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Weekly overview

Our weekly overviews - Brussels agenda and Strasbourg Flash - give you a concise idea of the priorities and the highlights for the Greens during the parliamentary weeks. The weekly overview covers both the EP committees and plenary debates and votes but also focuses on hot topics in the other EU institutions. Furthermore, it provides you with a list of Greens/EFA activities which range from press conferences to public conferences.

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Strasbourg Flash

Weekly preview of the Greens/EFA group – 6-10 June 2016

 

EU priorities (full text below):
- Glyphosate: decision on extending the controversial substance? (Council, Mon.)
- Food security and a fair food supply chain (Parliament, Mon., Tues.)
- Watering down EU rules on financial speculation (Parliament, Tues.)
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Limited legal EU migration tainted by outsourcing to 3rd countries (Commission proposal, Tues.)
- Tobacco, health and the role of industry: international rules (Parliament, Tues.)
- Diesel emissions scandal in the spotlight (Council of transport ministers, Tues.)
- Panama Papers: EP inquiry into tax evasion and money laundering in the EU (Parliament, Weds.)
- EU Commission refusing to act on health-damaging chemicals (Parliament, Weds.)
- Preventing further approvals of GMOs (Parliament, Weds.)

Greens/EFA events:
- Press briefing with Greens/EFA co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts (Tues.)

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Glyphosate: decision on extending the controversial substance?
Mon. 6 June – EU government representatives in Council working group

Representatives of EU governments will consider a proposal for a temporary 'technical extension' of the EU approval of the controversial herbicide glyphosate. The latest proposal, a back-down by the EU Commission, came after the failure to secure a qualified majority of EU governments in favour of re-approving the controversial substance for 9 years. The Greens believe that there is a need to phase out this toxic product, which has major damaging impacts both on biodiversity and human health. Any temporary extension must be the beginning of the end for glyphosate. (see latest press release)

Food security and a fair food supply chain
Mon. 6 June – EP debate; votes Tues.

The EU's approach to food and agriculture policy will be in focus, with a number of reports set to be debated and voted. A report by Green MEP Maria Heubuch critically assesses the 'New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition', a public-private partnership ostensibly aimed at promoting investment in agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has been totally counter-productive, undermining local communities and the environment (see background article). A separate report highlights the problem of unfair trading practises in the food supply chain, which harm farmers, producers and small businesses, and sets out proposals on how to improve the situation. (see background article)

Watering down EU rules on financial speculation
Tues. 7 June – EP debate and vote

An agreement revising the recently-agreed EU rules on 'financial instruments" (MiFID) will be adopted by MEPs. While the original review was only supposed to delay implementation of the rules by a year (itself an invitation for more lobbying), the financial sector lobby has succeeded in convincing MEPs to hijack the 'fast track' process to change the rules themselves. As a result, new loopholes have been introduced without much discussion, exempting certain activities and products. The review will also delay the implementation of these crucial rules. This is a bad outcome for the attempt to properly regulate the financial sector.

Limited legal EU migration tainted by outsourcing to 3rd countries
Tues. 7 June – European Commission proposal

The EU Commission is set to present long-awaited proposals on legal migration. The Greens have long argued for the need to create a system of legal migration to the EU. However, this must be based on fair criteria and not limited to migrants in high wage sectors. It also cannot divert attention from the need to find a solution to refugee crisis. The Commission is also set to propose a 'Migration Compact' on cooperation with third countries to reduce irregular migration. There are major concerns about the outsourcing of migration to countries that do not respect EU norms, notably on basic rights.

Tobacco, health and the role of industry: international rules
Tues. 7 June – EP debate and vote

Parliament will vote on the ratification by the EU of the crucial WHO protocol on the illicit trade in tobacco products. The Greens fully support the ratification of the protocol, which is the appropriate instrument for dealing with the problem. This is crucial in the context of the debate on the renewal of the controversial agreement between tobacco companies and the EU, which is set to expire this year. The Greens argue that the PMI agreement is obsolete, with its main objectives now covered by EU law and the WHO protocol, and that the renewal of a special agreement with the tobacco industry would be inappropriate in the context of efforts to address the public health impact of tobacco: a point the WHO also explicitly makes. (see latest press release)

Diesel emissions scandal in the spotlight
Tues. 7 June – Council meeting of EU transport ministers

The dieselgate pollutant emissions scandal will be on the agenda of EU transport ministers at their council meeting. With more revelations continuing to emerge about car makers cheating and cars exceeding EU legal pollutant limits, the Greens are concerned about the reluctant response from law makers at EU and national levels. Without prejudging the outcome of the EP's inquiry into the scandal, there are clearly a number of regulatory measures that can and should already be worked on to try and address this problem.

Panama Papers: EP inquiry into tax evasion and money laundering in the EU
Weds. 8 June – EP vote

MEPs will formally vote to set up a parliamentary inquiry committee into the 'Panama Papers' revelations, which showed that wealthy individuals and firms channel funds through offshore firms to avoid paying taxes. The Greens/EFA group led the push for the creation of an EP inquiry to properly investigate the revelations and their implications at EU level.The Panama Papers have shown that obligations under existing EU anti-money laundering legislation are not enforced by EU governments and authorities. This failure to enforce EU law must be investigated. A mandate for the inquiry along the lines proposed by the Greens has been approved by the Conference of Presidents of EP political groups. (see latest press release)

EU Commission refusing to act on health-damaging chemicals
Weds. 8 June – EP debate and vote

MEPs will vote on a resolution criticising the European Commission for refusing to propose regulatory measures to address the problem of chemical substances that interfere with the endocrine system. Under EU law, the Commission was supposed to propose criteria on endocrine disruptors but, despite being ready, these criteria have been blocked due to lobbying and political interference. Despite a ruling by the European Court of Justice that the Commission is in the wrong, it has still not presented the criteria, which are necessary as part of measures to regulate these substances and the health damage they cause. The Greens are pushing for a strong resolution. (see more information)

Preventing further approvals of GMOs
Weds. 8 June – EP votes

Parliament will vote on two objections to decisions by the European Commission to authorise a genetically modified maize variety (resistant to glyphosate) and a GM carnation (resistant to an anti-diabetic drug). The non-binding objections highlight the concerns with these varieties, whose risks have not been properly assessed. However, it also again underlines the urgent need to revise the EU system for authorising genetically-modified food. In the absence of a properly reformed authorisation system, it is irresponsible to proceed with further GMO approvals.

Co-presidents press briefing
Tues. 7 June – 10.30-10.50, EP press room LOW N -1/201

Press briefing with Greens/EFA co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts on the key issues of the plenary session for the Greens/EFA group. The briefing will be livestreamed at: www.greens-efa.eu/press/722-press-briefing