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What's happening this week in the European Parliament: 15-18 April 2013

Plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg

A proposal to cap bankers' bonuses will be voted on by MEPs during the plenary session of 15-18 April in Strasbourg, as well as the European Central Bank's mandate. They will also debate the constitutional situation in Hungary and question representatives from the European Commission and the Irish presidency on the handling of the Cyprus bailout. MEPs will also be asked to vote on emissions trading as well as to approve how various EU bodies spent their budgets in 2011.

MEPs will vote on Tuesday on a major bank reform package to cap bankers' bonuses, increase bank capital reserves and make it easier for banks to lend to small firms. A seminar on this topic will be held for journalists later that day.

Also on Tuesday, MEPs will discuss the activities of the European Central Bank (ECB) with its president Mario Draghi. Wednesday they will vote on a draft resolution aimed at making the ECB more transparent and accountable, ensuring that it lends the funds to the real economy. A tool for providing financial assistance to non-euro EU countries will be debated on Tuesday.

MEPs will quiz the Commission and Lucinda Creighton, the Irish minister for European affairs, on Wednesday on how the Cyprus bailout was handled. The constitutional situation in Hungary will also be discussed on the same day, ahead of a check by the EP whether recent changes to the Hungarian constitution respect EU law.

On Tuesday the EP has its final say on whether or not to delay auctioning of CO2 emission permits to boost their price as well as whether to temporarily exempt intercontinental flights from the EU emissions trading scheme.

Proposals to increase competition for ground handling services at major EU airports will go to a final vote on Tuesday.

Finnish prime minister Jyrki Katainen will debate on Tuesday the EU's future with political group leaders. On Wednesday, Irish president Michael Higgins will give a speech to plenary.

On the same day, MEPs will vote be asked to approve how different EU institutions and agencies spent their budgets in 2011. On Monday the budget committee will discuss the 2013 budget with budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski.

Meanwhile the constitutional affairs committee will have an extraordinary meeting on Monday to vote on the dates of the European elections in 2014.

Banking reform: votes on bonus caps, capital and loans

Parliament will cap bankers' bonuses, step up bank capital requirements and make it easier for banks to lend to small firms in a banking reform package to be voted on Tuesday 16 April.

ECB's crisis management to be discussed with Mario Draghi

MEPs will debate the European Central Bank's past and future activities with its president Mario Draghi on Tuesday 16 April at 15.00 CET. Cheap ECB loans to banks must be conditional, to ensure that they pass the funds on to the real economy and the ECB itself must be made more transparent and accountable, says a draft resolution to be voted on Wednesday 17 April.

Cyprus: MEPs to seek further clarifications on financial assistance programme

MEPs will quiz Olli Rehn, the commissioner responsible for economic affairs, and Lucinda Creighton, the Irish minister for European affairs, on Wednesday 17 April about how the recent programme of financial assistance to Cyprus was handled. They are set to seek clarifications over the total rescue package's actual amount and Cyprus' own contributions.

ETS: should a "polluter's permit" cost more?

A proposed freeze on auctions of a portion of CO2 emission quotas, aimed at boosting the very low price of "polluter's permits" in the EU, will be put to a vote on Tuesday 16 April. The proposal aims to restore the incentive effect of the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) and to encourage companies to invest in green technologies. MEPs will also vote on an agreement with the Council to temporarily exclude intercontinental flights from the ETS.

MEPs to discuss changes to Hungarian constitution

Parliament will debate the constitutional situation in Hungary with the Council and Commission on Wednesday 17 April. This follows the recent adoption of a set of amendments to Hungary's basic law by the Hungarian parliament. The EP's civil liberties committee is checking whether these changes respect EU law.

Airports: EP to decide on further liberalisation of ground handling services

The EP will have its final say on Tuesday 16 April on proposals to open up groundhandling services at major EU airports to more competition. The transport committee voted narrowly in favour of further liberalising ground handling services and inserted requirements for minimum quality standards, as well as measures to safeguard working conditions. The full House will vote without debate.

Finnish prime minister Katainen to debate EU's future with MEPs

Finnish prime minister Jyrki Katainen will visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday 16 April. He will debate the European Union's future with political group leaders, starting at 10.30 CET. Mr Katainen's was invited by EP president Martin Schulz and they are both expected to hold a press conference after the debate.

Irish president Michael D. Higgins to address Parliament

Irish president Michael D. Higgins will deliver a formal address to MEPs on Wednesday at noon. Ireland holds the EU Council's rotating presidency until the end of June this year.

How to calculate the population of an EU member state

A new legislative proposal laying down common rules for compiling population statistics in the EU will be voted on Thursday 18 April. The data gathered will be used among others to calculate qualified majority voting rights in the Council and entitlements to some EU funding.

Assessing the first year of the European Citizens' Initiative

Since April 2012, EU citizens can take part in shaping EU policy through the European citizens' initiative. MEPs will assess with the Commission on Thursday 18 April the experiences and problems encountered in the first year of this new tool, which allows one million citizens from at least seven EU countries to ask the Commission to propose new laws.

Other issues

Enlargement: Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Turkey in the spotlight

MEPs to say Croatia is ready to join the EU in July

ACP/EU: reservations on Cotonou, deadline for ending EU market access

Parliament to approve first discard ban in the EU

EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund: aid to workers in Italy and Austria

Budget discharge: EP to vote on environmental agency books, police academy move

MEPs to vote on short-stay EU visas for Ukrainians and Moldovans

Human rights and democracy resolutions

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