Next week, Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will gather in Brussels for a plenary session and committee meetings. Several important debates and votes are scheduled to take place.
On Monday, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (“ECON”) will have an exchange of views on the Temporary State Aid Framework with Executive Vice-President of the Commission Margrethe Vestager. On March 19, 2020, the European Commission adopted a Temporary Framework for State Aid Measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 pandemic. This sets out conditions under which the Commission will assess how Member States may make use of the Article 170(3)(b) TFEU exemption to mitigate serious disturbances in the economy. Member State have used this exemption to remedy liquidity shortages and provide access to financing to businesses. It has consequently been updated on April 10, 2020, to include more types of aid that would qualify under the exemption. The Framework has spurred a debate between Member States on the level playing field. Certain Member States have more access to cheap credit and are better equipped to support their economies, creating an unfair competitive edge. See further Covington’s blog posts about the Framework here and here.
On Tuesday, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (“EMPL”) will have an exchange of views with Croatian Minister of Labour and Pension System and Interim Executive Director of the European Labour Authority, Curell Gotor. The debate will focus on the impact of COVID-19 containment measures on the mobility of frontier workers in the EU. The debate will also likely touch on the Commission’s SURE program, a proposed temporary instrument to mitigate unemployment risks. Under the program, the EU would provide financial assistance to Member States that have to cope with sudden surges in public expenditure to preserve employment. The proposal has run into opposition, particularly from northern Member States, as this would be the first time that the EU would acquire competences in the field of social security.
On Wednesday, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will present the much-anticipated new draft of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (“MFF”) and Recovery Plan. Previously, on May 13, 2020, the European Commission presented an outline of a new Recovery Instrument to the European Parliament. The Recovery Instrument will likely have three parts. The first part will deal with public investments and reforms, while a second part will focus on boosting private and strategic investments. The third part sets out funding plans for research and health priorities. The Commission’s outline also includes “grants” and unconditional loans. Several northern countries have already expressed their opposition to grants, as they would rather the Commission gave Member States loans, conditional on strict fiscal reforms. Any proposal of the European Commission would have to be adopted by a majority of the European Parliament and unanimously by the Council of the EU.
Meetings and Agenda
Monday, May 25, 2020
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
17:30 – 18:30
- Exchange of views with Margrethe VESTAGER, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, on the economic impact and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Committee on Fisheries
- Recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (IN) – Rapporteur for the opinion: François-Xavier Bellamy (EPP, FR) – Adoption of amendments
- The sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and its Implementing Protocol (2020-2026) between the European Union and the Republic of Seychelles (NLE)
- Rapporteur: Caroline Roose (Greens/EFA, FR)
Committee on Legal Affairs
09:00 – 13:00
- Exchange of views in the context of structured dialogue with the following Commissioners: Thierry BRETON, Commissioner for Internal Market (09.00-10.00) Věra JOUROVÁ, Vice-President – Values and Transparency (10.00-11.00) Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ, Vice-President – Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight (12.00-13.00)
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
12:00 – 16:00
- COVID-19: Toolkit for Member States – respecting democracy, rule of law and human rights in the framework of the COVID-19 sanitary crisis – presentation by the Council of Europe
- Determination of a clear risk of a serious breach by the Republic of Poland of the rule of law (NLE), rapporteur Juan Fernando LÓPEZ AGUILAR (S&D, ES) – consideration of draft interim report and exchange of views with José Igreja MATOS, President of the European Association of Judges and Joanna HETNAROWICZ-SIKORA, Member of the National Board of IUSTITIA, Polish judges association.
- Digital Services Act and fundamental rights issues posed (INI), consideration of draft report
- Rapporteur: Kris PEETERS (EPP, BE)
- Recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (INI), adoption of draft opinion
- Rapporteur for the opinion: Loránt VINCZE (EPP, RO)
- Community statistics on migration and international protection (COD), adoption of draft recommendation for second reading
- Rapporteur Jan-Christoph: OETJEN (Renew, DE)
Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
09:15 – 11:00
- The gender perspective in the Covid-19 crisis and post-crisis period – exchange of views
- The EU Strategy for Gender Equality (INI)
- Rapporteur: Maria NOICHL (S&D, DE)
- Exchange of views with Helena DALLI, Commissioner for Equality
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Committee on Constitutional Affairs
10:00 – 19:00
- The Conference on the Future of Europe and the role of the European Parliament – exchange of views
- Recommendations on the negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (INI), adoption of amendments
- Rapporteur for the opinion: Danuta Maria HÜBNER (EPP, PL)
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
13:30 – 15:00
- EU Recovery Package
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Committee on Budgets
16:00 – 18:30
Committee on Transport and Tourism
10:00 – 18:30
- Presentation by the Commission of the package on tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond.
Friday, May 29, 2020
No meetings of note