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Debriefing of the September Plenary Session

11-15 September 2023

Table of Contents

  1. State of the Union
  2. Air quality
  3. Energy transition
  4. Code of conduct
  5. Critical Raw Materials Act

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State of the Union: Commission must hold its ground on climate

Wednesday, Greens/EFA co-president Philippe Lamberts reacted to the annual State of the Union speech by Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

He specifically called upon those who claim climate legislation could use a regulatory pause:

"A Greek firefighter doesn't stop until the fire is out. A Slovenian rescue worked doesn't stop saving people from the floods. The EU cannot stop its climate action and protecting citizens from these extreme climate events."

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MEPs strengthen citizens rights to clean and healthy air

Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament voted to strengthen the Air Pollution Directive proposed by the Commission. This brings the directive in line with WHO recommendations for clean and breathable air. Meanwhile the EPP have yet again joined forces with the far right and tried and failed to water down this Green Deal directive.

Greens/EFA MEP Nicolae Ștefănuță commented: "Today's vote was another narrow victory for the progressive forces within the European Parliament fighting for a sustainable and green Europe. Breathing clean air is a fundamental human right. Air pollution is the number one environmental threat to human health. Every year, air pollution kills 300,000 people in Europe."

Vote card: Who supports better air quality in the EU Vote card: Who supports better air quality in the EU

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Parliament clears the way for a massive boost to energy transition, cheap electricity and EU industry

Members of the European Parliament adopted the final agreement on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive. This vote is a vital step towards the energy transition and for the EUs competitiveness for industries. The Greens/EFA Group ensured that the share of renewable energies will increase from 32% to 42.5% by 2030, with the target to reach 45%.

Greens/EFA MEP Ville Niinistö commented: "This vote clears the way for a massive boost towards the energy transition, in a way that is affordable for citizens and reinforces the EU as an industrial bastion. The EU is saying goodbye to fossil fuels in our energy mix. The energy crisis has shown that we must be fully independent of oil and gas, especially from Russia.

MEPs also agreed on greener flights in new rules for aviation fuels. "The aviation industry needs to play its part in tackling the climate crisis and start putting fossil fuels on the No-Fly list", comments Greens/EFA MEP Ciáran Cuffe.

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Success as MEPs vote for integrity overhaul in essential step following Qatargate

Wednesday, MEPs voted in favour of a series of measures designed at improving the integrity standards inside the European Parliament, following the Qatargate scandal. The measures include new rules on asset declarations, lobby meetings, conflicts of interest, and the revolving door.

Greens/EFA MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, commented: “It is essential that we improve the integrity standards inside the Parliament. Today’s vote is a welcome first step in fixing a system that has for too long contained too many blind spots. Thanks to our efforts we have managed to introduce mandatory asset declarations, meaning that all MEPs will need to declare their assets and liabilities at the beginning and end of the mandate."

Vote card: MEPs conduct should be evaluated by independent experts too not only by other MEPs

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Critical Raw Materials Act

MEPs approved the Parliament's negotiations mandate for the Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA). The Greens/EFA Group pushed for a 45 percent recycling target and for mitigating the demand for critical raw materials.

Sara Mahttieu MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on the Critical Raw Materials Act in the Environment committee, commented:

"The proposal for a European Critical Raw Materials Act aims to set standards for the mining and consumption of critical raw materials, recognising our dependence on these raw materials as well as our planetary limits. We cannot endlessly dig for resources without a long-term plan or consideration for people and the planet. Every new mine creates irreparable wounds to the land so the need for a rigorous review process is still great. The Critical Raw Materials Act does not impact the legislation already put in place to safeguard environmental and social interests.

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Greens/EFA motion for resolutions

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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary debriefing: 6 October 2023

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