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EP Plenary Session Newsletter 07 - 10 September 2015

02-09-2015

What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: First State of the Union address by EC President Junker; Refugee Crisis debate; vote on a ban on animal cloning, cloned food, feed and imports; Jobs: fostering social entrpreneurship;Right2Water citizen's initiative; Middle East peace process, Iran deal and Belarus; Vote on more robust EU ban on trade in seal products

 

Jean-Claude Juncker’s first State of the Union address and debate

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will deliver his first State of the Union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday morning, followed by a debate on achievements to date and the Commission's 2016 work programme.
The State of the Union debate is a key part of Parliament’s scrutiny of the Commission's work, which began with its hearings of the Commissioners-designate last year.
The Commission President has presented assessments of political developments in the EU and plans for the future every year since 2010. This time, it's different. For the first time the State of the Union speech is delivered by a Commission President who was actually elected, rather than just approved, by the European Parliament.
Parliament expects Mr Juncker to present a review of what has been achieved since the last EU elections and an overview of upcoming projects and challenges but also his long-term vision of European integration.
At vote on a resolution wrapping up MEPs priorities for the 2016 Commission Work Programme will be put to the vote at 13.00.

Note for editors
As the lead candidate of the party which won most seats in the European elections of 22-25 May 2014, Jean-Claude Juncker was elected by the European Parliament in a secret ballot on 15 July 2014 to become President of the new European Commission to take office on 1 November 2014 for a five-year term.
In 2014, for the first time, the European Council proposed to the European Parliament a candidate for President of the Commission (Spitzenkandidat) "taking into account the elections to the European Parliament and after having held the appropriate consultations". An amendment to the Treaty on European Union by the Treaty of Lisbon, in force since December 2009, was the legal basis for this new, more democratic procedure.
Prior to the 2014 elections, presidential candidates were for the first time nominated, enabled to present election programmes and run campaigns for the position.
The first State of the Union address to the European Parliament was delivered by José Manuel Barroso on 7 September 2010.


Procedure: Statement by the European Commission President
Debate: Thursday 9 September
Hashtag: #SOTEU

LINKS:
Live broadcast and tweets on #SOTEU

Video:Giving voters a say: One year after the election of the new Commission president

Video: State of the Union debate State of the Union

Website

 

Irish MEPs on this issue: Brian Hayes Fine Gael ( Dublin), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein, (Midlands-North-West); Luke Flanagan, Independent, (Midlands - North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael, (Midlands North-West), Marian Harkin, Independent, (Midlands-North-West)

 
 

MEPS to vote on a ban on animal cloning, cloned food, feed and imports

Parliament votes on a draft law banning the cloning of all farm animals, their descendants and products derived from them, including imports, in the EU. MEPs beefed up the Commission’s initial proposal, citing high mortality rates at all development stages of cloning and EU citizens’ animal welfare and ethical concerns.

Given that animals are already cloned for farming purposes in certain third countries, the law would make it illegal to import animals, their germinal products and food and feed of animal origin from third countries unless the import certificate shows that they are not clones or their descendants.

High mortality rates at all development stages

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in a 2008 opinion that the health and welfare of a significant proportion of clones had been found to be adversely affected, often severely and with a fatal outcome. These effects contribute to cloning’s low efficiency rates, of 6 to 15% for bovine and 6% for porcine species. Furthermore, clone abnormalities and unusually large offspring result in difficult births and neonatal deaths.

Citizens disapprove of cloning

MEPs cite consumer research findings that EU citizens strongly oppose the consumption of food from animal clones or from their descendants and that the majority also disapprove of the use of cloning for farming purposes, on animal welfare and general ethical grounds.

Debate: Tuesday 8 September
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading
#Cloning #animalcloning #farming


LINKS

Draft report on the cloning of animals of the bovine, porcine, ovine, caprine and equine species kept and reproduced for farming purposes

Press release on committee vote (17.06.2015)

Profile of rapporteur Renate Sommer (EPP, DE)

Profile of rapporteur Giulia Moi (EFDD, IT)
Procedure file

 

Irish MEPs on this issue: Matt Carthy, (midlands-North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael, (Midlands North-West)

 

MEPs to call for binding, permanent scheme to distribute asylum seekers in EU

MEPs to call for binding, permanent scheme to distribute asylum seekers in EU

The EP will debate emergency rules to relocate an initial total of 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states over two years on Tuesday and vote its opinion on them on Wednesday. Plans for a permanent scheme, on which the EP and Council will decide jointly, must be based on "a more substantial contribution to solidarity and responsibility-sharing among member states", MEPs say.

To relieve the significant asylum pressure from Italy and Greece, "but also to act as an important test case with a view to the upcoming legislative proposal on a permanent emergency relocation scheme", the civil liberties committee supports the proposal that "an initial total of 40,000 applicants shall be relocated from Italy and Greece" over two years (24,000 from Italy and 16,000 from Greece).

"A further increase shall be considered, if necessary, to adapt to rapidly changing refugee flows and trends", MEPs add, proposing to make it mandatory for the Commission to evaluate the respective share of persons to be relocated six months after the entry into force of these emergency rules.


EU interior ministers agreed on 20 July, as a first step, to the relocation of 32,256 persons and to update the figures by December with a view to reaching the overall number of 40,000 asylum seekers . A further ministers' meeting is scheduled for 14 September.


Note for editors

Parliament is consulted on this temporary emergency relocation mechanism under Article 78(3) of the Treaty. When a permanent relocation system is proposed – which the Commission has said it will do by the end of the year – Parliament will have codecison power, meaning that it will decide on the permanent scheme on an equal footing with the Council of the EU (member states).

This proposal for a decision concerns the "relocation" scheme for transferring asylum seekers from one EU member state to another, i.e. distributing them within the EU. The 20,000 refugees who are outside the EU and who are to be "resettled" in member states are covered by a separate Commission recommendation

Debate: Wednesday, 9 September
Vote: Thursday, 10 September
Procedure: Consultation

LINKS

Draft report on the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece
Press release on committee vote (16.07.2015)
Profile of rapporteur Ska Keller (Greens/EFA, DE)

Video: extract from the vote in the committee and statement by rapporteur Ska Keller

Procedure file
Outcome of the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 20.07.2015 (table with the distribution of the 32,256 asylum seekers per member state)
EP Policy Department Study "Enhancing the Common European Asylum System and alternatives to Dublin"
Spring 2015 Standard Eurobarometer: Citizens see immigration as top challenge for EU to tackle (31.07.2015)
Number of migrants in one month (July 2015) above 100.000 for first time (Frontex)
Asylum in the EU in the first quarter 2015 (Eurostat)

 

Refugee crisis debate: MEPs to reiterate calls for action

EU and member state responses to the latest refugee crisis developments in the Mediterranean, at Calais and on the Western Balkan route will be debated with the Commission and Council on Wednesday after the state of the Union debate. The issue of how best to deal with mixed flows of migrants - asylum seekers and economic migrants - is also likely to be addressed in the debate.

Parliament has called on the EU to step up fair sharing of responsibility and solidarity, including a binding quota for distributing asylum seekers among all EU countries, bigger contributions to resettlement programmes, better cooperation with third countries and tougher measures against people smugglers. (note for colleagues: see paragraphs 3 / 9 / 8 / 13 and 15 of this resolution)

MEPs have also stressed the need to ensure safe and legal access to the EU asylum system. (paragraph 10 of this resolution)


Debate: Wednesday, 9 September,
Procedure: Council and Commission statement followed by a debate

Hashtags #migrationEU #asylum #refugeecrisis

LINKS

Audiovisual material: EP multimedia package on migration and asylum

European Parliament resolution of 17 December 2014 on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration

Press release - MEPs call on EU countries to share responsibility (17.12.2014)

European Parliament resolution of 29 April 2015 on the extraordinary European Council meeting (23 April 2015) - The latest tragedies in the Mediterranean and EU migration and asylum policies
Press release - Parliament calls for urgent measures to save lives (29.04.2015)

 

Irish MEPs on this issue: Luke Flanagan , Independent (Midlands- North-West); Nessa Childers, Independent, (Dublin),  Marian Harkin, Independent, (Midlands-North-West)

 

Fundamental rights: MEPs to raise concerns about austerity and migrant returns

MEPs raise concerns about the impact of austerity measures on fundamental rights in the EU and question "hot return" procedures for migrants in a non-binding draft resolution to be voted on Tuesday. They also call on the European Commission to establish a “scoreboard” to monitor democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in EU member states.

The draft resolution also comments on the rights of children, LGBTI-people, religious and ethnic minorities and homeless people, and addresses issues such as freedom of speech, media freedom, anti-terrorism measures, privacy violations, surveillance and hate speech.

The resolution on fundamental rights in the EU in 2013 - 2014, is Parliament's reply to the Commission's annual report on fundamental rights in the Union.

Debate: Monday, 7 September
Vote: Tuesday, 8 September
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution
hashtags #FundamentalRights #fundamentalrights

LINKS
Draft resolution on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU 2013-2014
Press release on committee vote (02.07.2015)
Profile of rapporteur Laura Ferrara (EFDD, IT)
Procedure file

EC 2013 report on the Application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights:
EP Research: Fundamental Rights in the European Union: The role of the Charter after the Lisbon Treaty
EP Research: The impact of the crisis on fundamental rights across member states of the EU
EU Agency for Fundamental Rights:

 

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers, Independent, (Dublin)

 

Jobs: fostering social entrepreneurship and a competitive EU labour market

“Social economy” enterprises deserve more help to create jobs for vulnerable people and benefit local communities, MEPs are set to say in a debate on Wednesday and a resolution to be voted on Thursday. Parliament will also debate and vote on a draft resolution on how to make the EU labour market more competitive, as a way to recover from the crisis.

Creating jobs for vulnerable groups and contributing to positive social and environmental impact in local communities are key aims of social economy enterprises.

MEPs will debate a draft resolution by the Employment Committee calling for better cooperation among social enterprises, easier access to EU funding for their development and possible creation of a specific company category with its own legal status for cooperative societies, associations, foundations and mutual societies.

Competitive EU labour market

A separate draft resolution calls for reforms to increase the personal career flexibility of employees, which should go hand in hand with better matching of skills and jobs, including cooperation between education systems and businesses. It also underlines the importance of investing in jobs and life-long learning for the unemployed.

Debate: Wednesday 9 September
Vote: Tuesday, 10 September
Procedure: Non-legislative resolutions
Hashtags #employment #unemployment #labourmarket #skills #Socialentrepreneurship #socialinnovation

LINKS

Draft resolution on Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation
Draft resolution on creating a competitive EU labour market
Profile of rapporteur Martina Dlabajová (ALDE, CZ) - Creating a competitive EU labour market
Procedure file: Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation
Procedure file: Creating a competitive EU labour market

 

Irish MEPs on this issue: Deidre Clune, Fine Gael (South ), Liadh Ni Riada Sinn Fein (South), Sean Kelly Fine Gael (South), Marian Harkin, Independent, (Midlands-North-West)

 

Parliament to discuss Council position on EU budget for 2016

The Luxembourg presidency of the Council will present the EU member states' position on the draft EU budget for 2016 on Tuesday. It will propose €153.2 billion in commitments and €140.00 billion in payments, reflecting cuts of €563.6 million to funds for new projects and of €1.4 billion to funds for paying incoming bills in 2016.

The Council will formally approve its position on next year's budget on 4th Septembe, after agreeing on it informally on 9 July. The most severe cuts to the Commission's draft figures would affect foreign policy tools including funding for neighbouring countries like Ukraine and programmes for transport networks and research.

Parliament must now state its position on the Council proposal before the 21-day Parliament-Council conciliation talks start on 29 October, so as to deliver a final budget for 2016 before the end of this year.

Debate: Tuesday, 8 September
Procedure: budget procedure
hashtag #eubudget2016

LINKS

The Council's position on the draft EU 2016 budget (09.07.2015)

Draft EU 2016 budget by the Commission (27.05.2015)
EP guidelines for the 2016 draft budget (11.03.2015)

Procedure file

 

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Fein (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein, (Midlands-North-West)

 

Right2water citizens’ initiative: MEPs want Commission to act

The European Commission’s response to the very first EU citizens’ initiative (ECI) petition on the “Right2Water” lacks ambition and could discredit the ECI system, says a resolution to be put to a vote on Tuesday. ECIs enable citizens to ask the Commission to propose laws in areas within its competence, if they can muster at least one million signatures from at least a quarter of EU member states.

The text proposed by the Environment committee calls on the Commission to table legislative proposals, if appropriate including a revision of the EU Water Framework Directive, in order to recognise that affordable access to water is a basic human right. Given that water suppliers provide services of general interest, these services should be permanently excluded from EU single market rules, the text says.

Note to editors

In February 2014, organisers of the “Right2Water" campaign attended a hearing with the Environment Committee, in association with the Development, Internal market and Petitions committees. The ECI collected 1.884.790 signatures.

The initiators urged the EU Commission to guarantee access to water and sanitation as a human right, and give a legal undertaking that water services will not be liberalised in the EU. MEPs shared the view that access to water is a basic human right, but some pointed out that rules on providing drinkable water remain within the remit of EU member states.


Debate: -Monday 7 September
Vote: Tuesday 8 September
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution
Press conference: Tuesday TBC
hashtags #Right2Water #ECI #right2water

LINKS

Draft report on the follow-up to the European Citizens’ Initiative Right2WaterBackground NoteRight2Water

ECI initiators website

Registre officiel
Profile of rapporteur Lynn Boylan (GUE/NGL, IE)

Procedure file

 

Irish MEPs on this issue: Lynn Boyland Sinn Fein (Dublin), Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Fein (South), Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein, (Midlands-North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael, (Midlands North-West)

 

Middle East peace process, Iran deal and Belarus: debate with Mogherini


Parliament will debate the EU’s role in the Middle East peace process with the EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, on Wednesday afternoon, before adopting its position on it on Thursday. MEPs and Ms Mogherini will also discuss the situation in Belarus and the Iran nuclear agreement.


Debate: Wednesday 9th September
Vote: Thursday 10th September
Procedure: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Statement (with resolution)
hashtags #Palestine #Israel #IranDeal #Belarussia

 

Vote on more robust  EU ban on trade in seal products

There will be fewer exemptions to the EU ban on the trade in seal products, if MEPs adopt new rules on Tuesday. A deal struck with Council in June allows Inuit communities to sell seal products, as seal hunting is an integral part of their culture and identity but removes the derogation that authorised trading in seal products derived from hunts conducted to protect fishing stocks.

The EU banned the trade in seal products, such as sealskin coats, mitts, bags or seal meat, in 2009 in response to animal welfare concerns but was challenged by the June 2014 World Trade Organisation Its June 2014 ruling noted that the ban on seal products could be justified on moral grounds regarding the welfare of seals but required more clarification of the exceptions applied

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Debate: Monday, 7 September
Vote: Tuesday, 8 September
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement


#sealban #seal #trade #sealproducts


LINKS

Draft report on trade in seal products

Press release on agreement with Council (25.06.2015)
Profile of the rapporteur Cristian-Silviu Bușoi (EPP, RO)
Procedure file

 

EP to ratify world trade facilitation deal

MEPs will debate and vote on a recommendation for the EU to join the World Trade organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement – the first WTO deal agreed by all its members since it was established in 1995. The deal aims to ease customs procedures, reduce border delays and cut costs for exporters, in particular small firms and producers in developing countries.

The deal, which includes a technical assistance mechanism to help developing and least-developed countries to handle the customs procedures, could cut export costs for developed and developing countries by as much as 10-15%. The EU has pledged more than €400 million in assistance to help fund for the mechanism for five years.

The agreement, which needs to be ratified by both the EU and its member states, would take effect upon ratification by two thirds of all WTO members.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Debate: Wednesday, 9 September
Vote: Thursday, 10 September
Procedure: Consent, non-legislative resolution
hashtags #WTO #WTO #customs

LINKS

Draft resolution on decision to conclude the Trade Facilitation Agreement
Draft recommendation for the EU to conclude the Trade Facilitation Agreement
Profile of rapporteur Pablo Zalba Bidegain (EPP, ES)
Procedure file
More on WTO’s Trade Facilitation agreement

 

Irish MEPs on this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands-North-West)

 

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following topics relating to human rights and democracy, on Thursday 10 September around 11.00 with the votes following at 12.00.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Debate: Thursday, 10 September
Vote: Thursday, 10 September
Procedure: Non-legislatives resolutions


#humanrights #democracy

 

Irish MEPs on this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands-North-West)

 

Other Topics on the Agenda:

Women's careers in science and university - Report: Elissavet Vozemberg (A8-0235/2015)

Empowering girls through education in the EU - Report: Liliana Rodrigues (A8-0206/2015)

Irish MEPs on these issues: Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Deidre Clune Fine Gael (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein, Midlands-North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael, (Midlands North-West)

********************************************************************

Promoting youth entrepreneurship through education and training - Report: Michaela Šojdrová
(A8-0239/2015)

Towards an integrated approach to cultural heritage for Europe - Report: Mircea Diaconu
(A8-0207/2015)

Irish MEPs on these issues: Sean Kelly, Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Fein (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein, Midlands-North-West)

*****************************************************************

Social entrepreneurship and social innovation in combatting unemployment - Report: Verónica Lope
Fontagné (A8-0247/2015)

Untapping the potential of research and innovation in the blue economy to create jobs and growth -
Report: João Ferreira (A8-0214/2015)

Protecting the EU's financial interests: towards performance-based controls of Common Agricultural
Policy - Report: Petri Sarvamaa (A8-0240/2015)

Irish MEPs on these issues: Sean Kelly, Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein, Midlands-North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael, (Midlands North-West)

*****************************************************************

Family businesses in Europe - Report: Angelika Niebler (A8-0223/2015)

Irish MEPs on these issues: Sean Kelly,Fine Gael (South), Brian Hayes Fine Gael (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein, (Midlands-North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael, (Midlands North-West)

************************************************************************

Commission statement - Sustainability of the healthcare systems in Europe: future challenges

Irish MEPs on these issues:Luke Flanagan, Independent, (Midlands-Noth-West)

*************************************************************************

Correct application of the law on customs and agricultural matters - Recommendation for second reading:
Liisa Jaakonsaari (A8-0234/2015)

Correct application of the law on customs and agricultural matters - Recommendation for second reading:
Liisa Jaakonsaari (A8-0234/2015)

Joint debate - Fisheries agreements

Irish MEPs on these issues: Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein, (Midlands-North-West)

*********************************************************************************

Assessment of the 2012 European Year for active ageing and solidarity between generations

Irish MEPs on this issue:Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael, (Midlands North-West)

***********************************************************************************

Oral Question on precarious Employment

Irish MEP on this issue:Marian Harkin, Independent, (Midlands-North-West)

 

For further information, please contact Catherine Bunyan, Press Officer on 086 8559423 or at catherine.bunyan@ep.europa.eu .

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.

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