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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Result: 240

EU trade relations with the Euromed countries

16/01/2014

Following the Arab spring, the EU made numerous commitments to its southern neighbours to help promote peace, democracy and social justice. One of the ways it has done so is by exploring numerous deep and comprehensive free trade agreements (DCFTA) with Euromed countries in order to boost jobs and growth on both sides of the Mediterranean.

In February 2014, trade ministers from the EU and Euromed countries will hold a joint ministerial meeting. This resolution will form the Parliament's position ahead of this meeting and also outline how we expect DCFTA negotiations to progress. The resolution highlights that these agreements are a good opportunity to enhance bilateral trade and investments. However, the text also emphasises that a return to democracy must be fully restored in Egypt and Tunisia before trade relations are deepened further.

Number, names and powers and responsibilities of the parliamentary committees - revision of annex VII to the rules of procedure

15/01/2014

A clearer definition of the committees’ competences, in the light of Lisbon Treaty, will reduce conflict in internal committees and improve the role of the European Parliament as legislator.

The main changes to the final agreement include the development of a more coherent EU approach to criminal law; more general involvement of the specialised committees on the budgetary control committee's activities; enforcement of the internal market; and strengthening consumer rights. The co-ordination role for the EU’s foreign policy was explicitly stated and the prominent role for trade and investment policies and agreements was also highlighted.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and EU

Future of EU-ASEAN relations

15/01/2014

The S&D Group advocates the strengthening of relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and supports efforts towards closer political and economic integration among its member states. A European Union that wants to play a global role cannot and should not neglect this part of the world. The EU and the ASEAN share the political objectives of promoting well-being, co-operation and peace in their respective regions and they can greatly benefit from even closer co-operation.

2013 progress report on Serbia

15/01/2014

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)

14/01/2014

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

14/01/2014

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

14/01/2014

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

14/01/2014

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

13/01/2014

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

12/12/2013

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.