Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper) This week MEPs convene during a plenary session in Strasbourg featuring discussions on tackling chemicals in waste, the new legislation for the European elections, artificial intelligence (AI), media freedom, and the rule of law in Hungary and Poland. The European Parliament will give greater emphasis to the overall impact of the war in Ukraine on the EU. Finally, the plenary will close the Conference on the Future of Europe taking stock of the policy recommendations generated over the past year.
Chemicals in waste
On Monday, MEPs are set to debate and vote on new rules to reduce the amount of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the recycling chain, for a toxic-free circular economy. With the regulation, MEPs wish to lower the limits for the amount of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) allowed in materials, in order to improve human health and create a toxic-free environment. In addition, they wish to remove materials with high levels of POPs from the recycling chain.
On Tuesday, MEPs are set to adopt their legislative proposal for a new European Electoral Act, aiming to turn the 27 national elections into a real, single European election with common minimum standards, a European Union-wide constituency, and gender balance.
MEPs will debate and vote on Tuesday on the final report by the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a Digital Age. At stake is a text stating the EU must set global AI standards and unlock its enormous potential to address challenges in the fields of health, the environment and climate change.
Parliament Committees are currently working on the Artificial Intelligence Act (AIA), which was first proposed by the Commission in the spring of last year. It marks the first-ever attempt to regulate AI and has been developed as part of a broader ambition to make Europe a global leader in the field by being the first to set clear guidelines.
To mark World Press Freedom Day, on Tuesday, MEPs will discuss with the European Commission how to address the threats faced by journalists and enhance media freedom. The same day, the Parliament will launch the second edition of the Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for Journalism to reward outstanding journalistic work reflecting EU values.
Rule of law
On Tuesday, MEPs will debate the latest events regarding democracy and fundamental rights in Hungary and Poland, and the EU’s action to protect its shared values. Despite the deterioration of the situation in both countries over the last few years, the Council has avoided holding a vote to determine whether there is “a clear risk of a serious breach” of the EU’s common values, the next step in the procedure set out in Article 7. MEPs are likely to urge the French Presidency of the Council to move forward.
On Wednesday morning, MEPs will discuss how to deal with the social and economic consequences for the EU of Russia’s war in Ukraine with the Council and Commission, and how to reinforce the EU’s capacity to act. On Tuesday afternoon, they will debate the impact of the war on the EU’s transport and tourism sectors, as well as the EU’s preparedness for cyber-attacks.
Future of Europe
As the Conference on the Future of Europe approaches its conclusion, MEPs will assess its Plenary’s recommendations and the overall process in a debate on Tuesday afternoon. They are expected to stress that the process to change the EU’s founding documents should be activated in order to endow the EU with the competencies to act on the proposed new policy areas.