European Parliament

Climate change: Parliament to debate today on U.S. withdrawal from Paris agreement | European Parliament Pressroom

U.S. President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 United Nations climate change agreement will be discussed on Wednesday morning

The announcement from U.S. President Trump has been criticised on previous occasions by EU lawmakers, who announced that the European Union will stick to its commitments and move forward with its own climate legislation

Parliament will vote on legislation implementing the Paris agreement the same day, by cutting emissions from the agriculture, transport, building and waste sectors by 30% by 2030.

You can watch the plenary debate via EP Live, and EbS+.

 

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Today, MEPs lay out their input for the upcoming European Council | European Parliament Pressroom

MEPs will debate their priorities ahead of the 22-23 June European Council Wednesday at 9.00.

Migration, security and defence will top the summit agenda. The Brexit negotiations will most likely be addressed as well in the debate with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Maltese minister Helena Dalli representing the Council on Wednesday at 09.00.

Back in May, the European Parliament urged EU countries to fulfil their obligations and speed up the relocation of refugees, giving priority to children travelling alone. They also seek ambitious reform of the common European asylum system.

MEPs also consistently support more cooperation on defence between EU countries, calling on Member States to show political commitment, increase investment, share information, pool resources and create synergies at EU level in order to better protect Europeans.

The top priority for the Brexit negotiations is the safeguarding of the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in other countries of the EU.

You can watch the plenary debate via EP Live, and EbS+

Debate: Wednesday, 14 June 

#EUCO #Brexit #migrationEU #refugeecrisis #EUdefence @JunckerEU

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The future of cohesion policy post-2020 | European Parliament Pressroom

  • reduce regional disparities
  • adequate budget needed
  • simplify procedures and improve synergies
  • increase visibility of structural funds

An adequate budget, synergies between funds and simplification can improve EU’s post-2020 cohesion policy aimed at reducing regional disparities.

The existing cohesion policy has mitigated the impact of the recent economic crisis and that of austerity measures, but regional disparities and social inequalities remain high, say MEPs in a resolution adopted by 350 votes to 149, with 171 abstentions.

They call for consolidated action in the post-2020 cohesion policy to reduce these disparities, and to prevent new ones from developing in all types of regions.

Key proposals to improve the post-2020 cohesion policy:

  • an adequate budget
  • better synergies between funds
  • the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) “should not undermine the strategic coherence, territorial concentration and long-term perspective of cohesion policy programming”
  • simplifying its overall management system at all governance levels
  • harmonisation between cohesion policy and competition policy, in particular regarding state aid rules
  • keeping grants as the basis of its financing, whilst the use of loans, equity or guarantees “should be used with caution”

 

For more information on the funds received by each member state click on the interactive map (EU Commission website)

Find all projects funded by regional policy in your country here.

 

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The rapporteur, Kerstin Westphal (S&D, DE), said: “The EU structural funds create jobs and help deal with problems like climate change. They are a driving force for growth and sustainable development. The Parliament sends out today a clear signal about how important retaining cohesion policy is. We want a modern, non-bureaucratic cohesion policy, one which provides funding where necessary, for all regions, designed for people and simpler.

Boost visibility of Structural Funds

In a separate resolution adopted by 469 votes to 51, with 13 abstentions, MEPs propose ways to increase the visibility of EU cohesion policy, as one of the most recent Eurobarometer studies revealed that only one third of EU citizens are aware of the positive impact of EU investments in the regions where they live. MEPs point to the “increase in Euroscepticism and in anti-European populist propaganda that distorts information on Union policies” .

Improving access to information by creating a communication strategy for digital and social media and highlighting the benefits that cohesion policy brings to the real economy (i.e. by fostering innovation and creating jobs and growth) could enhance the visibility of cohesion policy, say MEPs.

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The rapporteur, Daniel Buda (EPP, RO), said: “The communication methods on the results of European structural investments have not been the most effective so far and they are different in each and every member state. A better coordination among public authorities, social and economic partners and civil society is needed in order to better communicate the goals of the EU and increase the interest of citizens in the European projects.”

Procedure:  non-legislative resolutions

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SAVE THE DATE | Sustainable City solutions: a central pillar for the next phase of the EU energy transition? (June 20)

We are delighted to invite you to a debate organised by PubAffairs Bruxelles which will be held on Tuesday the 20th of June at 19.00 at the premises of Science14 Atrium, rue de la Science, 14-B, Brussels. The event will consist of a debate about sustainable city solutions as a central pillar for the next phase of the EU energy transition.

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About the debate

The executive body of the European Union announced its willingness “to lead the energy transition, not only adapt to it. For this reason, the EU has committed to cut CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 while modernising the EU’s economy and delivering on jobs and growth for all European citizens”.  The bold stance of the European Commission has multiple goals: firstly, the fostering of the modernisation of European economy and society in order to remain coherent with the obligations stemming from both the issue of climate change and the commitments of the Paris agreement. Secondly, this policy setting should not only lower both the demand and the dependency on fossil fuels, but should also lower energy costs for EU citizens who could eventually benefit from a more sustainable environment by the use of affordable and advanced solutions.

Ambitious climate goals and respective measures to reduce CO2 emissions as part of the overall Energy Union goals present enormous challenges to cities and communities alike. In addition, cities of all scale will play a crucial role in the next phase of the energy transition towards a low-carbon society. While urban infrastructure needs to be transformed into an active player in the energy system, smart networks will connect urban and rural areas, where the massive deployment of renewable energies in Europe happened in the first place. Districts of all kinds are the nucleus of sustainable development. With decentralised and highly efficient energy solutions for new development areas and renovation projects, communities can actively shape a climate neutral environment. Furthermore, dense urbanized areas are ideal platforms for coupling together different sectors, e.g. electricity with heating and transport.

While smart meter applications and devices, as part of  the development of a vision to integrate information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of things (IoT), are the crucial enablers of the vision of sustainable city solutions, an adequate level of financing for the transition towards a low carbon energy economy is also of prior importance for the environmental and economic sustainability of the whole of the EU in the years to come. Smart city solutions could, for example, allow for proper energy storage and water and sewage treatment, as well as for smart metering and environmental monitoring. However, the policy solutions  of a more sustainability-friendly EU are encountering a series of challenges.

The Clean Energy Package addresses the above mentioned issues, from local energy communities and self-consumption to smartness indicators for buildings, to long-term renovation strategy and infrastructure for E-mobility, just to mention a few. For instance, while the review of these elements is still under scrutiny, digital solutions and big data still need to be fully integrated, while the questions of data privacy and cyber security are further complicating the findings of integrated policy solutions. Last but not least, the financial side of innovative green projects has often been pointed out by experts and officials as the weak link in the chain.

Sustainable City solutions: a central pillar for the next phase of the EU energy transition?

This event will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Participants are free to use the information received but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the attendees may be revealed. For this reason, unless explicitly authorised by PubAffairs Bruxelles, the filming and/or the recording of the event by any means are strictly forbidden.

The event will commence with a welcome drink at 7h00 pm, followed by a panel debate at 7.30 pm. After the panel debate there will be an opportunity for questions and discussions.


We look forward to seeing you at 7h00 pm on the 20th of June at Science14 Atrium, rue de la Science 14-B, Brussels.

All our debates are followed by a drink in a convivial atmosphere.

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Plenary overview: refugee relocation, Hungary, Brexit talks | European Parliament – Press Room

From a debate on Brexit negotiations to refugee relocation and the situation in Hungary: read our overview of this week’s plenary session.

Brexit

During Wednesday’s debate on the European Council of 29 April dedicated to Brexit, MEPs welcomed the unity shown by EU countries ahead of negotiations with the UK, but also insisted on a reform of the EU taking place at the same time.

Hungary

MEPs criticised the “serious deterioration” of the rules of law and democracy in Hungary on Wednesday and adopted a resolution calling for article 7(1) of the EU Treaty to be invoked, to determine whether there is a clear risk of a serious breach of EU values.

Refugee relocation

Countries such as Italy and Greece should not have to bear the brunt of taking in refugees seeking sanctuary in Europe, said MEPs in a resolution adopted on Thursday, in which they called for an effective relocation system. In a debate on Tuesday, MEPs accused national governments of  dragging their feet over relocating refugees to their country.

Online subscriptions

Rules to allow people who have paid for online subscriptions to view their content, TV series, films but also e-books when travelling to other EU countries, were approved by MEPs on Thursday and could come into force within a year.

United Nations

UN Secretary-General António Guterres addressed the plenary chamber on Wednesday, discussing issues such as the situation in Syria, the refugees crisis and the importance of the EU’s role in the world.

Homophobia

Ahead of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia  on 17 May,   MEPs debated on Tuesday the persecution of gay men in Chechnya as reported by Russian media and human rights organisations. A resolution was adopted on Thursday, calling for an urgent investigation by Russian authorities.

Food waste

MEPs want to see the 88 million tonnes of food wasted every year in the EU reduced by 30% by 2025 and by 50% by 2030 compared to the 2014 baseline.

Money laundering

Parliament rejected for the second time a proposed European Commission blacklist of countries at risk of money laundering. This list is derived from the international Financial Action Task Force and MEPs want the EU to have an “independent and autonomous” process for judging whether countries are at risk of financial criminality.

Employment

MEPs approved on Wednesday EU funding worth  €2.6 million to help 821 former Nokia ICT workers in Finland with career coaching and individual guidance.

Globalisation

The negative effects of globalisation on society should be addressed and its benefits should be better distributed to all people, said MEPs in a resolution adopted on Tuesday. Read, what Parliament has already done recently regarding issues linked to globalisation.

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Brexit negotiations: today, debate with Tusk, Juncker and Barnier on European Council’s conclusions | European Parliament – Press Room

MEPs will debate on Wednesday morning the guidelines for the EU negotiations with the UK that the European Council agreed at its last meeting in April. European Council President Donald Tusk, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU chief negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier will take part in the debate.

The guidelines agreed by the Council are broadly in line with the key principles and conditions for the UK’s withdrawal agreement European Parliament adopted on 5 April. In their resolution, MEPs gave priority to securing equal and fair treatment for EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU. Other key points concern the integrity of the internal market, the peace process in Northern Ireland, and the budgetary aspects of the UK withdrawal.

Any agreement at the end of UK-EU negotiations will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.

Debate:  Wednesday 17 May

Procedure:  European Council and Commission statements

Press conference tbc

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MEPs to urge EU countries to speed up transfer of refugees from Italy and Greece | European Parliament – Press Room

MEPs will urge EU countries on Tuesday morning to accelerate the transfer of refugees from Italy and Greece to other member states, as agreed in September 2015.

Under two Council decisions adopted in September 2015, member states committed to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers from these two “frontline” countries by September 2017, but only 18,418 persons have been moved (as of 11 May). Following the plenary debate with Council and Commission representatives, MEPs will vote on a resolution on Thursday.

Background

Against the background of severe migration and refugee crises in the summer of 2015, the EU adopted two emergency decisions to relocate thousands of refugees.  160,000 asylum seekers with a high chance of being granted refugee status from Italy and Greece were to be relocated by September 2017 to other member states where their applications would be processed.

In a subsequent decision approved by the Council in September 2016 – which was opposed by Parliament – member states agreed that 54,000 out of the 160,000 places could be used for the admission of Syrian refugees from Turkey, as part of the EU-Turkey migration deal, rather than from Italy or Greece.

According to UNHCR data, around 50,000 asylum-seekers are still stuck in Greece, while Italy faced a new record in 2016 with 181.436 new arrivals.

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European Parliament Agenda | The Week Ahead 15 – 21 May 2017

Plenary

Brexit. MEPs will debate the guidelines for the negotiations with the UK on the terms of its withdrawal, adopted by the April EU Summit, with European Council President Donald Tusk and the Commission (Wednesday).

Future of Europe: harnessing globalisation. MEPs will discuss how the EU can tackle the negative effects of globalisation, as a follow-up on proposals made by the EU Commission. (Tuesday)

Relocation of refugees. Parliament will repeat its calls to member states to transfer refugees from Italy and Greece to other EU countries, as agreed by member states in September 2015. So far, only around 18,000 persons have actually been relocated, i.e. just over 11% of the total. (Debate on Tuesday and vote on Thursday)

Watching online films and TV while abroad. MEPs take the final vote on new rules enabling EU citizens with subscriptions for online films, TV series, games and sport events to access this content while temporarily in another EU country. (Debate on Wednesday and vote on Thursday)

Food waste. MEPs will advocate efforts to halve food waste in the EU – 88 million tonnes per year – by 2030. They are likely to call on the Commission to lift existing restrictions on food donations and to dispel confusion about “best before” and “use by” labels. (Debate on Monday, vote on Tuesday)

Hungary. MEPs will vote on a resolution assessing the fundamental rights situation in Hungary following up on an April plenary debate. (Wednesday)

Syria. MEPs will debate ways and means to help end the war in Syria, the worst humanitarian crisis since WW II, with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and vote on a resolution. (Debate on Tuesday, vote on Thursday)

UN Secretary-General. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will deliver a formal speech to MEPs. The situation in Syria, the refugee crisis and the EU’s role in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals are likely to be among the issues addressed. A joint press conference with EP President Antonio Tajani and Mr Guterres will take place immediately afterwards. (Wednesday).

African Union. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, will address MEPs in the Strasbourg Chamber. Malnutrition, youth and intra-African trade as well as cooperation for peace and security should be among the issues raised by Mr Moussa Faki. After his speech, there will be a joint press point with EP President Antonio Tajani. (Tuesday)

President’s diary. EP President Antonio Tajani will sign the law exempting Ukrainians from EU short-stay visa requirements in the presence of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, on Wednesday. On Friday, President Tajani will be in Croatia, where he will meet President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Parliament’s Speaker Gordan Jandroković.

Pre-session press briefing. The EP Press Service will hold a press briefing at 16.30 on Monday. (EP Press conference room, Strasbourg)

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SAVE THE DATE | Debate | Payments security: do the EBA RTS on strong customer authentication create an open and secure market for retail payments in Europe? (May 31)

We are delighted to invite you to the debate organised by PubAffairs Bruxelles which will be held on Wednesday the 31st of May at 19.00 at the premises of Science14 Atrium, rue de la Science, 14-B, Brussels. The event will consist of a debate about the European Banking Authority’s (EBA) regulatory technical standards (RTS) on strong customer authentication and the creation of an open and secure market for retail payments in Europe.

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About the debate

The European Banking Authority (EBA) published on the 23rd of February its final draft Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) on strong customer authentication and common and secure communication. These RTS, which were mandated under the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and developed in close cooperation with the European Central Bank (ECB), are meant to lay the first stone for an open and secure market in retail payments in Europe. 

The final draft RTS are – in the EBA own words – “the result of difficult trade-offs between the various, at times competing, objectives of the PSD2, such as enhancing security, facilitating customer convenience, ensuring technology and business-model neutrality, contributing to the integration of the European payment markets, protecting consumers, facilitating innovation, and enhancing competition through new payment initiation and account information services”.

The EBA received hundreds of replies to the two consultations organized on the very matter; these may have influenced the introduction of some changes in the final RTS draft. Firstly, there is a new exemption from strong customer authentication based on the level of risk of a payment, and this for payments up to 500 euro. However, this exemption can only be used if the payer’s payment service provider (PSP) has an overall fraud rate lower than the reference fraud rate specified in the RTS. This change is likely to be welcomed by the e-commerce industry, where strong customer authentication might generate user friction and therefore cancellations of purchases. An important question is however whether one-size-fits-all fraud rates will be usable across different industries, such as e-banking and e-commerce and whether the same thresholds are appropriate in a BtoB context. Furthermore, the EBA has deleted in the final draft RTS its initial requirement to use different channels, devices or mobile applications to initiate and authenticate payments; this seems to make it possible to use a single device, and even a single mobile app, to initiate and authenticate a payment. Also, unattended payment terminals have been exempted from strong customer authentication as well as remote payments up to 30 euros.

The EBA has now submitted the final draft RTS to the European Commission for adoption, after which they will be reviewed by the European Parliament and the Council. Overall, transactional risk analysis technology has gained importance in the final draft RTS. However, for this to work, PSPs will need to keep their fraud levels under control in order to meet the reference levels. At the same time, the RTS also provide more flexibility to use mobile apps to authenticate payments. However PSPs will need to protect these mobile apps against various threats.

Payments security: do the EBA RTS on strong customer authentication create an open and secure market for retail payments in Europe?

This event will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Participants are free to use the information received but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the attendees may be revealed. For this reason, unless explicitly authorised by PubAffairs Bruxelles, the filming and/or the recording of the event by any means are strictly forbidden.

The event will commence with a welcome drink at 7h00 pm, followed by a panel debate at 7.30 pm. After the panel debate there will be an opportunity for questions and discussions.


We look forward to seeing you at 7h00 pm on the 31st of May at Science14 Atrium, rue de la Science 14-B, Brussels.

All our debates are followed by a drink in a convivial atmosphere.

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