European Parliament resolution on an EU Strategy for the Black Sea (2)

Meeting place of the European Parliament, Strasbourg. From

European Parliament resolution of 20 January 2011
on an EU Strategy for the Black Sea (2)

Security and good governance

21. Recalls that the Black Sea region needs active policies and long-lasting solutions to cope with the considerable regional and transnational challenges facing it, such as protracted conflicts, displaced populations, bilateral disputes, closed borders and strategic rivalries leading to militarisation and proliferation of arms, weak institutions and governance and the deterioration of democratic rule, cross-border crime and trafficking, border and movement management, and poor maritime security and safety;

22. Stresses the vital importance of establishing, encouraging and developing good- neighbourly relations between the Black Sea countries as a premise for successful cooperation, and regards it as unacceptable that the region should still be facing the problem of closed borders between neighbours;

23. Believes that the EU can and should play a more active role in shaping the Black Sea security environment; calls for enhanced EU involvement in regional strategic dialogue, and EU cooperation with its strategic partners on security issues and on conflict prevention and resolution, in accordance with international law; stresses that the full development of the Black Sea Strategy is also linked to concrete progress towards the peaceful resolution of unresolved conflicts; calls therefore, on the EU for more direct engagement and to take a leading role in the negotiations and peace-making processes, to step up confidence-building measures and assistance programmes with a view to establishing the basis for lasting, comprehensive settlements, and to alleviate the consequences of conflicts for local people; applauds the work of EUBAM and EUMM;

24. Calls on the Vice-President/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to step up efforts to encourage Russia to comply with the six-point Sarkozy Plan to stabilise and resolve the conflict in Georgia;

25. Points to the need to strengthen monitoring systems and invites the EU to develop an early-warning system as a conflict-prevention and confidence-building tool in the Black Sea region, to avoid destabilisation and conflict-escalation; calls for the focus to be on concrete cases rather than general expressions of concern; calls for consideration to be given to confidence-building measures such as public disclosure of arms sales and naval military activities; expresses particular concern at the extension of the port agreement for Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Crimea and its possible impact on stability in the region;

26. Calls on the EU to take steps to establish a regional legal framework and mechanisms to deal with the proliferation of arms in the Black Sea region;

27. Calls for cross-border crime and trafficking, in particular in drugs and human beings, and illegal migration to be tackled in the Black Sea Strategy, also calls for a further strengthening of cooperation on border and movement management;

28. Stresses the need for better management of migration in and from the Black Sea region through the enhancement of the political, economic and social integration of immigrants, on the basis of the principles of the EU's Global Approach to Migration;

29. Notes the increase in the number of accidents at sea in recent years, involving human casualties and environmental damage, and the inability of the riparian states to carry out coordinated and successful rescue operations; in that connection, calls on the EU to use the Integrated Maritime Policy to coordinate search-and-rescue and accident-prevention activities in the Black Sea region; calls for the establishment of a Black Sea surveillance strategy;

30. Believes that a security strategy for the Black Sea region should also incorporate the objectives of improving governance, democratic rule, respect for human rights and state capabilities; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to mainstream initiatives on institution-building and democratic governance, which are indispensible for any state wishing to develop successfully; emphasises that the objective of improving governance, the rule of law and state structures in the former Soviet states of the region is in itself a security strategy, since total or partial state failure and political stagnation create the conditions for external interference and transnational threats;

The European Parliament building, Strasbourg. From

31. Stresses that the EU strategy for the Black Sea region must place major emphasis on defending human rights and enhancing democracy throughout the region, which should include promoting successful cooperation among its non-governmental organisations and human rights defenders;

32. Notes that increasing respect for human rights and democracy around the world is among the EU's priorities; points out that human rights violations are a daily occurrence in occupied South Ossetia and Abkhazia; calls on the EU, and particularly the EEAS, therefore, to respond actively to all kinds of human rights violations in the Black Sea region;

33. Emphasises the important role that the OSCE plays in the region and regards it as essential that the EU should cooperate with the OSCE in the areas of institution-building, the rule of law, election observation, media freedom and democracy and human rights;

Energy, transport and the environment

34. Considers, on the one hand, the Black Sea region to be of strategic importance for EU energy security and the diversification of the EU's energy supply and, in that connection, reiterates the pressing importance of a coherent strategy for the Black Sea region; on the other hand, considers cooperation in the areas of energy, transport and the environment to be crucial to the harmonious and sustainable development of the region; welcomes the launch of the Environment Partnership, while eagerly awaiting the launch of the two other partnerships, on transport and energy; calls for their swift and efficient implementation; takes the view that the development of a common legal framework at regional level would be of great benefit in terms of more effective cooperation and synergies on these issues; believes that the establishment of, and support for, professional and institutional networks could enhance the capacity for cooperative and efficient decision-making;

35. Emphasises the need to strengthen multilateral energy cooperation in the Black Sea region, for which the WTO and the Energy Charter Treaty provide the key principles; supports full market and regulatory integration on the basis of EU energy and environment legislation and encourages the participation of countries in the wider Black Sea region in the Energy Community Treaty and EU, EIB and EBRD assistance for the modernisation of energy infrastructure in the Black Sea region;

36. Emphasises the importance of Member States taking a common approach towards the Black Sea region, with a view to achieving the EU's long-term objective of security of energy supply and stability in its neighbourhood;

37. Recalls the need for more vigorous action by the Commission in support of measures to diversify gas supply and for a common normative framework to promote a transparent, competitive and rules-based gas market; calls on the EU, at the same time, actively to develop cooperation with States in the Black Sea region and offer them greater opportunities to support energy projects of interest to the EU; welcomes, in that connection, the accession of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to the Energy Community;

38. Emphasises the urgency of establishing the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, which will contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Eastern Partnership and will thus have a positive impact on issues relating to energy security;

39. Recalls the EU‘ s aim of diversifying routes and sources of supply, as well as the drafting of an EU common energy policy; reiterates the importance of the Southern Corridor projects, in particular the fundamental importance to Europe's energy security of the EU strategic priority project Nabucco and of its swift realisation; takes note of the South Stream project; stresses, further, the significance of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) transportation to Europe, in the form of the AGRI project and the development of LNG terminals in Black Sea ports, and of the Constanta-Trieste Pan-European Oil Pipeline;

40. Urges the Commission to conclude agreements with the potential supplier countries for the Nabucco pipeline by the end of 2011;

41. Considers that the Energy Infrastructure Package shortly to be put forward by the Commission must place great emphasis on the proposed energy projects in the Black Sea region; draws attention to the fact that the transit routes which cut across the states in the region can significantly improve the EU's security of supply;

42. Emphasises the potential offered by renewable energy sources in the Black Sea region, which could make a major contribution to a secure energy future at global level and to sustainable economic growth, and calls on the Commission and the Black Sea riparian countries to unlock this potential;

43. Calls for the EU-Black Sea region partnership to include transfer of knowledge and technology in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and technical support for grid design, and points out that energy saving is the key to increasing security of supply; supports research into alternative energy sources and, in particular, renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy savings, which are essential if we are to face the challenges of climate change and contribute to the global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

44. Supports the continued development of initiatives under the TRACECA and INOGATE programmes; calls on the EU to strengthen further its support for infrastructure projects in the region, directly and through the coordination of other contributors and investors;

45. Considers that, for the purposes of international trade and the transport of hydrocarbons in the region, it is essential to develop the EU's Black Sea and maritime Danube ports, including oil and gas terminals and intermodal transport infrastructure; considers it necessary to modernise infrastructure in the Black Sea region and establish connections with European transport corridors; calls on the Commission and Member States to expedite the completion of priority trans-European transport projects along axes 7, 18, 21 and 22, as provided for in Annex II to Decision No 884/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 amending Decision No 1692/96/EC on Community guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network and their progressive assimilation with the TRACECA corridor, the central axis, the south-east axis and the international maritime transport routes, as defined in the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on ‘Extension of the major trans-European transport axes to the neighbouring countries – Guidelines for transport in Europe and the neighbouring regions’ (COM(2007)0032) and of Pan-European Transport Corridors 8 and 9;

46. Calls on the Black Sea riparian states to conclude a memorandum of understanding on the development of Black Sea maritime corridors and asks the Commission to open a TEN-T budget line with funding for Black Sea maritime corridors similar to those which already exist for the Baltic Sea, North Sea and Mediterranean Sea maritime corridors;

47. Welcomes the action taken to extend the EU Common Aviation Area to Black Sea countries; calls on the Commission to pursue the dialogue with the Republic of Moldova concerning the liberalisation of its air transport sector and swiftly to open negotiations for the Republic of Moldova's accession to the EU Common Aviation Area;

48. Stresses the importance of the Black Sea as a natural resource and expresses great concern at the environmental situation in the region emphasises the need for a balance to be struck between economic development and environmental protection, and the need for a common approach to this challenge, and stresses, therefore, the need for full implementation of the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution;

49. Calls on the Commission to prioritise the requirements of energy efficiency and protection of the environment and climate when funding infrastructure projects, which should be based on a positive environmental assessment; recalls the challenges resulting from the effects of climate change for the Black Sea region, and therefore urges increased cooperation among the Black Sea riparian countries, especially in the field of emergency prevention;

50. Calls on the EU to include the Black Sea region in the Integrated Maritime Policy and, in particular, the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) on an equal footing with the other European basins; the EU should make all the necessary diplomatic efforts to persuade the Black Sea states outside the EU to comply as closely as possible with the principles of the CFP; emphasises the importance of creating a separate common stocks management body for the Black Sea and of applying the mechanism of multiannual management plans;

Economic, social and human development

51. Believes that the economic, social and human development of the region as a whole should be promoted; attaches particular importance to respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the region; points out that the region has extraordinary natural resources which can encourage rapid economic growth; stresses that the proper management of these resources is vital to the facilitation of such development;

52. Stresses that further liberalisation of trade and the intensification of intra-regional trade are essential to the economic development of the region; stresses the importance for the local populace and for the region's trading partners of establishing an area of economic opportunity and prosperity in the Black Sea region; stresses the need to combat fraud and corruption so as to make the region more attractive to investors; emphasises the importance of cooperation in the field of tourism and of port and coastline development; supports the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy, whose aim is the socio-economic development of maritime regions, but views with regret the fact that its Black Sea dimension is poorly developed; welcomes the results achieved in the area of cooperation on education, research and technology; endorses once again the goal of promoting social development and a strong civil society; stresses that the EU should proceed further in its dialogue with the countries of the region on visa facilitation;

53. Is convinced that the EU should play a greater role in the Black Sea region by offering the countries in the region more prospects for closer integration with EU policies; stresses that opportunities for trade liberalisation and the creation of a free trade area in accordance with WTO principles should be carefully considered, thoroughly examined and promoted;

54. Draws attention to the longstanding EU-Russia strategic partnership and the two countries‘ common interest in enhancing bilateral trade and investment, in facilitating and liberalising trade in the global economy and in strengthening and developing competition, including in the Black Sea region;

55. Recognises that the global financial crisis has hit the Black Sea region hard, bringing both a period of growth averaging 6% per annum and the inflow of foreign capital necessary for the further economic development of the Black Sea States to a sharp halt, and has put the region's financial system under extreme stress; emphasises that this needs to be addressed by strengthening financial and banking regulations, improving fiscal credibility and transparency, fighting tax fraud, tax evasion and corruption, intensifying regional cooperation and enhancing coordination among regional organisations such as the BSEC;

56. Encourages the development, in the context of the Strategy, of an integrated approach and the use of the well-established principles of the EU's Cohesion Policy and Neighbourhood Policy, which can help deliver effective results while facilitating the capacity-building process for regions which are lagging behind; in particular, believes that cross-border cooperation between regions should be enhanced, in order to tackle common problems through coordinated action; points out that the European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) offers a suitable cooperation framework for structured, multi-level governance; calls on the Commission to explore ways of better coordinating the various European instruments providing for cross-border cooperation at the Union's external borders;

57. Points out that the exchange of best practices between regions is of pivotal importance for all areas of cooperation, in that regions with long experience of developing and implementing projects could help other regions to improve their performance;

58. Regards the improvement of the administrative capacity of all local and regional stakeholders in the Black Sea region as vital in order to ensure the efficient implementation and sound financial management of EU projects, greater transparency and accountability, and balanced territorial development across the region;

59. Emphasises the importance of visa facilitation and the mobility of persons in the region and urges the Commission to consider establishing preferential visa schemes for businessmen, academics, young people, local officials and other groups with a view to enhancing contacts across the whole region, in particular as far as confidence-building is concerned; encourages the development under aegis of the EU of joint projects relating to the promotion of cultural heritage and tourism in the region;

60. Believes that programmes promoting intercultural and interfaith dialogue need sustained encouragement in order to promote cooperation in the region, that joint initiatives in the field of education and media are much needed in order to create and consolidate meaningful links between the people and the opinion-formers in the region, and that initiatives such as the Black Sea Universities Network provide good examples of how academic interaction can trigger positive synergies in the region; calls for the strengthening of academic and student networks, e-infrastructures and collaborative research projects; welcomes the initiative to establish and support a College of the Black Sea to foster the emergence of a regional elite which sees cooperation as a natural method of tackling common challenges;

61. Acknowledges the results of the Black Sea Interconnection project to establish a regional research and education network in the wider Black Sea region and its link to GEANT, and calls on the Commission to continue to support research projects in the Black Sea region, such as HP-SEE, SEE-GRID, SCENE, CAREN and BSRN;

62. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and all the Black Sea countries.

1st part of the resolution