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: 226
Socialist and Democrat priorities on the agenda in the European Parliament in Strasbourg from 15 to 18 April 2013

Groundhandling services at European Union airports

April 2013 (Strasbourg)
16/04/2013
The core of the Commission's proposal aims to raise the minimum number of groundhandling service providers from two to three for those airports with a minimum of 5 million passengers per year.
 
The adopted text includes important steps forward for our Group as it contains a: 
representative collective agreement, including a definition in Article 8 (qualification procedure) and Article 9 (award procedure) which entails that all suppliers, self-handlers and subcontractors comply with the agreement; and a
limitation on subcontracting by defining a subcontractor as an approved handler (according to Articles 16 & 17). This requires them to apply the collective agreement and ensure decent working conditions in order to obtain the approval. Article 40 gives member states the right to withdraw or suspend approvals if the standards are not met.
Socialist and Democrat priorities on the agenda in the European Parliament in Strasbourg from 15 to 18 April 2013

European Central Bank annual report (2011)

April 2013 (Strasbourg)
16/04/2013
This annual report assesses the European Central Bank (ECB) actions in 2011 in the context of the economic and social crisis, in which it plays a crucial role. The report specifically analyses the ECB’s action on monetary policy; the exceptional measures taken in response to the financial crisis; the central role of ECB within the banking union; and the institutional issues related to the Bank in the context of the current discussion on the future of European Monetary Union (EMU).
 
Our Group supports the measures taken by the ECB to lower the cost of borrowing for member states and to stabilise the financial market. However, we are concerned about the lack of impact these policies have had on the real economy and the ability of the banking system to lend to small and medium enterprises and households. Monetary policy should be complemented by additional fiscal instruments – including a fiscal capacity – at EMU level to create an adequate policy mix for growth and jobs. The increasing role of European Central Bank within the Troika and the banking union calls for new governance rules to increase both the transparency and accountability of the European Monetary Union.  
Socialist and Democrat priorities on the agenda in the European Parliament in Strasbourg from 15 to 18 April 2013

EU/ACP countries' Economic Partnership Agreements: exclusion of certain countries from trade preferences

April 2013 (Strasbourg)
16/04/2013
Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have been underway for over a decade. The current system for ACP countries’ preferential access to the EU market was due to expire in 2007. However, for numerous reasons, many ACP states have still not signed up to such agreements.
               
This regulation governs the EU import regime for the 36 ACP countries that initialled EPAs in 2007. It is a bridging solution for those countries which were not in a position to apply EPAs, but were awaiting their ratification.
 
The European Commission therefore proposed that, as of 1 January 2014, those countries which have not signed or ratified the agreements should be removed from the list of beneficiaries to the EU market.
 
Our group is of the belief that a cut-off date of 1 January 2014 is too short a deadline and puts too much pressure on ACP countries to conclude such deals. We therefore believe that 1 Jan 2016 is a more suitable date.
Socialist and Democrat priorities on the agenda in the European Parliament in Strasbourg from 15 to 18 April 2013

2011 discharge: EU general budget, European Parliament

April 2013 (Strasbourg)
16/04/2013
The EPP rapporteur, Ms Ortiz, focused the discharge report for 2011 on the budget implementation for that specific year, as far as possible – as our S&D rapporteur did last year. Previous rapporteurs had tried to expand the scope of the discharge report far beyond budget implementation for the year in question.
 
At a time when national and European budgets are under huge pressure, scrutiny of the Parliament's budget implementation is just as necessary as scrutinising other European bodies. The report examines all areas of the Parliament's expenditure. Debate about the discharge of the Parliament is now included in the plenary agenda as a separate item, immediately before the debate on the other discharges. This was requested in last year's plenary resolution and, as in the report on the 2011 discharge, as voted in committee.
Socialist and Democrat priorities on the agenda in the European Parliament in Strasbourg from 15 to 18 April 2013

Timing of auctions of greenhouse gas allowances

April 2013 (Strasbourg)
15/04/2013
The European emission trading system (EU ETS) has created the world's first major carbon market, with an EU-wide carbon price being a key tool for reducing the EU’s industrial emissions in a cost-effective way. The original policy intention was to create a market-based measure that would stimulate the carbon price and positively influence investment in low-carbon technologies, which in turn would result in emission reductions. Despite a reduction in emissions since the start of the trading system, it currently faces serious challenges.
 
The economic crisis, combined with an over allocation of credits in the first two rounds of the trading system and a significant influx of external emission reduction credits from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), have led to a significant surplus of allowances resulting in a carbon price of around 4 €/tnCO2 (compared to the envisaged 30 €/tnCO2 when the Climate and Energy package was adopted).
 
In order to address the current imbalances in the EU emission trading system, the Commission’s proposal aims to clarify the legislative provisions on the timing of auctions of allowances, as laid down in Directive 87/2003/EC, in order to adapt the auction timetable..
 
The proposal is to 'back-load' the system, meaning reducing the number of allowances auctioned over the next couple of years (2013-2015) and increasing the amount later auctioned in phase 3, which ends in 2020. In this way, fewer allowances will be on the market while demand remains very low and more allowances will be offered late in phase 3, when demand should have recovered. 'Back-loading' is not about permanently withholding or 'setting aside' allowances. Any permanent reduction would require a more substantial amendment of the EU ETS Directive to be agreed in a further co-decision procedure.
Socialist and Democrat priorities on the agenda in the European Parliament in Strasbourg from 15 to 18 April 2013

Equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services

April 2013 (Strasbourg)
15/04/2013
This EU directive entered into force on the 21 December 2004 and addresses gender equality and discrimination based on gender outside the field of employment for the first time at EU level.
 
The directive proved to be controversial in relation to gender as a factor for calculating premiums and benefits for insurance and financial services.
 
The ruling on the Test-Achats case had major consequences for premiums on car insurance. The rapporteur noted that a report on implementation and binding guidelines from the Commission would have been useful when applying the rules. The Commission must provide clear guidelines as to how to apply the directive and ensure that there are no loopholes in the legislation.