Plenary topics

Strasbourg Plenary Session

The Parliament meets regularly to vote and debate at its plenary session, in Brussels or Strasbourg. Ahead of each plenary session, the S&D Group announces its priorities and its objectives for the main debates, reports and resolutions.

The S&D Group holds a press conference at 10:10-10:30 CET on Tuesdays during Strasbourg plenary weeks, in room LOW N-1/201. You can also watch it live via our homepage.

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Result: 229

Islamic State threat

15 - 18 September 2014 (Strasbourg)
17/09/2014

The extreme and unprecedented violence deployed by the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria is extremely worrying. Our group was deeply shocked by the executions of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and we believe the EU and its member states must do everything necessary to help free all the other prisoners.

In addition, we are concerned about the large number of European jihadists involved. The EU countries should find a common solution to bring them all to justice. In the meantime, it is important not to forget that IS represents a minority group of fundamentalists. Islamic and Arab countries are our allies in the fight against these extremists.

Gaza

15 - 18 September 2014 (Strasbourg)
17/09/2014

In Palestine, there is political stalemate and a desperate humanitarian situation. The Gaza war has caused 2138 Palestinian deaths – 490 of them children – and 70 Israeli deaths in 50 days. Moreover, there are 36 Palestinian members of parliament – elected by citizens – imprisoned in Israeli jails. Many have been judged by military courts and others held without charge or trial. This is unacceptable and the European Parliament must speak out on this very important issue.

We recognise the good work of many civil society organisations and political parties in Israel that are working for peace and reconciliation with Palestine, and we believe in the legitimate right of Israel to live in security. However, this cannot be the only argument to be taken into account in this conflict and it cannot be used as a pretext to commit a humanitarian massacre like the one in Gaza.  This is the worst political and humanitarian situation in Palestine I have seen in the last 20 years. The people of Palestine live under daily threat of death and destruction, and the Palestinian political leaders are exhausted and at the end of their patience.

Thus, the S&D Group and the European Union have a responsibility and a role to play in helping both sides to come back to the peace process.  The only possible way to do it is to support the efforts and strengthen the position of Mahmoud Abbas, the best peace ambassador in the Middle East.

Situation in Ukraine and state of play of EU-Russia relations

15 - 18 September 2014 (Strasbourg)
16/09/2014

As the crisis in Ukraine has unfolded, EU-Russian relations have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War. We welcome the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and ask all sides to respect it. Further sanctions should be implemented only if Russia continues to escalate the crisis in Ukraine. 

However, the EU should focus on supporting direct talks between Ukraine and Russia, as well as OSCE (the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe), in its efforts to assist Ukraine with regaining stability and implementing crucial political and economic reforms.

The territorial integrity of Ukraine must be respected. Russia's international partners still expect Russia to cease supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and to stop the flow of military equipment and soldiers through the Russian-Ukrainian border.

 

 

We are proud to welcome the S&Ds new Bureau

14 - 17 July 2014 (Strasbourg)
17/07/2014

We are proud to welcome our new Bureau, elected on 25 June 2014. The team has a clear gender balance and reflects European diversity with members coming from the south, north, east and west of Europe, as well as from both small and larger countries.

The S&D Group’s Bureau co-ordinates its political activity. It is made up of the president, nine vice-presidents and the treasurer.

Individual vice-presidents are in charge of specific EU policy portfolios and supervise cross-committee issues.

Two others are responsible for the S&D Group’s communications and for the co-ordination of parliamentary affairs.

Download the news letter here

Situation in Iraq

14 - 17 July 2014 (Strasbourg)
16/07/2014

The territorial advances of the jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are extremely concerning. The internal conflict in Iraq is having serious consequences, threatening the already fragile stability of the entire region.

The number of displaced Iraqis is increasing as hostilities escalate and the major objective for the government and the army should be protecting Iraqi citizens – from all ethnic and religious groups.

A united, federal Iraq where Kurds, Sunnis and Shias are all granted their rights is the best long-term solution for Iraq and for broader regional security and stability. We call on all important regional and global players, such as the US, the EU, Iran, Turkey and Israel, to support this solution.

Situation in Ukraine (resolution to be voted on Thursday 17 July)

14 - 17 July 2014 (Strasbourg)
15/07/2014

The current situation in Ukraine means the Ukrainian government must make sustained efforts to strengthen economic stability and the political integrity of the country. The EU must give the maximum support to the Ukrainian president’s peace plan and the initiatives for an inclusive national dialogue, as well as to the work done by the OSCE (the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe). Therefore the EU Commission and the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs should reinforce the EU’s commitment to supporting Ukraine. Russia bears a particular responsibility in helping to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine’s eastern regions.

EU US Negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement – TTIP

14 - 17 July 2014 (Strasbourg)
15/07/2014

As Socialists and Democrats we recognise the opportunities of the agreement. These include improved access to US markets for services and public procurement, recognition of technical standards, protection of EU geographical indications and the abolition of US trade restrictions (such as the ‘Buy American Act’ and the ‘Jones Act’). The EU and its industries and services have clear interests under TTIP. At the same time however, the S&D Group has made a number of crucial demands in these negotiations.

The extent to which these demands are met in the final text will be the deciding factor in whether or not our Group can give its consent to the agreement. Our demands focus on the following critical elements: maintaining EU standards; data protection; regulation of financial markets; defending the role of democratic legislative processes; protecting labour rights; dropping proposals for an investor-state dispute settlement; and transparency in negotiations.

Election of the President of the Commission

14 - 17 July 2014 (Strasbourg)
15/07/2014

The election of the new president of the European Commission by the European Parliament is a victory for our institution and the S&D Group is ready to do what is necessary to make this a success. However Mr Juncker must respect our priorities and values. Our support for Mr Juncker requires a clear commitment from him in favour of a new direction to boost growth and employment. Our priorities are: practical solutions to bring down unemployment, serious action on investment and social justice, greater flexibility in the interpretation of the Growth and Stability Pact, and a new European immigration policy based on European solidarity. If Mr Juncker wants to count on our support next week he must show he respects these priorities and come up with real proposals to make a difference in Europe.

Council and Commission statements – Withdrawal of the Maternity Leave Directiv

Council and Commission statements – Withdrawal of the Maternity Leave Directiv

14 - 17 July 2014 (Strasbourg)
15/07/2014

The European Commission is considering withdrawing the draft Maternity Leave Directive (also known as the Estrela report) which was adopted with a large majority in the European Parliament in 2010 and has been blocked in Council since then. EU member states are still refusing to start the second reading phase. The Maternity Leave Directive would strengthen women’s rights by ensuring women across the EU are entitled to a minimum of 20 weeks of fully paid maternity leave and making sure they are protected when they return to work. The directive also includes provisions on paternity leave. Withdrawing this proposal sends an extremely negative signal to citizens all over Europe and is a massive setback for women’s rights.

Our Group calls on the Commission and the Council to commit to supporting the directive and conclude negotiations in the coming months, under the Italian presidency.

Opening of the Italian Presidency of the EU

1 - 3 July 2014 (Strasbourg)
02/07/2014

On Wednesday 2nd of July Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will address the plenary to mark the opening of the Italian Presidency of the EU (15h00).

Renzi's Partito Democratico is one of the big winners of the recent EU elections. The S&D Group is strongly backing his call on the EU to radically change, get rid of its austerity policy and deliver an ambitious plan for investment to boost growth and employment.