The Week Ahead 12 – 18 December 2016

Plenary session in Strasbourg


Sakharov Prize Award. Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, public advocates for the Yazidi community in Iraq and survivors of sexual enslavement by the so-called Islamic State, will receive the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in a ceremony on Tuesday at noon. A seminar for journalists will be held in the morning, starting at 8.45. A joint press conference of the laureates with Parliament’s President Martin Schulz will take place immediately after the award ceremony at 12.30.

Railway package. New rules to introduce bidding for public contracts to supply passenger rail services in EU countries and to boost the development of new commercial services will be voted on Wednesday. A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday at 15.00. (Debate Monday, vote Wednesday)

Fundamental rights in the EU. EU member states should “refrain from inciting fear and hatred in their citizens towards migrants and asylum seekers for political gains”, says a draft resolution on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU. MEPs also address concerns about the protection of children in the online environment and the rights to free movement and life-saving abortion. A press conference by the rapporteur is scheduled for Tuesday at 14.30. (Debate Monday, vote Tuesday)

Visa suspension. New rules to allow visa requirements to be reimposed faster and more easily on third-country nationals will be put to a vote in plenary on Thursday. Under the new rules, visa requirements may be reintroduced if there is a substantial increase in irregular migration or unfounded asylum applications, lack of cooperation on readmission of migrants or threats to public or EU internal security. (Debate Wednesday, vote Thursday)

EU summit preparations. MEPs will give their input to the 15 December European Council summit of EU leaders in a debate on the most pressing EU policy issues, including migration, security and defence, the economy, jobs for young people, relations with Russia and Brexit, on Wednesday morning.

Outgoing Slovak Presidency. The achievements of the outgoing Slovak Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers will be debated by political group leaders with Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday afternoon. Malta will take up the six-month rotating presidency in January.

Joint declaration on EU priorities for 2017. The presidents of the EU Parliament, Council, and Commission will sign the first-ever joint declaration on a common set of key policy areas where they pledge to make substantial progress next year to achieve tangible results for EU citizens.


Greenhouse gas emissions. A legislative proposal to align the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which aims to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions, with the 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)

President’s diary. Parliament’s President Martin Schulz will chair the debate on European Council preparations for the last time on Wednesday morning and address the plenary in a statement on the end of his term at 12.00. On Thursday, he will meet Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece, in Brussels at 9.00 and address the European Council at 12.30, followed by a press conference.