Ukraine, data protection, and troika in spotlight this WEEK
Ukraine, data protection, and the performance of the troika in bailout countries, are among the top subjects set for debate and vote at the Strasbourg plenary session this week.
MEPs on Monday evening (10 March) will discuss the EU’s €11 billion aid package to stabilise a post-revolution Ukraine with a vote set for Wednesday.
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The money, proposed last week by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, would come from the EU’s own budget and EU-based international financial institutions.
The package also calls for preferential access to the EU market for Ukrainian industries ahead of the proposed free trade deal.
Ukraine’s foreign minister Andriy Deshchytsya told Ukrainian 1+1 television on Sunday the free trade deal with the EU could be signed before the end of the month.
“The political association with the European Union could be signed on March 17 or 21,” he said, reports AFP.
Data protection, the civil liberty committee’s inquiry into the National Security Agency’s (NSA) collection of data, and money laundering, are set for debate on Tuesday.
The EU’s reformed data protection bill, which aims to overhaul the current patchwork of national legislation, will be voted on Wednesday.
The bill has been the target of intense industry lobbying. A handful of member states are stalling the bill’s adoption as they attempt to downgrade the regulation into a directive.
Meanwhile, MEPs are threatening to suspend data exchange deals with the US following the espionage disclosures by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
A resolution passed by the civil liberties committee recommends suspending the EU-US terrorist financial tracking programme (TFTP) until the Americans provide more detail into allegations they hacked the international wire transfer system, Swift.
They also want to suspend the EU-US Safe Harbour deal, which is designed to ensure that firms follow EU data protection laws when processing the personal data of EU citizens.
MEPs are set to vote on the resolution Wednesday.
German Green Jan Philipp Albrecht wants to re-table an amendment to the resolution, which calls upon member states to grant Snowden protection from prosecution and extradition to the US.
Both the centre-right EPP and centre-left S&D had blocked the amendment at the committee level.
Tuesday will also see MEPs vote on draft anti-money laundering rules.
MEPs included a provision in the draft law that would require the actual owners of companies and trusts to be listed in public registers in EU countries. Disclosure of ownership is said to make it more difficult for people to avoid paying taxes and launder money.
On Wednesday, MEPs will debate the performance of the troika of international lenders (European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) in bailout countries with a vote on Thursday.
The lenders have come under criticism over allegations of conflicts of interest and lack of democratic accountability for their activities in Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, and Ireland.