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

On Monday, MEPs will debate how to update the new Industrial Strategy for Europe.  The Commission presented its initial Industrial Strategy on March 10, 2020, but given the developments in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and Next Generation EU (“NGEU”), the EU’s EUR 750 bn recovery fund, MEPs are likely to call on the Commission to revise the strategy.  Rapporteur Carlo Calenda (S&D, IT) thinks the Industrial Strategy should have two distinct phases, a recovery phase and a phase for reconstruction and transformation.  In the first phase, Commission-managed EU programs should replace the Member States’ aid to companies in distress to balance the discrepancy of available funds between Member States.  He also thinks the Commission should be able to allocate funds to individual companies from the recovery fund.  In the second phase, the recovery fund would be transformed into a “Reconstruction and Transformation Fund” to achieve the EU’s digital and environmental objectives.  On Wednesday, MEPs will vote on the draft report, which has already been adopted by the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (“ITRE”) with a comfortable majority on October 16, 2020.  The draft report is available here.  The current Industrial Strategy is available here.

On Thursday, MEPs are set to clear a mini EU-U.S. trade deal that eliminates duties on live or frozen lobsters imported from the U.S. in exchange for tariff relief on several EU products, including prepared meals, certain crystal glassware and cigarette lighters.  While very limited in scope and only covering EUR 168 million in exports, the mini deal is interpreted by some as stepping stone for a more constructive dialogue on trade between the EU and U.S.  Nevertheless, trade relations are strained over, for example, the U.S. tariff measures on steel and aluminum and WTO-related issues, such as the Airbus-Boeing trade disputes and institutional reforms.  The draft Regulation to eliminate the customs duties on certain products is available here.  The list of concerned products is available here.

On Thursday, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides will present the new EU Pharmaceutical Strategy in the European Parliament, which is set to be formally adopted by the European Commission on November 24, 2020.  MEPs are expected to question Commissioner Kyriakides how the Strategy will contribute to safe and affordable medicine and foster innovation in the pharmaceutical industry.  They will also ask the Commissioner to what extent she took the MEPs’ thoughts and suggestions into account, such as increasing efforts to reduce medicine shortages and moving towards sensible use and disposal of pharmaceutical products.

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