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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.

Towards a common EU approach to lifting coronavirus-related restrictions on freedom of movement

26-11-2020

In an effort to tackle the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, EU Member States started reinstating restrictions on the freedom of movement in October 2020. To prevent a new series of severe and uncoordinated restrictions at countries' internal borders similar to those of March this year, there have been renewed efforts at the EU level to establish a coordinated approach towards coronavirus-related restrictions on movement. While the focus is now on the ongoing health crisis, concerns about ...

In an effort to tackle the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, EU Member States started reinstating restrictions on the freedom of movement in October 2020. To prevent a new series of severe and uncoordinated restrictions at countries' internal borders similar to those of March this year, there have been renewed efforts at the EU level to establish a coordinated approach towards coronavirus-related restrictions on movement. While the focus is now on the ongoing health crisis, concerns about the functioning of the Schengen area of free movement predate the pandemic. As recent terrorist attacks in Europe remind us, scant progress and unfinished reforms in the area of migration, external borders and security both weaken and threaten to undo the important achievements of Schengen cooperation. This briefing discusses the key steps taken by the EU to develop a common response to the above challenges and thus to safeguard the Schengen area. It provides an overview of the main restrictions on movement imposed by EU and Schengen countries as of 25 November 2020. Since contact-tracing apps have been promoted as a key tool in combating the pandemic and restoring freedom of movement, this briefing also provides an overview of the existing coronavirus applications in the EU Member States and their interoperability across borders.

No way back:Why the transatlantic future needs a stronger EU

25-11-2020

There is no way back for transatlantic politics; in recent years it has suffered severe setbacks that cannot be undone. Although the Biden win promises opportunities for EU-US cooperation, the EU’s drive for strategic autonomy will not stop here. It is high time to look afresh at the very foundations of the transatlantic partnership, in light of not only the politics of today, but also the structural trends in the global balance of power and the lasting institutional ties between the two continents ...

There is no way back for transatlantic politics; in recent years it has suffered severe setbacks that cannot be undone. Although the Biden win promises opportunities for EU-US cooperation, the EU’s drive for strategic autonomy will not stop here. It is high time to look afresh at the very foundations of the transatlantic partnership, in light of not only the politics of today, but also the structural trends in the global balance of power and the lasting institutional ties between the two continents. Above all, the transatlantic future needs a stronger EU. For this to happen, the following issues should be given priority: i) dealing with an increasingly assertive China; ii) gaining more from transatlantic trade relations; iii) safeguarding the benefits of NATO and multilateral institutions like the WTO; iv) battling disinformation and other hybrid threats; and v) reinvigorating cooperation over climate change and global health. Because understanding of and trust in US intelligence and foreign policy positions has been eroded, a ‘thickening’ of transatlantic dialogue structures, including among elected representatives, should be pursued. This could include staff exchanges, track-two dialogues with think tanks and civil society, and an increased frequency of the Transatlantic Legislators Dialogue, possibly supplemented with more subordinate bodies on specific issues, such as dealing with China.

Autor externo

Louise VAN SCHAIK, Ties DAMS

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 19 November 2020

24-11-2020

Initially planned to discuss only the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic, recent developments required EU leaders to dedicate attention to other issues during the European Council video-conference meeting of 19 November 2020. In this context, they addressed notably the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), specifically the rule-of-law conditionality linked to the MFF, and the fight against terrorism. While the vast majority of Member States agree with the compromise reached between negotiators ...

Initially planned to discuss only the EU response to the coronavirus pandemic, recent developments required EU leaders to dedicate attention to other issues during the European Council video-conference meeting of 19 November 2020. In this context, they addressed notably the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), specifically the rule-of-law conditionality linked to the MFF, and the fight against terrorism. While the vast majority of Member States agree with the compromise reached between negotiators from the Council and the European Parliament on the issue of rule-of-law conditionality, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia are currently not able to support it. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, indicated that discussions to find an acceptable solution for all would continue. The exchange of information on the coronavirus pandemic focused in particular on the development of vaccines, ensuring that they would be available and affordable to all EU citizens, and on the coordination of the exit from the second-wave restrictions. The European Council agreed once more to further strengthen coordination of action against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Istanbul Convention: A tool to tackle violence against women and girls

20-11-2020

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) is the first instrument in Europe to set legally binding standards specifically to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims of violence and punish perpetrators. Following the EU's signing of the Convention in June 2017, the European Parliament's consent is required for the EU's accession to the Convention. Pending Council's formal request for that consent, Parliament ...

The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) is the first instrument in Europe to set legally binding standards specifically to prevent gender-based violence, protect victims of violence and punish perpetrators. Following the EU's signing of the Convention in June 2017, the European Parliament's consent is required for the EU's accession to the Convention. Pending Council's formal request for that consent, Parliament adopted an interim resolution in September 2017, and subsequently reviewed progress towards EU accession, in April and November 2019. EU accession to the Istanbul Convention is one of the priorities in the new EU 2020-2025 gender equality strategy.

The Financial Stability Board (FSB). An overview of the work for 2020

20-11-2020

The briefing provides an overview of the latest work by the Financial Stability Board (FSB). It first addresses the FSB as an institution, its mandate, members and governance arrangements, and second, outlines its current work. This paper builds and updates an earlier version.

The briefing provides an overview of the latest work by the Financial Stability Board (FSB). It first addresses the FSB as an institution, its mandate, members and governance arrangements, and second, outlines its current work. This paper builds and updates an earlier version.

Guidance by the FSB, BCBS and IAIS on COVID related measures

20-11-2020

This briefing gives an overview of measures proposed by the Financial Stability Board, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors to address the COVID-19 pandemic related financial consequences.

This briefing gives an overview of measures proposed by the Financial Stability Board, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors to address the COVID-19 pandemic related financial consequences.

EU/EA measures to mitigate the economic, financial and social effects of coronavirus State-of-play 20 November 2020

20-11-2020

This document compiles information, obtained from public sources, on the measures proposed and taken at the EU or Euro Area level to mitigate the economic and social effects of Covid19. It will be regularly updated, following new developments.

This document compiles information, obtained from public sources, on the measures proposed and taken at the EU or Euro Area level to mitigate the economic and social effects of Covid19. It will be regularly updated, following new developments.

The foreign policy implications of the pandemic

19-11-2020

During the November II plenary session, the European Parliament is due to debate an own-initiative report on the foreign policy consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Considering the pandemic a 'game changer', the report makes the case for stronger and more effective EU external policies, along with a set of recommendations.

During the November II plenary session, the European Parliament is due to debate an own-initiative report on the foreign policy consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Considering the pandemic a 'game changer', the report makes the case for stronger and more effective EU external policies, along with a set of recommendations.

G20 Summit of November 2020: Great expectations despite boycott calls

19-11-2020

On 21-22 November, under Saudi Arabia's presidency, the G20 will hold its first regular summit in a virtual format. Unavoidably the focus will be on the current crisis, more specifically on protecting lives and livelihoods and restoring growth. Given the crucial role it played in tackling the 2008-2009 financial crisis, hopes are high regarding the G20's potential role in proposing a financial and economic solution to deal with the ongoing downturn. Several major G20 members have invested massive ...

On 21-22 November, under Saudi Arabia's presidency, the G20 will hold its first regular summit in a virtual format. Unavoidably the focus will be on the current crisis, more specifically on protecting lives and livelihoods and restoring growth. Given the crucial role it played in tackling the 2008-2009 financial crisis, hopes are high regarding the G20's potential role in proposing a financial and economic solution to deal with the ongoing downturn. Several major G20 members have invested massive amounts of money to keep their economies afloat, in line with the decision of the extraordinary G20 summit held in the spring, but the depth of the current crisis requires additional action. Some critics have argued that the G20 is not up to its perceived role. The lack of US leadership in particular has been seen as an obstacle preventing the group from living up to its full potential. One of the crucial measures adopted by the G20 has been to freeze the official debt payments of developing countries, with the measure recently being extended. Many voices consider that this will not be enough to avoid state defaults however. Saudi Arabia, the first Arab country to hold the presidency, has been eager to use the opportunity provided by its G20 presidency to showcase its ambitious internal reform programme and its economic potential. The Saudis' leadership of the G20 in these times of turmoil has not escaped criticism, first of all because of the perceived inconsistency between stated objectives at G20 level and internal reality in the country, but also because of the role the country played in the oil price crash of 2020. Given the dire human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and in its fighting in Yemen, calls for a boycott of the summit have been multiplying. The European Parliament has suggested that the EU should downgrade its presence at the summit.