Summary

Next week, Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will travel to Strasbourg for plenary session.  Several interesting debates and votes are scheduled to take place.

On Tuesday, the High Representative of the Union and Vice-President of the Commission Joseph Borrell, who has been in office since December 1, 2019, will make a statement regarding the situation in Iran, following a debate on the topic with MEPs.  The situation in the Middle East has destabilized considerably after Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani was killed in a targeted U.S. done strike on January 3, 2020.  The EU has called for a de-escalation of the situation without condemning the U.S. attack.  It has said it remains firmly committed to the Joint and Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, between Iran and the P5+1 together with the EU.  After the attack, however, Iran made strong policy statements that were in contradiction to the JCPOA, but stopped short of withdrawing completely from the JCPOA.  Before considering re-introducing sanctions, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the EU are deliberating whether to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism under the JCPOA to address Iran’s latest moves.  The European Parliament does not have a formal role regarding the imposition of sanctions.  Nevertheless, the Parliament can adopt recommendations and resolutions to put pressure on the High Representative and Member States to act.

On Wednesday, MEPs will debate a common vision for and scope of the  “Conference on the Future of Europe”.  The Conference on the Future of Europe was an idea pitched by French President Macron in March 2019 in an open letter addressed at the citizens of Europe.  It is intended to come up with proposals for “all necessary changes to our political project, without any taboos, not even treaty revision.”  The other Member States, though less than exuberant, have joined the initiative.  MEPs have received the project with more enthusiasm, and see it as an opportunity to push for initiatives such as codifying the “Spitzenkandidaten” system for the selection of the Commission President, or transnational lists of candidates in the election to the European Parliament.  It is expected that the Conference would entail a series of national citizen meetings and dialogues.  It is scheduled to start in 2020 and end in 2022.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament will take position regarding the European Green Deal, the Commission’s flagship initiative to achieve EU climate-neutrality by 2050.  It is likely that the resolution will only formalize the Parliament’s position on the Green Deal in broad terms, as the package will include several legislative initiatives that still need to be introduced.  It could, however, be a good benchmark to see whether the ambitions of the Parliament match those of the Commission.

Meetings and Agenda

Monday, January 13, 2020 

Sessions

17:00 – 23:00

Debates

  • Commission statement – Devastating Bushfires in Australia and other extreme weather events as a consequence of Climate Change
  • Commission statement – Cross-border organized crime and its impact on free movement
  • Commission statement – Common charger for mobile radio equipment
    • Vote: future part-session
  • Commission statement – Gender pay gap
    • Vote: January II
  • Commission statement – “Housing First” as urgent action to address the situation of homeless people in Europe 

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 

Sessions

09:00 – 13:00

Debates

  • Council and Commission statements – [KEY DEBATE] Presentation of the programme of activities of the Croatian Presidency
  • Council and Commission statements – Implementing and monitoring provisions on citizens’ rights in the UK Withdrawal Agreement
    • Vote: Wednesday

15:00 – 23:00

Debates

  • Commission statement – Sustainable investment plan, just transition fund and Roadmap on Social Europe
  • Statement by the VP/HR – Situation in Iran and Iraq following recent escalations
  • Annual report 2018 on the human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter
  • JD – CFSP and CSDP (Article 36 TEU)
    • Annual report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy
    • Annual report on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy
  • Statement by the VP/HR – Situation in Libya
  • Statement by the VP/HR – Situation in Venezuela after the illegal election of the new National Assembly Presidency and Bureau (parliamentary coup)
    • Vote: Thursday

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 

Sessions

09:00 – 11:50

Debates

  • European Parliament’s position on the Conference on the Future of Europe

12:00 – 12:30

Debates

  • Address by His Majesty King Abdullah II, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

12:30 – 14:30

Votes

  • Protocol to the Agreement between the EU, Iceland and Norway concerning the criteria and mechanisms for establishing the State responsible for examining a request for asylum lodged in a Member State or in Iceland or Norway regarding the access to Eurodac for law enforcement purposes
    • Rapporteur: Jadwiga WIŚNIEWSKA (PL, ECR)
  • EU-China Agreement on certain aspects of air services
    • Rapporteur: Tomasz Piotr PORĘBA (PL, ECR)
  • Common system of value added tax as regards the special scheme for small enterprises
    • Rapporteur: Inese VAIDERE (LV, EPP)
  • MRs – The European Green Deal
  • Implementing and monitoring provisions on citizens’ rights in the UK Withdrawal Agreement
  • Motion on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter – Annual report
    • Rapporteur: Isabel WISELER-LIMA (LU, EPP)
  • Motion on the implementation of the common foreign and security policy – Annual report
    • Rapporteur: David McALLISTER (DE, EPP)
  • Motion on the implementation of the Common Security and Defence Policy – Annual report
    • Rapporteur: Arnaud DANJEAN (FR, EPP)
  • European Parliament’s position on the Conference on the Future of Europe

15:00 – 23:00

Debates

  • Topical debate (Rule 162) – Distortion of European history and remembrance of the Second World War
  • Council and Commission statements – Ongoing hearings under article 7(1) of the TEU regarding Hungary
  • Council and Commission statements – Ongoing hearings under article 7(1) of the TEU regarding Poland
  • Council and Commission statements – The reopening of the prosecution against the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic on the misuse of EU funds and potential conflicts of interest
    • Vote: February
  • Commission statement – COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Kunming 2020)
  • Annual report on activities of the European Ombudsman in 2018
    • Rapporteur: Peter JAHR (DE, EPP)
  • Commission statement – Reform of the general principles of comitology 

Thursday, January 16, 2020 

Sessions

09:00 – 11:50   

Debates

  • Institutions and bodies in the Economic and Monetary Union: Preventing post-public employment conflicts of interest Commission
    • Rapporteur: Irene TINAGLI (IT, S&D)
  • Debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Rule 144)
    • Burundi, notably the case of imprisoned journalists
    • Nigeria, notably the recent terrorist attacks

12:00 – 14:00  

Votes

  • Motions for resolutions concerning debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Rule 144)
  • MRs – Situation in Venezuela after the illegal election of the new National Assembly Presidency and Bureau (parliamentary coup)
  • MR – Ongoing hearings under article 7(1) of the TEU regarding Poland and Hungary
  • MR – COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Kunming 2020)
  • Annual report on activities of the European Ombudsman in 2018
    • Rapporteur: Peter JAHR (DE, EPP)
  • MRs – Institutions and bodies in the Economic and Monetary Union: Preventing post-public employment conflicts of interest

15:00 – 16:00

Debates

  • 3D‑printed illicit objects

Friday, January 17, 2020 

  • No meetings of note
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Photo of Sebastian Vos Sebastian Vos

Sebastian Vos is co-chair of the firm’s public policy practice, and heads up its European division. He has extensive experience in the European Union and advises clients as they navigate and manage today’s global regulatory and policy challenges.

Sebastian provides clients with strategic…

Sebastian Vos is co-chair of the firm’s public policy practice, and heads up its European division. He has extensive experience in the European Union and advises clients as they navigate and manage today’s global regulatory and policy challenges.

Sebastian provides clients with strategic public policy, regulatory, and communications advice on a range of competition, trade, transactional and sectoral issues. Sebastian has particular expertise in advising companies in the technology, financial services, energy and transport sectors.

Sebastian was formerly a partner at a leading global public affairs consultancy. Prior to this, he was head of the competition practice at a strategic communications agency. He worked as an attorney at a magic circle firm, specialising in Antitrust, Competition and Trade law, as well as being a member of the Public Policy practice. He has also worked at the European Commission, and was part of its Delegation to the United States in 2000.

Sebastian has written articles on legal and political developments in various publications, including Europe’s World, Bloomberg Business Law Review and European Competition Law Review. He has also been a commentator on broadcast media including CNBC and Bloomberg TV.