Last week, the #SheDecides initiative was launched following the decision which prohibits US government funding for NGOs that provide family-planning services and access to or information on abortions, known as the Global Gag Rule. The initiative aims to compensate for the funding gap. Fortunately, a broad majority was secured for my amendment on the Global Gag Rule, calling on the EC to earmark EU funds to fill this financial gap. I was proud to stand alongside with my Socialist & Democrat colleagues from across Europe to show our support for #SheDecides.
In Brexit news, last week saw the Government’s Bill that would let them trigger Article 50 become an Act, upon receiving Royal Assent from the Queen. Theresa May has now signalled her intention to trigger Article 50 on 29th March, at which point the formal process of leaving the EU begins. The European institutions will, soon after Article 50 has been invoked, respond accordingly. I remain disappointed that the Government refused to accept the Lords’ amendments on the rights of EU citizens in the UK and on a final meaningful vote in Parliament after the conclusion of the negotiations.
This week, we voted on three important resolutions on gender equality, including my report on EU Funds for Gender Equality, which was adopted by 437 votes in favour, 166 against and 80 abstentions. During the debate, I argued that gender equality, despite being a fundamental value of the EU enshrined in the treaties, has yet to be achieved in practice and must be translated into policies and spending. I called for the application of gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting across the EU budget. You can watch my speech by following this link: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/debate-details.html?date=20170313&detailBy=date
I was also interviewed by French and Italian media on my report.
It was a positive week for members of the FEMM committee but also highlighted the work that we still have left to do.
It was a pleasure to meet representatives from PATH, an international non-profit organisation working on innovative technologies in the field of global health. We discussed the role of Horizon 2020, the EU's science funding programme, in supporting innovation for sustainable development, and in particular for global health, climate change and food security. It was very interesting to hear about PATH's experience using technological innovations in developing countries, especially their knowledge of developing health products tackling poverty-related and neglected diseases.