Written by Clare Ferguson
Some very important people will address the European Parliament during its next plenary session from 5-8 October 2015. A formal sitting on Wednesday marks the official visit to Parliament by Spain’s King Felipe. As an official guest, he will address Parliament from a special rostrum.
Parliament also welcomes Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande for a key debate on Wednesday afternoon. What they are likely to say is open to speculation at this stage, the plenary agenda merely announcing statements on ‘the current situation in the EU’, but a focus on the refugee crisis (also the main subject for debate on Tuesday morning) is more than likely, including what to do about the situation in Syria. We might also expect a discussion on Franco-German cooperation in the EU context. Incidentally, this is not the first such Franco-German address: former Chancellor Helmut Kohl and former President François Mitterrand held just such a debate back in 1989.
Enabling Greece to make best use of EU funding [Podcast]:
However, before all the excitement begins, debate kicks off on Monday evening with the Parliament voting on the amendment to rules on EU structural and investment funds to provide some urgently-needed liquidity to Greece, intended to help the country make full use of available EU funding to finance investment and economic activity. Financial assistance will also be discussed in the vote on mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund on Tuesday. This funding helps in cases where people lose their jobs because of changes in world trade patterns: workers from car manufacturers Opel and Ford, and the Italian airline Alitalia, stand to benefit. Still on the subject of finance, the Commission will make a statement on the new Capital Markets Union package – billed as the Commission’s answer to increasing funding possibilities for European businesses, and particularly SMEs.
With COP 21 on the near horizon, the next burning issue on the agenda is air pollution. Tuesday afternoon MEPs will look at emission measurements in the automotive sector and limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants, which are currently not regulated at EU level (subject of our handy podcast). Emissions are of particular relevance in the light of the recent revelations that Volkswagen appears to have cheated in diesel emission tests in the US.
Air pollution from medium combustion plants [Podcast]:
However, MEPs also work on more prosaic items of business, perhaps less high-profile, but still tremendously important to the citizens they affect. On Tuesday evening the plenary will vote on the adaptation of legislation on the use of edible caseins and caseinates. These proteins are found in milk, and sometimes, surprisingly, used in wine production, with the risk of allergic reaction for unsuspecting consumers.
EU actions such as those described above of course all require funding, and the proper management of the EU’s general budget will be the subject of debate on Wednesday, when MEPs will discuss a proposal to amend the Financial Regulation following the adoption of new rules on public procurement and the award of concession contracts.
To round up the week, MEP Anna Záborská’s own-initiative report will be put to plenary on the last day of the session, a day devoted to human rights issues. The report calls on the Commission to come up with a new proposal for legislation on gender equality in employment, particularly in the light of the ineffective implementation of EU legislation in this area across the Member States, even though sex discrimination incurs considerable costs both to individuals and societies.
|A list of all material prepared for this Plenary Session:|
|Air pollution from medium combustion plants : DE – EN – ES – FR – IT – PL|
|Enabling Greece to make best use of EU funding : DE – EN – ES – FR – IT – PL|
|Towards gender equality in employment : DE – EN – ES – FR – IT – PL|
|Updating EU rules on edible caseins : DE – EN – ES – FR – IT – PL|
|Revising the EU’s financial rules : EN –|
|The Capital Markets Union package : EN –|
|Vehicle emission tests: beyond the VW case : EN –|
|European Globalisation Adjustment Fund : EN –|
|The Franco-German relationship in the European Union : EN –|