What To Know Before Moving Your Supply Chain Out Of China

A main weapon that the United States has used in the ongoing trade war with China has been import tariffs that target Chinese goods. Many U.S. companies are considering moving their supply chains out of China in the hopes that, if they are not importing goods from China, they can avoid these tariffs. In a recent article, we considered how companies can successfully move their supply chains from China with a particular focus on country-of-origin determinations made by Customs and Border Protection and antidumping and countervailing duty circumvention determinations made by the Department of Commerce. We also identified practical considerations for companies considering moving their supply chains.

Commerce Department Proposes Rule Impacting Information and Communications Technology Supply Chains

On November 27, 2019, the Department of Commerce issued a proposed rule to implement the May 15, 2019 Executive Order entitled “Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain.”  Once finalized and effective, the regulations will govern the process and procedures that the Secretary of Commerce will use to determine whether certain transactions involving information and communications technology or services (“ICTS”) should be prohibited or otherwise restricted.  As currently drafted, the proposed rule goes further than many other legal authorities, in that it allows the government to prohibit or otherwise restrict a broad range of wholly commercial transactions that the Secretary determines present national security risks.

Details on key aspects of the proposed rule are in a Client Alert that we published, available here.  The public comment period remains open until December 27.  Given the breadth of the proposed rule and the significant number of open questions, thoughtful comments will be critically important in scoping a final rule. Continue Reading

The Week Ahead in the European Parliament –  November 29, 2019

Summary

Next week will be a Committee week in the European Parliament.  Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will gather in Brussels to participate in debates and votes.

On Monday, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (“ECON”) will have its first monetary dialogue with the new President of the European Central Bank (“ECB”), Christine Lagarde.  Lagarde will present the perspectives of the ECB on the economy of the euro area and the ECB’s Monetary Policy Strategy.  In addition, Lagarde will also offer her views on “The Future of Money” and the impact of digitalisation on the monetary system.  This will mainly focus on the private and public  deployment of cryptocurrencies and stable coins.  MEPs will have the opportunity to question her on her policies and views.  On the ECB’s Monetary Policy Strategy, MEPs will likely question Lagarde’s policy considerations regarding the ECB’s role in promoting sustainable finance.  In a hearing with the European Parliament prior to her confirmation, Lagarde pledged that climate change risks and the protection of the environment is at the core of her mission.  Nonetheless, on November 27, 2019, the European NGO Positive Money has published an open letter to Lagarde urging the ECB to proactively pursue a green agenda.  This letter was co-signed by another 250 organizations and academics.  The letter can be read here.

On Tuesday, MEPs of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (“ENVI”) will vote on a Resolution to enable the digital transformation of healthcare in the Digital Single Market.  The resolution identifies three priorities: the need to secure improved access to and sharing of personal data; the need for higher quality health data; and the need for better digital tools.  It suggests that the Commission should promote the eHealth digital infrastructure and develop a shared framework to harmonize the collection of health data.  The resolution can be found here.

On Tuesday, the Members of the ENVI committee will also vote on a resolution on the EU Pollinators Initiative.  The resolution includes a roadmap to tackle the decline of bees and other pollinators in the EU.  It calls on the Commission to prohibit the use of all neonicotinoid-based pesticides and requests more funding for research and bee monitoring.  The resolution can be found here. 

Meetings and Agenda

Monday, December 2, 2019 

Subcommittee on Human Rights

15:00 – 18:30

Debate

In association with the Delegation for Relations with China

  • Exchange of views with Joshua WONG, Secretary-General and co-founder of the Demosisto party, Hong Kong (via video link)

Afternoon

  • Debriefing on the 8th High Level EU-Brazil human rights dialogue of 9 October 2019

Committee on Development

15:00 – 18:30

Debates

  • World Aids Day. Exchange of views with Gunilla Carlsson, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS, Sylvia Mbaturu, CIVICUS, Marijke Wijnroks, Global Fund, and Baby Rivona, Indonesian Positive Women Network.
  • Current and forthcoming challenges in EU humanitarian aid. Exchange of views with Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner-designate for Crisis Management

Subcommittee on Security and Defence

15:00 – 18:30

Debate

  • Exchange of views with Lieutenant General Esa Pulkkinen, Director General of the EU Military Staff (EUMS) on presentation of the EUMS and MPCC and on the state of play of the CSDP missions

Committee on International Trade

15:00 – 17:30

Debate

  • Exchange of views with the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) on the EU–Vietnam Free Trade agreement and EU–Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

15:00 – 18:30

  • Monetary Dialogue with Christine LAGARDE, President of the European Central Bank (15.00-17.00)

Committee on Fisheries

15:00 – 18:30

Hearing

  • State of play of the Landing Obligation: challenges and best practices

The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of 2013 foresaw the gradual elimination of the practice of discarding through the introduction an obligation to land all catches. It is one of the main features of the fisheries policy reform and as such requires continued committee attention. The current hearing on is the fourth consecutive event on this crucial subject and summarises the first full year of implementation of the policy.

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

15:00 – 18:30

Debates

  • Proceedings from the Conference ‘From Tampere 20 to Tampere 2.0’ held in Helsinki on 24-25 October 2019. (15.00-15.30) Presentations by:
  1. Marie DE SOMER, Head of the Migration and Diversity Programme, European Policy Centre
  2. Philippe DE BRUYCKER, Professor at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Coordinator of the Odysseus Network
  • Global Refugee Forum – internal EU commitments – presentation by the Commission (15.30-16.15)
  • Exchange of views with António VITTORINO, Director-General, International Organisation for Migration (16.15-17.25)

Joint meeting: Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs / Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

17:30 – 18:30

Debate

  • “The ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence” – joint exchanges of views by the LIBE and FEMM committees on the EU accession to the Council of Europe Convention (also known as the Istanbul Convention). The aim is to analyse the situation and discuss potential options to move the ratification forward.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Subcommittee on Human Rights

9:00 – 18:30

Debates

9:00 – 11:30

  • Exchange of views with Joan CARLING, indigenous rights defender and specialist on Sustainable Development Goals
  • Exchange of views with Omar SHAKIR, Human Rights Watch Director for Israel and Palestine
  • Debriefing on the AFET/DROI/SEDE delegation to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York and to Washington D.C. (USA) (11.00-11.30)

14:30 – 17:00

  • Exchange of views with Agnes CALLAMARD, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

17:00 – 18:30

  • In association with the Delegation for the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly
  • Exchange of views on recent human rights developments in Chile

Subcommittee on Security and Defence

9:30 – 18:30

Debates

  • Public Hearing on Opportunities and challenges of the use of Artificial Intelligence – enabled systems in security and defence (10.30 – 12.30)
  • Implementation of the EU Cyber Defence Framework

Committee on International Trade

9:00 – 18:30

Vote

  • Macro-financial assistance to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (2019/0192(COD)) – adoption of draft report.
  • Rapporteur Luisa Regimenti (ID, IT) 

Debates

  • State of play of the procedure of temporary withdrawal of tariff preferences for Cambodia under the ‘GSP Regulation’ (Regulation (EU) No 978/2012) 

Joint debates

  • Conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement / Investment Protection Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
  • Rapporteur Jan Zahradil (ECR, CZ)

 Public Hearing

  • Can we save the WTO Appellate Body? With Appellate Body member Prof. dr. Peter L.H. Van den Bossche, Chad P. Bown of the Peterson Institute, and Sabine Weyand, director of DG Trade in Commission.

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

9:00 – 18:30

Debate

  • Appointment of a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank – Exchange of views with the candidate, Fabio PANETTA (09.00-10.00)
  • Appointment of a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (NLE) – Exchange of views with the candidate, Isabel SCHNABEL (10.15-11.15)
  • Public Hearing with Elke KÖNIG, Chairperson of the Single Resolution Board (SRB) (14.30-16.00)

Votes

  • Appointment of a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (NLE) – Vote on a report
  • Appointment of a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (NLE) – Vote on a report
  • Requirements for payment service providers (CNS) – Vote on a report by Lídia PEREIRA (EPP, PT)
  • Measures to strengthen administrative cooperation in order to combat VAT fraud (CNS) – Vote on a report by Lídia PEREIRA (EPP, PT)
  • Fair Taxation in a digitalised and globalised economy. BEPS 2.0 – (RSP) – Vote on an oral question and motion for resolution

Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

9:30 – 18:30

Debates

  • Exchange of views with Dr Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, on the transformation of part of the bank into a Climate Bank
  • European Year of Greener Cities 2021 – Consideration of motion for a resolution
    • Co-rapporteurs: Sirpa PIETIKÄINEN (EPP, FI), Christel SCHALDEMOSE (S&D, DA), Karin KARLSBRO (Renew, SV), Bas EICKHOUT (Greens/EFA, NL), Jadwiga WIŚNIEWSKA (ECR, PL), Idoia VILLANUEVA RUIZ (GUE/NGL, ES)
  • Amending Decision No 1313/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism – Presentation by the Commission (to be confirmed)
    • Rapporteur: Nikos ANDROULAKIS (S&D, EL)
  • Exchange of views with the Commission on the evaluation of the Union legislation on blood, tissues and cells
  • Exchange of views with the Commission on Food safety risks related to imports of horse meat from Uruguay and Argentina 

Votes

  • Objection pursuant to Rule 111(3): Delegated act on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures – titanium dioxide- dioxyde de titane – Adoption of motion for a resolution
    • Rapporteur: Anna ZALEWSKA (ECR, PL)
  • Objection pursuant to Rule 112: Imports of petfood from Saudi-Arabia – Adoption of motion for a resolution
    • Rapporteur: Joëlle MÉLIN (ID, FR)
  • Objection pursuant to Rule 112: Imposing special conditions governing the import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station (D063901) – Adoption of motion for a resolution
    • Rapporteur: Michèle RIVASI (Greens/EFA, FR)
  • Objection pursuant to Rule 112: the extension of the approval periods of the active substances benfluralin, dimoxystrobin, fluazinam, flutolanil, mancozeb, mecoprop-P, mepiquat, metiram, oxamyl and pyraclostrobin (D064213-01) – Adoption of motion for a resolution
  • Co-rapporteures: Tilly METZ (Greens/EFA, LU), Anja HAZEKAMP (GUE/NGL, NL), Eleonora EVI (NI, IT)
  • Strategic approach to pharmaceuticals in the environment- Adoption of questions for oral answer
    • Co-rapporteurs: Cristian-Silviu BUȘOI (EPP, RO), Günther SIDL (S&D, AT), Jan HUITEMA (Renew, NL), Simona BALDASSARRE (ID, IT), Michèle RIVASI (Greens/EFA, FR), Joanna KOPCIŃSKA (ECR, PL), Kateřina KONEČNÁ (GUE/NGL, CZ)
  • COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – Kunming (2020) – Adoption of motion for a resolution
    • Co-rapporteurs: Pascal CANFIN (Renew, FR), Agnès EVREN (EPP, FR), César Luena (S&D, ES), María Soraya RODRÍGUEZ RAMOS (Renew, ES), Ville NIINISTÖ (Greens/EFA, FI), Alexandr VONDRA (ECR, CZ), Silvia MODIG (GUE/NGL, FI)
  • EU Pollinators Initiative – Adoption of motion for a resolution
    • Co-rapporteurs: Mairead McGUINNESS (EPP, IE), István UJHELYI (S&D, HU), Frédérique Ries (Renew, BE), Martin HÄUSLING (Greens/EFA, DE), Luisa Regimenti (ID, IT), Pietro Fiocchi (ECR, IT), Kateřina Konečná (GUE/NGL, CZ)
  • Enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market; empowering citizens and building a healthier society – Adoption of motion for a resolution
    • Co-rapporteurs: Bartosz ARŁUKOWICZ (EPP, PL), Sara CERDAS (S&D, PT), Frédérique RIES (Renew, BE), Margrete AUKEN (Greens/EFA, DA), Luisa REGIMENTI (ID, IT), Joanna KOPCIŃSKA (ECR, PL), Kateřina KONEČNÁ (GUE/NGL, CZ)

Committee on Transport and Tourism

9:00 – 18:30

Votes

  • Agreement between the European Union and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on certain aspects of air service (NLE) – adoption of draft recommendation (consent) by Tomasz Piotr Poręba (ECR, PL)
  • Exchange of views with Maja Markovčić Kostelac, Executive Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency

Committee on Fisheries

9:00 – 12:30

Votes

  • Conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (NLE) – adoption of draft opinion by Pietro Bartolo (S&D, IT)
    • Rapporteur: Jan Zahradil (ECR, CZ)
  • Conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (NLE) – adoption of draft opinion by Pietro Bartolo (S&D, IT)
    • Rapporteur: Jan Zahradil (ECR, CZ)
  • 2018 discharge: European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) (DEC) – adoption of draft opinion by Nicolás González Casares (S&D, ES)
    • Rapporteur: Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR, PL)

Committee on Legal Affairs

9:00 – 16:30

Hearing

  • Cross-border restitution claims of works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts and wars. This hearing is organised as a follow-up to the EP resolution of 17 January 2019.
  • Leading international experts will discuss various aspects of restitution of cultural property with the aim to look for ways to ensure fair and just solutions for the return of looted art. Invited speakers will exchange views on future actions to ensure standard processes for making and pursuing claims, the interpretation of ‘due diligence’, and shared definitions of what constitutes loss both between and within countries.

The hearing will be followed by a press point.

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

9:00 – 18:30

Debates

  • Entry-Exit System (EES) and European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) – discussion on state of play on implementation (09.45-10.45)
  • Implementation of the new European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) Regulation – presentation by Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of EBCG (10.45-11.45)

Hearing

  • Towards a common EU strategy to fight corruption and organised crime – strengthening instruments and enhancing cooperation between relevant sectors.

Committee on Petitions

9:00 – 18:30

Hearing

  • Hearing of the candidates for the post of European Ombudsman – candidates running for the post of European Ombudsman will present their priorities. The full House is expected to elect the new Ombudsman by secret ballot during the December plenary session. (16-19 December)

Wednesday December 4, 2019

Committee on Foreign Affairs

9:00 – 17:30

Committee on Foreign Affairs

Votes

  • Human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter – annual report 2018 (2019/2125(INI)) – adoption of amendments.
    • Rapporteur: Isabel WISELER-LIMA (EPP, LU)
  • Implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy – annual report (2019/2136(INI)) – adoption of amendments.
    • Rapporteur: David McALLISTER (EPP, DE)
  • Implementation of the common security and defence policy – annual report 2018 (2019/2135(INI)) – adoption of amendments.
    • Rapporteur: Arnaud DANJEAN (EPP, FR)

Debates

(Interparliamentary Committee Meeting with representatives from the EU National Parliaments)

  • EU foreign policy priorities for the new institutional cycle. Exchange of views with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, Josep BORRELL
  • The future of enlargement – how to overcome the credibility deficit and boost reforms. Exchange of views with the Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér VÁRHELYI (tbc)

Committee on Budgetary Control

9:00 – 18:30

  • Closure of the accounts for European Asylum Support Office (EASO) for the financial year 2017 (RSP) – Adoption on the motion for decision on closure of accounts
    • Rapporteur: Petri SARVAMAA (PPE, FI)
  • 2018 Discharge to the Joint Undertakings – Exchange of views with the representatives of the following Joint Undertakings, in the presence of the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Ildikó GALL-PELCZ : Development of Fusion for Energy (F4E), Clean Sky 2, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH)
    • Co- rapporteurs: Ryszard Antoni LEGUTKO (ECR, PL), Joachim Stanisław BRUDZINSKI (ECR, PL)
  • ECA Special Report 5/2019 (Discharge 2018): FEAD-Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived: Valuable support but its contribution to reducing poverty is not yet established – Presentation of the Special Report by the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Iliana IVANOVA
    • Rapporteur: Maria GRAPINI (S&D, RO)
  • ECA Special Report 11/2019 (Discharge 2018): The EU’s regulation for the modernisation of air traffic management has added value – but the funding was largely unnecessary – Presentation of the Special Report by the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Iliana IVANOVA
    • Rapporteur: Matteo ADINOLFI (ID, IT)
  • 2018 Discharge to the Agencies – Exchange of views with the representatives of the following agencies, in the presence of the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Rimantas ŠADZIUS

– European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

– European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX)

– European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

  • Co- rapporteurs: Ryszard CZARNECKI (ECR, PL), Joachim Stanisław BRUDZINSKI (ECR, PL) and Ryszard Antoni LEGUTKO (ECR, PL)
  • 2018 discharge: General budget of the EU – European Commission (DEC) – Exchange of views Nicolas SCHMIT, Commissioner responsible for Jobs and Social Rights, in the presence of Tony MURPHY, Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible
    • Rapporteur: Monika HOHLMEIER (EPP, DE)
  • ECA Special Report 15/2019 (Discharge 2018): Implementation of the 2014 staff reform package at the Commission – Big savings but not without consequences for staff – Presentation of the Special Report by the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Pietro RUSSO
    • Rapporteur: Isabel García MUNOZ (S&D, ES)

Website of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

10:00 – 18:00

Joint meeting ITRE-TRAN

Vote

  • Establishing the Connecting Europe Facility (COD) – Vote on the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations.
    • Co-rapporteurs: Henna VIRKKUNEN (EPP, FI), Marian-Jean MARINESCU (EPP, RO) and Dominique Riquet (Renew, FR) 

Vote

  • Labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other essential parameters COD) – Vote on the provisional agreement resulting from interinstitutional negotiations.
    • Rapporteur: Henna VIRKKUNEN (EPP, FI)
  • Exchange of views with Jean-Eric PAQUET, Director General of DG Research and Innovation, on missions and partnerships in Horizon Europe
  • Presentation by the Commission of the Annual Report on the Safety of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations
  • Exchange of views with the Commission on the state of play of the implementation of the Directive on security of network and information systems (the NIS Directive)

Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

9:00 – 12:30

Debates

  • Presentation of plans to review Machinery Directive (Directive 2006/42/EC) (With the Commission)

Committee on Regional Development

15:00 – 18:30

  • Study commissioned by Policy Department B, “Research for REGI Committee – Cohesion policy: The European Parliament’s role since the Treaty of Lisbon” – Presentation by Haris Martinos and Serafin Pazos-Vidal, authors of the study

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

9:00 – 18:30

Hearing

  • “The reform of the Common Agriculture Policy”

The future of the EU farm policy in the midst of its ongoing reform will be debated by members of the Agriculture Committee and experts on Wednesday afternoon. The public hearing will focus on the future of direct payments and rural development and on the new delivery model based on national CAP strategic plans, a separate panel will discuss financing, management and monitoring of the CAP and in the end the debate will shift to the common market organisation and market-related measures to protect farmers and quality products.

Committee on Culture and Education

9:00 – 18:30

Hearing

  • “The European Capitals of Culture: Impacts, Challenges and Prospects”

The hearing will focus on the long-term legacy of the ECoC initiative, on the impact of the award on the development of cultural strategies of those cities, their networking and capacity building. It will also address the issue of how to exploit the potential of the ECoC initiative more efficiently and tackle challenges more affectively, both at programming and organisation levels.

 

Committee on Constitutional Affairs

9:00 – 18:30

  • Hearing on “Lessons to be drawn from the 2019 elections and proposals in view of the debate concerning the Future of Europe” (10.00-12.30 and 14.30-18.30).

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

9:00 – 12:30

Hearing

  • Hearing on the EU strategy for Gender Equality (2020-2024) – The aim of the hearing is to receive input from civil society and the academic world regarding the report on the same topic that will be drafted in the coming months.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Committee on Budgetary Control

9:00 – 12:30

  • 2018 discharge: General budget of the EU – European Commission (DEC) – Exchange of views with Johannes HAHN, Commissioner responsible for Budget and Administration, in the presence of Lazaros S. LAZAROU, Annemie TURTELBOOM, Jan GREGOR and Eva LINDSTRÖM, Members of the European Court of Auditors responsible
    • Rapporteur: Monika HOHLMEIER (EPP, DE)
  • ECA Special Report 20/2019 (Discharge 2018): EU information systems supporting border control – a strong tool, but more focus needed on timely and complete data – Presentation of the Special Report by the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Bettina JAKOBSEN
    • Rapporteur: Tsvetelina PENKOVA (S&D, BG)
  • ECA Special Report 24/2019 (Discharge 2018): Asylum, relocation and return of migrants: Time to step up action to address disparities between objectives and results – Presentation of the Special Report by the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Leo BRINCAT
    • Rapporteur: Tamás DEUTSCH (EPP, HU)

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

9:00 – 10:30

  • Exchange of views with Kadri SIMSON, Commissioner for Energy, on the delegated act setting the Union list of Projects of Common Interest (PCIs)

Committee on Regional Development

9:00 – 12:30

Votes

  • Establishment of the Reform Support Programme – Procedural vote aiming the re-adoption of the opinion adopted by REGI committee on 22 November 2018, rapporteur for the opinion Cristian Ghinea (Renew, RO)
  • EUROCITIES – Exchange of views with Mathias De Clercq, mayor of Ghent, executive committee member
  • European Committee of the Regions opinion on “Socioeconomic structural change in Europe’s coal regions” – Exchange of views with Mark Speich, rapporteur

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

9:00 – 13:00

Debate

  • Gender-based discrimination in the Western Balkans – exchange of views (12.00-13.00) (to be confirmed)

 Friday, December 6, 2019

  • No meetings of notes

Openness is key to Africa’s success in a data-driven world

Shift to a services era While Africa’s trajectory remains full of daunting challenges, there is reason to be optimistic. Ratification of the Continental Free Trade Agreement demonstrates critical collaboration between African leaders, and promises to unlock the region’s potential. Equally important, growing investments in broadband ensure that affordable access to leading technology will accelerate the continent’s productivity.However, the tried and true path to higher income economies through manufacturing is changing. Research by McKinsey Global Institute finds that developing countries have a lot of cheap labor at a time when decisions based on labor cost are declining. Conversely, global trade in services has grown more than 60 percent faster than traditional goods traded over the past decade, and the U.S. International Trade Commission reports that half of all global trade in services depends on access to cross-border data flows.

Globalization is entering a new phase defined by “information,” where millions of small and midsize businesses are building e-commerce marketplaces to trade with the rest of the world. In a digital world, technologies like cloud computing, blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning are the drivers of future economic growth. These technologies don’t just benefit from the open flow of data across international borders, they depend on it, and so will Africa’s future.

Cross-border data flows are critical to Africa’s prosperity

The most recent DHL Global Connectedness Index — which ranks 169 countries by international flows of trade, capital, information and people – indicates that African countries lag behind with considerably lower averages of connectedness. The index shows that the gap is greatest in information flows where advanced economies are nine times as deeply integrated as developing countries.

Progress in some African jurisdictions may be undermined by regulations requiring that data remain within national borders. Data localization requirements fall in three categories. The first category includes the broad application of laws designed for outdated methodologies in a digital era where information is captured and processed in a fundamentally different way. The second category stems from growing anxiety around cyber and national security concerns, despite data classification standards that enable organizations to categorize and manage data based on different priorities and levels of sensitivity. A third category appears to be fueled by catchy claims that “data is the new oil.” Is it? The underlying logic suggests that African states should keep and process that “oil” within their borders. But when one realizes that oil is a scarce resource that can be used only once, whereas information is infinitely plentiful and reusable, the analogy falls apart. One thing that is clear in a growing digital age, the future of Africa’s development depends on African states being connected to and trading goods and data-driven services with the rest of the world.

A study by the European Center for International Political Economy on the economy-wide impact of data localization policies in the European Union shows diminished innovation and productivity, and finds that restrictions on the movement of data far outweigh any marginal gains for the domestic Information and Communications Technology sectors. But unlike the European Union, the African continent lacks a common and enforceable data protection regime. Most African states have no specific data protection regulation, and instead rely on a patchwork of civil, criminal and constitutional laws for a data protection framework and individual rights of privacy — which may explain the rush to protect our “new oil.”

Africa’s policymakers are on track to get it right

Africa is at a critical inflection point. The continent’s ability to compete in a services and data-driven global economy hinges on whether African entrepreneurs and enterprises will be free to innovate and scale their products and services using the most advanced commercial cloud technologies powered by cross-border data flows.

Trust in the security of cross-border data flows will increase as the continent adopts harmonized privacy and data protection policies and regulations in line with the most measured and enabling international standards. The African Union Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection (Malabo Convention), which seeks to create a continental data protection framework, has been signed by 14 of 55 member states. A working draft of the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa reflects a priority to support ratification of the Malabo Convention and the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime during the 2020 session of the African Union.

Bottom line: There is good reason to be optimistic about Africa’s development trajectory. Overly broad data localization requirements would undermine the continent’s progress. With global trade in services growing more than 60% faster than traditional trade in goods, Africa’s success in a data-driven era will depend on modern and harmonized regulations that protect the open flow of data across international borders. Africa’s policymakers have every opportunity to get it right.

This article was first published by The Africa Report and can also be found on CovAfrica, the firm’s blog on legal, regulatory, political and economic developments in Africa.

 

The Week Ahead in the European Parliament –  November 22, 2019

Summary

Next week will be a plenary week in the European Parliament.  Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will convene in Strasbourg to discuss and vote on several key issues.

On Monday, MEPs will debate the impact of U.S. tariffs on agriculture products that the U.S. imposed after the WTO ruled that Airbus received illegal subsidies of the European Union.  Among others, the U.S. imposed tariffs up to 25% on goods such as whiskey, cheeses, and pork.  The EU regrets the decision of U.S.  The WTO has already issued final conclusions in favor of the EU in a similar dispute regarding U.S. subsidies for Boeing.  This could give rise to a right of the EU to impose similar retaliatory measures.  The EU considers that the U.S. should hold off imposing its own measures until the latter dispute is determined.

On Monday, MEPs will also debate the crisis of the WTO’s Appellate Body.  On December 10, the tenure of two of the three current members of the Appellate Body will expire.  This would render the Appellate Body inquorate, preventing it from rendering any rulings.  The current and previous administrations of the U.S. have blocked new nominations, as they argue that the Appellate Body has engaged in judicial activism by issuing rulings that stretch beyond its perceived mandate.

On Wednesday, MEPs will have their final vote on the next European Commission.  In contrast to the very tight vote on the nomination of Ursula von der Leyen for Commission President, it is generally expected that the European Parliament will approve the complete College of Commissioners by a wide margin, not the least because MEPs have already approved each candidate individually.  This has, however, not been a straightforward process, and the Parliament had rejected three candidates from France, Hungary, and Romania.  Alternative candidates were heard and approved last week.  The United Kingdom has been reluctant to nominate a Commissioner since they are in the process of withdrawing from the EU and political appointments cannot be made during a general election campaign.  Nevertheless, the current European Commission is of the view that the United Kingdom is still under the legal obligation to nominate a Commissioner, as long as their withdrawal is not complete.  It therefore launched an infringement procedure against the United Kingdom before the European Court of Justice for the failure to uphold its legal obligation.

Meetings and Agenda

Monday, November 25, 2019

Plenary Session

17:00 – 21:00

Debates

  • Resumption of session and order of business
  • Joint debate – Climate change
  • Climate and environmental emergency – Council and Commission statements
  • 2019 UN Climate Change Conference (COP25)
  • EU accession to the Istanbul Convention and other measures to combat gender-based violence
  • Measures to address the impact on European agriculture of the WTO ruling on the Airbus dispute
  • EU-Ukraine Agreement amending the trade preferences for poultry meat and poultry meat preparations provided for by the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement – Rapporteur: Enikő Győri (EPP, HU)
  • The 30th Anniversary of the Velvet revolution: importance of the fight for freedom and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe for the historical unification of Europe – Commission statement
  • One-minute speeches (Rule 172)

Committee on Budgets

19:00 – 21:00

  • Outcome of the conciliation Budget 2020 – Exchange of views
  • Mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Greece (BUD)
    • Rapporteur: Eva KAILI (S&D, EL) – Adoption of draft report

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

19:30 – 22:30

Hearings

  • European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) – Appointment procedure – hearing of the shortlisted candidates

Committee on Constitutional Affairs

19:30 – 21:30

Debate

  • The Conference on the Future of Europe and the role of the European Parliament – exchange of views

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Plenary Session

9:00 – 11:50

Debates

  • Preparation of the European Council meeting of 12 and 13 December 2019 – Council and Commission statements

12:00 – 12:30

Formal sitting

  • Address by Oleg Sentsov, Sakharov Prize Laureate 2018

12:30 – 14:30

Votes followed by explanations of votes

  • Nomination of a member of the Court of Auditors – Joëlle Elvinger
    • Rapporteur: Olivier CHASTEL (RENEW, BE)
  • Nomination of a member of the Court of Auditors – François Roger Cazala
    • Rapporteur: Isabel García Muñoz (SD, ES)
  • Nomination of a member of the Court of Auditors – Alex Brenninkmeijer
    • Rapporteur: Tomáš Zdechovský (EPP, CZ)
  • Nomination of a Member of the Court of Auditors – Nikolaos Milionis
    • Rapporteur: Sándor Rónai (S&D, HU)
  • Nomination of a Member of the Court of Auditors – Klaus-Heiner Lehne
    • Rapporteur: Tomáš Zdechovský (EPP, CZ)
  • Mobilization of the EU Solidarity Fund to provide for the payment of advances in the general budget of the Union for 2020
    • Rapporteur: Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE)
  • EU-Ukraine Agreement amending the trade preferences for poultry meat and poultry meat preparations provided for by the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
    • Rapporteur: Enikő Győri (EPP, HU)
  • Children rights in occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child

15:00 – 21:00

Debates

  • EU response to extreme meteorological events and their impacts: how to protect European urban areas and their cultural heritage – Commission statement
  • 2020 budgetary procedure: joint text
  • Report: Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE), Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, ES)
  • Public discrimination and hate speech against LGBTI people, including LGBTI free zones – Commission statement
  • Crisis of the WTO appellate body – Commission statement

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

10:00 – 10:30

Vote

  • European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) – Appointment procedure – vote on the candidates for the post of EDPS

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Plenary Session

9:00 – 11:30

Debates

  • Presentation by the Commission President-elect of the College of Commissioners and their programme

12:00 – 12:30

Votes

Election of the Commission

  • Mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Greece
    • Rapporteur: Eva Kaili (S&D, EL)
  • Mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument to finance immediate budgetary measures to address the on-going challenges of migration, refugee inflows and security threats
    • Rapporteur: Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE)
  • Mobilisation of the EU Solidarity Fund to provide for the payment of advances in the general budget of the Union for 2020
    • Rapporteur: Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE)
  • 2020 budgetary procedure: joint text – Report: Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE), Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, ES)

12:30 – 13:00

  • Award of the LUX Prize

15:00 – 21:00

Debates

  • Interference from other countries in our democracies and elections – Topical debate (Rule 162)
  • Eastern neighborhood developments – Statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
  • Situation in Israel and Palestine, including the settlements – Statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
  • Situation in the broader Middle East region, including the crisis in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon – Statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
  • On-going negotiations for a new EU-ACP Partnership Agreement – Oral questions

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Plenary Session

9:00 – 11:50

Debates

  • Debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Rule 144)
  • Imprisonment of human rights defenders and freedom of religion in Algeria
  • Cuba, the case of José Daniel Ferrer 8
  • Haiti

12:00 – 14:00

Votes followed by explanations of votes

  • Motions for resolutions concerning debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Rule 144)
  • EU/USA Agreement on the allocation of a share in the tariff rate quota for imports of high-quality beef

Rapporteur: Bernd Lange (S&D, DE)

  • EU/USA Agreement on the allocation of a share in the tariff rate quota for imports of high-quality beef (resolution)

Rapporteur: Bernd Lange (S&D, DE)

  • Situation in Bolivia – Motions for resolutions
  • Climate and environmental emergency – Motions for resolutions
  • 2019 UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) – Motions for resolutions
  • EU accession to the Istanbul Convention and other measures to combat gender-based violence – Motions for resolutions
  • Measures to address the impact on European agriculture of the WTO ruling on the Airbus dispute – Motions for resolutions
  • Recent actions by the Russian Federation against Lithuanian judges, prosecutors and investigators involved in investigating the tragic events on 13 January 1991 in Vilnius – Motions for resolutions
  • Crisis of the WTO appellate body – Motions for resolutions 9
  • On-going negotiations for a new EU-ACP Partnership Agreement – Motions for resolutions

15:00 – 16:00

Debates

  • Major interpellations (Rule 139)

Committee on Budgetary Control

9:00-12:00

  • Discharge 2018: General budget of the EU – European External Action Service (DEC) – Exchange of views with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica MOGHERINI, in the presence of the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Pietro RUSSO
    • Rapporteur: Tomáš ZDECHOVSKY (EPP, CZ)
  • 2018 discharge: General budget of the EU – European Commission (DEC) – Exchange of views with Neven MIMICA, Commissioner responsible for International Cooperation & Development, in the presence of the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Baudilio Tomé MUGURUZA
    • Rapporteur: Monika HOHLMEIER (EPP, DE)
  • 2018 discharge: General budget of the EU – 8th, 9th,10th and 11th EDFs (DEC) – Exchange of views with Neven MIMICA, Commissioner responsible for International Cooperation & Development, in the presence of the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Baudilio Tomé MUGURUZA
    • Rapporteur: Michèle RIVASI (Greens/EFA, FR)

 Friday, October 29, 2019

No meetings of notes

The Week Ahead in the European Parliament –  November 15, 2019

Summary

Next week is a committee and political group week in the European Parliament. Only a few committee meetings are scheduled, as Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will spend the majority of their time with their political groups, preparing for the plenary week in Strasbourg on November 25-28. That week will be important, as MEPs are scheduled to vote on the new European Commission, following Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen’s presentation of the College of Commissioners and their programs.

On Monday, Mário Centeno, President of the Eurogroup, will attend the meeting of the Economy and Monetary Affairs Committee (“ECON”) to discuss the latest developments in the Eurozone, including the completion of the Banking Union, among other topics.

On Thursday, the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents (David Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament, and the Parliament’s political group leaders) will hold an exchange of views with the three Vice Presidents-elect of the new Commission – Margrethe Vestager, Frans Timmermans and Valdis Dombrovskis. They will also agree on the outcome of the Commissioners’ hearing process.

Meetings and Agenda

Monday, November 18, 2019

Committee on Budgetary Control

15:00 – 19:00

  • 2018 discharge: General budget of the EU – European Commission (DEC) – Exchange of views with Acting Secretary General of the European Commission, Ilze JUHANSONE in the presence of the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Pietro RUSSO
    • Rapporteur: Monika HOHLMEIER (PPE, DE)
  • Closure of the accounts for European Asylum Support Office (EASO) for the financial year 2017 (RSP) – Consideration of the motion for decision on closure of accounts
    • Rapporteur: Petri SARVAMAA (EPP, FI)
  • 2018 discharge: General budget of the EU – European Parliament (DEC) – Exchange of views with the Vice-President of the European Parliament with responsibility for the budget, Pedro SILVA PEREIRA, the Secretary-General, Klaus WELLE and the Internal Auditor of the European Parliament, Robert GALVIN, in the presence of the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible, Pietro RUSSO
    • Rapporteur: Maria GRAPINI (S&D, RO)

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

15:00 – 16:30

Debates

  • Economic Dialogue and exchange of views with Mário CENTENO, President of the Eurogroup

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

14:30 – 18:30

Joint AGRI-ENVI-DEVE meeting

  • Exchange of views with Ms Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General Climate and Natural Resources, following the 2019 World Food Day

Public Hearing

  • “The sustainability of European agriculture regarding the potential impact on the market of the Mercosur agreement”

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

15:00 – 17:00

Public Hearing

  • Hearing on violence against women: state of play in the Member States and exchange of best practices. on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) Programme and further information available here.

Vote

  • FEMM committee calendar 2020 – adoption of FEMM meetings for 2020

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Committee on Budgetary Control

11:00 – 18:00

  • Extraordinary meeting of the budgetary control committee with the European court of auditors

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

  • No meeting of notes

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Subcommittee on Human Rights

11:30 – 13:00

  • Exchange of views with Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, United Nations

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

09:00 – 17:30

Joint debate with the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries (DMAG) (09.00-11.30)

  • The situation of migrants in Libya against the backdrop of the general situation in the country – presentations by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and by representatives of DG HOME/DG NEAR, European Commission
  • The situation of migrants in detention centres in Libya and of migrants returned by the Libyan coastguard – possible solutions? – presentations by the following:
  1. Anabelle Roig Granjon, Senior External Relations Officer, Global Issues Unit, Regional Representation for EU Affairs, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
  2. Ola Henrikson, Regional Director for the EEA, EU and NATO, International

Office for Migration (IOM)

  1. Ellen Van Der Velden, Senior Operational Advisor on Libya, former Head of Mission in Libya, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
  2. Imogen Sudbery, Director of Policy and Advocacy Europe/Head of IRC Brussels, International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Debates

  • EUNAVOR MED Operation Sophia mandate extension until 31 March 2020 – exchange of views with the European External Action Service (11.30-12.00)
  • Report on the 5th European Migration Forum – “From global to local governance of migration: the role of local authorities and civil society in managing migration and ensuring safe and regular pathways to the EU” – presentation by Members of the Bureau of the European Migration Forum: Cristian Pirvulescu, EESC, Adem Kumcu, UNITEE, Rossella Nicoletti, EUROCITIES (14.45-15.45)
  • Data protection rules as a trust-enabler in the EU and beyond – taking stock – presentation by the Commission (15.45-16.30)
  • Rule of law in Hungary: follow up in the Council to the Parliament’s reasoned proposal pursuant to Article 7(1) TEU as regards the situation of the rule of law in Hungary – presentation by the Finnish Presidency on the first hearing in the General Affairs Council of 16 September 2019 (16.30-17.30)

 Friday, October 22, 2019

No meetings of notes

Not So Fast Guy: Recent GAO Decision Provides Rule For When Agency Deadlines Are Unreasonably Short

Tight deadlines are a fact of life in the world of government contracting.  Indeed, it is not unusual for the government to expect a contractor to provide large amounts of information in just a few short days.  And the draconian penalty for missing such a deadline is usually the rejection of a proposal.But can an agency’s deadline be unreasonably short?  Yes.  In MCR Federal, LLC, GAO determined that the agency’s deadline for submitting its final proposal revision (“FPR”) was so short that it deprived the protester of a fair opportunity to improve its proposal.The Air Force’s solicitation was for the award of a task order under the OASIS IDIQ contract, and was therefore governed by FAR 16.505.  MCR submitted a timely proposal, and was invited by the agency to engage in “interchanges” — which, as GAO explained, gave offerors an opportunity to materially modify their proposal to meet the agency’s concerns.

During those interchanges, the agency told MCR that only 5 of its 58.5 full-time equivalents (“FTEs”) had the desired level of experience.  It also told MCR that its reliance on contingent hires created a risk that it would not be fully-staffed in time to perform.

The agency then gave MCR just two days to submit a FPR addressing these issues.  MCR protested, arguing that it needed at least 30 days to respond, otherwise it would not have a fair opportunity to improve its proposed labor mix.

In response, the agency offered to give MCR eight days to respond, and asked GAO to dismiss based on that proposed corrective action.  GAO, however, denied the agency’s request for dismissal, because the proposed corrective action did not address MCR’s core concern — i.e., that it needed at least 30 days to improve its staffing matrix.

GAO then sustained MCR’s protest.  GAO explained that FAR 16.505 requires that each IDIQ holder have a “fair opportunity” to be considered, and this includes a “reasonable response period.”  Because FAR 16.505 does not include specific guidance for an agency’s conduct of discussions with offerors, GAO looked to FAR Part 15, which explains that the purpose of such exchanges is to “afford offerors the opportunity to improve their proposals and to maximize the government’s ability to obtain the best value.”

The agency argued that, under GAO precedent, the response period for an FPR submission is “committed to the discretion of the contracting officer,” and GAO will not object to that decision unless it is shown to be unreasonable.

But GAO concluded that, in this case, the period was objectively unreasonable:

In order to be responsive to the agency’s experience concerns, and to remain competitive in the procurement, MCR could not simply confirm its staffing proposal. Instead, it would have had to successfully recruit and negotiate employment agreements . . . with a substantial number of highly-skilled personnel that have senior-level experience[.]  To address the agency’s concern about contingent-hire personnel, MCR would need to propose non-contingent-hire personnel, which would affect the firm’s pricing, or alternatively required substantial revisions to its transition plan.

This was not something MCR could do in eight days (let alone two days).

The key takeaway?  When agencies engage in discussions, they must afford offerors a meaningful opportunity to improve their proposals.  Agencies will continue to have a large amount of discretion, but if an agency imposes a deadline that cannot be met, a protest may be worthwhile.

The Week Ahead in the European Parliament –  November 8, 2019

Summary

Next week will be a mini-plenary week in the European Parliament.  Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) gather in Brussels for Committee meetings and Plenary Sessions.

On Wednesday, MEPs will discuss the state of play and rising tensions between Eastern Mediterranean Member States and Turkey due to Turkey’s drilling operations off Cyprus that intensified at the beginning of October.  Cyprus called on Turkey to cease what it called “the illegal activities” in its exclusive economic zone; Turkey argues that the area is within its continental shelf and that it is entitled to drill there.  The Council of the EU adopted conclusions on October 14, 2019, that reaffirm the EU’s full solidarity with Cyprus and announce sanctions against natural and legal persons that are responsible for or involved in these drilling activities.  The Council conclusions can be read here.

On Thursday, hearings will take place with the new Commissioner-designates.  Previously, the Committee on Legal Affairs (“JURI”) rejected Hungary’s former Justice Minister, László Trócsányi, and Romania’s pick, Rovana Plumb, due to perceived conflicts of interest.  France’s Sylvie Goulard was also rejected by a combined vote of the Committee on Industry, Research, and Energy (“ITRE”) and the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (“IMCO”), after a weak performance during her hearing with these committees.  After this defeat, Emmanuel Macron put forward Thierry Breton, a former French Finance Minister and Businessman, to become Commissioner for the Internal Market.  He is seen as competent and a close ally to Macron.  However, MEPs have concerns about the vast size of his prospective portfolio, which ranges from the space and defense industry to consumer protection; and about potential conflicts of interests relating to his current position as CEO of Atos, a French multinational information technology company.  Hungary proposed career diplomat Olivér Várhelyi as the next Commissioner for Enlargement and Regional.  Várhelyi is currently Hungary’s ambassador to the EU.  Romania’s new pick was delayed until a new national government was formed.  On November 6, Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen agreed to the candidature of Adina-Ioana Vălean to the Transport Policy portfolio.  Vălean is one of Romania’s most senior MEPs and has chaired ITRE and the Committee on Enviroment, Public Health and Food Safety (“ENVI”).  The European Parliament will need to approve these three candidates next week, if the Commission is to take office on December 1.

Meetings and Agenda

Monday, November 11, 2019

Subcommittee on Human Rights

15:00 – 18:30

  • Exchange of views with women defending environmental, land and indigenous peoples rights in Latin America (Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico)

Committee on Budgetary Control

15:00 – 18:30

  • 2018 discharge: General budget of the EU – European Commission (DEC)
  • Exchange of views with Johannes HAHN, Commissioner responsible for Regional Policy in the presence of ECA member Tony MURPHY
    • Rapporteur: Monika HOHLMEIER (EPP, DE)

Committee on Fisheries

15:00 – 18:30

  • European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) – Exchange of views with Pascal SAVOURET, Executive Director, on the work programme for 2020

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

15:00 – 18:30

Debates

  • Progress Report on the Implementation of the European Agenda for Migration – presentation by Michael SHOTTER, Director for Migration and Protection, DG HOME, European Commission (15.00-16.00)
  • 20th Security Union Progress Report – presentation by Julian KING, Commissionr for Security Union (16.00-17.30)

Joint debate

  • European Production and Preservation Orders for electronic evidence in criminal matters 2018/0108(COD) and Harmonised rules on the appointment of legal representatives for the purpose of gathering evidence in criminal proceedings 2018/0107(COD) – consideration of two draft reports, rapporteur Birgit SIPPEL (S&D, DE) (17.30-18.30)

Committee on Petitions

See agenda

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Subcommittee on Human Rights

09:00 – 18:30

  • Exchange of views on the recent developments in Lebanon
  • Exchange of views on the human rights and humanitarian situation in north-eastern Syria with Daniel Endres, UNHCR Director for the Global Refugee Forum

Subcommittee on Security and Defence

09:00 – 18:30

  • Public hearing on European Space Security and Defence: What action at EU level to address militarisation of space and race for resources? with Olivier ZAJEC, Director of the Institute for Strategy and Defence Studies (IESD), Université Jean Moulin Lyon III; Pascal CLAUDEL, Chief Operating Officer, European GNSS Agency (GSA); Dr. Carine CLAEYS, EU Special Envoy for Space, EEAS; Simonetta DI PIPPO, UNOOSA Director, United Nations.
  • Exchange of views on countering hybrid threats – In association with the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee and with the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries
  • Security and strategic implications of Turkey’s military operations in North East Syria

Committee on Budgets

09:00 – 18:30

  • No meeting of notes

Committee on Budgetary Control

09:15 – 18:30

  • Partial renewal of members of the Court of Auditors – NL nominee (NLE) – Hearing of Alex BRENNINKMEIJER, candidate nominated by Netherlands (renewal of mandate)
    • Rapporteur: Tomáš ZDECHOVSKY (EPP, CZ)
  • Partial renewal of members of the Court of Auditors – FR nominee (NLE) – Hearing of François-Roger CAZALA, candidate nominated by France
    • Rapporteur: Isabel GARCIA MUNOZ (S&D, ES)
  • Partial renewal of members of the Court of Auditors – LU nominee (NLE) – Hearing of Joelle ELVINGER, candidate nominated by Luxembourg
    • Rapporteur: Olivier CHASTEL (Renew, BE)
  • Partial renewal of members of the Court of Auditors – DE nominee (NLE) – Hearing of Klaus-Heiner LEHNE, candidate nominated by Germany (renewal of mandate)
    • Rapporteur: Tomáš ZDECHOVSKY (EPP, CZ)
  • Partial renewal of members of the Court of Auditors – EL nominee (NLE) – Hearing of Nikolaos MILIONIS, candidate nominated by Greece (renewal of mandate)
    • Rapporteur: Sándor RONAI (S&D, HU)

In camera

  • Evaluation, votes and adoption of draft reports

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

09:00 – 18:30

  • Presentation on the Energy Community and the ongoing revision of the Treaty establishing the Energy Community
  • Exchange of views with BEREC Chair 2019, Jeremy GODFREY, BEREC Chair 2020, Dan SJÖBLOM and the Director of the Agency for Support for BEREC, László IGNÉCZO
  • Exchange of views with the President of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Jean-Pierre BOURGUIGNON and with an ERC Advanced Grantee, Professor Antje BOETIUS, Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute
  • Presentation of the Annual Market Monitoring Report and exchange of views with Alberto POTOTSCHNIG, Director of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER)
  • Statement of the ACER Director-designate, Christian ZINGLERSEN, and exchange of views with ITRE Members
  • Presentation by the Commission of the Report on Competition Policy 2018, in particular digital and energy sectors and state aid guidelines for energy

Committee on Fisheries

09:00- 18:30

Votes

  • Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of The Gambia and the Implementation Protocol thereto (NLE) – adoption of draft recommendation (consent) by Carmen Avram (S&D, RO)
  • European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (COD) – vote on the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations,
  • Rapporteur: Francisco José Millán Mon (EPP, ES)

Hearings

  • Facing the new challenges of the EU fisheries control system. This hearing is important in order to receive inputs from experts in the field, in view of preparing the draft report on the Commission proposal for a revision of the EU Fisheries Control System. The hearing will focus on the weaknesses of the current EU fisheries control system.

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

09:00 – 18:00

Votes

  • Conclusion of new protocol to the agreement on asylum applications and Eurodac with Switzerland and Liechtenstein (NLE) – adoption of draft report
    • Rapporteur: Jadwiga WIŚNIEWSKA (ECR, PL)

Debates

  • Europol Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) 2019 – presentation by Will Van GEMERT, Deputy Director (09.30-10.30)

Joint debate with the Committee on Development (DEVE) and the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI)

  • DEVE-LIBE-DROI delegation to the global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, from 16-18 December 2019 – exchange of views with Daniel ENDRES, Director for the Global Refugee Forum, UNHCR
  • Report on the implementation of the EU Directive on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and in European arrest warrant proceedings, and on the right to contact third persons upon deprivation of liberty – presentation by the Commission (15.30-16.00)
  • Recent actions by the Russian Federation against Lithuanian judges, prosecutors and investigators involved in investigating the tragic events on 13 January 1991 in Vilnius – exchange of views with Elvinas JANKEVIČIUS, Minister of Justice of Lithuania (16.00-17.00)
  • European Court of Auditors (ECA) Briefing paper “Challenge to effective Cybersecurity policies” – presentation by Baudilio Tomé MUGURUZA, Reporting Member (17.00-18.00)

Committee on Constitutional Affairs

11:30 – 18:30

Debates (14.30-18.30)

  • The withdrawal of the UK from the European Union – state of play – exchange of views
  • The Conference on the Future of Europe and the role of the European Parliament

Committee on Petitions

09:00 – 18:30

Vote (10.00)

  • European Ombudsman 2018 Annual Report (INI), adoption of a draft report
    • Rapporteur: Peter JAHR (EPP, DE)

Hearing (10.15-12.30)

  • “FATCA and its extraterritorial impact on EU citizens” The aim of the hearing is to facilitate an exchange of views between the various stakeholders and listen to the issues faced by EU citizens affected by the US Foreign Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Draft programme and further information is available here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Plenary session

15:00 – 23:00

Debates

Resumption of session

  • 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
  • Order of business
  • Turkish drilling activities in EU waters in the Eastern Mediterranean
  • Children rights in occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child
  • Situation in Bolivia
  • International day to end impunity for crimes against journalists
  • Resurgence of Ebola in East Africa
  • One-minute speeches (Rule 172)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Plenary session

09:00 – 11:20

Debates

  • Situation of migrants in Bosnia, in particular in Bihać
  • Situation in the hotspots on the Greek islands, in particular the case of Moria

11:30 – 13:30

VOTES followed by explanations of votes

  • Distance sales of goods and certain domestic supplies of goods
    • Rapporteur: Ondřej Kovařík
  • Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund – EGF/2019/001 BE/Carrefour – Belgium
    • Rapporteur: José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT)
  • Objection pursuant to Rule 112: Genetically modified cotton LLCotton25 (ACS-GHØØ1-3)
  • Objection pursuant to Rule 112: Genetically modified soybean MON 89788 (MON-89788-1)
  • Objection pursuant to Rule 112: renewing the authorisation for the placing on the market of products containing or produced from genetically modified oilseed rape T45, resulting from the commercialisation of this oilseed rape in third countries until 2005
  • Objection pursuant to Rule 112: Genetically modified maize MON 89034 × 1507 × NK603 × DAS-40278-9 and sub- combinations MON 89034 × NK603 × DAS-40278-9, 1507 × NK603 × DAS-40278-9 and NK603 × DAS-40278-9
  • Objection pursuant to Rule 112: Genetically modified maize Bt11 × MIR162 × MIR604 × 1507 × 5307 × GA21 and genetically modified maize combining two, three, four or five of the single events Bt11, MIR162, MIR604, 1507, 5307 and GA21
  • Criminalisation of sexual education in Poland

 

 Friday, October 25, 2019

  • No meetings of notes

The Death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: One Week Later

One week ago, American special operations forces killed the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in northwestern Syria. The next morning, President Trump described the operation in vivid detail and the story was later amplified with accounts from the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor. While the Islamic State was a primary interest of mine in my past career, the intervening week has shown that other authors can better assess the long-term effect of this loss. What the following will do, however, is attempt to provide a useful framework for answering a popular question after episodes like this: “What does this mean?”

The Islamic State did not supernaturally emerge from the deserts of Iraq and Syria. It is a product of observable political issues, religious concepts, ecological and economic limitations, and a host of other concerns. At the same time, the Islamic State – like al-Qa‘ida – is not simply one man surrounded by loyal followers. As such, the loss of any one individual can shake an organization, but not break it. Ultimately, for groups like the Islamic State or al-Qa‘ida to truly wither, the fundamental conditions that made their existence possible must be addressed. This is a principle demonstrated consistently outside of modern counterterrorism. 

Lance Armstrong was the finest bicyclist in the history of the sport. His story was sensational: a professional athlete who beat back a near-fatal cancer diagnosis and returned to the sport, won its preeminent title seven times, became an international celebrity, dated rock stars, entertained a run for Governor of Texas, and inspired millions to “Livestrong.” Much of his story was a fraud, however. Armstrong competed with the assistance of a complicated doping system that gave him superhuman capabilities. His team eventually turned on him and he surrendered his titles. His downfall did not end chemically-enhanced cheating in international sports, however. A country has made doping an element of its foreign policy, and new methods of avoiding screening are developed and regulatory organizations are constantly in a struggle to keep up with unscrupulous competitors. Lance Armstrong’s identification as a fraud has clearly not served as a decisive structural deterrent in international sports. Profit motives, the personal desire to win, political encouragement, and weak regulatory processes all contribute to the phenomenon of athletes cheating to win. Lance Armstrong’s personal challenges did little to effect the environment that made his original fraud a rational choice in the first place, so his removal from cycling is notable, but not decisive. 

Two weeks ago, Mexico witnessed one of the bloodiest pitched battles of its long-running narco-insurgency. The battle, in Culiacán, the state capital of Sinaloa, took at least 14 lives and witnessed Mexican police effectively surrendering to cartel fighters. The engagement began after authorities arrested the son of Jaoquin “El Chapo” Guzman, but ended after the police freed their detainee in exchange for safe passage out of the city. Regrettably, this is just one episode of violence in an ongoing series of conflicts that have claimed tens of thousands of lives since 2006. Now, if the removal of cartel leadership was supposed to be politically significant, then the arrest, extradition, trial, and conviction of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in New York should have some limiting impact on the violence in Mexico. Acknowledging the violence in Mexico cannot, of course, be purely the fault of “El Chapo,” it is clear that this incident of leader removal has not fundamentally altered the calculus of participants in the Mexican narcotics trade. Americans remain wealthy and willing buyers for narcotics, the United States remains an excellent source of cash and weaponry, and the Mexican state is too weak to effect the overall status quo of the conflict on its own. While El Chapo’s conviction may be individually significant, it left the political and economic fundamentals of the conflict intact.

Bernie Madoff can swindle tens of millions from investors, well-connected attorneys can defraud the Federal Elections Commission, and celebrities and titans of industries can pay colleges and universities to provide favorable treatment to family members’ applications for admission. Federal law enforcement can investigate each instance, and the Department of Justice can be serious in sending violators to prison, but these law enforcement success stories – no matter how public – cannot on their own fundamentally dissuade other Americans from assessing fraud to be a viable path. Fraud pays too well, and jail time is far too unlikely, for a credible deterrent to exist. While certain individuals’ lives may be forever altered through the Department of Justice’s actions, it is unlikely that the fundamental incentive structure that made these individuals’ decisions viable in the first place has been broken apart.

The point here – if it was not sufficiently apparent – is not to equate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Lance Armstrong. The limitations of these analogies aside, it is clear that all of these characters thrived in political, ideological, economic, and ecological circumstances that made their activity possible and they all made choices to take advantage of these circumstances. Therefore, genocide in Syria and Iraq, narcoterrorism in the Americas, fraud in international sports, and unscrupulous economic or political activity in the United States cannot be expected to end when solitary actors are removed from these environments. Fundamentally changing the nature of the environments that gave rise to these actors is essential.

On May 2, 2011, special operations forces killed the leader of al-Qa‘ida, Usama bin Laden, in northwestern Pakistan. President Obama announced the successful operation – interrupting an episode of “The Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC – and his account was later matched by members of his cabinet, intelligence professionals, and the operators who flew into Pakistan. Unlike isolated arrests of white collar criminals, or deaths of violent terrorists, bin Laden’s death took place in the midst of a crisis for al-Qa‘ida. Al-Qa‘ida’s successful affiliate in Iraq had functionally detached itself, al-Qa‘ida’s ranks in Central and South Asia had withered under relentless American counterterrorism pressure, and – at that point – nearly the entire target audience for al-Qa‘ida’s political and religious posture had rejected the group’s message. Bin Laden’s death was another incremental step towards the group’s political irrelevance.

While al-Qa‘ida’s path to irrelevance was not completed in 2011 – and remains incomplete – bin Laden’s death was aggregated with other actions in a way that the Islamic State does not necessarily face at this time. Regrettably, the conditions that make the Islamic State a viable political alternative – political suppression for Sunni Muslims, the popularity of Salafi-Jihadi interpretations of Islam, Iran’s brutal enforcement of a favorable stability in the region – remain intact. Ultimately, the removal of an individual from a group that is taking advantage of political, ideological, economic, and ecological circumstances is not likely to defeat the group as a whole. Fundamentally changing the circumstances that enabled the group in the first place remains the best method for removing bad actors, whether they be dedicated to genocide, winning titles, selling heroin, or ensuring their child gains access to the Ivy League.

 

A New Normal for Foreign Military Sales? Total Sales for FY 2019 Nearly Matches FY 2018

On October 15, 2019, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that foreign arm sales for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 totaled $55.4 billion.

This amount nearly matches the total from FY 2018 of $55.7 billion, continuing the significant increase in foreign arm sales under the Trump Administration and potentially signaling that the enormous 33 percent jump in sales from FY 2017 to FY 2018 may have established a new normal for U.S. arms exports.Every October, DSCA announces the total sales arms sales of the U.S.  These totals include government-to-government sales under the Foreign Military Sales program as well as sales funded through the Foreign Military Financing program and other security cooperation and assistance agreements with partner nations.  These totals do not include direct sales from U.S. companies to foreign militaries that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.

The total foreign arms sales for the past six years are:

The large spike in sales in FY 2015 was attributed in large part to ramping up efforts to combat ISIS.  That isolated spike aside, the increase in arm sales in the past four years has been dramatic, with the increase in sales attributable primarily to increased foreign government spending (as opposed to U.S. assistance funding).

DSCA prefers to rely on three-year rolling averages, as annual sales figures can be skewed by specific geo-political events (such as the fight against ISIS in FY 2015) or a few high-value transactions (such as the sale of F-15s to Qatar and F/A-18s to Kuwait during FY 2012).  With two consecutive years of sales around $55 billion, we may now be seeing a new normal for foreign arms sales.  Of course, many factors could impact foreign arms sales moving forward, including fluctuations in energy prices and increased scrutiny by Congress, but it appears for now that robust U.S. arms exports will continue.

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