The Week Ahead 05 – 11 December 2016

Committee and political group meetings, Brussels

Fighting terrorism. Travelling abroad for terrorist purposes, training or being trained for terrorism, inciting terrorism or financing terrorist activities would be made criminal offences under a draft EU counter-terrorism directive informally agreed between Parliament and Council negotiators. The deal, which would also require EU countries to help terrorist attack victims, will need to be confirmed in a vote by the Civil Liberties Committee. (Monday)

Greenhouse gas emissions. A legislative proposal to align the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which aims to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions, with targets set in the Paris Agreement on climate change will be put to a vote by the Environment Committee. It includes proposals to prevent so-called “carbon leakage”, whereby companies move their production to countries with less ambitious climate measures. (Thursday)

Opening up the passenger rail market. A provisional Parliament/Council agreement on legislation to open up the EU market for domestic passenger rail transport and ensure equal conditions for railway companies will be voted in the Transport Committee. It aims to boost the quality of services offered to passengers and to improve the performance of the rail sector. (Monday) A press seminar on this subject with key MEPs and experts will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Making the EU more democratic, transparent and decisive. Proposals to improve the democratic accountability and transparency of EU institutions will be voted by the Constitutional Affairs Committee. These include direct election of the Commission President, introducing European party lists and strengthening EU defence policy and economic governance. (Thursday)

Visa suspension tool. Parliament and Council negotiators will try to strike a deal on rules to strengthen the EU’s visa suspension mechanism, which enables it to temporarily reintroduce visa requirements for countries exempted from them, in the event of sudden surges in irregular immigration, unfounded asylum applications or lack of cooperation on readmissions. If there is a deal, it will be put to a vote in the Civil Liberties Committee on the following day. (Wednesday and Thursday)

Tax evasion. The Committee of Inquiry into the Panama Papers scandal (PANA) will hear Taxation Commissioner Pierre Moscovici on progress made by the EU in fighting tax evasion. MEPs and a representative of the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will discuss international standards for anti-money laundering measures. (Wednesday)

Plenary preparations. Political groups will prepare for the 12-15 December Strasbourg plenary session, where MEPs will debate the Energy Union package with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, review the Slovak Council Presidency and give their input for the European Summit of 15 and 16 December. MEPs will also assess fundamental rights in the EU and human rights and democracy in the world in 2015 as well as preparing for the annual review of common foreign and security policy with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. In a special ceremony, the 2016 Sakharov Prize will be presented to Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar. Finally, MEPs will vote on new rules to make railway passenger transport and port services more efficient.

President’s agenda. EP President Martin Schulz will meet European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, hold a press point following the presentation of the Charter on Digital Rights and meet French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, on Monday. The President will meet Speaker of Albania’s Parliament Ilir Meta and Turkish-Cypriot Community leader Mustafa Akıncı, on Tuesday. On Friday, President Schulz will deliver a keynote speech at the “Europe calling” event on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary Maastricht Treaty, in Maastricht.

Upcoming Maltese Council Presidency. The EP Conference of Presidents (EP President and political group leaders) will go to Valetta to meet Malta’s President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and political leaders. They will also hold a press conference.