The week ahead 21st – 24th October 2013

21st – 24th October 2013. European Council. 2014 budget. Suspension of the Swift agreement. Carpathian region. Sahel region. Medical and in-vitro devices. Migration across the Med. Organised Crime. Vilnius summit. Data Protection.

European Council

ECR Chairman Martin Callanan will set out his priorities for this week’s EU summit. Mr Callanan will highlight a report produced last week by The Business Taskforce on cutting EU red tape and raising the barriers to competitiveness of the European economy. The report can be viewed at


Contact: James Holtum

Parliament debate: Wednesday
Summit: Thursday and Friday

2014 budget

Despite the postponement of the vote on the seven year budget framework, MEPs will still adopt a position on the EU’s 2014 annual budget. ECR Budgets spokesman Richard Ashworth supports the general position taken by national governments to trim back the budget, but he does not wish to see that come at the expense of lines aimed at promoting growth and competitiveness. This week’s vote will open a period of negotiation between MEPs and national governments over next year’s budget.

Contact: John Furbisher

Vote: Wednesday @ 12.00

Suspension of the Swift agreement

The parliament will vote on a motion calling on the EU to suspend the EU-USA Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (known as the Swift Agreement), in light of the NSA allegations.

In a debate on the topic earlier this month ECR justice and home affairs spokesman Timothy Kirkhope strongly opposed the attempts to suspend the crucial counter-terror agreement based on allegations that have yet to be fully investigated, and which have not been supported by Europol or Swift itself.

Contact: John Furbisher

Vote: Wednesday @ 12.00

Carpathian region

On the initiative of ECR MEP Tomasz Poreba the council and commission will give a statement on the EU strategy for the Carpathian Region, which runs from north to south across Central and Eastern Europe, across EU Member States and potential Members. Mr Poreba argues that the EU has dedicated strategies for most regions but not for the Carpathian Region, which is one of the EU’s poorest regions with many challenges – particularly related to infrastructure and employment.

Contact: Katarzyna Ochman or Mateusz Kochanowski

Debate: Thursday morning

Sahel region

The parliament is set to adopt a report written by ECR foreign affairs spokesman Charles Tannock on the human rights situation in the Sahel region (which stretches from The Gambia across to Eritrea and includes the Western Sahara). The report raises serious human rights concerns, particularly since the increase in armed conflict in Mali which has created a humanitarian crisis and seen an increase in violence and sexual crime against women, and a worrying use of child soldiers. The report also covers such issues as corruption and trafficking.

Contact: John Furbisher

Vote: Tuesday @ 11.30

Medical and in-vitro devices

MEPs will vote on legislation to strengthen certification and authorisation for certain medical devices in the wake of the PIP breast implant scandal. They will also vote on new rules for authorising new in-vitro medical devices (such as self-tests for blood sugar levels).

ECR shadow rapporteur on in-vitro devices Milan Cabrnoch generally supports this legislation but will only agree with it with a few amendments, especially in the area of mandatory genetic counselling and pre-market approval of the products. Marina Yannakoudakis is the ECR shadow rapporteur on medical devices and whilst she supports efforts to strengthen EU legislation – through a system of notified bodies designed to supervise manufacturers – she does not see the value in a centralised authorisation system at EU level.

Contact: In-vitro vote: Jan Krelina; Medical devices: John Furbisher

Vote: Tuesday @ 11.30

Migration across the Med

Following the tragic events in Lampedusa on October the 3rd, the Parliament will vote on a proposed strategy to help prevent further loss of life at sea and to deal with the flow of migrants and asylum seekers into the EU.

A coordinated and joined up effort is required in order to save lives through the development of existing EU tools such as FRONTEX, EUROSUR and third country agreements. Monitoring the EU’s borders is essential in order to prevent further tragic loss of life, maintain the EU’s internal security, and combat human trafficking and organised crime. ECR spokesman Timothy Kirkhope and Italian MEPs Susy De Martini and Cristiana Muscardini have signed a resolution.

Contact: James Holtum or Emanuele Sanguineti

Vote: Wednesday @ 12.00

Organised Crime

The final report from the special committee on organised crime will be voted this week. The CRIM committee puts forward a number of suggestions on how to proceed in Europe’s fight against cross border crime. ECR spokesman on the committee James Nicholson supports a strong approach on money laundering, cybercrime, cross border crime, and terrorism, and believes that a more coordinated approach within the EU through EUROPOL is needed. However, giving further powers to a European Public Prosecutor and Eurojust is contrary to Member State sovereignty to prosecute crimes within their country.

Contact: John Furbisher

Vote: Wednesday @ 12.00

Vilnius summit

Ahead of the Vilnius summit at the end of November the parliament will hold a debate on EU trade policy towards countries of the Eastern Partnership. ECR MEP Pawel Kowal chairs the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Ukraine and ECR MEP Milan Cabrnoch chairs the delegation to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Contact: Jan Krelina

Debate: Monday evening

Data Protection

The proposed revision of EU data protection rules is set to be voted through the justice and home affairs committee. After long negotiations the parliament has reached broad agreement on many of the main issues.

Whilst a more principles-based and less prescriptive Regulation would have been a better outcome, ECR shadow rapporteur Timothy Kirkhope remains optimistic that after negotiations with national governments the legislation will be a long term benefit for European business. He wants to see it support the economy by creating a clear and simple legal regime for businesses to operate under, with less red tape, to attract investment from outside for the EU, whilst also protecting the rights and privacy of internet users in the modern age.

The committee will also vote on a Data Protection Directive for law enforcement purposes. The ECR Group will not support this Directive due to its overly prescriptive nature, which prevents law enforcements from carrying out their legitimate investigations, potentially placing Europe’s security at risk.

Contact: James Holtum

Vote: Monday evening

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