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14-01-2013

EP Plenary Session News: 14-17 January 2013

What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ?

Highlights include:

  • Towards clearer, fairer, credit ratings
  • Eurobonds and other debt-pooling tools
  • MEPs to debate Irish Presidency priorities
  • European Parliament to approve its revised calendar for 2013
  • Youth guarantee schemes
  • Syria: is a peaceful solution still possible?
  • Investing in research to drive EU's economic recovery
  • Fewer restrictions on fishing in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea
  • MEPs to contest withdrawal of "made in" import labelling rules
  • Stop exploiting traditional remedies from developing countries
  • MEPs to back historic EU deal with Iraq
  • Austrian Chancellor to address European Parliament on the future of Euro
  • Poverty and piracy in the Horn of Africa peace
  • How to establish a Middle East free of nuclear weapons
  • Human rights and democracy resolutions
 
Agenda for the European Parliament Plenary Session
 

Towards clearer, fairer, credit ratings

New rules to discourage automatic reliance on agencies' credit ratings of sovereign debt or share issuers will be put to a vote on Wednesday. Agencies could issue unsolicited sovereign debt ratings only at specific times, and their shareholdings in rated entities would be capped, to prevent conflicts of interest.

To make the agencies more accountable, the rules would enable investors or share issuers to claim damages for ratings that prove ill founded and harm their interests. Credit institutions and investment firms would also have to put into place internal procedures for assessing their own credit risk.

To promote sound credit rating practices, agencies would be required to explain the key factors underlying their ratings and refrain from making any direct or explicit recommendations on policies of sovereign entities, the rules say.
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), first reading
Debate: Tuesday, 15 January
Vote:  Wednesday, 16 January
Press conference: Wednesday, 16 January, 14.30 - 15.00

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin), Phil Prendergast (Labour, South), Emer Costello (Labour-Dublin)

 

Eurobonds and other debt-pooling tools

A resolution to keep up pressure on the Commission and member states to explore all avenues for pooling sovereign debt will be voted on Wednesday. The draft affirms that fears of free-riding can be overcome by carefully-crafted solutions, including Eurobonds. It also points out that the Eurozone is unique in having a single currency but no common bond market.

The resolution calls on the Commission to report on various options, possibly accompanied by a roadmap for introducing them.

The resolution itself sets out various options, some of which could be implemented immediately or in the medium term. Others would take longer, because they would require a Treaty change.
Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution
Debate:  Tuesday, 15 January
Vote:  Wednesday, 16 January

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin (Independent-North West), Pat the Cope Gallagher (Fianna Fail-North West), Nessa Childers (Labour-East), Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin), Phil Prendergast (Labour, South), Sean Kelly (Fine Gael-South), Emer Costello (Labour-Dublin)

 


MEPs to debate Irish Presidency priorities and record of outgoing Cyprus Presidency

The House will discuss the programme and priorities of the incoming Irish Presidency with the Irish Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, in the week's key debate at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. MEPs will review the outgoing Cyprus Presidency with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias from 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

The three main lines of the Irish Presidency will be:
Securing stability;
Investing in sustainable jobs and growth;
and Europe and the world.

The European Year of Citizens 2013 was officially launched in Dublin on 10 January, at a ceremony at City Hall.

Procedure: Council and Commission statements
Debate: Tuesday 15 January (Cyprus Presidency), Wednesday 16 January (Irish Presidency)
Press Conference:  President Schulz and President Chistofias on the review of the Cyprus Presidency, Tuesday, 15 January, 10.30 - 11.30
Press Conference: President Schulz and Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the incoming Irish Presidency, Wednesday, 16 January, 12.00 - 13.30

Irish MEPs on this issue: Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin), Marian Harkin (Independent-North West), Pat the Cope Gallagher (Fianna Fail-North West), Nessa Childers (Labour-East), Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin), Phil Prendergast (Labour, South), Sean Kelly (Fine Gael-South), Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Emer Costello (Labour-Dublin)

 

European Parliament to approve its revised calendar for 2013

MEPs will vote Wednesday on a new calendar with 12 plenary part-sessions in Strasbourg in 2013 as ruled by the European Court of Justice.

In its ruling of 13 December 2012, the Court annulled Parliament's vote of 9 March 2011 on the calendar of part-sessions for 2012 and 2013, in a case brought by the French Republic and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

The Court ruled that the 12 "ordinary plenary part-sessions" must be of equal duration and reiterated that only the member states have the legal power to change the seat of the institutions.

Procedure:  decisions on EP organisation
Vote:  Wednesday, 16 January

 

MEPs to urge ministers to back youth guarantee schemes

Plans for "youth guarantee" schemes to ensure that all young people get a job, education or internship offer after four months' unemployment, will be put to vote on Tuesday. The draft resolution urges EU employment ministers to agree in February on introducing the schemes in all member states.

In its oral question, the Parliament asks the Commission for more details of how these schemes are to be funded.

Youth Guarantee schemes should be eligible for EU funding, e.g. from the European Social Fund, especially in member states with the highest youth unemployment rates, says the draft resolution. Parliament has already twice called for such schemes.

Procedure:  Oral question to Commission (with resolution)
Debate:  Monday, 14 January
Vote:  Tuesday, 15 January

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin (Independent-North West), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin), Sean Kelly (Fine Gael-South), Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Emer Costello (Labour-Dublin)

 

Syria: is a peaceful solution still possible?

Escalating violence in Syria and UN and Arab League joint efforts to secure its transition to democracy will be debated by political group leaders and a representative of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad called his opponents "puppets of the West" in a recent speech.

Procedure: Statement of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Debate:  Wednesday, 16 January

Further information
Latest EP resolution on Syria (13.09.2012)
Plenary debate on asylum seekers from Syria (12.12.2012)

 

Investing in research to drive EU's economic recovery

Question Time with the Commission on Tuesday will focus on research and innovation, particularly under the EU's "Horizon 2020" research programme for 2014-2020.

Horizon 2020 aims to make the EU a world-leading economy and the EU budget should reflect this goal, said the Industry Committee in its November vote on the programme. The Commission proposed an €80 billion budget for the programme, but MEPs are pressing for more.

Procedure:  Question time with the Commission (Rule 116 of the Rules of Procedure)
Debate:  Tuesday, 15 January

Irish MEPs on this issue: Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin), Nessa Childers (Labour-East), Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Pat the Cope Gallagher (Fianna Fail-North West)

 

Fewer restrictions on fishing in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea

Certain restrictions on how and where fishermen may fish in EU waters could be removed by two votes on Wednesday. Fishermen off the west of Scotland, for example, could again use gillnets, which are currently prohibited for conservation reasons. This would save them having to make long trips to catch haddock and other species.

The gillnet amendment and others tabled by rapporteur Pat the Cope Gallagher (ALDE, IE), reflect new scientific advice. His report aims to prolong the life of EU fisheries measures, which expired at the end of 2012, to allow time to develop a new legal basis for them when the new common fisheries policy takes effect in 2014.

Small-scale fishermen could catch Baltic cod in coastal areas during closed-season summer months if MEPs back an amendment tabled by rapporteur Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (EPP, PL). His report aims to ensure that Baltic Sea cod stocks can be exploited under sustainable economic, environmental and social conditions.

Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement (Gallagher); Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading (Walesa)
Votes: Wednesday, 16 January

Irish MEPs on this issue: Pat the Cope Gallagher (Fianna Fail-North West)

 

MEPs to contest withdrawal of "made in" import labelling rules

European Commission plans to withdraw proposed "made in" labelling rules for EU imports such as clothing or shoes will be debated on Thursday. Member states have proven unable to agree to these rules, which the European Parliament strongly supported and approved in 2010.

The proposed "made in" rules would allow third countries sell goods such as clothing, shoes, jewellery and glassware in the EU only if their origin were stated on the label.

At present, third countries may choose whether or not to attach origin labels to goods sold in the EU. Leading EU trade partners such as China the USA and Brazil require origin marking of goods imported from the EU.

Procedure: Oral question to the Commission (with resolution)
Debate/Vote:  Thursday, 17 January

Irish MEPs on this issue: Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East), Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin)

 

Stop exploiting traditional remedies from developing countries

Stop exploiting traditional remedies from developing countries
MEPs will say member states must act to combat biopiracy, in which plants with medicinal properties and traditional remedies from developing countries are exploited by multinationals which fail to share the profits with the indigenous people, MEPs say in a resolution to be voted on Tuesday.

The text on the development aspects of intellectual property rights to genetic resources says that "three quarters of the world's population depend on natural traditional medicine from plants" and "biopiracy" practiced by big pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies can impede the economic progress of developing countries.

The European Commission recently proposed implementing the international Nagoya Protocol that protects the rights of countries and local communities that allow their genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge to be used.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution
Debate:  Monday, 14 January
Vote: Tuesday, 15 January

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin)

 

MEPs to back historic EU deal with Iraq

MEPs are set to back the first-ever EU-Iraq partnership and cooperation agreement in a vote on Thursday. They expect the deal to promote Iraq's security, stability and transition to democracy. Concerns about continuing violence and human rights violations in Iraq will be raised in a debate with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday.

In a resolution voted in December, Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee also pointed out that the EU delegation needs adequate premises and proper security cover to travel anywhere in the country to monitor EU-funded programmes, respect for human rights and reform efforts.

Procedure: Consent, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Statement
Debate:  Wednesday, 16 January
Vote:  Thursday, 17 January
Press conference: Wednesday 16 January - 11:00 (TBC)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin)

 

Austrian Chancellor to address European Parliament on the future of Europe

The Chancellor of Austria, Werner Faymann, has been invited by EP President Martin Schulz to take part in Tuesday's debate. Chancellor Faymann will discuss the future of the European Union and of the Eurozone in particular, the economic and financial crisis and the EU budget for 2014 to 2020 with MEPs for an hour and a half, starting at 3 p.m.

Chancellor Faymann will have a meeting with President Schulz after the debate.

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin (Independent-North West), Nessa Childers (Labour-East), Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin)

 

Poverty and piracy in the Horn of Africa

Starving Somali farmers will stop turning to piracy only if Somalia's failed state and poverty are tackled along with international security concerns. EU and international donors should stop concentrating aid on Mogadishu's failed federal institutions at the expense of the countryside, MEPs will insist in a debate on Monday and vote on Tuesday.

In a resolution on the EU strategy for the Horn of Africa, MEPs will stress that the current window of opportunity for political transition in Somalia and Ethiopia must be seized, to alleviate effects of long-lasting violence and famine.

1.3 million Somalis are internally displaced and over one million have fled the country. Somalia lies in one of the world's most conflict-prone regions, alongside vital international shipping lanes.

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution
Debate:  Monday, 14 January
Vote:  Tuesday, 15 January

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin)

 

How to establish a Middle East free of nuclear weapons

Following the postponement of the Helsinki Conference on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, MEPs will debate the way forward and the EU's role in the process with foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday. They will vote on a resolution on Thursday.

The parties to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), in force since 1970, agreed in 2010 to hold a conference in 2012 with the aim of establishing a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

Procedure: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Statement (with resolution)
Debate: Wednesday, 16 January
Vote:  Thursday, 17 January

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin)

 

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following topics relating to human rights and democracy, in the morning on Thursday 17 January at 3pm, with the votes following at around 4pm.

Violence against women in India

Human rights situation in Bahrain

The situation in the Central African Republic

Procedure: Non-legislative resolutions

Irish MEPs on this issue: Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

 

Other topics for discussion and vote include the following

EU administrative procedure law, debate Monday, vote Tuesday

Information and consultation of workers, anticipation and management of restructuring, debate Monday, vote Tuesday

Irish MEPs on this issue: Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin), Emer Costello (Labour-Dublin)

 

Corruption, misuse of EU funds and effects on the political decision-making processes, debate Wednesday

Irish MEPs on this issue: Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin

 

"One carry-on bag" rule imposed by certain airlines, debate Tuesday

Irish MEPs on this issue: Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin), Pat the Cope Gallagher (Fianna Fail-North West), Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

 

European solidarity fund implementation, debate Monday, vote Tuesday

Recent casualties in textile plants in Bangladesh, Council and Commission statement, debate with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, debate Wednesday, vote Thursday

Irish MEPs on this issue: Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin), Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

 

Economic partnership agreement with Eastern and Southern Africa states, debate Wednesday, vote Thursday

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

 

 

For further information, please contact Catherine Bunyan, Press Officer on 086 8559423 or at catherine.bunyan@ep.europa.eu or contact the Irish MEPs' Press Officers directly.

To watch any part of the Plenary Session live, please click on the EP Live section of the Parliament's website and select Live Broadcast from the menu on the left-hand side.

To view a debate which has already taken place, please click on the Multimedia Library section of the Parliament's website, select 'search by date' from the menu on the left-hand side and choose the debate.  You can also scroll through the speakers and just listen to a speaker of your choice.

To access raw audio of interviews with the Irish MEPs recorded during the Plenary Session, please visit www.radioep.ie.