Selecting the 2017 Sakharov Prize finalists
Next Tuesday in Brussels, the Members of the Foreign Affairs and Development Committees and of the Subcommittee on Human Rights will elect the finalists of the 2017 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. This year, the EPP Group will support the Democratic Opposition in Venezuela: the National Assembly represented by its President Julio Borges and all political prisoners as listed by Foro Penal, represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González. They were chosen in appreciation of their struggle for democracy, civic freedoms and the rule of law in Venezuela where, since the beginning of 2017, more than 130 opponents have been murdered and more than 500 have been arbitrarily imprisoned. We believe that awarding the Sakharov Prize to the Democratic Opposition and to all the political prisoners in Venezuela will represent the best spirit of the prize and will definitely serve the cause of freedom of conscience, human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Making more efficient use of energy in buildings
Today, buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the EU. Making a more efficient use of energy in them is one of the most effective ways to save energy and help the climate at the same time. The updated rules on Energy Performance of Buildings, to be voted on on Wednesday in the Industry, Research and Energy Committee, promise to improve the situation by focusing on incentives to upgrade the energy performance of old buildings, involving financing by the private sector. This is the first of eight legislative proposals in the so-called 'Clean Energy Package' - an important element in the Energy Union - to pass through Parliament.
Saving lives with driver assistance in cars
Every year, a staggering 25,500 people die on Europe's roads and 135,000 are seriously injured. Parliament's Rapporteur Dieter Koch MEP considers these figures for loss of life and life-changing injuries to be completely unacceptable. Considering that human error accounts for more than 90% of all accidents, it is paramount to start using the best available technology to help drivers on the road. In the Report to be voted on in the Transport Committee on Thursday, the EPP Group will push for ambitious proposals for mandatory driver assistance systems in cars, like automatic emergency braking systems with pedestrian and cyclist detection or lane-keeping assistance.
Affordable parcel delivery for all Europeans
Next Thursday, the Transport Committee will vote on an ambitious reform to make prices of parcel delivery in Europe more transparent and more affordable for citizens and businesses. With the digital market booming, parcel deliveries across Europe already count for more than 4 billion parcels every year. However, tackling unreasonably high prices of cross-border parcels and improving access to relevant information services, especially in remote and sparsely-populated areas, will help boost e-commerce in the internal market. Markus Ferber MEP, Shadow Rapporteur for the EPP Group, strongly advocates a balanced approach between competition and regulation as too much regulation would slow down the growing digital economy at the expense of jobs and would result in higher prices for customers. “Currently, customers are facing high prices in cross-border parcel delivery due to the lack of comparable options. This Regulation will pave the way to unlocking the potential of the Digital Single Market to the benefit of citizens in Europe.”
Integrated and clear approach in dealing with migratory flows
A new resettlement framework for the EU will be voted on by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on Thursday. Ad hoc solutions have proven to be insufficient in dealing with migratory flows. The new proposal which presents an integrated, clearly-defined approach to resettlement is a solution the EPP Group has been defending. We need to help those in need while applying strict rules preventing the abuse of the system.
Providing legal certainty for banks and investors
As part of a package of legislative proposals aimed at reducing risks in the EU banking industry, the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee will decide its position on Tuesday on the Directive on the ranking of unsecured debt instruments in insolvency proceedings (bank creditor hierarchy). "This proposal will improve the resilience of European banks and bring our legislation into line with new prudential international standards", said EP Rapporteur Gunnar Hökmark MEP.
Next long-term EU budget must match EU ambitions
The Budgets Committee will vote on it's position on Commissioner Oettinger's reflection paper on the future of EU finances on Tuesday. "The EPP Group is committed to fighting for an EU budget that will ensure an appropriate level of financial support to fulfil the ambition of the EU. This Resolution is the first step in this direction and prepares the ground for future negotiations on the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)", stated Parliament's Rapporteur Jan Olbrycht MEP. "The MFF's financial resources must match EU objectives, priorities and challenges. New priorities must have additional funding", concluded José Manuel Fernandes MEP, the EPP Group's Spokesman in the Budgets Committee.
Eastern Partnership Summit: setting out Parliament's priorities
In preparation of the 5th Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit in Brussels on 24 November, Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee will adopt its proposals on Tuesday for Parliament's position ahead of this high-level meeting of EU leaders and those of the six Eastern partner countries. The responsible MEP Laima Andrikienė expects the summit to be forward-looking, injecting new dynamism and to set a clear political vision for the EaP's future. "The EaP is a long-term policy and the European Parliament should not be afraid of setting ambitious and relevant long-term goals which help move the reform process in the partner states forward. The EaP has to remain relevant for all six partner states. At the same time, we should acknowledge their different aspirations, so differentiation is key", she claims.
Preparing the agenda for the 5th EU-Africa Summit
On Saturday and Sunday, Members of the EPP Group will meet their counterparts from the African centre-right political parties within the framework of the New Windhoek Dialogue - the Group’s African policy initiative. The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss the key issues of the upcoming 5th EU-Africa Summit and jointly determine the priorities of the new roadmap for the future relations between Europe and Africa. On Tuesday, Members of the Development Committee will follow up with the adoption of the report on the EU-Africa Strategy. Authored by the Vice-Chair of the committee, Maurice Ponga MEP, the report 'EU-Africa Strategy: a boost for development' insists on the necessity of intensifying the political dialogue between the EU and Africa and to establish a strategy for mobility and migration, which would contribute to the development of the two continents.
Monday: political talks in Berlin
Tuesday: meeting with Stephan Toscani, Finance and EU Affairs Minister of Saarland, Brussels; attendance at opening of Brussels Oktoberfest hosted by the Bavarian EU Representation
Wednesday: meeting with Deutsche Bahn AG CEO Richard Lutz and board member Ronald Pofalla, Brussels; meeting with Annemie Drieskens, President of COFACE - Families Europe, Brussels; meeting with Andreas Mavroyiannis, Chief Negotiator of the Greek Cypriot community in the negotiations on Cyprus, Brussels; meeting with representatives of the city of Porto and university representatives; Facebook live chat
Monday @ 11.00 hrs: Briefing on the parliamentary agenda