This week in the European Parliament

MEPs are back on Monday from a three-week Christmas break for a mixed committee and political group meetings week

By Andreas Rogal

Andreas Rogal is a senior journalist at the Parliament Magazine

07 Jan 2022

Having chosen not to use the New Year’s first week for any committee meetings - as suggested by Parliament’s official calendar - MEPs are back on Monday from a three-week Christmas break for a mixed committee and political group meetings week.

At least twelve committees will be meeting on Monday and Thursday, still in hybrid form due to the pandemic situation, while political groups will be preparing the first plenary session of 2022 featuring the mid-term elections of the presidency and the committee chairs. 

In the wake of two other special committees that wrapped up their work just before the break –beating cancer, and animal transport - the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA) will debate its final report, written by Axel Voss (DE, EPP).

Noting the recent failure of the United Nations to agree on a resolution concerning AI driven lethal weapons, the veteran German legislator commented on Wednesday that his report will call for an international agreement for such weapons “to be subject to meaningful human oversight and control”.

On Monday, the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) has important aspects of European democracy on the agenda, notably the Rule of Law and the role of civil society.

On the former, the JURI committee is to vote on its opinion on the Commission’s 2021 report. The Committee on Budgets (BUDG) will follow suit with its vote on the report on Thursday.

Three committees will hold votes on their part in the 2020 EU budget discharge procedure – ENVI, TRAN and LIBE, all on Thursday – while the Budgetary Control Committee (CONT) itself will meet on Monday already to address a partial renewal of the European Court of Auditors (ECA).

CONT members will hear from the ECA candidates from the Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia, and then hold a vote on their recommendation for their appointment to the plenary.

The EU’s new climate action instrument/own resource, the carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) will be the focus of much parliamentary work this year. Making a start with a vote on its views on the Commission proposal is the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) on Monday.

Earlier this week, the author of Parliament’s main report, Mohammed Chahim (NL, S&D), published a thread on Twitter outlining its main thrust, which has already been described as substantially altering the Commission’s proposals.

The rapporteur’s own committee, ENVI, will debate proposed revisions to one of the other main Green Deal own resources, the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) on Thursday.

The Commission’s new own resources package as such, presented just before the break, is on the agenda of the Committee on Budgets (BUDG) on Thursday, when members will discuss it with Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

The Commission’s Director General for tax matters, Gerassimos Thomas, a frequent visitor to Parliament confirmed in a tweet on Thursday that the other two EU institutions are also looking for substantial progress on this:

Another climate action jigsaw piece will be on the agendas of both the JURI and the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) is the reform of corporate sustainability reporting, seen by many as an important instrument in bringing industry into the Green Deal fold.

JURI committee members will consider amendments to Pascal Durand’s (Renew, FR) report on Monday, and EMPL ones those to Kira Marie Peter-Hansen’s (Verts/ALE) opinion on Thursday.