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EP Plenary Session Newsletter 12-13 November 2014

What will the MEPs be working on during this week's mini-Plenary Session in Brussels? Highlights include: - Commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 - Restarting stalled Northern Ireland peace process – debate and vote - MEPs set to back EU-Moldova association deal - EU job-search aid for former workers at Greek retailer and Irish jeweller

Draft agenda
Follow the plenary live
Press conferences and other events
EP Audiovisual website
EP Newshub

Commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989

MEPs will commemorate the 25th anniversary of citizens peacefully tearing down the Berlin Wall and paving the way for the German reunification. On Wednesday 12 November, European Parliament President Martin Schulz will deliver a statement after opening the plenary session at 15.00, followed by a round of political group speakers.

In the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall on the night of 9 to 10 November 1989, the European Parliament was the first European Community institution to advocate a possible German reunification.

Debate: Wednesday, 12 November
Procedure: Statements by the President and political group speakers


MEPs discuss their memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall (08.11.2014)
Verbatim of EP plenary debate with Kohl and Mitterrand (22.11.1989)
Video and images from the Berlin Wall fall
EP Live

Corporate Tax: group leaders to call for debate on fighting tax avoidance

Political group leaders are to ask at the opening of the session that reports of secret deals giving preferential tax treatment to multinational firms like IKEA and Amazon in Luxembourg be added to the agenda for a debate with Commission and Council on Wednesday, after the election of the vice-president. The case has become known as “Lux leaks”, as it was based on thousands of pages of documents leaked to the press.

The Commission announced last month that it was launching an investigation into tax deals reached between companies and various European governments, including Luxembourg.

Debate: Wednesday, 13 November
Procedure: Commission and Council statements (without resolution)


EP Live
MEPs call for measures to fight tax fraud, tax evasion and tax havens (21.05.2013)

MEPs set to back EU-Moldova association deal

The proposed EU-Moldova Association Agreement is likely to win MEPs’ backing in a debate and vote on Thursday. The Foreign Affairs Committee recommended by 44 votes to 3 that Parliament grant its consent to the deal, which was signed on 27 June and ratified by Moldova on 2 July.

The deal’s trade clauses, and many of its political ones, have applied provisionally since 1 September. The rest will take effect once they have been ratified by all parties, including the European Parliament and EU member states.

The association agreement is meant to pave the way for “deep political association and economic integration” between the EU and Moldova.

In a separate resolution, drawn up by Pietras Auštrevičius (ALDE, LT), MEPs are expected to raise the issue of Transnistria - which declared its independence from Moldova in 1990 but which the EU and the international community still consider an integral part of Moldova - and the Russian factor in relations with Moldova, ahead of its 30 November parliamentary elections

Debate: Thursday, 13 November
Vote:  Thursday, 13 November
Procedure: Consent
Press conference: Thursday, 13 November at 14:00


Draft report on the EU-Moldova Association Agreement (consent)
Draft resolution on the EU-Moldova Association Agreement (accompanying resolution)
Profile of rapporteur Pietras Auštrevičius (ALDE, LT)
Procedure file
Text of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement
EU-Moldova relations

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


Parliament to elect a new Vice-President

Parliament will elect a new Vice-President on Wednesday afternoon to replace Corina Creţu, who has been designated European Commissioner for regional policy.

Vice-Presidents are elected by secret ballot (Rules 15 and 17), To be elected, a candidate must win an absolute majority of the votes cast. If no candidate obtains an absolute majority, a second ballot is held under the same conditions. Should a third ballot be necessary, a relative majority suffices. In the event of a tie, the oldest candidate is declared elected. The newly-elected Vice-President takes the place of his or her predecessor in the order of precedence. Mrs Creţu was 8th out of overall 14 EP vice-presidents.

Vote:  Wednesday, 12 November
Procedure: Election of Vice-President

Rules of procedure - Rule 17: Election of Vice-Presidents

EU auditors to table report on how EU funds were spent in 2013

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Auditors (ECA) presents its assessment of how EU countries spent the bulk of EU funds in 2013 to Parliament as a whole on Wednesday. The presentation marks the start of the 2013 "discharge” exercise in which Parliament vets spending. The overall payments error rate in 2013 was 4.7%, slightly down on 2012.

EU accounts should measure the achievements of EU-funded projects, and not just payment errors, MEPs stressed when the ECA first presented its evaluation to the Budgetary Control Committee on 5 November. 80 % of the EU budget is spent in and by the member states.

Debate:  Wednesday, 12 November
Procedure: Budget discharge

@EUAuditorsECA  #EUauditorsAnnualReport

Press release on committee vote (05.11.2014)
Profile of rapporteur Ingeborg Grässle (EPP, DE)
Procedure file
The ECA annual report for 2013

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


Restarting stalled Northern Ireland peace process – debate and vote

MEPs are set to call on all parties to restart the Northern Ireland peace process, which stalled in December 2013 over issues such as welfare spending, flags and emblems, protests and parading.

In a debate on Wednesday and resolution to be voted on Thursday, MEPs are likely to stress the need to settle these issues, so as to ensure that Northern Ireland’s democratic institutions work, and also to combat unemployment and low pay there, so as to prevent violent, criminal and anti-social activity from undermining the peace process.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz urged all parties to refrain from “dangerous mutual provocation”, and join a new round of talks launched on 16 October to break the stalemate, in his opening address to Parliament’s October plenary session.

Debate: Wednesday, 12 November
Vote: Thursday, 13 November
Procedure: Commission statement (with resolution)

Draft resolution on the Northern Ireland peace process
Opening: Schulz warns against attempts to disrupt Northern Ireland peace process (20.10.2014)
EP Research: The European Union and Northern Ireland

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands-North West), Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Fein (South), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin), Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-North West), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands-North West), Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein (Dublin), Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael (South)


Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone: MEPs to debate tensions with Turkey

MEPs are likely to condemn Turkey’s “maritime survey” activities as encroaching upon the Republic of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and its sovereign right to explore the natural resources within it, in a debate with the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday.

The draft resolution, to be voted on Thursday, says Turkey should immediately withdraw its vessels “operating in and around Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone” and stop its “provocative actions”.

Debate: Wednesday, 12 November
Vote:  Thursday, 13 November
Procedure: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Statement (with resolution)

#Cyprus #Turkey

Draft resolution on Turkish actions creating tensions in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus
Procedure file

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


Humanitarian crisis in South Sudan

An eruption of hostilities and subsequent humanitarian crisis in South Sudan that have uprooted more than 1.5 million people will be debated by MEPs with the EU's High Representative on Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini on Wednesday afternoon. MEPs will vote on a resolution on Thursday morning.

Debate:  Wednesday, 12 November
Vote:  Thursday, 13 November
Procedure:  Statement by the EU's High Representative on Foreign Affairs (with resolution)


Draft resolution on South Sudan
United Nations' news article on South Sudan (05.11.2014)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael (South)


EU job-search aid for former workers at Greek retailer and Irish jeweller

Parliament votes Thursday on two applications for EU aid worth €8.8 million to help find or create new jobs for workers made redundant by fashion retailer Sprider Stores in Greece and jewellery maker Andersen Ireland Limited in Ireland. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid applications have been approved by Parliament’s Budgets Committee and the Council of Ministers.

Votes: Thursday, 13 November
Procedure: Budgetary

#EGF #Ireland #Greece

Draft report on EGF aid to Irish company Andersen Ireland
Profile of Rapporteur: Ivan Štefanec (EPP/ SK)
Procedure File
Draft report on aid to Greek company Sprider Stores
Profile of Rapporteur: Victor Negrescu (S&D/ RO)
Procedure File
The Commission's EGF page
EP think tank backgrounder

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands-North West), Liadh Ní Riada, Sinn Fein (South), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (South), Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein (Dublin)


Other Topics on the Agenda:

- Joint debate - Amendment to Protocol 31 to the EEA Agreement, on cooperation in specific fields outside the four freedoms

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands-North West), Deirdre Clune, Fine Gael (South)


- One minute speech on the ECB letters to Ireland

Irish MEPs on this issue: Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands-North West),


- One minute speech - Sovereign and Bank Debt

Irish MEPs on this issue:  Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Independent (Midlands-North West)


For further information, please contact Catherine Bunyan, Press Officer on 086 8559423 or at or contact the Irish MEPs' Press Officers directly.

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.