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EP Plenary Session Newsletter 11-14 June 2018

08-06-2018
Strasbourg in Summer, Swans Swim along the River Strasbourg Summer Swans River
Strasbourg European Parliament in Summer

On the agenda: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to debate future of Europe with MEPs, European Elections 2019: new distribution of EP seats, Judicial reform in Poland: debate with Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and much more.

 

MEPs to debate priorities for 28-29 June EU summit

MEPs  will discuss their priorities for the 28-29 June meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Tuesday morning.   The  summit is to focus on migration, security and defence, the EU’s long-term budget, the Brexit talks and Eurozone reform.

EU heads of state or government will meet in Brussels on 28-29 June to discuss the most pressing policy priorities for the European Union, including how to press  ahead with the EU’s common asylum system and also to evaluate the progress of the ongoing Brexit negotiations (in a EU27 format).

They are also scheduled to debate the next EU long-term budget (multi-annual financial framework - MFF), security and defence, innovation and digital Europe and Eurozone reform (Euro Summit format).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Tuesday, 12 June 2018 

Procedure: Debate without resolution

#EUCO #MFF #EUBudget #Brexit #eurozone @eucopresident @EU2018BG

Preliminary agenda of the European Council 28-29 June 2018
Free photos, video and audio material

MEPs following this issue: Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-North-West), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin)

 

Mark Rutte to debate future of Europe with MEPs

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte will be the seventh EU leader to debate the future of Europe with MEPs and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday morning at 10.00.

A member of the liberal-conservative People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), Mark Rutte was appointed Prime Minister of the Netherlands for the first time in 2010.

This will be the seventh in a series of future of Europe debates between EU heads of state or governments and MEPs, following on from:

EP President Antonio Tajani and Mr Rutte will give a joint press point on Wednesday at 12.30 in front of the protocol room

The next EU leader to address the House will be Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, at the July plenary session in Strasbourg.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 13 June 2018 

Procedure: Debate on the future of Europe, without a resolution

Press point: Wednesday, 13 June, at 12.30 in front of the protocol room

#FutureofEU @MinPres @markrutte

Biography of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte
Debate on the future of Europe
Free photos and audiovisual products - Future of Europe
 

European Elections 2019: new distribution of EP seats

The European Parliament should shrink from 751 to 705 MEPs when the UK leaves the EU, says a draft law to be put to the vote on Wednesday.

Besides reducing the size of the House from 751 to 705 elected representatives, the proposed re-distribution of seats, put forward by the Parliament on 7 February 2018, would also place 46 of the 73 UK seats, which will be empty after Brexit, in a reserve. The other 27 former UK seats would be distributed among the 14 EU countries that are currently slightly under-represented in the House.

Some or all of the 46 seats in the reserve could then be reallocated to new countries joining the EU in the future or simply not be filled to reduce the size of the institution.  Article 14 of the Treaty on European Union states that Parliament may not exceed 750 Members, plus the President.

Proposed allocation of seats (table)

The plenary vote on Wednesday is set to be a final confirmation of the proposed seat re-distribution, which will also require a green light from EU leaders at the summit in Brussels on 28-29 June. Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee will need to approve the new composition before plenary, with a committee vote scheduled for Monday 11 June.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Procedure: consent
Press conference (if applicable: date)

#EP2019

Profile of rapporteur Danuta Maria Hübner (EPP, PL)
Profile of rapporteur Pedro Silva Pereira (S&D, PT)
Procedure file
Composition of the European Parliament (At a glance, 31-01-2018
In-depth analysis: the composition of the European Parliament
Free photos, video and audio material – EU elections 2019

MEPs following this issue: Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-North-West), Seán Kelly, Fine Gael (South)

 

EU-wide rules for safety of drones

MEPs are set to back new EU-wide rules to ensure the safe use of drones and boost market development.

On Tuesday, MEPs will vote on the draft rules agreed with the Council on key EU-wide principles for drones and drone operators to ensure safety, security, privacy and the protection of personal data.

For example, the operator of a drone must be able to ensure that it is at a safe distance from other airspace users and drones must be designed to operate without putting people at risk.

With an increase in the use of drones, the EU Commission proposed EU-wide rules for drones, as part of an update to the EU civil aviation safety rules to improve drone safety and boost market development hampered by fragmented national rules. So far, drones weighing less than 150 kg have been regulated at national level.

MEPs also say that operators of drones which are able to cause harm to humans on collision need to be registered and the drones need to be marked for identification.

The European Aviation Safety Agency and the Commission will be responsible for developing more detailed EU-wide rules on the basis of these key principles.

They will define which drones will need to be certified based on the risk related to their intended use. The conditions under which drones should be equipped with features such as altitude and geographical zone entry and maximum operating distance limits, collision avoidance and automated landing functionalities will also be defined.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Monday, 11 June

Vote:  Tuesday, 12 June

Procedure:  first reading agreement, ordinary legislative procedure

Press release on committee vote (23.01.2018)
Rapporteur Marian-Jean Marinescu (EPP, RO)
Procedure file
EPRS briefing
Free photos, video and audio material:
 

Judicial reform in Poland: debate with Frans Timmermans

Judicial reform in Poland will be the focus of a plenary debate with European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans on Wednesday at 15.00.

The Polish Government is carrying out a comprehensive overhaul of the judiciary, which, according to the EU Commission, threatens its independence and the principle of separation of powers. The EU Commission initiated a process in December 2017  that could end with EU sanctions against Warsaw. It has also brought infringement procedures before the European Court of Justice against  some pieces of legislation.

Pro-EU Polish NGOs are now petitioning the Commission  to ask the Court for an interim order to halt the changes to the Polish Supreme Court, to take effect on 3 July, which would force a substantial number of judges into early retirement.

Parliament voted a resolution in March backing the activation of Article 7 (1) of the EU Treaty (rules on determining whether there is clear risk of a serious breach of EU values). MEPs urged EU governments to determine whether Poland is at risk of a such a breach of EU values and if so, to propose solutions.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 13 June

Procedure: Council and Commission statements, without resolution

#RuleOfLaw #Art7

EP resolution of 1 March 2018 on the Commission decision to activate Article 7(1) TEU as regards the situation in Poland
Rule of law concerns in Poland: how the Article 7 procedure would work (Infographic)
Multimedia package - Rule of law in Poland
 

MEPs to quiz the Commission on economic and monetary union  

MEPs will quiz the Commission on Tuesday on progress being made on deepening economic and monetary union, in the light of the plans presented in December and recent developments.

MEPs will ask about member states’ attitudes towards the idea of a European Monetary Fund, what the Commission will do to ensure the democratic accountability of any deepening, and how the EU’s long-term budget will support deeper economic and monetary union.  

The proposals coming from various heads of state over the last few months, not least France and Germany, will also be debated.

A roadmap on deepening economic and monetary union was tabled by the Commission in December 2017.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 12 June

Procedure:  Oral question to the Commission followed by a debate

#EMU

Oral question to the Commission
Chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT)
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue: Luke Ming Flanagan, Independent (Midlands-North-West), Seán Kelly, Fine Gael (South)

 

Stepping up EU cyber defence and cooperation with NATO

Ways to beef up the EU’s cyber defence, including setting up a  rapid cyber response team, promoting Military Erasmus exchanges of young officers, conducting cyber exercises and working closely with NATO, will be debated on Tuesday and voted  on Wednesday. (9, 22, 23, 34 cyber defense resol.)

The draft resolution notes that  Russia, China and North Korea, but also non-state actors, have carried out malicious cyber  attacks on critical infrastructure, engaged in cyber-espionage and mass surveillance of EU citizens, run disinformation campaigns and taken internet access hostage (e.g. Wannacry, NonPetya). This calls for a firm and united EU response, MEPs say. (AE cyber defence resol.)

EU-NATO

In a separate draft resolution on EU-NATO relations, to be debated on Monday and voted on Tuesday, MEPs stress that neither organisation has the full range of tools to tackle new security challenges, which are increasingly less conventional and more hybrid. (B, 21)

In addition to improving cooperation on cyber defence MEPs want EU-NATO strategic ties to focus on strategic communication, situational awareness, sharing classified information, stemming irregular migration and removing obstacles to the swift movement of military personnel and assets within the EU. (26-28, 37)

MEPs also welcome enhanced NATO presence in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, hinting closer EU-NATO ties could also help to prevent and counter Russian penetration into Eastern flank countries. (14)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debates: Tuesday, 12 June (EU-NATO, cyber defence)

Votes: Wednesday, 13 June (cyber defence and EU-NATO)

Procedure: Own-initiative resolutions

#cyberdefence @NATO

Draft resolution on cyber defence
Press release on committee vote (16.05.2018)
EP rapporteur on cyber defence Urmas Paet (ALDE, EE)
Procedure file on cyber defence
Draft resolution on EU-NATO relations
EP rapporteur on EU-NATO relations Ioan Mircea Paşcu (S&D, RO)
Procedure file on EU-NATO relations
Video: 3 key questions on European Defence

MEPs following this issue: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Lynn Boylan, Sinn Féin (Dublin)

 

MEPs to advocate for a sustainable and competitive European aquaculture sector

Increasing EU aquaculture production and applying the same strict criteria to both imported and EU products are likely to be MEPs’ main proposals to help strengthen the European aquaculture sector.

The potential of freshwater aquaculture to improve food security and develop rural areas in the EU has not been sufficiently explored. MEPs are set to urge that imported aquaculture products should meet the same environmental, food safety and socio-labour standards and respect for human rights as EU operators, thus creating a level-playing field for EU and imported products.

They are also likely to call for a specific label to recognise products from EU sustainable aquaculture, to ensure transparency for consumers, by reinforcing traceability.

The resolution will be debated on Monday and put to the vote on Tuesday.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Monday, 11 June

Vote:  Tuesday, 12 June

Procedure:  (INI) Own-initiative procedure

#CAP

REPORT: ‘Towards a sustainable and competitive European aquaculture sector: current status and future challenges
Profile of Iturgaiz Carlos (EPP, ES)
EP Fisheries committee
Procedure File
EP Fact sheets on EU Aquaculture (January 2018)
EP in-depth analysis on Aquaculture - Overview for the EU
Free photos, video and audio material

MEPs following this issue: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Luke Ming Flanagan, Independent (Midlands-North-West), Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)

 

Iran nuclear deal: what options does the EU have after Trump’s decision?

MEPs will debate the consequences and the EU’s response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the Iran nuclear deal, with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, on Tuesday.

The EU stands united behind the Iran nuclear deal, while other issues of concern, such as Iran’s support to the Syrian regime or ballistic missiles programme, should be addressed through different means, said EP’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chair David McAllister (EPP, DE). This statement followed President Trump’s decision not to renew waivers on US sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

MEPs may look for more explanations on how reintroducing US sanctions might hit deals made between Iran and some EU companies (such as Total or Airbus).

Background

In July 2015, Iran and six countries (France, Germany, UK, China, Russia and US) plus the EU, signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a landmark agreement to ensure that Iran's nuclear programme remains peaceful, in exchange for terminating restrictive measures against Iran.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 12 June

Procedure: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Statement

#Irandeal #JSPOA

Press statement: The EU stands united behind the Iran nuclear deal, say EP Foreign Affairs Committee Chair and Rapporteur on Iran (08.05.2018)
EP Research Service briefing on the future of Iran nuclear deal
Think tanks on US withdrawal from Iran deal

Irish MEPs following this issue: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael (South)

 

Frozen conflicts in Georgia: is there a way out?  

Almost ten years after Russia’s invasion of Georgia, which aggravated its frozen conflicts  with the Russian-backed self-proclaimed “republics”  of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, MEPs will debate security in the region with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday.

Continuing tension between Russia and Georgia over the “breakaway regions” resulted in a five-day war in August 2008. The EU-mediated Six Point Agreement between Russia and Georgia halted the Russian invasion, stopped further hostilities and enabled the EU to deploy a monitoring mission in September 2008. 

For the past decade,  200 unarmed monitors from different EU member states have been helping to build confidence and facilitate dialogue among the conflict parties and make sure that there is no return to hostilities.

The debate will be wound-up by the resolution to be voted on Thursday.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 12 June

Vote: Thursday, 14 June

Procedure: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Statement

#Georgia

EP Research Service briefing on Georgia (February 2017)
EU monitoring mission in Georgia
 

EU/African, Caribbean and Pacific partnership: renewing the vows

MEPs are to quiz the Commission and the Council on how to update the EU partnership with African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP), which ends in 2020.

Ahead of negotiations for a renewed partnership between the EU and the 78 Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) group of states, which are to start in August 2018, MEPs will discuss priorities for a future partnership agreement, such as migration, political dialogue, human rights and governance, in a debate on Wednesday, and vote on them on Thursday.

The partnership’s founding treaty, the Cotonou Agreement expires in February 2020. Renewal talks must start no later than August 2018.

The 35th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, gathering the representatives of the 78 ACP states and their 78 European Parliament counterparts, will take place from 18 to 20 June 2018 in the European Parliament, in Brussels.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Wednesday, 13 12 June

Vote:  Thursday, 14 June

Procedure: Oral question with debate

#ACPEU

European Commission recommendation for a Council Decision authorising the opening of negotiations on a Partnership Agreement between the European Union and countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
Procedure file
EP High Level conference: Towards a renewed partnership with Africa (November 2017)
EP Research
Free photos, video and audio material
 

€1 billion in financial aid to Ukraine for 2018-2019

To reduce the country’s financial vulnerability, MEPs will discuss €1 billion in financial aid to Ukraine on Tuesday and vote on the package on Wednesday.

Trade Committee MEPs endorsed the EU Commission’s proposal for the financial package of €1 billion in loans to help Ukraine cover part of its external financing needs in 2018-2019 on 17 May.

The Trade Committee emphasized that the aid is conditional on Ukraine respecting effective democratic mechanisms, the rule of law, and human rights. They also insisted that the loans were contingent on Ukraine’s progress in the fight against corruption, including the setting up of a specialised anti-corruption court.

The EU’s macro-financial assistance is an exceptional emergency instrument aimed at addressing severe financial difficulties in non-EU countries. Since the onset of the 2014 crisis in Ukraine, this has been the fourth such programme offered to the country. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has identified a $4.5 billion (€3.6 billion) gap in Ukraine’s financing needs in 2018 and early 2019.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday 12 June

Vote: Wednesday 13 June

Procedure: ordinary legislative procedure

#Ukraine

Draft report on macro-financial assistance to Ukraine (23.05.2018)
Press release on committee vote (17.05.2018)
Profile of rapporteur: Jaroslaw Wałeşa (EPP, PL)
What is macrofinancial assistance? (European Commission)
MFA in Ukraine (EC)
EC proposal
EU-Ukraine trade relations in a nutshell (EC)
EP Research: The EU’s Eastern Partnership
Free photos, video and audio material
 

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following human rights, democracy and rule of law topics on Thursday 14 June, at around 10.00, with the votes following at 12.00.

  • Russia, notably the case of political prisoner Oleg Sentsov
  • The human rights situation in Bahrain, notably the case of Nabeel Rajab
  • The situation of the Rohingyas refugees, in particular the plight of children

 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure: non-legislative resolutions

Debates/votes: Thursday, 14 June

#humanrights #democracy

 

Other issues being followed by Irish MEPs

Modernisation of education in the EU: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-North-West), Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)

CO2 emissions from and fuel consumption of new heavy-duty vehicles: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael (South)

Cohesion policy and the circular economy: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Lynn Boylan, Sinn Féin (Dublin)

Structural and financial barriers in the access to culture: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)

Urgencies: Seán Kelly, Fine Gael (South)

Statements on the 1st anniversary of the EU's signature of the Istanbul convention: Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin)

Closure of the EU ivory market to combat poaching: Lynn Boylan, Sinn Féin (Dublin)

EU-NATO relations: Lynn Boylan, Sinn Féin (Dublin)

State of play of recreational fisheries in the EU: Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)