Next week, Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will gather in person and virtually in Brussels for committee meetings. Several interesting votes and debates are scheduled to take place.
On Monday and Tuesday, MEPs of the Committee on International Trade (“INTA”) will have an exchange of views with Sabine Weyand, Director-General of DG Trade on the State of Play of EU’s International Trade Negotiations, such as with Australia and New Zealand. It is likely that the discussions will also touch on the EU-China negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investments (“CAI”), which is supposed to be concluded before the end of the year. MEPs will then debate the European Commission’s annual report on the implementation of the EU’s free trade agreements (“FTAs”) with the new Chief Trade Enforcement Officer, Denis Redonnet. He will also present the review of the Commission’s 15 Points Action Plan on the Implementation and Enforcement of Trade and Sustainable Developments chapters in the EU’s FTAs. The Annual Report on the Implementation of EU Trade Agreements is available here.
On Monday, INTA will also vote on a draft Regulation that sets up an EU regime for the control of export, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use items. The Council of the EU and the Parliament reached a political agreement on November 9, 2020. The new Regulation would update the EU’s current framework on export controls. The updated framework would likely impose additional licensing controls on dual-use technology, including hacking software and facial recognition technology. While critical decisions on export controls will remain with the Member States, they will be obliged to disclose details and provide transparency when granting export licenses. The increased transparency efforts will provide important means for advocacy efforts. The draft Regulation is available here.
On Tuesday, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (“ITRE”) will debate an own-initiative report on the European Strategy for Data. The debate will likely be dominated by the proposal for a Data Governance Act, introduced by the European Commission on November 25, 2020. The Act is the first legislative proposal that follows the European Strategy for Data that the European Commission presented on February 19, 2020. Among the core provisions of the Act is a legal basis for public and private actors to share their data securely. It will allow “data intermediaries” to market data without profiting from processing their client’s data. Data localization requirements were dropped from the Act last minute, following critique that such requirements could violate the EU’s commitment under international trade agreements. Nevertheless, companies that process EU data must have a representative in the EU to ensure the effective enforceability of the Act’s rules. The Act also includes obligations for companies to take “adequate measures” to prevent sensitive data, such as health data, from unlawful access by third country governments. The draft own-initiative report is available here and the proposal for a Data Governance Act is available here.
On Wednesday, the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (“AIDA”) will hold a public hearing on “AI and Health.” AIDA will host two virtual panels on digital governance and an exchange of views with representatives of the industry, civil society and academia. The first panel will include the Greek Minister of Digital Governance, Kyriakos Pierrakakis, the Head of Unit Public Health Functions at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Vicky Lefevre, and Claire Bury, Deputy Director-General at DG SANTE. The second sessions will see interventions by representatives of the Halland Hospital Group, Exscientia, the European Consumer Organization and the Freie Universität Berlin.
For the complete agenda and overview of the meetings, please see here.