This week in the European Parliament

Brussels and Strasbourg will both be devoid of European legislators this week as MEPs either devote time to their constituencies or embark on missions to Member States and beyond
Adobe Stock

By Andreas Rogal

Andreas Rogal is a senior journalist at the Parliament Magazine

02 Nov 2021

Delegations from five committees will travel to Greece, Spain, Slovakia, Iceland and the United States.

The International Trade Committee (INTA) delegation, headed by chair Bernd Lange (DE, S&D) has already made the furthest journey, having arrived in Washington on Monday.

There, they are meeting with White House officials, members of Congress and the US Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai, as well as representatives of US-based European companies, US enterprises, trade unions and think tanks.

The mission could not have been given a much better start than when the long-awaited suspension of US steel and aluminium tariffs on EU imports was announced the day before the delegation boarded the plane to cross the Atlantic.

INTA chair Lange welcomed the news in a statement on the same day, saying, “I am very pleased that the United States will remove most of their 232 tariffs on steel and aluminium up to historic trade volumes for us.”

The step enabled the transatlantic partners to “turn the page on the Trump era” and showed that “this administration is committed to working with us”, Lange wrote.

In turn, the EU will suspend its additional duties imposed on US goods, and both sides agreed to also suspend the disputes they have initiated against each other regarding the matter.

"Delegations from five committees will travel to Greece, Spain, Slovakia, Iceland and the United States. The International Trade Committee (INTA) delegation, headed by chair Bernd Lange (DE, S&D) has already made the furthest journey, having arrived in Washington on Monday"

However, Lange also argued that there is still work to be done: “First, we need to work on the full resolution of this unfortunate dispute created by the previous US government. Second, we need to find solutions to tackle global overcapacity [of steel and aluminium production].”

Also on the agenda will be the new Transatlantic Trade and Technology Council (TTC), and the EU’s planned Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).

Halfway across the Atlantic, a delegation of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), will, from Wednesday, gather the evidence on how the world’s first law to close the gender pay gap is making a difference.

Since 2018, Iceland requires companies and institutions with more than 25 employees to prove that they pay men and women equally for a job of equal value.

The European Parliament had reaffirmed its commitment to close the gender pay gap during last week’s Gender Equality Week, the spirit of which has been summed up by FEMM chair Evelyn Regner (AT, S&D) writing for the Parliament Magazine with the words “equality is a goal that, when achieved, makes life better for everyone.”

In Reykjavik, the five delegates from four political groups, led by Regner, the FEMM chair, will hear from various stakeholders - government representatives, members of the Parliament, experts, and representatives of women’s rights organisations, civil society and professional bodies - about the implementation of this policy and its results.

The MEPs are also hoping to meet Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir at her office on Friday before they leave, an appointment yet to be confirmed.

Closer to home, a delegation from the Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) Committee will travel to Košice, Slovakia’s second largest city near the border with Hungary, on Wednesday.

 

"Halfway across the Atlantic, a delegation of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), will, from Wednesday, gather the evidence on how the world’s first law to close the gender pay gap is making a difference. Since 2018, Iceland requires companies and institutions with more than 25 employees to prove that they pay men and women equally for a job of equal value"

Five MEPs from three political groups will be visiting several Roma settlements in the area, as well as projects co-financed by the European Social Fund plus (ESF +) which are supposed to promote social inclusion and the employment of disadvantaged groups.

The delegation is led by EMPL committee chair Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (Renew), and, in the EPP’s Miriam Lexmann, includes a second Slovak member.

Apart from the social inclusion of potentially disadvantaged groups, outward labour migration and labour market developments will also be raised in meetings with social partners, NGO representatives, local administrators and social workers.

Already at their destination in Greece since Monday for a three-day visit is a delegation from the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee.

Led by its chair Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D), seven LIBE members from six political groups are visiting the front-line migration Member State to see for themselves how the establishment of new multi-purpose reception centres is progressing and how the applications for international protection are being managed.

Four delegation members are closely involved in the first two legislative reports from the new EU Migration Pact, currently being worked on in LIBE, among them notably Renew Group’s Fabienne Keller (FR) who is the rapporteur for the draft legislation dealing with border aspects, “common procedure for international protection in the Union”.

LIBE chair López tweeted on Tuesday afternoon from the mission, including two images of the delegation visiting a refugee camp: “Compelling testimonies from Afghan Asylum Seekers, families, unaccompanied minors, in Malakasa refugee camp, EurParl LIBE Comm Mission to Greece: What future, for those rejected? the case for improving EU MS response, access to supplies, health & education, with IOM&UNHCR.”

"Following a petition by the Spanish NGO Dignidad y Justicia, five delegates, none of them Spanish, and led by Agnès Evren (EPP, FR), and five additional “accompanying” members, all of them Spanish, will travel on Wednesday, first to the Basque Country, and later to Madrid. Their mission is to “inquire into the 379 still-unsolved murders attributed to the terrorist Basque separatist organisation ETA”, as Parliament’s press release put it"

He will hold a press conference on the mission’s findings on Wednesday at 17:30 CET.

Finally, the mission of the Petitions (PETI) Committee to Spain this week has the unusual flavour of a crime drama, as it involves unsolved murders.

Following a petition by the Spanish NGO Dignidad y Justicia, five delegates, none of them Spanish, and led by Agnès Evren (EPP, FR), and five additional “accompanying” members, all of them Spanish, will travel on Wednesday, first to the Basque Country, and later to Madrid. 

Their mission is to “inquire into the 379 still-unsolved murders attributed to the terrorist Basque separatist organisation ETA”, as Parliament’s press release put it.

The delegation and their accompanying group will visit the Memorial Centre for the Victims of Terrorism in Vitoria first, before meeting the petitioners, as well as representatives of the government, the police, the judiciary and of victims’ associations in Madrid.

Read the most recent articles written by Andreas Rogal - Slovenian MEPs row over Rule of Law report

Categories

EU Institutions
Share this page