Brussels (Brussels Morning) This week, the European Parliament assembles for a plenary session in Strasbourg that will feature debates on the European food systems — the Farm to Fork strategy —, the rule of law crisis in Poland and expectations about the upcoming EU summit. MEPs are also set to discuss the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the Pandora Papers and how to address loopholes in the tax system, plus issues of transparency in relation to vaccine contracts.
On Monday, the Parliament reviews developments in the overall Farm-to-Fork (F2F) strategy. MEPs are expected to announce plans for Europe to produce healthy, animal-friendly, high quality food on a more sustainable basis. The aim is to ensure that the increase in nutritious food meets demands for food security and a fair income for farmers yet also reduces agriculture’s environmental footprint. MEPs are likely to call for increased investment in research and innovation, a key to attaining the sustainability goals of the European Green Deal and the F2F strategy.
Following the recent outcomes of the top Polish court’s deliberations, whereby Warsaw is refraining from abiding by EU law, MEPs on Tuesday will discuss the Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling with Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki and Commission President von der Leyen. The Socialists have pledged to call on the Commission to trigger the rule of law conditionality mechanism as a matter of urgency and to open new infringement proceedings against Poland for breaching the Treaty.
On Wednesday, MEPs will discuss with the Commission and the Slovenian Presidency, their expectations for the 21-22 October European Council, which focuses on COVID-19, the EU’s Digital Strategy, rising energy costs and migration issues.
Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, which kicks off on 31 October, MEPs are set to push for accelerated climate action worldwide and for the EU to remain a global example in combating climate change. MEPs are likely to call for the phasing out of fossil fuels and to endorse the G7 commitment to end subsidies for unabated coal use by the end of 2021.
After another set of revelations about large-scale tax evasion thanks to the work of a consortium of journalists, the Parliament is to discuss measures to tackle this financial scourge on Thursday. They will pursue urgent steps to close the loopholes that allowed the massive money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance uncovered in the Pandora Papers investigation. The same day, MEPs will also discuss the G20/OECD global tax agreement.
EU vaccine policies
Also on Thursday, MEPs will state their demands to the Commission for a more transparent approach to vaccine development, purchasing and distribution. The initiative comes from the Petitions Committee and follows an inquiry by the EU Ombudsman into the opaque handling of the Commission’s COVID-19 vaccine contracts.