for ICT companies on both sides, as well as meetings between the Indian and European start-up ecosystems under a “Start-up Europe India Network”.
    35. The two sides confirmed their interest in further strengthening the cooperation in the area of pharmaceuticals, including capacity building of the regulatory system with particular focus on inspections by creating a more structured and stable training environment. The Indian side also highlighted its interest for cooperation on capacity building of the entire pharmaceutical value chain.
    36. The leaders adopted the India-EU Joint Statement on a Partnership for Smart and Sustainable Urbanisation with a view to step up cooperation including with regard to priority sectors such as the upgrading of urban infrastructure for transport and sanitation, developing Smart Cities in India, as well as promoting the New Urban Agenda of the United Nations adopted in 2016.
    37. The leaders agreed to scale-up cooperation under the renewed India-EU Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement in frontier areas of science and technology and in addressing current global challenges in particular in the areas of health, water and clean energy. They welcomed the agreement to launch a major joint flagship initiative of €30 million on water-related challenges reflecting the pressing need to cooperate on technological and scientific knowledge and management capacities to cope with increasing stress on water resources. Both sides agreed to work towards reciprocal opening of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation ‘Horizon 2020’ and Indian programmes, and called for an intensified two-way mobility of researchers. To this extent, the two sides welcomed the conclusion of the Implementing Arrangement between the Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB) and the European Research Council (ERC).
    38. The leaders encouraged Euratom and the Department of Atomic Energy to conclude the Agreement for Research & Development Cooperation in the field of the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. They stressed that this cooperation will contribute to further enhancement of nuclear safety and will be mutually advantageous. The cooperation will also lead to improving the skills and deployment of non-power technologies in the areas of water, health care & medicine, environment, etc., for the benefit of the society.
    39. Both sides will continue their strong partnership in the development of fusion energy, building on the agreements to which they are parties, including under the Euratom-India Cooperation Agreement on Fusion Energy research.
    40. The Leaders welcomed the imminent operationalisation of the 2008 Horizontal Civil Aviation Agreement, which will enhance air connectivity between India and Europe and help foster greater people-to-people contacts, business travel and increase in tourism. The leaders considered the opportunity to deepen transport cooperation in areas of mutual interest across all modes of transport, notably maritime, aviation, urban mobility and, rail.
    41. India and the EU agreed to intensify cooperation in skills development and agreed to find complementarities and synergies between India’s Skill India initiative and the EU’s New Skills Agenda for Europe.
    42. The leaders emphasised that, as part of the India-EU Agenda for Action 2020, there was a need to work towards strengthening cooperation on higher-education, including through India’s GIAN programme and the EU’s Erasmus+ programme. The Erasmus+ programme has just celebrated its 5000th Indian alumni and has offered financing opportunities for institutional cooperation to many Indian universities through joint-masters, short-term mobility, capacity building projects and Jean Monnet actions for EU studies. The leaders welcomed that, overall, India has been the number one beneficiary of Erasmus mobility actions in the world since its creation.
    43. The two sides took note of the High Level Dialogue on Migration and Mobility held in Brussels on 04 April 2017. They welcomed the understanding reached in advancing the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility, including through technical collaboration and undertaking projects in areas of mutual interest, with a view to better organising migration and mobility between India and the EU.
    44. The leaders agreed to intensify people-to-people exchanges and facilitate increased travel of tourists, business persons, students and researchers between India and the EU. The Indian side noted the ongoing revision of the EU Blue Card Scheme aimed at easing the flow of highly qualified professionals to the EU.
    45. The leaders noted the adoption of the report on “EU’s Political Relations with India” in the European Parliament and welcomed its recommendations for intensifying the exchanges between the Indian and European parliamentary delegations. The leaders also looked forward to intensified exchanges between scholars, think tanks and cultural delegations.

    ****

    STATEMENT/17/3743

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  • President Jean-Claude Juncker's State of the Union Address 2017

    1

    INTRODUCTION – WIND IN OUR SAILS

    Mr President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,

    When I stood before you this time last year, I had a somewhat easier speech to give.

    It was plain for all to see that our Union was not in a good state.

    Europe was battered and bruised by a year that shook our very foundation.

    We only had two choices. Either come together around a positive European agenda or each retreat into our own corners.

    Faced with this choice, I argued for unity.

    I proposed a positive agenda to help create – as I said last year – a Europe that protects, empowers and defends.

    Over the past twelve months, the European Parliament has helped bring this agenda to life. We continue to make progress with each passing day. Just last night you worked to find agreement on trade defence instruments and on doubling our European investment capacity.

    I also want to thank the 27 leaders of our Member States. Days after my speech last year, they welcomed my agenda at their summit in Bratislava. In doing so they chose unity. They chose to rally around our common ground.

    Together, we showed that Europe can deliver for its citizens when and where it matters.

    Ever since, we have been slowly but surely gathering momentum.

    It helped that the economic outlook swung in our favour.

    We are now in the fifth year of an economic recovery that finally reaches every single Member State.

    Growth in the European Union has outstripped that of the United States over the last two years. It now stands above 2% for the Union as a whole and at 2.2% for the euro area.

    Unemployment is at a nine year low. Almost 8 million jobs have been created during this mandate so far. With 235 million people at work, more people are in employment in the EU than ever before.

    The European Commission cannot take the credit for this alone. Though I am sure that had 8 million jobs been lost, we would have taken the blame.

    But Europe’s institutions played their part in helping the wind change.

    We can take credit for our European Investment Plan which has triggered €225 billion worth of investment so far. It has granted loans to over 445,000 small firms and more than 270 infrastructure projects.

    We can take credit for the fact that, thanks to determined action, European banks once again have the capital firepower to lend to companies so that they can grow and create jobs.

    And we can take credit for having brought public deficits down from 6.6% to 1.6%. This is thanks to an intelligent application of the Stability and Growth Pact. We ask for fiscal discipline but are careful not to kill growth. This is in fact working very well across the Union – despite the criticism.

    Ten years since crisis struck, Europe’s economy is finally bouncing back.

    And with it, our confidence.

    Our EU27 leaders, the Parliament and the Commission are putting the Europe back in our Union. Together we are putting the Union back in our Union.

    In the last year, we saw all 27 leaders walk up the Capitoline Hill in Rome, one by one, to renew their vows to each other and to our Union.

    All of this leads me to believe: the wind is back in Europe’s sails.

    We now have a window of opportunity but it will not stay open forever.

    Let us make the most of the momentum, catch the wind in our sails.

    For this we must do two things:

    First, we should stay the course set out last year. We have still 16 months in which real progress can be made by Parliament, Council and Commission. We must use this time to finish what we started in Bratislava and deliver on our positive agenda.

    Secondly, we should chart the direction for the future. As Mark Twain wrote, years from now we will be more disappointed by the things we did not do, than by the ones we did. Now is the time to build a more united, stronger and more democratic Europe for 2025.

     

    STAYING COURSE

    Mr President, Honourable Members,

    As we look to the future, we cannot let ourselves be blown off course.

    We set out to complete an Energy Union, a Security Union, a Capital Markets Union, a Banking Union and a Digital Single Market. Together, we have already come a long way.

    As the Parliament testified, 80% of the proposals promised at the start of the mandate have already been put forward by the Commission. We must now work together to turn proposals into law, and law into practice.

    As ever, there will be a degree of give and take. The Commission’s proposals to reform our Common Asylum System and strengthen rules on the Posting of Workers have caused controversy. Achieving a good result will need all sides to move towards each other. I want to say today: as long as the outcome is the right one for our Union and is fair to all Member States, the Commission will be open to compromise

    We are now ready to put the remaining 20% of initiatives on the table by May 2018.

    This morning, I sent a Letter of Intent to European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas outlining the priorities for the year ahead.

    I will not list all our proposals here, but let me mention five which are particularly important.

    Firstly, I want us to strengthen our European trade agenda.

    Yes, Europe is open for business. But there must be reciprocity. We have to get what we give.

    Trade is not something abstract. Trade is about jobs, creating new opportunities for Europe’s businesses big and small. Every additional €1 billion in exports supports 14,000 extra jobs in Europe.

    Trade is about exporting our standards, be they social or environmental standards, data protection or food safety requirements.

    Europe has always been an attractive place to do business.

    But over the last year, partners across the globe are lining up at our door to conclude trade agreements with us.

    With the help of the European Parliament, we have just secured a trade agreement with Canada that will provisionally apply as of next week. We have a political agreement with Japan on a new economic partnership. By the end of the year, we have a good chance of doing the same with Mexico and South American countries.

    And today, we are proposing to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

    I want all of these agreements to be finalised by the end of this mandate. And I want them negotiated in the fullest transparency.

    Open trade must go hand in hand with open policy making.

    The European Parliament will have the final say on all trade agreements. So its Members, like members of national and regional parliaments, must be kept fully informed from day one of the negotiations. The Commission will make sure of this.

    From now on, the Commission will publish in full all draft negotiating mandates we propose to the Council.

    Citizens have the right to know what the Commission is proposing. Gone are the days of no transparency. Gone are the days of rumours, of incessantly questioning the Commission’s motives.

    I call on the Council to do the same when it adopts the final negotiating mandates.

    Let me say once and for all: we are not naïve free traders.

    Europe must always defend its strategic interests.

    This is why today we are proposing a new EU framework for investment screening. If a foreign, state-owned, company wants to purchase a European harbour, part of our energy infrastructure or a defence technology firm, this should only happen in transparency, with scrutiny and debate. It is a political responsibility to know what is going on in our own backyard so that we can protect our collective security if needed.

     

    Secondly, I want to make our industry stronger and more competitive.

    This is particularly true for our manufacturing base and the 32 million workers that form its backbone. They make the world-class products that give us our edge, like our cars.

    I am proud of our car industry. But I am shocked when consumers are knowingly and deliberately misled. I call on the car industry to come clean and make it right. Instead of looking for loopholes, they should be investing in the clean cars of the future.

    The newIndustrial Policy Strategy we are presenting today will help our industries stay or become the world leader in innovation, digitisation and decarbonisation.

    Third: I want Europe to be the leader when it comes to the fight against climate change.

    Last year, we set the global rules of the game with the Paris Agreement ratified here, in this very House. Set against the collapse of ambition in the United States, Europe will ensure we make our planet great again. It is the shared heritage of all of humanity.

    The Commission will shortly present proposals to reduce the carbon emissions of our transport sector.

     

    Fourth priority for the year ahead: we need to better protect Europeans in the digital age.

    In the past three years, we have made progress in keeping Europeans safe online. New rules, put forward by the Commission, will protect our intellectual property, our cultural diversity and our personal data. We have stepped up the fight against terrorist propaganda and radicalisation online. But Europe is still not well equipped when it comes to cyber-attacks.

    Cyber-attacks can be more dangerous to the stability of democracies and economies than guns and tanks. Last year alone there were more than 4,000 ransomware attacks per day and 80% of European companies experienced at least one cyber-security incident.

    Cyber-attacks know no borders and no one is immune. This is why, today, the Commission is proposing new tools, including a European Cybersecurity Agency, to help defend us against such attacks.

    Fifth: migration will stay on our radar.

    In spite of the debate and controversy around this topic, we have managed to make solid progress – though admittedly insufficient in many areas.

    We are now protecting Europe’s external borders more effectively. Over 1,700 officers from the new European Border and Coast Guard are now helping Member States’ 100,000 national border guards patrol in places like Greece, Italy, Bulgaria and Spain. We have common borders but Member States that by geography are the first in line cannot be left alone to protect them. Common borders and common protection must go hand in hand.

    We have managed to stem irregular flows of migrants, which were a cause of great anxiety for many. We have reduced irregular arrivals in the Eastern Mediterranean by 97% thanks our agreement with Turkey. And this summer, we managed to get more control over the Central Mediterranean route with arrivals in August down by 81% compared to the same month last year.

    In doing so, we have drastically reduced the loss of life in the Mediterranean. Tragically, nearly 2,500 died this year. I will never accept that people are left to die at sea.

    I cannot talk about migration without paying strong tribute to Italy for their tireless and noble work. This summer, the Commission again worked closely together with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and his government to improve the situation, notably by training the Libyan Coast Guard. We will continue to offer strong operational and financial support to Italy. Because Italy is saving Europe’s honour in the Mediterranean.

    We must also urgently improve migrants’ living conditions in Libya. I am appalled by the inhumane conditions in detention or reception centres. Europe has a collective responsibility, and the Commission will work in concert with the United Nations to put an end to this scandalous situation that cannot be made to last.

    Even if it saddens me to see that solidarity is not yet equally shared across all our Member States, Europe as a whole has continued to show solidarity. Last year alone, our Member States resettled or granted asylum to over 720,000 refugees – three times as much as the United States, Canada and Australia combined. Europe, contrary to what some say, is not a fortress and must never become one. Europe is and must remain the continent of solidarity where those fleeing persecution can find refuge.

    I am particularly proud of the young Europeans volunteering to give language courses to Syrian refugees or the thousands more young people who are serving in our new European Solidarity Corps. They are bringing European solidarity to life.

    We now need to redouble our efforts. Before the end of the month, the Commission will present a new set of proposals with an emphasis on returns, solidarity with Africa and opening legal pathways.

    When it comes to returns: people who have no right to stay in Europe must be returned to their countries of origin. When only 36% of irregular migrants are returned, it is clear we need to significantly step up our work. This is the only way Europe will be able to show solidarity with refugees in real need of protection.

    Solidarity cannot be exclusively intra-European. We must also showsolidarity withAfrica. Africa is a noble and young continent, the cradle of humanity. Our €2.7 billion EU-Africa Trust Fund is creating employment opportunities across the continent. The EU budget fronted the bulk of the money, but all our Member States combined have still only contributed €150 million. The Fund is currently reaching its limits. We know the dangers of a lack of funding – in 2015 many migrants headed towards Europe when the UN’s World Food Programme ran out of funds. I call on all Member States to now match their actions with their words and ensure the Africa Trust Fund does not meet the same fate.

    We will also work on opening up legal pathways. Irregular migration will only stop if there is a real alternative to perilous journeys. We are close to having resettled 22,000 refugees from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon and I support UN High Commissioner Grandi’s call to resettle a further 40,000 refugees from Libya and the surrounding countries.

    At the same time, legal migration is a necessity for Europe as an ageing continent. This is why the Commission made proposals to make it easier for skilled migrants to reach Europe with a Blue Card. I would like to thank the Parliament for your support and I call for an ambitious and swift agreement on this important issue.

    SETTING SAIL

    Mr President,

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Honourable Members,

    I have mentioned just a few of the initiatives we should deliver over the next 16 months. But this alone will not be enough to regain the hearts and minds of Europeans.

    Now is the time to chart the direction for the future.

    In March, the Commission presented our White Paper on the future of Europe, with five scenarios for what Europe could look like by 2025. These scenarios have been discussed, scrutinised and partly ripped apart. That is good – they were conceived for exactly this purpose. I wanted to launch a process in which Europeans determined their own path and their own future.

    The future of Europe cannot be decided by decree. It has to be the result of democratic debate and, ultimately, broad consensus. This House contributed actively, through the three ambitious resolutions on Europe’s future and your participation in many of the more than 2,000 public events that the Commission organised since March.

    Now is the time to draw first conclusions from this debate. Time to move from reflection to action. From debate to decision.

    Today I would like to present you my view: my own ‘scenario six’, if you will.

    This scenario is rooted in decades of first-hand experience. I have lived and worked for the European project my entire life. I have seen good times and bad.

    I have sat on many different sides of the table: as a Minister, as Prime Minister, as President of the Eurogroup, and now as President of the Commission. I was there in Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon as our Union evolved and enlarged.

    I have always fought for Europe. At times I have suffered with and because of Europe and even despaired for it.

    Through thick and thin, I have never lost my love of Europe.

    But there is rarely love without pain.

    Love for Europe because Europe and the European Union have achieved something unique in this fraying world: peace within and outside of Europe. Prosperity for many if not yet for all.

    This is something we have to remember during the European Year of Cultural Heritage. 2018 must be a celebration of cultural diversity.

    A UNION OF VALUES

    Our values are our compass.

    For me, Europe is more than just a single market. More than money, more than the euro. It was always about values.

    In my scenario six, there are three principles that must always anchor our Union: freedom, equality and the rule of law.

    Europe is first of all a Union of freedom. Freedom from the kind of oppression and dictatorship our continent knows all too well – sadly none more than central and Eastern Europe. Freedom to voice your opinion, as a citizen and as a journalist – a freedom we too often take for granted. It was on these freedoms that our Union was built. But freedom does not fall from the sky. It must be fought for. In Europe and throughout world.

    Second, Europe must be a Union of equality.

    Equality between its Members, big and small, East and West, North and South.

    Make no mistake, Europe extends from Vigo to Varna. From Spain to Bulgaria.

    East to West: Europe must breathe with both lungs. Otherwise our continent will struggle for air.

    In a Union of equals, there can be no second class citizens. It is unacceptable that in 2017 there are still children dying of diseases that should long have been eradicated in Europe. Children in Romania or Italy must have the same access to measles vaccines as other children right across Europe. No ifs, no buts. This is why we are working with all Member States to support national vaccination efforts. Avoidable deaths must not occur in Europe.

    In a Union of equals, there can be no second class workers. Workers should earn the same pay for the same work in the same place. This is why the Commission proposed new rules on posting of workers. We should make sure that all EU rules on labour mobility are enforced in a fair, simple and effective way by a new European inspection and enforcement body. It seems absurd to have a Banking Authority to police banking standards, but no commonLabour Authority for ensuring fairness in our single market. We will create one.

    In a Union of equals, there can be no second class consumers. I will not accept that in some parts of Europe,people are sold food of lower quality than in other countries, despite the packaging and branding being identical. Slovaks do not deserve less fish in their fish fingers. Hungarians less meat in their meals. Czechs less cacao in their chocolate. EU law outlaws such practices already. We must now equip national authorities with stronger powers to cut out any illegal practices wherever they exist.

    Third, in Europe the strength of the law replaced the law of the strong.

    The rule of law means that law and justice are upheld by an independent judiciary.

    Accepting and respecting a final judgement is what it means to be part of a Union based on the rule of law. Member States gave final jurisdiction to the European Court of Justice. The judgements of the Court have to be respected by all. To undermine them, or to undermine the independence of national courts, is to strip citizens of their fundamental rights.

    The rule of law is not optional in the European Union. It is a must.

    Our Union is not a State but it is a community of law.

    A MORE UNITED UNION

    Honourable Members,

    These three principles must be the foundations on which we build a more united, stronger and more democratic Union.

    When we talk about our future, experience tells me new Treaties and new institutions are not the answer people are looking for. They are merely a means to an end, nothing more, nothing less. They might mean something to us here in Strasbourg and in Brussels. But they do not mean a lot to anyone else.

    I am only interested in institutional reforms if they lead to more efficiency in our Union.

    Instead of hiding behind calls for Treaty change – which is in any case inevitable – we must first change the mind-set that for some to win others must lose.

    Democracy is about compromise. And the right compromise makes winners out of everyone. A more united Union should see compromise, not as something negative, but as the art of bridging differences. Democracy cannot function without compromise. Europe cannot function without compromise. This is what the work between Parliament, Council and Commission should always be about.

    A more united Union also needs to become more inclusive.

    If we want to strengthen the protection of our external borders, then we need to open the Schengen areaof free movement to Bulgaria and Romania immediately. We should also allow Croatia to become a full Schengen member once it meets all the criteria.

    If we want the euro to unite rather than divide our continent, then it should be more than the currency of a select group of countries. The euro is meant to be the single currency of the European Unionas a whole. All but two of our Member States are required and entitled to join the euro once they fulfil all conditions.

    Member States that want to join the euro must be able to do so. This is why I am proposing to create a Euro-accession Instrument, offering technical and even financial assistance.

    If we want banks to operate under the same rules and under the same supervision across our continent, then we should encourage all Member States to join the Banking Union. Completing the Banking Union is a matter of urgency. We need to reduce the remaining risks in the banking systems of some of our Member States. Banking Union can only function if risk-reduction and risk-sharing go hand in hand. As everyone well knows, this can only be achieved if the conditions, as proposed by the Commission in November 2015, are met. To get access to a common deposit insurance scheme you first need to do your homework.

    If we want to avoid social fragmentation and social dumping in Europe, then Member States should agree on the European Pillar of Social Rights as soon as possible and at the latest at the Gothenburg summit in November. National social systems will still remain diverse and separate for a long time. But at the very least, we should work for a European Social Standards Union in which we have a common understanding of what is socially fair.

    Europe cannot work if it shuns workers.

    If we want more stability in our neighbourhood, thenwe must maintain a credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans.

    It is clear that there will be no further enlargement during the mandate of this Commission and this Parliament. No candidate is ready yet. But thereafter the European Union will be greater than 27 in number. Accession candidates must give the rule of law, justice and fundamental rights utmost priority.

    This rules out EU membership for Turkey for the foreseeable future.

    Turkey has been taking giant strides away from the European Union for some time.

    Journalists belong in newsrooms not in prisons. They belong where freedom of expression reigns.

    The call I make to those in power in Turkey is this: Let our journalists go. And not just them either. Stop insulting our Member States by comparing their leaders to fascists and Nazis. Europe is a continent of mature democracies. Insults create roadblocks. Sometimes I get the feeling Turkey is intentionally placing these roadblocks so that it can blame Europe for any breakdown in accession talks.

    As for us, we will always keep our hands stretched out towards the great Turkish people and those who are ready to work with us on the basis of our values.

    A STRONGER UNION

    Honourable Members,

    Our Union must also grow stronger.

    I want a stronger single market.

    When it comes to important single market questions, I want decisions in the Council to be taken more often and more easily by qualified majority – with the equal involvement of the European Parliament. We do not need to change the Treaties for this. There are so-called “passerelle clauses” in the current Treaties which allow us to move from unanimity to qualified majority voting in certain areas – if all Heads of State or Government agree to do so.

    I am also strongly in favour of moving to qualified majority voting for decisions on the common consolidated corporate tax base, on VAT, on fair taxes for the digital industry and on the financial transaction tax. Europe has to be able to act quicker and more decisively.

    I want a stronger Economic and Monetary Union.

    The euro area is more resilient now than in years past. We now have the European Stabilisation Mechanism (ESM). I believe the ESM should now progressively graduate into a European Monetary Fund and be firmly anchored in our Union. The Commission will make concrete proposals for this in December.

    We need a European Minister of Economy and Finance: a European Minister that promotes and supports structural reforms in our Member States. He or she can build on the work the Commission has been doing since 2015 with our Structural Reform Support Service. The new Minister should coordinate all EU financial instruments that can be deployed when a Member State is in a recession or hit by a fundamental crisis.

    I am not calling for a new position just for the sake of it. I am calling for efficiency. The Commissioner for economic and financial affairs – ideally also a Vice-President – should assume the role of Economy and Finance Minister. He or she should also preside the Eurogroup.

    The European Economy and Finance Minister must be accountable to the European Parliament.

    We do not need parallel structures. We do not need a budget for the Euro area but a strong Euro area budget line within the EU budget.

    I am also not fond of the idea of having a separate euro area parliament.

    The Parliament of the euro area is the European Parliament.

    The European Union must also be stronger in fighting terrorism. In the past three years, we have made real progress. But we still lack the means to act quickly in case of cross-border terrorist threats.

    This is why I call for a European intelligence unit that ensures data concerning terrorists and foreign fighters are automatically shared among intelligence services and with the police.

    I also see a strong case for tasking the new European Public Prosecutor with prosecuting cross-border terrorist crimes.

    I want our Union to become a stronger global actor. In order to have more weight in the world, we must be able to take foreign policy decisions quicker. This is why I want Member States to look at which foreign policy decisions could be moved from unanimity to qualified majority voting. The Treaty already provides for this, if all Member States agree to do it.

    And I want us to dedicate further efforts to defence matters. A new European Defence Fund is in the offing. As is a Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of defence. By 2025 we need a fully-fledged European Defence Union. We need it. And NATO wants it.

    Last but not least, I want our Union to have a stronger focus on things that matter, building on the work this Commission has already undertaken. We should not meddle in the everyday lives of European citizens by regulating every aspect. We should be big on the big things. We should not march in with a stream of new initiatives or seek ever growing competences. We should give back competences to Member States where it makes sense.

    This is why this Commission has been big on big issues and small on the small ones, putting forward less than 25 new initiatives a year where previous Commissions proposed over 100. We have handed back powers where it makes more sense for national governments to deal with things. Thanks to the good work of Commissioner Vestager, we have delegated 90% of state aid decisions to the regional or local level.

    To finish the work we started, I am setting up a Subsidiarity and Proportionality Task Force as ofthis month to take a very critical look at all policy areas to make sure we are only acting where the EU adds value. First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who has a proven track record on better regulation, will head this Task Force. The Timmermans Task Force, which should include Members of this Parliament as well as Members of national Parliaments, should report back in a years’ time.

    A MORE DEMOCRATIC UNION

    Honourable Members,

    Mr President,

    Our Union needs to take a democratic leap forward.

    I would like to see European political parties start campaigning for the next elections much earlier than in the past. Too often Europe-wide elections have been reduced to nothing more than the sum of national campaigns. European democracy deserves better.

    Today, the Commission is proposing new rules on the financing of political parties and foundations. We should not be filling the coffers of anti-European extremists. We should be giving European parties the means to better organise themselves.

    I also have sympathy for the idea of having transnational lists – though I am aware this is an idea more than a few of you disagree with. Such lists would help make European Parliament elections more European and more democratic.

    I also believe that, over the months to come, we should involve national Parliaments and civil society at national, regional and local level more in the work on the future of Europe. Over the last three years, Members of the Commission have visited national Parliaments more than 650 times. They also debated in more than 300 interactive Citizens’ Dialogues in more than 80 cities and towns across 27 Member States. But we can still do more. This is why I support President Macron’s idea of organising democratic conventions across Europe in 2018.

    As the debate gathers pace, I will personally pay particular attention to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania in 2018. This is the year they will celebrate their 100th anniversary. Those who want to shape the future of our continent should well understand and honour our common history. This includes these four countries – Europe would not be whole without them.

    The need to strengthen democracy also has implications for the European Commission. Today, I am sending the European Parliament a new Code of Conduct for Commissioners. The new Code first of all makes clear that Commissioners can be candidates in European Parliament elections under the same conditions as everyone else. The new Code will of course strengthen the integrity requirements for Commissioners both during and after their mandate.

    If you want to strengthen European democracy, then you cannot reverse the democratic progress seen with the creation of lead candidates – ‘Spitzenkandidaten‘.

    I am convinced that any future President will benefit greatly from the unique experience of having campaigned in all quarters of our beautiful continent. To understand the challenges of his or her job and the diversity of our Member States, a future President should have met citizens in the townhalls of Helsinki as well as in the squares of Athens. In my personal experience of such a campaign, it makes you more humble, but also strengthens you during your mandate. And you can face the other leaders in the European Council with the confidence that you have been elected, just as they have. This is good for the balance of our Union.

    More democracy means more efficiency. Europe would function better if we were to merge the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council.

    This is nothing against my good friend Donald, with whom I have worked seamlessly together for the past three years. This is nothing against Donald or against me.

    Europe would be easier to understand if one captain was steering the ship.

    Having a single President would better reflect the true nature of our European Union as both a Union of States and a Union of citizens.

     

    OUR ROADMAP

    Honourable members,

    The vision of a more united, stronger and more democratic Europe I am outlining today combines elements from all of the scenarios I set out in March.

    But our future cannot remain a scenario, a sketch, an idea amongst others.

    We have to prepare the Union of tomorrow, today.

    This morning I sent a Roadmap to President Tajani, President Tusk as well as to the holders of the rotating Presidencies of the Council between now and March 2019, outlining where we should go from here.

    An important element will be the plans the Commission will present in May 2018 for how the future EU budget can match our ambition and make sure we can deliver on everything we promise.

    On 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. This will be a very sad and tragic moment. We will always regret it. But we have to respect the will of the British people.

    On 30 March 2019, we will be a Union of 27. I suggest that we prepare for this moment well, amongst the 27 and within the EU institutions.

    European Parliament elections will take place just a few weeks later, in May 2019. Europeans have a date with democracy. They need to go to the polls with a clear understanding of how the European Union will develop over the years to come.

    This is why I call on President Tusk and Romania, the country holding the Presidency in the first half of 2019, to organise a Special Summit in Romania on 30 March 2019. My wish is that this summit be held in the beautiful ancient city of Sibiu, or Hermannstadt as I know it. It should be the moment we come together to take the decisions needed for a more united, stronger and democratic Europe.

    My hope is that on 30 March 2019, Europeans will wake up to a Union where we all stand by our values. Where all Member States firmly respect the rule of law. Where being a full member of the euro area, the Banking Union and the Schengen area has become the norm for all EU Member States. Where we have shored up the foundations of our Economic and Monetary Union so that we can defend our single currency in good times and bad, without having to call on external help. Where our single market will be fairer towards workers from the East and from the West. Where we managed to agree on a strong pillar of social standards. Where profits will be taxed where they were made. Where terrorists have no loopholes to exploit. Where we have agreed on a proper European Defence Union. Where a single President leads the work of the Commission and the European Council, having been elected after a democratic Europe-wide election campaign.

    If our citizens wake up to this Union on 30 March 2019, then they should be able vote in the European Parliament elections a few weeks later with the firm conviction that our Union is a place that works for them.

    CONCLUSION

    Honourable Members,

    Europe was not made to stand still. It must never do so.

    Helmut Kohl and Jacques Delors taught me that Europe only moves forward when it is bold. The single market, Schengen and the single currency were all written off as pipe dreams before they happened. And yet these three ambitious projects are now a reality.

    I hear those who say we should not rock the boat now that things have started to get better.

    But now is not the time to err on the side of caution.

    We started to fix the roof. But we must complete the job now that the sun is shining and whilst it still is.

    Because when the next clouds appear on the horizon – and they will – it will be too late.

    So let’s throw off the bowlines.

    Sail away from the harbour.

    And catch the trade winds in our sails.

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  • Foreign affairs

    About foreign affairs policyTogether with the European Commission and with the assistance of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council’s main role is to ensure the unity, consistency and effectiveness of …

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  • Speech by the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, at the European Council meeting on 9 and 10 March 2017

    I was elected on the basis of a clear pledge: to act as the spokesman for the European Parliament, not its Prime Minister. At European Council meetings, I will set out Parliament’s positions, and in so doing give voice to the views of the minority as well.  

    My programme is the European Parliament’s programme. We need to work effectively to adopt good laws in the interests of all citizens.

    I am firmly committed to fair and constructive cooperation between our institutions. Parliament will be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    My priority as President will be to help bring Europe closer to its citizens.

    Today, more than ever, we all have a responsibility to play our part, to carry out the roles we have been given, to the very best of our ability. Blaming problems on other institutions or governments is not the way to solve those problems. That calls for political courage and vision.

    The widespread dissatisfaction we see today is not so much with the European project itself, but rather with its apparent inability to find answers to the problems facing us. The concerns of ordinary Europeans – unemployment, security, immigration, protection of the environment – must be at the top of our agenda.

    A few weeks ago, the European Parliament approved the trade agreement with Canada and the mandate to establish a new emissions quota trading system. These decisions are tangible examples of what a results-oriented Europe can achieve.

    A more competitive Europe

    If unemployment, particularly among young people, is to be reduced, we need a more competitive Europe which is attuned to the needs of the real economy. Here again, everyone must play their part. The European institutions must speed up the work of completing the single market; the Member States must implement the reforms needed to foster growth.

    The single market is the biggest driver of prosperity for our citizens. But it has not yet fulfilled its potential.

    Further efforts are needed to create a genuine European market in services, capital and energy. Investing in energy efficiency can create many jobs. There are still barriers hampering the free movement of goods.

    We need to establish the digital single market as quickly as possible. If it lacks a European dimension, citizens and consumers will not enjoy the full benefits of the digital revolution. Only a large area without barriers can foster the development of start-ups in a rapidly changing world in which new business models are emerging all the time. We must also encourage European creativity, not least by protecting intellectual property effectively.

    The European Parliament is doing its bit: only recently we approved the decision to do away with roaming charges in Europe, and we are discussing the proposals on the digital agenda, the energy package and the capital union.

    We are determined to speed up progress in these areas.

    Manufacturing accounts for 80% of innovation and exports, and indirectly for a large share of the jobs in the services sector as well. For that reason, the main focus of our policies must be strengthening Europe’s industrial base.

    Our firms are world leaders. Throughout the world, Europe is a byword for quality. This translates into jobs. We all have an interest, therefore, in continuing to make the case for open markets with conviction.

    Today more than ever, Europe has a duty to maintain its course towards an open society and free trade based on compliance with the rules.

    The agreement recently concluded with Canada is a good example of an economic and trade partnership which will create jobs and help European SMIs to export. It combines measures to abolish barriers to trade with provisions which will safeguard European quality and high employment, health and safety standards.

    Over the next few months we must continue to work in this direction, in particular in the negotiations with Japan, Mexico, Chile and Mercosur.

    We must continue to implement trade policy intelligently, strengthening industry and services and taking resolute action to counter all forms of unfair competition.

    The European Parliament is committed to completing the negotiations on trade protection instruments quickly. We are working to secure a political agreement ahead of the summit with China.

    After many years of stagnation, the economies of all the Member States have started to grow once again, albeit at widely differing speeds.

    Unemployment, in particular among young people, remains high in many parts of Europe. Economic convergence is still inadequate.

    In some parts of the Union, economic and social disparities are widening. If we want a more competitive Europe which is capable of safeguarding our social market economy model for future generations as well, we must strengthen our economic governance instruments.

    The European Semester must be made more effective and more democratic. The reforms implemented to date seem insufficient to eliminate all the obstacles to growth: high levels of tax on labour and businesses, inefficient public authorities, professional training which is not always tailored to the needs of the economy, a lack of investment in infrastructure and research.

    The Member States must take greater responsibility for identifying and actually implementing the reforms required.

    In that connection, the European Parliament recently approved three reports highlighting the need to increase the level of involvement of the national parliaments in economic policy-making. I would like to thank the Commission for its recent efforts to do just that.

    We must continue to work to attract more investment. The European Parliament supports the increase in the budget for the Commission’s Investment Plan and will work to secure its adoption.

    Defence

    Today more than ever, we must display a greater sense of collective responsibility for guaranteeing the security and defence of ordinary Europeans.

    The European Parliament supports the establishment of a European defence industry and market, in order to generate economies of scale and encourage interoperability and joint research. That is the basis for more effective European defence and the more efficient use of resources.

    We must increase the level of coordination so that we can work more effectively together, exploiting synergies and avoiding duplication of programmes and over-capacity.

    Immigration

    Immigration is at the top of the list of ordinary Europeans’ concerns. We need to implement the decisions which have already been taken.

    In Valletta you discussed the external aspects of immigration with a focus on the stabilisation of Libya.

    The right of asylum is one of the fundamental values underpinning our Union and one which, like solidarity among the Member States, we must protect at all costs. The European Parliament is working to make the asylum system more effective by overhauling the Dublin Regulation.

    We must be just as rigorous in taking in people who qualify for asylum as we are in countering illegal immigration.

    We cannot leave the management of migration to people traffickers and terrorists. We need decisive political action at EU level to strengthen controls at our borders and, at the same time, to tackle the problem of migration at its roots.

    In order to facilitate and speed up returns and reduce migratory pressures, we need robust political, parliamentary, economic and cultural diplomacy. Europe must use all the instruments at its disposal.

    If we really want to deal effectively with this phenomenon which is bound up with demographic growth, climate change, terrorism, war and poverty, we need a joint strategy. We must step up our efforts directed towards the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean and in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular those in the Sahel.

    We need more investment, including private investment, and transfers of know-how in the areas of security, infrastructure, clean energy, industry, entrepreneurship, training and administrative capacity-building.

    The Commission proposal to set up a European fund for sustainable development in Africa, which Parliament intends to approve before the summer, is a step in the right direction. The same can be said of the Commission proposal to expand the EU’s tasks under the common security and defence policy, on which Parliament has already started work.

    More generally, we need a new approach to traditional development policy, in the context of the revision of the Cotonou Agreement.

    Parliament is working on the harmonisation of return travel documents and on the Smart Borders initiative, which will make it possible to record more quickly and more securely details of the persons crossing the external borders of the Schengen Area.

    All these matters are being fast-tracked. I am sure that the Maltese Presidency will work hard to conclude the negotiations currently under way.

    Western Balkans

    The European Union was a beacon for many countries in the past and must continue to be one for all the countries in the Western Balkans. In some of those countries, there are alarming signs that stability and the democratic process are being undermined.

    Here as well, Europe must show leadership, remain the benchmark and demonstrate a high degree of unity.

    The European Parliament is wholly committed to political and economic cooperation with these countries. Our objective is still that they should join the Union.

    European Public Prosecutor’s Office

    I applaud the work which has been done to establish a European Public Prosecutor’s Office.

    Today more than ever we can see how important European unity is. Europe needs to be changed not weakened. All the institutions need to work harder to find the answers which ordinary Europeans are looking to us to provide.

    This will only be possible if we work together, seeking to understand each other’s point of view.

    The European Parliament intends to do everything it can to build bridges towards the peoples of Europe and work in the general interest. This approach always brings greater benefits for all the Member States than one based on the lowest common denominator of the sum of national interests.

    The only response to populism is to demonstrate by means of practical achievements that we are working together for a Europe which produces results.

    We are about to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. That celebration must be more than just a formal ceremony to mark what have been the best 60 years in the history of a free Europe.

    Europe is a success story when it embodies a dream of progress, prosperity, freedom and peace. I refuse to believe that Europeans have lost the desire to dream. It is up to us, today, to change the image of a distant, ineffective, bureaucratic Europe. We must reignite people’s passion for Europe by giving them the feeling once again that they are part of an historic project. It is the greatest legacy that we can bequeath to future generations.

    In the first meetings I have had with some of you here in Brussels and in Rome, Valletta, Madrid, Berlin and Ljubljana I sensed a determination to move in that direction.

    The debate on the future of Europe which was launched by the adoption of the three Parliament reports – Verhofstadt, Bresso/Brok and Berès/Böge – and the presentation of the Commission’s White Paper will show just what that determination means in practice. 

    You can count on me and on the European Parliament.

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  • Intense Debate, Close Voting as Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Digital-age Privacy Take Centre Stage in Third Committee

    Delegates Approve 12 Draft Resolutions for Action by General Assembly

    Sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as issues of privacy in the digital age, were the subjects of close votes and contentious debate today in the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) as it sent 12 draft resolutions to the General Assembly.

    Among the texts most debated was a draft taking note of the Human Rights Council report and recommendations, approved as amended by a recorded vote of 94 in favour, to 3 against (Belarus, Israel, Mauritius), with 80 abstentions.  Its approval came after the narrow passage — by 84 recorded votes in favour, to 77 against, with 17 abstentions — of an amendment deleting the original text’s operative paragraph 2.

    At issue was the Human Rights Council’s decision 32/2, taken in June, to appoint an Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Botswana’s representative, on behalf of the African Group, had submitted the original draft proposing to defer consideration of and action on that decision to the General Assembly’s seventy-second session to allow for more time for consultations.  Noting that the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were not enshrined in international law, he said the independent expert mandate lacked the required specificity to be carried out fairly.

    Countries mainly from Latin America and Western States opposed that deferral in an amendment deleting the draft’s call for it.  Discussion of the amendment opened a debate on the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as on the potential procedural consequences of reopening a Human Rights Council decision.

    Slovakia’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, warned that opening a decision of the Human Rights Council would undermine its functioning.  Liechtenstein’s representative, speaking on behalf of several other countries, supported the mandate of the Independent Expert, as it reflected a commitment to the prevention of violence.  Singapore’s representative, meanwhile, said the issue hinged on whether the General Assembly could pronounce on the work of the Council, a subsidiary body.  He opposed the amendment, as it was important to reaffirm the Assembly’s legitimacy to do so, explaining that his position was not a statement about the substance of the mandate.  Singapore respected all persons, regardless of gender identity.

    In the afternoon, the Committee took action on 10 draft resolutions, putting to a recorded vote one on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, which passed by 170 votes in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and the United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Tonga and Vanuatu). 

    A draft resolution on “Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order” was approved by a recorded 123 votes in favour to 53 against, with 6 abstentions (Armenia, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Mexico and Peru), while a draft on the right to development was approved by a vote of 138 in favour, to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 39 abstentions.

    Further, a draft resolution on Human rights and unilateral coercive measures was sent to the Assembly with 128 recorded votes in favour to 54 against, and no abstentions.  Another text titled “Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights” was also approved by a recorded vote of 128 in favour, to 53 against, with 2 abstentions (Greece, Lesotho).

    The Committee also approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age.  Brazil’s representative, co-introducing the text, said it underscored the negative impact that surveillance, interception of communications and the collection of personal data on a mass scale had on the exercise of the right to privacy.  Germany’s representative added that it highlighted the effects of violations of the right to privacy for women and children and called on businesses to respect that right.

    On that point, South Africa’s representative expressed disappointment that the focus of the text had shifted from its initial purpose.  Its denial of the Intergovernmental Working Group’s role in regulating transnational cooperation and other business enterprises, holding them accountable for rights violations, was puzzling.  She dissociated from the text, while conveying her willingness to work with its sponsors to ensure it was returned to the right path.

    Canada’s delegate added that the draft’s preoccupation with mass surveillance distracted from the bigger issue of the right to privacy, which often involved targeted surveillance on a discriminatory basis.

    The Committee also approved the following four draft resolutions without a vote:  “Intensification of efforts to end obstetric fistula”; “Universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination”; “Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls: domestic violence”; “Human rights and extreme poverty”; and “The Right to Food”.

    The Third Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 22 November, to continue its action on draft proposals.

    Action

    The representative of Senegal, on behalf of the African Group, introduced a draft resolution on the “Intensification of efforts to end obstetric fistula” (document A/C.3/71/L.16/Rev.1).  Expressing hope that the draft text would be approved by consensus, she invited all to join as co-sponsors.

    The observer of the Holy See said millions of women suffered from obstetric fistula, which was entirely preventable.  Support for the draft resolution was heartening.  The Holy See had reservations about terms such as “reproductive rights” and did not consider abortion as included in that term.

    The Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote.

    By its terms, the General Assembly would call on States to take all measures to ensure the right of women and girls to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health, including sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.  It would invite States to contribute to efforts to end obstetric fistula, including through the Campaign to End Fistula, as part of efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5 by 2030, and to continue efforts to improve maternal health with the aim of eliminating obstetric fistula globally within a generation.

    The representative of Slovakia, on behalf of the European Union, said the draft had a clear and achievable aim of ending obstetric fistula within a generation.  Adolescent girls were at particular risk, and child early and forced marriage was among the root causes of obstetric fistula.  Education remained one of the best means of prevention.  It was regrettable that the draft resolution did not contain some language achieved at the high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS, he said, underscoring the bloc’s support for the initiative and for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

    The representative of Norway explained that her country and Switzerland had decided to co-sponsor the draft resolution, though it did not contain all elements they might have wished for.  The text was not perfect, but few draft resolutions were.  It was sufficiently broad to show those working on the ground that there was support for their efforts to eliminate fistula.

    The representative of Jamaica, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said it had joined consensus due to its commitment to the health and well-being of women and girls.  The term “early marriage” was understood to be subject to the national laws of CARICOM Member States.

    The representative of Iceland, also speaking on behalf of Australia, Argentina, Colombia, Liechtenstein, New Zealand and Mexico, said fistula could be addressed with an easy surgical intervention, but many women lived with the condition for decades because they could not access health care.  Commending UNFPA for leading the United Nations response to end fistula, he underscored that it was an issue of access to health services.  The text’s reference to “age-appropriate sex education” was unnecessarily restrictive.

    The representative of Senegal explained how consensus had been achieved during negotiations, stressing that only battle worth fighting was to strengthen the international commitment towards eradicating fistula.  Regarding the reference to “age-appropriate sex education”, Senegal did not oppose sex education, which was taught in Senegal with respect for age-appropriateness.

    The representative of India said it had joined consensus on the text, noting that age-appropriate sexual education should be taught via a culturally relevant approach.

    The Committee deferred action on a draft resolution on the “Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls: prevention and elimination of domestic violence” (document A/C.3/71/L.21/Rev.1) as the text was not ready.

    The Committee deferred action on the draft resolution titled “Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa” (document A/71/C.3/L.51), after a request by the representative of Botswana, on behalf of the African Group.

    The Committee then turned to the draft resolution titled “Report of the Human Rights Council” (document A/C.3/71/L.46), as orally revised, and the amendment thereto (document A/C.3/71/L.52) which would delete operative paragraph 2.

    An official from the Secretariat read out the oral revision to operative paragraph 2, as proposed by the African Group, which would have the Assembly defer consideration of and action on the Human Rights Council report until its seventy-second session.

    He said, by the text, that the Assembly would take note of the report of the Human Rights Council and defer consideration of and action on Human Rights Council resolution 32/2 of 30 June 2016 on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, so as to allow time for further consultations to determine the legal basis upon which the mandate of the special procedure established by the Council resolution would be defined.

    The representative of Brazil, on behalf of co-sponsors Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and Uruguay, introduced the amendment L.52, stressing that approval of the draft resolution as it stood would negatively affect the Human Rights Council and its responsibility to promote the universal protection of human rights.  Further, the oral revision read out by the Secretariat official did not address his concern.

    A recorded vote was requested on the amendment.

    The representative of Botswana, on behalf of the African Group, said in a general statement before the vote that a deferral to the seventy-second session had been requested to allow for more time for consultations.  His delegation did not question the work of special procedures nor intend to undermine the Human Rights Council’s work.  The Council was a subsidiary body of the General Assembly. 

    He said precedents had been set for deferring work on specific mandates, notably through resolutions 61/178 of 2006, whereby the Assembly decided to defer consideration of and action on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to allow time for further consultations, and through resolution 68/144, whereby it decided to defer consideration of and action on Human Rights Council resolution 24/24 of 27 September 2013.  Further, the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” were not enshrined in international law.  As such, the independent expert mandate lacked the required specificity to be carried out fairly.  He urged delegates to vote against amendment L.52 out of respect for sovereignty and the Charter of the United Nations.

    The representative of Slovakia, on behalf of the European Union, expressed his deep concern about opening a decision of the Human Rights Council, which had been made well within its scope.  Such efforts would undermine the Council’s functioning. The Council resolution in question had been adopted by a majority vote and the special procedure had been established in September 2016.  Concerns about that mandate were not sufficient to question that decision.  Discrimination occurred based on a number of qualities and it was the United Nations’ duty to counter such behaviour.

    The representative of the United States strongly supported amendment L.52, stressing that the Council report should be approved in its entirety.  Seeking to open Human Right Council resolutions through legal means constituted interference in the Council’s work.

    The representative of the Republic of Korea said the draft resolution containing operative paragraph 2 undermined the Council’s work, stressing that the aim must be to strengthen human rights mechanisms, not weaken them.

    The representative of Mexico said Human Rights Council decisions should be respected, while also expressing respect for the desire to discuss such issues in the Third Committee.  While the matter was delicate, the draft resolution was about non-discrimination, which should never be questioned.

    The representative of Japan focused on the independence of the Human Rights Council, which was provided by the General Assembly.  Questioning that independence set a dangerous precedent.

    The representative of Egypt, speaking on behalf of Organization of Islamic Cooperation — “with one exception” — in explanation of vote before the vote, said the debate was an extension of discussions in the Human Rights Council.  His delegation upheld the protection of dignity and non-discrimination, he said, expressing deep concern about the introduction of a controversial concept which had not been accepted in many countries.  Recalling the “subsidiary nature” of the Human Rights Council, he clarified that relevant precedents had been set.  He rejected any interference in internal affairs and urged all to vote against the amendment, expressing his delegation’s intention to not cooperate with the mandate.

    The representative of Thailand recalled the right of Member States to take up the issue in the Third Committee and, expressing support for the mandate, said it had been confirmed by the Human Rights Council.

    The representative of Congo, associating herself with the African Group, said the Group’s concerns had been ignored, and she questioned the legal basis for creating the special procedure’s mandate.  More consultations were needed to reach a just outcome.

    The representative of Singapore, reiterating his country’s strong commitment to the Human Rights Council, said the issue hinged on whether the General Assembly could pronounce itself on the Council’s work.  Indeed, the Assembly had the right and responsibility to do so, and as such, he opposed amendment L.52, as it was important to reaffirm the Assembly’s legitimacy to pronounce on those matters.  Deletion of operative paragraph 2 would imply that the Assembly’s role was merely symbolic.  He did not see deferral as a questioning of the Council’s work, and further consultations did not preclude a decision.  Rather, they would strengthen the human rights mechanisms.  His position was not a pronouncement on the substance of the mandate, he said, reiterating that Singapore respected all persons, regardless of gender identity.

    The representative of Israel said States had reaffirmed their commitment to inclusiveness with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.  The Secretary-General had described the fight against homophobia and transphobia as a great neglected challenge.  Israel had co-sponsored the Human Rights Council resolution in June welcoming the mandate on sexual orientation and gender identity.  The international community should not back off.  Israel would vote in favour of the amendment and called on all to do the same.

    The representative of Jamaica focused on the procedural effects of the decision before the Committee, noting that he would vote against the amendment in order to allow for more in-depth deliberation on the matter.

    The representative of Yemen, associating himself with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the African Group, said the General Assembly had the right to discuss any matters within the scope of the Charter, including reviewing the mandates of subsidiary bodies to ensure they conformed with international law and the purposes of the United Nations.  The African Group had therefore asked to defer consideration of the Human Rights Council resolution in question.  He wondered how the Independent Expert could fulfil his mandate without international consensus on the definition of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    The representative of Cameroon endorsed the statements by the African Group and OIC, noting that Human Rights Council had been created to promote the universal respect and protection of all human rights in a fair and equal manner, without seeking to establish “superior castes”.  Its founding resolution had established it as a subsidiary body of the General Assembly.  The Assembly’s authority was unquestionable and the Council’s work fell within its remit.  Stressing that the Council must create unambiguous mandates, she said sexual orientation and gender identity were undefined in international law.  States must engage in open dialogue without imposing anything on others.  Cameroon would vote against the amendment.

    The representative of the Russian Federation said the way in which supporters of the amendment spoke adamantly about the need to respect subsidiary body mandates and to cooperate appeared to be a double standard.  Those same delegations had taken advantage of reviewing decisions made by the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council.  The same delegations calling for respecting the mandate of the Human Rights Council were not prepared to respect the mandate of that Committee.  The African Group proposal to defer consideration of the Human Rights Council’s decision 32/2 to allow time to consult on the legal basis of the mandate was well-justified and in line with procedures governing the relations between main and subsidiary bodies.  The Russian Federation would vote against the draft amendment.

    The representative of South Africa said his position was a principled one based on his country’s constitution.  The issue at hand was a sensitive one.  After years of painful struggle, black and white, “straight and not straight”, South Africa had come together to bury discrimination once and for all.  South Africa would fight discrimination everywhere, every time.  On the matter at hand, he disagreed with most others on the African continent, noting that South Africa was still healing wounds caused by discrimination and would not add fresh ones.  South Africa would vote based on its constitutional imperative.

    The representative of Burundi endorsed the African Group position, highlighting his country’s commitment to the principles of non-discrimination.  Recalling Burundi’s membership on the Council, he said the African Group had requested time to achieve a solid resolution reflecting the will of the General Assembly.  The Human Rights Council was an Assembly subsidiary body, meaning that all its decisions must pass through the Assembly.  Those decisions could be reviewed and adjusted.  His delegation would reject the draft amendment.

    The representative of Nigeria, endorsing the African Group’s statement, underscored the need for wider consultations on the topic of sexual orientation and gender identity.  The issue was not about discrimination, but rather, about defining how mandates should operate through a consensual agreement.  Nigeria would vote against the amendment.

    Draft amendment L.52 was approved by a recorded vote of 84 votes in favour to 77 against, with 17 abstentions.

    By its terms, the Assembly would delete operative paragraph 2 of the draft resolution calling for deferment of the Human Rights Council resolution 32/2 of 30 June 2016 on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

    The representative of Norway, also speaking on behalf of Australia, Canada, Liechtenstein, New Zealand and Switzerland, noted that an independent expert could help create an understanding that had not been previously achieved, adding that there were a dozen mandates which lacked an explicit treaty-based definition before their creation.  The adoption of those mandates had not been challenged to elaborate a legal basis.

    The representative of Paraguay, in an explanation of vote after the vote, expressed full support for the mandate of the Human Rights Council as established by the General Assembly.  Paraguay had voted in favour of Council resolution 32/2 on the basis it would contribute to eliminating violence.  The African Group proposal did not undermine the Council’s role; it simply had requested more time.

    The representative of Malaysia said the cultural beliefs had a bearing on societal and normative views of sexual behaviour, noting that he had voted against the amendment.

    The representative of Chile said the result of the vote was of paramount importance, noting that all States had reaffirmed the Human Rights Council’s role and powers. 

    The Committee then took up the draft resolution titled “Report of the Human Rights Council” (document A/C.3/71/L.46), as amended.   

    The representative of the Russian Federation said her delegation had supported the draft resolution prepared by the African Group, which had proposed to defer consideration of the independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity in order to consider its legal basis.  That proposal was well-justified.  The notion of sexual orientation and gender identity did not exist in international law.  Therefore, well-founded questions had arisen about which legal norms would guide the legal expert in his mandate.  The Russian delegation did not recognize the mandate and would not cooperate with the Independent Expert on the protection against violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, withdrawing its co-sponsorship.

    The representative of Botswana, on behalf of the African Group, called the amendment’s approval a “neck-to-neck situation” similar to when resolution 32/2 was adopted at the Human Rights Council.  The effect of the approved amendments had changed the draft resolution completely and the African Group dissociated itself from the amendment.

    The representative of Egypt on behalf of the OIC opposed the approval of the draft resolution and its establishment of an Independent Expert, stressing that OIC members were not in a position to cooperate with the Independent Expert’s mandate.

    The representative of Nigeria objected to the introduction of norms into the Third Committee that did not have consensus.  Nigeria dissociated itself from the mandate and reminded delegates that its creation was not consensus-based.

    The representative of Israel said all the Human Rights Council’s principles disappeared when it came to Israel.  Rather than focusing on real pressing human rights issues around the globe, the Council preferred to “trample in the political swamp”.  It was crucial that the Council finally focus on its mandate and immediately end resources for addressing its agenda item 7, which only served to single out Israel.  The Human Rights Council report displayed prejudice toward one of the Member States and therefore Israel would vote against the draft resolution.  

    The representative of Liechtenstein, also speaking for Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand and Norway, welcomed the deletion of operative paragraph 2 of draft resolution L.46, noting that any other outcome would have gravely affected relations between the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.  The mandate of the Independent Expert was supported, as it reflected a commitment to the prevention of violence.  She called on all States to cooperate with all special procedures, enabling them to conduct their work.  Liechtenstein had abstained from the vote on procedural grounds, as it was up to the plenary to take note of the Human Rights Council report.

    The draft resolution was approved by a recorded vote of 94 in favour to 3 against (Belarus, Israel, Mauritius), with 80 abstentions.

    By its terms, the text would call on the General Assembly to take note of the report of the Human Rights Council and its recommendations.

    The representative of Slovakia, on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the vote in favour of the amendment, noting that the bloc had abstained from the vote. 

    The representative of Costa Rica had abstained from the vote for procedural reasons, noting that the Human Rights Council report must be considered in the plenary of the General Assembly, and not in the Third Committee.  Assembly decision 60/251 creating the Human Rights Council had established that the Council would present its annual report to the Assembly, and that had been reaffirmed during earlier sessions.

    The representative of the United Kingdom associated himself with the European Union, adding that his country would cooperate with the Independent Expert and his mandate.  Mandates generated in Geneva should not be reopened.  He welcomed action taken by the amendment’s co-sponsors, encouraging all to engage with the Independent Expert as they would with any other special procedure.

    The representative of Nauru, while welcoming the draft resolution, said the Independent Expert mandate lacked the necessary specificity to be carried out, given the lack of international legal instruments on the topic.  Nauru disassociated itself from Human Rights Council decision 32/2 and did not recognize the Independent Expert created by that decision.

    The representative of Singapore, in explanation of vote after the vote, said his country had always supported the African Group’s resolution on the Human Rights Council, and thus had voted in favour of the draft resolution as amended.

    The representative of Belarus said the Human Rights Council was unique as the only body with the universal periodic review, which examined human rights situations without exception.  The Council continued to engage in politicized activity, and as such, Belarus could not support the draft resolution.

    The representative of Botswana thanked all delegations that had supported the draft resolution, which was without prejudice to opposition to the amendment.

    The representative of Mauritania reaffirmed his country’s support for the African Group and OIC, disassociating from the Independent Expert mandate.

    The representative of Mali asked to correct his country’s vote to “yes”, as its national position was aligned with the African Group.

    The representative of Iran said the Human Rights Council was expected to refrain from imposing non-consensual concepts.  The General Assembly had the authority to guide the work of its subsidiary bodies.  The African Group had asked for a one-year deferral.  All human rights should be respected, and despite the existence of the universal periodic review, certain countries continued their policy of confrontation.  Iran disassociated itself from the Human Rights Council report which included a report on the situation in Iran.

    The representative of Jamaica said his vote in favour was an expression of its traditional support for the draft resolution.

    The representative of Libya supported the African Group’s positon as well as that of the OIC, emphasizing her country’s commitment to instruments to which it was party.  Deploring all stereotypes, discrimination and violence, she voiced regret at desperate attempts to impose controversial concepts on United Nations resolutions.  Libya disassociated from Human Rights Council resolution 32/2 and boycotted the so-called mandate of the Independent Expert.

    The representative of Uganda supported the African Group statements, expressing regret that the Committee had reaffirmed the Human Rights Council decision to appoint an Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, a concept which had no legal basis in international law.  That would lead to further polarization.  Uganda disassociated itself from resolution 32/2.

    The representative of Cameroon, associating herself with the African Group and the OIC, reiterated her country’s commitment to protecting human rights for all in all circumstances.  Nevertheless, Cameroon disassociated from the mandate established by the Human Rights Council decision. 

    The representative of Yemen said it was regrettable that the amendment had been approved.  The voting result indicated international division over the Independent Expert mandate, which would be reflected in dealings with the Expert.  Yemen disassociated from Council decision 32/2 and would boycott the mandate of the so-called Independent Expert.

    The representative of Sudan associated herself with the African Group and the OIC and disassociated from the Independent Expert mandate.

    The representative of the United Republic of Tanzania associated herself with the African Group and disassociated from Human Rights Council resolution 32/2, saying her country would not cooperate with the mandate-holder.

    The representative of Niger said she had voted against the amendment and in favour of the draft resolution.  Associating herself with the African Group and the OIC, she rejected the mandate established by Human Rights Council resolution 32/2 as the concept was not recognized in national legal systems.

    The Committee then focused on took the draft resolution titled the “Universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination” (document A/C.3/71/L.49).

    By its terms, the Assembly would declare its firm opposition to foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation, as those acts had resulted in the suppression of the right of peoples to self-determination.  It would call upon those States responsible to immediately cease their military intervention in and occupation of foreign countries and territories, as well as all acts of repression, discrimination, exploitation and maltreatment.  It would deplore the plight of millions of refugees and displaced persons uprooted as a result of those aforementioned acts.

    The representative of South Africa expressed her strong support for the draft resolution, stressing that the right to self-determination was essential and attaching great importance to decolonization and non-violence.  The oppression of Palestinians which was reminiscent of Apartheid, she added.

    The text was approved without a vote.

    The representative of Spain expressed concern about the application of the right to self-determination and stressed that a number of territories had not been granted their full rights.  Gibraltar’s natives, for example, had been forced to leave and were replaced by settlements from the colonizing power.  Spain therefore sought co‑sovereignty for Gibraltar.

    The representative of United States expressed her concern about the legal errors in the draft resolution.

    The representative of Argentina expressed grave concern about the situation of people who had not been granted their right to self-determination, stressing that the draft resolution must be applied in line with relevant United Nations resolutions.

    The representative of Papua New Guinea, welcoming the draft resolution, emphasized that decolonization has not been fully achieved for all territories.  The decolonization agenda must be revitalized with a view to achieving its full implementation.

    The Committee took up the draft resolution on the “Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls: prevention and elimination of domestic violence” (document A/C.3/71/L.21/Rev.1).

    By its terms, the Assembly would emphasize that States should continue to adopt and implement legislation and policies addressing violence against women and girls in a comprehensive manner, not only by criminalizing such violence, but also by including protection and access to the effective remedies for victims.  It would call on States to prevent and eliminate domestic violence as a matter of priority, urging them to address the structural and underlying causes and risk factors.

    The representative of France introduced an amendment to preambular paragraph 10 whereby only child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation would be listed as harmful practices, as agreed upon in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Domestic violence was widespread and among the least visible forms of abuse, therefore requiring focus.  While negotiations often had been heated, they reflected different cultural approaches, he said, stressing that the draft resolution placed the interests of survivors at its heart.

    The draft resolution was approved without a vote as orally revised.

    The representative of Saint Lucia, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), stressed the importance of fighting domestic violence with respect to different cultural and legal systems. 

    The representative of Egypt, on behalf of several countries, criticized the term “intimate partner violence” as vague, explaining that there was no international definition and that such terms contradicted certain cultural contexts.  She therefore disassociated from preambular paragraphs 10 and 19.

    The representative of Yemen expressed disappointment that the term “intimate partner violence” had been included in preambular paragraphs 10 and 19, as it did not have a legal foundation in his country.  He disassociated from that term wherever it occurred in the text.

    The representative of Djibouti, while supporting the need to fight violence against women, rejected the term of “intimate partner violence”, which contravened the laws and culture in his country.  He therefore disassociated with paragraphs containing that term.

    The representative of Mexico stressed the need to eradicate domestic violence against women, voicing concern that rights could be eroded in the search for consensus. References to femicide had been diluted.

    The representative of Qatar, on behalf of several States, expressed concern about biased cultural concepts in the text which had not been addressed during consultations.

    The representative of Australia, on behalf of Iceland, New Zealand and Liechtenstein, described the wider social impacts of violence against women and welcomed the text’s focus on that aspect.

    The representative of Iraq regretted that no true consensus had been achieved and he therefore disassociated from preambular paragraphs 10 and 19.

    The representative of Nigeria called the draft resolution “tainted” by references to intimate partner violence and he therefore disassociated from preambular paragraphs 10 and 19.

    The representative of Iran said he had joined consensus but expressed disappointment about the text’s reference to certain lifestyles and lack of reference to sanctions as contributing factors to violence against women.

    An observer of the Holy See said that the home and family were a public and private good.  He expressed his concern about the focus on the individual and any references to sexual and reproductive rights, which were not considered morally acceptable by the Holy See.  He pointed out that gender identity was based on biology and that the rights of parents must be upheld.

    The representative of Mauritania expressed reservations about controversial concepts expressed in the draft resolution.

    The representative of the United States rejected all attempts to diminish some aspects of violence against women, which must be denounced without qualifications.  Such abuse was often perpetrated by intimate partners.  She welcomed the reference to “intimate partner violence”, stressing that women also had the right to decide about their sexual and reproductive rights.

    The Committee then took up a draft resolution titled, “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” (document A/C.3/71/L.50).

    The representative of Israel said peace must be negotiated, not imposed from the outside.  She expressed regret that the draft targeted Israel and encouraged Palestinians to take unilateral steps, rather than negotiate.  Calling for a vote, she said Israel would vote no.

    The draft resolution was approved by a recorded vote of 170 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and United States), with 5 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Tonga and Vanuatu).

    By its terms, the General Assembly would stress the urgency of achieving an end to the Israeli occupation, which began in 1967, and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement in compliance with relevant international agreements.  It would also urge all States and specialized United Nations agencies to continue to assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.

    The representative of Argentina, speaking after the vote, explained that he had supported the draft resolution because he supported Palestinians’ inalienable right to self-determination.  Argentina recognized the State of Palestine and efforts made by its authorities to engage in negotiations to bring about an end to the conflict.  He believed in the right of all peoples to live in peace and security within their own borders.  That right extended to the State of Palestine.

    An observer of the State of Palestine said the overwhelming support for the draft resolution clearly reaffirmed the international community’s unwavering commitment to the right of Palestinians to self-determination.  The principled position taken today sent a message to Israel that its false narrative of the situation and its violations of international law would not be tolerated.  The text was not obstructionist; nor was it unilateral, she stressed, noting that it had been put forward by the most multilateral institution in the world.  The right to self‑determination was inalienable to all; it was not up for negotiation.  Moreover, it was not up to Israel to decide whether Palestinians should enjoy that right.  Palestinians would never relinquish their right to freedom, self-determination, justice and peace.  Israel had abused its privileges as a Member States – a right that Palestine had been denied for too long. 

    The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on human rights and extreme poverty (document A/C.3/71/L.22/Rev. 1).

    The representative of Peru, introducing the draft resolution, said urgent measures were needed to eliminate extreme poverty, which threatened the full enjoyment of human rights and democracy.  He recalled that Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goal 1 recognized the importance of eliminating poverty in all its forms.

    The resolution was then approved by consensus.

    By its terms, the Assembly would encourage the international community to strengthen efforts to address factors contributing to extreme poverty.  It would call upon States, the United Nations and stakeholders to continue to give appropriate attention to the links between human rights and extreme poverty.

    The representative of the United States expressed support for the draft resolution, but expressed reservations about some aspects referring to international instruments to which not all States were a party.  The guiding principles on human rights and extreme poverty — referred to in the draft — would not apply in all cases, she said, and the text should not be understood to imply that States should become parties to instruments to which they had not acceded.

    The Committee then took up the draft resolution titled “Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order” (document A/C.3/71/L.30/Rev.1).

    By its terms, the General Assembly would express concern about States’ continued abuse of the extraterritorial application of their national legislation in a manner that affected the sovereignty of other States and the full enjoyment of human rights.  It would also express concern that the current global economic, financial, energy and food crises, resulting from a combination of macroeconomic and other factors.  It would urge States to continue to enhance international cooperation towards the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.

    The representative of Cuba said that a promotion of a democratic and equitable international order was essential for realizing all human rights and it must be based on equity.

    A recorded vote was requested.

    The representative of Slovakia, in explanation of vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, expressed his belief in developing an international, democratic order.  Taking into account the work of the special procedures in that field, he said the draft resolution went beyond the scope of the United Nations human rights agenda.

    The representative of the United States continued to have concerns about trade-related references in the draft resolution.

    Taking action, the Committee then approved the draft by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 53 against, with 6 abstentions (Armenia, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Mexico, Peru).

    The Committee then took up the draft resolution on “The Right to food” (document A/C.3/71/L.31/Rev.1).

    By its terms, the General Assembly would request all States, private actors and international organizations to consider the need to realize the right to food for all.  It would express deep concern at the number and scale of natural disasters, diseases and pest infestations, and at the negative impact of climate change, which had threatened agricultural production, and food and nutrition security in developing countries.  It would also urge States that had not yet done so to consider becoming parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

    The representative of Cuba made an oral revision to footnote 13 for operative paragraph 12, adding Human Rights Council resolution 33/11, and urging that an international environment to guarantee the right to food be created.

    The draft resolution was then approved without vote as orally revised.

    The representative of the United States said her country was committed to addressing food security and welcomed the text’s references to gender equality and children.  She expressed disappointment, however, about language used in other areas and disassociated from operative paragraphs 27 and 10 in that regard, stressing that references to Doha did not supersede World Trade Organization agreements.  Expressing support only for voluntary technology transfers, she expressed concern about outdated language in the text and reference to a “global food crisis” which did not accurately reflect the current situation.  She recalled the international commitments of the United States, which she said should be reflected in the text.

    The representative of Slovakia, on behalf of the European Union, said the bloc’s position on operative paragraph 27 was without prejudice to trade agreements and pending negotiations.

    The representative of Canada welcomed the progressive realization of the right to food, noting that there was no established link between World Trade Organization agreements on intellectual property rights and food security.

    The Committee then took up a resolution on the right to development (document A/C/3/71/L.32/Rev.1), introduced by the representative of Cuba.

    By its terms, the General Assembly would stress the need for greater acceptance and realization of the right to development at the international and national levels, and call upon States to make the right to development an integral part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.  It would also emphasize that the right to development should be central to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    The representative of the United States, speaking before the vote, reaffirmed her country’s commitment to development.  However, her delegation had long-standing concerns about the right to development, which did not have an internationally agreed definition, and that it would be used to protect States, rather than individuals.  She would vote no on the resolution.

    The representative of the United Kingdom said the primary responsibility for the right to development should be borne by States to their citizens.  He was not in favour of a binding international legal standard on the right to development.  Furthermore, he expressed concern that focus on such a right would detract from more pressing human rights concerns on the Human Rights Council agenda.

    The representative of Switzerland said he welcomed international efforts for implementation of the right to development in conformity with the 1986 declaration on that topic and other relevant documents.  The Intergovernmental Working Group was the principal platform for discussing the right to development.  However, the Human Rights Council’s establishment of a special rapporteur on the right to development was not a recommendation of that Working Group and threatened to duplicate the Group’s efforts.  In addition, the draft contained factually incorrect elements.  Switzerland would therefore abstain from the vote.

    The draft resolution was approved by a vote of 138 in favour, to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 39 abstentions.

    The representative of Slovakia, on behalf of the European Union, reiterated support for the right to development based on the indivisibility of all human rights.  The right to development required the full realization of civil, political and cultural rights.  He did not support the establishment of a binding legal standard.  Moreover, a common position on the right to development had not been reached and differences remained on the role of indicators, the content of the right, its implications and the appropriate instruments to realize it.

    The representative of Mexico said he voted in favour of the draft, as his country promoted development at the international level.  However, he reiterated that efforts should not focus on a binding instrument, which would create divisions.  The best way promote such was to encourage dialogue that would allow all regions to play an active role.

    The representative of Canada expressed support for a concept of the right to development that placed the individual at its core.  States had the primary responsibility to ensure fulfilment of the right to development.  She echoed the concerns of others about the implications of a legally binding instrument and therefore had abstained from the vote.

    The representative of Bangladesh said the Declaration on the Right to Development had unequivocally established development as a human right.  The 2030 Agenda offered a unique opportunity to renew the resolve to translate that right into a reality for all.

    The representative of Lichtenstein, on behalf of Australia, Iceland, New Zealand and Switzerland, said the Sustainable Development Goals offered an opportunity to explore the connection between the promotion of human rights and the right to development.

    The Committee then took up the draft resolution titled “Human rights and unilateral coercive measures” (document A/C.3/71/L.33/Rev.1).

    By its terms, the Assembly would express its concern about the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures.  It would urge all States to cease adopting or implementing any unilateral measures not in accordance with international law or international humanitarian law, requesting the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prioritize the present resolution in his annual report to the General Assembly.

    The representative of Cuba stressed the negative effects of unilateral coercive measures and requested support for the text.

    A recorded vote was requested, with the representative of Cuba asking who had requested it.

    An official from the Secretariat clarified that the representative of Slovakia had requested the vote.

    The representative of the United States, in explanation of vote before the vote, said the draft resolution had no international legal standing, reiterating that sanctions were legitimate tools.

    The Committee then approved the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 54 against, with no abstentions.

    The Committee then took action on a draft resolution on “Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights” (document A/C.3/71/L.37).

    By its terms, the Assembly would express its grave concern at the inadequacy of measures to narrow the widening gap between developed and developing countries, and also within countries.  It would call on States, the United Nations and civil society to promote inclusive, equitable and environmentally sustainable economic growth for managing globalization.  It also would recognize that responsible operations of transnational corporations could help promote, protect and fulfil human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as underline the need for analyzing the consequences of globalization on the enjoyment of human rights.

    A recorded vote was requested.

    The representative of Slovakia, in a general statement on behalf of the European Union, regretted that the bloc could not support the draft resolution, noting that it attached great importance to the globalization agenda and sought a more balanced and complex treatment of the issue.  Not all human rights were directly affected by globalization and a thorough assessment was needed, especially as the draft focused heavily on negative effects.

    The Committee approved the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 53 against, with 2 abstentions (Greece, Lesotho).

    The representative of Mexico expressed his concern over the approach to business and human rights as reflected in the draft.

    The Committee then turned to a draft resolution titled, “The right to privacy in the digital age” (document A/C.3/71/L.39/Rev.1), whose main sponsors were Brazil and Germany.

    The representative of Brazil, introducing the resolution, called attention to an orally revised preambular paragraph 28, which would highlight the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights and applicable laws.  As with previous resolutions, the draft underscored the negative impact that surveillance, interception of communications and collection of personal data on a mass scale had on the exercise of the right to privacy.  Among its new elements, the text would recognize that the collection, processing and sharing of personal data had significantly increased and acknowledge that individuals often did not provide their free, explicit and informed consent to the sale of their personal data.

    The representative of Germany, associating himself with his Brazilian counterpart, reiterated the growing need to protect human rights online, recalling aspects of the draft that went beyond previous years’ resolutions on the topic, such as a call for States to develop preventive measures, sanctions and remedies.  The draft also highlighted the particular effects of violations of the right to privacy for women and children and called on businesses to respect that right.

    The representative of South Africa expressed disappointment that the focus of the draft resolution had shifted from its initial purpose.  The text’s denial of the Intergovernmental Working Group’s role in regulating transnational cooperation and other business enterprises, and holding them accountable for rights violations, was puzzling.  Globalization had most harmed developing countries, which were most vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.  She therefore dissociated from the text, while conveying her willingness to work with its sponsors to ensure it was returned to the right path.

    The representative of Cuba said his delegation had traditionally supported the initiative on the right to privacy in the digital age, but this year he had concerns about preambular paragraph 9 and operative paragraph 5(g).  While he shared the view that women and children and other marginalized persons were vulnerable to abuses of their rights to privacy, other groups were more at risk.  He recalled that certain personalities and leaders engaged in international work had been targeted, but not mentioned in those paragraphs.  He expressed regret that this year’s resolution did not contain the same balance as the original.

    The Committee approved the resolution by consensus.

    The representative of the Russian Federation said her delegation had been a co-sponsor of the draft on the right to privacy in the digital age two years ago, but had not done so this year because the text had shifted its original focus to regulating the activities of private businesses.  She also raised doubts about the draft’s references to marginalized and vulnerable persons.  Human rights, including the right to privacy, should be safeguarded by Governments for all persons in equal measure, regardless of their belonging to any particular group.

    The representative of the United States said her delegation had joined consensus because the draft resolution reaffirmed privacy rights and their importance for the exercise of freedom of expression.  She welcomed the text’s recognition that the rights people enjoyed offline should also extend to the online arena, noting that data analytics could have great benefits for societies, provided they were accompanied by adequate protections.

    The representative of Canada reaffirmed that unlawful or arbitrary surveillance violated the right to privacy.  The international community must cast its consideration of privacy broadly and not just focus on surveillance.  The draft resolution’s preoccupation with mass surveillance distracted from the bigger issue of the right to privacy, which often involved targeted surveillance on a discriminatory basis.

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  • Text adopted – Annual report from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the European Parliament – P8_TA(2015)0075 – Thursday, 12 March 2015 – Strasbourg – Final edition

    The European Parliament,

    –  having regard to the Annual Report from the Council to the European Parliament on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (12094/14),

    –  having regard to Articles 21 and 36 of the Treaty on European Union,

    –  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management,

    –  having regard to the declaration by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP) on political accountability,

    –  having regard to the commitments made by HR/VP Federica Mogherini during her hearing of 6 October 2014 in the Committee on Foreign Affairs,

    –  having regard to Rules 52 and 132(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

    –  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0039/2015),

    Facing a changed political and security environment

    1.  Points to the dramatically aggravated security environment around the EU, especially in its immediate neighbourhood, where the international law-based order and stability and security of Europe are challenged to a degree unprecedented since the beginning of European integration; points to the ongoing transformation of the global political order;

    2.  Is concerned that the EU, due also to its internal crisis, has so far not been able to use its full potential to shape the international political and security environment, and that a lack of policy coordination and coherence between EU policies, and financial limitations, pose additional restraints on Europe’s influence in the world and its capacity to be a regional and global security provider contributing to conflict prevention and crisis management;

    3.  Takes the view that the priority tasks for EU foreign and security policy are:

       protecting European values and interests and enforcing the political and legal order in Europe, thereby restoring and safeguarding peace and stability;
       improving the EU’s contribution to the territorial defence of its Member States and the security of its citizens by strengthening its ability to defend itself against the threats facing it, including terrorism and arms, drug and human trafficking;
       supporting security, democratisation, the rule of law and economic and social development in the EU’s neighbourhood;
       taking a leading role in the resolution of conflicts, including through peacekeeping and peace enforcement in the context of CSDP;
       strengthening, together with its partners, the rules-based, pluralistic global political, economic and financial order, including respect for the rule of law and human rights; and
       improving the EU’s internal structures and working methods in order to strengthen its resilience and allow it to unleash its full potential as a global player;

    The EU as a credible actor

    4.  Believes that an ambitious and effective EU foreign policy needs to be based on a shared vision of key European interests, values and objectives in external relations and on a common perception of the threats affecting the EU as a whole; welcomes the commitment of the HR/VP, on the basis of the mandate from the European Council of December 2013, to initiate as a matter of priority a process of strategic reflection on the EU’s foreign and security policy, which should involve a wide range of stakeholders, including Member States, European institutions, and the European public; insists that this reflection should lead to a new European Security Strategy that takes account of the recent geopolitical changes in order to respond to the new threats and challenges;

    5.  Underlines the obligation undertaken by the Member States in ratifying the Treaty on European Union to support the Union’s external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity, in line with Article 24(3) TEU;

    6.  Insists that the political, economic, financial and defence resources of the EU and its Member States must be strengthened and combined in order to maximise the EU’s influence in the world, produce synergies and ensure peace and stability in Europe and its neighbourhood; underlines that significant cost savings can be made through better cooperation between Member States in terms of their foreign and security policy;

    7.  Stresses that the external financial assistance deployed by the EU and its Member States needs to be refocused and used more efficiently in line with the jointly agreed strategic priorities; calls for more measures to be taken by the EU in order to increase the visibility, coherence and effectiveness of EU assistance; is of the view that all areas of EU assistance, be it development aid or emergency and humanitarian aid, should be coordinated and consistent; calls on the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States to ensure effective oversight over financial assistance, to make sure that targets are met; points to the reports of the European Court of Auditors which have demonstrated problems in the past; emphasises that financial assistance supporting civil society and NGOs on the ground should be increased; calls for faster and less bureaucratic procedures for the approval of projects;

    8.  Encourages the EU institutions and the Member States to fully use the toolbox of the Lisbon Treaty to move from what has so far been a mostly reactive approach to a proactive, coherent and strategic EU foreign and security policy, based on common values and deployed in the shared European interest;

    9.  Takes the view that the Council and the Commission, with the active cooperation of the Member States, need to ensure the coherence and consistency of:

       internal and external policies pursued by the EU, including the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the policies relating to neighbourhood, trade, development, humanitarian aid, justice and home affairs, energy, the environment, migration, etc,
       policies pursued by the EU and by its Member States;

    10.  Welcomes, in this connection, the organisation of the new Commission in clusters, since this enables the HR/VP to coordinate all relevant Commission policies with an external dimension; supports the HR/VP in her efforts to fully assume her role as Vice-President of the Commission; encourages the HR/VP at the same time to use her role as Chair of the Foreign Affairs Council to bring initiatives into the Council that advance common proactive policies beyond the lowest common denominator, using the whole toolbox of the CFSP and the EU’s external policies;

    11.  Reiterates that the internal structures of the EEAS need to be reformed so as to enable it to assist the HR/VP in all her roles and enable her to advance strategic planning and coordinate political processes within the Council and Commission; insists on the need to rationalise the EEAS’s top management structure and to speed up and streamline its decision-making processes; reiterates its call for closer integration of the EU Special Representatives into the EEAS, including by transferring their budget from the CFSP operational budget to the EEAS budget; urges, in this respect, a political and cost-effective evaluation of the role played by these Special Representatives;

    12.  Reiterates its call for enhanced cooperation and coordination between the different EU-level monitoring and crisis response capacities; urges, in addition, rationalisation of the existing structures to reduce unnecessary duplications, including by merging overlapping capacities; takes the view that the monitoring centres must be adequately resourced and that the linguistic profiles of their staff should be brought into line with the languages spoken in the most relevant crisis areas, in particular Russian and Arabic; calls for enhanced cooperation and information-sharing between the EU-level monitoring centres and the corresponding services in the Member States;

    13.  Calls for the modernisation of the EU delegations network so as to reflect the needs of EU foreign policy in the 21st century, including by adapting staff numbers and expertise; considers, for example, that all delegations located in conflict areas, particularly in countries where a CSDP mission is in place, should include an expert on security and defence matters; asks the HR/VP to strengthen the authority of the head of delegation over all staff, irrespective of their institutional origin, and to simplify the administrative budgets of delegations towards a single funding source; demands that the reporting lines be clarified; regrets that the potential for synergies and economies of scale afforded by the strengthening of cooperation between Member State embassies and EU delegations has yet to be fully exploited; insists that the fair balance between staff seconded from Member States and EU officials laid down in the Council Decision of 26 July 2010 establishing the EEAS should be respected on all levels, and notes that, especially in higher positions such as that of Head of Delegation, this balance is currently not being maintained;

    14.  Is concerned at the lack of flexibility within the EU’s financial rules, which often leads to delays in operational disbursement of EU funds and places additional obstacles in the way of the EU’s ability to respond to crises; stresses the need for faster disbursement of financial means, while underlining the need for effective control in order to avoid fraud and misappropriations; asks the Commission to come up in 2015 with a proposal for reform of the relevant legislation, including by allowing the fast-track procedure, currently available for humanitarian assistance, to be used for crisis management while ensuring that spending in reaction to crises is coherent with EU long-term strategic goals; is deeply concerned at the shortage in payments regarding the two major EU budgetary sources for crisis management and conflict prevention, namely the CFSP budget and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP); is convinced that the current security environment in the east and south of Europe requires synergy effects and additional resources rather than substantial cuts;

    15.  Points out that the visibility of the EU’s actions needs to be increased at the level of strategic planning and multilateral fora, as well as at operational level through CSDP missions and all other missions with an external facet;

    16.  Recalls that the EU has the obligation under Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union to ensure that its external action is designed and implemented in order to consolidate and support democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the principles of international law, and that this is a joint responsibility of the EU and its Member States; calls on the HR/VP to report regularly on Article 21 compliance and to explore means to improve external policy coherence, notably in relation to human rights and international law; emphasises that the monitoring of external policies regarding Article 21 compliance must be carried out in a more harmonised and stricter way; underlines the need to hold partners to the commitments they have made on human rights in agreements with the EU, and stresses the need to use the human rights conditionality clauses in these agreements when necessary;

    17.  Notes the increased demand for international assistance in democracy support and election observation; recognises this as an area in which the EU can play an effective role in supporting democratic processes; calls, therefore, for consistent follow-up on the implementation of the country-specific recommendations and requests for capacity-building support for political parties;

    18.  Underlines the vital importance of collective defence guaranteed by NATO for its members; urges the Member States, as a matter of urgency, to step up their ability to contribute to territorial defence, commit more resources and take the Pooling and Sharing methodology seriously by cooperating more closely to build synergies; stresses that all the Member States must enjoy the same level of security, in line with Article 42(7) TEU; stresses that a credible EU foreign policy needs to be underpinned by adequate defence capabilities in the Member States and an effective Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP); takes the view that the CSDP is an important component of European defence and security and contributes to it in many ways, including by promoting the creation of a European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB), by fostering cooperation concerning the development of defence capabilities, and by directly intervening in crisis areas through its civilian missions and military operations; stresses, therefore, that the CSDP should be deepened further in cooperation with NATO; reiterates that the EU is a partner of NATO and that the strategies of both organisations should be complementary; underlines the important role of security and defence cooperation between the EU and partners such as the UN, NATO, the African Union and the OSCE; welcomes the HR/VP’s commitment to actively engage on defence matters, including by chairing meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council in the Defence Ministers configuration;

    19.  Supports the ongoing review of the crisis management structures within the EEAS; calls on the VP/HR to make existing structures much more efficient so that they can respond faster and more appropriately to emerging crises, inter alia by reducing the number of parallel structures; calls on the VP/HR to preserve and strengthen the distinct character of civilian approaches to conflict prevention and crisis management;

    20.  Emphasises that the potential of several clauses of the Lisbon Treaty, such as Article 44 TEU (entrusting of CSDP missions to a small group of Member States), Article 41 TEU (on the startup fund), Article 46 TEU (on permanent structured cooperation), Article 42(7) TEU (mutual assistance clause), and Article 222 TFEU (solidarity clause), has yet to be exploited; calls on the HR/VP to actively promote these instruments and their implementation, and encourages the Member States to make use of them;

    21.  Welcomes the holding of a meeting of the European Council on Defence in December 2013, and calls for the implementation of the decisions taken; looks forward to the forthcoming debate in June 2015; calls for ambitious decisions to be taken at this summit, in particular:

       launching – on the basis of the review of the EU’s strategic framework – a process of strategic reflection on objectives and priorities in the field of security and defence, setting out the required capabilities and options for deepening defence cooperation in order to be able to respond better to the threats facing the countries of the EU;
       strengthening the European Defence Agency by providing it with the necessary resources and political impetus, so that it can play its full role in coordinating and stimulating armaments cooperation;
       reviewing the Athena financing mechanism with a view to further increasing common financing in the field of CSDP military operations, so as to prevent financial considerations from compromising the EU’s ability to respond to crises and to encourage Member States to speedily generate forces for CSDP operations and ensure fairer burden-sharing;
       strengthening the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, inter alia by coordinating defence budgets, harmonising requirements, reducing inefficiencies and creating synergies;
       addressing existing problems in the areas of the planning and conduct of military operations, including by establishing a permanent military operational headquarters in close cooperation with the already existing Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC);
       increasing the EU Battlegroups’ effectiveness and usability, inter alia by introducing a modular approach, extending common financing through the Athena mechanism, and deploying the Battlegroups in future crisis management scenarios whenever appropriate;

    22.  Takes the view that recent terrorist attacks in EU countries demonstrate that it is increasingly difficult to separate internal from external security, and calls on the Member States and the EU institutions to better connect their efforts in these spheres; calls on the Member States to step up the sharing of security-related intelligence, making use of the existing coordination facilities at European level; calls for cooperation on counter-terrorism matters to be reinforced in the EU’s relations with countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including through training and capacity- building in the security sector, information sharing and exchange of best practices; calls on the EU and its Member States to make all efforts to strengthen international cooperation in order to prevent and combat terrorism, and underlines the important role that the UN must play in this endeavour;

    23.  Calls for the industrial and technological resources needed to improve cybersecurity to be developed, including by promoting a single market for cybersecurity products; emphasises the need to mainstream cyber defence into external action and the CFSP, and calls for closer coordination on cyber defence with NATO with a view to establishing cyber deterrence in order to effectively face and prevent attacks launched through cyberspace; urges the EU Member States, the EEAS and the Commission to focus on how to strengthen the resilience of relevant infrastructure; welcomes the EU’s Cyber Security Strategy; underlines the need to significantly increase the cyber defence capabilities of Member States; urges the European Defence Agency to strengthen coordination on cyber defence among Member States and calls on the Member States to provide the EDA with the means to achieve this goal; calls on the Commission to update the dual-use regulation in order to avoid the export of systems to those who seek to undermine the EU’s security and critical infrastructure and prevent the export of mass surveillance technology to authoritarian regimes; recalls the importance of maintaining the balance between the safeguarding of digital freedoms and security;

    24.  Calls for a renewed and coherent EU migration policy; insists on the need to address the root causes of irregular migration, by strengthening cooperation with countries of transit and origin of migration flows using all policy and assistance instruments, including development and trade policies, humanitarian aid, conflict prevention and crisis management, in combination with the need to strengthen routes of legal migration; reiterates its call for humanitarian support to be stepped up to countries which host refugees and to strengthen the Regional Protection Programmes run in collaboration with UNHCR close to regions of origin; stresses that migration management issues should be mainstreamed into EU external action and should be a high priority in EU cooperation with neighbours in the east and south; emphasises that the loss of life at the EU’s borders has to be avoided;

    25.  Points out that energy is increasingly being used as a foreign policy tool, and recalls that energy cooperation lies at the foundation of European integration; emphasises the importance of building a European Energy Union aiming to increase coherence and coordination between foreign policy and energy policy; stresses that energy security should be part of the comprehensive approach to the EU’s external action, and believes that energy policy must be in line with the Union’s other priority policies, including its security, foreign and neighbourhood, trade, and development policies, as well as its policies in defence of human rights; in this regard, underlines the need to significantly reduce dependence on Russia and find alternative sources of energy; calls on the HR/VP and the Commission to monitor and address the control of infrastructures by non-EU entities, notably by state-owned companies, national banks or sovereign funds from third countries, penetrating the EU energy market or hampering diversification, including in the nuclear sector; stresses that non-EU energy companies must also be subject to the competition rules applicable to the EU energy market;

    26.  Welcomes the establishment of the post of Vice-President for the Energy Union and the Commission’s communication on a European Energy Security Strategy; calls on the Commission and the Member States to intensify cooperation in order to implement short- and long-term actions listed in this strategy; insists on the need to strengthen the coherence between EU foreign policy and other policies with an external dimension, such as energy policy, and expects the Commission’s new cluster-based structure to deliver results in this regard; urges further steps to bring energy security goals into line with other objectives pursued by the EU; calls on the HR/VP to develop strategic priorities for the external energy policy enshrined in the general foreign policy objectives and to make more systematic use of foreign policy tools in the areas of energy security;

    27.  Takes the view that a solidarity mechanism should be put in place in order to deal with possible energy disruptions; believes that an interconnected energy infrastructure should be further developed and that all parts of the EU territory should be integrated into an EU-wide energy grid; emphasises that efforts to diversify the EU’s energy supply should be accelerated in order to strengthen the energy independence of the EU; takes the view that the development of renewables and of energy efficiency will strongly benefit the credibility of EU external action; recalls that a well-functioning internal energy market is essential and that it is in the general interest of the EU to ensure that international energy markets are stable, transparent, and based on international rules; calls on the Commission to bring forward a proposal for a comprehensive strategy to strengthen supply security for resources other than energy resources;

    28.  Welcomes HR/VP Federica Mogherini’s cooperative attitude towards Parliament, aimed at strengthening her accountability to the institution; reiterates the need for systematic and proactive consultation with Parliament, and in particular with its Committee on Foreign Affairs, prior to the adoption of foreign policy strategies and CSDP mandates; asks the Council to finalise negotiations with Parliament on replacing the 2002 Interinstitutional Agreement concerning access by the European Parliament to sensitive information of the Council in the field of security and defence policy; is committed to intensifying cooperation with national parliaments, including within the Inter-Parliamentary Conference for the CFSP and the CSDP and COSAC, in order to be better prepared to control the respective resources;

    Preserving and strengthening the European political and legal order

    29.  Underlines the need to consolidate the EU and to strengthen its integration capacity, which is one of the Copenhagen criteria; reiterates the enlargement perspective for all candidate countries and other potential candidates under the Thessaloniki Declaration of 2003, based on fulfilment of the Copenhagen criteria, and supports the continuation of the enlargement negotiations; supports, in this connection, the Commission’s approach, which consists in addressing fundamental reforms in the area of the rule of law, public administration and economic governance early in the enlargement process; reiterates that each country will be judged by its own merits and believes that in instances where the EU deems a candidate country´s level of alignment with the EU acquis satisfactory, accession negotiations should be opened or continued, as this is crucial for preserving the credibility of the EU as a whole; underlines the importance of cooperation with the candidate countries in the field of external policy and highlights the significance of their alignment with the CSFP;

    30.  Takes the view that an overarching political strategy is needed aimed at restoring the European political order under international law, laid down in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and binding all European states, including Russia; insists that this order is based on respect for human rights, minority rights and fundamental freedoms, the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of states, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts; sees the development of a constructive dialogue with Russia and other states in the EU’s neighbourhood on cooperation to strengthen this order as an important basis for peace and stability in Europe, provided Russia respects international law and fulfils its commitments regarding Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, including withdrawal from Crimea;

    31.  Takes the view that a new approach to the EU’s relations with its eastern neighbours is needed, based on merits, differentiation and the ‘more for more’ principle; believes that supporting those countries that want to draw closer to the EU must be a top priority for EU foreign policy and that an important response for containing Russia’s ambitions in its neighbourhood is to invest in the independence, sovereignty, economic development and further democratisation of these countries; is committed to the European perspective for the EU’s eastern European neighbours and recalls that pursuant to Article 49 TEU they – like any other European state – may apply to become members of the European Union, provided they adhere to the Copenhagen criteria and the principles of democracy, respect fundamental freedoms and human and minority rights, and ensure the rule of law;

    32.  Welcomes the signature, the ratification by the European Parliament and the national parliaments of the countries concerned, and the provisional implementation of Association Agreements including Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements with Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, which is a key step in their convergence with the EU; takes the view that the association process should be used by the countries concerned to modernise democratic governance, strengthen the rule of law, reform public administration and undertake economic and structural reforms as a major step in their political, economic, social and environmental convergence with the EU; urges a substantial increase in EU political, financial and technical assistance to support these reforms; insists, however, on strict conditionality and the need to guarantee accountability for resources spent and to achieve significant success in reducing corruption; welcomes the conduct and results of the parliamentary elections held in Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova in October and December 2014 respectively in line with international democratic standards;

    33.  Calls for a close engagement with those eastern European neighbours which have not yet concluded Association Agreements with the EU or wish to deepen and strengthen relations in different frameworks, including by promoting bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest; recalls, however, that EU assistance can only be effective if there is sufficient ownership of and respect for European values on the part of the partner countries, who have to respect their obligations under international law;

    34.  Urges Russia to honour its commitments and legal obligations, including those enshrined in the UN Charter, the Charter of Paris, the OSCE Helsinki Final Act, the Budapest Memorandum and the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Russia and Ukraine; strongly condemns the fact that Russia has broken international law through its direct military aggression and hybrid war against Ukraine, which has resulted in thousands of military and civilian casualties as well as the illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea and actions of similar nature vis-à-vis Abkhazia and South Ossetia, territories of Georgia; highlights the alarming deterioration in respect for human rights, freedom of speech and media freedom in Crimea; urges Russia to de-escalate and to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory and to re-establish the pre-annexation status quo; welcomes the efforts to reach a comprehensive agreement in Minsk on 12th February 2015, and calls for the immediate and full implementation of the agreement; rejects as illegitimate the presidential and parliamentary elections held in Donetsk and Luhansk on 2 November 2014;

    35.  Supports the sanctions adopted by the EU in reaction to the Russian aggression against Ukraine, and stresses that these are scalable and reversible, depending especially on the fulfilment of the Minsk agreements, but could also be strengthened should Russia continue to fail to meet its international obligations; calls on the Commission to watch over their uniform implementation;

    36.  Emphasises the need for the EU and its Member States to show solidarity and speak with one voice vis-à-vis Russia; invites candidate countries to align their foreign policy toward Russia with that of the EU; calls on the HR/VP to develop, as a matter of priority, a common EU strategy on Russia, aimed at securing a commitment from Russia on peace and stability in Europe including unconditional respect for its neighbours’ sovereignty and territorial integrity; believes that a good relationship between Russia and the EU, based on respect for international law and other international obligations, would be in the common interest, and hopes that Russia will show itself open to such a development by respecting international law;

    37.  Emphasises the need for a coherent European approach towards the misinformation campaigns and propaganda activities pursued by Russia both inside and outside the EU; urges the EEAS and the Commission to present an action plan with concrete measures to counter the Russian propaganda; calls for cooperation with the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence on this matter;

    38.  Urges the EU leadership and the Member States to guarantee the safety and freedom of Christians and other religious and ethnic minority groups who are facing increasing discrimination and persecution, and find themselves in the crossfire; calls on the EEAS and the Member States to ensure that future bilateral agreements include effective monitoring mechanisms for the protection of the human rights of religious minorities and the effective implementation of the EU guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief;

    Supporting security and stabilisation in the southern neighbourhood

    39.  Insists on the need to substantially revise the EU´s policy towards its southern neighbourhood, which should be characterised by adequate budgetary resources and the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategy focusing the EU’s instruments and resources on support for the building of functioning and inclusive states capable of delivering security for their citizens, promoting democracy, confronting religious extremism, respecting human rights, protecting religious and ethnic minorities and enhancing the rule of law, as a key precondition for investment and economic development; points to the unused potential of cross-border trade within the region; insists on close cooperation with the authorities of the countries concerned on managing migration flows while respecting human rights and international law;

    40.  Emphasises that when providing aid and support the EU has to enforce conditionalities, as aid programmes and support for civil society can only be sustained if clear conditions are set at the highest political level;

    41.  Insists that the revised approach of the EU towards its southern neighbours should be based on differentiation and the ‘more for more’ principle, under which additional EU support should be granted to partner governments which are committed to and make tangible progress towards democratisation and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, as is the case with Tunisia, Jordan and Morocco;

    42.  Regrets the recent deterioration in relations between the EU and Turkey, and calls for renewed efforts to foster a stronger partnership in order to address shared security and humanitarian challenges in the southern Mediterranean; further urges Turkey to work on reforms that will fully comply with human rights standards, including freedom of the press, democracy, equality, and the rule of law;

    43.  Urges the EU leadership to develop, in close coordination with the US and involving major powers (e.g. Russia and China), a strategy encouraging regional actors (including Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the Gulf Cooperation Council governments, Iran, the Arab League and Kurdish forces) to unite in order to put an end to proxy wars and halt financial support for fundamentalists, and to develop a solution for peace and stability in the region, particularly with a view to ending the war in Syria and Iraq; emphasises the need to preserve the territorial integrity and national unity of Libya, and urges the HR/VP to provide impetus for a stronger engagement of regional actors on mediation and conflict resolution, in close coordination with the UN; welcomes the ongoing negotiations of E3+3 with Iran, and hopes that they will lead to a mutually acceptable agreement, ensuring the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme and offering the long-term prospect of Iran’s full reintegration into the international community; supports the engagement of the HR/VP and all parties involved in the Middle East peace process in finding a comprehensive, constructive, and sustainable solution to the Middle East conflict that is viable for both sides; stresses that the lack of progress towards a negotiated two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders is leading only to further violence and bloodshed;

    44.  Welcomes the statement by the HR/VP concerning the opening of an office in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, and urges the HR/VP and EEAS to open such an office as soon as possible; emphasises that this would enable the EU to gather information on the ground, improve its engagement with local actors, ensure the better assessment and coordination of humanitarian and military responses, and improve the EU’s visibility in the region;

    45.  Calls for the appointment of a special adviser to assess the merits of opening a permanent EU diplomatic representation in Iran;

    46.  Takes the view that the criminal activities and barbaric violence by terrorist jihadists groups engaged in and associated with the so-called Islamic State (IS) represent a major threat to the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, to Europe, and potentially to global peace and stability; supports the global coalition against IS and its efforts to combat IS militarily; welcomes the contributions of EU Member States in this context and encourages closer and efficient global cooperation and dialogue in order to reach a common threat assessment; urges the stepping-up of resolute global regulatory pressure to deprive jihadists of oil revenues and to apply strict global sanctions against financial transactions in their favour; points out in this connection that jihadist groups are also receiving funding from some Arab countries and that the EU should ask those countries to show greater consistency; points to the urgent need to counter jihadist groups’ use of the internet for recruitment and propaganda; insist on the need to step up international as well as intra-EU cooperation, focused on preventing extremists from travelling to Syria and Iraq to join the jihadist fight, including investment in national radicalisation prevention and de-radicalisation programmes in Member States; calls on the Member States to enact ways to bring those returning European fighters to justice, within the remit of their domestic criminal law systems; recalls the need for closer cooperation and coordination between Turkey and the EU;

    47.  Urges the countries of the region to remain committed to the war on terrorism and to refrain from actions that may cause tension, friction or crisis between them or create additional problems for the struggle of the international community against IS;

    48.  Condemns the brutal violence used by the Assad regime against Syrian citizens, and calls for the stepping-up of pressure to bring about a genuine political transition in Syria, including by increasing support to the moderate Syrian opposition;

    49.  Highlights the fact that in many fields the Union’s external policy toward its southern neighbourhood must also make the link with Africa; considers that Africa, in particular the Sahel-Sahara region, is under a strategic threat, and calls for an adequate EU response to this threat, including measures in the areas of economic development, democracy, the rule of law, education and security; notes the steady increase in the criminal activity of the terrorists of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al-Mourabitoun born from the fusion of the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Mokhtar Belmokhtar’s Masked Men Brigade, and Boko Haram; stresses that the recommendations of the European Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel need to be implemented, and calls on the Commission to conduct an evaluation of the strategy;

    50.  Emphasises the importance of Jordan and Lebanon as stable partners in the Middle East; recalls that these two countries are facing an increasing wave of refugees which poses huge socio-economic challenges; commends the continued assistance of neighbouring countries to refugees from Iraq and Syria; urges the EU leadership to initiate a global effort, including on the part of regional powers, to massively increase humanitarian assistance for civilians affected by the conflict in Syria and Iraq and IS violence, in particular with a view to supporting refugees and providing direct financial support to all countries in the region which host refugees in order to foster social integration and avoid marginalisation;

    51.  Urges the EU to ensure that counter-terrorism cooperation with third countries goes hand in hand with respect for the rule of law and universal human rights;

    Strengthening a cooperative, rule-based global order

    52.  Believes that the US is the EU’s key strategic partner, and encourages closer coordination, on an equal footing, with the US on EU foreign policy in support of international law and pursuing common approaches to challenges in the EU neighbourhood and at global level; underlines the strategic nature of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which has the potential to enable the transatlantic partners to set global standards on labour, health, the environment and intellectual property and strengthen global governance; calls, in this connection, for greater openness and transparency in the negotiations and for the involvement of all stakeholders at all stages of the process; believes that Latin America is an important partner for the EU and that various modalities of triangular transatlantic cooperation should be developed;

    53.  Underlines the need to engage in strategic cooperation and partnership with various countries, with a clear agenda, and to review current strategic partnerships in light of the impact of their policies;

    54.  Welcomes the conclusions of the NATO summit held in Wales in September 2014, and calls for their implementation; believes that EU-NATO cooperation should be strengthened and closer planning and coordination undertaken between NATO’s smart defence and the EU’s pooling and sharing, in order to avoid duplication and make best use of the scarce resources available; reiterates the need to respect the security policies of those EU Member States which are not NATO members;

    55.  Underlines the need for an EU strategy, in coordination with the US, on how to share with Russia, China, India and other major powers the responsibility for the peace and stability of the global political and economic order; points out the importance of enhancing relations with pivotal states in Asia as well as regional organisations such as ASEAN in the context of this strategy;

    56.  Calls on the HR/VP to strengthen the EU’s foreign policy towards Asia, especially China and India; urges the HR/VP to ensure that bilateral summits with China and India are held on a yearly basis and yield tangible results;

    57.  Stresses that peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region, and in the East and South China Sea in particular, are of substantial importance to the EU; urges all parties concerned in the region to solve differences in a peaceful way, in line with international law, and to cooperate with each other to exploit natural and marine resources; advocates developing and advancing European policies on the basis of supporting active conflict prevention and peaceful conflict resolution strategies; takes the view that the EU has a substantial interest in East Asia’s continued growth and prosperity; underlines the need to strengthen the EU’s economic partnership with Asia-Pacific countries in an inclusive manner so as to maintain sustainable peace, stability and prosperity; welcomes the encouraging improvements in cross-Strait relations over the past six years and calls upon all parties to take further measures to facilitate their peaceful development;

    58.  Calls on the HR/VP and the EU Member States to give negotiated nuclear disarmament and arms control policy a new and strong impetus; welcomes the forthcoming UN review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a major step towards international peace and security, and urges the Member States to take a coordinated and proactive position in the negotiations; welcomes the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty and calls for its effective and full implementation; calls for the creation of an EU authority for arms trade to assist Member States in the interpretation of, and ensure consistent and strict compliance with, the norms established by the EU’s Common Position on arms exports; stresses the need for better ex post checks on the use of exported weapons;

    59.  Declares that the EU, which has in the past been successful in fighting the death penalty in specific cases, should take a more decisive stand; calls for the institutions and the Member States to maintain and step up their commitment to this cause and their political will, in order to see the death penalty finally abolished worldwide;

    60.  Reasserts the need for a reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), for it to better reflect today´s global realities; urges the HR/VP to make this a priority and to kick off a Europe-wide debate on the reform of the UNSC; stresses, in this respect, that the EU should become a full member of the UN;

    61.  Reiterates the need for the EU to play a leading role in promoting the universal signature and ratification of the Rome Statute and to further strengthen and support the International Criminal Court;

    62.  Recalls the EU’s strong commitment to fighting impunity and promoting the universality of the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC); welcomes the recent ratification of the Rome Statute by Palestine;

    63.  Calls for the development of a coherent climate security strategy at EU level that addresses the strategic and political consequences of climate change, allowing the EU to respond to and prepare for climate-induced geopolitical instability and paying particular attention to cooperation with developing countries and countries most afflicted by the impacts of climate change; acknowledges the importance of the upcoming Paris Summit on climate change; calls on the EEAS to prioritise diplomacy on climate change goals in order to build support for a strong and comprehensive agreement; calls for a debate on a forward-looking strategy to address migration occurring as a result of climate change;

    64.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to contribute positively and in a coordinated manner to the conception of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and points to the important role of the HR/VP in ensuring EU leadership in the negotiations; stresses that the new framework should address the structural causes of poverty, inequality and violence by strengthening effective, inclusive and democratic institutions, good governance and the rule of law;

    o
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    65.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of NATO, the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

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