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Transatlantic relations

Greens/EFA motion for a resolution

Tabled by Pierre Jonckheer, Cem Özdemir, Angelika Beer, Kathalijne Maria Buitenweg and Claude Turmes
on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group

The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on transatlantic relations, in particular its two resolutions of 1 June 2006 on improving EU-US relations in the framework of a Transatlantic Partnership Agreement and on EU-US transatlantic economic relations,

– having regard to the European Parliament's resolutions on climate change, in particular those adopted on 16 November 2005, 26 October 2006 and 14 February 2007,

– having regard to the forthcoming EU-US summit on 30 April 2007,

– having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas peace, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, international law, sustainable economies and sustainable development are shared common values which constitute the basis for the Transatlantic Partnership which is a cornerstone of EU external policy,

B. whereas, given their role in the world, the transatlantic partners share responsibility for the state of global governance and for solutions to global challenges,

C. whereas a strong and functioning partnership between the EU and the US is a vital tool for shaping global development in the interest of common values and on the basis of effective multilateralism and international law; whereas strong and consistent political leadership is required to enable the partners to reach this goal,

D. whereas the recent political changes which took place after the last American elections have paved the way for better coordination and an improved atmosphere of confidence between the two sides of the Atlantic,

E. whereas renewed, strengthened and concerted efforts should be made to deal with the ongoing world crises with regard, in particular, to the new window of opportunity opened by the Arab peace initiative for a comprehensive settlement in the Middle East,

F. whereas, in the fight against international terrorism, it is necessary to stress the importance of fully respecting international law and treaties as regards human rights and fundamental freedoms, meaning that anti-terrorism legislation must at all times be subject to parliamentary scrutiny and judicial review,

G. whereas during the last few years several agreements prompted by US requirements and adopted without any involvement of the European Parliament, notably the PNR agreement, the SWIFT memorandum and the existence of the US Automated Targeting System (ATS), have led to a situation of legal uncertainty with regard to the necessary data protection guarantees for data sharing and transfer between the EU and the US for the purposes of ensuring public security and, in particular, preventing and fighting terrorism,

H. whereas the European Parliament has repeatedly called for a Transatlantic Partnership Agreement to replace the New Transatlantic Agenda from 1995,

I. whereas transatlantic economic cooperation and the envisaged stronger transatlantic economic bonds will have global reverberations and must therefore take due account of the interests of other economic players, countries and peoples in order to share prosperity more equally and to address successfully the global challenges in the interrelated fields of security, global economic governance, environment and poverty reduction,

J. whereas selfish US and EU trade policies have contributed decisively to the looming failure to conclude the Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations and have thus weakened global support for multilateralism in the setting of fair and equitable trade rules,

1. Takes note of the initiative of the present Presidency of the European Council to launch a New Transatlantic Economic Partnership; reiterates the need to develop alongside this economic initiative a new framework agreement to provide an appropriate institutional and political foundation for pursuing common political and economic objectives and for trying to counter in unison and within a multilateral framework the challenges of the 21st century;

2. Is convinced that it is only by means of such an agreement that the transatlantic relationship can be anchored in a firm institutionalised structure of regular executive coordination and consultation, enabling the partners to pursue their common objectives in a more consistent and stable manner;

3. Calls upon the Presidents of the European Council, the European Commission and the United States of America to use the opportunity of the April 2007 EU-US Summit to initiate the negotiation of a new Transatlantic Partnership Agreement;

4. Advocates participation of the US Congress and the European Parliament in this process; calls upon the EU-US Summit to support the parliamentary dimension of the partnership and to involve the legislators more closely in the dialogue between the EU and the US executives, as well as civil society on both sides;

Trade issues

5. Stresses that the goal of the 'barrier-free transatlantic marketplace' that is foreseen must not lead to a downward harmonisation of social, environmental and health standards; urges that the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue and the Transatlantic Environmental Dialogue be revitalised in order to provide transatlantic regulatory cooperation with 'best practices' to advance consumer health, safety and environmental protection, thus facilitating a more sustainable transatlantic marketplace;

6. Demands that basic public services, and in particular education, health, sanitation, water and energy provision, and audiovisual and cultural services, must be categorically exempted from liberalisation in bilateral transatlantic relations, as well as in the multilateral framework of the WTO;

7. Regards the comparative trade advantages accruing to the US through its refusal to sign on to the Kyoto Protocol as a form of environmental dumping, which the EU must redress where necessary through corrective measures including new fiscal measures on US imports into the EU, following the recommendations of the High-Level Group on Competitiveness, Energy and the Environment;

8. Calls on the US Government to refrain from any further challenges to EU legislation and EU practice with regard to the import licensing, labelling and traceability of genetically modified food and feed products;

9. Welcomes the decision of the German G8 presidency to put the problem of regulation of the international capital market on the agenda for the next G7 summit; expresses its concern that the US has unilaterally announced new principles for private capital pools which are based on weak non-binding transparency measures, underlining the government's refusal to talk about regulation; warns against the danger coming from uncontrolled hedge and private equity funds for the world economy, national economies and individual companies, and asks for decisive action to curb their business; recalls that two-thirds of hedge and private equity funds are based in off-shore centres and therefore demands that any solution should contain strong measures against tax havens;

Fight against terrorism

10. Takes the view that it is necessary to define with the US a common and shared framework to safeguard the guarantees that are needed in the special EU-US partnership in the fight against terrorism, including a clearer definition of terrorism, which could also deal with matters related to the free movement of persons between the EU and the US;

11. Welcomes the newly created High-Level Working Group composed of representatives of the Commission, the Council and US governmental representatives of the Justice Ministry and Homeland Security, which constitutes the political framework for EU-US dialogue on security matters; regrets, however, the exclusion of the European Parliament and national parliaments from this dialogue;

12. Insists on the full involvement of the European Parliament and the national parliaments of the Member States as well as the US Congress, since such international agreements concern the fundamental rights of EU, as well as US, citizens;

13. Urges the Commission and Council to arrive at a common position ahead of the planned negotiations on PNR, SWIFT and other agreements concerning the exchange of personal data with a view to limiting the amount of data that may be requested and to filtering at source sensitive data, as required by Article 8 of Directive 95/46/EC, and reiterates its previous demand that the new agreements should grant European citizens the same level of data protection as is enjoyed by US citizens;

14. Urges the Council to issue a clear and forceful declaration calling on the US Government to put an end to the practice of extraordinary arrests and renditions, and calls for the US Government to be asked for clarification regarding the existence of secret prisons outside US territory;

15. Urges the Commission and Council to put pressure on the US to put an end to the detention of people in Guantanamo and to find long-term solutions to the future status of the detainees, including court cases, since this practice by the US undermines the legitimacy of the international fight against terrorism and leaves the imprisoned people without due process of law;

16. Welcomes the European Court of First Instance ruling on the EU Terrorist List, which came to the conclusion that certain fundamental rights and safeguards have been violated, and calls on the EU and US governments to launch an initiative within the United Nations to reform the existing practice of sanctions lists, including the establishment of due procedures for a fair hearing, the statement of reasons and effective judicial protection and remedy;

Security issues

17. Urges the Council to discuss with their US counterparts how to make a positive approach to the NPT prepcom that starts in Vienna on 30 April 30 as the first chance to strengthen the global non-nuclear proliferation regime in the run-up to the NPT Review Conference in 2010; urges the Council to veto the US-India agreement on nuclear cooperation in relevant fora (e.g. the Nuclear Supplier Group) and criticises the ongoing French-Indian negotiations on the same matter; underlines in this context the need to present on that occasion a number of nuclear disarmament initiatives based on the '13 practical steps' agreed to unanimously at the 2000 NPT Review Conference; reiterates its view that, inter alia, such steps break the deadlock on the adoption of a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty and facilitate the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; points out that this should also include the non-modernisation of nuclear arsenals in the US, France and the UK and the withdrawal of US nuclear warheads from European territory;

18. Remains totally unconvinced that Europe will need within the foreseeable future a system of missiles to protect its territory against hostile long-range ballistic missiles with WMD warheads launched by rogue nations or non-state actors; finds it unacceptable for the indivisibility of European security that the US is negotiating unilaterally – and without even involving NATO – with two member states of the EU on the deployment of such a system; is convinced that, in order to counter new arms races (including in space), long?term terrorist threats and other threats endangering European and global security, such as climate change, there must be huge investment in conflict-prevention policies and disarmament initiatives;

19. Reiterates its view that the time has come for the transatlantic partners – including the USA – to take the global lead in the implementation, improvement and establishment of several international treaties which have been put high on the UN negotiation agenda on the control or banning of specific types of conventional arms; points out that such treaties include the full implementation of the UN programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons and the Global Treaty on Arms Transfers, the Norwegian multi-nation initiative for a ban on cluster-submunitions and the Global Treaty to Ban Landmines (including the extension of that Treaty to cover all types of mines, both AP and AT types); reiterates its position that the banning of the use of white phosphor and depleted uranium should be made an integral part of the so-called Conventional Weapons Convention;

Climate change and transport policy

20. Strongly encourages both partners to agree on a joint approach to limiting climate change to a maximum temperature increase of 2°C relative to pre-industrialised levels through fair contributions to the reduction efforts of greenhouse gas emissions by developed and developing countries, according to their differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities;

21. Insists, in this context, on the specific responsibility of developed countries to take the lead in reducing emissions; urges the US to reconsider its position as regards ratification of the Kyoto Protocol; calls, moreover, on the US to take vigorous domestic measures leading to absolute emission reductions and to play an active role in future international negotiations with a view to participating in the future climate change regime; welcomes regional cap-and-trade initiatives in the US and activities at state level leading to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;

22. Recalls the conclusion of its earlier resolutions that in order to have a reasonable chance of maintaining warming at 2°C, an overall 30% reduction for all industrialised countries by 2020 relative to 1990 levels is necessary, with a further reduction in the order of 60 to 80% by 2050; likewise reiterates that border adjustment measures on trade should be applied in order to offset any short-term competitive advantage that producers in industrialised countries without carbon constraints might have;

23. Urges the US administration, the Commission, the Council and the Member States to adopt urgently effective measures in order to reduce the impact of aviation on climate change;

Foreign affairs

24. Calls on the US to enter into direct negotiations with Iran on a peaceful resolution of the nuclear crisis and welcomes the forthcoming progress of the six-party talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea;

25. Urges the EU and the US strongly to support within the Quartet the Arab peace initiative for the Israel-Palestinian conflict and takes the view that relations should be re-established with the newly formed Palestinian unity government, moving beyond the Temporary Interim Mechanism;

26. Welcomes the recent visits to Damascus by high-ranking American and European politicians; calls for concerted EU-US action to test Syria's unconditional willingness to restart negotiations with Israel and cooperate constructively with the international community;

27. Expresses its extreme concern about the endless violence of the civil war in Iraq and calls on the United States Government to announce a clear time schedule for the withdrawal of its troops within the coming year; insists that new efforts should be made to organise a genuine process aimed at a regional conference on peace, stability and disarmament in the Middle East, with the involvement of all the actors in the region, comparable to models such as the CSCE process;

28. Calls on the EU Council and the US Government to agree on an urgent plan of action to respond to the Iraqi refugee crisis, including a further aid package to the recipient countries, notably Syria and Jordan, as well as contingents for refugees to be hosted in the EU and the US; insists that no Iraqi refugee should be sent back into the country as long as the war continues;

29. Urges NATO and the US and EU leaders to develop a new and comprehensive plan for the reconstruction of Afghanistan which includes the withdrawal of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEM), the strengthening of ISAF in terms of manpower and other resources, especially those allocated to the civil-military projects, a much higher level of resources for capacity-building of State institutions, justice, police, border police, the education system and anti-drug policies with the goal of Afghan ownership; believes that every effort should be made by the US and the EU Member States to enhance the civilian component of the support efforts and to increase diplomatic efforts towards trying to include the neighbouring countries in attempts to pacify Afghanistan; welcomes the additional financial package in support of Afghan's reconstruction adopted by the American Congress;

30. Reiterates its call for, and welcomes the statements by many US politicians calling for, Guantanamo prison to be closed and the remaining prisoners to be either released or tried in a court that complies with international standards for a fair trial;

31. Calls on the EU Presidency and the US Government to signal to the President of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, that his withdrawal from the post would be a welcome step towards preventing the Bank's anti-corruption policy from being undermined;

32. Believes that the current visa obligation for new EU Member States runs counter to the spirit of the strengthening transatlantic relations between the US and unified Europe, as well as to the equal treatment of EU countries; recommends, therefore, that visa requirements for citizens of new EU Member States in central and eastern Europe travelling to the US be abolished, thus extending the US visa waiver system to all the EU Member States;

33. Stresses its commitment to continuing to contribute to the strength and stability of the Transatlantic Partnership through its engagement in the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue; supports the effort to establish a legislative early-warning system between the European Parliament and the US Congress;

34. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the parliaments of the Member States and the President and Congress of the United States of America.

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