Crisis, development and budget

The works of the plenary meeting of June 14-17

The plenary sitting of the European Parliament held June 14-17 broached numerous issues: some of a more "practical" nature (street safety, food labels, bluefin tuna catch, natural disaster and flood prevention) along with "internal" questions (EU budget reform) and issues linked to the EU policy on the international scenario (which includes economic crisis response, financial regulation, preparations for the G20 and the EU Millennium Development Goals summit in September, the situation in Gaza and the partnership with the Russian Federation). MEPs also addressed more delicate issues such as human rights in the world and "gender disparity". Economic governance, crisis and exit strategy. MEPs debated and voted proposals with a view towards Brussels, where the EU27 summit was held June 17. The Parliament was called for June 23rd for a brief special session with only one item on the agenda: "The Conclusions of the European Council – Council and Commission Declarations". In consideration of last weeks’ summit of the heads of Government and State the EP took a firm stand on the need to carry out true European governance and a strong strategy to revive growth through investment, research, innovation and employment. The reform of "economic governance is critical to Europe’s capacity to handle future crises and is central to the success of the Europe 2020 growth and employment strategy" adopted June 17 by the heads of Government and State Council. MEPs called to include "concrete objectives" in the Strategy, such as setting aside 3% of GDP for Research and Development, along with "binding regulations for the reduction of greenhouse gases" and cutting EU poverty by 50%. Millennium objectives: lights and shadows. The European Parliament urged the EU to undertake strong commitments to get the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) back on track. Also in this case EU27 Member States’ leaders reached a common stand during the summit. In a resolution adopted by the Assembly Member States are called to allocate funding to 8 priority MDG fields. "The EU is way below the 0.56% 2010 GDP target and there is a concrete risk that MDG won’t be respected (reducing hunger, full primary education, eliminating gender disparity and health-related issues). Rapporteur Michael Cashman, recalled the question of climate-change, "alleviating the debt on developing countries", and "cracking down on tax havens". The document – which passed with 353 ayes, 206 noes and 75 abstentions), specifies that "Policies on voluntary family planning, safe abortion, treatment of sexual transmitted infections and provision of reproductive health supplies made up of life-saving drugs and contraceptives, including condoms" should be supported by the Member States and by the Commission. EU budgetary and financial framework. The plenary sitting created a special Committee "to prepare the EU’s next long-term budget". Starting in July 2010, this committee could define Parliament’s budget priorities and propose how the EU budget should be financed in the future. The Committee would manage EU budgetary resources and define funding recipients after 2014 (the current "financial perspective" covers the period 2007-2013). The proposed committee would work on “the policy challenges and budgetary resources for a sustainable European Union after 2013" and have a set of main tasks: define Parliament’s priorities for EU’s next long-term budget framework, in both political and budgetary terms; estimate how much money the EU will need to achieve its objectives and
define the duration of the next long-term budget framework (this has traditionally been seven years, but MEPs want to adjust it to match the mandates of the Parliament and the Commission); verify the "headings" of the EU budget. The EP committee would present the results of its work in a report, to be approved by Parliament before July 2011, when the Commission is to present its proposal for the next multiannual financial framework".

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