Next week is a constituency week for Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”). MEPs will go back to their home country to deal with national issues, or in their parliamentary delegations to work on non-EU countries-related matters.

This week was, however, important as many initiatives were adopted by the Parliament.

On Tuesday, December 13, the three EU institutions issued a joint declaration outlining the legislative priorities for 2017. These outline six priority areas, namely (i) fostering jobs, growth and investment in the EU (including the modernization of the Trade Defense Instruments, the enhancement of waste management in a circular economy, and the completion of the Banking Union); (ii) the EU social dimension (including many initiatives in the field of youth employment and social security coordination); (iii) better protection of EU citizens, through stronger EU borders and the fight against terrorism; (iv) migration policy, including the reform of the Common European Asylum System, the Legal Migration Package, and the External Investment Plan; (v) delivering on the commitments in the digital single market field, with a focus on copyright and telecoms reform, geo-blocking, the modernization of data privacy rules, and also moving forward with the reform of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive; and (vi) following up on and improving the Energy Union and climate policy, through the implementation of the 2030 climate and energy framework and the Clean Energy package. See the joint declaration here.

On Thursday, the plenary voted in favor of a resolution on Pediatric Medicines (see the resolution here). The resolution calls on the European Commission to urgently take any regulatory initiatives required to enhance the situation in the pediatric medicine field; to renew the funding of projects aimed at supporting high-quality pediatric clinical research under the Horizon 2020 program, after an assessment of the current initiatives in this field; to ensure that EU Member States take appropriate initiatives to support research and development, as well the availability of medical products for pediatric use; and, finally, to reinforce the role of the European network for pediatric clinical research.

On the same day, the Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (“ENVI”) voted in favor of a legislative proposal aimed at amending the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (“ETS”). The legislative proposal (see here) includes new modifications, such as more flexible rules to align free allowances with production figures, as well as new funding mechanisms to foster innovative technologies and facilitate investments in modernizing energy systems. It also provides proposals to prevent so-called “carbon leakage”, whereby companies transfer their production to countries with lower or less ambitious climate measures. The vote in plenary has been scheduled for the first week of February 2017.

During the Thursday’s plenary, the Parliament also passed a resolution on support for Thalidomide victims. Thalidomide is a drug first marketed in the late 1950s to treat multiple diseases, such as morning sickness, coughs, insomnia and even colds. This drug, however, had significant side effects on pregnant women, and caused the malformation, and even the death, of thousands of babies. The resolution calls on the Commission to put in place EU programs aimed at supplementing the Member States’ actions in helping victims of Thalidomide and their families. See the resolution here.

Please note that due to the three coming parliamentary weeks being, respectively, a constituency week, a holiday week and a constituency week, the next edition of the Week Ahead in the European Parliament will be published on January 6, 2017.

Meetings and Agenda

·         No official meetings in the European Parliament are planned before January 9, 2017.