Putin Cancels South Stream/Netanyahu Peddles His Hot Gas To Europe

[When the Noble Energy company first discovered the massive Tamar and Leviathan gas fields off the shore of Israel, there was no foreseeable buyer of the “gas bonanza.”  It didn’t take long after for the PTB (powers that be) to destroy Russia’s energy franchise to Europe, by disrupting principle flow lines, running mainly through Ukraine.  Due to EU anti-Russian sanctions making the South Stream pipeline impossible, Putin cancelled the project.  In steps Israel (SEE:  Gazprom Signs 20-Year LNG Purchase Deal with Israel).  This is the first, concrete example of the EU cutting its own throat, to bow to Imperialist-Zionist directives.  Stoking the fires in Ukraine has always been the key to US Imperialist war plans for Russia.  If Israel captures the southern European gas market, beating-out both NABUCCO and SOUTH STREAM, then rest assured, that there will be no opposition to them running a four-foot diameter undersea gas line through the eastern Mediterranean war zone. 

It is logical to suspect, at this point, to label the Ukrainian civil war as a Mossad operation.  After all, key elements of the Maidan movement are composed of Jewish militants, some even forming their own brigades (SEE:  In Kiev, an Israeli army vet led a street-fighting unit).]

Ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Israel to meet Energy Union Commissioner

Cyprus mail

Ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Israel to meet Energy Union Commissioner

Energy Ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Israel will meet next Monday with EU Commissioner on Energy Union Maros Sefcovic to promote a joint project on a pipeline to transfer natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean offshore fields to Europe.

Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis told the Cyprus News Agency that the three Ministers had signed a letter requesting a meeting with Sefcovic.
The three Ministers will promote a planned pipeline connecting Israel Cyprus, Greece with Europe in view of the new call by the European Commission for projects of common interest in the first quarter of 2015.
Sources told CNA that the ministers would request the approval of the project which emerged after a merger of two separate projects (Cyprus Trans Med pipeline and Greece`s East Med pipeline) to be implemented by the Greek Gas Corporation (DEPA as a project of common interest (PCI)  that will give access to EU funding for technical and feasibility studies.
Projects that will be considered as PCI’s will be entitled to request funding from the Connecting Europe Facility with a budget of €5.85 billion.
The same sources made clear that only new reserves would be channeled through the pipeline, as Cyprus is in consultations with Egypt for a possible sale of the Aphrodite reservoir (estimated at 4.5 trillion cubic feet) located in block 12 of Cyprus` EEZ. Egyptian Minister Serif Ismail said during a Cyprus, Greece and Egypt Energy Ministers meeting that his country could absorb Cyprus` natural gas reserves.
Italy`s ENI is carrying out an exploratory drilling in block 9 with the results expected by January the latest. ENI also has been granted concessions for exploratory drilling in blocs 2 and 3. French TOTAL which has concessions over blocks 10 and 11 will begin exploratory drilling in the second half of 2015.

“Battleship” the Movie Becomes The Cornerstone of Obama’s Own “Star Wars”

[If you wanted people to calm people’s nerves about the dozens of Arleigh-Burke class destroyers slowly taking-up positions in their Mediterranean and Black Sea neighborhoods, what would you do?  Would you downplay the lethality of the American destroyer fleet, or would you turn to Hollywood to help soften their image?   The White House obviously turned to Hollywood and found cooperation in the form of the block-buster movie, “Battleship.”  Mix a generous dose of US Navy cooperation with an ongoing alien invasion and you get the ultimate, most entertaining form of military propaganda imaginable.  Now, name recognition of the term “Arleigh-Burke class destroyer” automatically endears its image in our psyche, just when the destroyers are set to take a big part in Obama’s war against Russia, where they will serve as the cornerstone of Obama’s ABM program, the first element of the European Phased Adaptive Approach .]

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers

Putin: Missile shield deployment in Europe threatens US itself

 

Russia-Today

Further deployment of America’s global anti-ballistic missile defense poses a threat to the US and those European countries that agreed to host it, because it builds up a dangerous illusion of invincibility, President Vladimir Putin said.

“This [ABM] constitutes a threat not only to the security of Russia, but to the whole world, in view of the possible destabilization of the strategic balance of powers. I believe this is dangerous for the US itself, as it creates a dangerous illusion of invulnerability and reinforces the tendency of unilateral, often ill-considered decisions and additional risks,” Putin said in his annual state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly.

Russia will not get involved in an expensive arms race, the Russian president said, yet the country’s defensive capacity in the new conditions will be securely guaranteed.

“There’s no doubt about that – consider it done. Russia has both the capacity and creative decisions to do so,” Putin said.

The European Phased Adaptive Approach, a centerpiece of the US missile defense shield in Europe, implies deployment of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, all of which are fitted with the Aegis weapon and radar system, interceptor batteries in Poland and Romania, radar in Turkey, and a command center at Ramstein, Germany, a US Air Force base.

Russia is considering the system to be a major threat to its own security and has threatened to increase its own arsenals and missile shield piercing capabilities in response.

“Talking to Russia from a position of strength is meaningless,” said Putin, stressing that ‘deterrence policy’ towards Russia is nothing new.

“The deterrence policy was not invented yesterday, it has been always conducted towards our country, for decades, if not centuries,” Putin noted.

“Every time somebody considers Russia is becoming too powerful and independent, such instruments are turned on immediately,” said Putin.

City of London Freaks, Frantic with Fear Over Impending Anti-Capitalist World Revolution

We-will-not-tolerate-this-system-any-more-it-is-time-for-a-world-revolution-together-we-will-change-the-world-join-us

Inclusive Capitalism Initiative is Trojan Horse to quell coming global revolt

guardian

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales talks to Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary fund, before the start of the Inclusive Capitalism Conference at the Mansion House on May 27, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales talks to Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary fund, before the start of the Inclusive Capitalism Conference at the Mansion House on May 27, 2014 in London, United Kingdom. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

Yesterday’s Conference on Inclusive Capitalism co-hosted by the City of London Corporation and EL Rothschild investment firm, brought together the people who control a third of the world’s liquid assets – the most powerful financial and business elites – to discuss the need for a more socially responsible form of capitalism that benefits everyone, not just a wealthy minority.

Leading financiers referred to statistics on rising global inequalities and the role of banks and corporations in marginalising the majority while accelerating systemic financial risk – vindicating the need for change.

While the self-reflective recognition by global capitalism’s leaders that business-as-usual cannot continue is welcome, sadly the event represented less a meaningful shift of direction than a barely transparent effort to rehabilitate a parasitical economic system on the brink of facing a global uprising.

Central to the proceedings was an undercurrent of elite fear that the increasing disenfranchisement of the vast majority of the planetary population under decades of capitalist business-as-usual could well be its own undoing.

The Conference on Inclusive Capitalism is the brainchild of the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a little-known but influential British think tank with distinctly neoconservative and xenophobic leanings. In May 2012, HJS executive director Alan Mendoza explained the thinking behind the project:

“… we felt that such was public disgust with the system, there was a very real danger that politicians could seek to remedy the situation by legislating capitalism out of business.”

He claimed that HJS research showed that “the only real solutions that can be put forward to restore trust in the system, and which actually stand a chance of bringing economic prosperity, are being led by the private, rather than the public, sector.”

The Initiative for Inclusive Capitalism’s recommendations for reform seem well-meaning at first glance, but in reality barely skim the surface of capitalism’s growing crisis tendencies: giant corporations should invest in more job training, should encourage positive relationships and partnerships with small- and medium-sized businesses, and – while not jettisoning quarterly turnovers – should also account for ways of sustaining long-term value for shareholders.

The impetus for this, however, lies in the growing recognition that if such reforms are not pursued, global capitalists will be overthrown by the very populations currently overwhelmingly marginalised by their self-serving activity. As co-chair of the HJS Inclusive Capitalism taskforce, McKinsey managing director Dominic Barton, explained from his meetings with over 400 business and government leaders worldwide that:

“… there is growing concern that if the fundamental issues revealed in the crisis remain unaddressed and the system fails again, the social contract between the capitalist system and the citizenry may truly rupture, with unpredictable but severely damaging results.”

Among those “damaging results” – apart from the potential disruption to profits and the capitalist system itself – is the potential failure to capitalise on the finding by “corporate-finance experts” that “70 to 90 percent of a company’s value is related to cash flows expected three or more years out.”

Indeed, as the New York Observer reported after the US launch of the Henry Jackson Initiative for Inclusive Capitalism, the rather thin proposals for reform “seemed less important than bringing business leaders together to address a more central concern: In an era of rising income inequality and grim economic outlook, people seemed to be losing confidence in capitalism altogether.”

Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, who co-hosted yesterday’s conference, told the NY Observer why she was concerned:

“I think that a lot of kids have neither money nor hope, and that’s really bad. Because then they’re going to get mad at America. What our hope for this initiative, is that through all the efforts of all of the decent CEOs, all the decent kids without a job feel optimistic.”

Yep. Feel optimistic. PR is the name of the game.

“I believe that it is our duty to help make all people believe that the elevator is working for them… that whatever the station of your birth, you can get on that elevator to success,” de Rothschild told Chinese business leaders last year:

“At the moment, that faith and confidence is under siege in America… As business people, we have a pragmatic reason to get it right for everyone – so that the government does not intervene in unproductive ways with business… I think that it is imperative for us to restore faith in capitalism and in free markets.”

According to the very 2011 City of London Corporation report which recommended funding the HJS inclusive capitalism project, one of its core goals is undermining public support for “increased regulation” and “greater state” involvement in the economy, while simultaneously deterring calls to “punish those deemed responsible for having caused the crisis”:

“Following the financial crisis of 2008, the Western capitalist system has been perceived to be in crisis. Although the financial recovery is now underway in Europe and America, albeit unevenly and in some cases with the risk of further adjustments, the legacy of the sudden nature of the crash lives on.”

The report, written by the City of London’s director of public relations, continues to note that “the fabric of the capitalist system has come in for protracted scrutiny,” causing governments to “confuse the need for reasoned and rational change” with “the desire to punish those deemed responsible for having caused the crisis.” But this would mean that “the capitalist model is liable to have the freedoms and ideology essential to its success corroded.”

Far from acknowledging the predatory and unequalising impact of neoliberal capitalism, the document shows that the inclusive capitalism project is concerned with PR to promote “a more nuanced view of society,” without which “there is a risk that… we will be led down a policy path of increased regulation and greater state control of institutions, businesses and the people at the heart of them, which will fatally cripple the very system that has been responsible for economic prosperity.”

The project is thus designed “to influence political and business opinion” and to target public opinion through a “media campaign that seeks to engage major outlets.”

The Henry Jackson Initiative for Inclusive Capitalism is therefore an elite response to the recognition that capitalism in its current form is unsustainable, likely to hit another crisis, and already generating massive popular resistance.

Its proposed reforms therefore amount to token PR moves to appease the disenfranchised masses. Consequently, they fail to address the very same accelerating profit-oriented systemic risks that will lead to another financial crash before decade’s end.

Their focus, in de Rothschild’s words in the Wall Street Journal, is cosmetic: repairing “capitalism’s bruised image” in order to protect the “common long-term interests of investors and of the capitalist system.”

That is why the Inclusive Capitalism Initiative has nothing to say about reversing the neoliberal pseudo-development policies which, during capitalism’s so-called ‘Golden Age’, widened inequality and retarded growth for “the vast majority of low income and middle-income countries” according to a UN report – including “reduced progress for almost all the social indicators that are available to measure health and educational outcomes” from 1980 to 2005.

Instead, proposed ‘reforms’ offer ways to rehabilitate perceptions of powerful businesses and corporations, in order to head-off rising worker discontent and thus keep the system going, while continuing to maximise profits for the few at the expense of the planet.

This is not a surprise considering the parochial financial and political interests the Henry Jackson Society appears to represent: the very same neoconservative elites that lobbied for the Iraq War and endorse mass NSA surveillance of western and non-western citizens alike.

Indeed, there is little “inclusive” about the capitalism that HJS’ risk consultancy project, Strategic Analysis, seeks to protect, when it advertises its quarterly research reports on “the oil and gas sector in all twenty” countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Those reports aim to highlight “the opportunities for investors” as well as “risks to their business.”

Just last month, HJS organised a conference on mitigating risks in the Arab world to discuss “methods for protecting your business interests, assets and people,” including “how to plan against and mitigate losses… caused by business interruption.” The focus of the conference was protecting the invariably fossil fueled interests of British and American investors and corporates in MENA – the interests and wishes of local populations was not a relevant ‘security’ concern.

The conference’s several corporate sponsors included the Control Risks Group, a British private defence contractor that has serviced Halliburton and the UK Foreign Office in postwar Iraq, and is a member of the Energy Industry Council – the largest trade association for British companies servicing the world’s energy industries.

The “inclusivity” of this new brand of capitalism is also apparent in HJS’ longtime employment of climate denier Raheem Kassam, who now runs the UK branch of the American Breitbart news network, one of whose contributors called for Americans “to start slaughtering Muslims in the street, all of them.”

Perhaps the final nail in the coffin of HJS’ vision of capitalist “inclusivity” is associate director Douglas Murray’s views about Europe’s alleged Muslim problem, of which he said in Dutch Parliament: “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board.”

Earlier this year, Murray’s fear-mongering targeted the supposed “startling rise in Muslim infants” in Britain, a problem that explains why “white British people” are “losing their country.” London, Murray wrote, “has become a foreign country” in which “‘white Britons’ are now in a minority,” and “there aren’t enough white people around” to make its boroughs “diverse.”

So abhorrent did the Conservative front-bench find Murray’s innumerable xenophobic remarks about European Muslims, reported Paul Goodman, the Tory Party broke off relations with his Center for Social Cohesion before he revitalised himself by joining forces with HJS.

Yet this is the same neocon ideology of “inclusive” market freedom around which the forces of global capitalism are remobilising, in the name of “sustainable” prosperity for all.

They must be having a laugh.

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is an international security journalist and academic. He is the author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It, and the forthcoming science fiction thriller, Zero Point. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @nafeezahmed. [Emphasis in quotes was added]

Armed Drones Should Be Outlawed

[SEE: It takes 28 civilian lives to kill a single terrorist leader ]

campaign to stop killer robots

Killer Robots: Why the world should ban autonomous weapons systems

Cyprus mail

NYT_12Nov2014 source

By Mary Wareham

Nations around the world agreed in November to continue deliberations on “lethal autonomous weapons systems” – that is, weapons systems that would be able to select their targets and use force without any further human intervention.

There are serious concerns that fully autonomous weapons systems – or “killer robots,” as they are also called – would not be able to distinguish between soldiers and civilians, or judge whether a military action is proportional.

Countries could choose to deploy these weapons more frequently and with less critical consideration if they do not have to worry about sacrificing troops. Proliferation of these weapons systems could spin out of control easily, both for military and police use.

At the prompting of nongovernmental organizations and United Nations experts, discussions began earlier this year to address the many technical, legal, military, ethical, and societal questions relating to the prospect of lethal autonomous weapons systems.

The debate should be expected to deepen and broaden as the talks continue. The hope is that they will lead rapidly to formal negotiations on a new treaty pre-emptively banning weapons systems that do not require meaningful human control over the key functions of targeting and firing.

Such weapons in their fully autonomous form do not exist yet, but several precursors that are in development in the United States, China, Israel, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and other nations with high-tech militaries demonstrate the trend toward ever-increasing autonomy on land, in the air, and on or under the water.

If the military robotic developments proceed unchecked, the concern is that machines, rather than humans, could ultimately make life-or-death decisions on the battlefield or in law enforcement.

By agreeing to keep talking, the 118 nations that are part of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), an existing international treaty, acknowledged the unease that the idea of such weapons causes for the public.

A new global coalition of nongovernmental organizations called the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots continues to pick up endorsements, with more than 275 scientists, 70 faith leaders, and 20 Nobel Peace laureates joining its ranks in calling for a pre-emptive ban on the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons. In August, Canada’s Clearpath Robotics became the first private company to endorse the campaign and pledge not to knowingly develop and manufacture such weapons systems.

The UN expert on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, has called on all countries to adopt a moratorium on these weapons. Austria has urged nations engaged in the development of such weapons systems to freeze these programs, and has called on nations deliberating about starting such development to make a commitment not to do so.

Talking about the issue is good, but diplomacy is moving at a slow pace compared with the rapid technological developments. The commitment of the CCW talks – a week of talks over the course of an entire year – is unambitious. It is imperative for diplomatic talks to pick up the pace and create a new international treaty to ensure that humans retain control of targeting and attack decisions.

In the meantime, nations need to start establishing their own policies on these weapons, implementing bans or moratoriums at a national level.

The United States has developed a detailed policy on autonomous weapons that, for now, requires a human being to be “in the loop” when decisions are made about using lethal force, unless department officials waive the policy at a high level. While positive, the policy is not a comprehensive or permanent solution to the problems posed, and it may prove hard to sustain if other nations begin to deploy fully autonomous weapons systems.

One thing is clear: Doing nothing and letting ever-greater autonomy in warfare proceed unchecked is no longer an option.

unnamedMary Wareham is advocacy director of the Human Rights Watch Arms Division, where she leads HRW’s advocacy against particularly problematic weapons that pose a significant threat to civilians. She is also serving as the global coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots.

This article first appeared in http://www.themarknews.com

Bulgarian Islamic State “Witch Hunt” Pissing Innocent Muslims Off and Propagating Dangerous Ideas

[Here is a perfect example of how following the American “war on terror” formula, other misled nations are actually fomenting Islamist radicalism and helping to give it widespread media coverage.]

Bulgarian Authorities Popularizing Radical Islam – Expert

novinite_logo4_gray

photo_big_165045 [A TV and VCR with a drawing of an IS taped over top of the set’s controls?  Pretty damning stuff, huh?–ed.] 
Photo by BGNES

Everything around the anti-terrorist operation conducted in Bulgaria this week is helping radical Islam to rise to popularity, a former security official says.

Nikolay Radulov, a former Chief Secretary at the Interior Ministry, believes the operation shows lack of understanding of this phenomenon.

“Radical Islamists seek publicity, this is why they release photos, footage. From this point of view they have achieved their goal. For some reason the prosecution and DANS [State Agency for National Security] are helping them promote it,” Radulov told private national channel NOVA TV.

He asserted there were no “sleeping cells” of Islamic State (IS), since that would be a conspiring terror organization and would neither appear on the Internet nor promote itself on Facebook.

Services are trying to make themselves stand out at a time when the budget is being drafted, and also when “various people” are reportedly eyeing the position of DANS head Vladimir Pisanchev, Radulov claimed, adding this might be another explanation as to why the operation was conducted amid media fuss.

In his words, Imam Ahmed Musa Ahmed “gained much more popularity with this operation than the one he had had until now.”

With such activities the security forces run the risk of creating “martyrs”.

- See more at: http://www.novinite.com/articles/165045/Bulgarian+Authorities+Popularizing+Radical+Islam+-+Expert#sthash.sMAo1qPp.dpuf

Zionist Right-Wing Plans To Avoid 3rd Intifada With Pay-Offs

Israel FM supports paying Arabs to leave

aljazeera

Avigdor Lieberman says he favours providing economic incentives for Arab-Israelis to leave the country.

Israeli Arabs say a bill to declare Israel the homeland of Jewish people only further alienates them [Reuters]

Israel’s foreign minister says he supports paying Arab citizens to leave the country.

In a manifesto of his right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party, Avigdor Lieberman said he favoured ceding Arab majority areas in northern Israel to a future Palestinian state and providing economic incentives for Arab-Israelis – about 20 percent of Israel’s population – to encourage them to emigrate.

The manifesto, published on Friday, did not set out positions on the most difficult issues in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, including the status of Jerusalem and Israel’s borders.

But it does acknowledge the necessity of territorial compromise in reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians, and also with moderate Arab countries.

Once a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Lieberman is now seen as harbouring prime ministerial ambitions himself.

His offer to pay Israeli Arabs to leave comes as Netanyahu pushes forward with a contentious parliamentary bill to formalise Israel’s status as a Jewish state – a measure that many Arab-Israelis say will institutionalise their status as second class citizens.

The bill, which Netanyahu says is necessary to safeguard Israel’s future, is opposed by a wide range of Israeli political figures, including the largely ceremonial president, but is strongly supported by right wing members of his ruling coalition, including Lieberman.

Meanwhile, Israeli security forces fired tear gas at several dozen rock-throwing demonstrators at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem following weekly prayers Friday.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

European Parliament Digital single market (Google Break-Up Resolution)–TEXT

European Parliament

P8_TA-PROV(2014)0071
Digital single market

PE539.009
European Parliament resolution of 27 November 2014 on supporting consumer rights in the digital single market (2014/2973(RSP))

The European Parliament,

A. whereas the digital single market is one of the area of progress which, though entailing challenges, offers potential for high-efficiency gains that could amount to EUR 260 billion per year, thereby contributing to Europe’s recovery from the crisis;

B. whereas the completion of a European digital single market would create millions of jobs and potentially enable Europe to gain 4 % in GDP by 2020;

C. whereas the app economy alone is expected to triple its revenue from 2013 to 2018, creating 3 million jobs in the same period;

D. whereas Parliament has commissioned a study to analyse the Cost of Non-Europe in the Digital Single Market, which reinforces the importance of seeing digital solutions as an opportunity for consumers, citizens and businesses and not as a threat;

E. whereas the Union needs to foster the mass adoption of cloud computing in Europe, as it constitutes a powerful driver for the growth of the European economy; whereas the study gives evidence of significant expected gains linked to its fast development;

F. whereas obstacles hindering consumers’ participation in the digital single market relate to discriminatory practices such as the restriction of service providers to certain countries or territories, simple refusal to sell, automatic rerouting, and unjustified diversification of conditions of sale;

G. whereas secure, efficient, competitive and innovative mobile payments and e payments are crucial if consumers are to enjoy the full benefits of the single market;

H. whereas the protection of personal data and of privacy, as well as the cybersecurity and security of electronic communications and networks are a priority in the digital single market, as these are fundamental prerequisites for its functioning and the creation of citizens’ and consumers’ trust in it;

I. whereas the trans-European availability of widespread, high-speed and secure fast internet access and digital services in the public interest is essential for social and economic growth, competitiveness, social inclusion and the single market;

J. whereas research, development and innovation in the digital economy will help ensure that Europe remains competitive in the mid to longer term;

K. whereas a rapid deployment of high-speed broadband networks is crucial for the development of European productivity and for the emergence of new and small enterprises that can be leaders in different sectors, for example healthcare, manufacturing and the service industries;

L. whereas the private sector should play the leading role in rolling out and modernising broadband networks, supported by a competitive and investment-friendly regulatory framework;

M. whereas the digital single market is one of the most innovative sectors of the economy and is therefore playing a major role in the competitiveness of the European economy and contributing to economic growth through the development of e-commerce, while also facilitating the administrative and financial compliance of businesses and presenting consumers with a wider choice of goods and services;

N. whereas the digital single market not only offers economic benefits but also has a profound impact on the daily political, social and cultural life of EU consumers and citizens;

O. whereas a competitive digital single market cannot exist without fast, higher-capacity broadband and telecommunications networks across all EU regions, including remote areas;

P. whereas the existing and steadily widening digital divide is having a direct negative impact on the development of the digital single market, in terms of both access to the internet and e-skills;

Q. whereas the protection of personal data and of privacy and the security of electronic communications and networks are a priority in the digital single market, as these are fundamental prerequisites for its functioning and the securing of citizens’ and consumers’ trust in it;

R. whereas online markets need to be both flexible and consumer-friendly if they are to grow and expand;

S. whereas e-commerce is an important complement to offline trade and a major driver of consumer choice, competition and technological innovation, and thus contributes to the European Union’s convergence into a knowledge-driven economy;

T. whereas unfettered competition and a level playing field for companies, which will foster investment, are vital to this sector of the economy as they will ensure its long-term sustainable development to the benefit of end-users; whereas effective competition is a good driver of efficient investment and can provide benefits for consumers in terms of choice, price and quality;

U. whereas in some areas of the digital single market there are vulnerabilities brought about by excessive market concentration and dominant operators;

V. whereas the challenge of market fragmentation and lack of interoperability in the European Union is an obstacle to the rapid development of the digital single market;

W. whereas employment created through the digital single market is, on average, highly skilled and remunerated and, as such, is an important contribution to the creation of quality and sustainable employment;

X. whereas the Commission should guard against antitrust behaviour affecting media plurality, in terms of both content provision and ownership, as access to information is key to a thriving democracy;

1. Calls on the Member States and the Commission, through sustained efforts of implementation of existing rules and enforcement of these rules, as part of an overarching strategy, to address all existing barriers that are hindering the development of the digital single market, while making sure that measures are impact-assessed, future-proof and fit for the digital age; believes that these efforts need to be at the heart of the EU’s efforts to generate economic growth and employment and strengthen its competitiveness and resilience within the global economy;

2. Stresses that any legislative proposal related to the digital single market must comply with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, so that rights enshrined therein are fully protected in the digital domain;

3. Highlights, in particular, the potential of e-commerce, which, it is estimated, could save consumers more than EUR 11,7 billion a year if they could choose from the full range of EU goods and services when shopping online;

4. While welcoming the growth of e-commerce, notes the dominant position in some Member States of only a few actors in the direct sale of physical goods or as a market-based platform for others to sell physical goods; stresses the need at European level to monitor and prevent the abuse of such dominant positions in terms of the availability of goods to consumers and the charges required of SMEs for using such market-based platforms;

5. Stresses the need to tackle and combat the digital divide in order to fully grasp the potential of the digital single market and to enable the inclusion of all citizens, regardless of their income, social situation, geographical location, health or age, in society in the digital era;

6. Notes, in particular, the need to address the obstacles which remain for consumers and businesses regarding e commerce, including online services, access to digital content, fraud prevention, website registrations, sales promotions and labelling;

7. Calls on the Commission to ensure the swift implementation of the single market for services and to ensure the implementation and enforcement of rules such as the Consumer Rights Directive, alternative dispute resolution and online dispute resolution, while ensuring the reduction of administrative burdens;

8. Calls for the swift adoption of the new modernised Data Protection Package in order to provide an appropriate balance between a high level of protection of personal data, user safety and control over one’s personal data and a stable, predictable legislative environment in which businesses can flourish in an enhanced single market for the benefit of end-users, a level playing field fostering investment, and an environment contributing to the attractiveness of the EU as a destination for businesses; calls on the Commission and the Member States to allocate the necessary resources to fight cybercrime by means of legislative measures and law enforcement cooperation, at both national and EU level;

9. Stresses the need to ensure a level playing field for companies operating in the digital single market in order for them to be able to compete; calls, therefore, on the Commission to properly enforce EU competition rules in order to prevent excessive market concentration and abuse of dominant position and to monitor competition with regard to bundled content and services;

10. Notes that a level playing field for companies in the digital single market must be ensured in order to guarantee a vibrant digital economy in the EU; stresses that a thorough enforcement of EU competition rules in the digital single market will be determinant for the growth of the market, consumer access and choice and competitiveness in the long term; highlights the importance of affording consumers the same protection online as they enjoy in their traditional markets;

11. Urges the Council to make swift progress and open negotiations with Parliament on the proposal for a regulation laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, as this would, concretely, put an end to roaming charges inside the EU, provide more legal certainty as regards net neutrality, and improve consumer protection inside the digital single market; believes that this regulation could constitute a crucial step towards realising a single European mobile market;

12. Considers that the Commission should act to create and ensure a legislative and legally certain environment conducive to encouraging creativity and innovation for start-ups, micro-enterprises and SMEs;

13. Asks the Commission to put forward an initiative for digital entrepreneurship, since this is critical for the creation of new jobs and innovative ideas, including measures to improve access to finance for new digital entrepreneurs (for instance through crowdsourcing) and encourage second chances for failed entrepreneurs;

14. Stresses that all internet traffic should be treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference, irrespective of its sender, receiver, type, content, device, service or application;

15. Notes that the online search market is of particular importance in ensuring competitive conditions within the digital single market, given the potential development of search engines into gatekeepers and the possibility they have of commercialising secondary exploitation of information obtained; calls, therefore, on the Commission to enforce EU competition rules decisively, based on input from all relevant stakeholders and taking into account the entire structure of the digital single market in order to ensure remedies that truly benefit consumers, internet users and online businesses; calls, furthermore, on the Commission to consider proposals aimed at unbundling search engines from other commercial services as one potential long-term means of achieving the aforementioned aims;

16. Furthermore calls on the Commission to act quickly to consider potential solutions tending towards a balanced, fair and open internet search structure;

17. Stresses that, when operating search engines for users, the search process and results should be unbiased in order to keep internet searches non-discriminatory, to ensure more competition and choice for users and consumers and to maintain the diversity of sources of information; notes, therefore, that indexation, evaluation, presentation and ranking by search engines must be unbiased and transparent; calls on the Commission to prevent any abuse in the marketing of interlinked services by search engine operators;

18. Welcomes the announcement of further investigations by the Commission into search engine practices and the digital market in general;

19. Stresses the importance of ensuring an efficient and balanced framework for the protection of copyright and intellectual property rights, geared to the reality of the digital economy;

20. Encourages swift adoption and enactment of international provisions facilitating access of disabled users to digital content and to printed works through their digitisation;

21. Welcomes the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access for the visually impaired to books, and encourages all signatories to ratify the Treaty; believes that the Marrakesh Treaty represents a good step forward, but that much work remains to be done in order to open up access to content for people with disabilities, in addition to those affected by visual impairment; highlights the importance of further enhancing accessibility across a broad spectrum of areas, from copyright and search engines to telecommunications operators;

22. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to further develop and implement EU and national regulatory frameworks in order to allow an integrated and secure online and mobile payments market, while ensuring the protection of consumers and customer data; underlines, in this connection, the need for clear and predictable rules, set out in legislation;

23. Recalls that cloud computing can become a powerful instrument for the development of the digital single market, and can offer economic benefits, particularly for SMEs, by reducing IT infrastructure and other costs; highlights in this connection the fact that, if cloud services are provided only by a limited number of large providers, an increasing amount of information will be aggregated in the hands of those providers; recalls, furthermore, that cloud computing also entails risks for users, in particular as regards sensitive data; calls for proper implementation of the European strategy to guarantee competitive and secure cloud computing;

24. Calls on the Commission to take the lead in promoting international standards and specifications for cloud computing, which enable privacy-friendly, reliable, accessible, highly interoperable, secure and energy-efficient cloud services as an integral part of a future Union industrial policy; stresses that reliability, security and protection of data are needed for consumer confidence and competitiveness;

25. Underlines the need to ensure internet safety online, in particular for children, and to prevent child exploitation by ensuring that means are in place to detect and eradicate illegal child abuse images on the internet and by enabling means to prevent children and adolescents accessing age-restricted content;

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