Green supporters received a boost during the European Parliament plenary session between 15-18 January in Strasbourg after positive outcomes in a raft of environmental initiatives focusing on energy and water.
The plenary kicked off with the discussions on the clean energy package, which targets the phasing out of fossil fuels as agreed under the Paris Agreement and the creation of an Energy Union. The plenary vote on 17 January supported the proposed amendments and creates a renewable and energy efficiency target of 35%, and a governance proposal to monitor progress until 2030.
Proud that we made the @Europarl_EN great again! After the appalling deal of the @EUCouncil, today's vote shows there is still hope for #renewables #energyefficiency and #climate in Europe! #CleanEnergyEU #EnergyUnion @pepeblancoEP @PocheMEP @MicheleRivasi— Claude Turmes (@ClaudeTurmes) January 17, 2018
Next steps for the three files include trilogue discussions with the EU Council and Commission. Greens/EFA MEPs Bas Eickhout, Claude Turmes and Michele Rivasi will enter the talks as part of the European Parliament negotiating team. Trilogues are expected to start in February.
Responding to the strong backing of the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive, Greens/EFA shadow rapporteur Benedek Jávor said energy efficiency is a “crucial part of the puzzle” for meeting the Paris climate agreement, which, he added, was “crucial to citizens’ health and to keeping energy bills down for citizens and businesses.”
Other items on the agenda during the plenary included a vote to ban oil and gas exploration in or near marine protected areas, the publishing of the EU's Plastics Strategy 2018 to restrict the use of certain single-use plastic items, and the setting up of a committee to analyse and assess the authorisation procedure for pesticides, following the glyphosate scandal. In a tweet, German MEP Sven Giegold said the Glyphosate committee was a “huge success”.
BREAKING! Just decided: The European Parliament will install a special committee to investigate the doubtful authorisation of #Glyphosate. This is a huge success for more transparency and less lobby driven decision making in Europe!— Sven Giegold (@sven_giegold) January 18, 2018
In another development, with support of the Greens/EFA group, the European Parliament called for a ban on pulse fishing through the adoption of a report on the conservation of fishery resources.
Good news! The #EuropeanParliament has voted to ban #ElectricPulseFishing ⚡️ The "barbaric technique" involves sending a current of electricity to the seabed, disturbing fish and propelling them into the nets 🐟 https://t.co/P8i1nZQt0s pic.twitter.com/JNRpTDluQB— European Greens (@europeangreens) January 17, 2018
The plenary also marked the occasion for Bulgaria to present its priorities as it initiates its term leading the EU’s rotating Council presidency. According to Bulgaria, key topics are safeguarding the future of the Eurozone with a focus on youth, the western Balkans and their connectivity to other Member States, security and stability with focus on migration, and the digital economy. However, media coverage focused on comments by Greens/EFA Co-President Ska Keller who criticised the country’s record on corruption and drew attention to mass protests in Bulgaria over construction in a protected area of Pirin National Park.
Today our co-president @SkaKeller urged Bulgarian Prime Minister @boykoBorissov & @EU2018BG to take the fight against corruption in #Bulgaria and the EU seriously. #SavePirin pic.twitter.com/26N76VcoR5— Greens in the EP (@GreensEP) January 17, 2018
In another Green success, MEP Linnéa Engström drafted a report recognising that climate change is not gender neutral and affects women disproportionately because of traditional social and gender roles. The report was supported by a majority vote in plenary.
Such an important vote!! The @Europarl_EN has this week recognised that #climatechange affects women, children and indigenous people disproportionately.— Greens in the EP (@GreensEP) January 19, 2018
Listen to the speech of our MEP @LinneaEngstrom on the need for #climatejustice NOW! pic.twitter.com/KDzzBw9Pd5
The next plenary session is scheduled to take place between 5-8 February and will include the nominal composition of the special committee on the Union’s authorisation procedure for pesticides.