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EP Plenary Session- Brussels Newsletter 11 November 2015


What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Brussels?
Highlights include:

-MEPs to push for reform of European electoral law
-Net neutrality: debate on privileged treatment of online content (zero rating)
-Migration: Parliament to urge member states to pay up
-MEPs to call for measures to boost the EU aviation sector


MEPs to push for reform of European electoral law

European elections should be fought with formally endorsed EU-wide lead candidates for the European Commission Presidency, says a draft "parliamentary legislative initiative" to be put to the vote on Wednesday, following up the debate on 27 October. These candidates should stand in the elections themselves and be formally nominated at least 12 weeks before the elections, it adds.

The draft initiative also advocates mandatory thresholds for obtaining seats in the European Parliament, ranging from 3 to 5% of the vote, to be applied in single-constituency countries or constituencies with more than 26 seats. It says all EU citizens living abroad must be able to vote in EU elections and therefore electronic, online and postal-voting systems should be available in all EU member states.


The EU Treaties, specifically TFEU Article 223.1, give the European Parliament the right to initiate a procedure to reform European electoral law and to draw up proposals to this end. These proposals would then need to be endorsed by the Council, acting unanimously, and approved by all member states.

Procedure: legislative initiative procedure


Debate: Tuesday, 27 October

Vote: Wednesday, 11 November

Press conference: Thursday, 9.00, with co-rapporteurs Danuta Hübner (EPP, PL) and Jo Leinen (S&D, DE)

#EUelections #EUcitizens #EP2019


Press release on committee vote (28.09.2015)
Danuta Hübner (AFCO Chair, EPP, PL)
Jo Leinen (S&D, DE)
Procedure file
EP Research study: Electoral law
Study : The European elections: EU legislation, national provisions and civic participation

Net neutrality: debate on privileged treatment of online content (zero rating)

On Wednesday afternoon, MEPs will debate zero rating, a practice used by some internet firms to promote certain content, services or apps by not charging consumers for using them. Some MEPs worry that zero rating can restrict competition or market access for new operators. Others argue that zero rating can generate investment in networks as well as economic and social benefits.

In zero rating, firms providing internet access, especially mobile operators, allow consumers to access particular content, services or applications without being charged or counted for that specific data use. Zero rating may either apply through zero charges for data traffic arising from specific applications, or through situations where users can access the service even if they do not have a data plan.

Parliament adopted the first EU-wide law to safeguard open internet (net neutrality) on 27 October 2015.

Procedure: Council and Commission statements followed by debate


Debate: Wednesday 11 November

#netneutrality #zerorating

Procedure file
EP Research briefing: The EU rules on network neutrality: key provisions, remaining concerns

Migration: Parliament to urge member states to pay up

MEPs are expected on Wednesday to urge member states to fulfil their pledges and pay for the EU migration actions that have been agreed by EU leaders. The Commission said on 6 November that the new trust funds set up for Syria and Africa are short of €2.22 billion in national contributions expected from member states.

Parliament's negotiating team for the 2016 EU budget called for an unexpected windfall of €2.3 billion to be used to pay for these measures. Otherwise the windfall, derived from fines and higher than expected customs duties, goes back to the member states to be shared out among them.

The EU Regional Trust Fund for Syria is short of €467.6 million and the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa needs another €1.75 billion, according to Commission data released on 6 November. A further €59.6 million pledged by member state is missing from the budget for humanitarian aid.

Procedure: Council and Commission statements


Debate: Wednesday, 11 November

#EUbudget #migrationEU #refugeecrisis #EUfunds #Syria #Africa

Commission press release: State of play on refugee crisis contributions (06.11.2015)
Commission Q&A on financing measures in the migration crisis (30.09.2015)
Procedure file
Valletta Summit on migration, 11-12 November 2015

MEPs to call for measures to boost the EU aviation sector

Parliament will debate ways to boost the EU's air transport economy while

upholding high safety and social standards on Wednesday afternoon. It will vote at

19.00 on a set of recommendations intended to feed into the Commission’s

forthcoming aviation package.

MEPs are likely to call for measures “to eliminate unfair practices, including subsidies and

state aids to airlines from certain third countries”. They are expected to stress that the

package should include proposals to negotiate aviation agreements with the EU's major

trading partners that would ensure a level playing field and boost the competitiveness of

the EU aviation industry.

The draft resolution calls for social standards in aviation to be upheld in the face of the

increasing use of atypical forms of employment such as pay-to-fly schemes and zerohours

contracts. Parliament will also call for measures to improve the medical assessment

of pilots, security, and entry and exit procedures for cockpit doors.

The EU aviation sector, which directly supports 2.6 million jobs and contributes more than

2.4% of the EU's GDP, is currently facing a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive

environment, MEPs say.

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution


Debate/vote: Wednesday, 11 November

#aviationpackage #aviation #transport


Other topics for debate and vote include the following:

  • Annual Growth survey, Commission statement
  • Interoperability solutions as a means for modernising the public sector, (COD), rapporteur Carlos Zorrinho (S&D, PT)

For further information, please contact Catherine Bunyan, Press Officer on 086 8559423 or at .

To watch any part of the Plenary Session live, please click on the EP Live section of the Parliament's website and select Live Broadcast from the menu on the left-hand side.

To view a debate which has already taken place, please click on the Multimedia Library section of the Parliament's website, select 'search by date' from the menu on the left-hand side and choose the debate.  You can also scroll through the speakers and just listen to a speaker of your choice.