S&D Group's news on the European Parliament's Plenary session in Strasbourg - 16 to 19 April 2018

S&D Group's news on the European Parliament's Plenary session in Strasbourg - 28 to 31 May 2018

▶ Wed 18 Cambridge Analy ca and Facebook: Data protection and citizen's privacy as a line of defence against election manipulation
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“The allegations against Facebook are mounting every day. We need a comprehensive hearing in the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee to get to the bottom of exactly what occurred. We also called for an urgent plenary debate next week in Strasbourg on the misuse of millions of Facebook users’ data. In the European Parliament, the S&D Group has been fighting for years to protect citizens online. From the new data protection laws that will come into force next month to the update of the e-privacy directive, we fought hard for the interests of citizens and against those of the big tech companies. It is laughable to now see the faux outrage from the EPP Group on this scandal. Their words say one thing, but their voting record says something completely different. On every major piece of legislation in recent years, they have toed the line of lobbyists from the internet giants and against the interests of citizens.”

▶ Wed 18 Circular economy and environmental reporting
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“After lengthy negotiations with the Council, we secured a good result which sets new bases for sustainable economic and social development in Europe. For the first time, member states will have to follow clear and common measures on the life-cycle of raw materials and on waste disposal. It will prevent waste generation by extending the obligation to separate collection of organic, textile and hazardous waste, and by establishing a ceiling of 10% of waste to be landfilled by 2035. The new legislation is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It also provides for a 50% reduction in food waste and the achievement of the 65% recycling threshold by all member states. This battle will make European economy one of the most ethical in the world"

▶ Wed 18 Approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles
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“To prevent another Dieselgate scandal from happening, the Socialists and Democrats set out to reform the rules for approval and market surveillance of cars. Two years later, the European Parliament will next week adopt a new robust system with strong EU oversight on the requirements cars have to pass before being allowed on the market. In the new system the Commission will ensure that the rules are applied in a fair, strict and uniform manner in all EU countries and member states will no longer be able to escape their obligations as they will now have to check a fixed number of cars every year. An online database will increase the flow of information and transparency of the whole system. Also, tough fines and penalties will be in place to keep car manufacturers in line. The Commission will also be able to impose administrative fines amounting to up to 30.000 Euros per car. The stricter rules of the new system are a victory both for consumers and the environment.”

▶ Tue 17 Debate with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, on the Future of Europe
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“The fact that Emmanuel Macron has put forward a positive vision for the future of Europe is to be welcomed. On a lot of areas such as creating a fiscal capacity for the Eurozone, completing the banking union or creating a Eurozone finance minister, he is backing policies that we have been calling for for years. Now Macron has to dare to make substantial change in these areas - in Europe as well as in France. Europe can’t protect it’s people when inequalities are growing and fear takes the place of hope. We know too well: Europe has to protect. The social Europe we want has a strong budget, protects workers and has real economic coordination, based on sustainable development. This is only possible with a strong European Parliament, and the use of a strengthened community method, and a strong European Commission. If Macron wants to work with us on individual policies that help achieve this vision then we are very happy to do so.”

▶ Wed 18 Disclosure of income tax informa on by certain undertakings and branches
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“Citizens have the right to know where multinationals are paying their tax and whether they are artificially shifting profits to other jurisdictions to avoid it. As LuxLeaks or the Panama Papers have highlighted, we need much greater transparency on what measures companies are taking to avoid taxation. This is a matter of fairness and creating a level playing field between big companies and SMEs. The Parliament adopted ambitious reforms last year which would ensure that all companies declared where they make their profits and where they pay their taxes. However, the European Council has still done nothing, meaning negotiations on the final law cannot start. We are demanding that they explain why this is the case and seek guarantees that they will do so as soon as possible.”

▶ Tue 17 Progress on UN Global compacts on safe, orderly and regular migration and on refugees
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“We need to get out of the mind-set that increased migration is a temporary occurrence or simply a European issue. Demographic changes, poverty, climate change and global instability mean increased migratory flows will be one of the defining political issues throughout our lifetimes. We need to show to our citizens that we can manage migration in a sustainable way and can continue to meet our moral and legal obligations to help those fleeing war and persecution. International cooperation is an essential part of this and the S&D Group fully supports the work of the United Nations to strengthen global migration and refugee policies.”

▶ Thu 19 Protection of investigative journalists in Europe: the case of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová
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“The whole of Europe was shocked by the murder of the investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his partner Martina Kušnírová. The European Union must do all it can to support the ongoing investigation and help ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. Last month I co-chaired a fact finding mission to Slovakia to better understand the situation. We will adopt a resolution based on the findings of that mission this week in Strasbourg. Investigative journalists play an essential role in society, helping expose wrongdoing and holding those in power to account. We must do everything in our power to protect them in Europe and around the world.”

▶ Thu 19 Situa on in Gaza Strip
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"We ensured that an urgency debate on Gaza was added to the plenary session agenda. Israeli Government's repeated disproportionate use of violence against Palestinian civilians is unacceptable and we need a full international investigation into the recent deaths of Palestinians in the Gaza border. The situation on the border of Gaza needs to be deescalated, so there is no more loss of life. We will also reiterate our call for an immediate end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, the return of the Palestinian Authority to the area, and an immediate end to all attacks from Gaza against Israeli territory.”

▶ Wed 18 Integrity policy of the Commission, in particular the appointment of the Secretary-General of the European Commission
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“The S&D Group is deeply disappointed with the method and the current rules followed by the European Commission in the appointment of Martin Selmayr as Secretary General. The resolution we will adopt in Strasbourg will call for a new and more stringent set of rules on the appointment of high level positions in the European institutions including the Secretary General. We are calling for a reassessment of the secretary general position when the new set of rules are in place, under the new Commission. This is essential if we want to restore trust in the EU institutions.”