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16.03.2012
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Greens/EFA Round-up

Debriefing of the plenary session 12-15 March 2012

Nuclear power on the Fukushima anniversary

Plenary debate with Commission Monday 12 March 2012

Following on from the first year anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami (11 March) and the resulting nuclear disaster, MEPs debated the consequences with the EU Commission. The tragic consequences of Fukushima will continue to be felt in Japan for decades. The Greens/EFA group called for an international task force to support the efforts to protect the health of the people of Fukushima and to stabilise the destroyed reactors.  The EU should also support the development for an efficient, safe and sustainable energy supply for Japan instead of exporting the flawed nuclear stress tests to Japan, which are little more than an excuse to allow the nuclear industry to continue with business as usual. Our group wore badges marking the disaster during the debate as Co-President Rebecca Harms led with what was learnt during our Fukushima conference last week.

Further information:
Michel Raquet, Greens/EFA Advisor on Energy, michel.raquet@europarl.europa.eu

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Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050

Initiative Report
Plenary debate and vote Thursday 15 March 2012

Long term EU climate policy came under the spotlight, as the EP adopted its position on the EU low carbon roadmap 2050. Science recommends greenhouse gas cuts of up to 95% by 2050 in Europe if we are to play our part in avoiding dangerous climate change but the EU is way off track. The resulting report endorsed the emissions trajectory in the roadmap, but failed to explicitly call for the increased emissions reductions targets that would be needed. There was a positive call for the shoring up of the Emissions Trading Scheme which is currently failing to promote the necessary investments. However, a coalition of centre-right MEPs used the vote on the report as a way to push nuclear power and the myth of clean coal. For this reason the Greens/EFA group was forced to abstain in the final vote.

Further information:
Terhi Lehtonen, Greens/EFA Advisor on Environmental Issues, terhi.lehtonen@europarl.europa.eu

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Autonomous tariff quota for imports of high-quality beef

Legislative Report (Quisthoudt report)
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Plenary debate Tuesday 13 March 2012 - vote Wednesday 14 February 2012

A long-running dispute between the EU and the US on beef imports has finally been brought to an end under an agreement adopted by the EP Wednesday. Under the terms of the deal, the US will be allowed to export high quality beef, which has not been treated with growth-hormones, to the EU, with the US lifting retaliatory restrictions on EU imports. Greens/EFA MEPs welcome the fact the EU was able to maintain and vindicate its own higher food standards and keep hormone-fed beef off the EU market, facing down a WTO ruling in spite of the efforts of the US.

Further information:
Martin Köhler, Greens/EFA Advisor on International Trade, martin.koehler@europarl.europa.eu

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Statute for a European cooperative society with regard to the involvement of employees

Legislative Report by Green MEP Sven Giegold
Committee on Economic Affairs
Plenary debate Monday 12 March 2012 - Vote Tuesday 13 February 2012

With support from across the house, the EP adopted with a large majority a report by Green draftsman Sven Giegold on cooperatives, calling for more and better structured support for the social economy. Cooperatives and other organisations of the social economy function along market principles but set other priorities than mere profit maximisation. However, the potential of these organisations is underused across the EU, particularly given the positive role they could play attaining the EU 2020 objectives in the context of the current economic crisis. The report sets out concrete measures to address this, such as through EU rules on public procurement and state aid, and improving their legal status and increasing the promotion of cooperative entrepreneurship.

Further information:
Sven Giegold, Greens/EFA MEP and Rapporteur, sven.giegold@europarl.europa.eu

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Discriminatory Internet sites and government reactions

Motion for Resolution
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
Plenary debate with Council and Commission Tuesday 13 March 2012 - vote Thursday 15th March 2012

A discriminatory website set up by the PVV party in the Netherlands was condemned by the MEPs on Thursday. The website, which encourages Dutch citizens to post complaints about people from Central and Eastern Europe who are living in the Netherlands, is at odds with a number of EU values. As well as conflicting with the right to non-discrimination as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Treaty, the failure of the Dutch prime minister to criticise the website is of great concern.

Further information:
Wouter Van Ballegooij Greens/EFA Advisor on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, wouter.vanballegooij@europarl.europa.eu

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Child labour in cocoa sector

Motion for Resolution
Committee on International Trade
Plenary debate Tuesday 13 March 2012- vote Wednesday 14 March 2012

MEPs endorsed Wednesday the 2010 international cocoa agreement by a large majority, which will help ensure fairer and more sustainable trade, and also adopted a resolution outlining the problems of child labour in the cocoa production sector. Child labour and trafficking remains a major problem, particularly among the multitude of small producers in West African countries, where most cocoa imports come from. The EP resolution made a number of concrete suggestions for further work to address this problem under the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) and called on the Commission and governments to increase their support for Fair Trade networks.

Further information:
Martin Köhler, Greens/EFA Advisor on International Trade, martin.koehler@europarl.europa.eu

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Outcome of the presidential elections in Russia

Motion for Resolution
Committee on Foreign Affairs
Plenary debate with Council Wednesday 14 March 2012 - Vote Thursday 15 March 2012

The Greens welcomed the adoption of a resolution on Thursday on the Russian presidential elections. No sooner had Vladimir Putin been unsurprisingly declared winner than EU leaders were issuing fawning statements, despite evidence of electoral manipulation and recent efforts to stifle opposition politics in Russia. EU strategic partnership should only be possible with countries when there are shared interests and value. After the vote, the Greens called on the EU to go further and exert pressure on Russia to hold new Duma elections. Further to this the Greens stressed that bilateral relations with the Russian authorities should in no way take place at the detriment to Russian democratic forces and civil society.

Further information:
Paolo Bergamaschi, Greens/EFA Advisor on Foreign Affairs, paolo.bergamaschi@europarl.europa.eu

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Use and transfer of Passenger Name Records to the United States

Presentation of Study hosted by Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht
Press conference Wednesday 14 March 2012 - vote in Committee Monday 27 March 2012

Green MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht held a press conference on Wednesday to present a new study by legal experts Prof. Dr. Gerrit Hornung (University of Passau) and Dr. Franziska Boehm (University of Luxembourg) showing that the new agreement with the United States on the transfer, retention and profiling of air passenger data (PNR) is in breach of EU fundamental rights provisions. The agreement, which is undergoing the ratification procedure in the European Parliament now, even provides less data protection than previous agreements from 2004 and 2007, which the European Parliament had refused to accept. Co-author of the study, Dr. Franziska Boehm, joined Jan Philipp in the European Parliament in Strasbourg for the press conference and to take questions.

Further information:
Jan Philipp Albrecht, Greens/EFA MEP, jan.albrecht@europarl.europa.eu

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Mandate of the special committee on organised crime, corruption and money

Proposal for a decision
Vote Wednesday 14 March 2012 - Vote on Committee Composition 28/29 March 2012

A special parliamentary committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering was created on Wednesday by the EP. The committee has a one year mandate, extendable once, to investigate the infiltration of the public sector, legal economy and financial system by organised crime, including mafias, and propose ways to fight it. Greens/EFA MEPs have will actively work on and with the committee over the coming year to ensure that the EU is able to effectively respond to these threats at national, European, and international levels.

Further information:
Wouter Van Ballegooij, Greens/EFA Advisor on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, wouter.vanballegooij@europarl.europa.eu

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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary Round-up : 30 March 2012

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