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Weekly preview of the Greens/EFA group - 17-21 September 2012

Date

14 Sep 2012

Sections

EU Priorities 2020

EP priorities (full text below):

- Accounting transparency, reporting and conflict resources (legal affairs committee vote, Mon.)

- Implementing EU law and shortfalls (legal affairs committee vote, Mon.)

- The shale gas time-bomb and fracking (environment and energy committee votes - Tues., Weds.; other activities during the week)

- Prioritising quality agricultural exports and sustainable farming (agriculture committee vote, Tues.)

- Setting priorities for EU development policy (development committee vote, Tues.)

- EU-Israel association agreement to be frozen? (trade committee vote, Tues.)

- Regulating offshore oil and gas exploration (environment committee vote, Weds.)

- Lobbying transparency and high-level groups (budget committee decision, Weds.)

 

Greens/EFA events:

- Moving green for mobility week (Mon., Tues.)

- Action against shale gas and fracking (public action, Tues.)

- CAP reform - a more sustainable approach (press conference, Tues.)

 

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Accounting transparency, reporting and conflict resources 

Mon. 17 Sept. - Legal affairs committee votes (McCarthy, Lehne reports)

 

Crucial new draft EU legislation on accounting and transparency for industry will be voted on by the legal affairs committee. The Greens welcomed the Commission proposal but believe it could have gone further. The group believes that the final legislation must include both annual country-by-country reporting and individual project reporting. The latter is particularly essential for providing transparency for extractive industries and forestry and, along the lines of US legislation, would help reduce the problems with these sectors in the developing world. The proposals have been subject to intense lobbying however. (see latest press release)

 

Implementing EU law and shortfalls 

Mon. 17 Sept. - Legal affairs committee vote (Lichtenberger report)

 

The implementation and enforcement of EU legislation remains a major problem, as revealed in this report by Green draftsperson Eva Lichtenberger. The report highlights some of the problem areas, as well as singling out EU member states that are laggards when it comes to implementing EU laws. It also points to the persisting problems with enforcement by the European Commission and the infringement procedure, outlining possible solutions.

 

The shale gas time-bomb and fracking

Tues. 18 Sept. - Energy committee vote; Weds. 19 Sept. - Environment committee vote; Sat. 22 Sept. Anti-fracking Day

 

Shale gas and the controversial practise of its extraction hit the EU agenda this week. MEPs will vote on two different reports on shale gas, one in the energy committee and one in the environment committee on the environmental and public health problems associated with its extraction. The Greens have major concerns about shale gas extraction, notably through fracking, and are working with civil society to try and ensure it is outlawed. Against this background, and in the context of Global Anti-Fracking Day, the group will launch a number of campaign tools this week and host a public action on Tuesday. (click for more information)

 

Prioritising quality agricultural exports and sustainable farming

Tues. 18 Sept. - Agriculture committee vote (Bové reports)

 

The EP's agriculture committee will vote on legislation dealing with the marketing of agricultural exports from the EU, as well as the general marketing of agricultural products. Green MEP and EP draftsperson José Bové believes the goal should be to promote high quality agricultural products and local food chains and to prevent export policy being used to dump excess production onto international markets. The EU should be seeking to promote small scale farmers, with information about production methods and the origin of quality food. The Commission should focus on this in further legislative proposals due later this year.

 

Setting priorities for EU development policy

Tues. 18 Sept. - Development committee vote (Berman report)

 

MEPs on the development committee are set to vote on a key report outlining the priorities for EU development policy from 2014-20. The Greens believe that, to combat poverty, EU development aid should address the structural causes of poverty and include access to fundamental rights such as food, housing, education, health, freedom of expression and association. Empowering people at grass root levels, strengthening government accountability, providing transparency on natural resources management and fair distribution of wealth are crucial. Food security, land ownership, illicit financial flows and climate change are key challenges to be addressed.

 

EU-Israel association agreement to be frozen?

Tues. 18 Sept. - Trade committee vote (Moreira report)

 

The EP's trade committee is set to decide on whether or not to postpone a decision on a new EU association agreement with Israel. The draft agreement would upgrade EU-Israel relations but the Greens and others believe that the timing for such an upgrade is wrong, given the political direction of the current Israeli government. There are also continuing concerns about the lack of progress in ensuring products from the illegally occupied territories in Palestine do not enter EU markets. The Greens therefore support the proposal for the EP to withhold its opinion and keep this new agreement frozen.

 

Regulating offshore oil and gas exploration

Weds. 19 Sept. - Environment committee vote (Paleckis report)

 

Various leaks and accidents have underlined the dangers of offshore oil and gas exploration. MEPs on the environment committee are set to give their opinion on draft revised EU legislation on offshore exploration, an area currently subject to piecemeal regulation in the EU. The Greens believe the highest safety and standards must be uniformly applied, as well as full liability of operators for any environmental or other damage through mandatory financial security, and a ban on any activities in environmentally sensitive areas like the Arctic.

 

Lobbying transparency and high-level groups

Weds. 19 Sept. - Budget committee decision

 

The Greens have long expressed concern about the composition and role of high-level groups used by the Commission in various policy areas. The representation on these shadowy advisory groups has been typically skewed vastly in favour of industry, with limited or no representation to civil society. This also raises questions about influence on policy at a pre-legislative stage. Against this background, MEPs last year supported a Green proposal to freeze funding for these groups until these concerns are addressed. The Commission has made some progress as regards transparency and balance and MEPs will now decide on whether or not to release the funds.

 

Action against shale gas and fracking

Tues. 18 Sept. - Public action, 14.00 - Rue Wiertz (in front of EP)

 

Green MEPs will take part in a public action with NGOs in front of the European Parliament as part of a campaign against shale gas and fracking. The symbolic action is linked to the EP votes (see above) and will include a photo opportunity.

 

CAP reform - a more sustainable approach

Tues. 18 Sept. - Press conference, 14.30 - Room JAN 4Q1 European Parliament

 

Press conference on how to ensure a more sustainable reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy with Greens/EFA co-president Dany Cohn-Bendit and Green MEPs José Bové and Martin Häusling.

 

Moving green for mobility week

Mon. - Tues. 17-18 Sept. - various locations in the European Parliament

 

As part of European Mobility Week, the Greens/EFA group will be organising a number of activities both inside and outside the European Parliament. (click for more information)

 

 

Richard More O'Ferrall,
Press and media officer,
Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament
Mobile: +32-477-443842 - Ph. +32-22841669 (Brussels); +33-388174042
 

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