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EP News No. 32/2012

Table Of Contents


European Parliament sessions, Strasbourg, 22-23 October and 25-26 October 2012

MEPs meet in Strasbourg for a week which, unusually, contains two distinct plenary sessions. This follows a vote by the EP last March, with the aim to slightly minimise the number of journeys to its Strasbourg seat. The EP has no power to vote to reduce the number of sessions being held there.


Among the highlights of the agenda:

EU budget 2014-2020: MEPs to urge governments to say what must be cut
MEPs are set to demand a long-term EU budget that invests in research and competitiveness, as promised by EU leaders at the June summit. They will also challenge governments calling for big cuts to say what policies should be scrapped to make this possible. Debate and vote on Tuesday.

European Council outcome
Banking union, the Eurozone budget idea and economic and monetary union plans will dominate Tuesday's debate with Commission and European Council Presidents, Barroso and Van Rompuy, on the 18-19 October European Council. MEPs will stress that powers transferred to EU level must be matched by stronger democratic accountability.

Strengthening passengers' rights
Ever tried to obtain compensation for delays or damaged luggage, contact someone who has reliable information when delays accumulate or find your way home when an airline went bust? In a resolution to be voted on Tuesday, MEPs are set to call for legal clarifications to strengthen passengers' rights, whatever the mode of transport.

European Year of Citizens 2013
Parliament votes on Tuesday to designate 2013 as the European Year of Citizens. Events will be organised throughout the year to educate the public in the rights of EU citizens especially those who decide to study, work, open a business or draw their pension in another member state.

Winner of 2012 Sakharov Prize to be announced on Friday 26 October
President Martin Schulz will announce the winner of the 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Parliament on Friday following a decision by the President and political group leaders. The three finalists are Ales Bialiatski, a human rights activist from Belarus; the Russian punk group Pussy Riot; and two Iranians, lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and film director Jafar Panahi.

MEPs to vote for curbs on food price speculation and high-frequency trading
Draft EU financial market legislation that would curb food price speculation and high frequency trading will be put to a plenary vote on Friday so as to provide a strong mandate for fine-tuning it in talks with member states.

Politicising EU economic policy coordination
The powers that economic policy coordination has shifted to EU level must be matched by strong democratic accountability of all players not least EU ones, says a draft opinion to be voted on Friday. In it MEPs assess "European Semester" coordination in 2012, call for a clearer focus on growth and urge all national parliaments to get involved.

Improving consular protection for all EU citizens abroad
The diplomatic and consular services of all EU member states must grant any EU citizen abroad the same protection that they offer their own nationals, say MEPs in a resolution to be adopted on Thursday. They will also call, in non-binding amendments, for the local EU delegations to take the lead in crisis situations.


Among topics led by UK MEPs:

EU budget 2013: payments shortfall looms
Derek Vaughan (Wales, Lab) is co-steering this report with Italian MEP Giovanni La Via. Following a vote in the Budgets Committee the whole Parliament will consider whether payment funding cut from the Commission's EU 2013 budget proposal must be reinstated, to enable the EU to pay incoming bills for services supplied in member states. The issue will be debated Monday, and put to a vote Tuesday.

Single EU Sky
Jacqueline Foster (North West, Cons) is steering this report supporting the Commission's threat to impose fines on Member States if they continue to delay (already agreed) measures to create a single European airspace. Despite existing plans there is still too much fragmentation in Europe's air traffic controls, costing the EU nearly €5bn (£4bn) annually. (Debate Monday, vote Tuesday.)    

Maritime safety: upgrading seafarers' training to international standards
Crucial improvements in the minimum quality of training, updated medical fitness requirements and tougher certification standards for seafarers will be voted on Tuesday, in a report steered by Brian Simpson (North West, Lab). These improvements will bring EU law into line with the international standards. At the same time, the legislation retains EU rules on minimum rest hours, which are stricter than international ones, and enables the European Commission to collect data on crews operating in EU waters.


Other topics include:

  • MEPs to give final verdict on spending by Council and agencies in 2010
  • MEPs to vote nearly €40 million in crisis aid for jobless in seven countries
  • MEPs to vote on easing EU-Israel pharmaceutical trade
  • Martin Ehrenhauser's parliamentary immunity
  • EP to call for sanctions against Russian officials linked to Magnitsky case
  • Input to forthcoming trade deals with USA and Japan
  • SMEs: competitiveness and business opportunities
  • Revision of the current data retention framework
  • Commission Work Programme 2013
  • Appointment of Leonard Orban as a member of the Court of Auditors
  • Will Russia's WTO membership change its trade relations with the EU?
  • Still too many obstacles to single market, say MEPs.
  • Bringing EU policymaking into line with development policy goals.
  • Human rights and democracy resolutions - United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Cambodia
  • Is ERASMUS in danger? Council and Commission statements
  • Appointment of a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank
  • Conclusion, on behalf of the EU, of the Food Assistance Convention
  • Innovative financial instruments within the Multiannual Financial Framework
Final draft agenda
European Parliament Press Service

Committee meetings


Further Information

Paola Buonadonna
European Parliament UK Office
tel 020 7227 4300


Diary Dates

1 July-31 December 2012: Cypriot Presidency

European Parliament plenary sessions 2012
7-8 November - Brussels
19-22 November - Strasbourg
10-13 December - Strasbourg