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13th Aug 2022

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Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK

  • The plenary vote on the inclusion of gas and nuclear in the list of sustainable activities will be tight — since at least 353 MEPs must support the objection to kill the proposal (Photo: IAEA Imagebank)
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As the Czech Republic takes over the EU Council rotating presidency from France, Czech prime minister Petr Fiala will present to MEPs the priorities for the next six months on Wednesday (6 July) during the final plenary in Strasbourg before the summer break.

The consequences of the war in Ukraine and energy security will be high on the presidency's agenda, but EU lawmakers are expected to call on Prague for stronger commitments to rule of law and the implementation of the Conference on the Europe recommendations.

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Also on Wednesday, MEPs will hold a crucial vote on whether to veto the European Commission proposal to include nuclear and gas in the list of environmentally sustainable economic activities.

Last month, a cross-party alliance of MEPs from the environment and economy committees managed to secure a majority to pass a text objecting to the so-called EU taxonomy.

But the plenary vote will be tight since at least 353 MEPs (out of a total of 705 MEPs) must support the objection to kill the proposal.

The majority of socialist, green and left-wing lawmakers are expected to vote against the inclusion of nuclear and gas, while the centre-right European People's Party, the largest group in the European Parliament with 177 MEPs, appears to be divided.

The liberals, for their part, will support the commission proposal, although some national delegations have already voiced their opposition. Conservatives strongly oppose the objection.

If adopted, some MEPs say they will challenge the proposal in court. Austria and Luxembourg also said they will pursue a lawsuit over the inclusion of gas and nuclear in the bloc's green finance rules.

The invasion of Ukraine has prompted questions over the impact of the taxonomy on EU dependencies on Russian gas — especially after leading Ukrainians urged MEPs to reject the text, arguing that such a proposal will benefit Moscow's coffers.

As part of the fallout from the war, MEPs are expected to discuss on Wednesday the economic consequences of the war and initiatives for taxing windfall profits of energy companies.

Digital and green files

On Tuesday (5 July), MEPs are expected to give the final green light to two flagship policies aimed at enacting consumer rights and transparency of online platforms: Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Also on Tuesday, Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to address MEPs and share his vision for the future of the EU.

Following the recent ruling on the constitutional right of abortion in the US, MEPs will hold a debate on women's reproductive rights on Monday (4 July) — with a resolution expected to be adopted on Thursday.

On Thursday (7 July), the European Parliament will vote on a proposal to increase the use of sustainable fuels in aviation — one of the key proposals of the Fitfor55 package to reduce airlines emissions.

On the same day, MEPs are expected to call on the European Council to go beyond unanimity on the global tax deal — bypassing Hungary's veto.

The global food crisis, which is currently unfolding due to export disruptions in Ukraine, will be a subject of debate in the plenary on Tuesday. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will publish on Wednesday its annual report on food security.

Meanwhile, the commission is expected to present its new innovation strategy on Wednesday.

Rule of law and Czech presidency priorities This WEEK

The European Commission will unveil its rule-of-law audit of all EU member states this week. Meanwhile, several ministers from the Czech Republic will present to EU lawmakers the priorities of the rotating EU Council presidency for the next six months.

G7, Nato, gas anxiety and Ukraine top This WEEK

EU energy ministers and environment ministers are expected to reach common positions on different aspects of the Fit for 55 package — as the continent is increasingly worried about energy prices and future supplies.

Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties

Beijing's club was meant to forge stronger European relations. Lithuania left it last year. Now Estonia and Latvia have also decided to walk over Chinese bullying.

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