EP News No. 26/2012
Table Of Contents
European Parliament session, Strasbourg, 10-13 September 2012
MEPs meet in Strasbourg from 10-13 September for the first plenary session after the summer recess.
Among the highlights of the agenda:
Barroso State of the Union speech
Commission President José Manuel Barroso will present his flagship plans to Parliament in his annual State of the Union speech on Wednesday. He is expected to focus on measures to tackle the Eurozone crisis and make the case for an ambitious, growth-driven, long-term EU budget.
A real banking union, not just a fig leaf
On Thursday MEPs are to adopt a resolution warning member states that the envisaged banking union must be ambitious and that their current preferences for its establishment risk sending the wrong message.
Energy efficiency: binding measures for renovations and energy saving plans
A new directive, to be voted on Tuesday, would introduce mandatory measures in member states including renovation of public buildings, compulsory energy-saving schemes for utilities and energy audits for all large companies. In a separate debate on Tuesday morning, MEPs will discuss progress with the third energy package with Commissioner Oettinger.
Crime victims to get basic rights across the EU
All crime victims will get the same minimum rights across the EU and an assessment of their specific needs, under a directive agreed by Parliament and Council representatives to be voted on Wednesday. Free services, such as psychological support and translation and interpretation, will be available for victims, says the draft law. Some 75 million people are victims of crime every year in the EU. The UK government had an opt-out but says it will apply the directive.
Debate on Council Presidency's 2013 budget position
The Cypriot Council Presidency will debate the member states' stance on next year's EU Budget with MEPs on Tuesday, in the presence of Budgets Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski.
MEPs to call for a strategic concept for EU foreign policy
Parliament will demand a truly strategic concept for the EU's external action, geared to enhancing the coherence, consistency and effectiveness of EU foreign policy, when it votes on the annual report on the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) on Wednesday. In a debate with British Commissioner Catherine Ashton (High Representative for the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) on Tuesday afternoon, MEPs will focus on the desperate situation in Syria and developments in Russia, including the Pussy Riot case.
Among topics led by UK MEPs:
MEPs demand sustainable and efficient new fisheries policyMEPs will call for sanctions against countries that allow overfishing of mackerel, stronger fishermen's organisations, a clear deadline for sustainable fishing and eco-labels for fisheries products in Tuesday's debate on a package of fisheries policy proposals. They will vote on Wednesday on four proposals, paving the way for the key vote on the basic regulation governing the common fisheries policy (CFP) later this autumn. Among the reports, the one by Struan Stevenson (Scotland, Cons), calls on the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products for stronger and properly-funded producer organisations to counterbalance the power of retailers. Consumer information should be improved, he says, by labeling fresh fish products with details including the date of landing. He also wants the reduction of unwanted catches, e.g. by promoting the use of more selective fishing gear, to have priority.
Dangerous medicines: better EU drug safety monitoring in response to Mediator
The adverse effects of medicinal products will be better monitored in future, to prevent the recurrence of cases like that of the French diabetes medicine "Mediator", allegedly implicated in over 500 deaths. Changes to existing EU legislation (report by Linda McAvan (Yorkshire & Humber, Lab), to be voted on Tuesday as agreed with EU ministers, will tighten up the European system for picking up and evaluating potential problems with medicinal products in any EU member state.
MEPs to oppose paid donation of tissues and cells
Donation of tissues and cells should be voluntary, unpaid and - in most cases - anonymous, says a non-legislative resolution to be voted on Tuesday. While healthcare remains mainly a national responsibility, MEPs recommend that EU countries should cooperate better on cross-border donations. The resolution, drafted by Marina Yannakoudakis (London, Cons), calls on all EU countries to ban financial incentives for donation and to define clearly the conditions under which financial compensation may be granted. MEPs are also concerned about the emerging black market for sperm and eggs and call on EU countries to take coordinated action to tackle the associated ethical and public health risks.
Trade: EU should give the world's least developed countries more time
Struggling African, Caribbean and Pacific countries should have two more years to meet the conditions set by the EU when it granted them free access to its market, say MEPs in amendments to the market access regulation to be voted on Thursday. Amendments drafted by the David Martin (Scotland, Lab) extend the 2014 deadline proposed by the Commission and give Botswana, Namibia, Cameroon, Fiji, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Swaziland until 2016 to negotiate their economic partnership agreements with the EU before losing their right to duty- and quota-free access to the EU market, which they have had since 2007
Investing in schools to cut unemployment and boost social inclusion
MEPs will sound the alarm about the economic and social harm done by early school leaving across the EU. Beyond today's crisis, the economic cost of growing unemployment and the difficulties young people face in finding work could do serious long-run damage, they add in a resolution drafted by Mary Honeyball (London, Lab) to be voted Tuesday. EU member states are urged to set up and provide proper funding for specific lifelong apprenticeship programmes tailored to labour market needs, as well as strategies to reduce school drop-out rates, boost the number of young people with a university education and improve student mobility.
Other topics include:
- Alleged CIA prisons in Europe: MEPs to urge member states to investigate
- Faster and more effective use of standards to boost economic growth
- Cleaner shipping fuels to save lives
- Parliament finds a shelter for "orphan works"
- Asylum: MEPs to call for more solidarity among EU countries
- Opening up the EU audiovisual market
- Food quality labels: MEPs set to cut registration time and improve protection
- Energy deals with third countries
- Deals to ease trade with Australia and New Zealand
- Beef labelling and electronic cattle tagging
- Parliament to set out EU policy priorities for 2013
- Foreign Affairs
- Human Rights
- Security and Defence
- International Trade
- Budgetary Control
- Economic and Monetary Affairs
- Employment and Social Affairs
- Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
- Industry, Research and Energy
- Internal Market and Consumer Protection
- Transport and Tourism
- Regional Development
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Culture and Education
- Legal Affairs
- Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
- Consititutional Affairs
- Women's Rights and Gender Equality
- Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering
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1 July-31 December 2012: Cypriot Presidency
European Parliament plenary sessions 2012
22-23 October - Strasbourg
25-26 October - Strasbourg
7-8 November - Brussels
19-22 November - Strasbourg
10-13 December - Strasbourg