10,000 coast guards to protect our borders
The new and revamped European Border and Coast Guard will introduce, as pushed by the EPP Group, a standing corps of 10,000 operational staff with the executive power to intervene to protect the EU's external borders and effectively implement the return of irregular migrants. The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee will vote on this new legislation on Monday evening in Strasbourg.
More transparency of foreign investments in strategic EU sectors
On Thursday, MEPs will vote on the agreement on the Screening of Foreign Direct Investments into the EU. The aim of the Report, backed by EPP Group Member Franck Proust, is to have stronger cooperation between Member States and the Commission to set up an information exchange mechanism to know who is behind the foreign investments. The EPP Group has fought to obtain that if one third of the Member States justify that an investment represents a threat to their public order or security, the Commission must investigate it.
EU Trade Agreement with Singapore
Parliament will vote on the new EU-Singapore Trade Agreement on Wednesday. Singapore is the largest market of all the ASEAN countries. Tariffs will be scrapped altogether over the next five years. Market access in vital areas such as finance, transport, environment or telecoms means new opportunities for European businesses. High labour and environmental standards render EU-Singapore the most modern trade agreement.
MEPs want EU support to continue for less developed regions
MEPs will vote on Wednesday on the Common Provisions Regulation for 2021-2027 funding. The Report, co-authored by EPP Group Member Andrey Novakov, foresees the increase of the overall cohesion budget to the same level as 2014-2020. MEPs want money for less developed regions and an increase of the EFS+ and Cohesion Fund as well as more resources for cross-border investments (Interreg). The Report is in favour of co-financing: 85% for less developed regions, 65% for transition regions and 50% for more developed regions. Cohesion policy will focus more on demographic challenges, poverty, people with disabilities and deinstitutionalisation. Regional and local authorities, economic and social partners, NGOs, universities and research institutions will be fully-fledged, bottom-up and effectively involved in planning the programmes.
Lower fees on cross-border payments outside the Eurozone
MEPs will vote on Thursday on new rules to lower taxes that EU banks charge on cross-border payments. The idea is for these charges not to be higher than the charges for national money transfers. This will lead to savings of around €2 billion per year for citizens and businesses outside the Eurozone.
EPP Group wants €6.5 billion for SMEs and Single Market
As part of the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the New Single Market Programme brings together five previous programmes in the areas of business competitiveness (COSME), consumer protection, customers and end-users in financial services, policy-making in financial services and the food chain. Compared to the European Commission’s initial proposal, the EPP Group wants to increase the overall budget for the programme from €4 billion to €6.5 billion for SMEs via the COSME Programme and for consumer protection and market surveillance. This guarantees that only good and safe products will be on the European market and with a stronger market surveillance, we can avoid recent problems such as the dual quality of products.
Next Commission President must be a Spizenkandidat
MEPs will vote on a Report on the State of the Debate on the Future of Europe on Wednesday. The Report reinforces MEPs' endorsement of the Spitzenkandidaten process. It recalls the EP's readiness to reject any candidate put forward by the European Council for the post of Commission President that has not been a Spitzenkandidat. Elmar Brok is the EPP Group Spokesman.
Faster reforms needed in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The European Parliament will debate the European Commission’s Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina on Tuesday. The Foreign Affairs Committee already agreed in 2018 that the nation had made little progress on its way to EU accession. There are still reforms to be implemented in the four key areas: rule of law, fundamental rights, economic development and public administration. “We want to send a clear signal that Bosnia and Herzegovina must accelerate reforms in order to have a chance of obtaining candidate country status in the near future”, the Rapporteur, EPP Group MEP Cristian Dan Preda, said.
EPP Group wants better use of EU funds to fight women's cancer
On Wednesday, MEPs will vote on the Resolution on policy challenges and strategies against women's cancers and related comorbidities. The EPP Group's Marijana Petir has worked closely on this file that reflects the EPP Group's priorities on health and cancer, both regarding treatment and research. One in three Europeans develops cancer during his or her lifetime which is an immense social and economic cost for the EU. Certain forms of cancer, such as breast, uterus and cervical and other cancers affecting the female reproductive tract, exist predominantly among or are exclusive to women. We ask for more awareness campaigns targeted by gender, a better use of EU funds to develop research and adapted treatments in all EU Member States and the collection of disaggregated data by gender to help take a specific female approach to cancer.
EPP Group calls for a new Roma strategy for Europe
80% of Roma in the EU live at risk of poverty and 41% feel discriminated against. Current segregation, the unemployment gap, poor access to healthcare and child mortality between European Roma must be targeted as soon as possible. The EPP Group is therefore calling on the Commission and EU states in a Resolution to develop a new, binding, well-financed Roma strategy for Europe. The Members will vote on the Resolution on Tuesday.
Free movement of products in the EU
EU consumers will soon have a better choice of products thanks to new rules on the mutual recognition of goods. The new rules will end the situation where one product lawfully on the market in one Member State is not allowed to enter the market in another Member State. Companies, especially SMEs, will also benefit from the new rules as the procedures for businesses to sell their products in another Member State and national authorities will be simpler. The EPP Group Rapporteur Ivan Štefanec’s initiative is to use the existing SOLVIT mechanism to improve problem-solving. Cross-border cooperation is boosted by establishing a Coordination Group composed of the representatives of the competent authorities and the Product Contact Points of the Member States.
Tuesday: Future of Europe debate with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Strasbourg
Saturday: Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Munich, Germany
Press Conferences (11-15 February)
Tuesday @ 11.10 EPP Group Plenary briefing
Tuesday @ 14.30 Elmar Brok MEP and others on 'The implementation of the Treaty provisions on Parliament’s power of political control over the Commission'
Wednesday @ 15.00 Andrey Novakov MEP and others on 'The common provisions governing 2021-2027 European funds for regional development and cohesion'
Wednesday @ 15.30 Franck Proust MEP and others on 'The upcoming debate and final vote on foreign direct investment screening'