The Week Ahead 26 February – 03 March 2024

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

Plenary session, Strasbourg

Address by Yulia Navalnaya/EU support to political prisoners in Russia. On Wednesday at 11.30, Yulia Navalnaya will address MEPs, followed by one round of political group speakers. From around 13.00, MEPs will discuss with the Commission and the Belgian Presidency the murder of Alexei Navalny and the need for EU action to support political prisoners and oppressed civil society in Russia. A resolution will be put to a vote on Thursday.

Ukraine war/two-year anniversary. MEPs are set to call for more ammunition and weapons for Kyiv and tougher enforcement of sanctions against Russia, in a resolution to be put to a vote on Thursday, wrapping up the debate that took place during the previous plenary session. President Metsola will open the plenary session on Monday at 17.00 with a statement on the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine aid/Long-term budget/STEP. On Tuesday, MEPs are set to approve the revision of the EU’s long-term budget, including funding for Ukraine, the “Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform” (STEP) to increase the EU’s competitiveness and resilience in strategic sectors, and associated major changes to the multi-year EU budget. A press conference with the rapporteurs on the long-term budget will take place at 13.00 after the votes. (debate Tuesday)

Key debate on European security and defence. Amidst significant geopolitical uncertainty and threats, MEPs are set to call for decisive action to strengthen European security and defence and protect the international rules-based order. (debate, vote Wednesday)

EU nature restoration law. On Tuesday, Parliament will take a final vote on the nature restoration law, which requires the EU to put in place restoration measures for at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems by 2050.

Environmental crimes. On Tuesday, Parliament is set to approve new rules to protect the environment in the EU through criminal law. The directive provides an updated list of crimes including illegal timber trade, depletion of water resources and breaches of EU chemicals legislation, and introduces penalties including imprisonment and fines. A press conference with the rapporteur is scheduled at 14.00 after the vote (debate Monday)

War in Gaza. On Tuesday, plenary will discuss the latest ruling by the International Court of Justice regarding Israel and the alleged involvement of UN staff in the 7 October attacks.

Protection of journalists. In a final vote on Tuesday, plenary is expected to greenlight new EU rules to protect journalists and activists working on fundamental rights, allegations of corruption and disinformation from abusive lawsuits aimed at silencing them. A press conference with the rapporteur will take place at 15.00 after the vote.

Political advertising. Parliament will hold a final vote on Tuesday on transparency and targeting of political advertising, notably online. The new rules will enhance the integrity of election campaigns and help fight disinformation and foreign interference. A press conference with the rapporteur is scheduled at 14.30 after the vote (debate Monday)

New rules on driving licences. To improve road safety and support the digital transition, MEPs will debate on Tuesday and vote on Wednesday on updating driving licence rules, introducing mobile licences and mandatory health checks for drivers. A press conference with the rapporteur will take place at 14.30 after the vote.

President’s diary.
 EP President Metsola will sign a Memorandum of Understanding ahead of the European elections with the President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Oliver Röpke, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, she will meet with Yulia Navalnaya and sign Memorandums of Understanding on the elections with the President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR), Vasco Alves Cordeiro, and the President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Nadia Calviño. On Thursday and Friday, she will travel to Madrid (Spain) on an official visit.

Last-minute briefing. On Monday at 16.30, Parliament’s Spokesperson will hold a press briefing on the plenary session, which starts at 17.00. Political group briefings will take place on Tuesday morning.