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09-10-2019

EP Plenary Newsletter 9-10 October 2019

What will our MEPs be working on in this week's plenary session in Brussels? Highlights include the long-term EU investment budget; foreign electoral interference and an EU minimum wage

 

The EU long-term budget risks delay: MEPs to ask for safety net

As Council is still not ready to start talks with the EP on the next long-term EU investment budget, MEPs are calling for the Commission to prepare a contingency plan.

Parliament will hold a debate on Thursday on the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 and vote on a draft resolution. MEPs are set to

  • adjust Parliament’s position to step up climate protection, stressing the “urgent need for another quantum leap in political and financial efforts” in order to achieve the Paris agreements’ objectives;

Council still has not taken a political decision on the matter.

Background

The Commission tabled the legislative proposals for the next MFF in spring 2018. Parliament adopted its position in November 2018 and has thus been ready to negotiate with the Council for almost a year.

The MFF (multiannual financial framework) is the EU’s long-term budget, usually covering a seven-year-period. It sets the maximum level of resources ('ceiling') for each major category ('heading') of EU spending for the period it covers. The current MFF, covering the period 2014-2020, was adopted on 2 December 2013.

About 93% of the EU budget funds real activities on the ground in EU countries and beyond. It goes to citizens, regions, cities, farmers, researchers, students, NGOs and businesses.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Thursday, 10 October

Vote:  Thursday, 10 October

Draft resolution
Procedure file
EP resolution of 14 November 2018 on the MFF 2021-2027 – Parliament’s position with a view to an agreement
EP-Think Tank background:
Chronology of the new MFF 2021-2027
EU Factsheets: the Multiannual Financial Framework
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein/GUE-NGL (Midlands-North-West); Bill Kelleher, Fianna Fail/Renew (South)

 

Ahead of October EU summit, MEPs to discuss budget and policy priorities

On Wednesday afternoon, MEPs will discuss their priorities for the 17-18 October EU summit with the Finnish Council Presidency and Commission representatives.

EU heads of state or government will meet on 17 and 18 October 2019. Issues to be covered during the summit relate to the negotiations for a long-term EU budget, strategic priorities for the next five years (including a presentation by President-elect von der Leyen), and climate change in the aftermath of the UN Climate Action Summit and ahead of the Climate Conference in Santiago de Chile in December.

The summit agenda also includes Brexit, and MEPs are likely to comment on the most recent developments. Following the decision of the 10 April 2019 European Council Special Summit to accept the UK government’s request to prolong the Article 50 deadline, the UK is set to leave the EU by 31 October.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 9 October

Procedure: Debate without resolution

Draft Agenda of the European Council 17-18 October 2019

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Mick Wallace, Independents 4 Change/GUE-NGL (South); Billy Kelleher, Finna Fail/Renew (South); Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein/GUE-NGL (Midlands-North-West)

 

EU to take a stand against fake news and foreign electoral interference

A resolution on foreign interference and disinformation in national and European democratic processes will be put to the vote on Thursday.

Attempts to influence political decision-making in the EU put European democratic societies at risk, MEPs said in the debate held on 17 September. They identified a systematic pattern of foreign meddling, through campaigns on social media, cyber-attacks or funding of political parties.

In December 2018, the European Commission published an Action Plan against Disinformation and in March 2019, the Parliament adopted a resolution pointing at Russia, along with China, Iran and North Korea, as the main source of disinformation in Europe.

 

For More Information

Debate: Tuesday, 17 September

Vote: Thursday, 10 October

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

Commission Communication: Report on the implementation of the Action Plan Against Disinformation (14.06.2019)
Commission Communication: Action Plan against Disinformation (05.12.2018)
Press Release: EU prepares itself to fight back against hostile propaganda (13.03.2019)
Interview with the rapporteur Anna Fotyga
Multimedia Centre: free photos, video and audio material

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

 

Debate on the tense political situation in Ukraine

MEPs will debate the latest developments in Ukraine on Wednesday afternoon with EU Foreign policy chief Mogherini in the hemicycle in Brussels.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent public support for the so-called "Steinmeier formula" is likely to be discussed. This simplified version of the Minsk agreements would give special status to the war-torn Donbas area and lead to elections in the separatist-controlled region in the country’s eastern parts.

The recent prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine, which led to last year’s Sakharov laureate Oleg Sentsov being freed, is also expected to come up in the debate.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 9 October

Press release: Oleg Sentsov awarded the 2018 Sakharov Prize (25.10.2018)
EP Multimedia Centre: free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Mick Wallace, Independents 4 Change/GUE-NGL (South)

 

MEPs to call for EU minimum wage and better protection of platform workers

Commission and EU countries have to beef up social rights by delivering on the EU Pillar of Social Rights with legislative proposals and financial support.

The Employment Committee’s annual report on employment and social policies stresses that, while the euro area’s unemployment rate hit a record-low of 7.4% in August 2019, youth unemployment remains unacceptably high and large differences between EU countries persist, with some 113 million people in the EU at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

The draft resolution calls on the European Commission to table legislative proposals setting up an EU minimum wage and an EU unemployment benefit, a fund to grant loans to national unemployment insurance schemes in times of economic crisis. It also reiterates the need for an EU Child Guarantee to fight child poverty. To help close the 16% gender pay in the EU, the Commission should come forward with a directive on pay transparency. MEPs also call for a coordinated EU initiative to strengthen social rights for digital platform workers.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Thursday 10 October

Vote: Thursday 10 October

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

Procedure file
EP Research briefing: Social protection in the EU: State of play, challenges and options
EP Research briefing The fight against unemployment (EP Research Briefing)
European Parliament resolution of 13 March 2019 on European Semester for economic policy coordination: Employment and Social Aspects in the Annual Growth Survey 2019
European Parliament legislative resolution of 4 April 2019 on the proposal for a Council decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States
European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2018 on the employment and social policies of the euro area
Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers
Fact sheet: Employment and social policy in the EU
Reducing Unemployment: EU Policies explained

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

 

MEPs to press European Investment Bank to get greener

MEPs on Wednesday will renew their calls for the EIB to better prioritise climate and the environment, in the presence of its President Werner Hoyer.

MEPs will seek to pressure the EIB to up its green credentials at a moment when the bank is revising its energy lending policy and when the European Commission President-elect has said that the EIB must become the “EU's climate bank”.

The EIB is a crucial player in ensuring the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) is fully deployed and, as such, has become more prominent in the area of regional development over the last few years. It uses the capital contributions provided by member states to raise money on the financial markets and lends it out for development projects at low rates, thanks to its AAA rating.

The EIB is the world's largest international public lending institution.                                                                               

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Thursday, 10 October

Procedure:  Statements of Commission and EIB President followed by debate

Procedure file
Factsheet on the European Investment Bank
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Ciaran Cuffe, Green Party (Dublin); Billy Kelleher, Fianna Fail/Renew (South); Mick Wallace, Independents 4 Change/GUE-NGL