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EP Plenary Session Newsletter 13-16 November

10-11-2017

What will MEPs be working on in next week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Among the items on the agenda are the LUX Film Prize, road safety, Rule of Law in both Poland and Malta, and much more.  

LUX Film Prize: the winner to be announced in Strasbourg

EP President Antonio Tajani will announce the winner of the 2017 edition of the LUX Film Prize on Tuesday at a ceremony in Strasbourg.

The winner of this year’s edition of the LUX Film Prize will be announced by Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani at a ceremony in the Strasbourg chamber on Tuesday 14 November. This year's finalists are BPM (Beats per minute) (France), by Robin Campillo, Sámi Blood (Sweden, Norway, Denmark), by Amanda Kernell – and Western (Germany, Bulgaria, Austria), by Valeska Grisebach.

The European Parliament pays for the three finalist films to be subtitled into all 24 EU official languages. The winner of the 2017 LUX Film Prize will be selected by MEPs. It will be adapted for the visually- and hearing-impaired and will be promoted during its international release.

European promotion

This year’s LUX Film Days will make the most of the cooperation between the European Parliament Information Offices and the Creative Europe MEDIA Desks to strengthen visibility and broaden the films’ audience.

A press conference with representatives of the three films is scheduled for 15.00 on Tuesday, 14 November, in Strasbourg.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Award ceremony : Tuesday, 14 November, at 12.00

Press conference: Tuesday, 14 November, 15.00

#LuxPrize @LuxPrize

Lux prize webpage

The 2017 finalists:

BPM (Beats Per Minute) by Robin Campillo (France)Sámi Blood, by Amanda Kernell (Sweden, Norway, Denmark)Western by Valeska Grisebach (Germany, Bulgaria, Austria)Audiovisual material for professionals: Lux Prize 2017
 

Anti-dumping: final vote on new rules to protect EU jobs and industry

MEPs will vote on new rules to fight dumped and subsidised imports from third countries.

The aim is to counter unfair trade practices by third countries whose state interferes heavily in the economy. An informal agreement by MEPs and Council negotiators was reached on 3 October, but needs the approval of the full House to enter into force.

EU’s trade rules require trade partners and producers outside the EU to meet international labour and environmental standards and as such are unique in the world.

MEPs also made sure that EU firms will not have to provide any additional proof that their third- country rivals are dumping goods on the EU market, and that anti-dumping cases will take account of the economic and trade needs of EU small and medium-sized enterprises. Furthermore, EU trade unions will have the possibility to give input to decisions on trade defence measures.

Quick Facts

EU jobs and firms have great difficulty in competing with cut-price imports from third countries that have excess production capacity and subsidised economies, mainly in the steel, aluminium, bicycles, cement, chemicals, ceramics, glass, paper and solar panels industries.

The new rules would enable the EU to respond to such unfair trade practices by targeting imports where prices are not market-based, due to state interference.

MEPs are also negotiating further plans to update the EU’s “trade defence instruments” with a view to raising tariffs against dumped or subsidised imports from countries that do not interfere extensively in the economy.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 14 November

Vote: Wednesday, 15 November

Press conference: Wednesday, 15 November at 15.00 with rapporteur Salvatore Cicu (EPP, IT) and committee chair Bernd Lange (S&D, DE)

Procedure: Co-decision, first reading with agreement

#antidumping

Press release on informal agreement with ministers (03.10.2017)EPRS At a glance: Protection from dumped and subsidised imports (November 2017)EP Study: New trade rules for China? Opportunities and threats for the EU (2016)EU-China trade picture (by the European Commission)Profile of rapporteur Salvatore Cicu (EPP, IT)Audiovisual material for professionals
 

Online shopping: beef up protection of consumer rights

EU-wide rules to better protect consumers from scams and detect and stop rogue traders more swiftly will be debated and put to a final vote on Tuesday.

National enforcement authorities will have more powers to detect and halt online breaches of consumer protection laws and be able to coordinate better their actions across the EU, under the revised Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) regulation. Their investigation and enforcement powers must include, amongst others: (Art. 9, recital 14)

  • requesting information from domain registrars and banks to identify rogue traders,
  • purchasing goods or services as test purchases, including undercover (“mystery shopping”),
  • imposing the explicit display of a warning or ordering the removal of digital content if there are no other effective means to stop an illegal practice,
  • imposing penalties, such as fines,
  • informing consumers how to seek compensation.

Context

A 2014 check found that 37% of e-commerce and booking websites for travel, entertainment, clothing, electronic goods and consumer credit services were in breach of EU consumer laws. This proposal is part of the e-commerce package presented by the Commission on 25 May 2016. Parliament and Council negotiators reached a provisional deal on the regulation on 21 June 2017.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 14 November

Vote: Tuesday, 14 November

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

#ecommerce

Press release on the agreement (21.06.2017)Profile of rapporteur Olga Sehnalová (S&D, CZ)Procedure fileEP Research: Consumer Protection CooperationAudiovisual material for professionals
 

Road safety: driver assistance devices to be mandatory

New car safety devices should be fitted as standard, MEPs are set to say on Tuesday.

Driver assistance devices such as speed-keeping, lane-keeping and automatic braking systems should be standard equipment in all new cars, vans, lorries and buses, says a draft resolution tabled by the Transport Committee.

MEPs are especially keen on technology designed to detect and help drivers to avoid pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. For lorries and buses, MEPs want to make front, side and rear cameras and turning assistance systems compulsory to reduce blind spots.

They also want the EU Commission to look into setting the blood alcohol concentration limit at zero for all “new” and professional drivers.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 13 November

Vote: Tuesday, 14 November

Procedure: non-binding resolution

#carsafety

Draft resolution Press release after the vote in the EP transport committee (12.10.2017)Profile of rapporteur Dieter-Lebrecht Koch (EPP, DE): Procedure fileAudiovisual material for professionalsEC report on “Saving Lives: Boosting Car Safety in the EU” (12.12.2016)

Irish MEPs following this issue: Brian Hayes, Mairead McGuinness, Matt Carthy, Deidre Clune

 

Rule of Law in Poland : Parliament set to vote on a resolution

Parliament will look at how the EU dialogue with the Polish government on the respect of rule of law and democracy is progressing and vote on a resolution on Wednesday.

The Commission began investigating the situation in Poland under the "Framework for addressing systemic threats to the Rule of Law" on 13 January 2016.

Additional Information

Debate: Wednesday, 15 November

Vote: Wednesday, 15 November

Procedure: Statement by the Council and Commission, with a resolution

#RuleofLaw

EC Communication: Framework for addressing systemic threats to the Rule of Law Poland and the Rule of Law Framework: Questions & Answers (Commission’s fact sheet, January 2016)Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee’s web siteEP Research briefing:Audiovisual material for professionals: Rule of law
 

Rule of Law in Malta

Following the brutal assassination of an investigative journalist, MEPs will debate the situation of the rule of law in Malta and vote on a resolution on Wednesday.

Tuesday’s debate, the second one on Malta in as many plenary sessions, comes in the wake of the assassination of the country’s leading investigative blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, and growing concerns that freedoms are being curtailed and that the judiciary and police are hostage to the executive.

Just after the debate, a ceremony in the presence of President Tajani and Ms Caruana Galizia’s family will be held to officially name the European Parliament’s press conference room in Strasbourg in her honour. The press room in Brussels was named after the murdered Russian investigative journalist Anna Politovskaya.

Also, the European Parliament political group leaders have agreed that in the coming weeks a delegation of MEPs should visit Malta to look into the situation on the ground more closely.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 14 November

Vote: Wednesday, 15 November

Procedure: Council and Commission statements with resolution

#RuleofLaw

Press release on debate on media freedoms in Malta (24.10.2017)Procedure file Statement by EP President Antonio Tajani on assassination of Daphne Caruana GaliziaAudiovisual material for professionals: Malta press freedom

Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy

 

Paradise Papers

The cache of “Paradise Papers” leaked recently and revealing the hidden wealth of the world’s elites, are up for an urgent debate.

The papers, compiled by an international consortium of investigative journalists, show how the super-rich shelter their wealth offshore and, in some cases, minimise their tax bills.

The European Parliament has, for many years, been in the forefront of the fight against money laundering and tax avoidance and evasion. Its recommendations to counter these practices were drawn up by a special committee on tax evasion (TAXE 2) and set out in a resolution voted on 6 July 2016.

The findings of a separate special committee set up in response to the “Panama Papers” will be put to a plenary vote in December.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 14 November

Vote: No

Procedure: Council and Commission statements

#ParadisePapers

Corporate taxation - Parliament's work to create fair and transparent systemCommittee on Money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasionFinal report on the inquiry into money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasionCommittee on Tax Rulings and other measures similar in nature or effect (TAXE 2)Bringing transparency, coordination and convergence to corporate tax policies in the European UnionAudiovisual material for professionalsAudiovisual material for professionals: Fight against tax fraud and evasion

Irish MEPs following this issue: Brian Hayes, Nessa Childers

 

Asylum reform: opening of talks with EU governments on Dublin rules

Parliament will be ready to start talks on an overhaul of the EU asylum system once the EP mandate for negotiating with EU governments gets the go-ahead by midnight on Tuesday.

The proposed changes in the so-called Dublin rules aim to remedy weaknesses in the current system and ensure that EU countries accept their fair share of responsibility for hosting asylum seekers in the EU.

With the reform, the country in which an asylum seeker first arrives would no longer be automatically and solely responsible for processing his or her asylum application. Instead, asylum seekers should be spread among all EU countries. To that end, an asylum seeker could be automatically and swiftly relocated to another EU country.

EU member states that do not accept their fair share of asylum seekers should face the risk of having their access to EU funds reduced.

The Civil Liberties Committee has adopted a package of amendments they want to introduce into the legislative proposal, which will be announced by Parliament’s President at the opening of the session. If there are no objections by Tuesday midnight, the mandate will be deemed approved and negotiations can begin as soon as the member states have come to an agreement among each other.

Quick facts

The Dublin regulation is the EU law that determines which EU country is responsible for processing an application for international protection. The right to apply for asylum is laid down in the Geneva Convention, which all EU member states have signed and which has been incorporated in the EU Treaties.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

SCRIBO topic: migration

Procedure Code: 2016/0133(COD)

Procedure: Mandate for negotiations (Co-decision, 1st reading)

#Dublin #MigrationEU

Press release on committee vote: All EU countries must take their fair share of asylum seekers (19.10.2017) Background note on the EU asylum policy: Reforming the Dublin rules to create a fairer systemProfile of rapporteur Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE)Procedure fileWikström: asylum seekers should be fairly distributed in EU (video and article):EP Research: Reform of the Dublin system - EU legislation in progress: EP think tank: How the asylum procedure works in the EU:Audiovisual material for professionals; European asylum system
 

Slovak President Andrej Kiska to address Parliament

The President of the Slovak Republic Andrej Kiska will address MEPs during a formal sitting in plenary on Wednesday noon in Strasbourg.

Mr Kiska, a former businessman and the co-founder of a charity that helps the families of children suffering from life-threatening diseases, was elected president in March 2014 as a non-partisan civic candidate. He assumed office in June 2014 for a term of five years.

Andrej Kiska is the fourth President of the Slovak Republic and the third to be elected directly by the people. He will be the second Slovak President to deliver a speech in the Parliament, after Rudolf Schuster, who addressed the plenary in May 2001.

Following the 1989 Velvet Revolution and the break-up of Czechoslovakia in 1993, Slovakia became a member of the EU in 2004, joined the Schengen area in 2007 and adopted the euro as its currency in 2009. Slovakia held the Presidency of the EU Council for the first time in the second half of 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 15 November, at 12.00

Procedure: Formal sitting

Press conference: N/A

@Andrej_Kiska

Website of the President of the Slovak RepublicSlovak Presidency in the EU Council (July-December 2016)Audiovisual material for professionals: EU - Slovakia
 

MEPs to advocate trust fund for Eastern partners

A trust fund for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova should be a concrete result of the November 2017 Eastern Partnership Summit, MEPs are likely to stress in a debate on Tuesday and a vote on Wednesday.

The draft resolution also recommends creating an “Eastern Partnership Plus” model for associated countries that have made substantial progress on EU-related reforms in order to offer them the possibilities of joining the Customs Union, Energy Union, Digital Union or even the Schengen area and abolishing mobile roaming tariffs.

The Eastern Partnership was launched in 2009 to deepen political and economic ties between the EU and the six Eastern European partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The 5th Eastern Partnership summit will take place in Brussels on 24 November 2017.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 14 November

Vote: Wednesday, 15 November

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#EaP #EasternPartnership

Draft resolution on the Eastern PartnershipPress release on committee vote (10.10.2017) EP co-rapporteur Laima Andrikienė (EPP, LT)EP co-rapporteur Knut Fleckenstein (S&D, DE)Procedure fileNovember 2017 Eastern Partnership summit websiteAudiovisual material for professionalsExplaining Trust Funds for the Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova
 

Italy: €3.35 million to help 1,610 former workers find new jobs

EU job-search aid worth €3,347,370, for 1,610 workers made redundant by Almaviva Contact SpA, is up for a vote on Tuesday. The company was forced to close by increased pressure on prices, due to global competition.

Almaviva Contact SpA revenue fell by 45% between 2011 and 2015, due to high labour costs and increased pressure on prices from growing worldwide competition. This forced the company which is offering customer experience services, including call center processes to close its Rome work centre in late 2016, leaving 1,664 workers redundant, 1,610 of whom are eligible for the EU aid.

The aid would come from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Tuesday, 14 November

Procedure: Budget

#EGF #EUBudget #EUFunds

Draft reportProcedure fileProfile of rapporteur Daniele Viotti (S&D, IT)Audiovisual material for professionals: EU - Italy
 

Confirmation vote on seven new members of Court of Auditors

MEPs are set to vote on seven candidates nominated to be members of the Court of Auditors (CoA), the Luxembourg-based EU financial watchdog.

Budgetary Control Committee MEPs already delivered a favourable opinion on the Italian, Finnish, Spanish, Danish, Portuguese and Bulgarian candidates in secret ballots, while refusing to endorse Mr Karel Pinxten from Belgium. Apart from the Finn all candidates already hold a CoA mandate and are seeking its renewal.

If the full house adopts an unfavourable opinion on any of the candidates, the Council will be asked to withdraw the nomination and to submit a new candidate to Parliament.

The European Court of Auditors has 28 members, one from each EU member state. They are appointed for a renewable term of six years. The Council, after consulting the European Parliament, decides on the candidate presented by each country.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Wednesday, 15 November

Procedure: Consultation

Profile of rapporteur Indrek Tarand (EST, Greens/EFA)
 

Stopping population decline in vulnerable EU regions

MEPs want to give more help to regions with an ageing population, low birth rates and youth moving away due to limited job opportunities.

To achieve this, they propose to make better use of cohesion policy and funds in a resolution to be voted on Tuesday.

The main reasons for the shrinking population in a third of EU regions are an ageing population, low birth rates, and a shortage of skilled workers, but also a lack of employment prospects, which drives young people away.

According to a recent EP study, the areas most affected are located in central Europe, eastern Germany, southern Italy and northern Spain.

Quick facts

Projected figures published by EUROSTAT show an ageing Europe, as the share of the working-age population is expected to decrease in size from 65.5% of the total population in 2015 to 56.2% in 2080, while the proportion of those over-65 will increase, from 18.9% in 2015 to 28.7% in 2080.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 13 November

Vote: Tuesday, 14 November

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

Press conference: Tuesday, 14 November 13.00

#cohesionpolicy

Draft resolution on the use of cohesion policy instruments by regions to address demographic changeProfile of rapporteur Iratxe GARCÍA PÉREZ (S&D, ES)Procedure fileEP Study on how regional and cohesion policies can tackle demographic challengesEP briefing note: Sparsely populated and underpopulated areasAudiovisual material for professionals
 

MEPs demand a winter plan for asylum-seekers

MEPs will call for a winter plan to create safe conditions for thousands of asylum-seekers across the EU as the cold approaches. They will discuss on Wednesday morning with the Council and the Commission measures to prevent a humanitarian crisis.

In a report published last April, the Court of Auditors noted that the situation in the hotspots both in Italy and Greece, the two Member States with the highest number of arrivals, was not adequate, pointing particularly to the overcrowding on the islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos.

Quick data

As part of the emergency relocation measures agreed by the EU, 21,229 asylum-seekers have been transferred in the last two years from Greece to other EU member states, but around 50,000 are still in the country. In the case of Italy, 10,243 have so far been moved to other countries in the EU.

Since the beginning of this year, 114,112 migrants and asylum-seekers have arrived by boat to Italy, making it the main arrival point to Europe. The Greek islands have received in the same period 24,739 persons, but there has recently been a spike in arrivals, with 4,886 people crossing from Turkey in September and 4,134 in October, the highest numbers since the signature of the EU-Turkey statement in March 2016.

Several NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Oxfam, recently wrote to Prime Minister Tsipras, criticising that the Greek islands have been transformed into places of “indefinite confinement” for asylum-seekers and warning of their deteriorating living conditions. Ahead of the colder season, many people in the Greek camps are still living in summer tents

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 15 November

Procedure: Council and Commission statements, without resolution

MEPs demand emergency winter aid and transfers to other EU countries (debate in plenary, 18.01.2017)Audiovisual material for professionals
 

Fresh impetus for development in Africa needed

Economic, migratory and social problems, coupled with protracted crises, require new responses and better cooperation between the African Union and the EU.

In order to give a fresh impetus to cooperation and the development of African nations, MEPs recommend a new EU-Africa strategy stepping up European peace and security actions, offering more substantial help in combating climate change and scaling up EU support for sustainable agriculture and national education systems.

MEPs will also urge Member States to live up to their promises to finance an EU trust fund but linking development aid to the respect of the rule of law, human rights and anti-corruption measures.

In July, Parliament gave its green light to an EU investment plan tackling root causes of migration in Africa, but warned that aid money must foster development and not be used to stop refugees.

A high-level conference on Africa, hosted by the European Parliament, will take place in Brussels on 22 November in the run-up to the Africa-EU summit at the end of November in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Debate:
Tuesday, 14 November
Vote:
Thursday, 16 November
Procedure:
non-legislative resolution
#Africa #SDGs

Press release: EU investment plan on track to tackle root causes of migration in Africa (July, 2017)EP Resolution of October 2016 on ‘The future of ACP-EU relations beyond 2020’The EU and Africa [What Think Tanks are thinking]Procedure fileProfile of rapporteur Maurice Ponga (EPP, FR)Committee on Development

Irish MEPs following this issue: Brian Hayes

 

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following human rights, democracy and rule of law topics on Thursday 16 November, at 10.00, with the votes following at 12.00.

  • Freedom of expression in Sudan, notably the case of Mohamed Zine El Abidine
  • Terrorist attacks in Somalia
  • Madagascar

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure: non-legislative resolutions

Debates/votes: Thursday, 16 November

#humanrights #democracy

Irish MEPs following this issue: Séan Kelly

 

Other issues being followed by Irish MEPs:

Environmental Implementation Review: Nessa Childers

Second Mobility Package: Nessa Childers, Deidre Clune, Séan Kelly

Combatting inequalities as a lever to boost job creation and growth: Nessa Childers, Séan Kelly

Multilateral negotiations in view of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conferial Conference: Mairead McGuinness

Activities of the European Ombudsman in 2016: Mairead McGuinness

TRAN Recognition of professional qualifications in inland navigation:
Matt Carthy

ECON Action plan on retail financial services:
Matt Carthy

TRAN Period for adopting delegated acts:
Matt Carthy

AFET EU-New Zealand Partnership Agreement on Relations and Cooperation: Matt Carthy, Séan Kelly

IMCO report on cooperation between national authorities responsible for consumer protection laws: Deidre Clune, Séan Kelly

US President Trump and Iranian Nuclear deal:
Séan Kelly

Extension of the duration of the European Fund for Strategic Investments:
Séan Kelly

Deployment of cohesion policy instruments by regions to address demographic change:
Séan Kelly