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

On Monday, technical meetings are planned between negotiators of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU on the EU’s long-term budget (“Multi-Annual Financial Framework”) and Own Resources.  The Parliament and Council have made good progress over the last week and EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn said on Thursday (November 6) that a deal could be reached potentially on Monday (November 9).  The remarks come after negotiators of the Parliament and Council reached a political agreement on the rule of law conditionality for the allocation of funds from the MFF and the EU’s recovery fund, one of the main obstacles to an agreement.  More detailed information on this mechanism is expected on Monday, when the Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control (“BUDG”) and Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (“ECON”) will vote on the Parliament’s position regarding the workings of the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the most important financing instrument of the recovery fund.  A draft report, still subject to amendments, is available here.

On Tuesday, the rule of law of conditionality will also take center stage during the meeting of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (“LIBE”).  MEPs will discuss the Commission’s annual Rule of Law report and further steps towards a “Mechanism on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Right.”  The meeting will be opened by a speech of President of the European Parliament David Sassoli and will include interventions by Commissioner for Justice Reynders and MEP Šimečka (RE, SK), Rapporteur of the file on the Mechanism on Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights.  The Commission’s annual Rule of Law report is available here.  A draft program of the LIBE meeting is available here.

On Wednesday, MEPs will debate and likely adopt a statement on fighting terrorism and the right to the freedom of expression and education.  Over the course of only a few weeks, France and Austria have witnessed several terrorist attacks.  The attacks followed the brutal murder of Samuel Paty, a French middle-school teacher who showed religious cartoons during a class discussion on free speech.  This triggered a debate in France and elsewhere on the state of the freedom of expression and the EU’s external border security.  In response, French President Macron called on Thursday (November 5) for a “deep overhaul” of the Schengen Agreement, the EU’s open-border area, and the establishment of a “real police force” to guard the EU’s external borders.

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