Members' Research Service By / April 24, 2015

‘EU can and must do more’ – April II plenary session

Written by Clare Ferguson and Tessa Tumbrägel MEPs will head to Strasbourg for Parliament’s next plenary session, from 27 to…

© European Union 2015 - European Parliament
Written by Clare Ferguson and Tessa Tumbrägel
Donald Tusk
© European Union 2015 – European Parliament

MEPs will head to Strasbourg for Parliament’s next plenary session, from 27 to 30 April, with plenty of legislative work on environmental, financial and socio-cultural concerns on the agenda.

Uppermost on the EU agenda this month is the issue of asylum and irregular migration, as the crisis in the Mediterranean worsens. Calls for action at EU level, have resulted in a tripling of the budget for the Triton operation and other measures. President of the European Council Donald Tusk will join a key debate on EU migration and asylum policies on Wednesday morning.

The debate starts on Monday, when Parliament’s Environment Committee, (responsible for public health matters), tables an oral question regarding a Parliament resolution urging the Commission to start working on a new EU Alcohol Strategy for 2016-2020. Following this, the implementation of the fish-landing obligation, designed to end the practice of ‘discarding’ fish’, will be discussed. Other environmental concerns this session include the presentation of a report on the new EU Forest Strategy, which aims to improve management of Europe’s forests. On Tuesday, Parliament will again discuss proposed legislative changes in the, currently criticised, EU biofuels policy as framed by the Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality Directives, as well as regulatory measures to curb the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags. Following this, MEPs will vote on proposed regulation establishing an EU system for monitoring CO2 emissions in maritime transport, the only remaining means of transport not included in the EU’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Sunset outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg
© European Union 2015 – European Parliament

This session will also focus on EU finances, beginning with a vote on the Amending Budget No 2 to the 2015 EU budget accompanying the revision of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) on Tuesday afternoon. This revision is necessary to fully implement all programmes under shared management, for which the 2014 allocation has not been used. MEPs will then discuss an interim report on the establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) set up to help combat crimes affecting EU financial interests, such as funding fraud. Later on Tuesday, the discussion will move on to a vote on the Commission’s proposal for a regulation setting rules on money market funds (MMFs) in the Single Market, a type of collective fund that invests in short-term debt. Thereafter, MEPs will vote on a report outlining Parliament’s estimates of its 2016 budget.

Turning to culture and education, on Monday, a report is tabled on the implementation of the Bologna process, which emphasises links between the Bologna process, the revision of the Europe 2020 strategy and the Juncker Investment Plan. Also on Monday, European film in the digital era is the focus of a report stressing the importance of a more flexible approach to film releases, copyright and licensing issues for digital film distribution.

On Wednesday, the focus moves to EU Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations and the plenary will discuss the 2014 Progress Reports on Albania, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Issues such as meaningful reform progress with an eye to EU priorities, remaining obstacles, like corruption and political polarisation, and developments in the relations with the EU are likely to feature in the debate.

Also on the agenda (Tuesday) is the EU Smart Borders Package, consisting of three legislative proposals to make border control procedures faster and more reliable throughout the Schengen area.

A list of all material prepared for this Plenary Session:
Money market funds : DEENESFRITPL
Monitoring CO2 emissions in maritime transport : DEENESFRITPL
Implementing the fish-landing obligation : DEENESFRITPL
Curbing the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags : DEENESFRITPL
Biofuels policy and indirect land use change : DEENESFRITPL
Bosnia and Herzegovina: a renewed approach? : EN
Albania: candidate country status obtained : EN
European film in the digital era : EN
Implementing the Bologna Process: the follow-up : EN
Multiannual plan for fisheries in the Baltic Sea : EN
EU Alcohol Strategy revisited : EN
Setting up the European Public Prosecutor’s Office : EN
Parliament’s estimates of its 2016 budget : EN
A new impulse for EU forests : EN
Amending Budget No 2 to the 2015 EU budget : EN
Smart Borders package : EN

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