25.04.2017

Fundamental rights in Hungary: debate 

The fundamental rights situation in Hungary will be debated with Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Wednesday. 

MEPs are likely to raise the issue of the New Higher Education Law, perceived as targeting the Central European University   (CEU).

A draft law tightening rules for non-governmental organisations, a recently-passed law providing for the automatic detention of asylum-seekers, media pluralism and the independence of the judiciary are also likely to come up in the debate.

Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee held a discussion on the fundamental rights situation of  Hungary with government and civil society representatives in    February.

Procedure: Commission statement followed by a debate 2017/2656(RSP)

Debate: Wednesday, 26 April

#Hungary #CEU #fundamentalrights @TimmermansEU

Debate on Turkey referendum outcome

The outcome of Turkey’s 16 April referendum will be debated with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday afternoon. 

The referendum greatly expanded the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but left Turkey bitterly divided.

According to Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) the “yes” campaign won 51.4% of the votes and "no" 48.6%, on an 85%   turnout.

The referendum paves the way for a set of constitutional reforms that will transform Turkey from a parliamentary democracy into a “presidential republic”, removing checks and balances and the separation of powers by abolishing the Prime Minister’s post, giving broad executive powers to the President and enabling him to dissolve parliament when he sees fit. 

MEPs will want to know how these changes could affect future EU - Turkey relations and accession talks. 

In its March opinion, the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission stated that the proposed constitutional amendments are “dangerous step backwards” for democracy.

European Pillar of Social Rights: debate with Commissioner  Marianne Thyssen

The proposed European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) will be debated with with Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Marianne Thyssen on    Wednesday.

Work under the new pillar will include modernising EU rules and setting benchmarks for eurozone countries in employment and social policy   fields.

The EPSR proposals, following an EU-wide public consultation, fall into three main categories: equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions and adequate and sustainable social   protection.

In January, Parliament adopted a resolution on the EPSR calling on the EU Commission  to include new forms of employment, such as on-demand work or work intermediated by digital platforms, in EU-wide rules. MEPs also want minimum standards and decent working conditions for interns, trainees and apprentices and a ban on zero-hour contracts.

Procedure: Commission statement 2016/3020(RSP)

Debate: Wednesday, 26 April 

#SocialRights @mariannethyssen

Textile imports: MEPs to call for EU rules to curb worker exploitation

EU rules are needed to oblige textile and clothing suppliers to respect their workers’ rights, say MEPs in a resolution to be debated Wednesday and voted Thursday.

Textile workers around the world, many of whom are young women and children, suffer long working hours, low wages, uncertainty, violence and hazardous   conditions.

To make the industry more responsible and prevent tragedies like the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, MEPs suggest a series of proposals, including binding due diligence obligations based on OECD guidelines, forcing textile-exporting countries with preferential access to the EU market to comply with obligations and raising consumer awareness by introducing clothing  labels.

Background

More than 70% of EU textiles and clothing imports come from Asia, where most buyers are global brands looking for low prices and tight production timeframes. The consequences usually fall upon factory workers. After the Rana Plaza tragedy, in which over 1,100 people died when a factory building collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the EU Commission promised to bring forward an EU wide flagship initiative, but has so far failed to do so. Parliament wants to encourage the Commission to table this package of proposals.

Procedure: non-legislative resolution Procedure Code: 2016/2140(INI) 2016/2140(INI)

Debate: Wednesday, 26 April Vote: Thursday, 27 April

#RanaPlaza

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem to update  MEPs  on  Greek bailout

In his first plenary session appearance since his controversial remarks about southern Europe, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem will update MEPs on the Greek bailout. 

Mr Dijsselbloem will kick off a debate with a statement about the status of the second review of the economic adjustment programme for Greece. His presence in plenary follows his comments earlier this year, which were taken as a criticism of southern European fiscal laxity and which prompted calls for his resignation. 

MEPs will be keen to hear about the state of negotiations between Greece and its creditors: the EU and the International Monetary Fund. Greek reforms must be periodically approved by its lenders in exchange for new cheap loans. The latest review has been dragging on for months partly because the EU and the IMF cannot agree about economic forecasts for Greece and how the country can maintain a sustainable fiscal position.

Statement by the President of the Eurogroup Debate:  Thursday, 27 April

@Dijsselbloem #Greece

Statement by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security  Policy

/ Vice-President of the Commission

Debate: Wednesday, 26 April

#Turkey @FedericaMog

MEPs to urge Venezuela to respect constitution and free political  prisoners

MEPs will again urge Venezuela to respect its constitution and separation of powers, and to free political prisoners, in a resolution to be voted on Thursday.

The resolution will wrap up and set out the conclusions of a debate held on 5 April. 

Venezuela is immersed in an economic, social and political crisis, fuelled by differences between President Nicolás Maduro´s government and the opposition-led Congress. The Supreme Court stripped Congress of its legislative powers at the end of March, but reversed its decision some days   later. 

At least twenty people were killed and several injured in recent massive anti-government demonstrations.

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution Debate: Wednesday, 5 April

Vote: Thursday, 27 April

#Venezuela

Vote on closing multinationals’ tax loopholes

Parliament will vote Thursday to close loopholes used by some of the world’s largest corporations to avoid paying   tax. 

MEPs are to agree on amending the EU’s anti-tax avoidance directive to prevent multinationals taking advantage of mismatches between EU and third countries’ tax rules  to reduce their tax bills.

These mismatches, for example, allow corporations established in two jurisdictions (inside and outside the EU) to use the lack of coordination between national tax systems either to have the same expenditure deducted in both jurisdictions (so the firm enjoys a double tax deduction), or to have a payment recognised as tax deductible in one jurisdiction but not recognised as taxable income in the  other.

Procedure: Consultation 2016/0339(CNS) 

Vote:  Thursday, 27 April

#taxevasion

European Investment Bank to be asked to focus on jobs and innovative projects

The European Investment Bank (EIB) should invest more in the regions worst hit by the crisis and prioritise innovation-based projects, MEPs will say in a debate with EIB President Werner Hoyer on Thursday   morning.

In two resolutions to be voted on Thursday MEPs stress that as the EIB manages the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), money should be fairly distributed across the EU and focus on projects with a proven impact in areas such as R&D, quality jobs and clean energy. The EIB should also step up its advisory and communication work in order  to reach SMEs and firms participating in riskier innovative projects, they   add.

Background

The European Investment Bank, whose shareholders are EU member states, is the world's biggest public lender, with a triple-A rating. It grants loans and gives guarantees to help finance projects in all sectors of economy, while operating on a non-profit basis. In 2015, it signed operations worth €77.5 billion, €69.7 billion of which went to EU member states and €7.8 billion to projects outside the EU. Support for SMEs accounted for about % of its funding in 2015, leveraging €39.7 billion in funding for SMEs, supporting 5 million  

Procedure: non-legislative resolutions

2016/2099(INI) - Annual report on the financial activities of the European Investment Bank 2016/2098(INI) - Annual report on the control of the financial activities of the EIB for 2015 Debate: Thursday, 27 April

Vote:  Thursday, 27 April

@EIB #EFSI #EUfunds 

Vetting EU budget management in 2015

Parliament votes Thursday on whether EU institutions and entities managed their 2015 budgets according to the rules. Only the Council is unlikely to pass muster. 

The Budgetary Control Committee proposes that Parliament grant a budget management “discharge” (approval) to all entities except the Council, for which it recommends postponing it, for the seventh consecutive    year.

The EU Commission is responsible for the bulk of the EU budget - €145.2 billion in 2015 - but around 80% of all EU funding is in fact managed locally, by EU member  states.

The Commission budget error rate has been reduced from 4.4% in 2014 to 3.8% in 2015, MEPs note. They nonetheless deplore a backlog in the use of regional funds and a shortfall in climate-related spending. They stress that the EU budget needs reform, to make it “clearer, simpler, more  coherent.”

Background

The decision on whether to grant discharge for the execution of the EU budget is made by the European Parliament, acting on a non-binding recommendation by the Council, the other arm of the EU budgetary authority. Another key institution is the European Court of Auditors, the EU's independent external auditor, whose reports are a fundamental part of the procedure. The discharge procedure has proved to be a powerful tool, which has had an impact on the evolution of the EU's budgetary system, while helping to increase the Parliament's political leverage.

Procedure: Discharge 2016/2151(DEC)

Debate: Wednesday, 26 April Vote: Thursday, 27 April 

#EUdischarge #EUBudget

Protecting fisheries in the EU’s outermost regions

A call for financial help and incentives for young fishermen and fish farmers in the EU’s outermost regions will be debated on Wednesday and put to a vote on Thursday. 

MEPs want the EU Commission “to look into the possibility of establishing, as soon as possible, an instrument specifically dedicated to supporting fisheries in the outermost regions, along the lines of the POSEI scheme for   agriculture”. 

Programmes of Options Specifically Relating to Remoteness and Insularity (POSEI), governed by POSEI Regulation No 228/2013, include specific measures for agriculture in the outermost regions, such as production and import  subsidies.

Background 

The EU’s nine “outermost regions” include are parts of France (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion, Martinique, Mayotte and Saint-Martin), Portugal (Madeira and Azores) and Spain (Canary Islands). Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union sets out their defining features, which include remoteness, insularity, small size, difficult topography and climate, and economic dependence on a few    products.

Procedure: non-legislative resolution 2016/2016(INI)

Debate: Wednesday 26 April Vote: Thursday 27 April

#OutermostRegions #EUfisheries

Mining waste pollution: MEPs to urge EU countries to enforce EU rules

EU countries are failing to enact and enforce EU rules to halt mining waste pollution of soil and water, MEPs warn in a resolution to be voted on Thursday.

EU rules to prevent soil and water pollution caused by major accidents involving the spillage of hazardous extractive waste, like those in Spain and Romania in 1998 and 2000, are not being properly enacted or enforced by EU countries, warn MEPs. 

MEPs reiterate their call on the EU Commission and member states to transpose the EU Mining Waste Directive into their national laws and enforce  them.

Note for editors

Waste originating from the quarrying and mining industries makes up a very large proportion of the total volume of waste produced in the European Union (approximately 30% in 2012), part of which is hazardous   waste.

Procedure: non-legislative resolution 2015/2117(INI)

Vote:  Thursday 27 April 2017

#Mining #Waste

Other topics on the agenda

Other topics for debate and vote include the following:

  • Structural policy reform - support programmes 2017-2020, van Nistelrooij, Krehl (COD), debate Wednesday, vote Thursday
  • European Year of Cultural Heritage, Diaconu (COD), debate Wednesday, vote Thursday
  • Concentration and access to farmland in the EU, Noichl (INI), debate Wednesday, vote Thursday
  • Funding of programmes to involve consumers in financial policy making and support financial reporting and auditing activities, Stolojan; Lamberts (INIs), vote Thursday
  • Cooperation between Danemark and Europol, Diaz de Mera Consuegra (CNS), vote Thursday

 

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