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ECR

The Week Ahead - 8 - 12 February 2021

5 February 2021

The Week Ahead - 8 - 12 February 2021

The state of play of the EU’s COVID-19 Vaccination; New Circular Economy Action Plan; Implementation of the Anti-Trafficking Directive; European Skills Agenda; Visit of the VPC/HR to Russia in the light of the recent crackdown on protestors and the opposition; Democratic scrutiny of social media and protection of fundamental rights

The state of play of the EU’s COVID-19 Vaccination

On Wednesday morning, the European Parliament will discuss the state of play of the EU’s COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy. The ECR Group believes that the Commission needs to be held to account over its handling of vaccine procurement and the slow pace of vaccinations. Specifically, the ECR Group demands greater transparency from the Commission regarding the contracts negotiated, its export authorisation scheme, and its overall public communications strategy. The opaqueness of the Commission’s decision-making on these issues, which fundamentally affect all European citizens, must be urgently addressed.

Debate: Wednesday @ 9am

New Circular Economy Action Plan

On Monday afternoon, the European Parliament will debate the New Circular Economy Action Plan. The ECR welcomes the Commission’s Plan to strengthen EU competitiveness while protecting the environment and giving new rights to consumers, and applauds its focus on design, production, green public procurement and the development of a mature secondary raw materials market. However, the ECR will abstain on the Parliament report due to doubts about its overall credibility and long-term viability. First, we are concerned by the report’s call for environmental footprints to substantiate green claims, which could stigmatise products from economies reliant on fossil fuels for energy and industrial processes. Second, its demands for an array of untested new targets are often unworkable and fail to account for the implementation problems that Member States are facing with existing legislative targets under the 2018 Waste Package.

Debate: Monday @ 5pm

Votes: Tuesday @ 1pm & 8pm

Implementation of the Anti-Trafficking Directive

On Monday afternoon, MEPs will discuss the Implementation of the Anti-Trafficking Directive. The ECR Group has always supported thorough implementation of the EU anti-trafficking directive. The trafficking of human beings is one of the most grievous crimes, as it deprives individuals of their basic human dignity. All forms of human trafficking, including sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, organ harvesting and other practises, must be tackled. The ECR fully agrees that this fight must also take place at the European level, as a large share of trafficking is cross-border. However, this report should not be used to push controversial issues such as humanitarian visa.

Debate: Monday @ 5pm

Votes: Tuesday @ 1pm & 8pm

European Skills Agenda

On Monday afternoon, MEPs will hold a debate on the European Skills Agenda. The ECR Group believes that special attention should also be paid to developing soft skills, including critical thinking and innovation. Access to quality education, training and lifelong learning should be accessible to all. The implementation, however, will require appropriate funding at national and EU level. The 2021-2027 MFF and Next Generation EU should be significant resources for this. However, the ECR Group stresses that the main competence remains in the hands of Member States. Actions from the Commission should be implemented swiftly, with a view to recover quickly from the current crisis.

Debate: Monday @ 5pm

Votes: Tuesday @ 1pm & 8pm

Visit of the VPC/HR to Russia in the light of the recent crackdown on protestors and the opposition

On Tuesday afternoon, MEPs will discuss the visit of High Representative Josep Borrell to Russia in light of the recent crackdown on protestors and the opposition. The ECR strongly condemns the imprisonment of
leading Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny. With a divided Foreign Affairs Council and low expectations for Borrell’s visit, the differences between the EU & Russia continue to widen. Only sustained sanctions and accountability for Putin’s ongoing violations of international law stand a chance to see Navalny freed.

Debate: Tuesday @ 3pm

Democratic scrutiny of social media and protection of fundamental rights

On Tuesday afternoon, the European Parliament will debate the democratic scrutiny of social media and protection of fundamental rights. The ECR Group is concerned about the attacks on freedom of speech by big tech companies. We believe in the principle of what is illegal offline should be illegal and banned online, but non-illegal content moderation by foreign Big Tech social-media platforms violates freedom of speech and constitutes an attack to democracy and pluralism. We must stand to big tech censorship infringing on our rights.

Debate: Wednesday @ 3pm

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