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Weekly preview of the Greens/EFA group - 9-13 September 2013


06 Sep 2013


EU Priorities 2020

EP priorities (full text below):

  •  Tackling the damaging climate impact of biofuels (Mon., Weds.)
  •  Access to a lawyer: an EU right (Mon., Tues.)
  •  Innovative, sustainable transport technologies (Mon. Tues.)
  •  Supervising European banks (Tues. - poss.)
  •  Mortgages - EU rules under review (Tues.)
  •  Eel stocks under threat (Tues., Weds.)
  •  Covert surveillance and threats to media freedom (Tues.)
  •  Preserving endangered languages in Europe (Weds.)
  •  Access to genetic resources and rights (Weds., Thurs.)
  •  Egypt crisis and the EU's role (Weds., Thurs.)

Other EU priorities:

  •  Net neutrality and open internet (Commission proposal, Tues.)

Greens/EFA events:

  •  Press briefing with Greens/EFA co-presidents (Tues.)
  •  Endangered languages - press conference (Weds.)


Tackling the damaging climate impact of biofuels

Mon. 9 Sept. - EP debate; vote Weds. (Lepage report)


MEPs will vote on EU rules on biofuels and indirect land use change (ILUC). The proposals aim to tackle the problem of switching land from food to biofuel production and the resulting greenhouse gas impact. The Greens largely welcomed the environment committee vote. Including ILUC in accounting greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels would be the most effective and scientifically sound way to discourage diverting food crops for fuels. While the use of food crops for fuel should ultimately be stopped, a 5.5% cap on all land-based biofuels is an important safeguard. (see latest press release)

Access to a lawyer: an EU right

Mon. 9 Sept. – EP debate; vote Tues. (Antonescu report)

An agreement on new EU legislation on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings will be adopted by the EP. The Greens welcomed this groundbreaking EU legislation. The group believes that all those in criminal proceedings should have the right of access to a lawyer and, to this end, ensured a Council proposal to exclude all minor offenses was revised. Suspects should have access to a lawyer from the moment of police questioning and lawyer client confidentiality should be respected. (see latest press release)

Innovative, sustainable transport technologies

Mon. 9 Sept – EP debate; vote Tues. (Cramer report)

MEPs are set to adopt a report by Green MEP Michael Cramer, setting out ideas and proposals on how to promote innovative transport technologies. The report assesses innovative technologies for behavioural change and promoting sustainable mobility and transport modes, as well as highlighting the importance of consumer action, choice and information, such as transport avoidance, intermodal information and ticketing and pricing systems. It also looks at the issue of noise and vibration of transport modes.

Supervising European banks

Tues. 10 Sept. – EP votes possible (Giegold, Thyssen reports)

MEPs will adopt legislation setting up a new European banking supervision system - a central part of the EU banking union. The final legislative deal addresses Green concerns on potential conflicts of interest with the ECB's mandate, consistency for Eurozone and non-Eurozone banks and preserving diverse banking models. It includes provisions to ensure the EP can hold the ECB to account in its new supervisory tasks, with the details to be finalised in an inter-institutional agreement. However, there are still concerns about the ECB's commitment to this. (see latest press release)

Mortgages - EU rules under review  

Tues. 10 Sept. – EP debate and vote (Sanchez Presedo report)

New EU rules on mortgages, which were agreed in negotiations between Parliament and Council, will be endorsed by MEPs. The new rules will provide for greater transparency for consumers, with the inclusion of Green proposals for transparency on mortgages with variable interest rates and in foreign currencies. However, the group regards the legislation as a missed opportunity, as it will fail to address the macroeconomic risks of irresponsible lending, which played such a central role in causing the economic crisis. (see latest press release)

Eel stocks under threat  

Tues. 10 Sept. – EP debate; vote Weds. (Lövin report)

Eel stocks are in a precarious state across Europe. While there are a number of causal factors, made more complex by eels' breeding cycles, overfishing and illegal exports of this valuable fish have clearly played a major contributory role. The EU urgently needs to adopt a recovery plan to give eels a chance: this implies closing the fishery. In addition, there is also a need for a more sustainable approach to re-stocking, to avoid unintentional damage. Green rapporteur/draftsperson Isabella Lövin is calling for a new EU regulation to reflect this. (see latest press release)

Covert surveillance and threats to media freedom     

Tues. 10 Sept. – EP plenary debate

With continuing revelations about covert surveillance by US and European secret services, notably threats to media freedom in the UK and abuse of anti-terrorism legislation, MEPs will debate the affair. The Greens have called for the suspension of EU-US trade negotiations in response. EU data protection rules, currently under review, must be strengthened to allow European citizens to regain control of their data and prevent outside access. The Greens also believe the Commission should verify the legality of actions by the UK authorities and consider possible responses. (see latest press release)

Preserving endangered languages in Europe

Weds. 11 Sept. - EP vote Weds. (Alfonsi report)

The EP will vote on a report by Greens/EFA MEP Francois Alfonsi on endangered languages in Europe. There are hundreds of languages in Europe, of which about 120 are endangered. The report examines this and sets out proposals to preserve and develop endangered languages, underlining the benefits of linguistic diversity. It highlights the potential of new technologies and social media, as well as the importance of learning languages through 'intergenerational transmission'. Prospects for how the EU budget can support endangered languages are also explored.

* Press conference Weds. 15.00 - EP Press Room *

Access to genetic resources and rights

Weds. 11 Sept. - EP debate; vote Thurs. (Bélier report)

MEPs will vote to transpose the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing of genetic resources into EU law. Green draftsperson Sandrine Bélier wants the EU to stick to the spirit of the agreement. In particular, this implies protecting rights for genetic resources in poorer countries and regions, notably for indigenous groups. There needs to be a clear community framework to ensure a fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from these resources.

Egypt crisis and the EU's role

Weds. 11 Sept. - EP debate; vote Thurs.

In response to the situation in Egypt, with the regime's violent clearing of the protestors' and lethal clashes in the streets, the Greens have called on the EU to take urgent action. This means reviewing the EU's different aid and cooperation programmes currently provided to the regime in Egypt and ending cooperation with the regime so long as it continues its current repressive track. After unsuccessful bilateral mediation attempts, the EU has to support the UN in assuming the leading role and push for a UN-led peace conference, including all regional actors. (see latest press release)

Net neutrality and open internet

Tues. 10 Sept. - Commission proposal

The Commission is set to present proposals on completing the single market for electronic communications, including access to online services. Net neutrality and open internet – a core principle on which the internet was founded – is increasingly coming under threat, both in EU member states and beyond. The Greens believe this core principle must be guaranteed across Europe. The Commission should enshrine net neutrality and the rights of internet users in European legislation.

Co-presidents press briefing
Tues. 10 Sept. – 10.30-10.50, European Parliament press room

Press briefing with Greens/EFA co-presidents Dany Cohn-Bendit and Rebecca Harms on the key issues of the plenary session for the Greens/EFA group. The briefing will be livestreamed here: