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Plenary round-up – February 2021

12-02-2021

The main debates held during the February 2021 plenary session concerned the state of play of the EU's Covid 19 vaccination strategy and the de facto abortion ban in Poland. Members also debated democratic scrutiny of social media platforms and the protection of fundamental rights, including the challenges ahead for women's rights more than 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action The impact of coronavirus on young people and sport, relief measures for the transport sector, ...

The main debates held during the February 2021 plenary session concerned the state of play of the EU's Covid 19 vaccination strategy and the de facto abortion ban in Poland. Members also debated democratic scrutiny of social media platforms and the protection of fundamental rights, including the challenges ahead for women's rights more than 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action The impact of coronavirus on young people and sport, relief measures for the transport sector, homologation and distribution of transparent masks and the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia were also discussed. Members debated statements by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Josep Borell, on his visit to Russia in the light of the recent crackdown on protestors and the opposition, on the humanitarian and political situation in Yemen, and on the situation in Myanmar.

Plenary round-up - January 2021

22-01-2021

The main debates of the January 2021 plenary session were on the inauguration of the new President of the United States, and the presentation of the Portuguese EU Council Presidency. Members also debated the humanitarian situation of refugees and migrants at the EU's external borders, as well as the EU global strategy on Covid 19 vaccinations, and the social and employment crisis caused by the pandemic and the EU's response. Lack of transparency in Council appointments to the European Public Prosecutor's ...

The main debates of the January 2021 plenary session were on the inauguration of the new President of the United States, and the presentation of the Portuguese EU Council Presidency. Members also debated the humanitarian situation of refugees and migrants at the EU's external borders, as well as the EU global strategy on Covid 19 vaccinations, and the social and employment crisis caused by the pandemic and the EU's response. Lack of transparency in Council appointments to the European Public Prosecutor's Office and the consequences of earthquakes in Croatia were also discussed. Members discussed the Court of Auditors' annual report, and Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell made statements on the arrest of Aleksei Navalny, on enhancing EU external action in Latin America and the Caribbean, and on the latest developments in the National Assembly of Venezuela.

Plenary round-up – December 2020

21-12-2020

The December 2020 plenary session focused on the agreement on EU finances for the coming years, as well as the conclusions of the 10-11 December European Council meeting. Members debated future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, and adopted first-reading positions on temporary contingency measures on air and road connectivity, fisheries and aviation safety, to come into force should no agreement be reached with the UK by the end of this year. Members also discussed the preparation ...

The December 2020 plenary session focused on the agreement on EU finances for the coming years, as well as the conclusions of the 10-11 December European Council meeting. Members debated future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, and adopted first-reading positions on temporary contingency measures on air and road connectivity, fisheries and aviation safety, to come into force should no agreement be reached with the UK by the end of this year. Members also discussed the preparation of an EU strategy on Covid 19 vaccination, including its external dimension, an EU Security Union strategy and a dedicated Council configuration on gender equality. Members discussed the European Citizens' Initiative, Minority Safepack, seeking to protect minority languages and cultures. Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell made statements on recent developments in the Eastern Partnership, on the situation in Mozambique and on the 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Process and the Southern Neighbourhood.

Plenary round-up – November II 2020

27-11-2020

During the second November 2020 plenary session, Parliament held a number of debates with Council and the European Commission. Discussions concerned fundamental rights issues such as abortion rights in Poland, the new LGBTIQ equality strategy, and Hungarian interference in the media in Slovenia and North Macedonia. In a debate with Council and Commission, Members also discussed the forthcoming European Council meeting, on 10 11 December 2020. Debates with the Commission included discussion of a new ...

During the second November 2020 plenary session, Parliament held a number of debates with Council and the European Commission. Discussions concerned fundamental rights issues such as abortion rights in Poland, the new LGBTIQ equality strategy, and Hungarian interference in the media in Slovenia and North Macedonia. In a debate with Council and Commission, Members also discussed the forthcoming European Council meeting, on 10 11 December 2020. Debates with the Commission included discussion of a new consumer strategy and a pharmaceutical strategy for Europe. Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell made statements on escalating tensions in Varosha, and on the fight against impunity for crimes committed against journalists around the world, followed by a debate with Members. Members also voted, inter alia, on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers, on customs duties on certain products, on tariff quotas with Northern Ireland, as well as on a number of own-initiative reports, including on industrial policy.

Plenary round-up – November I 2020

16-11-2020

During the first November 2020 plenary session, the main debate followed Council and Commission statements on the multiannual financial framework (including own resources), on a rule of law conditionality mechanism and the recovery fund for Europe, subsequent to the agreements recently reached by Parliament's negotiators in trilogue negotiations. Members also discussed the outcome of the United States presidential elections, and condemned recent terror attacks following Council and Commission statements ...

During the first November 2020 plenary session, the main debate followed Council and Commission statements on the multiannual financial framework (including own resources), on a rule of law conditionality mechanism and the recovery fund for Europe, subsequent to the agreements recently reached by Parliament's negotiators in trilogue negotiations. Members also discussed the outcome of the United States presidential elections, and condemned recent terror attacks following Council and Commission statements on fighting terrorism and the right to freedom of expression and education. Members also held debates on access to Covid 19 vaccination and the impact of Covid 19 emergency measures on democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law.

Plenary round-up – October II 2020

26-10-2020

During the second October 2020 plenary session – the first at which Members were able to speak remotely, and not only vote, from the Member States – the European Commission presented its 2021 work programme, which Members largely welcomed. Members also discussed the conclusions of the 15 16 October 2020 European Council meeting, EU measures to mitigate the social and economic impact of Covid 19, police brutality within the EU, the sale of EU passports and visas to criminals, the State of the Energy ...

During the second October 2020 plenary session – the first at which Members were able to speak remotely, and not only vote, from the Member States – the European Commission presented its 2021 work programme, which Members largely welcomed. Members also discussed the conclusions of the 15 16 October 2020 European Council meeting, EU measures to mitigate the social and economic impact of Covid 19, police brutality within the EU, the sale of EU passports and visas to criminals, the State of the Energy Union and aligning the Energy Charter Treaty with the European Green Deal. Parliament announced that its 2020 Sakharov Prize will be awarded on 16 December to the Belarusian opposition, in particular the Coordinating Council, for 'an initiative launched by courageous women'.

Plenary round-up – Brussels, October I 2020

09-10-2020

During the first October 2020 plenary session in Brussels, Parliament held a debate on the rule of law and fundamental rights in the context of introducing conditionality measures in the framework of the 2021 2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and Next Generation EU. In parallel, Parliament's negotiating team on the next MFF announced a pause in talks, due to concerns over the Council's lack of engagement on the key issue of top-ups for 15 flagship EU programmes. Parliament also discussed ...

During the first October 2020 plenary session in Brussels, Parliament held a debate on the rule of law and fundamental rights in the context of introducing conditionality measures in the framework of the 2021 2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) and Next Generation EU. In parallel, Parliament's negotiating team on the next MFF announced a pause in talks, due to concerns over the Council's lack of engagement on the key issue of top-ups for 15 flagship EU programmes. Parliament also discussed the conclusions of the special European Council meeting of 1 2 October and the preparations for the next regular European Council meeting, on 15 16 October 2020. Parliament approved the allocation of new responsibilities to Executive Vice-President of the Commission Valdis Dombrovskis and approved the appointment of Mairead McGuinness as member of the European Commission. Parliament also debated the role of the European Supervisory Authorities in the Wirecard scandal, on the fight against money laundering, following the FinCEN revelations, and on the impact of the Covid 19 outbreak on long-term care facilities. Parliament debated statements from the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, on the resumption of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, on the EU diplomatic mission in Venezuela, and on the situation in Iran.

Plenary round-up – Brussels, September 2020

18-09-2020

The September 2020 plenary session was the sixth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were again present in Brussels. As well as the Commission President's traditional State of the Union address, Parliament held a joint debate on the risk of breach of the rule of law and LGBTI-free zones in Poland. Parliament also debated European Commission statements on the preparation of the special ...

The September 2020 plenary session was the sixth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were again present in Brussels. As well as the Commission President's traditional State of the Union address, Parliament held a joint debate on the risk of breach of the rule of law and LGBTI-free zones in Poland. Parliament also debated European Commission statements on the preparation of the special European Council focusing on Turkey's actions in the eastern Mediterranean, on the consequences for the single market of EU coordination of sanitary measures in the ongoing pandemic, on combatting sexual abuse and exploitation of children, and on the need for a humanitarian EU response to the situation in the Moria refugee camp. Parliament also debated statements from the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, on the situation in Belarus, in Lebanon and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. Parliament also voted on legislative proposals and resolutions, including on arms exports, the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, the EU Association Agreement with Georgia, protecting world forests, EU-African security cooperation in the Sahel, type approval of motor vehicles and the importance of urban and green infrastructure.

Plenary round-up – Brussels, July 2020

13-07-2020

The July 2020 plenary session was the fifth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were present in Brussels. During this session a number of Council and European Commission statements were debated, with the presentation of the programme of activities of the German Presidency a highlight. Members also debated the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 19 June and preparation of ...

The July 2020 plenary session was the fifth conducted with Members participating remotely, using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau, although a majority were present in Brussels. During this session a number of Council and European Commission statements were debated, with the presentation of the programme of activities of the German Presidency a highlight. Members also debated the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 19 June and preparation of the meeting of 17-18 July 2020. Members heard Council and Commission statements on Union policy on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, on the state of play of Council negotiations on the proposed regulation on the protection of the Union's budget in case of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the Member States, and on cultural recovery in Europe. Parliament also debated a Commission statement commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide. Members debated statements from the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, on stability and security in the Mediterranean and the negative role of Turkey, and on the situation in Belarus. Parliament voted on a number of legislative proposals and resolutions including on the European citizens' initiative, a resolution on the humanitarian situation in Venezuela, and a chemicals strategy for sustainability.

Plenary round-up – Brussels, June 2020

22-06-2020

The June 2020 plenary session was the fourth conducted with Members participating remotely, although this time a majority were present in Brussels, and using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau. The session focused on a number of urgent legislative proposals as well as votes on draft amending budgets and the guidelines for the 2021 EU budget. Parliament adopted recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom, and discussed ...

The June 2020 plenary session was the fourth conducted with Members participating remotely, although this time a majority were present in Brussels, and using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament's Bureau. The session focused on a number of urgent legislative proposals as well as votes on draft amending budgets and the guidelines for the 2021 EU budget. Parliament adopted recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom, and discussed the European Council meeting held subsequently on 19 June. Members heard Council and European Commission statements on anti-racism protests, on the Conference on the Future of Europe, and on Covid-19 related issues: protecting strategic sectors; tackling disinformation; and protection of cross-border and seasonal workers. Members also discussed the situation in the Schengen area following the Covid-19 outbreak, as well as tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond, and land-grabbing and deforestation in the Amazonas. Members debated statements from the Vice President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, on the foreign policy consequences of the Covid-19 crisis, on China's national security law for Hong Kong, and on the EU response to the possible Israeli annexation of the West Bank. Finally, Parliament adopted decisions creating a subcommittee on tax matters, a special committee on beating cancer, a special committee on foreign interference and a special committee on artificial intelligence.

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