Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) met in the Chambers in Strasbourg between 5-8 February for the monthly plenary session. Among the highlights were a revision of the Emissions Trading System, the setting up of a new committee to investigate Glyphosate, and a high-profile campaign aimed at ending Female Genital Mutilation.
MEPs also rejected transnational lists in a parliamentary vote, and were addressed in parliament by the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).
Emissions Trading System (ETS) revision - better, but not good enough
Green MEP Bas Eickhout applauded new measures allowing EU governments to shut down coal plants without having to pass the CO2 on to other sectors as part of a revision to the Emissions Trading System. But, he said, it fell far short of “bringing us anywhere near the level needed to meet our Paris climate agreement commitments," adding that “until the cost of CO2 reflects the damage reaped upon the climate, the ETS will never drive the rapid transition we need.”
Thanks to the insistence of @GreensEP and MEP @BasEickhout EU governments can now shut down coal plants without having to pass the CO2 on to other sectors through the Emissions Trading System 👏 https://t.co/WQVPXbVTPp pic.twitter.com/u4BkVPSZY1
— European Greens (@europeangreens) February 6, 2018
Glyphosate renewal probe – doubling down
A more objective analysis of the impact of Glyphosate on Europe’s food industry is now set to take place following the naming of a special committee on pesticides. For the Greens, Michele Rivasi, Bart Staes, Maria Heubuch, and European Green Party Committee Member Thomas Waitz will be taking the lead.
— Greens in the EP (@GreensEP) February 8, 2018
End Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – NOW!
The call to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) grew ever more urgent with joint action in Strasbourg organised by the End Female Genital Mutilation European Network. The NGO says the procedure is now widely encountered in Europe with schoolgirls frequently forced to go home during summer holidays 'to be cut'.
Today we joined hands with @ENDFGM_Network to call for the end of Female Genital Mutilation. Did you know that 500,000 women & girls live in Europe suffering the consequences of FGM, and every year around 180.000 girls are at risk of undergoing it?
We say: It's #MyIssueToo! pic.twitter.com/N6M7CSBpX0
— Greens in the EP (@GreensEP) February 6, 2018
Transnational lists – shelved, for now
Commenting on the European Parliament’s rejection of transnational lists with 368 votes against and 274 in favour, European Greens co-chairs Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer said the outcome was a setback. It shows, in a Press Release they said, that the European Parliament is failing to live up to its potential as ‘the engine for democracy’.
#TransnationalLists defeated once again at the @Europarl_EN: this is a major loss for all Europeans and proves yet again that a lot of MEPs are subordinate to their national governments and parties. Sad day for European democracy #EPlenary pic.twitter.com/HhwELnT5EI
— Monica Frassoni (@monicafrassoni) February 7, 2018
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons – threat still high
A representative of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) addressed the plenary on Wednesday. The organisation, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, said there was an increased threat of nuclear weapons use. It urged MEPs to rally all EU Member States to sign and ratify the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons adopted last year.
#NobelPeacePrize winners @nuclearban were today in the European
Parliament to urge EU Member States to sign and ratify the treaty on the prohibition of #nuclear weapons. We'll keep supporting their fight!
Check out our interview with them 👇@BeaFihn @leo_axt pic.twitter.com/M83EDJ6nzD
— Greens in the EP (@GreensEP) February 7, 2018
Other highlights include European Council and European Commission statements on threats to the rule of law by the Romanian justice system reform, a Future of Europe debate with the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, and the establishment of a special committee on tax to investigate scandals such as the Paradise Papers.