24th Jul 2021


Travel certificates back on the agenda This WEEK

  • Digital Covid-19 travel certificates will be debated by MEPs this week as the EU Commission aims to have the documents ready to go by the summer (Photo: Steven Thompson)

After a week when a missing chair for EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in her visit with European Council president Charles Michel to Ankara rattled fathers inside and outside of the EU bubble, vaccines and travel certificates will be back centre-stage.

MEPs in the civil liberties committee will, on Tuesday (13 April), debate the commission's proposal on the so-called "digital green certificate" to allow smooth and safe travel between EU countries from June during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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MEPs will also discuss the certificate's implications for citizens' data privacy with the EU Data Protection Supervisor and the EU Data Protection Board.

The commission hopes MEPs and member states will give a nod to the necessary legislation so that tourism can restart this summer.

The environment and health committee in the European Parliament will debate, on Thursday (15 April), and vote on Friday on a new procedure to accelerate the EU-wide approval of adapted vaccines against Covid-19 variants.

Money and future talk

On Monday afternoon, commission vice-president Margrethe Vestager will discuss the planned Digital Services Act with MEPs on the civil liberties committee.

On Tuesday, MEPs on the constitutional affairs committee will debate with commission vice-president Dubravka Šuica about the Conference on the Future of Europe, which is due to kick off on 9 May.

On Wednesday, the budget committee will hear from budget commissioner Johannes Hahn on plans for a funding strategy for the EU's €750bn recovery fund.

EU finance ministers, on Friday, will also discuss on economic recovery in Europe and are expected to talk about the implementation of the recovery fund.

On Tuesday morning, the industry, research and energy committee will vote on Horizon Europe, the EU's flagship funding programme for research and innovation, with a budget of €95.5bn.

Rue of law

On Monday (12 April), the civil liberties and home affairs committee will discuss the Commission's 2020 annual rule of law report.

On Thursday, MEPs in the Democracy, Rule of Law, and Fundamental Rights Monitoring Group meeting will hear from Polish judges, prosecutors, and government representatives on the situation of the judiciary in Poland.

MEPs will discuss with two judges, Igor Tuleya of the Warsaw district court, and Waldemar Żurek, a former spokesman of the National Judiciary Council, which was unconstitutionally dissolved before the end of its term.

The controversial Disciplinary Chamber lifted judge Tuleya's immunity last year, and he now risks imprisonment.

A former president of Poland's Supreme Court, Małgorzata Gersdorf, will also attend.

The civil liberties committee on Monday will discuss legal labour migration, with the aim of improving migration rules and attracting manual labour as well as highly-skilled legal migrants and entrepreneurs to Europe.

On Tuesday, MEPs in the development committee will debate the situation in Ethiopia and Sudan with Pekka Haavisto, the special European envoy and foreign affairs minister of Finland after his recent visit to the region.

EU to propose Covid-free 'travel pass' ahead of summer

The European Commission is set to unveil a legislative proposal on a "digital green pass" to allow vaccinated people to travel more freely for the summer. But Belgium says the pass risks discrimination against people unable to get the jab.

First glimpse of new EU 'vaccine certificate' for summer

The European Commission has presented a common approach to vaccine certificates to facilitate travel. All EU-wide approved vaccines will be accepted for this document, but member states can decide to accept other vaccines too.

Recovery and rule of law are back This WEEK

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will continue to travel to member states to "personally hand over the assessment" of the EU executive on national Covid-19 recovery plans.

Mammoth green package out This WEEK

Aside from the green package, Poland will also be the centre of attention. Two decisions by the controversial Constitutional Tribunal could affect the country's EU future. Belarus' border with Lithuania will also be in the spotlight.

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