European Parliament Agenda – The Week Ahead 14 – 20 December 2015

Plenary session in Strasbourg

Sakharov Prize. Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger and author of the website Free Saudi Liberals is this year’s laureate of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Mr Badawi has been detained since 2012 on the charge of breaking Saudi technology laws and insulting religious figures. Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, will receive the prize on his behalf at a ceremony in Strasbourg on Wednesday at noon and hold a joint press conference with President Schulz immediately after the ceremony, at 12.30. A seminar for journalists with former Sakharov laureates takes place the same day at 9.00.

External border controls. Proposals to strengthen the EU border agency Frontex and set up a European border and coast guard will be presented by Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and debated by MEPs on Tuesday afternoon. Parliament asked in a 2013 resolution that “the Schengen external borders should in the future be guarded with the support of European border guards”.

COP21. The outcome of the international climate talks in Paris will be reviewed by MEPs, the Council Presidency and Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete on Tuesday afternoon. A delegation of 15 MEPs from the Environment and Industry committees attended the conference during its final week.

Pre-summit debate. With a view to the 17-18 December European summit, MEPs will debate the fight against terrorism and the implementation of EU responses to migration challenges on Wednesday at 09.00, with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council. Economic and Monetary Union, strengthening the single market and UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s reform demands ahead of the UK’s EU membership referendum will also be on the agenda.

Eurozone and EMU. Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem will take part in a plenary debate for the first time, on Tuesday morning, when he joins MEPs to discuss the EU’s economic and social priorities for 2016, as set out by the Commission in the Annual Growth Survey, and specific recommendations for the euro area as a whole, all presented by the Commission on 26 November.

Corporate taxesParliament will debate and approve its recommendations for legislation to improve corporate tax transparency, coordination and EU-wide tax policy convergence. If the Commission does not act on these recommendations, then it must explain why. (debate Tuesday, vote Wednesday). Also the new special committee set up for another six months to investigate member states’ tax-rulings will hold its constitutive meeting on Thursday.

Energy policy. Parliament’s vision for a resilient EU energy union and forward-looking climate change policy, as well as interconnecting electricity supplies across the EU, will be set out in non-legislative resolutions to be debated on Monday evening and voted on Tuesday.

Arms export controls. MEPs will call on member states to apply the EU’s eight-point code on arms exports more strictly, pointing to the changed security environment in the EU’s neighbourhood and stressing that these trade flows are not in the EU’s security interests. In 2013, EU member states exported arms worth a total of €26.7 billion to third countries. (Debate Wednesday, vote Thursday)

President’s diary. Parliament’s President Martin Schulz will meet Council and Commission presidents Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker and the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday at 19.00. With a view to the EU summit, he will hold a press conference with Mr Juncker on Thursday at 10.00 in the Commission’s premises. Mr Schulz will address the European Council at 16.00, followed by a press conference.

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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