Situation in Gaza, “Cyprus confidential” issue, on EP plenary session agenda

Discussions on the regional and global implications of the war in Gaza, on tighter anti-money laundering rules in light of the “Cyprus Confidential” investigation but also on the lack of adequate legislative follow-up to Parliament’s inquiry into the use of spyware, are on the agenda of the European Parliament session taking place this week in Strasbourg.

According to the agenda of the Plenary session, MEPs on Wednesday, 22 November, “in light of the latest revelations on money laundering and evasion of sanctions against Russia in Cyprus”, are set to discuss with the Council and the Commission how to urgently and effectively plug all loopholes in the financial system and accelerate the ongoing negotiations with member states on tighter anti-money laundering rules.

MEP Eero Heinäluoma has also called for a “full investigation” of the role auditing firm PwC is alleged to have played in efforts by oligarchs to evade EU sanctions, in a statement ahead of the scheduled debate in the Plenary on the findings of the Cyprus Confidential investigation of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

In a written statement, Heinäluoma (S&D, Finland), the European Parliament’s negotiator on the EU anti-money laundering legislation, said that after a request by the Socialists & Democrats group, MEPs will discuss “the latest money laundering scandal in Europe”.

“Millions of leaked documents expose how accountants, bankers, auditors and lawyers in Cyprus helped Russian oligarchs circumvent EU sanctions. This is a stark reminder of why Europe urgently needs stronger anti-money laundering rules that will ensure the enforcement of sanctions,” the MEP said.

“We are currently working on a deal that would clamp down on the evasion of sanctions by oligarchs and their enablers. It has to be finalised by the end of the year,” he added.

“Moreover, we call for a full investigation of the auditing giant PwC’s alleged role in helping Russian oligarchs evade EU sanctions,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the regional and global implications of the war in Gaza are to be discussed on the morning of 22 November. During the plenary debate, MEPs will take stock of the latest developments, and discuss the regional and global implications of the renewed hostilities as well as the prospects for peace and security in the Middle East.

Also on Wednesday, MEPs are set to press the Commission “on the lack of adequate legislative follow-up” to Parliament’s inquiry into the use of Pegasus and other spyware.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, 21 November, MEPs will quiz the Commission on where the EU stands on its commitment to provide one million rounds of artillery ammunition to Ukraine.

On Monday, 20 November, MEPs will discuss the welfare and protection of children in Europe, on the occasion of International Day on the Rights of the Child.

MEPs are also set to vote on proposals for the lead candidate system as regards the European elections. The proposals for the 2024 elections include a mechanism to elect the Commission President, as well as ways to increase turnout and enhance democratic processes.

The Parliament is also expected to adopt a legislative report calling for measures to improve the social and professional conditions for those working in the cultural and creative sectors.

During the Plenary session, MEPs are set to approve a deal on next year’s EU budget aimed at addressing global challenges and supporting young people and research. The preliminary figures for 2024 are €189.4 billion in commitment appropriations and €142.6 billion in payment appropriations.

(Source: CNA)

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