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

Credit agreements relating to residential property

9-12 September 2013 (Strasbourg)
10/09/2013

This directive is significant as the first piece of European legislation in the field of mortgages and the first bill relating to financial reform which focuses on a retail banking product. Mortgages are the most important financial commitment most European families make and the mortgage market represents more than the 52% of the EU’s GDP.

The agreement reached with the Council will contribute to reactivating the economies of many member states, while avoiding the irresponsible mortgage lending and borrowing which was a major cause of the financial crisis. This directive sets out the path and principles for a profound reform of the European mortgages market, to be implemented by member states over the next two years.

Right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and right to communicate upon arrest

9-12 September 2013 (Strasbourg)
09/09/2013

Despite being widely debated, the Council and Parliament differed on several core issues. These included the exclusion of certain 'minor offences' from the scope of the directive; derogations from the rights granted under the directive and the conditions that would apply; the principle of confidentiality between the accused and their lawyer; the legal remedies available to suspects deprived of their rights; and the link between this directive and the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). The overall agreement reached during negotiations is clearly a compromise.

 

At the insistence of the S&D shadow rapporteur, the principle of confidentiality was successfully included in the directive without derogations. The S&Ds also established clear rules on the use of derogations so that they will be proportionate, strictly time-limited, not based solely on the seriousness of the alleged offence and will not prejudice the overall fairness of the proceedings.

More efficient and cost-effective interpretation in the European Parliament

9-12 September 2013 (Strasbourg)
09/09/2013

This report acknowledges the importance of multilingualism for the Parliament to enable people to access information, exercise their democratic rights and be fully aware of what the Parliament does. Multilingualism and interpretation are essential if the Parliament is to be transparent and they also enable legislators to work on highly technical legislative information in their own language and that of their citizens. 

 

The focus is therefore primarily on efficiency for those within Parliament who use the interpretation services rather than EU citizens. Efficiency and cost-effectiveness are extremely important but these factors must not erode the availability of live and accessible information in the language of listeners/viewers across the EU.  Consideration of EU citizens and their needs is central to the S&D Group’s approach to this issue.

Fuel Quality Directive and Renewable Energy Directive (indirect land-use change)

9-12 September 2013 (Strasbourg)
09/09/2013

The Renewable Energy Directive sets the target of 20% renewable energy in all EU energy consumption by 2020 and 10% for the transport sector. The Fuel Quality Directive also sets a mandatory target of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 6%, given the high fuel use in road transport and mobile machinery. The Parliament stated clearly in 2008 that indirect land-use change must be considered when calculating emission savings as higher emissions from land-use factors can negate the greenhouse gas savings from biofuels relative to fossil fuels.

 

EU biofuels policy should prevent unintended extra pollution and distortions in global crop prices that fuel poverty, while at the same time protecting existing investments. The S&D Group aims to improve the market for innovative and less polluting biofuels which do not compete with food

A strategy for fisheries in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas

9-12 September 2013 (Strasbourg)
09/09/2013

The Commission recently signalled approval for a draft maritime strategy for theAdriaticand Ionian seas, one of the four pillars which intend to promote sustainable fishing. The S&D Group believes that this should also be a basis for introducing a regional EU strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian area and that the measures relating to the fisheries and aquaculture sector should take account of the sea basin’s specific features, including its relatively shallow, sandy seabed and its lagoons, islands and coastal areas.

 

The S&D Group calls on the Commission to adopt the action plan and a regulation dealing with the management of fishing activities in this region at the earliest opportunity. The Group’s position was also endorsed by the fisheries committee, with a large majority.

Completing the digital single market

04/07/2013

This resolution aims to follow up on the European Commission's statement on completing the digital single market (DSM) and contains specific political demands regarding future legislation proposed by the European Commission. These cover areas related to the DSM such as the protection of privacy and data protection, information and communication technologies, and consumers' economic and legal interests. S&D Group MEPs tabled amendments on the further reduction of roaming charges, universal and equal access to internet services for all citizens, and 'net-neutrality'.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.
Member states  export credit agencies

Timing of auctions of greenhouse gas allowances

December 2013 (Strasbourg)
03/07/2013

The EU's emissions trading system (EU ETS) has created the world's first major carbon market and an EU-wide carbon price – a key tool for reducing the EU’s industrial emissions in a cost-effective way. Despite the reduction of emissions since the start of the EU ETS, the system still has serious imbalances. The current economic crisis, combined with an over-allocation of credits in the first two rounds of the ETS and a significant in-flow of external emission reduction credits from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), have led to a significant surplus of allowances, resulting in a carbon price of around €4/tnCO2 (compared to the €30/tnCO2 envisaged when the climate and energy package was adopted).

The EU ETS is one of the pillars of our climate policy. 'Back loading' to delay the auctions of some allowances is only a short-term measure which should not be seen as a solution to the current imbalances but rather as an option that ensures the stability of the EU ETS until the necessary long-term structural measures are adopted.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.

Further macro-financial assistance for Georgia

December 2013 (Strasbourg)
03/07/2013

At the conciliation stage of the co-decision process on macro-financial assistance (MFA) for Georgia, the Council and the European Parliament reached an agreement to:

  • apply the principles of the Joint Declaration on MFA to the case of Georgia;
  • use the advisory procedure for assistance up to a threshold of €90 million (as the European Parliament wanted);
  • enforce stricter conditions for paying out funds when conditions are not met (as the Council wanted).

The European Parliament delegation was fully united throughout the whole process and our Group can agree with the final deal as it stands.

The S&D Group is pleased that, with this regulation, we can finally give financial assistance to Georgia. The agreement is also positive from an institutional perspective as it respects the powers of the European Parliament.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (2014 - 2020)

December 2013 (Strasbourg)
03/07/2013

Created in 2006, this tool has helped thousands of European workers who have lost their jobs due to the increasingly globalised nature of commerce. More recently, it has helped victims of the economic crisis.

The new EGF (European Globalisation Adjustment Fund) proposal aims to ensure that in the next programming period, the fund continues to operate in line with the basic principles laid down for the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020. It was established to provide active labour market measures to support workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns caused by globalisation, where these redundancies have a significant adverse impact on the regional or local economy.

The proposals from the European Parliament's employment and social affairs committee will improve the fund, making it more accessible, particularly for workers wishing to go back to work; more efficient, as it will reduce processing times for applications; and more attractive for the member states. We would also like to see the EGF help workers to prepare for closures in industries in difficulty. This is about avoiding the kind of social crises that those who work in the steel or automotive industries are experiencing today.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.

Serious cross-border threats to health

December 2013 (Strasbourg)
02/07/2013

The European Commission proposal comes in response to recent crises such as the bird flu pandemic in 2009, the volcanic ash cloud in 2010 and the E. coli bacteria outbreak in 2011, and aims to strengthen measures for protecting populations by tackling such serious cross-border threats to health more efficiently and effectively. It proposes better preparedness and co-ordination plans, to be drawn up in discussion with the European Commission and member states, and builds on the early warning and response system set up in 1988 for communicable diseases, providing better resources, networks and structures, extending the scope of the risk assessment and co-ordination measures to cover all threats to health (of biological, chemical or environmental origin), and strengthening the role of the Health Security Committee.

It is only through a well-prepared, co-ordinated and efficient approach at EU level that member states can better provide the public with the necessary protection and information when faced with a health crisis.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.