Plenary Focus - January 2018
Gabi Zimmer - President of GUE/NGL - Future of Europe debate with Irish PM
We are convinced that the EU will only have a future as a social and peaceful Union based on solidarity. In the debate with the Irish Taoiseach, we want to hear his demands from the EU with regards to the situation on the island of Ireland post-Brexit, as this will have repercussions on citizens´ rights inside the EU as well. Abandoning neoliberal dogma and ending failed austerity policies which led to Brexit, and have brought about poverty, unemployment and more inequality to the EU is now urgent.
And instead of investing in sustainable development and putting enforceable social rights for people before profits, EU leaders have pushed for the militarisation of the bloc. This doesn’t create any more security for EU citizens but, rather, a massive economic stimulus package for the European arms industry. Lastly, any future asylum and migration policy must also be based on human rights, real solidarity and shared responsibilities.
Dimitrios Papadimoulis - Bulgarian EU Presidency
The Bulgarian Presidency is a good opportunity to move forward with the Western Balkans’ accession process in order to promote some much-needed peace and stability whilst paving the way for development. Moreover, the new presidency must play a constructive role in boosting the social agenda and the need for cohesion policies that would benefit both the people of the Balkans and the EU. Social, economic and cultural convergence is what the Bulgarian Presidency should be aiming for.
Kateřina Konečná - Clean Energy Package: Governance of the Energy Union
The whole negotiation process for the governance file was tortuous. For sure, we now have a highly-ambitious document though I am not quite sure the current text corresponds with the ones on the emissions trading system and effort-sharing regulation. Also, the question of energy poverty has not been sufficiently dealt with. I therefore hope for a better result in the plenary.
Debate: Monday Vote: Wednesday
João Ferreira - Clean Energy Package: Governance of the Energy Union
The EU’s Energy Union has led to the liberalisation of Europe’s internal energy market and, as is the case in other sectors, has brought about a monopolist concentration at a European level by benefitting oligopolies and harming consumers - especially those who are most vulnerable. Public and democratic control over the energy sector is therefore a fundamental requisite in order to ensure a more sustainable, green, social and fair energy sector.
Debate: Monday Vote: Wednesday
Stefan Eck - Women, gender equality and climate justice
Climate justice can only succeed with gender justice. Women shouldn’t just be the victims of climate change but active drivers for climate protection - a unconsidered role until now. Climate policy without women is impossible, and we need the participation of all social groups. This report is thus an important step in raising awareness and for setting a concrete course for action.
Debate: Monday Vote: Tuesday
Marina Albiol - EU support to the Colombian peace process
In the year since the Havana peace agreements, more than 100 human rights defenders, trade unionists, political and social leaders have been killed with total impunity by paramilitary forces. In addition, key points agreed under the peace plan such as the Special Jurisdiction for Peace or the reform for political participation and reintegration - are being sabotaged and hindered by the Colombian state. We believe the EU should strongly denounce these obstacles that endanger peace and demand the Colombian government to fully comply with the Havana agreements.
Anne-Marie Mineur - Dual-use items Regulation
Given the rapid developments in cyber technology, it is high time that the European Union updates the Regulation to control the export of such products in order to protect against violations of human rights through their usage. The longer we wait, the more products can be exported and be used for eavesdropping, torture and military purposes. This must be curbed. I hope that the Council, too, realises the urgency of this issue.
Debate: Tuesday Vote: Wednesday
Malin Björk - Fight against trafficking of women and girls for exploitation in EU
As trafficking in human beings (THB) increases, with millions of women and girls destined for sexual exploitation, the Commission still hasn’t produced a coherent post-2016 strategy. Instead of finding ways to combat this form of transnational organised crime, they have published a list of priorities and actions. We need to improve the existing directive and ensure member states’ obligation of due diligence in protecting victims from the sex trade, sexual abuse and safegaurding labour workers from slavery. We have to tackle the issue of demand and ensure that perpetrators such as brothel owners, pimps and men who pay for sex are brought to justice.