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Debriefing of the June plenary session

6 - 9 June 2022


TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Fit for 55 package:
    a. Voting down a severely weakened Emission Trading System (ETS)
    b. Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)
    c. CO2 Emission Standards for Cars and Vans
  2. Council and Commission statements - The rule of law and the potential approval of the Polish national Recovery Plan (RRF)
  3. A new trade instrument to ban products made by forced labour + Xinjiang police files
  4. Council and Commission statements - Global threats to abortion rights: the possible overturn of abortion rights in the US by the Supreme Court - with resolution
  5. Agreement on a common charger
  6. EU deal on minimum wage
  7. Women on boards
  8. Convention to change EU Treaties

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Fit for 55 package

The Fit for 55 package is a set of legislative proposals which will form the backbone of the EU’s plan for climate action. The EU needs to get this right in order to meet the European Green Deal and our climate commitments under the Paris Agreement. That’s why for this plenary session we ran a dedicated live blog - with up-to-the-minute reactions, voting results and background behind each file.

Catch up on all the developments of the past plenary week on Fit for 55 here

  1. Voting down a severely weakened Emission Trading System (ETS)

On Wednesday, MEPs from the Greens/EFA Group along with a progressive majority successfully voted down a considerably weakened position on the EU Emissions Trading System, after the EPP Group and industry lobbies watered down the climate ambition. The ETS report will now go back to the Environment Committee, along with the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and Social Climate Fund (SCF) as they are connected to the ETS.

Michael Bloss MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur in the Environment Committee, comments:

“Now there is hope that we can actually build a climate policy in line with the 1.5 degree target. The EPP and right-wing of the house have failed in leading the Parliament away from the Paris Agreement.

“We still have the chance to listen to the scientists who have been calling on us to take decisive action now. In the negotiations, the Greens/EFA Group will stand up for the climate and energy transition and the end of dependence on coal, oil and gas.”

Jakop Dalunde MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on EU Emissions Trading System in the Energy, Research and Industry, and the Transport and Tourism committees, comments:

“A progressive majority prevailed against the fossil alliance and has for now prevented the worst. The free allocation of emissions for big parts of the industry means free emissions, which is something we simply cannot support. But it is essential that we get the Emissions Trading System right. ETS, as the biggest climate policy instrument, only works if we have ambitious targets for significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions."

 

  1. Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament adopted a position on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). The Greens/EFA group pushed for an ambitious Parliament position since the use of land and forests are key for the green transition and biodiversity.

Ville Niinistö MEP, Greens/EFA member and European Parliament rapporteur on the Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry in the Environment Committee and the Industry Committee, comments:

“The way we use land must be sustainable for both the climate and nature. Climate resilience in land use is key to building a carbon-neutral economy and achieving carbon negativity, to manage the climate crisis. The position adopted today by the European Parliament improves the Commission's LULUCF proposal consistently. In promoting better land use for nature and biodiversity, we are also creating a major opportunity for sustainable solutions in agriculture and forestry.”

GreensEFA Final vote LULUCF land use and forestry Final vote LULUCF land use and forestry

 

  1. CO2 Emission Standards for Cars and Vans

On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted on the regulation on the revision of the CO2 emission performance standards for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. MEPs voted for zero-emission road mobility and a complete ban on the sale of internal combustion engines in new cars by 2035.

The regulation will shift the automotive sector to invest in the production of zero- and low-emission vehicles and make electric vehicles cheaper.

Bas Eickhout MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on CO2 emission standards for cars and vans in the Environment Committee, comments:

“The automotive sector can, and should be one of the fastest sectors to decarbonise. The solutions are there and manufacturers are already racing to invest. The industry needs certainty. Today, the European Parliament has shown our clear support for the car industry to go fully electric by 2035.

“As the Greens/EFA Group, we have been advocating a speedier transition. However, at the last minute the EPP tried to slam the brakes on stronger climate action. If this proposal had failed, not only would we have lost credibility on tackling climate change, we would also have removed the chance to future proof one of the biggest European industries.”

End the sale of new cars with combustion engine in 2035 / GreensEFA End the sale of new cars with combustion engine in 2035

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Other plenary topics

Council and Commission statements - The rule of law and the potential approval of the Polish national Recovery Plan (RRF)

On Thursday, Members of the European Parliament voted on a resolution on the Commission’s decision to push ahead with the Polish Recovery Plan. The Polish government has yet to meet any of the criteria set out by President von der Leyen in October last year, nor has it implemented any of the rulings of the European Court of Justice or of the European Court of Human Rights with regard to its judicial system. The Greens/EFA Group are calling on the Council to block the adoption of the Polish government’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) until the relevant judgements are implemented.

Terry Reintke MEP, Greens/EFA Vice President and spokesperson on the rule of law in Poland, comments:

“What the Commission did was a mistake. Now it’s up to the Council to show some spine and stand up for the rule of law until the conditions are met. The rule of law should not need to be a series of conditions at all; it should be self-evident for every Member State to abide by the rulings of the ECJ.

“If the Commission isn’t willing to stand up to these values as guardians of the treaties then we will do everything in our  power to hold them to account. The rule of law is not a bargaining chip and it is not negotiable.”

Damian Boeselager, Volt MEP and Greens/EFA Member who negotiated the RRF, comments:

“The Commission President’s decision to recommend the Polish plan for approval was a grave error. Our Union is built on the Treaties. If they and the resulting EU law are not guaranteed to be enforced in a Member State, the Union will ultimately crumble. President von der Leyen has proven that the Rule of Law is not the Commission’s priority.”

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EU ready to finally ban all forced labour products

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted two landmark resolutions to ensure respect for human rights in EU trade policy.

The first calls for a new trade instrument that will ban the import into the EU market of all goods produced with forced labour. . The Greens/EFA believe this will be necessary to complement the upcoming due diligence legislation.

The second resolution focuses on human rights in Xinjiang and the Xinjiang police files. It calls again for a trade instrument to prohibit the import of goods produced with forced labour, while also calling for the strengthening of sanctions against Chinese leaders currently targeted by the EU - as well as their extension to all individuals, or entities, identified in the Xinjiang police files.

Heidi Hautala MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Greens/EFA member of the International Trade and Human Rights committees, comments:

"Europeans demand a trade policy in line with EU values, human dignity and social rights. Under pressure from the Parliament, the Council and the Commission had to withdraw their support for the investment agreement with China. And today, the European Parliament is signalling that it no longer wants the EU to be complicit with the Chinese totalitarian regime, which has been perpetuating a crime against humanity in the Xinjiang province for five years.

"The EU is the second largest market for Chinese exports. By banning the import of forced labour products, we will finally act against exploitation and protect workers in China and Europe.”

Sarah Matthieu MEP, Greens/EFA member of the Committee on International Trade, comments:

"25 million people around the world are estimated to be victims of forced labour. This includes countries with which the EU is currently negotiating free trade agreements. The EU simply cannot allow the import of modern slavery products.”

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Council and Commission statements - Global threats to abortion rights: the possible overturn of abortion rights in the US by the Supreme Court - with resolution

At the initiative of the Greens/EFA Group, the European Parliament debated and voted in favour of a resolution on the global threats to abortion rights - including the possible overturn of abortion rights in the US by the Supreme Court. The Greens/EFA Group will continue to push the EU to promote access to sexual and reproductive health services in the EU and around the world.

Terry Reintke, member of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, comments:

“Abortion is a fact. Millions of people end their pregnancy each year. Criminalising abortion does not lower the number of abortions, it just makes them illegal and very often unsafe. Unsafe abortions are a leading, yet preventable, reason for maternal death. I and only I have the right to decide over my uterus, my ovaries and my body. Until this is the case in Europe, in the US, and all over the world, we are going to continue to fight here in this Chamber and everywhere around the world. I salute the brave people in the US fighting for this, in Europe and all over the world.”

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Agreement on a common charger

On Tuesday, negotiators from the European Parliament, Commission and Council reached an agreement on a common charging cable for electronic devices, which will reduce waste, save resources and support consumers.

Anna Cavazzini, Greens/EFA Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and shadow rapporteur on the single charging cable, comments:

"Today's agreement seals the deal: In two years consumers in the EU will finally be able to charge all their mobile phones, tablets and digital cameras with the same USB-C charging cable. This will save resources, protect the environment and support consumers. To ensure that we really do have just one cable for all devices, the European Parliament has guaranteed that laptops, e-readers and navigation devices, for example, are also covered by the new rules.

“This means the end of cable clutter and a significant reduction in resource consumption. With clear specifications for a wireless charging standard, the uniform charging cable will keep up with technological developments.”

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EU deal on minimum wage

On Monday, negotiators from the European Parliament, Commission and Council reached an agreement on rules for a minimum wage in the EU. The Greens/EFA Group welcome the agreement as a big step forward towards combatting in-work poverty, the gender pay gap and wage inequality for workers across the EU. Minimum wages will need to be pegged against the rising cost of living.

Kim van Sparrentak, Greens/EFA MEP and Member of the Social Affairs Committee, comments:

“For too long the European Union has neglected workers with the lowest wages. This law shows that a more social Europe is possible if the political will is there. With many people struggling to make ends meet, this agreement must be translated into higher wages as soon as possible.

"This proposal also includes steps towards closing the gender pay gap, something we in the Greens/EFA Group have long pushed for. It is mainly women who are employed in low-paid jobs. By focusing on this, we can address this income gap even faster."

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Women on boards

On Tuesday, the European Parliament agreed with EU Member States and the European Commission on common rules that will pave the way for women to enter the management floors of listed companies in the European Union on an equal footing. In future, 40 % of members on supervisory boards and 33 % on boards of directors and management boards must be female. There are exceptions for countries like Germany, which already have a quota - but the EU Parliament was able to negotiate substantial ambitious demands.

Terry Reintke, shadow rapporteur and vice-chair of the Greens/EFA group, comments:

"After ten years of blockade by conservative-led federal governments, we have common rules that finally secure more participation for women in the corporate headquarters of Dax companies. This is part of the feminist awakening in the European Union made possible by the new German government. We Greens/EFA have always fought for binding quotas, because voluntary commitments are useless, as the past years have clearly shown. As always, there are also some downers, but nevertheless the start has finally been made."

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Convention to change the EU Treaties

On Thursday, the European Parliament voted in favour of starting the process for a Convention to change the Treaties of the European Union. It will now be up to the 27 heads of state at the European Council to decide to set up a Convention, which may be voted on as early as the EU summit on 23rd-24th June.

The Greens/EFA Group support this process of restructuring the EU, and see it as an important step for the EU to become stronger, more efficient and more united.

Daniel Freund, Greens/EFA MEP and shadow rapporteur on the Conference on the Future of Europe, comments:

“Vetoes are misused to destroy the rule of law in the European Union. Today, we will start to change this, because we in the European Parliament want to change the Treaties. We want to fix the most important design flaw of the European Union and to get rid of vetoes. Not because we here in the Parliament want this, but because European citizens want this with an overwhelming majority. They told us over and over again at the Conference.”

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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary debriefing: 8 July 2022

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