Parliaments

Week ahead in the European Parliament

Anti-Brexit demonstrators in London Image copyright Getty Images

MEPs head to Strasbourg this week for their final plenary sitting before the summer recess.

With the next full session not due until September, there are votes galore on a range of advisory reports and new legislation.

Malta has formally handed over the EU presidency baton to Estonia, whose prime minister will join MEPs on Wednesday to debate his country's plans.

There will be votes on prolonging the lifetime of one parliamentary committee and potentially creating another.

This will also be the first plenary sitting since Theresa May published the UK's offer to EU citizens on their rights after Brexit.

Read on for a more detailed run-down of the main events this week…

Monday

The day kicks off with the day's main debate, on an €100m EU economic aid package for Moldova.

Under a deal recently agreed with national ministers, the country will get €60m in loans and €40m in grants.

Moldova - which is part of the EU's Eastern Partnership programme - has seen its economy hit in recent years after political instability.

A huge banking scandal in 2014 saw the EU and the IMF suspend financial support, although this resumed last year.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Plans to change the voting system sparked protests in Moldova last month

There will also be a debate on EU action to combat HIV, drug-resistant tuberculosis and Hepatitis C.

Members of the public health committee are pushing for the EU to adopt a combined action plan for tackling the epidemics.

The evening will see short debates on remaining advisory reports coming up through the committees.

This month's crop includes recommendations for an EU-wide definition of precarious work, and suggestions for more stringent rules for hiring private security companies.

Tuesday

The day will begin with a review of the Maltese presidency, followed by discussion of new EU tax transparency rules for multinationals.

The EU Commission wants to force large firms to publicly disclose their tax receipts on a country-by-country basis, with some exceptions for commercially sensitive information.

MEPs back the scheme - and may vote for exemptions to be time-limited.

They will take an initial position on the new law at lunchtime - but they have not yet entered talks with national ministers, whose approval will be needed to pass it.

Also on the menu during a busy voting session are new tariff-free quotas for Ukrainian agricultural imports, and EU aid for retraining redundant miners in Spain.

MEPs will be asked to approve the elevation of one of their own, by formally backing the appointment of current MEP Mariya Gabriel as the new commissioner for Bulgaria.

Her predecessor, the Budget Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, resigned from the EU Commission last year to take a job at the World Bank.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mariya Gabriel is due to take charge of EU digital strategy

They will also vote on whether to extend the lifetime of the inquiry committee into the Panama Papers scandal - which was originally supposed to deliver its final report last month.

Also watch out for a vote on a report from the budgets committee on how the left-overs from last year's EU budget should be divvied out to member states.

The draft text contains a call for the weakening of the pound against the euro to be included in calculations over the UK's EU exit bill, blaming the drop as the "main cause" of a €1.5bn reduction in the EU's income last year.

The afternoon will see an initial debate on the EU Commission's legislative plans for next year, and recent proposals for a European defence fund.

MEPs will also debate a recent paper from the Commission mapping out options for the EU budget after Brexit.

It comes after the current budget commissioner recently said that the UK's departure would leave a will leave a cash shortfall of at least €10bn.

After rumination over the long-term prospects for the budget, they will also discuss their likely position on spending in 2018.

On Wednesday, they will adopt their negotiating mandate for budget talks with national ministers due later this year.

In the evening they will debate an EU co-operation agreement with Cuba, which also faces a ratification vote the next day.

Wednesday

The day begins with a debate on last month's EU leaders' summit in Brussels, with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker due to attend.

The meeting saw Theresa May unveil her offer to EU citizens in the UK after Brexit - a matter which MEPs have put front and centre in the early stages of negotiations.

The starting positions of both sides contain much common ground, but some thorny issues such as how rights are enforced remain to be settled.

MEPs will then debate Estonia's plans for its EU presidency with the country's prime minister, Jüri Ratas.

As well as adopting a position on the budget, at the lunchtime voting round MEPs will also approve a motion setting out their legislative wish-list for next year.

Turkey's stalled EU membership bid will be the main focus of the afternoon sitting.

The debate comes before a vote on Thursday on a draft report from the Foreign Affairs Committee which is heavily critical of the government's crackdown after the failed coup last year.

The draft says accession talks should be "formally suspended" if new constitutional changes increasing the president's powers are "implemented unchanged".

The European Parliament has previously called for accession talks to be temporarily frozen over the government's actions.

The rest of the afternoon will see debates on a new EU sustainability fund to finance development projects in African and Middle Eastern countries.

MEPs will also debate way to boost development in the EU's "outermost regions" such as the Canary Islands and Madeira.

They will also debate whether the European Parliament should be based in a single city.

Most MEPs are keen to avoid the cost and associated bad PR of the monthly shuttle to Strasbourg, but the required treaty change is still opposed by France.

In the evening, they will debate EU assistance to Spain and Portugal after recent forest fires.

Thursday

The final day begins with a debate on changes to EU copyright rules designed to make it easier for blind and visually impaired people to get access to books.

The changes are designed to implement commitments made by the EU when it signed up to the Marrakesh Treaty in 2014.

The new rules will make it possible for accessible versions of published works to be made available across the EU without prior permission from rights-holders.

The formats - such as books in Braille - would be made available to visually impaired people or authorised organisations such as blind persons' organisations and libraries.

MEPs have agreed a deal on the new rules with national ministers, which they will put to a final vote later in the morning.

After this they will debate this month's three motions on topical human rights cases - this time covering Burundi, Eritrea and China.

The voting session will see a vote on whether to set up a special temporary committee to assess the effectiveness of EU anti-terror policies.

A new committee is backed by the centre-right EPP and liberal ALDE groups, but opposed by the centre-left S&D and far-left GUE groups.

S&D leader Gianni Pittella has said setting up a new committee makes "absolutely no sense" and will simply duplicate work and waste money.

Please note: This agenda is subject to modification at the opening of the session on Monday afternoon.

A guide to how the European Parliament's plenary sessions can be found here.

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