MEPs descend on Strasbourg for second plenary this month
Brexit, posted workers directive and more on this week's plenary agenda.
European Parliament Strasbourg | Photo credit: Press Association
On Tuesday, MEPs will discuss the outcome of the last week’s Council summit with European Council president Donald Tusk and his Commission counterpart Jean-Claude Juncker.
At the summit, leaders of the EU27 formally announced that sufficient progress had not yet been achieved in the Brexit talks to allow negotiations to move on to the transition and future relationship between the EU and UK.
However, Tusk said EU leaders “agreed to start internal preparatory discussions in relation to the framework for the future relationship and on transitional arrangements.”
The former Polish Prime Minister said that this would not have been possible without the “new momentum” given by the recent Florence speech of UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
Tusk said, “I would like to reassure our British friends that in our internal work we will take account of proposals presented there.”
The next assessment of sufficient progress is expected at the next Council meeting on 14-15 December.
Elsewhere, Parliament will be ready to start talks with EU governments on the revised rules on the posting of workers, as MEPs are expected to back the negotiating mandate in plenary. The amended rules should enshrine the principle of the same remuneration for the same work in the same place, to ensure fair competition between companies and better protection of workers.
In a busy week for MEPs political groups will on Tuesday discuss media freedom and protection for journalists, following the brutal murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese journalist noted for her work on the Panama Papers and corruption.
In a separate debate and vote, Parliament will recommend measures to protect whistle blowers acting in the public interest.
MEPs are also set to discuss actions taken in the EU to combat sexual harassment and abuse, in the wake of recent revelations in the US film industry and the worldwide #MeToo campaign.
In addition, deputies are set to vote on the introduction of an electronic entry/exit system to replace manual passport checks at the Schengen area’s external borders. The new system will register various data on incoming persons from countries outside the EU, admitted for a short stay of 90 days, and share the information with all external border control points to stop illegal entry and track over-stays.
Meanwhile, the Conference of Presidents will elect the winner of this year’s Sakharov prize for freedom of thought, the annual parliamentary human rights prize. The shortlisted candidates are: the Democratic Opposition in Venezuela, Eritrean journalist Davit Isaak and Aura Lolita Chávez, a Guatemalan environmental and human rights defender from the Maya K’iche people.
The European Commission has been accused of unequal treatment in respect of Catalonia during a debate in Parliament on the rule of law in Malta.
Parliament’s EPP group leader, Manfred Weber, has voiced renewed optimism about the eventual outcome of the ongoing Brexit talks after meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
UK Brexit Secretary David Davis has rejected a two-week deadline set for further clarity on Britain’s financial obligations when it leaves the EU in March 2019.
Nord Stream 2 will deliver the gas that Europe needs to underpin energy security and competitiveness, says Ulrich Lissek.
The EU must apply pressure on Armenia to respect the ceasefire and abandon the illegal occupation of occupied regions of Azerbaijan, says Azay Guliyev.
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