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06-02-2015

EP Plenary Session Newsletter 09-12 February 2015

What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Country of origin labelling of meat in processed foods - Facilitating cross-border tracking of traffic offenders - Counter-terrorism measures: MEPs to debate priorities ahead of EU summit - Annual Report 2013 on the Protection of the EU's Financial Interests - Fight against fraud - Access to medicines in the EU

 
Draft agendaFollow the plenary live (EbS+)EuroparlTVPress conferences and other eventsEP Audiovisual websiteEP Newshub
 

Counter-terrorism measures: MEPs to debate priorities ahead of EU summit

MEPs will give their input on possible EU counter-terrorism measures in a debate with the Council and Commission on Wednesday at 09.00 and a resolution to be voted also on Wednesday. This issue will top the agenda at an informal meeting of EU heads of state on government in Brussels on 12-13 February.

The EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal, preventing radicalisation, improving information exchange and stepping up checks at the external borders of the Schengen area are likely to be among the issues MEPs raise in Wednesday’s debate.

The resolution to be voted on Thursday will wrap up Parliament’s 28 January plenary debate on how best to tackle terrorism.

Debate: Wednesday, 11 February (on summit) and 28 January (Plenary debate on anti-terrorism measures)
Procedure: Council and Commission statements + resolution
Vote: Wednesday, 11 February

#antiterrorism #PNR #euco

VOD of the Plenary debate on anti-terrorism measures (28.01.2015)Civil Liberties Committee's Background note - EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal: What's at stake

Irish MEPs on this issue:  Sean Kelly, Fine Gael, (South), Brian Hayes. Fine Gael (Dublin)

 

CIA use of torture and role of EU countries: MEPs to call for an end to impunity

MEPs are to call for an end to impunity in a resolution on US Senate revelations of the CIA's use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the alleged or acknowledged complicity of some EU member states. The vote takes place on Wednesday.

Calls for a full investigation into member states' alleged participation in the CIA operations and a democratic oversight of intelligence services were made by MEPs in a debate last December. Those responsible for torture and other illegal practices must face justice, they said.

The alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners was also investigated by a European Parliament temporary committee set up in 2006.

Debate: Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Vote: Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Procedure: non-binding resolution

#CIA #TortureReport

Video of the debate in plenary on 17.12.2014European Parliament resolution on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners (14.02.2007)European Parliament resolution on alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA: follow-up of the European Parliament TDIP Committee report (11.09.2012)European Parliament resolution on alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA (10.10.2013)Report released by the US Senate
 

Humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq caused by IS violence

The grave humanitarian crisis in Syria and Iraq, aggravated by the violence of the so-called Islamic State, will be debated with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday. Over 7.6 million Syrians have been displaced inside the country, and 3.8 million more have fled to neighbouring ones. In Iraq, over 2.1 million people were displaced in 2014 and the UNHCR estimates that some 330,000 refugees face a winter living in sub-standard shelters. A resolution will be voted on Thursday.

The Kurdistan region of Iraq alone is hosting over 900,000 displaced people.

In a debate with Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs on 2 February, UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, argued that the horrible aspect of the arrival of IS offered an opportunity to find a solution to the Syrian conflict.  

Debate: Wednesday, 11 February
Vote: Thursday, 12 February
Procedure: Statement by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (with resolution)

#Syria #Iraq #IS

Videorecording of the debate with UN Special Envoy for Syria in the Foreign Affairs Committee (02.02.2015)Iraq – UNHCR webpageSyria – UNHRC webpage

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

 

Monitoring democracy and fundamental rights in the EU

Ideas for an "EU framework for democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights", to assess whether EU member states live up to their obligations in these areas, will be debated with Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and the Latvian presidency on Wednesday evening.

EU candidate countries are expected to live up to the “Copenhagen” criteria in areas such as press freedom, equal rights for minorities or independence of the judiciary.

But there is no regular assessment of the performance of EU member states themselves in these areas and the European Commission only has limited tools to enforce sanctions against breaches. The previous Parliament voted several resolutions calling for better monitoring.

Debate: Wednesday, 11 February
Procedure: Council and Commission statements

#fundamentalrights #ruleoflaw

EP resolution on fundamental rights in the European Union calling for better monitoring of fundamental rights in the EU (27.01.2014):
 

Debate on EU agencies dealing with external borders, migration and asylum

The roles, resources and capabilities of the EU border agency Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office will be debated with the Council and Commission on Wednesday at 15.00.

Tackling problems in the Mediterranean, improving the management of migration flows prompted by a mix of motives, ensuring surveillance of EU's external borders, saving migrants in distress at sea and supporting EU countries whose asylum and reception systems are under particular pressure are among the issues at stake.

Debate: Wednesday, 11 February
Procedure: Council and Commission statements followed by debate

#migration #asylum #Frontex

Website of FrontexWebsite of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO)EPRS note - Frontex – Management of Europe's bordersEPRS note - European Asylum Support Office (EASO)
 

Country of origin labelling of meat in processed foods

Meat used as an ingredient in processed foods, such as lasagne, should be made subject to country of origin labelling rules similar to those for fresh beef, MEPs will urge in a debate on Monday evening. A resolution to be voted on Wednesday is likely to urge the Commission to table legislation to this end.

MEPs will stress the need for efforts to rebuild consumer confidence in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and other food fraud cases.

Over 90% of respondents to consumer surveys in 2013 said that the origin of meat used in processed foods should be stated on the label, so as to enable them to make informed choices, says a Commission report.

Debate:  Monday, 9 February
Vote:  Wednesday, 11 February
Procedure:  Question for an oral reply to the Commission (with resolution)

#countryoforigin #processedfood #labelling  #CountryOfOrigin #horsemeat

Press release on committee vote (21.01.2015)Procedure fileEuropean Commission report regarding the mandatory indication of the country of origin or place of provenance for meat used as an ingredientEP Research Briefing note on country of origin labelling for meat in processed foods

Irish MEP's on this issue: Sean Kelly, Fine Gael, (South), Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein (Dublin), Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Independent (Midlands - North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands - North-West), Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael, (South), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin),

 

Access to medicines in the EU

Concerns that patients may be deprived of innovative medicines due to their cost will be back on Parliament’s agenda in a debate with Council and the Commission on Wednesday. The high prices of new treatments for diseases such as Hepatitis C recently prompted MEPs and certain EU member states to reopen the debate on possible EU-wide measures to help patients to access affordable and innovative therapies.

This plenary debate follows another last September which was prompted by a question tabled for an oral reply. In it, MEPs highlighted the need for more transparency on pharmaceutical pricing, particularly in view of the budgetary pressures on national health systems.

Debate:  Wednesday, 11 February
Procedure:  Council and Commission statements followed by debate (without resolution)

#medicines

Debate on access to life-saving medicines (16.09.14)Oral question

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands - North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands - North-West), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin),

 

MEPs to call for crackdown on female genital mutilation

MEPs will quiz the European Commission on the progress of efforts to stamp out female genital mutilation (FGM) in the EU in a debate on Tuesday. They are concerned at the lack of deadlines for enforcing the actions set out in the Commission’s November 2013 action plan entitled “Towards the elimination of female genital mutilation”. They are also concerned that national legislation in this area is proving difficult to enforce.

A recent study shows that half a million women in the EU live with consequences of FGM and that there are victims or potential victims in at least 13 EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the UK.

Debate:  Tuesday, 10 February
Procedure:  Question to the Commission for oral reply (without resolution)

#FGM

EP Research Briefing note on Zero tolerance for female genital mutilationOral question to the Commission Communication from the commission to the European Parliament and the Council “Towards the elimination of female genital mutilation”EP Think Tank: Zero tolerance for FGM: Zero tolerance for FGM: recording of discussion in the FEMM Committee (20.1.2015):

Irish MEP's on this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands - North-West), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin),

 

ESF modification: Funding of EU Youth Initiative

The latest plan to make €1 billion in Youth Employment Initiative YEI funding – i.e. one-third of the total for 2014-2020 - available in 2015 alone will be debated with Commissioner Thyssen on Tuesday morning. This plan could deliver a thirtyfold increase in the funding that EU member states receive in 2015 to help their efforts to get 650,000 young people into work.

Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) funding tops up European Social Fund (ESF) money in member states with regions where youth unemployment exceeds 25%.

Parliament and the Council would need to amend ESF rules to allow the plan to front-load YEI funding in 2015 to be put into effect.


NOTE FOR EDITORS
Youth Guarantee measures in in EU member states aim to reduce youth unemployment by accelerating the transition from school to work and helping to create jobs.

The YEI budget for 2014-2020 is €3.2 billion, to be matched by at least €3.2 billion from member states' European Social Fund allocations. The proposal would increase the YEI pre-financing rate in its 2015 budget allocation from 1-1.5% to up to 30%.

Member states benefiting from this initiative (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) could therefore receive a third of the €3.2 billion allocation immediately after the relevant dedicated operational programmes are approved.

Debate: Tuesday, 10 February
Procedure: Commission statement followed by debate

#YouthEmployment #YEI #ESF

European Commission: Legislative proposal amending regulation on the ESF as regards pre-financing of YEI programmes EP Resolution on Youth Employment (17.07.2014)EPRS: Youth Employment InitiativeEuropean Commission: Youth Employment Initiative infographic

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

 

Extending international child abduction convention to 8 new states

EU member states should accept the accession of Gabon, Andorra, the Seychelles, Russia, Albania, Singapore, Morocco and Armenia to the Hague Child Abduction Convention, MEPs are likely to say in a debate on Tuesday and vote on Wednesday. This would allow the convention to enter into force between these 8 states and the EU and thus help to ensure the prompt return of abducted children.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction governs cooperation among the contracting states to settle international child abduction cases, including a system to ensure the immediate return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence, so as to allow the judicial authorities of that country to solve the case.

All EU member states have ratified the convention.

Debate: Tuesday, 10 February  
Vote: Wednesday, 11 February
Procedure: Consultation

#ChildAbduction #HagueConvention

EP research: International parental child abduction1980 Hague convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction: EP Research Briefing note on cross-border parental child abductionProfile of rapporteur Heidi Hautala (Greens/EFA, FI)Draft report: Accession of Gabon Draft report: Accession of Andorra Draft report: Accession of the Seychelles Draft report: Accession of the Russian FederationDraft report: Accession of AlbaniaDraft report: Accession of SingaporeDraft report: Accession of MoroccoDraft report: Accession of ArmeniaProcedure file: Accession of GabonProcedure file: Accession of AndorraProcedure file: Accession of the SeychellesProcedure file: Accession of the Russian FederationProcedure file: Accession of AlbaniaProcedure file: Accession of SingaporeProcedure file: Accession of Morocco

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

 

Keeping the internet open and free

A call to keep the internet open and ensure that all internet data and service providers are treated equally (“net neutrality”) will be voted on Wednesday. The draft text, to be debated on Monday, regrets that some states, citing security concerns, are restricting their citizens' internet access or subjecting them to online surveillance. It also underlines the need to involve not only governments, but also NGOs and the private sector, in the debate on future governance of internet.

MEPs are set to urge strong EU support for the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and ask that its mandate be prolonged after the end of 2015. The Internet Governance Forum, founded in 2006, brings together delegates from civil society, governments, industry and international organisations, including the European Parliament. It meets annually, this year in João Pessoa, Brazil, in November.

Debate:  Monday, 9 February 2015
Vote:  Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Procedure: Commission statement followed by debate (with resolution)

#InternetGovernanceForum

Procedure fileWebpage Internet Governance Forum
 

MEPs to debate developments in Ukraine with Mogherini

Developments in Ukraine will be debated by MEPs with the EU's Foreign Affairs chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday afternoon. The debate is likely to focus on results of the extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council held on 29 January, convened following the attacks in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

Debate:  Tuesday, 10 February
Procedure: Statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

#Ukraine #Russia #Mariupol

Remarks by Ms Mogherini following the extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council on Ukraine (29.01.2015)
 

Facilitating cross-border tracking of traffic offenders

Revised rules on the cross-border sharing of traffic offenders' data, so as to help ensure that drivers who commit offences while abroad do not escape fines, will be put to a vote on Wednesday. These rules, which are also designed to ensure equal treatment of drivers and help improve road safety across the EU, are to be extended to the UK, Ireland and Denmark within two years.

The draft directive on cross-border exchange of information on traffic offences, already informally agreed by Council and Parliament negotiators, amends the legal basis of existing data exchange rules as required by the European Court of Justice annulment decision of 6 May 2014. The Court allowed one year to make the necessary changes.

The cross-border traffic information exchange rules give EU member states access to each other’s national vehicle registration data in order to track down persons liable to fines for the following safety-related offences:

• speeding,
• not using a seatbelt,
• failing to stop at red lights,
• drink driving,
• driving under the influence of drugs,
• motorcyclists not wearing a safety helmet,
• using a forbidden lane, and
• illegally using a mobile phone, or any other communications device, while  driving.

Debate: Tuesday, 10 February 2015
Vote:  Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Procedure:  Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement

#crossborder #roadsafety #traffic #transport

Draft report on facilitating cross-border exchange of information on road safety related traffic offencesPress release on committee vote (20.01.2015)Inés Ayala Sender (S&D, ES) Inés Ayala Sender (S&D, ES)Procedure fileEPRS: EU-wide information exchange on traffic offencesECJ press release (06.05.2014)

Irish MEP's on this issue: Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael, (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands - North-West)

 

Combating paedophilia on the Internet

The worrying rise of paedophilia on the Internet, and notably growing demand, increasing violence and the use of social media for online luring, will be debated with the Commission on Thursday. A possible revision of the 2011 directive on combating the sexual abuse of children, the conditions for lawful interception online and measures to strengthen cooperation with Internet access providers will also be discussed.

According to Europol, 10% of Internet paedophilia victims are under two years old.

Debate: Thursday, 12 February 2015
Procedure: Commission statement followed by debate

#paedophilia #childabuse #internet

2011 directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography
 

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following human rights and democracy topics on the morning of Thursday 15 January and vote on resolutions on them following around 12.00.

1. Burundi, the case of human rights defender and journalist Bob Rugurika
2. Saudi Arabia, the case of Mr Raif Badawi
3. Mass graves of the missing persons of Ashia at Ornithi village in the occupied part of Cyprus


Debate: Thursday, 12 February
Vote: Thursday, 12 February
Procedure: Statement by the VPC/HR non legislatives resolutions

#humanrights #democracy

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

 

Other Topics on the Agenda:

- Commission's group of experts on the enforcement of intellectual property rights

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

 

- Annual Report 2013 on the Protection of the EU's Financial Interests - Fight against fraud

Irish MEPs on this issue: Sean Kelly, Fine Gael, (South), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin), Brian Hayes. Fine Gael (Dublin)

 

-Promotion of employee financial participation

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

 

- Initiatives in the scope of the ILO debate on the right to strike

Irish MEP's 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 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.