Week Ahead 20 - 24 November 2023.

Federalist majority in the EP trying to shake Europe's political landscape to its foundations; Free the hostages!; Left-wing government undermines democracy and rule of law in Spain; Right to repair; Concerns about excessively strict emission limits for heavy duty vehicles; Packaging and Packaging Waste; Boosting free trade between the EU and New Zealand; Another EP push for the Spitzenkandidaten process that violates EU treaties; Reliable agricultural production requires the use of pesticides; Recovery of eel stock

Federalist majority in the EP trying to shake Europe’s political landscape to its foundations

On Tuesday afternoon, the European Parliament will debate a report that formally launches the procedure for amending the EU Treaties in Article 48 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), followed by a vote on Wednesday. The proposed changes represent a revolutionary and radical reform plan aimed at irreversibly transforming the EU from a community of sovereign nation states into a centralised, hegemonic super state run by a pro-federalist oligarchy beyond democratic control. The report proposes a complete restructuring of the EU’s institutional system, a massive transfer of competences to the EU level, changes in decision-making mechanisms and changes of an ideological nature. The report also calls for the unanimity voting system, guaranteeing Member States their sovereignty in 65 reserved areas where they retain their right of veto, to be replaced by majority or qualified majority voting. This would mean the almost complete removal of the last bastion of sovereignty: the right of veto in the Council. In the opinion of the ECR Group, the initiation of a convention to amend and modify the Treaties is premature and completely misjudged. Before embarking on a time-consuming and highly sensitive process of launching a convention, the current treaty arrangements should first be fully exploited and, if necessary, the EU should be open to exploring the possibility of reforms based on the current legal bases. The EU should not rush into institutional reforms to achieve results that would create extreme divisions, undermine the EU’s willingness to respond to the needs of citizens, and ultimately lead to the abolition of democracy as we know it.

ECR Group press conference:

Journalists are invited to attend the ECR press conference with the two co-chairs of the Group, Prof Ryszard Legutko (Poland) and Nicola Procaccini (Italy), as well as the ECR shadow rapporteur on the file, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski. The press conference will take place on Tuesday at 17:00 in the Daphne Caruana Galizia Press Room of the European Parliament, and will be broadcast in English on YouTube and X. Interpretation in EN, FR, DE, ES, IT, PL will be available to journalists in the room and via Interactio.

Debate: Tuesday @ 15:00

Vote: Wednesday @ 12:00

ECR Press Conference: Tuesday @ 17:00, Daphne Caruana Galizia Press Conference Room

Free the hostages!

In Wednesday morning’s key debate on the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the need to free the hostages, the ECR will fully support Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism. We call on Hamas and all other Palestinian factions holding Israeli hostages to bring them home safely without further delay. Only this can be the starting point for any further action. We note and condemn the fact that the International Committee of the Red Cross has still not been granted access to the hostages. We urge all regional actors to act responsibly and not to escalate the current situation. In this context, we strongly condemn the attacks against Israel and US forces by Iranian proxies Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen, as well as Iranian-backed militias in Syria and Iraq.

Debate: Wednesday @ 9:00

Left-wing government undermines democracy and rule of law in Spain

On Wednesday afternoon, at the request of the ECR Group, the European Parliament will hold a debate on the threat to the rule of law posed by the recent government agreement in Spain. The debate follows Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s controversial investiture pact, which includes a deal with separatists convicted of sedition and embezzlement, with the sole aim of keeping the Socialist government in power. A key point of contention in this debate is the inclusion of an amnesty law in the pact, which is unconstitutional as it violates Article 62 of the Spanish Constitution. In this way, the left-wing Spanish government is dismantling the rule of law, the separation of powers and the equality of Spaniards. Spanish democracy is under threat.

Debate: Wednesday @ 13:00

Right to repair

On Monday, lawmakers will debate their negotiating position on the proposal for a directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods. The so-called ‘right to repair’ Directive wants to ensure that more products are repaired within the legal guarantee, rather than being disposed of prematurely, and that consumers have more accessible and cost-effective choices for repairing technically fixable items, such as washing machines, even after the legal guarantee period has ended. Under the new rules, for defective goods within the legal guarantee, sellers would be required to offer repair except when it is more expensive than replacement. For defective goods beyond the legal guarantee, a new set of tools would be available to the consumer to make ‘repair’ an easy and accessible option. The tools include a producers’ obligation to inform consumers about the products that the producers are obliged to repair, the introduction of an online repair platform helping to connect consumers with suitable repairers and a European quality standard for repair services that would help consumers identify repairers who commit to certain quality standards. The ECR Group supports the proposal’s positive outcomes for consumers, including saving money through more repairs and extended product use.

Debate: Monday @ 17:00

Vote: Tuesday @ 12:00

Concerns about excessively strict emission limits for heavy duty vehicles

On Tuesday morning, the Parliament will debate and vote on stricter emission limits for lorries and buses. For heavy duty vehicles, for example, CO2 emissions are to be cut by 45 per cent in 2030-2034, by 70 per cent in 2035-2039 and by 90 per cent after 2040. While acknowledging the significant emissions from the transport sector, especially from heavy duty vehicles, ECR environment shadow rapporteur Pietro Fiocchi is not convinced that the targets for the car industry are achievable. Furthermore, alternative fuels are not considered as a transitional solution to reach these ambitious targets. The ECR group fears that more jobs could be lost in the European car sector.

Debate: Tuesday @ 10:00

Vote: Tuesday @ 12:00

Packaging and Packaging Waste

On Tuesday afternoon, MEPs will debate the Packaging and Packaging Waste regulation, which updates the current directive in force since 1994. The file aims to reduce the amount of plastic packaging used in the Member States, sets targets for a minimum amount of recycled material to be used in plastic packaging, and introduces mandatory re-use and re-fill targets. ECR shadow rapporteur Pietro Fiocchi agrees with the need to update the EU’s approach, but disagrees with making the directive a regulation, as it dictates to the Member States the means by which they must attain the targets, despite their very different situations regarding plastic use and waste. In addition, the set targets are overambitious and the administrative burdens involved in reaching them would likely have a detrimental effects on companies, in particular SMEs, for example by driving up the costs of packaging, which maybe in turn encourage businesses to seek loopholes in the regulation. The ECR Group believes the file must be toned down. The vote on the file will take place on Wednesday.

Debate: Tuesday @ 14:00

Vote: Wednesday @ 12:00

Boosting free trade between the EU and New Zealand

On Tuesday afternoon, the European Parliament will hold a debate on the EU’s recently concluded trade agreement with New Zealand, which represents a major step forward in the Union’s ambition of deepening relations with the region. The agreement introduces a high level of tariff liberalisation, entailing the removal of 100 per cent of New Zealand tariffs on EU exports at entry into force and the lifting of 98.5 per cent of EU tariffs on New Zealand trade after seven years. With free trade at the heart of the ECR’s values, the group welcomes the agreement, which delivers opportunities for businesses and citizens on both sides. On Thursday, MEPs will vote not only on their consent to the agreement, they will also vote on an adjoining resolution. This second resolution is problematic for the ECR Group. While lauding the EU-New Zealand agreement as representing the gold standard in current and future free trade agreement negotiations, it sets a threatening tone by stressing the necessary use of sanctions in the event of a violation of the agreement, and it is overly concerned by sustainability issues rather than by business opportunities, competitiveness, and innovation. For the ECR Group, that only two EU free trade agreements with third countries have been reached this mandate is regrettable. The EU must take a more pragmatic approach to negotiating on trade going forward.

Debate: Tuesday @ 13:00

Vote: Wednesday @ 12:00

Another EP push for the Spitzenkandidaten process that violates EU treaties

On Thursday, MEPs will vote on an own-initiative report calling for the next European Commission President’s election to revolve around the lead candidate system, or ’Spitzenkandidaten‘ process, which is based on EU political parties and the European Parliament. The report calls for an agreement between the Parliament and the European Council to mandate the lead candidates, along with the presidents of the European parties and their respective parliamentary groups. According to the proposal, the task of these parties would be to agree on a common candidate to preside over the Commission before the European Council can make its own proposal. For the ECR Group, this undermines the delicate institutional balance upon which the EU is built and cannot be accepted. There is no mention of a lead candidate system in the EU Treaties and the European Council has the right to propose their preferred candidate for the Commission President’s election, regardless of their ’Spitzenkandidat‘ status. The European Parliament then only approves the candidate. Basing electoral processes on EU political parties would mean a greater centralisation of power to the EU and, in this case, is clearly intended to curtail the influence of the Member States, which, for the ECR Group, must remain the masters of their Union.

Vote: Thursday @ 12:00

UPDATE (20/11/23): This item has been postponed to the next plenary session. The debate and vote will take place between 11 and 14 December in Strasbourg.

Reliable agricultural production requires the use of pesticides

On Tuesday morning, the European Parliament will debate a further reduction in the use of plant protection products. The regulation sets legally binding targets at EU and Member State level to reduce the use of chemical pesticides by 50 per cent and the use of more hazardous pesticides by 65 per cent by 2030. The ECR Group cannot endorse legislation that imposes further heavy burdens on European farmers, hindering their capacity to produce food and feed, thus affecting the overall food supply. The vote will take place on Wednesday.

Debate: Tuesday @ 9:00

Vote: Wednesday @ 12:00

Recovery of eel stock

On Monday evening, ECR Rapporteur Bert Jan Ruissen will present his own-initiative report on the implementation of the regulation establishing measures for the recovery of the stock of European eel. The decreasing eel population could recover better if EU eel policy takes a different track. For this, the rapporteur recommends so-called fish ladders and fish friendly water pumps, which will help more eel to pass by dikes and dams, so they can reach spawning grounds and multiply. Mr Ruissen believes that this new approach will be more effective than further limiting eel fisheries, which has been the approach so far. The vote will take place on Tuesday.

Presentation: Monday @ 21:00

Vote: Tuesday @ 12:00

  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter