In Parliament this week: Turkey, geoblocking, social protection, migration | European Parliament Newsroom

A wide variety of internal and external issues are up for debate at this week’s plenary session in Brussels. MEPs discuss the recent referendum in Turkey with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini while developments in Greece, Hungary and Venezuela are also on the agenda. In Parliament’s committees, MEPs are to vote on the protection of minors online and on limiting the geoblocking of services. Also up for a vote is the establishment of an EU fund to fight the root causes of migration.

The recent referendum in Turkey on sweeping new powers for the country’s president will be discussed on Wednesday afternoon with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
On the same day, members also debate the situation in Hungary including legislative measures that could force the closure of the Central European University in Budapest.
On Wednesday, MEPs discuss the European Commission’s “Social Pillar” initiative which aims to ensure social protection, dignity and a decent work-life balance for Europeans. Commissioner Marianne Thyssen will be in attendance.
Parliament discussed the latest political developments in Venezuela earlier this month; a resolution on the situation in the Latin American country will be put a vote on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, MEPs are to quiz Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem on the Greek economic reform programme.
On Monday, the foreign affairs, development and budget committees vote on establishing an EU fund to boost employment and stability in Africa and other regions in the EU’s neighbourhood. The European Fund for Sustainable Development aims to address the root causes of migration.
The culture committee votes on Tuesday to adapt the 2010 EU audiovisual media services directive to include new distribution methods, digitalisation, video-sharing platforms and the protection of minors.
Also on Tuesday, the internal market committee votes on new draft rules to stop price discrimination and different conditions for consumers buying goods or services from EU countries other than their own.
In the civil liberties committee on Tuesday, MEPs vote on rules to better harmonise reception conditions for asylum-seekers across all member states and to guarantee adequate facilities for vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied minors.
Click here for more on this week’s plenary.

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Facility for Refugees in Turkey: Commission Reports on Progress in Fourth Steering Committee | European Commission – Daily News

The Steering Committee of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey is meeting in Brussels today. The European Commission will present the progress made to date, in particular the two recent direct grants in the areas of education and health worth €600 million and contracts worth €422 million for humanitarian aid. During the meeting the participants (representatives from EU Member States and Turkey, under the chairmanship of the European Commission) will outline the next steps of cooperation to support both the refugees who have fled the Syrian war and their hosting communities in Turkey.

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EU announces more projects under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey: €348 million in humanitarian aid to refugees in Turkey | European Commission – Daily News

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides announced today the largest ever EU humanitarian aid programme – the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN). It will be rolled out by the World Food programme (WFP) in partnership with the Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the Turkish Red Crescent and the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy (MoFSP) to address the everyday needs of refugees in Turkey. This is largest ever humanitarian programme using direct cash-transfers to cover the everyday needs of the most vulnerable refugee families in Turkey. The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), financed with €348 million by the EU and its Member States under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, is the first social assistance scheme of its kind, marrying international humanitarian know-how and government services to reach out to one million refugees across Turkey. Through it, the European Commission continues to respect its commitments under the EU-Turkey Statement. “In line with the EU and its Members States’ strong commitment to support vulnerable refugees in Turkey, the unprecedented scale of the ESSN will make a significant difference in the lives of men, women and children who have had to flee conflict and violence. Together with the World Food Programme and our Turkish partners we have developed an innovative system that can deliver what people need, where it is needed most, and in the most effective way possible. Through the ESSN, our contribution will be more effectively directed to vulnerable refugees. This is a game changer in the delivery of international humanitarian aid. I would like to take this opportunity to commend Turkey on its unparalleled generosity in supporting refugees in the country”said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

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Commissioner Avramopoulos in Turkey | European Commission – Announcements

Commissioner Avramopoulos is in Turkey today to meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Minister for EU Affairs Ömer Çelik. Discussions will focus on the implementation of the visa liberalisation process and on the return and readmission aspects of the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016.

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Facility for Refugees in Turkey: over €1.4 billion in support of education and health | European Commission – Daily News

Today, the European Commission has adopted a Special Measure worth over €1.4 billion in support of refugees who have fled the war in Syria and their host communities. The money will go towards education, health, municipal and social infrastructure, and socio-economic support. In addition, a further €79 million of previously allocated funds for humanitarian aid projects has been contracted to a number of partners, including UN agencies, international organisations as well as international NGOs. Today’s announcement, under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, is part of the Commission’s commitment to deliver on what was agreed to in the EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March. Since then, €2.155 billion out of the foreseen €3 billion for this and next year has already been mobilised. Funding under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey supports refugees in the country, not Turkey. The support seeks to improve conditions for refugees in Turkey as part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to addressing the refugee crisis inside and outside the EU. A full press release is available online, as is a factsheet on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey and more information on the projects.

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Statements on the situation in Turkey | European Commission- Statements

Following the attempted coup in Turkey on Friday 15 July, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the EU Member States present at the Asia-Europe Meeting, which took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on 15-16 July, issued a statement, saying: “Turkey is a key partner for the European Union. The EU fully supports the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law. We call for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order. We continue to follow closely the developments and to coordinate with the 28 EU Member States.” High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini also issued a joint statement with Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, stating:“We condemn the attempted coup in Turkey and reiterate our full support to the democratic institutions of the country. […] We underline the need for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order with its checks and balances and stress the importance for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms to prevail.” The full statements are available online.

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European Parliament Agenda | The Week Ahead 06 – 12 June 2016

Plenary session and committee meetings, Strasbourg

Migration compact. A new EU plan to address the root causes of migration will be presented by the EU Commission and debated in plenary on Tuesday afternoon. The “migration compact”, prepared by Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, foresees using EU funds to promote private investment in migrants’ countries of origin, particularly in Africa.

Integrating legal migrants. In a following debate, MEPs will discuss new plans by the EU Commission to set up uniform, efficient legal immigration procedures for those entitled to stay as well as an action plan for integration of third-country nationals. (Debate Tuesday)

Turkey. MEPs will debate the state of democracy in Turkey after 138 members of the Turkish parliament had their immunity lifted. Respect of fundamental rights is one of the conditions for a rapid introduction of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens as part of an arrangement for managing migration. (Debate Wednesday)

Juncker plan mid-term review. The first results of the European Commission’s ‎€315 billion investment plan for Europe will be debated on Wednesday morning with Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen. Most of the EU co-financed projects so far lined up to boost jobs and growth are in France, the UK, Italy and Germany.

Inquiry committee. Following thehttp://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/agenda/2016-W23-By-Dayrecent “Panama Papers” revelations about some 200,000 offshore letterbox companies, the, MEPs will vote on the creation of an inquiry committee to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of EU laws on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. (Vote Wednesday)

Taxing multinationals. MEPs will give their opinion on the Commission’s proposal for an anti-tax avoidance directive on Tuesday morning and vote on a resolution on Wednesday. The proposal aims to close loopholes used by corporate tax avoiders.

Endocrine disruptors. Parliament is set to reiterate its demand that the European Commission publish the over-due scientific criteria needed to identify and tackle exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals. These criteria should have been published by the end of 2013. (Vote Wednesday)

Removing hurdles to free movement. Parliament will vote on new EU rules to facilitate the free movement of citizens by simplifying procedures for proving the authenticity of their personal public documents, such as birth or marriage certificates, in other EU member states. To avoid the need for translation, the provisions would introduce new multilingual EU forms to be attached to the documents. (Debate Wednesday, vote Thursday)

President of Bulgaria. Rosen Plevneliev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria, will deliver a speech in the European Parliament on Wednesday at 12.00. The future of Europe and the current challenges that the EU is facing are expected to be among the topics addressed.

President’s diary. Parliament’s President Martin Schulz will meet Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Tuesday. On Wednesday he will meet Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev and hold a joint press point following Mr Plevneliev’s formal address to the plenary session.

Pre-session press briefing. The EP Press Service will hold a press briefing at 16.30 on Monday. (EP Press conference room, Strasbourg

Click here for the schedule of the days

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EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement: Provisions for Third Country Nationals Enter into Force | European Commission – Daily News

Additional provisions enter into force today under the Readmission Agreement signed by the EU and Turkey on 16 December 2013. As of today, all Member States (excepting Denmark and Ireland, which decided not to join the Agreement) can also request that Turkey readmits irregular third country nationals who entered the EU directly from Turkey. This is in addition to the provisions for readmission of Turkish citizens which have been in force since 1 October 2014. The entry into force of the provisions related to the readmission of third country nationals was initially scheduled for 1 October 2017. At the Summit of 29 November 2015 the EU and Turkey agreed to advance its application to 1 June 2016 in order to accelerate the visa liberalisation process. A full and effective implementation of the Readmission Agreement is one of the requirements included in the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap for Turkey. Today’s entry into force of the provisions related to third-country nationals under the EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement enables Turkey to make another step forward towards completing the fulfilment of the requirements under the visa liberalisation process

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European Parliament Agenda |The Week Ahead 16 – 22 May 2016


EU-Turkey deal/Greece. Civil Liberties Committee MEPs will go on a fact-finding mission to Greece to check on the situation at the EU’s external borders and evaluate the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal on refugees. They will travel to the FYROM border to assess the situation there after the closure of the so-called Balkans route, and to Lesvos, to see how asylum applications are processed and visit both open and closed reception facilities. MEPs will also go to Athens to meet representatives of the Greek government, EU and international bodies, as well as NGOs. They will hold a press conference in Athens, on Friday at 10:00. (Wednesday to Friday)

Refugees/Lebanon and Jordan. Budgets Committee MEPs will visit Lebanon and Jordan to report on EU funding for both countries to help them cope with the refugee crisis and to foster development cooperation and European Parliament support for UNRWA. (Monday to Thursday)

EU funds/Ukraine. Budgetary Control Committee MEPs will visit Ukraine for a fact-finding mission into EU financial aid provided since the Maidan revolution to support Ukraine’s stabilisation and reform process. They will look into how the aid is being used on the ground and how Ukraine is coping with corruption and whether this affects EU funds. (Monday to Thursday)

European Youth Event (EYE). The second edition of the European Youth Event (EYE2016) takes place at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. “Together we can make a change” is the motto of the event where 7,500 Europeans aged 16-30 will make their voices heard in debates with MEPs and other political decision-makers and opinion-builders. The ideas discussed at the EYE will be presented to MEPs. (Friday and Saturday)

President’s diary. EP President Martin Schulz will visit Canada to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland, Senate Speaker George Furey and House of Commons Speaker Geoff Regan, on Wednesday. Mr Schulz will go to the United Nations Headquarters in New York to meet Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday.

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Turkey and refugees: debates on visas, reviewing Dublin, and restoring Schengen | European Parliament Newsroom

Visa liberalisation for Turkey, migration and the impact of the refugee crisis on internal borders in the Schengen area will be the focus of three plenary debates with Commission First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Avramopoulos and the Dutch Presidency, starting at 15.00.

MEPs will assess the European Commission’s proposal to review the Dublin regulation, which determines the country responsible for processing an asylum application. They will then discuss with the Council and the Commission how to restore the functioning of the passport-free Schengen area after several member states reimposed checks at internal borders.

On asylum, the Commission’s opening contribution will be given by Mr Timmermans and its closing one by Mr Avramopoulos.

On Schengen and Turkey, only Mr Avramopoulos will speak for the Commission.

Turkey: preconditions for visa liberalisation must be met

Starting at around 18.00, MEPs will exchange views with Commission and Council representatives on Turkey’s progress towards visa liberalisation. On 4 May, the Commission proposed granting a visa waiver for Turkish nationals, even though Ankara has yet to fulfil all the requirements. Parliament’s political group leaders said that MEPs want the EU’s preconditions to be met before any legislative work on visa liberalisation can be undertaken.

Any visa liberalisation measures would need to be co-decided by Parliament and the Council.

You can watch the plenary debates via EP Live, and EbS+.

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