Tag Archives: Europarl

#SOTEU: Future of Europe debate

Strasbourg 14.09.2021 The State of the EU debate, looking at work to date and plans for the future, takes place on 15 September in Strasbourg. .

What is the State of the European Union debate?
The State of the European Union debate takes place every September when the president of the European Commission comes to the European Parliament to discuss with MEPs what the Commission has done over the past year, what it intends to do in the coming year and its vision for the future.

This is an opportunity for Parliament, the EU’s only directly-elected institution, to hold the European Commission to account. Members will scrutinise the Commission’s work and make sure that the key concerns of Europeans are addressed.
Why is the 2021 State of the EU debate important?
The priorities that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented during last year’s State of the European Union debate are still relevant: the EU continues its efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic and move towards social and economic recovery, while staying true to its flagship programmes, such as the European Green Deal and the Digital Strategy.

What is the best way to follow it?
The debate will be streamed live online on our website on Wednesday 15 September from 9.00 CET. Interpretation will be available in all 24 official EU languages – simply select the language of your choice. The Parliament together with the Commission will also stream the debate on Facebook.

You can also join the discussion on our other social media channels, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SOTEU.

Eurparl: rotation principle at stake

Strasbourg 14.09.2021 After summer holiday the European Parliament has started to consider if the principle of rotation of the Speaker remains relevant, or the incumbent Italian Socialist politician David Sassoli would stay for another two and a half years as the head of the institution.

Manfred Weber (EPP, Germany) has renounced taking over from Italian socialist David Sassoli, as had been negotiated after the 2019 elections. He is focused on his new ambition to ascend the presidency of the European People’s Party (EPP), the party. This sudden move opens a perspective for his political rival David Sassoli to follow the footsteps of another Socialist politician and the European Parliament speaker Martin Schulz, who was the only politician to serve two terms.

Martin Schulz MEP (Germany, S&D) led the Parliament until January 2017. He won 409 out of 612 valid votes cast in the first ballot. Mr Schulz was the first President in the history of the European Parliament to be re-elected for a second two and a half year term.

In a brief address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg immediately after the vote, Mr Schulz thanked for MEPs for their confidence in him. “It’s an extraordinary honour to be the first re-elected President of the European Parliament. I will take my duty very seriously, because we are heart of the European democracy, keeping the task of passing legislation and overseeing its enforcement. An overwhelming majority of this house drew the conclusion that the leading candidate in the European election should become the President of European Commission, therefore a German word, Spitzenkandidat, has entered into several other European languages”. However the system of electing of the European Commission president has failed, and unknown to the majority of the Europeans Ursula von der Leyen has been appointed in obscure procedures, and then endorsed by the MEPs.
During the press-conference in the European Parliament, Strasbourg, on September 14, the chair of the Socialists and Democrats group Iratxe Garcia-Perez declined to answer if the group is going to support the principle of rotation, but preferred to focus of the personality of the Speaker, phrasing David Sassoli for his excellence.

Sassoli: MEPs call for end to rebates

Statement by European Parliament President on the ongoing European Council meeting:
After days of discussions, European citizens expect an agreement that lives up to this historical moment. We are worried about a future where European solidarity and the Community method are lost. The European Parliament has set out its priorities and it expects them to be met.

The multiannual financial framework must be able to address the main challenges facing Europe in the medium term, such as the Green Deal, digitalisation, economic resilience, and the fight against inequalities. New own resources are needed immediately. We also need measures to ensure the effective defence of the rule of law.
“Furthermore, Parliament has repeatedly called for the end of rebates. If these conditions are not sufficiently met, the European Parliament will not give its consent. COVID-19 is still here and we are seeing new outbreaks in Europe. More than ever it is necessary to act quickly and courageously.”

Sassoli: «time to deliver» recovery

Parliament President David Sassoli urged EU leaders to take action on Europe’s recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
Sassoli addressed heads of state and government at the start of a video conference of the European Council on 19 June to discuss the recovery plan and the EU’s next long-term budget.

“Time is a luxury we cannot afford,” he said. “We need to act urgently and courageously, as EU citizens, businesses and economies need an immediate response. Our citizens expect bold action. Now it is time for us to deliver.”

Sassoli called the Commission proposal “ambitious” but added: “In our view it only scratches the surface of what needs to be done.”
The President also spoke out against issuing loans as part of the recovery plans. “Parliament is keen to stress that any common debt issued must be repaid fairly, without burdening future generations,” he said.

“Let us not forget that providing support solely in the form of loans would have an asymmetric impact on the indebtedness of the individual member states and would be more costly for the Union as a whole. We have an opportunity now to refashion Europe and make it more equal, greener and more forward-looking. To this end, we should seize our chance to introduce a basket of new own resources.”
Sassoli called the introduction of new own resources for the EU “an essential prerequisite” for any overall agreement on the EU’s long-term budget.

Stressing the importance of an ambitious recovery plan and budget, he said: “Now is not thetime to water down our ambitions. We need to show our citizens the value of Europe and our ability to come up with solutions that matter in their lives.”

The President also addressed the ongoing EU-UK talks on future relations. The previous day Parliament had adopted a report setting out its views. “We will push for an ambitious, overarching and comprehensive agreement in line with the joint commitments undertaken in the political declaration. We believe that this is the best possible outcome for both sides and, despite the limited time available, with goodwill and determination, it is still possible. We have every faith in our negotiator, Michel Barnier.”

Von der Leyen endorsed by MEPs as Commission president

Today MEPs voted on the candidate for the president of the European CommissionUrsula von der Leyen, put forward by the European Council.  Her candidacy was endorsed with with 383 votes in favour.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who was nominated for the post by the European Council, after “leading candidate” Manfred Weber was rejected by a number of member-states. The European People’s Party insisted the top job should belong to one of their political family, because they came out with the best result after the European elections in May this year.

 

In Strasboug Plenary Von der Leyen presented her programme and responded to questions of MEPs.

In order to become Commission President, von der Leyen  had to secure the support of an absolute majority of MEPs (at least 374 votes). The vote was a secret paper ballot.

 

In case she failed to win a majority, the European Council would have to put forward another candidate.

AMENDED: In her speech this morning  Ursula von der Leyen outlined her priorities as Commission President. 

Having identified the collective need for “a healthy planet as our greatest challenge and responsibility”, Ms von der Leyen proposed bolder emissions targets, with a reduction of 50% to 55% by 2030 and committed to submit a plan for a “Green Deal for Europe” and a European Climate Law within her first 100 days in office. She also announced plans for sustainable European investment (also through the partial conversion of EIB funds into a “climate bank”) to provide €1 trillion in investments within a decade.

Von der Leyen also stressed that the EU must establish an economy that serves the people. In order for this to happen however, “everyone needs to share the burden” – including those tech giants that conduct their business (and should continue to do so) in Europe, yet do not repay the people of Europe for their access to EU human and social capital.

Reiterating her commitment for a gender-balanced College of Commissioners during her term, she also highlighted that violence against women has to be tackled decisively; she would therefore seek to define violence against women as a crime in the European treaties, in parallel to completing the EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention.

Von der Leyen declared her commitment to rule of law as a European value, announcing that she intends to establish an EU-wide monitoring mechanism in parallel to existing measures. She emphasised that these European values also include a duty to save lives at sea and should translate into a humane border policy. She stated her support for a “new pact on migration & asylum” and Dublin Regulation reform, adding that she intends to ensure that Frontex border guards number 10,000 not by 2027, but by 2024, and that all countries should shoulder their fair share of the burden based on the principle of European solidarity.

On the matter of European democracy, von der Leyen announced a two-year Conference for Europe as of 2020, in which citizens will take a leading and active role. She also emphasised the need for the Spitzenkandidaten system to be strengthened and that transnational lists should be reconsidered in future European elections. She also declared her full support for a right of initiative for the European Parliament, committing to put forward a legislative proposal in response to every resolution that is passed with a majority of Parliament’s constituent members.

Davis requests UK Liberal MEP reprimand

The ALDE Group in the European Parliament has expressed its deep concern at the emergence of a letter from the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, to the leader of the UK Liberal Democrats Vince Cable.

The letter requested that the leader of the Liberal Democrats “take action against the MEP from your party” for voting against the “best interests of the UK and the EU” and for “frustrating Brexit”, following ALDE MEP Catherine Bearder’s decision to vote in favour of the European Parliament’s Brexit resolution, adopted on the 3rd October.  

“At first I thought this letter was a hoax. After discussing this extraordinary letter in a meeting of our Parliamentary group of MEPs, we have agreed that I will raise my concerns officially with the British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, when we next meet“ – said Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE Group and the European Parliament’s Brexit Coordinator.

“It is deeply troubling that a Government minister would use his office to infer that a democratically elected politician was acting in a traitorous or unpatriotic manner, by voting in favour of a parliamentary resolution that seeks to provide certainty for both EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU, whose existing rights are under threat. This strikes me as profoundly un-British, coming from a senior minister of a country that has one of the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world.”

The MEP, causing Davis frowning brows, Catherine Bearder also commented on the issue with irony, noticed that the Conservative party have resorted to instructing democratically elected opposition politicians how to vote.

“David Davis should focus on securing the cohesion of his own bitterly divided party and doing his job of representing the Conservative government.  My job is to represent the people who elected me, and not be intimidated or bullied. I will continue to do that along with my Liberal colleagues from across the EU” – Bearder said.

Apparently, polemics between Davis and Catherine Bearder has been going for some time:

Liberals rejected Alliance with Five Star Movement

guy-verhofstadt

DEPECHE from Serge Turbin, European Parliament, follow-up of OPINION on M5S joining ALDE party:

The shocking prospect of Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement (M5S) joining the ALDE group in the European Parliament did not materialise as the ALDE group’s executive committee bureau rejected the deal. The national delegations of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Sweden) as well as of France and Germany voted down the proposal. The result of the vote was met with a sigh of relief by the broader ALDE membership and, especially, French MEP Sylvie Goulard, who previously rivaled Guy Verhofstadt as a candidate for the European Parliament president, and has been a vocal against the marriage of convenience between ALDE and M5S.

Visibly saddened,  Guy Verhofstadt acknowledge defeat in a 38 second video clip published on his social media profile. “I have come to the conclusion that there are not enough guarantees to push forward a common agenda to reform Europe. There is insufficient common ground to proceed with the request of the Five Star Movement to join the ALDE Group”. While acknowledging fundamental differences between two political forces, the liberal leader hinted at enhanced ad-hoc collaboration with M5S outside of the ALDE Group: “However, on the issues of shared interest, such as the environment, transparency and direct democracy, the ALDE Group and the Five Star Movement will continue to work closely together”. It is yet to be seen how ALDE and M5S would work closely together on bringing “direct democracy” into the European project.

Serge Turbin, 9/01/2017,  Brussels