Tag Archives: MEPs

Europarl extraordinary April plenary

The EP’s President and political group leaders decided to hold an extraordinary plenary to continue with parliamentary work on the special measures to fight the pandemic.
Parliament’s President and political group leaders (Conference of Presidents) held a remote meeting on Thursday morning and agreed to convene an extraordinary plenary session on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 April in Brussels.
(Image archive: Europarliament Brussels)

On the agenda will be a debate with Council and Commission and a vote on a resolution on EU coordinated action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences. The EP is also ready to vote on any legislative or budgetary proposals prepared in time by the European Commission to further address the current situation.

The Conference of Presidents updated the EP’s calendar of activities to introduce additional dates for remote meetings for EP governing bodies, committees and political groups. You can find it here.

Group leaders also raised concerns about the emergency measures recently adopted in Hungary. A majority of the groups asked President Sassoli to relay their concerns in a letter to the Commission, asking them to evaluate the situation and consider activating the Article 7 procedure of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). This procedure would allow the EU to ensure that European core values are not at risk.

Remote voting system and health measures:

The current precautionary measures adopted by the European Parliament to contain the spread of COVID-19 do not affect work on legislative priorities. Core activities are reduced, but maintained to ensure the institution’s legislative, budgetary, scrutiny functions are maintained.

Parliament has agreed to introduce an alternative remote voting system. Based on public health grounds, it will enable votes to take place, with adequate safeguards to ensure that Members’ votes are individual, personal and free.

MEPs wish Brexit deadline to shift

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged by a group of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to delay the agreed Brexit deadline taking into consideration the difficulties the coronavirus pandemic caused.

The European Parliament’s largest group of European People’s Party MEPs said the pandemic puts pressure on the chance of securing a trade deal by the planned date.

The British Prime Minister spokesman reacted, indicating that there were no plans to adjust the timetable.

It comes as EU and UK representatives met to discuss implementing the Brexit withdrawal agreement over video.

Under the agreement, the UK enters a transition period where it will continue to follow EU rules until 31 December 2020, by which time both sides say they hope to have agreed a trade deal.

MEPs to practice remote vote

President and political group leaders decided to hold an extraordinary plenary session next Thursday, 26 March to allow for implementation of special measures.
Parliament´s President and Group leaders – Conference of Presidents – held an informal exchange of views on March 19 morning. They approved in written procedure the proposal of EP President Sassoli to convene an extraordinary plenary session next Thursday, 26 March in Brussels to debate and vote on the first three legislative proposals of the European Commission to tackle the effects of the COVID19 pandemic in EU Member States. (Image: illustration)

The European Parliament is doing its duty and will continue to do so. Parliament must remain open, because a virus cannot bring down democracy. We are the only European institution voted in by its citizens and we want to continue representing and defending them”, EP President David Sassoli said.

On the agenda:
The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, which will make available €37 billion of the Cohesion funds to member states to address the consequences of the crisis,
a legislative proposal to extend the scope of the EU Solidarity Fund to cover public health emergencies
a Commission proposal to stop the so-called ghost flights caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is key that the European Parliament (pictured) adopts these three proposals swiftly, to provide concrete support to EU citizens and to the Member States in this unprecedented situation.

The Bureau of the European Parliament will adopt specific measures for this session to ensure the votes can be organised remotely.

This plenary will formally replace the session foreseen for 1-2 April.

COVID19: EP Plenary moves to Brussels

“At 18.00 today, I have received an updated report from the European Parliament’s Medical Service on the evolution of COVID-19 which states that the health risks are considered to be significantly higher if Parliament’s plenary session next weektakes place in Strasbourg” reads the statement of the European Parliament president David Sassoli.

“On the basis of this evaluation, due to force majeure, I decided that the necessary security conditions are not in place for the usual transfer of the European Parliament to Strasbourg for the plenary session next week.

“I have informed the French authorities and have thanked them for their collaboration in the past days.

“The plenary session will exceptionally be held in Brussels. Parliament undertakes to reschedule a plenary session in Strasbourg in accordance with the Treaties.”

COVID19: Goodall Europarl event cancelled

I regret to inform you that the President of the European Parliament issued a decision last night, cancelling all events and visits by external visitors, including our conference tomorrow with Dr. Jane Goodall (decision attached). This is as a precautionary measure against the spread of the Coronavirus.

We have tried to secure an appropriate venue at another EU institution, however due to time constraints this has not been possible.

We will, however, reschedule the conference and we will be in touch as soon as possible with a new date.”

Reasons for HopeJane Goodall, PhD, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace.

Dr Jane Goodall’s pioneering studies of wild chimpanzees revolutionised our knowledge about the sentience of these amazing animals.

Equipped with little more than a notebook, binoculars, and her fascination with wildlife, Jane Goodall braved a realm of unknowns to give the world a remarkable window into humankind’s closest living relatives. Through nearly 60 years of groundbreaking work, Dr. Jane Goodall has not only shown us the urgent need to protect chimpanzees from extinction; she has also redefined species conservation to include the needs of local people and the environment. Today she travels the world, speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees and environmental crises, urging each of us to take action on behalf of all living things and planet we share.

Conference with participation of Dr.Goodall is one of the 130 cancelled events at the European Parliament premises, which were expected to be attended by 6000 to 7000 participants. The measure is taken as precaution measure amid COVID19 pandemic.

COVID19: Europarl reduced modus operandi

Today, European Parliament President David Sassoli has announced that the Parliament will take further precautionary measures in response to the Coronavirus COVID-19. (Image: illustration, Europarl Brussels).

For the course of the next three weeks, 130 events at Parliament premises, which were expected to be attended by 6000 to 7000 participants, will be cancelled. In addition, visitors will not be allowed to access the Parliament for this period.

At the same time, Sassoli stressed that parliamentary work will continue, including committee meetings and the plenary session. The current set of measures applies for the next three weeks with the possibility of changes and adaptations, according to the development.

Statement of European Parliament President David Sassoli on the situation regarding COVID-19:

We assess the spread of the Coronavirus on a daily basis, in close cooperation with the European health services as well as national authorities. As a result of this assessment, we have decided to update our set of precautionary measures.

“We will limit the access of visitors to the Parliament. This measure derives from the fact that we are a very open institution by nature with 700.000 visitors per year. Under the current circumstances, it is our responsibility to suspend these visits. In the same spirit, we will cancel 130 events such as exhibitions or external conferences planned for the next weeks on Parliament premises.

“As far as EP administration and staff is concerned, we demand everybody who has visited one of the areas affected or has been in touch with an infected person to work from home and monitor closely their health status. Members of Parliament are advised to apply the same principle of responsibility.

“The Parliament has the duty to maintain its legislative work. Activities such as the next plenary session, committee meetings, the Conference of Presidents as well as the work of President’s office will therefore be upheld.”

Sassoli defends MEPs position on EU budget

President David Sassoli reminded EU leaders Parliament approval is needed for the EU seven years budget (MFF) and said MEPs would not accept agreement irrelevant to the European ambitions.

Sassoli was speaking at the start of an EU Council (EUCO) aimed at finding an agreement between member states on the EU’s next long-term budget. The budget for 2021-2027 will be the first since the UK left the EU.

The speaker told the heads of state and government that Parliament was prepared to reject any agreement that did not give the EU the means to address the many challenges it faces.

“We must equip the Union with all the means necessary to address the challenges that we face together,” he said. “The first and most urgent is climate change. The Green Deal offers an ambitious plan for Europe to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050. Achieving this will require a major financial effort.

“We need resources to boost growth and development, and to support countries, businesses, and people through this transition. We also need to invest in research to ensure Europe is at the forefront and does not need to rely on importing new technologies to whose development it has not contributed.”

He also said that “the artificial dichotomy between net contributors and beneficiaries” should be broken. “All member states, without exception, profit from the EU.”

Parliament agreed its position on the long-term budget in 2018. Any agreement can only come into effect if approved by the Parliament.

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