Plenary focus - December

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  • Martina Anderson
    Martina Anderson
    Debate: Wednesday


    The negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement are over. It is now for the British parliament to decide whether or not to live up to their commitments and accept it. If they don’t then they have the option of crashing out of the EU at the end of March. This would mean no transition period. The Agreement is not ideal but at least it provides some protection for citizens. It does not fully live up to the promises on Ireland of the Joint Report in December 2017 but at least it avoids physical infrastructure on the border. Citizens need to be at the centre of the considerations for the future relationship - in the EU, in Britain, and not forgetting the rights guaranteed in the North of Ireland under the Good Friday Agreement. If the Agreement is rejected then we must find ways to ring-fence citizens’ rights. And Europe needs to be involved in the discussion on reunification that is already under way in Ireland.

  • Helmut Scholz
    Helmut Scholz
    Debate: Tuesday
    Vote: Wednesday

    JEFTA agreement

    As with CETA, there are many problems with JEFTA. Indeed, Japan’s been forced to abolish many of its existing standards in order to facilitate market access for European companies. In return, the EU Commission has also lowered its standards in data protection so that Japanese corporations can have unhindered access to ours. Deutsche Bank will be happy too, as regulation of financial services will in future be decided by a bilateral committee of civil servants meeting in a back chamber, advised by experts of the stakeholders. What economic success justifies this reduction in democratic control? GUE/NGL will be voting against JEFTA.

  • Marisa Matias
    Marisa Matias
    Debate: Tuesday
    Vote: Wednesday

    Horizon Europe

    During the negotiations, we managed to once again guarantee proper funding for social sciences and humanities, increasing the role of SMEs and securing more funds to more programmes as part of a restructured budget. That said, the talks were difficult and with all the compromises, we aren’t completely happy with the final agreement. So we’ll try and introduce some changes to the final text before the vote on areas such as innovation principles and security matters. Overall though, Horizon Europe is one of the few genuine European programmes that is aimed at cooperation and sustainable development. It is also an important tool for researchers across Europe - particularly those without proper public investment for research in their own countries.

  • Martin Schirdewan
    Martin Schirdewan
    Debate: Wednesday
    Vote: Thursday

    Digital taxation

    The economics committee’s approval of the digital tax package is a critical step in our fight against tax dumping by multinational internet firms. Despite the Conservatives and Liberals blocking more ambitious proposals, the Parliament’s text is significantly better than what the Commission had put forward. Yet, as important as it is, the digital tax package is no panacea for the ailments of our current tax system. We will continue our fight for a just tax system.