Brussels (Brussels Morning) This week, the European Parliament’s plenary resumes in Strasbourg, where MEPs are set to deliberate and vote on Belarus, national recovery plans, the EU COVID-19 certificates, G7 and EU-US summits, and the EU’s biodiversity strategy for 2030. Winding up debates from May’s plenary, MEPs will vote on the proposal to waive patent rights for COVID-19 vaccines and the phasing out of cages in livestock farming.
On Tuesday, MEPs will debate with the European Commission and the Council, the systematic repression in Belarus and the implications and consequences for European security. The discussion follows the abductions of Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega, from an EU civilian flight that was intercepted by Belarusian authorities and forced to land in Minsk.
Parliament will vote on the EU’s response to this unprecedented incident on Thursday after discussions with Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell.
National recovery plans
Also on Tuesday, MEPs will discuss with the Commission and the Councilwhether the national recovery plans submitted by member states are in line with the six priority policy areas defined by the Commission.
In order to be eligible for financing, EU countries were encouraged to focus on the green transition, digital transformation, competitiveness, social cohesion, institutional crisis-reaction and preparedness, and the next generation, including education and skills.
All 27 EU countries have now ratified the Own Resources Decision, a necessary step to allow the Commission to start borrowing from capital markets.
On Wednesday, MEPs are set to give their final approval to COVID-19 certificates, which are expected to ease travel within the EU during the pandemic and help boost economic recovery. The certificate will attest to the holder having been vaccinated, having recovered from the virus or recently having had a negative test.
According to the Commission, seven member states — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland — are currently issuing certificates.
COVID-19 vaccines IP waivers
Parliament will resume discussions on COVID-19 vaccines IP waivers on Wednesday, when MEPs will vote on the EU’s decision to ask the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines. The consideration follows a debate during the May session, when MEPs broadly approved the suspension of patents on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.
During the parliamentary session, MEPs will debate the effects of waiving the WTO TRIPS agreement on COVID-19 vaccines, treatment, equipment and increasing production and manufacturing capacity in developing countries.
G7 and EU-US Summits
On Wednesday, MEPs will discuss their expectations for the upcoming G7 summit that takes place in the UK on 11-13 June, and the EU-US summit, scheduled for 15 June, which is expected to address issues like tackling COVID-19, climate change, Russia and Belarus.
Debating the new 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee is expected to call for 30% of the EU’s land and sea to be designated protected areas when it meets on Monday. MEPs are set to further their demands for binding targets on urban biodiversity, such as green roofs on new buildings, and for urgent action to stop the population decline of bees and other pollinators. Voting takes place on Tuesday.
Phasing out cages in animal farming
On Thursday, responding to the European citizens’ initiative “End the Cage Age”, MEPs will debate and vote on gradually ending the use of cages in livestock farming, based on a species-by-species approach that would take into account the characteristics of different animals.