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Greens/EFA Round-up

Debriefing of the plenary session in Brussels 30 November-1 December 2011

Preparations for the Euopean council meeting (8-9 december 2011)

Council and Commission statements by the Presidents
Plenary debate Wednesday 30 November 2011

With the Eurozone crisis spiralling ever-faster out of control and core member states remaining divided on how to solve the sovereign debt crisis, EU leaders are facing yet another make-or-break summit. The EP debated the December summit with the Council and Commission. Despite time having seemingly run out, in terms of allowing for the EU to choose what options to take, the prospects for this summit drawing a line under the crisis do not seem bright. The Greens had concerns about the roll-back of the democratic process in the crisis response. 
Aside of the plenary session, the Greens/EFA organised an internal roundtable with experts on "Strengthening Economic Union, democracy and legitimacy: Exploring possible Treaty changes



Accession of the Republic of Croatia   

Non legislative report
Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET)
Plenary debate Wednesday 30 November - vote Thursday 
1 December 2011

With accession negotiations now concluded, the European Parliament today voted by large majority to adopt a report and a legislative resolution on Croatia's EU accession. The Greens supported the decision to conclude membership negotiations and voted in favour of the report supporting Croatian accession, set for July 2013, but have called on the government to continue with its reforms, notably in the areas of justice and fundamental freedoms. Greens managed to have a paragraph on LGBT and the violent incidents at the Split pride last year (§15) as part of the adopted text.
Further information: 
Tobias Heider, Greens/EFA adviser on Security and Defence,

Financial instruments

4 reports
European Parliament delegation to the Conciliation Committee
Joint debate in plenary debate Wednesday 30 November - vote Thursday 1 December 2011 

The four reports were dealt with in a common debate. Three financial instruments - Financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide, financing instrument for development cooperation, establishment of a financing instrument for cooperation with industrialised countries - were adopted with a large majority. A majority of 324 votes in favor, 178 against and 130 abstentions also adopted the more controversial report on BAM (Banana Accompanying measures). The Greens voted against the BAM report, not because they are against financial compensation for small ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) banana producers export losses, as a result of WTO free trade rules, but because they wanted to have their say on how the financial allocation is divided among ACP countries: they want to monitor if the ILO (International Labour Organisation) core labour standards and environment protection norms are respected.  The right of the EP to co-decide with the Council on all these matters is enshrined in the Lisbon treaty and the Council and the Commission denied this right. The Greens vote against BAM is meant to uphold the EP democratic rights to influence policy decisions.  The significant vote against  and the abstention, which totals  308 versus 324 vote in favor on the Banana Accompanying Measures is a clear signal sent to the Commission for the forthcoming negotiations on Delegated Acts (Co-decision) where the Parliament's requests need to be taken seriously.

Further information: 
Tsiguereda Walelign, Greens/EFA adviser on ACP-EU relations,


2012 budgetary procedure

Conciliation procedure
Committee on Budgets

Plenary debate and vote Thursday 
1 December 2011

The European Parliament today voted to adopt an agreement on the EU's 2012 budget. The Greens criticised and voted against the deal, which represents a scale back of the original proposals by the European Commission, in spite of the EU's increased competences and growing tasks. The group is also concerned about the proposed spending in key areas, notably the disproportionate amount of funding for nuclear energy (ITER nuclear fusion project), vis-a-vis safe and sustainable energy technologies. All the 2012 budget related reports were adopted with large majorities despite Green votes against the Balzani, Fernandes and Jedrzejewska reports.

Further information: 
Tom Köller, Greens/EFA advisor on Budgetary Issues,


Code of Conduct for Members of the European Parliament with respect to financial interests and conflicts of interest

Parliament's Rules of Procedure
Report - Committee on Constitutional Affairs 
Plenary vote Thursday 1 December 2011

The European Parliament adopted a new MEP code of conduct, which was drafted in response to the recent MEP cash-for-amendments scandal. While the Greens would have preferred more far-reaching rules, the code of conduct represents an important step forward in terms of ensuring greater transparency on financial activities, stronger ethics rules and sanctions. The Greens, with Claude Turmes, Green representative on the WG tasked with preparing the code, and Gerald Häfner, spokesperson Constitutional Affairs, were to the fore in pushing for these reforms and welcomed the vote. MEPs will no longer be able to hold second jobs that involve lobbying on EU policies: this is an important measure, which directly addresses one of the key problems raised earlier this year. MEPs will have to provide details of all their secondary activities, outlining not just where/for whom the activities are carried out but also the level of financial income accrued. The incomes are to be listed in four categories, starting from €500 per month and rising to €10,000 - similar to the system in the German Bundestag. Infringements by MEPs will result in clear sanctions ranging from exclusion from certain parliamentary activities to withdrawal of functions.
The report was adopted with an overwhelming majority including the Greens (619 votes in favour /2 against /6 abstentions).

Further information: 
Annemieke Beugelink, Greens/EFA advisor on Constitutional Affairs

Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary Round-up : 16 December 2011