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Focus on migration at the European Parliament plenary

July 2, 2018 at 12:18pm
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EU policy on migration and asylum is expected to dominate discussions at the European Parliament plenary, this week in Strasbourg, a few days after the EU summit in Brussels highlighted the existing divisions between member states.

According to the final draft agenda, the debate will be held on Tuesday with Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Migration is also included in the priorities of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU, which Chancellor Sebastian Kurz will present to the MEPs earlier on the same day. Before him, Premier Boyko Borisov will sum up the achievements of the outgoing Bulgarian EU Presidency.

In light of the recent incident with Aquarius, Lifeline and other migrant rescue ships belonging to NGOs, a draft resolution will be debated at the plenary, noting that helping migrants for humanitarian reasons should not be a crime.

The text asks member states to introduce exemptions into their legislation to avoid individuals and NGOs doing humanitarian work being prosecuted.

Also relevant to border security, the new system to pre-screen visa-exempt travelers will be debated Wednesday by MEPs.

Non-EU nationals exempt from visa requirements will have to get authorisation before travelling to the EU, according to the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), that should be operational in 2021, and will apply to more than 60 countries and territories.

Moreover, an EU Commission proposal to go on paying the salaries of over 5,000 teachers who have provided education to over 300,000 refugee children in Turkey so far is up for a vote on Wednesday, in the framework of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.

At the beginning of the plenary session, this afternoon, MEPs will debate the first EU programme dedicated to boosting innovation in the European defence industry.

The new European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) has a €500 million budget for 2019-2020, that will help fund the development of new and upgraded products and technologies to make the EU more independent, among others.

Other issues on the agenda include a discussion on Greece’s exit from bailout programmes with Eurogroup President, Mário Centeno, while the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, will be the eighth EU leader to debate the future of Europe with MEPs and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Angola’s President, João Lourenço, has also been invited to address the European Parliament.