The Week Ahead 14 – 20 December 2020

©European Union, 2021, Source: EP – Multimedia Centre©European Union, 2021, Source: EP – Multimedia Centre

Plenary session

Future EU financing and recovery package/Rule of Law Mechanism.
MEPs stand ready to vote on all related legislative files and the 2021 budget, provided that the texts agreed with MEPs are referred to Parliament in time for the start of next week’s plenary session.

Outcome of EU summit.
In a debate on Wednesday, Parliament will assess the outcome of the December European Council with Commission and Council Presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel. MEPs are set to discuss their position on the future EU-UK relationship, climate change, relations with Turkey, the fight against terrorism and violent extremism as well as coordinated efforts to combat COVID-19, including vaccines and testing.

Belarus opposition to be awarded Sakharov Prize
. On Wednesday at 12.00, the democratic opposition in Belarus, represented by several laureates including opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, will be awarded the 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. EP President Sassoli, Ms Tsikhanouskaya and fellow laureate Veranika Tsapkala are scheduled to hold a press conference immediately after the award ceremony at around 12.40.

COVID-19 vaccines
: In a debate on Wednesday, MEPs will present their views on an EU strategy for COVID-19 vaccinations that addresses challenges inside and outside the EU. They are expected to call for coordinated efforts to ensure access to safe vaccines across Europe once EU market authorisation has been granted, fair distribution and the protection of the most vulnerable, as well as equal access to vaccines across the world.

Addressing the impact of COVID-19.
MEPs are expected to approve on Tuesday (announced Wednesday) the €47.5 billion REACT-EU package to mitigate the immediate effects of the COVID-19 crisis across EU regions. The money will be made available over the next two years through the EU Structural Fund and investments will be focused on the sectors most affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic. MEPs will also discuss on Monday and vote on Wednesday a resolution calling for measures to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) deal with the economic crisis.

Higher quality of tap water
. On Tuesday evening, MEPs will vote on new drinking water rules, designed to offer high quality tap water across the EU, thus enabling and encouraging people to drink tap water rather than bottled water while reducing plastic waste. To improve access, member states should encourage the free provision of water in public buildings. A resolution on the implementation of the EU water legislation will be put to the vote on Thursday.

Climate Change
. MEPs want to give impetus to building climate-resilient societies through the upcoming EU adaptation strategy, in a resolution to be put to the vote on Thursday. They are set to call for renewed focus on adaptation, to minimise the adverse impact of climate change, and for climate-proofed infrastructure to receive EU funding.

Legislative negotiations
. On Monday, MEPs from several committees will continue negotiating with the German Council Presidency on a number of legislative files, including the EU4Health, Creative Europe, and Digital Europe programmes.

President’s Diary
. The President of the European Parliament will open the remote plenary session from the Strasbourg hemicycle on Monday at 17.00, preceded by a press point at 16.00. On Tuesday at 11.30, David Sassoli will meet with Michael Roth, the German Minister of State for Europe. On Wednesday, the President will chair the 2020 Sakharov Prize Award Ceremony in the Brussels chamber at 12.00, followed by a press conference with the laureates at 12.40. At 16.15, he will receive the Flame of Peace on the Esplanade.

Press Briefing
. On Monday at 15.00, spokespersons from Parliament and political groups will hold a press briefing on next week’s plenary session.