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Strasbourg plenary session - 17-20 May 2010 - Briefing

14 May 2010
by Ina Dimireva -- last modified 14 May 2010

Economic crisis tops Parliament's plenary agenda for the Strasbourg pleanry session on 17-20 May 2010. Other items on the agenda include rules on organ transplants, origin labelling for textiles, rights for self-employed people, working times for bus and lorry drivers, etc.


MEPs will debate the massive new euro-zone lending facility and the associated proposals to improve economic governance with the European Commission and Council. Political groups will ask how the Commission and the Council intend to make economic coordination mechanisms more effective and what role they foresee for the Commission and the European Parliament in the task force to strengthen economic governance.  

Common EU rules to facilitate safe organ donations: People needing liver transplants or other organ donations should face shorter waiting times if on Wednesday the plenary backs a compromise, agreed by EP and Council negotiating teams, on a draft EU law setting out quality and safety standards for transplantation of human organs. MEPs will also vote on an own-initiative report on the Commission Action Plan on organ donation.

Energy efficiency: final vote on measures to cut consumption. New energy efficiency measures for buildings and the new layout of the EU energy efficiency label will be put to a plenary vote on Tuesday. These measures - which come in addition to the EU's 2008 climate change package - were agreed with the Council last year but have to be endorsed by the full Parliament.

Resettling refugees: volunteer host countries could receive €6,000 per person resettled. EU Member States volunteering to welcome third-country refugees could receive up to €6,000 per resettled person under a draft law, as amended by the Civil Liberties Committee, to be put to a plenary vote on Wednesday. EU Member States currently contribute far less to refugee resettlement than do other developed countries such as the USA, Australia and Canada. On Tuesday, MEPs should also approve the setting up of a European Asylum Support Office, further to an agreement with the Council.

"Made in" labels would become compulsory for clothes sold in Europe if Parliament backs Internal Market Committee amendments to a proposed EU labelling system on Tuesday.

Self-employed women should have same maternity leave rights as employees. EU Member States should grant standard social protection, including at least 14 weeks' maternity leave allowance, for self-employed women and for spouses or life partners of self-employed workers, says a proposed update of an EU directive, to be put to a plenary vote on Tuesday.

Europe 2020 growth and employment strategy. Parliament's observations on the EU 2020 growth and employment strategy will be set out in a resolution to be voted Wednesday, further to a plenary debate in Brussels on 5 May. MEPs will also debate oral questions on the strategy, and vote Thursday on reports by Louis Grech (S&D, MT), on delivering a single market for consumers and citizens, Liem Hoang (S&D, FR), on the long-term sustainability of public finances, and Lambert van Nistelrooij (EPP, NL), on funding for research and innovation.

Lorry drivers' working hours: include the self-employed? Self-employed bus and lorry drivers must be subject to the same rules as those employed by companies, say Employment and Social Affairs Committee MEPs. Parliament could back this view in a vote on Thursday by rejecting a draft law that would treat self-employed and employee drivers differently. Arguments for rejection include health, safety and the need for fair competition in the industry.

Parliament may ban "meat glue". A proposal to authorise the use of "meat glue" enzyme bovine/porcine thrombin, which can be used to stick scraps of meat together, could be rejected in a plenary vote on Wednesday, since the Environment Committee has already objected that thrombin-glued meat could mislead consumers.

Making life easier for farmers. Any reform of the Common Agricultural Policy must clarify its rules, says a draft resolution to be voted on Tuesday. MEPs propose to make farmers' lives easier by creating a single payment system, simplifying rules on electronic identification of animals, and even creating a helpdesk phone line for farmers in each EU Member State. This resolution is part of a wider debate on how best to reshape EU farm policy in time for the EU's next multi-annual budgeting period, which starts in 2013.

Other items

  • Volcanic ash cloud: MEPs to question Commission on EU response to crisis.

  • Special measures to help EU outermost regions .

  • South Caucasus: EU must help stabilize the region.

  • Ukraine: MEPs to vote on €500 million loan.

  • EU faces legal hurdles to joining Human Rights Convention.

  • Road transport: rule breakers should pay similar penalties EU-wide.

Draft Agenda - 17-20 May 2010

Source: European Parliament

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