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Greens/EFA Round-up

Debriefing of the plenary session 13-16 February 2012

EU Homelessness Strategy

Oral question
Plenary debate with Commission Monday 13 February 2012

The extreme cold weather across Europe has had a devastating impact in many countries, with homeless people naturally acutely affected. MEPs on Monday urged the European Commission. represented by Commissioner Michel Barnier, to act on the Parliament's September 2011 request for a strategy for the homeless, which would seek to end street homelessness by 2015. The Greens believe there is a need for EU-wide action on homelessness, while not forgetting that people sleep on the streets for twelve months of the year. Homelessness is not only a violation of fundamental rights, it is a violation of human dignity and we should not need a tragic cold snap to act

Further information:
Berta Halmos, Greens/EFA Advisor on Employment and Social Affairs, berta.halmos@europarl.europa.eu

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Feasibility of introducing stability bonds

Motion for a resolution
Committee on Economic Affairs
Plenary debate with Commission Tuesday 14 February 2012 - Vote Wednesday 15 February 2012

With the latest agreement by member states on a fiscal compact naturally having failed to draw a line under the crisis, MEPs debated the issue of Eurobonds with the Commission on Tuesday. The EU Commission set out the case for Eurobonds in November, and the European Parliament welcomed the Commission report and asked the Commission to come forward rapidly with specific legislative proposals on Wednesday. It is clear that the sole focus on budgetary consolidation has failed and that a more comprehensive response is needed. The Greens have long argued for Eurobonds to play a central role in this response and called on the Commission to swiftly come forward with proposals to decisively address the current sovereign debt crisis.

Further information:
Francisco Padilla, Greens/EFA Advisor on Economic and Monetary Affairs, francisco.padilla@europarl.europa.eu

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Food distribution to the most deprived persons in the Community

Amending Regulation
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Plenary debate Tuesday 14 February 2012 - vote Wednesday 15 February 2012

A compromise solution on a scheme under the CAP providing "food aid to the most deprived persons" in the EU was approved by MEPs on Wednesday. In the short term the compromise follows the lines of a Green proposal made last year and will see the scheme continued until 2013 (around €500 million per year). This will give all involved sufficient time to prepare for a change in the scheme, rather than ending it abruptly and leaving the 18 million beneficiaries (form 2010, up from 13 million in 2009) stranded. Greens believe that in the longer run, the food aid scheme needs to be reformed and given the broader remit of lifting people out of food poverty.

Further information:
Andrzej Nowakowski, Greens/EFA Advisor on Agriculture and Rural Development, andrzej.nowakowski@europarl.europa.eu

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Contractual relations in the milk and milk products sector

Legislative Report
Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
Plenary debate Tuesday 14 February 2012 - vote Wednesday 15th February 2012

MEPs voted in favour of new EU rules on contracting and supply management in the dairy sector. The Greens regret that the result fails to go far enough in promoting the effective organisation of dairy farmers to pool production. The current system - with structural overproduction and a handful of dominant players in the processing and wholesale industry - threatens the continued survival of small farmers. Farmers should instead be supported to cooperate to manage their supply and strengthen their bargaining position.

Further information:
Hannes Lorenzen, Greens/EFA Advisor on Agriculture and Rural Development, hansmartin.lorenzen@europarl.europa.eu

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Agreement between the EU and Morocco concerning reciprocal liberalisation measures on agricultural products and fishery products

Legislative report by Green MEP José Bové
Committee on International Trade
Plenary debate Tuesday 14 February 2012- vote Thursday 16 February 2012

The EP voted on Thursday to give its consent to the inclusion of a new protocol on agriculture and fisheries in the EU-Morocco trade agreement. The high level of opposition (Votes: 369 in favour; 225 against; 31 abstentions) makes it a bad outcome for the Commission. Green draftsman José Bové not only had problems with the overall direction of the agreement - with blanket liberalisation against the interests of small producers on both sides of the Mediterranean - he has also raised doubts about the legality of the agreement, notably the inclusion of the self-governing territory of Western Sahara. To this end, following the vote he withdrew his name as parliament's rapporteur for the agreement.

Further information:

Gaby Küppers, Greens/EFA Advisor on External Economic Relations and WTO, gabriele.kueppers@europarl.europa.eu

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Employment and social aspects in the Annual Growth Survey 2012

Own initiative report by Green MEP Marije Cornelissen
Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
Plenary debate and vote Wednesday 15 February 2012

Ahead of the EU summit in March, the EP set out its opinion on the priorities for social and economic policy in the EU, as part of the Annual Growth Survey 2012. The report by Green rapporteur Marije Cornelissen was adopted on Wednesday and underlines that the one-sided focus on fiscal consolidation is at odds with the EU's objectives for 2020 to increase employment and reduce poverty. The Greens believe EU leaders should support the creation of sustainable and quality jobs, while investing in education and combating poverty and unemployment.

Further information:
Berta Halmos, Greens/EFA Advisor on Employment and Social Affairs, berta.halmos@europarl.europa.eu

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Situation in Russia

Motion for Resolution
Plenary debate Wednesday 15 February 2012 - vote on resolution Thursday 16 February 2012

Ahead of the presidential election in Russia, the European Parliament adopted a resolution with a call to do more to promote political pluralism and fair elections in compliance with OSCE recommendations. The resolution also condemned the violent crackdowns against recent mass demonstrations that have underlined the extent of opposition to presidential candidate Vladimir Putin and frustration with restrictions on democracy.

Further information:
Paolo Bergamaschi, Greens/EFA Advisor on Foreign Affairs, paolo.bergamaschi@europarl.europa.eu

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Situation in Syria

Motion for Resolution
Plenary debate with Commission Wednesday 15 February 2012 - vote Thursday 16 February 2012

The European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the violence in Syria and calling on the EU to support the opposition more on political, technical and humanitarian issues. This includes support for the communications facilities of the opposition. Furthermore, the number of Syrian institutions and individuals subject to a Visa ban is set to double. The resolution also supports the efforts of the Arab league and calls for a ceasefire as an important first step. 

Further information:

Mychelle Rieu, Greens/EFA Advisor on Human Rights, Middle East and Euromed, mychelle.rieu@europarl.europa.eu

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Recent political developments in Hungary

Motion for Resolution
Vote Thursday 16 February 2012

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the situation in Hungary that includes a pledge to examine the possibility of an Article 7.1 procedure in a report by the Civil Liberties committee. This is a procedure for verifying whether there is a breach of founding EU values by a member state. Concerns remain about Hungary's slide away from democracy. The EU Commission initiated infringement procedures regarding three specific reforms affecting the independence of the judiciary, the central bank and data protection authority. But this misses the more fundamental assault on democratic norms through Hungary's new constitution and media laws.

Further information:

Georgia Tsaklanganos, Greens/EFA Advisor on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, georgia.tsaklanganos@europarl.europa.eu

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Say No to ACTA!

Greens/EFA Action at the European Parliament in Strasbourg
Tuesday 14 February 2012

Greens/EFA MEPs demonstrated against ACTA (The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) in Strasbourg as pressure builds on the European Parliament to take action. The EU and 22 of its member states have already signed the agreement, but crucially, ACTA must still come before the European Parliament. The group has long campaigned on the agreement, alarmed at the lack of transparency surrounding negotiations and now hopes to convince other groups to take heed of the growing public concern surrounding its signing.

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"Neo-liberal Taliban" 

Council and Commission statements - Preparation of the European Council meeting (1-2 March 2012)
Plenary debate Wednesday 15 February 2012

In a passionate speech on Wednesday, Greens/EFA Co-President Daniel Cohn-Bendit hit out at the EU-ECB-IMF troika and its punitive austerity as a "neo-liberal taliban". He later responded to challenges from the Liberal ALDE group on his use of language, reiterating his point, that ideology is more important than reality to the troika.

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Responsible MEPs

José Bové
José Bové
Member
Karima Delli
Karima Delli
Member
Sven Giegold
Sven Giegold
Member
Martin Häusling
Martin Häusling
Member
Philippe Lamberts
Philippe Lamberts
Co-President

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