Plenary Session - European Parliament in Strasbourg from 23 to 26 October 2017 - S&D priorities on the agenda

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

Protection of journalists and the defence of media freedom in Malta: the case of Daphne Caruana Galizia
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As Socialists and Democrats, we stand firmly in support of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. We must do all we can to protect whistleblowers and journalists working to shine a light on wrongdoing.

The murder of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has caused a wave of emotion and indignation across Europe. We strongly condemn this barbaric attack and express our condolences to her family and friends. Many members of our group working on the inquiry committee into the Panama Papers had the opportunity to meet and talk with Caruana Galizia in Malta. Everything possible must now be done to find those responsible for this heinous crime.


Commission Work Programme 2018
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Jean-Claude Juncker's speech on the State of the Union contained some welcome commitments in line with S&D priorities, for instance on industrial policy, reform of the Eurozone, decent working conditions and a more balanced and progressive trade policy. However, our Group is fighting for more: we have asked the Commission for stronger initiatives to protect fundamental rights and the rule of law, help children living in poverty, step up the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance... The list is long. We will do our utmost to ensure real progress on these issues in 2018 – for the benefit of the many, not the few.


Posting of Workers Directive in the framework of the provision of services

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For years, the S&D Group has pushed for a revision of the 1996 Posting of Workers Directive, which lays down the rights of workers sent abroad by their employer. Last week, the employment committee adopted a report on the revision of the directive with an overwhelming majority. This is our chance to take a strong stance on wage dumping and show that the EU is a project aimed at bringing standards upward – not a race to the bottom. The original Posting Directive is an outdated law which has contributed to unfair competition and by updating it we will make clear that for the S&Ds, 'equal pay for equal work' is more than a slogan.


Control of spending and monitoring of EU Youth Guarantee schemes' cost-effectiveness

+ 33 3 88 17 5419

Despite the economic upswing, young people in the EU are still struggling to find jobs. The EU has already achieved a lot, but we must do more. Not only do we need to gear up our efforts financially, but better sharing of good practices and better monitoring of spending is needed. Member states must use available support and dedicate more national resources to tackling this ongoing issue.

I am pleased that our socialist criteria for the definition of a 'quality job offer' were adopted in committee, as well as the suggestion that it be possible to extend eligibility for the youth guarantee to the age of 29 for countries that request it.


Reflection paper on the future of EU finances
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This resolution calls for real budgetary ambition for the future of the EU. We want to strengthen the budget after 2020, by breaking the ceiling set at 1% of European GDP and introducing new 'own resources' so the budget no longer depends on contributions from member states.

The Commission will have to follow this position: any orientation other than reinforcing the budget would jeopardise the future of the Union. The Socialists and Democrats are on the frontline of this financial battle, the mother of all our European fights.


General budget of the European Union for 2018 - all sections
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The S&Ds' priorities for growth and jobs are part of the Parliament's position: the EU must finance new initiatives with fresh money, so the cuts to research, the European Social Fund, Erasmus+ or EU-wide connection infrastructures to finance the EFSI and the European Solidarity Corps are offset; Erasmus+ and the Youth Employment Initiative even receive additional funding on top.

The Solidarity Union is also part of the package thanks to our group, securing additional funding for asylum, migration and integration. 

Finally, regarding Europe as a global player, the S&D Group included substantial increases in the position of the Parliament, with the aim of ensuring additional financial support for the Development Co-operation Instrument, the countries bordering the southern shore of the Mediterranean, UNRWA (the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine) and the peace process in Palestine, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid and food assistance.


Legitimate measures to protect whistleblowers acting in the public interest when disclosing the confidential information of companies and public bodies
+ 33 3 88 17 5408

LuxLeaks, Panama Papers, Monsanto Papers... A series of recent scandals have revealed serious encroachments on the public interest.

Each time, whistleblowers have been the source of this collective awareness, which was the first step to formulating concrete and political responses. Despite their irreplaceable value for the freedom of press and democratic debate, whistleblowers still suffer severe repercussions.

With this initiative report, we call for rules to be established to protect whistleblowers and their right to directly inform citizens.


Regulation laying down common rules on securitisation and creating a European framework for simple, transparent and standardised securitisation (STS)
+ 33 3 88 17 5626

In the end simple, transparent and standardised securitisation (STS) does secure a stable market, in good times and in bad.

Following long and difficult negotiations, a compromise was reached between the European Parliament and the Council on the text of the Simple Transparent and Standardised (STS) Securitisation Regulation. A compromise that ensures that the securitisation market is more European, more stable, more transparent, more environment-friendly and more prudential. The final package includes:

- the establishment of a new macro-prudential framework to ensure efficient oversight of this market. Supervisory action could include raising the risk-retention level, which ensures that issuers of securitisation have sufficient 'skin in the game' (exposure to the risk) and are not distributing junk securitisation

- the creation of data repositories, authorised and supervised by ESMA (the European Securities and Markets Authority), to increase transparency in the market for investors

- the banning of re-securitisation, a practice which was widely implicated in the 2008 sub-prime crisis in the US through so-called special investment vehicles (SIVs)

- a new provision ensuring that the structures (securitisation special-purpose entities) are not based in tax havens

- an obligation for the issuers of securitisations to publish environmental criteria for mortgages and car loans, which represent the greater part of securitisation and are also the most CO2-intensive assets.

The proposal for a directive amending Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work
+ 33 3 8817 5443

Over 100.000 lives will be saved over the next 50 years thanks to the stricter limits on exposure to carcinogens in the workplace, which will be voted next week in the European Parliament.  The new law sets limits for 13 substances which can cause cancer, such as wood dust, crystalline silica and chromium VI. Parliament obtained even tougher limit values for hexavalent chromium and hardwood dust than initially proposed by the Commission.  We managed to move a step forward in the protection of pregnant women and on female and male fertility; the Commission will now be obliged to assess inclusion of reprotoxic substances.

20 million workers, especially in fields such as construction, woodworking, welding and in the consumer product industries are currently exposed to these substances. One in two work-related deaths in Europe is attributed to cancer. We fought hard and obtained continued health surveillance after exposure for the workers concerned. It does not matter how long one has been exposed to these substances, one can still develop life-threatening diseases long after having ended a job.