Gérôme Bruneau
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Greens/EFA Debriefing

Plenary week, 22-26 October 2018

Table of contents


  • COP 24 - Climate
  • COP 14 - Convention on Biological Diversity 
  • Reducing plastic pollution 
  • The use of Facebook users’ data by Cambridge Analytica and the impact on data 
  • Charging of heavy goods vehicles 
  • Use of antibiotics in farming 
  • Drinking water directive and open letter 
  • Decision on Sakharov Prize winner, 2018 
  • Future of Europe debate with Klaus Iohannis, Romanian President 
  • Debate on EU-wide breaches of REACH chemicals regulation
  • Killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul




COP 24 - climate summit


Debate Monday, 22 October, vote Thursday, 25 October


The next COP24 UN climate summit will take place from 3 to 14 December in Katowice, Poland. Countries will discuss their national climate plans will be of crucial importance if we are to keep global warming within the 1.5c limit. 

Ahead of the UN climate summit, MEPs voted to call on EU governments and the European Commission to heed the warnings of recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The resolution adopted by the Parliament sets out its position for the COP24 and increases the ambitions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 40% to 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels in order to respect the Paris climate goals.

“Today's vote is a clear criticism of current climate policy and a strong mandate for EU environment ministers and the European Commission to act. As one of the world's largest economic blocs, the European Union must play a leading role in climate negotiations and must not be content with small steps towards climate protection." declared climate spokesperson Bas Eickhout.



Further information

Yan Dupas – Advisor on environmental issues

Delphine Chalençon - Climate Change Campaigner



COP 14 - Convention on Biological Diversity


Debate Monday, 22 October, vote Thursday, 25 October


The European Parliament adopted by a large majority the resolution on the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP14).


Unfortunately, a Greens/EFA amendement calling for an international moratorium on a new and alarming biotechnology known as ‘gene drive’ - whereby scientists can manipulate genes and in theory eradicate entire populations of living organisms - was rejected notably because of the split in the voting behaviour within the Liberal (ALDE) and Socialist (S&D) groups. The amendment, which was tabled as a cross-party initiative led by the Greens/EFA group, urged the European Commission to take a stand on this issue during the next Conference of the parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity. 



Further information

Yan Dupas – Advisor on environmental issues

Juliette Leroux - GMO Campaigner



Reducing plastic pollution 


Debate Monday, 22 October, vote Wednesday, 24 October


The European Parliament Wednesday voted to ban a whole range of plastic products which contribute to destructive and toxic pollution on land, rivers and seas. This is a huge win for the planet.


The text proposes banning certain single use plastic items such as straws, plates, cutlery, and balloon sticks. It also introduces producer responsibility on food containers, tobacco products and wet wipes. The Parliament, following an amendment by Greens/EFA group, also proposes to ban oxo-plastic, which is often marketed as biodegradable, whereas in reality it fragments and turns into microplastic.


Margrete Auken, spokesperson on plastics for the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament said:

"A tonne of plastic is dumped into our oceans every single minute, that's why this vote is vital for the future of our planet. This proposal is not a panacea but it's a start on the way to healing our planet from the pain of plastic pollution that we have caused over the last century. 

Now the European Parliament will take this ambitious text to negotiations in November with the European Commission and Council. We call on them to listen to the will of the European Parliament's vote, which received a very large cross-party support, and make this text as ambitious as possible.”



Further information
Axel Singhofen, Advisor on Health and Environment Policy



The use of Facebook users’ data by Cambridge Analytica and the impact on data 


Debate Tuesday, 23 October, vote Thursday, 25 October


The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal has shown that big platforms such as Facebook can be a threat to our democratic elections and referendums. The European Parliament adopted the resolution by a large majority. The resolution calls for enhanced transparency and limits on political advertising. The resolution asks for a prohibition of profiling for political targeting based on socio-economic and demographic data and for a voluntary commitment of parties to refrain from using profiling.



Further information:
Aleksejs Dimitrovs - Advisor on legal affairs, civil liberties, justice and home affairs



Charging of heavy goods vehicles 


Debate Wednesday, 24 October, vote Thursday, 25 October


The European Parliament voted on a future EU-wide toll for trucks,busses and vans, which will apply the Greens/EFAcore demand for a 'polluter-pays' principle that would take into account CO2 emissions and road construction costs. This legislation is part of the European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility. The Council has still not adopted its position.


"This is a welcome new instrument in the fight against climate change and air pollution. By applying the "polluter pays" principle and taking into account the environmental impact of heavy goods vehicles the privileged position of the road sector when compared to rail and other more sustainable modes of transport has finally been called into question.",saidKeith Taylor.



Further information
Paul Beeckmans - Advisor on Transport and Tourism



Use of antibiotics in farming 


Debate Wednesday 24 October, vote Thursday 25 October


The European Parliament adopted a new legislative framework for veterinary medicinal products and medicated feed, which are a step forward in preventing the rise in antibiotic resistance.  Under this package of laws, the systematic preventive (prophylactic) use of antibiotics in animal feed will be prohibited. This will also apply to imported foodstuffs. The use of antibiotics on an entire group of animals will only be allowed if disease is diagnosed by a vet and only when there is a high risk of the infection spreading.


"We are delighted that our long battle to tackle the contribution of the farming sector to antibiotic resistance has at last been successful. Antibiotic resistance is a major risk to human and animal health and threatens us all.  Without the routine use of antibiotics, factory farming will no longer be viable, and farmers will need to adopt better farming practices that will improve the life of farm animals across the EU. This is a major victory for public health and for animal welfare."commented Molly Scott Cato.


These three regulations, resulting from "trilogue" negotiations between the three EU institutions, should be adopted by the Council before the end of this year and enter into force by 2022 at the latest.


Texts adopted :


Further information
Andrzej Nowakowski - Advisor on Agriculture and Rural Development



Drinking water directive


Debate Monday, 22 October, vote Tuesday, 23 October


The European Parliament adopted Tuesday the Drinking Water Directive, after 1.68 million citizens called on the EU to recognise access to safe water as a basic human right in the first-ever successful European Citizens Initiative. Our Group abstained in the final vote as the outcome on access to water was paradoxical. On the one hand, the general objective to provide access was strong. But on the other hand, measures to identify those who need water and to improve their access was not conditional.


The conservatives in the EP introduced amendments that weaken the ambition of the proposal. In a joint initiative together with the S&D, GUE and EFDD, the Greens/EFA group published an open letter to push for major improvements to the text, ahead of the plenary vote.


Benedek Jávor, Greens/EFA Vice Chair of the Environment Committee in the European Parliament commented:

"The fact that 274 MEPs abstained shows that the level of ambition from for safe water needs to be much higher. It is shameful that the conservative and liberal groups have watered down progressive changes to the Drinking Water Directive, which would have provided consumers with better information, and would have set increased requirements for water utility companies including on transparency, long-term maintenance of infrastructure and banning disconnections."



Further information
Axel Singhofen, Advisor on Health and Environment Policy



Decision on Sakharov Prize winner, 2018 


Thursday, 25 October

On Thursday, the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament decided on this year’s Sakharov Prize winner. Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov has been awarded the 2018 European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The Greens/EFA group, together with the S&D group, had nominated a collection of NGOs responsible for saving the lives of refugees at sea, in recognition of their tireless humanitarian efforts where national governments are reluctant to act. This collection of NGOs was indeed included in the shortlist of three candidates for the Sakharov prize.

The human rights prize will be awarded at the December plenary session of the European Parliament.



Further information
Raphael Fišera  - Advisor on Human Rights



Future of Europe debate with Klaus Iohannis, Romanian President 


Tuesday, 23 October, 10:30am


Greens/EFA co-president, Ska Keller, participated in the debate on the future of Europe with the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis. The Greens/EFA group demands proper respect for democracy and the rule of law in Romania. Ahead of its European Council Presidency from January 2019, be important that Romania leads the Council as a role model for good governance.


Greens/EFA co-president, Ska Keller, said: “At a time when our common values are being trampled upon, every voice that defends civil rights, democracy and the rule of law counts - regardless of party politics. Mr. President, we count on you. The Romanian people count on you. We need you as a strong voice for democracy and the rule of law in Romania and throughout the European Union.”



Further information:
Mélanie Vogel - Advisor on constitutional affairs



Debate on EU-wide breaches of REACH chemicals regulation


Wednesday, 24 October


At the request of the Greens/EFA group, a debate took place on the unlawful marketing of hundreds of chemicals in the EU without adequate surveillance of whether they are toxic, eco-toxic or harmful to human health. The debate followed publication of a study by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Federal Environment Office showing that one third of the 1,814 chemicals manufactured or imported into the EU since 2010 are in breach of the European Chemicals Regulation REACH and illegal under EU law. The REACH committee held its meeting on Thursday, 25 October and the Greens/EFA called for this issue to be high on the agenda.



Further information
Axel Singhofen, Advisor on Health and Environment Policy



Killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul


Members of the European Parliament adopted by an overwhelming majority a resolution on the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The resolution calls for an independent and impartial international investigation on his murder and for those directly and indirectly responsible to be brought to justice. Greens/EFA Co-Presidents Ska Kellerand Philippe Lambertsappeal to the EU governments to implement the EU-wide ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia, called for in the resolution and which the Parliament has already asked for three times since 2016 through Greens/EFAgroup-led initiatives.



Further information
Paula Lopez Reig - Advisor on Foreign Affairs



Other Greens/EFA motions for resolutions



Want to be kept informed?


Next issue of Greens/EFA Plenary Round-up: 16 November 2018


Policy Paper

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