Plenary topics

Strasbourg Plenary Session

The Parliament meets regularly to vote and debate at its plenary session, in Brussels or Strasbourg. Ahead of each plenary session, the S&D Group announces its priorities and its objectives for the main debates, reports and resolutions.

The S&D Group holds a press conference at 10:10-10:30 CET on Tuesdays during Strasbourg plenary weeks, in room LOW N-1/201. You can also watch it live via our homepage.

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E.g., 03/21/2018
E.g., 03/21/2018
Result: 237

2013 progress report on Serbia


This report welcomes the decision of the European Council of 28 June to launch the accession negotiations with Serbia and states that the EU-Serbia intergovernmental conference should take place in December 2013, provided that Serbia meets the criteria laid down in the Council's conclusions. As the outcome of the committee vote was in line with the voting indications by the S&D shadow rapporteur, no adjustments are required for the plenary. 

The S&Ds strongly support the opening of accession talks with this important player in the western Balkans. However, it should also be underlined that a lot of work lies ahead: the S&D Group will continue to support this process to the end.

Wildlife crime (oral question)


The oral question and resolution tabled by the environment, public health and food safety committee aims to keep wildlife crime high on the political agenda, both in the EU and globally. It is the fourth-biggest form of illegal activity after drug trafficking, counterfeiting and human trafficking. It has strong links to organised crime and poses a serious threat to regional stability and security, human health and biodiversity. It is estimated that revenues generated by the trafficking of endangered species amount to between €18 and 26 billion per year and that the EU remains both a significant market and transit route for the illegal wildlife trade.

The resolution stresses that a renewed, co-ordinated global response – based on the CITES treaty and other laws and initiatives – is essential, along with strengthened political will at the highest level. A better, more effective use of law enforcement measures and criminal justice systems is needed at both national and international level, and member states must set aside resources to this end. Appropriate criminal penalties must be applied across the board to avoid any loopholes in the system.

Public procurement


Public procurement (PP) plays an important role in the overall economic performance of the European Union. In Europe, public authorities spend around 18-19% of GDP on supplies, works and services to meet the needs of citizens and public administration; this represents a constant flow of public investment which has become even more important in times of economic crisis. Given the volume of purchases, public procurement can be used as a powerful lever for achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The new provisions on public procurements will help to boost investments though public procurements contracts for works and services in order to guarantee respect for social and environmental obligations, to promote innovation and quality and to ensure sound and efficient public expenditure.

Food crisis, fraud in the food chain and the control thereof


In the aftermath of the horsemeat scandal at the beginning of 2013, the environment, public health and food safety committee decided to draft an own initiative report on ways to combat fraud in the food chain.

Food fraud currently affects a range of products including fish, organic foods, olive oil, milk and cereals, but it was the horsemeat scandal that brought the subject to the fore, prompting new ways to tackle this recurring problem. Major issues addressed in the report include the need for a harmonised definition of food fraud; identifying contributing factors; enhancing the role and resources of the Food and Veterinary Office; improved co-operation between member states via Europol regarding cross-border cases; and urgent revision of EU laws on food labelling.

Award of concession contracts


In December 2011 the Commission put forward an important package of legislative proposals concerning public procurement (PP) and a new directive dealing with concessions contracts for works and services as announced in the Single Market Act I.

The new provisions on concessions will help central and local authorities to organise an efficient, transparent and modern system for awarding work and service contracts. At the same time it will ensure contractors are bound to respecting social and environmental obligations, and preserve the public provision of services of general economic interest, and water in particular. This package will promote investment in works and services based on innovation and quality.

CO2 emissions from new light commercial vehicles


As part of the strategy to reduce CO2 emissions from light vehicles, the EU adopted legislation in 2011 setting CO2 emission targets for new vans sold on the European market. It limits CO2 emissions from new vans to an average of 175 grams of CO2 per kilometre by 2017 and 147g/km by 2020. The S&D Group's lead negotiator suggests supporting the agreement reached – despite a lack of long-term targets – as the timely adoption of this legislation will allow for adequate time to work towards setting a 2025 target.

Setting emissions targets for vans will help reduce fuel consumption, keep European products at the forefront of technological innovation and benefit the environment. This legislation is a clear win-win for both the consumers and the automotive industry in Europe.

European Central Bank annual report for 2012


Each year the economics and monetary affairs committee drafts an own-initiative report on the activities of the European Central Bank (ECB). Given the particular significance of monetary policy, particularly in 2012/2013, the rapporteur insisted on drafting a bold report with clear support for the ECB to carry out daring expansionary and unconventional monetary operations, giving it a more active role through direct action on investments, employment and consumption. It should therefore have a dual mandate in order to allow the bank to act as an anti-cyclical force within the eurozone.
However, the text drafted by the committee has been watered down by the EPP, ALDE and the ECR and therefore does not clearly refer to a possible ECB dual mandate or call for the bank to use quantitative easing. However, the text does include some positive elements, such as the ECB’s non-monetary operations. 

Generalised tariff preferences (GSP +)


The EU generalised system of preferences (GSP) allows developing countries to pay lower duties on their exports to the EU. This gives them vital access to EU markets, helping jobs and growth. A revised GSP regulation was adopted earlier this year and will come into effect on 1 January 2014. Under the scheme certain countries qualify for additional preferences, known as GSP+, by ratifying and implementing international conventions on human and labour rights, the environment and good governance. The Commission has presented a list of 10 countries which it believes qualify for GSP+, including Armenia, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Georgia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Paraguay and Peru.

There has been concern that not all of these countries comply fully with the standards expected of them, in particular Pakistan. The Commission insists that based on expert assessments using a ‘scorecard’ system, all the countries fulfil the requirements approved by the European Parliament. This oral question asks the Commission to give details on the ‘scorecards’, including how it will ensure effective monitoring, how the European Parliament will be involved and how it will use information provided by monitoring bodies and civil society.

Development and 'state building' in South Sudan


This report insists that efforts continue to be made to resolve the outstanding issues between Sudan and South Sudan on implementing the comprehensive peace agreement of 2005, with the help of the international community. The two countries should refrain from using threats and force, and respect the Addis Ababa agreements of December 2012. Better systems are needed to make the best use of the oil revenues in the region.
The report calls on South Sudan to ratify the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states. It also asks the EU to support the development of a permanent constitution based on popular consultation and to extend the mandate of the special representative for Sudan and South Sudan, which would increase the leverage and visibility of the EU. The implementation of laws and regulations already in place is lagging behind, so we welcome the EU's efforts to support capacity-building in the legal system. The rapporteur also calls for an end to child marriages and to the harassment, unlawful detention and censorship of journalists and human rights activists.. The authorities should carry out prompt, effective and impartial investigations into all allegations of such acts and hold those responsible to account.

Constitutional problems of multi-tier governance in the EU


Multi-tier governance is characterised by different speeds of integration, by a variety and complexity of structures and institutional relations, by different kinds of competences and levels of powers for each policy, and by many centres of democratic control. Differentiated integration is an essential element of European integration without the use of intergovernmental agreements.
This report proposes that the 'community method' should be used for all measures aimed at strengthening economic and monetary union (EMU). The European stability mechanism should be integrated into the community acquis and made accountable to the European Parliament. Differentiation is a tool, not an end in itself: it is essential that priority is given to the unity of the EU. The report also proposes that amendments are made to the treaties, such as strengthening the powers of the Commission/ECOFIN; the role of the European Parliament, taxation in the EU and the entry into force of a new treaty after ratification by four fifths of the member states.