The State of the Union speech will take center stage of parliamentary proceedings this week, but there’s plenty of meat on the fire. This week’s schedule covers a wide range of domestic and foreign issues, listed below. You
State of the Union. Jean-Claude Juncker, European Comission’s President, is delivering his speech on the future of the EU at 9 AM on Wednesday. It will be followed by a parliamentary debate where the group leaders are to outline their priorities and question Mr Juncker on topics like jobs creation, economic recovery, social agenda, migration reduction, and protection of EU citizens against foreign and domestic threats.
EU-Turkey relations. MEPs will discuss on Tuesday, together with Federica Mogherini, how the events have been unfolding in Turkey after concerns in July about the Turkish accession talks. It is likely that MEPs call the EU to suspend accession talks, although the vote on the matter is not taking place until October.
North Korea. Kim’s regime will be another topic of Ms. Mogherini’s agenda on Tuesday. There will be a debate on the consequences of the latest nuclear and ballistic drills.
Free WIFI4EU. This project will be debated and voted on Tuesday. It entails 5,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots to be set up in public spaces across the EU, together with a single authentication system for EU citizens to be granted access to the scheme.
Securing gas supply. Members facing a gas shortage will rely on their neighbours under the new solidarity rules. Debate and vote will be held on Tuesday.
Access to products and services. The old and the disabled will be facilitated access to key products and services like telephones and cash machines. Debate on Wednesday, vote on Thursday.
Climate protection through forestry. Forests absorb CO2, thus cutting greenhouse gases, and tackling climate change. Plans to boost forests will be voted on Wednesday.
Egg scandal. MEPs will quiz the Commission and the Council on measures taken so far to ensure food safety, following the Fipronil scandal. They will also discuss how to improve the EU’s rapid alert system for food and feed. Debate on Tuesday.
Arms control. Members must ensure that their arms export control decisions are consistent and comply with EU law, MEPs say in a draft resolution. They also consider an EU supervisory body to close current loopholes. Debate on Tuesday, vote on Wednesday.
Special committee on counter-terrorism. Some MEPs will be short-listed to form the 30-strong special committee on counter-terrorism (TERR) on Tuesday. Its first meeting is scheduled for Thursday.
President’s diary. EP President Antonio Tajani will open the Parliament’s plenary session on Monday at 17.00 and address the plenary on Tuesday at 12.30. In the evening, Tajani will answer citizens’ questions in a facebook video live chat on the State of the Union, starting at 18.30. To round off the week, the President will chair the State of the Union debate on Wednesday morning.
Pre-session press briefing. The EP Press Service will hold the weekly press briefing at 16.30 on Monday. (EP Press conference room, Strasbourg).
Article by Samuel Ranz