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EP Plenary Newsletter 15-18 April 2019

12-04-2019

What will MEPs be working on in next week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Highlights include; BREXIT; Climate action and the future of Europe

 

Parliament to debate Brexit extension on Wednesday

MEPs will discuss the extension of the UK’s EU membership with Council and Commission representatives on Wednesday at 9.00.

Following the UK government’s application to extend the country’s membership of the EU and the corresponding European Council decision on 10 April to provide a flexible extension until 31 October 2019, MEPs are set to take stock of the specifics of this decision and recent developments in a debate with Council and Commission representatives.

Assuming that the UK will still be an EU member state between 23 and 26 May, it will have to take part in the European Parliament elections on these dates, or leave the EU on 1 June 2019.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 17 April

Procedure: Council and Commission statements (without resolution)

Free photos, video and audio material
 

Future of Europe debate with Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš

MEPs will exchange views on the future of Europe with Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš on Wednesday at 10.00.

Mr. Kariņš will be the twentieth and last EU head of state or government to debate the future of Europe with MEPs during this parliamentary term. Find out more about the previous debates here.

Mr. Kariņš was elected as Prime Minister in January 2019. Before his appointment, he had been a Member of the European Parliament since 2009 (“Jaunā Vienotība” (New Unity)/EPP).

Immediately after the debate, EP President Antonio Tajani and Mr Kariņš will give a press point at around 12.30 in front of the Protocol room.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Wednesday, 17 April

Press conference: Wednesday, 17 April, at 12.20 with President Antonio Tajani and Krišjānis Kariņš                                                                                           

Procedure: Future of Europe debate (without resolution)

CV of Latvian PM Krišjānis Kariņš
Free photos, video and audio material
 

Protecting whistle-blowers: new EU-wide rules

Those disclosing information acquired in a work-related context, on illegal or harmful activities, will be better protected, under new EU rules.

The new rules, agreed between EP negotiators and EU ministers and put to a vote on Tuesday, lay down new, EU-wide standards to protect whistle-blowers. They would create safe channels for reporting on breaches of EU law (within companies and to public authorities), safeguards against retaliation, such as intimidation or harassment, and support measures, such as legal aid and access to information on procedures and remedies.

Recent scandals, from LuxLeaks to Panama Papers and Cambridge Analytica, have demonstrated how important whistle-blowers’ revelations are to detect and prevent breaches of EU law harmful to the public interest and the welfare of society.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Monday, 15 April

Vote:  Tuesday, 16 April

Procedure:  ordinary legislative procedure

Press conference Tuesday, 16 April, at 15.00 with rapporteur Virginie Rozière (S&D, FR)

Text of the agreement
Procedure file
Multimedia package
EP at a glance
Whistle-blower protection
Video from press conference after deal with Council (12.03.2019)
Free photos, video and audio material
 

New CO2 emissions limits for lorries

On Thursday, MEPs will vote on new legislation to regulate CO2 emissions for lorries in the EU.

As the first ever regulation on CO2 emissions for lorries in the EU, the new law will set a reduction target of 30% CO2 emissions for new lorries by 2030, along with an intermediate target of 15% by 2025.

Provisions have been added to incentivise manufacturers to invest in cleaner alternatives to diesel trucks . They will need to ensure that zero- and low-emission vehicles represent a 2% market share of the sales of new vehicles by 2025.

The European Commission will also have to propose new post-2030 targets, in line with the Paris Agreement, in 2022.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday 17 April

Vote:  Thursday 18 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure

 

Council press release on the provisional deal reached by the Romanian presidency of the Council and MEPs
Press release on committee vote (27.02.2019)
Profile of rapporteur : Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL)
Procedure file
EP Research Briefing
Free photos, video and audio material
 

‘InvestEU’ programme: big boost for jobs, growth and investment

MEPs are set to approve a provisional and partial deal with EU ministers on a new EU programme to support investment and access to finance during 2021-2027.

Aiming to generate almost €700 billion in investments, the ‘InvestEU’ initiative should work like a launch pad for investments which otherwise would have been difficult to make. It replaces the current European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) that was set up after the 2008 financial crisis.

MEPs intend to improve the European Commission’s proposal by increasing the EU guarantee (from €38 billion to €40.8 billion, to trigger €698 billion in investments), introducing new objectives like employment, enhancing climate protection and by making the programme’s management more accountable.

Parliament is set to close its first reading, including parts already agreed with member states (press release here). The newly elected European Parliament will continue talks with EU ministers.

A dedicated ‘InvestEU’ website shows examples of projects supported by the EU.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 17 April

Vote:  Thursday, 18 April

Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure (ex-codecision procedure), first reading

 

Text of the provisional agreement with the Council up for plenary vote, with parts not yet agreed highlighted in grey
EP press release following the partial deal between Parliament and Council
Council press release following the partial deal between Parliament and Council
Commission press release following the partial deal between Parliament and Council
Profile of co-rapporteur José Manuel FERNANDES (EPP, PT)
Profile of co-rapporteur Roberto GUALTIERI (S&D, IT)
Procedure file
EP Think Tank briefing: “The InvestEU programme - Continuing EFSI in the next MFF”
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin); Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South); Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands-North-West)

 

EU research: 2021-2027 funding to prioritise SMEs and bridge EU research gap

A partial deal on Horizon Europe that will bridge the EU research gap, prioritise SMEs and broaden thematic research will be put to a vote on Wednesday.

Parliament is expected to approve the EU’s 2021-2027 research programme, Horizon Europe, on Wednesday. The partial deal, already agreed with EU member states, prioritises getting countries that do not perform as well on research and innovation to participate more. At least 35 % of the budget shall go to climate-related research. It also gives more support to SMEs, with at least 70 % of the budget of the newly created European Innovation Council to be dedicated to SMEs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Tuesday, 16 April

Vote:  Wednesday, 17 April

Press conference: Wednesday 17 April 14.30- 15.00

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure, vote on agreements

Press release after trilogue agreement
Procedure file: Horizon Europe - Framework Programme
Procedure file: Implementing Horizon Europe
EP Research briefing on the Horizon Europe Framework programme for research and innovation 2021–2027
Profile of rapporteur Dan Nica (S&D, RO)
Profile of rapporteur Christian Ehler (EPP, DE)
Annex III – MFF 2021-2027: breakdown per programme (2018 prices)
Annex IV - MFF 2021-2027: breakdown per programme (current prices)

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

 

Safer roads: Life-saving technologies to be fitted in new vehicles

Safety features such as intelligent speed assistance and advanced emergency-braking system will have to be installed in new vehicles as from May 2022.

New cars, vans, trucks and buses will have to be equipped with safety features aiming to save lives, according to a new law to be voted on by MEPs on Tuesday, already informally agreed with EU ministers.

One of those compulsory features is the Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) system, which could reduce fatalities on EU roads by 20%, according to estimates. ISA will provide a driver with feedback, based on maps and road sign observation, when they exceed the speed limit. The system is not a speed limiter and the driver will be able to switch it off.

Other life-saving systems to be introduced in new vehicles include advanced emergency breaking, advanced driver distraction warning, emergency lane keeping, reversing detection system, alcohol interlock installation facilitation, emergency stop signal and event data recorder (“black box”).

In 2018, around 25.100 people died on EU roads and 135.000 were seriously injured, according to preliminary figures published by the Commission.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Tuesday, 16 April

Procedure: Co-decision, 1st reading agreement

Text of the agreement
Press release after the provisional agreement (26.03.2019)
Profile of rapporteur Róża Thun (EPP, PL)
Procedure file
EP Research briefing
Preliminary figures on road fatalities for 2018 (Commission press release)
2018 road safety statistics, with country specific information
Free photos, video and audio material
 

European Border and Coast Guard: Final vote on 10 000 strong standing corps

New measures strengthening the European Border and Coast Guard will be discussed in plenary on Wednesday and put to the vote the same day.

The changes to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) aim to resolve the current shortcomings and better respond to the present needs in security and migration.

A new standing corps will be set up to support EU countries on the ground in border control and return tasks as well as in the fight against cross-border crime, as part of the changes being made to the agency. Starting with 5 000 operational staff in 2021, the standing corps would be fully operational by 2027 with 10 000 staff. It would also include a rapid reaction pool for deployment in emergencies..

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 17 April

Vote: Wednesday, 17 April

Procedure: Ordinary legislative procedure

Press conference: Wednesday, 17 April at 16.30 with the rapporteur and Commissioner Avramopoulos

Draft report on the European Border and Coast Guard
Press release on trilogue deal (28.3.2019)
Rapporteur Roberta Metsola (EPP, MT)
Procedure file
European Border and Coast Guard Agency website
Free photos, video and audio material
 

New forms of work: MEPs to vote on measures boosting workers’ rights

MEPs are set to endorse minimum rights for workers with on-demand, voucher-based or platform jobs, such as Uber or Deliveroo, in a vote on Tuesday.

The law, informally agreed with EU ministers, requires that all workers need to be informed from day one of the essential aspects of their employment contract, such as a description of their duties, a starting date, duration, remuneration and standard working day or reference hours for those with unpredictable work schedules.

The new rules will also grant workers with specific rights tailored to the issues faced by those with on-demand, voucher-based or platform jobs, such as predictable working hours and deadlines for cancelling on-demand contracts. Furthermore, probationary periods should be no longer than six months and a renewed contract for the same function should not result in a new probationary period.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 16 April

Vote: Tuesday, 16 April

Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure, first reading agreement

Press release
Provisional agreement resulting from interinstitutional negotiations
Procedure file
Rapporteur: Enrique Calvet Chambon (ALDE, ES)
EP Think Tank: Ensuring more transparent and predictable working conditions
Infographic: Gig economy, EU law to improve workers' rights
 

New rules on visas for short-stays in the EU

Plenary is set to vote on Wednesday on the new EU Visa Code, establishing the procedures and conditions for issuing visas to enter the EU for short periods.

The law, already informally agreed with EU Ministers, simplifies procedures for requesting and issuing short-stay visas (for up to 90 days in any 180-day period). It will also be a tool to encourage non-EU countries to cooperate on migration.

Background

Currently, travellers from over one hundred countries are required to have a visa in order to enter the EU. The number of visa applications has increased by 50% in the last few years, from 10.2 million in 2009 to 15.2 million in 2016.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Wednesday, 17 April

Vote: Wednesday, 17 April (pm)

Procedure: ordinary legislative procedure, first reading agreement

Press release
Profile of rapporteur: Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES)
Procedure file
Regulation 2018/1806 listing
EP Research Service: Revision of the Community Code on Visas (July 2018)
Multimedia material
 

Rule of law in Romania: debate in plenary

MEPs will discuss the situation of rule of law in Romania with the Commission on Monday afternoon.

In November last year, the European Parliament voiced its concern about the latest judicial reforms in the country, warning that they might put the separation of powers at risk and undermine the fight against corruption. MEPs will now evaluate the developments in Romania since then.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Specialist: Kyriakos/Estefanía

Debate: Monday, 15 April

Procedure: Commission statement, no resolution

EP resolution on the rule of law in Romania (13.11.2018)
Free photos, video and audio material
 

Consumers to be better protected against misleading and unfair practices

Updates to EU consumer protection rules, to tackle misleading rankings in online marketplaces and dual quality of products, will be put to a vote on Wednesday.

Online marketplaces and comparison services (e.g. Amazon, eBay, AirBnb, Skyscanner) will have to disclose the main parameters that determine how offers resulting from a search query are ranked. Consumers will have to be clearly informed about whether they are buying goods or services from a trader or from a private person, so they know what protection they will benefit from if something goes wrong.

This new law, provisionally agreed with EU ministers, also deals with the issue of so-called “dual quality of products”, i.e. when products that are marketed under the same brand differ in composition or characteristics. The text includes a review clause requiring the Commission to assess the situation two years after the date of entry into application of the directive, to see whether dual quality of products needs to be added to the “blacklist” of unfair commercial practices.

This legislation amends four existing consumer rights’ directives; on Unfair Commercial Practices, on Consumer Rights, on Unfair Contract Terms and on Price Indication. It is part of the “New Deal for Consumers” package.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Tuesday, 16 April

Vote: Wednesday, 17 April

Procedure: Co-decision, 1st reading agreement

Text of the agreement
Press release after the provisional agreement (22.03.2019)
Profile of rapporteur Daniel Dalton (ECR, UK)
Procedure file
EP Research briefing
Free photos, video and audio material
 

Food safety risk assessment procedure to become more transparent and objective

On Wednesday, MEPs will vote on new rules to ensure the EU’s risk assessment procedure for food safety is more transparent and independent.

The new rules, informally agreed with EU ministers in February, will create a common European Database of commissioned studies to deter companies applying for authorisation from withholding unfavourable studies. They will also improve transparency and ensure that studies submitted by industry to support applications and used by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are more reliable, objective and independent.

In addition, third parties may be used to identify whether other relevant scientific data or studies exist, once the submitted studies are made public by the EFSA.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Tuesday 16 April

Vote:  Wednesday, 17 April

Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure

Council press release on provisional agreement with Parliament
Profile of co-rapporteur : Pilar AYUSO, (EPP, ES)
Profile of co-rapporteur: Renate SOMMER (EPP, DE)
Procedure file
Free photos, video and audio material

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

 

Reducing risks to EU banks and protecting taxpayers

Parliament will vote on a significant step towards reducing risks in the banking system and establishing the Banking Union, on Tuesday.

MEPs will vote on two sets of rules, already informally agreed with member states, on banks’ resilience and on a clear roadmap for banks to deal with losses.

The main objective of the rules, amending the EU’s prudential requirements for banks, is to help boost the EU economy by increasing lending capacity, to create deeper and more fluid capital markets. A clear roadmap for banks to deal with losses aims to ensure that they hold enough capital, and debt, to no longer resort to taxpayer bailouts.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Monday, 15 April

Vote: Tuesday, 16 April

Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure, first reading agreement

Procedure file: capital requirements directive (CRD V)
Procedure file: capital requirements regulation (CRR II)
Rapporteur: Peter Simon (S&D, DE)
Procedure file: Bank recovery and resolution_
Procedure file
Rapporteur: Gunnar Hökmark (EPP, SE)
EP Research Service: Banking reform package

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands-North-West); Brian hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin)

 

Stronger EU financial watchdogs to better protect taxpayers and consumers

MEPs will debate and vote on an update to rules to strengthen the EU finance watchdogs, which were set up in 2011 as a result of the financial crisis. 

The update would primarily grant new capabilities and powers to the European Securities and Markets Authority, the European Banking Authority, and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, allowing them to keep up with new developments in the financial markets sector to protect taxpayers and consumers better.

Notably, the update would grant powers to the European Banking Authority to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing directly.

The debate will take place on Tuesday evening, with a vote to adopt the rules, already negotiated between Parliament and Council, scheduled for Wednesday.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate:  Monday, 15 April

Vote: Tuesday, 16 April

Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure

Procedure file
Background on the European System of Financial Supervision
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin); Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands-North-West)

 

Terrorist content online: one hour to remove it, but no compulsory filtering

Internet companies will get one hour to remove terrorist content online after receiving an order, but they will not have to filter all the content they upload.

In a vote on Wednesday, MEPs are set to confirm their negotiating position on the new rules to tackle the dissemination of terrorist content online across the EU. The talks with EU ministers to finalise the new law will be a task for the next Parliament.

The text adopted by the Civil Liberties Committee foresees penalties of up to 4% of the company’s turnover if there are persistent breaches. It also includes safeguards to ensure that freedom of speech and media freedom are respected, as well as measures to avoid disproportionate pressure on smaller companies.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Vote: Wednesday, 17 April

Procedure: ordinary legislative procedure, first reading

 

Draft report
Press release on committee vote (08042019)
Profile of rapporteur: Daniel Dalton (ECR, UK)
Procedure file
Free photos, video and audio material
 

Human rights and democracy resolutions  

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following human rights, democracy and rule of law topics on Thursday morning 18 April, with the votes following at 12.00.

  • China, notably the situation of religious and ethnic minorities
  • Cameroon
  • Brunei

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Debate: Thursday, 18 April 

Vote: Thursday, 18 April

Procedure: non-legislative resolution

Free photos, video and audio material