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EP Plenary Session Newsletter 15-18 December 2014

What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Setting the Commission's work priorities for 2015 - 2014 LUX film prize to be awarded in Strasbourg - Parliament to elect European Ombudsman - MEPs to vote on whether Palestine should be recognised as a state - Debate on CIA’s use of torture and role of EU member states

Draft agenda
Follow the plenary live (EbS+)
Press conferences and other events
EP Audiovisual website
EP Newshub

Setting the Commission's work priorities for 2015

MEPs will discuss the European Commission’s 2015 work programme with its President Jean-Claude Juncker and Vice-president Frans Timmermans on Tuesday afternoon, after its adoption by the College of Commissioners in the morning.

The work programme will show how the Commission plans to give practical effect to the political priorities set out by Mr Juncker in a statement and debate with MEPs before the European Parliament elected him Commission President on 15 July.

The CWP2015 was discussed in a working meeting with all Commissioners on 2 December, where Parliament’s committee chairs highlighted their respective priorities for next year.

The Commission is also expected to announce the possible withdrawal of some pending proposals. EU treaty rules say that so long as the Council has not acted, the Commission may alter its proposal at any time during the procedures leading to the adoption of a Union act (Art. 293(2).

Procedure: Tuesday 16, Statement by the Commission (without resolution)

#CWP2015 #teamjunckerEU @JunckerEU

Procedure file
Press Release on CWP2015 preparatory meeting of EP committee chairs and Commissioners (2.12.2014)
Political Guidelines: VOD on EP debate with Jean-Claude Juncker prior to his election as Commission President (15.07.2014)
Political Guidelines by Commission President Juncker (full text)
The Commission Work Programme - what for?

Irish MEPs on this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands - North West)


Final vote on 2015 budget and 2014 budget top-up

Parliament is to vote the EU’s 2015 budget and top up funds for 2014 into law on Wednesday, sealing a provisional deal struck by budget negotiators for Parliament and the Council of Ministers on 8 December. Before the plenary vote, the deal must first be formally approved by the Council and then by Parliament’s Budgets Committee on Monday.

Parliament's priority has been to ensure that bills from various firms, organisations, and institutions in member states get paid.

At every year-end since 2010 ever more invoices have been rolled over for payment in the following year, causing difficulties for cash-strapped contractors of the EU and depleting available resources in that year. Parliament’s negotiators ensure that, €4 billion more will be available to settle the most urgent bills for 2014 through an amending budget.

Parliament insisted on a payment plan that clearly defines a sustainable level for outstanding debt and proposing steps toward clearing the backlog.

For 2015, Parliament’s negotiators secured more funding for small and medium-sized enterprises, education programmes like Erasmus+, for research and for the EU's humanitarian role.

The whole budget package for 2014-2015 also includes disaster relief for victims of floods, ice storms and earthquakes in 2013-2014.

Debate: Tuesday 16 December tbc
Vote: Wednesday 17 December
Procedure: budget
Press conference: 17 December 14:30

#EUbudget #Council @EP_Budgets

Press release on reaching a compromise (08.12.2014)
Profile of rapporteur 2015 - Commission: Eider Gardiazábal Rubial (S&D, ES
Profile of rapporteur 2015 - other sections: Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE)
Profile of rapporteur 2014: Gérard Deprez (ALDE, BE)

Irish MEPs on issue: Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands - North West), Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Fein (South)


MEPs to debate priorities ahead of EU investment plan summit

MEPs will debate Commission plans to mobilise €315 billion to boost growth, jobs and competitiveness, on the eve of the 18-19 December European Council meeting, where it will top the agenda. The Council will also discuss international developments and efforts to combat the Ebola virus outbreak.

Debate: Wednesday, 17 December
Procedure: Commission and Council statements

#euco #investEU #growth #competitiveness  #Ebola

Draft agenda of the European Council, 18-19 December, Brussels

Irish MEPs on this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands-North West), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South)


2014 LUX film prize to be awarded in Strasbourg

EP President Martin Schulz will announce the winner of this year's LUX Prize on Wednesday 17 December at a ceremony in the Chamber, in Strasbourg. This year's finalists are Class Enemy (Razredni sovražnik), by Rok Biček (Slovenia), Bande de filles, by Céline Sciamma (France) and Ida, by Paweł Pawlikowski (Poland/ Denmark). MEPs can vote for their favourite film up until Tuesday.

A press conference with the directors of the three films is scheduled for 15.00 on Wednesday, 17 December, in Strasbourg. Journalists will also be able to interview the three finalists before the award ceremony.
For interview requests, contact Eliana DRITSAS by email at or by phone at the following numbers: +32 498 98 35 76 (mobile) or +32 2 28 31012 (Brussels) and +33 3881 72051 (Strasbourg).

Award ceremony : Wednesday, 17 December at 12.00
Procedure:  Lux Prize
Press conference: Wednesday, 17 December at 15h00

Lux Prize website
Class enemy
Bande de filles
In the director's chair: Lux Film finalists on what inspired their films

Parliament to elect European Ombudsman

Parliament will elect the European Ombudsman in a secret ballot on Tuesday. Since 1995, The European Ombudsman has investigated complaints about maladministration in all EU institutions and bodies. Current European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly (IE) is the only candidate for the post in the 2014-2019 parliamentary term.

Emily O’Reilly was elected on 3 July 2013 after her predecessor, Nikiforos Diamandouros (Greece), retired.

In 2013, 2 420 complaints were registered, and all together 23,245 citizens were helped by the Ombudsman

Vote: Tuesday 16, December
Procedure: Election of the Ombudsman


Procedure file
The European Ombudsman website
Rule 219: Election of the Ombudsman
Rule 220: Activities of the Ombudsman
Video recording of the hearing (2 December 2014)

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


MEPs to vote on whether Palestine should be recognised as a state

The European Parliament view on whether Palestine should be recognised as a state will be set out in a resolution to be voted on Wednesday afternoon.

Parliament’s plenary debate on the issue with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini was held last month. Most speakers called for the European Parliament to vote a resolution on the question, in order to contribute to the Middle East peace process and promote the “two state solution”.

Debate:  Wednesday, 26 November
Vote:  Wednesday, 17 December
Procedure: High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Statement (with resolution)


Plenary debate on the recognition of Palestine statehood (26.11.2014)

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


Vote on EU association deal with Georgia

Parliament is likely to grant its consent to the EU-Georgia Association Agreement on Thursday. The deal will establish deep political association and economic integration between the EU and Georgia, including the progressive opening up of their respective markets.  

The deal is the third in the new generation of association agreements that the European Parliament is asked to ratify, after those with Ukraine and Moldova.

On Thursday MEPs will also adopt an accompanying resolution setting out their views on developments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and also on relations with Russia.

Debate:  Wednesday, 17 December
Vote:  Thursday, 18 December
Procedure:  Consent + Non-legislative resolution  

#Georgia #AssociationAgreement

Draft recommendation on conclusion of the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia
Draft resolution on situation in Georgia
Press release on committee vote (17.11.2014)
Profile of rapporteur Andrejs Mamikins (S&D, LV)
Procedure file

Debate on CIA’s use of torture and role of EU member states

US Senate revelations of the CIA's use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with the alleged complicity of some EU member states, will be debated with the Council and Commission on Wednesday, at 15.00.

The alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners was investigated by a European Parliament temporary committee set up in 2006.

In its final report, approved on 14 February 2007, Parliament deplored the passivity of some EU member states in the face of illegal CIA operations.

The CIA’s “extraordinary rendition” programme "in the majority of cases, involved incommunicado detention and torture", said the text. This was confirmed by the victims - or their lawyers - who testified to the Parliament's committee

Debate: Wednesday, 17 December
Vote:  February (tbc)

#CIA #TortureReport

European Parliament resolution on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transportation and illegal detention of prisoners (14.02.2007)
European Parliament resolution on alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA: follow-up of the European Parliament TDIP Committee report (11.09.2012)
European Parliament resolution on alleged transportation and illegal detention of prisoners in European countries by the CIA (10.10.2013)
Report released by the US Senate

Debate on economic governance legislation

MEPs are set to debate the review of the economic governance legislation, also known as the “Six-pack” (stability and growth pact and macroeconomic surveillance) and “Two-pack” (excessive deficit and financial stability), with the Commission and Council on Tuesday morning.

Commissioner Pierre Moscovici underlined to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on 2 December that experience with this relatively new legislation is limited and that the Commission sees the review document as the start of dialogue and debate on the appropriate way forward in the coming months.

MEPs are expected to urge the Commission to not to make special concessions to individual countries when applying the excessive debt procedure and are also likely to ask for clear criteria for treating countries differently.

Debate: Tuesday, 16 December  
Procedure: Commission statement (without resolution)

#economy #EU

Procedure file
The European Semester: Main steps at the EU level
Economic Governance as part of the European Semester Cycle (
Stability and Growth Pact - An Overview
Implementation of Country Specific Recommendations
The legal nature of Country Specific Recommendations
The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure - An overview
Key features of 2015 Draft Budgetary Plans (DBP) - December 2014
Economic Dialogue with Commissioner P. Moscovici on 2 December on 2015 DBPs

Irish MEPs on this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands-North West)


Vote on €35.5 million for redundant workers in France, Poland, Italy and Greece

Parliament votes Tuesday on four applications for €35.5 million in EU aid to help find or create new jobs for workers made redundant by Air France, Fiat Auto Poland, Whirlpool in Italy and a Greek retailer. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid applications need to be approved by both Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

Votes: Tue 16 December
Procedure: budgetary

#EGF #France @airfrance #Italy #Greece #Poland

Press release on committee vote (11.12.14)
Profile of apporteur: Marco Zanni
Procedure file Air France
Profile of rapporteur: Monika Vana
Procedure file Odyssefs Fokas
Profile of rapporteur: Daniele Viotti
Procedure file Whirlpool
Profile of rapporteur: Jan Olbrycht
Procedure file Fiat
The Commission's EGF page
EP think tank backgrounder

Vote on plans to waive EU import duties on fruit from Moldova

MEPs are likely to back plans to suspend duties on EU imports of certain amounts of grapes, apples and plums from Moldova, as a temporary and exceptional measure to offset the damage done to its struggling economy by Russia’s agricultural import ban.

Moldova will be able to export up to 40,000 tonnes of fresh apples, 10,000 tonnes of fresh table grapes and 10,000 tonnes of fresh plums to the EU duty free.

This concession comes on top of trade preferences granted to Moldova as part of the “deep and comprehensive free trade area” with the EU, established by the EU-Moldova association agreement, which the European Parliament ratified last month.

Debate:  Tuesday, 16 December
Vote:  Wednesday, 17 Dec
Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure

#Moldova #Russianban

Draft report on introducing autonomous trade preferences for Moldova
Press release – EP backs EU-Moldova association deal (13.11.2014)
Profile of rapporteur Sorin Moisa (S&D, RO)
Procedure file

Parliament to vote on €126.7 million in natural disaster relief aid

Parliament votes Wednesday on seven applications for a total of €126.7 million in EU aid to help Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria to cope with the aftermath of natural disasters in 2013 and 2014. The European Solidarity Fund (EUSF) aid applications need to be approved by both Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

Votes: Wednesday 17 December
Procedure: budgetary

#ESF #Italy, #Greece, #Slovenia, #Croatia, #Serbia #Bulgaria

Draft resolution on Italy, Greece, Slovenia and Croatia
Profile of rapporteur: Patricija Šulin (EPP, SL)
Commission press release (27.08.2014)
Procedure file
Draft resolution on Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria
Profile of rapporteur: José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT)
Commission press release (10.10.2014)
Procedure file

Banking Union: Parliament to vote on Single Resolution Board members

A plenary vote on candidate members of the Single Resolution Board (SRB), which is to restructure failing banks, is scheduled for Wednesday. However, Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee will first need to approve the candidates in a vote at an extraordinary meeting on Monday evening.

The candidates were nominated by the European Commission on 5 December, following several in-camera hearings with shortlisted candidates.  

Public hearings with the candidates nominated by the Commission were held in Parliament last Monday and Tuesday.

The candidates are:

• Ms Elke König (DE) for the Chair position
• Mr Timo Löyttyniemi (FI) for the Vice-Chair position
• Mr Mauro Grande (IT)
• Mr Antonio Carrascosa (ES)
• Ms Joanne Kellermann (NL)
• Mr Dominique Laboureix (FR)

If Parliament approves the Commission's proposed candidate for each of the six posts, then it will be up to the Council (acting by qualified majority) to decide on the appointments.

The Chair, Vice-Chair and Board Members are appointed for a limited term; the Chair for an initial three years, renewable once for a further five years; and the Vice-Chair and Board Members for five years, non-renewable.

Vote: Tuesday 16 December
Procedure: Consultation  
Press conference: No

#SRB #BankingUnion

Briefing on the Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) and Single Resolution Fund (SRF):
Main Elements of the Banking Union
Recapitalisations - BRRD provisions and State Aid rules

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


Tar sands: MEPs set to vote on new EU fuel quality rules

Proposed revision of EU fuel quality rules that disregard the fact that extracting oil from tar sands causes more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil drilling will be put to a plenary vote on Wednesday. The Environment Committee rejected the rules on 3 December because they do not include a methodology for assessing emissions from unconventional sources.

The existing EU fuel quality directive requires suppliers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the life cycle of their fuels by at least 6% by 2020 (compared to 2010).

The committee argued that failing to stipulate specific greenhouse gas reduction targets for tar sand oil, as distinct from conventional crude, would lead to an increase in its share of the EU market.

Given that exploiting tar sand oil causes more pollution than conventional drilling, increasing its market share would cause more damage to the environment and aggravate climate change, it said.

Debate:  Wednesday, 17 December
Vote:  Wednesday, 17 December

#fuel #fuelquality

Profile of the rapporteur, Bas Eickhout (Verts/ALE)
Profile of the rapporteur, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE)

MEPs to call for common EU approach to migration

MEPs’ ideas on how to prevent further deaths in the Mediterranean and develop a common EU approach to migration are set out in a draft resolution to be voted on Wednesday. They include ensuring solidarity and fair sharing of responsibilities among EU member states, clarifying sea search and rescue duties, creating safe and legal routes into the EU for asylum seekers and tackling people smugglers and traffickers.

The draft resolution was tabled by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee on 11 December, after Parliament as a whole debated the issues on 25 November.

Studies show that up to 22,000 lives have been lost in the Mediterranean over the past 26 years

Debate: 25 November 2014
Vote:  17 December 2014
Procedure: non-binding resolution

#migration #asylum #fundamentalrights #Frontex #Triton

Video recording of the debate in plenary (25.11.2014)
Press release - Operation Triton: Civil Liberties Committee Chair will push for inquiry into policies and resources utilised by member states in the Mediterranean
European Parliament resolution of 23 October 2013 on migratory flows in the Mediterranean, with particular attention to the tragic events off Lampedusa
Press release - Migration: EU must act to prevent further tragedies, says Parliament (23.10.2013)

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


Steel: MEPs to call for new industrial policy

MEPs are expected to demand a new industrial policy to help the EU steel industry to meet global market challenges and protect its workers, in a non-binding resolution to be voted on Wednesday. The EU steel sector is struggling with declining demand and tough competition from third countries.

At the last plenary session, MEPs debated how to protect the steel industry and workers with Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska.

Some called for a new industrial policy for steel, anti-dumping measures against imports and innovative restructuring of steel producers in Austria, France, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Italy.

EU steel industry jobs fell from 1 million in 1970 to around 369,000 in 2012.

Debate: Wednesday 26 November
Vote: Wednesday 17 December
Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution

#steel #industry

Procedure file
Watch the debate again

Focusing EU security strategy on emerging threats

EU nationals who join terrorist organisations abroad and later return home, cyber-security, human trafficking, organised crime, money laundering and corruption should be priority areas for the new EU Internal Security Strategy (ISS) for 2015-2019, says a draft resolution to be voted on Wednesday. The new ISS should be "easily adaptable” to address emerging security threats, as well as existing ones, says the text.

The resolution is Parliament's input to the new EU Internal Security Strategy (ISS) being prepared by the European Commission for 2015-2019.

Debate: 16 December 2014
Vote:  17 December 2014
Procedure: non-binding resolution

#cybersecurity #humantrafficking #organisedcrime #moneylaundering #corruption

Draft motion for a resolution
Procedure file

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following topics relating to human rights and democracy, in the morning on Thursday 18 December morning with the votes following around 12.00.

1. Venezuela: persecution of the democratic opposition
2. Mauritania, in particular the case of Biram Dah Abeid
3. Sudan, the case of Dr. Amin Mekki Medani

Debate: Thursday, 18 December
Vote: Thursday, 18 December
Procedure: non legislatives resolutions



Other Topics on the Agenda:

- Scientific examination of questions relating to food

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin)


- Assessment of good repute of transport operators (rejection of comitology measure), Commission statement

Irish MEPs on this issue:  Deidre Clune, Fine Gael (South)


- Statement on situation in Ukraine

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


- Motion on Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

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


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.