Plenary Focus - December 2016
Preparation of the European Council meeting
EU wanting to send asylum seekers back to Greece is a total misjudgement. Greece has already been punished enough and living conditions for the refugees are very tough. The EU still doesn’t provide adequate legal and safe access for refugees and relocation does not work. We need a new Dublin Regulation with member states’ solidarity. The dirty deal with Erdogan must also end. Meanwhile, EU leaders see closer military cooperation as a way to rebuild trust amongst citizens. But given Europe’s social and economic problems, we see rearmament as a total waste of taxpayers´ money.
CAP tools to reduce price volatility
Luke Ming Flanagan
We should use this opportunity to put the spotlight firmly on the core issue. The fundamental reason for volatility in agricultural markets is the globalisation of our food supply, allowing speculation on world commodity markets to dictate prices to the detriment of primary producers. Using the CAP to mask this ignores reality - and it’s not in the best interest of farmers.
Situation of fundamental rights in the EU in 2015
This report reaffirms our commitment to protecting citizens’ rights. We focus on shared values such as respecting human dignity, democracy and equality whilst emphasising the need to protect refugees from discrimination and xenophobia. However, the report also overlooks the protection and enhancement of social rights affected by severe austerity measures and conservative policies and that is unfortunate.
‘Clean energy for all’ Package
We oppose the so-called ‘winter energy package’ since it limits the sovereignty of member states, fails to combat energy poverty and increases inequality. It also promotes nuclear energy, endangers the renewable energy transition and serves private interests. The proposals also fall far short of what is needed to implement the Paris Agreement. For real growth, energy must be made equally accessible to everybody with enhanced state control and public infrastructures to benefit our citizens.
’Clean energy for all’ Package
The Commission’s unambitious proposals lack real foresight and are not green enough. They leave room for biofuels that are destroying our soil and food sovereignty, and fail to account for more advanced biofuels free of harmful components like palm oil. Europeans expect a very specific plan for how to reduce energy poverty and the Commission has disappointed them.
General revision of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure
After two years of hard work, what began as an attempt to remove inconsistencies, redundancies and overlapping rules in the general revision of the Rules of Procedures will now be used by the ‘grand coalition’ to restrict the scope of the smaller groups and individual members. To simply wave this ‘project’ without any debate through the plenary demonstrates the arrogance of this coalition which now also includes, for the first time, the ENF.
Implementation of Common Foreign and Security Policy
The report emphasises that the EU is a most generous aid donor but ignores the fact it is also amongst the world’s biggest exporters of arms. It accepts nuclear weapons and their modernisation within EU territories. This is in addition to the closing-down of all legal and safe passages for migrants and that EU development aid being conditional upon returning migrants. The CFSP is not the solution but the cause of many conflicts. We reject the report and have tabled a minority opinion.
Fourth Railway Package
Tania González Peñas
The market pillar of the Fourth Railway Package - notably the revision of the Governance Directive and the PSO Regulation - is a step forward in the gradual dismantling of state-owned enterprises and public services in the EU. It is shameful how EU institutions keep implementing this liberalisation agenda whilst citizens demand decent jobs, protection of public services and long-standing social and economic cohesion. We strongly support a transport policy that looks after the interests of EU citizens and will continue to defend the public railway sector in years to come.
Activities of the Committee on Petitions 2015
Our report is a milestone in providing a critical perspective on the Commission’s work. Firstly, we called for more involvement in the treatment of petitions. Secondly, we asked for maximum transparency when it comes to open infringement procedures started by the Commission against a member state. Moreover, I hope that criticism of EU leaders’ handling of the financial crisis in the report will not be overlooked as this had previously been adopted by the committee.