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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 – 9-13 May 2016


EU priorities (full text below):
- What does foreign direct investment really mean? (Mon., Tues.)
- Greek bailout and Euro crisis in the spotlight again (Tues.)
- Reforming EU asylum policy (Weds.)
- Saving the Schengen free movement system (Weds.)
- Small step towards corporate tax transparency (Weds., Thurs.)
- Panama Papers: EP inquiry into tax evasion and money laundering in the EU (Thurs.)

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


What does foreign direct investment really mean?
Mon. 9 May – EP debate; vote Tues.

New EU rules on how Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) are measured will be adopted by MEPs. The rules will improve the transparency of EU statistics, leading to more clarity and better traceability of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) within and from the EU to the rest of the world. The provisions will provide a clearer view of gross capital flows across jurisdictions and help identify the jurisdictions where the ultimate ownership and beneficiaries of FDIs are based.

Greek bailout and Euro crisis in the spotlight again
Tues. 10 May – EP debate

With renewed controversy surrounding the Greek bailout, MEPs will debate the situation with the Commission and Council. The renewed posturing on the implementation of Greece's bailout programme is a worrying distraction from the persistent deterioration of the Greek economy. Dialogue is urgently needed. The latest push by the troika for even more austerity measures to be passed in Greece is wrong-headed. Instead, the creditors should be heeding the IMF's advice and insisting that structural reforms, such as an overhaul of the fiscal administration are a top priority. The Syriza government must do far more to fight tax evasion and take on those who have engaged in tax fraud. As the IMF's analysis has made clear, a significant restructuring of the Greek debt has to be on the table. (see latest press release)

Reforming EU asylum policy
Weds. 11 May – EP debate

MEPs will debate proposals by the European Commission for reforming the EU's system of asylum rules. Despite the widespread acknowledgement that the EU's Dublin system of asylum rules is not fit for the task, the Commission has fallen short of proposing a total overhaul. However, its proposals for stronger provisions on distributing asylum applicants among EU member states would be a step forward. The Greens believe there is a need to take much greater account of asylum seekers' preferences and existing ties. Otherwise, asylum seekers will continue to take dangerous routes and use people smugglers to avoid this broken system. (see latest press release)

Saving the Schengen free movement system
Weds. 11 May – EP debate

New proposals from the European Commission on the introduction of border controls under the EU's Schengen system will be debated by MEPs. The Commission's proposal on Schengen is regrettable and essentially supports those EU governments that want to abdicate their responsibility in the refugee crisis. Closing borders is a knee-jerk reaction and not a solution. Only by revamping the EU asylum system will we have a coherent and lasting response to the refugee crisis.

Small step towards corporate tax transparency
Weds. 11 May – EP debate; vote Thurs.

New EU rules obliging the largest corporations operating in the EU to report their activities to tax administrations will be endorsed by MEPs. The new measure, which has already been approved by EU governments, is a small step forward but falls far short of the full public country-by-country reporting obligations demanded by the European Parliament for ensuring full transparency of corporations' tax dealings. Worse, by limiting this reporting obligation to only the largest companies, only a minority of big corporations in Europe will be covered. (see latest press release)

Panama Papers: EP inquiry into tax evasion and money laundering in the EU
Thurs. 12 May. – Conference of presidents of EP political groups

The Conference of Presidents of EP political groups should decide to formally create 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 is leading the push for the creation of a European Parliament inquiry committee 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. It would appear that, as with the revelations in Luxembourg Leaks, EU institutions and governments have failed in their duty to enforce the law. (see latest press release)

Co-presidents press briefing
Tues. 12 Apr. – 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