The key debate on Wednesday will focus on the Brexit negotiations and preparations of the next Council meeting. "We will only accept a transitional period after Brexit if we are satisfied with the outcome of the second phase of negotiations", warned Manfred Weber MEP, Chairman of the EPP Group, who will lead the debate. Some concrete progress has been made but there are still plenty of open questions. The EPP Group will continue to defend the rights of the EU citizens living in the UK and will back Irish interests. It will be more difficult to achieve good results in the second phase of the negotiations.
2017 Sakharov Prize Award
The 2017 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be awarded to the Democratic Opposition in Venezuela during the ceremony in Strasbourg on Wednesday at 12.00 o'clock. The EPP Group supported their candidacy to acknowledge 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. 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 serve the cause of freedom of conscience, human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Common Agricultural Policy: mid-term reform
A debate on rules to simplify EU farming policy, boost farmers’ bargaining power and better equip them to face risks will take place on Monday. This update of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) rules will be part of the 'Omnibus' Regulation, a new law on EU spending. “We managed to strengthen farmers’ position in the food supply chain. We also achieved a far-reaching simplification of our farming policy. Member States will be able to decide whether or not they will automatically designate land not ploughed for five or more years as permanent grassland. Top-ups for young farmers will be better tailored to their needs, the definition of an active farmer will be maintained but made more flexible and risk management instruments will be strengthened”, said Agriculture Committee Rapporteur Albert Deß MEP.
EFSI 2.0: extending jobs and growth creation in Europe
The European Parliament will debate and vote on the agreement reached with the Council on the extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) on Tuesday. “The extension of the EFSI, which is at the heart of the Juncker Investment Plan, will contribute to even more economic growth and job creation. The EFSI has so far mobilised more than €251 billion in investment and supported more than 445,000 SMEs”, stated the Co-Rapporteur, José Manuel Fernandes MEP. The extension of the EFSI, referred to as EFSI 2.0, includes an increase in the EU guarantee from €16 billion to €26 billion and a raise in the capital of the European Investment Bank (EIB) from €5 billion to €7.5 billion. It aims at triggering private and public investment of €500 billion in total over the period until 2020.
Assessing the implementation of EU foreign and defence policies
The Plenary will adopt two annual reports on European Foreign Security and Defence Policy on Wednesday. The first, authored by David McAllister MEP, assesses the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. It recommends enhancing EU capabilities and cooperation with other countries and institutions. It also suggests that the EU Institutions must improve their capacity to anticipate conflicts and crises as well as act together with EU Member States in the fight against terrorism, illegal migration and other threats. The second annual report, on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy, spearheaded by Michael Gahler MEP, gives concrete steps for guaranteeing and improving the EU’s strategic autonomy.
EPP Group against the 'kebab ban'
On Tuesday, Parliament will vote on the much-discussed objection of the Social Democrats and Greens to the Commission proposal to authorise the use of phosphates in frozen meat spits. This authorisation is necessary to close a loophole in EU legislation and avoid a threatening ban by control authorities in Member States. Ironically, phosphates have been allowed for decades in roasted meat spits. "No proof exists which says phosphates have negative health effects and the amount of intake via kebab is negligible", says Renate Sommer. "We will do everything in our power to stop this fear mongering and avoid a European 'kebab ban'."
New rules for online TV and radio programmes
On Tuesday, Parliament will vote on the decision to enter into negotiations regarding the modifications to the SatCab Directive. New rules on the exercise of copyright and related rights for certain online transmissions and retransmissions of TV and radio programmes were originally proposed by the European Commission as part of the package to reform EU-wide copyright rules. However, by trying to clear the way for favourable conditions for cross-border distribution of television and radio programmes made online, the European Commission largely set up conditions that would negatively affect European producers and right holders. For the EPP Group, cultural diversity and creativity in Europe are core values that need to be safeguarded.
Panama Papers Inquiry Committee: 18-month activity comes to an end
On Wednesday, the European Parliament will vote on the recommendations of the Panama Papers Inquiry Committee. The EPP Group wants to fight tax evasion and money laundering, but is not fully satisfied with some parts of the Report. The EPP Group does not want to eliminate tax competition completely. We want to harmonise the corporate tax base within Europe, but we do not want minimum tax rates. We are also against reversing the burden of proof of companies having to prove that they did pay taxes, because this would mean treating all companies as potential criminals.
Fighting child sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse is a major problem that the EU is working hard to eradicate. On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a Report calling for more action in the fight against child sexual abuse within the framework of the EU’s 2011 Directive. The Rapporteur, EPP Group MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, is calling for more action, including working with the digital community to tackle new forms of crime like revenge pornography on the internet.
EU and Switzerland join forces in the battle against emissions
The European Parliament's Environment Committee has already given the green light to a Report linking the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) to Switzerland's system. There are several advantages in doing so, with the cuts of the cost of fighting climate change being one of the most significant. "The link with the Swiss system paves the way for more linking with bigger emissions trading systems such as in Australia, California and China in the foreseeable future", assures Christofer Fjellner MEP, the EPP Group's main negotiator for the file. The vote in the Plenary will take place on Tuesday.
Tuesday: Regular plenary press briefing, Strasbourg
Wednesday: Keynote speech on the preparation of the European Council meeting of 14 and 15 December and the state of play of Brexit negotiations, Strasbourg
Thursday: EPP summit, Brussels
Friday and Saturday: CSU Party congress, Nuremberg
Press Conferences (11-15 December)
Tuesday @ 11.10-11.30: EPP Group Briefing by Chairman Manfred Weber MEP
Tuesday @ 17.00-17.30: József Nagy MEP, Rapporteur, on minimum standards for minorities in the EU
Wednesday @ 10.30-11.00: Anna Maria Corazza Bildt MEP, Rapporteur, on the implementation of the Directive on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography
Wednesday @ 14.30-15.00: Werner Langen MEP, Chair of the PANA Committee, and others on the report and recommendations of the PANA Committee
Wednesday @ 15.00-15.30: Lefteris Christoforou MEP on the Common Security and Defence Policy