Wednesday

19th Jan 2022

Agenda

MEPs vote on EU-Canada deal This WEEK

  • MEPs will be busy with the EU-Canada trade deal, the emission scheme, and terrorism this week in Strasbourg (Photo: European Parliament)

MEPs will vote on the EU-Canada trade deal this week in Strasbourg during the plenary sitting on Wednesday (15 February), a day before Canada prime minister Justin Trudeau makes a speech to the chamber.

The socialist group will make up their mind on Tuesday about the vote, while the Greens have said they will vote no, but the accord is expected to go through the parliament.

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If MEPs approve the measure, the trade deal can be applied provisionally. For full ratification, it still needs to be given a green light by national parliaments.

Justin Trudeau is the first Canadian prime minister to visit the EP, and he is said to want to talk not only about the deal, but more broadly on EU-Canada relations.

Ceta, the trade accord, came under fire from both left and right for failing to protect workers and the environment and giving too much power to companies to get compensation from national governments.

Its supporters say Ceta is the most modern trade deal that has strong guarantees to protect labour rights, the environment and consumer rights.

MEPs will have a final debate over the agreement on Wednesday before the vote.

A European leader who has not been a fan of Ceta will also visit Strasbourg.

Austria's new president, Alexander van der Bellen, visits the EP on Tuesday (14 February) on his first official trip outside Austria.

Terror and future

Terrorism will also be on the agenda for MEPs, as they vote on updating the counter-terrorism directive of 2002.

After recent terror attacks in Europe, the MEPs will add elements to cover so-called lone-wolf attacks and foreign fighters.

MEPs will also vote on the mandatory checks upon entering the passport-free Schengen zone, amending the Schengen code. This means that all EU citizens and travellers from third countries will be checked against databases when entering the zone.

The debates will be held on Wednesday and votes will take place on Thursday. The Schengen code modification will then enter into force immediately.

MEPs will also debate three different reports on the future of Europe on Tuesday.

The Brock-Bresso report proposes ways of strengthening the EU's negotiating method of reaching decisions.

Another resolution in the economy committee will deal with increasing political cooperation and budget capacity in the eurozone, and the third report is by liberal leader by Guy Verhofstadt on treaty changes. Votes on resolutions will be held on Thursday.

Emission trading

The European Parliament will vote on a reform of the EU emissions trade system (ETS) on Wednesday to give a negotiating mandate for the EP for discussions with the member states.

ETS is the bloc's flagship tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with the aim of a 40 percent reduction by 2030.

In the meantime in Brussels, the EU commission will publish its winter economic forecast on Monday giving a health check to member states on their fiscal discipline.

Belgium green lights unchanged Ceta

Wallonia and Brussels have voted to give the federal government the power to sign the EU-Canada trade deal, whose content is not altered by the new documents attached.

Germany seeks to harden EU border checks

German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said internal EU border controls should be imposed on security as well as immigrations grounds, shifting their legal basis.

New EU Parliament chief elected This WEEK

The lead candidate is the centre-right European People's Party's (EPP) Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola, who has been outspoke against corruption and rule-of-law issues - but some MEPs are concerned over her anti-abortion voting record.

Key talks with Russia over European security This WEEK

The Nato-Russia council will take place in Brussels on Wednesday, as western and Russian officials begin a series of meetings this week in an effort to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine's eastern border - where Russia has amassed troops.

Recovery and green financing plus Omicron This WEEK

Energy has emerged as a key dividing issue between EU countries, with leaders failing to agree on a common statement on the rise of energy prices (and how to tackle them) last week at their summit in Brussels.

News in Brief

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MEPs focus on Belarus, digital rules This WEEK

The debate over a successor for David Sassoli, the centre-left Italian president of the European Parliament will heat up, and Belarusian democratic opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will address the plenary.

Facebook scandal and COP26 climax in focus This WEEK

Facebook whistleblower is expected to meet with MEPs and representatives of the French senate this week. Meanwhile, eyes turn again to the Glasgow UN climate summit as pressure is mounting for negotiators to finish the 2015 Paris Agreement rulebook.

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