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PLENARY FLASH 07-10 JUNE 2021

Greens/EFA priorities

EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030:
Bringing nature back into our lives

The European Parliament will vote on the ENVI report of EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 - Bringing nature back into our lives - which endorses, among other things, the goals for protecting and restoring biodiversity as set down in the Commission strategy communicated in May 2020. These include the establishment of a larger EU-wide network of protected areas on land and at sea to form a trans-European nature network, the launch of an EU Nature restoration plan to restore degraded ecosystems and manage them sustainably, as well as targets in relation to reducing pesticide and fertiliser use, increasing of the percentage of agricultural land under organic farming, and the use of high biodiversity landscape features.

Adding to these, the ENVI committee report also calls for a legally binding EU Biodiversity Law, in the same kind of spirit as the EU Climate Law and for the Commission to submit a legislative proposal for the establishment of a common framework for the protection and sustainable use of soil. Overall, in recognition of the urgency of the biodiversity crisis and the lack of effective action taken so far, the report calls for measures in a wide range of areas, including in relation to forestry and agriculture.

Greens/EFA MEP: Ville Niinistö (shadow)
Debate: Monday, 7 June
Vote: Tuesday, 8 Jun
 

EU Digital COVID Certificate - Joint debate

On 17 March 2021, the Commission proposed a legislative framework for EU-wide interoperable “Digital Green Certificates'' to ensure the interoperability of national certificates for those who have been vaccinated against, tested for or recovered from Covid-19. In order to ensure freedom of movement, the Commission proposal seeks to establish interoperability and mutual recognition by establishing one unified EU certificate.

The Greens/EFA Group welcomes the agreement to ensure freedom of movement during the pandemic by providing a common EU tool guaranteeing the mutual recognition of national COVID 19 related-certificates. However, the EU Digital COVID Certificate shall not become precondition for exercising free movement rights, and equal weight shall be granted to any of the certificates issued under the umbrella of the COVID-19 Certificate in order to avoid any possible discrimination based on vaccination status. Member States shall also guarantee equal opportunities to all by ensuring universal, accessible and timely COVID-19 testing possibilities and the system shall have high standards of data protection.

Greens/EFA MEP: Tineke Strik (shadow)
Debate & vote: Tuesday, 8 June

Recovery and Resiliance Fund

Next week, the Parliament will debate, as called for by the Greens/EFA Group, the national recovery and resilience plans. This week, Greens/EFA MEPs, sent a letter to President Von der Leyen and the Commission on the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) national plans recovery submitted by the Member States. The RRF is the centrepiece of the NextGenerationEU recovery stimulus plan for Europe.

The Greens/EFA Group has concerns that some of the RRF plans submitted so far contain elements of "greenwashing" and fail to meet the 37% climate-related spending target as set out in the regulation. The letter also contains an annex of examples of issues highlighted with the national plans submitted so far. The letter flags non-compliance with the RRF in order highlight to the Commission where action is needed to make the recovery plan an ambitious springboard for the green transition. MEPs will discuss these issues next week.

Greens/EFA MEP: Ska Keller, Philippe Lamberts, Damian Boeselager, Ernest Urtasun, Alexandra Geese, Jordi Solé and Bas Eickhout
Debate: Tuesday

Systematic repression in Belarus and its consequences for European security following abductions from an EU civilian plane intercepted by Belarusian authorities - Council and Commission statements

On Sunday, 23 May, Belarusian authorities forced a Ryanair passenger plane, which was flying from Athens to Vilnius, to land in Minsk. The authorities arrested two of the flight’s passengers, Roman Protasevich, an independent journalist from Belarus, and his partner Sofia Sapega. During the European Council Summit the next day, the heads of state and government decided to go ahead with the fourth package of targeted sanctions against Belarussian officials and entities.

Ska Keller, President of the Greens/EFA Group, condemned the incident, "the forced landing of the passenger plane is an act of state terrorism. Targeted sanctions are a good first step, but the European Union must remain firm.” The Greens/EFA call on the EU to stand with the people of Belarus in their aspirations for a free and democratic future, and effectively counter the ongoing repression by the Lukashenka regime. The EU must come up with a resolute response and consider further actions.

Greens/EFA MEP: Viola Von Cramon

Debate: Tuesday, 8 June
Vote: Thursday, 10 June

Preparation of the G7 summit of 11-13 June and the EU-US Summit - Council and Commission statements

On Wednesday, Members of the European Parliament will discuss their expectations for the G7 leaders' meeting, which will take place from 11 to 13 June. The seven members - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus the EU - will discuss the global recovery from COVID-19, free and fair trade and the fight against climate change, as well as other major security issues such as Belarus and Israel/Palestine. Following this meeting, Commission and Council presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel will meet the US president Joe Biden on 15 June in Brussels.

The Greens/EFA call on the G7 to come forward with a clear commitment to a minimum effective tax rate of 21% this Saturday, at the G7 meeting of Finance Ministers in London. We are close to an historic international moment, in which we can finally set limits for tax competition. Unfortunately, countries seem closer to agree on a 15% minimum effective tax rate, although the United States is open to negotiate a higher rate. The Greens/EFA call on Member States to form a coalition of the willing and move ahead the introduction of a higher minimum effective tax rate.

Greens/EFA MEP: Sven Giegold on tax issues
Debate: Wednesday, 9 June (without resolution)
 

The conflict of interest of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic - Motions for resolutions

The European Parliament will vote on a resolution about the conflict of interest of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Andrej Babiš. It has been three years since the Greens/EFA demanded the Commission carry out an audit to check the alleged conflict of interests of the Czech Prime Minister Babis. The audit report, published on the 23rd of April, confirms that, while being Prime Minister of the EU Member State, Mr. Babiš has retained ties to the Agrofert group and remains its ultimate beneficiary, putting him in a serious conflict of interest.

The Greens/EFA Group calls on the Council and the Commission to fully address the issue of Babiš’ conflict of interest in order to protect and enforce the legal requirements of EU legislation. All funds Agrofert Group has received since 2017 that are in breach of the EU Financial Regulation and the Czech Law on conflict of interests should be returned in full. Czech and European taxpayers should not have to bear the burden of the Czech PM’s conflict of interest.

Greens/EFA MEPs: Mikuláš Peksa (shadow rapporteur), Viola von Cramon (CONT coordinator)
Vote: Wednesday, 9 June (debate took place in May)

Effects of waiver of the WTO TRIPS agreement on Covid-19 vaccines, treatment, equipment and manufacturing capacity in developing countries - Motions for resolutions

Following the debate that took place in the last plenary session in May, the European Parliament will vote on a resolution requested by the Greens/EFA Group. This resolution relates the effects of waiver of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on Covid-19 vaccines, treatment, equipment and manufacturing capacity in developing countries.

The Greens/EFA Group demands that the Council and the European Commission support, at the WTO-level, a TRIPS waiver proposal put forward originally by India and South Africa, and to start text-based negotiations as soon as possible. On top of the waiver, the EU needs to lend full support to binding technology transfers for global production on vaccines and other health related global public goods to scale up on a permanent basis.

Greens/EFA MEP: Sara Matthieu (Greens/EFA shadow)
Vote: Wednesday, 9 June (debate took place in May)

Rule of law situation in the EU and the application of the conditionality regulation 2020/2092 - Council and Commission statements (our initiative)

The Parliament will discuss the current situation of the rule of law in the Union with a particular focus on the Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation. Despite a clear request from the Parliament in March, the Commission has not started application of the Regulation by 1 June. The Parliament will adopt a resolution with several requests addressed to the Commission and the Council and will reserve its right to initiate court proceedings regarding the Commission's failure to act.

The Greens/EFA Group calls for the mechanism to be used to protect the rule of law. It is time for the Commission to show it is willing to act to defend European values.

Greens/EFA MEPs: Terry Reintke (shadow rapporteur); Daniel Freund (shadow rapporteur)

Debate: Wednesday, 9 June
Vote: Thursday, 10 June

The European Citizens' Initiative "End the Cage Age" - Motion for Resolution

This European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is the first to address the issue of farmed animals and was signed by over 1.4 million citizens, making it the 6th successful ECI with the 3rd highest signature count so far. In this ECI, citizens call to end the use of cages in farming, arguing that this practice is incompatible with animal welfare and that alternative non-cage housing systems are already available and commercially viable. In the European Union, there are over 300 million animals kept in cages for all or part of their lives.

The Greens/EFA Group supports the ECI, and calls for a ban on the use of cages throughout the EU by 2027. A clear phase-out of this practice is beneficial both to ensure animal welfare and to provide a level playing field for farmers across the EU as they improve their welfare standards. Existing Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funds must be better targeted to support farmers in this shift to non-cage systems, as currently less than 2% of CAP's rural development funds are directed towards animal welfare. Farmers should receive a fair price for their efforts towards greater animal welfare, and imports should be held to the same cage-free standard to address citizens' concerns.

Greens/EFA MEP: Francisco Guerreiro (shadow)
Debate & Vote: Thursday, 10 June

MORE

  • The full plenary agenda for the week can be found on the Parliament website here.

  • The plenary sessions can be followed live here.

GREENS/EFA PRESS CONTACTS

 

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