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Events & Activities 2012

Marian Harkin MEP will host an information seminar in Galway on Friday, 12 February 2016 on issues relating to the delivery and accessibility of health services in the region. The seminar will look at the blend of local initiatives and European policies. Developments in European legislation and the case law of the European Court of Justice relating to health services will be outlined. To register, email events-epdublin@ep.europa.eu or tel. 01-6057900.
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You are running for election to the European Parliament. Design your election poster to include your election manifesto and describe what you will do to improve three current European issues that are affecting Irish people. Using the European Union motto United in Diversity as a starting point, and to show how their school embraces diversity, King’s Hospital students are producing a video focussing on a typical day in the life of an international student in the school. Students are also asked how they could do things differently to encourage integration. Students create a welcome pack for Syrian refugees (16-18 year olds) arriving in Ireland. The pack must take account of the history and culture of Syria, recent trauma experienced by the refugees, their language, cultural norms (sport, music, food). Items in the welcome pack should be described and a reason given for their inclusion. Students design an A4 collage of European Selfies to include as many of the following: Selfie with the EU flag; selfie with an MEP; selfie with traditional food from another EU country; selfie with as many other European nationalities as possible; selfie with a student in different school uniform; selfie at a local business that focuses on products from another EU country. Starting in Skibbereen players answered questions on transport in the EU travelling through five European cities, Cork, London, Madrid, Paris and Amsterdam in order to reach Strasbourg. Questions focussed on transport and its effects on the environment, the ever-increasing number of cars and the disparities in infrastructure across the EU. By playing the game students gained a greater appreciation and comprehension of all aspects of transport both in the cities visited and in rural areas. Students were invited to write a Limerick from Limerick with a European theme. Entries were judged by a former teacher and local poet and the top 24 Limericks were chosen for the competition. As Ireland prepares to commemorate the Easter Rising Centenary next year, students explore and research each EU country charting the major historical changes there between 1916 and 2016 (war/democracy/independence). Students will reflect on the road to independence and democracy not just in Ireland but in other EU countries during that time. The winning entries will be presented in a timeline poster to be displayed on Europe Day.
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We would like to thank all the schools and students for taking part in our competition this year. The standard was extremely high and we received lots of interesting and creative entries. Congratulations to the winning schools which will represent Ireland at Euroscola in Strasbourg in 2016. -St. Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush, Co. Dublin - European Election Poster -King’s Hospital, Palmerstown, Co. Dublin - A Day in the Life Video -St. Brigid’s College, Loughrea, Co. Galway - Refugee Welcome Pack -St. Oliver’s Community College, Drogheda, Co. Louth - Euroscola Euroselfie -Mercy Heights Secondary School, Skibbereen, Co. Cork - Board Game: Skibb to Strasbourg -Coláiste Nano Nagle, Limerick, Co. Limerick - EU Limerick from Limerick European Youth Event Strasbourg 2016 -We are awarding one additional Euroscola as part of the European Youth Event on 20-21 May 2016.- -St. Mary’s College, Arklow, Co. Wicklow - A Century of Change in Europe
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Committee meetings, Brussels -UK referendum/Cameron -ECB/Draghi -Euro -Economic governance -Antibiotic resistance in veterinary medicine -Iran/Mohammad Javad Zarif -Zika outbreak -President's agenda -Press briefing
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The European Parliament will welcome national MPs from across Europe on Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 February for joint debates with MEPs on the European Semester Cycles 2015/2016 (Tuesday) and on Stability, Economic Coordination and Governance in the European Union (Wednesday). Both events are being held as part of the 2016 edition of the European Parliamentary Week (#EPW16).
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Are you aged 16 to 30 and do you run a project with a European dimension? Projects promoting Europe among young people can start competing for the 9th Charlemagne Youth Prize. Winning projects will not only benefit from recognition and media coverage, but also from prize money to further develop the initiative.
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This week at the European Parliament is reserved for external parliamentary activities allowing MEPs to undertake activities away from “base”, for example concentrating on their constituencies and meeting the electorate at home, or taking part in an official delegation visit to maintain and develop the Parliament's international contacts. Delegation visits taking place this week to Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
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MEPs debated the issue of sexual harassment and violence against women in public spaces on Wednesday evening, with Commissioner Corina Crețu. Everything possible must be done to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice, regardless of their culture or origin, they insisted.
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The European Commission must table a communication on a new strategy for gender equality and women’s rights 2016-2020 as soon as possible and deliver on its political commitments, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Wednesday. The communication should address gender equality issues which is in line with the international agenda, they add.
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A move to veto a plan to temporarily raise NOx emission limits for diesel cars was rejected by MEPs on Wednesday, after the EU Commission promised a review clause and tabled a long-term legislative proposal to revamp the EU car approval regime. This followed pressure from Parliament in the wake of the Volkswagen scandal.
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The EU needs to overcome its paralysing fears and divisions and to manage migration and refugee flows effectively, said many MEPs in Tuesday's plenary debate with the Dutch Presidency and the Commission. Protecting the EU's external borders effectively is vital to safeguard the Schengen passport-free area, they observed. Some also called for zero tolerance of racist and violent attacks against migrants and refugees.
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What will the UK’s future in Europe be like? The day after European Council President Donald Tusk proposed a settlement in response to UK demands for reforms, MEPs discussed the issue as part of a debate on the EU summit on 18-19 February, which will be dedicated to the talks as well as the migration crisis. Most MEPs stressed that the UK staying in the EU would be better for both the country itself as well as for the other member states, but questioned some of the requested reforms.
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The EU Commission should withdraw its authorisations of the use of glyphosate-tolerant GM soybeans in food and feed, said Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs note that glyphosate, a herbicide, is classified as “probably carcinogenic” by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and that GMOs are being authorized in the EU without the support of member states.
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Parliament endorsed draft EU legislation establishing a “European platform” to enhance cooperation in combatting undeclared work in a vote on Tuesday. The platform would enhance cooperation among EU member states' labour ministries, trade unions and employers' associations about how best to tackle a problem that is damaging the EU economy and distorting the labour market. The undeclared economy accounts for 18% of EU GDP.
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European Central Bank President Mario Draghi defended the ECB's monetary policy decisions in a debate with MEPs on Monday evening, saying that the Bank will revise its monetary stance in March and acknowledging that the December 2015 inflation outlook was too rosy.
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The protection of fundamental rights is one of the core values of the EU. However, it faces constant challenges, from concerns about data protection to possible failures to respect human dignity in the context of migration. On Monday 25 January, Director of the EU's fundamental rights agency Michael O'Flaherty presents to the LIBE committee a report on mass surveillance and citizen's privacy. We asked him to talk to us about the general situation of fundamental rights in the EU.
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What will MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg? Highlights include: -Refugee crisis, border control and Schengen rules -ECB annual report -Financing refugee facilities in Turkey -Women's rights and gender equality -EU platform against undeclared work -Humanitarian situation in Yemen -Preparation Summit 18-19 February
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Here is what's coming up this week at committees: Danish law on asylum and refugees, Trade secrets, Port services, Fight against fraud, Serbia and Kosovo, ECB annual report, Plenary preparations, President's agenda, Pre-session press briefing, Press seminar on terrorism.
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Parliament appointed the 45 members of a committee of inquiry into car makers’ breaches of EU rules on car emission tests in a vote on Thursday. The committee will also investigate alleged failures by EU member states and the European Commission to enforce EU standards. It will present an interim report within 6 months, and a final one within 12 months, of starting its work.
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As terrorists continue to strike across the globe, MEPs discussed the best way to tackle the increasing threat. During the debate on Thursday morning speakers stressed the importance of exchanging information as well as the need to strengthen border controls and called on member states to step up collaboration.
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The mutual defence clause, requiring EU countries to help a member state under attack, was invoked for the first time by France in November in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. This has raised many questions about the procedure to follow and the EU's role in it. MEPs discuss this on 20 January and vote on а resolution the following day. Check out our infographic and learn more about the legal basis and its implications.
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Draft EU rules that would allow baby foods to continue to contain up to three times more sugar than is recommended by the World Health Organisation were vetoed by the European Parliament on Wednesday, as they fail to protect infants and young children against obesity, say MEPs. Instead, they advocate reducing the EU sugar content limit to match the WHO recommendations.
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"We must achieve concrete results and make sure they are visible to counter growing scepticism throughout Europe. (..) Keeping promises and sticking to agreements should be the new normal in Europe. A deal is a deal", said Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the kick-off debate of the Dutch Presidency in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
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Many MEPs criticised EU leaders for their inability to deal with the migration and refugee crises in Tuesday’s plenary debate reviewing the December EU summit with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council president Donald Tusk. The upcoming EU referendum in the EU UK was also a hot topic.
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MEPs urge EU member states to remove hurdles for women entrepreneurs, and table strategies for making full use of female entrepreneurship potential to boost growth and prosperity, say MEPs in a non-legislative resolution voted on Tuesday.
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Members of the Parliament's Agriculture committee called on Monday evening on Commissioner Phil Hogan to do more to tackle ongoing crises in the milk, meat and other agricultural sectors. They welcomed efforts of EU's executive to simplify current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) but some said more substantial initiatives, including legislative ones, should be considered.
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The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the Euroepan Parliament to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe, drawing attention to human rights violations as well as supporting the laureates and their cause. This year's prize was awarded to Raif Badawi, a Saudi Arabian blogger, human rights activist and author of the website Free Saudi Liberals. His wife, Ensaf Haidar accepted the prize on his behalf at the European Parliament in Strasbourg during the December plenary session.
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Since 2007, the European Parliament LUX FILM PRIZE casts an annual spotlight on films that go to the heart of European public debate. The Parliament believes that cinema, a mass cultural medium, can be an ideal vehicle for debate and reflection on Europe and its future. The films selected for the competition help to air different views on some of the main social and political issues of the day and, as such, contribute to building a stronger European identity. They help celebrate the universal reach of European values, illustrate the diversity of European traditions and shed light on the process of European integration.
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If the European Commission decides that an EU member state should recover money from a company due to infringements of tax-related state aid rules, this money should be returned not to the same member state, but to member states that have suffered an erosion of their tax bases or to the EU budget, says the European Parliament in a resolution approved on Tuesday by 500 votes to 137, with 73 abstentions.
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Brian Hayes MEP will host a consultation with stakeholders on Friday 15th January to encourage the submission of projects for funding under the EU's Plan for Investment, otherwise known as the "Juncker Plan". The event will be held in conjunction with the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland and with the cooperation of the European Commission and takes place at EU House, 12-14 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2.
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The EPIO Dublin and member of the European Parliament’s Economic Committee, Brian Hayes, held a stakeholder consultation in Dublin today (Friday 15th January) with leaders from a cross section of Irish society to update them on the EU investment plan, known as the Juncker Plan. The consultation in cooperation with the European Commission happened today (Friday), 15th January, at 11 in the offices of the European Parliament at 12-14 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2.
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MEPs on the Committee on Civil Liberties endorsed on Thursday the agreement reached by the Parliament and the Council last December to set in the EU a minimum set of standards to guarantee the right of children to a fair trial.
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Are treaty changes needed to meet UK demands, will the four freedoms be safeguarded and could current talks release an avalanche of reform requests from other countries? These questions were put by members of Parliament's constitutional affairs committee to Jonathan Faull, head of the Commission's task force for strategic issues related to the UK referendum, in a debate on Thursday morning.
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: -Key debate with Presidents Tusk and Juncker on migration, terrorism and UK referendum -MEPs to debate Dutch presidency priorities with prime minister Mark Rutte Mutual defence clause: MEPs to debate EU role -MEPs scrutinise the rule of law in Poland -MEPs to consider vetoing plan to relax diesel car emission limits -Using culture and education to tackle migration and radicalisation challenges -Skills policies for fighting youth unemployment
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What will MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg? Highlights include: - Key debate with Presidents Tusk and Juncker on migration, terrorism and UK referendum - Debate on Dutch presidency priorities with Prime Minister Mark Rutte - EU role in mutual defence clause - MEPs scrutinise the rule of law in Poland - MEPs to consider vetoing plan to relax diesel car emission limits - Using culture and education to tackle migration and radicalisation challenges - Skills policies for fighting youth unemployment
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Although 2016 has barely started, it is already proving to be a busy year for the European Parliament. MEPs are resuming work on a broad range of issues, from climate action to the refugee crisis. Also high on the agenda are giving law enforcement agencies more tools to counter the terrorist threat, making corporate taxation more fair and improving data protection rules. Read on for an overview of the main issues in 2016.
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2016 should be the year of corporate tax reform and fiscal transparency, tax Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told MEPs from the Special Committee on Tax Rulings and the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee at a hearing on Monday evening. “We have a serious problem with tax avoidance and lack of transparency. Too many people have looked the other way”, Mr Moscovici said.
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New measures to strengthen and boost funding for an EU scheme to provide fruit, vegetables and milk products in schools were backed by the agriculture committee on Monday. They put more emphasis on educating children in healthy eating, increase the budget and merge into one the current separate schemes for milk and fruit in schools.
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The agenda for the political group and committee meetings in Brussels includes topics such as Migration/External borders, Cybersecurity, Trade secrets, Public sector websites, Corporate taxation and the Dutch presidency among others.
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The European Parliament Office in Ireland will be at this year's BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition from the 7-9 January 2016. The stand will feature demonstrations by scientists from the Junior Einsteins Science Club of exciting experiments and research. Learn about the many industries that studying science can open doors into.
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Parliament decides its annual calendar of work on the basis of a proposal by the Conference of Presidents. The calendar is divided into plenary sittings (part-sessions) and meetings. It comprises: 12 four-day part-sessions in Strasbourg and additional two-day part-sessions in Brussels, two weeks a month for meetings of parliamentary committees and interparliamentary delegations, one week a month for political group meetings and four weeks a year where MEPs concentrate exclusively on constituency work. The weeks are colour coded indicating that period's particular activities. Parliament's calendar is explained here.
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Ensaf Haidar accepted the 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on Wednesday on behalf of her husband Raif Badawi, a Saudi human rights activist who remains in prison. A day earlier, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem attended plenary for the first time to discuss the euro, while the European Commission presented its plan for reinforcing the EU's external borders. "Raif Badawi was brave enough to raise his voice and say no to their barbarity. That is why they flogged him," said Haidar, when she accepted the 2015 Sakharov Prize on his behalf in Strasbourg on Wednesday 16 December.
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Ireland will get EU aid worth €400,000 for 108 redundant aircraft repair workers to help find new jobs, following a vote in Parliament on Wednesday. On 15 December, Parliament agreed to provide similar EU aid worth €2.6 million for 1,200 redundant IT workers in Finland. The two instances of European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid were approved by the EU Council of Ministers on 14 December
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Parliament spells out the legal steps needed to improve corporate tax transparency, coordination and EU-wide policy convergence in a resolution voted on Wednesday., Parliament’s drive to persuade EU member states to act to counter aggressive corporate tax planning and evasion by multinationals in Europe was triggered by the November 2014 “Luxleaks” revelations about Luxembourg’s dubious tax deals with them.
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"Raif Badawi was brave enough to raise his voice and say no to their barbarity. That is why they flogged him," said Ensaf Haidar, the wife of jailed Saudi human rights activist Raif Badawi, accepting the 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on his behalf in Strasbourg on Wednesday 16 December. Badawi was honoured by the European Parliament for his fight for freedom of speech and thought in Saudi Arabia. "Raif Badawi is not a criminal. He is a writer and a free thinker"
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The EU Commission should withdraw its authorisation of the use of glyphosate-tolerant GM maize NK603xT25 in food and feed, says a resolution voted by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs note that glyphosate, a herbicide, is classified as “probably carcinogenic” by the WHO. It urges the Commission to suspend any authorisations for GM food and feed as long as the authorisation procedure, currently under review, has not been improved.
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Measures to strengthen and fund better EU schemes for the distribution of fruit, vegetables and milk products in schools and promote healthier eating were provisionally agreed by Parliament's negotiators, the Luxembourg presidency and the Commission on Thursday last week and confirmed by the Council on Wednesday. The informal deal, which still needs to be backed by MEPs and EU ministers, would merge today’s separate school milk and fruit schemes and put more emphasis on children's education.
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EU leaders meeting on 17 and18 December should support the creation of European border and coast guard and cooperate more closely over counter-terrorism, said MEPs in Wednesday’s debate with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Nicolas Schmit for the Council Presidency. Some MEPs stressed the need to see what could be done to keep the UK in the EU.
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The pioneering world climate change deal struck in Paris at the weekend could be “a turning point for the future of our planet”, said Parliament President Martin Schulz at the opening. He hailed the deal as “global, groundbreaking and trendsetting”, but stressed that it must now be put into practice.
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A new agreement establishing police cooperation between Europol and the United Arab Emirates to strengthen the mutual fight against organised crime, terrorism and other forms of serious, international crime was passed by Parliament on Tuesday by 490 votes to 159, with 44 abstentions.
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Updates to make registering trade marks cheaper, quicker and more reliable for firms were approved by the Parliament on Tuesday. These new rules, informally agreed with the Council of Ministers, will also make it possible to impound counterfeit goods in transit through EU territory.
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Tax evasion costs the EU €1 trillion a year in lost tax revenue, according to the European Commission. The Lux leaks scandal showed that EU countries sometimes court multinationals with advantageous tax schemes. These practices were investigated by the Parliament's special committee on tax rulings. MEPs adopted its report last month and on 15 December MEPs will debate another report, demanding that the Commission introduces legislation to restrain tax competition between EU countries.
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The issue of differentiating between so-called “developed” and “developing” countries is the key to a Paris agreement and delegations should have the courage to move away from the 1992 “firewall” which is impeding progress, said the European Parliament delegation to COP21 on Friday. The Paris agreement would need Parliament’s consent to be ratified by the European Union.
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Ireland and Finland should get EU aid worth €2.6 million to help find new jobs for 1,200 redundant Finnish IT workers and over €400,000 for 108 redundant Irish aircraft repair workers, following a vote by the budgets committee on Thursday. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid still needs to be approved by Parliament as a whole and by the Council of the EU.
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The provisional deal reached by Parliament and Council negotiators last week on an EU directive regulating the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime was endorsed by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee on Thursday by 38 votes to 19, with 2 abstentions. The draft directive will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole early next year.
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: -Sakharov Prize Award Ceremony -COP21 climate change outcome -Migration -corporate tax transparency -energy union
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: -Sakharov Prize Award Ceremony -COP21 climate change outcome -Migration -corporate tax transparency -energy union
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Officials from nearly 200 countries have been meeting in Paris since late November to negotiate a new climate change agreement for after 2020. This week a delegation of 15 MEPs also takes part in the COP21 conference. Members are participating in background talks with NGOs and delegations from across the world, while the EU commissioner for climate action Miguel Arias Cañete will brief them on the progress of the talks on a daily basis. Live updates from Paris are available on our Storify page.
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Transport and energy companies will have to ensure that the digital infrastructure that they use to deliver essential services, such as traffic control or electricity grid management, is robust enough to withstand cyber-attacks, under new rules provisionally agreed by internal market MEPs and the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers on Monday. Online marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, search engines and clouds will also be required to ensure that their infrastructure is secure.
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A delegation of 15 MEPs will take part in the UN climate conference in Paris, France, from Monday to Friday. The European Parliament says that the 2015 Protocol must be legally binding and ambitious from the outset, with five-year commitment periods. In a resolution voted in October, MEPs also proposed that a share of revenues from the EU carbon market allowances should be earmarked for climate finance, and that aviation and shipping sectors should initiate measures to curb their emissions.
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Political group and committee meetings, Brussels -Migration/hotspots in Italy and Greece -ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly -Arms control -Globalisation fund for Ireland and Finland -Plenary preparations -President's agenda -Pre-session press briefing -Press seminar on migration
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In the wake of the terrorists attacks in Paris on 13 November, the fight against terrorism remains at the top of the European Parliament's agenda. On Monday 30 November and Tuesday 1 December, the civil liberties committee discussed how the EU's strategy could be improved.
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The European Parliament has done its work on a draft EU directive to ensure that by 2020 at least 40% of non-executive directors on listed company boards are women. Now it is up to the Council of Ministers to agree a position on the draft and start negotiations with Parliament, reiterated many MEPs in Wednesday’s debate, with a view to a Council meeting on 7 December.
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The work of Parliament’s Special Committee on Tax Rulings will be continued under a new mandate for six months, starting on 2 December. This was decided unanimously at Wednesday’s Conference of Presidents and endorsed by Parliament as a whole, by 561 votes to 69 with 5 abstentions. The committee's work will focus on harmful corporate tax regimes and practices at European and international level.
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A provisional deal on EU rules regulating the use of air passengers' data to fight terrorism and serious crime came within sight at the fifth "trilogue” (three-way talks between Parliament, Council and Commission negotiators) on Wednesday afternoon.
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All Members of the European Parliament will have access to all categories of confidential documents relating to the EU’s Transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) talks with the USA, under a European Parliament/European Commission agreement approved by the College of Commissioners on Wednesday. The accessible documents will include the so-called “consolidated texts”, which reflect the US position.
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"I can assure you that Parliament will make its contribution wherever it can to protect Christians," said EP President Martin Schulz, closing Tuesday's conference on inter-faith dialogue and the situation of Christians around the world. The meeting, organised by EP vice-president Antonio Tajani, focused on the persecution of Christians around the globe and specific proposals for tackling it.
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Two legislative proposals to tackle the migration and refugee crisis, one on a permanent mechanism for relocating people in need of international protection among EU member states under extreme pressure and another on an EU common list of safe countries of origin, were debated by the Civil Liberties Committee with the EU Commission, Council of Ministers, European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) on Tuesday afternoon.
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Civil Liberties Committee MEP Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK), who is leading three-way talks with the Council and Commission on the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal on the use of air passengers' data to fight terrorism and serious transnational crime, briefed the committee on their progress on Tuesday. The rapporteur who listed the key issues in the ongoing negotiations, was optimistic that a deal addressing Parliament’s concerns could be struck by the end of this year.
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Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks on agricultural aspects will be tough but should focus on equivalent ways to achieve common goals, rather than pushing for identical standards, U.S. Secretary for Agriculture Tom Vilsack told EP's Agriculture committee on Monday. While many MEPs agreed that TTIP can and must be mutually beneficial they insisted that EU's standards and protection of its geographical indications (GIs) must not be undermined.
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From January to September, the Parliament ran another edition of its annual guest photographer contest. Inspired by 2015 being the European Year for Development, a new theme was announced every month, such as education, health and migration. The winners were invited to the November plenary session in Strasbourg. Read on to find out what they thought of the experience.
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The EU Commission is asked to table measures to improve corporate tax transparency, coordination and EU-wide policy convergence in legislative recommendations voted by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Tuesday. These recommendations build on the work of Parliament’s Special Committee on Tax Rulings, set up in the wake of the “Luxleaks” revelations, whose recommendations were approved at the 26 November plenary session.
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More people are generally interested in EU policies (54%, up by 11 points since 2013) and more Europeans feel their countries have benefited from EU membership (60%, up 6% since June 2013), according to the latest Eurobarometer poll, commissioned by the European Parliament and published on Monday. The survey found marked differences among countries on all the issues addressed.
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The EU police agency Europol will be able to step up efforts to fight terrorism, cybercrime and other criminal offences and respond faster, thanks to a deal struck by Parliament and Council on new governance rules endorsed by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Monday. The new powers come with strong data protection safeguards and democratic oversight.
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We would like to thank all the schools and students for taking part in our competition this year. The standard was extremely high and we received lots of interesting and creative entries. Congratulations to the winning schools which will represent Ireland at Euroscola in Strasbourg in 2016.
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The Conference of Presidents of political groups has decided today, with the vote in favour of all political groups, to set up a temporary committee to follow up on the work done by the Special Committee on Tax Rulings, which looked into the tax rulings practised by various EU member states. The new committee will last six months.
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On Wednesday 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Parliament asked the Commission what new measures it planned to take to prevent gender-based violence against women in the EU and whether it could propose an EU directive on combating violence against women, as requested by Parliament in 2014.
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The terrorist attacks in Paris have highlighted once more the urgent need for coordinated action by the member states and the EU to prevent radicalisation and fight against terrorism, says Parliament in a non-binding resolution passed on Wednesday. The resolution sets out concrete proposals for a comprehensive strategy to tackle extremism, to be applied in particular in prisons, online and through education and social inclusion.
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Parliament sets out its ideas on how to make corporate taxes fairer across Europe in a resolution voted on Wednesday. MEPs urge EU member states to agree on mandatory country-by-country reporting by multinationals of profits and taxes, a common consolidated corporate tax base, common definitions for tax terms and more transparency and accountability with regard to their – so far secret - national tax “rulings” for companies.
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“Political grandstanding” that equates refugees with terrorists only foments the hatred and disillusion that inspires those who join terrorist groups, argued many MEPs in Wednesday’s debate. Rather than allow Europe’s freedoms and tolerance to be eroded, EU countries must strive to strengthen security, by stepping up intelligence cooperation and data-sharing, and investing in the skills and technology needed to fight terrorism, MEPs urged.
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President Martin Schulz announced that Mustang had won the 2015 European Parliament LUX Prize for cinema at a ceremony in the Chamber in Strasbourg at noon on Tuesday. Mustang tells the story of five sisters who have been promised to husbands through forced marriages but who, determined to live their own lives, break the yoke of tradition.
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More than one in four children in Europe are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, which will have repercussions for them throughout life. On Tuesday 24 November MEPs adopted a resolution urging EU countries to boost their efforts to combat child poverty and social inequalities. The text was adopted with 569 in favour, 77 against and 49 abstentions. Check out our map for the latest statistics on child poverty.
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“Those who fail to reconcile freedom and security fail in everything”, said President Schulz, citing the credo of late German statesman Helmut Schmidt, whose funeral he had just attended. “Security has to be organised, but we must not let our freedom be curtailed by those who want to scare us”. The brutal attacks on France ten days ago targeted Parliament’s values too. MEPs held a minute’s silence for terror victims everywhere, including Mali, Syria and Iraq.
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In the lead up to the World Climate Conference taking place in Paris in December, MEP Sean Kelly will chair a Forum featuring a variety of expert speakers to debate the issues in the Royal Hotel, Bray, Co Wicklow on Friday 20 November. The Forum also seeks the views of citizens so that these can be transmitted to World Leaders at the December conference. Email events-epdublin@ep.europa.eu or tel. 01-6057900 to book your free place.
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The urgent need to step up information-sharing among EU member states and between them and Europol to fight terrorism, the work on the Passenger Name Records data (EU PNR) proposal and the de-radicalisation of EU citizens joining terrorist organisations were among the topics discussed by MEPs with Europol chief Rob Wainwright and Council and Commission representatives on Thursday.
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: -Debate on Paris attacks and anti-terror measures -Vote on recommendations to end aggressive tax planning and tax evasion -EU budget 2016: final vote, -Lux Prize Winner -Aftermath of G20 and Valletta summits -Refugee crisis funding, State of the Energy Union -Stop violence against women, -Child poverty
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Harmonised EU entry and residence rules that will make it easier and more attractive for students and researchers from third countries to study or do research at EU universities were informally agreed by MEPs and ministers on Tuesday. The deal also has provisions to clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs, so as to facilitate cultural exchanges. These rules still need to be approved by Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers.
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MEPs grilled eleven multinational companies on their corporate tax practices in a five-hour debate with the Special Committee on Tax Rulings on Monday. These companies had declined the committee’s first invitation to appear before it, but later changed their minds and accepted its last chance invitation. Of the 13 original invitees, only Fiat Chrysler and Walmart declined the final invitation. The meeting started with a minute of silence for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks.
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Mairead McGuinness, MEP and European Parliament’s Mediator on International Parental Child Abduction is hosting an information morning for people concerned by this issue. This event takes place on Monday, 16 November at 10.30 am at European Union House, 12-14 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. To book your free place email: epdublin@ep.europa.eu or tel. 01-6057900.
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The European Union is deeply shocked and in mourning after the terrorist attacks in Paris. It is an attack against us all. We will face this threat together with all necessary means and ruthless determination.
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On behalf of the European Parliament, I condemn in the clearest and strongest terms the heinous terrorist attacks which killed and wounded so many people in Paris yesterday. At this terrible moment our thoughts and sympathy are with the families and friends of the victims, together with the French authorities and with all French citizens. I have also expressed my condolences to President Hollande.
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Highlights of the agenda for the week ahead include: -Tax transparency and multinational companies -Improved conditions for non-EU students and researchers -Migration/Steinmeier -UK referendum -Frontex/fundamental rights -Enlargement/Neighbourhood Policy
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As of 2016, the European Parliament’s irreducible carbon emissions can be fully offset, making it the first EU institution to become 100% carbon-neutral, Parliament’s Bureau (President, Vice-Presidents and Quaestors), decided some weeks ahead of COP 21 in Paris. At the same time, Parliament is continuing to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and make better use of energy, water and paper, in line with its environmental policy to first and foremost prevent or limit emissions.
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EU legislation is essential to tackle unfair trading practices (UTPs) and introduce more balance into the food supply chain, the Agriculture committee said on Thursday. MEPs in a vote on an opinion for the lead Internal Market committee also called for further actions to boost farmers' bargaining power and demanded better coordination at EU level of member states' efforts to tackle UTPs.
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Parliament urged member states to fulfil their pledges and pay for the EU migration actions that have been agreed by EU leaders. In Wednesday's debate, MEPs proposed to use an unexpected windfall of €2.3 billion from EU fines and customs duties to finance some of the measures. The Commission earlier said the new trust funds set up for Syria and Africa were short of €2.22 billion in national contributions.
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The EU economy is showing resilience in the face of external circumstances, but the European Central Bank’s March inflation forecast was too positive, ECB President Mario Draghi admitted to MEPs on Thursday. This regular “monetary dialogue” meeting with the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee focused on the Eurozone economic outlook and the ECB's role in macro-economic adjustment programmes.
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Martin Schulz called on member states to step up their efforts to relocate refugees from EU countries faced with a heavy influx. “European solidarity can work if we all commit to it, but not if we let a small number of countries do all the heavy lifting,” the EP President said at an informal meeting of leaders of EU countries in Malta on 12 November. The meeting took place following the Valletta summit on migration to discuss collaboration with other countries.
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European elections should be fought with formally endorsed, EU-wide lead candidates (“Spitzenkandidaten”) for the Commission presidency, Parliament said on Wednesday in a formal proposal for a change to EU electoral law. It says these candidates should stand for election to the EP themselves, and be formally nominated at least 12 weeks before the elections
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Brussels? Highlights include: -MEPs to push for reform of European electoral law -Net neutrality: debate on privileged treatment of online content (zero rating) -Migration: Parliament to urge member states to pay up -MEPs to call for measures to boost the EU aviation sector
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MEPs reacted to the assessments published by World Health Organization (WHO)'s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifying the consumption of processed meat as carcinogenic to humans, and red meat as probably carcinogenic, during a debate on Tuesday with WHO EU representative Roberto Bertollini. The recording of the debate is available from this link (debate started at 11.40)
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The Parliament's Development Committee asked to include in the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) outcome document "a five-year roadmap for the development and operationalisation of the concrete political commitments undertaken" and stressed the importance of increasing the complementarity between humanitarian and development aid in order to tackle the humanitarian financing gaps in a resolution adopted on Tuesday.
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The Parliament's Development Committee called on member states to support the European Commission's target of increasing the share of humanitarian funds for education of children in emergencies to 4% and asked all hosting countries to help integrate children refugees in their national education systems in a resolution adopted on Tuesday afternoon.
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The European Parliament LUX Prize casts an annual spotlight on films that go to the heart of European public debate and cinema is an ideal vehicle for debate and reflection on Europe and its future. The European Parliament and the Cork Film Festival believe that cinema can be used as a medium to discuss and debate topical issues.
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Plenary and committees meetings in Brussels Items on the agenda include:-EU funds for Syria and Africa.; Aviation package.; EU electoral law; Greece: financial assistance.; ECB Draghi in ECON Committee; Energy Union.
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The European Parliament and the Southern Regional Assembly are hosting an information and training morning on the Ireland-Wales cross-border programme of the European Union. The event will take place at the Ormonde Hotel Kilkenny on Friday 6 November 2015 at 10.00 am. Places may be reserved at events-epdublin@ep.europa.eu or phone 01-6057900. Admission is free and open to the public.
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European Parliament President Martin Schulz urged EU member states and others today to honour their commitments and step up significantly their efforts to provide a safe and permanent shelter in Europe for refugees in a spirit of European solidarity.
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A €9.4 billion reduction in member states' contributions to the 2015 European Union budget should be used to help solve the refugee crisis by paying for member state promises made at successive European Councils, said on Thursday MEPs in charge of negotiating next year’s budget.
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Raif Badawi is the laureate of this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, following an October 29 decision by EP President Martin Schulz and the political group leaders. Badawi is a blogger from Saudi Arabia currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for insulting Islam on his website promoting social, political and religious debate. The Sakharov award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 16 December.
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Parliament added extra funds for handling the unprecedented flow of refugees inside and outside the EU in Wednesday’s vote on the EU budget for 2016. It also topped up resources to fund help create jobs for young people, enhance the EU’s competitiveness and settle its unpaid bills. Parliament reversed all the cuts, including those on migration lines, made by EU ministers.
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A draft EU law that would enable any EU member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was rejected by the European Parliament on Wednesday. Members are concerned that the law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries. They call on the Commission to table a new proposal.
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EU Commission plans for more ambitious national caps on emissions of six key pollutants, including NOx, particulates and sulphur dioxide, were endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday. Air pollution causes about 400,000 premature deaths in the EU yearly, and the plans could save up to €40bn in air pollution costs by 2030.
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The real divide revealed by today’s migration challenges to the EU is between “pros”, who want to use the EU to solve these challenges, and “antis”, who want to use them to dissolve the EU, argued many MEPs in Tuesday’s debate. Most deplored EU member states’ slowness to deliver on their pledges to pay for more help for refugees, and more manpower to process them at EU borders. The €2.3 bn shortfall is the same as it was two months ago, noted Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
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The EU member states’ deal on plans for them to exchange details of their tax rulings for multinationals automatically was a “missed opportunity” to take a big step forward in fighting aggressive tax planning and unfair tax competition, says Parliament in an opinion voted on Tuesday. MEPs are unhappy that the 6 October deal unduly restricts both the scope of the draft “automatic exchange” directive and the European Commission’s access to this information.
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A complete ban on roaming charges for using mobile phones abroad in the EU will take effect in June 2017 and clear rules on the right to internet access will become law following Parliament's final approval of the new telecoms package on Tuesday.
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Package holidays, consisting of a flight, hotel or car-hire and purchased online for an all-in price or through linked webpages, will get the same protection as packages bought in travel agencies under rules voted by MEPs on Tuesday. MEPs ensured that travellers will have more options to cancel a contract and get clear advance information on who is ultimately responsible if something goes wrong.
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Parliament adopted its stance on a deal with Switzerland to make it harder for EU citizens to hide cash from the tax man in Swiss bank accounts, in a vote on Tuesday. Under the deal, the EU and Switzerland will automatically exchange information on the bank accounts of each other's residents, starting in 2018.
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Parliament’s Special Committee on Tax Rulings recommended measures to make corporate taxes in the EU fairer and more transparent, after eight months of fact finding, in a vote Monday evening in Strasbourg.
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include; -Migration debate -Roaming charges final vote -GMO Foods vote -Emissions and air quality debate -Reform of EU electoral law debate -EU Budget 2016 debate -VW emissions scandal -Restrictions on export of torture tools
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It has taken eight months of hard work, but the results are finally there: on Monday 26 October the special committee on tax rulings votes on its recommendations for achieving fair and transparent corporate taxation in Europe. MEPs vote on them during November's plenary session, although before that multinationals will still have a chance to share their views on the matter with the committee. Read on for more information and an overview of taxation levels in member states.
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Net neutrality is crucial to the future development of the internet. It is the principle that all online traffic should be treated equally, regardless of the type of content or platforms involved. On 27 October MEPs are set to debate and vote on new rules on net neutrality, following an agreement reached with EU governments after two years of negotiations. Ahead of the vote, find out what it is all about.
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Following this morning's announcements of the verdicts of Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on the Dutch tax deal with Starbucks and the Luxembourgish tax agreement with Fiat Finance and Trade, key MEPs on taxation issues gave the following statements:
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An estimated 5,000 European citizens have joined terrorist organisations fighting in Iraq and Syria. With the issue of foreign fighters posing challenges for governments across the EU, a report on preventing the radicalisation and recruitment of European citizens by terrorist organisations will be put to a vote in the civil liberties committee today. Ahead of the vote, we asked Rachida Dati, the French EPP member who drafted the report, why it is important to address this phenomenon at EU level.
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Tackling unemployment and migration are for many Europeans the biggest challenges facing the EU, according to the latest Eurobarometer opinion poll commissioned by Parliament. Nearly two thirds think decisions on migration should be taken at the EU level rather than nationally, while eight out of ten said asylum seekers should be “better distributed among all EU member states”. However, the answers vary considerably from country to country.
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The coming week will see a range of topics on the European Parliament agenda to be discussed by political groups and committee meetings in Brussels. These topics include: 1. Radicalisation and jihad recruitment 2. Vetting EU budget spending for 2014 3. EU banking sector stability 4. Ukraine/elections 5. Plenary preparations 6. President's agenda 7. Youth Media Days 8. Pre-session press briefing
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Immigration and terrorism are EU citizens’ fastest-growing concerns, according to the latest Eurobarometer poll, commissioned by the European Parliament and published on Wednesday. An EU average of 66% of respondents said that more decisions on migration should be taken at EU level, rather than by national governments alone, but the survey found marked differences among countries on all the issues addressed.
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Organic farmers, processors, traders and importers must meet higher but realistic sustainability criteria and undergo strict food fraud checks to boost trust in the EU organic label, said agriculture MEPs on Tuesday. They introduced measures to avoid contamination of organic food, including on mixed organic and conventional farms, and endorsed plans to help small farmers turn organic.
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The budgets committee on Tuesday demanded more funds to handle the migration and refugee crisis, help young people into jobs, and fully offset the cuts to the EU's research and transport networks programs, in a political resolution on the 2016 budget. The committee had earlier reversed all the Council's cuts to the Commission's initial proposal.
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A draft EU law that would enable any member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was opposed by Environment Committee MEPs on Tuesday. Members are concerned that the proposal might prove unworkable and lead to the reintroduction of border controls between pro and anti-GMO countries. The recommendation will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole at the 26-29 October plenary session in Strasbourg.
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2015 is a special year for development. It is the first ever European Year to deal with the European Union's external action and Europe’s role in the world. The EU not only makes a difference within Europe, it also does its part outside its borders. Together with member states, it is the world's most generous donor of development aid, supporting about 150 countries and helping to improve the lives of millions of people.
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This week, human rights students from UCD, TCD, NUI Maynooth and UCC are participating in events to publicise the 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and to promote debate on the individual human rights issues to which the prize relates. The Sakharov prize is awarded every year to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression.
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Updating EU rules on payment services will cut the cost of paying bills, by enabling new market players to use mobile and online tools to make payments on a client’s behalf, said MEPs voting a law to this end on Thursday. These rules, informally agreed by MEPs and ministers last May, also aim to make online payments safer, by laying down data protection and liability rules for all online payment service providers.
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Death sentences fail to deter drug trafficking and retentionist countries should introduce alternatives to the death penalty for drug offences, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday two days ahead the 13th World Day Against the Death Penalty. The abolition of the death penalty for drug-related offences should be made a prerequisite for EU financial and technical assistance to third countries, they added during the debate on an oral question tabled to the Council on Tuesday evening.
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MEPs passed four resolutions on Thursday: urging Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr and calling for a moratorium on the death penalty; demanding measures to starve Boko Haram in Nigeria of its sources of illegal income; expressing fears of civil war in Central African Republic; and deploring human rights abuses in Thailand following the coup of May 2014.
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Spanish King Felipe VI called on the EU to treat the current refugee crisis with "generosity, solidarity and responsibility" in an address to the plenary on Wednesday 7 October. The monarch stressed the suffering of those who come to Europe "fleeing violence and fanaticism". "[There are] hundreds of thousands of refugees who pursue a project of hope, and see the Union as a land area of peace, prosperity and justice," he said. "We cannot let them down."
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The current situation in the European Union and challenges to be tackled together, and notably migration, were at the heart of Wednesday afternoon's debate between European Parliament political group leaders, President of the French Republic François Hollande and Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel.
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More citizens and small firms will be able to use the simplified EU procedure to resolve low-value disputes across borders thanks to changes voted by Parliament on Wednesday. These changes, which still need to be formally approved by EU ministers, would raise the ceiling on debts recoverable using the procedure from €2,000 to €5,000.
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EU-wide protection of geographical indication should be extended from agricultural products to include regionally and locally manufactured goods and handicraft products, MEPs say in a non-binding resolution adopted on Tuesday. This would support local economic development, boost tourism, strengthen consumer confidence and help preserve cultural heritage and traditional know-how.
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The new scheme to relocate asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU member states, dialogue with Turkey on cooperation to stem and manage migration flows, and budget measures to respond to the unprecedented refugee crisis, were among the topics tackled in Tuesday morning’s debate with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on the outcome of the 23 September informal EU summit.
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A debate on the 3 October air strikes on a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, which killed 12 Médecins Sans Frontières staff and 10 patients including three children, has been added to the agenda on Wednesday at 08.30, announced Vice-President Mairead McGuinness at the opening of the plenary session. It will start with a statement by EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini. The extra debate was added at the request of Gabriele Zimmer (GUE/NGL, DE), seconded by Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA, DE) and approved by MEPs.
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include State of the EU debate with Angela Merkel and François Hollande; Felipe VI of Spain to address Parliament on Wednesday; Debate on the outcome of the EU summit on the refugee crisis; Car industry: manipulation of exhaust emission tests; capital markets union
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The nominations for Parliament´s 2015 Sakharov Prize were formally presented this Monday 28 September at a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Development committees and the Human Rights subcommittee. The Sakharov prize is awarded every year to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression. The winner will be selected in late October.
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This week in Parliament, the Budgets committee members vote their amendments to next year's EU budget. The nominees for the Sakharov Prize are to be officially presented by the members sponsoring them, and Parliament's political groups are set to prepare for the plenary session to be held in Strasbourg this 5-8 October.
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The European Parliament will once again be present at this year's National Ploughing Championships, which take place from Tuesday 22 to Thursday 24 September at Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. We will be available to assist you with questions on EU policies, your rights as a European citizen and all topics of EU interest. Experts in the field of the Common Agricultural Policy will also be on hand. The European Parliament looks forward to seeing you at Stand 429, row 25, block 3.
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The current system of corporate tax rules is unfit for purpose and unjust. Some companies are losing out, whereas others win by hiding behind a variety of national rules", Commission President Jean Claude Juncker told MEPs at a joint meeting of the committees for Tax Rulings and for Economic and Monetary Affairs on Thursday. "We need a better insight into how multinational companies behave and how they make use of the differences between countries. Then we should create some order!", he added.
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The Commission's €500 million aid package revealed last week is a step in the right direction but it might be not enough to get farmers struggling with falling prices back on their feet, many MEPs told Commissioner Phil Hogan in a debate on Wednesday. Crisis management instruments should be improved, and the position of farmers in the food supply chain strengthened, said MEPs. Some also ask the Commission to immediately increase intervention prices to tackle the current crisis.
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An emergency proposal to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary among EU member states was backed by Parliament on Thursday. The first temporary emergency rules for relocating an initial 40,000 over two years from Italy and Greece only were approved by Parliament on 9 September.
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Are you working in the tourist industry or intend starting a business connected with tourism? Is your livelihood dependent on tourism? The European Parliament Information Office in Ireland is hosting a public consultation to be chaired by MEP Deirdre Clune on how the EU can help develop tourism. The event takes place at 7.00 pm in the Walter Raleigh Hotel, Youghal, Co. Cork. This is a free event. Registration required. Book your place at events-epdublin@ep.europa.eu or tel (01) 605.7900.
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"Member states have yet again failed to make tough decisions and provide a compassionate response to the refugee crisis", said the Chair of the European Parliament's Committee responsible for migration and asylum, Claude Moraes. "We are running out of time - the meeting on 8 October is the EU's final chance to agree an organised response to the biggest refugee crisis since World War II in Europe", he added.
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Traditional products from Calais lace to Scottish tartans could soon enjoy extra protection in the form of geographical indications, reassuring consumers about their origin and quality. This already exists for food products, but on Tuesday the EP's legal affairs committee votes on a proposal to extend this to non-agricultural products as well. French S&D member Virginie Rozière, who is in charge of steering the plans through Parliament, explains why the new rules are needed.
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The Commission's package of measures worth €500 million aimed at helping EU's dairy and meat farmers with the current market crisis is a step in the right direction, but not enough to alleviate impact of falling prices and stabilise the food production in Europe, says the Chair of the Parliament's Agriculture Committee Czesław Adam Siekierski (EPP, PL).
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"The first priority today is and must be tackling the refugee crisis," said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during the 2015 State of the Union debate at the European Parliament on Wednesday 9 September. "The EU is facing migration, the economic crisis and wars in its neighbourhood. We have to contribute to a solution to these challenges," said EP President Martin Schulz, EP's President in his opening remarks.
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The challenges facing the EU will be discussed during the State of the Union debate on Wednesday 9 September. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, will first give his address and will then enter into debate with MEPs. Read on to find out how to best follow the debate live online.
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The European Commission’s response to the first EU citizens’ initiative (ECI) petition, on the “Right2Water”, lacks ambition and failed to meet the demands of the organizers, said MEPs in a resolution voted on Tuesday. ECIs enable citizens to ask the Commission to propose laws in areas within its competence, if they can muster at least one million signatures from at least a quarter of EU member states.
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Parliament beefed up the Commission’s initial proposal to ban animal cloning to include the cloning of all farm animals, their descendants and products derived from them, including imports into the EU, in a vote on Tuesday. "The technique of cloning is not fully mature, and in fact, no further progress has been made with it. The mortality rate remains equally high. Many of the animals which are born alive die in the first few weeks, and they die painfully. Should we allow that?" said the environment committee co-rapporteur, Renate Sommer (EPP, DE).
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The fundamental rights of asylum seekers in the EU could be infringed by reception centre conditions, "hot returns", barbed wire and other deterrence measures, say MEPs in a non-binding resolution voted on Tuesday. The text also states concerns about the impact of austerity measures on EU citizens' economic, civil, social and cultural rights and calls on the European Commission to set up a "scoreboard" to monitor democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in EU member states.
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The first-ever European Week of Sport kicked off in Brussels today and will be organised every year by the European Commission with the aim of promoting sport and physical activity across Europe. The new initiative was originally suggested in a report by MEP Santiago Fisas, a Spanish member of the EPP group, which was adopted by the European Parliament. As part of the event various activities take place in all member states and are open to anyone regardless of age, background or fitness level.
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Groups and individuals may visit Parliament's premises in Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg.
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The agriculture committee on Thursday rejected the Commission's draft law that would give member states the power to restrict or prohibit the use of EU-approved GM food or feed on their territory. It fears that arbitrary national bans could distort competition on the EU's single market and jeopardise the Union's food production sectors which are heavily dependent on imports of GM feed.
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ?
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: First State of the Union address by EC President Junker; Refugee Crisis debate; vote on a ban on animal cloning, cloned food, feed and imports; Jobs: fostering social entrpreneurship;Right2Water citizen's initiative; Middle East peace process, Iran deal and Belarus; Vote on more robust EU ban on trade in seal products
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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will deliver his first State of the Union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday 9 September, from 09:00 CET. His assessment and proposals for the future will be followed by a debate with MEPs, who will have their own analyses and proposals to make. They will also say what they expect from the Commission Work Programme for 2016. The migration crisis and Schengen, Greece and the Eurozone are likely to be among issues to be raised.
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A Greek government request for EP involvement in the regular review of the country’s third loan programme is to be discussed on Thursday at a meeting of the President and political group chairs. In the committees, members are to discuss migration and vote on the use of genetically modified food and on the next year’s EU budget. Parliament’s political groups also prepare for the plenary, including Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker's first State of the European Union speech and debate.
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The European Commission and the Council must adopt urgent and targeted measures to help EU dairy and livestock farmers and fruit and vegetable growers with falling prices and drops in global demand for their products and develop, in close cooperation with MEPs, a more responsive safety net to tackle future crises, says the chair of the Parliament's Agriculture Committee Czesław Adam Siekierski (EPP, PL).
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Welcome to the European Parliament's Think Tank pages - an online platform that brings together all sources of EP expertise and high quality information. This powerful search engine will systematically search the many Parliament studies, library briefings, impact assessment and European added value papers, STOA and economic dialogue documentation, surveys on public opinion and EU fact sheets and provide you with solid background information in a policy field.
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General information about grants awarded The Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Union sets out the principles for implementation of the budget, including the principle of transparency, which is affirmed throughout the Financial Regulation and the Rules of Application for it. Provision is made for appropriate ex ante and/or ex post publication of implementation of the budget. Rules for publication of grants are set out in Article 128 of the Financial Regulation, which makes provision for ex ante publication of the annual programme and calls for proposals and ex post publication of grants awarded in the course of a financial year. A grant is said to have been awarded when a legal undertaking is first given, i.e. when the first agreement has been signed.
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Countries such as Italy and Greece dealing with an influx of asylum seekers should receive more support from other member states, MEPs said on a delegation visit to the Italian island of Sicily from 22 to 24 July. “Italy spends over €1 billion every year just to take care of those who make it across the Mediterranean. Italy’s borders are the EU's borders and a better management of the migratory flows is our common responsibility,” said French ALDE member Jean Arthuis, co-chair of the delegation.
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Today, at the Venice Days (Giornate degli Autori) press conference, the First Vice President of the European Parliament Mr Antonio TAJANI and the President of the Committee on Culture and Education, Mrs Silvia Costa, announced the 3 contending films to run for the 2015 LUX Film Prize. Directors will attend the upcoming Venice Film Festival to present the 3 films: MEDITERRANEA, by Jonas Carpignano – Italy, United States, Germany, France, Qatar MUSTANG, by Deniz Gamze Ergüven – France, Germany, Turkey, Qatar UROK (THE LESSON), by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov – Bulgaria, Greece.
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Mr Jean Arthuis (ALDE, FR), co-chair of the delegation on part of the Committee on Budgets: "We praise the efforts by the Italian authorities to have put in place such a complex reception system and, more in general, to cope with an exceptional migratory pressure at Italy’s sea borders."
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The Week Ahead 20 - 26 July 2015: Migration, Taxation and economic affairs, Ukraine and Georgia. - Migration. A joint delegation of the Budgets and the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committees will go to Sicily to examine how EU budget resources are spent to manage migration and refugee flows, as well as the system for reception, identification and retention of migrants. See what's on the rest of the agenda this week at the European Parliament
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The European Parliament Information Office is helping to support a summer school of the Cavan Women's Network which will be held on 16 and 17 July 2015 in the Cavan Crystal Hotel, Cavan. Women in Politics will be a major theme of the summer school and presentations by European Parliament Vice President Mairead McGuinness and MEP Marian Harkin will take place on Friday morning, 17 July. To register for this free event Tel. (01) 6057900 or email: events-epdublin@ep.europa.eu.
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The rescue package for Greece agreed at the 12-13 July Eurozone Summit on Greece was debated in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Thursday. Members gave their views on the deal struck by Greece and its creditors, the functioning of the Eurozone, the role played by the European Parliament and on Parliament’s future involvement in monitoring the implementation of the agreement.
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Draft EU rules on sharing and protecting the Passenger Name Record (PNR) data of people flying to or from the EU, and its use by member states and Europol to fight terrorism and serious transnational crime, were approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Wednesday. This data must only be used to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute these crimes, said MEPs, inserting safeguards to ensure "the lawfulness of any storage, analysis, transfer and use of PNR data".
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Women face barriers, stereotypes, conscious and unconscious bias during their academic and scientific careers which often lead them to drop out of the career, said Women's rights and gender equality members in the text adopted on Tuesday. They call on Commission and member states to come up with EU strategy in order to tackle different barriers in professional development of women and to make science more inclusive.
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The films nominated for the 2015 Lux Prize
The 10 films competing for this year's Lux Prize have been revealed at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, including five by first-time directors, a mix of genres and the selection's first-ever Icelandic film. The European Parliament awards the prize to the best European film every year. At the end of the month it will be announced which three films have been short-listed for the finals, meaning they will also be screened all over the EU as part of the Lux Film Days.
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What's on the agenda in the week ahead, June 29 - July 05, 2015. Committee meetings, Brussels.
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Forthcoming proposals to reform EU copyright law for the digital era must ensure a fair balance between the rights and interests of both creators and consumers, said MEPs on Thursday. They called for ways to improve access to online content across borders, while recognizing the importance of territorial licences, particularly for TV and film productions.
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The EU needs to use natural resources more efficiently - a 30% increase in resource productivity by 2030 could boost its GDP by nearly 1% and create an extra 2 million sustainable jobs, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. But to achieve this growth, it needs binding waste-reduction targets, revamped ecodesign laws and measures to uncouple growth from resource use, they add, calling on the European Commission to table legislation by the end of 2015.
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Large firms and listed companies should have to disclose information, country by country, on profits made, tax paid on profits and public subsidies received, said MEPs on Wednesday in amendments to draft rules intended to boost transparency and foster shareholders’ long-run commitment to companies. They also want to empower shareholders to vote at least every three years on directors' pay policy.
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A reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), informally agreed with the Latvian Presidency of the Council, was endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday. The reform is intended to reduce the surplus of carbon credits available for trading in order to support the price of the emission rights. The scheme will start operating in 2019.
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An EU-US trade deal must open up US market access for EU firms, but not undermine EU standards, say MEPs in recommendations, voted Wednesday, to EU trade negotiators. To settle trade-related investor-state disputes, a new justice system, run by publicly-appointed judges and subject to scrutiny and transparency rules, should replace private arbitration under the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system, they add.
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The EU must do more to help farmers to earn a fair return from the food supply chain, introduce better tools for dealing with market disturbances and help farmers to find new outlets for produce shut out of the Russian market, MEPs say in two non-binding resolutions voted on Tuesday. Member states should help them join forces in producer organisations to boost their bargaining power, they add.
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Three agencies managing migration flows into the EU and two EU funds for migration measures should get a €69.6 million budget boost for extra staff and other expenses for this year, after Parliament backed a European Commission proposal on Tuesday. Parliament has been calling for the bigger budgets in the wake of the April tragedies that cost the lives of around 1,200 migrants.
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Greece and the referendum on the bail-out proposals were the focus of the 7 July plenary debate on the outgoing Latvian presidency of the Council. Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma also discussed the challenges and the achievements of the outgoing Council presidency with MEPs and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - TTIP - Copyright - Prospects for the EU Dairy Sector - Green Employment Initiative - Commission Work Programme 2016
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Starting today, the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of the EU will be in the hands of one of the smallest, yet most experience member states. Luxembourg will have to deal with many pressing issues, including the Greek debt crisis, an increase in irregular migration and the preparation for the climate change conference in Paris in December. We asked all of the country's six MEPs what they see as the main challenges. Read on to find out what they said.
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An informal deal to ban surcharges ("roaming fees") for making mobile phone calls, sending text messages or using the internet while abroad in another EU country from 15 June 2017 was struck by MEPs and EU ministers in the small hours of Tuesday morning. MEPs also inserted guarantees that all internet traffic is treated equally, without discrimination. To enter into force, this informal deal needs to be formally endorsed by the full Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
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What's on the agenda in the week ahead, June 29 - July 05, 2015. Political group and committee meetings, Brussels
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The European Commission’s weak response to the first EU citizens’ initiative (ECI) petition, on the “Right2Water”, could discredit the ECI system, warn Environment Committee MEPs in a resolution voted on Wednesday. It “lacks any real ambition and failed to meet the demands of the organizers”, they add. ECIs enable citizens to ask the Commission to propose laws in areas within its competence, if they can muster at least one million signatures from at least a quarter of EU member states.
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The €315-billion “Juncker” investment plan, announced by the European Commission last November to encourage the financing of viable investments in Europe, was backed by the European Parliament in a vote on Wednesday. Parliament modified its financing structure, won a say in selecting its leadership and ensured more democratic oversight in negotiations with the Council.
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The three EU agencies managing migration flows and various EU funds dealing with migration should get a €69.6 million budget boost , said the Budgets Committee on Tuesday as it approved proposed changes to this year's European budget. The budget increases still need to be approved by Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers.
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What's on the agenda during this week's mini Plenary Session in Brussels? Highlights include: - Migration, security and economics debate with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker - Corporate tax action plan
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What's on the agenda in the week ahead, June 22 - 28, 2015. Plenary session and committee meetings, Brussels
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EP President Martin Schulz discussed British plans to renegotiate EU membership during a meeting with UK Prime Minister David Cameron today. They also talked about the migration crisis in the Mediterranean and the ongoing talks on trade deals. Afterwards Schulz said: I came to London to listen and to learn and I think we had an excellent and open-minded exchange of views.”
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Lydia Foy is among the 47 winners of the European Citizen's Prize 2015 of the European Parliament. Since 2008, the prize has been awarded to citizens or organisations having contributed to promoting better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens or to facilitating cross-border or transnational cooperation within the EU. The winner will receive a medal of honour at an award ceremony in Ireland and will be invited to a joint event with all 47 winners in Brussels in October.
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A draft law to ban the cloning of all farm animals, their descendants and products derived from them, including imports, in the EU was voted by the Environment and Agriculture committees on Wednesday. MEPs beefed up the European Commission’s initial proposal, citing high mortality rates at all development stages of cloning and EU citizens’ animal welfare and ethical concerns.
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Parliament looks forward to starting talks with ministers soon on reform to give the EU high common standards of data protection fit for the digital era, said its key negotiators on Monday, welcoming the Council's announcement that it had approved its negotiating mandate. The first meeting between the institutions is scheduled for 24 June and will be followed by a joint press conference.
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Parliament's International Trade Committee will hold an extraordinary meeting on 29 June in Brussels to decide whether the 116 amendments tabled to Parliament's draft recommendations to Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiators should be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole, the political groups represented in the committee decided on Monday.
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The European Central Bank is doing all it can to facilitate a successful outcome of the ongoing talks with Greece, ECB President Mario Draghi assured Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee MEPs on Monday. But he also made it crystal clear that ultimately, disbursing any further financial assistance to Greece is "a political decision that will have to be taken by elected policymakers, not by central bankers". Euro area support needed to lift cap on Greek banks’ T-bill holdings
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What's on the agenda in the week ahead, June 15 - 21, 2015. Political group and committee meetings, Brussels
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The European Parliament regrets that recent corruption allegations against the international football federation FIFA have seriously damaged the credibility and the integrity of global football. In a resolution voted on Thursday, MEPs call for a zero-tolerance policy on corruption in football, underlining that in-depth structural reforms within the organisation are now urgently needed.
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The EU must critically re-assess its relations with Russia, which are profoundly damaged by Russia's deliberate violation of democratic principles, fundamental values and international law with its violent action and destabilisation of its neighbours , MEPs said on Wednesday. The EU must now devise a soft-power contingency plan to counter Russia’s aggressive and divisive policies, they said.
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European Parliament President Martin Schulz decided on Tuesday to postpone the plenary vote on the EP recommendations to the negotiators of the Transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP), scheduled for noon the following day. In line with Rule 175 of the EP Rules of Procedure, he decided to refer the 116 amendments tabled to the report back to the Committee on International Trade, for consideration and a vote on whether they are to be put to a plenary vote.
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EU must bring more balance into the supply chain, introduce better tools against market disturbances and help farmers find new outlets for their produce, says the agriculture committee in a draft non-binding resolution adopted Monday night. To ensure viable, sustainable and a competitive dairy sector across the EU for all - including small farmers and producers in disadvantaged areas - member states must also make better use of tools from the so-called Milk Package.
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The European Parliament Information Office in cooperation with the HSE is organising a discussion with citizens on health and ageing. Learn about European health initiatives and innovative local solutions and supports as well as voicing your opinion directly to European representatives. A keynote speech will be delivered by MEP Marian Harkin. This is a free event and will take place in The Radisson Blu Hotel, Letterkenny on Friday, 5 June 2015 from 9.30 am to 1:00pm. Prior registration is required. Tel. (01) 6057900 or email: events-epdublin@ep.europa.eu
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What's on the agenda in the week ahead, June 8 - 14, 2015. Plenary session in Strasbourg. TTIP, EU-Russia relations, FIFA, and more.
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - TTIP talks: MEPs to table recommendations - FIFA corruption scandal - Gender equality strategy: MEPs to call for clearer targets and better monitoring - Climate change: bridging the gap after Kyoto - EU intellectual property rights - EU energy security strategy
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Following the publication of the blacklist of European politicians and officials, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, on Tuesday informed the Russian Ambassador to the EU that insofar as the Russian authorities have failed to ensure transparency in their decisions, in line with international law and legal obligations, and allow the targeted individuals the right of defence and of appeal, he considers that it is now justified to take appropriate measures in response.
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Development MEPs called on companies in all countries to adopt country-by-country reporting and make all information public in order to fight tax evasion and illicit money flows in developing countries, in a resolution adopted on Monday afternoon. It also called on the EU's financial institutions to ensure that companies receiving EU support do not participate in tax evasion and avoidance.
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What's on the agenda in the week ahead, June 1 - 7, 2015. Political group and committee meetings, Brussels
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Rapporteur Bernd Lange (2nd on the left) and the final vote on screen on the draft report, providing guidelines to the current Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations.
An EU-US trade deal should deepen EU access to the US market, but must not undermine EU standards or the right to regulate in the public interest, say Trade Committee MEPs in draft recommendations voted on Thursday. Tools for resolving disputes between investors and states should be reformed and improved, they add.
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A deal struck by MEPs and Council of Ministers negotiators in the small hours of Thursday morning means the architecture of the Juncker plan to unlock €315 billion public and private investments in the real economy in 2015-2017 can now be put to a European Parliament vote on 24 June and the investment programme can kick off in the summer.
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Several major Western news organisations have been hit by politically motivated cyber-attacks over the past few years, mostly in retaliation for their critical coverage of events, countries or movements such as the Syrian regime or Islamic State. MEPs discussed on 27 May how the EU could help to counter such attacks.
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Healthy eating habits start young, so the EU and its member states should do and spend more to encourage kids to eat healthy and local foods, Parliament said on Wednesday. To ensure that they get healthy eating lessons, as well as school milk, fruit, and vegetables from EU schemes, Parliament amended draft rules and approved a mandate for MEPs to negotiate their final form with EU member states.
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Budgets MEPs welcomed next year's "restricted" but well focused draft budget presented by Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva on Wednesday immediately after it was approved by the Commission.
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MEPs approved measures to prevent proceeds from conflict minerals being used to fund armed conflicts and called on governments to break the deadlock on plans to harmonise maternity leave across Europe. They also debated measures to tackle irregular migrants coming to the EU during the plenary in Strasbourg on 18-21 May as well as green-lit tougher rules to prevent money laundering. Read on for an overview of the plenary.
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What's on the agenda in the week ahead, May 25 - 31, 2015. Plenary and committee meetings in Brussels. Special Committee on Tax Rulings to visit Dublin.
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A delegation of members of the Special Committee on Tax Rulings of the European Parliament will visit Ireland on Thursday 28 May where they will meet Minister of Finance Michael Noonan and members of the Finance Committee of the Dail. The delegation will also meet, inter alia, experts representing accountancy firms, business associations, NGO's and companies. The Committee was established in the wake of what has become known as the luxleaks revelations.
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The ultimate owners of companies will have to be listed in central registers in EU countries, open both to the authorities and to people with a "legitimate interest", such as investigative journalists, under new rules already agreed with the Council and endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday. The new anti-money laundering directive aims to step up the fight against tax crimes and terrorist financing. New rules to make it easier to trace transfers of funds were also approved.
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Suggested ways to improve patient safety, including tackling growing resistance to human and veterinary antibiotics, using today’s treatments more responsibly and promoting innovation, are set out in a resolution voted on Tuesday. MEPs note that 8 - 12% of patients in EU hospitals suffer adverse events, such as healthcare-related infections, which are implicated in 37,000 deaths a year and place a heavy burden on limited health service budgets.
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What will the MEPs be working on during next week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Debate on the European Agenda on Migration for 2015-2020 - Tougher rules on money laundering to fight tax evasion and terrorist financing - Debate and vote on a law to stem the flow of “conflict minerals” - Maternity leave: deliver now or start from scratch - MEPs set out blueprint for safer healthcare - Counterfeit cigarettes: MEPs to question future of EU deals with tobacco firms
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@RealTime WW1, a Twitter project from Luxembourg, was awarded first prize at the 2015 European Charlemagne Youth Prize ceremony in Aachen University on 12 May. Second prize went to the Fronterras-European (border) line project (France) and third prize jointly to Social Soccer Club (Austria), Entrepreneurship, the Solution against Unemployment (Cyprus) and Infoactualidad (Spain). The annual prize goes to projects that foster a shared sense of European identity and integration among young people.
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"Whistleblowers should receive protection when they reveal behaviour that goes against the public interest and not only when they reveal illegal activities. There should also be more openness about tax rulings and similar arrangements and countries which defraud other countries should be sanctioned", suggested Richard Brooks of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in a hearing with Parliament's Special Tax Rulings Committee on Monday.
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Tax rulings, EU-Russia relations, Turkey’s reform progress, boosting free trade with the US, empowering women in Africa and the current situation in Georgia are all on the Parliament's agenda when MEPs gather this week in Brussels. Political groups will also prepare for the plenary session in Strasbourg on 18-21 May. Meanwhile Parliament President Martin Schulz will be awarded the Charlemagne Prize in Aachen on Thursday.
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Ahead of Europe Day, 9 May, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz stated: "This year's Europe Day which we will celebrate tomorrow is a special one with 2015 marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War."
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Following a series of debates and hearings with experts, Commission- and Council representatives and international bodies like the OECD, the Special Committee on Tax Rulings will have another full week ahead:
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The European Parliament Information Office in Ireland and the European Commission Representation in Ireland in co-operation with several embassies of EU Member States will celebrate Europe Day on Friday 8th May with “A Taste of Europe”. Sample national foods of EU Member States and enjoy music provided by various African traditional groups to mark the European Year for Development 2015. This free event is open to the public. From 12:30 pm -2:30 pm at European Union House, 43 Molesworth Street/18 Dawson Street, Dublin 2.
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What's on the agenda next week at the European Parliament: Political group and committee meetings, Brussels
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Why did the EU Commission take so long to launch investigations into member states’ tax rulings? Is its strategy to go only after small countries, such as Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Ireland? Will the instruments available to it suffice? And if not, what would it take to do away with unfair tax competition? These questions were raised by MEPs in Tuesday’s Special Tax Rulings Committee debate with competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
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People who are suspected or accused of a crime, or are named in a European Arrest Warrant, but cannot afford a lawyer or court proceedings, should have access to EU member state funding and assistance for both “provisional” and "ordinary” legal aid, say Civil Liberties MEPs in amendments, voted on Wednesday, to a proposed EU directive on fair trial rights.
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Fresh suggestions on how to best resolve disputes arising between foreign investors and states on the implementation of the Transatlantic Trade and investment partnership deal, currently being negotiated between the EU and the United states, will be debated by Trade MEPs and the EU Trade Commissioner Malmström on Wednesday afternoon starting from 16.30.
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This special seminar will reflect on the disaster of World War II and is organised jointly with the Embassies of Latvia and Poland. Speakers will include the Latvian Minister for Justice, Mr Dzintars Rasnačs. The seminar will commence at 10:00 am at the European Parliament Information Office, 43 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. Registration from 9:30 am. For further information please contact the Embassy of Latvia at Tel (01) 4780161 or email embassy.ireland@mfa.gov.lv
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Travellers putting together their own package holidays online will get the same protection as those buying from traditional travel agents under a provisional deal struck by MEPs and Council negotiators on Tuesday. The deal also strengthens holidaymakers’ rights, by enabling them to cancel a package deal contract if its price rises by more than 8%, get help if they encounter difficulties or get transport home if a tour operator goes bust.
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Plans for labelling the calorie content of alcoholic beverages should be tabled by the European Commission at the latest in 2016, said MEPs on Wednesday. The resolution calls for a new EU Alcohol Strategy focusing on alcohol consumption by minors and EU-wide labelling to discourage drink driving and drinking while pregnant.
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The EU should do everything possible to prevent further loss of life at sea, e.g. by expanding the mandate of “Triton” operation in the Mediterranean to include "search and rescue operations at EU level", says a resolution voted by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs also call for a binding quota for distributing asylum seekers among all EU countries, bigger contributions to resettlement programmes, better cooperation with third countries and tougher measures against people smugglers.
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"Today's resolution on asylum and migration, adopted by an overwhelming majority (449 votes in favour), contains a number of concrete steps urgently expected from the Commission, the Council and the Member States.
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One billion euro in EU funding to help member states get up to 650,000 young people into work will be delivered in 2015 thanks to European Social Fund rule changes approved by Parliament on Wednesday. This EU Youth Employment Initiative funding tops up European Social Fund (ESF) money in the 20 member states with regions where youth unemployment exceeds 25%.
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Emergency call devices that automatically alert rescue services to car crashes (eCall) will have to be fitted to all new models of cars and light vans by 31 March 2018 under rules voted by European Parliament on Tuesday. Road accidents took 25,700 lives in the EU in 2014 – a death toll that the new devices could cut by an estimated 10% a year.
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Fishermen will have two years to “adapt” before sanctions for failing to comply with the new fish “discard” ban take effect, under a law passed by Parliament on Tuesday. The draft law, already informally agreed by MEPs and ministers, amends the “omnibus” regulation on arrangements for enforcing the ban. Obliging fishermen to land unwanted catches, rather than throw them back, is a key aim of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
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To commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, including Bergen-Belsen, at which two survivors now resident in Ireland were imprisoned, the European Parliament Office, in cooperation with the supporting embassies is also screening a series of five films related to this tragic episode in European history. The films will be shown between Tuesday 21 April and Wednesday 13 May from 6:00 pm at the European Parliament Office, 43 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. Attendance free. Registration required. Tel (01) 605.79.00 or email: events-epdublin@ep.europa.eu.
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The new EU forest strategy must focus on managing forests sustainably, promoting efficient use of the raw materials that they produce, and boosting the competitiveness of forest-related industry so as to create jobs, says a non-legislative resolution voted by Parliament on Tuesday.
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To mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland is holding an event organised in cooperation with Holocaust Education Trust Ireland on Friday 24 April from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm during which Holocaust survivors living in Ireland will speak of their experiences. Dr Balazs Apor of Trinity College Dublin will also reflect on the memory of the concentration camps in history. Registration required. The event takes place at the European Parliament Office, 43 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Mediterranean tragedies: MEPs to demand action to save lives - MEPs to call for stronger EU alcohol strategy - MEPs to clamp down on wasteful use of plastic carrier bags - Vote on life-saving emergency call system for cars - Youth Employment Initiative: vote to make €1 billion available in 2015 - Debate on new "European Agenda on Security" - Forests: MEPs to demand better management and efficient use of raw materials - New fisheries policy: MEPs to approve key draft laws on discards and Baltic Sea
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Europe should come up with a common asylum and migration policy that is humane and realistic, Martin Schulz warned EU leaders. The EP President was speaking at the start of an extraordinary European summit dedicated to migration after hundreds of people died in one week trying to cross the Mediterranean. Schulz said: “Our immediate priority must be to save lives at sea.”
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The demand for organs far outstrips what is available, leading to illegal trafficking in organs all over the world. With Europeans travelling to other countries to receive one of these illegally harvested organs, it also forms a challenge for the EU. The EP's public health committee and human rights subcommittee held a workshop on 21 April dedicated to organ harvesting in China to discuss these issues. However, MEPs warned that the problem was not limited to China.
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Ahead of the extraordinary European Council meeting on Thursday, the Chair of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee with responsibility for migration and related issues such as the EU border agency Frontex and asylum policy, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), said:
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A negotiating brief on the “Juncker” plan for a European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) to guarantee growth and job-creating investment was backed by the Budgets and Economic and Monetary Affairs committees on Monday evening. But MEPs contested plans to feed the fund from the EU research and transport investment budgets, and called for more parliamentary control over its leadership and goals.
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Political groups and committees meet in Brussels. Among the items on the agenda will be the Junker Commission proposal for a European Strategic Investment Fund; how EU development aid shoud be financed; consumer safety; and preparations for the April plenary
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The negotiations under way on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could provide an opportunity to set a path towards high global standards for the protection of the environment and public and animal health. However, the objective of enhancing trade should not come at a price of lowering standards in these areas, said committee MEPs in an opinion adopted on Tuesday. MEPs list a number of areas where progress could be made, such as the protection of geographical indications, tackling antimicrobial resistance, pest management and safety of pharmaceutical products and medical devices.
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EU must seek ambitious and mutually beneficial deal with the United States on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that would preserve the European agriculture model, safeguard the Union's food safety standards and protect EU quality products on the US market, the Agriculture committee said in a vote on Tuesday.
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Eight hundred and ninety-eight amendments to a draft resolution on progress in talks with the US on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) were debated by the International Trade Committee on Monday.
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The EU and its member states must invest more effort and money in promoting healthy eating and the consumption of local foodstuffs amongst children, said the agriculture committee said on Tuesday when it amended draft rules on schemes to provide fruit, vegetables and milk in schools.
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Suggested measures to improve patient safety, inter alia by tackling growing resistance to human and veterinary antibiotics by using existing treatments more responsibly and promoting innovation, are set out in a Health Committee resolution voted on Tuesday. MEPs note that between 8 and 12% of patients admitted to hospitals in the EU suffer adverse events such as healthcare-related infections, which place a heavy burden on limited health service budgets.
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The European Commission’s economic decision-making needs to become more neutral, MEPs said in an Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee debate with Commission Vice-President for the euro Valdis Dombrovskis and Economic and Financial affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici on Tuesday. MEPs also voiced concern about the low implementation of the Commission’s country-specific recommendations and asked what it would do about high current account surpluses in Germany and other exporting countries
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EU smelters and refiners importing „conflict” minerals and metals would have to be certified by the EU in order to help stem the flow of revenue to armed groups, under a draft law as amended by the International Trade Committee on Tuesday. Other amendments lay down conditions for EU recognition of industry self-certification schemes, and labelling requirements. All these amendments still need to be approved by Parliament as a whole.
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Next week in Brussels the main topics on the agenda in Committee and the plenary include TTIP amendments to a draft resolution; Conflict minerals; Advanced biofuels; Cross-border payment claims; Armenia genocide;Bangladesh textile industry;Hospital patient safety and cross border payment claims.
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Draft EU rules to ensure that the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is fully respected in member states were approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Tuesday. MEPs inserted amendments to prevent statements by public authorities that might suggest a suspect is guilty before a final conviction, ensure that the burden of proof stays with the prosecution and guarantee the rights to remain silent, not to incriminate oneself and to be present at trial.
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A draft EU law to make the benchmarks used to price EU citizens’ mortgages, loans and bonds more trustworthy was backed by the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Tuesday. The text (lead MEP Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, ALDE, NL) aims to clean up the benchmark-setting process, by curbing conflicts of interest like those that led to the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rigging scandals of recent years.
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The EU and its member states must use all available tools to avoid disruptions on the milk market, seize the opportunity to build a more confident dairy sector and take the global lead, said chair of the Agriculture committee Czesław Adam Siekierski (EPP, PL) and Parliament's rapporteur on prospects for the EU dairy sector James Nicholson (ECR, UK) on the occasion of the end of milk quotas.
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The European Commission should incorporate, as a key priority, an unambiguous horizontal self-standing provision in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), that "fully exempts the existing and future EU legal framework on the protection of personal data from the agreement", says the Civil Liberties Committee in its TTIP opinion adopted on Tuesday. The negotiators should also keep in mind that Parliament's consent to the final TTIP agreement could be endangered as long as the blanket mass surveillance activities are not completely abandoned and an adequate solution is found for the data privacy rights of EU citizens.
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This week in Brussels European Parliament Committees meet. MEPs will vote on controlling financial benchmarks, host a conference on climate change, examine the state of fundamental rights and receive representatives of the OECD and Nato. The Special Tax Rulings and Economic and Monetary Affairs committees will hold a joint hearing with taxation Commissioner Pierre Moscovici on Monday
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“We will defeat radicalism only if we stay united” said Antonio Tajani, Parliament’s First Vice-President, opening Tuesday’s high-level conference of MEPs and religious community leaders on the rise of religious radicalism and fundamentalism. EP President Martin Schulz, who closed the debate, said “We have to have the courage to take people on board and encourage dialogue between religions”.
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The European Parliament Information Office in Ireland and the ICA are jointly hosting a symposium on health issues and initiatives that are focussed on promoting good health in older age. The EU dimension will be outlined with contributions from community activists. The event will look at innovative solutions to challenges that rural communities in particular are facing. The event will begin at 2:00 pm and takes place in An Grianan, Termonfeckin, Co Louth on Friday 27 March. Registration required.
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€2.5 million in EU aid has been approved for the 450 former workers of the Lufthansa Technik/Airmotive plant in Dublin, to help them find jobs, Parliament decided on Wednesday. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid has already been approved by the EU Council of Ministers.
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The session opened with a minute’s silence for victims of the Germanwings air crash in the French Alps on 24 March and the terrorist attack on Tunisia’s Bardo museum on 18 March. President Schulz conveyed Parliament’s deepest sympathy to their families and friends.
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"In the name of the European Parliament I wish to convey my sincere condolences to all the families and friends of the victims on the Germanwings 4U9525 flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf which crashed this morning near Digne-les-Bains in Southern France. We grieve this terrible loss which has struck individual people and families as well as nations. Tomorrow, at the opening of its plenary session, the European Parliament will remember the victims with a minute of silence."
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At the beginning of the month, the European Central Bank (ECB) started its controversial quantative easing programme, buying government bonds with the goal of lowering interest rates, increasing inflation and kick-starting economic growth. ECB president Mario Draghi met the EP's economic affairs committee yesterday to discuss the initiative. Read on to find out more about how it works and watch the debate on our website.
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The European Central Bank’s expanded asset purchase programme, better known as “quantitative easing” (QE), is starting to make headway across the EU, ECB President Mario Draghi told Economic and Monetary Committee MEPs on Monday. Mr Draghi also reported on the tough negotiations with Greece and outlined what it would take for the ECB to reinstate the waiver for buying Greek state bonds on the secondary market, so as to enable QE to benefit Greece, too.
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Plenary and committee meetings, take place in Brussels. On Monday ECB President Draghi will discuss quantitive easing in ECON Committee. At the plenary session Energy Union, relations with Russia and situation in Ukraine will be discussed with the Commission and the Council on Wednesday. The Parliament will vote on aid of 2.5 million from the EGF for Irish Lufthansa Technick workers. Members will also discuss the Tax Transparency Package, just tabled by the European Commission. Other topics on the agenda include International Roma Day, Russia/Crimea; discharge of 2013 budget,
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The negotiations for an EU-US trade deal - also known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) - continue to provoke debate. The international trade committee discussed on 18 March the potential benefits with representatives from business, trade unions, consumer and environmental organisations. Committee chair Bernd Lange, a German member of the S&D group, explained: “I have many meetings on TTIP and one question always comes up – what will this mean for me specifically?"
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The Budgets Committee has recommended that almost 1,500 workers made redundant in Ireland and Greece in 2014 should receive EU aid worth €11.3 million to help them find jobs. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid still has to be approved by Parliament as a whole.
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All new car models sold in the EU are to be equipped with eCall technology from 31 March 2018 under draft EU rules endorsed by Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee MEPs on Tuesday.This technology uses the 112 emergency number to call rescue services automatically, enabling them to reach crash scenes faster and thus save lives and reduce the severity of injuries.
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In Committee next week, the Trade Committee will vote on 1.8 Million aid package for Ukraine; Commisioner Malmstrom will debate TTIP in the Trade Committee; e-Call is on the agenda in Internal market committee. The Civil Liberties Committee delegation will travel to Washington to meet members of the US Congress and US Government representatives to discuss data protection. In Yerevan MPs from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and MEPs will have a 3 day meeting. European Parliament President Martin Schulz will visit China.
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The European Parliament Information Office in Dublin, together with Active Retirement Ireland, Age & Opportunity and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, will hold an information and discussion session on "Promoting Health in Older Age on Friday 13 March 2015. Speakers will include MEPs Lynn Boylan and Nessa Childers .This is an excellent opportunity to consider and learn about what health and well-being means in older age and the European initiatives in this area.
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MEPs gave their input to the upcoming summit in Wednesday’s debate with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, and Latvian Secretary of State for European Affairs Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica.
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The murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov calls for an independent international investigation, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. This is the "most significant political murder in recent Russian history", they added, warning that Kremlin propaganda is turning Russia into a "state of repression, hate speech and fear".
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Parliament voted on Wednesday to back the European Commission's approach to stimulating growth and job creation, following a debate on "European Semester” coordination of EU countries’ economic policies in 2015, with Commission Vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioners Marianne Thyssen (social affairs) and Elzbieta Bieńkowska (single market and SMEs).
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Parliament calls for further efforts to investigate online child sexual abuse, prosecute offenders, protect child victims and remove illegal online content, in a resolution voted on Wednesday. The ongoing EU data protection reform also includes changes to better protect the rights of children online, MEPs stress. More than 80 % of the victims are under 10 years old.
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© European Union 2015 - European Parliament
King Abdullah II of Jordan called on Muslims to join the fight against the so-called Islamic State during a speech at the European Parliament on 10 March. The monarch said the terrorists’ acts ran counter to basic Islamic values such as mercy, peace and tolerance. “These terrorists have made the world’s Muslims their greatest target,” he said. “We will not allow them to hijack our faith.”
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On Tuesday, Parliament adopted the rules to address banks' reluctance to lend to small businesses or open-ended research projects by creating European Long-Term Investment Funds (ELTIFs), designed to benefit the real economy and society by channelling non-bank funds into long-term projects in order to deliver infrastructure, intellectual property or research results.
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The fees that banks charge retailers to process shoppers’ payments will be capped, under uniform EU-wide rules, further to a vote in Parliament on Tuesday. The cap, which will apply to both cross-border and domestic card-based payments, should result in lower costs for card users.
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Parliament to discuss death of Russian opposition leader Nemtsov - MEPs to debate Europe's economic priorities - Parliament wants to boost equality between men and women in the EU - Tackling child sexual abuse on the Internet - Address of King Abdullah II of Jordan - Parliament to set out its 2016 budget priorities - MEPs to debate impact of Russian import restrictions on EU road hauliers
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Marian Harkin MEP
Marian Harkin MEP will launch a celebration of Women's Day in Trinity College on Friday 6th March. Organised jointly by the European Parliament Office in Ireland together with Network Ireland, the theme of the day will centre on "Harnessing Opportunity in Challenging Times – Empowering Women through Education". The event starts at 12h00 in the Atrium of TCD.
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An event entitled "Agents of Change - Empowering Women through Education" will be jointly hosted by the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland and Kerry Business Women's Network on Thursday 5th March at Ballygarry House Hotel, Tralee, Co. Kerry, in advance of International Women's Day. Keynote speakers include MEP Deirdre Clune and entrepreneur, Deirdre Bounds.
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Get involved: Nirj Deva, a UK member of the ECR group, is inviting everyone to contribute to his report on how the private sector could help to foster development worldwide. Starting today, the report will be discussed by the European Parliament's LinkedIn group. Join the discussion and help Deva write his final report.
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The European Parliament Information Office in cooperation with the National Women's Council of Ireland will hold an event on Tuesday, 3 March 2015 at the Marker Hotel, Grand Canal Square in Dublin launching "Better Boards, Better Business, Better Society: A handbook for increasing the number of women on boards in Ireland". This is a follow-up to a previous European Union initiative aimed at getting a minimum percentage of women on company boards in all European countries.
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Political group and committee meetings, in Brussels. Items on the agenda include European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), International Women’s Day (IWD), Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)in Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday and preparations for the 9 – 12 March plenary session in Strasbourg.
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A new draft text on an EU system for the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data, tabled by lead MEP Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK), was discussed in the civil liberties committee on Thursday morning.
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Parliament’s newly-established Special Committee on Tax Rulings elected Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR) as its chair at its constituent meeting on Thursday morning. As vice-chairs, the committee elected Bernd Lucke (ECR, DE), Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL, PT) and Eva Joly (Greens/EFA, FR). Rapporteurs will be appointed on 9 March.
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Having reached an agreement on its bailout with other eurozone countries on 20 and 24 February, Greece is also to the forefront of Parliament's proceedings this week. Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem addressed the economic and monetary affairs committee on Tuesday morning, and ECB president Mario Draghi comes to plenary on Wednesday afternoon.
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The European Parliament is working on its position on the EU-US trade deal known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) this week. The international trade committee, which is responsible for drafting the Parliament's position, will discuss recommendations for the first time on Tuesday, while 10 out of the 13 committees that will contribute to the report will also discuss or vote on their opinions this week. MEPs are due to debate and vote on the EP's position before summer.
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Plenary and committee meetings week in Brussels. Among the item on the agenda are:- Greece Chairman of Eurogroup in Economics affairs Committee on Tuesday; PNR; European Fund for Strategic Investments; ETS maket stability reserve; Biofuels; TTIP and EU2016 budget
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To protect the EU against terrorist attacks and yet safeguard citizens’ rights, MEPs advocate de-radicalisation programmes, stepping up checks at Schengen area external borders, and better information exchange among EU member states, in a resolution voted on Wednesday. They urge member states to make faster progress on the Data Protection Package, so that talks could proceed in parallel with those on an EU Passenger Name Record proposal and thus deliver a full set of EU data protection rules.
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Revised rules on the cross-border sharing of traffic offenders’ data, which should help ensure that drivers who commit offences while abroad in the EU do not escape fines, were approved by the Parliament on Wednesday. These rules, which aim to ensure equal treatment of drivers and improve road safety, will be extended to the UK, Ireland and Denmark within two years.
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Meat used as an ingredient in processed foods, such as lasagne, should be labelled by country of origin as is already the case with bovine fresh meat, said MEPs on Wednesday. They call on the European Commission, which published a report on the issue in late 2013, to come up with legislative proposals in order to rebuild consumer confidence in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and other food fraud cases.
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Country of origin labelling of meat in processed foods - Facilitating cross-border tracking of traffic offenders - Counter-terrorism measures: MEPs to debate priorities ahead of EU summit - Annual Report 2013 on the Protection of the EU's Financial Interests - Fight against fraud - Access to medicines in the EU
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Draft EU rules to ensure that children suspected or accused of a crime are assisted by a lawyer at all stages of criminal proceedings in any EU country were approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday. MEPs also made sure that children will be individually assessed by qualified staff, can be heard and state their views in a trial and are kept separate from adult inmates, even, in some cases, after they are 18 years old.
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The European Parliament political group leaders have decided to propose a special committee to look into tax rulings by member states. The full House will vote at the next session on the creation of the special committee and on its mandate. The group leaders agreed that Parliament should look into tax rulings but opted for a special committee rather than a committee of inquiry as requested by 192 MEPs. Following the advice of the Parliament's legal service, the group leaders took note that the mandate for a committee of inquiry as proposed by the 192 MEPs was incompatible with the EU Treaty and Parliament's rules of procedure.
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"It was a great honour to nominate the Blue Star Programme for the Citizen's Prize and even better honour that the nomination was successful. As a former teacher myself, I appreciate the magnificent work, much of it on a voluntary basis that the teachers do in our schools. At a time when there is much negativity about the EU, it is great that the Blue Star programme gives the opportunity to pupils, parents & indeed the wider community to learn about the real work of the European Institutions & Member States of the Union..."
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Blue Star programme teachers will be presented with the European Citizen’s Prize medal by Sean Kelly MEP on Wednesday 4 February at Askeaton Senior National School, Co. Limerick. Sean Kelly nominated the Blue Star programme which is now in its fourth year and aims to introduce participants (pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community) to the EU, what it means and how it works.
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European Parliamentary Week. The EP hosts a two-day meeting with national parliamentarians from all over the EU and MEPs to discuss economic, budgetary and social matters. Political group and committee meeting take place in Brussels. Among the items on the agenda will be Children/legal protection, Syria and the EU budge. US Vice President Joe Biden will have meetings at the European Parliament on Friday.
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Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann, one of the winners of the 2014 European Citizen's Prize, will be presented with their medal of honour by Sinn Féin MEPs Martina Anderson, Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy and Liadh Ní Riada at an award ceremony to take place at the Brú Ború theatre, Cashel, Co. Tipperary on Saturday 24th January. Comhaltas were nominated for the prize by the Sinn Féin MEPs.
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Plenary and committee meetings, Brussels: On the agenda next week in the European Parliament will be Economic governance, Money laundering, Anti-terrorism measures, EU fund for strategic investments, and International climate agreement, A ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day will take place on 27 January.
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The Governing Council of the ECB met on Thursday 22 January and decided to expand the asset-purchase programme at a EUR 60-billion/month pace until September 2016, including the purchase of sovereign bonds.
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Meat used as an ingredient in processed foods, such as lasagne, should be labelled by country of origin as is already the case with bovine fresh meat, said Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee MEPs on Wednesday. They call on the European Commission, which published a report on the issue in late 2013, to come up with legislative proposals in order to rebuild consumer confidence in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and other food fraud cases.
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Following the Paris attacks the secretary-general of the Arab League has urged greater cooperation between it and the EU to counter extremism. Addressing Parliament's foreign affairs committee on 20 January Nabil El Araby said "the problems we face now are of universal character and are not confined to one place." He outlined how the Arab world looks upon Europe and said that "the European Union has been to the forefront of all just causes."
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At the start of today's Civil Liberties Committee meeting, the Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) said: In the last Civil Liberties Committee meeting, I already said a few words about the recent attacks in Paris. The immediate attention was of course on catching the terrorists, giving condolences to the victims' families and supporting the freedom of speech. However, in the days that followed, the debate has been broadened towards our actions to fight terrorism and radicalisation.
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Left to Right:  Hans Zomer, Dóchas, Olive Towey, Concern Worldwide and MEPs Brian Hayes, Mairead McGuinness and Lynn Boylan
This event will showcase the European Year for Development and will launch a booklet containing the contributions of all 11 Irish MEPs. There will also be an opportunity for dialogue with MEPs, including Mairead McGuinness, European Parliament Vice-President responsible for Communication and Brian Hayes, European Parliament Development Committee. The event is jointly organised by the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland, Dóchas and Concern and will take place in the European Parliament Information Office, 43, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 on 16 January 2015 from 11.00 am-12.30 pm. Registration required.
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The Parliament paid tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Monday at the start of the January plenary. On the legislative side, MEPs approved a proposal to give member states more flexibility to restrict or ban GMOs on their territory, while they also debated the programme of the new Latvian presidency of the Council as well as the outcome of the Italian presidency that ended in December.
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“2013 was a special year regarding the post of the European Ombudsman. Taking over from a long standing and well respected Mr Nikiforos Diamandouros was definitely a great challenge for Ms Emily O'Reilly, but thanks to her experience as an Irish Ombudsman, she started her work very efficiently. Within just a few months, she was able to turn this institution into a more accessible and user friendly one”, said rapporteur Jarosław Wałęsa (EPP, PL).
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The EU must be more united and more coordinated to face new challenges to its security, a majority of MEPs said in Wednesday's debate with Federica Mogherini on the EU's foreign, security and defence policies. Many said, following the Paris terrorist attacks, that internal and external policies must be coherent and called for more cooperation and intelligence- sharing between EU member countries.
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Increasing security, boosting growth, creating jobs, establishing a digital single market: Latvia will have plenty to do at the helm of the Council presidency the coming six months. Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma discussed her country's priorities during a debate in the European Parliament on 14 January. Some MEPs welcomed plans to focus on passenger name record legislation to improve security, while others stressed the importance of investment.
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New legislation to allow EU member states to restrict or ban the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their own territory, even if this is allowed at EU level, was passed by MEPs on Tuesday. The legislation, informally agreed by Parliament and Council in December, was originally tabled in 2010 but was then deadlocked for four years due to disagreement between pro and anti-GMO member states.
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Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said that "Jews in Europe still fear for their safety today. That is something that must frighten us and we need to resist that fear”. Referring to last week’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine, police officers and a Jewish supermarket in Paris, he added that “We need to ensure that this hatred does not become contagious". On 27 January 1945, the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Soviet soldiers. Established by the Nazis in 1940, it became the largest of the death camps. More than 1,100,000 people lost their lives there. The full text of the President's statement is available at the following link http://www.europarl.europa.eu/the-president/en/
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“Violence with Kalashnikovs will not make us downgrade our European values”, promised Parliament President Martin Schulz, naming the 17 people killed in last week’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket. After a minute’s silence, Parliament’s political groups paid their tributes too. Several saw the outpouring of solidarity demonstrated by millions of citizens across Europe and worldwide as a renaissance and reaffirmation of Europe’s core values.
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Plenary session and committee meetings, will take place in Strasbourg. Among the items on the agenda are Charlie Hebdo, a minute of silence in remembrance of the victims;debate with Newly-elected European Council President Donald Tusk, 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, GMO cultivation, Media freedom in Turkey and Human smuggling in Mediterranean.
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Commemorating 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz - Latvia takes over EU presidency from Italy - Vote on GMO opt-out for EU member states - Debate on boardroom gender balance - Ombudsman Annual activities report 2013
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The European Parliament Office in Ireland will be present at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition which takes place in the RDS in Dublin from Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 January. Come along and visit us in the World of Science and Technology (Stand number 30 in the Industries Hall).
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Marco Alberti simply wanted his children to learn more about Europe, but when he took them to Parlamentarium - the EP's visitors centre - he hadn't counted on being welcomed as the one millionth visitor. A delighted Alberti said: "We are trying to explain to our children what Europe is and thought this would be a good opportunity." The centre, hailed by Tripadvisor as one of the top things to do in Brussels, reached the landmark after having been open for just over three years.
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On behalf of the European Parliament, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims of today's terrorist attack in Paris at the offices of the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. We are profoundly shocked by this heinous crime which is an affront to civilised society and we unreservedly condemn such violence. As Europeans we must never surrender the values which are so close to our hearts and which this act has sought to undermine: the freedom of the press and of expression, tolerance, and mutual respect. This is a moment of profound sadness which requires a dignified and clear response. Whatever our opinions or religious beliefs we must stand strong and united against such violent acts. I call on all citizens to defend together the values we cherish. I also wish a prompt recovery to those injured.
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07-01-2015

Martin Schulz on the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris
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The European Parliament’s Visitors Centre, the Parlamentarium, will on Wednesday celebrate its millionth visitor since it opened in October 2011. He or she will be welcomed by Mairead McGuinness, Vice-President of the European Parliament, at around 12.00. The Parlamentarium gives adults and children the chance to make a virtual, interactive journey through European integration and experience its impact on the everyday lives of citizens.
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Parliament approved the draft EU budget for 2015 and a top-up of the 2014 one on Wednesday. The budget foresees €145.32 billion in commitments and €141.21 billion in payments for 2015, and an extra €4.25 billion to settle unpaid bills in 2014. ˮIt is clear that the amounts that we are to accept will at best only stabilize the level of European debt. What gives me hope is the payment plan aimed at decreasing the amount of unpaid billsˮ, said Budgets Committee chair Jean Arthuis (ALDE, FR), in the final debate on the budgets on 16 December. ˮGovernments had accepted the political commitments but then they failed to pay what they owed. Do we have to recall yet again that payments are only technical consequences of commitments?ˮ he asked.
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On Wednesday at noon President Schulz announced the winner of the European Parliament's 2014 LUX Prize for cinema at a ceremony in the Chamber. "Ida" is the story of a young women looking for her identity, an emotional individual story superimposed over the painful past of Europe. Accepting the award from EP President, the director Pawel Pawlikowsky said: "Ida is a film that has succeeded in touching the public across the whole of Europe. This shows that cinema still has a role to play in our society. (...) The LUX Prize established a new award for European film-makers (...) and has also made it possible for thousands of European citizens to join together in experiencing shared emotions."
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The European Parliament supports "in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced", it says in a resolution passed on Wednesday. To support EU diplomatic efforts in the Middle East peace process, it also decided to launch a “Parliamentarians for Peace” initiative to bring together MEPs and MPs from the Israeli and Palestinian Parliaments.
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The European Commission’s 2015 work programme, in which it outlines 23 new proposals and lists 80 items of pending legislation for withdrawal or amendment, drew a mixed response from MEPs in Tuesday’s debate with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and first Vice-President Frans Timmermans. Parliament will vote a resolution in January on the "new start" promised by the Commission
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Parliament re-elected the current European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly for the EP's 2014-2019 term this Tuesday 16 December 2014. She was backed by 569 MEPs in a secret ballot. Ms O’Reilly, who is Irish, was first elected European Ombudsman on 3 July 2013, after her predecessor retired. In today's ballot she was the only candidate. 569 members voted in favour, 66 against and 43 abstained. The task of the ombudsman is to investigate complaints about maladministration by EU institutions and bodies. Complaints can be submitted by anyone who lives in the EU or is an official citizen, as well as companies and associations with an office in the EU.
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aerial view EP Strasbourg.
What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Setting the Commission's work priorities for 2015 - 2014 LUX film prize to be awarded in Strasbourg - Parliament to elect European Ombudsman - MEPs to vote on whether Palestine should be recognised as a state - Debate on CIA’s use of torture and role of EU member states
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A provisional agreement on the European Union budget for 2015 and the means to settle this year’s most urgent unpaid bills was reached by negotiators for Parliament and the Council on Monday. The deal still needs to be endorsed both by the full Parliament and the Council. For payments, MEPs secured €4.8 billion more to pay bills for 2014-2015. For 2015, the negotiators agreed to a compromise of €145.3 billion in commitments and €141.2 billion in payments.
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Political group and committee meetings take place this week in Brussels. This week MEPs are discussing a number of issues that need to be finalised during the last plenary session of the year which commences in Strasbourg next Monday. Among the issues on this week's agenda are the on-going budget negotiations between the Parliament and Council, a resolution on migration responsibilities and appointments to the banking union's Single Resolution Board. At the Conference of Presidents Jean-Claude Juncker will present the Commission's programme of work for 2015.
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Sean Kelly MEP today hosted a wide ranging dialogue on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with a number of representative bodies and NGOs representing the manufacturing and services Industry, Farming, the Environment and Trade Unions. The meeting heard of a wide range of hopes as well as concerns for the proposed trade deal between the US and the EU.
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New legislation to allow EU member states to restrict, or ban, the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their own territory, even if it is allowed at EU level, were agreed by Parliament and Council delegations on Wednesday night
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The European Parliament's Conference of Presidents (EP President and political group leaders), meeting today in Riga, decided to authorize Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs to draw up two reports on tax fairness in Europe. Because of the complexity of the issue, Parliament's political leaders authorized the preparation of two reports: an inquiry report and a legislative one. For each of these parliamentary acts, the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee may appoint up to two rapporteurs.
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Members of the Agriculture committee welcomed on Wednesday plans to simplify the EU farm policy and called on Commissioner Hogan to come up with new actions to help milk farmers. MEPs also voiced concerns over uneven implementation of greening measures which are due to come into force next year and called on Mr Hogan to do more to tackle effects of the Russian ban on EU farmers.
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The “fresh start” to the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks includes more transparency, to show EU citizens “what’s in there for them”, stepping up civil society involvement in the talks, and “ambitious and realistic” goals for EU access to the US goods, services and public procurement markets, EU trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström told the International Trade Committee on Wednesday.
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Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiators and experts were quizzed on safeguards for labour standards and public services, and how a TTIP deal could help to create high-quality jobs, at a joint public hearing held by the Employment and International Trade committees on Tuesday.
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The competition for next year's European Charlemagne Youth Prize was launched on Tuesday, 2 December. Now in its eighth year, the prize is awarded to young people who have developed projects to foster understanding between people from different European countries. The deadline for submissions is 2 February 2015.
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This exhibition was launched on 2 December 2014 by Minister of State, Aodhan O'Riordan and is now open to the public as follows: Tuesday 2 December, 2pm-4pm, Wednesday and Thursday 3 and 4 December 10am - 4pm at the European Parliament Information Office, 43 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of the human lives and ethnic and cultural diversity of 20th century Europe lost to totalitarianism.
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Emily O’Reilly, current European Ombudsman who has been nominated to stand for re-election, will present her priorities in a hearing organised by the Petitions committee on Tuesday afternoon at 15 (Room ASP A1G-3) ahead of election of the Ombudsman for the 2014-2019 parliamentary term. The hearing is open to all Members of the European Parliament. The Ombudsman is elected by Parliament at the start of each parliamentary term. Ms O’Reilly is the only candidate declared admissible and this hearing will take place with a view to her re-election to the post.
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It is Committee week in Brussels next week. Among the items on the agenda are:- 2015 Budget; TTIP; Migration; ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (in Strasbourg); Preparations for Latvian Presidency of the EU. Irish Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan will be in Parliament twice next week. On Monday Commissioner Hogan will be in the Committee on Budgetary Control and on Wednesday in the Agriculture Committee meeting
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The European Parliament called on EU member states and the European Commission to break down barriers to the growth of the EU's digital single market in a resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs also stressed the need to prevent online companies from abusing dominant positions by enforcing EU competition rules and unbundling search engines from other commercial services.
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"We hope to find solutions to stop rape being used as a weapon of war, sometimes even as a war strategy." For years Denis Mukwege, this year's Sakharov Prize laureate, has been helping the victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo despite threats and his family being attacked. The gynaecologist was honoured for his work by the Parliament during an award ceremony on Wednesday 26 November in plenary.
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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the creation of a new EU strategic investment fund designed to mobilise at least €315 billion over the next three years to jump-start the EU economy. After his presentation in Parliament’s plenary session on Wednesday, MEPs from most political groups voiced support, but also demanded swift action to boost growth in the EU.
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The EU-Canada agreement on the transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR) should be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for an opinion on whether it is in line with the EU treaties and Charter of Fundamental Rights, MEPs said in a vote on Tuesday. This is the first time that Parliament has asked that a PNR agreement be given a preliminary check by the Court before the final vote on the deal.
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Protecting human dignity was a key theme of the formal address delivered by Pope Francis to Members of the European Parliament on Tuesday. Immigration, protecting the environment and promoting human rights and democracy were among the topics stressed in a speech that enjoined "Europe to rediscover the best of itself". Opening the formal sitting, Parliament’s President Martin Schulz said that the loss of confidence of people in politics, both at national and European level, is "tremendous", stressing that no institution can operate if it lacks support.
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Pope Francis to pay official visit to the European Parliament - 2014 Sakharov Prize to be awarded to Dr Denis Mukwege - Juncker to present €300bn investment package to MEPs - MEPs to debate and vote on whether Palestine should be recognised as a state - Parliament to vote on motion of censure on the European Commission
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Pope Francis to pay official visit to the European Parliament - 2014 Sakharov Prize to be awarded to Dr Denis Mukwege - Juncker to present €300bn investment package to MEPs - MEPs to debate and vote on whether Palestine should be recognised as a state - Parliament to vote on motion of censure on the European Commission
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Blue Star programme teachers and Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann are among the 47 winners of the European Citizen's Prize 2014 of the European Parliament. Since 2008, the prize has been awarded to citizens or organisations having contributed to promoting better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens or to facilitating cross-border or transnational cooperation within the EU.
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-Political group and committee meetings, Brussels Among the items on the agenda are:- ECB President Draghi at ECON committe; Ebola, Commissioner Stylianides on outcome of fact-finding mission; 2013 &2015 budgets; Ukraine;Syria; STOA annual lecture with Thomas Südhof
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Workers at fashion retailer Sprider Stores in Greece and at jewellery maker Andersen Ireland Limited in Ireland are to receive EU aid worth €8.8 million to help find or create new jobs. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid applications, already accepted by the Council of Ministers, were approved by Parliament on Wednesday.
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The European Parliament called on all parties to join talks to restart the stalled Northern Ireland peace process in a resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs stressed the need to combat low pay and unemployment, so as to halt violent and criminal efforts to undermine the process. Talks broke down in December 2013 due to disputes over issues such as welfare spending, flags and emblems, and parading.
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Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker appeared in person for Parliament’s extraordinary debate on the fight against tax avoidance, prompted by the recent revelation of secret deals granting preferential tax treatments to multinational companies in Luxembourg. Mr Juncker underlined that the tax rulings in Luxembourg were not illegal even though he admitted that "there probably was a certain amount of tax avoidance in Luxembourg, as in other EU countries. We find this everywhere in Europe because there is insufficient tax harmonisation in Europe", he explained, adding that Commissioner Moscovici will initiate proposals for an automatic exchange of information regarding national tax rulings."
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Fifteen finalists are competing in this event to win the title of National Europe Direct Soapbox Winner 2014. The contestants must present a three minute speech for or against the topic "The Internet does more harm than good" before a public audience and a panel of judges. Prizes include a trip to Brussels and a visit to the European Parliament sponsored by MEP Matt Carthy, who will present the prizes to winners in Farmleigh on the day. Our photo shows winners David Williams (Mountmellick) and Siobhan Fitzgerald (Galway) with their winning certificates and Matt Carthy MEP to the right of picture.
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's mini-Plenary Session in Brussels? Highlights include: - Commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 - Restarting stalled Northern Ireland peace process – debate and vote - MEPs set to back EU-Moldova association deal - EU job-search aid for former workers at Greek retailer and Irish jeweller
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Plenary session and committee meetings, Brussels next week. Among the items on the agenda are:European Court of Auditors President Vítor Manuel da Silva Caldeira presents 2014 report; Northern Ireland and Cyprus; EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) data; Fall of the Berlin Wall and GMOs. Press briefing in Brussels at 10:00 on Monday
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Members of the Agriculture committee demanded on Thursday to keep the funding from milk super-levies in the EU agriculture budget and use it to offset the impact of the Russian import ban on EU farmers. The embargo on EU food products that Russia imposed in August is a result of a political decision and therefore the aid to the most hit food producers should not be funded by across-the-board cuts to direct payments, MEPs said.
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The European Commission, the European Parliament and UN Women this morning kicked off the two-day Spring Forward for Women conference at the European Parliament in Brussels. The Conference brings together women lawmakers from the Arab States and members of the European Parliament. Participants will share their experience in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in both the European Union and the Arab States.
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The EU should make available aid worth €8.8 million to help find or create new jobs for workers made redundant by fashion retailer Sprider Stores in Greece and jewellery maker Andersen Ireland Limited in Ireland, recommended the Budgets Committee on Tuesday. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid still has to be approved by Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers.
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On Tuesday 25 November, Pope Francis will address the European Parliament in Strasbourg. For technical reasons, all journalists will need a special badge to access its premises that day, even if they already have EU accreditation. Please apply by 12 November.
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Concerns over the possible threats to the EU's internal security posed by Europeans returning home after fighting for the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) were raised by MEPs in a debate on Wednesday. Some called for a swift approval of the EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal to better detect potential terrorists entering or leaving the EU. Most stressed, however, that all measures taken by the EU to tackle this problem must respect fundamental rights.
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Plans to prolong a largely duty-free access to the EU market for Ukraine’s exports until the end of 2015 were backed by the European Parliament on Thursday. MEPs voted by 497 votes to 78, with 56 abstentions, to take over the original Commission proposal and prolong the measure without amending it. "Given the current situation, a timely approval to prolong the regulation granting autonomous trade measures for Ukraine proves that the EU can act swiftly and decisively. This is also a proof of our political will and moral obligation", said rapporteur Gabrielius Landsbergis (EPP, LT). He added that it would give Ukrainian producers and businesses chance to prepare for the full implementation of the "Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area" from the start of 2016
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MEPs approved the new college of 27 Commissioners, as presented by its President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday morning, with 423 votes in favour, 209 against and 67 abstentions. The new Commission now needs to be formally appointed by EU heads of state or government to enable it to take up duty on 1 November for a five-year term.
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EU countries need to act more like owners of economic policy reform pledges they themselves signed up to, MEPs stress in a report adopted on Wednesday. Given that only 10% of the European Commission's country-specific reform recommendations (CSRs) for 2013 were implemented in full and that little or no progress was made on 45% of them, MEPs believe "there is an inconsistency between European commitment and national implementation of the CSRs by member states".
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Denis Mukwege is the laureate of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2014, following today's decision by EP President Martin Schulz and the political group leaders. Mukwege will be invited to Strasbourg on 26 November to receive the award during the plenary session.
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All sides in the Northern Ireland peace process should refrain from “dangerous mutual provocation” urged European Parliament President Martin Schulz in his opening address at its October session. Mr Schulz urged all parties to the Northern Ireland peace process to continue contributing to a peaceful solution and thus to the new round of talks launched on 16 October.
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Among the items on the the agenda next week:Hearings of Commissioners-designate, Election of new Commission, EU budget 2015, Duty-free access for Ukrainian goods, European Semester and Aid for the unemployed
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Vote on the new European Commission - 2015: Parliament set to boost funding for EU priorities - Review of Barroso II Commission - European semester: action needed on EU countries’ economic reform pledges
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With the announcement by Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule that she is leaving the EFDD, that political group no longer has members from the minimum of seven member states and has therefore effectively ceased to exist. The Conference of Presidents (EP President and political group leaders) meeting today was therefore not able to choose the 2014 Sakharov Prize winner from a shortlist of three. That decision has now been postponed to next Tuesday.
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What started as an Ebola outbreak in West Africa has evolved into a world-wide threat, with the first European case having been reported in Spain. MEPs labelled the outbreak "a global security challenge" in a resolution adopted on 18 September and said that the international community has underestimated the crisis. According to the World Health Organization, 4,447 people have already died because of Ebola. We discussed the issue with the chairs of the development and public health committees.
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The Ukrainian EuroMaidan movement, Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo and Leyla Yunus, a human rights activist from Azerbaijan have been named as the finalists for the 2014 Sakharov Prize. They were selected by the foreign affairs and development committees on 7 October. Read on to find out more about the finalists.
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EU countries need to do more to put their EU economic policy reform pledges into effect at home, especially in the euro area, urged Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee MEPs on Monday. Noting that only 10% of the European Commission's country-specific reform recommendations (CSRs) for 2013 were implemented in full and that little or no progress was made on 45% of them, MEPs also pressed the Commission and the Eurogroup President to see that they are put into practice.
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In the week preceeding the October plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the EP president and the political group leaders will meet this week to discuss the committee evaluations of the candidate commissioners and decide the next steps. Also on the agenda EU security and the threat posed by ISIS, human rights in Syria, Iraq and neighbouring countries, announcement of this year's Sakharov Prize. Read on.
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The three films competing for this year’s LUX Prize will be screened in Ireland during the IndieCork Film Festival which runs from Sunday 12th October to Sunday 19th October 2014. Class Enemy" (Razredni sovražnik) from Slovenia, Polish/Danish co-production "Ida" and "Girlhood" (Bande de filles) from France" will be screened on 12th, 18th and 19th October respectively. An open discussion with MEP Liadh Ni Riada on the importance of "cultural exception" will also take place on 17th October as part of the festival.
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Better late than never: - “The publication of the TTIP negotiating mandate is an important step towards more transparency in these trade talks. And while late is better than never, I still hope that member states will show more willingness to listen to and act upon the repeated calls of MEPs and citizens in the future”, said chair of the EP’s trade committee Bernd Lange (S&D, DE) on Thursday, following decision by the EU Council to declassify its mandate for talks on a EU-US trade agreement.
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Youth unemployment is "not only a personal catastrophe for young people, but also for their parents, grandparents, kids, friends and relatives," EP President Martin Schulz warned at the European employment summit in Milan on 8 October.
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MEPs will continue assessing the skills and qualifications of Commissioners-designate for the posts proposed by incoming Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. This time, the candidate Vice Presidents will be heard by the parliamentary committee(s) active in their proposed fields of responsibility, except for the candidate for the post of 1st Vice President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, who will be heard at a meeting open to all MEPs. (Monday and Tuesday)
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The vetting of president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker's team by Parliament's committees commenced on Monday 29 September. 21 of the 27 commissioners-designate have now been heard by MEPs who had the opportunity to quiz the candidates on their competence and expertise for the portfolios assigned to them. Read our summary here of what has happened thus far.
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The 27 candidates hoping to be part of the European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker start appearing at hearings at the European Parliament today. During the three-hour hearings EP committees will test the candidate commissioners' expertise and competences ahead of the EP voting on whether to approve the new Commission on 22 October. The hearings will be shown live on Parliament's website and can also be followed on various other platforms. Read on to find out how.
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The European Parliament will once again be present at this year's National Ploughing Championships, which take place from Tuesday 23 to Thursday 25 September at Ratheniska, Stradbally, Co. Laois. Together with colleagues from several other services, we will be on hand to deal with any queries you may have about the EU, your rights as a European citizen, consumer affairs, food and all topics of EU interest. We will have the EU funded SOLVIT team to assist you with any problems encountered in availing of your EU based rights and we have the newly elected European Parliament to inform you about.
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MEPs meet in committee this week to prepare legislation on data protection, regional policy and discuss the annual report on immigration and asylum. They will also prepare the hearings for the new European Commission taking place from 29 September to 7 October. The nominees for the Sakharov Prize will be presented to three committees on Tuesday. On the same day EP president Martin Schulz will meet Portugal's prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho in Lisbon.
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The candidate commissioners as presented by incoming Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, will be scrutinised by the European Parliament committees from 29 September to 7 October. Members will evaluate candidates' suitability before the full house votes on the proposed Commission. The leaders of the political groups have agreed on Thursday on the format and programme for the public hearings. The hearings will take place from 29 September through 2 October and in the following week, on the afternoon of Monday 6 and the morning of Tuesday 7 October.
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, Russian ban on imports of EU food products, Crisis in the Middle East – Syria and Iraq, Gaza, Libya, Ebola outbreak, European Youth Initiative, Digital market,Budget 2015
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The candidate commissioners, as presented by incoming Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, will need to appear in hearings before parliamentary committees from 29 September to 7 October. The hearings will take place from 29 September to 2 October and in the following week, on the afternoon of Monday 6 and the morning of Tuesday 7 October.
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Tackling climate change will be a key issue for the newly-elected European Parliament and for the new Commission, which will take office later this year. One person who has no doubts about the urgent need to galvanise climate action is former Irish president and current UN special envoy Mary Robinson. While in Brussels to meet with Parliament President Martin Schulz, she urged European politicians to show leadership on the issue.
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Next week committees and political groups will meet in Brussels. The situation in Ukraine, the plight of children in Gaza are on the agenda of the relevant committees while political groups will be preparing the September plenary session. On Wednesday afternoon President Schulz will meet Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy on Climate Change.
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"Access to internet is critical for fundamental freedoms and economic development. Continued access to a free and open internet depends on effective governance... " Joint statement from the EU delegation to the Internet Governance Forum 2-5 September 2014 in Istanbul. Read on.
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The EU must be ready to introduce additional measures and allocate fresh resources outside the agricultural budget to help EU farmers overcome harsh effects of the Russian import ban on EU food products, Agriculture Committee MEPs said on Thursday. They also warned that the embargo might stay in place for some time and called for long-term solutions.
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After the summer recess, business resumes on 1 September in the European Parliament with a week of meetings of parliamentary committees. Crises in the EU neighbourhood, EU-Russia Trade, Ebola Outbreak, Economic Dialogue and more will be on the agenda of the relevant committees. Read on.
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The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz congratulates Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on his election as President of the European Council and Italy's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini on her appointment as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy following the special meeting of the European Council on 30 August 2014.
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The European Parliament is in recess over the summer. Business resumes on 1 September, with a week of meetings of parliamentary committees.
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Euroscola is a unique event for schools to learn about European integration by experiencing it first hand. Students from the 28 EU Member States are selected to become a Member of the European Parliament for one day at Parliament's premises in Strasbourg. They take the floor in plenary and committee sessions to debate and vote on resolutions on current affairs, all the while practising their language skills and making friends with fellow students from across Europe. Enter our competition and your school could win a chance to represent Ireland. Closing date for entries: 21 November 2014
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The European elections in May 2014 changed the relative strength of political groups in the EP, brought new faces at the helm of many groups and affected their political agenda. At the start of the parliamentary term, political group leaders speak about their priorities in the weeks and months to come. Watch the series of interviews to learn more about their views and plans at an important moment for EU policy-making.
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EU sanctions against Russia must be stepped up, the Ukrainian border closed to halt arms flows from Russia, and the bodies of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash victims returned, MEPs insisted in today’s debate with Ukraine’s foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin. Mr Klimkin called on the EU to show its solidarity now, as Ukraine is “being punished for its EU aspirations”. The debate opened with a minute’s silence for victims of the 17 July crash.
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The three films competing for this year’s Lux Prize have been announced: Class Enemy (Razredni sovražnik) from Slovenia, Girlhood (Bande de filles) from France and Polish/Danish co-production Ida will all be competing for the European Parliament's annual firlm award. The finalists will be subtitled into the EU's official 24 languages and be screened in all 28 member states during the LUX Film Days this autumn. The winner will be chosen by MEPs and announced on 17 December.
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Next week Committees will hold their final meetings in Brussels before the Summer recess. On the agenda: the Italian Presidency, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), EU Budget 2014... Read more.
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Commenting on the crash of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Ukrainian territory, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz stated: “I was shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic crash of the Malaysian airliner which led to the death of so many people. I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the national authorities of the affected countries.
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Attacks by the Islamic State (IS) on the Iraqi state and its citizens, including summary executions and the imposition of harsh interpretations of Sharia law, were strongly condemned in a European Parliament resolution passed by a show of hands on Thursday. At the same time, the resolution urges the Iraqi security forces to respect Iraq's international commitments on human rights and fundamental freedoms while fighting the IS and other terrorist groups.
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