Summary

This week both Committee meetings and Political group meetings will take place in the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will prepare the plenary session that will be held next week in Strasbourg. However, interesting events, votes and debates are set to take place.

On Tuesday, March 19, a press conference will be given on MEP Nirj Deva’s (ECR, UK) idea of launching a European Policy Coordination Committee of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (“BRI”) in Europe. Last week, it was announced that the Italian government intends to sign a preliminary accord for infrastructure projects with Xi Jinping during his visit to Rome later this month. The idea is a response to the EU’s growing frustration of a dispersed China strategy. Not much information on this idea is yet available. In parallel with Italy’s announcement, the European Commission published a renewed EU-China strategic outlook, stressing that China is (also) a strategic competitor and that dealing with China required rethinking economic law. A unified approach, especially on China’s BRI is desired by the Commission as the BRI is already involved with several (South) Eastern-European countries. See the Commission’s paper here.

On Thursday, March 21, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs (“LIBE”) will vote on a draft report prepared by MEP Dalton Daniel (ECR, UK) on a Regulation on Preventing the Dissemination of Terrorist Content Online. As we reported at the beginning of February, MEP Dalton has expressed concern about the Commission’s proposal, which includes an obligation for social media platforms to take down flagged terrorist content within one hour. The draft report reduces the scope of the proposed regulation to apply only to publically available content. The one-hour deadline, however, remains in play. The report also weakens the monitoring obligations for social media platforms but does not exclude any pro-active measures that platforms are required to take. See the draft report here.

On Thursday, March 22, LIBE will also debate on a reasoned proposal on the State of Play for the procedure under Article 7(1) TEU regarding Hungary. MEPs will assess the progress that has been made by the Council in determining, on request by the European Parliament, whether Hungary is breaching or is at risk of breaching the fundamental values. Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and the Romanian Council presidency are also invited to the discussion. See the Commission’s Rule of law framework here.

Meetings and Agenda

Monday, March 18, 2019

Joint Public Hearing: Foreign Affairs and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committees

15:00 – 17:00

  • Rule of Law in the Accession Process
    • This hearing will examine the progress and persisting flaws in fulfilling the fundamental criteria of the EU acquis (Chapters 23 and 24) by EU aspirants, in line with Article 2 TEU, covering the shared values of democracy, rule of law and respect for fundamental rights.

Committee on Budgets

15:00 – 17:30

Voting time

  • Proposal for a Council Regulation on measures concerning the implementation and financing of the general budget of the Union in 2019 in relation to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union (APP)
    • Rapporteur: Jean ARTHUIS (ALDE, FR)

Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

17:00 – 18:00

Vote

  • Conclusion of the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community – Consideration and adoption of draft opinion in letter form
    • Rapporteur for the opinion: Marita ULVSKOG (S&D, SV)

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

15:00 – 18:30

  • Study on “Sector coupling: how can it be enhanced in the EU to foster grid stability and decarbonise?”, Presentation by Koen RADEMAEKERS, Trinomics BV
  • Energy labelling, Presentation by the European Commission of a package of delegated acts for five priority product groups

Vote

  • Common rules for the internal market in natural gas (COD) – Vote on the provisional agreement resulting from interinstitutional negotiations.
    • Rapporteur: Jerzy BUZEK (EPP, PL)
  • Renewable energy directive, Presentation of delegated act by the European Commission
  • Report from interinstitutional negotiations
    • Horizon Europe
    • EU Defence fund
    • EU Space Programme
    • Connecting Europe Facility

Committee on Transport and Tourism

15:00 – 18:30

Public hearing on the role of inland waterways in the intermodal transport system

  • Experts will share their views with Members on how to make better use of inland waterway transport in the intermodal transport system and how to increase the market share of this sector to achieve the objectives of the Union to increase the efficiency and sustainability of transport, in particular with regard the transport of freight.

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

15:00 – 19:00

  • Exchange of views on the ongoing work on the legislative proposals for the CAP 2021-2027 (Strategic Plans Regulation, CMO/Amending Regulation and the Horizontal Regulation)

Committee on Legal Affairs

15:00 – 18:30

Debates

  • Presentation of the study on the future relationship between the UK and the EU in the field of family law following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

16:00 – 16:30

Votes

  • Votes on provisional agreements resulting from interinstitutional negotiations (possibly)

Reporting back to committee of the negotiations (Rule 69f(3) for the following

  • Justice programme (COD)
    • Rapporteurs: Heidi HAUTALA (Greens/EFA, FI) and Josef WEIDENHOLZER (S&D, AT)
  • Cross-border conversions, mergers and divisions (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Evelyn REGNER (S&D, AT)
  • Protection of persons reporting on breaches of Union law (whistle-blowers) (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Virginie ROZIÈRE (S&D, FR)
  • Action of the Union following its accession to the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Virginie ROZIÈRE (S&D, FR)

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

17:00 – 18.30

  • Sakharov event Migration across the Mediterranean: NGOs saving lives in the Mediterranean, Sakharov Prize finalist 2018 – second part

Committee on Constitutional Affairs

15:00 – 18:00

Debates

  • Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union – state of play – exchange of view with the Chair Danuta Maria HÜBNER (EPP, PL), member of the Brexit Steering Group (15.15-16.15)
  • The EU Green Card concept – exchange of views with Roger CASALE, founder and Secretary General of the organisation “New Europeans” (16.15-17.00)

17:00 – 18:30

Public Hearing on European Parliamentary Elections, European Parties, European Voters

  • This hearing will look into issues like the role of political parties (at national and European level) in the European elections and their capacity to mobilise electors, and the influence of modern means of communication and social networks in the shaping of voters’ political choices. The coordination of Parliament’s and Commission’s information and communication policies in view of the European elections will also be discussed.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Committee on Regional Development

09:00 – 14:30

Votes

  • Adjustment of annual pre-financing for the years 2021 to 2023 (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Mirosław PIOTROWSKI (ECR, PL)
  • Exchange of views with Leo BRINCAT, Member of the European Court of Auditors: presentation of the Special report No 03/2019: European Fund for Strategic Investments: Action needed to make EFSI a full success
  • Exchange of views with Marc LEMAITRE, European Commission, Director-General for Regional and Urban Policy

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Committee on Budgetary Control

09:00 – 12:30

Committee on Petitions

09:00 – 18:00

Votes

  • Waste management – adoption of a draft resolution
  • Fact-finding visit to Donana National Park, Andalucia, Spain – adoption of a draft report (tbc)

10.30-12:30

Public Hearing jointly with the Environment Committee

  • The aim of the hearing is to explore the topic of climate change denial under different perspectives and to examine the communication techniques used in politics or by private companies and other actors in society to mislead the public on the negative impact of certain industrial activities or policies on the climate.