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

US NSA surveillance programme, surveillance bodies in various member states and impact on EU citizens' fundamental rights

11/03/2014

On 4 July 2013, the European Parliament instructed the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee to conduct an inquiry into the alleged mass surveillance of citizens by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and various EU countries, and the impact on citizens' fundamental rights.
 
Over 15 inquiry meetings were held with witnesses from various member states, the US, Brazil and Russia, and a delegation visited Washington in October 2013. MEPs heard from EU institutions, national parliaments, whistle-blowers, journalists, academics, lawyers, civil society respresentatives, security and technology specialists and private businesses. The extensive report gathers all the evidence and concludes with a set of recommendations, including setting out clear protections for individuals online, seven actions for protecting privacy and a roadmap for the future.

Protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data

11/03/2014

The new data-protection regulation is needed primarily because the implementation and enforcement gaps between member states were too large and confusing for all involved. The regulation lays down rules relating to the protection of individuals in the processing of personal data and rules on the free movement of personal data. This will help to improve the level of protection and legal certainty, guarantee the enforcement of individuals' rights and improve factors relating to the internal market.
 
Successes achieved include: clear principles for processing data and clear, technologically neutral definitions that can stand the test of time; appropriate information and rights for the data subject, including a strong definition of consent; reduced bureaucracy for businesses; strong data-protection authorities; harmonised EU-wide enforcement; a clear system for international transfers of data; and strong sanctions for breaches.

Processing of personal data for the purposes of crime prevention

11/03/2014

The directive defines the rules relating to the processing of personal data for the purposes of prevention, investigation or prosecution of criminal offences. It defines its objectives as protecting people’s fundamental rights and freedoms – particularly the protection of their personal data – while also guaranteeing a high level of public safety and ensuring the exchange of personal data between the competent authorities within the EU. The scope of the directive is not limited to cross-border data processing but also applies to all processing activities carried out by 'competent authorities'. The directive replaces the old Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA with improved, enforceable rights and a much higher level of protection for personal data.

The file is currently blocked in the Council with very slim hopes of movement any time soon. The Parliament is therefore forced to take a first-reading decision without agreement to keep the text alive.

Prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing

11/03/2014

This report concerns the Parliament's first-reading position on the proposed fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. The major positive in the report from the civil liberties, justice and home affairs, and economic and monetary affairs committees is the public register of beneficial owners – the result of a compromise between all political groups. This allows full public access to the information on beneficial ownership, subject to the identification of the person seeking the information. It also ensures that trusts and other such legal arrangements are treated as registered companies in terms of the transparency measures required. However, on the related issue of the level of shareholding which may constitute evidence of beneficial ownership, the S&D Group was unsuccessful in trying to lower this level from 25% to 10%. We may table an amendment in plenary on this point.

Freedom of movement for workers

11/03/2014

This directive is aimed at improving the enforceability of the existing regulation on freedom of movement for workers within the EU. It will help remove existing barriers to the mobility of EU workers by making it easier to enforce their rights under EU law and providing information and legal support to mobile workers in the EU who face discrimination based on their nationality.
 
The purpose of the directive is to establish fair and transparent conditions for those European citizens who decide to move to another country to work and the result of the negotiations was satisfactory for us. We have succeeded in highlighting and securing the role of trade unions and employers in protecting mobile workers and preventing unequal treatment. The S&D Group also ensured that a fair balance was reached between individual rights and collective rights.

European Public Prosecutor's Office

11/03/2014

This interim report sets out the European Parliament's view on the Commission's proposed regulation for establishing a European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO). The EPPO would be responsible for prosecuting offences against the financial interests of the European Union, laid down in detail in a separate proposal (the Directive on the Fight against Fraud against the Union's Financial Interests by means of Criminal Law).

European Investment Bank annual report 2012

10/03/2014

The European Investment Bank is a key player in supporting the European economy, boosting growth and creating jobs. It is a vital instrument to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, such as building infrastructure to drive growth, cutting-edge innovation and competitiveness.

Every year the European Parliament scrutinises the banking activities of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and its activity, financial and statistical reports. In this report, the rapporteur focused on the EIB’s governance, compliance and control framework, on strengthening support for small businesses, on its contribution to EU external policies and on its co-operation with other international financial institutions, including issues of transparency and non-co-operative jurisdictions.

Sexual exploitation and prostitution and its impact on gender equality

27/02/2014

This report on prostitution and sexual exploitation is based on the directives on victims of violence and human trafficking. According to several reports approximately 40-42 million people are involved in prostitution globally and around 96% of the prostitutes are women. The first Eurostat report with official data on prostitution was published in April 2013 and it focused on human trafficking in the EU between 2008 and 2010. It found that 62% of the trafficked women are victims of sexual exploitation and that many of the trafficked women come from within the EU. Furthermore, prostitution is connected with organised crime, and is second only to drugs in its scope and according to the Havoscope website, yields revenue of approximately $186 billion per year worldwide.

This report is trying to change the perspective on prostitution from the supply to the demand side and therefore endorses the Nordic model of criminalising the client rather than the prostitute, who should have all adequate help and should not be condemned or stigmatised when often suffering from trauma, drug or alcohol addiction and facing a higher mortality rate than women in general. Programmes to help women to escape from prostitution should be developed.

Manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco and related products

26/02/2014

Following the plenary vote on the Commission proposal as amended in October 2013, the rapporteur sought a mandate to start negotiations with the Council. This request was approved by a vast majority  and the report was referred back to the environment committee. A series of informal trilogues were held with a view to agreeing a compromise text. Negotiations were concluded successfully and the outcome is close to Parliament’s position voted in October. If  Parliament adopts the compromise, this dossier can be concluded in first reading.

The main aim of the directive is to deter young people from taking up smoking. Misleading flavours and packages have been banned and rules on E-cigarettes have been established. EU member states have the freedom to go further on packaging if they choose to.

European Semester for economic policy co-ordination: employment and social aspects

26/02/2014

The Annual Growth Survey launched the European Semester by setting out the broad EU economic priorities for the year to come. It is the first step in the annual cycle. The draft Joint Employment Report attached to the Annual Growth Survey assesses the social and employment situation in the EU. This year, for the first time, the Joint Employment Report includes a scoreboard allowing for identification of major employment and social problems.
It is important to strengthen the position of the Parliament in the overall European Semester process in order to emphasise the need to tackle the social consequences of the economic crisis and to provide sustainable and inclusive growth solutions, promoting quality employment and raising social standards. Promoting quality employment and strengthening social consolidation should be the EU’s priority, in line with the Europe 2020 strategy.