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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Oral question European carbon market in 2012

Oral question European carbon market in 2012

October (Strasbourg)
07/10/2013

The 2012 Commission report on the state of the carbon market presents options as regards structural measures to strengthen the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) and to make it more effective.

This oral question focuses on the steps the Commission is planning to take to ensure that the structural measures will correct the shortcomings of the emissions trading scheme and enable it to work as originally envisaged, while strengthening its stability and predictability, and promoting links with other trading schemes. A resolution proposing a number of potential measures was defeated in ENVI by a centre-right majority because it included a provision calling for one of the potential measures to be considered to be an increase of the GHG emissions from -20% to -25% by 2020.

Improving private international law: jurisdiction rules applicable to employment

October (Strasbourg)
07/10/2013

This report summarises the primary issues identified by the rapporteur to date. The 'recast technique' used by the Commission limits the possibilities for the legislator to amend parts of the regulation relevant to employment issues. The S&D rapporteur reminds the Commission that the use of the recast technique should be limited to frequently amended texts and that better implementation guidelines should be introduced.

On points of substance, the S&D rapporteur noted trade union concerns and legal arguments about amendments to Article 22 of the Brussels I regulation in legal proceedings concerning industrial action. In light of the Viking, Laval and Torline cases at the European Court of Justice,, concerns are expressed that employees may be prevented from participating in collective action. The rapporteur also asks for alignment with Article 9 of the Rome II regulation on the applicable law, namely the general principle that the law of the country where industrial action was taken should apply in such cases to prevent 'forum shopping'. Furthermore, the rapporteur addresses both the fact that trade unions undertaking industrial action may be sued in the country where the employer is domiciled, and the current lack of security for those workers who do not have a fixed place of work.

Gendercide: the missing women?

October (Strasbourg)
07/10/2013

The rapporteur defines 'gendercide' as a gender-neutral term referring to the systematic, deliberate mass killing of people belonging to a particular sex, whether through prenatal sex detection, selective abortion, infanticide or child neglect. This global phenomenon is not only confined to Asia and Europe but is also found in North America, Africa and Latin America and certain other cultures. The preference for sons has been accentuated by declining fertility and the pressure to have small families.

The prevention of gender-based sex selection requires a major commitment from the Commission, member states, civil society and international agencies. Gendercide should be defined as a crime and a severe violation of human rights. Substantive research into the root causes of gendercide and guidelines for medical staff are urgently required, along with supportive measures and education for girls and women. Moreover, health care, education and access to work are essential for women, without the authorisation of their spouse.

Corruption in the public and private sectors: the impact on human rights in third countries

October (Strasbourg)
07/10/2013

The rapporteur highlights the fact that corruption in the public and private sectors perpetuates and increases inequalities and discrimination when it comes to equal enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. It is now accepted that acts of corruption and human rights violations involve a misuse of power, lack of accountability and various forms of discrimination, while also undermining economic development.

The coherence between internal and external policies is essential if the EU to be credible. The highest levels of accountability and transparency in external aid and public budgets are vital when it comes to the EU budget and external aid. Moreover, the rapporteur stressed that EU enterprises should fulfil their corporate responsibility to respect human rights in line with the UN's guiding principles.

Developing the maritime dimension of the CSDP

14 - 17 April 2014 (Strasbourg)
12/09/2013

The report on the Maritime Dimension of the Common Security and Defence Policy is aimed at feeding the Parliament's ideas into the European Maritime Security Strategy to be adopted by the Council in December this year. The Parliament is calling for a development of the maritime dimension of the CSDP through a coordinated and rational improvement of the maritime and naval structures and capabilities at the EU level, in a manner that is consistent with the Union's commitments as a global security provider and the risks that the continent faces.

The resolution urges thus for a better use of existing structures and agencies already operating in the maritime field, so that a more efficient, cost-effective and risk-based maritime strategy is put in place, through the bridging of the internal and external dimensions of European security.

Third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing EU external borders

9-12 September 2013 (Strasbourg)
11/09/2013

This relates to detailed amendments to Regulation 539/2001, the legal basis for visa policy in Article 77 (2)a of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU. The annexes (positive and negative lists) are part of the regulation which is currently being adopted or amended via a co-decision procedure.

The Commission proposal includes a modification of the reciprocity mechanism and introduces a suspension mechanism. While the reciprocity mechanism is of more interest to the European Parliament, the suspension clause is primarily of interest to the member states. The compromise includes a mixed system (partly implementing acts during the first period and delegated acts during the second) for the reciprocity mechanism. The S&D Group may well ultimately agree on this issue but it is important to stress that only implementing acts are foreseen for the suspension mechanism.

Tackling youth unemployment: possible ways out

9-12 September 2013 (Strasbourg)
11/09/2013

This own-initiative report is a timely way to assess all aspects of youth unemployment and the solutions to this major problem currently gripping Europe. It covers a wide range of issues, including youth guarantee programmes, migration and mobility issues, education systems and the role of the private sector.

Youth unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing Europe today and one which demands an urgent response. Thanks to the S&D Group, this report makes clear that member states and the Commission need to provide much more money to fight youth unemployment and those countries which do not yet have a youth guarantee should be encouraged to do so. The S&D Group is satisfied that this report highlights the undeniable link between austerity and current unemployment levels. Moreover, internships should be properly paid and should not be used to replace an existing workforce.

EU policy towards Belarus

9-12 September 2013 (Strasbourg)
11/09/2013

This recommendation is a contribution to the review of EU policy towards Belarus, which has had unfortunate consequences in the past. It also feeds into the agenda of the Eastern Partnership to be held in Vilnius in November 2013. The S&D rapporteur successfully steered through an innovative approach preserving the EU’s 'red lines' on democracy and human rights, while making a number of constructive proposals to allow closer engagement with both Belarusian civil society and, on practical matters, with the authorities.

The S&D Group believes in engagement and dialogue with Belarus, but the release of political prisoners remains a necessary condition for the improvement of EU-Belarus relations. At the same time, a European path should be promoted for Belarus and the S&D Group therefore supports visa facilitation for Belarusian citizens as a positive way forward.

State of play in the negotiations on the European Banking Union

9-12 September 2013 (Strasbourg)
10/09/2013

The banking union is composed of three pillars: the Single Supervisory Mechanism, a deposit guarantee scheme and a single resolution framework. One or more legislative initiatives are underway or almost complete for each of these elements.

 

It is crucial to finalise the ongoing legislative work on resolution for failing banks and the deposit guarantee scheme in order to reach a comprehensive and efficient framework as soon as possible.

Online gambling in the internal market

9-12 September 2013 (Strasbourg)
10/09/2013

This report is the European Parliament’s response to the Commission's paper 'Towards a comprehensive European framework for online gambling', which outlines an action plan, including a set of actions and principles the Commission will propose or implement in the coming months and years. The report is also a follow-up to the Parliament's 2011 'Online gambling in the internal market' report.

The rapporteur’s initial, problematic, proposal was clearly aiming for the liberalisation and harmonisation of the EU online gaming sector. But the amended report from the internal market and consumer protection committee now proposes a balanced approach to the future of the online gambling sector. It makes clear that gambling is not a normal economic activity, so due regard must be given to the principle of subsidiary. Moreover, consumer protection and public health, along with combating crime and tax evasion, are vital in the sector. Importantly, the report also points out that while member states have the right to regulate their own gambling sector, this must be in compliance with EU law. It also highlights the need for more research and administrative co-operation and the need to preserve the integrity of sports.