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12-05-2017

EP Plenary Session Newsletter 3rd - 6th April 2017

What will MEPs be working on in next week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Among the items on the agenda will be negotiations with the UK following the Article 50 notification, medical devices, fishing vessels, emissions in the automotive sector, the Brazilian meat sector, EU budget and more.

 

Parliament will debate and vote a resolution outlining its red lines during the upcoming negotiations on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

Political groups will set out their Brexit priorities in a key debate on Wednesday, just before talks start on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. MEPs will then vote on a resolution officially setting out the European Parliament’s key concerns and goals throughout the process.

The draft resolution places ensuring equal rights for EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU at the centre of Parliament’s priorities. It also says that the UK remains an EU member until its official departure and this entails rights but also obligations, including financial commitments which may well go beyond the withdrawal date.

The resolution also warns against attempting a trade-off between security and the future EU-UK economic relationship and opposes an economic relationship characterised by sector-specific deals.

Finally, the text holds out an olive branch by saying that negotiations on “transitional arrangements” could begin during the two year window provided by Article 50, but only if and when good progress has been made on the withdrawal agreement. Such transitional agreements may not last longer than three years, adds the text.

As for the future relationship, this can only be concluded once UK has withdrawn from the EU, the resolution says.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#BREXIT

Draft resolution (EN) Video recording of the press conference by EP President Antonio Tajani and EP Coordinator for Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt (29.03.2017)Background information on Article 50 (Infographic and video)EP Think Tank: UK withdrawal from the European Union - Legal and procedural issues (27.03.2017)Photos, Videos, Audio Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands–North-West), Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin)

 

Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to address European Parliament

Germany’s newly-elected Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will address MEPs in a formal sitting on Tuesday at noon. Previously Federal Foreign Minister, Mr Steinmeier was elected as 12th President of the Federal Republic of Germany on 12 February 2017. He took office on 19 March.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, 61, served as Head of the Federal Chancellery from 1999. He was appointed Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2005 and was also Deputy Chancellor from 2007. In 2009, he became a Member of the German Bundestag. The parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in the German Bundestag elected him as chairperson. Four years later, he became Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs for the second time, and served in this role until January 2017.

Past German federal presidents who addressed the European Parliament:

  • Roman Herzog (10.10.1995)
  • Johannes Rau (4.4.2001)
  • Horst Köhler (14.3.2006)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Formal sitting

#Germany

Website of the President of the Federal Republic of GermanyAudiovisual material for professionals
 

Medical devices: MEPs to approve stricter EU safety requirements

Parliament will vote on plans for safer medical devices, such as breast or hip implants.

Plans for stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure full legal compliance and traceability of medical devices, such as breast or hip implants, will be put to a vote on Wednesday. MEPs will also vote on legislation to tighten up information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices, used for example in pregnancy or DNA testing. Both draft laws have been informally agreed with the Council of Ministers.

Post-market surveillance will be strengthened, so that unexpected problems are identified and dealt with faster. In the PIP breast implant scandal, many women simply did not know whether they had received defective implants. The legislation will introduce a Unique Device Identification (UDI) system to ensure it is always possible to trace which patient has which device.

The agreement also provides for random inspections of producers’ facilities after devices have been placed on the market, stricter checks on “notified” (conformity assessment) bodies, which will have to employ medically skilled people, and an additional safety checking procedure for high risk devices, such as implants or HIV tests.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure, second reading agreement

#medicaldevices

Council position: Medical devices Council position: In vitro diagnosticDraft recommendation for second reading on in vitro diagnostic medical devicesPress release on committee vote (15.06.2016)Procedure fileProcedure file: In vitro diagnostic medical devicesEP Research Medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devicesAudiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Car emissions: debate and final vote on inquiry committee recommendations

Final report and recommendations by EMIS inquiry committee, which call on EU Commission and the member states to be stricter with cheating car manufacturers.

On Tuesday, MEPs will debate and vote on recommendations to the EU Commission and member states on how to remedy flaws in checks on car manufacturers and close legal loopholes to prevent further cheating in emissions tests, while also properly enforcing laws to protect air quality.

In February, the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurement in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) wrapped up a year’s work with a final report and draft recommendations. Members concluded that even though the EU Commission and member states were already aware, a decade ago, that diesel cars’ nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in laboratory tests differ markedly from those measured on the roads, they failed to act appropriately to protect air quality and public health.

The draft recommendations call for EU rules in this area to be clarified, tightened up and better enforced. Laws, replacing unrealistic laboratory measurements with “real driving emissions” tests, should be adopted quickly, with additional EU oversight of the “type approval” and market surveillance system for motor vehicles.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

Press conference: Tuesday, 4 April at 15.00

#caremissions

Final report on the inquiry into emission measurements in the automotive sector Press release on committee vote (28.02.2017) Procedure fileEP Study: legal obligations relating to emission measurements in EU automotive sector (June 2016) EP Research: At a glance - Vehicle emission tests: beyond the VW case (October 2015)Audiovisual material for professionals Draft recommendation following the inquiry on emission measurements in the automotive sector

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

 

Wholesale roaming price caps: final vote

Final vote on the informal agreement between the Parliament and the Council on the wholesale roaming price caps.

An informal agreement between the Parliament and the Council on wholesale price caps for carrying “roaming” data transfers between EU countries will be debated on Wednesday evening, and put to a final vote on Thursday.

Capping wholesale roaming prices is a necessary step towards the full abolition of retail roaming surcharges on 15 June 2017, which will enable mobile phone users to transfer data while in other EU countries, just as they do at home, without paying extra fees.

The informally agreed lower caps for data transfers would enable EU consumers to access more audio-visual content when travelling from a country to another. They could also open up markets for small and virtual telecoms operators.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure (first reading agreement)

Press conference: TBC

#roaming

Draft report on the rules for wholesale roaming markets Press release on the outcome of the interinstitutional negotiations (01.02.2017) Procedure fileEP Research Briefing (February 2017)Audiovisual material for professionals
 

MEPs to call for clampdown on use of palm oil in biofuels

A parliamentary report to be voted on Tuesday advocates a phasing out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils that drive deforestation by 2020, and a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market.

The EU should tackle the environmental impacts of unsustainable palm oil production, such as deforestation and habitat degradation, particularly in South-East Asia, says a non-binding report to be put to a vote on Tuesday. Members advocate phasing out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils linked to deforestation by 2020, and a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market.

MEPs note that about one million hectares of tropical soils are used to produce the EU’s palm oil imports, 46% of which are used to produce biofuels. They call on the EU Commission to take measures to phase out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils that “drive deforestation”, including palm oil, preferably by 2020.

Note to editors

According to “very worrying reports” cited by MEPs (links below), a large part of the global production of palm oil is in breach of fundamental human rights and adequate social standards. Child labour is frequently used, and there are many land use conflicts between local and indigenous communities and palm oil concession holders.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 3 April

Vote: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

#PalmOil

#Palmoil #deforestation

Draft resolution on palm oil and deforestation of rainforestsPress release on committee vote (09.03.2017)Procedure fileEP Research: the impact of biofuels on transport and the environment, and their connection with agricultural development in European Parliament

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

 

Hate speech, populism, and fake news on social media – debate

Hate speech, populism, and fake news on social media will be up for debate in plenary on Wednesday afternoon. MEPs will discuss how the EU can better respond to these phenomena to prevent interference in the democratic process and particularly in elections.

In November 2016, Parliament adopted a resolution on how to counteract propaganda against it by third parties.

Topical debates

The new EP rules of procedures (rule 153) foresee one topical debate at each part-session of 60-90 minutes to discuss topical matters of major interest to the EU policy, proposed by one political group. Each group has the right to propose at least one such debate per year.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Topical debate

#fakenews

Press release on propaganda from Russia and islamist terrorist groups (23.11.2016)EP Policy study on EU strategic communications with a view to counteracting propaganda
 

Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem requested invited to debate Greek reforms with full House

Eurogroup President and leading “Troika” figure Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been invited to Parliament to explain the state of play on the second review of the Economic adjustment programme for Greece in a debate on Tuesday afternoon.

At an Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on 21 March, Mr Dijsselbloem was grilled by several MEPs on recent statements to the press.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Statement by the President of the Eurogroup

#Greece #eurogroup @J_Dijsselbloem

EP Press Release: Eurogroup Head pressed to apologise after “insulting” “machismo” remarks (21.03.2017)

Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Overhauling EU car approval rules to prevent further emissions scandals

In a drive to prevent a recurrence of the VW emissions scandal, Parliament will amend EU car “type approval” rules in a vote on Tuesday, to make environmental and safety testing more independent and strengthen national and EU oversight of cars already on the road.

Internal Market MEPs are proposing changes to the EU Commission’s proposal to ensure more thorough auditing of the work of testing centres and national authorities who approve vehicles for sale, step up surveillance of cars already on the road and give the Commission independent oversight powers to check whether national authorities are doing their job and, in some cases, test cars itself. (AMs 71, 98, 64, 77, 91, 92)

Under the rules as amended, each year EU member states would have to test at least 20% of the car models placed on the market in their country in the previous year. They would also have to secure EU Commission approval for their “national surveillance programmes”, which would be subject to regular review. (AMs 77, 79)

Car manufacturers who are in breach of the rules, e.g. for falsifying test results, would risk administrative fines of up to €30,000 per vehicle, which could be levied by the Commission if no fine is imposed at national level. (AMs 310, 312, 317)

This vote will give Parliament’s negotiators, led by Daniel Dalton (ECR, UK), a mandate to start three-way talks (“trilogues”) with the Council and Commission. The Council stills needs to agree its position on this file before trilogues can start.

Note to editors

“Type approval” is the process whereby national authorities certify that a new vehicle model meets all EU safety, environmental and production requirements before it can be placed on the market.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Tuesday 4 April

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

Press conference: tbc

#CleanerCars


Draft report on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehiclesPress release on committee vote (09.02.2017)Procedure fileEP Research briefing - Motor vehicles: New approval and market surveillance rules Commission’s fact sheet - EU legislation on passenger car type approval and emissions standardsAudiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Ukraine visa waiver: final vote in Parliament

Ukrainian citizens will have the right to travel to the EU without a visa under a draft law to be voted in plenary on Thursday. The text has already been informally agreed with the Council. It will likely enter force at the start of June.

Holders of a biometric passport will be able to enter the Union for 90 days within any 180-day period for a holiday, business or any other purpose, but not for working. Before exempting Ukrainians from visa requirements, the EU strengthened the visa waiver suspension mechanism, to allow visas to be reintroduced more easily in exceptional cases.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

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

#Ukraine #visas #visa

Draft report on the proposal to exempt Ukrainian citizens of visa requirementsMEPs and Council negotiators agree to waive EU visa requirement for Ukrainians (Press release, 28.02.2017)Reimposing visas: MEPs back emergency brake measures (Press release, 15.12.2016)Procedure fileAudiovisual material for professionalsAudiovisual material for professionals
 

Final vote on rules to help SMEs access diverse sources of capital across the EU

Final vote on rules to help SMEs access diverse sources of capital across the EU

Firms, especially SMEs, should find it cheaper and easier to access diverse sources of capital across the EU thanks to new rules simplifying prospectuses published when securities are offered to investors or admitted to trading. These rules will be debated on Tuesday and put to a final vote on Wednesday.

These uniform rules for prospectuses and the information they disclose should also protect investors, while creating a more efficient single market for capital in which they can put their money to work.

MEPs provisionally agreed the new rules with the Council in December 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

#capitalmarketsunion, #CMU

Draft resolution on the prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to tradingProcedure file
 

Rules to protect small investors and help SMEs access diverse sources of capital

Draft rules to make money market funds (MMFs) more resilient in crises and better able to resist market turbulence will be put to a final vote on Thursday. MFFs supply easily accessible liquid assets to investors seeking to diversify their portfolios, business start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but can be vulnerable to panic runs on their money.

Parliament has included a new category of MFFs, Low Volatility Net Asset Value MMFs (LVNAV MMF) in the rules, to make them work better for the real economy.

MEPs provisionally agreed the new rules with the Council in November 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

#moneymarketfunds

Draft resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Money Market FundsProcedure fileEP Think Tank: Money market funds background information Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Budgets MEPs to back budget flexibility: €6bn more for jobs, growth, tackling migration

Plans to make it easier to move money around within the EU’s long-run budget, to help tackle urgent challenges such as the migration crisis, strengthening security, boosting growth and creating jobs, will be voted on Wednesday. Parliament has long fought for gre ater flexibility within the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which would apply for the remainder of the 2014-2020 MFF.

This first-ever revision of the MFF would amend the MFF regulation of 2013 to strengthen various flexibility provisions and special instruments, which will allow more funds to be shifted more easily between budget chapters and years. In addition, budgetary top-ups amounting to €6,009 million would be made available and used for migration-related measures and programmes to boost jobs and growth.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Consent procedure

#MFF #EUBudget

Draft recommendation on the draft Council regulation amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020EP Think Tank background: Press release on committee vote (27.03.2017)Procedure fileEP Think Tank briefing: “2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF): Mid-term revision” (17.03.2017)Council Press release on the agreement in Council (07.03.2017)European Parliament resolution on the mid-term revision of the MFF 2014-2020 (26.10.2016)Audiovisual material for professionals and existing

Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Migration: MEPs to call for multilateral measures

Multilateral measures are urgently needed to manage the unprecedented numbers of migrants on the move worldwide, and not least to halt migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, MEPs will urge in a resolution to be debated on Tuesday and voted on Wednesday.

The draft text calls for a “multilateral governance regime” for international migration, increased cooperation between EU, UN specialised bodies, development banks and other players, and European Parliament involvement in concluding “migration compacts” with third countries. It also backs the UN “Together” campaign to combat negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants.

In 2015 a record high number of 65.3 million people – including 40.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 21.3 million refugees – remained forcibly displaced by conflicts, violence, human rights violations, violations of international humanitarian law and destabilisation, according to UNHCR.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday 4 April

Vote: Wednesday 5 April

Procedure: Non legislative resolution

#JoinTogether

#MigrationEU

Draft resolution on addressing refugee and migrant movements: the role of EU External ActionPress release on committee vote (31.01.2017)Procedure fileEP Research “The EU and migration” (October 2016)EP Research “Growing impact of EU migration policy on development cooperation” (October 2016)Audiovisual material for professionalsVideo extracts from the committee vote and statement by Elena VALENCIANO (S&D, ES) (31.01.2017)

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

 

EU Solidarity Corps: MEPs to call for needs dedicated long term budget

MEPs want new European Solidarity Corps to receive proper funding

MEPs are to call for robust legislation and proper funding for the new Solidarity Corps initiative which aims to create 100.000 volunteering and job placement opportunities for young people. However, the new initiative should not be financed at the expense of the Erasmus+ or other European programmes, MEPs say in a draft resolution to be voted on Thursday.

The text also calls for a clear distinction between volunteering activities and job placements, to ensure that no participating organisation hires young people as unpaid volunteers when potential quality jobs are available.

In an oral question tabled by the Culture and Education Committee, MEPs will quiz the Commission how the Solidarity Corps initiative will reinforce rather than duplicate existing successful volunteering programmes.

The Commission is expected to table a legislative proposal in May to follow up on its December 2016 communication on the European Solidarity Corps in December 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 3 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Question for oral answer by the Commission, non-legislative resolution

#EUSolidarityCorps

Press release on committee vote (22.03.2017)Communication from the Commission - A European Solidarity Corps EC webpage - Solidarity Corps Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West), Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)

 

Brazil’s tainted meat exports: MEPs to quiz Commission on EU consumer risks

MEPs will quiz the EU Commission on Monday on the recently revealed corruption scandal in Brazil’s meat sector over the sale and export of rotten meat.

How much tainted meat from Brazil has reached EU shores, why did EU border checks fail to reveal apparently systemic food fraud and what impact will this scandal have on ongoing trade talks with Mercosur? These are the questions that MEPs will put to the Commission on Monday evening.

Members of Parliament’s Agriculture Committee on 21 March deplored the lack of credible food safety checks in Brazil and stressed that the EU must do its utmost to protect its consumers. Many also criticised the fact that import checks at EU borders failed to reveal apparently long-standing fraud and demanded remedies.

Background

A two-year investigation by Brazilian Federal Police into two of Brazil’s largest meat processing companies (JBS & BRF) revealed serious fraud and corruption, showing that potentially dangerous meat products were placed in the food chain, thus potentially putting EU consumers at risk.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef and poultry combined. It is also the EU’s largest meat supplier, exporting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of beef and chicken to the EU each year.

In 2015, Brazil supplied the EU with over 140,000 tonnes of beef, or 42.1% of its total beef imports. In 2014, it supplied about 60% of the EU’s 0.8 million tonnes of poultry imports. According to the OECD, the EU consumed almost 7.77 million tonnes of beef in 2015 and more than 12.72 million tonnes of poultry in 2014.

This suggests that imports from Brazil account for about 1.8% of total EU beef and veal consumption and 3.77% of total EU poultry consumption.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 4 April

Procedure: Question for oral answer to the Commission

#foodsafety

Oral question on fraudulent practices in the Brazilian meat sector Press release on the debate in the Agriculture Committee (21.03.2017)Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

EU-US data transfers: key protection  against passing on personal data

The EU-US “Privacy Shield” for data transfers made for commercial purposes must respect EU personal data protection, law as laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and new data protection rules, MEPs say in a draft resolution ahead of the first annual review of the framework expected this summer.

Concerns remain about the use of bulk data for national security purposes, access to judicial redress for EU citizens and the independence of the US Ombudsperson mechanism, among other issues, say MEPs.

MEPs are also alarmed by recent revelations about surveillance activities conducted by a US electronic service provider and new rules allowing the US National Security Agency to share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorisation with other agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#PrivacyShield #DataProtection

Press release on committee vote (23.03.2017)EP research: From Safe Harbour to Privacy Shield: Advances and shortcomings of the new EU-US data transfer rules (19.01.2017)

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

 

UK, Cyprus, Portugal: MEPs to approve €71m in EU aid after natural disasters

MEPs are set to approve €71,524,810 in EU aid to repair damage caused by floods in the UK from December 2015 to January 2016, drought and fires in Cyprus from October 2015 to June 2016 and fires on the Portuguese island of Madeira in August 2016, in a vote on Wednesday. The aid comes from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF).

UK floods in 2015-16

The proposed aid totals €60,301,050. From December 2015 to January 2016, 11 UK regions were hit by heavy rainfall and strong winds, which led to flooding and infrastructure damage.

Cyprus – drought and fires in 2015-16

The proposed aid totals €7,298,760. From October 2015 to June 2016, Cyprus suffered from very low precipitation combined with extremely high temperatures, leading to severe drought with serious crop failure, forest and vegetation fires and scarcity of water. Two major wild fires in June 2016 burnt an area of over 2,600 hectares of state forest.

Portugal – Madeira fires in 2016

The proposed aid totals €3,925,000. Between 8 and 13 August 2016, the Portuguese island of Madeira suffered from large wild fires, burning an area of 6,000 hectares. They led to the destruction of essential public infrastructure, public buildings, private homes, businesses and damage in agriculture.

The aid of €71.5 million is intended to help restore essential infrastructure, reimburse the cost of emergency measures and cover the costs of some of the clean-up operations.

Next steps

If the Committee on Budgets approves the aid in a vote scheduled for Monday evening, the full house will vote on it on Thursday. The Council approved the aid on Monday 3 April If Parliament as a whole gives its green light, the funds could be available within weeks.

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 more than 70 disasters — including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought — in at least 24 EU countries has received EUSF aid totalling more than €3.7 billion.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Budgetary procedure

#EUSF #EUfunds

Procedure file

Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)

 

Calls to halt new GM maize authorisation

Parliament will vote on a resolution opposing the authorisation of products from an herbicide resistant GM maize.

A non-binding resolution opposing EU Commission plans to authorise imports of food and feed products derived from or containing a herbicide and pest-resistant genetically modified (GM) maize will be voted on Wednesday. It highlights the lack of data on the many sub-combinations of the variety - all of which would also be authorised - and reiterates Parliament’s call for a reform of the EU’s GMO authorisation procedure.

MEPs stress that hundreds of critical comments have been submitted by member states during the three-month consultation period, pointing to, inter alia, missing information and poorly-performed studies and tests.

MEPs also point out that the EU Commission is still authorising GMOs in the EU without the support of opinions of member state committees. This was supposed to be an exception to the usual decision-taking procedure, but has in fact become the norm.

Note to editors

The draft implementing decision by the European Commission would authorise GM maize Bt11 × 59122 × MIR604 × 1507 × GA21, and all 20 of the sub-combinations of its events.

A separate EU law that would enable any EU member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was opposed by Parliament in October 2015. MEPs are concerned that this law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries. They called on the Commission to table a new proposal.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution (objection)

#GMO #maize

Press release on committee vote (21.03.2017)EP Research: imports of GM food and feed - right of Member States to opt outAudiovisual material for professionals and existing
 
 
 

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following human rights and democracy topics on Thursday 6 April, at around 10.00, with the votes following at 12.00.

  • Russia, the arrest of Alexei Navalny and other protestors
  • Belarus
  • Bangladesh, including child marriages

Procedure: non-legislative resolutions

Debates/votes: Thursday, 6 April

#humanrights #democracy #RussiaProtests #Navalny #Belarus #Bangladesh

 

Other items on the agenda

Characeteristics for fishing vessels, Mon 3rd April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Féin (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

Women and their roles in rural areas, Mon 3rd April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West)

Prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading, Tues 4th April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

Estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2018 – Section I – European Parliament, Wed 5th April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

EP Plenary Session Newsletter 3rd - 6th April 2017

What will MEPs be working on in next week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Among the items on the agenda will be negotiations with the UK following the Article 50 notification, medical devices, fishing vessels, emissions in the automotive sector, the Brazilian meat sector, EU budget and more.

 

Parliament will debate and vote a resolution outlining its red lines during the upcoming negotiations on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

Political groups will set out their Brexit priorities in a key debate on Wednesday, just before talks start on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. MEPs will then vote on a resolution officially setting out the European Parliament’s key concerns and goals throughout the process.

The draft resolution places ensuring equal rights for EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU at the centre of Parliament’s priorities. It also says that the UK remains an EU member until its official departure and this entails rights but also obligations, including financial commitments which may well go beyond the withdrawal date.

The resolution also warns against attempting a trade-off between security and the future EU-UK economic relationship and opposes an economic relationship characterised by sector-specific deals.

Finally, the text holds out an olive branch by saying that negotiations on “transitional arrangements” could begin during the two year window provided by Article 50, but only if and when good progress has been made on the withdrawal agreement. Such transitional agreements may not last longer than three years, adds the text.

As for the future relationship, this can only be concluded once UK has withdrawn from the EU, the resolution says.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#BREXIT

Draft resolution (EN) Video recording of the press conference by EP President Antonio Tajani and EP Coordinator for Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt (29.03.2017)Background information on Article 50 (Infographic and video)EP Think Tank: UK withdrawal from the European Union - Legal and procedural issues (27.03.2017)Photos, Videos, Audio Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands–North-West), Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin)

 

Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to address European Parliament

Germany’s newly-elected Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will address MEPs in a formal sitting on Tuesday at noon. Previously Federal Foreign Minister, Mr Steinmeier was elected as 12th President of the Federal Republic of Germany on 12 February 2017. He took office on 19 March.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, 61, served as Head of the Federal Chancellery from 1999. He was appointed Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2005 and was also Deputy Chancellor from 2007. In 2009, he became a Member of the German Bundestag. The parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in the German Bundestag elected him as chairperson. Four years later, he became Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs for the second time, and served in this role until January 2017.

Past German federal presidents who addressed the European Parliament:

  • Roman Herzog (10.10.1995)
  • Johannes Rau (4.4.2001)
  • Horst Köhler (14.3.2006)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Formal sitting

#Germany

Website of the President of the Federal Republic of GermanyAudiovisual material for professionals
 

Medical devices: MEPs to approve stricter EU safety requirements

Parliament will vote on plans for safer medical devices, such as breast or hip implants.

Plans for stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure full legal compliance and traceability of medical devices, such as breast or hip implants, will be put to a vote on Wednesday. MEPs will also vote on legislation to tighten up information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices, used for example in pregnancy or DNA testing. Both draft laws have been informally agreed with the Council of Ministers.

Post-market surveillance will be strengthened, so that unexpected problems are identified and dealt with faster. In the PIP breast implant scandal, many women simply did not know whether they had received defective implants. The legislation will introduce a Unique Device Identification (UDI) system to ensure it is always possible to trace which patient has which device.

The agreement also provides for random inspections of producers’ facilities after devices have been placed on the market, stricter checks on “notified” (conformity assessment) bodies, which will have to employ medically skilled people, and an additional safety checking procedure for high risk devices, such as implants or HIV tests.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure, second reading agreement

#medicaldevices

Council position: Medical devices Council position: In vitro diagnosticDraft recommendation for second reading on in vitro diagnostic medical devicesPress release on committee vote (15.06.2016)Procedure fileProcedure file: In vitro diagnostic medical devicesEP Research Medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devicesAudiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Car emissions: debate and final vote on inquiry committee recommendations

Final report and recommendations by EMIS inquiry committee, which call on EU Commission and the member states to be stricter with cheating car manufacturers.

On Tuesday, MEPs will debate and vote on recommendations to the EU Commission and member states on how to remedy flaws in checks on car manufacturers and close legal loopholes to prevent further cheating in emissions tests, while also properly enforcing laws to protect air quality.

In February, the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurement in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) wrapped up a year’s work with a final report and draft recommendations. Members concluded that even though the EU Commission and member states were already aware, a decade ago, that diesel cars’ nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in laboratory tests differ markedly from those measured on the roads, they failed to act appropriately to protect air quality and public health.

The draft recommendations call for EU rules in this area to be clarified, tightened up and better enforced. Laws, replacing unrealistic laboratory measurements with “real driving emissions” tests, should be adopted quickly, with additional EU oversight of the “type approval” and market surveillance system for motor vehicles.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

Press conference: Tuesday, 4 April at 15.00

#caremissions

Final report on the inquiry into emission measurements in the automotive sector Press release on committee vote (28.02.2017) Procedure fileEP Study: legal obligations relating to emission measurements in EU automotive sector (June 2016) EP Research: At a glance - Vehicle emission tests: beyond the VW case (October 2015)Audiovisual material for professionals Draft recommendation following the inquiry on emission measurements in the automotive sector

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

 

Wholesale roaming price caps: final vote

Final vote on the informal agreement between the Parliament and the Council on the wholesale roaming price caps.

An informal agreement between the Parliament and the Council on wholesale price caps for carrying “roaming” data transfers between EU countries will be debated on Wednesday evening, and put to a final vote on Thursday.

Capping wholesale roaming prices is a necessary step towards the full abolition of retail roaming surcharges on 15 June 2017, which will enable mobile phone users to transfer data while in other EU countries, just as they do at home, without paying extra fees.

The informally agreed lower caps for data transfers would enable EU consumers to access more audio-visual content when travelling from a country to another. They could also open up markets for small and virtual telecoms operators.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure (first reading agreement)

Press conference: TBC

#roaming

Draft report on the rules for wholesale roaming markets Press release on the outcome of the interinstitutional negotiations (01.02.2017) Procedure fileEP Research Briefing (February 2017)Audiovisual material for professionals
 

MEPs to call for clampdown on use of palm oil in biofuels

A parliamentary report to be voted on Tuesday advocates a phasing out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils that drive deforestation by 2020, and a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market.

The EU should tackle the environmental impacts of unsustainable palm oil production, such as deforestation and habitat degradation, particularly in South-East Asia, says a non-binding report to be put to a vote on Tuesday. Members advocate phasing out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils linked to deforestation by 2020, and a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market.

MEPs note that about one million hectares of tropical soils are used to produce the EU’s palm oil imports, 46% of which are used to produce biofuels. They call on the EU Commission to take measures to phase out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils that “drive deforestation”, including palm oil, preferably by 2020.

Note to editors

According to “very worrying reports” cited by MEPs (links below), a large part of the global production of palm oil is in breach of fundamental human rights and adequate social standards. Child labour is frequently used, and there are many land use conflicts between local and indigenous communities and palm oil concession holders.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 3 April

Vote: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

#PalmOil

#Palmoil #deforestation

Draft resolution on palm oil and deforestation of rainforestsPress release on committee vote (09.03.2017)Procedure fileEP Research: the impact of biofuels on transport and the environment, and their connection with agricultural development in European Parliament

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

 

Hate speech, populism, and fake news on social media – debate

Hate speech, populism, and fake news on social media will be up for debate in plenary on Wednesday afternoon. MEPs will discuss how the EU can better respond to these phenomena to prevent interference in the democratic process and particularly in elections.

In November 2016, Parliament adopted a resolution on how to counteract propaganda against it by third parties.

Topical debates

The new EP rules of procedures (rule 153) foresee one topical debate at each part-session of 60-90 minutes to discuss topical matters of major interest to the EU policy, proposed by one political group. Each group has the right to propose at least one such debate per year.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Topical debate

#fakenews

Press release on propaganda from Russia and islamist terrorist groups (23.11.2016)EP Policy study on EU strategic communications with a view to counteracting propaganda
 

Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem requested invited to debate Greek reforms with full House

Eurogroup President and leading “Troika” figure Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been invited to Parliament to explain the state of play on the second review of the Economic adjustment programme for Greece in a debate on Tuesday afternoon.

At an Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on 21 March, Mr Dijsselbloem was grilled by several MEPs on recent statements to the press.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Statement by the President of the Eurogroup

#Greece #eurogroup @J_Dijsselbloem

EP Press Release: Eurogroup Head pressed to apologise after “insulting” “machismo” remarks (21.03.2017)

Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Overhauling EU car approval rules to prevent further emissions scandals

In a drive to prevent a recurrence of the VW emissions scandal, Parliament will amend EU car “type approval” rules in a vote on Tuesday, to make environmental and safety testing more independent and strengthen national and EU oversight of cars already on the road.

Internal Market MEPs are proposing changes to the EU Commission’s proposal to ensure more thorough auditing of the work of testing centres and national authorities who approve vehicles for sale, step up surveillance of cars already on the road and give the Commission independent oversight powers to check whether national authorities are doing their job and, in some cases, test cars itself. (AMs 71, 98, 64, 77, 91, 92)

Under the rules as amended, each year EU member states would have to test at least 20% of the car models placed on the market in their country in the previous year. They would also have to secure EU Commission approval for their “national surveillance programmes”, which would be subject to regular review. (AMs 77, 79)

Car manufacturers who are in breach of the rules, e.g. for falsifying test results, would risk administrative fines of up to €30,000 per vehicle, which could be levied by the Commission if no fine is imposed at national level. (AMs 310, 312, 317)

This vote will give Parliament’s negotiators, led by Daniel Dalton (ECR, UK), a mandate to start three-way talks (“trilogues”) with the Council and Commission. The Council stills needs to agree its position on this file before trilogues can start.

Note to editors

“Type approval” is the process whereby national authorities certify that a new vehicle model meets all EU safety, environmental and production requirements before it can be placed on the market.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Tuesday 4 April

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

Press conference: tbc

#CleanerCars


Draft report on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehiclesPress release on committee vote (09.02.2017)Procedure fileEP Research briefing - Motor vehicles: New approval and market surveillance rules Commission’s fact sheet - EU legislation on passenger car type approval and emissions standardsAudiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Ukraine visa waiver: final vote in Parliament

Ukrainian citizens will have the right to travel to the EU without a visa under a draft law to be voted in plenary on Thursday. The text has already been informally agreed with the Council. It will likely enter force at the start of June.

Holders of a biometric passport will be able to enter the Union for 90 days within any 180-day period for a holiday, business or any other purpose, but not for working. Before exempting Ukrainians from visa requirements, the EU strengthened the visa waiver suspension mechanism, to allow visas to be reintroduced more easily in exceptional cases.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

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

#Ukraine #visas #visa

Draft report on the proposal to exempt Ukrainian citizens of visa requirementsMEPs and Council negotiators agree to waive EU visa requirement for Ukrainians (Press release, 28.02.2017)Reimposing visas: MEPs back emergency brake measures (Press release, 15.12.2016)Procedure fileAudiovisual material for professionalsAudiovisual material for professionals
 

Final vote on rules to help SMEs access diverse sources of capital across the EU

Final vote on rules to help SMEs access diverse sources of capital across the EU

Firms, especially SMEs, should find it cheaper and easier to access diverse sources of capital across the EU thanks to new rules simplifying prospectuses published when securities are offered to investors or admitted to trading. These rules will be debated on Tuesday and put to a final vote on Wednesday.

These uniform rules for prospectuses and the information they disclose should also protect investors, while creating a more efficient single market for capital in which they can put their money to work.

MEPs provisionally agreed the new rules with the Council in December 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

#capitalmarketsunion, #CMU

Draft resolution on the prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to tradingProcedure file
 

Rules to protect small investors and help SMEs access diverse sources of capital

Draft rules to make money market funds (MMFs) more resilient in crises and better able to resist market turbulence will be put to a final vote on Thursday. MFFs supply easily accessible liquid assets to investors seeking to diversify their portfolios, business start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but can be vulnerable to panic runs on their money.

Parliament has included a new category of MFFs, Low Volatility Net Asset Value MMFs (LVNAV MMF) in the rules, to make them work better for the real economy.

MEPs provisionally agreed the new rules with the Council in November 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

#moneymarketfunds

Draft resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Money Market FundsProcedure fileEP Think Tank: Money market funds background information Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Budgets MEPs to back budget flexibility: €6bn more for jobs, growth, tackling migration

Plans to make it easier to move money around within the EU’s long-run budget, to help tackle urgent challenges such as the migration crisis, strengthening security, boosting growth and creating jobs, will be voted on Wednesday. Parliament has long fought for gre ater flexibility within the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which would apply for the remainder of the 2014-2020 MFF.

This first-ever revision of the MFF would amend the MFF regulation of 2013 to strengthen various flexibility provisions and special instruments, which will allow more funds to be shifted more easily between budget chapters and years. In addition, budgetary top-ups amounting to €6,009 million would be made available and used for migration-related measures and programmes to boost jobs and growth.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Consent procedure

#MFF #EUBudget

Draft recommendation on the draft Council regulation amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020EP Think Tank background: Press release on committee vote (27.03.2017)Procedure fileEP Think Tank briefing: “2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF): Mid-term revision” (17.03.2017)Council Press release on the agreement in Council (07.03.2017)European Parliament resolution on the mid-term revision of the MFF 2014-2020 (26.10.2016)Audiovisual material for professionals and existing

Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Migration: MEPs to call for multilateral measures

Multilateral measures are urgently needed to manage the unprecedented numbers of migrants on the move worldwide, and not least to halt migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, MEPs will urge in a resolution to be debated on Tuesday and voted on Wednesday.

The draft text calls for a “multilateral governance regime” for international migration, increased cooperation between EU, UN specialised bodies, development banks and other players, and European Parliament involvement in concluding “migration compacts” with third countries. It also backs the UN “Together” campaign to combat negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants.

In 2015 a record high number of 65.3 million people – including 40.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 21.3 million refugees – remained forcibly displaced by conflicts, violence, human rights violations, violations of international humanitarian law and destabilisation, according to UNHCR.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday 4 April

Vote: Wednesday 5 April

Procedure: Non legislative resolution

#JoinTogether

#MigrationEU

Draft resolution on addressing refugee and migrant movements: the role of EU External ActionPress release on committee vote (31.01.2017)Procedure fileEP Research “The EU and migration” (October 2016)EP Research “Growing impact of EU migration policy on development cooperation” (October 2016)Audiovisual material for professionalsVideo extracts from the committee vote and statement by Elena VALENCIANO (S&D, ES) (31.01.2017)

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

 

EU Solidarity Corps: MEPs to call for needs dedicated long term budget

MEPs want new European Solidarity Corps to receive proper funding

MEPs are to call for robust legislation and proper funding for the new Solidarity Corps initiative which aims to create 100.000 volunteering and job placement opportunities for young people. However, the new initiative should not be financed at the expense of the Erasmus+ or other European programmes, MEPs say in a draft resolution to be voted on Thursday.

The text also calls for a clear distinction between volunteering activities and job placements, to ensure that no participating organisation hires young people as unpaid volunteers when potential quality jobs are available.

In an oral question tabled by the Culture and Education Committee, MEPs will quiz the Commission how the Solidarity Corps initiative will reinforce rather than duplicate existing successful volunteering programmes.

The Commission is expected to table a legislative proposal in May to follow up on its December 2016 communication on the European Solidarity Corps in December 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 3 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Question for oral answer by the Commission, non-legislative resolution

#EUSolidarityCorps

Press release on committee vote (22.03.2017)Communication from the Commission - A European Solidarity Corps EC webpage - Solidarity Corps Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West), Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)

 

Brazil’s tainted meat exports: MEPs to quiz Commission on EU consumer risks

MEPs will quiz the EU Commission on Monday on the recently revealed corruption scandal in Brazil’s meat sector over the sale and export of rotten meat.

How much tainted meat from Brazil has reached EU shores, why did EU border checks fail to reveal apparently systemic food fraud and what impact will this scandal have on ongoing trade talks with Mercosur? These are the questions that MEPs will put to the Commission on Monday evening.

Members of Parliament’s Agriculture Committee on 21 March deplored the lack of credible food safety checks in Brazil and stressed that the EU must do its utmost to protect its consumers. Many also criticised the fact that import checks at EU borders failed to reveal apparently long-standing fraud and demanded remedies.

Background

A two-year investigation by Brazilian Federal Police into two of Brazil’s largest meat processing companies (JBS & BRF) revealed serious fraud and corruption, showing that potentially dangerous meat products were placed in the food chain, thus potentially putting EU consumers at risk.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef and poultry combined. It is also the EU’s largest meat supplier, exporting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of beef and chicken to the EU each year.

In 2015, Brazil supplied the EU with over 140,000 tonnes of beef, or 42.1% of its total beef imports. In 2014, it supplied about 60% of the EU’s 0.8 million tonnes of poultry imports. According to the OECD, the EU consumed almost 7.77 million tonnes of beef in 2015 and more than 12.72 million tonnes of poultry in 2014.

This suggests that imports from Brazil account for about 1.8% of total EU beef and veal consumption and 3.77% of total EU poultry consumption.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 4 April

Procedure: Question for oral answer to the Commission

#foodsafety

Oral question on fraudulent practices in the Brazilian meat sector Press release on the debate in the Agriculture Committee (21.03.2017)Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

EU-US data transfers: key protection  against passing on personal data

The EU-US “Privacy Shield” for data transfers made for commercial purposes must respect EU personal data protection, law as laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and new data protection rules, MEPs say in a draft resolution ahead of the first annual review of the framework expected this summer.

Concerns remain about the use of bulk data for national security purposes, access to judicial redress for EU citizens and the independence of the US Ombudsperson mechanism, among other issues, say MEPs.

MEPs are also alarmed by recent revelations about surveillance activities conducted by a US electronic service provider and new rules allowing the US National Security Agency to share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorisation with other agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#PrivacyShield #DataProtection

Press release on committee vote (23.03.2017)EP research: From Safe Harbour to Privacy Shield: Advances and shortcomings of the new EU-US data transfer rules (19.01.2017)

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

 

UK, Cyprus, Portugal: MEPs to approve €71m in EU aid after natural disasters

MEPs are set to approve €71,524,810 in EU aid to repair damage caused by floods in the UK from December 2015 to January 2016, drought and fires in Cyprus from October 2015 to June 2016 and fires on the Portuguese island of Madeira in August 2016, in a vote on Wednesday. The aid comes from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF).

UK floods in 2015-16

The proposed aid totals €60,301,050. From December 2015 to January 2016, 11 UK regions were hit by heavy rainfall and strong winds, which led to flooding and infrastructure damage.

Cyprus – drought and fires in 2015-16

The proposed aid totals €7,298,760. From October 2015 to June 2016, Cyprus suffered from very low precipitation combined with extremely high temperatures, leading to severe drought with serious crop failure, forest and vegetation fires and scarcity of water. Two major wild fires in June 2016 burnt an area of over 2,600 hectares of state forest.

Portugal – Madeira fires in 2016

The proposed aid totals €3,925,000. Between 8 and 13 August 2016, the Portuguese island of Madeira suffered from large wild fires, burning an area of 6,000 hectares. They led to the destruction of essential public infrastructure, public buildings, private homes, businesses and damage in agriculture.

The aid of €71.5 million is intended to help restore essential infrastructure, reimburse the cost of emergency measures and cover the costs of some of the clean-up operations.

Next steps

If the Committee on Budgets approves the aid in a vote scheduled for Monday evening, the full house will vote on it on Thursday. The Council approved the aid on Monday 3 April If Parliament as a whole gives its green light, the funds could be available within weeks.

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 more than 70 disasters — including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought — in at least 24 EU countries has received EUSF aid totalling more than €3.7 billion.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Budgetary procedure

#EUSF #EUfunds

Procedure file

Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)

 

Calls to halt new GM maize authorisation

Parliament will vote on a resolution opposing the authorisation of products from an herbicide resistant GM maize.

A non-binding resolution opposing EU Commission plans to authorise imports of food and feed products derived from or containing a herbicide and pest-resistant genetically modified (GM) maize will be voted on Wednesday. It highlights the lack of data on the many sub-combinations of the variety - all of which would also be authorised - and reiterates Parliament’s call for a reform of the EU’s GMO authorisation procedure.

MEPs stress that hundreds of critical comments have been submitted by member states during the three-month consultation period, pointing to, inter alia, missing information and poorly-performed studies and tests.

MEPs also point out that the EU Commission is still authorising GMOs in the EU without the support of opinions of member state committees. This was supposed to be an exception to the usual decision-taking procedure, but has in fact become the norm.

Note to editors

The draft implementing decision by the European Commission would authorise GM maize Bt11 × 59122 × MIR604 × 1507 × GA21, and all 20 of the sub-combinations of its events.

A separate EU law that would enable any EU member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was opposed by Parliament in October 2015. MEPs are concerned that this law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries. They called on the Commission to table a new proposal.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution (objection)

#GMO #maize

Press release on committee vote (21.03.2017)EP Research: imports of GM food and feed - right of Member States to opt outAudiovisual material for professionals and existing
 
 
 

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following human rights and democracy topics on Thursday 6 April, at around 10.00, with the votes following at 12.00.

  • Russia, the arrest of Alexei Navalny and other protestors
  • Belarus
  • Bangladesh, including child marriages

Procedure: non-legislative resolutions

Debates/votes: Thursday, 6 April

#humanrights #democracy #RussiaProtests #Navalny #Belarus #Bangladesh

 

Other items on the agenda

Characeteristics for fishing vessels, Mon 3rd April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Féin (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

Women and their roles in rural areas, Mon 3rd April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West)

Prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading, Tues 4th April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

Estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2018 – Section I – European Parliament, Wed 5th April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

EP Plenary Session Newsletter 3rd - 6th April 2017

What will MEPs be working on in next week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Among the items on the agenda will be negotiations with the UK following the Article 50 notification, medical devices, fishing vessels, emissions in the automotive sector, the Brazilian meat sector, EU budget and more.

 

Parliament will debate and vote a resolution outlining its red lines during the upcoming negotiations on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

Political groups will set out their Brexit priorities in a key debate on Wednesday, just before talks start on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. MEPs will then vote on a resolution officially setting out the European Parliament’s key concerns and goals throughout the process.

The draft resolution places ensuring equal rights for EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU at the centre of Parliament’s priorities. It also says that the UK remains an EU member until its official departure and this entails rights but also obligations, including financial commitments which may well go beyond the withdrawal date.

The resolution also warns against attempting a trade-off between security and the future EU-UK economic relationship and opposes an economic relationship characterised by sector-specific deals.

Finally, the text holds out an olive branch by saying that negotiations on “transitional arrangements” could begin during the two year window provided by Article 50, but only if and when good progress has been made on the withdrawal agreement. Such transitional agreements may not last longer than three years, adds the text.

As for the future relationship, this can only be concluded once UK has withdrawn from the EU, the resolution says.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#BREXIT

Draft resolution (EN) Video recording of the press conference by EP President Antonio Tajani and EP Coordinator for Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt (29.03.2017)Background information on Article 50 (Infographic and video)EP Think Tank: UK withdrawal from the European Union - Legal and procedural issues (27.03.2017)Photos, Videos, Audio Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands–North-West), Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin)

 

Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to address European Parliament

Germany’s newly-elected Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will address MEPs in a formal sitting on Tuesday at noon. Previously Federal Foreign Minister, Mr Steinmeier was elected as 12th President of the Federal Republic of Germany on 12 February 2017. He took office on 19 March.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, 61, served as Head of the Federal Chancellery from 1999. He was appointed Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2005 and was also Deputy Chancellor from 2007. In 2009, he became a Member of the German Bundestag. The parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in the German Bundestag elected him as chairperson. Four years later, he became Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs for the second time, and served in this role until January 2017.

Past German federal presidents who addressed the European Parliament:

  • Roman Herzog (10.10.1995)
  • Johannes Rau (4.4.2001)
  • Horst Köhler (14.3.2006)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Formal sitting

#Germany

Website of the President of the Federal Republic of GermanyAudiovisual material for professionals
 

Medical devices: MEPs to approve stricter EU safety requirements

Parliament will vote on plans for safer medical devices, such as breast or hip implants.

Plans for stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure full legal compliance and traceability of medical devices, such as breast or hip implants, will be put to a vote on Wednesday. MEPs will also vote on legislation to tighten up information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices, used for example in pregnancy or DNA testing. Both draft laws have been informally agreed with the Council of Ministers.

Post-market surveillance will be strengthened, so that unexpected problems are identified and dealt with faster. In the PIP breast implant scandal, many women simply did not know whether they had received defective implants. The legislation will introduce a Unique Device Identification (UDI) system to ensure it is always possible to trace which patient has which device.

The agreement also provides for random inspections of producers’ facilities after devices have been placed on the market, stricter checks on “notified” (conformity assessment) bodies, which will have to employ medically skilled people, and an additional safety checking procedure for high risk devices, such as implants or HIV tests.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure, second reading agreement

#medicaldevices

Council position: Medical devices Council position: In vitro diagnosticDraft recommendation for second reading on in vitro diagnostic medical devicesPress release on committee vote (15.06.2016)Procedure fileProcedure file: In vitro diagnostic medical devicesEP Research Medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devicesAudiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Car emissions: debate and final vote on inquiry committee recommendations

Final report and recommendations by EMIS inquiry committee, which call on EU Commission and the member states to be stricter with cheating car manufacturers.

On Tuesday, MEPs will debate and vote on recommendations to the EU Commission and member states on how to remedy flaws in checks on car manufacturers and close legal loopholes to prevent further cheating in emissions tests, while also properly enforcing laws to protect air quality.

In February, the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurement in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) wrapped up a year’s work with a final report and draft recommendations. Members concluded that even though the EU Commission and member states were already aware, a decade ago, that diesel cars’ nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in laboratory tests differ markedly from those measured on the roads, they failed to act appropriately to protect air quality and public health.

The draft recommendations call for EU rules in this area to be clarified, tightened up and better enforced. Laws, replacing unrealistic laboratory measurements with “real driving emissions” tests, should be adopted quickly, with additional EU oversight of the “type approval” and market surveillance system for motor vehicles.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

Press conference: Tuesday, 4 April at 15.00

#caremissions

Final report on the inquiry into emission measurements in the automotive sector Press release on committee vote (28.02.2017) Procedure fileEP Study: legal obligations relating to emission measurements in EU automotive sector (June 2016) EP Research: At a glance - Vehicle emission tests: beyond the VW case (October 2015)Audiovisual material for professionals Draft recommendation following the inquiry on emission measurements in the automotive sector

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

 

Wholesale roaming price caps: final vote

Final vote on the informal agreement between the Parliament and the Council on the wholesale roaming price caps.

An informal agreement between the Parliament and the Council on wholesale price caps for carrying “roaming” data transfers between EU countries will be debated on Wednesday evening, and put to a final vote on Thursday.

Capping wholesale roaming prices is a necessary step towards the full abolition of retail roaming surcharges on 15 June 2017, which will enable mobile phone users to transfer data while in other EU countries, just as they do at home, without paying extra fees.

The informally agreed lower caps for data transfers would enable EU consumers to access more audio-visual content when travelling from a country to another. They could also open up markets for small and virtual telecoms operators.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure (first reading agreement)

Press conference: TBC

#roaming

Draft report on the rules for wholesale roaming markets Press release on the outcome of the interinstitutional negotiations (01.02.2017) Procedure fileEP Research Briefing (February 2017)Audiovisual material for professionals
 

MEPs to call for clampdown on use of palm oil in biofuels

A parliamentary report to be voted on Tuesday advocates a phasing out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils that drive deforestation by 2020, and a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market.

The EU should tackle the environmental impacts of unsustainable palm oil production, such as deforestation and habitat degradation, particularly in South-East Asia, says a non-binding report to be put to a vote on Tuesday. Members advocate phasing out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils linked to deforestation by 2020, and a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market.

MEPs note that about one million hectares of tropical soils are used to produce the EU’s palm oil imports, 46% of which are used to produce biofuels. They call on the EU Commission to take measures to phase out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils that “drive deforestation”, including palm oil, preferably by 2020.

Note to editors

According to “very worrying reports” cited by MEPs (links below), a large part of the global production of palm oil is in breach of fundamental human rights and adequate social standards. Child labour is frequently used, and there are many land use conflicts between local and indigenous communities and palm oil concession holders.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 3 April

Vote: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

#PalmOil

#Palmoil #deforestation

Draft resolution on palm oil and deforestation of rainforestsPress release on committee vote (09.03.2017)Procedure fileEP Research: the impact of biofuels on transport and the environment, and their connection with agricultural development in European Parliament

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

 

Hate speech, populism, and fake news on social media – debate

Hate speech, populism, and fake news on social media will be up for debate in plenary on Wednesday afternoon. MEPs will discuss how the EU can better respond to these phenomena to prevent interference in the democratic process and particularly in elections.

In November 2016, Parliament adopted a resolution on how to counteract propaganda against it by third parties.

Topical debates

The new EP rules of procedures (rule 153) foresee one topical debate at each part-session of 60-90 minutes to discuss topical matters of major interest to the EU policy, proposed by one political group. Each group has the right to propose at least one such debate per year.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Topical debate

#fakenews

Press release on propaganda from Russia and islamist terrorist groups (23.11.2016)EP Policy study on EU strategic communications with a view to counteracting propaganda
 

Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem requested invited to debate Greek reforms with full House

Eurogroup President and leading “Troika” figure Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been invited to Parliament to explain the state of play on the second review of the Economic adjustment programme for Greece in a debate on Tuesday afternoon.

At an Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on 21 March, Mr Dijsselbloem was grilled by several MEPs on recent statements to the press.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Statement by the President of the Eurogroup

#Greece #eurogroup @J_Dijsselbloem

EP Press Release: Eurogroup Head pressed to apologise after “insulting” “machismo” remarks (21.03.2017)

Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Overhauling EU car approval rules to prevent further emissions scandals

In a drive to prevent a recurrence of the VW emissions scandal, Parliament will amend EU car “type approval” rules in a vote on Tuesday, to make environmental and safety testing more independent and strengthen national and EU oversight of cars already on the road.

Internal Market MEPs are proposing changes to the EU Commission’s proposal to ensure more thorough auditing of the work of testing centres and national authorities who approve vehicles for sale, step up surveillance of cars already on the road and give the Commission independent oversight powers to check whether national authorities are doing their job and, in some cases, test cars itself. (AMs 71, 98, 64, 77, 91, 92)

Under the rules as amended, each year EU member states would have to test at least 20% of the car models placed on the market in their country in the previous year. They would also have to secure EU Commission approval for their “national surveillance programmes”, which would be subject to regular review. (AMs 77, 79)

Car manufacturers who are in breach of the rules, e.g. for falsifying test results, would risk administrative fines of up to €30,000 per vehicle, which could be levied by the Commission if no fine is imposed at national level. (AMs 310, 312, 317)

This vote will give Parliament’s negotiators, led by Daniel Dalton (ECR, UK), a mandate to start three-way talks (“trilogues”) with the Council and Commission. The Council stills needs to agree its position on this file before trilogues can start.

Note to editors

“Type approval” is the process whereby national authorities certify that a new vehicle model meets all EU safety, environmental and production requirements before it can be placed on the market.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Tuesday 4 April

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

Press conference: tbc

#CleanerCars


Draft report on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehiclesPress release on committee vote (09.02.2017)Procedure fileEP Research briefing - Motor vehicles: New approval and market surveillance rules Commission’s fact sheet - EU legislation on passenger car type approval and emissions standardsAudiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Ukraine visa waiver: final vote in Parliament

Ukrainian citizens will have the right to travel to the EU without a visa under a draft law to be voted in plenary on Thursday. The text has already been informally agreed with the Council. It will likely enter force at the start of June.

Holders of a biometric passport will be able to enter the Union for 90 days within any 180-day period for a holiday, business or any other purpose, but not for working. Before exempting Ukrainians from visa requirements, the EU strengthened the visa waiver suspension mechanism, to allow visas to be reintroduced more easily in exceptional cases.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

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

#Ukraine #visas #visa

Draft report on the proposal to exempt Ukrainian citizens of visa requirementsMEPs and Council negotiators agree to waive EU visa requirement for Ukrainians (Press release, 28.02.2017)Reimposing visas: MEPs back emergency brake measures (Press release, 15.12.2016)Procedure fileAudiovisual material for professionalsAudiovisual material for professionals
 

Final vote on rules to help SMEs access diverse sources of capital across the EU

Final vote on rules to help SMEs access diverse sources of capital across the EU

Firms, especially SMEs, should find it cheaper and easier to access diverse sources of capital across the EU thanks to new rules simplifying prospectuses published when securities are offered to investors or admitted to trading. These rules will be debated on Tuesday and put to a final vote on Wednesday.

These uniform rules for prospectuses and the information they disclose should also protect investors, while creating a more efficient single market for capital in which they can put their money to work.

MEPs provisionally agreed the new rules with the Council in December 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

#capitalmarketsunion, #CMU

Draft resolution on the prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to tradingProcedure file
 

Rules to protect small investors and help SMEs access diverse sources of capital

Draft rules to make money market funds (MMFs) more resilient in crises and better able to resist market turbulence will be put to a final vote on Thursday. MFFs supply easily accessible liquid assets to investors seeking to diversify their portfolios, business start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but can be vulnerable to panic runs on their money.

Parliament has included a new category of MFFs, Low Volatility Net Asset Value MMFs (LVNAV MMF) in the rules, to make them work better for the real economy.

MEPs provisionally agreed the new rules with the Council in November 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

#moneymarketfunds

Draft resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Money Market FundsProcedure fileEP Think Tank: Money market funds background information Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Budgets MEPs to back budget flexibility: €6bn more for jobs, growth, tackling migration

Plans to make it easier to move money around within the EU’s long-run budget, to help tackle urgent challenges such as the migration crisis, strengthening security, boosting growth and creating jobs, will be voted on Wednesday. Parliament has long fought for gre ater flexibility within the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which would apply for the remainder of the 2014-2020 MFF.

This first-ever revision of the MFF would amend the MFF regulation of 2013 to strengthen various flexibility provisions and special instruments, which will allow more funds to be shifted more easily between budget chapters and years. In addition, budgetary top-ups amounting to €6,009 million would be made available and used for migration-related measures and programmes to boost jobs and growth.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Consent procedure

#MFF #EUBudget

Draft recommendation on the draft Council regulation amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020EP Think Tank background: Press release on committee vote (27.03.2017)Procedure fileEP Think Tank briefing: “2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF): Mid-term revision” (17.03.2017)Council Press release on the agreement in Council (07.03.2017)European Parliament resolution on the mid-term revision of the MFF 2014-2020 (26.10.2016)Audiovisual material for professionals and existing

Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Migration: MEPs to call for multilateral measures

Multilateral measures are urgently needed to manage the unprecedented numbers of migrants on the move worldwide, and not least to halt migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, MEPs will urge in a resolution to be debated on Tuesday and voted on Wednesday.

The draft text calls for a “multilateral governance regime” for international migration, increased cooperation between EU, UN specialised bodies, development banks and other players, and European Parliament involvement in concluding “migration compacts” with third countries. It also backs the UN “Together” campaign to combat negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants.

In 2015 a record high number of 65.3 million people – including 40.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 21.3 million refugees – remained forcibly displaced by conflicts, violence, human rights violations, violations of international humanitarian law and destabilisation, according to UNHCR.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday 4 April

Vote: Wednesday 5 April

Procedure: Non legislative resolution

#JoinTogether

#MigrationEU

Draft resolution on addressing refugee and migrant movements: the role of EU External ActionPress release on committee vote (31.01.2017)Procedure fileEP Research “The EU and migration” (October 2016)EP Research “Growing impact of EU migration policy on development cooperation” (October 2016)Audiovisual material for professionalsVideo extracts from the committee vote and statement by Elena VALENCIANO (S&D, ES) (31.01.2017)

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

 

EU Solidarity Corps: MEPs to call for needs dedicated long term budget

MEPs want new European Solidarity Corps to receive proper funding

MEPs are to call for robust legislation and proper funding for the new Solidarity Corps initiative which aims to create 100.000 volunteering and job placement opportunities for young people. However, the new initiative should not be financed at the expense of the Erasmus+ or other European programmes, MEPs say in a draft resolution to be voted on Thursday.

The text also calls for a clear distinction between volunteering activities and job placements, to ensure that no participating organisation hires young people as unpaid volunteers when potential quality jobs are available.

In an oral question tabled by the Culture and Education Committee, MEPs will quiz the Commission how the Solidarity Corps initiative will reinforce rather than duplicate existing successful volunteering programmes.

The Commission is expected to table a legislative proposal in May to follow up on its December 2016 communication on the European Solidarity Corps in December 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 3 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Question for oral answer by the Commission, non-legislative resolution

#EUSolidarityCorps

Press release on committee vote (22.03.2017)Communication from the Commission - A European Solidarity Corps EC webpage - Solidarity Corps Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West), Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)

 

Brazil’s tainted meat exports: MEPs to quiz Commission on EU consumer risks

MEPs will quiz the EU Commission on Monday on the recently revealed corruption scandal in Brazil’s meat sector over the sale and export of rotten meat.

How much tainted meat from Brazil has reached EU shores, why did EU border checks fail to reveal apparently systemic food fraud and what impact will this scandal have on ongoing trade talks with Mercosur? These are the questions that MEPs will put to the Commission on Monday evening.

Members of Parliament’s Agriculture Committee on 21 March deplored the lack of credible food safety checks in Brazil and stressed that the EU must do its utmost to protect its consumers. Many also criticised the fact that import checks at EU borders failed to reveal apparently long-standing fraud and demanded remedies.

Background

A two-year investigation by Brazilian Federal Police into two of Brazil’s largest meat processing companies (JBS & BRF) revealed serious fraud and corruption, showing that potentially dangerous meat products were placed in the food chain, thus potentially putting EU consumers at risk.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef and poultry combined. It is also the EU’s largest meat supplier, exporting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of beef and chicken to the EU each year.

In 2015, Brazil supplied the EU with over 140,000 tonnes of beef, or 42.1% of its total beef imports. In 2014, it supplied about 60% of the EU’s 0.8 million tonnes of poultry imports. According to the OECD, the EU consumed almost 7.77 million tonnes of beef in 2015 and more than 12.72 million tonnes of poultry in 2014.

This suggests that imports from Brazil account for about 1.8% of total EU beef and veal consumption and 3.77% of total EU poultry consumption.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 4 April

Procedure: Question for oral answer to the Commission

#foodsafety

Oral question on fraudulent practices in the Brazilian meat sector Press release on the debate in the Agriculture Committee (21.03.2017)Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

EU-US data transfers: key protection  against passing on personal data

The EU-US “Privacy Shield” for data transfers made for commercial purposes must respect EU personal data protection, law as laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and new data protection rules, MEPs say in a draft resolution ahead of the first annual review of the framework expected this summer.

Concerns remain about the use of bulk data for national security purposes, access to judicial redress for EU citizens and the independence of the US Ombudsperson mechanism, among other issues, say MEPs.

MEPs are also alarmed by recent revelations about surveillance activities conducted by a US electronic service provider and new rules allowing the US National Security Agency to share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorisation with other agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#PrivacyShield #DataProtection

Press release on committee vote (23.03.2017)EP research: From Safe Harbour to Privacy Shield: Advances and shortcomings of the new EU-US data transfer rules (19.01.2017)

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

 

UK, Cyprus, Portugal: MEPs to approve €71m in EU aid after natural disasters

MEPs are set to approve €71,524,810 in EU aid to repair damage caused by floods in the UK from December 2015 to January 2016, drought and fires in Cyprus from October 2015 to June 2016 and fires on the Portuguese island of Madeira in August 2016, in a vote on Wednesday. The aid comes from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF).

UK floods in 2015-16

The proposed aid totals €60,301,050. From December 2015 to January 2016, 11 UK regions were hit by heavy rainfall and strong winds, which led to flooding and infrastructure damage.

Cyprus – drought and fires in 2015-16

The proposed aid totals €7,298,760. From October 2015 to June 2016, Cyprus suffered from very low precipitation combined with extremely high temperatures, leading to severe drought with serious crop failure, forest and vegetation fires and scarcity of water. Two major wild fires in June 2016 burnt an area of over 2,600 hectares of state forest.

Portugal – Madeira fires in 2016

The proposed aid totals €3,925,000. Between 8 and 13 August 2016, the Portuguese island of Madeira suffered from large wild fires, burning an area of 6,000 hectares. They led to the destruction of essential public infrastructure, public buildings, private homes, businesses and damage in agriculture.

The aid of €71.5 million is intended to help restore essential infrastructure, reimburse the cost of emergency measures and cover the costs of some of the clean-up operations.

Next steps

If the Committee on Budgets approves the aid in a vote scheduled for Monday evening, the full house will vote on it on Thursday. The Council approved the aid on Monday 3 April If Parliament as a whole gives its green light, the funds could be available within weeks.

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 more than 70 disasters — including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought — in at least 24 EU countries has received EUSF aid totalling more than €3.7 billion.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Budgetary procedure

#EUSF #EUfunds

Procedure file

Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)

 

Calls to halt new GM maize authorisation

Parliament will vote on a resolution opposing the authorisation of products from an herbicide resistant GM maize.

A non-binding resolution opposing EU Commission plans to authorise imports of food and feed products derived from or containing a herbicide and pest-resistant genetically modified (GM) maize will be voted on Wednesday. It highlights the lack of data on the many sub-combinations of the variety - all of which would also be authorised - and reiterates Parliament’s call for a reform of the EU’s GMO authorisation procedure.

MEPs stress that hundreds of critical comments have been submitted by member states during the three-month consultation period, pointing to, inter alia, missing information and poorly-performed studies and tests.

MEPs also point out that the EU Commission is still authorising GMOs in the EU without the support of opinions of member state committees. This was supposed to be an exception to the usual decision-taking procedure, but has in fact become the norm.

Note to editors

The draft implementing decision by the European Commission would authorise GM maize Bt11 × 59122 × MIR604 × 1507 × GA21, and all 20 of the sub-combinations of its events.

A separate EU law that would enable any EU member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was opposed by Parliament in October 2015. MEPs are concerned that this law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries. They called on the Commission to table a new proposal.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution (objection)

#GMO #maize

Press release on committee vote (21.03.2017)EP Research: imports of GM food and feed - right of Member States to opt outAudiovisual material for professionals and existing
 
 
 

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following human rights and democracy topics on Thursday 6 April, at around 10.00, with the votes following at 12.00.

  • Russia, the arrest of Alexei Navalny and other protestors
  • Belarus
  • Bangladesh, including child marriages

Procedure: non-legislative resolutions

Debates/votes: Thursday, 6 April

#humanrights #democracy #RussiaProtests #Navalny #Belarus #Bangladesh

 

Other items on the agenda

Characeteristics for fishing vessels, Mon 3rd April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Féin (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

Women and their roles in rural areas, Mon 3rd April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West)

Prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading, Tues 4th April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

Estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2018 – Section I – European Parliament, Wed 5th April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

EP Plenary Session Newsletter 3rd - 6th April 2017

What will MEPs be working on in next week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Among the items on the agenda will be negotiations with the UK following the Article 50 notification, medical devices, fishing vessels, emissions in the automotive sector, the Brazilian meat sector, EU budget and more.

 

Parliament will debate and vote a resolution outlining its red lines during the upcoming negotiations on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

Political groups will set out their Brexit priorities in a key debate on Wednesday, just before talks start on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. MEPs will then vote on a resolution officially setting out the European Parliament’s key concerns and goals throughout the process.

The draft resolution places ensuring equal rights for EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU at the centre of Parliament’s priorities. It also says that the UK remains an EU member until its official departure and this entails rights but also obligations, including financial commitments which may well go beyond the withdrawal date.

The resolution also warns against attempting a trade-off between security and the future EU-UK economic relationship and opposes an economic relationship characterised by sector-specific deals.

Finally, the text holds out an olive branch by saying that negotiations on “transitional arrangements” could begin during the two year window provided by Article 50, but only if and when good progress has been made on the withdrawal agreement. Such transitional agreements may not last longer than three years, adds the text.

As for the future relationship, this can only be concluded once UK has withdrawn from the EU, the resolution says.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#BREXIT

Draft resolution (EN) Video recording of the press conference by EP President Antonio Tajani and EP Coordinator for Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt (29.03.2017)Background information on Article 50 (Infographic and video)EP Think Tank: UK withdrawal from the European Union - Legal and procedural issues (27.03.2017)Photos, Videos, Audio Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands–North-West), Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin)

 

Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to address European Parliament

Germany’s newly-elected Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will address MEPs in a formal sitting on Tuesday at noon. Previously Federal Foreign Minister, Mr Steinmeier was elected as 12th President of the Federal Republic of Germany on 12 February 2017. He took office on 19 March.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, 61, served as Head of the Federal Chancellery from 1999. He was appointed Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2005 and was also Deputy Chancellor from 2007. In 2009, he became a Member of the German Bundestag. The parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in the German Bundestag elected him as chairperson. Four years later, he became Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs for the second time, and served in this role until January 2017.

Past German federal presidents who addressed the European Parliament:

  • Roman Herzog (10.10.1995)
  • Johannes Rau (4.4.2001)
  • Horst Köhler (14.3.2006)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Formal sitting

#Germany

Website of the President of the Federal Republic of GermanyAudiovisual material for professionals
 

Medical devices: MEPs to approve stricter EU safety requirements

Parliament will vote on plans for safer medical devices, such as breast or hip implants.

Plans for stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure full legal compliance and traceability of medical devices, such as breast or hip implants, will be put to a vote on Wednesday. MEPs will also vote on legislation to tighten up information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices, used for example in pregnancy or DNA testing. Both draft laws have been informally agreed with the Council of Ministers.

Post-market surveillance will be strengthened, so that unexpected problems are identified and dealt with faster. In the PIP breast implant scandal, many women simply did not know whether they had received defective implants. The legislation will introduce a Unique Device Identification (UDI) system to ensure it is always possible to trace which patient has which device.

The agreement also provides for random inspections of producers’ facilities after devices have been placed on the market, stricter checks on “notified” (conformity assessment) bodies, which will have to employ medically skilled people, and an additional safety checking procedure for high risk devices, such as implants or HIV tests.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure, second reading agreement

#medicaldevices

Council position: Medical devices Council position: In vitro diagnosticDraft recommendation for second reading on in vitro diagnostic medical devicesPress release on committee vote (15.06.2016)Procedure fileProcedure file: In vitro diagnostic medical devicesEP Research Medical devices and in vitro diagnostic medical devicesAudiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Car emissions: debate and final vote on inquiry committee recommendations

Final report and recommendations by EMIS inquiry committee, which call on EU Commission and the member states to be stricter with cheating car manufacturers.

On Tuesday, MEPs will debate and vote on recommendations to the EU Commission and member states on how to remedy flaws in checks on car manufacturers and close legal loopholes to prevent further cheating in emissions tests, while also properly enforcing laws to protect air quality.

In February, the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurement in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) wrapped up a year’s work with a final report and draft recommendations. Members concluded that even though the EU Commission and member states were already aware, a decade ago, that diesel cars’ nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in laboratory tests differ markedly from those measured on the roads, they failed to act appropriately to protect air quality and public health.

The draft recommendations call for EU rules in this area to be clarified, tightened up and better enforced. Laws, replacing unrealistic laboratory measurements with “real driving emissions” tests, should be adopted quickly, with additional EU oversight of the “type approval” and market surveillance system for motor vehicles.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

Press conference: Tuesday, 4 April at 15.00

#caremissions

Final report on the inquiry into emission measurements in the automotive sector Press release on committee vote (28.02.2017) Procedure fileEP Study: legal obligations relating to emission measurements in EU automotive sector (June 2016) EP Research: At a glance - Vehicle emission tests: beyond the VW case (October 2015)Audiovisual material for professionals Draft recommendation following the inquiry on emission measurements in the automotive sector

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

 

Wholesale roaming price caps: final vote

Final vote on the informal agreement between the Parliament and the Council on the wholesale roaming price caps.

An informal agreement between the Parliament and the Council on wholesale price caps for carrying “roaming” data transfers between EU countries will be debated on Wednesday evening, and put to a final vote on Thursday.

Capping wholesale roaming prices is a necessary step towards the full abolition of retail roaming surcharges on 15 June 2017, which will enable mobile phone users to transfer data while in other EU countries, just as they do at home, without paying extra fees.

The informally agreed lower caps for data transfers would enable EU consumers to access more audio-visual content when travelling from a country to another. They could also open up markets for small and virtual telecoms operators.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure (first reading agreement)

Press conference: TBC

#roaming

Draft report on the rules for wholesale roaming markets Press release on the outcome of the interinstitutional negotiations (01.02.2017) Procedure fileEP Research Briefing (February 2017)Audiovisual material for professionals
 

MEPs to call for clampdown on use of palm oil in biofuels

A parliamentary report to be voted on Tuesday advocates a phasing out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils that drive deforestation by 2020, and a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market.

The EU should tackle the environmental impacts of unsustainable palm oil production, such as deforestation and habitat degradation, particularly in South-East Asia, says a non-binding report to be put to a vote on Tuesday. Members advocate phasing out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils linked to deforestation by 2020, and a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market.

MEPs note that about one million hectares of tropical soils are used to produce the EU’s palm oil imports, 46% of which are used to produce biofuels. They call on the EU Commission to take measures to phase out the use in biofuels of vegetable oils that “drive deforestation”, including palm oil, preferably by 2020.

Note to editors

According to “very worrying reports” cited by MEPs (links below), a large part of the global production of palm oil is in breach of fundamental human rights and adequate social standards. Child labour is frequently used, and there are many land use conflicts between local and indigenous communities and palm oil concession holders.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 3 April

Vote: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

#PalmOil

#Palmoil #deforestation

Draft resolution on palm oil and deforestation of rainforestsPress release on committee vote (09.03.2017)Procedure fileEP Research: the impact of biofuels on transport and the environment, and their connection with agricultural development in European Parliament

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

 

Hate speech, populism, and fake news on social media – debate

Hate speech, populism, and fake news on social media will be up for debate in plenary on Wednesday afternoon. MEPs will discuss how the EU can better respond to these phenomena to prevent interference in the democratic process and particularly in elections.

In November 2016, Parliament adopted a resolution on how to counteract propaganda against it by third parties.

Topical debates

The new EP rules of procedures (rule 153) foresee one topical debate at each part-session of 60-90 minutes to discuss topical matters of major interest to the EU policy, proposed by one political group. Each group has the right to propose at least one such debate per year.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Topical debate

#fakenews

Press release on propaganda from Russia and islamist terrorist groups (23.11.2016)EP Policy study on EU strategic communications with a view to counteracting propaganda
 

Eurogroup President Dijsselbloem requested invited to debate Greek reforms with full House

Eurogroup President and leading “Troika” figure Jeroen Dijsselbloem has been invited to Parliament to explain the state of play on the second review of the Economic adjustment programme for Greece in a debate on Tuesday afternoon.

At an Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on 21 March, Mr Dijsselbloem was grilled by several MEPs on recent statements to the press.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Procedure: Statement by the President of the Eurogroup

#Greece #eurogroup @J_Dijsselbloem

EP Press Release: Eurogroup Head pressed to apologise after “insulting” “machismo” remarks (21.03.2017)

Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Overhauling EU car approval rules to prevent further emissions scandals

In a drive to prevent a recurrence of the VW emissions scandal, Parliament will amend EU car “type approval” rules in a vote on Tuesday, to make environmental and safety testing more independent and strengthen national and EU oversight of cars already on the road.

Internal Market MEPs are proposing changes to the EU Commission’s proposal to ensure more thorough auditing of the work of testing centres and national authorities who approve vehicles for sale, step up surveillance of cars already on the road and give the Commission independent oversight powers to check whether national authorities are doing their job and, in some cases, test cars itself. (AMs 71, 98, 64, 77, 91, 92)

Under the rules as amended, each year EU member states would have to test at least 20% of the car models placed on the market in their country in the previous year. They would also have to secure EU Commission approval for their “national surveillance programmes”, which would be subject to regular review. (AMs 77, 79)

Car manufacturers who are in breach of the rules, e.g. for falsifying test results, would risk administrative fines of up to €30,000 per vehicle, which could be levied by the Commission if no fine is imposed at national level. (AMs 310, 312, 317)

This vote will give Parliament’s negotiators, led by Daniel Dalton (ECR, UK), a mandate to start three-way talks (“trilogues”) with the Council and Commission. The Council stills needs to agree its position on this file before trilogues can start.

Note to editors

“Type approval” is the process whereby national authorities certify that a new vehicle model meets all EU safety, environmental and production requirements before it can be placed on the market.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Tuesday 4 April

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

Press conference: tbc

#CleanerCars


Draft report on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehiclesPress release on committee vote (09.02.2017)Procedure fileEP Research briefing - Motor vehicles: New approval and market surveillance rules Commission’s fact sheet - EU legislation on passenger car type approval and emissions standardsAudiovisual material for professionals

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

 

Ukraine visa waiver: final vote in Parliament

Ukrainian citizens will have the right to travel to the EU without a visa under a draft law to be voted in plenary on Thursday. The text has already been informally agreed with the Council. It will likely enter force at the start of June.

Holders of a biometric passport will be able to enter the Union for 90 days within any 180-day period for a holiday, business or any other purpose, but not for working. Before exempting Ukrainians from visa requirements, the EU strengthened the visa waiver suspension mechanism, to allow visas to be reintroduced more easily in exceptional cases.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

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

#Ukraine #visas #visa

Draft report on the proposal to exempt Ukrainian citizens of visa requirementsMEPs and Council negotiators agree to waive EU visa requirement for Ukrainians (Press release, 28.02.2017)Reimposing visas: MEPs back emergency brake measures (Press release, 15.12.2016)Procedure fileAudiovisual material for professionalsAudiovisual material for professionals
 

Final vote on rules to help SMEs access diverse sources of capital across the EU

Final vote on rules to help SMEs access diverse sources of capital across the EU

Firms, especially SMEs, should find it cheaper and easier to access diverse sources of capital across the EU thanks to new rules simplifying prospectuses published when securities are offered to investors or admitted to trading. These rules will be debated on Tuesday and put to a final vote on Wednesday.

These uniform rules for prospectuses and the information they disclose should also protect investors, while creating a more efficient single market for capital in which they can put their money to work.

MEPs provisionally agreed the new rules with the Council in December 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

#capitalmarketsunion, #CMU

Draft resolution on the prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to tradingProcedure file
 

Rules to protect small investors and help SMEs access diverse sources of capital

Draft rules to make money market funds (MMFs) more resilient in crises and better able to resist market turbulence will be put to a final vote on Thursday. MFFs supply easily accessible liquid assets to investors seeking to diversify their portfolios, business start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but can be vulnerable to panic runs on their money.

Parliament has included a new category of MFFs, Low Volatility Net Asset Value MMFs (LVNAV MMF) in the rules, to make them work better for the real economy.

MEPs provisionally agreed the new rules with the Council in November 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

#moneymarketfunds

Draft resolution on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Money Market FundsProcedure fileEP Think Tank: Money market funds background information Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Budgets MEPs to back budget flexibility: €6bn more for jobs, growth, tackling migration

Plans to make it easier to move money around within the EU’s long-run budget, to help tackle urgent challenges such as the migration crisis, strengthening security, boosting growth and creating jobs, will be voted on Wednesday. Parliament has long fought for gre ater flexibility within the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which would apply for the remainder of the 2014-2020 MFF.

This first-ever revision of the MFF would amend the MFF regulation of 2013 to strengthen various flexibility provisions and special instruments, which will allow more funds to be shifted more easily between budget chapters and years. In addition, budgetary top-ups amounting to €6,009 million would be made available and used for migration-related measures and programmes to boost jobs and growth.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 4 April

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Consent procedure

#MFF #EUBudget

Draft recommendation on the draft Council regulation amending Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1311/2013 laying down the multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020EP Think Tank background: Press release on committee vote (27.03.2017)Procedure fileEP Think Tank briefing: “2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF): Mid-term revision” (17.03.2017)Council Press release on the agreement in Council (07.03.2017)European Parliament resolution on the mid-term revision of the MFF 2014-2020 (26.10.2016)Audiovisual material for professionals and existing

Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

 

Migration: MEPs to call for multilateral measures

Multilateral measures are urgently needed to manage the unprecedented numbers of migrants on the move worldwide, and not least to halt migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, MEPs will urge in a resolution to be debated on Tuesday and voted on Wednesday.

The draft text calls for a “multilateral governance regime” for international migration, increased cooperation between EU, UN specialised bodies, development banks and other players, and European Parliament involvement in concluding “migration compacts” with third countries. It also backs the UN “Together” campaign to combat negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants.

In 2015 a record high number of 65.3 million people – including 40.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 21.3 million refugees – remained forcibly displaced by conflicts, violence, human rights violations, violations of international humanitarian law and destabilisation, according to UNHCR.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday 4 April

Vote: Wednesday 5 April

Procedure: Non legislative resolution

#JoinTogether

#MigrationEU

Draft resolution on addressing refugee and migrant movements: the role of EU External ActionPress release on committee vote (31.01.2017)Procedure fileEP Research “The EU and migration” (October 2016)EP Research “Growing impact of EU migration policy on development cooperation” (October 2016)Audiovisual material for professionalsVideo extracts from the committee vote and statement by Elena VALENCIANO (S&D, ES) (31.01.2017)

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

 

EU Solidarity Corps: MEPs to call for needs dedicated long term budget

MEPs want new European Solidarity Corps to receive proper funding

MEPs are to call for robust legislation and proper funding for the new Solidarity Corps initiative which aims to create 100.000 volunteering and job placement opportunities for young people. However, the new initiative should not be financed at the expense of the Erasmus+ or other European programmes, MEPs say in a draft resolution to be voted on Thursday.

The text also calls for a clear distinction between volunteering activities and job placements, to ensure that no participating organisation hires young people as unpaid volunteers when potential quality jobs are available.

In an oral question tabled by the Culture and Education Committee, MEPs will quiz the Commission how the Solidarity Corps initiative will reinforce rather than duplicate existing successful volunteering programmes.

The Commission is expected to table a legislative proposal in May to follow up on its December 2016 communication on the European Solidarity Corps in December 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 3 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Question for oral answer by the Commission, non-legislative resolution

#EUSolidarityCorps

Press release on committee vote (22.03.2017)Communication from the Commission - A European Solidarity Corps EC webpage - Solidarity Corps Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West), Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)

 

Brazil’s tainted meat exports: MEPs to quiz Commission on EU consumer risks

MEPs will quiz the EU Commission on Monday on the recently revealed corruption scandal in Brazil’s meat sector over the sale and export of rotten meat.

How much tainted meat from Brazil has reached EU shores, why did EU border checks fail to reveal apparently systemic food fraud and what impact will this scandal have on ongoing trade talks with Mercosur? These are the questions that MEPs will put to the Commission on Monday evening.

Members of Parliament’s Agriculture Committee on 21 March deplored the lack of credible food safety checks in Brazil and stressed that the EU must do its utmost to protect its consumers. Many also criticised the fact that import checks at EU borders failed to reveal apparently long-standing fraud and demanded remedies.

Background

A two-year investigation by Brazilian Federal Police into two of Brazil’s largest meat processing companies (JBS & BRF) revealed serious fraud and corruption, showing that potentially dangerous meat products were placed in the food chain, thus potentially putting EU consumers at risk.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef and poultry combined. It is also the EU’s largest meat supplier, exporting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of beef and chicken to the EU each year.

In 2015, Brazil supplied the EU with over 140,000 tonnes of beef, or 42.1% of its total beef imports. In 2014, it supplied about 60% of the EU’s 0.8 million tonnes of poultry imports. According to the OECD, the EU consumed almost 7.77 million tonnes of beef in 2015 and more than 12.72 million tonnes of poultry in 2014.

This suggests that imports from Brazil account for about 1.8% of total EU beef and veal consumption and 3.77% of total EU poultry consumption.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 4 April

Procedure: Question for oral answer to the Commission

#foodsafety

Oral question on fraudulent practices in the Brazilian meat sector Press release on the debate in the Agriculture Committee (21.03.2017)Audiovisual material for professionals

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

 

EU-US data transfers: key protection  against passing on personal data

The EU-US “Privacy Shield” for data transfers made for commercial purposes must respect EU personal data protection, law as laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and new data protection rules, MEPs say in a draft resolution ahead of the first annual review of the framework expected this summer.

Concerns remain about the use of bulk data for national security purposes, access to judicial redress for EU citizens and the independence of the US Ombudsperson mechanism, among other issues, say MEPs.

MEPs are also alarmed by recent revelations about surveillance activities conducted by a US electronic service provider and new rules allowing the US National Security Agency to share vast amounts of private data gathered without warrant, court orders or congressional authorisation with other agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 6 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

#PrivacyShield #DataProtection

Press release on committee vote (23.03.2017)EP research: From Safe Harbour to Privacy Shield: Advances and shortcomings of the new EU-US data transfer rules (19.01.2017)

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

 

UK, Cyprus, Portugal: MEPs to approve €71m in EU aid after natural disasters

MEPs are set to approve €71,524,810 in EU aid to repair damage caused by floods in the UK from December 2015 to January 2016, drought and fires in Cyprus from October 2015 to June 2016 and fires on the Portuguese island of Madeira in August 2016, in a vote on Wednesday. The aid comes from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF).

UK floods in 2015-16

The proposed aid totals €60,301,050. From December 2015 to January 2016, 11 UK regions were hit by heavy rainfall and strong winds, which led to flooding and infrastructure damage.

Cyprus – drought and fires in 2015-16

The proposed aid totals €7,298,760. From October 2015 to June 2016, Cyprus suffered from very low precipitation combined with extremely high temperatures, leading to severe drought with serious crop failure, forest and vegetation fires and scarcity of water. Two major wild fires in June 2016 burnt an area of over 2,600 hectares of state forest.

Portugal – Madeira fires in 2016

The proposed aid totals €3,925,000. Between 8 and 13 August 2016, the Portuguese island of Madeira suffered from large wild fires, burning an area of 6,000 hectares. They led to the destruction of essential public infrastructure, public buildings, private homes, businesses and damage in agriculture.

The aid of €71.5 million is intended to help restore essential infrastructure, reimburse the cost of emergency measures and cover the costs of some of the clean-up operations.

Next steps

If the Committee on Budgets approves the aid in a vote scheduled for Monday evening, the full house will vote on it on Thursday. The Council approved the aid on Monday 3 April If Parliament as a whole gives its green light, the funds could be available within weeks.

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 more than 70 disasters — including floods, forest fires, earthquakes, storms and drought — in at least 24 EU countries has received EUSF aid totalling more than €3.7 billion.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Budgetary procedure

#EUSF #EUfunds

Procedure file

Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Féin (South)

 

Calls to halt new GM maize authorisation

Parliament will vote on a resolution opposing the authorisation of products from an herbicide resistant GM maize.

A non-binding resolution opposing EU Commission plans to authorise imports of food and feed products derived from or containing a herbicide and pest-resistant genetically modified (GM) maize will be voted on Wednesday. It highlights the lack of data on the many sub-combinations of the variety - all of which would also be authorised - and reiterates Parliament’s call for a reform of the EU’s GMO authorisation procedure.

MEPs stress that hundreds of critical comments have been submitted by member states during the three-month consultation period, pointing to, inter alia, missing information and poorly-performed studies and tests.

MEPs also point out that the EU Commission is still authorising GMOs in the EU without the support of opinions of member state committees. This was supposed to be an exception to the usual decision-taking procedure, but has in fact become the norm.

Note to editors

The draft implementing decision by the European Commission would authorise GM maize Bt11 × 59122 × MIR604 × 1507 × GA21, and all 20 of the sub-combinations of its events.

A separate EU law that would enable any EU member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was opposed by Parliament in October 2015. MEPs are concerned that this law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries. They called on the Commission to table a new proposal.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Wednesday, 5 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution (objection)

#GMO #maize

Press release on committee vote (21.03.2017)EP Research: imports of GM food and feed - right of Member States to opt outAudiovisual material for professionals and existing
 
 
 

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following human rights and democracy topics on Thursday 6 April, at around 10.00, with the votes following at 12.00.

  • Russia, the arrest of Alexei Navalny and other protestors
  • Belarus
  • Bangladesh, including child marriages

Procedure: non-legislative resolutions

Debates/votes: Thursday, 6 April

#humanrights #democracy #RussiaProtests #Navalny #Belarus #Bangladesh

 

Other items on the agenda

Characeteristics for fishing vessels, Mon 3rd April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Féin (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

Women and their roles in rural areas, Mon 3rd April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North-West)

Prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading, Tues 4th April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)

Estimates of revenue and expenditure for the financial year 2018 – Section I – European Parliament, Wed 5th April - Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Féin (Midlands North-West)