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EP Plenary Session Newsletter 28-29 November 2018


What will MEPs be working on in next week's plenary session in Strasbourg? Highlights include; the Cum/Ex tax fraud scandal, Climate Change, the Future of Europe Debate


Cum/Ex tax fraud scandal: MEPs lay out their reaction

A bank-led fraud scandal that amounted to a loss in tax revenue of over 55 billion euros, in at least 11 countries, will be the subject of a resolution to be adopted on Thursday.  

The resolution is expected to express MEPs’ outrage at the inadequate automatic exchange of information between tax authorities and their inability to sniff out fraud, and will call for European action on a problem which is ever more European, not national.

The fraud, uncovered in 2012, initially thought to have only affected Germany, is now estimated by an investigative journalist consortium to have been at least ten times more costly than originally thought, as it has affected treasuries from the following 11 countries: Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Norway and Switzerland. The fraud revolved around banks facilitating the buying and then reselling of shares belonging to foreign investors on the dividend pay-out day. The speed with which these transactions were carried out and the lack of communication between authorities meant that tax administrations struggled to identify the shares’ real owners. This then exposed the authorities to fraudulent claims, for tax refunds from foreign persons who pretended to have paid a dividend tax, which, as foreigners with a fictitious proof of having paid tax elsewhere, they could recover. Often, tax authorities reimbursed an unpaid tax many times over.


Debate:  October session

Vote:  Thursday, 29 November

Video recording of plenary debate (23.10.2018)
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are:  Brian Hayes, Fine Gael (Dublin); Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands-Northwest)


MEPs to push for improving the situation of women with disabilities

MEPs will urge the Commissionand member states to take measures to strengthen the rights of women with disabilities, in a debate followed by a vote on Thursday.

In the draft resolution, MEPs call on member states to fulfill their commitments regarding the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, which has been ratified by the EU and all individual member states, and urges in particular the Commission and EU countries to take measures to improve the situation of women with disabilities, in several areas such as rights, accessibility, education, health, gender-based violence, digital and media inclusion.

MEPs will also call for the barriers which are obstructing people with disabilities from their right to vote to be removed in the run up to the European elections, in six months.


There are around 46 million women and girls with disabilities in the EU, representing about 16% of its total female population. Women with disabilities are two to five times more likely to be victims of violence than other women, and 34% of women with a health problem or a disability have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner in their lifetime.


Debate: Thursday, 29 November

Vote: Thursday, 29 November

Free photos, video and audio material
Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

Irish MEPs following this issue are:  Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein (Dublin); Liadh Ni Riada, Sinn Fein (South); Matt Carthy, Sinn Fein (Midlands-Northwest)


Climate change: Commission to present its long-term strategy to Parliament

MEPs will discuss with the European Commission on Wednesday its strategy for net-zero emissions by 2050, published the same day, ahead of climate talks in Katowice.

The existing EU low-carbon economy roadmap suggests that by 2050, the EU should cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels through domestic reductions alone.

In its resolution adopted in October, Parliament called on the Commission to prepare, by the end of 2018, an ambitious mid-century zero emissions strategy, providing a cost-efficient pathway towards reaching the net-zero emissions goal adopted in the Paris Agreement and a net-zero carbon economy in the European Union by 2050 at the latest.

Parliament also supports an update of the European Union’s nationally determined contributions, with an economy-wide target of 55 % domestic greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.


Debate:  Wednesday

Press release: Paris agreement: MEPs call for stepping up EU climate commitments (25.10.2018)
At a glance: COP24 climate change conference in Katowice
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Nessa Childers, Independent (Dublin); Lynn Boylan, Sinn Fein (Dublin)


Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen to debate future of Europe with MEPs  

Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen will debate the future of Europe with MEPs and EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskison Wednesday 28 November at 15.00.

This will be the thirteenth in a series of future of Europe debates between EU heads of state or government and MEPs, following on from

  • Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on 17 January 2018,
  • Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on 6 February 2018,
  • Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa on 14 March 2018,
  • French President Emmanuel Macron on 17 April 2018,
  • Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel on 3 May 2018,
  • Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel on 30 May 2018,
  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on 13 June 2018,
  • Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on 4 July 2018,
  • Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on 11 September 2018,
  • Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas on 3 October 2018,
  • Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on 23 October 2018 and
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 13 November 2018.

President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades will address MEPs at the December plenary session in Strasbourg.

For more Information:

Debate: Wednesday, 28 November, at 15:00

Procedure: Debate (without resolution)

Future of Europe debates
Media Package
Web site of the Danish Prime Minister

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-Northwest)


World Trade Organisation urgently needs reform, say MEPs

The rules and processes of the WTO urgently need to be modernised to keep the body relevant, say MEPs in a resolution up for debate Wednesday and a vote on Thursday.

Citing the current crisis affecting the organisation, the resolution is set to take a stand in favour of a free, fair, rules-based and multilateral trading order that supports social, environmental and human rights, and contributes to peace and security.

It lists a series of reforms needed to keep the body relevant and efficient, including extending the scope of its oversight, allowing flexibility in taking common action, and revisiting the developing-developed country classification.

For more Information:

Debate: Wednesday 29 November

Vote: Thursday 30 November

Press conference: Wednesday 29 November, 14:00, with co-rapporteurs Bernd Lange (S&D, DE) and Paul Rübig (EPP, DE)

Press release on committee vote (20.11.2018)
Procedure file
Free photos, video and audio material

Irish MEPs following this issue are: Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael (Midlands-Northwest)