The week ahead 16th – 19th December 2013

16th – 19th December 2013. European Council. Tobacco Products Directive. Railway competition.

European Council

Heads of State and Government will meet at the end of the week to discuss European defence cooperation, and steps towards completion of Banking Union. ECR Leader Martin Callanan last week spoke in parliament’s debate on the summit, arguing that Europe’s defence is best guaranteed by a revitalised NATO that includes US involvement. He argued that Europe should continue to cooperate closely on a bilateral and multilateral basis, but such an approach requires willpower rather than complex new bureaucracies. Watch his speech:


Mr Callanan will be available at the Council Building on Thursday afternoon.

Contact: James Holtum

Summit: Thursday and Friday

Tobacco Products Directive

MEPs may reach agreement with national governments over the proposed revision of the Tobacco Products Directive – which focuses on the manufacture and sale of tobacco products, specifically aimed at discouraging younger people from taking up smoking.

ECR Shadow rapporteur Martin Callanan will continue to argue that the legislation strikes a balance between robust legislation on one hand and jobs and personal choice on the other. However, he is vehemently against efforts that would require electronic cigarettes to be authorised as a medicinal product, significantly limiting their availability. As ‘E-cigs’ contain no tar, carbon monoxide or smoke, and are often used to cease smoking, Mr Callanan believes they should face no more stringent an authorisation procedure as regular tobacco.

Contact: James Holtum

‘Trilogue’ meeting: Monday afternoon

Railway competition

The transport committee will vote on the so-called ‘Fourth Railway Package’, which aims to improve the quality and efficiency of rail services by encouraging a more liberalised European railway market, now including domestic passenger carriages. ECR transport spokesman Roberts Zile also wants to ensure that the technical part of the legislation – on rail safety and interoperability- takes into account the special market conditions and technical particularities of some EU countries – such as the Baltic States and Finland – who operate a different gauge.

Mr Zile is also parliament’s rapporteur on the EU railways agency regulation, which will also be voted on.

Press officer to contact: Rolands Petersons

Votes: Tuesday from 09.00

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