The Week Ahead 22 – 28 March 2021

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

Committee meetings, Plenary Session


Evaluating and authorising COVID-19 vaccines
. European Medicines Agency (EMA) Executive Director Emer Cooke will update MEPs from the Environment, Public Health and Food Security Committee on the state of play in the evaluation and market authorisation of vaccines against COVID-19 and the next steps (Tuesday).

Purchasing COVID-19 vaccines
. Members of the Budgets Control Committee and the Commission’s Director-General for Health and Food Safety (SANTE), Sandra Gallina, will discuss the current state of the EU’s advance purchase agreement on vaccines against COVID-19 (Tuesday).


EU revenue
. MEPs are set to approve three laws contributing to the ongoing reform of the EU’s Own Resources system and paving the way for new sources of EU revenue, such as a new plastic levy. Reforming the EU revenue system is crucial also for establishing the recovery fund “Next Generation EU” worth €750 billion, which was always a priority for Parliament. (debate Wednesday, vote Thursday)

Rule of Law
. Following last session’s debate, MEPs will now vote on a resolution in which they are expected to warn the Commission to activate the rule of law mechanism without delay. They are also likely to stress that Parliament will use all means at its disposal if the Commission fails to use the new mechanism to protect the budget. (vote Wednesday)

Sustainable Tourism
. Parliament will debate on Wednesday and vote on Thursday on a resolution from the Transport Committee that urges EU countries to include the tourism and travel sectors in their COVID-19 recovery plans and to consider temporarily reducing VAT on these services. They are also expected to advocate a common vaccination certificate to facilitate travel, which would act as an alternative to PCR tests and quarantine requirements.

New EU-Africa Strategy
. MEPs will debate and vote on a new EU-Africa Strategy, to move the two continents beyond the “donor-recipient” relationship. Instead, the EU and Africa should cooperate as equals, empowering African nations to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, curb climate change, and focus more on gender equality, education and improving health care and national health systems. (debate Wednesday, vote Thursday)

Marine litter
. To reduce ocean waste, single-use plastics should be further restricted, the circular economy should be boosted through collecting, recycling and upcycling, and fishing gear should be designed in a more sustainable way, MEPs are expected to say. (debate Wednesday, vote Thursday)

President’s Diary
. On Monday, EP President Sassoli will meet with the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, Dmytro Razumkov, before they sign a memorandum of understanding between the two parliaments. On Tuesday, he will meet Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Arancha González Laya, and Italy’s Minister of Agriculture, Stefano Patuanelli. On Thursday at 15.00, President Sassoli will address heads of state or government at the summit, followed by a press conference at 16.00. On Friday, he will make opening remarks at a webinar organised by the City of Bologna and the European Committee of the Regions on “Social responsibility from a gender perspective”.