In Parliament this week: EU budget, EU-US data flows, access to online content across borders


With both committee meetings and a plenary session taking place, members have a busy week in store for them in Brussels. In plenary, MEPs are expected to seal the deal with member states on the EU budget for 2017, as well as vote on an agreement with the United States about protecting personal data transferred for law enforcement purposes. Rules on ensuring access to online content for people travelling abroad and a cap on wholesale roaming charges are to be put to a vote in committees.

At the plenary session on Thursday, the EU budget for 2017 is to be put to a final vote. This follows the provisional agreement with national governments earlier this month. During negotiations with the Council, MEPs ensured more money would be provided to fight youth unemployment, support small businesses and enhance transport infrastructure.

Members also vote on new rules to protect people’s privacy when personal data is transferred between the EU and the United States for law enforcement purposes. The so-called ‘Umbrella Agreement’ will cover transfers of all personal data for the prosecution of criminal offenses, including terrorism.

In a debate on Wednesday, members discuss recommendations on how to improve transparency for European commissioners and avoid conflicts of interest. A vote on the guidelines takes place the following day.

The President of Tunisia Beji Caid Essebsi addresses the plenary sitting on Thursday morning.


 To the fore at the legal affairs committee on Tuesday is the issue of cross-border portability of online content. Europeans buying online content such as films, music and books, would be able to use these services even when temporarily in another EU member state, under a draft law to be voted on on Tuesday.

A proposal to cap wholesale roaming charges (what operators charge each other for using their networks) is up for a vote at the industry committee on Tuesday. Roaming charges are set to be abolished in the EU from June 2017.

The humanitarian and political situation in Syria is the focus of an exchange of views in the foreign affairs and development committees on Tuesday morning. Staffan de Mistura, UN and Arab League Envoy to Syria, addresses the joint meeting.

The impact of international trade agreements is to be discussed in three committees this week. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström discusses the social and labour aspects of trade agreements at a joint meeting of the employment and trade committees on Tuesday morning. That afternoon trade and agriculture committee MEPs quiz Commissioners Malmström and Phil Hogan on the impact of trade talks on the EU farming sector.


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