News


Greens/EFA Round-up

Debriefing of the plenary week Strasbourg 9-13 September 2013


Table of contents

  • Fuel quality directive and renewable energy
  • Acess to a lawyer
  • Covert surveillance and threats to media freedom
  • Innovative, sustainable transport technologies
  • Supervising European banks
  • Eel stocks
  • Preserving endangered languages in Europe
  • State of the Union
  • Situation in Syria
  • Egypt crisis
  • Access to genetic resources and rights
  • Youth unemployment
  • Lobbying and transparency
  • Urgency resolutions

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Fuel quality directive and renewable energy

Legislative Report (Lepage Report)
Plenary debate Monday 9th September 2013 – vote Wednesday 11th September 2013
MEPs voted Wednesday on EU rules on biofuels and Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC). The proposals aimed to tackle the problem of switching land from food to biofuel production and the resulting greenhouse gas impact. The Greens welcomed the vote to ensure that ILUC factors will be included in accounting greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels but regretted that this will be delayed as MEPs voted not to open negotiations with the Council immediately. It was also deeply disappointing that a majority voted for a 6% share of land-based biofuels like food crops in the overall fuel mix. This is far too high as feeding crops into cars has already fuelled rising food prices and rainforest destruction.

Further information:
Terhi Lehtonen, Advisor on Environmental Issues terhi.lehtonen@europarl.europa.eu
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Access to a lawyer

Legislative Report (Antonescu Report)
Plenary debate Monday 9th September 2013 – vote Tuesday 10th September 2013
An agreement on new EU legislation on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings was adopted by the EP Tuesday. The Greens welcomed this groundbreaking EU legislation. The group believes that all those in criminal proceedings should have the right of access to a lawyer and, to this end, ensured a Council proposal to exclude all minor offenses was revised. Suspects should have access to a lawyer from the moment of police questioning and lawyer client confidentiality should be respected.

Further information:
Wouter Van Ballegooij, Advisor on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, wouter.vanballegooij@europarl.europa.eu 
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Covert surveillance and threats to media freedom

Debate
Plenary debate Tuesday 10th September 2013
On Tuesday evening MEPs debated the continuing revelations about covert surveillance by US and European secret services.  The situation has become graver still with recent threats to media freedom in the UK and the abuse of anti-terrorism legislation. The Greens have called for the suspension of EU-US trade negotiations in response. EU data protection rules, currently under review, must be strengthened to allow European citizens to regain control of their data and prevent outside access. The Greens also believe the Commission should verify the legality of actions by the UK authorities and consider possible responses. On Tuesday evening, the group nominated whistleblower Edward Snowden for this year’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, to acknowledge the enormous service he has done for human rights globally and for European citizens.

Further information: 
David Morrison, web editor and communication officer,
david.morrison@europarl.europa.eu
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Innovative, sustainable transport technologies

Legislative Report (Cramer Report – Green MEP)
Plenary debate Monday 9th September 2013 – vote Tuesday 10th September 2013
MEPs adopted a report by Green MEP Michael Cramer, setting out ideas and proposals on how to promote innovative transport technologies. The report assesses innovative technologies for behavioural change and promoting sustainable mobility and transport modes, as well as highlighting the importance of consumer action, choice and information, such as transport avoidance, intermodal information and ticketing and pricing systems. It also looks at the issue of noise and vibration of transport modes.

Further information:
Hana Rihovsky, advisor on transport and tourism issues, hana.rihovsky@europarl.europa.eu
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Supervising European banks 

Legislative Report (Thyssen Report & Giegold Report – Green MEP)
Plenary debate Tuesday 10th September 2013 – vote Thursday 12th September 2013 
MEPs adopted by large majorities legislation setting up a new European banking supervision system - a central part of the EU banking union. The final legislative deal addresses Green concerns on potential conflicts of interest with the ECB's mandate, consistency for Eurozone and non-Eurozone banks and preserving diverse banking models. It includes provisions to ensure the EP can hold the ECB to account in its new supervisory tasks, with the details to be finalised in an inter-institutional agreement. However, there are still concerns about the ECB's commitment to this.

Further information:
Michael Schmitt, Advisor on Economic and Monetary Affairs, michael.schmitt@europarl.europa.eu
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 Eel Stocks

Legislative Report (Isabella Lövin Report – Green MEP)
Plenary debate Tuesday 10th September 2013 – vote Wednesday 11th September 2013
MEPs supported Green MEP Isabella Lövin’s proposals Wednesday on the management of eel fisheries. Eel stocks are in a precarious state across Europe. While there are a number of causal factors, made more complex by eels' breeding cycles, overfishing and illegal exports of this valuable fish have clearly played a major contributory role. The EU urgently needs to adopt a new recovery plan focused on conservation objectives to give eels a chance. This includes a need for a more sustainable approach to re-stocking in order to ensure that any restocking of eels will contribute to the recovery of the stock .

Further information:
Sebastian Losada, Advisor on Fisheries,
sebastian.losada@europarl.europa.eu
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Preserving endangered languages in Europe

Legislative Report (Alfonsi Report - Greens/EFA MEP)
Plenary debate & vote Wednesday 11th September 2013
MEPs endorsed by a large majority a report by Greens/EFA MEP Francois Alfonsi Wednesday on endangered languages in Europe. There are hundreds of languages ​​in Europe, of which about 120 are endangered. The report examines this and sets out proposals to preserve and develop endangered languages, underlining the benefits of linguistic diversity. It highlights the potential of new technologies and social media, as well as the importance of learning languages through 'intergenerational transmission'. Prospects for how the EU budget can support endangered languages are also explored.

Further information:
Antonia Luciani, advisor on cultural issues,  antonia.luciani@europarl.europa.eu
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State of the Union

Wednesday 11th September 2013 European Commission President José Manuel Barroso delivered his final "State of Union" address before the European Parliament on Wednesday morning. There was little new in a familiar formula from previous years. Greens/EFA Co-President Rebecca Harms led the Group with her response. Nearly 100 years after 1914, we have to ask why the EU is not perceived by its citizens as the miracle that it without a doubt is. Europe has certainly not led out of the crisis, but left many people in misery and hopelessness. Additionally, climate change has been consistently pushed back while new commitments for coal and nuclear power are made. The reaction from Europe to the case of the whistleblower Edward Snowden as well as to threats to freedom of the press in Hungary and Romania has thrown a very bad light on how we see fundamental rights. And finally, how we acted on agricultural reform and the actions of Chancellor Merkel in respect to new emission standards for cars, casts doubts on how we do business. Uncomfortable truths for President Barroso that needed to be said.

Further information:
David Morrison, Web Editor, david.morrison@europarl.europa.eu _____________________________________________________ 

Situation in Syria

Motion for Resolution
Plenary debate Wednesday 11th September 2013 – vote Thursday 12th September 2013 
MEPs endorsed a joint motion for resolution on the harrowing situation in Syria Thursday as a development surrounding Syria's chemical weapons continued apace. The international community should bring about a political solution for Syria which can stop the violence, prevent the further use of chemical weapons and promote a democratic transition. The United Nations must also act to ensure that the chemical weapons arsenal be destroyed without delay and.

Further information:
Raphaël Fišera, Advisor on Human Rights, raphael.fisera@europarl.europa.eu
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Situation in Egypt

Motion for Resolution
Plenary debate Wednesday 11th September 2013 – vote Thursday 12th September 2013
In response to the situation in Egypt, with the regime's violent clearing of the protestors' and lethal clashes in the streets, the Greens have called on the EU to take urgent action. This means reviewing the EU's different aid and cooperation programmes currently provided to the regime in Egypt and ending cooperation with the regime so long as it continues its current repressive track. After unsuccessful bilateral mediation attempts, the EU has to support the UN in assuming the leading role and push for a UN-led peace conference, including all regional actors.

Further information:
Raphaël Fišera, Advisor on Human Rights, raphael.fisera@europarl.europa.eu
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Access to genetic resources and rights

Legislative Report (Sandrine Bélier report – Green MEP)
Plenary debate Wednesday 11th September 2013 – vote Thursday 12th September 2013
MEPs supported plans to transpose the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing of genetic resources into EU law Thursday. Green draftsperson Sandrine Bélier wanted the EU to stick to the spirit of the agreement and, in particular, protect the rights for genetic resources in poorer countries and regions, notably for indigenous groups. There needs to be a clear community framework to ensure a fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from these resources. The final vote also confirmed key provisions prohibiting the utilisation of illegally acquired genetic resources as well as requiring subsequent users to also negotiate benefit sharing with the country of origin.

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

Legislative Reports (two reports) MEPs sent mixed messages Wednesday to young people across Europe suffering from the effects of the crisis. We have ended up allocating too little money for too many years while imposing policies that only make matters worse. Saying “Try harder; here is a little money to help you try harder” is not good enough. We must instead support young people, engage them in policy development and change policies to ensure that there are decent jobs, rights and opportunities.

Further information:
David Morrison, Web Editor, david.morrison@europarl.europa.eu _____________________________________________________

Lobbying and Transparency

Another plenary week, another list of successes for dirty lobbyists in the European Parliament. With the sound of popping corks ringing around the offices of public affairs and industry representatives in Brussels, we took a look back at their 'achievements' of this week, with the help of their centre-right friends in the EP.

Further information:
Richard More O'Ferrall, Press and Media Officer, richard.moreoferrall@ep.europa.eu
_____________________________________________________  ALSO Greens/EFA motion for resolutions on urgencies:

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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary Round-up : 11 October 2013