Budget talks to overshadow votes on drugs and piracy
A law about what information should be given to patients on medicines, an international anti-counterfeiting accord and an address by Mikheil Saakashvili, the president of Georgia, were supposed to be the highlights of the European Parliament’s plenary session next week (22-25 November).
But the formal agenda for the session in Strasbourg is likely to be overshadowed by the Parliament’s battle with the Council of Ministers on the EU’s 2011 budget and by a resurgence of the eurozone’s debt crisis.
The Parliament’s political groups have decided to include a special debate on the budget impasse. Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank, is due to present the bank’s annual report for 2009 to MEPs on Monday (22 November) and is bound to face questions over the eurozone’s stability.
MEPs are expected to approve proposed changes to an existing EU law regulating information to patients on prescription medical drugs. The Parliament is expected to vote on two first-reading legislative reports on Wednesday (24 November), drafted by Christofer Fjellner, a Swedish centre-right MEP.
The changes would increase the quantity and quality of information available on the medical products, while supervision of the data on products and websites selling drugs will also be strengthened. The Council of Ministers has not yet approved the proposal.
MEPs are also to call for the European Commission to conduct a legal assessment on whether an international accord to fight counterfeiting and piracy (ACTA) violates EU data-protection and privacy rules. The Parliament will vote on a resolution on Wednesday setting out their conditions for ratifying the accord, which was concluded last month.
Many groups, including the Greens, the centre-right European People’s Party, the centre-left Socialists and Democrats and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, want clarifications from the Commission on how ACTA would affect EU law.
Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green MEP, said MEPs might ask the European Court of Justice for a legal opinion before the Parliament makes a final decision on whether to ratify it.
The plenary agenda will also include a debate on the upcoming United Nations climate-change talks in Mexico, EU-Africa relations and the Commission’s legislative work programme for 2011.
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