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22-11-2019

EP Plenary Newsletter 25-28 November 2019

What will our MEPs be working on in this week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Highlights include the COP25 UN Climate Change Conference; the  Istanbul Convention; and MEPs voting on the College of Commissioners

 

Climate emergency OP25: Parliament to push for climate neutrality by 2050

The COP25 and Climate and environmental emergency will be debated on Monday. with MEPs set to vote on these two issues separately on Thursday.

Ahead of the COP25 UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid 2-13 December, MEPs will Monday debate discuss and vote on a resolution calling on the EU to submit its strategy to reach climate neutrality by 2050. This would guarantee that the EU remains a world leader in the fight against climate change. A separate debate on Monday on the current climate crisis will see Parliament examine a climate and environmental emergency motion. Parliament will vote on the two separate resolutions on Thursday.

The draft resolution on COP25 calls for the European Green Deal, announced by European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, to include a target of 55% emissions reductions by 2030 in order to be able to reach its target on climate neutrality by 2050.

A delegation from the European Parliament will attend the COP25 conference 9-14 December in Madrid.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 25 November

Vote: Thursday, 28 November

Procedure:  Resolution

Procedure file
UN website on COP25
Press release after Environment committee vote (06.11.2019)
EP Research briefing on COP25
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael/EPP (South); Frances Fitzgerald, Fine Gael/EPP (Dublin); Grace O'Sullivan, Green Party/ EFA (South); Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fáil/Renew (South)

 

Stop violence against women: EU accession to the Istanbul Convention

MEPs will debate on the Istanbul Convention and on other measures to combat gender-based violence on Monday afternoon and vote on a resolution on Thursday.

On Monday 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, MEPs will hold a plenary debate on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention. They should urge member states that have not yet ratified the Convention to do so without delay and to take all necessary legislative and political action to stop violence against women and girls. The debate will be wrapped up by a resolution to be put to a vote on Thursday.

To mark this international day, the EP in Strasbourg will be lit up in orange on Monday evening.

Background

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women, also known as the Istanbul Convention, is the first legally binding international instrument on this issue. It establishes a comprehensive framework of measures for preventing such violence, supporting victims and punishing perpetrators.

Although the EU signed the Convention on 13 June 2017, seven member states still have not ratified it: Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia and the UK.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 25 November

Vote: Thursday, 28 November

Procedure: non legislative resolution

EP resolution of 12 September 2017 on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention
EP Think Tank - Violence against women in the EU: state of play (02.09.2019)
EP Multimedia Centre: free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael/EPP (South); Frances Fitzgerald, Fine Gael/EPP (Dublin)

 

Election of the 2019 - 2024 Commission

After President-elect von der Leyen presents her team and programme on Wednesday morning, MEPs will vote on the College of Commissioners.

Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (i.e. President David Sassoli and political group leaders) declared the Commissioner-designate hearings process complete on Thursday 21 November. Public hearings of the Commissioners-designate that established their suitability took place before the competent EP Committees between 30 September - 8 October, and on 14 November for three replacement candidates.

Parliament will approve (or reject) the entire list of candidates proposed by the President-elect and the Council by simple majority in a roll call vote on Wednesday at 12:00. The vote will take place after European Commission President-elect von der Leyen presents her team and programme, and the subsequent debate with MEPs.

If elected, the new European Commission will officially take up its duties on 1 December 2019.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 27 November     

Vote:  Wednesday, 27 November

Procedure: European Commission election

Commissioners-designate hearings webpage
Procedure file (presentation)
Procedure file (vote)
EP Think Tank “Parliamentary scrutiny of the European Commission: Implementation of Treaty provisions”
EP Think Tank “Commission as 'caretaker administration'”
European Parliament Rules of Procedure - Rule 125 : Election of the Commission
Free photos, video and audio material
2019 - Hearings of the Commissioners-designate

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Frances Fitzgerald, Fine Gael/EPP (Dublin); Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael/EPP (Midlands-North-West)

 

Protecting agriculture from US tariffs after Airbus ruling

EU measures to counter the impact on agriculture of US tariffs worth $7.5 billion (€6.8 billion) will be discussed on Monday night.

The debate is closed with a resolution voted on Thursday.

MEPs want to know how the European Commission will ease the effect of (up to) 25 percent tariffs levied since 18 October 2019 on large numbers of agricultural products such as French wines, Italian cheeses and Spanish olive oil. The tariff increase on civil aircraft amounted to 10 percent.

A World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling on Airbus subsidies gave the United States the right to levy tariffs on European exports as retaliation for earlier, excessive European subsidies given to the aircraft maker Airbus.

The EU won a parallel case brought against American aircraft maker Boeing, and the WTO ruling on the level of tariffs with which the EU can retaliate is expected in 2020.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 25 November

Vote: Thursday, 28 November

Procedure: Commission statement

Procedure file
Statement of Trade Committee Chair Bernd Lange (S&D, DE) upon the announcement of the WTO decision (10.10.2019)
WTO case on Airbus
List of products hit by increased tariffs (United States Trade Representative)
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael/EPP (Midlands-North-West); Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fáil/Renew (South)

Children’s rights in a global and digital world

Following the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, MEPs will take stock of the new challenges that children and youth currently face.

MEPs are set to vote on a resolution on Tuesday winding up the 13 November plenary debate on children’s rights.

The European Parliament also organised a high-level conference on 20 November on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, attended by, among others, Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians.

This United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has become the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 13 November

Vote: Tuesday, 26 November

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

Topical Digest: 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
At a glance: EU contribution to the fight against child poverty
EP Research Briefing: Children's rights and the UN SDGs: A priority for EU external action
EP Multimedia Package: free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael/EPP (South); Grace O'Sullivan, Green Party/ EFA (South); Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fáil/Renew (South)

 

Long-term budget, climate change: preparing for the EU summit

On Tuesday morning, MEPs will discuss priorities for the 12-13 December EU summit with the Finnish Council Presidency and Commission First Vice-President Timmermans.

EU heads of state or government will meet on 12 and 13 December 2019. The summit agenda comprises two main topics:

  • climate change, on which the European Council aims to finalise its guidance on the EU’s long-term climate strategy and how to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, and
  • the ongoing long-term EU budget (Multiannual Financial Framework) negotiations, which will determine EU funding for citizens, regions, cities, farmers, researchers, students, NGOs and businesses for the 2021-2027 period - read more about Parliament’s position.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 26 November

Procedure: Debate without resolution

Draft Agenda of the European Council 12-13 December 2019
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael/EPP (Midlands-North-West)

 

Human rights and democracy resolutions  

Parliament will hold debates on the following human rights, democracy and rule of law topics on Thursday 28 November, at around 09.30, with the votes following at 12.00.

  • Imprisonment of human rights defenders and freedom of religion in Algeria
  • Cuba, the case of José Daniel Ferrer
  • Haiti

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Thursday, 28 November

Vote: Thursday, 28 November

Procedure: non-legislative resolutions

Multimedia Centre: free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael/EPP (South);

 

Final vote on next year’s EU budget

Parliament is set to approve a deal on the 2020 EU budget on Wednesday, boosting investment in climate action, research, infrastructure and the young.

For the last annual EU budget of the 2014-2020 long-term financial framework, MEPs have secured an additional €850 million in the Commission’s draft budget for the Parliament’s priorities: climate (over €500 million added), innovation, research and development and youth.

For a detailed breakdown and reactions to the deal agreed by Parliament and Council on 18 November, read the Parliament’s, the Commission’s and the Council’s press releases.

Around 93% of the EU’s budget goes to citizens, regions, cities, farmers, researchers, students, NGOs and businesses.

The overall level of commitment appropriations in the 2020 budget is set at €168.688 billion, and the overall level of payment appropriations €153.6 billion. Payments refer to what is to be concretely spent in the year of the budget, i.e. 2020. Commitments, on the other hand, are the whole amount that can be spent over several years for a given project or programme.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote:  Wednesday, 27 November

Procedure:  budgetary

Press release on agreement with Council (18.11.2019)
Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE), lead rapporteur (Commission section of the budget)
Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, ES), rapporteur for the other sections
Procedure file
The European Parliament’s budgetary powers
Free photos, video and audio material
 

Lux Film Prize 2019 award ceremony

EP President David Sassoli will unveil the winner of the 2019 Lux Prize on Wednesday in the Strasbourg hemicycle, in the presence of the film directors.

The 2019 finalist films are Cold Case Hammarskjöld (Denmark/Norway/Sweden/Belgium) by Mads Brügger, God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya (North Macedonia/Belgium/Slovenia/Croatia/France) by Teona Mitevska and The Realm (Spain/France) by Rodrigo Sorogoyen.

Parliament is covering the subtitling costs for the three finalist films in all 24 official EU languages and is producing a digital cinema package (DCP) for each EU country.

The winning film will be adapted for the visually and hearing impaired and receive additional promotional support. The 2019 Lux Film Prize winner is selected by MEPs.

A press conference by EP Vice-President Klara Dobrev (S&D, HU), Culture committee chair Sabine Verheyen (EPP, DE) with the directors of the three films is scheduled for 15.030 on Wednesday, 27 November.

The Lux Film Prize is dedicated to promoting European cinema by supporting the dissemination of European productions and sparking a Europe-wide debate on major political and societal issues. It was first awarded in 2007.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Award ceremony: Wednesday, 27 November at 12.30

Procedure:  Award ceremony

Press conference Wednesday, 27 November at 15.30

Lux prize webpage
Cold Case Hammarskjöld ((Denmark/Norway/Sweden/Belgium) by Mads Brügger
God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya (North Macedonia/Belgium/Slovenia/Croatia/France) by Teona Mitevska
The Realm (Spain/France) by Rodrigo Sorogoyen
Multimedia package
 

Oleg Sentsov to receive his Sakharov Prize

Parliament will hold an award ceremony on 26 November for last year’s Sakharov Prize laureate Oleg Sentsov, recently released from a Russian prison.

Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov was last year’s Sakharov Prize laureate. Until recently, he was serving a 20-year prison sentence in Russia for “plotting terrorist acts” against the Russian “de facto” rule in Crimea. He was released on 7 September following a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine.

The award ceremony in the hemicycle in Strasbourg, at which Mr Sentsov will be present, will take place on Tuesday, 26 November, from 12.00 to 12.30 CET.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded every year by the European Parliament. It was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Ceremony: Tuesday, 26 November

Procedure: Award ceremony

Press conference: Tuesday, 26 November at 12.40 - 13.10 TBC with Oleg Sentsov and EP President David Sassoli

Statement by EP President Sassoli on Sakharov Prize winner Oleg Sentsov’s release (07.09.2019)
Website of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
Sakharov Prize 2018
Multimedia package: Sakharov Prize 2018
Former laureates
 

MEPs to vote on new and renewed members of Court of Auditors

MEPs on Tuesday will vote to appoint two new members of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) and renew mandates for three current ones, including its president.

New members: France and Luxembourg

France has nominated François-Roger Cazala, a member and a former Vice-Chair of the Board of Auditors of the European Stability Mechanism. Joëlle Elvinger, nominated by Luxembourg, is currently a Member of Luxembourg’s Chamber of Deputies and a lawyer.

Renewals: Germany, Greece and the Netherlands

MEPs will vote on whether to renew the mandate of the German ECA member Klaus-Heiner Lehne who is currently also president of the Court and has been a long-standing member of the European Parliament and the former chair of the Committee on Legal Affairs.

MEPs will vote to also renew Nikolaos Milionis’ mandate, nominated by Greece, as well as that of Alex Brenninkmeijer (Netherlands), who have both been ECA members since 2014.

Next steps

After having obtained the support of the full house, the appointments need to be sealed by the Council.

Background

The ECA has 28 members, one from each EU member state. They are appointed for a renewable term of six years by the Council, after consulting the European Parliament.

The Court, based in Luxembourg, assists the European Parliament in its role of watchdog for the implementation of the EU budget, in particular through the discharge procedure, ensuring the interests of European taxpayers.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote:  Tuesday, 26 November

Procedure:   Consultation

Draft report on the nomination of Alex Brenninkmeijer as a Member of the Court of Auditors
Draft report on the nomination of Klaus-Heiner Lehne as a Member of the Court of Auditors
Draft report on the nomination of François-Roger Cazala as a Member of the Court of Auditors
Draft report on the nomination of Nikolaos Milionis as a Member of the Court of Auditors
Draft report on the nomination of Joëlle Elvinger as a Member of the Court of Auditors
Press release on committee vote (12-11-2019)
Hearings of the candidates in Committee on Budgetary Control on 12-11-2019
Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament: Rule 121 on appointment of the Members of the Court of Auditors
Free photos, video and audio material
 

MEPs to call for reconciliation to stop violent clashes in Bolivia

In a resolution to be put to the vote on Thursday, MEPs are expected to call for an end to violence and new presidential elections in Bolivia.

Following the contested outcome of the presidential elections on 20 October that triggered weeks of violent street protests, Bolivia remains polarised between those supporting the unseated president Evo Morales and the opposition.

In her statement on the developments in Bolivia, the High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini called on all parties to make efforts to reconcile their differences quickly and to avoid further violence.

Parliament’s resolution will wrap up the plenary debate on the situation in Bolivia held earlier this month.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 13 November

Vote: Thursday, 28 November tbc

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

Video of European Parliament debate on situation in Bolivia (13.11.2019)
Free photos, video and audio material
 

Parliament set to approve €4.5 million in EU aid to Greece after cyclone damage

In February 2019, western Crete was severely hit by exceptionally severe weather. On Wednesday, MEPs will vote on EU Solidarity Fund aid worth €4.5 million to help reconstruction.

Between 23 and 26 February 2019, exceptionally heavy rain and storms hit Crete, in particular the western part of the island. The resulting floods and landslides caused the loss of human life and have had disastrous consequences on infrastructure and economic activities, in particular on roads and in agriculture.

If the proposal is approved by Parliament and Council, Greece should receive €4,552,517 in financial assistance, minus €455,252 already paid out to Greece as an advance, mainly to help restore transport infrastructure and support clean-up operations.

You can read about the details of the initiative in the Commission’s proposal or in the draft report by rapporteur Eva Kaili (S&D, GR), which will be submitted to a vote in the Committee on Budgets on Monday 25 November before being tabled for plenary.

Background

The EUSF was set up in 2002 . Click here for a list of all EUSF interventions to date.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote:  Wednesday, 27 November

Procedure:  Budgetary

Rapporteur’s draft report
Profile of rapporteur Eva Kaili (S&D, GR)
EU factsheets: The Solidarity Fund
Procedure file
Free photos, video and audio material
 

How to protect EU cultural heritage from extreme meteorological events

MEPs will debate with the Commission what the EU can do to protect European cultural heritage in the event of extreme weather.

In response to recent severe storms and floods in Spain, France and Italy, MEPs will discuss the EU’s response to extreme meteorological events and how to protect urban areas and their cultural heritage.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Tuesday at around 16:30

Procedure:  Commission statement (without resolution)

Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fáil/Renew (South)

 

Foreign Affairs: last plenary debate with Federica Mogherini

MEPs will debate several topical foreign policy issues with outgoing EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini in Strasbourg on Wednesday afternoon.

Up for discussion in the hemicycle will be:

  • The situation in the Eastern Neighbourhood,
  • The situation in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, and
  • The situation in Israel and Palestine, including the settlements.

The foreign affairs debates will kick off in the Strasbourg hemicycle on Wednesday afternoon.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 27 November

Procedure: Statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative

EP Multimedia Centre: free photos, video and audio material
 

Thirty years of freedom and democracy: MEPs to commemorate Velvet revolution

Parliament will pay tribute on Monday evening to the Velvet Revolution that brought freedom and democracy to citizens of today’s Czechia and Slovakia.

MEPs and Commission representatives will hold a debate on the importance of the fight for freedom and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe, which contributed to the historical unification of the continent divided by the Iron Curtain until 1989.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 25 November

Specialist: Jan

Procedure: Commission statement

Video material: EP exhibition on the 30th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution
Photo material: EP exhibition on the 30th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution

Parliament set to react to Russia's action against Lithuanian judges

MEPs will vote on a resolution condemning recent Russia’s criminal investigation into Lithuanian judges following a Soviet crackdown on peaceful protesters in 1991.

MEPs are concerned about Russia’s criminal investigation into Lithuanian judges and underline the importance of protecting the independence of the judicial system and rule of law in every EU country. Before voting on a resolution, MEPs are set to discuss how cooperation and exchange of legal information with Russia should be conducted.

Background

On 13 January 1991, fourteen peaceful civilians were killed and more than 700 wounded during a crackdown by Soviet troops following Lithuania’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.

In July 2018, the Russian Investigative Committee launched a criminal investigation into Lithuanian judges and prosecutors for finding 67 citizens of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine guilty of war crimes perpetrated during 13 January 1991 events.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Monday, 25 November

Vote:  Thursday, 28 November

Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution

Discussion: Recent actions by the Russian Federation against Lithuanian judges