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EP Plenary Session News 2-3 April 2014

02-04-2014

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

Highlights include:  
- Ending tariffs on EU imports from Ukraine
- Net neutrality and the end of roaming charges
- Pension rights when moving within the EU
- Medical devices: Better patient safety
- Plans to curb harmful traffic noise

 
Draft agendaFollow the plenary liveEuroparlTVPress conferences and other eventsEP Audiovisual websiteEP Newshub
 

Ending tariffs on EU imports from Ukraine

Plans to end EU customs duties on imports from Ukraine, so as to boost its ailing economy, will be put to a vote on Thursday.

The deal would apply from the date when it is finally approved until 1 November 2014 or until the EU-Ukraine association agreement, including a deep and comprehensive trade deal, enters into force. Ukraine would not have to reciprocate by lifting tariffs on EU goods.

Debate: Wednesday 2 April
Vote: Thursday 3 April (tbc)
Press conference: Wednesday 2 April (time tbc)
Procedure: Co-decision, first reading

#ukraine

Draft report on the reduction or elimination of customs duties on Ukrainian goods Press release on committee vote (20.03.2014)Profile of rapporteur Pawel Zalewski (EPP, PL)EP Live
 

Card payment fee caps and online payment safeguards

The fees that banks charge retailers for processing shoppers’ payments would be capped under new rules to be voted on Thursday.  Measures to make online payments safer will be put to a separate vote on the same day. Banks’ card payment fees cost EU retailers over €10 billion each year, according to the European Commission.

Card payment fee caps

The fees that banks charge for processing transactions under schemes such as Visa and MasterCard, would be capped at 0.3% of the transaction value for credit card transactions and 7 euro cents, or 0.2% of the transaction value (whichever is lower) for debit card ones. The caps would apply to both cross-border and domestic transactions in the EU.

Online payment safeguards

Security rules for online payments are to be updated to keep pace with technical progress, market developments and the constantly growing number of payments made online.

Information required to make payments, execution times and all charges would have to be clearly stated. Online shoppers would also have the right to use safe payment software or devices provided by third parties, i.e. authorised payment service providers.

Unauthorised payments would have to be refunded within 24 hours of their being noticed, but clients could be obliged to bear losses resulting from the illegal use of a lost or stolen payment card or device up to a maximum of €50.

Debates: Wednesday, 2 April  
Votes:  Thursday, 2 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading, partial vote on amendments only

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

Draft resolution on interchange fees for card-based payment transactionsProfile of the rapporteur: Pablo Zalba Bidegain (EPP, ES)Procedure File: Card paymentsDraft resolution on payment services in the internal marketProfile of the rapporteur: Diogo Feio (EPP, PT)Procedure file: Payment transactions
 

Net neutrality and the end of roaming charges

Internet providers should no longer be able to block or slow down internet services provided by their competitors, according to proposals to be voted on Thursday. MEPs will also vote to abolish "roaming charges", the extra costs for using a mobile phone in another EU country, from 15 December 2015.

Parliament's industry committee inserted strict rules to prevent telecoms companies from degrading or blocking internet connections to their competitors’ services and applications. In 2012, for example, EU telecoms regulator BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) reported that several internet providers were blocking or slowing down services like “Skype” (used to make phone calls over the internet).

No more extra charges for calling when abroad

Other parts of the proposal include banning “roaming” charges (for calls, text messages and mobile internet) within the EU from 15 December 2015 and measures to make it easier to trade in and lease rights to use parts of the radio spectrum - which is needed for faster mobile internet.

Electronic cross-border certification and signature

MEPs are also expected to endorse new rules to give companies, citizens and public authorities wanting to strike deals across borders, apply to university or arrange a wedding online access to easy and secure ways to sign and certify documents. This draft law will also require EU member states to recognise and accept each other's electronic identification systems. These rules have already been provisionally agreed with the Greek Council Presidency and will be subject to a separate vote.

Debate:  Thursday, 3 April
Vote:  Thursday, 3 April
Procedures:  
Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading (telecom package)
Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement (e-identification)
Press Conference (tbc)

#NetNeutrality #roaming #telecoms #ConnectedContinent #eID

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

Draft report on telecoms packagePress release on committee vote - telecoms package (18.03.2014)Press release on committee vote - e-identification (18.03.2014)Profile of rapporteur for the telecom package Pilar del Castillo (EPP, ES)Profile of rapporteur for e-identification Marita Ulvskog (S&D, SE)Procedure file telecom packageProcedure file e-identification
 

Reforming EU audit services to increase financial stability

MEPs vote on Wednesday on an agreement between Parliament and Council on legislation aimed at opening up the EU audit services market beyond the dominant "Big Four" firms and remedying auditing weaknesses revealed by the financial crisis.

The reform package, consisting of a directive and a regulation, also seeks to improve audit quality and prevent conflicts of interest with a view to increasing the sector’s contribution to economic and financial stability.

Specialist: Fede
Vote: Wednesday, 2 April
Procedure:  codecision (ordinary legislative procedure); first reading agreement

#audit #auditreform

Draft report on the reform of the audit sector (directive)Draft report on the reform of the audit sector (regulation)Press release on committee vote (21.01.2014)Profile of rapporteur Sajjad Karim (ECR, UK)Procedure file: directiveProcedure file: regulation
 

Reforming EU audit services to increase financial stability

MEPs vote on Wednesday on an agreement between Parliament and Council on legislation aimed at opening up the EU audit services market beyond the dominant "Big Four" firms and remedying auditing weaknesses revealed by the financial crisis.

The reform package, consisting of a directive and a regulation, also seeks to improve audit quality and prevent conflicts of interest with a view to increasing the sector’s contribution to economic and financial stability.

Vote: Wednesday, 2 April
Procedure: codecision (ordinary legislative procedure); first reading agreement

#audit #auditreform

Draft report on the reform of the audit sector (directive) Draft report on the reform of the audit sector (regulation) Press release on committee vote (21.01.2014) Profile of rapporteur Sajjad Karim (ECR, UK)Procedure file: directive Procedure file: regulation
 

Keeping pension rights when moving to another EU member States

EU workers who move to a different EU country will be able to safeguard their supplementary pension rights, under a deal between Parliament and member states to be voted on Thursday. The legislation will apply to EU workers who move within the EU and, at Parliament’s insistence, also to cross-border workers.

Under the new rules, the "vesting period", namely. the period of active membership of a scheme needed for a person to keep supplementary pension entitlements, must not exceed three years.

Statutory pension rights, i.e. those provided by the state, for people working in another member state, are already secured under EU law. However, equivalent protection for supplementary pensions, i.e. occupational pensions financed by employers or by a private scheme, has not been established until now.

Debate: Wednesday, 2 April
Vote:  Thursday, 3 April
Procedure:  Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 2nd reading agreement

#pensions

Draft report on minimum requirements for enhancing worker mobility between Member States by improving the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rightsPress release on informal deal (26.11.2013)Profile of rapporteur Ria Oomen Ruijten (EPP, NL)Procedure file
 

"Magnitsky list": MEPs to call for EU sanctions against 32 Russian officials

Parliament votes on Wednesday on a draft resolution prepared by the foreign affairs committee calling for 32 Russian officials involved in the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, its judicial cover-up and the continuing harassment of his family to be sanctioned.

According to independent investigations, Mr Magnitsky, who unveiled large-scale corruption within the Russian authorities, died in pre-trial detention in 2009 after enduring "inhumane conditions, deliberate neglect and torture." The draft resolution calls on the Council to establish a list of Russian officials involved who would be banned from entering the EU and have their financial assets seized. The resolution names the officials.

Specialist: Vaclav
Vote:  Wednesday, 2 April
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

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

Draft resolution on common visa restrictions for Russian officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky casePress release on committee vote (18.03.2014)Profile of rapporteur Kristina Ojuland (ALDE, EE)Procedure file
 

MEPS to debate Russia, Ukraine and Iran with Catherine Ashton

MEPs will discuss the EU’s actions towards Russia following the recent events in Crimea, its aid to Ukraine and its future strategy towards Iran amidst on-going talks on its nuclear programme with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday, during their last plenary debate with her before the European elections.

MEPs will evaluate Ms Ashton’s term of office following the Lisbon treaty’s merger of the former roles of Council High Representative with External Affairs Commissioner. They are also expected to call on the EU institutions and member countries to coordinate foreign policy more effectively and use their policy tools more consistently, in a resolution to be put to the vote on Thursday.

Debate: 2 April 2014
Vote: 3 April 2014
Procedure:  High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Statement (with resolution)

#Ashton #Iran #Russia #Ukraine #CFSP @eeas_eu

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

Draft resolution on the EU comprehensive approach Profile of rapporteur Arnaud Danjean (EPP, FR)Procedure file
 

Carbon permit exemption for long-haul flights?

Parliament votes on Thursday on an informal deal on aviation carbon permits reached with Council but opposed by environment MEPs. Until 2017, the Emissions Trading System (ETS) would only apply to flights within the EU while flights to or from third countries would be exempt. The legislation would also require EU countries to report on how they spend the revenue from auctioning emission permits.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreed in 2013 to adopt a global market-based measure (MBM) on aviation greenhouse gas emissions in 2016, to be implemented by 2020. The EU legislation tabled in response aims to reduce the proportion of emissions (from flights to and from countries outside the EU) to which the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) applies until the global MBM comes into force.

Debate:  Wednesday, 2 April
Vote: Thursday, 3 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement
Press conference: Thursday TBC

#EUETS #Aviation #CO2

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers (Independent-East), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

Draft report on international aviation emissions and greenhouse gas emission allowance tradingPress release on committee vote (19.03.2014)Profile of rapporteur Peter Liese (EPP, DE)Procedure file
 

Medical devices: better controls and traceability to ensure patients’ safety

Parliament votes on Wednesday on plans to strengthen monitoring and certification procedures for medical devices such as breast or hip implants to ensure that they comply fully with safety standards and can be traced. Separate rules tightening up information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices used for example in pregnancy or DNA testing will also be put to the vote.

The proposed rules aim to give patients and medical staff clearer and fuller information and to increase traceability. In the wake of recent scandals in which the number of patients with potentially defective implants remained unknown, MEPs want patients to receive an "implant card" and to be registered so that they can be alerted if any incidents are reported with a similar product. Their amendments also aim to beef up the so-called “notified bodies” in charge of assessing the safety of the devices.

Vote: Wednesday, 2 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading
Press conference: Wednesday TBC

Please enter related hashtags #medicaldevices #IVD #PIP #metalonmetal

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers (Independent-East), Jim Higgins (Fine Gael-North West), Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East)

Draft report on medical devicesDraft report on in vitro diagnostic medical devicesPress release on committee vote (25.09.2013)Profile of rapporteur Dagmar Roth-Behrendt (S&D, DE)Profile of rapporteur Peter Liese (EPP, DE)Procedure file on medical devicesProcedure file on IVD medical devices
 

Clinical trials: more transparency, better protection for patients

Pharmaceutical companies and academic researchers will be obliged to upload the results of all their European clinical trials to a publicly accessible database, under draft legislation informally agreed with EU ministers to be put to a vote on Thursday.

The new legislation, designed to encourage research whilst protecting patients' rights, will replace an existing directive with simpler, more uniform rules. It makes specific provision for low-intervention trials, clarifies the role of ethics committees in the authorisation process and sets out the rules how to obtain informed consent from patients.

Debate: Thursday, 3 April
Vote: Thursday, 3 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement
Press conference: Thursday TBC

#Clinicaltrials

Press release on committee vote (20.12.2013)Profile of rapporteur Glenis Willmott (S&D, UK)Procedure file
 

Plans to curb harmful traffic noise

Parliament votes on Wednesday on stricter noise limits for cars to protect public health, under a draft law agreed with EU ministers. As proposed by MEPs during negotiations, the text calls for labels to inform consumers of the noise levels of new cars and for hybrid and electric vehicles to be equipped with sounds to alert pedestrians.

The limit for standard cars is reduced to 68 db in 12 years, from the current level of 74 db. More powerful vehicles would be allowed a margin of 1 to 9 extra decibels. The rules bring down the limit for the most powerful heavy lorries (over 12 tonnes) to 79 db from 81 db. MEPs point out that vehicle noise is also affected by the road surface and tyre noise.

Vote: Wednesday, 2 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 2nd reading agreement

#motor #vehicles #noise

Irish MEPs on this issue: Jim Higgins (Fine Gael-North West)

Draft resolution on sound level of motor vehiclesPress release on committee vote (27.11.2013)Profile of rapporteur Miroslav Ouzký (ECR, CZ)Procedure file
 

Tracking man-made litter in space to prevent damage to satellites

EU member states will be better able to locate and monitor man-made litter in space and alert satellite operators to collision risks, thanks to a draft law, already informally agreed with the Council, to be voted on Wednesday. By pooling their space surveillance and tracking (SST) capacities and offering new services, EU countries can help create an autonomous EU SST system, rather than relying solely on US data.

Space debris can damage and even destroy satellites, thus posing a threat to communication services such as television, mapping or satellite telephony.

Over the next seven years, the new SST support arrangements will receive about €70 million in funding from EU programmes such as Copernicus, Galileo, Egnos and Horizon 2020.

Vote: Wednesday, 2 April
Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure(1st reading agreement)

#SST #space

Consolidated text on space surveillance and tracking support frameworkProcedure fileProfile of the rapporteur Amelia Andersdotter (Greens/EFA, SE)
 

Spending check vote on EU electronic communications agency BEREC

The Riga-based Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) risks failing its budget approval (“discharge”) test in Thursday’s votes on budget management by EU institutions and agencies in 2012.

On 18 March Budgetary Control Committee MEPs withheld their approval of budget management in 2012 by both the BEREC and the EU Council of Ministers, which yet again failed to supply the necessary documentation.

The quality of budget management by 31 EU agencies, 7 joint undertakings and all the EU institutions will be debated on Wednesday.

The budget discharge rapporteurs will also hold a press conference on Thursday before the votes.

Debate: Wednesday, 2 April
Vote: Thursday, 3 April
Procedure: Discharge
Press conference: 9.00 on Thursday, 3 April, in ASP 5G2 (Raoul Wallenberg room) with rapporteurs Markus Pieper (EPP, DE) and Petri Sarvamaa (EPP, FI)

#discharge2012

Agencies: Petri Sarvamaa (EPP, FI)EU general budget - 8th, 9th and 10th EDFs: Jan Mulder (ALDE, NL)Joint undertakings: Paul Rübig (EPP, AT)European Commission: Markus Pieper (EPP, DE)European Parliament: Cătălin Sorin Ivan (S&D, RO)Tamás Deutsch (EPP, HU)Boguslaw Sonik (EPP, PL)
 

Other Topics on the Agenda:

- Nuclear safety for power plants (NLE), Jordan, vote Wed

 

- Joint debate - Iran:
  - Situation in Iran -Statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
  - EU Strategy towards Iran - Recommendation: Maria Muniz De Urquiza

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

 

- Defence of immunity of Mario Borghezio (NI, IT), vote Wed

 

- Electronic identification of bovine animals - Report: Sophie Auconie

Irish MEPs on this issue: Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East)

 

- Imports of rice from Bangladesh - Report: Paul Murphy

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

 

- Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items - Recommendation for second reading: Christofer Fjellner

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

 

- Application and enforcement of international trade rules - Report: Niccolò Rinaldi

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

 

- Access of goods and services to public procurement markets - Report: Daniel Caspary

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

 

- European Year for Development (2015) - Report: Charles Goerens

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

 

- Imports of timber - Report: Iuliu Winkler

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

 

- 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly - Report: Alexander Graf Lambsdorff

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

 

- Use of broadcasting media as a tool of EU diplomacy - Recommendation: Graham Watson

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