Summary

Next week is constituency week for Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”). MEPs will go back to their home countries to handle national issues, or convene in their parliamentary delegations to work on matters related to non-EU Member States.

However, this week was a plenary in the European Parliament. A number of interesting votes took place.

On Tuesday, MEPs approved a report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (“ITRE”) on the proposal for a regulation concerning measures to safeguard the security of gas supply. Under new rules that were informally agreed by MEPs and ministers, Member States that are confronted with a gas supply crisis will be able to trigger an emergency alert and thereby receive help from neighboring Member States, in the “spirit of solidarity”. The aim of the proposal is to reinforce the security of gas supplies across the EU. The new rules should become effective before winter. See the Commission’s proposal here, and the Parliament’s position at first reading here.

On the same day, MEPs approved a report of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (“ITRE”) on the proposal for a regulation on the promotion of Internet connectivity in local communities and public spaces (WiFi4EU). The scheme would promote over 5,000 free Wi-Fi connectivity spots for citizens and visitors in public spaces such as hospitals, parks, squares, public buildings, libraries, or museums all across Europe. The scheme would also create a single EU-wide authentication system for access to these hotspots, and forms part of efforts to create a Digital Union. See the Commission’s proposal here, and the Parliament’s position at first reading here.

On Wednesday, as trailed in our last “week ahead” newsletter (see here), MEPs voted on a non-binding own-initiative report and motion for a resolution on arms exports and the implementation of the Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP, which defines common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment. The report, which was adopted in the Committee on Foreign Affairs (“AFET”) on July 18, 2017, provides that EU Member States must ensure consistency between their arms export control decisions; and that, should it be deemed necessary, an EU supervisory body should be established to oversee such decisions. See the approved resolution here.

On the same day, MEPs also adopted their position at first reading on the proposal for a regulation to continue current limitations in the scope of the EU Emissions Trading System for aviation activities and to prepare to implement a global market-based measure from 2021. The Parliament tabled several amendments to the Commission proposal. Amendments put forward by the Parliament include: the introduction of a platform allowing Member States to exchange best practices and lessons learned in the sector of low-emission mobility, with the aim of achieving the emission reduction targets; and an enhanced obligation imposed on the Commission to report to the Council and the Parliament on the progress of the ICAO negotiations. See the proposal for a regulation here, and the Parliament’s position at first reading here.

Also on Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his annual State of the Union before the European Parliament. The Commission President’s focus included: cyber security, proposing the establishment of an EU cyber security agency to ensure the defense of the EU (see the proposal for a regulation here); finance, proposing the establishment of a common EU finance minister; labor, stating that the EU aims to create a labor market conditions agency to ensure that workers have the same rights regardless of their location in the EU; defense, calling for a Defence Union by 2025; and the EU’s institutional organization, proposing that a single individual be appointed to both Presidencies of the European Commission and Council of the EU – an idea that was given currency by Covington’s Senior Policy Advisor, Jean de Ruyt. See President Juncker’s full speech here.

Meetings and Agenda

No meetings scheduled for this week