Brussels, 25.3.2020

JOIN(2020) 6 final

2020/0047(NLE)

Joint Proposal for a

RECOMMENDATION OF THE COUNCIL TO THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL

on the adoption of a decision identifying the strategic objectives of the Union to be pursued through the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024


EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

1.External action by the Union shall pursue the objectives set out in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union as regards democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

2.To that end, the Commission and the High Representative propose to the Council to recommend to the European Council the adoption of a European Council Decision identifying the strategic interests and objectives of the Union pursuant to Article 22 (1) of the Treaty on European Union through the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024. This decision shall be without prejudice to the distribution of competences and the decision-making procedures under the Treaties. It shall in particular not affect the qualified majority voting where it currently applies.

3.The Action Plan identifies the objectives to be pursued and the concrete measures that should be taken to implement the Action Plan. The adoption of a Decision by the European Council would provide the framework to enable the identification of concrete proposals for actions or positions to be taken by the Union in the implementation of its objectives on Human Rights and Democracy and facilitate the identification of the means to be dedicated to those objectives by the Union and the Member States.



Joint Proposal for a

RECOMMENDATION OF THE COUNCIL TO THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL

on the adoption of a decision identifying the strategic objectives of the Union to be pursued through the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, for the area of common foreign and security policy, and the Commission, for other areas of external action, propose to the Council to recommend to the European Council the adoption of a Decision according to Article 22 (1) of the Treaty on European Union.

It is proposed that the Council recommends to the European Council the adoption of the draft European Council Decision annexed to this proposal


Brussels, 25.3.2020

JOIN(2020) 6 final

ANNEX

to the Joint proposal for a

RECOMMENDATION OF THE COUNCIL TO THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL

on the adoption of a decision identifying the strategic objectives of the Union to be pursued through the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024


ANNEX

THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL

Having regard to the Treaty on European Union, and in particular Article 22, paragraph 1,

Having regard to the recommendation of the Council,

Whereas

(1)The action of the Union on the international scene should be guided by the principles which have inspired its own creation, development and enlargement, and which it seeks to advance in the wider world: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.

(2)Decisions of the European Council on the strategic interests and objectives of the Union should relate to the Union’s common foreign and security policy and to other areas of the Union’s external action. Such decisions may concern the relations of the Union with a specific country or region or may be thematic in nature.

(3)The Action Plan on human rights and democracy proposed by the Commission and the High Representative aims to enhance the Union’s leadership in promoting and protecting human rights and democracy worldwide, to set out ambitions, define the priorities for action and implementation, to maximise the Union’s role on the global stage by expanding the "human rights toolbox", and to foster a united and joined-up EU by promoting more efficient and coherent action.

(4)The above objectives will be pursued through five interlinked and mutually reinforcing lines of action:- protecting and empowering individuals; building resilient, inclusive and democratic societies; promoting a global system for human rights and democracy; new technologies: harnessing opportunities and addressing challenges; delivering by working together.

(5)It is appropriate to approve the Action Plan by a decision of the European Council in order to allow for specific implementing actions by the Union and the Member States.

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

1.External action of the Union in the field of human rights and democracy shall pursue the following strategic objectives:

·enhancing EU leadership in promoting and protecting human rights and democracy worldwide;

·setting out EU ambitions, identifying priorities for action and focusing on implementation;

·maximising the EU’s role on the global stage by expanding the human rights toolbox, its key instruments and policies;

·Fostering a united, and joined-up EU by promoting more efficient and coherent action.

2.    The objectives listed in paragraph 1 shall be pursued by prioritising the protection and empowerment of individuals; building resilient, inclusive and democratic societies; promoting a global system for human rights and democracy; new technologies: harnessing opportunities and addressing challenges; and, delivering by working together. Detailed actions to this effect are laid down in the Action Plan for Human Rights and Democracy attached to this decision.

Article 2

The Action Plan shall cover the period of 2020-2024. The Union and the Member States shall make available the means needed to achieve the objectives set out in the Action Plan.

Article 3

The Council and the Commission, assisted by the High Representative, shall ensure consistency between the measures adopted to implement the Action Plan and other measures in the area of the Union's external action.

Article 4

This Decision shall enter into force upon the date of its adoption.

Article 5

This Decision shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Done at Brussels,

For the European Council    
The President

C. Michel