Plenary Focus - October 2013 (Session 1)
We welcome that western states have backed down from their warmongering for the moment and that chemical weapons are to be destroyed. But the plight of refugees has largely been forgotten. From the 2.1 million refugees outside Syria, the EU has only taken in 45,000 compared with 750,000 in Lebanon. We must ensure their protection by granting more people asylum. The EU fund for helping refugees must be used properly. The levels of human suffering we have seen are hard to fathom. The wider knock-on effects of the Syrian refugee crisis on other vulnerable groups, especially women, children, older people, and ethnic minorities, must also be considered.
Debate: Wednesday; Vote: Wednesday
As co-rapporteur I insisted that investors’ obligations be included alongside a clear definition of what sort of protection should be available for investments. The cultural sector must be exempt. We must safeguard social, health and environmental policy. There will be an embattled vote on the possibility of investors launching a dispute settlement panel directly against governments. The GUE/NGL rejects this. We emphasise the role of ordinary courts instead, in addition to state-to-state dispute settlement and mediation mechanisms.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Wednesday
Tobacco kills a staggering 700,000 people across Europe every year. It is high time that we face up to the tobacco industry with tougher regulations to protect our young people from being encouraged to start this deadly habit. The industry has mounted a large lobbying effort in order to water down proposals which put public health before tobacco profit. I urge colleagues to prioritise the health of our future generations.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Tuesday
Where are the recommendations of the European Parliament from September 2012 on the complicity of certain EU member states in the CIA programme on illegal detention and unlawful transport of prisoners to Guantanamo? Dead or as good as. Today, the right refuses this reality. The credibility of the EU and its member states is at stake, amid increased questioning of fundamental rights. Denying the facts is unacceptable.
Debate: Wednesday; Vote: Thursday
The purpose of the TFTP agreement is precisely to provide the US with access to financial data and we have consistently opposed it as it does not provide sufficient guarantees for European citizens’ fundamental rights. But the US is using this agreement only for data that they cannot access by any other means. So the US is violating this weak arrangement in order to spy on everybody around the globe without any restrictions. It is imperative to terminate this agreement now.
Gendercide is a big problem. Systematic gender-biased sex selective practices against girls must not be accepted. It is part of structural discrimination and stereotyping of women. It must therefore be understood, analysed and targeted in the context of structural inequalities between women and men. Any attempt to use Gendercide as an excuse to constrain girls and women’s sexual and reproductive rights, especially abortion rights, must be strongly rejected.
Debate: Monday; Vote: Tuesday
Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) are essential for safeguarding public interest and nature conservation in decision making in public and private projects. We believe they should be improved, learning from practical experiences. We defend the public’s right to request the use of this instrument in projects of interest, through active participation mechanisms involving populations, local authorities or NGOs. Transparency, public accessibility, including through the Internet, is essential, and comments must be taken into account to improve the quality of decisions and contribute to public awareness of environmental issues.
Debate: Tuesday; Vote: Wednesday