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Greens/EFA Round-up

Debriefing of the plenary week Strasbourg 15-18 April 2013


 

Timing of auctions of greenhouse gas allowances

Groote  Report
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Plenary debate Monday 15th April - vote Tuesday 16th April 2013

The European Parliament cast serious doubt on Europe's climate ambition Tuesday when an irresponsible alliance of MEPs refused to back Commission proposals to intervene in the Emissions Trading Scheme.  This proposal, as inadequate as it is, would have allowed the survival of the European carbon market, and the prospect of opening a future major overhaul of the European trading system for emissions allowances. The Greens are concerned that the interests of some specific industry groups echo too loudly in the Parliament and prevent the European Union from being guided towards a more innovative low carbon economy. The proposal will be referred to committee.

Further information:
Terhi Lehtonen, Advisor on Environmental issues,
terhi.lehtonen@europarl.europa.eu

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Scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading

Liese Report
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Debate Monday 15th April, vote Tuesday 16th April

The European Parliament voted Tuesday in favour of freezing the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading for non-EU flights. The Greens regretted this measure, which undermines the only available means to reduce ever-rising aviation emissions, whilst doing little to guarantee better chances of international action.

Further information:
Terhi Lehtonen, Advisor on Environmental issues,
terhi.lehtonen@europarl.europa.eu

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Credit institutions and prudential supervision (CRD IV)

Legislative Reports (Karas)
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
Debate and vote Tuesday 16th April 2013

The European Parliament approved on Tuesday the legislative proposals on the most important banking reform since the outbreak of the financial crisis of 2008 (CRDIV, Capital Requirements Directive). The Greens have played a major role in the process, especially on the capping of bonuses and banking transparency. Upon the entry into force of the Directive, the variable remuneration of traders and senior management of banking institutions may not exceed their fixed salary. On transparency, the text confirms the requirement for banks to release to every country where they operate, the details of their activities, especially the profits, taxes paid and subsidies received. This device is an essential first step to combat fraud and tax evasion. Despite this progress, the Greens note the absence of a binding leverage ratio for banks - a key instrument to reduce excessive debt - and that the terms of liquidity rules are too weak.

More information:
Michael Schmitt, Advisor on Economic and Monetary Affairs
michael.schmitt@europarl.europa.eu
David Kemp, Advisor on Economic and Monetary Affairs
david.kemp@europarl.europa.eu

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Groundhandling services at European Union airports

Zasada Report
Committee on Transport and Tourism
Vote Tuesday 16th April 2013

The European Parliament voted on Tuesday in favour of rules that seek to liberalise airport ground services. The Greens strongly criticised the new rules and regret the vote. Further liberalisation of the rules is not the right way to address the major challenges of the airline industry, such as congestion, increasing environmental damage and the degradation of working conditions and social protection. The Greens regret that this vote favours quantity over quality.

More information:
Paul Beeckmans, Advisor on Transport and Tourism
paul.beeckmans@europarl.europa.eu 

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EU/ACP countries' Economic Partnership Agreements: exclusion of certain countries from trade preferences

Martin Rapport
Plenary vote - Tuesday 16th April

MEPs adopted a report Tuesday ending the EU system of trade preferences for developing countries. The Greens criticised the decision to end the system so quickly next year (2014). That does not leave time for developing countries to prepare for the change caused by the termination of this trade policy instrument. Unfortunately, the Greens' amendment, supported by other political groups, to postpone the end of the agreement was rejected.

More information:
Gaby Küppers, Advisor on External Economic Relations and WTO
gabriele.kueppers@europarl.europa.eu 

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Incidental catches of cetaceans

Legislative Report - Greens/EFA MEP Raül Romeva i Rueda
Committee on Fisheries
Vote Tuesday 16th April

MEPs voted Tuesday in favour of a legislative report aimed at reducing incidental catches of cetaceans in European waters. Unfortunately, the scope of this proposition is rather limited, and is heavily focused on the use of acoustic deterrent devices and increasing the information available to solve the problem. The overall effectiveness of these provisions is questionable. For this reason, the Greens call on the Commission to come forward with a new, more ambitious legislative proposal in 2015, so as to effectively address the protection of cetacean populations.

More information:
Michael Earle michael.earl@europarl.europa.eu & Sebastian Losada sebastian.losada@europarl.europa.eu , Advisor on Fisheries

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Constitutional situation in Hungary

Council and Commission Declaration
Plenary debate Wednesday 17th April 2013

The European Parliament debated the situation in Hungary Wednesday after its Parliament recently passed a series of laws impairing the independence of the Constitutional Court and the rights of minorities. For the Greens, the EU must create instruments capable of ensuring fundamental rights in all member states. These rights, as well as the rule of law, are the pillars of the European project. The changes to the Hungarian constitution have an impact beyond Hungarian domestic politics. Elsewhere, there are worrying developments in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Italy. The European Parliament must speak out clearly on the issue and the conservative majority must stop Mr. Orban, who is part of their political family.

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Situation in Cyprus

Council and Commission Declaration
Wednesday 17th April

The European Parliament debated Wednesday the special circumstances surrounding the recent bailout of Cyprus and the conditions imposed, including taxes on deposits. The Greens strongly condemned the absurd proposals to tax the savings of ordinary savers, which would sabotage the very principle of European guarantees on deposits. The reversal that followed this outcry was necessary but real issues still arise when such a wrongheaded plan has even been considered.

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2012 progress reports on several candidate countries for enlargement

Plenary debate Wednesday 17th April 2013 - Vote Thursday 18th April 2013 (Greens/EFA Ulrike Lunacek and others).

The European Parliament voted Thursday on several reports on the progress of candidates for enlargement, including Serbia, Kosovo and Turkey. All Green amendments were adopted. The report on Kosovo, by the Green rapporteur Ulrike Lunacek, welcomes Serbia-Kosovo dialogue, but calls for transparency, although it was overshadowed by the rejection of a negotiated agreement by the EU. The report calls on the last five member states to recognise Kosovo and urged the speedy implementation of the European roadmap for visas, and also invites them to oppose the partition of Kosovo. On Turkey, the European Parliament recognised the historical moment that the country is currently experiencing. For Green MEP Hélène Flautre, the very large majority supported from the Parliament gives a new impetus to the EU-Turkey relationship initiated by the lifting of a French veto and she called for the opening of four new chapters in accession negotiations.

Texts adopted

More information:
Paolo Bergamaschi, Advisor on Foreign Affairs
paolo.bergamaschi@europarl.europa.eu
Ali Yurttagül, Advisor on Turkey related issues
ali.yurttaguel@europarl.europa.eu

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EU strategy for the Arctic

Statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Melting ice in the Arctic Ocean and the resultant race for resources have direct consequences for the European Union. For the Greens the melting of the Arctic ice cap should be seen as an alarm leading to action to address anthropogenic causes of climate change, and not as a business opportunity for companies seeking the opening up of the Arctic, including mining and oil companies. The Greens want a moratorium on industrial development in the region and launched an information campaign.

More information:
Delphine Chalençon, Climate Change Campaigner
delphine.chalencon@europarl.europa.eu

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Ship recycling

Schlyter Report (Greens/EFA MEP)
Plenary vote Thursday 18th April
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

The European Parliament voted Thursday by a large majority for a bill on ship recycling. The text includes several important improvements over the original Commission proposal. Unfortunately, the amendment on the financial instrument, which was crucial for the Greens, was narrowly defeated (292 votes for, 299 votes against). Today, most ships are dismantled on the beaches of South-East Asia in unacceptable conditions for health and the environment, going against the rules prohibiting the export of hazardous waste from the EU to non-OECD countries countries. Green MEP and rapporteur of the text, Carl Schlyter, wants to put an end to these practices for vessels operating in the EU. The implementation of a financial instrument that redirects ships trading with the EU to recycling facilities appropriate for vessels was the central pillar of this strategy. Parliament chose to ask the Commission to come up with a proposal for such an instrument by 2015.

Axel Singhofen, Advisor on Health and Environment Policy
axel.singhofen@europarl.europa.eu

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UN principle of the 'Responsibility to Protect'

Brantner Report (Greens/EFA MEP)
Plenary vote Thursday 18th April 2013
Committee on Foreign Affairs

MEPs voted Thursday for a report on the "responsibility to protect." This UN initiative states principles based on the idea that sovereignty is a responsibility, and has a particular focus on preventing and stopping four "mass atrocities": genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. These should apply to and be applied by States and the international community. The report by Green rapporteur Franziska Brantner, aims to ensure a coherent EU response to the implementation of the responsibility to protect and the necessary measures to this end.

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One year of European Citizen's initiative

Plenary debate Thursday 18th April 2013

In a debate Thursday, the European Parliament and the Commission assessed the first year of activities of the European Citizens' Initiative, which since April 2012 allows citizens to submit petitions to the Commission to propose new laws. For Green MEP Gerald Häfner, this is a big step towards a more democratic Europe of citizens. However, administrative barriers mean that none of the thirty initiatives started last year have yet succeeded. It is time to simplify procedures and to increase knowledge of this instrument which too few Europeans are aware of today.

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Elsewhere

 

Presentation of the website "The 7 capital sins of banks"

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Green MEPs Philippe Lamberts and Eva Joly, presented the website "The Seven Deadly Sins of the banks" to French journalists Wednesday.

This campaign aims to explain the deficiencies of the current system (with a focus on Belgian banks), the abusive banking practices which we are all victims of, and to propose solutions to put the finance sector in a better place.

With a humorous tone and fun activities, the site http://www.pechesbancaires.eu shows the 7 deadly sins of banks in a graphical way before developing solutions to address these issues. Some of them - or some of their aspects - are currently being negotiated at European level (e.g. the separation of banking activities, increased equity, etc.), which makes this initiative doubly relevant.

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A future for Bees without pesticides

The next vote on banning neonicotinoid pesticides will be held on the 29th April, as the pressure for a ban continues to rise from citizens and the scientific evidence. The Greens will continue to fight the large industrial lobbies that are against the ban and campaign and support similar calls from beekeepers and civil society organisations for a total ban on neonicotinoids.

More information:
Nelly Baltide, Food campaigner
nelly.baltide@europarl.europa.eu

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