Quote of the week by S&D MEP Agnes Jongerius on Amazon’s illegal and unethical labour practices:
“Amazon should not be allowed to roll out its model of precarious jobs all over Europe, undercutting workers' rights and small businesses in an unfair competition. Amazon tracks its workers every second and does not even allow them to go to the bathroom, it is abnormal and inhumane. At the Porto Social Summit, the government leaders of Europe committed to creating quality employment in Europe. Throughout Europe, we have to put an end to zero-hour contracts. The surveillance software and equipment that Amazon is using to spy on workers and their trade unions do not have a place in Europe!”
The European Parliament’s negotiators, S&D MEPs Evelyn Regner and Ibán García del Blanco are entering the final lap in the negotiations with the Council on public country-by-country reporting on June 1st. A deal is within reach. This tax file has been high on the S&D Group’s priorities for many years.
On Monday we will kick off the week with an exchange of views with Shalanda Young, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Biden Administration. Our members in the committee on budgets will debate with her on the similarities and differences between the US and the EU recovery plans.
Also on Monday, our Group will organise a socialist preparatory meeting prior to the upcoming COSAC (Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union) meeting on the 31 May. Members of our political family will join European stakeholders in discussing the future of the EU.
On Thursday, the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee will vote on revised rules for non-EU citizens coming to work in the EU for higher-paid employment. The negotiations on the so-called Blue Card Directive were led by Javier Moreno Sánchez MEP and will result in fairer rules for third-country nationals seeking work.
MEPs will also vote on a report on the Commission’s 2020 Rule of law report drafted by S&D MEP Domènec Ruiz Devesa in the civil liberties committee. For the S&D Group, the Commission’s new report has the potential to become a good tool to prevent EU governments from breaching the rule of law, but it needs some improvements!
Also on Thursday, there will be a joint hearing in the committees on legal affairs and civil liberties on the use of lawsuits by big business and high profile figures to silence their critics, known as strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP). We believe in protecting journalists and NGOs from abusive legal practices like this. Tiemo Wölken MEP is leading the S&D Group’s push for ambitious EU anti-SLAPP laws.
Next week, the Commission will come forward with a new Schengen strategy to make sure free movement is fully functioning. Earlier this week, MEPs voted for a report from Tanja Fajon MEP that calls for the Schengen area to be properly and fairly restored after years of governments putting back up internal borders, even well before the health pandemic.
Back to Strasbourg! Our members are getting ready for the first plenary session back in France in 14 months, to be held in a hybrid format. We’ll be holding our Group meetings to prepare for the debates and votes, and have also invited a series of guest speakers on Wednesday: MK Merav Michaeli, Chair of the Israel Labor Party, MK Ahmad Tibi, Chair of the Arab Movement for Change party (Israel) and Mr Riyad al-Maliki, Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority.