20th Annual EPP Group Intercultural Dialogue in Zagreb
The EPP Group will hold its 20th Annual Intercultural Dialogue with churches and religious institutions in Zagreb on 7-8 December. The aim of the Dialogue is to promote interfaith encounters to meet global challenges. The main themes of discussion will be the role of religion in the European integration process, the current migration and refugee crisis and its consequences on society and culture, and cooperation possibilities for mutual understanding. The event will feature Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, President of the Croatian Parliament, Gordan Jandroković, and Croatian Ministers of Justice and Culture, Dražen Bošnjaković and Nina Obuljen Koržinek.
National group leaders debating European defence and EMU reform
On Monday, Chairmen of EPP parliamentary groups in the national parliaments of the EU and the European Parliament will gather at their 26th summit to debate the future of European defence and the strengthening and deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union. The EPP Group Vice-Chairwoman responsible for national parliaments, Esther de Lange MEP, will welcome key speakers such as German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen, and the European Parliament's Rapporteur for the defence industrial development programme, Françoise Grossetête MEP. The debates will provide valuable input for the EPP Group priorities in the broad reform agenda on the Future of Europe.
Ending unjustified geo-blocking
On Monday, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee Members will endorse the agreement reached by the European Parliament, European Commission and EU Council to end unjustified geo-blocking. European consumers will no longer be deprived of access to physical goods or services based on their nationality, residence or IP address. As a major boost to e-commerce, the agreement ends technical barriers in web shops and applications that prevent consumers from buying goods in other EU countries. The new law also prevents sales being refused because of your credit card.
Keeping track of the Energy Union
In a joint meeting of the Environment and Industry, Research and Energy Committees on Thursday, MEPs will vote on the Report on Governance of the Energy Union which is one of the 8 proposals in the Clean Energy Package. "We need to keep track of the progress towards the goals we set out for the Energy Union until 2030. In the legislation on the Governance of the Energy Union we need to establish a framework to monitor the progress in the individual Member States and at EU level. Also, corrections should be made if we are off track", claim MEPs Gunnar Hökmark and Angélique Delahaye.
EU cross-border evidence-gathering in criminal matters
Cooperation of law enforcement forces and judiciary in criminal investigations will be the topic of an EPP Group hearing on Wednesday hosted by Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group Esteban González Pons MEP and Nuno Melo MEP, responsible for the legislation creating the European Investigation Order. In the area of free movement of people and goods, crime knows no borders. Steps taken and ways forward for improving EU cross-border evidence-gathering will be discussed with representatives of the Commission, Council, Interpol and specialists from the Member States.
Improving cash controls entering and leaving the EU
New rules improving controls on cash flows and closing further loopholes exploited by criminals will be adopted on Monday at a joint meeting of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. The prevention of terrorism financing has been one of the key priorities of the EPP Group since the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels. Common rules on the cash entering and leaving the EU should be declared. Information sharing between Member States' customs are essential for the prevention of crime in the EU.
Assessing how the Youth Employment Initiative works
Members of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee will vote on Monday on Romana Tomc MEP's Report on the implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative in the Member States. This initiative is the main financial instrument to fund the activities of the Youth Guarantee, a commitment by all Member States to ensure that all young people under the age of 25 years receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship or traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education. In her text, Romana Tomc highlights that the funding instrument is necessary but due to its rapid implementation, still has some deficiencies. Therefore, she puts forward some proposals to improve it such as calling on the Member States to provide more consistent and transparent data and better identify with and reach out to young people who are not in employment, education or training.
Breaking down barriers to access culture
In a hearing on Thursday, the EPP Group will discuss with experts the improvement of access to culture needs which covers areas such as financial means and public spending, social integration, skills and education, geographical and social isolation, minority rights, cultural rights and freedom of expression. "Culture, by its very nature, is a difficult concept to precisely define because it is a very conceptual and intangible matter", says Bogdan Zdrojewski MEP, responsible for the report on Structural and Financial Barriers in Access to Culture in the Education and Culture Committee, who is hosting the hearing.
Better and smarter regulation for professional qualifications
Over 50 million people in the EU are working in a field that needs a specific professional qualification. Member States are free to make the rules for access to a profession, but have to respect non-discrimination and proportionality principles, safeguarding that the Single Market rules apply and Member States do not restrict professions. The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee will vote on Monday on an important part of the Services Package that aims to create a legal framework for making proportionality assessments before introducing new or modifying existing administrative provisions of professional qualifications. Rapporteur Andreas Schwab MEP underlines the good compromise found that will protect the health sector in the interest of EU citizens without harming the internal market at the same time.
Family first? Debating dilemmas of the modern youth
On Monday afternoon, the EPP Group will hold a conference organised by György Hölvényi MEP to debate the decisions and challenges of young people as regards family planning. The conference is aimed at facilitating the interaction in family matters between the political and the civil side. The speakers will include Ministers or Deputy State Secretaries from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland as well as representatives of NGOs and experts on sociology and family issues, as well as young people representing the European Youth Workshop network. Families will be discussed as a major source of stability in society, touching upon the way how policies can initiate good or bad tendencies regarding families.
- Monday: CSU Party Presidency meeting, Munich
- Wednesday: Meeting with Fine Gael Councillors, Brussels
- Friday: receiving the EWS Award in Munich. The prize will be awarded by the European Economic Senate, the laudation will be given by Theo Waigel, former Finance Minister of Germany.
Thursday @ 11.30 hrs: Kinga Gal MEP, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Andor Deli MEP, Péter SZIJJÁRTÓ, Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Tamás MENCZER on the LIBE Hearing on the Situation in Hungary