The European Parliament is back from its summer recess with a bang, with key issues facing the bloc – including Afghanistan, the rule of law, and finances – firmly at the top of the agenda.
It’s set to be a busy week for Malta’s MEPs, who will be trying their utmost to make sure Malta’s voice is heard on the European stage.
To mark the opening, Lovin Malta will be hosting a Q&A with Malta’s MEPs to get the low down on the parliamentary agenda and some key initiatives they’re working on that could have major effects on the country.
It all kicks off tomorrow with Cyrus Engerer and Alex Agius Saliba giving their perspectives on the upcoming parliamentary season.
Here’s what you need to look out for on the EP’s first week back:
The real action kicks off with the Conference of Presidents on Monday. It will see a number of political group leaders along with the EP’s President, David Sassoli discussing the ongoing situation in Afghanistan along with the rule of law situation within the EU and the Conditionality Regulation.
Afghanistan will be a key topic of interest in the opening weeks of the EP with concerns over security and a potential migration crisis firm on people’s minds.
On Wednesday 1st September, the days after the final US troops are planned to have withdrawn from Afghanistan, the foreign affairs and development committees as well as Parliament’s delegation for relations with Afghanistan will assess the growing tensions following the attacks at Kabul’s airport that killed dozens of people who were trying to flee the country following the Taliban’s return to power
Wednesday will be the busiest day for Parliament, which will also see the civil liberties committee discuss the state of the rule of law in EU countries with Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders
They will also analyse whether Poland and Hungary are moving towards complying with European values, following concerns over oppressive LGBTIQ+ legislation and the initiation of Article 7 procedures against the two countries.
Maltese MEP Cyrus Engerer has been at the forefront of these discussions, spearheading European Parliament action over the issue.
In September 2018, Parliament demanded that the Council act to prevent the Hungarian authorities from breaching the EU’s founding values. MEPs were mostly concerned about judicial independence, freedom of expression, corruption, rights of minorities, and the situation of migrants and refugees.
In the case of Poland, the European Commission requested EU action in December 2017 in view of the perceived threats towards the independence of the judiciary.
Article 7 TEU details the procedure wherein certain rights of a Member State can be suspended, if the state does not comply with the EU’s founding values.
These values centre around respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, as outlined in TEU Article 2.
What else is on the agenda?
Tuesday will consist of MEPs on the Budgets Committee discussing the delay in new own resources proposals. The MEPs will be questioning Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn. The proposals regard a digital levy and a carbon border adjustment mechanism.
The Commission’s rule of law report for 2021 to the Recovery Resilience Facility will also be discussed on Wednesday.
Wednesday and Thursday will see Slovenia’s ministers for justice and for the interior presenting the Slovenian Presidency’s priorities in two meetings with the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Will you be tuning into Lovin Malta’s Q&A session?