Plenary Flash - 16-19 January 2023
Greens/EFA priorities for the plenary session
Election of a Vice-President of the European Parliament (to replace Eva Kaili)
On Wednesday, MEPs will vote for a Vice-President to replace Eva Kaili who was relieved of her office following the Qatar-gate. The Greens/EFA have nominated Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield as the group's candidate. Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield has a long history of advocating for anti-corruption measures and the rule of law, more recently as European Parliament Rapporteur for the situation in Hungary.
Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield and the Greens/EFA call for a zero-tolerance strategy against corruption. As Vice-President of the European Parliament, she would work with colleagues from across the political spectrum to make the European Parliament a credible force against corruption. This means significantly improving whistleblower protection for staff, establishing an independent ethics body with investigative powers, mandatory entries of third countries in the transparency register, and the registration of lobby meetings, including with representatives of third countries.
Debate/vote: Wednesday, 18 January
Greens/EFA MEPs: Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield
More: Read more about Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield’s candidacy
The terrorist threats posed by far-right extremist networks
At the end of 2022, German law enforcement uncovered and arrested a network of right-wing terrorists belonging to the so-called Reichbürgerbewegung. This network is just one example of the rise of right-wing violent extremism in recent years, not only in Germany, but across the EU. The Greens/EFA have requested this debate to send a clear message against these developments. The group calls for authorities and law enforcement in all of the EU not to turn a blind eye on this substantial threat to our democracies. We also call for broader prevention measures, including education and integration, and a strong response from civil society to step up against fascism everywhere.
Debate: Wednesday, 18 January
The storming of the Brazilian democratic institutions
On Sunday, supporters of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s former president, stormed several democratic institutions in the capital of Brasilia. The Greens/EFA condemn these anti-democratic acts of violence and illegal occupation in the strongest possible terms. These attacks on the country’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace are direct attacks on democracy in Brazil. The objective was to destabilize the new government and create chaos, and was not the result of spontaneous protests, but had been prepared for weeks.
The Greens/EFA call for a thorough investigation at all levels into the circumstances that led to the attacks as well as the omissions of state institutions that failed to act to prevent the attacks. The group is particularly concerned with the role played by social media in promoting aggressive rhetoric, election fraud narratives, violence, and disinformation since the election in October 2022. The Greens/EFA also call for solidarity and support with President Lula, the rule of law and the Brazilian democratic system.
Vote: Wednesday, 18 January
Executions of protesters in Iran
On Wednesday, MEPs will have a debate with the High Representative Borrell with resolutions included in the EU’s response to the ongoing protests and executions in Iran. The human rights situation in Iran has deteriorated drastically over the winter break. Iranian security forces continue clamping down heavily on protesters and have executed at least four young protesters in the last two months. All of them were in their early twenties.
The Greens/EFA call on the EU to increase pressure on the Iranian regime to stop the crackdown and the executions , and to find ways to help protesters on the ground as well as the Iranian diaspora.
Debate/vote: Tuesday, 17 January
Greens/EFA MEPs: Ernest Urtasun
Uber lobbying practices in the EU
On Wednesday, MEPs will debate on the revelations regarding Uber’s lobbying practices in the EU. Uber is the biggest platform work company, and has been able to roll out its business model by operating illegally, dodging labour laws and employing aggressive lobbying tactics. By hiring drivers and riders as self-employed, Uber avoids paying taxes and social security contributions, leaving workers without any social protection and denying basic workers rights such as minimum wages and sick pay.
In December the European Parliament adopted its proposal for rules aimed at strengthening platform workers’ rights. However, Uber’s lobbying machine managed to convince some who will vote to weaken these rules. The Greens/EFA strongly condemn Uber’s exploitation, call for fairness to prevail and for strong support on workers’ rights.We call on all political groups to endorse the strong position adopted in the EMPL Committee during the plenary.
Debate/vote: Wednesday 18
Greens/EFA MEPs: Kim van Sparrentak
More: Take action against Uber’s exploitation
Food price inflation debate
During the last couple of years food prices have surged, leading to millions of people in the EU struggling to pay for food. Between January 2021 and January 2022, the price of a tonne of wheat rose from 275$ to 475$, and that trend has only been exacerbated by Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine. In May 2022 alone, food inflation reached 7.5%. The consequences of this price explosion are devastating. Every time food prices rise by just 1%, 10 million people are thrown into extreme poverty worldwide. We need to tackle the price surge at its root.
Part of this food inflation is driven by speculation and not only by market fundamentals such as disruptions in the supply chain. Food speculators bet on food prices by buying futures contracts from farmers, gambling that prices will rise and that they will be able to sell at a higher price in the future.
In situations of crisis and market instability – like now, with Putin’s war in Ukraine – they act as hunger and war profiteers. Food speculators make the food markets highly volatile by playing with the principle of supply and demand. All at the expense of consumers world wide who pay a higher price for their food. The Greens/EFA calls to address this issue by strengthening the regulatory framework of financial markets to limit speculation on essential food commodities.
Debate/vote: Tuesday, 17 January
More: Read our blog on food and energy price inflation
Waste Shipment Regulation
On Monday, MEPs will vote on a report on the regulation of shipment of waste. The regulation is necessary to lay out rules to protect the environment and human health against the adverse impacts that may occur from the shipment of waste. The European Parliament demands a ban on exports of plastic waste, and to only allow shipments of waste to third countries if their environmental and health standards are equivalent to those of the EU. If properly applied, this would limit waste exports significantly. The Greens/EFA have been a driving force in the negotiations and call for strong support.
Vote: Monday, 16 January
Greens/EFA MEPs: Sara Matthieu
Presentation of the programme of activities of the Swedish Presidency
On Tuesday, the Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson will present the priorities of the Swedish Presidency. The Greens/EFA are concerned with the new direction of the Swedish government, its reliance on the support of the far right, and the lack of ambition on climate and environmental policies.
Debate: Tuesday, 17 January
MEPs: Alice Bah Kuhnke, Jakop Dalunde, Pär Holmgren,
More: Read Greens/EFA MEP Jakop Dalunde’s tweet regarding the presidency
GREENS/EFA PRESS CONTACTS
Simon McKeagney (Head of Communication)
Alex Johnson (EN press officer)
Pia Kohorst (DE press officer)
Guendalina De Sario (FR press officer)
Helena Hellström Gefwert (EN press assistant)
Mia Müller (DE press assistant)
Valentina Chiarini (FR press assistant)
Valentina Servera Clavell (EFA Communications officer)