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 European Parliament will host an inter-parliamentary conference on economic stability, coordination and governance in the EU.  The conference will focus on the fiscal, budgetary and social challenges that may hinder a full recovery after the pandemic.  Among the speakers are not only EU officials of the highest political and executive level, but also the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, and Managing Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva.  Separate panel discussions will cover the fiscal priorities in national recovery and resilience plans, their governance, and their synergies with the European Green Deal.  A full program is available here.

On Tuesday, the MEPs of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (“ECON”) will have an exchange of views with Mr. Steven Maijoor, Chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”), and Mr. Ugo Bassi, the European Commission’s Director for Financial Markets.  They will discuss the recent GameStop trading frenzy and related events on U.S. financial markets.  On February 17, 2021, ESMA published a statement on the “concerted action by some retail investors, based on information shared on social media,” and warned that it cannot be excluded that similar situations could occur in the EU.  While ESMA welcomed the increased participation of retail investors, it simultaneously cautioned retail investors not to make investment decisions purely based on information from social media.  It stressed that although sharing opportunities to buy or sell shares online does not account for market abuse, coordinated strategies to move a share’s price could constitute market manipulation under certain circumstances.  MEPs will debate how retail investor participation fits into the EU’s Capital Markets Union Action Plan and whether any EU-level regulation should follow.  ESMA’s statement is available here.  The Capital Markets Union Action Plan is available here.

On Wednesday, MEPs of the Committee on International Trade (“INTA”) will have a debate with Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis on the EU Trade Policy Review, which was adopted by the Commission on February 18, 2021.  With a renewed trade policy, the Commission intends to pursue its “open strategic autonomy” and support the green and digital transitions.  The strategy prioritizes reforming the World Trade Organization to work towards global commitments on trade and climate; digital trade; stricter rules on competitive distortions; and restoring the functioning of the Appellate Body of the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism.  The EU also means to take a more “assertive approach” to implementing and enforcing trade commitments.  The newly appointed Chief Trade Enforcement Officer will revert to all existing instruments and seek to expand its toolbox by implementing, for example, the recently adopted amendments that modernize the Export Control Regulation and Enforcement Regulation.  The EU Trade Policy Review is available here.

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