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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Council and Commission statements – Withdrawal of the Maternity Leave Directiv

Council and Commission statements – Withdrawal of the Maternity Leave Directiv

14 - 17 July 2014 (Strasbourg)

The European Commission is considering withdrawing the draft Maternity Leave Directive (also known as the Estrela report) which was adopted with a large majority in the European Parliament in 2010 and has been blocked in Council since then. EU member states are still refusing to start the second reading phase. The Maternity Leave Directive would strengthen women’s rights by ensuring women across the EU are entitled to a minimum of 20 weeks of fully paid maternity leave and making sure they are protected when they return to work. The directive also includes provisions on paternity leave. Withdrawing this proposal sends an extremely negative signal to citizens all over Europe and is a massive setback for women’s rights.

Our Group calls on the Commission and the Council to commit to supporting the directive and conclude negotiations in the coming months, under the Italian presidency.

Opening of the Italian Presidency of the EU

1 - 3 July 2014 (Strasbourg)

On Wednesday 2nd of July Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will address the plenary to mark the opening of the Italian Presidency of the EU (15h00).

Renzi's Partito Democratico is one of the big winners of the recent EU elections. The S&D Group is strongly backing his call on the EU to radically change, get rid of its austerity policy and deliver an ambitious plan for investment to boost growth and employment.

The 8th legislature of the European Parliament kicks off on 1 July 2014 in Strasbourg

1 - 3 July 2014 (Strasbourg)

Following the European elections held on 25 May 2014, the European Parliament will hold its first plenary session in Strasbourg from 1st to 3rd July. This session will mark the constitution of the new elected European Parliament and the start of its 8th legislature (2014-2019).

On Tuesday, MEPs will elect the president the European Parliament for a period of two and half years. They will then elect 14 vice-presidents and 5 quaesters (responsible for administrative and financial matters concerning the MEPs) for a period of two and half years.

The Socialists and Democrats will back Martin Schulz (Germany) as their candidate for president of the European Parliament. The S&Ds will present their candidates for the posts of vice-presidents and quaesters.

European Parliament's right of inquiry


The report uses the European Parliament’s new right of initiative under the Lisbon Treaty to propose changes to the powers of the Parliament’s temporary committees of inquiry, in line with their political role and importance. If implemented, this report will give the European Parliament substantial new powers in dealing with possible contraventions or maladministration in the implementation of European Union law.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund


The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is the last structural fund to be concluded, with a budget of €6.3 billion. The S&D Group is in favour of the final compromise reached with the Council and Commission.

The EMFF will ensure the successful implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy. It will boost innovation, help communities diversify their economies, finance projects that create new jobs, improve quality of life along Europe's coasts and provide consumers with all the information they need. The fund will also support the European aquaculture sector so that it can fully develop its potential. For the first time, the fund will provide support for the integrated maritime policy.

Conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer


This report reflects the European Parliament's first-reading position on the directive proposed by the Commission on intra-corporate transferees (ICTs), which aims to establish harmonised conditions for non-EU nationals to enter and live in the EU under an intra-corporate transfer (a transfer within the same enterprise or groups of enterprises). It forms part of a package on legal migration alongside the Directive on Seasonal Workers and the revision of the Directive on Students and Researchers.

The results of the negotiations are satisfactory and the text now includes a unique autonomous mobility scheme to allow transferees to move within the EU once they have been admitted. It also includes positive provisions on family reunification and sanctions, while all references to quotas have been removed. However, for the S&D Group, there is a major issue as regards the provisions on equal treatment. The Council insists that the employment rights for transferees should be based on the Directive on Posted Workers, but this is unacceptable to us as we believe they should get the same treatment as nationals of the member state they are transferred to.

Transfer of motor vehicles


This report is the first-reading position of the European Parliament on a Commission proposal concerning the simplification of transferring motor vehicles which are already registered in one member state into another. Currently, every member state has its own system of re-registration for motor vehicles and they are often very bureaucratic and complicated. In the Commission's consultation with citizens, one of the top 20 issues raised as a problem affecting the functioning of the single market was the transfer of motor vehicles to another member state.

Surveillance of external sea borders


The agreement concerns binding rules on search and rescue operations, and on the identification of migrants intercepted at sea in order to enable Frontex to respond more effectively and to prevent deaths at sea. The text defines ‘emergency phases’ for search and rescue operations and places a clear duty upon units participating in Frontex operations to engage and to save lives. The rules on search and rescue operations and the disembarkation of migrants will only cover operations that are co-ordinated by Frontex. This should help to dispel confusion created by EU member states’ differing interpretations of international law and practices.

The ‘operational plan’ governing Frontex-co-ordinated border surveillance operations must now include procedures to ensure that persons needing international protection, victims of trafficking, unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable persons are identified and given appropriate help.

Resolution of credit institutions and certain investment firms in the framework of a Single Resolution Mechanism and a Single Bank Resolution Fund


After three months of negotiation, the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on 20 March on the Single Resolution Mechanism Regulation, including a single resolution fund to protect taxpayers against future banking failures by severing the link between states and banks. This new resolution framework would apply to all banks within all participating member states and would be fully implemented from 1 January 2016.

Payment accounts


This Commission proposal aims to remedy the difficulties many consumers have in accessing a payment account, the lack of transparency on fees on such accounts and the obstacles to switching from one payment service provider to another.

The S&D Group has strongly supported the Commission's proposal from the outset and has pressed for a serious outcome. Everyone should have access to the standard transactions essential to everyday life, regardless of factors such as their financial situation, employment status, credit history or place of residence in the European Union. Therefore, our Group has supported the inclusion of all service providers and all consumers in the legislative proposal, and included a large number of services in the basic banking account without any limitation on the number of transactions allowed – with as low a price as possible – if a free approach is not adopted by member states.