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Greens/EFA Round up

Debriefing of the Strasbourg plenary week 23-27 November 2015


Table of contents

EP Plenary session

  • EU cohesion policy and marginalised communities (Mon., Tues.)
  • EP tax investigation: show must go on (Tues., Thurs.)
  • Energy Union: stuttering European energy transition (Tues., Thurs.)
  • Paris attacks, European cooperation and defending democratic freedoms (Weds.)
  • Diesel gate, car pollution rules and the EU response (Thurs. - press conference Weds.)

Outside the Plenary

  • Cultural event focusing on promoting freedom, connecting art and climate (Thurs., Paris)
  • #StandUp4Climate (virtual mobilisation)
  • Climate finance and possible COP21 outcomes (Fri., Conference, Paris)

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EU cohesion policy and marginalised communities

Mon. 23 Nov. – EP plenary debate; vote Tues. (Reintke report) The European Parliament adopted Tuesday, by a large majority, a report by Green MEP Terry Reintke on how to help marginalised communities via EU cohesion policy. A majority of MEPs voted to ensure Roma do not face discrimination, but have to be given equal opportunities and access including in the context of EU cohesion policy. The EU has to step up efforts in combatting poverty and increasing social inclusion. Resources from cohesion policy play an important role and have to be targeted to fight racism, discrimination and social exclusion, in particular of Roma communities. This means involving marginalised communities, like Roma have, in all phases of programming and implementation. There also need to be measures to tackle racism and xenophobia, including anti-gypsyism.

Further information
Simone Reinhart
- Advisor on Regional Development

simone.reinhart@ep.europa.eu _____________________

EP tax investigation: show must go on


Tues. 24 Nov. – EP plenary debate; vote Wednesday 25 Nov. The extension of the special tax committee has been blocked in what can be interpreted as an attempt to protect Juncker and Dijsselbloem, following a backroom discussion Tuesday night between representatives of the EPP, S&D and ALDE groups. This undemocratic manoeuvre foresees replacing the current TAXE committee with a new one, based on a seriously restricted mandate, which is neither necessary nor sensible. The findings so far of the EP's tax avoidance investigation committee have been voted on Wednesday. The report contains some important findings, as well as setting out clear recommendations on EU measures to tackle corporate tax avoidance and tax dumping. However, it is clear the EP's investigation is not complete. Completing the investigation will mean getting full cooperation from EU governments, the Commission and corporations, both as regards their participation in the investigation and access to crucial documents relating to harmful tax measures in EU member states, which has so far been withheld. Unfortunately, a Green attempt to secure an extension of the committee's mandate, which had cross-political backing, was blocked by EP president Schulz and the leaders of the S&D and EPP political groups. Today's conference of Presidents decided to create a new special committee TAXE 2 but decision on its mandate will be taken next week only. We will keep fighting to ensure the new mandate is not weaker than what we have agreed upon 10 months ago.

Further information
Catherine Olier - Tax Justice Campaigner
catherine.olier@ep.europa.eu _____________________

Energy Union: stuttering European energy transition

Tues. 24 Nov. – EP plenary debate; Thurs. 26 Nov. - Council of EU energy ministers EU energy ministers set out Thursday guidelines for a governance system of the EU's Energy Union. The Greens while noting this guidance on a such key issue, warn governments of ignoring the elephant in the room: namely what will occur if there is a gap between combined national commitments and the overall EU targets. Without knowing how to fill up these potential gaps, the EU risks falling further behind other parts of the world in the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. . It is also crucial that the upcoming proposal on governance includes a binding template for national energy and climate plans.

Further information Michel Raquet – Advisor on energy
michel.raquet@ep.europa.eu _____________________

Paris attacks, European cooperation and defending democratic freedoms

Weds. 25 Nov. – EP plenary debate MEPs debated the tragic attacks in Paris and the EU follow-up. While it is still impossible to come to terms with the attacks in Paris, it is understandable that work is already beginning on a European response. EU governments and authorities must now work together to address the threat posed by terrorists across Europe but this should focus on real solutions, like strengthening cooperation between police and security services, and not false ones, like mass surveillance. It is important that this response does not exacerbate public fear and uncertainty by scaling back basic democratic freedoms. At the same time we need to face down knee-jerk populist backlashes against refugees. Our divided societies have created the space for radicalisation; discrimination and exclusion in our societies must be addressed if we are to tackle the reasons for extremism. The European Parliament also adopted a report Tuesday setting out its position on how to tackle radicalisation in Europe. For the Greens, this has to be a core element of addressing the terrorist threat we face. Specifically, this means strengthening local capacity to combat violent extremism and working together with affected communities to address radicalisation. The report also outlines important measures in terms of addressing the broader terrorist threat.

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Diesel gate, car pollution rules and the EU response

Thurs. 26 Nov. – Conference of Presidents of political groups With revelations from the 'diesel gate' scandal continuing to emerge, notably as regards the role of the Commission and its prior knowledge of the situation, the pressure for a comprehensive investigation remains. It is therefore a positive step that the socialist (S&D) group added its support Thursday to a proposal made by the Greens/EFA group to set up a parliamentary inquiry committee to investigate the car pollution scandal. With a majority of groups now supporting an inquiry, the EP will take a decision next week. The Greens welcome the support of other political groups and stress the need to work to ensure this inquiry is finalised without delay, with a rigorous mandate. In investigating carmakers cheating EU rules, the inquiry will focus on the roles played by the responsible national authorities and the European Commission in allowing this regulatory breakdown to occur.

Further information
Terhi Lehtonen – Advisor on environmental issues
terhi.lehtonen@ep.europa.eu _____________________

Outside the Plenary

Cultural event focusing on promoting freedom, connecting art and climate

Thurs. 26 November – Cultural evening – 20.30-22.30, Port des Champs Elysées, 75008 Paris, Exhibition tent of Tara Expeditions In response to the tragic attacks in Paris, the cultural event organised by the Greens/EFA group in Paris has been adapted. The event, which brings together a number of artists and intellectuals for an evening combining culture and entertainment with climate issues ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris, will now also focus on promoting our shared freedoms.

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#StandUp4Climate

Online mobilisation for climate The global climate march planned for 29 November in Paris has been cancelled following the terrible attacks of 13 November 2015. However, our collective of citizens, associations and political parties have decided to continue mobilising in the run-up to this climate conference which will be decisive for the future of humankind. #StandUp4Climate invites you to use social networks to protest and demonstrate that we are and will be in Paris and elsewhere and that we are as committed and determined as ever. We are standing up to demand bold political action on the challenges facing this planet and humankind. Let's aim to be thousands or millions strong, and from all countries, putting the negotiators under pressure in order to safeguard our future. Make your voice heard with #StandUp4Climate - against inaction and the lobbies, and for climate justice and future generations.

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Climate finance and possible COP21 outcomes

Fri. 27 November – Seminar – 10.00-13.00, Port des Champs Elysées, 75008 Paris, Exhibition tent of Tara Expeditions This event will focus on climate finance – possible sources, amounts and recipients – as well as the possible outcomes of the COP21 negotiations. Speakers include NGO specialists and Sweden international development minister Isabella Lövin and Luxembourg environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg.

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************************************************* Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary Round-up: 18 December 2015


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