EP Plenary Session Newsletter 14-17 July 2014
What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Parliament to vote on Jean-Claude Juncker for Commission President - MEPs to quiz EU Commission on transatlantic trade talks - Tackling youth unemployment
Parliament to vote on Jean-Claude Juncker for Commission President
Parliament is set to vote by secret ballot on the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission President on Tuesday at 12.30, following a debate with the political group leaders, starting at 10.00.
Mr Juncker, a former Prime Minister of Luxembourg and Eurogroup chairman, was elected the EPP candidate for Commission President before the European elections.
So when the EPP again became the biggest group in Parliament, Mr Juncker was first in line to succeed José Manuel Barroso.
The European Council officially nominated Mr Juncker for the job on 27 June, with 26 countries in favour and two against. He now needs the backing of a qualified majority (376 votes) in Parliament.
Mr Juncker presented his priorities in hearings with Parliament’s various political groups on 8 and 9 July, with a view to building support for his political programme..
On Tuesday morning he will take the floor in plenary session to make a statement, before a final pre-vote debate with the political group leaders.
Commission President election procedure
The European Commission President is elected by Parliament on the proposal of the European Council, which must take account of the election results and consult the new Parliament before making its nomination(s).
Procedure: Election Commission President
Debate: Tuesday, 15 July at 10:00
Vote: Tuesday, 15 July at 12:30
Press conference: President Schulz and Jean-Claude Juncker after the vote, at about 13.30 (tbc)
MEPs to quiz EU Commission on transatlantic trade talks
EU trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will brief the new Parliament Tuesday on progress in Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks with the USA. MEPs are set to ask how the Commission is meeting the conditions set by Parliament when it approved the opening of the TTIP talks over a year ago.
The plenary debate will coincide with the 6th round of the TTIP negotiations, to be held in Brussels from 14 to 18 July.
Procedure: Commission statement (without resolution)
Procedure code: 2014/2714(RSP)
Debate: Tuesday, 15 July
Tackling youth unemployment
Recommendations on how to tackle youth unemployment in the EU will be voted at noon on Wednesday, following a debate with commissioner László Andor in charge of employment and social affairs
These recommendations will be the new Parliament’s first effort to address the persistent problem of high unemployment among people aged below 26, all over Europe, but especially in crisis-hit countries.
In 2013 the previous Parliament passed two youth unemployment resolutions, one urging EU member states to make it easier for young people to move to jobs or training and the other calling for EU support and quality standards for traineeships and apprenticeships.
Parliament also amended European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) rules to allow temporary aid to be granted to young people who are not in employment, education or training, provided that they come from regions hit by redundancies.
Procedure: Resolution on topical subjects 2014/2713(RSP)
Debate and vote: Wednesday, 16 July
Maternity leave: MEPs to question Commission plans to withdraw EU directive
Plans to withdraw a draft EU directive on maternity leave, after four years’deadlock in the Council, will be debated in the light of EU Commission and Council statements on Tuesday. MEPs amended the first draft in October 2010 to extend maternity leave from 14 to 20 weeks on full pay and introduce two weeks’ paternity leave.
The European Commission’s initial proposal would have extended paid maternity leave from 14 to 18 weeks.
Parliament amended the initial proposal to entitle fathers to at least two weeks’ paternity leave, on full pay, within the maternity leave period.
MEPs also added clauses to ban the dismissal of pregnant workers at any time from the start of a pregnancy to at least 6 months after the end of the maternity leave and to protect the health and safety of pregnant women at work.
In October 2008, the Commission proposed to review the current legislation (Directive 92/85), as part of the "work-life balance" package, based on ILO Maternity Protection Convention of 2000. In October 2010 the European Parliament closed its first reading and submitted the amended legislation to the Council.
The withdrawal has been announced in the Commission Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT).
Procedure: Council and Commission statement (without resolution)
Procedure Code: COD(2008)0193
Debate: Tuesday, 15 July
Vote on Lithuania’s bid to join the euro
Lithuania's bid to join the Eurozone next year will be debated by MEPs on Tuesday and put to a vote on Wednesday. Parliament’s draft resolution, which first needs to be approved by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Monday, "endorses the adoption of the euro by Lithuania on 1 January 2015", as advocated by the European Commission and confirmed by the European Council on 27 June.
The resolution was drafted by Werner Langen (EPP, DE). Lithuania's euro plan is expected to get a final go-ahead from the General Affairs Council on 23 July.
Lithuania is to become the 19th member of the Eurozone, after Latvia (2014), Estonia (2011), Slovakia (2009), Cyprus and Malta (2008), Slovenia (2007), Greece (2001), and Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland (1999).
Procedure Code: 2014/0170(NLE)
Debate: Tuesday, 15 July
Vote: Wednesday, 16 July
Four fresh Commissioners to replace those who left to become MEPs
Four fresh EU Commissioners, named to replace those who left to become MEPs, will be given committee hearings on Monday. The four, who are to serve for the rest of the Commission’s current term, are Jyrki Katainen (Finland), Ferdinando Nelli Feroci (Italy) Martine Reicherts (Luxembourg) and Jacek Dominik (Poland). The full house will vote on their appointments on Wednesday morning.
The current Commission's term of office expires on 31 October 2014.
In line with Parliament's rules of procedure, the Commissioners-designate will be invited to appear before the committees in their areas of responsibility.
Mr Katainen, who is to replace Olli Rehn, will be heard by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.
Mr Nelli Feroci, who is to replace Antonio Tajani, will be heard by the Industry, Research and Energy Committee.
Ms Reicherts, who is to replace Viviane Reding, will be heard by the Civil Liberties Committee.
Mr Dominik, who is to replace Janusz Lewandowski, will be heard by the Committee on Budgets.
Procedure Code: 2014/0803(NLE) - Katainen, 2014/0804(NLE) - Dominik, 2014/0805(NLE) - Nelli Feroci, 2014/0806(NLE) - Reicherts
Committee Hearings: Monday, 14 July
Vote: Wednesday, 16 July, 9.00
#EU #Commissioners #hearings
Forming EP interparliamentary delegations
Parliament decides on the size of its interparliamentary delegations, which maintain relations and exchange information with parliaments in non-EU countries, in a vote on Wednesday. The delegations’ membership lists will be put to a vote on Thursday.
The Conference of Presidents’ proposal for the composition of the delegations should ensure as far as possible that EU member states and political views are fairly represented (Rules of procedure, Rule 212).
Delegation chairs and vice-chairs will be elected at the delegations’ constitutive meetings, scheduled for early October.
Procedure: Internal organisation decisions
Votes: Wednesday, 16 July (numerical strength of interparliamentary delegations) and Thursday, 17 July (appointments to delegations)
Debate on insufficient funding for this year's EU programmes
The unprecedented shortage of funds in the EU’s 2014 budget will be debated with Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and the Council on Wednesday. MEPs will highlight concerns about budget shortfalls for research and employment programmes (€587 million), cohesion policy (€3.396 million), Ukraine, Syrian refugees and other foreign policy instruments (€651 million) and fisheries (€106 million).
These budget shortfalls result from excessively low budgeting in the recent years. Most concern projects that member states have already funded, in the expectation that the Commission will now reimburse them.
Parliament is calling on the Council to approve an extra €4.74 billion as a matter of urgency to bridge the payments gap so that the Commission can meet its legal obligations. On Wednesday 9 July the Council was not able to agree on the Draft Amending Budget for this purpose.
Procedure: Council and Commission statements
Debate: Wednesday, 16 July
MEPs to debate growing violence in Gaza
The current escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine in the Gaza Strip will be debated on Wednesday afternoon, with input from the Italian Presidency of the Council.
Procedure: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Statement
Debate: Wednesday, 16 July
#Israel #Gaza #Palestine
Debate on Iraq's violent insurgency
Fighting between Iraqi government forces and Sunni rebels, led by the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which has resulted in the deaths of thousands and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more, will be the key issue in Wednesday afternoon’s EU foreign policy debate with the Council Presidency. A resolution will be voted on Thursday. Iraq’s government has gradually lost control of the predominantly Sunni northern and western parts of the country in recent weeks.
Procedure: Statement by the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (with resolution)
Procedure Code: 2014/2716(RSP)
Debate: Wednesday, 16 July
Vote: Thursday, 17 July
Escalation of violence in Ukraine
The escalation of violence between pro-Russian militants and Ukraine government forces in the east of Ukraine will be debated by MEPs with the Commissioner for enlargement and european neighbourhood policy, Štefan Füle on Tuesday afternoon. MEPs are also likely to discuss the recently signed EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. The House will vote a resolution on Thursday.
Procedure: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Statement (with resolution)
Debate: Tuesday 15 July 15.00
Vote: Thursday 17 July
#Ukraine #Donetsk #Russia
Sudan, Egypt and Nigeria: debates on breaches of human rights
MEPs will debate the case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim in Sudan, freedom of expression and assembly in Egypt and recent attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria, on Thursday starting at 10.00.
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, a mother of two, was charged with apostasy for declaring herself a Christian and with adultery for marrying and having children with her Christian American husband. After twice being imprisoned since last May, and once sentenced to the death penalty, she was finally released early in July.
The three resolutions on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law will be put to vote on Thursday at 11.00.
- Sudan, the case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim
- Freedom of expression and assembly in Egypt
- Nigeria, recent attacks by Boko Haram
Procedure: Non-legislative resolutions
Debate/vote: Thursday, 17 July
#Egypt, #Sudan, #Nigeria
Other items on the plenary agenda and committee meetings
Other items for debate include:
- European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario DRAGHI meeting with the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (Monday)
- committee hearings for replacement Commissioners (Monday)
- crime of aggression: Statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (with resolution) (Wednesday)
For further information, please contact Catherine Bunyan, Press Officer on 086 8559423 or at email@example.com 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.