The Week Ahead 11 – 17 January 2021

COVID-19 vaccines. The Environment, Public Health and Food Security Committee will debate with Commission Director-General of Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) Sandra Gallina, who is the EU lead negotiator on COVID-19 vaccines contracts. They are expected to discuss the EU’s procedure to approve the vaccines, what stage of the review process various vaccines have reached as well as the quantities bought by the EU (Tuesday).

EU-UK deal scrutiny. 
European Parliamentary oversight of the draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, reached in December, kicks off with a debate in the International Trade Committee on Monday, and continues on Thursday jointly with the Committee of Foreign Affairs. These two committees are responsible for recommending whether MEPs should approve the text. The EP’s consent is needed for the agreement to enter into force (Monday and Thursday).

EU-UK deal and sectoral policies. 
EP committees on Transport and Tourism, Fisheries, Economic and Monetary Affairs as well as Internal Market and Consumer Protection will debate, with the Commission’s Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, the impact of the EU-UK deal on their respective policies (Monday and Thursday).

. The Environment, Public Health and Food Security Committee will hold a public hearing on “Facing the sixth mass extinction and increasing risk of pandemics: what role for the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030”. MEPs will also discuss the committee’s draft resolution on Parliament’s reaction to this strategy, which was presented last year by the Commission (Thursday).

Plenary preparations.
 EP political groups will prepare for the 18-21 January plenary session, where MEPs will debate the working programme of the Portuguese Presidency, which includes the implementation of the EU Recovery Plan and the response to the social and employment crisis. MEPs are also scheduled to debate and vote on a resolution calling for an EU ‘right to disconnect’, on the revision of EU powers in trade disputes, on how to improve gender equality in the EU, on the state of human rights and democracy in the world as well as on the EU’s Common Foreign and Defence Policy.

President’s diary.
 EP President David Sassoli will meet Kosovo’s acting President and Speaker of Parliament Vjosa Osmani, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the EP President will have a remote meeting with European Disability Forum President Yannis Vardakastanis, as well as with Lok Sabha’s (Indian Parliament) Speaker Shri Om Birla. President Sassoli will meet the Commission College and have an audience with H.M. King Philippe of Belgium, on Thursday.