Lowest Priced Technically Acceptable Procurements Not Always Acceptable: New DFARS Rule Continues Shake-Up of LPTA Procurements

On September 26, 2019, the Department of Defense issued a final rule amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement to establish new restrictions on the use of Lowest Price Technically Acceptable source selection procedures.  Effective October 1, 2019, this new rule imposes specific limitations and prohibitions governing when and under what circumstances LPTA procedures are appropriate for a particular procurement.  The new rule has the potential to expand — and provide a more definite legal framework for — pre-award bid protests challenging the use of LPTA source selection procedures.

As previously discussed on this blog, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 and the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2018 imposed new limitations and prohibitions on when DoD can use LPTA procedures.  The new DFARS rule implements these statutory provisions by amending several existing DFARS sections and adding a new section:  DFARS 215.101-2.The new rule makes four significant changes to the use of LPTA procedures.First, among other restrictions, DoD now must “avoid, to the maximum extent practicable, using” LPTA procedures for procurements that are “predominately for the acquisition of”:

  1. Information technology services, cybersecurity services, systems engineering and technical assistance services, advanced electronic testing, or other knowledge-based professional services;
  2. Personal protective equipment; or
  3. Knowledge-based training or logistics services in contingency operations or other operations outside the United States, including in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Second, DoD is outright prohibited from using LPTA procedures when procuring:

  1. Items designated by the requiring activity as personal protective equipment or an aviation critical safety item, when the requiring activity advises the contracting officer that the level of quality or failure of the equipment or item could result in combat casualties;
  2. Engineering and manufacturing development for a major defense acquisition program for which budgetary authority is requested beginning in fiscal year 2019; or
  3. An auditing contract.

Third, the new DFARS rule imposes a list of seven criteria that must be met in order for LPTA procedures to be permissible for a particular procurement, including:

  1. Minimum requirements can be described clearly and comprehensively and expressed in terms of performance objectives, measures, and standards that will be used to determine the acceptability of offers;
  2. No, or minimal, value will be realized from a proposal that exceeds the minimum technical or performance requirements;
  3. The proposed technical approaches will require no, or minimal, subjective judgment by the source selection authority as to the desirability of one offeror’s proposal versus a competing proposal;
  4. The source selection authority has a high degree of confidence that reviewing the technical proposals of all offerors would not result in the identification of characteristics that could provide value or benefit;
  5. No, or minimal, additional innovation or future technological advantage will be realized by using a different source selection process;
  6. Goods to be procured are predominately expendable in nature, are nontechnical, or have a short life expectancy or short shelf life; and
  7. The contract file contains a determination that the lowest price reflects full-life cycle costs (as defined at FAR 7.101) of the product(s).

Fourth, the new DFARS rule requires contracting officers to document, in the contract file, “the circumstances justifying the use of” LPTA procedures.  In responding to comments on the proposed rule, DoD noted that “[t]he rule does not specify a format or method to be used to meet” the documentation requirement, and that “[p]ublicizing the justification with the solicitation is not required by statute and could result in increased cost and time burden to both Government and industry.”  As a result, it is likely that these written justifications will not be shared publicly as part of the solicitation process, but rather may end up being disclosed only in response to protests — and pursuant to protective orders.

The effect of the new DFARS rule on the number and type of LPTA procurements remains to be seen.  The discussion preceding the final rule states that “DoD does not have information on the total number of solicitations issued on an annual basis that specified the use of the LPTA source selection process” — suggesting that DoD itself does not have a sense of whether and by how much the new DFARS rule will decrease the use of LPTA procurements.

One thing seems certain, however:  the new rule will improve the viability of pre-award protests challenging the use of LPTA procedures.  Even before the final rule — and before the corresponding NDAA provisions — actual and prospective bidders could challenge an agency’s decision to use LPTA procedures, but prevailing on such an argument was extremely difficult, given the absence of specific criteria or factors that agencies were supposed to consider in making that determination.  The new DFARS rule now supplies those criteria and factors — and thus provides a firm analytical framework in which to anchor a protest.

The shake-up in the government’s use of LPTA procedures does not stop there.  DoD has issued guidance in the DFARS Procedures, Guidance, and Information to expand upon its interpretation of and approach to the new DFARS rule.  At this time, the guidance briefly addresses the process for determining whether a supply is “predominately expendable in nature” or “nontechnical,” or has a “short life expectancy” or “short shelf life.”  The guidance also addresses how to consider “full life-cycle costs” for a supply or service.

In addition, DoD, the General Services Administration, and NASA just released a proposed FAR rule that would implement similar restrictions that Congress imposed on the use of LPTA procurements by civilian agencies.  Stay tuned for more information about the proposed FAR rule and its similarities to and differences from the new DFARS rule.

U.S. Draft Human Rights Guidance for Exporters of Surveillance Technology

On 4 September 2019, the U.S. Department of State (“DoS”) published draft ‘Guidance for the Export of Hardware, Software and Technology with Surveillance Capabilities and/or Parts/Know-How’ (the “Guidance”). The DoS invited public comment on the draft Guidance until 4 October 2019, after which they will publish finalised guidance.

Goal: Preventing Human Rights Abuse

While noting the vast potential economic, defence and societal contributions of technological development, the text acknowledges that, in the hands of government, or government-aligned authorities, relevant technology can lead to potential and actual adverse human rights impacts, for example, advanced surveillance technologies can be used to adversely impact the rights to privacy, freedom of expression, religion and belief, and association and peaceful assembly.

The Guidance is intended to assist relevant companies with the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (“UNGPs”) in order to mitigate potential human rights risks associated with the export of technology.

Scope: Exporters of Items with Surveillance Capabilities

The Guidance broadly applies to U.S. exporters (“Exporters”) of hardware, software and other technologies which have surveillance capabilities (“Items”). The Guidance will not be, and is not intended to be, comprehensive or mandatory. Rather, it provides “considerations to weigh prior to exporting”, best practices for Exporters, and actions they might take to mitigate the risk that their Items will be linked to adverse human rights impacts.

It is unclear to what extent, if any, that this Guidance will be incorporated into the regulatory or licensing process.

Target: Items with Surveillance Capabilities

The Guidance includes a non-exclusive list of examples of Items, covering both obvious “surveillance” technology (e.g. spyware, location tracking products, facial recognition technology, cameras and drones) as well as technology with more peripheral surveillance capabilities (e.g. social media analytics software, rapid DNA testing, crypto-analysis products, penetration-testing tools, information technology products with deep packet inspection functions, and automatic license-plate readers). Technology might be caught by the Guidance regardless of the Exporter’s intended use for their products.

Key Takeaways from the draft Guidance

The Guidance is organised under eight broad considerations for Exporters before, during and after an export transaction and can be summarised as follows:

Consider the Item

  1. In general, tailor the [Item] to minimise the likelihood that it will be misused to commit human rights violations or abuses.
  2. Review the capabilities of the [Item] to determine the potential for misuse by government end users and private end-users that have a close relationship with a foreign government.

Before a transaction, Exporters should consider what the Item is capable of, and how it could be used or misused by authorities. Exporters might consider integrating safety and ‘privacy by design’ features that enable them to track the Item’s deployment and alert them to misuse, strip certain capabilities from the Item, auto-delete data and even provide a kill-switch.

Conduct Third Party Due Diligence

  1. Review the human rights record of the government agency end-user of the country intended to receive the [Item].
  2. Review whether the government end-user’s laws, regulations, and practices that implicate [Item] are consistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
  3. Review stakeholder entities involved in the transaction, including end-user and intermediaries such as distributors and resellers.

Exporters should review credible reports of the human rights records of end-users, and reach out to stakeholders such as NGOs for first-hand knowledge of the country and the deployment of technology. The Guidance lists a number of potential “Red Flags” for Exporters. Besides obvious reports of human rights violations, the Guidance suggests that evidence of political turmoil, a non-independent judiciary, or laws and government practices which “unduly restrict civic space” should raise alarm. The Guidance also suggest that Exporters should investigate whether their buyers might subsequently export the Item to other countries where there is a potential for human rights abuse.

Mitigate risk of misuse

  1. Strive to mitigate human rights risks through contractual and procedural safeguards, and strong grievance mechanisms.
  2. After export, strive to mitigate human rights risks through contractual and procedural safeguards, and strong grievance mechanisms.

The Guidance also addresses business responsibility with respect to “downstream” human rights risks potentially linked to their Items and suggests that the Exporter’s responsibility does not end once an Item has been shipped. Exporters should consider contractual and procedural human rights safeguards (e.g. sales contracts could enshrine an Exporter’s right to impose limitations on the use of Items, and to unilaterally terminate the contract, deny software updates, and even remotely disable Items if the technology is misused). Exporters should commit to ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the use of their Items. Grievance mechanisms should be secure, accessible and responsive communication channels for reporting of possible misuse of Items.

Report in Public

  1. Publicly report on the transaction.

Finally, Exporters are expected to assume public accountability for compliance with the Guidance and should publish an annual report on the human rights due diligence they have undertaken, and how any credible complaints about misuse of their Items were resolved.

This guidance is part of a myriad of national and international regulation and guidance surrounding business obligations to conduct human rights due diligence on their global supply chains and operations. See here for our recent update on further regulatory developments in the field of business and human rights.

 

Expanded Conditional Approval Draft Guidance Issued

On September 26, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) issued a draft guidance explaining the criteria it plans to apply when granting “expanded conditional approval” to new animal drugs not intended for minor uses or minor species that address a serious or life-threatening disease or condition or fill an unmet animal or human health need, and that require for approval one or more complex or particularly difficult studies.  Expanded conditional approval would allow such drugs to be marketed before fully approved while the sponsor completes the approval process.

Conditional approval of an animal drug allows the sponsor to market the drug after demonstrating safety, manufacture in accordance with approval standards, and a reasonable expectation of effectiveness. The sponsor can market the conditionally approved new animal drug product for one year periods renewable up to five years while gathering the remaining data required to demonstrate efficacy.  A conditionally approved drug must be intended either for a minor use (an indication in a major species targeting a condition or disease that occurs infrequently or in limited geographical areas and in only a small number of animals) or for use in a minor species (any species other than dogs, cats, horses, cattle, swine, chickens or turkeys), i.e., a “MUMS” drug.

In 2018, Congress enacted legislation reauthorizing FDA’s animal drug user fee program, which also amended section 571 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) (21 U.S.C. § 360ccc) to include provisions creating “expanded conditional approval.”  The amendments were intended to incentivize development of new animal drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions or unmet animal or human health needs where demonstration of effectiveness would require one or more complex or particularly difficult studies.  “Expanded conditional approval” cannot be used for MUMS drugs.  The amendments to Section 571 provided that FDA would issue guidance or regulations by September 30, 2019 clarifying the criteria for expanded condition approval.  That draft guidance issued yesterday.

Expanded conditional approval extends the conditional approval option to new animal drugs intended either 1) to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition or address an unmet animal or human health need 2) when demonstration of effectiveness would require one or more complex or particularly difficult studies.  A serious or life-threatening disease or condition is one associated with morbidity that has substantial impact on day‐to‐day functioning or is associated with mortality in the target animal.  A disease or condition may be considered serious based on the magnitude of its effect on animals, its potential to affect humans if they were to contract the disease or condition, or its potential to adversely impact the food supply.

“Unmet animal or human health need” means a disease or condition for which the treatment, control, or prevention is not adequately addressed by available therapy.  This includes when an available therapy does not exist for the same intended use proposed for the new animal drug, or the new animal drug product for which expanded conditional approval is sought is reasonably expected to provide a meaningful advantage over available therapy.  “Available therapy” means a product that is FDA approved, licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture as an animal biologic, or registered by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is currently being marketed in the U.S. for the same intended use in the same species proposed for the new animal drug product for which expanded conditional approval is sought.  Neither conditionally approved drugs nor extra label use of an approved drug can constitute available therapy in this context.

“Meaningful advantage” means that the new animal drug product for which expanded conditional approval is sought is reasonably expected to provide one or more of the following advantages over available therapy:

  • Clinically relevant improved effectiveness or beneficial effect;
  • Comparable effectiveness in animals that cannot tolerate the available therapy; and
  • Effectiveness comparable to available therapy while improving safety, such as by 1) avoiding either serious toxicity or less serious toxicity that is common and causes discontinuation of treatment for a serious disease or condition, 2) reducing the potential for harmful drug interactions, or 3) providing for safe administration with other therapies that are necessary for an improved beneficial effect.

CVM will determine whether a study is complex or particularly difficult on a case-by-case basis based on:

  • the nature of the disease or condition making it unusually time-consuming or difficult to enroll sufficient numbers of eligible animals, which can occur when the disease or condition arises sporadically or unpredictably and/or is difficult to diagnose;
  • the demonstration of effectiveness is unusually difficult or complex due to logistical challenges, such as needing an unusually large number of animals in the study or studies or the need to use advanced or complicated tests;
  • the necessity to develop and qualify effectiveness endpoints (e.g., clinical endpoints, biomarkers) to conduct the study or studies;
  • the necessity to develop and validate or qualify novel methods to adequately evaluate effectiveness outcomes;
  • the endpoint being evaluated being a delay in progression of a chronically progressive disease or condition, which takes an extended period of time;
  • the need to evaluate the treatment of a disease or condition over a lengthy period of drug administration where evaluation of effectiveness for an individual animal will likely take an extended period of time; and
  • whether the new animal drug will be indicated for mitigating transmission of a disease from animals to humans and the necessity to conduct one or more studies to evaluate the human aspect of effectiveness.

Expanded conditional approval is not available for transgenic animals or animal drugs containing an antimicrobial active ingredient.

Comments should be submitted to docket FDA-2019-D-3361 on www.regulations.gov beginning on September 30, 2019 and no later than January 28, 2020 to ensure FDA takes the comment into consideration when finalizing the draft guidance.

The Week Ahead in the European Parliament –  September 27, 2019

Summary

Next week, the European Parliament will conduct the hearings of the Commissioners-designate and a hearing on Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean.  The Budgets Committee is set to adopt its position on the annual EU budget for 2020.

Throughout the week, the Commissioners-designate will answer questions from Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) in front of the committees related to their portfolios.  During these three-hour hearings, MEPs will assess whether the Commissioners are qualified for their new roles, before voting on the Commission as a whole in a plenary session in mid-October. Please find below an outtake from the hearing schedule for the following week (for the complete list, please see here):

  • Monday, September 30:
    • Mariya Gabriel: Industry, Research and Energy Committee and the Culture and Education Committee (18:30-21:30)
  • Tuesday, October 1:
    • Janusz Wojciechowski: Agriculture Committee (14:30-17:30)
    • Stella Kyriakides: Environment Committee (18:30-21:30)
  • Wednesday, October 2:
    • Didier Reynders: Civil Liberties Committee; Justice and Home affairs Committee; and Legal Affairs Committee (9:00-12:00)
    • Sylvie Goulard: Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (14:30-17:30)

Next week will also be an interesting week for EU budgetary affairs, as the Budget Committee will vote on next year’s annual budget. The Committee’s position is expected to be confirmed in a plenary session on October 23. Afterwards, the Parliament will enter into negotiations with the Council of the European Union. The 2020 annual budget is the last within the current multiannual framework. Negotiations on the next multiannual framework have yet to be concluded.

Meetings and Agenda

Monday, September 30, 2019

Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on Development, Subcommittee on Human Rights

17:00 – 18:30

  • Sakharov Prize 2019: Presentation of candidates

Committee on Development

15:00 – 18:30

  • The EU’s humanitarian aid policies: lessons learned from the past five years. Debate with Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

17:00 – 18:30

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 

Committee on Foreign Affairs

09:00 – 12:30

Vote   

  • Committee’s opinion to the General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020 – all sections

Debates

  • EU-Australia Strategic Partnership: debate with Honourable Kevin Andrews, Father of the Australian House of Representatives, and a delegation from the Australian Parliament
  • The Outcome of the UN Climate Action Summit: debate with Joyce Msuya, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme

Committee on Budgets

10:00 – 18:00   

  • General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020 – all sections (BUD) – Adoption of budget amendments (to be confirmed)
    • Co-rapporteurs: Monika HOHLMEIER (EPP, DE), Eider GARDIAZABAL RUBIAL (S&D, ES)

Committee on Culture and Education

15:00 – 17:30   

  • General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020 – all sections (BUD)
    • Rapporteur for opinion Petra Kammerevert (S&D, DE)
  • Election of the fourth Vice-Chair

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Committee on Budgets

10:00 – 12:30

  • General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020 – all sections (BUD) – Adoption of budget amendments (to be confirmed)
    • Co-rapporteurs:Monika HOHLMEIER (EPP, DE), Eider GARDIAZABAL RUBIAL (S&D, ES)

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

14:30 – 15:00

Vote

  • Economic policies of the euro area 2019 (INI) – Vote on report
    • Rapporteur: Bernd LANGE (S&D, DE)

Committee on Regional Development

15:00 – 18:00

Votes

  • General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020 – all sections (BUD) – Adoption of draft opinion

Votes on the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations

  • European Regional Development Fund and on the Cohesion Fund (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Andrea COZZOLINO (S&D, IT)
  • Specific provisions for the European territorial cooperation goal (Interreg) supported by the European Regional Development Fund and external financing instruments (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Pascal ARIMONT (EPP, BE)
  • Mechanism to resolve legal and administrative obstacles in a cross-border context (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Cristian GHINEA (Renew, RO)
  • Adjustment of annual pre-financing for the years 2021 to 2023 (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Andżelika Anna Możdżanowska (ECR, PL)

Committee on Fisheries

09:00 – 18:30

  • How is the existing European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) being used? – Presentation by the Commission
  • State of the Seas – Exchange of views with Commission representatives on the state of the stocks in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, including a progress report on the Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration

Committee on Petitions

09:00 – 18:30

Thursday, October 3, 2019 

Committee on Fisheries

09:00 – 12:30   

  • International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES): How ICES advises on sustainable management of fish stocks and marine ecosystems – Presentation by Colm Lordan, Vice-Chair, Advisory Committee, ICES

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

09:00 – 11:00

  • Hearing on “Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean”

Committee on Petitions

09:00 – 12:30

Suspension & Debarment Update: SBA to Sharpen Suspension & Debarment Procedures

Changes are coming to the suspension and debarment practices of the Small Business Administration (SBA), and contractors should ready themselves for an uptick in suspension and debarment activity as a result.  That’s the takeaway from a new audit report released last week by the SBA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) criticizing aspects of the agency’s suspension and debarment practices.  Although the SBA’s suspending and debarring officials (SDOs) for Financial Assistance Programs (FAP) and All Other Programs (AOP)[1] disputed certain OIG findings about existing practices, the agency was largely receptive to the OIG’s recommendations.  As a result, it appears that the SBA soon will be adopting a series of changes aimed at formalizing its suspension and debarment policies, expediting its processing of debarment referrals, and devoting additional resources to suspension and debarment actions – all of which is likely to drive an increase in exclusion actions.

OIG Audit Findings

The OIG launched its audit in November 2018 with the goal of “determin[ing] whether SBA had sufficient controls in place to prevent suspended or debarred entities from receiving federal contracts through SBA’s preference contracting programs and small business loans.”  The final report contained several findings critical of the operation and effectiveness of the SBA’s suspension & debarment program.

  • The OIG found that the SBA approved $6.7 million in loans to entities without reviewing the System for Award Management (SAM) to confirm the eligibility of loan applicants, including approving a $2.9 million loan to an entity that was listed as an excluded party on SAM. Of the 14 loan files the OIG reviewed, 11 did not have documentation supporting pre-approval SAM review by the lending partners.
  • The OIG identified 15 cases referred for suspension or debarment that had remained open and pending for an average of 620 days each, during which time three of these contractors received an addition $80.3 million in federal awards. The OIG asserted that the “delayed action” of the SDOs “exposed the federal government to potential harm” and “resulted in $80.3 million in contracts to entities who demonstrated causes for debarment.”
  • The OIG identified four cases in which the SDOs declined to impose suspension or debarment in response to a referral arising from a civil judgment and did not document the basis for the declination. The OIG urged the SDOs to document any declinations under such circumstances to “demonstrate consistent application of procedures in their decisions.”

OIG Recommendations & SBA Response

Based on its findings, the OIG issued a number of recommendations to the SBA, including updating internal procedures addressing suspension and debarment, allocating more resources to suspension and debarment activities, and even rescinding contracts awarded without adequate vetting for eligibility issues.

The SBA took issue with certain of the OIG’s findings – most notably, the suggestion that its “delayed action” on debarment referrals resulted in $80.3 million in contract awards to three non-responsible contractors.  (On this point, the agency clarified that it had fully reviewed the referrals concerning the three contractors in question and had elected to forego debarment after determining them to be presently responsible.)  But despite some areas of disagreement, the agency has committed to adopting many of the OIG’s recommended enhancements to its existing suspension and debarment practices, including:

  • Updating the SBA’s SOPs to expressly require lending partners to review SAM listings prior to loan approval;
  • Finalizing internal suspension and debarment policies and revising SOPs to require the timely processing of referrals;
  • Dedicating additional staff and resources to help monitor and process suspension and debarment actions;
  • Developing and deploying a new tracking system for suspension and debarment actions; and
  • Revising the SOPs to require that SDOs document (and retain documentation for) declination decisions.

Key Takeaways

The SBA has long had an active suspension and debarment program.  Indeed, in the latest year for which statistics are available, the SBA instituted more than 70 exclusions and negotiated an additional six administrative agreements.  Yet the OIG’s audit report and the agency’s response likely presage a further emphasis within the SBA on the vigorous pursuit of suspension and debarment.  In this respect, the SBA is not alone: as we discussed earlier this year, the Department of Labor has instituted its own suspension and debarment pilot program aimed at promoting and expediting its suspension and debarment activity.

While contractors cannot be expected to cheer an increased emphasis on suspension and debarment remedies, any concerns about additional scrutiny may be leavened by the promise of increased uniformity, efficiency, and transparency in suspension and debarment actions.  For example, dedicating additional resources to support the timely processing of referrals may well combat any trend of suspension and debarment actions (which are supposed to be based on present responsibility) premised upon stale conduct.  Moreover, by committing to formalize suspension and debarment procedures in its SOPs and document instances of declinations, the SBA is poised to bring a measure of regularity and predictability to a highly discretionary process.

However, other aspects of the OIG’s recommendations are less likely to be warmly received by contractors subject to SBA oversight.  Most notably, a new policy requiring the SDOs to document the basis for any declination could well have a chilling effect and reduce the likelihood of an SDO declining to impose debarment – both because of the scrutiny to which those decisions will be subjected and the increased administrative burden associated with preparing the documentation.

Ultimately, it remains to be seen precisely how the contemplated changes will be implemented in practice.  What is clear, however, is that the SBA is committed to making full use of its suspension and debarment authority.  In such an environment, industry players should be reminded that the small business area is fraught with regulatory peril, and that non-compliance carries a significant risk of triggering suspension and debarment – especially in light of what appears to be an increased emphasis on these remedies with the SBA.  Contractors would be wise to review and refresh existing ethics and compliance programs – both to prevent and detect noncompliance and to better position themselves in the event they become subject to present responsibility scrutiny.

 

[1] The SBA designates two SDOs to process suspension and debarment referrals: one for Financial Assistance Programs, located within the Office of Capital Access, and one for All Other Programs, located within the Office of General Counsel.

 

Forests are on Fire: What the UN Climate Action Week Means for Africa

Fires have ravaged Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, burning over 1,330 square miles of tree cover, and placing people, wildlife, and their habitats at risk. Experts warn that further degradation could inhibit the forest’s ability to release oxygen and absorb heat-trapping carbon dioxide—a key function for combatting climate change.

The fires in the Amazon have been met with an international response. The G7, for instance, offered to contribute approximately $20 million to fight the blazes.

Yet the Amazon is not the only forest whose welfare is key for habitability. The Congo Basin forest, also known as the Earth’s “second lung,” is the second largest tropical rainforest behind the Amazon. It too is on fire.

In the month of August alone, at least 70% of the fires burning worldwide on an average day were in Africa, many of which were in the Congo Basin. Though fires can serve a critical component of savanna ecosystems, deforestation from practices such as “slash and burn,” pose a great threat to the forest. Continued deforestation could impact rainfall patters and exacerbate insecurity of freshwater and food supplies.

While a direct comparison as to which fire is worse remains unclear, it is evident that deforestation strains the environment in the short-term, and can have far-reaching implications long-term.

Below are two critical mechanisms through which the international community can unify stakeholders to address deforestation and climate change, particularly as they relate to Africa.

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is an international agreement under the UN Convention on Climate Change that codifies States’ pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and sets a framework for these reductions, beginning in 2020. Entered into force on November 4, 2016, the Agreement was ratified by 186 parties, including 90% of African countries.

In principle, the Agreement was intended to improve upon and replace the Kyoto Protocol, which bound signatories to emission reduction targets. The Paris Agreement specifically aims to do two things:

  1. Strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by pursuing efforts to limit warming this century to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels; and
  2. Strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated, “most African countries are highly vulnerable to climate change.”

To address this concern, the Agreement envisions putting in place appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework, and an enhanced capacity building framework to support action by the most vulnerable countries. Importantly, these frameworks are designed to be in line with States’ own national objectives, known as nationally determined contributions (“NDCs”) (Article 4, para 2).

Of particular importance to many African countries, the Agreement recognizes the different positions of developed and developing countries and adjusts the goals accordingly. Where for instance, the Agreement states that “developed countries should the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets,” it recognizes that developing countries should instead “continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are encouraged to move over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances” (Article 4, para 4).

UN Climate Action Summit

The UN Climate Action Summit (the “Summit”) on September 23, 2019, brings together leaders from governments, the private sector, civil society, and other international organizations to accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement. Specifically, the Summit encourages these stakeholders to create concreate, realistic plans to enhance their NDCs by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by forty-five percent over the next decade. The Summit focuses on the following areas:

a global transition to renewable energy;

  • sustainable and resilient infrastructures and cities;
  • sustainable agriculture and management of forests and oceans;
  • resilience and adaptation to climate impacts; and
  • alignment of public and private finance with a net zero economy.

One area directly concerns deforestation, while another concerns adaptation—both relevant to Africa’s landscape. Moreover, the UN Secretary General has prioritized several action portfolios, which are recognized as having high potential to curb greenhouse gas emissions and increase global action on adaptation and resilience. The two below offer potential for increased participation from African countries:

  • Finance — mobilizing public and private sources of finance to drive decarbonization of all priority sectors and advance resilience;
  • Resilience and Adaptation advancing global efforts to address and manage the impacts and risks of climate change, particularly in those communities and nations most vulnerable.

In tandem, the mechanisms above provide avenues through which stakeholders can address climate change in Africa at an international level. Due to increased forest fires, in part caused by deforestation, there is a need to continue supporting climate governance in Africa and ensure progress towards the articulated goals.

There is still an opportunity for governments and the private sector to fight the fires—by innovating within this framework to develop actionable regional approaches.

This post can also be found on CovAfrica, the firm’s blog on legal, regulatory, political and economic developments in Africa.

Old Conflicts, New Technologies

In 2016 the United States Special Operations Command (“USSOCOM”) witnessed a technological development of grave significance for the future of global conflict. According to the then-Commanding General of USSOCOM, Americans had to contend with armed enemy aircraft during the Battle of Mosul.

The United Kingdom at the height of its powers in the 19th century enjoyed a mastery of the seas that France, Spain, and other rivals could challenge, but never truly match. Rome and its legions conquered much of Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East, but still knew defeat in battle. The United States, in contrast, had not contended with an enemy aircraft attacking its ground forces since the Korean War. For six decades, the United States enjoyed a degree of dominance that no other competitor ever effectively challenged, and this era is over.

That the unmanned aerial systems (“UAS,” or an aircraft with a human pilot providing guidance remotely) the Islamic State employed were not decisive in battle should not obscure the significance of this technological development. To cite other recent examples, UAS helped Russia-backed separatists achieve stunning successes against Ukrainian forces, UAS of uncertain origin successfully attacked a Russian airbase in Syria, and a recreational UAS breached the perimeter of the White House, so developments from the campaign against the Islamic State are not aberrations. In short, UAS are not necessarily expensive, sophisticated systems that only the US, Israel, or China, for example, may operate. Now, even non-state actors can employ UAS in a way that improves these groups’ ability to gather intelligence, their operational precision, and – ultimately – their ability to cause harm against military and civilian targets alike.

Recent events in the Middle East demonstrate just how rapidly evolving technology is changing the modern battlefield. While investigations are still underway, two oil facilities operated by Saudi Aramco came under aerial attack on September 14, suspending half of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s production capacity and effectively cutting global oil production by 5% overnight. The origin of the attack is uncertain (Iran or Iran-linked paramilitaries are the most likely responsible parties), but it appears a series of UAS and low-altitude cruise missiles were employed with exceptional precision (17 separate targets were struck) against a target that was well-defended from traditional air or ground attack. By way of comparison, in August 1943 the US put hundreds of aircraft and thousands of crewmembers at risk to destroy oil production facilities in Romania, and achieved only temporary results against the target. In this instance, at a fraction of the financial cost the US incurred in this example, achieving total surprise, with no loss of human life, and maintaining a degree of anonymity, the attackers of September 14 achieved virtually the same impact as the Americans targeting Ploesti 76 years ago.

Technological development injects uncertainty into global affairs and attempting to absolutely arrest the proliferation of technology – an “Inevitability Challenge” – is likely doomed to failure. Certain weapons systems, however, like surface to air missiles (SAMs), have yet to truly proliferate in the way UAS have in the past decade. SAMs – in their guidance and propulsion systems – are vastly more expensive than commercial, off-the-shelf UAS, so programs to limit non-state actors’ acquisition of these weapons have been occasionally effective. In contrast, UAS will continually reduce in cost, field superior engines and batteries, include robust electronic countermeasures, employ improved optics, and carry heavier payloads. That UAS have compelling commercial applications (unlike SAMs) will only accelerate this process. The promise of autonomous aerial platforms – true “drones,” rather than UAS as currently employed – adds further variety to any imagined future conflict scenario.

At the start of the 20th century, the United Kingdom was the world’s dominant great power. Its surface fleet was unparalleled in reach or in combat capacity. However, as Paul Kennedy’s “The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery” demonstrates, Britain nearly starved in World War I – and again in World War II – due to its lack of naval preparedness. No rival surface fleet bested the Royal Navy in battle in either war, it was the development and employment of German submarines that nearly ruined the United Kingdom. The first surprise when facing Kaiser Wilhelm II is understandable, if regrettable, but the second surprise when facing Hitler was inexcusable.

The United States military is aware of its loss of absolute air dominance, both on account of its own experience and what is easily observable in the Middle East, Ukraine, and elsewhere. With the attacks of September 14 in mind, it is now clear that UAS, either on their own or coupled with other weapons systems, are giving lesser powers and non-state actors alike an ability to destroy targets that were once reserved for the most sophisticated state militaries. The US and other countries, militaries, and commercial entities, having this awareness, are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of the United Kingdom in its Battles of the Atlantic, however. To brush off UAS as a mere nuisance, rather than a fundamentally important development in the means of human conflict, would be a first step towards an almost certain future disaster for any actor that decides to not recognize these developments and assess and manage risk accordingly.

The Week Ahead in the European Parliament –  September 20, 2019

Summary

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

On Monday, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (“ECON”) will have their final “monetary dialogue” with Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank.  They will interrogate Mario Draghi about his recent decision to cut interests rates further into the negative territory and to restart the quantitative easing program to stimulate the European economy.  Especially MEPs from northern Member States have voiced concerns about this decision and argue that the bond-buying program penalizes savers and hurts pension funds.  This will be the last appearance of Mario Draghi in the European Parliament before Christine Lagarde will succeed him on November 1, 2019.  Last week, Lagarde obtained a positive recommendation of the European Parliament for her appointment.

On Tuesday, the International Trade Committee (“INTA”) will debate with EUROFER and European Aluminum on the current state of the European steel and aluminum sectors.  Central to this debate will be the safeguard measures on certain steel and aluminum products that the European Commission imposed earlier this years to protect the European industry from trade deflection as a result of the U.S. Section 232 Measures on steel and aluminum products.  EUROFER, representing the European steel industry, has repeatedly called for tighter trade defense measures, while others fear this might hurt the competitiveness of the European markets.

On Wednesday, MEPs in the Committee on Industry, Research, and Energy (“ITRE”) will vote on entering into interinstitutional negotiations with the Council of the EU on establishing the European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre and the Network of National Coordination Centres.  Announced in 2017, as part of the cybersecurity package of the European Commission, the initiative aims to mobilize capital and support for a European industrial ecosystem for the development and deployment of cybersecurity technology.  The program would be funded by the EU and the Member States, with the EU contributing close to €5 billion.  The plenary of the European Parliament has already adopted a formal position and ITRE will decide on Wednesday whether to start negotiation with the Council of the EU.  The Parliament’s position, as adopted on April 17, 2019, can be read here.

Meetings and Agenda

Monday, September 23, 2019

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

15:00 – 18:30

  • Monetary Dialogue with Mario DRAGHI, President of the European Central Bank (15.00-17.00)
  • Public Hearing with Mario DRAGHI, Chairman of the European Systemic Risk Board (17.00-18.00)

Votes (18.00-18.30)

  • European Crowdfunding Service Providers (ECSP) for Business (COD) – Vote on the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations
    • Rapporteur: Eugen JURZYCA (ECR, SK)
  • Markets in financial instruments (COD) – Vote on the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations
    • Rapporteur: Caroline NAGTEGAAL (Renew, NL)

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

15:00 – 18:30

Debate

  • Priorities of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU – presentation by Thomas BLOMQVIST, Finnish Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality (15.00-16.00)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Committee on International Trade

09:00 – 18:30   

  • Debate with EUROFER and European Aluminium on the current situation on the EU steel and aluminium sectors
  • Discussion on EU-Africa trade relations
  • The EU strategy against deforestation: the trade dimension. (Commission presentation)
  • New developments in research on trade in services and procurement (Commission presentation)

Committee on Budgets

11:00 – 18:00       

  • Presentation of Brexit contingency plan

15:00 – 18:00

  • General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020 – all sections (BUD) – Exchange of views on Budgetary amendments
    • Co- rapporteurs: Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE), Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, ES)

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

14:30 – 18:30   

  • Exchange of views with Niels THYGESEN, Chair of the European Fiscal Board on the European Fiscal Board’s assessment of the general orientation of fiscal policy in the euro area for 2020 (16.30-17.30)

Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

09:00 – 18:00
Debates   

  • Exchange of views with the Directors of the Agencies under the EMPL remit

Votes

  • General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020 – all sections
    • Rapporteur: Lucia Ďuriš NICHOLSONOVÁ (ECR, SK)

Committee on Transport and Tourism

09:00 – 18:30

Vote on the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations:   

  • Common rules for the allocation of slots at European Union airports (Recast) (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Dominique RIQUET (Renew, FR)
  • Amendment of Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights and amendment of Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Pablo ARIAS ECHEVERRÍA (EPP, ES)
  • Implementation of the Single European Sky (recast) (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Marian-Jean MARINESCU (EPP, RO)
  • Use of vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar (EPP, PT)
  • Charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (COD)
  • Enforcement requirements and specific rules for posting drivers in the road transport sector (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Kateřina Konečná (GUE/NGL, CZ)
  • Amending Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 as regards on minimum requirements on maximum daily and weekly driving times, minimum breaks and daily and weekly rest periods and Regulation (EU) 165/2014 as regards positioning by means of tachographs (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Henna VIRKKUNEN (EPP, FI)
  • Amending Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009 and Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 with a view to adapting them to developments in the sector (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Ismail ERTUG (S&D, DE)
  • Rail passengers’ rights and obligations (recast) (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Bogusław Liberadzki (S&D, PL)
  • Common rules for access to the international market for coach and bus services (COD)
  • Common rules for certain types of combined transport of goods between Member States (COD)
  • Streamlining measures for advancing the realisation of the trans-European transport network (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Dominique RIQUET (Renew, FR)
  • Electronic freight transport information (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Andor DELI (EPP, HU)
  • Discontinuing seasonal changes of time (COD)
  • General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020 – all sections (BUD) – Exchange of views on Budgetary amendments
    • Co- rapporteurs: Monika HOHLMEIER (EPP, DE), Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (S&D, ES)

Committee on Fisheries

09:00 – 18:30   

  • European Union preparedness for changes to the EU fishing sector in the event of Brexit

Committee on Culture and Education

09:30 – 16:00   

  • European Day of Languages – exchange of views on multilingualism in the EU

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

14:30 – 18:30
Votes (18.00-18.30)   

  • Temporary reintroduction of border control at internal borders (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Tanja FAJON (S&D, SI),
  • Visa Information System (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Paulo RANGEL (EPP, PT)
  • Community statistics on migration and international protection (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Jan-Christoph OETJEN (Renew, DE)
  • Establishing the Pericles IV programme (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Clare DALY (GUE/NGL, IE)
  • Establishing the Rights and Values programme (COD) – rapporteur Alice KUHNKE (Greens/EFA, SE)
  • Establishing the Asylum and Migration Fund (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Miriam DALLI (S&D, MT)
  • Establishing, as part of the Integrated Border Management Fund, the instrument for financial support for border management and visa (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Tanja FAJON (S&D, SI)
  • Establishing the Internal Security Fund (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Monika HOHLMEIER (EPP, DE)
  • Preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online (COD)
    • Rapporteur: Patryk JAKI (ECR, PL)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Subcommittee on Human Rights

09:00 – 18:30

Debates

  • Presentation of the “Normandy Index” measuring threats to peace and security
  • Debate with Front Line Defenders and Protectdefenders.eu in the presence of two human rights defenders

Committee on Budgetary Control

09:00 – 18:30

[TBA]

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

10:00 – 18:30

Votes (10.00 – 12.30)

  • Establishing the European Cybersecurity Industrial, Technology and Research Competence Centre and the Network of National Coordination Centres (COD) – Vote on the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations
    • Rapporteur: Rasmus ANDRESEN (Greens/EFA, DE)
  • Labelling of tyres with respect to fuel efficiency and other essential parameters (COD) – Vote on the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations
    • Rapporteur: Adina-Ioana VĂLEAN (EPP, RO)
  • General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2020 – all sections (BUD) – Vote for a draft opinion.
    • Rapporteur: Adina-Ioana VĂLEAN (EPP, RO)
  • 2019 UN Climate Change Conference in Santiago de Chile, Chili (COP25) -Vote on a draft opinion in letter form (to be confirmed)
    • Rapporteur: Adina-Ioana VĂLEAN (EPP, RO)
  • Presentation of the Policy department study on “How to tackle challenges in a future-oriented EU industrial strategy” by Julie PELLEGRIN (10.00-11.30)
  • Presentation of the STOA study on “Galileo Satellite Navigation System: Space applications on earth” by Ulf BESTEMANN (11.30-12.30)
  • Presentation of the EU Space Programmes as enablers for policies covered by the ITRE Committee – additional information in Annex (14.30-15.45)
  • Presentation of the European Court of Auditors Special Report “Wind and solar power for electricity generation” (15.45-16.45)
  • Presentation by the Commission of the report on the implementation of the work under the nuclear decommissioning assistance programmes to Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovakia (16.45-17.30)

 

Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection

09:00 – 18:30

Votes

  • Type-approval requirements for motor vehicles and their trailers, and systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users – Examination and vote of a corrigendum (possibly)
  • Better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection rules – Examination and vote of a corrigendum (possibly)

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

09:00 – 18:30

  • Exchange of views with Commission representatives (DG AGRI and DG TRADE) on the agricultural component of the Mercosur Free Trade Agreement and other relevant issues of trade policy

Committee on Legal Affairs

09:00 – 18:30

Committee on Constitutional Affairs

14:30 – 18:30

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Subcommittee on Human Rights

09:00 – 12:30   

Debates

  • Exchange of views on the situation in Myanmar with Marzuki DARUSMAN, President of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (FFM)

Subcommittee on Security and Defence

09:00 – 12:00

  • Debate with Jacek BYLICA, Special Envoy for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (Head of Division SECPOL.1, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and arms export control, EEAS), William ALBERQUE, Director of NATO’s Arms Control, Disarmament and WMD Non-Proliferation Centre and with Bruno LÉTÉ, Senior Fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States on the post INF Non-Proliferation regime
  • Debate with Pierre DELSAUX, Deputy Director General, (DG GROW, European Commission) on the defence and security aspects of EU space policy

Committee on Budgetary Control

09:00 – 12:30

Committee on Legal Affairs

09:00 – 12:30

Examination of potential or actual conflict of interests of the Commissioners-designate

The New European Commission 2019-2024

On September 10, Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, presented her new team. If approved by the European Parliament, they will take over from the Juncker Commission on November 1, 2019.

This blog outlines the proposed structure of the new Commission, each Commissioner’s portfolio, and the key regulatory priorities that the President set for each member of her team.

A Three-Tier Commission

The new President of the Commission was confronted with the same problem as her predecessor: each Member State sends a Commissioner to Brussels, but there are not 27 substantive portfolios to dole out. (The UK does not intend to send a Commissioner to Brussels, reflecting Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s stated aim of leaving the EU on October 31, before the new Commission takes office, “come what may”.)

President Juncker addressed the issue by establishing a “cluster” system, with seven Vice Presidents and 20 “simple” Commissioners. In practice, however, Juncker’s Vice Presidents were not given control of specific Commission Directorates General (“DGs”), meaning that they were often relegated to “coordinating” the work of other Commissioners, without the support of officials needed to develop their own policy priorities.

President von der Leyen has only slightly modified this structure, and focused on restructuring the various Commissioners’ competences to fit her “political guidelines”—the new Commission’s policymaking priorities.

The new College will effectively have three “tiers” of Commissioner: Continue Reading

The Week Ahead in the European Parliament

Summary

Next week, the European Parliament’s agenda includes debates on the Amazon forest fires, plant patents, and EU aid for the 2018 floods.  MEPs will also discuss political upheavals worldwide, with discussions scheduled on Brexit, foreign electoral interference, and the latest developments in Hong Kong.  Tying it all together is the expected finalization of Christine Lagarde’s appointment as ECB President.

On Monday, MEPs will question the European Commission about plant patenting.  Concerns raised by vocal activists, such as Greenpeace, may influence the tone of the debate.  MEPs are likely to call for the EU to ensure that products derived from essentially biological processes cannot be patented.  This debate precedes the October 1st deadline for the submission of statements to the EPO’s final appellate instance concerning the patentability of naturally obtained plants.

After Boris Johnson described himself as “cautiously optimistic” at the prospects of getting a deal, MEPs will get the chance to hear Michel Barnier’s side of the story on Wednesday.  This will be followed by a vote on a resolution which might give an indication of the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit.  On Wednesday and Thursday, MEPs will debate foreign electoral interference in Europe.  They will vote on a resolution calling disinformation a destabilizing threat to European cohesion and democratic processes.

This is also an interesting week for the EU’s monetary affairs, as the 2020 Budget and Lagarde’s recommendation will both be subject to plenary session votes.

Meetings and Agenda

Monday, September 16, 2019

Plenary Session

17:00 – 19:00

Debates

  • Resumption of session and order of business
  • One-minute speeches (Rule 172)

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

19:00 – 19:30

  • Election of the Chair

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

19:00 – 20:45

 Vote

  • ECR objection to the coordinators’ recommendation regarding the possibility of drafting a legislative own-initiative report on the “Revision of the European Arrest Warrant”. (19.00-19.10)

Debates

  • Exchange of views with Dimitris AVRAMOPOULOS, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship (19.10-20.45)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Plenary Session

09:00 – 11:50   

Debate

  • (possibly) Votes on requests for urgent procedure (Rule 163)

12:00 – 14:00

Votes followed by explanations of votes

  • Appointment of the Vice-Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank.
    • Report: Roberto Gualtieri
  • Launch of automated data exchange with regard to vehicle registration data in Ireland.
    • Report: Juan Fernando López Aguilar
  • Texts on which debate is closed

15:00 – 19:00

  • Debates on foreign affairs issues in the presence of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (to be defined)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Plenary Session

09:00 – 14:00

Votes followed by explanations of votes

  • Draft amending budget No 1/2019: surplus from 2018.
    • Report: John Howarth
  • Draft amending budget No 2/2019: reinforcement of key programmes for EU competitiveness: Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+
    • Report: John Howarth
  • Mobilisation of the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Romania, Italy and Austria.
    • Report: Siegfried Mureşan
  • Draft amending budget No 3/2019: proposal to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund to provide assistance to Romania, Italy and Austria.
    • Report: John Howarth
  • Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund – EGF/2019/000 TA 2019 – Technical assistance at the initiative of the Commission.
    • Report: Bogdan Rzońca

15:00 – 18:00

  • Topical debate (Rule 162)
  • Presentation by the Council of its position on the draft general budget – 2020 financial year

Thursday, September 18, 2019

Plenary Session

09:00 – 11:50   

Debates

  • Debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Rule 144)

12:00 – 14:00

Votes followed by explanations of votes

  • Motions for resolutions concerning debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Rule 144)
  • Texts on which debate is closed

15:00 – 16:00

  • Major interpellations (Rule 139)

Committee on Transport and Tourism

9:00 – 9:30

Vote

  • Vote on use of Rule 61 in relation to the three Mobility Package I files

Committee on Legal Affairs

9:00 – 11:00

  • Examination of potential or actual conflict of interests of the Commissioners-designate
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