Brussels (Brussels Morning) The European Parliament convenes in Strasbourg this week, for the second plenary session since COVID-19 hit. The week’s agenda will feature a debate and vote on the prevention of online sexual exploitation of children, a discussion with Prime Minister Janez Janša about Slovenia’s six-month term as President of the Council, plus a review of rule of law issues.
During the plenary session, Parliament is expected to move on adopting inter-regional infrastructure projects, reinforcing the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and addressing the situation in Hungary about LGBTIQ rights.
Child sexual abuse online
To open the week, MEPs from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on Monday will debate and vote on a temporary regulation permitting providers of web-based email, chats and messaging services voluntarily to detect, remove and report child sexual abuse online.
The legislation envisages the use of scanned technologies to detect cyber grooming to help counter and prevent sexual exploitation of children online.
This temporary derogation to the e-Privacy legislation will apply for no more than three years, and less should new permanent rules on tackling child sexual abuse online be agreed in the interim.
Slovenia’s Council Presidency
Having bade farewell to the Council’s Portuguese Presidency at the end of June, MEPs hear from PM Janez Janša on Tuesday morning about the priorities for the new Slovenian Presidency, which runs through the end of 2021.
Slovenia’s tenure is expected to focus on the timely implementation of the Next Generation EU stimulus package, on facilitating the adoption of national recovery plans, the Conference on the Future of Europe and on measures to promote the Rule of Law.
Rule of law
In order to protect EU funds from being misused by EU governments, MEPs on Tuesday will discuss and review guidelines the Commission is developing about how to apply the EU Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism. Voting will follow on Wednesday, with the official results to be declared the day after.
Trans-EU infrastructure projects
On Wednesday, MEPs from the Industry (ITRE) and Transport (TRAN) Committees are set to adopt, the 30 billion euro upgrade of the Connecting Europe Facility programme. Running from 2021 to 2027, the programme will fund transport, energy and digital projects while ensuring that essential trans-European projects are completed on schedule by 2030.
The TRAN Committee will also discuss how to streamline measures for the realisation of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) in order to close gaps, remove bottlenecks and reinforce social cohesion within the EU.
European Medicines Agency
Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) convenes to throw its support behind a reinforced EMA, on Wednesday.
The aim is to extend the EMA’s mandate so that the agency is better equipped to deal with crises and to manage medicinal products and medical devices, based on the lessons learned from the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Planned improvements include a new European medicines supply database, to address medicines’ shortages, and better coordination and transparency with regard to clinical trials.
LGBTIQ rights in Hungary
On Wednesday, MEPs will look into potential breaches of EU law, in particular those concerning the rights of LGBTIQ citizens in Hungary. The debate follows the recent anti-LGBTIQ law imposed in Hungary which is viewed as contrary to EU concepts of integration.
Parliament is set to ask both the Council and the Commission what they plan to do in order to protect the rights of children and LGBTIQ persons in Hungary. MEPs are also expected to inquire further about the Council hearings into issues to do with the rule of law in Hungary and Poland, which were held on 22 June.