skip to content

Cookie policy on the European Parliament Liaison Office in Ireland website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

Continue
 
 
 

EP Plenary Newsletter 11-14 February 2019

08-02-2019

What will MEPs be working on in next week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Highlights include; the Future of Europe and the EU-Singapore partnership agreement

 

Future of Europe debate with Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

MEPs will exchange views about the future of Europe with Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday at 17.00.

This will be the seventeenth in a series of debates between MEPs and EU heads of state or government.

Find out more about previous debates here.

Peter Pellegrini, Prime Minister of Slovakia, will address MEPs at the March I plenary session in Strasbourg.

President Tajani and PM Conte will hold a joint press point following the debate.

For More Information

Topic: Interinstitutional

Specialist: Federico

Debate: Tuesday, 12 February at 17.00

Procedure: Debate (without resolution)

Joint press point:TBC

Biography of Giuseppe Conte
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-North-West); Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin)

 

EU-Singapore free trade agreement up for approval

Parliament decides on Wednesday whether to approve the free trade and investment protection agreements between the EU and Singapore.

Serving as a blueprint for future trade deals between the EU and Southeast Asia, the free trade agreement will remove virtually all tariffs between the two parties within five years. It will allow for free trade in services, protect unique European products, and open up the Singaporean procurement market to EU companies. The agreement includes strengthened labour rights and environmental protection.

Background

Singapore is by far the EU’s largest partner in the region, accounting for almost a third of EU-ASEAN trade in goods and services, and roughly two-thirds of investment between the two regions. Over 10,000 European companies have their regional offices in Singapore.

For More Information

Debate:  Tuesday, 12 February

Vote:  Wednesday, 13 February

Procedure: Consent

Press conference: Wednesday, 13 February at 14:30

 

Draft resolution on the free trade agreement between the EU and Singapore
Draft consent to the free trade agreement between the EU and Singapore
Draft resolution on the investment protection agreement between EU and Singapore
Draft consent to the investment protection agreement between EU and Singapore
Press release on committee vote (24.01.2019)
Rapporteur: David Martin (S&D, UK)
Procedure file: free trade agreement
Procedure file: investment protection agreement
EU-Singapore trade (European Commission)
EP think tank: EU-Singapore trade and investment agreements closer to conclusion
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin); Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South)

 

Europe is moving at a snail’s pace on pesticide innovation, say MEPs

Member states have failed to replace chemical pesticides with low-risk alternatives, says a report to be put to the vote on Tuesday.

The draft resolution from the Environment Committee says that EU member states have not made progress in implementing EU legislation on the sustainable use of pesticide

Very little has been done to promote and incentiviss research, development and uptake of low-risk and non-chemical alternatives, they add.

Background

An October 2017 scientific study on flying insect biomass showed that the flying insect population in 63 conservation areas in Germany has plummeted by more than 75 % in 27 years.

For More Information:

Debate:  Tuesday, 12 February

Vote:  Tuesday, 12 February

Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution

Draft report on the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides
Profile of rapporteur Jytte Guteland (S&D, SE)
Procedure file
European Commission - Overview report on the sustainable use of pesticides
European Commission - report on Member State National Action Plans and on progress in the implementation of Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein (Dublin); Sean kelly, Fine Gael (South)

 

Improving transport conditions for animals

Following media reports about ill-treatment of transported animals, MEPs will look into ways to improve their welfare, on Thursday.

The draft text of the non-legislative resolution, tabled for the plenary by the Parliament’s Agriculture committee, calls on EU member states to better enforce existing EU rules protecting transported animals, apply tough penalties for offenders and improve transport conditions.

MEPs recommend cutting transport time as much as possible, for instance by using slaughtering facilities close to breeding places.

Background

Every year, millions of animals are transported between member states, within member states and to non-EU countries over long distances for breeding, rearing, further fattening and slaughter.

Following media reports on ill-treatment of transported animals, the Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (EP president and political groups’ leaders) tasked the Agriculture Committee with drafting an implementation report on how EU rules are being enforced in practice.

For More Information

Debate: Thu, 14 February 

Vote: Thu, 14 February 

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

Draft resolution
Press release on committee vote (24.01.2019)
Profile of rapporteur Jørn Dohrmann (ECR, DK)
Procedure file
EP Research: Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-North-West)

 

EU cross-border payments outside Eurozone: MEPs to vote on lower fees

Banks should charge equally for cross-border payments in euro and domestic payments and make currency conversion costs more transparent.

In a vote on Thursday, MEPs are set to put an end to the discrimination that payment service users in the EU outside the Eurozone face. Whereas consumers in the Eurozone benefit from the single euro payments area ('SEPA'), those living outside continue to pay high costs for their cross-border payments in euro.

The new measures, already informally agreed with the Council, will also protect consumers from being charged excessively and arbitrarily for currency conversions and ensure that they are informed about the amount to be paid in the local currency and the currency of their account.

Background

Average fee for a cross-border EUR 100 equivalent transfer in local currency

Country

2012

2017

Bulgaria

18,68 €

19, 98 €

Croatia                       

N/A     

8,23 €

Czechia

9,50 €

8,71 €

Denmark

2,17 €

2,69 €

Hungary

15,32 €

5,93 €

Poland

2,73 €

1,54 €

Romania

12,58 €

11,19 €

Sweden

0 €

0 €

UK

15,63 €

9,26 €

 

Cross-border card payments and cash withdrawals from euro area member states

Sources: Commission Impact assessment, quoting Deloitte study 2017 for the EC, London Economics and PaySys study 2013 for EC

For More Information

Debate:  Wednesday, 13 February

Vote: Thursday, 14 February

Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure, first reading agreement

Draft resolution amending Regulation (EC) No 924/2009 as regards certain charges on cross-border payments in the Union and currency conversion charges
Profile of the rapporteur Eva Maydell (EPP, BG)
Procedure file
EP Research: Cross-border euro transfers and currency conversions: A step forward in favour of the single market
Commission staff working document impact assessment
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin)

 

Western Waters: final vote on the multiannual plan to manage fisheries

MEPs will vote on a plan to manage fishing opportunities in the Western Waters for demersal species, already informally agreed with EU Ministers.

This multiannual plan for the Northeast Atlantic area, known as the Western Waters, involves fishing vessels from Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and UK. Stocks include hake, Norway lobster, angelfish and common sole.

For More Information:

Debate: Monday 11 February 2019

Vote: Tuesday, 12 February

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure, first reading 2018/0074(COD)

Provisional text adopted
Press release on the committee vote (26.10.2018)
Profile of rapporteur: Alain CADEC (EPP, FR)
Procedure file
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Sean kelly, Fine Gael (South)

 

MEPs expected to call for more focus on artificial intelligence and robotics

Developing EU rules and guidance on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics will be the focus of a debate on Monday evening.

MEPs are expected to underline the great potential that AI and robotics have in manufacturing, health, energy and transport, while recalling that AI needs to be guided by a code of ethics.

By voting on a resolution on Tuesday drafted by the Industry Committee, MEPs want to give a clear political mandate to the European Commission to develop an action plan on artificial intelligence and robotics for the next legislature.

For More Information

Debate:  Monday, 11 February

Vote:  Tuesday, 12 February

Procedure:  non-legislative resolution

Draft resolution on a comprehensive European industrial policy on artificial intelligence and robotics:
Rapporteur Ashley Fox (ECR, UK)
Procedure file
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South)

 

MEPs concerned about backlash against women’s rights in the EU

MEPs will quiz the Commission on the growing discrimination women are facing in some member states, on Tuesday and vote on a resolution on Wednesday.

In recent months, political attempts have been made in some EU member states to limit women’s decision-making power over their own bodies and their individual rights, while promoting a conservative role model.

Campaigns against women’s sexual and reproductive rights and sexual health education, difficulties for women’s rights organisations in accessing funding and the rise of sexist hate speech and violence online, as well as violence against women and against LGBTI people, are among the subjects MEPs are likely to raise during the debate.

For More Information:

Debate: Tuesday, 12 February

Vote: Wednesday, 13 February

Procedure: Question for oral answer to the Commission, with resolution

Procedure file
Question for oral answer to the Commission
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein (Dublin)

 

Stepping up the fight against anti-gypsyism

The EU and its member states should do more to fight anti-gypsyism and implement concrete measures to promote Roma inclusion, Parliament is set to say.

MEPs will vote on Tuesday on a resolution wrapping-up the plenary debate held on 30 January. The draft text denounces the systematic human rights violations that Roma people continue to udergo in the EU. It also voices concern over the problems Roma face to access education, employment, housing and medical care.

Plenary is likely to call for gender mainstreaming and a child-sensitive approach in all EU and member states’ Roma integration policies. MEPs also ask for Roma representatives and NGOs to be more closely involved in the design of these policies.

For More Information

Debate: Wednesday, 30 January

Vote: Tuesday, 12 February

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

Video of the debate (30.01.2019)
Procedure file
Free photos, video and audio material
 

Civil protection: Pooling resources to respond better to disasters

An upgrade of the EU’s civil defence mechanism, tested to its limits in 2017 and 2018 by forest fires, storms and floods, will be put to a vote on Tuesday.

The new legislation, informally agreed with Council in December, will help member states to respond faster and more effectively to natural and man-made disasters, by sharing civil protection assets more efficiently.

The draft law will also set up, upon Parliament’s request, a “RescEU” reserve of resources, such as forest fire-fighting planes, high-capacity pumps, field hospitals and emergency medical teams, for use in all kinds of emergencies. RescEU will step in when member states do not have enough resources to respond to a disaster.

Background

The EU's Civil Protection Mechanism is currently a voluntary system, through which the EU coordinates participating states’ voluntary contributions to a country that has requested assistance. In recent years, extreme weather conditions and other phenomena have stretched member states’ ability to help each other, especially when several face the same type of disaster simultaneously. When limited or no support is available, the EU does not have a reserve capacity to assist overwhelmed member states.

For More Information

Debate:  Tuesday, 12 February

Vote:  Tuesday, 12 February

Provisional agreement with Council
Press release on the agreement with Council (12.12.2018)
Profile of rapporteur Elisabetta Gardini (EPP, IT)
Procedure file
 

EU to keep investing in all regions to boost economic and social cohesion

MEPs will vote on EU 2021-2027 funding rules and are set to oppose cuts to finances dedicated to regions.

Draft rules with new goals to support innovation, digitisation, energy transition, education and access to healthcare in all parts of Europe will be discussed on Wednesday morning and voted on at noon. These would allow for simplified procedures to boost locally driven projects and encourage smaller businesses to apply for funding.

Financing rates and the overall amount should be kept at current levels, according to the draft figures submitted by the Regional Development Committee, with a budget of €378.1 billion in 2018 prices (14 % more than the Commission's proposal of €330.6 billion) for the 2021-2027 period.

Less developed regions should keep benefiting from substantial EU support of up to 85 % of co-financing and additional funding should be set aside for outermost regions. MEPs also want to increase resources for cross-border projects.

Background

To improve syngergies between funds, the overarching rules of the Common Provisions Regulation will not only apply to the Regional Development Fund, the Social Fund (EFS+), the Cohesion Fund, but also to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and sets out 2021–2027 financial rules for the Asylum and Migration Fund, the Internal Security Fund and the Border Management and Visa Instrument. Parliament’s Regional Development Committee also wants to bring the Rural Development Fund under the new Common Provisions. The funds make up about a third of the EU´s total budget.

For More Information

Debate: Wed, 13 February 

Vote: Wed, 13 February 

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure (first reading, mandate for negotiations with the Council)

Press Conference: Wednesday, 13 February at 15:00


 

Draft resolution
Press Release after vote in Committee (22.01.2018)
Profile of co-rapporteur Constanze Krehl (S&D, DE)
Profile of co-rapporteur Andrej Novakov (EPP, BG)
Procedure file
Find out about projects in your region
EP Research Briefing on Cohesion funds, values and economic and monetary union in the 2021-2027 MFF
Free photos, video and audio material
 

The EU to take a closer look at foreign direct investment

Parliament is to vote on Thursday on setting up the first EU-level tool to screen foreign direct investment on grounds of security to protect strategic sectors.

While the EU remains open for investment, inward foreign direct investment (FDI) needs to be vetted to check whether it might endanger the EU’s strategic interests. The proposal protects crucial industries, such as water, transport, or communications, and technologies, including semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

Background

In the last 20 years, the structure and provenance of FDI to the EU changed drastically, with more FDI from emerging economies. Investment from China grew six-fold, from Brazil tenfold, and investment from Russia more than doubled, lately targeting high-tech sectors and often through companies with state ownership or ties to governments.

Currently only 14 EU countries (Austria, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom) have FDI screening mechanisms, which differ widely in their scope and design. FDI has cross-border effects, which can now be addressed.

For More Information

Debate: Wednesday, 13 February

Vote: Thursday, 14 February

Procedure: ordinary legislative procedure

Press conference: Wednesday, 13 February, at 15.30

Draft resolution on FDI screening
Press release on the committee vote (10.12.2018)
Rapporteur: Franck Proust (EPP, FR)
EP think tank briefing: EU framework for FDI screening (12.07.2018)
Foreign direct investment - an EU screening framework (Commission factsheet, 13.09.2017)
Procedure file
Free photos, video and audio material
 

Take medical use of cannabis seriously, say MEPs

MEPs will debate ways to address research gaps on medical cannabis with the European Commission, and adopt a resolution on Tuesday.

MEPs will quiz the Commission on how the EU could support quality research on cannabis-based medicines and establish standards for non-pharmaceutical medical cannabis to ensure consumer safety.

The draft resolution stresses the need for the Commission and national authorities to draw a clear distinction between medical cannabis and other uses of cannabis. It calls on the Commission and member states to address regulatory barriers which burden scientific research and invites them to properly fund research and promote greater knowledge of medical cannabis among medical professionals.

Background

MEPs believe that there is substantial evidence that cannabis and cannabinoids have therapeutic effects for treating chronic pain in adults, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and improve muscle spasticity symptoms in multiple sclerosis.

Whilst the WHO has officially recommended that the cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) should not be considered a controlled substance, legislation in member states differs widely on the subject of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

For More Information

Debate:  Tuesday 12 February

Vote:  Wednesday, 13 February

Procedure:  Oral question to the Commission, with resolution

Oral question to the Commission on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes
Draft resolution
Procedure file
Free photos, video and audio material
 

Droughts: promote water reuse for agricultural irrigation

Plans to counter water scarcity by facilitating the reuse of treated wastewater for agricultural irrigation will be put to a vote on Tuesday.

The legislation defines minimum quality standards for reclaimed water to be used for agricultural irrigation. It also sets out obligations for production, distribution and storage operators, as well as risk management measures.

Background

The European Union’s water resources are increasingly coming under pressure, leading to water scarcity and quality deterioration. In particular, climate change, unpredictable weather patterns and drought are putting a strain on the availability of freshwater needed for urban development and agriculture. Ensuring that treated wastewater can be reused more extensively, especially in agriculture, could reduce extraction from water authorities and groundwater.

For More Information

Debate:  Tuesday, 12 February

Vote:  Tuesday, 12 February

Procedure:  ordinary legislative procedure, 1st reading

Draft report on minimum requirements for water reuse
Press release on committee vote (22.01.2019)
Profile of rapporteur Simona Bonafè (S&D, IT)
Procedure file
EP Research: setting minimum requirements for water reuse
Free photos, video and audio material
 

MEPs call on the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to proceed with constitutional and political reforms, in order to advance with the EU integration process.

In a draft resolution assessing Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress on the road towards possible EU accession, MEPs note that, since mid-2017, there has been a marked slowdown in EU-related reforms, despite the country’s commitment to the Reform Agenda.

They also regret the lack of progress on freedom of expression and media independence and emphasise that producing and broadcasting TV and radio content in all of BiH’s official languages would contribute to protecting the country’s cultural diversity.

The text will be voted on by the full House on Wednesday.

Background

Bosnia and Herzegovina applied to join the EU on 15 February 2016, but is still to be given candidate country status.

For More Information

Debate: Tuesday, 12 February

Vote:  Wednesday, 13 February

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

Draft resolution on the 2018 Commission Report on Bosnia and Herzegovina
Press release on the committee vote (06.12.2018)
Profile of rapporteur Cristian Dan Preda (EPP, RO)
Procedure file
Free photos, video and audio material
 

How to make the most of EU citizenship

MEPs to discuss on Monday evening how to further strengthen and guarantee EU citizens’ rights.

A draft resolution by Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz (ALDE, ES) will be tabled for a plenary debate late on Monday and put to the vote on Tuesday..

Proposals include ways to promote democratic participation, expand the European public space, safeguard and expand citizens’ rights, and establish a European public holiday on 9 May.

For More Information

Debate: Monday, 11 February

Vote: Tuesday, 12 February

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

Draft resolution
Procedure file
Profile of the rapporteur Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz (ALDE, ES)
Free photos, video and audio material
 

MEPs to ask for enhanced political scrutiny over EU institutions

MEPs will discuss how to enhance parliamentary oversight of the EU Commission, and the democratic legitimacy of EU institutions in the process, on Monday evening.

The debate will focus on the conclusions and recommendations by rapporteur Mercedes Bresso (S&D, IT), which include increased powers of inquiry and censure for the Parliament over the Commission, a clearer, streamlined executive structure for the EU to make it more accountable, and enhanced cooperation between the European Parliament and national parliaments to scrutinise member states’ governments.

MEPs will vote on the draft resolution on Tuesday. A press conference with the rapporteur and the shadow rapporteurs will follow.

For More Information:

Debate: Monday, 11 February

Vote: Tuesday, 12 February

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

Press conference: Tuesday, 12 February, at 14.30

 

Draft Resolution
Profile of the rapporteur Mercedes Bresso (S&D, IT)
Procedure file
Free photos, video and audio material