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., 07/19/2018
E.g., 07/19/2018
Result: 241

Key information documents for investment products


This is the first piece of legislation to protect small depositors since bank accounts were guaranteed up to €100,000. The S&D Group was pleased to win all of our key votes in committee, including: securing a broader scope; strengthening the product approval process; promoting environmental and social development in financial investment; and strengthening the control of European supervisory authorities on financial products. Despite the EPP's (European People's Party) refusal to commit to negotiations, the final agreement contains elements of all our achievements in committee.

Introduction of noise-related operating restrictions at European Union airports

Introduction of noise-related operating restrictions at European Union airports


The draft regulation harmonises and strengthens rules on how authorities take decisions to set operating restrictions (including bans on night flights) at EU airports to limit nuisance from aircraft noise. The rules are based on principles agreed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), known as the ‘balanced approach’ to noise management, which is designed to identify the most cost-efficient way of tackling aircraft noise at each airport.

At the initiative of the European Parliament, local authorities would retain their powers to decide on noise-related measures at airports. Moreover, the Commission has been obliged to address health-related aspects of aviation noise. The regulation further harmonises, clarifies and strengthens the common rules on how decisions on noise-related operating restrictions at EU airports are taken. The regulation only applies to larger airports, with more than 50,000 civil aircraft movements per year and does not establish specific noise thresholds, which remain the responsibility of national or local authorities.

Framework for the recovery and resolution of credit institutions and investment firms


The Banks Recovery and Resolution Directive sets predictable and credible rules in the event of bank failure in EU member states and establishes solid ex-ante financing for national resolution funds, to be financed by banks. The adoption of this framework is a condition of the Single Resolution Mechanism. After six months of negotiation with the Council, the European Parliament reached a first-reading agreement on 11 December. 

Some key features of this overall package are as follows. The competent authority (supervisor) will be able to determine whether an institution is failing or likely to fail. Member states may, in some circumstances, also empower the resolution authority to reach that decision after consulting with the competent authority. A bail-in regime would apply before any intervention from the resolution fund, with individuals and small businesses to get most protection in the event of claims. Public intervention would be limited and restricted, with only specific and temporary support measures allowed, and only subject to state aid rules and after an adequate bail-in process.

European Union Solidarity Fund


The solidarity fund was designed to respond to natural disasters and demonstrate European solidarity towards badly affected regions in EU member states, as well as candidate countries. The new legislative proposal simplifies the current rules to make the payment of aid faster. It also introduces the possibility of making advance payments. The whole proposal is characterised by greater clarity on whom and what will be eligible, particularly with regard to regional disasters. In addition, the reform encourages member states to include the development of risk management and disaster prevention strategies in their agendas. The principles of the fund remain unchanged, as does the fact that its financing is outside the EU budget.

During the past and current legislative periods, the S&D Group has requested the adoption of a new regulation for the solidarity fund including more flexibility and better efficiency. We therefore followed the negotiations closely and significantly improved the final outcome.

Deposit guarantee schemes


The deposit guarantee schemes framework is one of the three pillars of the banking union, alongside the single supervisory mechanism and the resolution framework. The goal of this legislative proposal is to safeguard deposits under €100,000 in EU member states through ex-ante financing for national funds, paid for by banks and not by taxpayers. A political agreement between the Council and the European Parliament was finally achieved on 18 December.

Deposit guarantee schemes for deposits under €100,000 should reach 0.8% of deposits covered in 10 years and should be funded by 70% of contributions in cash and according to the risk profile of the bank. The pay-out period would be seven working days, with transitional measures up to 2024, as well as an early pay-out system within five working days to cover immediate living costs. Member states need to allow for cover beyond the level of €100,000 for temporary high balances such as the results of selling a residential property. The agreement also specifies that the scheme could be used for preventative action (under strict conditions) and should be applied within 12 months of its entry into force.

Agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries


The Council and Parliament have reached a first-reading agreement on information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products. This agreement includes the majority of the S&D Group's priorities, such as the inclusion of national quality schemes and single brands in the promotion measures; the so-called ‘basket approach’ which will be applied to simple programmes involving the sale of wine both in internal markets and outside the EU; and co-financing rates starting at 70% for simple programmes on the internal market.

Inter-institutional agreement on the transparency register


The inter-institutional agreement on the transparency register adopted in 2011 established a revision two years after its first application. This revision, undertaken by the Parliament and the Commission, has found that a mandatory register is needed in order to make policy making and implementation both more democratic and more transparent. The S&D Group therefore calls upon the Commission to make a proposal for a mandatory register and has proposed a series of incentives and clarifications both for the Commission and Parliament in order to encourage organisations to register.

Food and feed law, rules on animal health and welfare, plant health, plant reproductive material, plant protection products


Both food and feed should be safe and wholesome. In order to meet this goal, a functioning control system must be in place along the whole food chain. Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 lays down general rules on verifying compliance with feed and food law, along with animal health and welfare rules. Overall, the current legal framework has proven to be effective in preventing and counteracting risks. However, in a global market, with agri-food chains becoming longer and more complex, the EU is exposed to new risks. Consequently, improvements in official controls along the agri-food chain have been called for. The proposed regulation revises the existing law to overcome shortcomings in its wording and application. It aims to modernise and integrate the system of official controls by harmonising the rules and ensuring a uniform approach to official controls along the food chain.

Animal health


This proposal on the prevention, monitoring and control of animal diseases which are transmissible to animals or humans is extremely important for public health, as approximately 70% of our infectious diseases are common to both groups.

Many compromise amendments have been reached between the different political groups, including: a clear link between animal health and welfare (acknowledging that animals are sentient beings); empowering the Commission to adopt urgent measures to tackle diseases with a major impact on public health (with appropriate scrutiny); highlighting the growing problem of antibiotic resistance; the introduction of effective biosecurity measures along borders with third countries; mandatory registration for stray animals which can spread disease; and no repeal of recently adopted EU regulations (such as the beef labelling regulation) in order to keep these regulations under the ordinary legislative procedure.

Section I - European Parliament


The relatively modest number of amendments points to the fact that the S&D Group’s rapporteur, drafted a balanced report which recognises the achievements of the Parliament’s administration but also points to its weaknesses. The report is based on an examination of a number of documents, including the Court of Auditors’ annual report, the annual report of the European Parliament’s internal auditor and the activity reports of individual directorates general.
In the committee on budgetary control, several amendments tabled by the European People’s Party (EPP) were adopted which unfortunately focus more on political infighting before the European Parliamentary elections than on scrutinising the budget appropriately. The S&D Group will seek to amend or delete various texts which: unjustly criticise the European Parliament’s president for withholding an European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) supervisory committee report from committee members; claim that no distinction was made between the roles of the president as leader of an EU institution and as the PES (Party of European Socialists) candidate for the presidency; and call to abolish a director general post for which the appointment procedure has already been finalised.