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Debriefing of the November plenary session

22 - 25 November 2021


TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
  • 2022 budgetary procedure
  • Outcome of the COP26 in Glasgow
  • Critical materials INI report
  • Taxonomy
  • Condemning Police Violence against Romani people
  • Situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Belarus debate and Address by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya
  • Gender based violence
  • Minimum wage
  • WTO Trips Waiver

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COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY (CAP)

On Tuesday, MEPs voted on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2023-2027. The Greens/EFA Group is strongly opposed to the CAP package and voted against it.

The CAP accounts for almost €387 billion, roughly one third of the European Union's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2021 to 2027. Rather than using this budget to help solve the climate emergency, or the loss of thousands of farmers per day, the final agreement maintains agri-business as usual, wastes the chance to transform EU agricultural policy and falls short of the promises of the European Green Deal. Three quarters of the payments are still basic income support payments based on area ("pillar one" of the CAP) and are subject to few conditions. The agreement leaves the details of implementation largely to the EU member states.

Bas Eickhout MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on the Strategic Plans Regulation in the Committee on the Environment and Vice-Chair of the Environment Committee, comments;

A powerful and entrenched intensive farming lobby, and the governments and MEPs serving them have wasted this 'last chance' CAP reform, holding back positive change for climate, biodiversity and small farmers this decade. We will be checking the Commission does its job properly when assessing the Strategic Plans, to keep trajectories aimed high and aligned to the Green Deal, notably on reducing pesticide use, to ensure CAP becomes part of the solution, not remain part of the problem.”

Tilly Metz MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on the Financing, Management and Monitoring regulation and Member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, comments;

“The Common Agricultural Policy falls far short of the promises of the Green Deal and only cements the status quo. The clear winner is the agricultural industry. Whoever has the largest areas of land will continue to get the most money. The meagre efforts to protect the environment, climate and biodiversity are almost purely symbolic.”

Common Agricultural Policy CAP vote card

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2022 BUDGETARY PROCEDURE

On Wednesday, the Parliament adopted the EU’s 2022 general budget. Due to the efforts of the Greens/EFA Group, the budget has stronger financial commitments for the climate, the environment, biodiversity and the transition to a climate-neutral economy. Thanks to the work of our rapporteur, Damian Boeselager, the agreement strengthens the European institutions, enabling them to tackle the many challenges of our time and, in particular, better facilitate the implementation of recovery funds.

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OUTCOME OF THE COP26 in GLASGOW

On Wednesday, the European Parliament and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen debated the outcome of the COP26 in Glasgow. Although progress has been made, the world is far from reducing global emissions by 45% by 2030. We call on leaders to seize the momentum of the global climate movement and to turn pledges into concrete action by the next COP in 2022. In particular, the EU will need to increase its 2030 ambition through the negotiation of the "Fit for 2030" package to put Europe on a 1.5°C pathway.

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CRITICAL MATERIALS INI REPORT

This week, the European Parliament adopted an own-initiative report (INI) on the critical raw materials strategy. The EU is in increasing need of certain critical raw materials, crucial for many green transition and digitalisation technologies such as smartphones and solar panels. It is imperative that the EU’s transition to climate neutrality does not replace reliance on fossil fuels with reliance on raw materials.

Mining activities pose a serious risk to biodiversity and nature. The Greens/EFA believe that green solutions such as resource efficiency, recycling, behavioural changes and mining from waste sites should be prioritised over opening new mines. Furthermore, it is absolutely essential that no mining should be allowed in Natura 2000 sites and other protected areas.

Unfortunately, during the vote the majority of the chamber supported a conservative amendment to the report which allows for raw materials mining in Natura 2000 and nature protected areas under certain conditions. Nonetheless, the adopted report still contains many green strategies to flatten the demand for critical raw materials.

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TAXONOMY

On Wednesday morning, the Greens/EFA Group held a press conference on the European Commission's upcoming standards for sustainable financing (“taxonomy”). The press conference took place with Ska Keller, President of the Greens/EFA Group, Greens/EFA MEPs Yannick Jadot and Sven Giegold, and Carole Dieschbourg, Luxembourg Minister for Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development.

The podium discussed the demand for an exclusion of gas and nuclear power from the taxonomy with a view to the French Council Presidency. The EU Commission's delegated act on the taxonomy is expected in early December. The taxonomy will set criteria for sustainable investments and investments in gas and nuclear power would counteract the Green Deal and the EU's climate goals shortly after the World Climate Conference. The Greens/EFA and Minister Carole Dieschbourg are demanding that investments flow into truly sustainable energy sources.

Who: Ska Keller, President of the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament, Yannick Jadot and Sven Giegold, Members of the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament and Carole Dieschbourg, Luxembourg Minister for Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development.

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CONDEMNING POLICE VIOLENCE AGAINST ROMANI PEOPLE

On Tuesday, the European Parliament held a debate on police violence against Romani people. The Greens/EFA Group condemns the use of excessive force, police brutality and misconduct against Romani people that continues to be reported across the EU, as exposed by the 2020 findings of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The FRA report also revealed that Romani people are subject to widespread poverty, inadequate living conditions, poor health, exclusion from the labour market and harassment.

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BELARUS DEBATE AND ADDRESS BY SVIATLANA TSIKHANOUSKAYA

On Tuesday, the European Parliament debated the situation at the EU-Belarus border, and the security and humanitarian consequences. The following day, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the democratic opposition in Belarus, addressed Members of the European Parliament and met with the different group leaders. The Greens/EFA Group are calling for the EU’s unequivocal support for the democratic opposition and independent civil society of Belarus. Furthermore, we condemn the instrumentalisation of refugees and migrants at the EU’s borders by the illegitimate regime in Belarus.

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel MEP, Greens/EFA spokesperson on Belarus, comments:

“The EU must stand behind the people of Belarus and demand an immediate end to the violence and repression employed by the Belarusian regime. The Council must strengthen its sanctions policies towards those aiding the regime, while developing a coherent and comprehensive long-term approach towards Belarus.”

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SITUATION IN BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA

On Wednesday evening, at the request of the Greens/EFA Group, MEPs debated the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina following worrying political developments in the country. The Greens/EFA Group called for the EU to take the lead in finding a political solution to the current crisis. Any political agreement must not deepen ethnic divisions.

Tineke Strik MEP, Greens/EFA Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee who recently visited Bosnia, comments:

“The situation in Bosnia is the most serious crisis since the war in the 1990s. The EU must stand firm against the secessionist actions of Milorad Dodik and others, and support a lasting solution to the current crisis.

Peace and stability in the Western Balkans is non-negotiable and the EU and its Member States must live up to their responsibilities towards all citizens of the country and the whole region.”

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GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

Thursday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. To mark the event, the European Parliament held a debate on gender-based violence and the state of play on the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

One in three women in the European Union has experienced physical and/or sexual violence. One in two has experienced sexual harassment. One in twenty has been raped. One in five has experienced stalking. 95% of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation are women.

The Greens/EFA have long been calling for gender-based violence to be added to the list of Eurocrimes and for the Commission to come out with a proposal for an EU-wide directive on gender-based violence.

Diana Riba i Giner MEP, Member of the Women’s rights and Gender equality committee, comments:

“Gender-based violence is rooted in gender stereotypes, patriarchal structures and power asymmetries and represents one of the greatest violations of human rights in history. COVID19 has exacerbated the situation. Government agencies, women's rights groups and civil society partners across Europe have seen an increase in the number of reports of gender-based violence during the pandemic, together with an increased demand for emergency shelters.”

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ADEQUATE MINIMUM WAGES IN THE EU

On Thursday morning, MEPs granted a mandate for the European Parliament to begin trilogue negotiations with the European Council on a directive on adequate minimum wages in the EU.

About 10 percent of the working population in Europe lives in poverty and it is mainly women who are paid below a living wage, rendering many unable to provide for themselves and their families. The Greens/EFA Group believes that adequate minimum wages will contribute to reducing poverty and closing the gender pay gap in the EU. Self-employed workers, such as platform workers, should also be entitled to the minimum wage.

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COVID-19: EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CALLS FOR REMOVING EXPORT LIMITATIONS ON VACCINE LICENCES

From 30th November to 3rd December, the World Trade Organisation’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC) will be held in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s MC takes place in a global context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching disruptive impact on international trade.

Ahead of the MC, the European Parliament debated and adopted a resolution. Due to the work of the Greens/EFA Group, the resolution calls for the EU to support a Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a scope beyond compulsory licenses and vaccines.

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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary debriefing: 17 December 2021

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