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Parliamentary Highlights

This is for people who want more information on actual reports/legislation going through the Parliament.

For further details visit the Press Service section of the European Parliament website

Preview of Strasbourg Session (25 - 28 September 2006)

MEPs return to Strasbourg for what appears to be a particularly full agenda for the second plenary session of September. Topics on the packed agenda include: Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria, Darfur, air quality, immigration, freedom security and justice, the discharge of the EP budget, teaching of foreign languages, the removal of shark fins, fish-stocks in the North Sea, EU-India relations and nanosciences and nanotechnologies.

The plenary will be suspended on Wednesday 27 September at 5.30pm to welcome the Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad SINIORA who will address an open Conference of Presidents meeting in the hemicycle Chamber. Prime Minister Siniora and President Borrell will hold a joint press conference at 7.00pm on Wednesday 27 September 2006.

The House will also hear from the President of Liberia - Mrs Ellen JOHNSON-SIRLEAF. The President of Liberia and President Borrell will hold a joint press conference at 12.30pm on Tuesday 26 September 2006.

On Monday evening, MEPs in the Foreign Affairs and Development Committees will whittle down the candidates for the 2006 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from ten to a short list of three candidates. The Conference of Presidents will select the single prize-winner in October.

Monday 25 September 2006

The major themes for Monday are environment and education. MEPs will debate and vote on two reports by the Environment Committee calling for more ambitious targets for air quality and atmospheric pollution in Europe. However, the committee is also urging greater flexibility in the legislation to enable Member States to adapt to the stricter standards.

As to education, Christopher BEAZLEY's (EPP-ED, UK) report focuses on appropriate teaching materials including the European dimension in the national school curricula. MEPs in the Culture and Education Committee acknowledge that it is difficult, in particular for those whose mother tongue is English, to maintain sufficient interest and motivation in becoming proficient in other European languages.

Monday also sees MEPs debating the discharge of the EP budget for 2004 where MEPs are likely to closely scrutinise the purchase of the Winston Churchill and Salvador de Madariaga buildings in Strasbourg.

Tuesday 26 September 2006

Tuesday starts off with a debate on services of general interest. Commission President José Manuel BARROSO will take part in the debate. Parliament will discuss to what extent EU rules should affect the way in which public services are provided in the Member States when it considers a report calling for greater legal certainty on the issue.

On Tuesday at midday, the President of Liberia - Mrs Ellen JOHNSON-SIRLEAF will formally address the House.

Tuesday afternoon is dedicated to enlargement. Firstly, MEPs will debate the accession of Bulgaria and Romania. Olli REHN, Enlargement Commissioner, will formally announce on the same day (26 September 2006) the Commission's latest position on the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU with the release of its latest monitoring reports on the two countries.

Immediately after, Parliament turns its attention to Turkey. The Foreign Affairs Committee will be tabling a report welcoming the start of the EU's accession talks with Turkey and stating that Parliament remains firmly committed to accession as the goal of the negotiations. However, it adds that major reforms are still needed and expresses regret that Turkey's reform process has slowed down.

In the evening, the House will focus on the latest developments in the Galileo programme (European satellite navigation system)

Wednesday 27 September 2006

Wednesday morning starts off with the set-piece joint debate on area freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) and secondly immigration. The debate is based on an oral question to the Council and Commission. The oral question stresses that the Amsterdam Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights must become the core of an AFSJ in the European Union. On immigration, MEPs are likely to focus on the influxes of illegal immigrants at the EU's border regions, particularly the Canary Islands but also Malta, Italy (notably the island of Lampedusa), Greece and Cyprus.

Wednesday afternoon kicks off with a debate on the deepening crisis in Darfur. MEPs will also vote on a resolution on the subject on Thursday.

Also in the afternoon, Saijad KARIM (ALDE, UK) will lead the debate on his wide-ranging report on EU-India relations. The report calls on the EU to support India's international trade potential as well as efforts to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in particular by stepping up trade-related aid to address infrastructure and administrative bottlenecks.

Parliament will then turn its attention to the removal of shark fins on board vessels. MEPs congratulate the Commission on its report and encourage it to continue monitoring the application of the regulation. However, they regret that not all Member States are monitoring their vessels as required or forwarding the mandatory reports.

The House will also debate the exploitation of plaice and sole stocks in the North Sea. The Fisheries Committee says that the Council should decide, by qualified majority on the basis of a proposal from the Commission, on the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for a period of three years (as opposed to the following year) for the stocks of plaice and sole in the North Sea.

Thursday 28 September 2006

The House tackles the important topic of nanosciences and nanotechnologies. The Industry Committee welcomes an action plan by the European Commission for a safe, integrated and responsible strategy for nanosciences and nanotechnologies for the period 2005-2009. MEPs believe nanotechnologies can help address needs such as public health, energy and transport, and contribute to the EU's competitiveness and sustainable development goals.

Also on Thursday, MEPs will debate and vote on patents as well as the recent Europe-Asia summit held in Helsinki.

•  Plenary Highlights 3 - 6 July 2006
•  Plenary Highlights 3 - 6 April 2006
•  Plenary Highlights 13 - 16 March 2006
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 1 - 2 February 2006
•  Plenary Highlights 16 - 19 January 2006
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 12 - 13 October 2005
•  Plenary Highlights 5 - 8 September 2005
•  Plenary Highlights 4 - 8 July 2005
•  Plenary Highlights 9 - 12 May 2005
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 25th & 26th April 2005
•  Plenary Highlights 7 - 10 March 2005
•  Plenary Highlights 10 - 13 January 2005
•  Plenary Highlights 15 - 18 November 2004
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 13 - 14 October 2004
•  Plenary Highlights 13-16 September 2004
•  Plenary Highlights 29 March - 1 April 2004
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 25-26 February 2004
•  Plenary Highlights 9-12 February 2004
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 28-29 January 2004
•  Plenary Highlights 12-15 January 2004
  •  Plenary Highlights 17-20 November 2003
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 5-6 November 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 20-23 October 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 22-25 September 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 1-4 September 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 30 June - 3 July 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 2-5 June 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 12-15 May 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 7-10 April 2003
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 26-27 March 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 10-13 March 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 10-13 February 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 13-16 January 2003
•  Plenary Highlights 17-20 December 2002
•  Plenary Highlights 18-21 November 2002
•  "Mini" Plenary Highlights 6-7 November 2002
•  Plenary Highlights 21-24 October 2002
•  Plenary Highlights 23-26 September 2002
•  Plenary Highlights 2-7 September 2002