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Greens/EFA take on the plenary session

14-18 September


TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Just Transition Fund
  • Arms exports
  • State of the Union
  • Global data collection system for ship fuel oil consumption data
  • Moria refugee camp
  • Joint debate: the situation in Poland and LGBTI rights
  • Strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment
  • Belarus
  • EU Roma Strategy
  • Maximising the energy efficiency potential of the EU building stock

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Just Transition Fund

Vote: Tuesday 15 September
Greens/EFA MEPs: Niklas Nienass (REGI), Mounir Satouri (EMPL), Henrike Hahn (ECON)

The European Parliament adopted Thursday a report on the Just Transition Fund, one of the core tenets of the Green Deal, essential to support people most affected by the transition towards a climate-neutral economy and the phasing out of coal.

Due to intense lobbying from the gas industry, the report negotiated at Committee level included the subsidising of gas projects, and also the Plenary confirmed the support from the Just Transition Fund for gas infrastructure. The Greens/EFA group therefore voted against.

We support the need to help regions and communities in transitioning away from carbon intensive industries; however, the group cannot support initiatives that continue to fund fossil fuels. In the midst of a climate emergency and the COVID-19 recovery, the EU must be looking to renewable and clean alternatives to coal, oil and gas. 

Further information
Simone Reinhart - Advisor on Regional Development
simone.reinhart@ep.europa.eu

 

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Arms exports

Debate Monday 14 September, vote Tuesday 
Rapporteur: Hannah Neumann

By adopting Hannah Neumann’s report Thursday, the European Parliament has called for stricter controls and transparency on EU s exports. The text calls for better end-use control of exported arms, more coordination of national decisions on arms exports, a publicly accessible database on national arms exports and, for arms subsidised through the European Defence Fund, a sanctions mechanism for breaches of the eight EU export criteria.

The Greens/EFA group have long called for an end to irresponsible arms sales by European governments to repressive and aggressive regimes, autocrats, and fragile countries where there is a clear risk that military technology could be used in human rights violations, war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Hannah Neumann MEP, rapporteur and Green/EFA group member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, comments:

"Arms are not a normal export commodity and arms exports need strict rules, transparency and control. The billions from the European Defence Fund must not lead to even more irresponsible exports of arms, which in the worst case scenario could end up with warlords and fuel conflicts in crisis regions such as the Middle East."

The report confirms a call for an EU-wide arms embargo against Saudi-Arabia and its allies in the Yemen war. It also aims to trigger a process leading towards the establishment of enforceable EU law in the field of arms exports which is the key Green demand in this context.

Further information
Tobias Heider - Advisor on Security and Defence
tobias.heider@ep.europa.eu

 

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State of the Union

Debate Wednesday 16 September

The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addressed MEPs Wednesday during here 'State of the European Union' speech. The Greens/EFA group are calling for support for refugees, climate protection and a permanent binding mechanism to uphold the rule of law in Europe. 

Ska Keller MEP, President of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, commented: 

"The current state of this Union is defined by our own failures; by the fact that EU governments let children sleep on the streets, refuse to give water to people in need; send police against people fleeing from violence; knowingly let people drown at sea. We urge the Commission President, to take up the fight with the Member States, to make help for those in need a top priority, to not give in to this disastrous state we’re in. Let’s demonstrate that we can be courageous and whole-heartedly European.

Philippe Lamberts MEP, President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, said: 

"With the Green Deal, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has taken a bold step forward and planted the seeds of a profound reorientation of EU policies. Facing up pressures against this, she made the Green Deal the core of the EU's recovery plan. Now, as she herself says, is the time to put those words into action. The Green Deal must be translated into bold and binding climate, biodiversity and resource conservation targets. And the blind spots of the Green Deal - agricultural and trade policies - must be realigned with it. Likewise, the European Commission must use all levers at its disposal to force big businesses to pay what they owe our societies. Whenever the Commission muster the courage to act boldly, we commit to be generous in our support."

 

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Global data collection system for ship fuel oil consumption data

Debate Monday 14 September, vote Tuesday 15 September
Rapporteur: Jutta Paulus

The European Parliament voted in favour Tuesday of a report, led by Greens/EFA MEP Jutta Paulus, calling on shipping to be included in the European emissions trading scheme (ETS) from 1 January 2022 and making shipping companies reduce their CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030.

Until now, maritime transport has been excluded from the ETS. In addition, the position of rapporteur Jutta Paulus (Greens/EFA), adopted by a large majority of MEPs in the Environment Committee, on amending the regulation on monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from shipping ('Review of the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) Regulation for shipping emissions') calls on the European Commission to set up a fund for the development of climate-neutral ships and the financing of marine protected areas. 

Jutta Paulus MEP, rapporteur and Greens/EFA Member of the European Parliament's Environment Committee, commented:

"Today's vote is a great success for climate protection. The European Parliament is taking a big step towards climate protection in shipping. The target of 40 percent less CO2 by 2030 means one and a half percent less emissions in the overall EU balance for the same volume of freight."

Further information
Yan Dupas - Advisor on Environmental Issues
yan.dupas@ep.europa.eu

 

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Situation in the Moria refugee camp

Debate Thursday 17 September

Following the deadly fire this week that destroyed the Moria refugee camp on Lesvos, Greece, MEPs debated the grave situation that the camps inhabitants face and the EU’s response to the disaster. More than 12.000 people are stranded without shelter following the fire. MEPs are calling on the Commission and Council to provide immediate humanitarian and medical assistance, to evacuate the people as swiftly as possible and to provide a sustainable solution for the people of Moria by relocating them to other Member States. 

 

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Joint debate: the situation in Poland and LGBTI rights

Debate Monday 14 September
Greens/EFA MEPs: Terry Reintke

MEPs adopted Thursday a report on breaches to the rule of law and fundamental rights in Poland. 

In the time since the Article 7 procedure was initiated against the Polish government, the Law and Justice party has continued to undermine the independence of the judiciary. There must be no place in Europe for discrimination and hatred. ‘LGBTI-free zones’ in Poland fly in the face of human rights and European values.

Terry Reintke MEP, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur on the situation in Poland and Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, commented:

"The rule of law in EU countries is not an "à la carte" menu. Member States do not get to choose whether to follow it, this is one of the fundamental principles upon which the Union is founded. We cannot tolerate the continued attacks on the LGBTI community in Poland."

The Greens/EFA Group welcomes that the European Commission triggered Article 7(1) TEU, but condemns the lack of efficient action in the Council - the situation has been deteriorating over almost three years since then.However, the Commission was wrong to omit democracy and fundamental rights from its proposal to trigger Article 7(1).

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

 

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Strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment

Debate Monday 14 September
Greens/EFA MEPs: Michèle Rivasi

MEPs adopted Thursday, by a very large majority, a report on shortages of medicines. The Covid-19 health crisis has highlighted the growing problem of shortages of medicines and medical equipment that put people at risk and healthcare systems under pressure. 

The Report recommends that the European response to the shortage of medicines must be based on three pillars:  i) a return to health sovereignty by securing supplies; ii) stepping up European action to better coordinate and, iii) supplement Member State health policies, and enhancing cooperation between them and returning EU health sovereignty through closer European integration. 

Transparency

The report calls for the Commission to promote transparency of public spending for research and development of medicines and urges the Commission to revise Directive 89/105/EC* in the upcoming pharmaceutical strategy.

Orphan Medicines

The text calls for Regulation (EC) No 141/2000 on orphan medicinal products to be revised in order to reverse the burden of proof for the 10-year market exclusivity clause. This way the holder of the market authorisation has to prove that the product is not sufficiently profitable to cover R&D costs.

The text also calls for including the environmental effects into the risk-benefit assessment for the approval of active substances, for an environmental risk assessment for all human medicines, an update of the requirements for the environmental risk assessment, and that the production of imported medicines should meet the same environmental standards as for medicines produced in the EU. 

Further information
Zoé Dingwall - Advisor on Brexit and environmental issues
zoe.dingwall@ep.europa.eu

* European Parliament position of 6 February 2013 on the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to the transparency of measures regulating the prices of medicinal products for human use.

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Belarus

Debate Tuesday 15, vote Wednesday 16
Greens/EFA MEPs: Viola von Cramon

The European Parliament adopted Thursday, by a large majority, a resolution on the situation in Belarus. 

The ongoing crisis in Belarus calls for EU action to support a peaceful transition of power, through a national dialogue involving all relevant Belarusian stakeholders with a view to launch a new and fair electoral process.

The EU should further the cause of democracy and freedom in Belarus, by strengthening assistance to Belarusian civil society and immediately ceasing any financial support to the government and state-controlled projects.     

Further information
Juliane Schmidt - Advisor on Foreign Affairs
juliane.schmidt@ep.europa.eu

 

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EU Roma Strategy

Votes Tuesday, 15 September and Thursday, 17 September
Rapporteur: Romeo Franz

MEPs adopted Thursday, by a large majority, a report on the Implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies.

Bold action and legally binding measures against racism towards Romani people and for the inclusion of people with Romani background are the main demands of the “Report on the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies: Combating negative attitudes towards people with a Romani background in Europe.” 

The European Parliament sends a strong signal to the Commission that it should propose a legally binding instrument for the Equality, Inclusion, Participation of Romani people and Combating Antigypsysim. The Strategy should combine the socioeconomic aspects with a rights-based approach in the future EU strategy, as well as to use the term ‘Romani people’ in order to better reflect the heterogenity of Romani community.

This is the first time that the European Parliament clearly requests an EU policy on equality, inclusion and participation of people from Romani backgrounds with binding legal character. 

In the context of the COVID-19 epidemic and through multiple cases of police violence against Romani people throughout Europe, there is a clear need for EU and Member State governments to take action and to get representatives of Romani communities involved in the development and implementation of national inclusion strategies, which need to be provided with the necessary financial resources. 

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

 

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Maximising the energy efficiency potential of the EU building stock

Vote Thursday 17 September
Rapporteur: Ciarán Cuffe

MEPs adopted Thursday, by a large majority, a report led by Greens/EFA rapporteur Ciarán Cuffe on maximising the energy efficiency potential of the EU building stock. This report, which serves as input to the upcoming Renovation Wave Strategy, sends a strong signal to the European Commission. It aims for more ambitious energy efficiency policies at an EU and national level, notably fight energy poverty, and contribute to climate action while ensuring a sustainable recovery. The text introduces an integrated, neighbourhood approach to building renovation, calls for legislation on housing standards and reminds the Commission that the bulk of necessary renovations has to be carried out in the residential sector.

Further information
Heike Leberle – Advisor on energy
heike.leberle@ep.europa.eu

 

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Greens/EFA motions for resolutions

 

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Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary debriefing: 9 October 2020


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