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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 – 4-8 July 2016

 

EU priorities (full text below):
- Energy labels and a common sense A-G system (Parliament, Mon., Weds.)
- Human trafficking and EU external relations (Parliament, Mon., Tues.)
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UK referendum aftermath (Parliament, Tues.)
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Diverting development aid to military purposes (Commission proposal, Tues.)
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Revising money laundering rules and tackling tax avoidance (Commission proposal, Tues.)
- Controversial EU-Canada trade deal ratification (Commission proposal, Tues.)
- EU border and coast guard and fundamental rights (Parliament, Tues., Weds.)
- Whistleblower protection: EU rules badly needed (Parliament, Weds.)
- Tax evasion: conclusion of Lux Leaks investigation (Parliament, Weds., Thurs.)

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

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Energy labels and a common sense A-G system
Mon. 4 July – EP debate; votes Weds.

MEPs will vote on proposals to revise EU rules on energy labelling. The purpose of this review should be to finally make the EU’s energy label system more simple and easy to understand, shifting to a simple, colour-coded A-G system, instead of the current confusing system (with A+ - A+++ etc.). Unfortunately, MEPs on the EP’s energy committee voted to delay this much-needed reform and give a gift to industries that want to try and pull the wool over consumers’ eyes by marketing inefficient appliances as having a positive energy performance. The Greens are concerned that centre-right political groups will seek to further lower the bar in the plenary vote.

Human trafficking and EU external relations
Mon. 4 July – EP debate; votes Tues.

Parliament will adopt a report by Green MEP Barbara Lochbihler setting proposals on how the EU should and can do more to address the problem of human trafficking in its external relations. This includes ensuring EU corporations fulfil their responsibilities to this end and are not involved in forced labour. With children particularly vulnerable to trafficking, this must be a priority for the EU.

UK referendum aftermath
Tues. 5 July – EP debate

Our group believes it is in the interest of all sides that negotiations on implementing the regrettable outcome of the referendum begin as soon as possible. However, the Greens believe it is nobody’s interest to take a vindictive approach to this. A large proportion of UK citizens voted to remain in the EU, including two of the four component countries, and the eventual negotiations need to somehow take the view of these voters into account. The EU has been overwhelmingly positive for its citizens and European politicians need to bring the focus of the EU back to delivering stability and prosperity for all. Our group will be focusing on this reboot of the EU. (see latest press release)

Diverting development aid to military purposes
Tues. 5 July – European Commission proposal

A controversial proposal to divert funds from the EU’s development aid budget towards military programmes in African countries is expected to be proposed by the Commission. This would not only be morally reprehensible, it would also very likely be illegal, with the EU Treaties stipulating that development aid should prioritise poverty reduction in developing countries.

Revising money laundering rules and tackling tax avoidance
Tues. 5 July – European Commission proposal

In response to the Panama Papers revelations, the European Commission promised to update EU rules aimed at preventing money laundering and it will present proposals to this end. Among the issues the Greens believe should be addressed as a priority, the creation of public registers for beneficial ownership is paramount in providing the necessary transparency. There is also a need for rules to deal with advisors who act to facilitate money laundering and tax dodging, as well as a glaring and overdue need for rules on whistleblower protection. (see latest press release)

Controversial EU-Canada trade deal ratification
Tues. 5 July – European Commission proposal

The EU Commission is set to outline the process by which the EU-Canada trade agreement should be ratified. There are legitimate concerns that the Commission wants to provisionally apply the agreement before it has been fully ratified. By-passing the democratic ratification process to fast-track the implementation of this highly controversial agreement would be a scandal. National parliaments must also be given a say and this means confirming that CETA has 'mixed agreement' status but the Commission president Juncker has said this will not be the case. Top of the list of public concerns with CETA remains the provision for undemocratic investor-state arbitration tribunals for foreign investors, which by-pass the standard juridical system and are inaccessible to citizens and national companies. (see latest press release)

EU border and coast guard and fundamental rights
Tues. 5 July – EP debate; vote Weds.

A proposal to create a new European border and coast guard, expanding on the current EU FRONTEX border agency, will be voted on by MEPs. There are major fundamental rights concerns with the proposal. Member states which do not want the agency’s involvement could be pressurised into accepting it. In addition, the proposal opens up the prospect of missions in third countries, which raises further rights concerns. The Greens will be voting to reject the plan.

Whistleblower protection: EU rules badly needed
Weds. 6 July – EP debate

One week to the day after the Lux Leaks whistleblowers Antoine Deltour and Raphaël Halet were given guilty verdicts, MEPs will debate the question of whistleblower protection with the Commission. The Lux Leaks case yet again underlined the glaring need for common rules on whistleblower protection. Parliament has called on the EU Commission to propose EU legislation to this end on a number of occasions and there is a clear legal basis for such a framework under the EU Treaties. Only last month, our group outlined a prototype for how such an EU law should look and we are now again urging the Commission to act on this and bring forward a proposal. (see latest press release)

Tax evasion: conclusion of Lux Leaks investigation
Weds. 6 July – EP debate; vote Thurs.

The second phase of the EP’s inquiry into the ‘Lux Leaks’ tax avoidance scandal will conclude with a report, which will be adopted by parliament’s plenary. The draft report delivers a strong analysis of the problems, including a criticism of those member states that have blocked progress, and hopefully this and the clear recommendations on what legislative and policy measures need to be taken in response are endorsed by MEPs. The “unfinished business” of the committee is set to be taken up by the EP’s Panama Papers inquiry. (see latest press release)

Co-presidents press briefing
Tues. 5 July – 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