QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Heléne Fritzon MEP, S&D vice-president responsible for health, on the proposals for Digital Green Certificates.
“This proposal can improve coordination between member states, facilitating citizens to show vaccination, testing and recovery status for medical purposes. The risk of repeating last summer’s patchwork of different and uncoordinated initiatives among member states, which fragmented the internal market, must be avoided. That being said, we need more solid research and figures demonstrating the long-term immunity period ensured by vaccination or recovery to ensure the reliability of a future certificate. Overall, a common certificate should not create a system that increases the social divides which have worsened manifold during the pandemic, especially not in relation to access to public services and freedom of movement.”
The plenary session resumes at 3pm on Wednesday 24 March to debate the upcoming European Council summit set to focus on the vaccination strategy. There will also be key debates and votes on EU own resources, the Capital Markets Recovery Package, the Air Quality Directives, Shaping Digital Education Policy and Cohesion Policy and regional environment strategies in the fight against climate change.
On Thursday 25 March, MEPs will debate dual-use goods in trade policy and a European strategy for data, including an evaluation of the GDPR two years after coming into force. The 2019-2020 enlargement progress reports for Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia are also on the agenda on Thursday.
Leaders will gather in Brussels on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 March for a European Council summit to discuss the EU’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the roll-out of vaccines. The single market, industrial policy and the digital transformation are also on the agenda, as well as a debate on relations with Russia and the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. S&D Group leader Iratxe García will join EU leaders at the pre-summit meeting hosted by the Party of the European Socialists on Thursday 25 March meeting to coordinate the progressives’ positions.
On Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 March, the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee will vote to call for a common EU policy on legal labour migration. S&D MEP Sylvie Guillaume drafted the report on New Avenues for Legal Labour Migration that looks at improving labour mobility for third country nationals in the EU and setting up tools to help employer and employees match skills.
On Wednesday 24 March, S&D MEPs will be closely following the Commission’s recommendation for a European Child Guarantee, an initiative of the Socialists and Democrats to combat child poverty. S&D MEPs have been campaigning for a Child Guarantee since 2014 to ensure all children have free quality healthcare, education and childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition.
S&D EVENT: DEMOCRACY IS NOT FOR SALE
On Wednesday 24 March at 13h00, the S&D Group is hosting the “European democracy is not for sale” event online. MEPs and experts will discuss the funding of political activities by foreign donors, how it interferes in democratic processes and how to tackle it.
You can view the full programme here.
Iratxe García Pérez, S&D president, will give opening remarks, alongside S&D chair of the committee on foreign interference, Raphaël Glucksmann. S&D coordinator on foreign interference Pierfrancesco Majorino will moderate a panel discussion on finding solutions, with S&D committee members Gaby Bischoff and Andreas Schieder also taking part in the debate.
The event will be streamed live on the S&D website.