Coming up in plenary: honouring Sassoli, new President, French priorities for EU 


MEPs will honour Parliament President David Sassoli, who passed away on 11 January, elect a new president and discuss the French EU presidency’s plans during the first plenary of 2022.

Tribute to President Sassoli

On Monday evening, the Parliament will pay tribute to Parliament President David Sassoli, who passed away earlier this week, in a ceremony in Strasbourg. Council President Charles Michel, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron and former Italian Prime Minister and former MEP Enrico Letta, as well as political group leaders, will speak during the ceremony. Sassoli had been a member of the Parliament since 2009 and was elected President in July 2019 for the first half of this legislature.

Presidential election

On Tuesday, Parliament will elect its new President for the second half of this legislative term. Candidates for the post are put forward by either a political group or a group of at least 36 MEPs. There could be up to four rounds of voting; the last one being between the two candidates who have received the most votes in the third round. To win, a candidate needs a majority of the valid votes cast. The newly-elected president will preside over the election of the remaining members of the Parliament’s Bureau, which takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

French presidency priorities

On Wednesday, MEPs will discuss the political priorities of France’s Council presidency for the next six months with French President Macron. Important files include the new Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts, the establishment of a carbon levy for imports from countries with lower ambitions on climate action and rules on minimum wages. Read also here what French MEPs expect of their country’s presidency.

Digital services

Parliament will also debate the proposal for the Digital Services Act on Wednesday and vote on its position a day later. The act aims to create rules on how to tackle illegal content online and make platforms accountable for their algorithms.

Health union

On Wednesday, Parliament is expected to endorse a provisional deal with the Council to increase the powers of the European Medicines Agency. The legislation is part of building a European Health Union.

Animal transport

On Thursday, MEPs will debate and vote on how to improve animal welfare during transport. The Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport (ANIT) found that the EU’s rules are not always complied with in the member states and do not fully take into account the animals’ different transport needs. Read more in our interview with ANIT chair Tilly Metz.

Council summit outcome

MEPs will discuss the conclusions of the Council summit in December with Council president Michel on Wednesday. The summit dealt with issues such as the EU’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, rising energy prices and security and defence matters.