Brussels, 15 Dec 2005
Parliament adopted a resolution put forward by the EPP-ED, ALDE and UEN groups with 255 votes in favour, 251 against and 32 abstentions. On the financial perspective, Parliament insists that the financial perspective 2007-2013 should provide the basis for the further development of a strong European Union and expects the Commission to defend its position, namely that the financial perspective must be set at a level sufficient to finance the EU's political priorities.
The House emphasises that 2006 will be a year when more than 40 multi-annual programmes will be concluded, and these must be able to start by the beginning of 2007 so that the new political priorities that are linked to the new generation of multi-annual programmes can be implemented. Parliament calls on the Commission, independently of an agreement on the financial perspective, to be more resolute in its cooperation with Parliament (particularly in the area of external policy programmes) and to do everything possible to enable the necessary legislative procedures to be concluded.
Research, knowledge and qualifications
The House urges the Member States, as well as the European Union, to intensify their respective efforts in the field of knowledge and research in accordance with the Lisbon Agenda and, in this respect, urgently calls for the new framework programmes on research, competitiveness and innovation and the I-2010 initiative to be given sufficient resources and for the Council to reflect their importance fully in budgetary terms as well.
MEPs welcome the Commission proposals for the creation of a European Institute of Technology and for the establishment, on a voluntary basis, of a European Qualifications Framework, but regret the lack of more ambitious proposals to address the shortcomings in EU education systems. The House reiterates the call from both Parliament and the Council to promote excellence in European universities and higher education, and also better knowledge of languages.
The House welcomes the follow-up to the 2005 Green Paper on demographic trends in the EU and expects the Commission's proposals for concrete actions to contribute to tackling Europe's demographic ageing problem, given that the working population will fall by nearly 21 million within the next 20 years. Parliament attaches particular importance to increasing active participation in the job market by people of working age, with a view to achieving the Lisbon objective of a participation rate of 70% in 2010.
MEPs underline the need for a family support policy and for the promotion of a suitable environment for children, in order to make it easier to combine work and family life. Parliament proposes, in particular, revising the directive on family leave with a view to making it more relevant and effective.
Europe as a world partner
MEPs believe that the process of enlargement should proceed in accordance with the commitments already made, but call on the Commission to launch a process of reflection and analysis on the external limits of the EU, bearing in mind the Unionâ€™s capacity for absorption, and to present its conclusions to Parliament.