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EP Plenary Session Newsletter 14-17 April 2014

14-04-2014

What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ?

Highlights include:  
- World War I centenary
- Banks: MEPs seal protection package for taxpayers
- Improving protection for workers posted abroad
- Keeping pension rights when moving to another EU member States

 
Draft agendaFollow the plenary liveEuroparlTVPress conferences and other eventsEP Audiovisual websiteEP Newshub
 

World War I centenary

Political group leaders debate the legacy of the First World War and the lessons to be learned for the future of Europe with Commission president Barroso and the Greek presidency on Wednesday morning, from 9.00.

Debate: Wednesday, 16 April
Procedure: Council and Commission statements, followed by one round of political group chairs

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

 

Banks: MEPs seal protection package for taxpayers

MEPs on Tuesday will debate and approve a package of measures to ensure that banks shoulder the risks of failure rather than relying on taxpayers to bail them out. The measures, two dealing with troubled banks and one updating the scheme guaranteeing deposits under €100,000, complement the single bank supervision system, already in place, and take the EU far down the road of banking union.

The “bank resolution” rules will ensure that a bank's primary beneficiaries (shareholders and bondholders) will also be first in line to suffer losses if a bank runs into trouble.

They will also require banks to finance reserve funds which would be called upon before resorting to taxpayers’ money if further losses need to be absorbed after a bank's main beneficiaries have been wiped out.

Banking union countries will share a bank-financed €55 billion single resolution fund, to be established gradually over 8 years. Those outside banking union will be required to set up their own fund amounting to 1% of covered deposits within 10 years.

Finally, every bank will be required to have a contingency plan in place, ensuring that it can be restructured or wound up in an orderly way.

The update of the deposit guarantee scheme would oblige EU countries to set up their own bank-financed schemes to reimburse depositors of guaranteed deposits when a bank is not able to do so itself, so that taxpayers would not have to bear the costs.

Debate: Tuesday, 15 April
Votes: Tuesday, 15 April
Procedure: codecision, first reading agreement (SRM and BRRD), second reading agreement (DGS)
Press conferences: Monday at 17.00 on SRM (rapporteurs) and Tuesday at 16.00 on banking union (rapporteurs and Commissioner Barnier)

#SRM, #DGS, #BRRD, #bankingunion,

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Nessa Childers (Independent-East), Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East), Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

Draft report on the bank recovery and resolution directive (BRRD) Draft report on the update to the deposit guarantee scheme directive (DGS) Press release on deal in trialogue - SRM (20.03.2014) Press release on deal in trialogue - BRRD (12.12.2013) Press release on deal in trialogue - DGS (18.12.2013) Profile of SRM rapporteur Elisa Ferreira (S&D, PT) Profile of BRRD rapporteur Gunnar Hökmark, (EPP, SV) Profile of DGS rapporteur Peter Simon (S&D, DE) Procedure file SRM Procedure file BRRD Procedure file DGS Press conference after trialogue deal on SRM (20.03.2014) Background note on the plenary votes
 

Parliament to vote on basic bank accounts for all

All customers legally residing in the EU, including those with no fixed address, will be able to open a basic bank account under rules agreed with Council to be voted on by MEPs  on Tuesday. In addition, the fees and conditions for all payment accounts should be clearly set out and easy to compare and customers should be able to switch easily to another payment account that offers better terms.

Parliament insisted that basic payment accounts must be offered by enough credit institutions to guarantee not only easy access for all consumers in any given EU country but also competitive offers. To benefit from the most advantageous offers, customers should be able to switch to another basic account offered by a bank located in the EU for a reasonable fee.

Basic payment accounts are accounts that customers can use to pay in and withdraw cash and make payments within the EU, including transactions carried out with a payment card and online.

Vote: Tuesday, 15 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement
Press conference: Tuesday, 15 April, at 17.30

#bankaccount

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin)

Press release after the agreement with the Council (20.03.2014)Profile of rapporteur Jürgen Klute (GUE/NGL, DE) Procedure file
 

Frontloading EU aid for disaster-stricken countries and regions in Europe

EU aid to EU and EU candidate countries hit by flooding or other natural disasters should be delivered faster and more efficiently thanks to EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) rule changes to be voted on Tuesday. These changes, already informally agreed with EU ministers, include extending the deadline for applying for natural disaster aid from 10 to 12 weeks, paying 10% of the aid in advance, and simplifying aid approval criteria for smaller, “regional”, disasters.

The clause enabling advance payments of 10% (capped at €30 million) of the expected aid amount was retained thanks to MEPs' efforts, despite objections in the negotiations with the Council of Ministers.  

For “regional” disasters, the new rules stipulate a simple single eligibility criterion - a damage threshold of 1.5% of the region's gross domestic product - which will make it easier for the European Commission to assess applications and speed up aid payments.

Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement
Vote: Wednesday 16 April
Press conference: Wednesday 16 April

#EUaid #Eufunds

Further details of the EUSF reform agreement (15.03.2014)Profile of the rapporteur Rosa Estarás Ferragut (EPP, ES)Background information on the EUSF by the EP research serviceProcedure fileEUSF webpage of the European Commission's DG REGIO
 

MEPs push to tighten up EU product safety and market surveillance rules

Parliament votes on Wednesday on whether "made in" labels should be mandatory for goods sold on the EU market. It will also propose harsher penalties for firms selling potentially dangerous products. The proposals are included in two new draft laws beefing up product safety requirements and market surveillance rules to strengthen consumer protection in the EU.

"Made in" labelling will enhance the traceability of goods and thus strengthen consumer protection, say internal market MEPs, who back the Commission's proposal for mandatory country-of-origin marking to replace the current voluntary system. Today, around 10% of goods picked up by the EU alert system RAPEX cannot be traced back to the manufacturer. Under the proposal, EU manufacturers would be able to choose whether to put "made in the EU" on the label or name their country.

The committee also proposes to introduce a new voluntary "EU safety tested" label to show consumers that a product has been tested and found safe by an independent body. Furthermore, MEPs call for tougher penalties on firms placing non-compliant or potentially dangerous products on the market and the setting up of an EU-wide public blacklist of companies which are "repeatedly found to have intentionally breached" EU product safety rules.

The draft regulations will cover all products sold in the EU with a few exceptions such as food and medicines.

Debate: Tuesday, 15 April
Vote: Wednesday, 16 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), first reading
Press conference: Wednesday 16 April at 09.30

#ProductSafety #MarketSurveillance #ConsumerProtection #consumer

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East)

Draft report on Consumer Product Safety Draft report on Market Surveillance: Press release on committee vote (17.10.2013) Profile of rapporteur Christel Schaldemose (S&D, DK) Profile of rapporteur Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, FI) Procedure file - Consumer Product Safety Internal Market Committee subject file on the Product Safety and Market Surveillance package
 

Improving protection for workers posted abroad

Workers posted abroad temporarily will get more protection under a draft law informally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators and to be voted on Tuesday. Parliament's negotiators strengthened the draft to clarify the rules for companies, by distinguishing genuine postings from attempts to circumvent the law, but also gave EU member states some flexibility in carrying out inspections.

The new rules aim to improve enforcement of the 1996 directive on the working conditions of workers posted from one EU country to another to provide services for a limited period.

Identifying genuine posting and preventing abuses

The rules define a non-exhaustive list of criteria to help member states assess whether a posting is genuine or is an attempt to get round the law, e.g. through so-called letter-box companies set up in countries that require a lower level of employment and social protection. Parliament's negotiating team also introduced a clear definition of “false self-employment”.

To ensure proper enforcement, the deal includes a minimum list of national control measures, to which host countries can add more if they wish.

Enforcing workers' rights in subcontracting chains

Member countries may introduce a system of “joint and several liability”, where both the main contractor and subcontractors would be held jointly and severally liable for any failure to pay posted workers or to respect their rights.

Debate: Tuesday, 15 April
Vote: Tuesday, 16 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), first reading agreement

#workers #workersrights

Irish MEPs on this issue: Emer Costello (Labour-Dublin), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

Draft report the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers Press release on the informal deal (28.02.2014) Profile of rapporteur Danuta Jazłowiecka (EPP, PL) Procedure file Commission Memo: Posting of Workers: EU safeguards against social dumping FAQs
 

Keeping pension rights when moving to another EU member States

EU workers who move to a different EU country will be able to safeguard their supplementary pension rights, under a deal between Parliament and member states to be voted on Thursday. The legislation will apply to EU workers who move within the EU and, at Parliament’s insistence, also to cross-border workers.

Under the new rules, the "vesting period", namely. the period of active membership of a scheme needed for a person to keep supplementary pension entitlements, must not exceed three years.

Statutory pension rights, i.e. those provided by the state, for people working in another member state, are already secured under EU law. However, equivalent protection for supplementary pensions, i.e. occupational pensions financed by employers or by a private scheme, has not been established until now.

Debate: Tuesday 15 April
Vote: Tuesday 15 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 2nd reading agreement

#pensionrights

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

Draft report on minimum requirements for enhancing worker mobility between Member States by improving the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rightsPress release on informal deal (26.11.2013)Profile of rapporteur Ria Oomen Ruijten (EPP, NL)Procedure file
 

Fewer plastic bags and more waste export inspections

EU states would have to reduce consumption of the most widely used and polluting plastic bags by 80% by 2019, under new rules to be voted on Wednesday. On Thursday, MEPs will debate and vote on a law to clamp down on illegal shipments of waste within the EU and to third countries.

Lightweight plastic carrier bags (thinner than 50 microns), the vast majority of those used in the EU, are less likely to be reused than thicker ones, more prone to become litter and often end up polluting the environment.

EU member states would have to reduce consumption of these lightweight bags by at least 50% by 2017 and by 80% two years later. They could do this by imposing taxes, levies, marketing restrictions or bans, to ensure that shops do not provide plastic bags free of charge, except for very light ones used to wrap loose foods such as raw meat, fish and dairy products.

By 2019, plastic bags used to wrap fruit, vegetables and confectionery would be replaced carrier bags made of recycled paper or biodegradable and compostable bags.

More inspections to curb illegal waste shipments

Another law also to be voted on Thursday, would lay down rules for more and better-planned inspections of waste shipments within the EU and to third countries.

Debate : Tueday, 15 April (Auken)
Vote: Wednesday, 16 April (Auken)
Debate and vote: Thursday, 17 April (Staes)
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading (agreement on waste shipment)

#plasticbags#waste #environment#shipments

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

Draft report on reduction of the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags Draft report on shipment of waste Press release on committee vote - plastic bags (11.03.2014) Profile of rapporteur Margrete Auken (Greens/EFA, DK) Procedure file plastic bags Procedure file waste shipment
 

Debate on eastern Ukraine

MEPs will pay close attention to the unfolding developments in Ukraine, with a particular focus on Russian pressure and destabilization in eastern Ukraine, in a debate on Wednesday morning with Stefan Füle, Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner. Parliament will also adopt a resolution on Thursday.

Debate: Wednesday, 16 April
Vote: Thursday, 17 April (tbc)
Procedure: Statement by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (with resolution)

#Ukraine #Donetsk

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin (Independent-North West), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

 

Food safety: MEPs will strengthen measures to tackle animal diseases and pests

MEPs vote on Tuesday on measures to prevent and tackle outbreaks of animal diseases, such as African swine fever, and to restrict the introduction of dangerous new pests into the EU. They will also tighten controls along the food chain to fight food fraud and improve food safety.

The new rules on animal diseases increase the emphasis on prevention, for instance with better animal husbandry and more responsible use of veterinary medicines, and empower the Commission to adopt urgent measures to tackle outbreaks of diseases that have a major impact on public health and agricultural production, such as Bluetongue, African swine fever or Avian influenza.

To curb the higher influx of pests stemming from increased trade and climate change, agriculture MEPs propose to replace the current black list of plants and plant products from certain countries or regions that are banned from entering the EU with a positive list, i.e. a list of countries and products that do not pose a major risk to EU agriculture and may therefore be imported into the EU.

To make it all work, the rules on official controls throughout the food chain must be beefed up, transparency increased and more deterrent penalties applied, say food safety MEPs in separate legislation which they will also put to the vote on Tuesday.

Debate: Monday, 14 April
Vote: Tuesday, 15 April
Procedure:  Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), first reading
Press conference: Tuesday, 8 April, at 15.30

#AnimalDiseases, #Pests, #FoodSafety

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East)

Draft report on Animal DiseasesDraft report on Pests of plantsDraft report on official controlsPress release on committee vote - Animal diseases and pests of plants (11.02.2014)Profile of rapporteur on animal diseases Marit Paulsen (ALDE, SE)Profile of rapporteur on pests of plants Hynek Fajmon (ECR, CZ)Profile of rapporteur on official controls Mario Pirillo (S&D, IT)Procedure file - Animal DiseasesProcedure file - Pests of plantsProcedure file - Official controls
 

Simplifying the re-registration of cars

Registering a car in another EU country, one of the 20 main concerns people face in the internal market, should be easier under draft rules to be voted on Tuesday. If the rules are agreed by the full House, people moving to a different country in the EU will have three months to re-register their car.

The European Commission estimates that the new rules could save almost €1.5 billion a year for businesses and citizens.

Vote: Tuesday, 15 April
Procedure:  Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading

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

Draft report on simplification of transfer of motor vehicles registered in another Member StatePress release on committee vote (18.03.2014)Profile of the rapporteur: Toine MANDERS (ALDE, NL)Legislative Observatory file Car re-registration procedure in some EU countries (Your Europe website)
 

MEPs to push for safer, more environmentally-friendly trucks

New truck cab designs should make it easier for drivers to spot pedestrians and cyclists, thanks to rule changes to be voted on Tuesday. Other changes would enable designers to exceed current maximum weight and length limits in order to fit alternative-fuel engines and to streamline cabs to cut emissions.

MEPs will debate the draft rules on Monday and set out their first-reading position in a resolution to be voted on Tuesday.

Debate: Monday, 14 April
Vote: Tuesday, 15 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary legislative procedure), first reading

#trucks

Draft reportPress release on committee vote (20.03.2014)Profile of rapporteur Jörg Leichtfried (S&D, AT)Procedure file
 

Regulating financial markets and curbing high-frequency trading

Updated rules to make financial markets safer and more efficient, protect investors better and curb high-frequency trading will be put to a vote on Tuesday. These rules have already been informally agreed with the Council of Ministers.

To capture as many trades as possible, the new rules would require firms to trade on organised venues, including regulated markets (RMs) such as stock exchanges, multilateral trading facilities (MTFs) controlled by approved market operators or larger investment firms and organised trading facilities (OTFs) for non-equities, such as interests in bonds, emission allowances and derivatives.

Protecting investors

The new rules would require firms supplying investment services to design investment products for specified client groups according to their needs, withdraw “toxic” products. These firms would also have to inform clients whether the advice offered is independent and about the risks associated with proposed investment products and strategies.

Curbing high-frequency trading

Parliament also introduced the EU’s first rules on “algorithmic” trading that relies on computer programmes to determine the timing, prices or quantities of orders in fractions of a second. Any investment firm engaging in such trading will have to have effective systems and controls in place, such as “circuit breakers” to stop trading process if price volatility gets too high.

On Tuesday, Parliament will also vote on rules for Central Securities Depositories (CSDs), the bodies responsible for settling securities trades. With these rules in place, the entire trading process would be regulated.

Votes: Tuesday, 15 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreements

#MIFID, #MIFIDReview

MIFID Press release on the agreement with the Council (14.01.2014)Profile of rapporteur Markus Ferber (EPP, DE)Procedure file MIFIDProcedure file MIFIRProfile of the rapporteur: Kay Swinburne (ECR, UK)Draf report CSDsProcedure file CSD
 

Protecting small investors’ money    

Small investors will be better protected against investment funds that take excessive or unnecessary risks with their money under draft rules to be voted by Parliament on Tuesday.  The rules, already informally agreed with EU member states, also tweak fund managers' remuneration rules to encourage them to take reasonable risks and a long-run view.

Undertakings for collective investments in transferable securities (UCITS) gather assets from small investors and pool them to buy bonds, shares or other financial products. To clarify who is responsible managing for these assets, each UCITS fund would have to appoint a single independent "depositary" (credit institution or authorised legal entity with a proper amount of own funds), to oversee investor payments to the fund and act as a custodian of its assets.

Fund managers will be required not to take investment risks beyond what is accepted by their UCITS investors. At least half of the variable part of their remuneration will be paid in the assets of their UCITS and payment of at least 40% of variable remuneration will be deferred for at least 3 years.

Vote: Tuesday, 15 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement

UCITS#  #Funds  #finance

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin)

Press release after the parliamentary vote on the amendments (03.07.2013)Profile of rapporteur Sven Giegold (GREENS/EFA, DE)Procedure file
 

Key information for small investors

New EU rules on key information to be given to small investors before they sign a contract, already agreed with the Council, will be voted on by Parliament on Tuesday. The rules will require clear, comparable and complete information on investment products to be provided in a mandatory, three-page A4 Key Information Document (KID).

Under the rules, all small (non-professional) investors will have to be given three-page, standard A4-format KIDs before they sign a contract to help them to understand and compare packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs), estimate the total cost of their investment and be aware of its risk-reward profile. KIDs must not be misleading. If a small investor is able to show that a KID is inaccurate or inconsistent with any binding contractual documents, then the investment product manufacturer could be liable under national law.

Vote: Tuesday, 15 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement

#PRIPS

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin)

Press release after the agreement with the Council (01.04.2014)Profile of rapporteur Pervenche BerèsProcedure file
 

MEPs to confirm their call to step up measures against unfair imports

The EU should increase anti-dumping tariffs against dumped or subsidized imports from third countries and do much more to help small firms to take advantage of its measures to combat them, MEPs will say in Wednesday’s vote confirming this Parliament’s final observations on a draft update of EU “trade defence” tools.

MEPs point out that the complexity and expense of initiating anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations tend to make them the preserve of big-industry players, as most EU small and medium-sized firms in sectors hit by dumped imports lack the expertise or cash needed to make a case for EU action.

As EU member states have yet to agree a position on the proposed overhaul, MEPs will finalise this Parliament’s position and leave it to the next one to agree the final shape of the updated law with EU ministers.

Vote:  Wednesday, 16 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary legislative procedure), 1st reading

Draft report on protection against dumped and subsidised imports from third countries Press release on EP’s vote on the mandate (05.02.2014)Profile of rapporteur Christofer Fjellner (EPP, SE)Procedure file
 

New search and rescue rules to prevent further migrant deaths at sea

New search and rescue rules clarifying how border guards serving in Frontex sea operations should deal with migrants and where they should disembark them will be put to a vote on Wednesday. These rules, already informally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators, should enable Frontex to respond more effectively in emergencies and prevent deaths at sea.

The agreed text places a clear duty upon border guard units taking part in Frontex operations to engage and to save lives. MEPs deleted a clause that would have permitted “pushback” operations on the high seas and strengthened the “non-refoulement” principle whereby people must not be returned to their country of origin or any other country where they could face persecution, torture or other serious harm.

An estimated 20,000 people have died in the past twenty years trying to cross the Mediterranean.

Debate: Tuesday, 15 April
Vote: Wednesday, 16 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement

#Frontex #migration

Irish MEPs on this issue: Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

Draft agreementPress release on committee vote (20.02.2014)Profile of rapporteur Carlos Coelho (EPP, PT) Procedure file
 

Vote on new investigatory powers for MEPs

A proposal to extend Parliament's powers to investigate alleged breaches of EU law will be put to a vote on Wednesday. Its new powers would include the right to conduct on-the-spot inspections, summon witnesses to testify under oath and access relevant documents.

These new powers are needed to rectify problems encountered by Parliament’s previous committees of inquiry, say Constitutional Affairs Committee MEPs..To enter into force, the proposed regulation needs Commission and Council consent.

Since 1995, when the power of inquiry in its current form was introduced, Parliament has set up three committees of inquiry, to investigate VAT and customs duties fraud in the Community Transit System (1997), the handling of mad cow disease (1997) and the financial debacle at the Equitable Life Assurance Society.

Debate:
Vote:  Wednesday 16 April
Procedure: legislative initiative procedure

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

Draft report on the detailed provisions governing the exercise of the EP's right of inquiryPress release on committee vote (11.10.2011)Profile of the rapporteur David Martin (S&D, UK)Procedure file
 

Vote on new Fisheries Fund completes EU's Common Fisheries Policy overhaul

Operating rules for European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) aid to help fishermen to comply with new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) requirements will be put to a vote on Wednesday. EMFF aid will help fishermen to observe the discard ban, e.g. by buying more selective fishing gear, but will also be used to improve safety and working conditions, data collection and port infrastructure. All this will help to make EU fisheries more sustainable.

In talks with the Council of Ministers and the European Commission on the new fund's rules, MEPs obtained more money for collecting and managing fisheries data, which is crucial for example to set more sustainable catch limits.

Young fishermen may receive up to €75,000 in individual start-up support. Engine renewal will also be supported with certain restrictions, but fleet renewal subsidies have been abolished.

Procedure:  Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement
Vote: Wednesday, 16 April
Press conference: Wednesday 16 April at 14:30

Press release on agreement with Council (with link to the text of the agreement)Profile of the rapporteur Alain Cadec (EPP, FR)Background note on the reform of the Common Fisheries PolicyProcedure file
 

Keeping out alien invasive species

Measures to stop alien invasive plants, animals or insects getting into the EU, or limit the ecological and economic damage done by those that do get in and spread, will be put to a vote on Wednesday. The draft legislation, already informally agreed with EU ministers, would ban species declared to be of “Union concern” and oblige EU member states to coordinate their efforts to eradicate them.

The legislation would make it illegal to introduce, transport, place on the market, keep, grow, or release into the environment any species listed as being of “Union concern”. This list would be open and not capped at just 50 species as originally proposed.

Alien invasive species damage costs the EU an estimated €12 billion per year.

Vote: Wednesday, 16 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading agreement

#InvasiveSpecies #environment

Draft report on prevention of the spread of invasive alien species Press release after the agreement with the Council (05.03.2014) Profile of rapporteur Pavel Poc (S&D, CZ) Procedure file
 

Facilitating the return of unlawfully exported cultural objects

Recovering works of art or other objects classified as "national treasures" that have been unlawfully removed from member states since 1993 will be made easier by cheaper and more flexible return procedures to be approved on Wednesday. The draft law, informally agreed with the Council, will require possessors of such objects to prove that they acquired them in good faith and checked that they were exported legally if they wish to claim compensation for their restitution.

Several EU countries, such as Italy, Poland, France, and Germany and Romania, have suffered serious thefts and illegal exports of cultural heritage goods since the single market was created.

Vote:  Wednesday, 16 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), first reading agreement

Irish MEPs on this issue: Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

Draft report on Return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from a Member State. Press release on committee vote (20.01.2014)Profile of rapporteur Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NLE, FR) Procedure fileNote sur l'analyse d'impact de la révision
 

EU “own resources” should cut member states’ contributions to EU budget

The share of EU member states’ budget contributions that is based on gross national income (GNI) should be cut from 64% to 40% of total EU revenue and replaced by real “own resources”, as prescribed by the EU treaty, say draft resolutions to be voted on Wednesday. Value-added tax based revenue, which today provides 11% of the EU budget, also needs drastic reform, they add.

The resolutions will be debated and voted on Wednesday. They matter in view of the work of the recently-established High Level Group on Own Resources, which is to propose ways in 2016 to modernise arrangements for financing the EU’s next long-run budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

The High Level Group comprises three members each from the Council of Ministers, European Commission and European Parliament, led by Italy’s former Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Debate: Wednesday 16 July
Vote: Wednesday 16 July
Procedure: Consultation

ReportEP LiveProfil of co-rapporteur Anne Jensen (ALDE, DK)Profil of co-rapporteur Jean-Luc Dehaene (EPP, BE)
 

New incentives for lobbyists to sign the EU Transparency Register

Measures to encourage lobbyists working with the EU to sign the EU’s public Transparency Register and make their links with the institutions more open will be voted on Tuesday.

So far, an estimated 75% of all relevant business-related organisations and some 60% of NGOs operating in Brussels have signed the register.

Debate: Monday 14 April
Vote: Tuesday 15 April
Procedure: Inter-Institutional Agreement, Rule 127

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Nessa Childers (Independent-East), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

Draft report on modification of the Inter-Institutional Agreement on the Transparency RegisterPress release on committee vote (18-03-2014)Profile of rapporteur Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT)The Transparency RegisterCode of ConductList of Working Group recommendations for review of the Transparency RegisterProcedure file
 

New rules on funding EU political parties and foundations

Plans to reform the funding arrangements and legal status of European political parties and their affiliated foundations, informally agreed between Parliament and Council, will be put to a vote on Tuesday.

The new rules aim to clarify the finances of these bodies and enhance their European character. A system to monitor compliance and impose penalties for breaches is also part of the package.

Debate: Wednesday, 16 April
Vote: Wednesday, 16 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

Draft report on the statute and funding of European political parties and European political foundations Press release on committee vote (18-03-2014)Profile of the rapporteur Marietta Giannakou (PPE, EL)Grants from the European Parliament to political parties at European level 2004-2013Procedure file
 

Draft rules enabling harmful psychoactive substances, known as "legal highs", to be withdrawn rapidly from the EU market will be voted by Parliament on Thursday. MEPs want to protect the health and safety of young people from these drugs, while ensuring that trade for industrial and commercial uses is not hindered. Criminals who breach the ban on the most harmful substances could face up to 10 years in jail.

The proposed EU rules aim to tackle the emergence and rapid spread of new psychoactive substances that imitate the effects of illicit drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine. A 2011 Eurobarometer survey showed that 5% of young people in the EU have used such substances at least once in their lives, with a peak of 16% in Ireland, and close to 10% in Poland, Latvia and the UK.

Debate: Thursday, 17 April
Vote: Thursday, 17 April
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading

#drugs

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers (Independent-East)

Draft report on new psychoactive substancesDraft report on minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penaltiesPress release on committee vote (10.03.2014)Profile of rapporteur for the draft regulation, Jacek Protasiewicz (EPP, PL)Profile of rapporteur for the draft directive, Teresa Jiménez-Becerril (EPP, ES)Procedure file - New psychoactive substancesProcedure file - Minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties
 

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 17 April at 15.00 with the votes following at around 16.00.

Pakistan: recent cases of persecution
Syria: situation of certain vulnerable communities
Situation in North Korea

Procedure: Non-legislative resolutions
Debate/vote: Thursday, 17 April

 

Other Topics on the Agenda :

 

- Deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure, debate Mon, vote Tue (Fidanza)

 

- Noise-related operating restrictions at European Union airports, debate Mon, vote Tue (Leichtfried)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

 

- Deployment of the interoperable EU-wide eCall, vote Tue, (De Backer)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

 

- Disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large companies, (vote Wed), (Baldassarre)

 

- Infringements of competition law, vote Wed (Schwab)

 

- Union action for the European Capitals of Culture 2020 to 2033, vote Tue (Scurria)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

 

- Measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks, vote Tue, (Herczog)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

 

- European Account Preservation Order, vote Tue,  (Baldassare)

 

- Promotion of agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries, vote Tue (Herranz García)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East)

 

- Honey labelling, vote Wed, (Girling)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers (Independent-East), Marian Harkin (Independent-North West)

 

- Financial responsibility in investor-state dispute settlements, vote Wed, (Zalewski, agreement)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East)

 

- Japan-EU relationships, vote Thu (Peterle INI)

 

- EC-Seychelles Fisheries Partnership Agreement, EC-Comoros Fisheries Partnership Agreement, and EU-Madagascar Fisheries Partnership Agreement, votes Wed, (Patrao Neves, Walesa, Rivellini)

 

- Fight against fraud to the Union's financial interests by means of criminal law,  vote Wed, (Grässle, Lopez Aguilar)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers (Independent-East)

 

- Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund - application EGF/2012/007 IT/VDC Technologies, vote Thu, (Daerden)

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

 

- MFF negotiations 2014-2020: lessons to be learned and the way forward - Report: Jean-Luc Dehaene,
Ivailo Kalfin

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

 

- Hospitable environment for enterprises, businesses and start-ups to create jobs - Report: Anthea
McIntyre

Irish MEPs on this issue: Liam Aylward (Fianna Fail-East), Mairead McGuinness (Fine Gael-East)

 

- European long-term investment funds - Report: Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin)

 

- Common system of taxation applicable in the case of parent companies and subsidiaries of different Member
States - Report: Mojca Kleva Kekuš

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin)

 

- Statistics in trade - Report: Hans-Peter Martin

Irish MEPs on this issue: Gay Mitchell (Fine Gael-Dublin), Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

 

- Macro-financial assistance to the Republic of Tunisia - Report: Vital Moreira

Irish MEPs on this issue: Paul Murphy (Socialist-Dublin)

 

- Tripartite social summit for growth and employment - Interim report: Csaba Őry

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

 

- EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement negotiations, Commission statement, debate and vote Thursday

Irish MEPs on this issue: Paul Murphy (Socialist-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.

To access raw audio of interviews with the Irish MEPs recorded during the Plenary Session, please visit www.radioep.ie.