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Debriefing of the October II plenary session

16-19 October 2023


TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Hamas attacks against Israel
  2. Ukraine Facility
  3. Forced Labour Regulation
  4. Need for an EU legislative framework on intrusive spyware
  5. Budget 2024

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Hamas attacks against Israel

MEPs debated the terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Jordi Solé MEP, First Vice-President of Greens/EFA Group, and lead negotiator on this file, said:

“The Greens/EFA Group strongly condemns the horrific attacks perpetrated by the terrorist organisation Hamas. Civilians should never be a target. Palestinian civilians should not pay for Hamas’ war crimes. Israel has the right to defend itself and should do so in strict compliance with international law.”

Philippe Lamberts MEP, President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, commented:

“Palestinian civilians should not have to pay for Hamas’ war crimes. Hamas’s attacks are not grounds to withdraw or suspend European developmental and humanitarian aid. The use of indiscriminate violence and terrorism must end. The EU must use all means at its disposal to, in coordination with international partners, seek de-escalation and a peaceful resolution to this conflict.”

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Ukraine Facility

MEPs voted on the European Parliament’s position for trilogue negotiations on the Ukraine Facility, which has been designed to support Ukraine, its recovery, and its path to EU accession with up to €50 billion for the period from 2024 to 2027. This facility will make the EU's support for Ukraine part of the EU's long-term budget planning and introduce appropriate transparency and accountability requirements. The Greens/EFA have successfully pushed for more requirements on sustainability, the green transition, involvement of local government and CSOs and overall transparency, all for the benefit of the people of Ukraine and the EU. To mobilise the funds quickly, the Greens/EFA urge for an agreement on the MFF before the end of the year.

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Forced Labour Regulation

The European Parliament’s Committees on trade (INTA) and the internal market (IMCO) have jointly voted on the Parliament’s negotiation mandate for the regulation banning products made with forced labour from the EU market. The Greens/EFA have been pushing for the Parliament's position to include several improvements to the Commission's proposal: the inclusion of all economic operators, remediation for victims of forced labour, the reversal of the burden of proof for operators in the case of products linked to situations of forced labour imposed by a State, and the Commission as a competent authority (in addition to the Member States).

Anna Cavazzini MEP, Greens/EFA Shadow Rapporteur and Chair of the IMCO Committee, commented:

“The law is a breakthrough in the fight against forced labour, which we Greens/EFA have long called for. The European Parliament is reinforcing the Commission’s proposal which is important for the 27 million victims of forced labour worldwide; for example, when it comes to remediation. It is also important for companies because this law will put an end to unfair competition and social dumping in the supply chains.”

Saskia Bricmont MEP, Greens/EFA Shadow Rapporteur in the INTA Committee, commented:

“It is essential that we shut down any avenue for products made with forced labour to end up on the EU's market. EU-wide harmonised sanctions against forced labour and an enhanced role for the European Commission will make the implementation of the law easier for member states and companies.”

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Need for an EU legislative framework on intrusive spyware

At the initiative of the Greens/EFA Group, MEPs debated the latest revelations into the use of surveillance spyware against European officials. Last week, an investigation by the European Investigative Collaborations consortium of journalists revealed that the Vietnamese secret services have acquired Predator spyware to infiltrate the telephones of European, American, and Asian officials. The Greens/EFA Group calls on the European Commission to finally react to the mounting number of abuses and propose legislative action against spyware, as recommended by the European Parliament's Committee of Inquiry into Surveillance Spyware (PEGA), which was adopted in June of this year.

Diana Riba i Giner, EFA MEP and Vice-President of the PEGA Committee, said:

"The trade and use of spyware, both within and outside the EU, must be strictly regulated urgently. We cannot allow citizens to continue to be attacked with this impunity."

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Budget 2024

The European Parliament carried out its reading of the General budget of the European Union for 2024. For the Greens/EFA, the EU needs a budget fit for purpose, to face the multiple challenges of the climate crisis, the war in Ukraine and humanitarian crises. To achieve this, the revision of the Multi-annual Financial Framework is sorely needed. The EU budget 2024 Parliament’s reading is therefore a strong call on the Commission and in particular on the Member States to speed up the negotiations, take the responsibility and agree on an ambitious MFF revision without further delay.

Given the cost of living and the overall economic situation, it’s vital to deal with the costs of interest payments for NextGeneration EU, which are growing with inflation. The Greens/EFA Group successfully included key priorities: Including an extra 100m EUR for Erasmus; extra funding for the LIFE programme; the Union’s civil protection mechanism, which is becoming even more important with the frequency and impact of climate induced disasters; and an additional 550m for humanitarian aid.


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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary debriefing: 24 November 2024

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