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Parliament set out its recommendations for the European Commission's 2017 Work Programme in a non-legislative resolution voted on Wednesday. Before the vote, MEPs debated EU priorities with Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. The need to reflect on what direction the EU should take in the aftermath of the UK’s EU membership referendum was the leitmotiv of this debate.

The resolution was adopted by 417 votes in favour, 209 against and 78 abstentions.

It sets out Parliament’s recommendations in ten priority areas:

  • citizens’ working and living conditions,
  • economic recovery and long-term competitiveness,
  • climate change and energy security,
  • migration and refugees,
  • citizens’ internal and external security concerns,
  • EU external action,
  • fair taxation, 
  • EU financial resources,
  • completing the Economic and Monetary Union and
  • the state of fundamental rights, rule of law and democracy in the EU member states.

Jobs, social rights, growth and competitivness

MEPs ask the Commission to present a proposal on a European “pillar” of social rights, to be turned into specific initiatives    because all EU citizens must be able to “count on a fundamental set of fair working conditions which enable a work-life balance and meet the needs of a modern labour market.” The resolution lists, inter alia, citizens’ rights to quality education, social protection and essential services.

Parliament also expects to see a Commission “to do” list of more measures to foster research and innovation. It calls on the EU executive to “reinvigorate the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and employment”  and design a new industrial policy.

MEPs also ask the Commission to present a set of proposals to complete the Economic and Monetary Union  and specific measures to establish a new EU budgetary strategy to meet challenges in the fields of EU financial resources, cohesion and structural funds, the common agricultural policy and investment funds .

Refugees, foreign affairs and security


MEPs point out that the EU is not properly equipped to deal with refugee emergencies and argue that its asylum and migration policy needs a "fundamental rethink". They urge member states to enforce existing security legislation and call on the Commission to include in its work programme a proposal for the European Counter-Terrorism Centre within Europol.

Next steps

The Commission is expected to send a letter of intent to Parliament on 14 September presenting its priorities for the year ahead. It will approve and present its work programme to MEPsin Stasbourg on 25 October, following the "State of the Union" debate in September.

Procedure Code: 2016/2773(RSP)