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Spring Council 2007 in relation to the Lisbon Strategy

Greens/EFA motion for a resolution

Tabled by Rebecca Harms and Pierre Jonckheer on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

The European Parliament,

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

1. Calls upon the 2007 Spring European Council to take bold action in response to the findings of the 2 February report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and urges it to set out clear guidelines to make the fight against climate change the strategic focus of EU policies, including sufficient and well-targeted financing;

2. Calls upon the Commission and Council to take bold action to strengthen international environmental governance by creating a fully-fledged international organisation under the auspices of the UN to support and oversee the implementation of environmental decisions all over the world;

Climate change - Energy - Transport

3. Urges the 2007 Spring European Council to agree as a matter of urgency:

(a) to swiftly implement measures to limit the average global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrialisation levels and to significantly accelerate the international negotiations on the post-2012 period so that an agreement – in line with the 2°C objective – can be reached by the end of 2008; to agree in particular on a 30% reduction of GHG emissions in industrialised countries by 2020 compared to the Kyoto baselines;

(b) to adopt, for the EU, reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions of at least 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 compared to their 1990 level, which are consistent with the 2°C limit;

(c) to give absolute priority to energy saving because such measures can make one of the most decisive contributions towards sustainability; to achieve at least 20% primary energy savings by 2020 in order to make the EU the most energy-efficient economy by then; to submit, by June 2007, ambitious national energy efficiency action plans and implement them immediately; to ask the Commission to complement these plans with additional concrete and binding measures so that the EU can attain the 20% energy-saving target;

(d) to address, in its energy and climate strategy, the transport sector, which is 96% dependent on oil and responsible for 30% of EU emissions; to set an absolute greenhouse gas emission target of 30% for the EU's transport sector by 2020 in line with the EU's Kyoto targets; to fix an annual 1% shift in the modal split from modes with high climate gas levels, i.e. cars, haulage vehicles and aircraft, to more climate-friendly means of transport such as rail and sustainable waterborne modes; to implement measures to avoid transport and increase the energy efficiency of transport modes, in particular by imposing a binding 120 g CO2/km limit for the EU fleet average on new cars by 2012, which is exactly what the car industry promised in 1998 – and failed to achieve – by its voluntary self-commitment and which could be accompanied by trading of emission quotas between manufacturers; to achieve a further increase in efficiency of at least 10 g CO2/km every two years thereafter, to internalise social and environmental costs into fuel prices, to eliminate the unfair subsidies and tax exemptions in particular for the aviation sector and to impose a kerosene tax so that a level playing field is achieved between the transport modes;

(e) to set binding sectoral targets for renewables (electricity, heating and cooling, transport) in order to achieve a quota of 25% of renewables in primary energy by 2020 and a road map at Council and Commission level for reaching a target for renewables of 50% by 2040; to accept that, while biofuels may have a role to play in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, they must not be produced at the expense of food production or aggravate climate change, global deforestation, biodiversity loss or human rights violations;

(f) to create a real level playing field in the energy sector, which enables new actors to enter the market and facilitates the introduction of new technologies and decentralised energy production; to bring about in each Member State full ownership unbundling of energy production and distribution, enhance the power of national regulators and establish an EU regulator which will focus exclusively on solving cross-border problems;

(g) to recognise that nuclear power cannot solve the global climate problem, has serious drawbacks (e.g. major accidents, waste treatment, proliferation and terrorism risks, health and environmental impacts) and has very little support amongst EU citizens; to take legislative measures to make this sector internalise all its external costs, taking into account in particular all liabilities of power production;

Economic development, employment, social inclusion and innovation

4. Recalls that economic growth is not an end in itself and GDP/GNI figures cannot be seen as an appropriate benchmark for welfare; recalls that growth should be instrumental in improving the quality of life of our generation and future generations; urges, therefore, the adoption of appropriate benchmarks and calls upon the Council, Member States and the Commission to assess their policy measures and national plans also in the light of indicators such as CO2 emissions, energy intensity of the economy, risk-of-poverty rate and loss of biodiversity;

5. Believes that, in a world with limited resources and a fragile ecological system, the European Union should strive to become the most resource- and energy-efficient economic area in the world; recalls the findings of the Stern report, which outlined the costs of inaction or delayed action in this respect, and emphasises the huge economic potential for energy-efficient technologies and renewable energies on the world market, which Europe is best placed to exploit;

6. Recalls in this context the results of a recent study carried out for the Commission (DG ENVI, August 2006), which set out the important role of eco-industries for the European economy also in terms of employment and for exports, with an estimated total turnover of € 227 billion per annum in these industries in the EU-25 (2.2% of GDP) and a total direct and indirect employment of 3.4 million full-time job equivalents;

7. Believes that the single market with its four freedoms needs a strong social dimension; points to the shortcomings in the social and employment goals set in the Lisbon Agenda concerning the fight against poverty and unemployment; calls for the statement that the fight against social exclusion and poverty is again at the core of the Lisbon Strategy to be followed by action; calls on the Commission to consider models to develop a decent income for all as a means of combating poverty and increasing social inclusion;

8. Stresses that Services of General Interest constitute a core of the Sustainable Development Model; emphasises the need for a transversal legal instrument on services of general interest in order to preserve the possibility for public authorities to develop, finance and organise these services, without prejudice to the subsidiarity principle; underlines the need for an in-depth evaluation of the impact of the current sector-specific legislation on the quality of the provision of services of general interest;

9. Criticises the fact that the restrictions which Member States continue to impose on the free movement of workers run counter to the Lisbon goal of workers' mobility and create a European Union in which not all European citizens are granted equal rights; welcomes the Commission's proposal for a Directive on the Portability of Supplementary Pension Rights as a true step towards supporting workers' mobility; strongly criticises the Council for its intention to remove from the scope of the Directive its core, i.e. portability, and calls on the Spring Council to give clear guidelines in order to escape from this impasse;

10. Underlines the importance of monitoring the implementation of the Services Directive and the need to fully and quickly assess the impact of the Directive on labour, environmental and consumer protection standards in all Member States, and to propose, if justified, additional harmonisation measures regarding the provision of services in the internal market;

11. Calls for better account to be taken of the gender perspective in the Lisbon Strategy and the 'broad economic policy guidelines' and 'employment guidelines'; calls on the Council, Commission and Member States to pursue more vigorous measures to implement EU legislation aimed at reducing the pay gap, and to eliminate gender segregation on the labour market;

12. Considers immigration a necessity but emphasises that policies for legal immigration must be developed in such a way as to ensure successful economic, social and legal integration of migrants; calls for action against the 'brain drain' in Europe; points to the fact that any immigration policy focussing on attracting highly skilled workers runs the risk of creating a brain drain in source countries, which has to be countered by appropriate measures;

13. Believes that the economic and employment problems cannot be solved – and neither the demographic nor the environmental challenge can be met – unless an appropriate macroeconomic framework is put in place at Member-State and European level; stresses the crucial role of taxation in financing economic and social infrastructure, including public services; calls, therefore, on the Spring Council to make proposals for

(a) shifting, in a common effort, the tax burden from labour to environmental degradation and resource use in order to put the incentives right and to make regular employment more attractive;

(b) establishing, in the medium term, a minimum corporate tax to prevent tax competition between Member States and tax evasion by big companies, which often escape paying their fair share and tend to play countries off against each other (environmental taxation for sectors like transport needs to be harmonised at EU level in the medium term);

(c) implementing a strategic innovation policy which mainstreams energy efficiency, energy saving and use of renewable energies and materials into all political areas, inter alia by increasing the budget for renewable energy research, especially in the mid-term review of the 7th Framework Programme, and concentrating public subsidies on those activities and technologies which have been assessed as particularly environmentally friendly; calls for public procurement to be made a prominent tool for fostering energy-efficient buildings, products and services;

International Trade and WTO Policy

14. Considers that fair multilateral trade and competition rules, based on the promotion of ILO core labour standards, respect for international environmental agreements worldwide and coherence with UN development policy objectives, must be at the centre of any EU market access and external competitiveness strategy; calls on the Commission to take appropriate trade measures, including border tax adjustments, against industrialised and emerging countries which do not intend to bear their fair share of the burden of combating global climate change;

15. Is concerned about the current crisis in the multilateral trade system; calls on the Commission to draft proposals for a reform of the WTO geared to increasing the legitimacy and democratic accountability of the multilateral trading system; calls on the Commission and Council not to undermine multilateralism by concluding bilateral and regional Free Trade Agreements;

16. Is concerned about the de facto subordination of the EU internal Lisbon competitiveness strategy to the EU's external competitiveness goals as outlined in the Commission communication 'Global Europe – Competing in the World'; warns against an EU competitiveness policy which is exclusively geared to the global transaction needs of EU-based transnational companies, to the detriment of the social interests of European workers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which need a cautious approach to global competition; warns against the envisaged international regulatory cooperation, which will give transnational companies and third states a sort of right to intervene in EU legislation concerning Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade (NTBs), which, according to the WTO definition, also include important parts of social, environmental and consumer rights and future law-making;

Lisbon Governance and Better Regulation

17. Calls, in the interests of increased transparency and better understanding of the Lisbon Strategy, for the development of a common system of National Reform Programmes (NRPs) and for common indicators to be set, which would allow monitoring of the environmental (e.g. climate) and social (e.g. effects on citizens' health and social cohesion) impact of policies; believes that national parliaments should be fully involved in the assessment of national reform programmes and the European Parliament in the process and methodology of evaluation by the Commission;

18. Recalls, in this context, that 'better regulation' must not undermine consumer protection or be mistaken simply for 'less regulation', but means ensuring greater effectiveness and efficiency of forthcoming regulations and proper evaluation of the effects of past policies;

19. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission.

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