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 Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (“AIDA”) will hold a public hearing together with the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (“AGRI”) on artificial intelligence in agriculture and food security.  The committees have invited a range of representatives from the agricultural industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”).  The panel discussions will touch on how artificial intelligence can contribute to achieving food security and how future agriculture can be made more sustainable.  The hearing build on the reform proposals of the Common Agricultural Policy (“CAP”), which intends to increase the use of digital technology and uptake of more sustainable practices.  The program of the event is available here.

On the same day, the Committee on Foreign Affairs (“AFET”) will have an exchange of views on the decision of the Swiss Federal Council to terminate negotiations with the EU on the EU-Swiss Institutional Framework Agreement.  The draft agreement, which has been negotiated since 2014, intends to replace the numerous bilateral agreements, which currently regulate Swiss-EU relations.  However, the Swiss government has withdrawn support for the negotiated deal, citing the lack of agreement on state aid rules, salary protection, and the access of EU citizens to Swiss social security benefits as the main factors of concern.  The European Commission has stated that the modernization of the EU-Swiss relationship will not be possible without an overarching agreement.  Time is ticking, as eventually certain existing bilateral agreements will expire.  The Swiss government’s statement is available here (in German).  The European Commission’s statement here.

On Tuesday, MEPs of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (“ENVI”) will debate whether and how to repeal and replace the current Regulation on batteries and waste batteries.  Presented by the European Commission on December 10, 2020, the proposed Regulation aims to modernize the EU’s legislative framework for batteries.  The proposal takes into account the goals set out in the European Green Deal and intends to promote a circular economy for batteries; strengthen the internal market for them; and reduce their environmental impact.  The proposed Regulation also specifically deals with electric vehicles, in response to their anticipated increase over the next decade.  The proposed regulation is available here.

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