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EP Plenary Newsletter 16-19 January 2023

 

The first Plenary Session of 2023 will include the election of a new European Parliament vice-president, waiving the immunity of 4 MEP's, and debating the response to protests in Iran

 

Election of a new European Parliament Vice-President

MEPs will choose on Wednesday a new Parliament Vice-President, following the removal of Eva Kaili (NA, EL).

Based on the EP Rules of Procedure, in the event of avacancy, a new Vice-President is elected to take the place of his or her predecessor in the order of precedence - so the MEP to be elected next week will become Parliament’s fifth VP. Nominations may be made by one-twentieth of Parliament’s component Members or a political group. A candidate needs an absolute majority of votes cast to be elected.

The President delegates specific duties to the 14 Vice-Presidents, who can replace her when necessary, including to chair plenary sittings. These Vice-Presidents are also members of the European Parliament’s Bureau, which lays down the rules ensuring Parliament’s effective functioning . Among its other duties, the Bureau draws up Parliament’s preliminary draft budget and decides on administrative, staff and organisational matters. In electing the members of the Bureau, MEPs aim to ensure that the Vice-Presidents and Quaestors broadly reflect the numerical strength of the political groups in Parliament.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code:

Specialist: Kyriakos

Vote: Wednesday, 18 January

Procedure: Election of a Vice-President of the European Parliament

Eva Kaili no longer Vice-President of the European Parliament (13.12.2022)
The political bodies of the European Parliament
Who's who - The Bureau | European Parliament
EP Research Service: “At a glance - Parliament votes on termination of the office of a Vice-President” (13.12.2022)
Free photos, video and audio material
 

Requests to waive the immunity of four MEPs to be announced

Upon separate requests from the Belgian authorities and the European Public Prosecutor, Parliament is set to launch procedures to examine the waiver of immunity of four MEPs.

Following a request from the Belgian judicial authorities investigating corruption allegations implicating MEPs, President Roberta Metsola is expected to announce on Monday that the request to waive the immunity of two of its members has been received and  will now be examined. In a statement on 2 January, she said: “From the very first moment the European Parliament has done everything in its power to assist in investigations and we will continue to make sure that there will be no impunity. Those responsible will find this Parliament on the side of the law. Corruption cannot pay and we will do everything to fight it”.

Based on a separate investigation, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office has requested that the immunity of two Members be lifted due to alleged fraud detrimental to the EU budget. This is related to the management of their parliamentary allowance and the remuneration of their Accredited Parliamentary Assistants. In order to examine this request, Parliament is expected to amend its rules of procedure to align them with the EPPO’s mandate in a vote on Tuesday. The President is set to announce the launch of the procedure later on during the session.

Procedure for waiver of immunity

As foreseen in Parliament’s Rules of Procedure (Rule 6 and Rule 9), a request to waive an MEP’s immunity is announced by the President in plenary and then referred to the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI). Before adopting its recommendation for the whole Parliament to approve or reject the request, the committee may ask for any information it deems necessary and the MEP concerned will have the opportunity to be heard. After the committee adopts a recommendation, the full House will take a vote at the next plenary session by simple majority vote. The decision is then communicated to the MEP concerned as well as to the requesting authority.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Specialist: Martina, Kyriakos

EP Press release: EP President launches procedure for two waivers of immunity (2 January 2023)
EPPO Press release: European Chief Prosecutor requests lifting of immunity of two Members of the European Parliament (15 December 2022)

MEPs debate Iran protest crackdown with Josep Borrell

On Tuesday afternoon, MEPs will discuss the EU’s response to the protests and executions in Iran with EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell.

A resolution will be put to a vote on Thursday.

Defying international criticism Iran has sentenced many protestors to death, and continues to execute people arrested during recent demonstrations.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called these death sentences “state sanctioned killing”, and said that the Iranian government is using executions  to intimidate the population and stamp out dissent.

While the EU is discussing a fourth round of sanctions because of the regime crackdown and Iran's military support for Russia, some member states have called for the classification by the EU of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation.

Background

The demonstrations started in mid-September after a young woman, Mahsa Amini, died in the custody of the ‘morality police’ for, they claimed, breaking the strict hijab rules. Hundreds of people have been killed in the protests that have followed and thousands arrested because of their brutal repression by the government.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

SCRIBO topic: External relations

Specialist: Snjezana, Viktor

Debate: Tuesday 17 January

Vote: Thursday, 19 January

Video recording of the plenary debate on Iran, 22.11.2022
European Parliament resolution on the death of Mahsa Jina Amini and the repression of women’s rights protesters in Iran, 06.10.2022
 

Debate on the outcomes of 15 December EU summit

On Wednesday morning, MEPs will debate the results of the 15 December EU summit with European Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

During the summit, heads of state or government focussed on the latest developments in Russia’s war against Ukraine and how to to assist Ukraine given Russia’s continued targeting of vital Ukrainian infrastructure over the winter. They also discussed the EU’s coordinated response to high energy prices, security and defence issues, relations with the EU’s southern neighbourhood, and transatlantic relations.

In a December plenary debate with Council and Commission ahead of the summit, MEPs demanded much more decisive action to end exorbitant energy prices that disproportionately affect Europe’s most vulnerable households and small businesses.

Speech by EP President Roberta Metsola during the summit
European Council Conclusions
 

Digital workers: Parliament’s negotiating mandate to be announced on Monday

Parliament will decide on the next steps on a draft negotiating position concerning measures to improve conditions for workers on digital labour platforms.

MEPs will decide whether a draft negotiating mandate on new rules to improve the working conditions in platform work adopted by the Employment Committee on 12 December 2022 should become the Parliament’s position in upcoming negotiations with the member states.

The new rules would regulate how to correctly determine the employment status of platform workers and how digital labour platforms should use algorithms and artificial intelligence to monitor and evaluate workers.

The text will be announced at the opening of the plenary session on Monday. According to the European Parliament’s rules of procedure, if no objections are raised the draft negotiating mandate will be approved;without a vote otherwise a vote on the decision to enter into negotiations will take place on Thursday. Member states have not yet decided on their own position regarding the new rules. 

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20221212IPR64513/digital-workers-better-working-conditions-and-protection-of-rights
Procedure file
 

Ukraine war: Parliament to debate prosecution of Russian war criminals

On Tuesday afternoon, MEPs will quiz Commission representatives on the prospects of establishing a tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine.

The debate will be wound up by a resolution on Thursday. MEPs are set to echo the demands of a Parliament resolution adopted in May 2022, in which they called on the EU to take all necessary action in international proceedings and courts to support the prosecution of the Russian and Belarussian regimes for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and aggression following the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. All Russian armed forces personnel and government officials involved in war crimes should be subject to investigation and prosecution, the text said. Read more here.

In a resolution adopted on 23 November, Parliament also recognised Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state that “uses means of terrorism”.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

SCRIBO topic: External relations, human rights

Specialist: Viktor

Debate: Tuesday 17 January

Vote: Thursday 19 January

Procedure: Statement by the European Commission

EP Multimedia Centre: free photos, video and audio material
 

Prime Minister Kristersson to present Sweden’s EU Council Presidency priorities

On Tuesday at 9.00, MEPs will discuss with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson the programme of Sweden’s six-month Presidency of the Council, which started on 1 January.

The four priorities of the Swedish Presidency are security, competitiveness, the green and energy transitions, democratic values and the rule of law.

Parliament President Roberta Metsola and Prime Minister Kristersson will hold a joint press conference on Tuesday (tbc).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Specialist: Viktor

Debate: Tuesday, 17 January

Procedure: Council and Commission statements, no resolution

Press conference: tbc

Programme of the Swedish Presidency of the Council
 

MEPs to vote on revised rules on waste shipments

Parliament will adopt its negotiating position for talks with EU governments on a new law  to reform EU procedures and control measures for waste shipments.

The report, adopted by Environment Committee MEPs in December 2022, proposes more efficient information exchange and transparency measures on waste shipments within the EU. It also introduces  stricter rules for waste exports outside the EU, as well as increased prevention and detection of illegal shipments. The revised legislation should improve the protection of the environment and human health, while taking full advantage of the opportunities provided by waste for achieving the EU’s goals of a circular and zero-pollution economy.

The debate will take place on Monday, the vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

 Background

On 17 November 2021, the Commission tabled a proposal to reform the EU rules on waste shipments, laying down procedures and control measures for the shipment of waste, depending on its origin, destination and transport route, the type of waste shipped and the type of waste treatment applied when it reaches its destination.

In 2020, EU exports of waste to non-EU countries reached 32.7 million tonnes, representing about 16% of global trade in waste. In addition, around 67 million tonnes of waste are shipped between EU countries every year.

ADDITONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2021/0367(COD)

Specialist: Dana

Debate: Monday, 16 January

Vote:  Tuesday, 17 January

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure

Draft report
Press release: “Waste shipments: stricter rules to protect the environment and human health” (1.12.2022)
Procedure file
Legislative train
EP Research briefing: Revision of the EU's Waste Shipment Regulation (March 2022)
Free photos, videos and audio material
 

Uber lobbying in the EU: MEPs to quiz Council and Commission

On Wednesday afternoon, MEPs will discuss with the Council and the Commission recent revelations concerning Uber’s lobbying practices in the EU.

The plenary debate is set to inquire about the situation of Uber drivers in Europe, and the extent to which Uber’s former lobbying activities have affected their labour and social rights.

Background

In October, Parliament hosted Uber’s former chief lobbyist Mark MacGann as part of a hearing into European platform workers’ rights.

In July 2022, MacGann leaked a number of documents known as the Uber files, suggesting that the company attempted to lobby high-ranking politicians in order to gain a market advantage while disregarding their drivers’ working conditions and well-being.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Specialist: Dorota

Debate: Wednesday, 18 January

Procedure: Council and Commission statements, no resolution

Uber Files hearing: MEPs concerned about workers’ rights and protection (25.10.2022)
 

EU celebrates the single market’s 30th anniversary

The European single market remains one of the EU’s greatest achievements and a key tool in times of crisis.

After a short ceremony and debate with the Council Presidency and Commission on Monday afternoon, MEPs will adopt a resolution on the 30th anniversary of the EU single market on Tuesday. Since its creation in 1993, the single market has helped to make everyday life easier for people and businesses, creating jobs and fuelling growth across the EU. It is, according to the draft resolution, the “engine of European integration and the backbone of its economy”.

Three decades since its creation, the single market continues to be a landmark achievement for Europe - leading to peace, stability and prosperity. MEPs are however expected to warn that these achievements cannot be taken for granted given the serious obstacles the EU faces - from long-term geopolitical conflicts to climate change. In order to update and transform the single market and strengthen the EU’s strategic independence, MEPs are set to call for renewed political commitment to the project and proper enforcement of its rules.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Specialist: Yasmina

Debate and ceremony:  Monday, 16 January

Vote: Tuesday, 17 January

Procedure:  motion for resolution, ceremony

Press release: MEPs call to transform and update the EU single market in order to address new challenges (12.12.2022)
30 years of the EU single market: statement by IMCO Chair Anna Cavazzini (01.01.2022)
European Single Market is turning 30 (European Commission press release, 02.01.2023)
European Commission: 30th anniversary of the single market
30th anniversary of the single market: factsheet (European Commission)
EPRS briefing: Completing the single market for goods (28.04.2022)
EPRS briefing: Completing the single market for services (28.04.2022)
 

MEPs set to call for strengthened EU security and defence policy

Parliament’s annual debate on foreign, security and defence policy  will focus on the war in Ukraine, global authoritarianism, China, and the climate emergency.

Responding to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, MEPs are likely to call on the EU to increase and accelerate its efforts to provide Ukraine with the necessary financial, humanitarian and military aid, including lethal weapons.

To respond rapidly to new challenges, the EU needs to be more flexible and efficient in taking decisions , MEPs are expected to say. They are also set to  urge the EU to reduce its dependency on energy and other materials critical to its infrastructure from countries not sharing the EU’s values.

The debate on the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) will take place on Tuesday afternoon, the votes are scheduled for Wednesday. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

SCRIBO topic: External relations, Defence

Specialist: Snjezana, Elodie

Debate: Tuesday 17 January

Vote: Wednesday, 18 January

Press conference: Wednesday, 18 January from 11.00 to 11.30 with both rapporteurs: David Mac Allister and Tom Vandenkendelaere

Profile of rapporteur David McAllister (EPP, Germany) on Common Foreign and Security Policy
Profile of rapporteur Tom Vandenkendelaere (EPP, Belgium) on Common Security and Defence Policy
Press Release on the committee vote on Common Foreign and Security Policy, 30.11.2022
Press Release on the committee vote on Common Security and Defence Policy, 30.11.2022
EP Think Tank: The extent of the European Parliament’s competence in Common Security and Defence Policy
EP Multimedia Centre: free photos, video and audio material
 

MEPs to quiz Borrell on new strategy to enhance the EU-Latin America partnership

On Tuesday afternoon, MEPs will discuss with EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell relations with Latin America and the Caribbean and ways to further strengthen them.

Last October, foreign ministers of both regions agreed in Argentina on a strategy to upgrade the bilateral relationship. The “Road to 2023” should pave the way towards an EU-Latin American and Carribean Summit of Heads of State or Government in the second half of 2023, under the Spanish Presidency of the European Council -more than eight years after the last meeting at that level-.

Four main objectives for this partnership were highlighted: intensify political dialogue, modernise and complete the existing trade and association agreements and support Latin America’s regional integration; cooperate on the green transition, digital transformation and social cohesion; promote peace, democracy and human rights.

Background

The partnership between the two regions is long-established, dating back to the San José dialogue of 1984, which became a milestone in the EU’s support to the peace process in the region. The EU enjoys diplomatic relations with all 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, with EU delegations established in 26 of them. The EU has negotiated association, trade or political & cooperation agreements with 27 of the 33 countries, making it the region with one of densest network of formal ties to the EU.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 17 January

Procedure: Statement by the High Representative, no resolution

European External Action Service web page on Latin America and the Caribbean
 

Terrorist threats to democracy posed by far-right extremist networks

MEPs will discuss with the Council and the Commission the increasing frequency of plots by far right networks to undermine democratic institutions and norms.

The debate on Wednesday afternoon is expected to revolve around recent developments like the December 2022 arrest in Germany of 25 individuals who sought to re-establish the German Reich by causing chaos and provoking a civil war.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Specialist: Kyriakos

Debate: Wednesday, 18 January

Procedure: Council and Commission statements, no resolution

EP Study: Right-wing extremism in the EU (20.05.2022)
Free photos, video and audio material (right-wing extremism)
 

Protecting gamers and encouraging growth in the video games sector

Parliament is set to call for harmonized rules to protect players, especially kids, and measures to help the innovative video games sector expand.

The draft text, on which MEPs will debate on Tuesday and vote on on Wednesday, demands better protection for gamers, especially children, from gaming addiction and manipulative practices. It calls for harmonized rules to give parents a good overview of and control over what games their children are playing as well as how much time and money they spend playing. MEPs also emphasise the value and importance of the video games sector for the European economy and propose measures to support it.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Procedure Code: 2022/2014(INI)

Specialist: Maris

Debate: Tuesday, January 17

Vote:  Wednesday, 18 January

Procedure: Own-initiative

Draft report
Press release on the committee vote (12.12.2022)
Profile of the rapporteur Adriana Maldonado López (S&D, ES)
Procedure file
EPRS study “Loot boxes in online games and their effect on consumers, in particular young consumers”
Free photos, videos and audio material
 

Food price inflation in Europe

MEPs will question Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski about food price inflation in Europe during Question Time on Tuesday afternoon.

Buying food and feed in Europe is increasingly more expensive, with the current energy crisis and the war in Ukraine contributing to the inflationary pressure.

Next week’s Question Time follows the discussion with Commissioner Wojciechowski in the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on 9 January on the consequences of inflation on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget.

The European Commission is preparing a mid-term revision of the EU’s 2021-2027 budget (the multiannual financial framework) that includes support for the European agricultural guarantee fund (EAGF) and the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Specialist: Raquel

Debate: Tuesday, 17 January

Procedure: Question Time with the Commission, no resolution

Video of the debate on the Commission for Agriculture and Rural Development (09.01.2023):
 

Resolutions on human rights and democracy

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following human rights, democracy and rule of law topics on Wednesday afternoon, followed by votes on Thursday.

  • Humanitarian consequences of the blockade in Nagorno-Karabakh
  • The storming of the Brazilian democratic institutions
  • Situation of Journalist in Morocco, notably the case of Omar Radi

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

SCRIBO topic: Human rights

Specialist: Viktor

Debates: Wednesday, 18 January

Votes: Thursday, 19 January

Procedure: urgent (non-legislative) resolutions

EP Multimedia Centre: free photos, video and audio material

Listing

- Protecting the Rule of Law against impunity in Spain, topical debate, Wed

- Human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy in the matter, annual report 2022, Wiseler-Lima debate Tue, vote Wed

- Surge of respiratory infections and the shortage of medication in Europe, Council and Commission statements, Tue, no resolution

- An EU industrial strategy to boost competitiveness and productivity, trade, quality job creation, Council and Commission statements, Wed

- Rules to prevent the misuse of shell entities for tax purposes, Pereira, vote Tue

- The creation of a European Capital of Local Trade, non-legislative resolution. Debate Mon, vote Tue.