Brussels (Brussels Morning) Events at the European Parliament this week include votes on the e-Privacy directive around child abuse, military and non-military uses of AI, as well as discussions around the COVID-19 vaccine.
The European Parliament will vote Monday on the e-Privacy directive regarding child abuse. The legislation aims to amend e-privacy rules so that digital communication providers can continue monitoring content and traffic data, voluntarily, for materials involving the sexual exploitation of children.
At stake are rules allowing voice over IP, messaging and web-based e-mail services to help detect content and traffic data.
The new legislation is set to enter into force on 20 December.
AI uses and its implications
EU officials are betting on Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications to help deal with many of the bloc’s challenges; however, its liabilities and ethics have been highly scrutinised.
On Monday, MEPs will vote on guidelines for the military use of AI — including lethal autonomous weapons systems and non-military uses. A vote is foreseen for the use of AI in healthcare settings and justice, particularly AI threats to democracy and the rule of law.
As the European Council convenes on Thursday and Friday, the Parliament’s President, David Sassoli, will address heads of state or government at the EU summit to reiterate its position on the EU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and Turkey.
MEPs will likely seize the event, using it to prepare for the sitting plenary debate with Council and Commission presidents next week.
COVID-19 vaccine rush
The state of play on assessing and authorising vaccines against COVID-19 will be discussed between MEPs and the European Medicines Agency (EMA)’s Executive Director Emer Cooke on Thursday.
With the rush for a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, EMA recently (2 December) announced it started a rolling review of the COVID-19 vaccine from Janssen-Cilag.
Meanwhile, Moderna and BioNTech and Pfizer submitted an application to EMA for marketing authorisation of their candidates on 1 December.
ECB annual report
Still on Thursday, MEPs will vote on the European Central Bank’s (ECB) annual report 2020. A vote on reforming the EU list of tax havens is also expected, with MEP Paul Tang (S&D) leading the file.
Also this week, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is set to make a presentation to the Parliament on sustainable corporate governance and corporate due diligence.
A number of debates will also take place during the week, including an exchange of views between MEPs and Transparency Commissioner Vera Jourova about the structured dialogue between the Parliament and Commission.
Finally, after two years of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implementation, MEPs will evaluate a Commission report by assessing the application of the data protection regulation across the bloc.