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EP Plenary Session Newsletter 2-5 October 2017

What will MEPs be working on in next week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Among the items on the agenda will be the resolution on Brexit talks, Climate Change & Ryanair


Brexit talks: progress on divorce terms not yet sufficient

A resolution setting out Parliament’s position for the 20 October EU27 summit in Brussels, when government leaders will assess progress in the Brexit negotiations, will be debated and put to a vote on Tuesday.

Ahead of the vote on the resolution on Tuesday noon, MEPs,  EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier will debate on progress made in the first four rounds of negotiations with the British government on the terms and conditions for the UK leaving the European Union.

Any withdrawal agreement at the end of the UK-EU negotiations will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.


Debate:  Tuesday, 3 October

Vote: Tuesday, 3 October

#EUCO#Brexit @MichelBarnier @EU2017EE

Press Release 28.09.2017
Draft resolution
EP Brexit Steering group website
EP resolution on negotiations with the UK following its notification to withdraw from the EU (05.04.2017)
Press Release on EP resolution: Red lines on Brexit negotiations (05.04.2017)
Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands North West), Luke Flanagan, Independent (Midlands North West), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands, North West) Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Fein (South), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands North West), Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin), Deidre Clune, Fine Gael (South), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin)


EU Public Prosecutor to better protect taxpayer’s money

MEPs are set to give the green light to establishing a European Public Prosecutor's Office to step up the fight against fraud and misuse of European funds and protect taxpayers' money.

The European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) will be in charge of investigating, prosecuting and bringing to justice those committing offences against the Union's financial interests.

Currently, only national authorities can investigate and prosecute EU-related fraud, but their jurisdiction ends at their national borders.

Since 2014, MEPs have pushed through several resolutions to establish the EPPO and have stressed the importance of ensuring the independence of its prosecutors.

Quick facts

The EPPO will be set up in enhanced cooperation among 20 member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Finland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Spain. Other member states may choose to join at any time.

The EPPO central office will be based in Luxembourg, but each member state will appoint at least one delegated prosecutor located nationally.

The list of serious crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the EPPO could be extended in the future to include, for example, terrorism.

Once Parliament has given its consent, the Council will formally adopt the regulation on the EPPO. It will take at least three years before the EPPO can begin its work


Debate:  Wednesday, 4 October

Vote:  Thursday, 5 October

Procedure:  Consent



Press release from the Council on the agreement to establish the EPPO (08.06.2017

Preventing cyber-attacks and online sexual abuse

The increase in cybercrime and the inadequacy of measures to prevent attacks on critical infrastructure or sexual abuse online demand firmer action.

MEPs want public and private investment in cybersecurity and education together with greater cross-border police cooperation and exchange of information. A resolution will be debated on Monday and voted by plenary on Tuesday.

About 80% of companies in Europe have experienced at least one cyber security incident, many of which go undetected or unreported. MEPs also point to global ransomware attack “WannaCry” of May 2017, which affected thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries and numerous organisations, including the National Health Service in the UK.


Debate: Monday, 2 October

Vote: Tuesday, 3 October

Procedure:  non-legislative resolution

#cybercrime #cybersecurity

Draft resolution on the fight against cybercrime
Press release on committee vote (11.07.2017)
Procedure file
Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South)


Debate on Ryanair flight cancellations

As Ryanair cancels ever more flights, wrecking the travel plans of thousands of passengers, MEPs will ask the EU Commission how best to enforce passenger rights in such cases. The debate takes place on Tuesday.



Debate: Tuesday, 3 October

Procedure:  Commission and Council Statement


EU regulation on air passenger rights
European Commission Interpretative Guidelines on air passenger rights
Audiovisual material for professionals and existing

Irish MEPs followng this issue: Deidre Clune, Fine Gael (South), Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands North West)


Passenger ship safety update

To maintain the world’s highest level of safety for sea travel, the EP is set to modernise EU passenger ship safety rules in a vote on Wednesday.

The new rules will:

  • speed up transmission of passenger data to the rescue services and families in the event of an accident,
  • remove overlaps and loopholes in safety inspections of ferries and high speed craft,
  • include aluminium ships to comply with common EU ship safety standards.

Current EU passenger ship safety rules fully meet safety standards (according to a 2015 evaluation) and accident statistics rank EU waters among the safest.

To ease the administrative burden on ship owners, clarify overlapping rules and respond to technical progress in the sector, the Commission proposed updating and simplifying those rules in 2016, without compromising on safety standards.

Parliament and Council agreed on modernising three directives on passenger registration, technical standards for ships used to offer domestic passenger services and inspections of roll-on/roll-off ferries and high-speed craft in June.

Quick facts

In 2014, the total number of passengers embarking and disembarking at EU ports was estimated at 400 million, of which 120 million passengers travelled between ports in a member state.

EU legislation on passenger ship safety complements international and national standards, provides for safer ships and more efficient handling of ship accidents.

Ships on international voyages (including between two member states) have to comply with international conventions and certain EU rules, while ships on domestic voyages (between ports of one member state) have to follow EU and national rules.


Debate: Tuesday, 3 October

Vote:  Wednesday, 4 October

Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure (1st reading agreement)


Rapporteur Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (ALDE, ES) (registration of passengers)
Rapporteur Dominique Riquet (ALDE, FR) (system of inspections)
EPRS briefing: safety rules and standards for passenger ships
EPRS briefing: Registration of persons on board passenger ships
EPRS briefing: Inspections of ro-ro ferries and high-speed passenger craft
Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands North West), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Deidre Clune, Fine Gael (South)


Input on key October EU summit issues

Apart from Brexit, migration and a common EU asylum policy, defence and EU-Turkey relations will top the agenda at the 19-20 October EU summit in Brussels. MEPs will set out Parliament’s expectations in a debate with the European Council’s Estonian Presidency on Wednesday morning.

The EU27 member states will also hold a separate debate on the Brexit talks.

Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani will deliver Parliament’s political messages on these issues to EU the heads of state or  government on 19 October. 


Debate:  Wednesday, 4 October

Procedure:  Council and Commission statements (without resolution)

#EUCO @EU2017EE #MigrationEU #EUdefence #Turkey



Provisional agenda of the Council of the European Union 19-20 October
Procedure file

Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands North West), Luke Flanagan, Independent (Midlands North West), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands, North West), Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Fein (South), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands North West)


Better conditions in prisons to favour rehabilitation and prevent radicalisation

EU countries must improve conditions in prisons and address overcrowding to protect inmates’ health, favour their rehabilitation and prevent the risk of radicalisation. MEPs defend alternatives to imprisonment when convicts do not present a serious danger to society, in a draft resolution to be debated on Wednesday and put to the vote on Thursday.


In 2014, prisons across the EU held over half a million inmates, including both those serving their final sentence and persons accused of a crime awaiting trial. According to the Council of Europe, the number of detainees exceeds the number of available places in a third of European penitentiary institutions.



Debate: Wednesday 4 October

Vote: Thursday 5 October

Procedure: Own-initiative report


Draft resolution on prison systems and conditions
With EU prisons overcrowded MS should favour alternatives if possible, MEPs say (Press release on committee vote, 21.06.2017)
Profile of rapporteur Joëlle Bergeron (EFDD, FR)
EP study: Prison conditions in the Member States: selected European standards and best practices (January 2017
Audiovisual material for professionals

Stopping Child marriage

MEPs will quiz Federica Mogherini on EU efforts to stamp out early and forced marriages  and protect girls  against abuse and violence. Tuesday’s debate will be wrapped up by a resolution to be voted on Wednesday.

Members  want to know how the Commission

  • assesses the impact of projects and campaigns designed to combat child marriage in third countries,
  • ensures the protection of the rights and health, including sexual and reproductive health, of all children in EU member states and third countries
  • addresses the issue of child marriage amongst refugees and asylum seekers

The EU signed the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which lists forced marriage as a type of violence against women. Forced marriage and attracting a child to another country in order to force her or him to enter into a marriage should be considered a crime, says the Convention.

One in every three girls in developing countries is married before turning 18, and one in nine before 15.



Debate:  Tuesday, 3 October

Vote: Wednesday, 4 October

Procedure: Oral question to the Commission (with resolution)


Oral question to the Commission
Audiovisual material for professionals and existing
Audiovisual material for professionals

Improving working conditions for women

As women continue to suffer disadvantages in their working lives, MEPs put forward a series of remedial measures.

Companies should ensure a better work-life balance, promote gender equality and be obliged to make salaries public, as ways forward to improve women’s economic empowerment in the private and public sectors, MEPs say in a draft resolution to be discussed on Monday and put to a vote on Tuesday.

MEPs recommends a number of measures:

  • better work-life balance to enable a fairer distribution of unpaid work between men and women;
  •  pay parity and increase pay transparency in private companies;
  • establish gender quotas;
  • include gender equality plans in negotiations between companies and social partners;
  • ensure that the principle of equal pay for work of equal value is applied effectively by all member states
  • raise wages in sectors where women make up the majority of the workforce, such as cleaners and care workers and
  • conclude collective agreements and inclusion of equal pay measures in collective bargaining.

Quick Facts

According to Eurostat, 31,5% of working women work part-time, compared to 8,2% of working men; around 50 % of women work full time, compared to 71,2% of men.

Caring responsibilities are the main reason for not having paid work for almost 20% of economically inactive women. Men with caring responsibilities account for only 2% of economically inactive men. (L)

According to EIGE (the European Institute for Gender Equality), improving gender equality would generate up to 10.5 million additional jobs by 2050 in the EU, and increase the EU GDP per capita by some 6.1 to 9.6 %. (F



Debate:  Monday, 2 October

Vote: Tuesday, 3 October

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution

hashtags #GenderEquality, #pension gap, #paygap



Draft resolution on women’s economic empowerment in the private and public sectors in the EU
Profile of rapporteur Anna Hedh (SE, S&D)
Procedure file
Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands, North West), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South), Marian Harkin, Independent (Midlands, North West), Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Fein (South), Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands North West)


Endocrine disruptors in pesticides: Calls to veto Commission proposal

MEPs will vote on Wednesday on an EU Commission proposal which would exempt some chemicals from the scope of criteria for identifying endocrine disruptors in pesticides and biocides.

The draft text from the Environment Committee says that the Commission has exceeded its mandate by proposing to exempt some substances, such as pesticides deliberately designed to attack a target organism’s endocrine system, from the scope of scientific criteria for identifying endocrine disrupters.

Under existing EU legislation, an active substance shall only be approved if it is not considered to have endocrine disrupting properties on non-target organisms.


Identifying endocrine disrupting properties of chemical substances through scientific criteria is a first step to reduce exposure.

A UNEP/WHO report called endocrine disruptors a “global threat”, referring inter alia to the upward trends in many endocrine-related disorders in humans and wildlife populations. There is evidence of adverse reproductive outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) from exposure to the substances, which could also affect thyroid function, brain function, obesity, metabolism, insulin and glucose homeostasis, it says.



Vote:  Wednesday, 4 October

Procedure:  legislative resolution

hashtags #EndocrineDisrupters


Briefing: Commission proposals on identifying endocrine disruptors
Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Nessa Childers, Independent (South)


COP23: MEPs to press EU to ratchet up its climate goals

The EU should have zero emissions by 2050 and should put a strategy in place before the end of next year to achieve this.

A resolution to be put to the vote on Wednesday sets out recommendations to EU institutions and countries for the November COP23 meeting  in Bonn. MEPs call on EU leaders to give effect to the agreement in EU law, ratchet up the EU’s climate protection goals and upgrade its environment policy instruments.

As all UNFCCC parties must state their long-term targets by 2020, MEPs also call on the EU Commission to prepare a mid-century zero emissions strategy for the EU by 2018, with the aim of keeping the temperature increase well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.



Debate:  Tuesday 3 October   

Vote:  Wednesday 4 October

Procedure:  Oral question to Council and the Commission, with resolution

hashtags #COP23 #ParisAgreement



Press release on committee vote (07.09.2017)
At a glance: COP23 climate change conference in Bonn
Procedure file
Briefing: the Paris agreement
Paris Agreement: United States withdrawal
Audiovisual material for professionals

Irish MEPs following this issue: Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands North West), Deidre Clune, Fine Gael (South), Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin), Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South)


Lorry drivers’ safety at border crossings

MEPs will discuss with the Commission how to protect truck drivers against theft, assault and lorry hijacking when approaching and lining up for border controls.

The debate follows an incident near Calais, where a Polish driver died after his van crashed against a road block, raising concerns about the level of security, in particular near border crossing points and harbours.

MEPs will ask the Commission to consider setting up ‘safe parking zones’ or other steps at EU level.


Debate:  Wednesday, 4 October

Procedure: Question for oral answer to the Commission



Question for oral answer to the Commission:
Audiovisual material for professionals

Access for Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Visa Information System

A Council proposal to grant Bulgaria and Romania access to the Visa Information System (VIS) will be put to a vote in Parliament on Wednesday. 

The Council decision would allow Bulgaria and Romania to consult and check VIS data, but without the right to enter, amend or delete them.

Parliament said in a legislative resolution voted on 8 June 2011 that Bulgaria and Romania are ready to join the Schengen border check-free area.

As long ago as 9 June 2011, Council concluded that Bulgaria and Romania had met all the Schengen acquis conditions on air borders, land borders, police cooperation, data protection, the Schengen Information System, sea borders and visas.

The final political decision on whether Bulgaria and Romania can become part of the Schengen area, and thus drop systematic checks at borders with neighbouring EU countries, has to be taken unanimously by the Council.


Vote:  Wednesday, 4 September

Procedure: Consultation



Press release: Bulgaria and Romania ready to join Schengen area, says Parliament (2011)
Profile of rapporteur: Agustín DÍAZ DE MERA (EPP, ES)
Procedure file:
Audiovisual material for professionals

MEPs suspect Turkey of using Interpol to track activists

The detention of two writers with dual Swedish/Turkish and German/Turkish nationalities by Spanish authorities, following Interpol arrest warrants issued by Turkey, is up for a debate with Council and Commission on Wednesday.

Hamza Yalçin, a Swedish/Turkish journalist critical

MEPs are worried that some countries might abuse Interpol and its Red Notice system to persecute members of the political opposition beyond their borders. And while some EU countries refuse to act, others execute the arrest. MEPs are demanding safeguards for human rights defenders and legitimate activists and to improve exchange of information to ensure that the principles of necessity and proportionality are respected when following Interpol alerts.



Debate: Wednesday, 4 October

Procedure: Oral questions to the Commission and the Council, without resolution



Question for oral answer to the Council
Question for oral answer to the Commission
Audiovisual material for professionals

Human rights and democracy resolutions

Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following human rights, democracy and rule of law topics on Thursday 5 October, at around 10.00, with the votes following at 12.00.

  • Situation of people with albinism in Malawi and other African countries
  • The cases of Crimean Tatar leaders Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov and journalist Mykola Semena
  • The situation in Maldives

Procedure: non-legislative resolutions

Debates/votes: Thursday, 5 October

#humanrights #democracy


Other items on the agenda:-

- Topical debate (Rule 153a) - Fiscal compact and its incorporation into the EU legal framework

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

Addressing shrinking civil society space in developing countries (DEVE A8-0283/2017) Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio Irish MEPs following this issue: Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin)

EU political relations with ASEAN (AFET A8-0243/2017) Reinhard Bütikofer Irish MEPs following this issue: Sean Kelly, Fine Gael (South)

- Management, conservation and control measures applicable in the ICCAT Convention area (PECH A8-0173/2017) Gabriel Mato Irish MEPs following this issue: Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Fein (South)