Next week, Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will gather in Brussels for plenary sessions.  Several interesting debates are scheduled to take place.

On Monday, MEPs will debate on a draft Report on the System of Own Resources of the EU.  According to the co-rapporteurs, MEP José Manuel Fernandes (PT, EPP) and MEP Valérie Hayeris (FR, RE), the current system through which the EU collects its own resources needs to be revised for three reasons: (i) to generate additional and independent sources of revenue for the EU budget to achieve its strategic investment goals; (ii) to create policy spill-over benefits and European added value; and (iii) to increase the autonomy of the EU’s budget by mitigating the predominance of the Members States’ contributions.  The mobilization of extra resources would increase the EU’s fiscal headroom allowing the Commission to borrow the EUR 750 billion under the EU’s recovery fund (Next Generation EU).  The co-rapporteurs are in favor of introducing the new own resources, as proposed by the Commission in May 2018, in the form of a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax base, the Emission Trading Scheme, and a national contribution on non-recycled plastic packaging waste.  In addition, they wish to introduce an EU-level digital services tax, a carbon-border adjustment mechanism, and a Financial Transaction Tax – even if this is only possible under the method of Enhance Cooperation.  The draft report of the co-rapporteurs is available here.

On Tuesday, MEPs will debate the escalating situation in the Eastern-Mediterranean sea between Greece and Turkey over disputed drilling rights.  The debate will follow initial statements by the Council and the Commission.  In recent months, tensions between Turkey and Greece have reached new heights over a maritime dispute on the delineation of their respective exclusive economic zones.  Until now, the EU has not adopted any coordinated approach to this dispute, but French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed its strong support for Greece and increased the presence of the French navy in the area.  Behind the scenes, the German Presidency of the Council has been mediating between the two countries to attempt to deescalate the situation.

On Wednesday, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will give her first State of the European Union address in the European Parliament.  In this keystone speech after the summer recess, she will set out the Commission’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the last few months and present her vision for economic recovery.  She is also likely to address the EU’s efforts to fight climate change and support the digital transition.  Her speech will be followed by reactions of the leaders of the Parliament’s political groups, who will also share their priorities for 2021.  Inspired by the tradition in the U.S., the State of the European Union is an annual address by the Commission President during which he or she outlines his or her political vision and legislative priorities.  It has been introduced in 2010 by the Lisbon Treaty to enhance transparency and democracy in the political life of the EU.

For the complete agenda and overview of the meetings, please see here.