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German Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

Ministers are outlining the priorities of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU to parliamentary committees, in a series of meetings.

Germany holds the Presidency of the Council until the end of 2020. The first series of hearings is taking place from 3 to 16 July. A second set of hearings will take place in September. This press release will be updated regularly.

Hearings held on 3, 6 and 7 July

Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

On Friday 3 July, Franziska Giffey, Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, told the Women’s Rights Committee that the presidency has two main priorities on gender equality. Firstly, to tackle the lack of equality between men and women on the labour market, notably by presenting an Equal Pay Directive in November. Secondly, to put an end to all forms of gender-based violence, notably by pushing for the Istanbul Convention to be ratified by all member states, and establishing a single, European-wide helpline for women in emergency.

In the debate, MEPs asked the Minister how she was planning to make progress on the Women on Boards Directive, which has been blocked in the Council by eight member states, including Germany. ‘‘I will hold targeted discussions and I will fight very strongly to make headway on this file’’, she replied. Several MEPs also called for all EU policies, including the next MFF and the recovery plan, to include a gender perspective.

Environment and Public Health

On Monday 6 July, Health Minister Jens Spahn told the Environment and Public Health Committee that, following the COVID-19 pandemic, coordinating EU health policies and strengthening crisis management, increasing EU production of essential medicinal products and devices (such as face masks) and creating a European health data space are the top German priorities. MEPs questioned the Minister on the future EU health policy, vaccine strategy and medicine and protective equipment shortages.

On Tuesday 7 July, Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Minister Svenja Schulze said that the German priorities include agreeing on the climate law with a 2030 target, an EU biodiversity strategy, the circular economy including extending the lifespan of products, and digitalisation. How to get the EU recovery package in line with the EU Green Deal, Climate Law, MRV shipping, forest and agricultural policies including animal welfare were some of the issues raised by MEPs.

Click here for the full press release

 

Original article link: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20200706IPR82739/german-presidency-outlines-priorities-to-ep-committees

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