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Greens/EFA Round up

Debriefing of the Strasbourg plenary week 15-18 May 2017


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

  • Report demands stronger EU action on food waste
  • Commission statement: harnessing globalisation by 2025
  • ECJ ruling on competences of EU vs Member States in FTAs
  • Council and Commission statements - Making relocation happen
  • Vote on GMO objections
  • Situation in Hungary
  • Money laundering
  • Conclusions of the European Council meeting
  • Cross-border portability

 

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Report demands stronger EU action on food waste

Debate Monday, vote Tuesday

The European Parliament adopted on Tuesday a resolution on reducing food waste. We fully support the report, which calls for a coordinated policy response and for the European Commission to introduce binding targets for food waste reduction.  It comes after a recent study by the European Court of Auditors that showed the European Commission’s ambition has been moving backwards. Our priority in delivering a sufficient and sustainable food supply should be massively reducing food waste, not further investment in polluting methods of production.

Further information
Joanna Sprackett - Advisor on Environmental issues, Public Health and Food Safety
joanna.sprackett@ep.europa.eu

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Europe needs a new approach to globalisation

Debate - Tuesday

The European Parliament is debated Tuesday the European Commission's recent reflection paper on globalisation. Their proposals fall short of what is needed, continuing to give free rein to uncontrolled globalisation. The Greens/EFA group has called for a new approach on globalisation, for much bolder action, including on international tax evasion and avoidance, fair trade relations, and an investment plan for sustainable jobs. We have the chance to give the EU a new purpose as a power that controls globalisation and delivers fair trade. The EU can be a power that defends its citizens’ rights and makes sure that our wellbeing is not built on the suffering of people in the developing world.

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ECJ ruling on competences of Union v. Member States in FTAs

Tuesday

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled Tuesday that the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement is a matter of mixed competence, requiring the ratification of Member States to come into force. The ruling will have major implications for future EU trade deals. For the Greens/EFA, this is a landmark decision that will shape the way that future EU free trade agreements are negotiated. Currently, there is a huge democratic deficit in the way that trade deals are being negotiated, as seen with TTIP and CETA. Two things are clear now: the EU needs to change its approach to trade policy and Member States must be involved in the approval of any free trade deal, which includes an investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism.

Martin Koehler – Advisor on International Trade
martin.koehler@ep.europa.eu

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Making relocation happen

Debate Tuesday, Press Conference Wednesday

The European Parliament has today supported with a very strong majority a resolution on the relocation of refugees in the EU, calling for Member States to implement their decision of September 2015 to relocate 160,000 refugees in the EU. With this vote, the European Parliament has denounced Member States’ failure to relocate refugees. For the Greens/EFA, sealing-off European borders against refugees and migrants is not a solution. So far, only 11% of refugees have been relocated. The lack of solidarity has often led to intolerable conditions for refugees in Italy and especially in Greece.

Further information
Maria Giovanna Manieri - Advisor on legal affairs, civil liberties, justice and home affairs
mariagiovanna.manieri@ep.europa.eu  

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MEPs vote on GMO objections

Appeal committee Tuesday, Parliament vote Wednesday

MEPs rejected Wednesday to two GMO licences, one cotton and one maize. Both are specifically designed to be used with herbicides that pose risks to human health. As with previous GMOs, the approval process continues to function poorly, being neither democratic nor transparent. No opinion was reached, either in the standing committee or in the appeal committee with 16 Member States voting against the maize and 15 against the cotton. We will continue to make the case that we don’t need GM plants to feed our farm animals, and ourselves and that the approval process needs to be overhauled.  The Greens/EFA welcome these votes and will continue to make the case that we can feed our farm animals and ourselves without resorting to dangerous and unnecessary GM crops and an abundant cocktail of toxic chemical products.

Further information
Juliette Leroux - GMO Campaigner
juliette.leroux@ep.europa.eu

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Situation in Hungary

Vote Wednesday

The European Parliament adopted a resolution Wednesday on the situation in Hungary. MEPs agreed to take the first step, which was long overdue, towards initiating Article 7 proceedings against the Hungarian Government for infringement of fundamental principles and values. Our Group has co-signed a resolution, alongside centre-left groups (S&D, ALDE, and GUE/NGL), which calls for the initiation of Article 7 proceedings. While a simple majority is sufficient to instruct the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee to begin work on a report, the final triggering of Article 7 would require a two-thirds majority in Parliament. The resolution found support of a majority of MEPs, despite only the extreme right groups, the ECR and many members of the Christian Democrats (EPP) voting against. However, their vote will be necessary to take the next step against Hungary. Conservatives, who claim to be at the heart of the European project, should draw the necessary conclusions vis-à-vis their continued support to Victor Orbán. EU institutions and European capitals cannot continue to look the other way.

Further information
Aleksejs Dimitrovs - Advisor on legal affairs, civil liberties, justice and home affairs
aleksejs.dimitrovs@ep.europa.eu

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Money laundering

Wednesday

The European Parliament rejected Wednesday for the second time a blacklist of third countries at high-risk of money laundering. The fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD), adopted in 2015, empowers the European Commission to identify high-risk third countries for which special attention is needed. Regrettably, the Commission proposes simply copy-pasting the list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). For the Greens/EFA, it is of utmost importance that the European Commission makes its own assessment of which countries are risky because there are more than just 11 countries facilitating money laundering or tax evasion. The European Commission needs to take its role in tackling money-laundering much more seriously and also need to get additional resources to do this own assessment. With the recent Panama Papers scandal, it is for example unacceptable that Panama and other important tax havens are still not included on the Commission's blacklist.

Further information
Catherine Olier - Advisor on Economic and Monetary Affairs
catherine.olier@ep.europa.eu

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Conclusions of the European Council meeting

Debate Wednesday

A special Council meeting of the EU27 adopted Wednesday the guidelines for the Brexit negotiations. For the Greens/EFA, the broad agreement between the Council and Parliament on the negotiating terms for Brexit is encouraging, particularly on the rights of citizens. However, now is not the time to be complacent in the face of the rising nationalist-populist threat. We must look to elevate social, environmental and democratic standards to show that we have truly learned the lessons of Brexit and are able to move forward with the ambitious European integration which remains our best opportunity to deliver shared prosperity.

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Cross-border portability

Debate Wednesday, vote Thursday

The objective of the portability Regulation is to ensure that Europeans who buy or subscribe to online content services (providing access to films, sports, music, e-books and games) are able to access them when they travel in other EU countries. Services like Netflix and Spotify will have the obligation to enable cross-border portability of their services for subscribers travelling to another country within the European Union. This Regulation is a first step towards better cross-border access to digital content for EU citizens. But as such, it does not bring an end to geoblocking. Currently, EU citizens permanently on the wrong side of a border, like members of minority language communities, will continue to be refused access to streaming content. Multiple NGOs, including the European Language Equality Network and the European Student's Forum (AEGEE) today joined MEP Reda and MEP Josep-Maria Terricabras (European Free Alliance) in urging the abolishment of geoblocking within the EU in an open letter.

Further information
Anne-Catherine Lorrain – Legal Advisor
anne-catherine.lorrain@ep.europa.eu

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Greens/EFA motions for resolutions

 

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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary Round-up: 16 June 2017


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