Another Europe is possible

Review

Plenary Focus - May 2015

Session Priorities

Turkey

Takis Hadjigeorgiou

Takis Hadjigeorgiou

We support Turkey's accession and welcome any progress  made in the country, first and foremost for the benefit of its people.  However,  EU-Turkey relations are interlinked  with Turkey's political will to solve the Cyprus problem.The election of Mr. Akinci creates some positive prospects  concerning  the process of reunification. It is up to Turkey now to show whether it is sincere in its intentions  and commitment  to the reunification  process.  Within this context, the upcoming resumption  of talks on reunification  of Cyprus on May 15 (on the basis of the UN parameters  for reunification  as contained in the Progress Report) is a good starting point for Turkey. We endorse the positive climate that has been created recently in Cyprus and we view it as a step forward.

Trade in conflict resources

Helmut Scholz

Helmut Scholz

Warlords in conflict regions finance their weapons by stealing and selling natural resources.Much of this ends up in products used by European  consumers.  We need to stop this irresponsible trade with a binding regulation  that forces any company that places a product on the EU market to prove that it is "conflict-free".The Commission  proposes  a voluntary  approach to this goal. INTA rapporteur  Winkler proposes  an obligation only for EU-based  smelters and refiners. That would affect only twenty companies,  and would change nothing for more than eighty per cent of conflict resources brought into trade. Sakharov laureate Mukwege, expert NGOs and more than a hundred bishops  called the INTA proposal absolutely insufficient.  Based on civil society proposals,  we are tabling amendments  demanding  a binding regulation including for downstream companies, with exceptions for micro-enterprises

Maternity Leave Directive

Joao Pimenta Lopes

Joao Pimenta Lopes

The eventual  withdrawal  from the legislative process of the draft directive on maternity leave will affect the lives

of millions of working mothers who will continue to be discriminated  against due to the fact that they have children. It is significant  that the European  Council is always in tune on cuts in wages and workers' rights but cannot find consensus  to strengthen  the rights of families and mothers.  If, in the EU, there was real concern about the problems of aging and to increase birth rates, if there was real concern about workplace  discrimination regarding workers who are pregnant or who are mothers, the Commission  would have assumed its responsibilities as mediator and the Council could have easily decided

Foreign and Security policy

Sabine Lösing

Sabine Lösing

This debate and these reports have to be seen as a "military wish list" for the Council meeting in June. The reports call for more robust interventions, demand enhanced  armament cooperation- including pooling and sharing, to adopt NATO capacity targets for defence spending (min. 2% of GOP) and support the merging of civilian and military research to use civilian capabilities  for military purposes.  The Tarand/Kukan  report looks for possibilities  to skim EU funds for military purposes  despite Art. 41 (2) TEU and demands the expansion of costs eligible under the ATHENA mechanism,  which questions the principal of "costs lie where they fall". This would lead to the automatic financial involvement  of each member state in every EU military mission. We reject both reports and have tabled minority reports and amendments  on both.

Agenda on migration

Cornelia Ernst

Cornelia Ernst

The new agenda on migration comes as a major disappointment. Instead of the radical change in paradigm that is long overdue and that we are asking for, the Commission  wants to continue its failed policy.The very few new and potentially  good things that are in the Commission  communication, such as relocation and resettlement, come too late and are too little and too vague. There is no mention of fundamental  rights, instead they want to beef up border control even further, this time even bringing in the army. Deaths will increase, not decrease.

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