Brussels (Brussels Morning) This week, the European Parliament convenes during committee meetings to discuss EU trade interests, the Pegasus spyware scandal and the state of COVID-19 vaccination, including the current epidemiological situation in the Union. MEPs will also discuss an adequate response to the migration crisis and legislative initiatives to combat gender-based violence. Parliament will also exchange views on the common charger initiative for electronic devices and on the protection of animal welfare during transport.
EU trade interests
On Monday, the International Trade Committee votes on the creation of an international procurement instrument to encourage the EU’s trading partners to enable reciprocal market access for public procurement. The EU has opened up its public procurement markets to third countries to a large degree, yet many of them have not granted the EU comparable access.
On Monday, the Civil Liberties Committee will debate the Pegasus spyware scandal with Laurent Richard (Forbidden Stories, winner of the 2021 Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize), Etienne Maynier (Amnesty International’s Security Lab), and the European Data Protection Supervisor Wojciech Wiewiórowski.
On Tuesday, the Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Emer Cooke, will discuss the latest developments in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign with the Environment and Public Health Committee. This will include reviews, authorisations for paediatric use and boosters. The EMA chief will also address recent developments around COVID-19 therapeutics and the general epidemiological situation, taking into account the fact that the new Omicron variant has now been detected in the EU.
Screening of asylum-seekers
On Tuesday, the Civil Liberties Committee will begin legislative work on two asylum and migration proposals. One will cover new procedures to facilitate speedier allow determination at EU external borders as to whether an asylum-seeker should be refused entry, returned, or referred to the EU’s asylum system. In the second instance, the committee will begin work on a new instrument to tackle migration crises in one or more EU countries.
On Tuesday, the Women’s Rights and the Civil Liberties Committees will adopt a legislative initiative calling for a directive to establish minimum rules concerning the definition of the crime of gender-based cyber-violence and related sanctions, including new measures to promote prevention of the crime, while ensuring justice and support for victims.
On Wednesday, the Internal Market Committee will have its first exchange of views on the proposal for a common charger for electronic devices, something that has been long requested by Parliament. The proposal requires that mobile phones and similar devices, such as tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, that are recharged using a wired cable, should be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of the device brand.
Animal welfare during transport
On Thursday, the Committee of Inquiry on the Protection of Animals during Transport is to conclude the work it started in June 2020. It will adopt its main findings on alleged violations in the application of EU rules on the protection of animals during transport, within and outside the EU. The Committee is also expected to vote on draft recommendations to strengthen current rules.
Union for the Mediterranean
On Friday and Saturday, Parliament will hold the 16th Plenary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean, bringing together MEPs and parliamentarians from the Mediterranean countries. The occasion will kick off with remarks by Parliament President Sassoli. EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell and Jordan’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Ayman Al Safadi, are among the speakers expected to take the floor.