The Week Ahead 28 September – 04 October 2020

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

Commissioner hearings. Following the changes in the Commission, MEPs will examine whether candidates McGuiness and Dombrovskis are qualified to carry out the particular duties assigned to them. Mairead McGuinness (Financial Services, Financial Stability and the Capital Markets Union) will be heard by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee from 9.00 to 12.00 on Friday and Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis (Trade) will be heard by the International Trade Committee from 13.00 to 16.00. Both hearings will be followed by meetings in which the Chairs and group representatives (coordinators) of the committees will evaluate the candidates’ suitability.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will meet MEPs of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee for the regular ‘Monetary Dialogue’. MEPs are likely to discuss economic and monetary developments in the euro area, including how major central banks can be held accountable and possible avenues to improve the ECB’s accountability as well as future perspectives for the ECB’s asset purchase programmes (Monday).

Digital Services. 
New obligations for digital services and platforms, the risks faced by online users and how to regulate big tech will be among the issues addressed in two separate votes in the Internal Market and Legal Affairs committees. Both legislative initiatives aim to influence the content of the Commission’s Digital Services Act package, due by the end of the year. Press conferences at 10:30 and at 15:00 (Monday).

Artificial Intelligence
. The Legal Affairs Committee will adopt its recommendations for the upcoming legislation on ensuring safe and trustworthy Artificial Intelligence in the EU. These proposals contribute to shaping and clarifying common rules in the area of ethics, civil liability and intellectual property as well as addressing risks and opportunities of AI. Press conference at 14:30 (Thursday).

Climate Law. 
Frans Timmermans, Commission Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for the European Green Deal, will debate with the Environment Committee on the 2030 Climate Target Plan, which includes a Communication on “Stepping up Europe’s 2030 Climate Ambition” and an Impact Assessment. The committee already adopted its position on the Climate Law Regulation, increasing the 2030 reduction target to 60%. Parliament will vote on the draft law in the 5-8 October plenary (Monday).

2020 Sakharov Prize.
 The nominees for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought will be presented in a joint meeting with MEPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Development Committee and Subcommittee on Human Rights (Monday).

 preparations. Political groups will prepare for the 5-8 October plenary session, where MEPs will vote on the changes in the Commission, debate the conclusions of the special summit (1 – 2 October) and look at the upcoming European Council. They will also vote on the new Climate law, a new mechanism on democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights, on the European Forest Strategy and on financial services. MEPs will also discuss gender balance on company boards, the rule of law conditionality in the MFF negotiations as well as the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on long-term care facilities and on employment.

President’s diary.
 EP President David Sassoli will meet with the Multiannual Financial Framework-Own Resources Contact Group, have a video meeting with ONE Youth Ambassadors as well as meet Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, President Sassoli will again meet with the Multiannual Financial Framework-Own Resources Contact Group, have a telephone call with Moroccan Parliament Speaker Habib El Malki, meet with Members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović as well as participate in a webinar on “Europe’s challenges” by the Fondazione Balducci. On Thursday, the EP President will address the European Council, followed by a press conference.