Plenary Flash - 12-15 September 2022
Greens/EFA priorities for the plenary session
STATE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
This week's announcement by the Kremlin that gas will be delivered only when sanctions are lifted has shown us once more that the EU’s dependency on fossil fuels and Russian gas can and will be weaponised against us. Energy policy is security policy. Moving away from fossil fuel dependency is imperative to make the EU independent from dictators, to save the climate and to support households and businesses. The Greens/EFA Group welcome the introduction of a windfall tax on the excess profits of energy companies. The solidarity contribution to be paid for by fossil fuel companies is necessary to ensure that SMEs are less exposed to market volatility and speculation. The Greens/EFA Group calls for clear and binding measures to protect companies and households, in particular those at risk of not being able to heat their homes during winter.
The European Parliament will adopt its position on the EU regulation against imported deforestation. The EU is responsible for 16% of deforestation worldwide that often lead to human rights violation of local and indigenous people and contribute to massive biodiversity loss. Through the “deforestation due diligence” regulation, companies will be required to guarantee that commodities and products sold in Europe are deforestation free.
The text submitted to the Plenary vote improves the initial Commission proposal by integrating several Greens requirements: even if it does not propose to extend the scope to all ecosystems, the text enlarges the scope to "other wooded land". The proposal also adds more commodities and products; proposes to include international human rights legislation; and to include financial institutions.
Debate Monday, vote Tuesday.
The European Parliament will vote on the directive for minimum wages in the EU. The Greens/EFA Group has been vocal on the need to ensure a sufficient income for workers, including platform workers, in order for them to be able to afford a decent standard of living. Minimum wages across the EU must be proportionate to the cost of living, with Member States being required to promote collective bargaining. By adapting the national minimum wage to the level of the EU directive, it is expected that gradually two-thirds of the Member States will see their minimum wage increase. In the context of the current cost-of-living crisis, such measures are more needed than ever.
Debate Tuesday, vote Wednesday.
These two energy directives can become the most important tools for energy security and independence, in addition to counteracting the sky-rocketing energy prices across the EU. The EED and RED III, as part of the Green Deal and Fit for 55 package, are key pieces of legislation to achieve the EU climate targets. Saving the climate and ensuring energy sovereignty will require the rapid and equal expansion of renewable energies and energy efficiency measures. The EED proposes the introduction of an EU energy savings target of 14.5%, as well as mandatory national savings targets to oblige every single Member State to save energy.
The revised RED aims at pushing higher shares of renewables in various sectors: transport, heating and cooling, buildings and industry. The Greens/EFA Group has been pushing for increased ambition in terms of binding targets and increased sustainability for bioenergy, and 56% renewables for 2030.
The European Parliament will vote on its position on both directives. The Greens/EFA Group calls on every Member State to save 2% more energy between 2024 and 2030 - without exceptions or loopholes. To ensure that all Member States are on track in terms of energy saving, the Greens/EFA will also vote in favour of interim targets for 2025 and 2027.
Debates EED Monday, RED Tuesday & votes Tuesday and Wednesday
Following months of record-breaking and catastrophic heat waves, droughts, and flooding across the globe, including Europe’s worst drought in 500 years, the Greens/EFA Group has initiated a renewed parliamentary debate and resolution. The EU and the world are facing increasingly serious effects of climate change, which disproportionately impact vulnerable groups and threaten their fundamental rights. The Greens/EFA urge MEPs to pass a strong resolution, which calls on the European Commission to increase the ambition on protection of nature and climate action, including climate-proofing farmland using agro-ecology.
Debate Tuesday morning, vote Thursday noon
This plenary session, MEPs will vote on an interim report by Greens/EFA Rapporteur Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield to the Article 7 procedure for the Hungarian government’s breaches of EU values. Since the European Parliament voted to start the Article 7 procedure for Hungary in 2018, the Hungarian government and its allies have forced the Central European University to leave the country, shut down independent press outlets and launched attacks against the LGBTIQ community, all while continuing to undermine the rule of law. This report will provide EU governments with an update to the 2018 report, which is expected to be debated during the General Affairs Council on October 18th. The Greens/EFA Group are calling on European Member States to provide concrete recommendations on the rule of law, with a deadline to act, to the Hungarian government as the next step in the Article 7 procedure.
Debate Wednesday, Vote Thursday
On Tuesday, MEPs will debate the current situation around pushbacks at the EU’s borders and the treatment of migrants and refugees in Europe. Over the summer, a child tragically died at the Greek-Turkish border, where illegal pushbacks persist. This week, migrants were again left adrift in the Mediterranean sea before being brought to shore in Crete, leaving at least two further children dead. Reception conditions in Belgium, the Netherlands and elsewhere in the EU are unacceptable and deteriorating, with many people being forced to stay in inhumane conditions. People’s rights are being breached across the EU. Member States need to uphold existing EU laws on reception conditions and the right to asylum. The Commission needs to finally step up to ensure that Member States are living up to their obligations under EU law.
EU response to the increase in energy prices in Europe, debate Tuesday afternoon on the Greens/EFA initiative, the resolution will be voted during the October I Plenary Session
GREENS/EFA PRESS CONTACTS
Simon McKeagney (Head of Communication)
Alex Johnson (EN press officer)
Pia Kohorst (DE press officer)
Guendalina De Sario (FR press officer)
Helena Hellström Gefwert (EN press assistant)
Mia Müller (DE press assistant)
Valentina Chiarini (FR press assistant)
Valentina Servera Clavell (EFA Communications officer)