Written by Katarzyna Sochacka and Clare Ferguson,
Highlights of the September plenary session included statements and debates on the preparation for the Climate Action Summit and the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York, on the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe, and on the implementation of anti-money laundering legislation. A further debate on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU was held, Parliament’s first since the change of prime minister in the UK. Parliament also debated statements made on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the political situation in Hong Kong, Burkina Faso, Colombia and Kashmir. Debates also took place on Council and Commission statements on the fires in the Amazon, forests in the EU, and cases of breaches of human rights. Members voted to approve Christine Lagarde’s nomination as President of the European Central Bank, and voted on a series of reports on amendments to the 2019 budget.
Appointment of the President of the European Central Bank
Parliament approved Christine Lagarde’s nomination as President of the European Central Bank (ECB) by a comfortable majority, and her tenure will begin on 1 November 2019, following her formal appointment by the European Council. Parliament also approved the appointment of Yves Mersch as Vice-Chair of the ECB’s Supervisory Board. Parliament is consulted on the appointment of the President of the European Central Bank under the Treaties, while an interinstitutional agreement between the Parliament and ECB ensures it also has a say in the nomination of candidates for Chair and Vice-Chair of the Supervisory Board dealing with bank supervision.
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy statements
Members debated statements made by Tytti Tuppurainen (President-in-Office of the Council), on behalf of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on recent developments in the political situation in Burkina Faso, Colombia and Kashmir. Although Colombia has received a range of EU support, implementation of the peace accord has had mixed results to date. Parliament also considered the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, following the Indian Parliament’s withdrawal of the constitutional guarantee of political autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir, where the long dispute between India and Pakistan over the region has resulted in terrorism and ongoing violence.
Amending the EU budget for 2019
Parliament voted, by a large majority, to confirm its position in favour of a series of interinstitutional agreements on draft amending budgets for the 2019 financial year. The first of these, draft amending budget No 1/2019, proposes using the surplus €1.8 billion left over from the 2018 financial year (largely resulting from higher competition fines revenue and underspending), to reduce Member States’ contributions to the 2019 EU budget. On draft amending budget No 2/2019, Parliament confirmed the agreement to reinforce the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ programmes with a €100 million increase in funding. Finally, Parliament also confirmed draft amending budget No 3/2019, which mobilises EU emergency solidarity funding to help Austria, Italy and Romania in their recovery efforts following flooding and extreme weather events.
Read this ‘at a glance’ on ‘Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, September 2019‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.