Plenary Focus - April 2014 (Strasbourg)
WORLD WAR ONE DEBATE
When we commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI we should remember what role nationalism, chauvinism and racism played at the beginning of the 20th century. Today we experience growing nationalism in Europe and a worldwide arms race. Just recently we learnt that the US plans to modernise their nuclear arms stationed in Europe. What we should have learnt from WWI is that weapons of mass destruction and nationalism, chauvinism and racism should have no place in the 21st century.
We will be voting against this dossier because it unreasonably postpones the implementation of the European resolution fund. It is an absurd solution to have European supervision effective immediately and to delay for almost a decade the implementation of crisis resolution instruments.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Tuesday
RETURN OF CULTURAL OBJECTS (RAPPORTEUR)
Adopted when the EU's internal borders were abolished in 1993, the Directive on the return of cultural objects classified as national treasures needs to be reformed to better protect the cultural heritage of member states in the event of an object being taken out of the country illegally. We need better cooperation between member states, better provision of information to actors in the art market, and to reduce procedural constraints (less uniform definitions, reversing the burden of proof, lengthening deadlines, better harmonisation with the UNESCO and UNIDROIT conventions). Now the ball is in the member states' court.Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Wednesday
While it is good that there will be an EU animal health law that coordinates and simplifies legislation, some colleagues seem to underestimate the impact of animal welfare on animal health. High standards of animal welfare are crucial in preventing and controlling animal diseases and food safety. Instrumental in this is limiting the transport times of animals to 8 hours, proper registration of pets and full traceability of cloned animals and their descendants.
Debate: Monday; Vote: Tuesday
MACRO-FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO TUNISIA
Old wine in new bottles? No to macro-financial assistance loans - Cancel the debt! The Arab Spring revolutions that inspired millions of ordinary people across the region and beyond started in Tunisia. Dictatorships were toppled and millions of working class people were hoping for a better life. The EU and its member states, promised a new approach. The conditions linked to the IMF and MFA loans are doing the opposite. Vote them down.
SURVEILLANCE OF EXTERNAL SEA BORDERS
This regulation unambiguously obliges FRONTEX to participate in search and rescue operations at sea. It also seeks to prevent push-backs of potential asylum seekers, but by allowing for rescued persons to be disembarked in a non-EU country against their will, the text on the table fails to do so. This failure to effectively ban the pushing back of asylum seekers makes it impossible for us to support this regulation.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Wednesday
The GUE/NGL has been very much in favour of a resolution mechanism and a respective fund as we always criticised the billions of taxpayers' money spent to rescue shareholders and investors. However, neither the Commission's proposal nor the outcome of the trilogue achieves the necessary steps to avoid taxpayers' involvement to resolve failed banking institutions. The main problem of too-big-to-fail banks is not even mentioned. The Council has once again favoured an Intergovernmental Agreement instead of keeping to the Union method, this is a way to ignore Parliament. Therefore GUE/NGL will vote against this proposal.
POSTING OF WORKERS
Posted workers encounter many problems: lack of information, lack of cross border cooperation, fraudulent companies that do not pay wages and social security contributions, minimal health and safety requirements, letter-box companies that get round the law. Unfortunately, this directive fails in its objective to better protect them against abuse and circumvention. In fact it makes things worse by limiting the list of control measures. Moreover, a revision of this directive won't be possible for 5 years. This enforcement directive approves the creation of a second class workforce for the sake of the liberalisation of services. For these reasons, we will vote against this directive and urgently call for respect of the principles of equal pay and equal treatment for posted workers.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Tuesday
PAYMENT ACCOUNTS (RAPPORTEUR)
After implementation of this directive, anyone legally residing in the EU will have the right to open a basic payment account, and this right cannot be denied on the grounds of nationality or place of residence. Parliament has dealt promptly with this file and will adopt it less than one year after the Commission has published the proposal.
This financial regulation package takes steps towards curbing the financial speculation on food crops. Food speculation by banks and financial institutions has contributed to rapid and unpredictable swings in food prices over recent years. The Parliament has succeeded in making significant improvements, but loopholes will remain.