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Debriefing of the February Plenary Session

13-16 February 2023

Table of Contents

  1. Green Deal Industrial Plan
  2. EU accession to the Istanbul Convention
  3. Special Committee on Foreign Interference Mandate
  4. An Independent EU Ethics Body
  5. CO2 Emissions for Cars and Vans
  6. Developing an EU cycling strategy
  7. Inclusion of Russia on ‘EU tax haven blacklist’
  8. Measures to strengthen the integrity of European institutions.


Green Deal Industrial Plan and Motion for a resolution on an EU strategy to boost industrial competitiveness, trade, and quality jobs

Thursday, MEPs adopted the resolution on the Green Deal Industrial Plan, the EU strategy to promote green technologies and decarbonise the industrial sector, in response to the US Inflation Reduction Act. The Greens/EFA Group are calling for fresh money and massive investments in energy savings, the expansion of renewable energies, green hydrogen, and the boosting of European production of green technologies.

Bas Eickhout, Greens/EFA MEP and negotiator for the resolution, commented:

"The Green Deal is the guarantor of European competitiveness and for the green industrial transition. Those on the right who are trying to stop the Green Deal and derail European environmental and climate legislation are endangering the EU as an industrial leader.”

The Greens/EFA successfully pushed for a new sovereignty fund with fresh money for massive investments in the development of renewable energies, green hydrogen and boosting European production of wind turbines, heat pumps, solar panels, and batteries, for example, as well as the inclusion of sustainability criteria in the public procurement directive.

Support the EUs Green Deal Industrial Plan / GreensEFA Support the EUs Green Deal Industrial Plan / GreensEFA


Council of Europe convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence: EU accession

MEPs adopted Wednesday an interim report on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention.

The EU signed the Istanbul Convention in 2017 and signalled its commitment to eradicating gender-based violence. However, the EU ratification process has been stuck in the Council ever since, and 6 Member States (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia) have yet to ratify the Convention.

The report, adopted Wednesday, follows an CJEU Opinion from October 2021 that was requested by the European Parliament, which stressed that the Council does not need to have a 'common accord' before adopting the decision to ratify the Convention on behalf of the EU, which means the Council can adopt it with a qualified majority (QMV).

The Greens/EFA Group call for the Council and the remaining Member States to ratify the Istanbul Convention without further delay and to keep striving for a Union free of gender-based violence.


Special Committee on Foreign Interference Mandate

Members of the European Parliament voted on the mandate for an updated special Committee on Foreign Interference, in the wake of ‘Qatargate’, involving several MEPs and third countries. The Greens/EFA group successfully called for a comprehensive final report with concrete recommendations for action on reforms, transparency and accountability, and a broad mandate to investigate foreign interference and potential bribery and corruption.

Greens/EFA President Terry Reintke, who negotiated the mandate on behalf of the group, commented:

“After this scandal we cannot do business as usual. Extending and expanding the mandate of the Special Committee on Foreign Interference is essential to rebuild the trust undermined by the recent corruption scandal.“


An independent EU Ethics body

On Thursday, Members of the European Parliament voted for an independent EU Ethics Body to tackle issues of integrity, transparency, and accountability across the EU institutions.

Greens/EFA MEP Daniel Freund, rapporteur for an EU Ethics Body, commented:

"The Commission is dragging their feet on a key reform to fight corruption in the EU institutions. From Qatargate to the revolving door for José Manuel Barroso and Neelie Kroes, it’s quite clear that the current system of self-monitoring and self-sanctioning has failed. The Commission promised independent oversight and proper enforcement of the rules years ago, but they have not delivered."


CO2 emission standards for cars and vans

The vote will mark the end of the combustion engine from the year 2035 on. The green transformation of the industry also sets an end to fossil fuel-driven mobility and will drive investments in competitiveness, creating sustainable jobs and achieving our climate and energy targets. The Greens/EFA Group support the outcome of the trilogue negotiations and urge all other groups to vote in favour of this first final vote on one of the proposals of the Fit For 55 package. In the agreement to be voted on, the Greens/EFA Group achieved allowing car manufacturers a bonus for the percentage of low or zero emissions vehicles they put on the market. This will increase the percentage of electric cars manufacturers sell by 2030.


Developing an EU cycling strategy

The European Parliament voted in favour Thursday of the EU's first Cycling Strategy, to increase safe and accessible cycling across Europe. This is a big win for European's health, for climate and more liveable cities.

The text, which Greens/EFA MEP Karima Delli led on, was agreed on almost unanimously in the TRAN Committee. It asks the Commission to develop a European strategy for cycling, which would include, among other things, massive investments in infrastructure to guarantee the safety of cyclists and the boosting of European bicycle manufacturing. The resolution demands that cycling be seen as a real mode of transportation, and that its industry be considered on par with other European ones.

Bas Eickhout, Greens/EFA MEP and Group negotiator in the European Parliament's lead Environment Committee, comments:

"The EU is leading the way on electromobility. Today's decision provides planning certainty for the shift to e-mobility, strengthens the EU as an automotive location and protects the health of citizens. The next step must be the expansion of battery production and charging infrastructure."

Greens/EFA MEP Karima Delli, Chair of the European Parliament's Transport Committee and draftswoman of the opinion on this text:

"Today's vote is a historic vote for the green transition. With the end of the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines in 2035, we will have no, or almost no, petrol or diesel cars on our roads in 2050. This fight has been led by environmentalist families for years, it is a victory for our planet and our citizens".

Greens/EFA Vice-President and member of the European Parliament's Environment Committee, Marie Toussaint, said:

"In the face of the climate emergency that is about to overtake us, this vote was crucial. We are sending a clear and strong message that our climate objectives, namely carbon neutrality by 2050, will be met.”


Inclusion of Russia on ‘EU tax haven blacklist’

EU Ministers of Finance and Economy have agreed to update the list of non-cooperative third country jurisdictions for tax purposes, commonly known as the ‘EU tax haven blacklist’. They agreed to add Russia and the British Virgin Islands to the blacklist but have decided to leave Qatar on the grey list of non-cooperative jurisdictions.

Ernest Urtasun MEP, Greens/EFA Coordinator in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, comments:

“The inclusion of Russia to the tax blacklist shows the EU is able to take strong decisions when the political context is right. However, the EU has dragged its feet way too long on including jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands. The Council still refuses to improve the criteria and decision-making process for the list as the current set-up suits certain Member States."


Measures to strengthen the integrity of European institutions

The European Parliament adopted Thursday a set of measure to strengthen the integrity of European institutions.

These include:

  • A call for financial sanctions in cases of breaches of the Code of Conduct and a review of the list of sanctionable activities for Members.
  • A proper reform of the EP Advisory Committee.
  • A call for an obligation to declare all scheduled meetings for all MEPs, assistants, and staff with specific exceptions.
  • A call for stronger whistle blower rules, also applicable to MEP assistants.
  • An open and transparent process to reform the rules at the latest by the summer.



Greens/EFA motions for resolutions


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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary debriefing: 21 April 2023


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