Plenary Focus - July 2017
Eu Cohesion Policy in the outermost regions
The European Parliament has just voted in favour of my report for the better implementation of Article 349 of the Treaties of the European Union.Given the outermost region' special situation in Europe, this article provides derogations for those areas.I am therefore pleased that MEPs support coherent European policies that will benefit our overseas territories.
Disclosure of income tax information
Fighting against tax evasion is one of GUE/NGL’s priorities and this proposed directive on country-by-country reporting is rather disappointing. The rapporteur had come up with highly ambitious plans to increase tax transparency - but the right-wing groups watered down the report. We will therefore table some amendments for the plenary to improve the text.
Disclosure of income tax information
The European Parliament missed a great opportunity to make progress in combating tax evasion and fraud. The country-by-country report should be an excellent tool in understanding where the profits of multinationals are produced and taxes are paid. Unfortunately, all these were neutralised by the right-wing groups’ derogations in the end.
2016 Report on Turkey
This report is highly critical of the deterioration of human rights, rule of law and fundamental freedoms in Turkey and its non-compliance with the Copenhagen criteria. It also calls on accession talks to be suspended if its constitutional reforms are to be implemented unchanged. It also urges Turkey to contribute positively towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem, withdraw its troops, return the city of Famagusta and end its policy of illegal settlements.
Private security companies.
The report aims to facilitate further the use of private security companies which alreadyprovide both logistical support for field combat as well as in post-conflict reconstruction.
Since the defence of each member state is the responsibility of the individual sovereign state, we fully reject the privatisation of security and defence just as we reject the privatisation of war in any form.
Working conditions and precarious employment
Precarious employment in the EU is something this Parliament cannot overlook. Neoliberal austerity policies led millions of Europeans to impoverishment and precarious employment. Involuntary fixed-term and part-time employment have increased considerably in the EU over the last 15 years. What our report achieved is to reintroduce the concept of ‘decent jobs’ in the discussion with a clear framework of working relationships. Collective bargaining, collective agreements and adequate social security are fundamental human rights. These rights must have priority over any economic trends.
Topical Debate on EU defence plan and future of Europe
The acceleration of the EU’s militarisation has been shocking. Under the guise of the ‘Defence package’, the consensus to not use the EU Budget for military purposes is now being blown up. This is heading in a fatally-flawed direction. If the funding restrictions on military matters are lifted, the defence budget will soon be in the hundreds of billions. This will only boost the military-industrial complex instead of providing social security and peace.
European Council meeting conclusions - migration
'United in Fortress Europe' seems to be the new EU motto. The pressing issues of how we can achieve humane reception conditions for people in need of protection, or how we can bring about safe and legal routes from Africa to Europe do not even make it onto the agenda anymore. Securing the sea borders is all that matters to the heads of European governments - whatever the cost to human lives.
Upcoming Estonia EU Presidency
The Estonian Presidency of the Council will have to deal with the European pillar of social rights and a reform of the coordination of the social security systems. The Estonian government must work in the Council to ensure that member states will guarantee the rights and protection of workers, and better access for all - including those who are not employed - to social security.
The Presidency will also focus on digital Europe. However, it seems that the negative effects of digitisation on the living and working conditions of EU citizens have been largely ignored. Here, we see a backlog.
As for Brexit negotiations, the Presidency must put the rights of EU and UK citizens first and to find a fair financial settlement with the UK.