Parliament will award the Sakharov human rights prize, elect a new Ombudsman and debate the rule of law in Malta and the EU Summit at the final plenary session of 2019.
In recognition of his fight for the rights of China’s Uyghur minority, economist and human rights activist Ilham Tohti will be awarded the 2019 Sakharov Prize in a ceremony on Wednesday. As he is currently imprisoned for life in China on charges of separatism, his daughter Jewher will receive the award from President David Sassoli. Later on Wednesday, MEPs will discuss the treatment of China’s Uyghur population.
Parliament will hold a first round of elections for the EU Ombudsman on Tuesday. The Ombudsman will be elected by secret ballot for a five-year term. The five candidates running for the post presented their priorities in a public hearing of Parliament’s petitions committee in early December.
On Wednesday morning, MEPs will assess the outcome of the 12-13 December EU summit, which focussed on climate action, the EU’s long-term budget, the Conference on the Future of Europe and Brexit. The new European Council President Charles Michel will report back to Parliament for the first time.
On Monday, MEPs will ask the Commission to detail its plans to tax digital services more fairly in the EU.
In a debate on Tuesday, MEPs will discuss the investigation into the murder of journalist and anti-corruption activist Daphne Caruana Galizia and the political turmoil it caused in Malta.
In a vote on Wednesday, MEPs are expected to push for a further reduction in pesticide use, more funds for research and better monitoring in order to save pollinators such as bees, butterflies and other insects.
MEPs will also commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty. The Treaty enhanced democracy in Europe, expanded the rights of European citizens and strengthened the legislative and budgetary powers of Parliament, putting it on an equal footing with the Council in the EU’s decision-making process.