This week in the European Parliament

Parliament began its mixed Committee and Political Groups meetings week with another monetary dialogue between the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) and European Central Bank (ECB) president Christine Lagarde on Monday morning
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By Andreas Rogal

Andreas Rogal is a senior journalist at the Parliament Magazine

15 Nov 2021

On Monday afternoon, four more committees are hosting prestigious guests for debates and hearings.

The Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) will discuss “Lessons Learned from Afghanistan” with Professor Rachel Tecott from the Strategic and Operational Research Department of the US Naval War College who will contribute the view from across the Atlantic on a critical assessment of Washington’s approach to military assistance.

The Foreign Affairs’ other subcommittee, on Human Rights (DROI), will hear from United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ilze Brands Kehris on the situation in Mali and the broader Sahel region. Brands Kehris visited Mali earlier this month.

The Committee on Regional Development (REGI) will discuss aspects of the EU’s new cohesion policy 2021-2027 which has been allocated €392bn to its four funds, with a director and the director-general of the Commission’s DG Regio, Marc Lemaître.

The Special Committee on Foreign Interference in all Democratic Processes in the European Union, including Disinformation (INGE) will hold a hearing on “disinformation and conspiracy theories: vaccination, climate change, migration, etc.” with five experts, among them Sander van der Linden, professor of Social Psychology in Society from the University of Cambridge, England.

Together with the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL), the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) will consider the amendments submitted to what is hoped to become a milestone in the fight for gender equality and closing the gender pay gap, Samira Rafaela (Renew, NL) and Kira Marie Peter-Hansen’s (Greens/EFA, DK) report on the Commission’s proposal for a Pay Transparency Directive

As can be expected at this time of year, draft annual reports are also on the agenda in several committees. The SEDE committee will start on Monday by considering the amendments submitted to committee chair Nathalie Loiseau’s report in the “implementation of the common security and defence policy - annual report 2021”.

The chair of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT), Sabine Verheyen (DE, EPP), will see one last exchange of views on her report about the European Year of Youth 2022, before the committee votes on whether to enter into inter-institutional negotiations, a.k.a. trilogue, about it.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had announced in her State of the Union speech in September to make 2022 the European Year of Youth, which she intended as a kind of compensation for young people who have been “robbed (…) of many opportunities - to meet and make new friends, to experience and explore new cultures” by the COVID-19 pandemic, as she put it.

Verheyen is hoping to reach an agreement in trilogue in the first week of December.

Together with the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL), the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) will consider the amendments submitted to what is hoped to become a milestone in the fight for gender equality and closing the gender pay gap, Samira Rafaela (Renew, NL) and Kira Marie Peter-Hansen’s (Greens/EFA, DK) report on the Commission’s proposal for a Pay Transparency Directive. 

With Tuesday and Wednesday reserved for the preparation of next week’s plenary session in Strasbourg by the political groups, Thursday is shaping up as a particularly busy day for some of the most influential committees.

On Thursday, LIBE will also debating reports by two key members, chair Juan Fernando López Aguilar’s (ES, S&D) on “addressing situations of crisis and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum” and Sophie in t’ Veld’s “citizenship and residence by investment schemes”, dealing with the controversial practice of some Member States granting so called “golden visas” to rich individuals in return for money

The ECON committee will continue its dialogue with high profile administrators, hearing from Niels Thygesen, Chair of the European Fiscal Board about the EFB’s 2021 annual report, conducting a “structured dialogue” with Executive Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager on competition matters, and receiving an update on the digital euro from Fabio Panetta, Italian member of the Executive Board of the ECB.

Fresh from having their minds focussed on climate action by the COP26 conference in Glasgow, members of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI), will discuss the Commission’s legislative proposal to minimise the risk of ‘imported’ deforestation and forest degradation with Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius.

ENVI chair Pascal Canfin had highlighted the issue, particularly acute in trade with Brazil and other rain forest rich countries, at the Glasgow conference.

EMPL members will meanwhile complete the committee stage of their own-initiative report in preparation of legislative proposals on the revision of the European Works Council Directive with a final vote on Gabriele Bischoff’s (DE, S&D) “Democracy at work: A European framework for employees' participation rights”.

The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) will vote on the outcome of trilogue negotiations concerning updates of the EU Framework Decision and the Directive on data protection, which had been led by Jeroen Lenaers (NL, EPP) and Marina Kaljurand (EE, S&D) respectively.

Finally, LIBE will also debating reports by two key members, chair Juan Fernando López Aguilar’s (ES, S&D) on “addressing situations of crisis and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum” and Sophie in t’ Veld’s “citizenship and residence by investment schemes”, dealing with the controversial practice of some Member States granting so called “golden visas” to rich individuals in return for money.

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