This week in the European Parliament

The European Parliament’s Committees and Political Groups will be meeting in Brussels this week with important decisions due on both fronts, and against the background of a Rule of Law crisis triggered by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal ruling against the primacy of EU law on Friday
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By Andreas Rogal

Andreas Rogal is a Brussels-based journalist and copy editor

11 Oct 2021

Starting a series of position votes, Parliament's Budgets (BUDG) Committee will confirm its stance on the 2022 EU Budget on Monday.

Parliament’s negotiator Karlo Ressler (CR, EPP) said in a press release on Friday that, “The task is not finalised. We have to convince our colleagues in the Council that the investment in recovery has no alternative and that these are the expectations of our citizens”.

Tens of thousands of mostly young protesters in the streets of Brussels reminded the capital city of the urgency of climate action on Sunday.

On Tuesday the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee will vote on their position for the upcoming COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Parliament will be represented at the summit with an official delegation, comprising of members from all political group, some of which are also been co-rapporteurs of the ENVI resolution.

One of the EPP’s delegates, Lídia Pereira, told the Parliament Magazine, "Europe arrives at the Conference with renewed ambition and legitimacy. With the Climate Law approved and the “Fit for 55” package under discussion in Parliament and the Council, there are good arguments to ask other countries to be more ambitious, particularly the most polluting ones”.

"On Tuesday the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee will vote on their position for the upcoming COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. Parliament will be represented at the summit with an official delegation, comprising of members from all political group, some of which are also been co-rapporteurs of the ENVI resolution"

The Portuguese deputy added: “Europe is moving from words to actions, and we want others to do the same and to make progress in increasing their nationally determined contributions, in other words, the emission reductions required of each country. The risks, which are turning into unavoidable consequences, like the desertification of southern Europe, cannot be ignored."

Having discussed progress in the implementation of the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability with the Commission and with the Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Bjorn Hansen, on Monday, the ENVI Committee will vote on its position on the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe as presented in the own-initiative report by the EPP’s Spanish delegation leader Dolors Montserrat. 

The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee will hear a presentation on Tuesday of a report by Parliament’s in-house Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs, on the European Commission's legislative proposals for the New Pact on Migration and Asylum.

LIBE members will also have the final vote on the “Resilience of critical entities (COD)” report by Renew Vice-Chair Michal Šimečka, which aims to improve the resilience of essential services and industries from sabotage, natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

The Slovak deputy told this site that, "Critical entities provide essential services across the EU while facing a growing number of both man-made and natural threats. Our ambition is to strengthen their ability to cope with risks to their operations while improving the functioning of the internal market in essential services”.

He added: “We are expected to deliver on a Europe that protects and that means also bolstering the collective resilience of the critical systems underpinning our way of life.”

A delegation of LIBE’s ‘Rule of Law and Media Freedom in the EU’ monitoring group will visit Slovenia from Wednesday until Friday where they will meet representatives from NGOs, the academic world, as well as the government Ombudsman, journalists, state prosecutors and government officials. 

"With half-time in the European Parliament’s five-year term approaching, the EPP Group look like being the first to organise the elections for its leadership - chair and ten vice-chairs - for the second half of this legislative term on Wednesday"

On Thursday, the LIBE committee will vote on a media freedom report aimed at stopping strategic lawsuits against public participation, so-called 'SLAPP lawsuits',across Europe.

The own-initiative report, titled “Strengthening Democracy and Media Freedom and Pluralism in the EU: the undue use of actions under civil and criminal law to silence journalists, NGOs and civil society” has been jointly drafted by LIBE and the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee, with Parliament’s First Vice-President Roberta Metsola (MT, EPP) and Tiemo Wölken (DE, S&D), respectively, as co-rapporteurs.

Metsola in a press release, said, "We need to protect journalists against abusive lawsuits aimed at silencing them. I want our Parliament to give them the cover they need”.

In the absence of any anti-SLAPP legislation in the Member States, the report calls for an EU anti-SLAPP Directive which would provide minimum safeguards for media freedom and freedom of expression in the entire Union.

Apart from proposals for legislation - which the Commission is currently working on - Metsola and Wölken also suggest practical measures such as a fund to support SLAPP victims, or a one-stop-shop for assistance, information and practical advice.

With half-time in the European Parliament’s five-year term approaching, the EPP Group look like being the first to organise the elections for its leadership - chair and ten vice-chairs - for the second half of this legislative term on Wednesday.

Manfred Weber, who has been at the helm of the EPP Group since 2014, will be seeking re-election. The Bavarian politician had announced last month that he is also planning to run for the presidency of the EPP to replace Donald Tusk who has returned to national politics in Poland.

The Chair of the Renew Europe Group, Dacian Cioloş meanwhile resigned his chairmanship last week to dedicate more time to leading a newly merged liberal party in his home country Romania.

The deadline for candidacies for the group chair expires on Tuesday afternoon and Renew will then go on to vote on a successor for Cioloş at Parliament’s next plenary session in Strasbourg.

Read the most recent articles written by Andreas Rogal - European Parliament signs off on EU’s flagship Farm to Fork plans

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