Written by Clare Ferguson,
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ recent revelations, known as the ‘Paradise Papers’ are the subject of Council and Commission statements set for Tuesday morning. Parliament’s Inquiry Committee into Money Laundering, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance is due to report on the ICIJ’s previous Panama Papers exposé during the December session. In the meantime, the Paradise Papers are certain to lead to redoubling of the EU’s efforts to clamp down on practices involving offshore interests and tax evasion and avoidance. The Council and Commission will also make statements on the rule of law in Malta on Tuesday, and the rule of law and democracy in Poland on Wednesday, as well as on a winter plan for asylum-seekers.
Protection against dumped and subsidised imports from China and other third countries is vital for many EU industries. When China’s WTO Accession Protocol expired in 2016, the EU moved to act to ensure protection against dumped and subsidised imports from countries not members of the EU, using trade defence instruments to address problems such as over-capacity. Consequently, the EU institutions reached agreement on a revised Anti-Dumping Regulation to protect EU businesses from these unfair trading practices. Members will discuss the agreed text on Tuesday afternoon. In an effort to help build a stronger European cinema industry in the face of competition from the USA, Parliament’s President will award the LUX Film Prize (Tuesday lunchtime). The prize focuses on different views of contemporary social and political issues, and celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.
Linked to the growth in international trade, the rise in the transport of goods by road, and the fact that the transport sector is still 94 % dependent on fossil fuels, has meant increased greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, not to mention congested motorways and damaged road surfaces. As part of its commitment to reducing its emissions by 40 % by 2030 (compared with 1990 levels), the EU is encouraging a shift back to transport using canals and rivers. However, the complicated system of national professional qualifications in inland waterways deters young people from working in the sector. On Monday, Members will vote on a text agreed in trilogue on rules on the recognition of qualifications in inland navigation that seeks to harmonise the rules and attract more young people to take up jobs in the sector.
Listen to podcast ‘Professional qualifications in inland navigation‘
Given the dynamic demographic growth in Africa, young people are also likely to be a focus of the next summit of EU and African Heads of State or Government, which takes place at the end of November in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire). The European Parliament will therefore debate a resolution on Tuesday evening aiming to define its position on a new relationship to replace the ten-year old Africa-EU Joint Strategy. Parliament’s Committee on Development proposes that EU-Africa cooperation should focus on economic development and trade, as well as environmental issues to tackle the damaging effects of climate change. The new priorities for EU-Africa cooperation are likely to include a focus on human development, particularly for employment and education for the young, good governance and human rights. Finally, in the light of continued instability in some regions, MEPs are keen to promote resilience and finding constructive solutions to the causes and conditions of migration and mobility.
Listen to podcast ‘New priorities for EU–Africa cooperation‘
The Commission will be responding to an oral question on Tuesday evening on the EU action plan for nature, people and the economy, an area in which the Parliament supports the use of nature-based solutions to help societies address environmental, social and economic challenges sustainably. In particular, the Parliament has urged the European Commission to establish a coherent network of blue-green infrastructure in rural and urban areas across the EU.
Following an address by Andrej Kiska, President of the Slovak Republic, in a formal sitting on Wednesday lunchtime, Parliament will hear a report on the European Ombudsman’s activities during 2016. The Ombudsman conducts inquiries into cases of maladministration by European Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. Members will hear that complaints against the EU institutions fell slightly in 2016, with transparency-related issues and access to information and documents the top subject matter for complaints.
The EU already protects EU citizens’ consumer rights online, enabling cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws. Shopping online is easy – but getting redress when things go wrong, particularly if it involves a purchase in another country, can still be difficult. The EU wants to strengthen the current system of alerts and mutual-assistance, and on Tuesday, Parliament will debate an agreement to coordinate actions to give EU consumers greater protection when online infringements of EU laws cover many different countries.
|A list of all material prepared for this Plenary Session:|
|Professional qualifications in inland navigation (available in DE – EN- ES – FR – IT – PL)|
|New priorities for EU–Africa cooperation (available in DE – EN- ES – FR – IT – PL)|
|Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation (available in DE – EN- ES – FR – IT – PL)|
|Protection from dumped and subsidised imports (available in DE – EN- ES – FR – IT – PL)|