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Greens/EFA Round up

Debriefing of the Strasbourg plenary week 15-18 January 2018

Table of contents

  • Conservation of fishery resources and protection of marine ecosystems
  • Women, gender equality and climate justice
  • EU plastic strategy
  • No spyware for dictators: stricter rules for dual-use exports
  • Clean energy package: put Paris into practice
  • Priorities for the new Bulgarian presidency
  • Future of Europe with Irish PM: hard border must be avoided
  • Marrakesh Treaty: facilitating the access to published works 
  • Glyphosate: presidents to decide on special committee
  • EU tax haven blacklist



Conservation of fishery resources and protection of marine ecosystems

Debate Monday, vote Tuesday

The European Parliament voted Tuesday in favour of a report on the conservation of fishery resources and protection of marine ecosystems. While Green MEPs backed the successful attempt to include a ban on pulse fishing, the Greens voted against the report, which fails to establish common objectives at an EU level.

For the Greens, this report, authored by a Spanish conservative MEP, completely undermines and defeats the purpose of a common fisheries policy. The new rules mean regional groups of member states will have to make up their own objectives. In practice, fishers in the North Sea will end up working under different conditions than those in the Atlantic or the Mediterranean.

Not only will this system create anarchy, it provides no incentives to improve fishing techniques and could result in massive illegal discarding.

We call on the Commission to simply drop the proposal, which is a major step backwards from the significant advances made in the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy a few years ago.

Further information
Michael Earl – Advisor on Fisheries



Women, gender equality and climate justice

Debate Monday, vote Tuesday

The European Parliament voted in favour Tuesday of a report by Greens/EFA MEP Linnéa Engström on women, gender equality and climate justice. This is the first time the European Parliament adopts a report on women, gender equality and climate justice, recognising that climate change is not gender neutral and affects women disproportionately because of traditional social and gender roles. The Parliament has now set out its definition of climate justice as linking human rights and development, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and ensuring equitable sharing of burdens and benefits of climate change and its impacts. It also includes an important reference to the fact that climate change is a driver for migration, highlighting the fact that climate displacement is a migration category that must be addressed with a gender perspective.

Paula Lopez Reig - Advisor on Women's Rights and Gender equality



EU plastic strategy

Commission proposal - Tuesday

The European Commission published Tuesday its Plastics Strategy, which includes plans to table legislative proposals by May 2018 to restrict the use of certain single-use plastic items. For the Greens, there can be no room for unnecessary single use plastics in the European economy. We welcome the proposal for a new directive on port reception facilities to cut down on marine litter. However, to fully unlock the full potential of a circular economy, we must also make sure that our products are free from toxic substances – something the Commission did not include in its strategy. The EU's approach should be 'toxics out, then reduce, reuse and recycle'.

Further information
Axel Singhofen, Advisor on Health and Environment Policy



Control of exports, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use items

Debate Tuesday, vote Wednesday

MEPs adopted by a large majority Wednesday a report from Greens/EFA rapporteur Klaus Buchner on "Control of exports, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use items" (goods which can be used for either civilian or military purposes). Finally, the Parliament delivers on its promise to strengthen the EU's human rights policy by making exports of surveillance technology stricter. Dual-use items can include drones, high performance computers and some chemicals. The report introduces the possibility to control exports of cyber-surveillance items on human rights grounds. This would cover devices for intercepting and locating mobile phones, circumventing passwords or identifying internet users. With warfare increasingly built on dual-use technology and where technology is often used against civil society and human rights activists, this is a much-needed reform.

Martin Koehler – Advisor on International Trade



Clean energy package

Debate Monday, votes Wednesday


Renewable Energy Directive

The European Parliament has adopted Wednesday the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive with a strong majority. It forms part of the European Commission’s clean energy package. The revision sets out a binding renewable energy target for the EU to 35% by 2030, significantly higher than the 27% proposed by the Commission and the Council. However, this EU-wide target does yet not translate into national binding targets and includes a worrying flexibility mechanism allowing Member States to deviate by 10% under "exceptional and duly justified circumstances.” The Greens welcome the proposal to phase-out palm oil by 2021. Unfortunately, MEPs did not set meaningful sustainability criteria for bioenergy to ensure its contribution to climate protection. Member States will hopefully have more foresight and use the possibility to set more stringent national criteria to restrict energy use to biomass wastes and residues.

Further information

Terhi Lehtonen – Advisor on environmental issues

Charlotte Kellner - Energy Policy Advisor


Energy Efficiency Directive

The European Parliament has passed Wednesday the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive with a strong majority. It forms part of the European Commission’s clean energy package. When it comes to meeting the Paris climate agreement, energy efficiency is a crucial part of the puzzle. But it’s not just about keeping emissions down. It is also crucial to citizens’ health and to keeping energy bills in check for citizens and businesses. For the Greens, a binding, EU-wide energy efficiency target of at least 35% combined with yearly new and additional efforts on final energy consumers, including in the transport sector, enabling achievement of the EU energy and climate targets in a cost-effective way, while reducing energy poverty, import dependency and energy bills for all citizen.

Further information
Heike Leberle – Advisor on energy


Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union

MEPs have adopted Wednesday a report from Greens/EFA co-rapporteurs Michèle Rivasi and Claude Turmes, which provides the framework for putting the Paris Climate Agreement into practice. The proposals contained in the report form the parliament’s position on a key part of the European Commission’s Clean Energy Package.

For the first time, the Parliament is proposing a “carbon budget” which will set out exactly what can still be emitted into our atmosphere if we are to comply with the 1.5 and 2 degrees limits set out in Paris and achieve a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The report establishes national energy and climate plans for 2030 and long-term climate and energy strategies for 2050 in order to comply with the Paris Agreement.

The new regulation puts European citizens at its heart by establishing a climate and energy dialogue platform, for more transparency and inclusiveness on national climate strategies. It introduces planning and reporting obligations for member states in an effort to reduce the number of citizens affected by energy poverty. It also sets out credible trajectories for the roll out of renewables and energy efficiency up to 2030 and puts in place strong corrective measures in case of any delays or shortfalls.

To learn more: listen to our short podcast with Claude Turmes

Further information

Terhi Lehtonen – Advisor on environmental issues

Michel Raquet – Advisor on energy



Presentation of the programme of the Bulgarian Presidency


Bulgaria takes on the presidency at a testing time, and we are hoping that by the end of the presidency, Europe will have taken a step forward. Whether it is safeguarding the future of the Eurozone, creating a more genuinely social Europe, getting real on climate change or solving the rule of law crisis in several states, they have a difficult but important job to do. Bulgaria also has to clean up its act at home, where corruption has been tolerated for far too long.



Debate with Prime Minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar on the Future of Europe


The European Parliament held a debate Wednesday with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on the Future of Europe. For the Greens, avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland remains a priority. Only by keeping the UK fully in the single market and customs union will borders be avoided both in Ireland and in the Irish Sea. It must be clear that membership of the single market and customs union go hand in hand with full respect of all relevant EU legislation, the four freedoms, jurisdiction of the ECJ and contributions to the EU budget.



Marrakesh Treaty: facilitating the access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled

Debate Wednesday, vote Thursday

The European Parliament gave its consent for the European Council to adopt the Marrakesh Treaty adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation in 2013.  The Treaty aims at facilitating access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled, by allowing libraries to transfer books in accessible formats across borders without extra costs. Only 5% of books in the EU are currently made available in accessible format. The ratification of the Treaty will change this situation by adapting the current regime of copyright exceptions.

Following the adoption by the Parliament of the Directive and of the Regulation implementation the Treaty into EU law in July 2017, the Council has finally reached an agreement to ratify the Treaty after several years of delay. The inter-institutional negotiations led for the Parliament by Greens/EFA MEP Max Andersson at a sustained pace gave political drive so the Treaty could finally be ratified by the EU. 

With the vote of the Parliament consenting to the Council's decision, the entry into force of the Treaty is now a reality. The conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty is one more crucial step towards the full implementation of this important piece of copyright law, to end the 'book famine' for people suffering from disabilities.

Further information
Anne-Catherine Lorrain – Legal Advisor



Special Committee on Glyphosate

Conference of Presidents on Thursday

Following the glyphosate scandal, the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament has endorsed Thursday the mandate of a Special Committee to analyse and assess the authorisation procedure for pesticides in the EU. The Special Committee still needs to be formally adopted by plenary in February. The Green/EFA group will seek to analyse the failings in the process that led to the renewal of the authorisation of glyphosate. In particular, we want to look at the work of the European agencies (EFSA and ECHA) and the German agency Bfr. The protection of public health and our environment are paramount and we want Europe's agencies to be irreproachable in their assessment of potentially dangerous substances. The committee is expected to begin in work in March 2018.

Further information

Axel Singhofen, Advisor on Health and Environment Policy

Sophie Perroud – Food Campaigner



EU tax haven blacklist


The Greens/EFA Group has written Thursday to the Council Presidency and to the Chair of the Code of Conduct Group regarding the EU blacklist of tax havens.

We have criticised the lack of transparency and accountability of the screening process by the Code of Conduct Group and called on the Council to publish all commitment letters received by the 55 jurisdictions that will be on the "grey" list as of next week.

Further information
František Nejedlý – Tax Justice Campaigner



Greens/EFA motions for resolutions




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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary Round-up: 9 February 2018



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