Libya crisis set to take centrepiece of parliamentary plenary

MEPs have agreed to hold an emergency session on Libya in Strasbourg this week.

The news has been welcomed by, among others, parliament's president Antonio Tajani.

“The future of Libya is being decided now, and the EU has to play a central role in managing this crisis. If we are not able to carry out this task, we will leave the door open for the ambitions and interests of countries, such as Russia, Egypt or the United Arab Emirates”. 

With these words, Tajani commented on the decision of the European Parliament to hold a debate on the Libyan crisis during the plenary in Strasbourg next Tuesday.

According to Tajani, “In the absence of a stable Libyan government that can control the country´s borders and territory, managing migration flows from Libya´s coast will become more difficult. Moreover, the smuggling of weapons and drugs will continue to help terrorists, putting in danger the safety of African and European citizens”.

“The country is a powder keg ready to explode. The clashes in Tripoli that caused over 200 dead over the last few days - Tajani added - have further exacerbated internal conflicts and, despite an agreement on a ceasefire, the situation remains extremely fragile."

The Italian member said, "Europe should intervene in this crisis with more conviction, speaking with a single voice, as requested by all the Libyan representatives I spoke to during my trip to Tripoli last July.”

“The debate among the representatives of 500 million Europeans must bring us a step closer to an EU shared approach towards this emergency. We need more effective coordination among Member States and European institutions, and a step back from those Member States that only promote their national agendas, at the expense of a shared approach, thus damaging all European citizens.”

The timetable for the plenary is below:

State of the Union. Eight months before the European elections are held in May 2019, MEPs will take stock of the Juncker Commission’s achievements to date. The EU Commission President will kick off the debate in his fourth and last “State of the Union” speech on Wednesday at 09.00.

Rule of law in Hungary. MEPs will debate the rule of law in Hungary with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Tuesday before deciding on Wednesday whether the EU must act to counter the risk of a serious breach of EU values.  If backed by MEPs, this would be the first time that Parliament takes the initiative of recommending that Article 7 be activated. 

Greek Prime Minister/Future of Europe. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will be the ninth EU leader to debate the future of Europe with MEPs and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday morning at 9.00. Tajani and Prime Minster Tispras will hold a press point after the debate.

New copyright rules. MEPs will debate Parliament’s position on copyright rules for the digital sphere on Wednesday, after the House decided in July to reopen the proposal made by the Legal Affairs Committee. Its text and the ensuing amendments will be put to a vote on Wednesday.

European Solidarity Corps. MEPs will vote on Tuesday on establishing the EU Solidarity Corps, which will offer volunteering opportunities for young people around the EU for  activities relating to education, health, protecting the environment, disaster prevention, provision of food and non-food items, reception and integration of migrants and asylum seekers.

CO2 emissions from new cars and vans. Legislation setting stricter CO2 emission limits will be put to a vote in the Environment Committee on Monday. The draft legislation proposes a 30% cut in emissions for new cars by 2030. The draft text by the leading MEP advocates raising the target to 50%, and boosting the market uptake of electric cars.

President’s Diary. Tajani will have bilateral meetings on Tuesday morning with Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, and with Michel Aoun, President of the Lebanese Republic, before the latter addresses the House in a formal sitting at noon.

Media Roundtable/State of the Union. On Tuesday,Parliament’s media directorate will hold a high-level roundtable entitled “State of the Union - EU Elections 2019: Act in the present to shape the future”, discussing the achievements of this mandate, why it is important to vote in the next election and how to get people more involved in the European project. EP President Tajani will give remarks and take part in a Q&A session.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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