skip to content

Cookie policy on the European Parliament Office in Ireland website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

Continue
 
 
 

EP Plenary Session News 3-6 February 2014

03-02-2014

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

Highlights include:

  • Formal sitting with Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano
  • Better social rights and working conditions for seasonal workers in the EU
  • MEPs to vote to ease air travel for passengers
  • Financial market fraud: offenders could face at least four years in jail
  • Sharpening EU trade defence tools
  • MEPs want binding climate targets of 40% CO2 cuts and 30% renewables by 2030
  • Proposals to ease formalities for people moving to a different EU country
  • Vote on licensing EU-wide online music services
  • EU-Russia relations in the spotlight ahead of Sochi Olympics
  • Steel industry: MEPs to call for anti-crisis measures
  • Parliament to press for progress on financial transaction tax
  • Online shopping: MEPs to call for more reliable parcel delivery in the EU
  • MEPs say rules on labelling country of origin of meat could confuse consumers
  • Fundamental rights of LGBTI people in the EU
  • FYRoM, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina: MEPs assess progress in 2013
  • Central African Republic, Syria and Egypt: MEPs to call on EU to do more
  • Vote on Klaus-Heiner Lehne's European Court of Auditors nomination
  • EU help to kick-start Greenland’s diamond industry
Draft agendaFollow the plenary liveEuroparlTVPress conferences and other eventsEP Audiovisual websiteEP Newshub
 

Formal sitting with Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano

Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Italian Republic and former chair of the European Parliament Committee on Constitutional Affairs, will deliver a formal address to Members on Tuesday at noon. He last visited the European Parliament in February 2007. Italy will hold the EU’s rotating Presidency from July.

Debate:  Tuesday, 4 February 2014 at noon
Procedure:  Formal Sitting

Biography of Giorgio Napolitano, official website of the President of the Italian RepublicThe visiting heads of state in Parliament since 1979 (interactive map)
 

Better social rights and working conditions for seasonal workers in the EU

Non-EU seasonal workers will benefit from better working and living conditions, including proper accommodation, under a draft law to be voted by the full Parliament on Wednesday. The new rules, already agreed by EP and Council negotiators, aim both to end exploitation and to prevent temporary stays becoming permanent. The European Commission estimates that over 100,000 third-country seasonal workers come to the EU every year.

These rules, the first to be agreed at EU level on seasonal work, will not affect the right of member states to decide how many seasonal workers they allow in. (art 5b) Each member state will be required to fix a maximum length of stay for seasonal workers, which can be between 5 and 9 months over a 12 month period. Seasonal workers will be able to extend their contracts or change employers within that limit. (art 11.1, 11.3)

Work contract and decent accommodation

Under the EP-Council deal, any application to enter the EU as a seasonal worker will have to include a work contract or a binding job offer specifying essentials such as pay and working hours. (art 5.1a) At MEPs’ request, it will also include evidence that the worker will have appropriate accommodation. (art 5.1d) Where accommodation is arranged by the employer, the rent must not be excessive or be automatically deducted from a worker’s wage, says the agreed text. (art 14.2)

Equal treatment

The deal says non-EU seasonal workers will have the same rights as EU nationals as regards minimum working age, pay, dismissal, working hours, holidays, and health and safety requirements. They will also have the right to join a trade union and have access to social security, pensions, training, advice on seasonal work offered by employment offices and other public services, except for public housing. (art 16) The new rules will also speed up procedures for returning applicants. (art 12)

Debate: Wednesday, 5 February
Vote: Wednesday, 5 February
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement
Press conference: Wednesday, 5 February at 15.00

Draft report on entry conditions and social rights of seasonal workersPress release on EP-Council dealProfile of rapporteur Claude Moraes (S&D, UK)Procedure file
 

MEPs to vote to ease air travel for passengers

MEPs will fine-tune a draft law which to make it easier for air passengers to get compensation for long  delays and damaged or lost baggage in a vote on Wednesday. The revised rules would also govern information and assistance duties, rerouting, and reimbursement,

Draft amendments tabled would require every airline to have a designated person at the airport to inform and help passengers on the spot in the event of delays, cancellation, or lost or delayed baggage.

Airlines would also have to arrange alternative routing where appropriate and hand standard forms to passengers who wish to lodge complaints. If an airline fails to respond to a complaint within 2 months, then it would be deemed to have accepted the compensation claim..

Information on luggage allowances would have to be clearly indicated early in the booking procedure and at check-in. Free-of-charge cabin luggage would also include a coat, a handbag and one bag of airport shopping, in addition to the set cabin baggage allowance, according to the amended proposal.

The draft law also aims to ensure that passengers are not be prevented from boarding a return flight even if they have not used the outward journey of their ticket

Debate: Wednesday, 5 February
Vote:  Wednesday, 5 February
Procedure:  co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), 1st reading
Press conference Wednesday, 5 February, 14.30

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers (Independent-East), Jim Higgins (Fine Gael-North West), Pat the Cope Gallagher (Fianna Fail-North West), Phil Prendergast (Labour- South)

Draft report Press release on committee vote (17.12.2013)Profile of rapporteur Georges Bach (EPP, LU) Procedure file
 

Financial market fraud: offenders could face at least four years in jail

Judges imposing their countries’ maximum penalties for serious offences such as insider dealing would have to stipulate at least four years in jail under draft rules to be put to a vote on Tuesday. These rules, already informally agreed with member state negotiators, aim to restore confidence in the EU's financial markets and improve investor protection.

The draft rules would lay down tougher criminal penalties, including prison terms, for serious market abuses such as insider dealing, market manipulation and unlawful disclosure of information.

To ensure that these penalties apply EU-wide, all member states would have to require their judges to sentence maximum penalty offenders to no less than four years in jail for the most serious forms of insider dealing or market manipulation and no less than two years for improper disclosure of information.

Under the new rules, judges would have to treat insider dealing and market manipulation, and also inciting, aiding or abetting them, as criminal offences. Attempting to breach financial market regulations could also be treated as a punishable offence.

Debate: Tuesday, 4 February
Vote: Tuesday, 4 February  
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement
Press conference: Tuesday, 4 February, at 15.30

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

Draft report on criminal sanctions for insider dealing and market manipulationProfile of the rapporteur: Arlene McCarthy (S&D, UK)Profile of the rapporteur: Emine Bozkurt (S&D, NL)Press release after the deal with the Council (20.12.2013)Legislative Observatory File for the Market Abuse Directive
 

Sharpening EU trade defence tools

Plans to sharpen EU trade defence tools against dumped or subsidized imports will be put to a vote on Wednesday. They will make it easier for small EU firms to build a case halting unfair competition from third countries and reduce anti-dumping investigation times to enable the EU to respond faster.

EU trade defence law, including anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures, is currently being overhauled to adjust it to changes in global trade patterns. Most of the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures taken by the EU have been against China.

Debate: Tuesday, 4 February
Vote:  Wednesday, 5 February
Procedure:  Co-decision (Ordinary legislative procedure)
Press conference: Wednesday 5 February, 14.30

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

Draft report on Protection against dumped and subsidised imports from countries not members of the EUPress release on committee vote (21.01.2014)Profile of rapporteur Christofer Fjellner (EPP, SE)Procedure fileEU Commission animation clip explaining trade defence instruments
 

MEPs want binding climate targets of 40% CO2 cuts and 30% renewables by 2030

MEPs call in a non-binding resolution, tabled jointly by the environment and energy committees and to be voted on Wednesday, for a 40% cut in CO2 emissions, a 30% target for renewable energy and a 40% target for energy efficiency by 2030. These targets should be binding, they will say, in contrast to the lower targets proposed by the European Commission on the 22 January.

MEPs will give a mixed response to the proposals for the EU’s long-term goals for tackling climate change announced by the Commission. The 2030 framework builds on the existing climate and energy package of targets for 2020 as well as the Commission’s 2050 roadmaps for energy and for a competitive low-carbon economy

Debate: Tuesday, 4 February
Vote:  Wednesday, 5 February
Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution
Press conference: Wednesday, 5 February 14.00 tbc

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers (Independent-East), Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East), Sean Kelly (Fine Gael-South)

Draft report on a 2030 framework for climate and energy policiesPress release on committee vote (22.01.2014)Profile of rapporteur Anne Delvaux (EPP, BE)Profile of rapporteur Konrad Szymański (ECR, PL)Procedure fileEuropean Commission press release: 2030 climate and energy goals for a competitive, secure and low-carbon EU economy
 

Proposals to ease formalities for people moving to a different EU country

MEPS vote on Tuesday on proposals designed to save time and money for people moving to a different EU country. The new rules would simplify procedures for proving the authenticity of certain public legal documents such as birth or marriage certificates. Standard multilingual forms would also be offered as an alternative to national forms, in order to cut translation costs.

The new rules would abolish “legalization” and “apostille” procedures currently required to prove that certain public documents are genuine and facilitate the acceptance of copies and translations. Optional standard multilingual EU forms (proving birth, death, marriage, registered partnership, and legal status and representation of a company or other undertaking) would also be available. The legal affairs committee proposes adding a further 11 standard forms.

Debate: Monday, 3 February  
Vote: Tuesday, 4 February
Procedure:  Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading
Press conference: Tuesday 4 February, at 9:30 (TBC)

Draft report on simplifying the acceptance of certain public documentsProfile of rapporteur Bernhard Rapkay (S&D, DE)Procedure file
 

Vote on licensing EU-wide online music services

Online service providers wanting to offer new cross-border or EU-wide online music services would find it easier to get licences under a draft law to be voted on Tuesday. The law, already informally agreed with the Council, should also ensure that artists’ rights are better protected and their royalties paid promptly.

The law would facilitate cross-border licensing of authors’ rights in musical works, so as to break down trade barriers dividing the EU’s online music services market.  It would also lay down rules for the governance, management of rights revenue, and transparency of all collective management organisations.

Debate: Tuesday, 4 February  
Vote: Tuesday, 4 February  
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement
Press conference: Tuesday 4 February, 16.00 (TBC)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Phil Prendergast (Labour- South)

Draft report on collective management of copyright and multi-territorial licensingPress release after the deal with the Council (05.11.2013)Profile of the rapporteur: Marielle Gallo (EPP, FR)Procedure fileEuropean Commission MemoEP Library Briefing: Collective rights management of online music
 

EU-Russia relations in the spotlight ahead of Sochi Olympics

MEPs will debate last Tuesday's EU-Russia summit on Wednesday with the Council and Commission. The summit, held in Brussels, and bringing together Presidents Herman Van Rompuy, Jose Manuel Barroso and Vladimir Putin, addressed key security and foreign affairs challenges, in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics, including tensions in the EU's and Russia's shared neighbourhood, Syria, Iran and trade-related issues.

Parliament will pass a resolution on EU-Russia relations on Thursday, a day before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

Debate: Wednesday 5 February
Vote:  Thursday 6 February
Procedure: Council and Commission statement (with resolution)

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

32nd EU-Russia summit: video recording of the press conference (28.01.2014)Procedure file
 

Steel industry: MEPs to call for anti-crisis measures

EU and national measures are needed to help Europe's steel industry survive the crisis and prepare for recovery, says a draft resolution to be voted on Tuesday. The crisis has halved Europe’s share of world steel output and led to 65,000 job losses in the past few years.

The EU steel industry now employs about 350,000 people and is still the world’s second-largest steel producer. But it currently faces falling demand, rising energy prices and higher operating costs than its competitors abroad. MEPs are expected to call for measures to boost demand, make energy more affordable and reliable and step up steel-related research and innovation.

The report is Parliament's reaction to the European Commission's action plan for the steel sector, published June 2013.

Debate: Monday, 3 February
Vote: Tuesday 4, February
Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution

Draft resolution on an action plan for the steel industry in EuropeProfile of rapporteur András Gyürk (EPP, HU)Procedure filePress release: Commission action plan for the steel industry
 

Parliament to press for progress on financial transaction tax

The latest developments in talks on introducing a financial transaction tax in some EU member states will be debated with the Council and the Commission on Tuesday afternoon.

The Commission's draft rules for enhanced cooperation among member states to introduce the tax were approved by Parliament in 2012 and 2013, but the Council has yet to act on them.

Debate:  Tuesday, 4 February
Procedure:  Council and Commission statements

Press release on enhanced cooperation in the area of FTT (03.07.2013)Procedure File on a common system of financial transaction taxProcedure file on enhanced cooperation in the area of financial transaction taxProcedure File on implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of FTT
 

Online shopping: MEPs to call for more reliable parcel delivery in the EU

Price comparison websites, flexible pick-up points, letter boxes designed to hold parcels ordered on line and track-and-trace tools enabling clients to follow the progress of their deliveries could make parcel deliveries in the EU easier, cheaper and more reliable, MEPs say in a draft resolution to be voted on Tuesday.

Almost one in two shoppers list concerns about possible non-delivery, damaged goods or uncertainty about return policies as reasons for not shopping online. The non-binding resolution by MEP Pablo Arias Echeverria (EPP, ES) sets out Parliament's recommendations to improve the EU parcel delivery market so as to build confidence in online shopping.


Vote:  Tuesday, 4 February
Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution

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

Draft resolution on an integrated parcel delivery market for the growth of e-commerceProfile of rapporteur Pablo Arias Echeverria (EPP, ES)Procedure file
 

MEPs say rules on labelling country of origin of meat could confuse consumers

MEPs will decide whether to oppose or not draft rules requiring food labels to carry information on the place of origin of animals and poultry on the grounds that they could mislead consumers, in a resolution to be voted on Thursday.


Following recent food fraud scandals and consumers' concerns over the origin of meat, MEPs will demand that the labels on fresh, chilled and frozen pork, sheep, goat and poultry products must state where the animals were born, as well as the countries where they were reared and slaughtered. The environment committee objects that the new rules would allow labels to state that pigs were reared in a member country after spending four months there and poultry after one month.


Vote: Thursday, 6 February

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

Press release on committee vote (22.01.2014) Profile of objection initiator Glenis Willmott (S&D, UK)
 

Fundamental rights of LGBTI people in the EU

The EU should set up a roadmap to protect the fundamental rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, says a resolution to be put to a vote on Tuesday. In last year's EU LGBT survey, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency found that 47% of LGBT people felt discriminated against or harassed and 26% were physically attacked in the previous year in the EU.  

In a resolution adopted by 40 votes to 2, with 6 abstentions, the civil liberties committee strongly regrets that the fundamental rights of LGBTI people are not yet always fully upheld in the EU and calls on the Commission, member states and EU agencies to work jointly on a "comprehensive multiannual policy" – i.e. a roadmap, a strategy or an action plan – to protect their fundamental rights. (1, 4) in areas such as employment, education, health, goods and services, families and freedom of movement, freedom of expression, hate crime and asylum.

The resolution clearly states that this comprehensive policy must respect member states' competences. (5)

Debate: Monday, 3 February
Vote: Tuesday, 4 February
Procedure:  non-legislative resolution
Press conference: Tuesday 4 February  at 15.00

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers (Independent-East), Emer Costello (Labour-Dublin)

Draft resolution on the EU Roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identityPress release on committee vote (17.12.2013)Profile of rapporteur Ulrike Lunacek (Greens/EFA, AT)Procedure fileEU Fundamental Rights Agency's LGBT survey (17.05.2013)The European Union and rights of LGBT people (briefing by the EP Research Service)
 

FYRoM, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina: MEPs assess progress in 2013

MEPs will again urge the Council to set a date for starting EU accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to back plans for further talks with Montenegro and to call on EU leaders to show more commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina, when they review the progress of these three countries in 2013 with the Council and Commission on Wednesday.

The House will vote on Thursday on resolutions on each country tabled by the foreign affairs committee.

Debate: Wednesday 5 February 2014
Vote:  Thursday 6 February 2014
Procedure: Council and Commission statement (with resolutions)

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

Press release on the committee vote (21/01/2014)Richard Howitt (S&D, UK) – profile of the rapporteur for the former Yugoslav Republic of MacedoniaCharles Tannock (ECR, UK) – profile of the rapporteur for MontenegroDoris Pack (EPP, DE) – profile of the rapporteur on Bosnia and HerzegovinaProcedure file - former Yugoslav Republic of MacedoniaProcedure file – MontenegroProcedure file - Bosnia and Herzegovina
 

Central African Republic, Syria and Egypt: MEPs to call on EU to do more

The extreme insecurity in the Central African Republic (CAR) following clashes between Muslim and Christian force; the continuing plight of civilians in Syria, despite the start of the Geneva II peace talks; and the forthcoming presidential elections in Egypt and trial of the ousted Egyptian president Morsi will be in the spotlight during Wednesday's foreign affairs debate. MEPs are expected to call on the EU to step up its engagement.

The Council decided on 20 January to send an EU military mission to Bangui, the CAR, to provide temporary support and help achieve security until the African Union can take over.

MEPs will vote on resolutions on Syria and Egypt on Thursday.

Debate: Wednesday, 5 February
Votes:  Thursday, 6 February
Procedure: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Statement (with resolution)

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

Procedure file – Europe's role in the Central African RepublicProcedure file – Situation in SyriaProcedure file – Situation in EgyptCouncil conclusions on Syria (20.01.2014)Council conclusions on the Central African Republic (20.01.2014)
 

Vote on Klaus-Heiner Lehne's European Court of Auditors nomination

The nomination of MEP Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE) as the German member of the European Court of Auditors on will be put to a vote on Tuesday. If Parliament confirms his nomination, Mr Lehne will take up his new duties in the Luxembourg-based court after the Council seals the appointment. Mr Lehne's nomination was endorsed by an overwhelming majority in committee.

Vote: Tuesday, 4 February
Procedure: consultation

Press release on committee vote (23.01.2014) Profile of rapporteur Inés Ayala Sender (S&D, ES) Profile of Klaus-Heiner Lehne (EPP, DE)Procedure file
 

EU help to kick-start Greenland’s diamond industry

A draft law that would treat Greenland as a part of the EU for diamond trading purposes will be put to a plenary vote on Tuesday. This law would enable Greenland to join the international “Kimberley process” diamond trading scheme and help it to attract investors to its nascent mining industry, On Wednesday MEPs will vote their position on legislation laying down rules for the EU-Greenland partnership in 2014-2020.

Greenland, as one of the EU’s 26 “overseas countries and territories” (OCTs), is party to an association agreement which aims to help the OCTs to enhance to their economic competitiveness and resilience by improving trade arrangements with the EU.

Vote:  Tuesday, 4 February (Diamonds); Wednesday, 5 February (EU-Greenland partnership)
Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure; Consultation

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

Draft resolution on inclusion of Greenland in the Kimberley Process certification schemePress release on committee vote (18.12.2013)Profile of rapporteur Vital Moreira (S&D, PT)Profile of rapporteur Ricardo CORTÉS LASTRA (S&D, ES) Procedure file – Kimberley Process and Greenland’s diamondsProcedure file – on EU-Denmark/Greenland partnership 2014-2020
 

Other Topics on the Agenda

- UN Arms Trade Treaty, debate Wed, vote Thu (D Martin, consent & resolution)

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

 

- Recent severe weather in Europe, debate Thu (Commission statement)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Phil Prendergast (Labour- South)

 

- Insolvency proceedings, vote Tue (Lehne)

 

- Insurance of natural and man-made disasters, vote Wed (Terho, INI)

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

 

- Fisheries protocol and partnership EU-Gabon, vote Wed (Ferreira)

 

- Implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, debate Mon, vote Tue (INI, Rochefort)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East), Phil Prendergast (Labour- South)

 

- Future of small farms, vote Tue, (Siekierski, INI)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East), Pat the Cope Gallagher (Fianna Fail-North West)

 

- Undocumented women migrants in the EU, vote Wed, (Nicolai, INI)

 

Reaction to the recent storm damage in Europe

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

 

Migration to Union-wide credit transfers and directs debits

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

 

Joint debate - Competition policy enforcement

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

 

Amendment of rule 166 (final vote) and 195(3) of Parliament's Rules of Procedure

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

 

Report on compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy

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

 

Debate on the Single Resolution Mechanism and a Single Bank Resolution Fund

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

 

Appointment of the Vice-Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank, vote Wednesday (Bowles)

 

NAIADES programme to support inland waterway transport, debate and vote Thursday (OQ)

 

Parliamen's calendar of part-sessions - 2015, vote Wednesday

 

Request for the defence of parliamentary immunity of Lara Comi, vote Tuesday (Rapkay)

 

Elimination of female genital mutilation, debate and vote Thursday (OQ)

Emer Costello (Labour-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.