Latest Developments [6 March – 10h15 CET]
On 5 March, S&D Group Chair, MEP Udo Bullmann, tweeted that the S&D wants a thorough debate on the copyright reform and cannot support moving forward the vote. MEP Gabriele Zimmer, Chair of the GUE/NGL Group, also tweeted a similar message, but warned that opposition from the S&D, Greens/EFA and her own group is not sufficient. Therefore, it remains important to maintain pressure on the other political groups.
MEP Manfred Weber, the EPP Group Chair, made a statement claiming that the copyright reform vote will remain scheduled for the Week of 25 March. As a reaction, German MEPs Julia Reda (Greens/EFA) and Tiemo Wölken (S&D) have asked the EPP to formally withdraw its request to move the vote forward from the agenda of the 7 March meeting of the Conference of Presidents. This has yet to happen.
The Group of the European People’s Party (EPP), to which the lead Copyright Rapporteur German MEP Axel Voss belongs, is trying to push the final vote on the copyright reform to 12 March. This sound like an attempt to vote before the major Article 13 action day that’s planned for 23 March. On Thursday 7 March at 10 AM CET, the European Parliament’s (EP) Conference of Presidents (CoP) will vote on this request from the EPP.
Stop Legislators from Rushing through the Copyright Reform
Stop legislators from rushing through the copyright reform: Write to the President of Parliament & the political group Chairs before 7 March
Procedural note: Non-attached members (= MEPs without a political group) are represented in the CoP, but do not have voting rights [Rule 26(2)].
Background: The EP’s Rules of Procedure
Let’s take a look at some of the relevant particularities of the EP’s Rules of Procedure:
- Composition of the CoP: The CoP consist of the President of Parliament and the Chairs of the political groups, but the Chair of a political group may allow another MEP of his group to represent him [Rule 26(1)].
- How agreements are reached in the CoP: If no consensus can be reached within the CoP on a specific subject, a vote is held. However, the vote subject to a weighting based on the number of Members in each political group [Rule 26(3)]. The political groups are listed above in order of their size, the largest political group being the EPP.
- CoP decisions can be subject to confidentiality: The minutes of the CoP meetings should be publicly accessible, unless the CoP decides otherwise for certain items in the minutes for reasons of confidentiality [Rule 31(1)].
- Availability of the translated copyright proposal for all MEPs: The basic rule is that all documents should be available in all official EU languages [Rule 158(1)], and that a debate or vote shall not take place unless these documents have been made available to MEPs at least 24hrs in advance [Rule 156]. However, the EP can deviate from this rule to provide all documents in all official EU languages if there are not enough translators available for a language [Rule 159].