S&Ds - Weekly Update. This week's highlights and what's coming up

Weekly Update - 14 to 18 March 2016

Quote of the week - S&D Vice-President Isabelle Thomas on the future financing of the EU.

“Europe is facing huge challenges - millions of young people still can’t find work; the effects of climate change are ever more present; and the refugee crisis is not over. If we want to address all these issues, then we need an EU budget that is both well-funded and flexible. Today the Parliament backed an ambitious and serious vision of the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which sets the framework for the EU’s annual budgets for the next seven years.”

Next week will be busy with a packed mini plenary session in Brussels and important committee votes. Taxation will be an important theme with the vote on Emmanuel Maurel’s report on the automatic mandatory exchange of information. This would force intermediaries, such as consultancies or law firms, to give information to authorities on schemes they offer companies to avoid or minimise tax. The Parliament will also vote on its resolution on the decision of the Commission to launch Article 7 procedures against the Polish government for threatening the Rule of Law. The Parliament will also vote on Frank Engel’s report on the Situation of Fundamental Rights in the EU and will react to this week's informal meeting of the European Council.

At Committee level, the Environment Committee will vote on Simona Bonafè’s major package on waste reduction and the circular economy. The package is a good compromise that will allow the EU to start a real transition towards a zero-waste economy. An ethical and sustainable economic model is possible, but member states must take it seriously. For the first time in any EU piece of legislation there is a mandatory obligation for a cut in food waste and marine litter, in line with the 50% reduction target of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This way we will cut down on the approximately 89 million tonnes of food waste that we in the EU produce every year, around 180 kg per person.

The call for applications for this year’s School of Democracy remains open. The school takes place from 6-8 June in Reggio Emilia and brings together 100 young people with academics, politicians and civil society to look at new ideas for the future of Europe.

Looking back at this week, we had a major #EuropeTogether event in Bruges on the future of European democracy with students, professors, civil society representatives and mayors at the College of Europe, in Bruges. The Group reaffirmed its commitment to a strong democratic EU with transnational lists for candidates to the European Parliament and an open process to select the president of the European Commission through the common candidate (Spitzenkandidat) system.