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Libyan Newswire

Motion for a resolution on the implementation of Article 42(7) on the Treaty on European Union – B8-2016-0060

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to the EU counter-terrorism strategy,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 16 June 2015 on the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy for the period 2015-2020,

–  having regard to Article 42(7) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Article 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the definition of the arrangements for its implementation through Council Decision 2014/415/EU,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on the night of Friday, 13 November 2015 a series of almost simultaneous attacks took place in Paris, leaving 130 people dead and 368 wounded;

B.  whereas the terrorist group Daesh has claimed responsibility for such attacks, warning that more will follow in the future;

C.  whereas the Treaty of Lisbon introduced Article 42(7) TEU (‘the mutual defence clause’) and Article 222 TFEU (‘the solidarity clause’) with a view to addressing the security concerns of the Member States;

D.  whereas seven years after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty there are still no implementing arrangements to bring the mutual defence clause of Article 42(7) into existence;

E.  whereas on Monday, 16 November 2015 during a joint session of both houses of parliament in Versailles, President Hollande stated that ‘France is at war’ and, in a surprise move, invoked Article 42(7) TEU;

F.  whereas Article 42(7) TEU provides that ‘if a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power’; whereas it was the first time in history that this clause has been invoked;

G.  whereas at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting of 17 November 2015 EU defence ministers expressed their unanimous and full support to France and their readiness to provide necessary aid and assistance;

H.  whereas, by choosing to invoke Article 42(7) TEU over Article 222 TFEU (the EU solidarity clause), the French president favoured a purely intergovernmental solution (Article 42(7) TEU) over greater involvement by the EU institutions (Article 222 TFEU);

I.  whereas the latest terrorist attacks on EU soil showed a lack of information-sharing and severe shortcomings in the cooperation and coordination among the European intelligence services;

J.  whereas the EU still lacks coherent and effective strategies for fighting the root causes of radicalisation, namely unemployment, especially among young people, ignorance and social exclusion, both inside and outside the EU; notes that, in addition to a lack of recognition of these root causes of radicalisation, there is also a lack of consistency in EU foreign policies vis-à-vis those countries that are too soft towards Islamic extremist groups, their associates and their donors;

K.  whereas response to extremist violence must be targeted, proportionate and legal to be truly effective, and whereas any action should therefore fully comply with the UN Charter, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and international law;

1.  Condemns in the strongest terms the horrifying terrorist attacks perpetrated by Daesh; expresses its deepest sympathy, solidarity and condolences to all the victims of terror attacks and their families;

2.  Notes the request by France to activate Article 42(7) TEU, the military nature of this article and its purely intergovernmental implications;

3.  Believes that, despite the extreme gravity of the attacks, and on the basis of its absolute unwillingness to recognise Daesh as a sovereign state, the Paris attacks should not be regarded as a military attack falling within the scope of Article 42(7) TEU;

4.  Welcomes the unanimous decision by the EU defence ministers to support France following the Paris attacks of 13 November 2015; believes, however, that the activation of Article 42(7) TEU instead of the solidarity clause of Article 222 TFEU, specifically designed for cases of ‘terrorist attack’, is a missed opportunity, as its activation would have helped, by mobilising the EU institutions, to boost coordination and information exchange at EU level;

5.  Stresses that the fight against terrorism requires, first and foremost, countering the underlying causes leading to violence and radicalisation, and therefore requires policies aimed at developing social cohesion, inclusiveness, dialogue, tolerance and understanding between different cultures and religions, as well as stronger consistency and coherence in EU foreign relation policies with third countries;

6.  Reiterates its belief that only a political solution to the crisis in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya could really undermine the activities of extremist groups, while military interventions often have the potential to exacerbate the situation and reinforce radicalisation processes;

7.  Urges the Member States to step up information-sharing and operational cooperation in the fields of intelligence by interconnecting national databases and fully exploiting existing frameworks such as Europol’s secure information and intelligence platform (SIENA) and by maximising the use of other Europol platforms and services;

8.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to propose to the Council practical arrangements and guidelines defining the arrangements for the implementation of the mutual defence clause, in accordance with the provisions of Article 42(7) TEU, clarifying in particular the scope of the term ‘military attack’, the circumstances under which it shall apply instead of the solidarity clause contained in Article 222 TFEU and the role to be played by the EU institutions;

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the UN Secretary General.