Wednesday, 5/8/2020 | 10:40 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Report – Implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy – A8-0360/2016 – Committee on Foreign Affairs

on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Annual Report from the Council to the European Parliament on the Common Foreign and Security Policy,

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

–  having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

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

–  having regard to the joint staff working document of 21 September 2015 on ‘Gender equality and women’s empowerment: transforming the lives of girls and women through EU external relations 2016-2020’ (SWD(2015)0182),

–  having regard to the State of the Union speech delivered by President Juncker on 14 September 2016,

–  having regard to the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policies of the European Union presented by the VP/HR, Federica Mogherini, on 28 June 2016 and to her proposals at the informal foreign ministers’ meeting held in Bratislava on 2 September 2016,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Bratislava summit of 16 September 2016,

–  having regard to the outcome of the informal EU defence ministers’ meeting in Bratislava of 27 September 2016,

–  having regard to its resolution of 7 June 2016 on Peace Support Operations – EU engagement with the UN and the African Union(1),

–  having regard to the Joint Declaration by the Foreign Ministers of the Weimar Triangle, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Germany), Jean-Marc Ayrault (France) and Witold Waszczykowski (Poland), on the future of Europe at Weimar on 28 August 2016,

–  having regard to the Franco-German initiative on defence of September 2016 entitled ‘Renewal of the CSDP’,

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

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Budgets and the Committee on Culture and Education (A8-0360/2016),

A.  whereas the European Union faces unprecedented internal and external challenges, including interstate conflicts, state collapse, terrorism, hybrid threats, cyber and energy insecurity, organised crime and climate change; whereas the EU will be able to respond effectively to the new challenges only if its structures and its Member States work together in a common and truly coordinated effort in the context of the CFSP/CSDP;

B.  whereas the EU is now surrounded by an arc of instability, as large parts of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are engulfed in ethno-religious conflicts and proxy wars and terrorist groups such as the so-called Islamic State (IS)/Daesh and the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Front are proliferating throughout the region; whereas al-Qaeda is taking advantage of the security vacuum in the MENA region to gain strength, and its commitment to global jihad remains intact;

C.  whereas these conflicts have direct and serious consequences for the security and well-being of EU citizens as they increasingly spill over into the EU, be it in the form of terrorism, massive refugee flows, or disinformation campaigns aimed at dividing our societies;

D.  whereas Europe is experiencing the threat of terrorism on its territory; whereas the recent terrorist acts in European cities committed by radical jihadists linked to IS/Daesh are part of that group’s comprehensive strategy, complementing a land war in Syria, Iraq and Libya, an economic war aimed at the tourism industry in North Africa, as well as online propaganda and cyber-attacks; whereas the thousands of EU citizens who have joined such terrorist groups are an increasing threat to our security at home, as well as elsewhere in the world;

E.  whereas an aggressive Russia continues to violate its neighbours’ sovereignty and independence and openly challenges the European and global peace and security order; whereas Russia today is increasingly autocratic and more aggressive towards its neighbours than at any time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991; whereas official Russian propaganda paints the West as an adversary and actively tries to undermine unity in the European Union and coherence in the transatlantic alliance, be it in the form of disinformation campaigns or in the form of providing financial support to eurosceptic and fascist groups within the Union and candidate countries;

Continuing the EU’s success story: transformation through action

1.  Recalls that the European Union is one of the greatest achievements in European history and that the transformative power of the EU has brought peace, stability and prosperity to its citizens and to its neighbouring countries, many of which have become EU Member States; emphasises that the EU remains the largest economic power, the most generous donor of humanitarian and development assistance, and a frontrunner in global multilateral diplomacy on issues such as climate change, international justice, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and human rights; calls for the visibility of EU action in these fields to be stepped up;

2.  Considers that the current internal and external crisis also represents an opportunity for the EU if it is used to make the EU work and cooperate better; considers that the current challenges demand a reform that will make the EU better and more democratic, and able to deliver what citizens expect; recalls that European citizens see an effective common foreign and security policy as a priority area of action for the EU and that this is one of the areas where European cooperation can yield most value added; emphasises, therefore, that Member States must change their mentality since nowadays thinking about foreign policy and security in a narrow minded national perspective is obsolete; is convinced that no single Member State alone can tackle any of the challenges we face today; is firmly convinced that the EU’s vulnerability is a direct outcome of the incomplete integration and a lack of coordination; emphasises the fact that globalisation and multipolarity make processes of integration, such as that of the EU, necessary; urges Member States to finally show sufficient levels of unity, political will and trust in one another to make it possible to use the tools at hand in a concerted manner in order to pursue our interests and values; reiterates that the EU can only be a strong global player on an equal footing with other major powers if all Member States speak with one voice and act together in the framework of a strong EU foreign and security policy;

3.  Welcomes the Roadmap and the commitments of the Bratislava summit and expects the Member States to make a specific commitment to the implementation of the Roadmap;

4.  Recalls the need for the EU’s external policies to be consistent with each other and with other policies with an external dimension, and to pursue the objectives set out in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union; observes that, since building resilience should be one of the main goals of the CFSP, this requires a comprehensive approach in which different sectors challenge traditional approaches to foreign and security policy with the use of a wide range of diplomatic, security, defence, economic, trade, development and humanitarian instruments, as well as increasing energy security independence; takes the view that the CFSP should more assertive, effective and value-based; underlines that Policy Coherence for Development is a unique tool to achieve an operational EU comprehensive approach in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals;

5.  Welcomes the adoption of the Commission’s new trade strategy, ‘Trade for All’, in which it aims to strengthen human rights in trade policy and use the EU’s position as a trading bloc to leverage human rights in third countries; stresses that this will need full convergence and complementarity of trade and foreign policy initiatives, including close cooperation between the different DGs, the EEAS and Member State authorities; highlights the importance of the Commissioners’ Group on External Action chaired by the VP/HR to give impetus to the implementation of the comprehensive approach; calls for the VP/HR to report regularly on the work of this group to the European Parliament; calls on the EU Delegations to implement joint programming in all external action policy areas so as to avoid duplication, save money, enhance efficiency and detect possible gaps;

6.  Recognises that climate change could have a serious effect on regional and global stability, as global warming affects disputes over territory, food, water and other resources, weakens economies, threatens regional security, and is a source of migratory flows; further encourages the EU and Member States to consider how national and EU military planning can include climate change adaption strategies and what would be considered an appropriate capability, priority, and response;

7.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen their capacity to counter the misinformation and propaganda campaigns reaching people in the EU and its neighbours; calls on the EU institutions and the Member States to acknowledge that the on-going information warfare is not only an external EU issue but also an internal one; regrets the inability of the EU to communicate and present properly to the European public the actions, merits and achievements of the Common Security and Defence Policy; urges the Council, the Commission and the Member States to fill this gap by making EU external action more accountable and visible;

8.  Recognises that information and cyber warfare is a deliberate attempt at state and non-state level to destabilise and discredit political, economic, and social structures; stresses in this regard the urgent need to include cyber security and cyber defence across the EU’s internal and external policies, and in its relations with third countries; calls on the Member States to establish an automated information-sharing system regarding cyber and hybrid threats and attacks; calls on the EU to defend in international forums the notion that an open, global internet’s core infrastructure is a neutral zone; is also convinced that the EU should engage with its partners and step up its assistance for capacity-building in the fields of cybersecurity and the fight against cybercrime and cyber terrorism;

9.  Recalls the EU’s commitment to develop a Common Foreign and Security Policy guided by the principles of democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and compliance with the UN Charter and international law; recalls the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy which stresses the importance of the EU including its human rights and gender policies in crisis management missions and operations; recalls the importance of the so-called ‘human rights clause’ included in all framework agreements signed with third countries since the early 1990s;

10.  Recalls that enlargement policy is one of the EU’s most successful policies and has contributed to ensuring stability, democracy and prosperity on the European continent; reiterates therefore its strong support for the enlargement process, provided that the Copenhagen criteria, including integration capacity, are fulfilled; stress the need to step up cooperation between the EU and the candidate and potential candidate countries on issues such as migration, security, the fight against terrorism and organised crime and the fight against human trafficking; calls on the candidate countries to make all efforts to align with the EU CFSP/CSDP;

11.  Underlines the EU’s commitment to a rule-based international order and effective multilateralism led by the UN; recognises the strategic partnership in peacekeeping and crisis management between the EU and UN since 2003; encourages the EU and its Member States to support UN peacekeeping and to cooperate with the UN in strengthening the peacekeeping capacities of regional organisations, particularly the African Union, and taking into account the African Peace Facility; calls on the EU Member States to significantly increase their military and police contributions to UN peacekeeping missions; welcomes the EU Global Strategy’s commitment to NATO as the cornerstone of Europe’s collective security, and to strengthening the United Nations as the bedrock of the international order;

12.  Points out how recent crises have shown the limits of the United Nations; calls on the EU and its Member States to bring all their weight to bear in an attempt to reform the Security Council, in particular with a view to removing the veto with regard to mass atrocities;

13.  Stresses that an effective implementation of the EU Global Strategy presented by the VP/HR in June 2016 is not possible without strong commitment, ownership, political will and leadership from the Member States; highlights that the appropriate human and financial resources need to be allocated by the Member States for the implementation of this strategy, in particular in the crucial areas of conflict prevention, security and defence; emphasises the practical and financial benefits of the further integration of European defence capabilities;

14.  Welcomes the intention of devising an implementation plan on security and defence; underlines that this implementation plan should be complemented by a White Book process, which would specify the level of ambition, tasks, requirements and capability priorities for European defence; calls on the VP/HR, in close cooperation with Member States and the Commission, to start working on such a White Book as a matter of priority in order to deliver first results in 2017;

15.  Welcomes the proposal for a yearly reflection on the state of play of the strategy’s implementation; believes that this reflection should take place within the framework of an annual debate in Parliament and on the basis of an implementation report drawn up by the VP/HR;

16.  Is of the opinion that the Global Strategy should be revised regularly and an analysis on its implementation should be provided, in synchrony with the electoral cycle and the entry into office of each new Commission, in order to verify whether its objectives and priorities still correspond to the challenges and threats;

17.  Highlights that EU external action needs to be based on the three pillars that could be defined as the ‘three Ds’: Diplomacy, Development and Defence;

Taking responsibility for our security: Prevent, Defend, Deter, React

18.  Emphasises that the EU must strengthen its security and defence capabilities, as it can only use its full potential as a global power if it combines its unrivalled soft power with hard power, as part of the EU’s comprehensive approach; recalls that stronger and common civilian and military capacities are key elements for the EU to fully respond to crises, build the resilience of partners and protect Europe; notes that since power politics is again dominating international relations, defence and deterrence capabilities are critical for our leverage in diplomatic talks; in this regard, reiterates that the Common Security and Defence Policy needs to be strengthened and deepened, as the only realistic way to strengthen our military capabilities in a time of budgetary constraints is to increase synergies by stepping up defence cooperation on the basis of the needs of all Member States and targeting investments; believes that stronger European security and defence cooperation would lead to greater effectiveness, unity and efficiency and that the EU and its Member States would only acquire the necessary technological and industrial capabilities through such deeper cooperation;

19.  Is convinced that in view of an already underfinanced EU budget, additional efforts for operations, administrative costs, preparatory actions and pilot projects under the Common Security and Defence Policy, additional funding from the Member States, as well as efforts to enhance synergies, are also needed; calls on the Commission and the Member States to seize the opportunity of the current revision/review of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) to address the budgetary needs for the growing security challenges; calls on the Member States to increase their defence expenditure so as to meet the NATO capacity goals which require a minimum level of defence spending of two percent of GDP; underlines that better coordination and reduced overlap between EU and Member State activities would enable savings and a reallocation of funds;

20.  Takes the view that it is of crucial importance that the instruments provided by the Treaty of Lisbon be finally implemented, notably Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO); takes the view that a flexible, inclusive approach that encourages open, pro-active participation by all Member States is essential in the implementation of PESCO; welcomes the joint paper by the defence ministers of France and Germany on the ‘renewal of the CSDP’ and the Italian proposal ‘for a stronger European defence’, and fully supports their aim of taking a positive decision on the establishment of PESCO at the November 2016 Foreign Affairs and Defence Council; calls on the VP/HR to take the lead on this initiative, as well as on other recent proposals for strengthening the CSDP, with a view to paving the way for further ambitious decisions on the CSDP to be taken at the November Foreign Affairs and Defence Council and the December European Council, including the following:

•  the creation of a permanent civilian and military headquarter, with an equally important Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) and Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC), which would strengthen strategic and operational planning across the entire planning cycle, enhance civil-military cooperation and improve the EU’s ability to react speedily to crises;

•  enhancing the EU’s rapid reaction tools, notably by further improving the usability of battlegroups, by operationalising Article 44, and by strengthening and making greater use of Eurocorps for CSDP missions and operations;

•  extending the common financing of CSDP operations, including through an urgent and thorough review of the Athena mechanism, which would include the declaration on battlegroups and is needed to make sure that EU missions can be funded from collective funds instead of by the individual participating Member States, thereby removing a potential obstacle to Member States committing forces;

•  setting up a Defence configuration of the Council;

21.  Encourages a review of the EU’s approach to civilian CSDP missions from the nature of interventions to their objectives and the people involved, in order to ensure they are properly devised, implemented, and supported; welcomes the progress made in the CSDP’s missions and operations despite their shortcomings; calls for more flexibility in the EU’s financial rules in order to support its ability to respond to crises and for the implementation of existing Lisbon Treaty provisions; supports the establishment of start-up funds for the urgent financing of the initial phases of military operations; believes that a new, more effective decision-making procedure for deciding on EU military missions would improve the EU’s agility and strength in responding to threats and crises, while acknowledging that the decision whether or not to supply troops to such missions must be taken at Member State level;

22.  Insists that any decision to move towards a European Defence Union, including the development of greater permanent structured cooperation and the creation of common defence instruments, must be made on the basis of unanimity among EU Member States;

23.  Regrets that the comprehensive tasking exercises resulting from the November 2013 Foreign Affairs Council and the European Councils of 2013 and 2015 have not yet been fully implemented by the Commission, the EEAS, the EDA and the Member States; calls on the VP/HR and the Commissioner on Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs to present an assessment of the implementation of previous decisions to Parliament before suggesting new tasking; encourages the speeding up of the ongoing work on the European Defence Action Plan and the Commission’s efforts to maximise defence cooperation, including through incentives in areas such as the internal market, public procurement, research, transport, space, cyber, energy and industrial policies; notes the proposal by the French President for a European Security and Defence Fund, and supports the development of new and innovative financing and investment concepts, including through the European Investment Bank and public-private partnerships;

24.  Notes that as Member States are facing difficulties in trying to maintain a broad range of fully operational defence capabilities, there is a need for more coordination and clearer choices about which capabilities to maintain, so that Member States can specialise in certain capabilities; emphasises the practical and financial benefits of further integrating European defence capabilities and notes the various ongoing initiatives to this effect which should be placed within a wider framework to establish a smart roadmap; supports the proposals for a ‘European Semester for Defence’ and calls on the VP/HR to present concrete proposals to this effect; believes that interoperability is key if Member States’ forces are to become more compatible and integrated; encourages Member States to look into further avenues for joint purchasing, maintenance and upkeep of forces and materials;

25.  Commends the European Defence Agency’s role in fostering and coordinating capability development, and calls for its strengthening, notably by increasing its budget; insists that the Agency’s staffing and running costs should be financed from the Union budget; calls on the VP/HR and the Member States to review the EDA’s organisation, procedures, and past activities;

26.  Recalls that Europe needs to maintain a competitive and innovative industrial and technological base capable of developing and producing the required capabilities; recalls that an integrated defence market and the consolidation of the European defence industry are absolutely necessary for economies of scale and improved efficiency;

27.  Welcomes the proposal by President Juncker to create a European Defence Fund to boost research and innovation; welcomes the on-going work on setting up a preparatory action on defence research, which should be followed by a major dedicated EU-funded European Defence Research Programme in the next Multiannual Financial Framework, including additional financial resources provided by the Member States;

28.  Calls for a more active role to be played by the EU in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control; calls on the Council to enable the VP/HR to play a more active role as regards conflict resolution and peace-building;

29.  Recognises the increasing interdependence between internal and external security, and takes the view that the current security challenges require a profound critical analysis of our security policies with a view to creating a consistent and unified policy covering both internal and external dimensions, including aspects such as counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, energy security, hybrid threats, strategic communication, and critical infrastructures; urges Member States’ security services to enhance coordination and cooperation and to increase the exchange of intelligence and information, and calls on all Member States to comply with their legal obligation to share intelligence with Europol and Eurojust in the fight against terrorism and organised crime; urges the EU to further strengthen its cooperation and intelligence sharing with third countries in the fight against terrorism and organised crime while respecting international humanitarian law and international human rights law; commends the launch of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency;

30.  Welcomes the Joint Declaration on NATO-EU cooperation adopted during the Warsaw Summit; fully supports deepened cooperation between NATO and the EU in the areas of cybersecurity, migration, strategic communication and the response to hybrid threats; invites the VP/HR to present specific proposals for the follow-up to the Warsaw Joint Declaration by the end of 2016; is convinced that NATO is crucial for the collective security of Europe, while insisting on the necessity of maintaining proper EU response capabilities; recalls that a stronger NATO and a stronger EU are mutually reinforcing and complementary; welcomes the EU Global Strategy’s commitment to NATO as the cornerstone of Europe’s collective security; emphasises that the EU should make best use of the security and defence resources available and avoid possible duplication; further believes that the EU and its Member States must work more closely with NATO to ensure that the Alliance’s Smart Defence and the EU’s Pooling and Sharing initiatives are complementary and mutually reinforcing;

31.  Emphasises that the security of EU Member States is indivisible and that, in line with Article 42(7) TEU, all Member States must enjoy the same level of security and should therefore provide and partake equally on a proportional basis in the security of the EU and honour given commitments; further notes that this Article also states that it shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States;

32.  Recognises the need to look for creative solutions for cooperation between the EU and the UK in the area of the CFSP/CSDP;

33.  Believes that it is crucial to strengthen the European security architecture which is based on the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and its four ‘baskets’ and which has been severely damaged by Russia’s illegal military interventions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine;

34.  Takes the view that it is time to define a new, more realistic strategy for the EU’s relations with Russia, based on credible deterrence but also on dialogue in areas of common interest, such as counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and trade; underlines at the same time the importance of investing more into cooperation with and support to Russian civil society, so as to strengthen the long-term basis of EU-Russia relations; stresses that sanctions were needed as a reaction to, and have proven to be an effective means of deterring, further Russian aggression in Ukraine; recalls that the suspension of the related sanctions is conditional upon the full implementation of the Minsk agreements; fully supports the EU’s imposition of restrictive measures against individuals and entities in Russia in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine, and insists that the EU should keep open the option of further gradual sanctions, in particular against high-technology products in the oil and gas, IT and armaments sectors, if Russia continues to violate international law; believes it is in the common interest of the EU and Russia to achieve a better relationship, provided international law is applied;

35.  Calls on EU Member States and the international community to speak with one voice in sending a clear message to the Russian Government that its actions will have costs and consequences; further demands a de-escalation of the current crisis and insists that the EU and its Member States work with international partners to put diplomatic, political, and economic pressures on the Russian Government to end its aggression; welcomes the decisions of the Warsaw NATO summit in this context; underlines its commitment to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine; emphasises the invalidity of elections held in the occupied territories of Crimea;

36.  Believes it is important to find ways to de-escalate current tensions and engage in constructive dialogue with Russia in order to identify measures aimed at reducing the risk of dangerous misunderstandings and miscalculations; underlines the importance of increased mutual transparency in military activities in order to avoid air and maritime incidents with Russia and the need to develop common standards for the management of possible accidents and incidents; deems non-cooperative military flights with no active transponders to be a serious danger to civil aviation and deems it necessary to devise measures to detect such flights as early as possible and to find an international way forward to put an end to such safety risks; further believes that cooperation with Russia over the recent Iran nuclear deal holds out hope for improved relations in other areas, including with NATO, in order to defuse tensions such as those in the Baltic, Syria and Ukraine;

37.  Urges the EU to step up its cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries in order to strengthen their democratic institutions, resilience and independence, including by launching ambitious fully-fledged CSDP missions tasked with enhancing security and stability; calls on the EU to play a more active and effective role as regards conflict resolution and peace-building; calls on the Member States to increase aid to Ukraine, including adequate defensive systems, in order to deter military escalation in eastern Ukraine, to turn EU East StratCom into a permanent EU structure and to allocate adequate human and financial resources to its better functioning; further supports the EU aspirations of those countries and the reform agenda in areas such as the rule of law, the economy, public administration, the fight against corruption and protection of minorities;

38.  Recalls the EU’s commitment to its partners in its vicinity and to supporting social and political reform, consolidating the rule of law, protecting human rights and promoting economic development as the best means of strengthening the international order and ensuring the stability of its neighbourhood; recognises that the EU’s policy must not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach and must therefore be more flexible and responsive to changing situations in its eastern and southern neighbourhoods; notes that the revised European Neighbourhood Instrument has not lived up to its goals, especially when it comes to the ‘more for more’ principle; encourages consideration of the policy of less for less with regard to those countries which go into reverse in terms of governance, democracy, and human rights;

39.  Underlines that a deepening of the relationship with the US and Canada is of strategic interest to the EU, while at the same time it is important for the EU to strengthen its relationship with Central and South America in order not only to reinforce the bi-regional partnership but also to jointly address major global challenges; recognises that the EU is by far the most important economic partner for the United States and vice versa, while both are key international allies both bilaterally and through NATO, and on areas such as the Iran nuclear deal, Syria and Ukraine; encourages the EU and its Member States to ensure the continuation of this relationship, on the basis of shared values, following November’s US presidential elections;

Building resilience and investing in a true comprehensive approach: develop, support and strengthen

40.  Emphasises that ensuring peace and stability on our continent, in our neighbourhood and in Africa must now be at the heart of Europe’s action; recognises that there can be no sustainable development without security and that sustainable development is the condition for security, stability, social justice and democracy; takes the view that it is necessary to tackle the root causes of instability and forced and irregular migration, namely poverty, the lack of economic opportunities, armed conflict, bad governance, climate change, human rights abuses, inequality and trade policies which do not address these challenges; believes that security, economic and social development and trade are parts of the same comprehensive strategy and must be consistent with the principle of Policy Coherence for Development as enshrined in Article 208 of the Lisbon Treaty; calls for European and international action (UN/G20) against illegal financial transfers out of Africa;

41.  Stresses that the EU must pay particular attention to improving the living conditions in its neighbourhood, using all available policy tools, including trade, development aid, environment policy and diplomacy, as well as crisis management capabilities; welcomes in this regard the EU’s new migration partnerships and the External Investment Plan, and asks to be involved in the implementation of these instruments; underlines the need to develop a new approach towards Africa, based on EU values and principles, providing better opportunities for trade, investment, access to energy and economic growth and supporting African countries in building democratic, transparent and effective institutions and measures to mitigate the impact of climate change; is convinced that the EU should review its development and trade policies to make sure that they are in line with our values and contribute to these goals; calls on the EU, and in particular the Member States, to fight against illicit financial transfers and to significantly increase their financial commitments to the region, including through the Africa Trust Fund, the External Investment Plan and the European Development Fund; underlines the important role of the EU in reaching the Agenda 2030 objectives; believes that the private sector could play an important role in development if it acts within a legally binding framework that defines the business sector’s responsibilities concerning respect for human, social and environmental rights;

42.  Recognises that the EU’s provision of aid to the victims of disasters, refugees and others in need has delivered mixed results;

43.  Underlines also the need to intensify the fight against the root causes fuelling terrorism and radicalisation, which mainly affects West Africa, the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, and which is targeting Europe at an unprecedented level; urges the EU to undertake concerted diplomatic efforts, together with the US and other international allies, to convince partners in the region, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, of the need for a common and legally based strategy towards this global challenge; further encourages efforts to cooperate and coordinate with other countries in this fight and urges state and non-state actors in the region to abstain from fuelling any further sectarian and ethnic tensions; expresses strong concerns over the grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Yemen, including the bombing of the funeral in Sanaa on 8 October; demands an urgent independent, international investigation into this and other violations of international humanitarian and human rights; calls on the EU and its Member States to suspend any cooperation in Yemen until such violations are investigated and those responsible are held accountable; demands an immediate lifting of the blockade of Yemen and calls on all sides in the conflict to resume dialogue and to work towards a sustainable ceasefire; insists that there is no military solution to the conflict;

44.  Urges that thematic frameworks be set up to offer cooperation between the Union, the Southern neighbourhood partner countries and key regional players, especially in Africa, on regional issues such as security, development, energy and the management of migratory flows; believes that our neighbourhood would prove more resilient if it could be organised within a regional cooperation framework enabling shared responses to be found to the challenges of migration, terrorism and development, among other things; calls therefore on the EU to work with its Maghreb neighbours to re-launch and further develop the Arab Maghreb Union;

45.  Recalls that the Sahel region and other connected geographical areas are priority regions for ensuring the security of the European Union and highlights the fragility of the security situation there and the possible consequences of the current turmoil; calls on the EU to work to strengthen cooperation with the countries of North Africa and the Sahel in the fight against increasing terrorist activities in the Sahel-Saharan region; stresses that the harsh living conditions in certain places could drive a section of the population towards the alternative that is Islamic terrorism; encourages the development of a coherent, robust strategy for the Sahel region aimed at improving governance and the accountability and legitimacy of state and regional institutions, boosting security, tackling radicalisation, the trafficking of people, arms and drugs, and strengthening economic and development policies; is convinced that the reinforcement of capacities of regional and sub-regional organisations, in particular in Africa, is crucial with regard to conflict prevention, conflict resolution and security cooperation; stresses that a real answer needs to be given to this security situation by the EU not only economically but also politically and militarily;

46.  Highlights the importance of finding a sustainable solution to the conflict in Syria in line with the transition process set out in the Geneva Communiqué and UNSC resolution 2254 (2015); supports the UN-led efforts to facilitate negotiations between all parties to the Syrian conflict on an inclusive political settlement; asks the VP/HR to urgently prepare a European strategy for Syria; is convinced that the bilateral negotiations between Russia and the United States will not be sufficient to bring about a sustainable response to the Syrian crisis; calls on the EU to depart from its position of diplomatic marginalisation and to use its leverage over key actors such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Russia to ensure that they take a constructive position and refrain from contributing to a further escalation of the situation; continues to urge all members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to honour their responsibilities with regard to the crisis; recalls the repeated use by Russia and others of veto powers in the UNSC and considers this use to run contrary to international efforts for peace and conflict resolution in Syria and the region; emphasises that the use of sanctions should be considered against all those individuals and entities involved in crimes against humanity in Syria; expresses grave concern about the mass and widespread violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by all sides in the Syrian conflict and stresses the importance of ensuring accountability for such abuses; reiterates its support to Syria’s neighbours who are facing monumental challenges in hosting millions of refugees; reiterates its full support for the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq and Syria, where the rights of all ethnic and religious groups are fully respected;

47.  Recognises Turkey’s role as an important partner in solving the Syrian conflict, the fight against IS/Daesh in Syria and Iraq and the migration crisis; strongly condemns the attempted military coup against the democratically elected government of Turkey; encourages the Turkish Government to protect the constitutional order, while underlining the importance of respect for human rights, the rule of law, freedom of expression and the independence of the judiciary and of the media in the aftermath of the coup, in line with its commitments as a member of the Council of Europe; underlines that Turkey should cooperate closely with the Council of Europe in order to ensure that all procedures respect the rule of law; is alarmed by the repressive nature and the extent of the purge launched after the attempted coup, severely setting back basic freedoms and human rights in Turkey; is particularly concerned about the increasing number of cases of excessive use of force by the police and the ill-treatment of detainees, the persisting impunity for human rights abuses, and erosion of the independence of the judiciary;

48.  Highlights the need to achieve a two-state solution to the conflict in the Middle East – based on the parameters set out in the Council Conclusions of July 2014 – that guarantees a secure state of Israel and a viable Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 borders and resolves all permanent status issues in order to end the conflict; calls on the EU to assume its responsibility and to become a genuine actor and facilitator in the diplomatic process; calls on the EU institutions and Member States to take urgent steps to protect the viability of the two-state solution and to create a positive dynamic towards genuine peace negotiations; calls on the Israeli authorities to immediately halt and reverse their settlement policy; stresses that respect for international human rights and humanitarian law by all parties and in all circumstances remains an essential precondition for achieving a just and lasting peace; stresses the importance of ensuring the coherence of EU policy as regards situations involving the occupation or annexation of territory;

49.  Believes that the fight against human traffickers is only possible where there is cooperation with countries on the other side of the Mediterranean and in Africa as a whole that is based on respect for human rights, and believes, in this regard, that the European Union and its Member States must cooperate with international partners to address the push factors which lead to migration;

50.  Strongly supports the strengthening of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as an important governing principle in the European Union and its Member States” work across the conflict spectrum, as well as on human rights and development;

The power of European diplomacy: knowledge, engagement and impact

51.  Highlights the EU’s immense potential as a diplomatic superpower which is based on the wide range of instruments at our disposal and our normative power in the field of democracy, freedom and human rights; stresses in this context the central coordinating role of the Vice President/High Representative, the EEAS and the EU delegations in third countries;

52.  Believes that special attention should be paid to preventing conflict, addressing the root causes of instability and assuring human security; recognises that early preventive actions against long-term risks of violent conflict are more effective, less time-consuming and less expensive than peacekeeping operations; urges the EU to show political leadership in preventive diplomacy and conflict mediation; welcomes in this regard the role of the EU Conflict Early Warning System, the EEAS Mediation Support Team and the European Institute of Peace; calls for the further development of EU conflict prevention and mediation capacities; underlines that women’s participation in conflict resolution talks is crucial to promote women’s rights and participation and is a first step towards their full inclusion in the future transitional processes; calls on the VP/HR and the Commission to increase the financial and administrative resources earmarked for dealing with mediation, dialogue, reconciliation and crisis response; urges Member States to strictly adhere to the norms established by the EU’s Common Position on arms exports and to cease arms trade with third countries who do not fulfil the criteria listed; insists that the EU step up political dialogue and cooperation on disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control;

53.  Strongly encourages further negotiations on the reunification of Cyprus in order to reach a rapid and successful conclusion;

54.  Believes that the European Union and its Member States must develop effective foreign, security and defence policy which respects national interests but also seeks to work with international partners, the United Nations, NGOs, human rights defenders and others on issues of shared concern and in order to promote peace, prosperity and stability around the world; stresses the need for close cooperation with other global and regional powers on global threats and challenges; emphasises in particular the crucial importance of the transatlantic relationship, which is based on common interests and values; points out that a revitalisation of these strategic partnerships, seeking to transform them into an effective foreign policy instrument, should be a priority for the EU;

55.  Takes the view that the EU should upgrade and intensify its diplomatic efforts in Asia, including with ASEAN, in order to contribute to greater stability and security in conflict areas with renewed tensions, working closely with partners in the region and upholding international law, including in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, and in order to address issues relating to the protection of human rights and the rule of law; notes the need for the EU to continue supporting the development of peaceful relations between China and its neighbours around the South China Sea, including Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines, through constructive bilateral and inclusive multilateral mechanisms; believes that a strengthening and renewal of the structures of international order cannot be achieved without Asia, and especially China; emphasises that, in light of China’s global ambitions, the EU-China relationship must extend beyond economic ties to become more comprehensive and focus on China’s role in the UN, its influence in regional conflicts in its neighbourhood, and its contribution to addressing global challenges;

56.  Calls on the EU not to withdraw fully from areas that are currently of less strategic interest but which could become important again in the future – either economically or from a human or military perspective – such as central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa or the Arctic, and which are attracting the interest of other world powers;

57.  Recalls the importance of Europe’s normative power, and calls for the further strengthening of the EU’s cultural and science diplomacy in order to project and promote European strengths and values beyond our borders; points out also the power of economic diplomacy, inter alia sanctions, as a tool for enforcing EU polices;

58.  Highlights the role of parliamentary diplomacy in strengthening political cooperation with the EU’s partners;

59.  Highlights the need for a strengthened role of national parliaments in the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, including through intensified cooperation between the European Parliament and national parliaments on matters of EU foreign and security policy;

60.  Emphasises the role played by non-state actors and civil society organisations as actors in diplomacy and key partners of the EU, and stresses the importance of EU assistance to and engagement with them;

61.  Stresses the need to speed up the consolidation of the fully-fledged European Diplomatic Service, and in particular to strengthen its thematic expertise and strategic policy planning and forecasting, as well as the area of intelligence; considers that it is important to also give the EEAS representations in crisis areas a consular role with a view to assisting EU citizens; insists on the need for a fair balance between diplomats seconded from the Member States and EU officials in the EEAS, including in management positions;

62.  Stresses that the financial means available for the EU’s external action are not commensurate to the challenges we are facing; calls in this regard for a substantial increase in the resources available under heading IV of the MFF in the context of the upcoming mid-term review;

63.  Calls for more accountability and transparency, in particular in relation to the negotiation of international agreements;

64.  Deeply regrets the limited budget of around EUR 320 million (0.2 % of the EU budget) for the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and calls for better management of the financial flows to implement this budget; stresses that the budget allocations decided for 2016 remain at the same level as 2015 and that, with an additional EUR 5 million in security measures approved for the EUCAP Sahel Mali mission and EUR 10 million for EUBAM Libya, the margin available at the end of March was EUR 170 million; expresses its concern at the shortage of resources available in view of the commitments which will have to be met throughout 2016, with an additional budget of EUR 169 million envisaged just to continue those missions ending in 2016;

65.  Highlights the important role of culture in EU external policy in promoting dialogue and mutual understanding and learning; stresses that targeted cultural and educational policies can support key EU foreign and security policy objectives and contribute to the reinforcement of democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights; reiterates the role of intercultural and interreligious dialogue in combating extremism, radicalisation and marginalisation; calls on the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to take cultural diplomacy and intercultural dialogue into account in EU external relations instruments and in the EU development agenda; calls on the EEAS and EU delegations all over the world to appoint a cultural attaché in each EU representation in third partner countries; further stresses the crucial role of education in fostering citizenship and intercultural skills, as well as in building better economic prospects and improving health; encourages the current efforts of the Commission to enhance the role of science and research cooperation as soft-power tools in European external relations; highlights how scientific exchange can contribute to coalition building and conflict resolution, particularly in the relationship with the EU’s neighbouring countries;


°  °

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