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Debriefing of the March I Plenary Session

13-16 March 2023


Table of Contents

  1. Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD)
  2. Land use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)
  3. Adequate minimum income
  4. EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders
  5. Iran debate
  6. Deaths at sea
  7. ECI “Save bees and farmers”


Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD)

Tuesday, MEPs voted in favour of the EPBD, a Commission proposal in the framework of the FIT FOR 55 package. It aims to lower the energy consumption of buildings through renovations to achieve a fully climate neutral building stock by 2050.

Greens/EFA support the EPBD


Ciarán Cuffe is our rapporteur for this directive. He commented the result of the vote:

“This is an important step towards lowering energy bills and tackling the root causes of energy poverty. This directive can decrease energy bills for vulnerable households, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and create high-quality jobs.”

Trilogues will start in the coming weeks, and the legislative process should be completed by the end of the Swedish Presidency, after which member states should transpose the directive.


Land use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF)

Tuesday, MEPs adopted the final outcome of the trilogue negotiations on the revision of the regulation for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF).

GreensEFA support LULUCF regulation

The new 2030 targets for the LULUCF sector will oblige Member States to put in place reforms to reverse the current shrinkage of our natural land sinks. These reforms must also decrease the use of intensive agricultural practices, which damage biodiversity and jeopardise the capacity of forests and soils to absorb carbon. These reforms make it possible to achieve a balance between emissions & removals by 2050 at the latest within the Union.

Greens/EFA MEP Ville Niinistö was rapporteur on this LULUCF regulation. He commented:

“This LULUCF regulation is about changing the way we use land to be a climate solution instead of contributing to climate change and deterioration of biodiversity. It emphasises the need to further increase our sinks to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in the EU at the latest and carbon negativity beyond that.”


Adequate Minimum Income

On Wednesday, MEPs had voted on a resolution calling on Member States to raise the minimum income for people in need to at least the poverty line. Minimum income schemes are one of the strongest social tools to lift people out of poverty and would ensure that everyone, especially the most vulnerable, can live a decent life. The schemes will guarantee everyone in the EU a living income to pay rent, buy healthy food, continue their education, secure access to health care, and cover energy bills. The Commission has already proposed a recommendation on minimum income schemes, which is non-binding. The Greens/EFA group calls on the Commission to put forward legal measures to make sure that everyone is guaranteed a life in dignity.

Greens/EFA support an adequate minimum income


Sara Matthieu, Greens/EFA MEP and rapporteur on the resolution, comments:

“Today, a minimum income doesn't lift people out of poverty. Their struggle continues day after day, all their energy absorbed in a fight for survival. Women are increasingly and disproportionately more affected. It is therefore crucial that everyone has a minimum income that allows them to live a decent life.

 Member States need to act now. We have long called for a directive that would require Member States to set their minimum income above the poverty line so every European is able to pay the rent, buy food, cover the energy bills and look for a job. ”


EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders

On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament debated Women activism – human rights defenders related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. The debate was held in the light of the ongoing trial against Justyna Wydrzynska, a Polish women's rights defender and abortion activist, who is charged with 'helping in the performance of an abortion' and 'possession of unauthorised drugs with the aim of introducing them to the market'. She faces up to three years in prison if she is convicted. The upcoming trial serves as a reminder of the ongoing backlash against women's rights and the importance of the fight to protect our hard won freedoms and bodily autonomy.

In addition, the report on the EU Guidelines on Human rights defenders points out the importance of gender specific implementation of the guidelines. Greens/EFA MEP Hannah Neumann is the rapporteur for this report, which examines the implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and makes recommendations to improve our support for and protection of Human Rights Defenders.

The number of attacks on those fighting around the world for democracy, human rights and the rule of law or climate protection is growing. There is therefore an urgent need to step up our support and improve coordination amongst EU member states.


Resolution on human rights breaches in Iran

On Wednesday, Parliament adopted a resolution on human rights breaches in Iran, which condemns the systemic poisoning of hundreds of schoolgirls. The resolution also denounces the Iranian regime’s anti-women and girls policies, and welcomes an Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Iran, mandated by the UNHRC. The Iranian government continues to crackdown on the school girls and university students, who are still at the forefront of the peaceful protests in Iran. The Greens/EFA support all EU efforts to put an end to the atrocities women and girls in Iran are facing daily.

In his plenary speech, MEP and Shadow Rapporteur Ernest Urtasun said:

“After the beating of protesters, poisoning seems now to be a new attempt to silence and punish them for their brave acts as part of a wider systemic discrimination against women and girls in the country. We cannot and we will not remain silent in the face of such atrocity. And we call on Iran to launch a credible and transparent investigation (...) together with independent international organisations, and to hold those responsible to account”.


Deaths at sea: A common EU response to save lives and action to ensure safe and legal pathways

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament debated the recent, tragic loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea. The EU and its Member States have a duty to protect lives and to prevent the loss of life at sea. However, the EU is forcing refugees into dangerous and frequently fatal passages across the sea, instead of proposing safe and legal passage for those seeking safety in Europe. The Greens/EFA Group called for the debate to draw attention to the lack of sea rescue missions, and safe passage for refugees, which is contributing to the high loss of life at the EU’s borders.

MEP Tineke Strik, Greens/EFA Member of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, commented:

“The tragedy we saw off the coast of Calabria was entirely preventable. The failed and fatal policies of the EU and its Member States are contributing to the loss of life at sea. The EU and its Member States have a duty under international law to rescue people in distress at sea. The Greens/EFA Group are calling for state-led, EU-coordinated search and rescue missions to save lives and prevent further disasters.”


European Citizens’ Initiative "Save bees and farmers! Towards a bee-friendly agriculture for a healthy environment"

On Thursday, MEPs debated on a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) on protecting bees and farmers from synthetic pesticides, backed up by 1,2 million European petitioners.

Our MEP and Vice Chair of the Committee of Petitions, Ana Miranda, intervened in plenary to call the EU to take action to protect bees and other pollinators as key actors for environmental health:

“Adequate support of farmers in the necessary rapid transition to full agroecology is essential, especially favouring small, diversified, and sustainable agricultural enterprises, organic farming, and research into pesticide-free and GMO-free [Genetically Modified Organisms] agriculture.” MEP Miranda stressed that the population of bees and other pollinators is decreasing rapidly, posing a serious threat to the preservation of biodiversity across Europe.

Our MEP Bas Eickhout asked the Commission: “What are you going to propose to change? Not strategies, not initiatives, not nice reports, but laws. To make us less dependent on pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics. That’s the model that needs to change. For the bees, and the farmers.”


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


European Parliament building in Strasbourg / © European Union 2019 / Architecture-Studio
European Parliament building in Strasbourg / © European Union 2019 / Architecture-Studio
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