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21-10-2013

EP Plenary Session News 21-24 October 2013

What are the MEPs working on in this week's Plenary session in Strasbourg ?

Highlights include:

  • EU budget 2014: EP set to reverse Council cuts in growth and humanitarian aid
  • MEPs set out their priorities for European Council summit
  • Economic coordination between EU countries needs to be much better
  • Migrants: EU must avoid further tragedies in the Mediterranean
  • NSA snooping: MEPs to take a stand on whether to suspend EU-US bank data deal
  • MEPs move to tighten up controls for implants and prostheses
  • Aung San Suu Kyi to receive Sakharov Prize awarded to her 23 years ago
  • Organised crime, corruption and money laundering: crackdown hit list vote
  • MEPs to approve rules for €6.5 billion EU fisheries fund
  • Parliament to vote on a law to halt reckless scrapping of old ships
  • MEPs to tell Ashton EU foreign policy must be proactive and set priorities
  • Weighing up judicial and anti-corruption reforms in Western Balkans and Turkey
  • Debate on detention of Greenpeace activists in Russia
  • Putting the EU on the path to green growth
  • Climate change conference: MEPs to set out their priorities
Draft agendaFollow the plenary liveEuroparlTVPress conferences and other eventsEP Audiovisual websiteEP Newshub
 

EU budget 2014: EP set to reverse Council cuts in growth and humanitarian aid

Parliament is set to reverse the Council's proposed cuts in growth and jobs investments when it votes on the EU's 2014 budget on Wednesday. The same goes for Council cuts in funding for humanitarian aid to the Middle East and refugees. Parliament's own budget will be reduced substantially.

After the plenary vote, the Council and Parliament will have a 21-day "conciliation" period in which to negotiate an agreement. The Budget Committee's recommendations for various budget headings - as well as those of the Council - are shown in the table to the right.

Debate: Tuesday, 22 October
Vote:  Wednesday, 23 October
Procedure:  Budget

Press release following committee vote (03.10.2013)Table with the figures voted in committee (03.10.2013)Profile of the rapporteur for the Commission spending, Anne Jensen (ALDE, DK)Profile of the rapporteur for all other sections and the EP budget, M. Hohlmeier (EPP, DE)
 

MEPs set out their priorities for European Council summit

The priorities of the upcoming European Council summit (24-25 October) will be debated with the Commission and the Council Presidency on Wednesday at 09.00.  MEPs are likely to stress the need for real reductions in youth unemployment, a stronger and more social EMU, incentives for innovation, and measures to deal with immigration in the Mediterranean.

Debate:  Wednesday 23 October
Procedure:  Debate with statements from Commission and Council

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin (Independent-North West), Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin),

 

Economic coordination between EU countries needs to be much better

Parliament's annual resolution on developments in the "European Semester" process, whereby EU member states coordinate their budgetary and economic policies, will be debated and put to a vote on Wednesday morning.  The draft resolution welcomes some progress but says many important fixes are needed.

Drafted by Elisa Ferreira (S&D, PT), the resolution welcomes efforts to address some concerns previously raised by Parliament but notes that there is still ample room for improvement.

The semester needs refocusing to take proper account of growth, employment, investment and social concerns, and democratic accountability and national ownership of the process also urgently need to be improved, says the draft.

Debate: Wednesday 23 October
Vote:  Wednesday 23 October
Procedure:  Non- legislative resolutionINI

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin (Independent-North West), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin), Phil Prendergast (Labour- South)

Draft resolution on priotities for the European semester: Press release on committee vote (30.09.2013): Profile of rapporteur Elisa Ferreira (S&D, PT): Procedure file:
 

Migrants: EU must avoid further tragedies in the Mediterranean

Migratory flows in the Mediterranean are the subject of a resolution to be voted on Wednesday. The influx of migrants resulting in tragedies like the recent ones off the coast of Lampedusa and Sicily are a challenge not only for Italy but for the whole EU, MEPs stressed at Parliament's last session. Solidarity between member states and with migrants must mean deeds as well as words, they said in the debate.

Several MEPs called for a common policy on legal migration, solidarity with the member states most affected by migratory flows and work to address the root causes of the problem with the migrants' countries of origin.

Debate:  Wednesday, 9 October
Vote:  Wednesday, 23 October
Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution

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

Video of the debate in plenary (09.10.2013)
 

NSA snooping: MEPs to take a stand on whether to suspend EU-US bank data deal

The question as to whether the EU should suspend its agreement with the US on the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP), in response to the US National Security Agency's alleged tapping of EU citizens' bank data handled by the Belgian company SWIFT, is the subject of a non-binding resolution to be voted on Wednesday. In a plenary debate on 9 October, Commissioner Malmström said that she did not intend to propose suspending the deal.

Commissioner Malmström told MEPs that "at this stage our contacts with SWIFT and the US Government have not revealed any evidence that the TFTP Agreement has been violated. Therefore, I do not intend to propose a suspension of the agreement".

While S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL MEPs called for the deal to be suspended in response to the tapping allegations, EPP and ECR Members said that taking such a measure would be "irresponsible".

Debate: Wednesday, 9 October
Vote: Wednesday, 23 October
Procedure:  Commission statement followed by debate, with resolution

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

Plenary debate (09.10.2013)EU-US TFTP agreement
 

MEPs move to tighten up controls for implants and prostheses

MEPs will call for stricter monitoring, stronger certification bodies and better traceability of defective medical devices in the wake of the breast implant and hip replacement scandals, when they debate draft legislation aimed at increasing patient safety on Tuesday. The health committee is also proposing tougher rules for in- vitro diagnostic devices used for example in pregnancy, HIV and DNA testing.

The proposed rules are intended to iron out inconsistencies in the interpretation of the current rules, boost public health protection and strengthen traceability.

The health committee's amendments, tabled in the report by Dagmar Roth-Behrendt (S&D, DE), would give the public (Am 30, 130 Med Dev) and health professionals (Am 291, 330 on Med Dev) greater access to clinical data. The committee also wants to strengthen the conformity assessment bodies.

In-vitro diagnostic medical devices

The health committee is also seeking to improve the safety of in-vitro medical devices used for example in pregnancy, diabetes, HIV and DNA testing, in amendments tabled by Peter Liese (PPE, DE) to a separate piece of draft legislation. It proposes the involvement of an ethics committee (AM 22, 57 on IVD diagnostic) and provisions for the informed consent of patients.

Debate:  Tuesday, 22 October
Vote: Wednesday, 23 October
Procedure:  Co-decision (Ordinary legislative procedure), 1st reading

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers (Independent-East), Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Pat the Cope Gallagher (Fianna Fail-North West), Marian Harkin (Independent-North West), Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East), Phil Prendergast (Labour- South)

Draft report on Medical devicesDraft report on In vitro diagnostic medical devicesProfil: Dagmar Roth-Behrendt (S&D, DE)Profil: Peter Liese (PPE, DE)Procedure file on Medical devicesProcedure file on IVD medical devices
 

Aung San Suu Kyi to receive Sakharov Prize awarded to her 23 years ago

Myanmar/Burma militant and parliamentary opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will finally receive the Sakharov Prize, awarded to her in 1990, at a ceremony in Strasbourg at noon on Tuesday. A press conference will follow at 12.35.  Ms Suu Kyi was released from house arrest three years ago.

The European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize to Aung San Suu Kyi in 1990 in recognition of her fight for democracy and the rule of law in Myanmar/Burma, while she was under house arrest. She was released in November 2010 and her party won 43 out of the 45 seats available in the April 2012 parliamentary by-elections. Ms Suu Kyi is currently the parliamentary opposition leader.

Procedure: Formal sitting (Tuesday, 22 October, 12.am)
Press conference: Tuesday, 22 October at 12.35

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin (Independent-North West)

Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
 

Organised crime, corruption and money laundering: crackdown hit list vote

Measures to crack down on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, will be debated Tuesday and put to a vote Wednesday. These measures are set out in an EU action plan for 2014-2019, drafted by a European Parliament committee established for this sole purpose. Attacking organised crime's financial assets and sources of income tops the list. VAT fraud costs an estimated €100 billion each year in the EU and corruption 1% of EU GDP.

The committee estimates annual losses to VAT fraud in the EU at €100 billion, the number of forced labourers at 880,000, the number of cases of petty corruption in the public sector at 20 million and corruption costs at 1% of EU GDP.

Attacking organised crime's assets and re-using them for social purposes, abolishing banking secrecy, combating match-fixing and illegal sports betting, vote buying, establishing a European Public Prosecutor’s Office and introducing a single legal definition of mafia-type criminal activity are among the draft proposals tabled.

The Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering was set up in March 2012 to assess the impact of mafia-type activities on the EU's economy and society and to recommend legislation and other measures to equip the EU to respond to these threats at international, European and national levels.

The European Commission estimates that global income from criminal activities amounts to 3.6% of global GDP, while corruption in the EU costs an estimated 1% of EU GDP.

Debate:  Tuesday, 22 October
Vote:  Wednesday, 23 October
Procedure:  non-legislative resolution
Press conference: Wednesday at 14:00 or 14:30

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

Draft final reportPress release on committee vote (17.09.2013)Profile of rapporteur Salvatore Iacolino (EPP, IT)Procedure file
 

MEPs to approve rules for €6.5 billion EU fisheries fund

The €6.5 billion European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2014-2020,  is set to be approved in a vote on Wednesday. The EMFF will help fishermen to comply with the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) rules, such as the discard ban, inter alia by supporting investment in more selective fishing gear.

Fisheries Committee MEPs voted in July to make investments in fleet renewal eligible again for EMFF funding. These were abolished ten years ago, as they were considered ineffective and likely to aggravate overfishing. However the committee has added safeguards which they say would avoid fleet overcapacity. Plenary would have to confirm or reject the reintroduction of fleet renewal subsidies.

Other EMFF-financed measures would include investing in safety and better working conditions, job training and diversification for fishermen, innovation and data collection and port infrastructure.

Debate:  Tuesday, 22 October
Vote:  Wednesday, 23 October
Press conference: Wednesday, 23 October at 4.30 pm
Procedure:  Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading

Irish MEPs on this issue: Pat the Cope Gallagher (Fianna Fail-Noth West), Marian Harkin (Independent-North West)

Press release on committee vote (10.07.2013)Commission web page on EMFFPress release on CFP agreement
 

Parliament to vote on a law to halt reckless scrapping of old ships

A draft law agreed with EU ministers to clean up the scrapping of old EU registered ships and ensure the materials are recycled in EU-approved facilities worldwide will be put to a vote on Tuesday. From 2016, it will be illegal to beach and dismantle old EU-registered ships in emerging countries.

EU-registered ships will have to be recycled in facilities listed by the EU as meeting environmental and worker protection standards. In negotiations with the Council, Parliament inserted a provision banning the risky and polluting practice of beaching ships to scrap them.

Vote: Tuesday, 22 October
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

Draft report on Ship recyclingPress release on agreement (10.07.2013)Profile of the rapporteur Carl Schlyter (S&D, SV)Procedure file
 

MEPs to tell Ashton EU foreign policy must be proactive and set priorities

MEPs are expected to highlight the need for EU foreign policy to be coherent and consistent as well as proactive and priority-based, in a debate with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday. A draft resolution, to be voted on Thursday, also calls on the member states to give a boost to European defence policy at the December European Council.

The text, tabled by the Foreign Affairs Committee, says the EU has not yet developed a clear strategy for its relations with the rest of the world and its activities are more reactive than proactive. It also says EU foreign policy should give priority to the EU's neighbourhood.

MEPs will discuss recent developments in Iran in a separate debate with Catherine Ashton on Wednesday.

Debate:  Wednesday, 23 October
Vote:  Thursday, 24 October

Irish MEPs on this issue: Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

Press release on committee vote (10.10.2013)Procedure file
 

Weighing up judicial and anti-corruption reforms in Western Balkans and Turkey

EU funding for judicial reform and anti-corruption measures in EU candidate or potential candidate countries are insufficient wishing to join the EU or are potential candidates are insufficient, and many of these countries lack a strong political will to push reform through, says a draft resolution to be voted on Tuesday.

The report, adopted in committee in September, includes country-specific observations for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM), Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia in the period 2001-2013. Rapporteur Monica Luisa Macovei (EPP, RO) also scrutinized the effectivenessefficiency of funding sfor  aimed at judicial reforms in Turkey.  

The problems cited include: (take your pick)

• Albania: lack of information on the real impact of judiciary reform. Anti-corruption measures not very effective.
• Bosnia and Herzegovina: improved judiciary capacities remain unused. Performance of anti-corruption agency disappointing.
• Croatia: not clear which institution leads anti-corruption reform. Appointments to ministries and company supervisory boards are politically motivated.
• Kosovo: limited effectiveness of EU action due to low starting point in the field of rule of law. No tangible progress on fight against corruption.
• FYROM: no information on results of EU-financed anti-corruption projects.
• Montenegro: corruption remains a serious concern.
• Serbia: independence of judiciary still serious concern due to political influence. New legislation is not properly enforced.
• Turkey: weaknesses in design of projects, difficulty to measure efficiency.

Procedure code: 2011/2033(INI)
Specialist: Eszter
Vote: Tuesday, 22 October
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

Draft report on use of pre-accession funds in candidate and potential candidate countriesRapporteur: Monica Luisa Macovei (EPP, RO)Procedure file
 

Debate on detention of Greenpeace activists in Russia

The case of the "Arctic 30" Greenpeace activists detained in Russia on piracy charges will be debated with the Commission and the Council on Wednesday afternoon. Russian authorities seized their ship on 19 September, after their protest action against a Gazprom-owned oil platform to prevent it drilling in the arctic Barents Sea.

Debate:  Wednesday, 23 October
Procedure:  Council and Commission statement

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

 

Putting the EU on the path to green growth

From water management to climate change, via waste or forest policy, the EU's entire environment policy will be structured by the EU's seventh environmental action programme “Living well, within the limits of our planet", to run until 2020. This vast programme, negotiated with EU ministers, will be approved on Tuesday.

The seventh action programme sets out priority aims to be achieved by 2020: protecting the environment and strengthening ecological resilience, supporting sustainable and efficient growth, and countering environmental threats to health.

MEPs advocate enforcing EU law more vigorously, stepping up security for investments and giving more attention to environmental concerns in other EU policies.

Debate:  Monday 21 October 2013
Vote: Tuesday 22 October 2013
Procedure:  Co-decision (Ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

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

Projet de rapport: programme d'action général de l'Union pour l'environnement à l'horizon 2020 "Bien vivre, dans les limites de notre planète"Profil: Gaston Franco (PPE, FR)Observatoire législatif
 

Climate change conference: MEPs to set out their priorities

The next UN climate change conference, to be held in Warsaw , 11-22 November, with the participation of MEPs, must set a timetable for reaching a global and binding agreement in 2015 in Paris, says a draft resolution to be voted on Tuesday. MEPs will also hold a debate with the Council and the Commission on Monday, based on two oral questions on preparations for the conference.

The EU should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030, inter alia to keep its technology lead for the future climate-friendly economy, says the Environment Committee, which tabled the text. Committee MEPs also stress the need to set a price on carbon emissions from international aviation and maritime transport.

Debate:  Monday, 21 October,
Vote: Tuesday, 22 October,
Procedure:  Oral question to Council and Commission (with resolution)

Climate change conference in Warsaw (COP 19): Oral question to CouncilClimate change conference in Warsaw (COP 19): Oral question to the Commission
 

Other topics on the agenda

- Sexual and Reproduction Health and Rights (Estrela, vote Tue)

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

 

- Health protection against dangers of ionisation from radiation (CNS, Ulmer, vote Tue))

 

- The situation of human rights in the Sahel (INI, Tannock, vote Tue)

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

 

- OQ on the future of the European wine sector (no resolution) (Wed)

 

- Misleading advertisement practices b2b  (INI, De Jong, vote Tue)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers (Independent-East), Marian Harkin (Independent-North West), Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East), Phil Prendergast (Labour- South)

 

- Programme for competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs (Creutzmann, vote Thu)

 

- European Demographic Statistics (Sögor, vote Tue)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin (Independent-North West)

 

- EU trade policy towards countries of the Eastern Partnership (OQ, no resolution, Wed)

 

- Croatian member of the Court of Auditors (OQ to the Council, Wed)

 

- Credit Agreements Relating to Residential Property

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers (Independent-East)

 

- Local Authorities and Civil Society

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

 

- Rethinking Education

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Sean Kelly (Fine Gael-South)

 

- Digital Single market.

Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

 

Electronic Communications

Irish MEPs on this issue: Sean Kelly (Fine Gael-South)

 

European Neighbourhood Policy

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

 

Oral Question on UN Climate Change Conference

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

 

One minute speech – Irish budget with particular reference to the cuts to young peoples' unemployment benefits

Irish MEP on this issue: 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.

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