Brussels (Brussels Morning) This week, as the world celebrates International Women’s Day, the European Parliament gathers in plenary sitting to debate and vote on a range of issues including the parliamentary immunity status of former Catalan leader Carles Puidgemont, the carbon border adjustment mechanism, the EU4Health programme and the official declaration of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
On Monday, the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) will vote to lift the parliamentary immunity of the former Catalan leader, Carles Puidgemont and two of his countrymen — Antoni Colmin and Clara Ponsati. If MEPs vote to waive the trio’s immunity, Spanish authorities will re-institute the European Arrest Warrant to extradite the three politicians and bring them to trial. However, a Belgian judge must first approve the extradition request before the Spanish authorities can extradite Piedgemont.
Carbon border adjustment
On the same day, MEPs in the Environment and Health Committee (ENVI) will debate the EU proposal for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). The Parliament is calling for the introduction of a CBAM as part of a broader EU industrial strategy in order to reduce the risk of carbon leakage. MEPs have analysed aspects relating to the design and scope of a CBAM, and its possible contribution to the financing of the EU budget. They will vote on the CBAM on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, the Parliament will debate and cast a final vote on the 5.1 billion euros EU4Health programme for 2021-2027. The programme is intended to make EU health systems more resilient by helping them address cross-border health threats and making medicines and medical devices more widely available, accessible and affordable. On Tuesday as well, the activities of the EU ombudsman will be analysed with European Ombudsman chief Emily O’Reilly participating.
Conference on the Future of Europe
On Wednesday, the Parliament will formally sign the joint declaration on the Conference on the Future of Europe. The occasion will mark the launch of a process designed to enable citizens to participate in reshaping EU policies and institutions and to address challenges, while helping strengthen the European concept.
Wednesday afternoon will see MEPs debating attempts by Polish, Hungarian and Slovenian authorities to silence independent media. Council and Commission representatives will be in attendance. In recent weeks, journalists have faced direct and personal threats on social media from the Slovenia’s Prime Minister, Janez Jansa.
Recovery and Resilience Plans
On Thursday, Parliament will debate the Recovery and Resilience Plans and how to ensure good governance of the budget provisions with Council and Commission representatives. The facility was put forward to help mitigate the risk of divergences in both economic and social conditions within the euro area and the EU.
The parliamentary debate will also feature discussions on the long-term vision for rural areas and an evaluation of the geo-blocking regulation, a law that addresses the problem of customers not being able to buy goods and services from traders located in different member states for reasons related to their nationality, place of residence or establishment.