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The Week Ahead in the European Parliament – January 6, 2017

Summary

Happy New Year!

Next week is a committee and political group week in the European Parliament. Only a few committee meetings are scheduled, as MEPs will spend most of their time with their political group preparing for the plenary week in Strasbourg on January 16 – 19.

The various political groups are likely to discuss their voting strategy in the parliamentary mid-term elections, scheduled for the next plenary in Strasbourg. MEPs are expected to elect the Parliament President, fourteen Vice-Presidents, five quaestors (responsible for looking after the administrative and financial interests of MEPs), and the members of the various parliamentary committees.

On Monday, Commissioner Günther Oettinger will be questioned by the Budget Committee (“BUDG”), the Budgetary Control Committee (“CONT”), and the Legal Affairs Committee (“JURI”) on his new Budget and Human Resources portfolio, which was transferred to him as of January 1, 2017, following the resignation of former Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva. Thus far, the Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, has only granted the Georgieva’s portfolio to Commissioner Oettinger, without promoting him to the position of Commission Vice-President. Until January, Commissioner Oettinger was responsible for the Digital Economy and Society portfolio. This portfolio has been temporarily transferred to Commission Vice-President  Andrus Ansip, currently the Commission Vice-President for Digital Single Market.

On the same day, the Foreign Affairs Committee (“AFET”) will hold discussions with Nicholas Westcott, EEAS Managing Director Middle East and North Africa, on EU-Morocco relations after the CJEU ruling in case C-104/16P, Council v Front Polisario, delivered on December 21, 2016. The CJEU has found that the Association and Liberalization Agreements concluded between the EU and Morocco do not apply to Western Sahara. See the judgment  here.

The Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU started on January 1, and will last until June 30, 2017. The priorities of the new Maltese Presidency in the field of security and justice, and support to EU business, will be on the agenda of the JURI Committee, and the Civil Liberties Committee (“LIBE”). On Thursday, the JURI Committee will hear Owen Bonnici, Maltese Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government, and Christian Cardona, Minister for Economy, Investment and Small Business, on the Priorities of the Maltese Presidency. On the same day, the LIBE Committee will also hear Owen Bonnici, and Carmelo Abela, Maltese Minister for Home Affairs and National Security.

On Thursday, the JURI Committee is expected to vote on a report addressing legal and ethical issues linked to the increased use of robotics and artificial intelligence. The report aims to call on the Commission to propose a legislation that will govern various legal and ethical aspects, such as the liability, safety standards and procedures, codes of conduct to ensure compliance with ethical standards, intellectual property rights, data protection and interoperability. See the full draft report here.

On the same day, finally, the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (“EMIS”) is expected to consider a draft Report on the inquiry into emission measurements in the automotive sector. The Report will provide the findings of the inquiry. See the draft report here.

EMIS will also consider its draft recommendations to the Commission and the Council, following the inquiry on emission measurements in the automotive sector. Among other things, the draft recommendations call for a drastic improvement of market surveillance in the new EU type-approval framework; also call on the European Commission to launch infringement procedures against Member States that have failed to put in place effective market surveillance; and introduce more clarity in their legislation, particularly on sanctions and possible criminal charges faced by non-compliant car manufacturers. See the draft recommendations here.

Meetings and Agenda

Monday, January 9, 2017

Committee on Foreign Affairs

14:00 – 15:00 (Joint meeting with Committee on Culture and Education)

  • Exchange of views on a draft Report Towards an EU strategy for international cultural relations (INI)

o    Co-rapporteurs: Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) and Silvia Costa (S&D, IT)

14:00 – 17:30

  • Discussion with Nicholas Westcott, EEAS Managing Director Middle East and North Africa, on EU-Morocco relations after the CJEU ruling on Council v Front Polisario

  • Consideration of draft report on the 2016 Commission Report on Kosovo (INI)

o    Co-rapporteurs: Ulrike Lunacek (Greens/EFA, AT) 

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

16:00 – 17:45

  • Discussion on Implementation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments and proposals for its revision

o    Co-rapporteurs: José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, PT) and Udo Bullmann (S&D, DE)

Joint meeting : Budgets, Budgetary Control and Legal Affairs committees

18:00 – 20:30

  • Exchange of views with Günther Oettinger, Member of the European Commission, on the transfer of the portfolio for Budget and Human Resources

Committee on Budgetary Control

15:00 – 17:30

  • Discharge 2015: EU general budget – Discharge to Other Institutions: discussion with the Secretary Generals of the Institutions, in the presence of the Member of the Court of Auditors responsible, Baudilio Tome Muguruza

o    Co-rapporteurs: Bart Staes (Greens/EFA, BE), for the European Council and the Council of the EU, the European Data Protection Supervisor, the Committee of Regions and the Economic and Social Committee, Benedek Jávor (Greens/EFA, HU), for the Court of Justice, the Court of Auditors, the Ombudsman

Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development

15:00 – 18:30

  • Hearing on “Conclusions of the Agricultural Markets Task Force – AMTF”

Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

15:00 – 18:30

  • Visit and discussion with Mara Marinaki, principal Advisor on Gender of the European External Action Service (EEAS) (15.15 – 16.00)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 

  • No meetings scheduled.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 

  • No meetings scheduled 

Thursday, January 12, 2017 

Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector

9:00 – 17:30

  • Consideration of draft Report on the inquiry into emission measurements in the automotive sector

o    Co-rapporteurs: Jens Gieseke (EPP, DE), and Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE, NL)

  • Consideration of Draft recommendations following the inquiry on emission measurements in the automotive sector

o    Co-rapporteurs: Jens Gieseke (EPP, DE), Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE, NL)

  • Hearing of Mr. Viktor Stromček, State Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development, Slovakia

  • Hearing of Mr. Riccardo Nencini, Vice Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Italy

Committee on Foreign Affairs

11:15 – 12:30

  • Joint meeting with Environment Committee

Committee on Budgets

9:00 – 11:30

  • Presentation by M. Monti of the final report and recommendations of the High Level Group of Own Resources

Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

9:00 – 12:30

  • Adoption of draft report on European Cloud Initiative

o    Rapporteur: Jean-Luc Schaffhauser (ENF, FR)

Committee on Legal Affairs

9:00 – 18:30

  • Vote on a draft report on Civil Law Rules on Robotics (INL)

o    Rapporteur: Mady Delvaux (S&D, LU)

  • Discussions with Owen Bonnici, Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government and Christian Cardona, Minister for Economy, Investment and Small Business, on the Priorities of the Maltese Presidency (15.00 – 16.00)

Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

9:00 – 18:30

  • Vote on the text agreed during interinstitutional negotiations on Third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (Georgia) (cod)

o    Rapporteur: Mariya Gabriel (EPP, BG)

  • Presentation by Carmelo Abela, Maltese Minister for Home Affairs and National Security and Owen Bonnici, Maltese Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government, on the priorities of the Maltese Council Presidency of the European Union in the area of Justice and Home Affairs (9.15 – 10.50)

  • Discussion with Vincent Cochetel, Director of the UNHCR Bureau for Europe and Presentation of UNHCR’s proposals for Europe: “Better protecting refugees in the EU and globally”, with specific reference to the current context in Europe (10.50 – 11.45)

  • Debate on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council and the Council on the Eighth report on relocation and resettlement and Fourth Report on the Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement

  • Presentation by the European Commission on Resumption of transfers to Greece under Regulation (EU) No. 604/2013 – Commission Recommendation addressed to the Member States

© 2017 Covington & Burling LLP

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About this Author

Sebastian F.A. Vos, Public Policy/Government Affair Attorney, Covington Law Firm
Partner

Sebastian Vos heads the European division of the firm’s global public policy and government affairs practice.  Mr Vos has extensive experience in the European Union and advises clients as they navigate and manage today’s global regulatory and policy challenges. 

Mr. Vos provides clients with strategic public policy, regulatory, and communications advice on a range of competition, trade, transactional and sectoral issues.  Mr Vos has particular expertise in advising companies in the technology, financial services, energy and transport sectors. 

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