Coming up: what Parliament will be working on this year

From fighting terrorism to tackling the migration crisis: MEPs will be dealing with many significant challenges over the next six months. They will also be dealing with issues such as tax evasion and climate change. Read on for an overview of the main legislative proposals coming up.


MEPs are expected to be voting on the proposed new Dublin regulation, which determines which country is responsible for processing asylum applications. The European Commission is proposing that the emergency mechanism allowing member states to reintroduce temporary border controls is triggered automatically when dealing with a certain number of asylum seekers.

However, for the time being the member state where refugees arrive in the EU first is still responsible for dealing with their asylum requests.  MEPs want EU countries to recognise each other’s criteria and asylum procedures as well as a binding mechanism to distribute asylum seekers among all member states to support countries having to deal with significant numbers of asylum seekers.

Tax evasion

By the late spring Parliament’s inquiry committee  investigating the revelations of tax evasion contained in the Panama papers is expected to publish its final report. The committee was created in June 2016 to assess how the European Commission and EU countries have been fighting money laundering and tax evasion.


At the end of November Parliament and Council negotiators provisionally agreed on the final version of the combatting terrorism directive. The legislation would make preparing terrorist acts an offence all over the EU. This include activities such as travelling for terrorist purposes, facilitating such trips, training for terrorists acts or financing any of these preparations.

Once MEPs and the Council have formally approved the proposal, the directive could enter into force early this year.

Digital single market

MEPs will vote on a draft resolution regarding the digital single market during the January plenary. This includes a call to end geo-blocking to ensure consumers all over the EU enjoy the same rights when buying products and services in another member state online, unless this can be objectively justified for reasons such as VAT.

Parliament will also be looking into copyright rules regarding online content. New rules could make it easier for broadcasters to get authorisation to transmit programmes online in other EU member states so that when Europeans travel to other parts of the EU they can continue to watch their favourite shows. In addition video hosting websites such as Youtube and Facebook would be made responsible for checking they are offering copyrighted materials.

Energy and climate change

The biggest piece of climate change legislation the coming years is probably the reform of Europe’s emissions trade system. It also represents the EU’s first concrete steps to comply with the limits agreed at the COP21 conference. It could help to reduce emissions and encourage companies to shift to renewable or low-carbon sources. It should also help to prevent firms moving production to countries with lower environmental standards.

Last November the Commission presented the Clean Energy for all Europeans proposals aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 40% by 2030. The plans cover issues such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, the design of the electricity market, ecodesign, security of electricity supply and governance rules for a proposed energy union. Parliament will be dealing with the proposals later this year.