Debriefing of the week including plenary session in Brussels (22-23 June 2011)
IMPROVING ROAD SAFETY IN EUROPEReport
Committee on Transport and Tourism
Committee vote Tuesday 21 June 2011 The committee on transport and tourism of the European Parliament voted on a report setting out how to improve road safety across Europe. The Greens welcomed the outcome of the vote since the two important Green proposals have been taken on board in the report adopted, namely the recommendation for speed limits of 30 km/h in all urban areas in Europe, as well as the introduction of a harmonised EU-wide blood-alcohol lim
Paul Beeckmans, Greens/EFA adviser on Transport and Tourism, email@example.com
Enforcement and implementation of EU legislation
Report by Green MEP Eva Lichtenberger
Committee on Legal Affairs
Committee vote Tuesday 21 June 2011
Francesca Beltrame, Greens/EFA adviser on Legal Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org
Economic governance pack legislationLegislative reports
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
Plenary debate Wednesday 22 June - plenary vote Thursday 23 June The Greens have been critical of the narrow focus of the package and voted against some of the reports in committee stage. The group believes that enforcement measures must be part of a broader economic framework, including much stronger economic policy coordination and fiscal convergence. Such a framework must tackle excessive macroeconomic deficits and surpluses. It should also encompass incentives and solidarity mechanisms, such as Eurobonds and promote a balanced approach aiming at enhancing sustainable public investments while ensuring a responsible consolidation of public finances.
The European Parliament adopted the six reports of the so-called pack on economic governance legislation, with negotiations between the European Parliament and Council still ongoing. The Greens supported the reports on the macro-economic pillar, which will provide a comprehensive and systemic approach to preventing future crises. The group also supported the report on establishing fiscal frameworks, which will provide for the necessary transparency and independent verification of budgetary data (Haglund, Ferreira and Ford reports). While the Greens agree with the urgent need to introduce tougher economic governance and reform the stability and growth pact, the group voted against three of the six reports, which it believes commit the EU to an unhealthy reliance on unbalanced austerity measures to achieve budget balances (Wortmann-Kool, Feio and Goulard reports).
- Texts adopted by EP
- Greens/EFA press release
- Plenary speech by Green MEPs Philippe Lamberts and Sven Giegold
Francisco Padilla, Greens/EFA adviser on Economic and Monetary Affairs, email@example.com _________________________________________________________
Greenhouse gas emissions reductions and risks of carbon leakageInitiative report by Green MEP Bas Eickhout
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Plenary debate Wednesday 22 June - plenary vote Thursday 23 June This report by Green draftsman Bas Eickhout makes clear the overwhelming economic and environmental benefits from strengthening the EU 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target. The EP environment committee supported the report's call to strengthen the target to a 30% reduction by 2020, as opposed to the current 20% target.
Due to an unexpected motion to postpone the vote almost at the end of a long voting session, the vote on the report was carried forward to the next part-session, and will now take place in the July session (4-7).
Terhi Lehtonen, Greens/EFA adviser on Environment, firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________
Spent fuel and radioactive wasteReport - Consultation procedure
Committee on the Industry, Research and Energy
Plenary debate Wednesday 22 June - plenary vote Thursday 23 June The proposed EU rules on nuclear waste management and disposal aim to create the perception that the problems of nuclear waste are solved but nothing could be further from the truth . It is utterly irresponsible to believe that underground dumping of highly radioactive material for the next 100,000 years could be done in a safe way, as the conservative forces managed to get through the Plenary vote. Greens however managed to get a majority against the worst case scenario. Indeed, the European Parliament gave the mandate to the Commission -and Commissioner Oettinger - to defend its original proposal, i.e. to forbid the exportation of radioactive waste to third countries, against a vast majority of Member States which are pushing for lifting such an export ban. However, the adopted text did not forbid shipments of spent fuels to Russia, Ukraine or other third countries. Reprocessing, transmutation and other proposed rules remain also far too weak and fall far short of addressing the very real concerns with nuclear waste : the rules do not apply to nuclear waste from military use, waste from uranium mining or spent fuel that is to be sent for reprocessing. Despite the fact that some important amendments tabled by the Greens - calling for forbidding the disposal of radioactive waste in risky (e.g. seismic) zones, for putting spent fuels in dry storage rather than in pools and for full third party liability in case of accident - have been adopted by the Parliament, Greens abstained for the final vote.
Michel Raquet, Greens/EFA adviser on Energy, email@example.com ______________________________________________________
The future of the Common Agricultural PolicyInitiative report
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Plenary debate Wednesday 22 June - plenary vote Thursday 23 June Ahead of the forthcoming debate on the future EU budget and reforming the Common Agricultural Policy, the EP voted on an opinion report setting out its supposed 'vision'. The Greens believe that promoting sustainable agriculture and food systems should be the top priority for the CAP. The group also wants to do away with some farm subsidy absurdities and "cap" the maximum payments per farm, with flexible ceilings for public benefits such as good environmental performance and generation of employment. The CAP should ensure fair incomes for farmers and not be damaging for developing countries.
The report was adopted with a large majority and the result is not bad. The Greens voted in favour. Among positive results, one can notice that the small farmers provisions were not kicked out despite the attempts of ALDE (Liberal Group), capping or "degressivity" of direct payments and non funding for clones and for cloned offspring remain in the text. Furthermore, adequate funding of pillar 2 was added. The bad parts of the adopted text are the list of agronomic features to increase resilience which was taken out and the text on cheap diesel, tax breaks etc for irrigation remains.
- Text adopted by EP
- Greens/EFA press release (FR - DE)
- Plenary speech by Green MEPs Martin Häusling and José Bové
Hannes Lorenzen, Greens/EFA adviser on Agriculture, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrzej Nowakowski, Greens/EFA adviser on Agriculture, email@example.com ________________________________________________________
New President of the European Central Bank appointedFollowing a hearing in the economic affairs committee, MEPs voted on the European Central Bank president-nominee Mario Draghi's candidacy. The ECB's handling of the financial and economic crisis has justifiably been criticised, with its dogged opposition to negotiated debt restructuring and insistence on punitive austerity as part of 'bail outs' clearly exacerbating the situation. The Greens were not fully satisfied with Mr Draghi's response to these concerns. The group also has questions about Mr Draghi's background and whether a financial industry insider is an appropriate choice to head the ECB.
The Parliament adopted the report and appointed the new President of the European Central Bank. The Greens abstained. Further information:
Francisco Padilla, Greens/EFA adviser on Economic and Monetary Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org __________________________________________________________
Consumer rights in the EUReport
Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection
Vote Thursday 23 June 2011 The EP voted on a compromise agreement on an overhaul of the EU's legislation on consumer protection. After protracted negotiations, the Greens believe the end-compromise will deliver greater protection for consumers, even if a number of important Green priorities were not included, notably guarantees and unfair contract terms. Among the key improvements, consumers will have greater protection for digital purchases, making it safer to shop online, and will have the right to withdraw from a contract for 14 days after the purchase (or up to one year if the trader omitted information, with the trader bearing the costs of return in many cases).
The Greens voted in favour and the Consumer Rights Directive has been adoptedwith an overwhelming majority of 615 votes in favour, 16 against and 21 abstentions.
Stany Grudzielski, Greens/EFA adviser on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, email@example.com
Claire Kwan, Greens/EFA adviser on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, firstname.lastname@example.org __________________________________________________________