European Parliament

The European Parliament will next sit in plenary in Brussels on 30 November 2005.

Highlights of the week in committee include:

  • Services Directive - adoption 1st reading
  • Port Services Directive - adoption 1st reading
  • Retention of Telecomms Data - adoption 1st reading
  • Batteries Directive - adoption 2nd reading  
  • Mifid (financial instruments) deadlines - 1st reading

After several months of debate, the Internal Market committee votes on Tuesday (or possibly Wednesday) on the controversial services directive, meant to liberalise services in the single market.

Another key vote is scheduled in the Transport Committee, on contentious proposals to inject greater competition into the port services industry.  An earlier attempt to legislate on this subject fell at the last hurdle two years ago when parliament rejected a compromise hammered out in conciliation with member states.

The Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday votes on progress made by Bulgaria and Romania towards meeting the EU membership criteria.  The votes take place after discussions by the committee with the foreign ministers of the two countries.

The Civil Liberties Committee will try to reach agreement at first reading on Thursday on EU legislation which requires telecom operators to store data such as phone calls and emails to aid the fight against terrorism, known as "data retention".

European Commission

Foreign ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday, with the issue of the bloc’s future spending as one of the key items on the agenda for Monday. The UK presidency will brief member states on its strategy to arrive at a deal in December, when EU leaders will meet, amid strong blame on London that its efforts have so far been insufficient.

The budget dossier will also be topping finance ministers’ agenda on Thursday, meeting in the Ecofin council.

On Monday evening, the commission will report to foreign ministers on latest developments in the current round of trade negotiations under the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Development Agenda, in the run-up to the WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong in December.

On Tuesday agriculture ministers will seek agreement on controversial EU plans to cut sugar prices and export subsidies.

During their Brussels meeting on Monday and Tuesday, foreign ministers will also address a range of defence, external relations and enlargement issues. The EU’s military capability, development, Iraq, Iran, Bosnia and the Middle East are all figuring on the long timetable.

European Court of Justice

Important decisions are on the cards this week in the legal sphere, with the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on privacy and climate change.

On Tuesday, the court will decide whether or not to annul the decision about the EU’s transfer of air passenger data to US authorities. The case was brought by members of the European Parliament, who regard the EU’s decision to provide data from air passengers to the US, taken in May 2004 as a disproportionate breach of citizens' privacy.

On Wednesday, judges will rule over a case brought by the UK, which has challenged the commission over greenhouse gas emission rights.  This is the first time that the court will rule on this issue.

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