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Greens/EFA Debriefing

Plenary week, 16-19 September 2019


  • Hungary – Rule of Law
  • Amazon Fires
  • Christine Lagarde appointed President of the European Central Bank 
  • Climate Debate Ahead of UN Summit
  • Brexit
  • New von der Leyen Commission
  • Money Laundering
  • Patentability of plants and essential biological processes
  • Sakharov Prize – Greens/EFA nominees
  • Laura Codruța Kövesi, new European Chief Prosecutor




General Affairs Council

One year since the Rule of Law in Hungary report, written by former Greens/EFA MEP Judith Sargentini, was supported by a large majority in the European Parliament. The report, which calls on the Council to look into the deteriorating situation around the rule of law in Hungary under the Article 7 procedure, will finally be debated in the General Affairs Council on Monday. Since the report was voted on, the situation in Hungary has deteriorated. The Finnish Presidency have put the report on the agenda after the Romanian Presidency failed to act. The European Parliament's rapporteur will be Greens/EFA MEP Gwendoline Deblos-Corfield.




Debate Tuesday

On the initiative of the Greens/EFA and other groups, the European Parliament debated Tuesday the on-going fires in the Amazon rainforest.

Since the election of Jair Bolsonaro and his policy of destruction in the Amazon man-made fires have much increased  and tear through the forest to clear land for massive industrial agriculture. The Greens/EFA group have asked for a debate on the situation in the Amazon. The the current economic model in Brazil as well as in Europe is encouraging the destruction of a unique and vital rainforest. The EU-Mercosur Agreement follows the same logic and will foster the disaster. Unfortunately, the S&D, EPP and Renew Europe groups all refused to vote on a resolution following the debate.

Heidi Hautala MEP and Greens/EFA spokesperson on trade said:

"Tackling climate change requires capturing carbon dioxide with all possible means and the only viable large-scale capture can be done with the help of forests. However, European consumption is causing large scale deforestation in the world. The EU must not, directly or indirectly, be the driving force behind deforestation and the destruction of indigenous communities' lands. The EU-Mercosur agreement is intended to boost beef exports that drive deforestation and endanger the Amazon region.

"The EU-Mercosur deal currently does not have a mechanism to ensure it will not lead to adverse climate effects.” 


Further information
Gaby Küppers - Advisor on International Trade (INTA) and Latin American issues





The European Parliament voted Tuesday to endorse Christine Lagarde as the new President of the European Central Bank. 

Sven Giegold MEP, economics spokesperson for the Greens/EFA group, commented:

"Christine Lagarde's promise of the ECB promoting sustainability and paying more attention to climate-related risks in the financial system will help to improve the conditions for investment in a green transition for the economy, aligned with the goals of the Paris agreement. Ecology and economy must go hand in hand; there will be no financial stability in the event of a climate breakdown."

President-designate Lagarde will take up her new role at the beginning of November after formal appointment by the European Council. For the Greens/EFA Group, her appointment is a major step for gender equality. It is the first time a woman will helm the EU's most important financial body and should be a wake-up call for the whole financial sector that continues to be dominated by men.




Debate Tuesday

MEPs debated ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York on 23 September. Our MEPs Aileen McLeod and Bas Eickhout called on the EU to boost its ambitions and step up existing plans for action on climate change. Aileen McLeod will attend the summit on behalf of our Group.

The EU will have to boost its ambitions and step up existing plans for action on climate change if the Union is to achieve the goals of the Paris climate agreement. On Friday the Greens/EFA website will go on strike in solidarity with the global climate strike.


Further information

Delphine Chalençon - Climate Change Campaigner  

Yan Dupas - Advisor on Environmental Issues




Debate and vote Wednesday

The European Parliament voted Wednesday by a large majority on a Brexit resolution calling on the EU to protect citizen's rights and, if no agreement is reached, to extend Article 50 in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit and preserve peace in Ireland.

Philippe Lamberts MEP, President of the Greens/EFA group and member of the Brexit Steering Group in the European Parliament, said: 

"The Good Friday Agreement must be upheld, which is why the European Parliament will not support any withdrawal agreement that does not contain a backstop. Boris Johnson would do well to remember that there can be no free trade agreement with the EU, in the event of no deal, if the UK does not honour its obligations and commitments.

"So far there is nothing concrete on the table from the side of the UK government but bluff and bluster. However, no-deal must be avoided at all costs and the EU should be open to an extension of Article 50 if no agreement can be reached at the next European Council summit in October. "


Further information
Mélanie Vogel - Advisor on constitutional affairs




Conference of Presidents exchange of views

The new Commission line-up, presented by President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, contains several problematic issues for the Greens/EFA group, such as the choice for the Hungarian Commissioner, which raises questions about commitment to the rule of law, and the title of "protection our European way of life" for the portfolio that includes migration. Commissioner hearings in the European Parliament will take place between 30 September and 10 October. President-elect von der Leyen attended the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament on Thursday. The Greens/EFA group had called for a full plenary debate with von der Leyen so that all MEPs and the public could view the exchange.




Debate Wednesday, vote Thursday

MEPs adopted Thursday, by a large majority, a resolution on the state of play of anti-money laundering, initially requested by the Greens/EFA Group.

EU anti-money laundering standards are being implemented differently in the Member States but anti-money laundering legislation can only be truly effective if it is implemented to the same level in each EU country. 

This text sends a strong signal to the European Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, that it should ensure all Member States implement the 4th and 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directives. We cannot tolerate that Member States are not doing their utmost to prevent money laundering, given the numbers of recent scandals we have seen across Europe (e.g. Panama Papers, Danske Bank in Denmark and Estonia, ING in the Netherlands, Pilatus Bank in Malta etc...).


Further information
Catherine Olier - Advisor on Economic and Monetary Affairs




Debate Monday, vote Thursday 

The European Parliament adopted Thursday, by a large majority, a resolution on patentability of plants and essential biological processes.

For the Greens/EFA Group, no patents on seeds or animals are acceptable. Patenting of conventional seeds and animals is blocking innovation, appropriates farmers’ breeding work done thousands of years, allows bio-piracy and is also endangering biodiversity and our capacity to adapt our food system to climate change.

This cross-party resolution sends a strong message to the EPO that they should stop patenting conventional seed animals, and also change their internal functioning so it does not undermine the democratic political control of European patent law, its interpretation and the legislator’s intent.


Further information
Juliette Leroux - Adviser on Agriculture and Rural Development





Our Group has nominated the human rights activists Jean Wyllys and Marielle Franco (posthumously) for the Sakharov Prize 2019. The Brazilian LGBTI activists are symbols of the defence of freedom of expression and thought. They dedicated their lives to the fight for fundamental freedoms, rule of law and democracy.



Further information
Raphael Fisera - Advisor on Human Rights





We welcome the European Council decision to confirm Laura Codruța Kövesi as European Chief Prosecutor. The European Public Prosecutor Office will fight corruption and fraud in the EU and this role will definitely be strengthened with Laura Kövesi's integrity, experience and determination.








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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary Round-up: 25 October 2019

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