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08-09-2017

EP Plenary Session Newsletter 11-14 September 2017

What will MEPs be working on in next week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Among the items on the agenda will be the State of the European Union address, WiFi4EU, a New Skills Agenda for Europe, the future of the Erasmus+ Programme and much more.

 

State of the Union debate: shaping the EU’s future

MEPs will take stock of the Juncker Commission’s achievements midway through its mandate but most of all discuss ways forward to a strong EU committed to protecting its citizens and deliver economic growth and jobs. The Commission President will kick off the debate in his annual “State of the Union” speech in plenary session on Wednesday morning.

Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to unveil his views on the future of Europe based on five scenarios presented earlier this year. Political group leaders will set out the priorities that they want the EU27 to deliver on before the June 2019 European elections. President Juncker will react.

The full debate and post-debate statements by political group leaders will be live-streamed on EP Live and EbS+.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: Statement by the President of the European Commission

#SOTEU

Interactive live coverage SOTEU 2017 dashbord Future of Europe” – European Parliament’s priorities Audiovisual material SOTEU 2017 Audiovisual archives on SOTEU EP Research: State of the Union debates EC whitepaper Future of Europe State of the Union 2017 - Video teaser

Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-North-West)

 

WiFi4EU: final vote on free internet access in public areas

MEPs will take final vote on the deal for free internet across the EU

An EU scheme that will allow more than 5,000 wireless internet connections to be set up in public areas (hospitals, libraries, etc) across the EU, and create a single EU-wide authentication system for them, will be debated and put to a vote on Tuesday.

The scheme is a pilot project paving the way towards free internet spots in public places for all EU citizens and forms part of efforts to create a Digital Union.

EU funding for the scheme would have to be deployed in a “geographically balanced manner” across member states, on a “first come, first served” basis.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2016/0287(COD)

Debate: Tuesday, 12 September

Vote: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: ordinary legislative procedure

#WiFi4EU

Draft resolution on the promotion of internet connectivity in local communesPress release at the end of the interinstitutional negotiations (29.05.2017) Profile of rapporteur Carlos Zorrinho (S&D, PT) Procedure file Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Securing gas supply across the EU

Final vote on the informal agreement between Parliament and the Council on the security of gas supply.

Member states facing a gas supply crisis will be able to count on help from neighbouring countries under new rules informally agreed by MEPs and ministers to strengthen the security of gas supplies across the EU. The rules will be debated on Tuesday morning and put to Parliament’s final vote on the same day at noon.

Any EU country faced with a gas supply crisis will be able to alert the others and thus trigger cross-border assistance to prevent cuts.

The emergency alert regulation is the second piece of Energy Union legislation to come before Parliament. The first, laying down common rules on EU member states’ energy deals with third countries, was approved by Parliament in March.

The new rules should take effect before winter sets in.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2016/0030(COD)

Debate: Tuesday, 12 September

Vote: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure

#Energyunion

Draft resolution on security of gas supplyPress release at the end of the interinstitutional negotiations (27.04.2017) Profile of rapporteur: Jerzy Buzek (EPP, PL) Procedure file Audiovisual material for professionals and existing

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

 

Eggs scandal: speeding up EU-wide warnings on food risks

The contamination of eggs with the insecticide Fipronil, which affected almost all EU countries, and ways to improve the EU's rapid alert system will be debated by MEPs, the Commission and the Council on Tuesday morning.

MEPs will quiz the Commission and the Council on measures taken so far to ensure food safety and discuss how to improve the functioning of the EU’s rapid alert system for food and feed and restore consumer trust in EU egg products.

Parliament's Agriculture Committee discussed the eggs scandal with the Commission on 31 August. Many MEPs stressed during the debate that the EU needs faster information exchange on food safety risks and stricter sanctions against fraudsters.

Quick Facts

Fipronil, an insecticide used among other things to kill fleas and mites, is classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as moderately hazardous. Its use in the EU is prohibited for all food-producing animals.

The illegal use of Fipronil on poultry farms was first reported to the European Commission through the EU’s rapid alert system for food and feed (RASFF) on 20 July. Most of these farms were located in the Netherlands and Belgium. Millions of chicken eggs have already been withdrawn from the EU market.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 12 September

Procedure: Council and Commission statements (no resolution)

#fipronil

Press release on committee debate (31.08.2017) Video-recording of the committee debate (31.08.2017) Audiovisual material: Fipronil in eggs - extracts from the debate
 

Disabled people to get easier access to products and services

Disabled people will have easier access to key products and services such as phones, ATMs and ticketing and check-in machines, under draft EU rules to be debated on Wednesday and put to the vote on Thursday.

Around 80 million people in the EU are affected by a disability to some degree. As a result of population ageing, it is expected that in 2020 around 120 million will have multiple and/or minor disabilities.

The draft “European Accessibility Act” (EAA) sets out requirements to make a number of products and services more accessible. The list includes ATMs, ticketing and check-in machines, PCs and operating systems, phones and TV equipment, consumer banking services, e-books, transport and e-commerce. MEPs added other items to the list, such as payment terminals, e-book readers , websites and mobile device-based services offered by audiovisual media. (AMs 61 to 72)

The accessibility requirements would also cover the “built environment” where a service is provided, including transport infrastructure, in case member states do not already have such requirements in place, MEPs said. (AM 99)

Parliament will vote on a mandate to start negotiations with Council, which has yet to agree on its position.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2015/0278(COD)

Debate: Wednesday, 13 September

Vote: Thursday, 14 September

Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading

#EuropeanAccessibilityAct

Draft report on accessibility requirements for products and services Press release on committee vote (25.04.2017) Profile of rapporteur Morten Løkkegaard (ALDE, DK) Procedure file EP Research: European Accessibility Act Video: extracts from the vote in committee and statement by the rapporteur Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin), Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael (South), Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West)

 

Boosting CO2 absorption by forests to fight climate change

Plans to boost forests’ absorption of CO2 and cut greenhouse-gas emissions as a way to tackle climate change will be put to a vote on Wednesday.

EU countries that cut down forests must compensate by planting new trees or by improving the way they manage existing forests, croplands and grasslands, to ensure an equivalent absorption of CO² in the atmosphere.

MEPs say that member states should do more, by boosting CO² absorption so that it offsets emissions by 2030, in line with the EU’s long-term objectives and the Paris Agreement.

EU forests absorb the equivalent of nearly 10% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions each year.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2016/0230(COD)

Debate: Monday

Vote: Wednesday

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure

#LULUCF

Draft report and amendments on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework Press release on committee vote (11.07.2017) Profile of rapporteur Norbert Lins (EPP, DE) Procedure file EP Research: Land use under the EU 2030 climate and energy framework European Commission fact sheet: Proposal to integrate the land use sector into the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework Infographics Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Nessa Childers, Independent (Dubliin)

 

Special counter-terrorism committee to start work

The list of candidate MEPs to form the 30-strong special committee on counter-terrorism (TERR) is up for a vote on Tuesday. Its first meeting is scheduled for Thursday.

Parliament decided in July to set up a special committee to address practical and legislative shortcomings in the fight against terrorism across the EU. During its 12-month tenure, the committee is to deliver a mid-term and a final report setting out its factual findings, plus recommendations.

Following the plenary vote on the list of committee members, the committee will choose its chair and rapporteur(s) at its constitutive meeting on Thursday morning in Strasbourg.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Tuesday, 12 September

#counterterrorism

EP study: The European Union’s policies on Counter-terrorism: Relevance, Coherence and Effectiveness Audiovisual material for professionals
 

North Korean nuclear threats

A series of missile and nuclear tests by North Korea, causing growing international tensions, will be debated with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday.

In an October 2016 resolution, MEPs condemned the nuclear tests and urged North Korea “to refrain from further provocative actions by abandoning its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes”.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 12 September

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

#NorthKorea @FedericaMog

EP resolution on nuclear security and non-proliferation (27.10.20167) Study on nuclear proliferation in North East Asia (March 2017) EP Research Note on sanctions against North Korea (July 2016)
 

The future of EU-Turkey relations

Turkey’s future in Europe, its continued backsliding with respect to the rule of law, human rights and media freedom will be debated with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday afternoon. The debate is to be wrapped up by a resolution to be voted on during October I plenary.

Back in July, MEPs voiced their concern regarding EU accession talks with Turkey, calling on the EU Commission and the EU national governments “to formally suspend the accession negotiations with Turkey without delay if the constitutional reform package is implemented unchanged.”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 12 September

Vote: October I session

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

#Turkey

EP resolution on the 2016 Commission Report on Turkey (06.07.2017) Press release on Turkey report (06.07.2017) Interview with EP rapporteur on Turkey Kati Piri (S&D, NL)
 

Migration across the Mediterranean: debate with Federica Mogherini

Ways to stem migration flows into the EU, particularly via the Mediterranean route, will be debated with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday.

Stepping up cooperation with African countries and helping them to manage their borders better, a review of EU legislation on migration and asylum and efforts to stabilise Libya are among the policy measures being discussed.

After the closure of the Balkans route and the EU-Turkey deal on migration, Italy became the main EU entry point for migrants and asylum-seekers. A record 181,436 migrants and asylum-seekers reached its shores last year, and 99,742 have arrived there so far in 2017.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2,537 persons have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean this year:

Three out of four Europeans want the EU to do more to tackle the migration crisis, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 12 September

Procedure: Statement by the High Representative without resolution

#migration #refugees

Mediterranean migration route: help for Italy and long-term solutions (EP press release, 12.07.2017) Joint declaration following the Paris migration summit with African leaders on 28.08.2017 (European Commission, in French) Audiovisual material for professionals
 

MEPs set to call for stricter EU arms export controls

EU member states must ensure that their arms export control decisions are consistent, MEPs are set to say on Wednesday. If necessary, an EU supervisory body should be set up, they add.

Parliament will assess on Tuesday how well the member states’ Common Position on arms export control, which relies on minimum requirements, is working, and advocate improvements in a resolution to be voted on Wednesday.

Proposals include widening the list of arms export criteria to oblige member states to assess the risk that an arms transfer could spur corruption and imposing sanctions on member states that fail to comply with the Common Position. (25, 34)

The EU28 member states are the world’s second largest arms supplier (26% of global arms exports), after the USA (33%) and before Russia (23%). Between 2012 and 2016, international transfers of “major” weapons, such as missiles, warplanes and submarines, reached their highest volume for any five-year period since the end of the Cold War (B, D).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Codes: 2017/2029(INI)

Debates: Tuesday, 12 September

Votes: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#armscontrol

Draft resolution on arms export EP rapporteur Bodil VALERO (Greens, SV) EU's Common Position on arms export control (AVAILABLE IN ALL LANGUAGES) The results of the EP workshop on arms export control (May 2017) EP Research Service infographics on arms export (2015) EP Research Service note on arms export (2015) Procedure file
 

Making trade work for human rights and against inequality

European Parliament proposals to make trade fairer, so as to help prevent workers being exploited in the world’s poorest countries, will be debated on Monday and put to a vote on Tuesday.

As global trade patterns have changed markedly in recent decades and the unequal distribution of its benefits has come under growing public scrutiny, MEPs are proposing a series of measures to protect workers and the environment worldwide by reforming so-called “global value chains”.

They are set to advocate measures to boost corporate social responsibility, include enforceable chapters on labour and human rights in trade deals, protect whistle-blowers in forced labour cases and make the “social impact of production” visible on goods, e.g. by labelling, to raise consumer awareness.

Quick facts

Production processes that span several countries can enable new firms and employees to contribute, but may also complicate and obscure liability for products and accidents, note MEPs.

They argue that the EU must update its trade deals and policies help to prevent tragedies such as the collapse of the Rana Plaza clothing factory in in Bangladesh in 2013. Some 21 million people worldwide are victims of forced labour, generating USD 150 billion a year in illegal profits (source: International Labour Organisation estimates).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2016/2301(INI)

Debate: Monday, 11 September

Vote: Tuesday, 12 September

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

#EUTrade #GVCs

Draft resolution on tabled for plenary EP Research Briefing: Improving global value chains key for EU trade (June 2016) Press Release - Textile imports: development MEPs call for rules to curb worker exploitation (March 2017) EP Research Briefing: Workers' conditions in the textile and clothing sector: just an Asian affair? (August 2014)Profile of rapporteur Maria Arena (S&D, BE) Procedure file Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South)

 

Anti-corruption drive to curb human rights abuses

An anti-corruption clause must be included in EU deals with third countries (19) and protection for anyone exposing corruption must be improved.(29) This would help curb human rights violations, Parliament is set to say on Wednesday.

Corruption is "one of the most neglected causes of human rights violations", (E) MEPs will argue on Tuesday afternoon. In a resolution to be voted on Wednesday, they are set to urge her to foster international cooperation on anti-corruption strategies (10).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2017/2028(INI)

Debate: Tuesday, 12 September

Vote: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#humanrights

Draft report on corruption and human rights in third countries Press release on committee vote (20.06.2017) Profile of rapporteur: Petras Auštrevičius (ALDE, LT) Procedure file EP Research Briefing “Towards a binding international treaty on business and human rights” EP study “Cost of Corruption in Developing Countries – How Effectively is Aid Being Spent?” Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin)

 

Aviation emissions: MEPs to back ETS exemption for intercontinental flights

With a worldwide scheme to offset CO2 emissions in air transport pending, MEPs will vote on Wednesday to extend an exemption from paying for emissions on intercontinental flights.

MEPs want the exemption to end on 31 December 2020, however. From 2021 onwards, the aviation sector should receive only 50 % of its ETS (Emissions Trading System) allowances for free, say MEPs, against 85 % as it stands today.

The Environment Committee also wants EU member states to earmark the revenue generated by auctioning emissions allowances for climate change policies.

Quick facts

Aviation accounts for approximately 2.1 % of global CO2 emissions. International flights account for around 1.3 % of emissions. With the anticipated growth in air traffic, emissions in 2050 are expected to be seven to ten times higher than in 1990, according to ICAO projections. In the EU, direct CO2 emissions from aviation account for about 3 % of total emissions.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2017/0017(COD)

Vote: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: ordinary legislative procedure

#EUETS

Draft report on the proposal to continue current limitations of scope for aviation activities and to prepare to implement a global market-based measure from 2021 Press release on committee vote (11.07.2017) Profile of rapporteur Julie Girling (ECR, UK) Procedure file EP Research Briefing: CO² emissions from aviation Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Dieselgate: focus on public health and consumer rights

MEPs will discuss latest developments in the Dieselgate scandal, and in particular recent actions taken by EU member states like Germany and Austria, on Wednesday.

Parliament urged the EU Commission and member states to clean up their act and improve tests and checks on new cars on EU roads, after Parliament’s special committee on the Volkswagen emissions scandal completed its work in April 2017

MEPs concluded that although the Commission and member states had been aware for more than a decade that the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions of diesel cars in laboratory tests differ markedly from those measured on the roads, they had failed to act appropriately to protect air quality and public health.

A more realistic emissions testing procedure finally came into force on 1 September.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: Topical debate

#Dieselgate

Car emissions scandal: MEPs call for stricter and clearer oversight EP Research: Vehicle emission tests: beyond the VW case EP study: legal obligations relating to emission measurements in the EU automotive sector Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Fire safety in buildings: how to prevent further tragedies?

In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower blaze in London on 14 June, which killed around 80 people, MEPs will discuss what should be done at EU and national levels to improve fire safety in buildings.

The fire resistance of façades, tests carried out under real-life conditions and smoke toxicity of construction products are likely to be discussed with Council and Commission on Wednesday afternoon.

In a debate in July, Internal Market Committee MEPs pointed out that the fire safety of buildings is a national affair and asked the EU Commission to help member states share knowledge and best practices.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2017/2764(RSP)

Debate: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: Council and Commission statements followed by debate

#FireSafety

Video recording of the debate in the Internal Market Committee on Construction Products Regulation and fire safety, on 12 July 2017 (from 16h37 onwards) Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Easing access to capital for innovative and socially beneficial companies

European venture capital funds (EuVECA) and European social entrepreneurship funds (EuSEF) should become more attractive to investors under new rules to be put to the vote on Thursday.

Uniform fund registration rules, enhanced supervision of the funds by the EU and national authorities and cross-border marketing of these funds should help broaden the range of companies to find investors on European capital markets.

Background

EuVECA and EuSEF are two voluntary funds within the Capital Market Union Action Plan, aiming to raise and invest capital in innovative SMEs and social undertakings in the EU.

The Capital Market Union aims to improve access to finance for such companies, so they do not exclusively depend on bank loans, but can complement those with alternative sources of finance. The CMU is designed to enhance investors’ confidence to back a more risky investment or socially engaged firms.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2016/0221 (COD)

Debate: Wednesday, 13 September

Vote: Thursday, 14 September

Procedure: ordinary legislative procedure

#EuVECA #EuSEF #CMU

Draft resolution on European venture capital funds on European social entrepreneurship funds Rapporteur: Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN (EPP, FI) Procedure file

Irish MEPs following this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin)

 

MEPs to call on Norway to stop whaling

Norway must halt its whale hunting and the EU must not to facilitate trade in whales of species which are protected by EU law, a resolution to be voted Thursday says.

In a debate with the European Commission in July, MEPs urged the Commission to persuade Norway to end the practice and to provide data on the quantity of whale meat transiting through EU ports. A ban on such transits could be envisaged.

MEPs note that despite a worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling, Norway continued whaling and fully resumed commercial whaling in 1993. Several NGOs reported that Norway’s exports of whale meat have increased sharply in recent years.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2017/2712(RSP)

Debate: Thursday, 6 July

Vote: Tuesday, 12 September

Procedure: oral question with resolution

#whaling

Question for oral answer to the Commission: whale hunting in Norway Procedure file EP Research: fisheries in Norway Audiovisual material for professionals
 

North Sea fisheries: ensuring sustainable stocks and livelihoods  

Plans to tackle overfishing and provide more secure livelihoods for North Sea fishermen by introducing multiannual fishing quotas will be put to the vote on Thursday.

The second multiannual fisheries plan under the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) would apply to demersal species (those living near the sea floor), which make up 70% of catches in the North Sea (zones IIa, IIIa and IV).

The plan covers various species and is tailored to the complexity of North Sea mixed fisheries, which makes it impossible to target and catch only one species.

Ensuring that these stocks are exploited sustainably in the long run should guarantee the security of fishing opportunities and livelihoods.

MEPs will start negotiations with the Council following the plenary vote.

Quick facts

North Sea demersal fishing employs several thousand vessels from at least seven EU member states (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK).Demersal catches were worth more than €850 million in 2012, with the highest total value of landings by species for sole, followed by plaice, Norway lobster (also called Nephrops), cod, saithe, haddock, turbot, anglerfish, whiting and lemon sole.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2016/0238(COD)

Debate: Wednesday

Vote: Thursday

#NSMAP #CFP

Draft report on a multi-annual plan for demersal stocks in the North Sea Press release on committee vote (12.07.2017) Profile of rapporteur Ulrike Rodust (S&D, DE) Procedure file EP briefing on the multiannual plan for North Sea demersal fisheries (October 2016) Audiovisual material for professionals
 

Venezuela’s escalating crisis

MEPs will debate the profound political and economic crisis and latest developments in Venezuela with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday afternoon.

Venezuela has been in crisis for months, with almost daily demonstrations against Nicolas Maduro's regime across the country. The massive protest movement has grown even more intense since the President installed a controversial constituent assembly early August.

In May, MEPs expressed solidarity with Venezuela’s National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges’s efforts to restore peace and human dignity in Venezuela. In a resolution voted in June, the European Parliament condemned the “brutal repression” by the Venezuelan security forces and urged Venezuela’s government to ensure the full restoration of the democratic order.

In another debate on Tuesday afternoon, MEPs will discuss strengthening the EU-Latin American strategic partnership with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and will vote on their recommendations on Wednesday.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2017/2027(INI)

Debates: Tuesday, 12 September

Vote: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#LatinAmerica @FedericaMog

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Venezuela (27.04.2017) Committee press release ‘MEPs debate situation in Venezuela with National Assembly Speaker Julio Borges’ (31.05.2017) EP President Tajani statement on the arrests of opposition leaders in Venezuela Draft report on EU political relations with Latin America Press release on committee vote (11.07.2017) Profile of rapporteur: Javi López (S&D, ES)Procedure file EP DG EXPO Study “The EU-Latin American Strategic Partnership: state of play and ways forward” Audiovisual material for professionals
 

Stronger EU ties with India

A stronger EU partnership with India, including a new impetus to free trade talks, will be debated on Tuesday and voted Wednesday.

In the draft resolution on EU political relations with India, MEPs highlight potential areas for closer cooperation, such as trade, investment, development, regional stability, crisis management or maritime security.

The EU is India's largest trading partner, and talks on an EU-India free trade deal began in 2007.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Codes: 2017/2025(INI)

Debate: Tuesday, 12 September

Votes: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#India

Draft resolution on EU political relations with India EP rapporteur Cristian Dan Preda (EPP, RO) EP Research Service note on India and challenges ahead in the Indo-Pacific region (May 2017) Procedure file on India
 

EU to boost trade with Iceland

Two agreements aiming to increase trade in agricultural products between the EU and Iceland will be debated on Wednesday and put to a vote on Thursday.

Almost 90 % of EU agricultural products would have duty-free access to the Icelandic market, if MEPs endorse a deal to further liberalise trade flows. The EU would benefit from increased quotas, in particular for cheese, beef, pig meat and poultry, whereas Iceland will gain additional access to the market for its skyr (a special dairy product) exports. Under a separate agreement, the EU secured protection for its geographical indications (certain products possessing qualities and a reputation due to their geographical origin) for food and drinks sold in Iceland.

In 2015, EU agricultural exports to Iceland were worth EUR 290 million, while the value of imports reached EUR 44 million. The main EU export products are fruit, vegetables and cereals. Imports from Iceland are chiefly seaweed and algae, sheep meat, live horses and fur skins.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2016/0293(NLE) 2016/0252(NLE)

Debate: Wednesday, 13 September

Vote: Thursday, 14 September

Procedure: Consent

#EUTrade

Draft recommendation additional trade preferences in agricultural products between the EU and Iceland Draft recommendation on the protection of geographical indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs Profile of rapporteur David Borrelli (EFDD, IT) Procedure file for additional trade preferences with Iceland Procedure file for the protection of geographical indications with Iceland Audiovisual material for professionals
 

Earthquakes in Italy: €1.2 billion in EU repair aid

Almost €1.2 billion in EU aid to repair damage caused by earthquakes in central Italy in 2016 and 2017 is to be approved by MEPs on Wednesday. The quakes hit the Abruzzo, Lazio, Marche and Umbria regions, leaving 333 people dead and over 30,000 displaced and needing help.

Infrastructure was severely damaged and businesses, including farms and tourism firms, were significantly affected. The €1,196,797,579 from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) – the biggest-ever single EUSF payment – can be used to pay for reconstruction, emergency and clean-up work, and to protect landmarks.

Background

The EUSF was set up in 2002 in response to disastrous flooding in central Europe in the summer of that year. Since then, repair work after 76 disasters — including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought — in at least 24 EU countries has received EUSF aid totalling more than €5 billion.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2017/2101(BUD)

Vote: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: Budgetary

Press confrence: Wednesday, 14,00 with the rapporteur Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT)

#EUBudget #EUBudget2017 #EUSF

Draft Resolution on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Italy Press release on committee vote (30.08.2017) Profile of rapporteur Giovanni La Via (EPP, IT) Procedure file Audiovisual material for professionals
 

€3.5 million EU aid to former workers at Microsoft Finland and suppliers

EU job-search aid worth €3,520,080 for 1,000 former IT workers in western and southern Finland is up for a vote on Wednesday. The downscaling by mobile phone manufacturer Microsoft Mobile Oy, which had teamed up with Nokia, also affected its suppliers and downstream producers.

Most of the redundancies, attributed to worldwide competition and loss of mobile phone market share, were in the Helsinki-Uusimaa, Länsi-Suomi and Etelä-Suomi regions

The measures, co-financed by the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), include career coaching and individual guidance, employment and business services, vocational training schemes, services for new entrepreneurs and start-up grants, hiring incentives, training-related allowances, subsidies and contributions towards removal costs. The Fund’s annual ceiling is €150 million.

This particular EGF aid was approved by the Council of Ministers on 17 July 2017.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2017/2098(BUD)

Vote: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: Budgetary

#EUBudget #EGF #EUFunds

Proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund Press release on committee vote (30/08/2017) Profile of rapporteur: Petri Sarvamaa (EPP, FI) Procedure file Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Extra €500 million to fight youth unemployment

Half a billion euros more for the EU’s Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) as part of a €1.2 billion top-up agreed for 2017-2020, will be voted on Wednesday by Parliament, which fought for this.

During last week’s vote in the Budgets Committee, MEPs called on the Commission and Member States to ensure that the whole additional €500 million is fully allocated by the end of 2017.

Background

The Youth Employment Initiative was launched in 2013 to support young people who are not in education, employment or training, aged below 25 and living in regions where youth unemployment was higher than 25% in 2012.

According to the European Commission, since 2013 the YEI has provided direct support to over 1.4 million young people.

Related country-by-country information can be downloaded here. A report on the first results of the YEI was published in October 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2017/2078(BUD)

Vote: Wednesday, 13 September

Procedure: Budgetary

#EUFunds #EUBudget #EUBudget2017 #YEI

Draft motion for resolutionPress release on committee vote (30.08.2017) Profile of rapporteur Jens Geier (S&D, DE) Procedure file Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Erasmus+ programme at risk?

MEPs will quiz the European Commission about its budgetary plans for a number of projects, in particular the European Solidarity Corps. The Commission intends to finance the projects using funds dedicated to the Erasmus+ programme. Following Wednesday´s debate, a resolution will be put to the vote on Thursday.

Parliament is concerned that the Commission is set to divert Erasmus+ money to new policy initiatives, even though a significant number of high-quality Erasmus+ projects are being denied funding due to insufficient resources.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: [2017/2740(RSP)]

Debate: Wednesday, 13 September

Vote: Thursday, 14 September

Procedure: Oral question with resolution

#ErasmusPlus

Question for oral answer to the Commission (O-000062/2017) EP Research - At a glance - Implementation of Erasmus+ Erasmus+ programme Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

MEPs want more transparency in law-making

Lobbyists should be denied entry into the European Parliament, unless they provide the detailed information required by the EU Transparency Register, say MEPs in a resolution to be put to the vote on Thursday.

Members also want to extend the “cooling-off period” for former European Commissioners to three years, to prevent them from taking part in lobbying activities too soon after leaving office.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2015/2041(INI)

Debate: Monday, 11 September

Vote: Thursday, 14 September

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

#EUtransparency

Draft resolution on transparency, accountability and integrity in the EU institutions Press release on committee vote (21.03.2017) Profile of rapporteur Sven Giegold (Greens/EFA, DE) Procedure file Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

A new skills agenda for Europe

The European Commission published its New Skills Agenda for Europe on 10 June 2016. It aims to boost human capital, employability and competitiveness. MEPs will set out their views on this initiative.

Debate and Vote Thursday

Irish MEPs following this issue: Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael (South), Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands-North-West), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South)

 

EU accession to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) is the first instrument in Europe to set legally binding standards specifically to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims of violence and punish perpetrators. Following the EU’s signing of the Convention in June 2017, the European Parliament’s consent is required for the EU’s accession to the Convention. Pending Council’s formal request for that consent, MEPs will discuss an interim report on the process.

Debate Monday, Vote Tuesday

Irish MEPs following this issue: Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin) Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael (South)

 

Repeal of obsolete regulations with regard to inland waterway and road haulage sectors

The European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission confirmed their joint commitment to update and simplify legislation in the Inter-institutional Agreement on Better Law-Making of 13 April 2016. In order to clean up and reduce the volume of EU legislation, it needs to be regularly reviewed and obsolete laws identified. MEPs will vote to repeal a number of regulations deemed to be in this category.

Vote Tuesday

Irish MEPs following this issue: Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael (South)

 

Multilateral agreement on the establishment of a European Common Aviation area

The aim of this Agreement is the creation of a European Common Aviation Area (ECAA), integrating the EU’s neighbours in South-East Europe in the EU's internal aviation market which consists of EU Member States as well as Norway and Iceland. The ECAA agreement, by creating a single aviation market, is intended to deliver substantial economic benefits for air travellers and the aviation industry, covering 36 countries and more than 500 million people. At the same time, the agreement offers the same high standards in term of safety and security across Europe, through the uniform application of rules. Parliament will decide whether or not to give its consent to the Agreement.

Vote Wednesday

Irish MEPs following this issue: Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael (South)

 

Extension of the European statistical programme to 2020.

The European statistical programme is 'the legal framework for the development, production and dissemination of European statistics'. The European Commission is of the view that the current statistical infrastructure is not flexible enough and that the European Statistical System partnership does not yet deliver sufficient cost savings because of lack of investment. It has therefore proposed to extend the programme but with a number of changes. The European Parliament and the Council have also put forward amendments. MEPs will consider and decide on these proposals.

Debate Wednesday, Vote Thursday

Irish MEPs following this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin)

 

Human rights and democracy resolutions

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

  • Cambodia: notably the case of Mr. Kem Sokha
  • Gabon: repression of the opposition
  • Laos: notably the cases of Somphone Phimmasone, Lod Thammavong and Soukane Chaithad

Procedure: non-legislative resolutions

Debates/votes: Thursday, 14 September

#humanrights

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