European Parliament Building Strasbourg © European Union 2017 - Source : EP
European Parliament Building Strasbourg © European Union 2017 - Source : EP

News


A Greens/EFA take on the plenary session

19-23 October


TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
  • Digital Services Act
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Deforestation
  • Gender Equality in EU’s foreign and security policy
  • State of the Energy Union
  • Energy Charter Treaty
  • Serious security threats through the sale of EU passports and visas 
  • Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

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Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Debate Tuesday, votes Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
Greens/EFA MEPs: Martin Häusling, Benoit Biteau, Tilly Metz, Bas Eickhout

The European Parliament voted this week on the reform of the “Common Agricultural Policy” (CAP) from 2021-2027. Unfortunately, our sustained calls for Parliament to reject the proposal outright were unsuccessful.

The Greens/EFA campaigned strenuously for a different Common Agricultural Policy. Despite our best efforts, the majority of MEPs voted against a modern European agricultural policy, against halting biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, against better protection of the climate and environment and against a fairer CAP supporting small family farms. But our Group will not give up fighting for farmers, for nature and for the climate! Now the Commission needs to change this around if it wants the EU Green Deal to work!

The Greens/EFA group believe that the CAP reform as voted this week is fundamentally incompatible with the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies. Instead, we will continue to push for a fair and sustainable CAP, in which payments to large landowners are capped and ensuring that small-scale farmers can also benefit from financial aid. We want to see investment in regional food production, cutting down the distance food is transported, string rural development as well as binding CAP payments to ambitious environmental objectives to ensure CAP does no harm. This is what is needed if the EU is to meet its own climate goals, preserve our biodiversity and support a new generation of agroecological farmers.

Texts adopted – Common agricultural policy

 

Further information

Juliette Leroux - Adviser on Agriculture and Rural Development
juliette.leroux@ep.europa.eu

Harriet Clayton - Advisor on Agriculture and Rural Development
harriet.clayton@ep.europa.eu

Andrzej Nowakowski - Advisor on Agriculture and Rural Development
andrzej.nowakowski@ep.europa.eu

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Digital Services Act

Debate Monday, votes Tuesday
Greens/EFA MEPs: Alexandra Geese, Patrick Breyer, Marcel Kolaja, Kim van Sparrentak

The European Parliament adopted Wednesday a series of reports on the EU Digital Services Act (DSA). MEPs ask the European Commission to provide a clear legal framework for online platforms, to set out guidelines for dealing with indications of illegal content and to end the arbitrary blocking and deletion of content by online platforms.

Marcel Kolaja MEP, Member of the Pirate Party Greens/EFA coordinator in the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), who was the IMCO shadow on the opinions to the Legal Affairs committee commented:

"The European Parliament supports our demands to protect privacy online, to guarantee the right to anonymity and to limit the market power of tech monopolies by adopting rules on interoperability. Facebook and Twitter must give up their communication monopoly and allow communication with users of alternative platforms, and allow contacts to be maintained when switching between providers."

The Greens/EFA want to promote diversity, freedom and choice in our online lives, by ensuring interoperability between platforms, challenging hate speech and discrimination,  and ending online surveillance practices such as behaviourial advertising and micro-targeting. We want a DSA that puts our privacy, our rights and our freedoms at its heart, protects the freedom of the internet and does not lead to censorship, while ensuring legal certainty.

Texts adopted

Further information

Cristian Bulumac - Advisor on Telecom and Space issues
cristian.bulumac@ep.europa.eu

Anne-Catherine Lorrain – Legal Advisor
anne-catherine.lorrain@ep.europa.eu

Ralf Bendrath - Advisor on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
ralf.bendrath@ep.europa.eu

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Artificial Intelligence

Debate and vote 19 Monday
Greens/EFA MEPs: Sergey Lagodinsky, Patrick Breyer

The European Parliament adopted, Wednesday, by a large majority three reports on “Artificial Intelligence” (AI).

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be at the core of many leading pieces of EU legislation in the near future. We welcome AI as an opportunity for innovation and for human and social benefit. However, we should go beyond the general AI ‘hype’ and try to guide legislation into concrete directions having a real impact on citizens and on the protection of their rights, while encouraging innovation.

Two of these reports meant to provide guidance to the Commission in their future legislative proposals on artificial intelligence, robotics and related technologies: one of them addressing the ethical aspects of AI, and the other dealing with civil liability rules. A third initiative report deals with Intellectual Property rights for the development of AI.

Legal frameworks for AI, to ensure lawfulness and the growth of European systems, should be established. Even though the Greens/EFA group are generally in favour of a European AI strategy, we are strongly opposed to any legislation and technology that might lead or facilitate mass surveillance as this would undermine our personal rights and freedom. We believe strong ethical principles are central to the designing of law and policy on AI, to protect people from discrimination by algorithmic decisions and to make the AI industrial sector greener.

Our Group managed to successful get an amendment calling for the use of biometrics/facial recognition voted against, and therefore deleted from the final text.

Texts adopted

Further information
Anne-Catherine Lorrain – Legal Advisor
anne-catherine.lorrain@ep.europa.eu

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Deforestation

Debate Wednesday, vote Thursday

The European Parliament voted Wednesday on a report on an EU legal framework to halt and reverse EU-driven deforestation. The report calls for binding due diligence obligations for all companies placing commodities on the EU market that might be at risk of causing deforestation or degradation of other ecosystems, as well as to those financing them. This report comes ahead of the Commission’s legislative proposal, foreseen for next year.

Our amendment on the need for a legal status for ancient and primary forests and their ecosystems was successfully carried. Unfortunately, our amendment on the need for the EU to recognise ecocides as criminal acts was defeated.

Our group decided to vote in favour to ensure a broad majority that would send a strong signal to the Commission before the foreseen adoption of their legislative proposal next year.

Further information
Yan Dupas - Advisor on Environmental Issues
yan.dupas@ep.europa.eu

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Gender Equality in EU’s foreign and security policy

Debate and vote Thursday 22 and Friday 23
Greens/EFA MEPs: Ernest Urtasun, Hannah Neumann

MEPs adopted this week a resolution on gender equality in the EU’s foreign and security policy. Drafted jointly by MEP Ernest Urtasun for the FEMM committee and MEP Hannah Neumann as draftsperson for the opinion of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Greens/EFA have spearheaded the direction of this report in an ambitious drive towards an explicitly feminist EU foreign policy. We are calling for an intersectional feminist approach to all EU external action, that will challenge the backlash against women’s rights, mainstream gender equality in policy-making and address the unequal power relations at its core. As part of this, we call for a 50% target for women in management positions within the EEAS and the urgent ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

Rapporteur Ernest Urtasun, Vice-Chair of the Greens/EFA group and member of the committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality said:

"The European Parliament will adopt the first-ever report calling on gender equality in EU’s foreign and security policy. While several countries around the world have already adopted a foreign policy with a strong focus on gender equality, the EU continues to lack one. This is why we call on the EU and its leaders to promote a gender transformative vision of foreign policy that protects and promotes women’s human rights."

Rapporteur for the opinion, Hannah Neumann, Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Committee and member of the committee on Foreign Affairs, commented:

"Diversity makes political decisions better. That is especially true in war and crisis situations. This is why women need to sit at the negotiation table! The reality shows, however, that they are severely underrepresented – in the military, in diplomacy, in high-level negotiations – and this is also true for our own EU institutions and missions. If the EU wants to be a leader for gender equality in the world, it must stop paying lip service."

Further information
Claire Gilder - Adviser on Gender Equality & Women's Rights
claire.gilder@ep.europa.eu

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State of the Energy Union

Debate 22 Thursday
Greens/EFA MEPs: Ville Niinistö

On the initiative of the Greens/EFA Group, the Parliament held a debate Thursday on the Commission’s report on the State of the Energy Union. While progress has been made, like the fact that overall the EU is on track to achieve 2020 renewables targets, some problems remain, such as the concern that Member States are set to miss both the maximum primary and final energy consumption targets for 2020. There is also an urgent need for Member States to address the issue of fossil fuel subsidies and redirect them to finance green energy transition. Sadly, projects such as NordStream-2 are not even mentioned, while the reference to the safety of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant on the EU border with Belarus is very generic and hardly helpful.

Further information

Karolina Štelmokaitė – Advisor on Energy
karolina.stelmokaite@ep.europa.eu

Heike Leberle – Advisor on energy
heike.leberle@ep.europa.eu

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Energy Charter Treaty

Debate Thursday 
Greens/EFA MEPs: Anna Cavazzini

Thursday, MEPs held a debate on the Commission’s proposal for the reform of the controversial Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which allows investors to sue states for loss of profits, causing a huge obstacle for the implementation of climate policies. 

Our Group calls for the Treaty to be aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Green Deal, by means of removing protection of fossil fuel investments as well as the provisions which allow unlimited legal recourse for investors. We call on the EU to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty if the objectives are not met. 

Anna Cavazzini MEP, Greens/EFA, Chair of the European Parliament's Monitoring Group on Investment, said:

"The Energy Charter Treaty is incompatible with the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal. This backward-looking treaty once again puts investor interests above the interests of citizens."

While the new proposal does contain new provisions on sustainable development and lays out new procedural rules, fossil investors are still able to sue states and have no obligations to curb emissions or respect human rights. It will also have to be accepted by fifty other third countries, including Japan and Kazakhstan, before the changes can be made. The priority for the Greens/EFA group is to ensure the Energy Charter Treaty does not constitute a costly obstacle in our path towards a carbon neutral continent.

Further information
Martin Koehler – Advisor on International Trade
martin.koehler@ep.europa.eu

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Serious security threats through the sale of EU passports and visas 

Debate Thursday
Greens/EFA MEPs: Sven Giegold

On the initiative of the Greens/EFA group, MEPs debated Thursday the serious security threats posed by so-called "golden visa" schemes, that sell residence permits and citizenship to non-EU citizens in exchange for money and investment. This follows recent revelations from an Al Jazeera investigation into alleged links between high level Cypriot officials and passport sales. Our Group calls for serious scrutiny and binding minimum standards to ensure that wealth is not the key for citizenship and residence rights in the EU.

Sven Giegold MEP, Greens/EFA Member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and of the Standing Subcommittee on Tax in the European Parliament, said:

"This is an important and overdue step in the fight against money laundering and corruption in Europe. Malta and Cyprus have been a security blackspot in Europe by allowing the sale of passports to criminals, corrupt and money launderers from all over the world. Any EU country that sells citizenship is going against the duty of all member states to cooperate in the spirit of trust. Wealth should not be the criteria for citizenship and residence rights in the EU."

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Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

Debate 20 Tuesday, vote Wednesday 21
Greens/EFA MEPs: Mounir Satouri

MEPs adopted a report, Wednesday, on the non-proliferation treaty, the control of nuclear weapons in the future and disarmament. From a Greens/EFA perspective, the result is not satisfactory. We were not able to find enough support for our amendments which fully support a progressive, forward-looking approach to nuclear disarmament, mainly relying on the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Also, due the adoption of EPP amendments, the report can best be qualified as static status quo and in that sense without real solution for a deteriorating international environment, in particular as regards nuclear arms control.

A encouraging element still made it through with a paragraph describing the TPNW in a positive way, saying it was evidence of the desire to achieve the objective of a nuclear weapons-free world. We are confident that very soon the TPNW will enter into force.

Further information
Tobias Heider - Advisor on Security and Defence
tobias.heider@ep.europa.eu

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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary debriefing: 27 November 2020


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