Agenda briefing plenary session from the 13th to the 16th of January 2014 in Strasbourg

  • Parliament will discuss the programme of the incoming Greek Presidency of the Council with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in the week’s key debate, which starts at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and will be followed by a press conference. In a separate debate, on Tuesday, MEPs will review the outgoing Lithuanian Presidency with President Dalia Grybauskaitė.

  • MEPs will debate the fundamental right to freedom of movement in the EU with Commission and Council representatives from 15.00 on Wednesday. The last remaining restrictions on access to the labour markets of some member countries for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens expired on 31 December 2013.

  • Rather than just accepting the lowest bid when procuring works, goods or services or concluding concession contracts, public authorities will have more scope to pick the offer they consider most suited to their purpose, thereby ensuring better use of taxpayers’ money, under new EU rules on public procurement and concessions to be voted on Wednesday.

  • The CO2 emissions limit for new light commercial vehicles sold in the EU is to be reduced from 203 g/km today to 147 g/km by 2020, under draft legislation to be voted on Tuesday. The text, already informally agreed with EU ministers, also paves the way for achieving further reductions after 2020, and provides for the introduction of a new test protocol.

  • MEPs will call for a European strategy to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment in a resolution to be adopted on Tuesday. They want the most dangerous plastics banned by 2020, along with certain additives and certain plastic bags.

  • MEPs will debate the controversial Maltese citizenship scheme with the Commission and Council on Wednesday afternoon and vote a resolution on Thursday. Under the “individual investor programme”, foreigners would be able to buy a Maltese passport subject to certain conditions but without having to be a resident of Malta. Some MEPs are expected to argue that the scheme must be based on investment and residence.

  • MEPs will back the launch of accession talks with Serbia and acknowledge Kosovo’s success in holding its first ever country-wide local elections last year, in a debate on Wednesday. They await the Icelandic government’s decision regarding a referendum on EU accession talks. They will vote on non-binding resolutions on Thursday.

  • MEPs are likely to ask the Commission not to allow the genetically modified maize crop Pioneer 1507 onto the EU market. This insect-resistant crop could be dangerous to harmless butterflies and moths, says a resolution to be voted on Thursday. MEPs want the Commission to wait until risk assessment methods have been improved before proposing or renewing authorisations of any GMO varieties.

  • MEPs will debate on Tuesday whether draft rules on honey should define pollen as an ingredient of honey, ensuring that if genetically modified pollen makes up more than 0.9% of the total amount of pollen it has to be labelled. They will vote on a resolution on Wednesday.

  • Recent cases of food fraud, including the marketing of horse meat as beef, highlight the need for the EU to review the functioning of the food chain, step up controls and update labelling rules, says a non-binding resolution to be passed on Thursday.

  • MEPs will call on Monday for tougher measures against trophy hunting, the online ivory trade, trafficking in endangered species and other kinds of organised “wildlife crime”. They want an EU-wide system for training prosecutors and a specialised Wildlife Crime Unit at Europol. They will also call for wildlife crime to be discussed with international partners like the African Union and the US.

  • MEPs will again press the Commission for a European strategy for the homeless in a debate on Thursday. It will adopt a resolution the same day, following a similar appeal to the Commission in a resolution in 2011 and a written statement in 2010.

  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects have the potential to allow the EU to meet its low-carbon goals, in particular for decarbonizing high CO2-emitting industries, and should receive more support from member states and the EU, says a resolution to be voted on Tuesday.

  • Adequate social protection must be provided for the growing numbers of self-employed workers in the EU, stress MEPs in a resolution to be voted on Tuesday.

  • MEPs will call on the Commission for new laws and other measures to tackle social dumping, in a resolution on labour inspections to be voted on Tuesday

  • New trucks and coaches will be fitted with digital tachographs to improve the enforcement of driving and rest times for drivers, under rules to be endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday. The new devices will be more user-friendly for drivers and the authorities and more resistant to tampering and fraud.

  • MEPs will debate the future of the EU-US Safe Harbour agreement in the wake of the NSA spying affair with the Commission and Council on Wednesday. The agreement laid down voluntary data protection standards for US companies when transferring EU citizens’ data to the US.

  • Non-EU firms could be barred from bidding for big public procurement contracts in the EU if their home countries do not allow reciprocal access for EU firms, under proposals for an innovative tool to create a level playing field for EU firms bidding for contracts abroad.

  • Parliament votes on Thursday on the candidate nominated for a vacant seat on the executive board of the European Central Bank. Sabine Lautenschläger, from Germany, will be the only woman member of the ECB board if she is approved.

  • Parliament will hold urgent debates on the following topics relating to human rights and democracy, in the morning on Thursday 16 January at 15.00 with the votes following at around 16.00.

Link: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/agenda/briefing/2014-01-13