Next week will be a committee week in the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will gather virtually and in person in Brussels. Several interesting votes and debates are scheduled to take place.
On Monday, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (“ECON”) will have a structured dialogue with Commissioner for Financial Services Maireed McGuiness. One of the most important topics will likely be the new Commission Strategy on the EU’s economic and financial system, published on January 19, 2021. The Strategy sets out how the EU can achieve open strategic autonomy in the macro-economy by promoting the international role of the euro, strengthening the EU’s financial markets infrastructure, and improving the enforcement of EU sanctions’ regimes. Concretely, the European Commission suggests completing the Banking Union and supporting the development of euro-denominated commodity derivatives for energy and raw materials. This also involves the review of plans for a “digital euro,” that would be issued by the European Central Bank, and would provide for a new means of payment in the EU. The strategy also addresses the review of the EU’s financial markets infrastructure legislation. The strategy is available here.
On Tuesday, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety will vote on an own-initiative report on the new Circular Economy Action Plan that was published by the European Commission on March 11, 2020. The Circular Economy Action Plan is an integral part of the European Green Deal and the EU’s efforts to uphold its commitments under the Paris Climate Accord. Where the first Circular Economy Action Plan of 2015 emphasized recycling, the new Action Plan focuses on waste prevention and management. Rapporteur MEP Jan Huitema (NL, RE) is welcoming and overall supportive of the Commission’s Action Plan. The draft report is available here. The Circular Economy Action Plan is available here.
On Wednesday, the Committee on Legal Affairs (“JURI”) will vote on a draft report on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability. In the report, Rapporteur MEP Lara Wolters (NL, S&D) provides recommendations for the European Commission, which is currently drafting legislation on this matter. The report suggests imposing mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence obligations on corporations throughout their value chain. This means that corporations established in the EU or that sell goods or provide services in the EU’s market will have to put in place a process aimed at identifying, preventing, and mitigating all risks posed to human rights and the environment. This would apply both to their own operations as well as to those of their business relationships. The report also suggests that corporations should disclose information regarding social and employee matters. The report is a “legislative own-initiative report,” (non-legally binding) which formally requests the Commission to introduce a new appropriate legislative act on this topic. EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders has already committed itself to introducing such a proposal, yet it remains to be seen whether that proposal has a similar scope and content to the draft report. The draft report is available here.
For the complete agenda and overview of the meetings, please see here.