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EP Plenary Session Newsletter 15-18 September 2014

What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, Russian ban on imports of EU food products, Crisis in the Middle East – Syria and Iraq, Gaza, Libya, Ebola outbreak, European Youth Initiative, Digital market,Budget 2015

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

Debate and decisive vote on EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

Developments in the Ukraine will be debated on Tuesday morning, before Parliament is set to votes the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including its free trade component, into law, at noon.

The EU-Ukraine agreement, establishing a deep political association and free trade area, was signed by EU and Ukraine leaders on 27 June, but still needs to be ratified by the two parties’ parliaments. The details are set out in a European Commission memo made public on 23 June.

Debate:  Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Vote:  Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Procedure:  Consent
Press conference: Wednesday, 17 September 2014 (tbc)
#EU #Ukraine #Russia

Draft report on on the conclusion of the Association Agreement with Ukraine
Press release on committee vote (08.09.2014)
Profile of rapporteur Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (EPP, PL (S&D, DE)
Procedure file

Irish MEPs on this issue: Brain Hayes, Fine Gael  (Dublin), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Deidre Clune, Fine Gael (South)


European Youth Initiative: progress to date

MEPs will debate EU member states’ progress to date in implementing the European Youth Initiative with Council and Commission representatives on Tuesday morning.

The €6 billion European Youth Initiative launched in January 2014 aims to help member states to improve national policies to combat youth unemployment in regions where it exceeds 25%. MEPs criticised national governments’ slowness to put it into effect and called for stronger measures, including common minimum standards for apprenticeships and decent wages, in a resolution voted on 16 July.

Debate: Tuesday, 16 September
Procedure:  Council and Commission statements (without resolution)

#youth #employment

Resolution on Youth Employment (16.07.2014)

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


Measures to help EU farmers to cope with Russian embargo on EU foodstuffs

MEPs will quiz Commissioner Cioloş on Monday afternoon on what else the EU can do to help its farmers cope with the impact of the Russian import embargo on EU fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat products.

Action taken by the Commission so far includes publicly-funded market measures for peaches and nectarines (worth €32.7) and milk and dairy products such as cheese and butter. Separate measures to help producers of perishable fruits and vegetables such as apples and pears, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and others (worth €125 million), were suspended on 10 September due to a "disproportionate surge in claims" and will be redesigned shortly, says the Commission’s latest statement.

In the first Agriculture Committee debate since Russia imposed the import ban on 7 August, MEPs urged the Commission to do more to alleviate effects of the Russian embargo. They insisted that support for producers should be funded from outside the EU agriculture budget, so as to avoid slashing direct payments for all EU farmers and asked the Commission to focus more on long-term solutions, such as helping farmers to find alternative markets.

EU farm produce exports to Russia were worth €11.9 billion in 2013.

Debate: Monday, 15 September
Vote: Tuesday, 16 September
Procedure:  Oral question to the Commission (with resolution)

#RussianBan #RussianEmbargo, #Russia #Ukraine

Question for oral answer to the Commission tabled by the Agriculture Committee (05.09.2014)
VOD: Russian embargo debate in the Agriculture committee (04.09.2014)
Commission press release on measures for peach and nectarine producers
Commission press release on measures for fruit and vegetable producers
Commission press release on measures for milk sector
Commission press release on suspending measures for perishable fruit and vegetables
EU28 Agricultural trade with Russian Federation (Commission's factsheet)

Irish MEPs on this issue: Luke Flanagan, Independent (Midlands North-West) Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands North-West), Marian Harkin, Independent, (Midlands North-West), Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands North-West)


EU’s response to crises in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Gaza  

The EU’s response to the current security and humanitarian crises in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Gaza will be discussed by MEPs on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, Parliament will vote a resolution on Iraq and Syria, as well as separate resolutions on Gaza and Libya.

The “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) offensive, including the persecution of minorities, is likely to be condemned in both the debate and in the resolution. On Gaza, MEPs plan to focus on EU’s role helping to facilitate Israeli-Palestinian relations after the Gaza war

Debate:  Wednesday, 17 September
Vote:  Thursday, 18 September
Procedure:  Non-Legislative resolution, Statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

#Syria #ISIS #Libya #Gaza #Israel #Palestine

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


Ebola outbreak: how to step up EU help?

MEPs, Council and the European Commission will discuss the EU response to the fast-spreading Ebola epidemic in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal) on Wednesday. Parliament will vote a resolution on Thursday.

The Ebola virus has claimed thousands of lives at an accelerating pace since March. Although the EU Commission recently stepped up its immediate aid to contain the crisis, aid workers face increasingly difficult conditions on the ground.

Debate:  Wednesday 17 September
Vote:  Thursday 18 September
Procedure:  Non-legislative resolution

#Ebola #Guinea #Liberia #SierraLeone #Nigeria #Senegal


Council to present its position on EU's 2015 budget

The Council’s Italian Presidency presents the EU member states' position on the EU's draft budget for 2015 on Tuesday. It will propose €145.08 billion in commitments and €140.00 billion in payments, i.e. cuts of €522 million in funds for new projects and €2.1 billion in those for paying incoming bills in 2015.

The Council formally approved its position on next year's budget on 2 September, after agreeing on it informally in July. The largest cuts it proposes are in funding for growth, jobs and competitiveness.

Parliament must now state its position on the Council proposal before the 21-day Parliament/Council conciliation talks start on 28 October, so as to deliver a final budget for 2015 before the end of this year.

Debate: Tuesday 16 September
Procedure: budget procedure


Commission Draft Budget 2015
Press release after Council's informal decision on the 2015 budget (16.07.2014)
Procedure file

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


Aid to redundant workers in Spain, Netherlands, Romania and Greece

EU aid to help workers made redundant in various industries in Spain, The Netherlands, Romania and Greece to find new jobs will be put to a vote on Wednesday. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid, which would complement national efforts, also needs to be approved by the Council of Ministers.

The aid would be allocated as follows:

Castilla y León (ES) €700,000
Aragón (ES) €960,000
Gelderland-Overijssel (NL) €1,625,781
Nutriart S.A. (EL) €6,096,000
SG Mechel (RO) €3,571,150

Vote: Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Procedure: budgetary
#EGF #Spain #Holland #Netherlands #Greece #Romania

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


Preparing for the eurozone summit

On Wednesday morning, MEPs will discuss the state of the eurozone economy with Council and Commission with a view to the 23 October eurozone summit in Brussels.

Eurozone summits bring together the heads of state or government of eurozone countries. Held on the fringe of regular European Councils, they are used to debate strategic directions for economic policies that could promote convergence among euro area member states.

Debate: Wednesday, 17 September
Procedure: Commission and Council statement

#eurozone #euco

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


Unlocking the digital single market

MEPs will call for further measures to remove obstacles to doing things on line, such as buying goods and services from other EU countries, using your e-signature while abroad, or getting complaints resolved in online fora, in a debate with the Commission on the digital single market on Tuesday.

MEPs are also set to ask about progress in the Council’s work on a “telecoms package” proposal to boost the EU single market for electronic communications.

The digital single market provides new opportunities to boost the economy through e-commerce, while at the same time facilitating administrative and financial compliance for businesses and empowering customers through e-government. It could create potential efficiency gains of €260 billion each year.

Debate: Tuesday, 16 September
Procedure:  Commission statement

EP resolution on completing the digital single market (04.07.2013)
Mapping the Cost of Non-Europe, 2014-2019 (study prepared for Parliament, 2014)
EP position on a European single market for electronic communications

Irish Meps on this issue: Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South)


MEPs to debate EU free trade deal with Canada

The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which is concluded but needs the European Parliament’s green light to take legal effect, will be debated with the EU Commission on Tuesday afternoon.

The agreement is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods and services by 22.9% or €25.7 billion, according to the Commission, fostering growth and employment on both sides of the Atlantic.

Debate:  Tuesday, 16 September pm
Procedure:  Commission statements

Key facts and figures on CETA

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


EU human rights and democracy report

The European External Action Service (EEAS) annual report on human rights and democracy in the world will be debated with the Commission and the Council on Thursday morning. Each year the EEAS issues a report on human rights across the full range of the EU's external relations.

Parliament will also hold urgent debates and vote on Thursday on resolutions on the following human rights and democracy topics:

• Persecution of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan
• Burundi, in particular the case of Pierre Claver Mbonimpa
• Human rights violations in Bangladesh

Procedure: Non-legislative resolutions
Debate/vote: Thursday, 18 September

European External Action Service (EEAS)

Are the prices of certain life-saving medicines justified?

The pharmaceutical industry is placing fewer innovative medicines on the market each year but raising their prices ever higher, says an oral question to be debated with the Council and the Commission on Wednesday. The prices of certain hepatitis and cancer treatments in particular are unjustifiably high, argues the text.

Debate:  Wednesday, 17 September
Procedure:  Commission statement, no resolution


Oral question on access to life-saving medicines in Europe

Irish MEPs on this issue: Nessa Childers Independent (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.