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This Week in the European Parliament – September 14, 2018

Summary

Next week will be a constituency week for Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”).  MEPs will go back to their home countries or convene in their parliamentary delegations to work on non-EU related matters.

However, this past week, the European Parliament held its plenary session in Strasbourg, and voted on interesting reports.

On Wednesday, MEPs approved the Parliament’s position at first reading on the Commission’s proposals for a Directive on new digital copyright rules.  The Parliament’s position was approved by 438 votes to 226, with 39 abstentions.  The text is intended to strike a balance between the extension of copyright law online and the protection of freedom of expression.  Furthermore, small and micro platforms would be excluded from the future Directive’s scope.  See the Parliament’s position here, and the Commission proposal here.

On Thursday, MEPs also adopted a resolution on a European strategy for plastics in a circular economy.  This follows the Communication on a European strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy adopted by the European Commission in January 2018.  In its Communication, the Commission introduced initiatives at the EU level to transform the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled.  In its report, the European Parliament calls for a number of additional measures, including a ban on micro-plastics in cosmetics, personal care products, detergents and cleaning products by 2020 and the establishment of a post-2020 policy for the circular economy based on a strong research and innovation pillar.  The Parliament also called for making “circularity first” an overarching principle for non-packaging plastic items, by developing product standards and revising the eco-design legislative framework.  See the adopted resolution here.

On the same day, MEPs approved their report on dual quality products in the EU Single Market.  The objective is to prevent the same branded products from being sold with different characteristics (e.g., lower quality ingredients or less product in the same packaging) depending on the Member States or the regions in which they are placed on the market.  Among others, the report calls on the Commission to amend Annex I of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (“UCPD”) to include dual quality as a blacklisted practice under the UCPD.  See the adopted report here.

Also on Thursday, the European Parliament approved a report on the Commission’s Communication on a European One Health Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.  Among its proposals, the European Parliament calls on the European Commission to promote initiatives to encourage the use of single use hand towels in sensitive environments and further study the relation between hand drying and the spread of pathogens.  It also calls on the Commission and EU Member States to develop in cooperation with industry new incentive models that would delink payment from prescribing volumes.  See the adopted report here.

Meetings and Agenda

No official meetings in the European Parliament are planned before September 24, 2018.

© 2018 Covington & Burling LLP

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About this Author

Sebastian Vos, Covington, international trade lawyer
Partner

Sebastian Vos is co-chair of the firm’s public policy practice, and heads up its European division. He 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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