“This conference is long overdue. It was proposed before the Covid-19 outbreak and now it makes even more sense to think together how to reshape our Union to make it fit for today’s challenges. I am glad that our proposal to have an inclusive and bottom-up approach has been taken up. Thanks to the S&Ds, the Conference will also respect gender equality and social diversity; it will ensure a geographical balance and will pay special attention to young people. For our parents and grandparents, Europe meant freedom, peace and prosperity. For our generation, and future generations, Europe must be about equality, solidarity and hope. We now have an opportunity to shape it accordingly.”
Leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Iratxe García MEP
This week, the Parliament, Commission and Council, represented by the Portuguese presidency, signed a joint declaration that will finally allow the Conference on the Future of Europe to start on the 9 May 2021. S&D MEPs nominated Group leader Iratxe García to represent the S&D Group on the Executive Board of the Conference.
On Monday 15 March, S&D MEPs on the environment and public health committee will be quizzing the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO on COVID variants and the different vaccines' effectiveness against the variants of the virus.
The civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee has a busy agenda next week, kicking off with a debate on people in distress at sea on Monday 15 and debates on Frontex, the EU’s border agency, and the situation of Polish judges in the context of the rule of law on Tuesday 16. The S&D Group will also be following discussions on the Migration Pact in a joint Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs Council meeting on Monday.
The Eurogroup will also meet on Monday 15 March to discuss the sectoral impact of the pandemic on the euro and the state of play on fiscal support measures.
On Wednesday 17 March, the European Commission is set to present proposals for a Covid-19 digital green certificate. The S&D Group has a range of questions and concerns relating to the proposed certificates, including data protection rights and the impact on the Schengen area.
Also on Wednesday 17 March, members in the budget committee will be voting on a proposal for a Council Regulation on the methods and procedure for making available European own resources. The report is based on the implementation of a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, on the European Union Emissions Trading System, on plastic packaging waste that is not recycled, and on the measures to meet cash requirements.
The foreign interference committee is meeting on Wednesday 17 March to discuss covert funding of political activities by foreign donors as a way to interfere in elections or referendum campaigns in the EU and its member states. The different rules and practices across the EU have resulted in worrying loopholes and opaque ways of foreign bodies donating funds in elections. Save the Date for an S&D webinar on this topic on Wednesday 24 March!
On Friday 19 March, the European Summit against Racism is hosted by the Intergroup of the European Parliament, the Portuguese Presidency and the Commission. The event gathers ministers, MEPs and various stakeholders to send a strong signal against racism ahead of the International Day against Racial Discrimination (March 21).