The Week Ahead 30 November – 06 December 2020

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

Committee meetings

Legislative and budget negotiations.
MEPs from several committees will continue negotiating with the EU Council Presidency on a number of legislative files, including MFF-related programmes and the 2021 EU budget. The reform of EU cohesion policy, the Maritime and Fisheries Fund, Defence Fund as well as new rules on nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted by cars are among the files that look close to a deal.

MEPs in the Environment, Public Health and Food Security Committee are expected to approve the deal with member states on the Drinking Water Directive. They are also set to call for the Water Framework Directive (WFD) to be implemented more quickly, as its objectives have not yet been reached due to inadequate funding, insufficient enforcement and broad use of exemptions. Concerns over new chemicals and pollutants, reporting methodologies, water pricing policies, hydropower and urban wastewater treatment may also be highlighted (Tuesday).

EU Strategy on adapting to Climate Change.
The Environment, Public Health and Food Security Committee will vote on an EU strategy to minimise the impact of irreversible climate change and extreme weather events. The right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, stress tests for high-emitting industry sectors to assess whether they are eligible for EU funds, and national adaptation strategies monitored by the Commission should be among the adopted plans (Tuesday).

Rule of Law/Hungary and Poland.
The Civil Liberties Committee will discuss the latest developments on procedures linked to Article 7.1 of the Treaty on EU and the state of LGBTI rights in Hungary and Poland. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, Equality Commissioner Helena Dalli, representatives of the German Presidency of the Council as well as of Hungarian and Polish national authorities have been invited to the debate (Tuesday).

Migration/Alleged pushbacks during Frontex operations.
MEPs in the Civil Liberties Committee will quiz Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri over allegations that the agency’s staff were involved in pushbacks of asylum-seekers by Greek border guards. Media revelations about the pushbacks led to a Frontex internal inquiry (Tuesday).

Implementation of the Dublin III Regulation.
The Civil Liberties Committee is set to identify the key shortcomings of the current EU rules on asylum, paying particular attention to the situation of the member states at the external borders. MEPs are likely to propose possible ways forward to improve responsibility sharing in the management of asylum requests (Tuesday).

The right to disconnect.
The Employment and Social Affairs Committee will put forward proposals on workers’ right to disconnect digitally from work outside of working hours and during holidays. MEPs are likely to stress that legislation and provisions on working time must be respected, even more so in COVID-19 times when so many are working from home. They are likely to underline that fair working conditions and employers’ duties and obligations are particularly important (Tuesday).

Conference of Presidents/Portuguese Presidency.
EP President Sassoli and political group leaders will meet with Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa to discuss the priorities of the Portuguese EU Council Presidency starting on 1 January 2021. After the meeting, President Sassoli and Prime Minister Costa will hold a press conference at 12.45 (Wednesday).

President’s diary
. EP President David Sassoli will meet with European Economic and Social Committee President Christa Schweng and European Commission Vice-President and High-Representative Josep Borrell, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, President Sassoli will join a video meeting on the follow-up to the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee hearing on sexual harassment in the EP. Finally, the EP President will have a video meeting with the Portuguese Parliament’s President, Ferro Rodrigues, also in the run-up to the next Presidency.