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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Result: 242

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (2014 - 2020)

December 2013 (Strasbourg)
03/07/2013

Created in 2006, this tool has helped thousands of European workers who have lost their jobs due to the increasingly globalised nature of commerce. More recently, it has helped victims of the economic crisis.

The new EGF (European Globalisation Adjustment Fund) proposal aims to ensure that in the next programming period, the fund continues to operate in line with the basic principles laid down for the multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020. It was established to provide active labour market measures to support workers made redundant as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns caused by globalisation, where these redundancies have a significant adverse impact on the regional or local economy.

The proposals from the European Parliament's employment and social affairs committee will improve the fund, making it more accessible, particularly for workers wishing to go back to work; more efficient, as it will reduce processing times for applications; and more attractive for the member states. We would also like to see the EGF help workers to prepare for closures in industries in difficulty. This is about avoiding the kind of social crises that those who work in the steel or automotive industries are experiencing today.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.

Serious cross-border threats to health

December 2013 (Strasbourg)
02/07/2013

The European Commission proposal comes in response to recent crises such as the bird flu pandemic in 2009, the volcanic ash cloud in 2010 and the E. coli bacteria outbreak in 2011, and aims to strengthen measures for protecting populations by tackling such serious cross-border threats to health more efficiently and effectively. It proposes better preparedness and co-ordination plans, to be drawn up in discussion with the European Commission and member states, and builds on the early warning and response system set up in 1988 for communicable diseases, providing better resources, networks and structures, extending the scope of the risk assessment and co-ordination measures to cover all threats to health (of biological, chemical or environmental origin), and strengthening the role of the Health Security Committee.

It is only through a well-prepared, co-ordinated and efficient approach at EU level that member states can better provide the public with the necessary protection and information when faced with a health crisis.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.

Reforming the structure of the EU banking sector

December 2013 (Strasbourg)
02/07/2013

The ultimate aim of this report is to give the European Commission the political backing needed in view of the legislative proposal on banking structures to be published in October. The Parliament's lead negotiator, Arlene McCarthy, has engaged in extensive negotiations with the other political groups in order to find an agreement and secure political support for the separation of commercial activities from trading activities within the same bank.

The report identifies key reform principles ensuring depositors and consumers no longer pay for the excessive risks taken by banks with their money. People must be able access their bank accounts and make payments even when banks fail. Real reform must ultimately ensure that the costs of risky trading are not borne by retail customers and depositors. Ultimately when bankers behave badly they should be personally held to account to ensure that they pay for actions that have cost the public dear.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.

Protection of the EU's financial interests - fight against fraud

December 2013 (Strasbourg)
02/07/2013

The 2011 parliamentary report on protecting the EU's financial interests (PIF) by Derek Vaughan notes improvements which took place during the year, but also highlights the degree to which better co-operation and a standardised approach is needed amongst member states in fraud reporting.  At the same time, it welcomes the work underway on a directive on the fight against fraud affecting the EU's financial interests (currently in the hands of the Parliament's committees on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, and on budgetary control).

The S&D Group will call – via an amendment in the plenary – for urgent improvement in the working relations between OLAF (the European Anti-Fraud Office) and its supervisory committee. The European Commission has understood the need to assist in this process, but more active co-operation is still awaited from the two parts of OLAF.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.

Investigations conducted by the European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF)

December 2013 (Strasbourg)
02/07/2013

After over six years of negotiations, a new draft OLAF regulation is up for adoption at second reading. Following a year of trilogues (informal meetings between the European Commission, Council and Parliament) between October 2011and June 2012, the Parliament's committee on budgetary control endorsed the compromise reached in October 2012. The Council adopted the draft regulation at first reading in February 2013 and on 18 June 2013 the committee unanimously backed a recommendation that the European Parliament approve the draft text. The European Parliament aims at reaching an early second-reading agreement.

The new regulation offers a number of improvements to increase OLAF's competence in terms of its investigations, enhancing procedural guarantees and protecting fundamental rights, and its ability to co-operate with third countries and international organisations. The draft text is a good compromise and its functioning will be reviewed in the near future (two years after it enters into force). The legislative process should not be held to ransom due to diverging political views on just one investigative case.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.

Roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers

December 2013 (Strasbourg)
01/07/2013

The proposal on roadworthiness testing aims to improve road safety and ensure high levels of environmental protection. It is based on the principle of setting common EU-wide minimum standards for vehicle checks, with member states free to go further and introduce higher standards.

The main elements of the proposal are:

1. Compulsory EU-wide testing for scooters and motorbikes – the highest-risk group of road users. Light trailers (under 3.5 tons) would also be tested. These categories of vehicles are currently excluded from the EU-based system and testing remains at the discretion of each individual member state.

2. Increasing the frequency of roadworthiness tests for some categories of vehicles. Cars and vans (up to 3.5 tons) older than six years are currently checked a minimum of once every two years. It is proposed that they are checked at least annually after six years. This means changing to checks at four years after purchase, then two years and then once a year after that (4-2-1) instead of the current 4-2-2. The 4-2-1 formula is also proposed for scooters and motorbikes. It is also proposed that the frequency of tests for cars and vans with high mileage (over 160,000 km) is also increased – if they have reached a mileage of more than 160,000 km at the date of the first inspection (after four years) they would then be inspected annually (4-1-1 instead of the existing 4-2-2). This would bring their tests in line with other high-mileage vehicles such as taxis and ambulances.

3. A minimum level of skills and training requirements for inspectors.

4. Improving the quality of vehicle tests by setting common minimum standards for deficiencies and equipment.

5. Clamping down on mileage fraud, with registered mileage readings.

6. Making electronic safety components subject to mandatory testing.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.

Member states' export credit agencies

December 2013 (Strasbourg)
01/07/2013

In 2011, the European Parliament and Council agreed to transpose the 2005 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) arrangement on export credit activities into EU law. It was agreed to grant a delegated act to the Commission to allow future versions of the OECD arrangements to be transposed in exchange for increased transparency in the export credit activities of member states at EU level. The first annex of the resulting Regulation 1233/2011 contains details of the requirements for annual reporting by the member states to the European Commission. One of the most essential points member states have to report on is how the activities of the export credit agencies comply with the EU's external action objectives, as set out in Articles 3 and 21 of the Treaty of the European Union.

 

This own-initiative report is a reaction to the first official reporting exercise by the member states for 2011. It contains a set of recommendations for future reporting, particularly in terms of compliance with the EU's external action objectives.

Related documents 
European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg from 1-4 July 2013.

Second amendment to the Cotonou Agreement of 23 June 2000

October (Strasbourg)
13/06/2013

The Cotonou Agreement of 2000 established a unique partnership between the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the European Community and its member states. The agreement includes a revision clause which allows it to be adapted every five years until 2020.

The report was adopted unanimously and without amendments, recommending that Parliament gives consent to the second revision of the agreement. The rapporteur and the committee, however, express the strongest reservations about parts of the Cotonou Agreement which “do not reflect the position of the European Parliament and the values of the Union” and urges all parties to revise the unsatisfactory clauses during the next revision of the agreement, "including the explicit introduction of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation”.

Deadlock on the revision of Regulation

June 2013 (Strasbourg)
12/06/2013

This motion for a resolution on the deadlock in negotiations on Public Access to Parliament, Council and Commission Documents follows the Commission statement made on 21 May (during the last plenary session) on this issue.

The revision of Regulation No 1049/2001 on Public Access to Parliament, Council and Commission Documents has been ongoing since the initial Commission proposal was published on 30 April 2008. After a subsequent Commission proposal and deadlock in Council, the Parliament adopted its first reading position on 15 December 2011.

Since then, trilogue negotiations have broken down due to the unwillingness of some member states – and the Commission in particular – to compromise.

This motion for resolution is intended to show: the Parliament's willingness to negotiate; its reasonableness in terms of red lines; and that the responsibility for the deadlock lies with the Commission and the Council.

Transparency requirements in relation to information about issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on a regulated market

June 2013 (Strasbourg)
11/06/2013

This directive harmonises transparency requirements for all listed companies. It has already received significant press attention, largely due to the issue of country-by-country reporting for the extractive and forestry industries – which was dealt with as a package alongside the Accounting Directive.

Our Group has pushed hard for this legislation for many years. New rules will boost investor confidence and reduce short-termism after the financial crisis. They will also reduce administrative burdens on small- and medium-sized issuers. We have now ensured that sanctions remain effective, proportionate and dissuasive.