Plenary Focus - April 2013
Situation in Hungary/Cyprus
The fourth amendment package since 2012 to the Hungarian constitution proves that Viktor Orban is moving Hungary towards an auto-cracy. These latest changes undermine democratic rights, significantly reduce the power of the constitutional court, and restrict press freedom and election campaigning. The European Parliament must condemn this violation of fundamental EU principles. On Cyprus, we strongly demand that the actions of the Troika and finance ministers be made transparent and accountable. For the sake of democracy and the people of Cyprus.
Following plenary’s rejection last December of plans to further liberalise airport ground handling services, unfortunately a narrow majority in the Transport Committee rubber stamped the proposal to have at least three ground handling companies in operation in airports whose annual traffic has exceeded 15 million passengers and/or 200,000 tonnes of freight in the last three years. Such rules would be catastrophic for workers’ rights as well as passenger safety. The GUE/NGL continues its long-standing opposition to this proposal and calls on plenary to send it to the scrapheap.
The European Parliament must have a critical position on the decisions the ECB has been making within the scope of its mandate, and also on the decisions it has been making outside its mandate, namely in the context of the Troika. In 2011, those decisions had damaging consequences in the eurozone economy and 2012 and 2013 have demonstrated that fact in a spectacular and alarming way. If the European Parliament fails to have such a critical position, it will be actively responsible for those misguided policies.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Wednesday
Undoubtedly it is a great success for the European Parliament and citizens that, from 2014 on, bankers’ bonuses are to be limited, banks will have to report on their net income and pay taxes and bigger banks will have to hold more capital in order to secure lending. Nevertheless, crucial measures that should have limited the indebtedness of banks have been postponed. Therefore, CRD IV is a step in the right direction but the door out of the crisis is still far off.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Tuesday
Every year in April the Parliament discusses giving discharge to EU institutions and agencies. Once again the Budget Control Committee recommends the Parliament not to give discharge to the Council. The reason is very simple. The Council has refused to answer any questions from the Parliament on its budget for 2011.
The GUE/NGL therefore fully supports the recommendation from the Committee.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Wednesday
ACP Economic Partnerships
Denying Kenya, Namibia and other developing countries access to the EU market from 2014 on if they do not ratify and implement an EPA by then would sabotage regional integration in Africa. If Kenya wanted to comply it would have to leave the East African Community. While at the 1st reading Parliament sought to at least postpone the deadline until 2016, David Martin (S&D) brokered a compromise for October 2014 with Council - a date that conveniently coincides with the end of Commissioner De Gucht’s term. Parliament must re-establish its 1st reading position in plenary.