13.04.2018

Emmanuel Macron debates the future of Europe with MEPs 

The President of the Republic of France, Emmanuel Macron, will be the fourth European leader to debate the future of Europe with MEPs and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday morning.

Emmanuel Macron was Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs from August 2014 to August 2016. As founder of the “En Marche!” movement, launched on 6th April 2016, he won the presidential elections. On 7 May 2017, Emmanuel Macron became the eighth president of the Fifth Republic of France.

This will be the fourth in a series of debates between EU heads of state or government and MEPs on the future of the European Union, following on from the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on 17 January, the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on 6 February and the Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa on 14 March.

The next European leader to address the House will be the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, during the plenary session in May in Brussels.

Debate: Tuesday 17 April

#FutureofEurope @EmmanuelMacron 

Following the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, MEPs will discuss data protection and citizens’ privacy in plenary on Wednesday.

MEPs will highlight the importance of data protection as a line of defence against election manipulation. They are also expected to call again for Facebook’s management to come before the European Parliament.

Cambridge Analytica is accused of having obtained the Facebook data of millions of users without their permission to target them during the 2016 US presidential election. In total, the Facebook information of up to 87 million users, out of which 2.7 million are in the EU, may have been improperly obtained.

Parliament President Antonio Tajani invited Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to the Parliament after the revelations surfaced. The Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee has also invited the company to clarify the situation and its impact on EU citizens’ data protection.

Background: what is a circular economy?

A circular economy implies reducing waste to a minimum as well as re-using, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products. Moving towards a more circular economy will reduce pressure on the environment, enhance security of supply of raw materials, increase competitiveness, innovation and growth, and create jobs.

Debate:  Tuesday 17 April

Vote:  Wednesday 18 April

Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure

Press conference: Wednesday; 18 April,  14:00 tbc

#waste #circulareconomy

The share of municipal waste to be recycled will rise from 44% today to 55% by 2025, under legislation on the circular economy to be put to the vote on Wednesday. 

Improving waste management can deliver benefits for the environment, climate, and human health, but not only. The four pieces of legislation are part of a shift in EU policy towards a circular economy, i.e. a system where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible.

By 2025, at least 55% of municipal waste (from households and businesses) should be recycled, says the text. The target will rise to 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035. 65% of packaging materials will have to be recycled by 2025, and 70% by 2030. Separate targets are set for specific packaging materials, such as paper and cardboard, plastics, glass, metal and wood.

Landfilling

The draft law also limits the share of municipal waste to be landfilled to a maximum of 10% by 2035. In 2014, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden sent virtually no municipal waste to landfill, whereas Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Latvia and Malta still landfill more than three quarters of their municipal waste. 

Background: what is a circular economy?

A circular economy implies reducing waste to a minimum as well as re-using, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products. Moving towards a more circular economy will reduce pressure on the environment, enhance security of supply of raw materials, increase competitiveness, innovation and growth, and create jobs.

Debate:  Tuesday 17 April

Vote:  Wednesday 18 April

Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure

Press conference: Wednesday; 18 April,  14:00 tbc

#waste #circulareconomy

By 2030, CO2 emitted by transport, farming, buildings and waste must be cut by 30%, and any deforestation in the EU will have to be balanced out by planting new trees.

These are the aims of two draft EU laws to be put to a final vote on Tuesday.

EU targets are to be translated into binding national targets for sectors which are not covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, i.e. agriculture, transport, building and waste, which together account for about 60% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions.

These cuts will contribute to meeting the EU’s overall collective pledge, under the Paris Agreement on climate change, to deliver a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors, from 1990 levels.

Forestry as a tool to counter climate change

Parliament will also vote on a separate law, aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions from land use and forerstry and boost the level of emissions absorbed by forests as a way to tackle climate change.

The proposed law would lay down rules under which EU countries have to ensure that deforestation is balanced by planting new trees, and sets measures to develop the sector in order to boost CO2 absorption by forests, croplands and grasslands. MEPs bolstered these provisions by adding that from 2030, member states should boost CO2 absorption to exceed emissions, in line with the EU’s long-term objectives and the Paris Agreement.

Debate:  Monday, 16 April

Vote:  Tuesday, 17 April

Procedure:  ordinary legislative procedure

Press conference: Tuesday 15.00 tbc

#EUESR #LULUCF #ParisAgreement

The full House will vote on new rules to ensure maximal energy efficiency of buildings in the EU by 2050.

Under the updated rules, member states would have to develop national long-term strategies to support the renovation of residential and non-residential buildings and follow a national roadmap to a highly decarbonised national building stock by 2050, including indicative milestones for 2030 and 2040.

Boosting electro-mobility, curbing emissions

The new measures would also require:

  • electro-mobility infrastructure, including cabling for recharging electric vehicles in new non-residential buildings,
  • a reference to the target to reduce emissions in the EU by 80-95% and
  • a “smart readiness indicator” tool measuring how flexible new buildings are to adapting to the needs of the occupants, reducing their energy use.

Background

The updated directive for Energy Performance of Buildings is the first of the eight legislative proposals of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package launched in November 2016, on which EP and the Council negotiators reached a provisional agreement on 19 December, endorsed by Council in Coreper on 31 January.

Procedure Code: 2016/0381(COD)

Vote:  Tuesday, 17 April

Procedure: Co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

#energyunion #energyefficiency #EPBD

In response to the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, MEPs will call on Thursday for measures to step up the protection of journalists across the EU. 

In a plenary debate held on 14 March, MEPs called for an independent, international and thorough investigation into the double murder to bring the perpetrators to justice. They insisted on better rules at both national and EU level to ensure the safety of journalists, bloggers and whistle-blowers.

The resolution will be based also on the findings of a six-strong ad hoc delegation of MEPs who visited Slovakia on 8 - 9 March to look into the situation on the ground.

Parliament honoured the memory of Mr Kuciak and Ms Kušnírová with a minute’s silence at its plenary session on 28 February. Its President Antonio Tajani strongly condemned the murders, stressing that freedom of press must be ensured and calling on the Slovak authorities to uncover the truth.

Debate: Wednesday, 14 March

Vote: Thursday, 19 April

Procedure: Council and Commission statements followed by a debate (14/03) and a resolution (19/04)

Type of document: Non-legislative resolution

#JanKuciak #AllForJan

New rules on certification and labelling of organic foodstuffs will be debated on Wednesday and put to the vote on Thursday. They should help to increase organic production in the EU.

The new EU law on organic production and labelling, as agreed by Parliament’s negotiators and EU governments in June 2017, will improve checks along the supply chain, ensure that all imported organic products comply with strict EU standards, and allow group certification for small producers to save them time and money when turning organic. It also aims to increase the supply of organic seeds and animals on the market.

To avoid contamination with chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilisers, farmers will have to apply new precautionary measures or risk losing organic status for their products. As in the past, member states could introduce organic-specific thresholds for traces of contamination for their producers.

Mixed farms, i.e. those producing both conventional and organic food, would continue to be allowed to work in this way, on condition that the two farming activities are clearly and effectively separated.

More details about the new rules are available in the following press release and the background note. If approved by MEPs and EU ministers, they will apply from January 2021.

Debate: Wednesday, 18 April

Vote: Thursday, 19 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision), 1st reading agreement

Type of document: Regulation

Press conference: N/A

#Organicfood

Parliament is set to endorse new “type approval” rules to guarantee that cars on the road are clean and safe.

Parliament and Council negotiators provisionally agreed in December on overhauled rules on car type approvals and checks to fix the weaknesses that allowed the emissions scandal to happen. The new rules will be put to a plenary vote on Thursday.

The regulation will strengthen European oversight over the car approval system to ensure that the updated rules are applied uniformly and effectively throughout the EU. By clarifying the responsibilities that national type approval authorities, testing centres and market surveillance bodies have, it seeks to reinforce their independence and prevent conflicts of interest.

Every EU country will be required to conduct a minimum number of checks on cars each year. The Commission will also be able to carry out tests and inspections of vehicles to verify compliance and to impose administrative fines on carmakers of up to €30 000 per non-compliant vehicle. (Art. 8, Art. 9, recital 25, Art. 90)

Background

“Type approval” is the process whereby national authorities certify that a vehicle model meets all EU safety, environmental and production requirements before it can be placed on the market.

Debate: Wednesday, 18 April

Vote: Thursday, 19 April

Procedure: Co-decision (ordinary legislative procedure), first reading agreement

#CleanerCars

Any citizen could, in future, access information about the real owners of companies operating in the EU. The proposal forms part of the wide-ranging fifth update to the EU’s Anti-money Laundering Directive, which MEPs will debate on Wednesday, before a vote the following day.

If MEPs give their assent, this will be the first time that members of the public will be able to access data on the beneficial owners of firms - a move aimed at stamping out the opaque financial arrangements behind letterbox companies.

Other measures include closer regulation of virtual currencies, like Bitcoins, and protection for whistleblowers who report money laundering.

Debate:  Wednesday

Vote:  Thursday

Procedure:  Co-decision

#AMLD

MEPs will debate the outcome of the 22-23 March meeting of EU leaders in Brussels with European Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday morning. The summit focused on trade, the Brexit negotiations, taxation, Digital Europe and eurozone reform.

EU leaders, meeting in a EU27 format, adopted the guidelines on the framework for the Union’s future relationship with the United Kingdom after Brexit at the March meeting. They also strongly condemned the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury and the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances.

Debate: Wednesday 18 April

Procedure: Debate with European Council and Commission

#Brexit #EUCO @eucopresident @EU2018BG #eurozone #Fairtaxation

MEPs are set to vote on a resolution on the lessons learned and outlining the way forward in light of the controversial appointment of EU Commission Secretary-General Martin Selmayr. 

The resolution builds on a series of written questions from MEPs to which the European Commission has already replied, as well as a hearing with Günther Oettinger, the EU commissioner in charge of budget and human resources.

The resolution will wind up a debate held at the March part-session. In the debate, several MEPs said the procedure used to appoint Mr Selmayr as the Commission’s Secretary-General from 1 March lacked integrity and transparency, a view reiterated during Mr Oettinger’s hearing.

Further to the plenary debate, Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (President and political group leaders) asked the Budgetary Control Committee to draft and table a resolution. The Committee will vote on the resolution on Monday, 16 April, before passing it on for the final vote in the plenary.

Debate: Monday, 12 March

Vote:  Wednesday, 18 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

New rules to ensure proper use of public money when funding European political parties and foundations will be put to a vote on Tuesday.

The proposed regulation would prohibit individuals from creating European parties - allowing only national parties to do so. This is to prevent individual members of a national party from forming more than one European party in order to maximise access to public funds.

The European Parliament should also be better able to recover amounts unduly paid and individuals guilty of fraud would become liable to pay back misspent funds. 

Vote: Tuesday 17 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure

MEPs will call for a new European Values Instrument to support civil society organisations which are active at local and national level in promoting and protecting fundamental values, on Tuesday.

MEPs are set to call on the EU to set up a funding instrument - the European Values Instrument - to promote and protect EU values, especially democracy, freedom, the rule of law and fundamental rights, within the EU budget of the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

The new instrument should be complementary to already existing European funds and should be financed fresh money.

Background

The EU provides direct funding - the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights - to civil society organisations (CSOs) operating in non-EU countries to foster EU values. But funds for CSOs promoting EU values within the EU are very limited, particularly for CSOs operating at local and national level.

Debate:  Tuesday, 17 April

Vote:  Thursday, 19 April

Procedure:  non-legislative resolution

EU countries should monitor the presence and progress of women in the media and the Commission should take action to tackle the digital gap between men and women, MEPs are set to say in a joint debate on Monday.

Member states should enforce existing gender equality laws in full and support incentive measures, including quotas, for the equal representation of women and men in the media sector, which currently employs over one million people in the EU, says the draft resolution to be put to the vote on Tuesday.

In a joint debate, MEPs will also quiz the Commission on the empowerment of women through the digital sector and on how it plans to reduce the persisting digital gap between women and men as regards basic and advanced e-skills and women’s share of digitalised jobs.

Background

In 2015, 68% of journalism and information graduates in the EU were women, yet the share of those employed in the media sector languished at 40%. Only 37% of news stories are reported by women, a figure which has not improved for ten years.

A 2013 Commission report demonstrates that equal participation of women in the ICT sector would contribute as much as 9 billion euros to the EU economy every year.

Debate: Monday, 16 April

Vote: Tuesday, 17 April

Procedure: non-legislative resolution (gender equality in the media) and question for oral answer to the Commission, with resolution (empowering women through the digital sector)

#gendergap

The EU’s external financing instruments should be made more strategic and flexible to bolster the EU’s position in the world, MEPs are to say in a resolution to be debated on Tuesday and put to a vote on Wednesday.

To strengthen the EU as a global player worldwide, the External Financing Instruments (EFIs), the backbone of the EU’s foreign policy objectives under the current multiannual financial framework (MFF), should be remodelled after 2020, MEPs are likely to urge in a debate on Tuesday afternoon with EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

MEPs will seize the opportunity of the mid-term review of the EFIs’ implementation to call for more transparent, accountable, efficient, coherent and flexible tools, with the aim of strengthening EU values and interests worldwide. They are also to ask for enhanced parliamentary oversight, including access to more detailed information on the instrument’s implementation.

Background

Over a seven-year period, between 2014 and 2020, the EU has dedicated 51.8 billion euros to its external action. A large share of this funding, 32 billion euros, is disbursed through so-called external financial instruments.

Debate: Tuesday, 17 April

Vote: Wednesday, 18 April

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

@FedericaMog

The escalating war in Syria, after the alleged chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma, will be debated with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday afternoon. It will be followed by a debate on the situation in Russia and on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Syria

During the March plenary session, MEPs blamed the Assad regime, Russia and Iran for the heinous crimes committed in Syria. The Syrian regime’s offensive against rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, including the alleged use of chemical weapons, is evidence of the spiralling violence, said MEPs. 

Russia

After Russian president Vladimir Putin’s re-election for the second consecutive term in March, MEPs will take stock of the situation in Russia and its ambition to maintain an aggressive international agenda: support for the Assad regime, the ongoing annexation of Crimea, meddling in Western countries’ elections and the alleged use of the nerve agent Novichok against former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter, amongst others. The debate will by wound up by a resolution to be voted on in May I plenary. 

Korean Peninsula

MEPs will debate the EU’s role in facilitating peace talks on the Korean Peninsula, to be addressed at the inter-Korean summit later this month and to be followed up by a North Korean and US summit in May. 

A delegation from the EP’s committee on Foreign Affairs, led by its chair David McAllister (EPP, DE), visited Japan and the Republic of Korea, including the demilitarised zone near the North Korean border, on 2-6 April 2018. The delegation has advocated for a new boost to peace talks and for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, urging that pressure on North Korea should be maintained, until it delivers in a concrete manner.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 17 April

Vote: May I plenary (Russia)

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

#Syria #Russia #Ghouta #NorthKorea

MEPs will discuss the violation of human rights and the rule of law in the case of two Greek soldiers arrested and detained in Turkey. They will quiz EU Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on the steps to be taken to release the two soldiers detained since 2 March on charges of illegally crossing the border.

The two Greek soldiers were arrested in the border region of Edirne and have been detained since then on charges of espionage and illegally entering the country. The soldiers have said that adverse weather conditions on the day of their arrest disorientated them near the Greek-Turkish border, leading them to cross the Turkish borders without realising.

Greece has issued formal complaints to the EU and NATO over the detention of its two soldiers.

Debate: Tuesday, 17 April

Procedure:  Statement by the VP/HR

MEPs will assess how well the 2016 EU budget has been managed in a vote on Thursday.

The Parliament will vote on 53 discharge reports covering every EU institution, as well as agencies, Joint Undertakings and the European Development Fund.

In the committee vote, MEPs dealing with budgetary control suggested postponing the discharge of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and Council and the European Council, while approving the budget management of all the other institutions.

EASO is being investigated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), and the European Court of Auditors has previously pointed to shortcomings in EASO’s procurement procedures. The European Council and the Council, having been denied discharge for the last seven years, failed to submit the information the Parliament needs to take the decision.

Discharge is the final approval of the implementation of the budget for a specific year. The European Parliament can grant, postpone or refuse a discharge. If the discharge is postponed, the Parliament may ask the respective institution to provide it with additional information before voting on a final decision later in the year. Granting the discharge closes a specific financial year.

Debate: Wednesday, 18 April

Vote:  Wednesday, 18 April

Procedure: Discharge procedure

#EUBudget

The challenge for public health due to waning public confidence in vaccination, especially for children, will be up for a debate on Wednesday.

Parliament will adopt a resolution on Thursday.

The draft text from the Environment and Public Health committee notes that epidemiological data show significant gaps in vaccines being accepted in different regions. This results in insufficient coverage rates to ensure the public is adequately protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.

MEPs stress that increased transparency in evaluating vaccines, their possible side-effects and their adjuvants and public funding of independent research programmes would contribute to restoring confidence in vaccination.

Background

Vaccination prevents an estimated 2.5 million deaths each year worldwide and reduces disease-specific treatment costs, including antimicrobial treatments. In the period of 2008-2015, there were 215,000 cases of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs), excluding influenza, in Europe.

The European Commission is to present an initiative for a strengthened cooperation to combat vaccine preventable diseases in the second quarter of 2018.

Debate:  Wednesday 18 April

Vote:  Thursday 19 April

Procedure:  oral questions to Council and the Commission, with resolution

#vaccinehesitancy #vaccination 

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following human rights, democracy and rule of law topics on Thursday 19 April, at around 10.00, with the votes following at 12.00. 

  • Belarus
  • Philippines
  • Situation, in the Gaza Strip

Topic: Human Rights

Specialist: Emilie

Procedure: non-legislative resolutions

Debates and votes: Thursday, 19 April 

#humanrights #democracy

Other topics for debate and vote include the following:

- A European strategy for the promotion of protein crops, Denanot, debate Mon, vote Tue

Strengthening economic, social and territorial cohesion in the EU; Joulaud, debate Mon, vote Tue

EU-Australia Framework Agreement, Millan, vote Tue

Progress on UN Global compacts on safe, orderly and regular migration and on refugees, Statement by the VPC/HR, debate Tue, vote Wed

- Implementation of the European Protection Order Directive, Jimenez Becerril Barrio, debate Thu, vote Thu

Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, Stevens, vote Wed

- Implementation of the Treaty provisions concerning national Parliaments, Rangel, debate Wed, vote Thu

  • Source : europarl.europa.eu
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