Written by Katarzyna Sochacka and Clare Ferguson,
The May I plenary session highlight was the European Commission statement on the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework package adopted by the College of Commissioners on the morning of 2 May 2018. The package comprises proposals for a new post-2020 multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the European Union, as well as for a new system of own resources (OR) to provide the EU with the means to finance its annual budgets. Members will respond in a resolution to be voted at the end of May, and the Commission will make a series of further legislative proposals for individual spending programmes later in May and in June. Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Michel, also attended the session, for a debate on the future of Europe. Members also discussed VP/HR Federica Mogherini’s statement on early presidential elections in Venezuela and approved a call for their immediate suspension. Parliament voted, inter alia, on a number of own-initiative reports
European Investment Bank
Members discussed and adopted a resolution on the European Investment Bank’s 2016 financial report. With 70 % of total EIB lending in 2016 going to only six Member States, Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee seeks greater transparency and geographical balance in the institution’s spending. The report is also critical of the bank’s arrangements to prevent potential conflicts of interest and corruption.
Protection of EU financial interests and the fight against fraud
Parliament debated and voted on a Budgetary Control Committee report on the Commission’s 2016 report on protection of EU financial interests and the fight against fraud. Members urged a clamp down on tobacco smuggling and the resulting loss of tax and customs duties. Other pressing issues include VAT fraud and public procurement irregularities. The report highlights that greater protection for whistleblowers and investigative journalists could contribute to better detection of fraud.
Sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks in key network infrastructure
One of the most visible EU policies is investment in funding for transport projects under EU cohesion policy. Members approved an own-initiative report from the Regional Development Committee that urges continued promotion of sustainable transport and removal of bottlenecks in key network infrastructure. The report recommends a focus on cross-border connectivity, including the EU’s external borders and dealing with gaps in the Western Balkans, as well as greater emphasis on protecting the climate.
Situation of the sheep and goat sector in the EU
Members voted on an own-initiative Agriculture Committee report on the future of the EU sheep and goat sector. The report urges greater support for farmers to increase their bargaining power and improve a market that, due to the combined impacts of low demand, flock health issues, and the new threat of returning predators, is currently reliant on imports.
Media pluralism and media freedom in the European Union
Parliament approved a Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs report on media pluralism and media freedom that highlights the need for all EU stakeholders to take action against malign interference in information dissemination, to increase transparency of media organisations’ funding, and to tackle the spread of disinformation through increased measures, including encouraging media literacy.
Opening of trilogue negotiations
The decision of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee to enter into interinstitutional negotiations on the location of the European Banking Authority (EBA) seat was announced.
This ‘at a glance’ note is intended to review some of the highlights of the plenary part-session, and notably to follow up on key dossiers identified by EPRS. It does not aim to be exhaustive. For more detailed information on specific files, please see other EPRS products, notably our ‘EU legislation in progress’ briefings, and the plenary minutes.
Read this ‘At a glance’ note on ‘Plenary round-up – Brussels, May I 2018‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.