Tuesday

26th Jan 2021

Agenda

EU parliament meets last time This WEEK

  • The new parliament will convene in the first week of July

The current European Parliament will meet in Strasbourg for the last time before the European elections in May.

On Monday (15 April), MEPs will discuss the rule of law in Romania, where the government has been criticised for putting political pressure on judicial independence.

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EU lawmakers will on Tuesday vote on new rules protecting whistleblowers, creating safe channels for those who want to disclose breaches of EU law.

The new rules will also establish safeguards against retaliation.

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg on Tuesday morning will meet with president of the parliament Antonio Tajani. She will also talk to MEPs on the environmental committee of the parliament.

Larger political groups opposed a plan by the Greens to have Thunberg speak at the plenary, arguing that the honour should be reserved for politicians and prime ministers.

The last and 20th debate on the future of Europe will feature Latvian prime minister Krisjanis Karins on Wednesday (17 April).

The EU parliament will also hold a debate on Wednesday on recent developments on Brexit.

EU leaders last week decided to grant an extension to the Brexit deadline until 31 October.

MEPs will debate and vote on Wednesday on the European border and coast guard, beefing up the staff up to 10,000 until 2027 in a bid to support EU countries struggling with border control.

Lawmakers will also look at platform jobs with companies like Uber and Deliveroo, with MEPs set to endorse, on Tuesday, minimum rights for workers who take jobs at such services.

In a series of important last votes, MEPs will also decide on rules how internet companies should treat terrorist content.

Companies will get one hour to remove terrorist content online after receiving an order, but they will not have to filter all the content they upload.

On Tuesday, MEPs will vote on a new law making safety features such as intelligent speed assistance, advanced emergency-braking systems, driver distraction warnings, or emergency lane-keeping compulsory in new vehicles as from May 2022.

Finland poll

On Sunday (14 April), Finland will hold general elections, where the Social Democrats might win for the first time in 20 years, but it remains a question if they can form a governing coalition.

Antti Rinne's Social Democrats have led in the polls for almost a year with 19 percent, with not a single party is expected to win over 20 percent of the vote.

Many Finnish voters are concerned with the future of public services and welfare.

The nationalist-populist Finns Party has emerged as the second most popular, polling at 16.3 percent. The centre-right National Coalition party stands at around 16 percent.

Agriculture ministerial meeting

On Monday, the EU's agriculture ministers will gather in Luxembourg for a meeting of the Council of the EU.

They will continue their discussions on how the future common agricultural policy should look like.

Originally, Monday's council agenda also included a debate about the European Commission's paper on a long-term climate strategy.

The environmental lobby group WWF noticed that this item has been removed from the agenda.

"It is baffling that discussion of the climate strategy has been scrapped from the Agriculture Council agenda with just a couple of days' notice," said the NGO in a press statement.

"Tackling the impact of farming is crucial to keep global warming to 1.5C, and the EU's long-term climate strategy is the European cornerstone to this," it added.

EU on path towards whistleblower protection

EU lawmakers and member states have struck a political deal on the first-ever EU-wide directive on whistleblower protection - following years of big tax-evasion revelations and the laundering of dirty money in European banks.

EU warns Romania over corruption amnesty

Juncker warned Romania's government not to move ahead with plans to grant amnesty for corruption, as more than 200 EU laws await decisions during Bucharest's presidency.

Vaccine delay and Russia sanctions debates This WEEK

The director of the European Medicine Agency, Emer Cooke will be quizzed by MEPs in the parliament on vaccine authorisation on Tuesday. EMA is expected to give the green light to the third vaccine at the end of the week.

EU leaders seek to speed up vaccinations This WEEK

EU leaders talk vaccines, while the Portugues EU presidency introduces itself to MEPs. Joe Biden will be inaugurated as president of the United States, and the EU hopes this will mark a new beginning for EU-US relations.

Gruelling Brexit and budget talks continue This WEEK

After almost a week of arm-wrestling and ten days before the UK severs all of its EU ties, negotiators are back working hard on a deal on the future EU-UK relations. Budget and rule of law talks will also continue.

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