EU Policy. Final plenary and farmers: Newsletter

Plenary Copyright EP
Copyright EP
By Gerardo FortunaEuronews
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This week's key events presented by senior health and food reporter Gerardo Fortuna

Key diary dates


Tuesday 23 April: 'Healthy cities, healthy people: Pathways for clean air in the EU’s urban environments', conference held under the auspices of the Belgian EU Presidency.

Wednesday 24 April: MEPs debate money laundering reforms during last plenary session of theEuropean Parliament.

Friday 26 April: MEPs to vote on CAP reforms designed to lighten bureaucratic burden for farmers during final session of the final plenary. 

In spotlight

The curtain will fall on the European Parliament this week in Strasbourg following the last plenary of the legislative term.

MEPs will be stretched to secure final green-lights for outstanding files – although much unfinished business will remain before a new Parliament takes office after EU elections.

Two votes that appeared to be a done deal started showing a few cracks last week.

The first concerns agriculture – in a perfect epilogue to this mandate – with the CAP simplification package proposed by the Commission in late February to mollify protesting farmers.

We've reported that to approve this modification of the EU’s farming subsidies, MEPs will need to abjure their prerogative and vote through the text agreed by the EU Council with no amendments, failing which the paper will pass forward to the next Parliament.

More than thirty amendments have been tabled however, some of which, by the Greens, mischievously cite pledges in the European People’s Party (EPP) manifesto – to test the resolve of the main supporters of the simplification package. Two other amendments emanate from the Socialist group – which can tip the balance – and 15 more from the Left.

The Parliament majority in favour of the package should hold, but the risk of approving one amendment, even by accident, remains.

Also showing the potential for eleventh-hour drama is another key file on the European Health Data Space (EHDS). An influential network on digital rights (EDRi) put together a mass mailing campaign targeting MEPs asking them to vote against the political deal with the EU ministers on this file.

Just four months ago, the Parliament voted to open negotiations with the EU Council with 516 in favour and, although the trilogue hasn’t gone the MEPs' way, it seems unlikely that such a solid majority in support of the policy disappeared so soon.

MEPs' unpredictable behaviour always spices up the last plenary, however, since some won’t run for another term, checking their loyalty to party politics, and incentivising them to vote with their conscience.

Let’s see if there will be more surprises.

Policy newsmakers

Draghi and Letta
Draghi and LettaEuronews

Italian reports

Two former Italian prime ministers were in Brussels last week delivering messages. Enrico Letta presented his report on the functioning of the single market, whose details were trailed by Euronews, and which included a focus on health. Meanwhile Mario Draghi delivered a speech previewing the report on competitiveness which he is preparing for June this year. His performance drew speculation surrounding his potential as a nominee, amongst others, for the presidency of the Commission later this year.

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Critical raw materials: how the EU hopes to secure a key element of the energy transition - focus

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