Brussels (Brussels Morning) This week, MEPs convene for committee meetings at the European Parliament where they will address privacy issues related to the vaccine certificates recently proposed by the European Commission, energy decarbonisation efforts, artificial intelligence (AI), general COVID-19 vaccines in relation to the new variants, and a citizen petition-initiated call for a ban on caged animals.
When the Civil Liberties Committee convenes on Tuesday, MEPs will have their first opportunity to debate the European Commission’s proposal for a digital green certificate, or vaccine certificate, which the EU executive recently announced as a means of easing ease travel between EU countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
MEPs will also discuss the implications such a certificate would have for citizens’ data privacy with the EU Data Protection Supervisor and the EU Data Protection Board. Recently, MEPs Maria da Graça Carvalho and Georgios Kyrtsos (EPP) proposed a blockchain-like technology to address discrimination and confidentiality issues when applying vaccine certificates.
Also on Tuesday, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee holds a public hearing about decarbonisation in the energy sector. The purpose is to address the main challenges the EU’s energy sector faces in its efforts to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The public hearing will include input from a wide range of experts — private companies, academia, public bodies and EU associations representing consumers.
On Wednesday, MEPs will hold a press briefing to answer questions about the latest European Parliament rulings on AI. This will be followed by a Commission presentation on the legislative proposal on AI , which is expected to be heard on 21 April.
So far, the Parliament has adopted guidelines on how AI should be regulated in the EU in two legislative reports and several own-initiative reports, which deal with civil liability, ethical aspects, intellectual property rights, and guidelines for military and civil uses.
On Thursday, the Environment and Public Health Committee (ENVI) will review a new procedure to facilitate and accelerate EU-wide approval of vaccines that have been adapted to counter COVID-19 variants. Next day, Friday, the ENVI Committee will vote on a procedure to speed up authorisation for giving the go-ahead to adapted COVID-19 vaccines.
Thursday’s schedule also features a public hearing on banning farming practices that entail caging animals. MEPs, Commissioners, experts and representatives of other EU bodies will participate in this animals rights’ debate. It was triggered by a European Citizens’ initiative, which petitioned the Parliament to call for an EU-wide ban on keeping farmed animals in cages. Almost 1.4 million people signed the petition.