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08-01-2015

EP Plenary Session Newsletter 12-15 January 2015

What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Commemorating 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz - Latvia takes over EU presidency from Italy - Vote on GMO opt-out for EU member states - Debate on boardroom gender balance - Ombudsman Annual activities report 2013

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

Human smuggling incidents in the Mediterranean

MEPs will debate the recent smuggling of migrants in cargo ships from Turkey to Italy and other incidents in the Mediterranean with Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on Tuesday afternoon. The European Parliament called on EU member states to take action against human trafficking and smuggling, both into and across the EU, in  a resolution voted on 17 December,

Human smuggling networks "pose a serious risk to the lives of migrants and a challenge for the EU", MEPs said in the resolution, reiterating that EU countries should lay down strong criminal sanctions against smuggling and asking for an analysis to be done on how home affairs funds are spent, including on action to fight it.

MEPs also proposed wide-ranging information campaigns to raise awareness of the kinds of risks faced by those who put their lives into the hands of smugglers and stressed the need to examine the overall strategy on cooperation with third countries.

Debate: Tuesday, 13 January

#migration

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

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

 

Commemorating 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

The liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration and extermination camp in January 1945 will be commemorated by MEPs in a debate on Monday, following a statement by European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

The Auschwitz concentration camp was established by the Nazis in 1940 and became the largest of the death camps. More than 1,100,000 men, women, and children lost their lives there.

Follow the debate via EbS+ and EP Live.

Debate: : Tuesday, 13
Procedure: Statement by the President

#Auschwitz70 #Auschwitz @AuschwitzMuseum

Schulz at Auschwitz-Birkenau: Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-BirkenauSpecial website dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination campProcedure file
 

Latvia takes over EU presidency from Italy

The Prime Minister of Latvia, Laimdota Straujuma, will debate the incoming Latvian EU presidency's priorities with MEPs at 9.00 on Wednesday. The House will review the outgoing presidency with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday morning.
  
The three-hour Wednesday morning debate is likely to focus on the strategic priorities announced by the Latvian presidency, focusing on a 'competitive, digital and engaged' Europe. This is Latvia's first stint at the helm of the EU since it joined the Union in 2004. It took over the six-month rotating presidency from Italy on 1 January.

Debate:  Tuesday, 13 January (Italian presidency);
Wednesday, 14 January (Latvian presidency)
Procedure: Council and Commission statements
Press conferences: Prime Minister of Latvia, Laimdota Straujuma and EP President Martin Schulz on Wednesday, 12.00

#EU2015LV @matteorenzi

Latvian presidency webpageThe priorities of the Latvian presidencyItalian presidency webpage

Irish MEPs on issue: Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael, (South), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-North-West), Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands-North-West), Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands-North-West),

 

MEPs to wind up debate on Commission’s 2015 work programme

MEPs will state their views on the European Commission’s 2015 work programme in a resolution to be voted on Thursday afternoon.  

Members debated the European Commission's priorities for 2015 with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and First Vice-President Frans Timmermans on 16 December. They gave a mixed response to the Commission's views on how to give practical effect to the political ambitions set out by Mr Juncker on 15 July 2014.

Vote: Thursday, 15 January
Debate: Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Procedure: Statement by the Commission (with resolution)

#CWP2015 #teamjunckerEU @JunckerEU

Procedure filePress Release on Commission's Work Programme for 2015 at the plenary debate (16.12.2014)Video on demand: parliamentary debate (16.12.2014)Frans Timmermans' Presentation of the 2015 Commission Work Programme to the European ParliamentEuropean Commission Work Programme 2015 Website

Irish MEPs on this issue: Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein (Dublin), Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael, (South), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-North-West), Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Independent (Midlands-North-West), Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands-North-West),

 

MEPs to review security and defence policy options with Mogherini

Parliament holds its annual debate on the main lines of the EU's foreign, security and defence policies with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday afternoon. This is the first strategic review since last year's political and security upheavals on the Union's eastern border.

MEPs will pass a resolution later in the year based on Ms Mogherini's report to Parliament in which they will evaluate EU foreign, security and defence policy in 2014 and propose new lines of action.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, they will debate the specific cases of Ukraine and Egypt with Ms Mogherini. This will folllow a debate on Libya on Tuesday afternoon. On Thursday, Parliament will vote on three separate resolutions on these three countries.

Debate:  Tuesday, 15 January; Wednesday, 14 January
Vote:  Thursday, 15 January
Procedure:  Council and Commission statements (with resolutions)

Annual EU security and defence reports to the European ParliamentDraft committee report on the annual report on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to the European Parliament

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

 

Vote on GMO opt-out for EU member states

New legislation to allow EU member states to restrict or ban the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their own territory, even if this is allowed at EU level, will be put to a vote on Wednesday. The plans, informally agreed by Parliament and Council in December, were originally tabled in 2010 but were then deadlocked for four years due to disagreement between pro and anti-GMO member states.

The new rules would allow member states to ban GMOs on environmental policy grounds other than the risks to health and the environment listed in the scientific risk assessment done by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Member states could also ban GMP crops on other grounds, such as town and country planning requirements, socio-economic impact, avoiding the unintended presence of GMOs in other products and farm policy objectives. Bans could also include groups of GMOs designated by crop or trait.

In any event, member states should also ensure that GMO crops do not contaminate other products and pay particular attention to avoiding cross-border contamination with neighbouring countries, says the text.

Debate:  Tuesday, 13 January
Vote:  Wednesday, 14 January
Procedure:  Ordinary Legislative Procedure (second reading agreement)
Press conference Tuesday, 16.00

#GMO

Draft agreement with Council of MinistersProfile of rapporteur Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE)Procedure fileQ&A: GMO cultivation in the EUEP think tank Parliamentary briefing on GMOs

Irish MEPs on this issue: Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein (Dublin), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-North-West), Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands-North-West), Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Independent (Midlands-North-West), Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South)

 

Press and media crackdown in Turkey

Parliament votes on Thursday on a resolution on freedom of the press and media in Turkey following the arrests of journalists at the end of last year. In their debate in December, MEPs unanimously condemned the breaches of freedom of expression and said the attacks on the rule of law and fundamental rights must be tackled.

Debate:  Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Vote: Thursday, 15 January 2015

#Turkey #mediafreedom

Video recording of debate (17.12.2014)Resolution on the 2013 Turkey progress report (12.03.2014)EP Research: Turkey progress report 2013 and beyond
 

Donald Tusk to discuss December summit outcome with MEPs

Parliament will hold its first debate with newly-elected European Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday. Mr Tusk will present the results of the December 2014 European Council, which backed plans to mobilise €315 billion for growth and jobs.

European Commission plans to mobilise €315 billion between 2015 and 2017 to boost growth, jobs and competitiveness via a new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) were approved by EU heads of state or government at the 18 December European Council.

The Commission will present a proposal in January 2015, on which Parliament and the Council are invited to agree on by June, so that the new investments can be activated as early as mid-2015.

Debate: Tuesday, 13 January
Procedure: Commission and Council statement (without resolution)
Press Conference:

#euco #investEU #growth #competitiveness #Ebola

Video of plenary debate ahead of the European Council (17.12.2014)Video of press conference by EP President Schulz at the European summit (18.12.2014)Conclusions of the European Council (18.12.2014)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Independent (Midlands-North-West),

 

Surveillance of lawyers in the EU

The potential unlawful tapping of phone calls between lawyers and their clients by some Member States' secret services will be addressed by MEPs in an oral question to the Council and Commission on Tuesday afternoon.

MEPs want to know if the structural surveillance allegedly carried out by some member states is in accordance with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and EU law assuring the right to a lawyer and the respect of the confidentiality between suspects or accused persons and their lawyer.

In a previous resolution on mass surveillance of EU citizens, Parliament has stressed that "any uncertainty about the confidentiality of communications between lawyers and their clients" could negatively impact citizens' "right to a fair trial."

Debate: Tuesday, 13 January

#MassSurveillance

Oral question to the CommissionResolution on Mass surveillance of EU Citizens (12 March 2014)
 

Italian marines accused of killing Indian fishermen: debate and vote

The diplomatic dispute between Italy and India over the prosecution of two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen in 2012 will be debated  with EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini late on Wednesday afternoon. Parliament will vote a resolution on the issue on Thursday.

Ms Mogherini said in December 2014 that “the issue has the potential to impact the overall European Union-India relations and has also a bearing on the global fight against piracy (…). The EU will continue to follow closely the issue, is in touch with the Italian government and reiterates its call for a swift solution”.

Debate:  Wednesday 14 January
Vote: Thursday, 15 January
Procedure:  statement by the High Representative/Vice-President with resolution

Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the case of two Italian military personnel in India
 

European Year for Development 2015

Plans for the European Year for Development (EYD2015), aiming to show how development cooperation benefits both rich and poor and help shape the global development agenda for the next 15 years, will be debated with Commissioner Neven Mimica and the Council on Wednesday. An EYD2015 opening event take places on in Riga (Latvia) on 9 January, under the banner “Our world, our dignity, our future”.

EYD2015also marks the end of the Millennium Development Goals agreed at the UN in 2000. A new set of global development goals for the next 15 years is to be decided in September in New York.

Debate:  Wednesday 14 January
Procedure: Council and Commission statements with a debate

#EYD2015

EYD2015 websiteEP Research: European Year of Development
 

Debate on boardroom gender balance

A  draft EU directive designed to ensure that by 2020, at least 40% of non-executive directors on listed company boards are women,  will be debated with the Commission and Council on Tuesday afternoon. This draft was approved by Parliament  in November 2013, but the Council of Ministers has yet to state a position on it.

Parliament’s  November 2013 resolution called on EU member states to ensure that listed companies take effective measures to guarantee equal access for both women and men to non-executive positions on boards so as to ensure that by 2020, at least 40% of non-executive directors’ positions are held by women.

MEPs also proposed that companies which fail to introduce such procedures should face penalties.

Debate: Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Procedure: Commission and Council statement (without resolution)

#Genderbalance #womenonboards

European Parliament legislative resolution (20.11.2013)Press release after vote in the plenary (20.11.2013)Procedure file on Gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchangesEP Research on Gender Balance on Company boards

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

 

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following topics relating to human rights and democracy, in the morning on Thursday 15 January with the votes following around 12.00.

1. Russia, in particular the case of Alexey Navalny
2. Pakistan, in particular the situation following the Peshawar school attack
3. Kyrgyzstan: homosexual propaganda bill


Debate: Thursday, 15 January
Vote: Thursday, 15 January
Procedure: Statement by the VPC/HR non legislatives resolutions

#humanrights

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

 

Other Topics on the Agenda:

- Tackling child sexual abuse on internet

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

 

- Ombudsman Annual activities report 2013

Irish MEPs on this issue: Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-North-West), Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands-North-West), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands-North-West),

 

-Council and Commission statements - European measures to fight against organised crime and corruption

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

 

For further information, please contact Catherine Bunyan, Press Officer on 086 8559423 or at catherine.bunyan@ep.europa.eu or contact the Irish MEPs' Press Officers directly.

To watch any part of the Plenary Session live, please click on the EP Live section of the Parliament's website and select Live Broadcast from the menu on the left-hand side.

To view a debate which has already taken place, please click on the Multimedia Library section of the Parliament's website, select 'search by date' from the menu on the left-hand side and choose the debate.  You can also scroll through the speakers and just listen to a speaker of your choice.