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Press Releases 2016

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Martin Schulz summed up his five years as European Parliament President in a statement to the House on Wednesday 14 December.
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Lamiya Aji Bashar .
Islamic State survivors and Iraqi Yazidi activists Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar received today Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
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Parliamentary meetings.
The Commission has today announced plans to introduce a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) as part of a broader package of corporate tax reforms. Read the reaction of the chairman of Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT).  
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Citizens Prize 2016
Ireland's CoderDojo joined people and organisations from across Europe in the Parliament in Brussels on 12 October for the European Citizens’ Prize award ceremony that highlighted their contributions to Europe.
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vestager ECON
“We have no problem with the 12,5% corporate tax rate in Ireland”, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told Irish Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee members in a hearing on competition policy on Monday.
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European Parliament Brussels
Committees meet in Brussels next week. Among the issues on the table will be: Energy Union/security of gas supply; 2017 EU budget, Countering foreign disinformation; Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).  Read more.     
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Parliament hemicycle
MEPs voiced startlingly different views on the state of Greece’s economic adjustment programme, its impact and the prospects for future negotiations between Greece and its creditors, in a public debate with Commissioner Pierre Moscovici on Tuesday afternoon.
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EU Leaders
Action to stop massacres in Syria, implement migration policies and border controls, and ensure a balanced approach to trade deals while defending EU industry are the key challenges that EU heads of state or government should tackle at their 20-21 October meeting in Brussels, said Parliament’s political group leaders in a debate with the Slovak Council Presidency and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday.
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COP22 signature
The UNFCCC Paris Agreement on fighting climate change, the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal, will come into force next month, having met the necessary conditions much earlier than predicted, as Parliament agreed to its ratification by the EU in a historic vote on Tuesday.
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The investigative journalists behind the “Panama Papers” revelations were welcomed with applause to the first public hearing of Parliament’s inquiry committee on Tuesday. They explained their findings, which are based on 2.6 terabytes of leaked information compromising banks, heads of state, ministers, criminals and other clients of Mossack Fonseca, a company offering anonymity services and low tax solutions. Chair Werner Langen (EPP, DE) opened the meeting by saying that the committee’s task is to find out whether - and if so to what extent - member states broke EU law or failed to implement it.
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Among the items on the agenda in Brussels this week are The Panana Papers inquiry; Roaming;2017 Budget; car approval system; Counter-terrorism; the future of the Jewish communties in Europe and preparations for the plenary session in Strasbourg. In addition, ECB President Mario Draghi will present the ECB’s perspective on economic and monetary developments, in particular in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, to the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Monday.
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Following a busy plenary session in Strasbourg, MEPs work this week in their constituency or take part in parliamentary delegations. Parliament President Martin Schulz travels to London to meet among others UK Prime Minister Theresa May, while some MEPs are in Lebanon to assess the country's response to the refugee crisis.
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 (01/09/2009)
Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager won wide support from MEPs, in a Wednesday afternoon debate, for the Commission’s state aid verdict that the tax benefits that Ireland granted to Apple Inc., enabling it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years, were illegal.
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European Parliament hemicycle
Populism, unemployment and social injustice are among the key challenges for the EU, said Commission President Juncker in his annual State of the Union speech in the EP on Wednesday. The refugee crisis, Brexit and counter-terrorism were also debated with political groups’ leaders and other MEPs, who put forward their visions of how to address people’s deepest concerns about the future.
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markus feber mep
The European Commission's ruling that Apple should pay Ireland €13 billion in taxes has reignited the discussion of how much tax large companies should pay. We talked to Markus Ferber, one of the Parliament's leading members on tax issues, who said the Commission's decision enjoyed the Parliament's full backing.
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European Parliament committee meeting
Parliament will evaluate Commissioner-designate Sir Julian King for the portfolio of the Security Union during its plenary session in Strasbourg. The Civil Liberties Committee will first hold a public hearing with the candidate on Monday 12 September. The full House will take a vote on Thursday.
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Inside the European Parliament
Committee and political group meetings, Brussels The future financing of the EU, Car Emissions and refugees/resettlement are among the topics on the agenda for the European Parliament committee meetings this week.
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Jean-Claude Juncker
Two days ahead of the informal meeting of the EU heads of state and government (without the United Kingdom) in Bratislava, the European Parliament will hold the annual debate on the State of the European Union with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg.
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EP Brussels
Parliamentary committees deal with anything from relations with Turkey to migration and car emissions this week. Parliament President Martin Schulz is due to visit Ankara, while MEPs discuss the EU-Canada trade agreement. In addition former commissioner Günter Verheugen answers questions from the Parliament's inquiry committee investigating car emission tests.
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Tree in lightbulb
The environment is something Europeans care deeply about: 67% of them would like to the EU to do more on environmental protection, according to a Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Parliament. Read on to find out more about what the EU is already doing and will be doing to protect your health, safeguard biodiversity and fight climate change.
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MEPs voting
From Brexit to the migration crisis: 2016 has proved a very eventful year, but Parliament's work is far from finished. Until the end of the year MEPs will be working on a broad range of issues, from tackling the terrorism threat to improving the digital single market. Read on for an overview of the challenges MEPs will be dealing with the coming months.
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Film banner
The 2016 LUX Film Prize has selected the three films in its Official Competition. The 10th-anniversary edition of the award will have Leyla Bouzid’s As I Open My Eyes (France/Tunisia/Belgium/United Arab Emirates), Claude Barras’ My Life as a Courgette (Switzerland/France) and Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann (Germany/Austria/Romania) as the final contenders. Chairwoman of the Committee on Culture and Education Silvia Costa and Vice-President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani announced the titles in contention for the award today, at the Venice Days press conference.
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Brian Hayes, MEP speaking at the Stakeholder event
The EPIO Dublin and member of the European Parliament’s Economic Committee, Brian Hayes, held a consultation in Dublin today (Tuesday 19 July) with leaders from a cross section of Irish society to update them on current state-of-play with the Pensions Directive and the implications for pension providers. The consultation took place at 13:00 19 July in the offices of the European Parliament at 12-14 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2. Participants representing a broad range of stakeholders took part; these included pension scheme trustees, pension fund managers, financial advisors, legal advisors, regulators and civil servants.
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Flags of European Union member states
Car emissions: Members of the Inquiry Committee on Emission Measurements in the automotive sector (EMIS) will visit the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) facilities in Ispra, Italy. The JRC played a crucial role in developing on-road emission testing. MEPs will visit the laboratory, meet officials and researchers and attend a demonstration of tests using portable emission measurement systems. (Monday and Tuesday)
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Martin Schulz
This morning, I would like to express my deep sorrow following the attack last night in Nice. On behalf of the European Parliament, I would like to extend my condolences to the families and friends of the many victims. I send my wishes for a speedy recovery to the injured. I commend the courage and solidarity of both the emergency services and ordinary citizens of Nice.
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Handgun
EU countries will have to introduce stronger controls on “blank-firing” guns, to prevent them being converted to fire live ammunition, under Internal Market Committee amendments, voted on Wednesday, to a draft update of the EU firearms directive. The changes approved by MEPs ensure that any firearm which has been converted to firing blanks continues to be covered by EU gun control rules. This closes a legal loophole which became evident in the aftermath of last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
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Flags of European Union member states
Eurozone budget. Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and finance ministers Luis de Guindos (Spain), Michel Sapin (France) Euclid Tsakalotos (Greece) Pier Carlo Padoan (Italy) Pierre Gramegna (Luxembourg), Peter Kažimír (Slovakia) and Edward Scicluna (Malta) will join the committees on Budgets and Economic and Monetary Affairs to discuss ideas for a fiscal capacity for the Eurozone. Parliament will vote its position in October. (Monday)
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European Parliament Plenary Chamber
EU Commission plans to allow claims that sugary drinks and energy drinks containing caffeine boost “alertness” or “concentration” were vetoed by the European Parliament on Thursday. Displaying these claims on drinks cans would have led to higher sugar consumption among adolescents, who are the largest group of energy drink consumers, said MEPs in their resolution.
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Four whistles
Whistle-blowers leaking information in the public interest play a crucial role in upholding democracies, and must therefore be better protected from prosecution, reprisals and threats. This was the key message voiced by many MEPs in Wednesday evening’s debate with Commissioner Jyrki Katainen and Ivan Korčok from the Slovak Presidency of the Council on how to improve legal safeguards for people revealing illegal or unethical activities in the public or private sectors.
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New A to G energy efficiency scale
A new, tougher, A to G scale showing the energy efficiency of household appliances should be introduced, to keep pace with technological progress, said MEPs voting on an EU Commission proposal on Wednesday. Most appliances on the market now meet the “class A” requirements first set in 2010, so ever more pluses (A+, A++, A+++) are being added, note MEPs, who argue that setting tougher requirements will create incentives to improve energy efficiency still further.
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A €10, €20 and €50 banknote hanging up
Parliament’s recommendations for making corporate taxation fairer and clearer were voted on Wednesday. MEPs call for an EU register of beneficial owners of companies, a tax havens blacklist, sanctions against non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, action against abuse of “patent box” regimes, a code of conduct for banks and tax advisors, tax good governance rules in EU trade agreements, a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) and a withholding tax on profits leaving the EU.
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Coastguard helicopter flying over water.
Plans to set up an EU border control system, bringing together the EU’s Frontex border agency and national border management authorities, were endorsed by MEPs on Wednesday. Under these plans, national authorities will still manage their borders on a day-to-day basis but, if their EU external borders are under pressure, they will be able to seek help from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCG), to rapidly deploy pooled border guard teams to those borders.
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Men in balaclavas using laptops
Firms supplying essential services, e.g. for energy, transport, banking and health, or digital ones, such as search engines and cloud services, will have to improve their ability to withstand cyber-attacks under the first EU-wide rules on cybersecurity, approved by MEPs on Wednesday.
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European flags
EU leaders must respond to the UK's vote to leave the EU, by doing more to defend the EU project and to make it more transparent, social and responsive to citizens' concerns. This was a key message that came out of Parliament's Tuesday morning debate with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, on last week's EU summit.
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The Lux Film Prize, which the European Parliament awards to the best film produced in Europe, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The nominations for 2016 have tonight been revealed at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. The three films short-listed for the finals will be announced in the end of July and the prize ceremony will take place in November.
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The fight against terrorism should be the EU's number one priority followed by action on unemployment, the fight against tax fraud, migration, the protection of external borders and the environment, according to the vast majority of people surveyed in a special Eurobarometer carried out by the European Parliament. Those participating were asked if more or less common action is required on a range of different issues. Check out our interactive infographic.
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Parliament will debate the outcome of the 28 - 29 EU summit with EU Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Besides the consequences of the UK’s EU membership referendum, the heads of state or government also discussed digital single market and capital markets union proposals, “European Semester” country-specific economic policy recommendations and the EU’s global strategy for a common foreign and security policy. (Debate Tuesday)
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Opening the extraordinary session, European Parliament President Martin SCHULZ (S&D, DE) noted that this was the first time that a plenary session had been convened at such short notice, but also pointed out that the UK citizens’ decision to leave the EU was equally unprecedented. He warmly welcomed Lord Hill and thanked him for his work in the European Commission and his decision to step down after having campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU. His statement was followed by standing ovations from both MEPs and fellow Commissioners.
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The UK must respect the wish of a majority of its citizens, entirely, fully and as soon as possible, by officially withdrawing from the EU before any new relationship arrangements can be made, says the European Parliament in a resolution voted after an extraordinary plenary debate on Tuesday. MEPs also stress the urgent need for reforms to ensure that the EU lives up to its citizens’ expectations.
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Extraordinary PlenarySession relating to the results of the UK referendum: MEPs will meet in Brussels on Tuesday for an extraordinary plenary session at 10.00 to discuss and vote on a resolution assessing the outcome of the UK referendum and its consequences for the European Union.
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EP President Martin Schulz, European Council President Donald Tusk and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte met Friday morning in Brussels at the invitation of EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. They discussed the outcome of the United Kingdom referendum and made the following joint statement: "In a free and democratic process, the British people have expressed their wish to leave the European Union. We regret this decision but respect it.
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To follow up the UK’s EU membership referendum, Parliament's Conference of Presidents (EP President and political group leaders) decided on Friday morning, to convene an extraordinary plenary session for 28 June at 10:00. During this session, MEPs will vote a resolution analysing the outcome and ways forward. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Council representatives will take part.
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The European Parliament named the 65 members of its “Panama Papers” Committee of Inquiry, into tax evasion and money laundering, on Thursday, after approving its remit on 8 June. The committee’s shorthand label will be “PANA”. The European Parliament agreed to set up an inquiry committee into the “Panama Papers” revelations on 8 June. The committee is to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application by the EU Commission or member states of EU laws on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. It will have twelve months to present its report.
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“The elected Israeli leadership has been and is in support of two states for two peoples solution”, President of the State of Israel Reuven Rivlin, told MEPs on Wednesday. However “at this time, a permanent agreement for peace between us and Palestinians cannot be achieved”, he added, calling on EU to help build trust between the parties. President Rivlin stressed that the political and regional circumstances which would enable Israelis and Palestinians to reach a permanent agreement “are failing to materialise.”
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President Schulz opened the session by calling a minute’s silence for UK MP Jo Cox, who was so seriously injured in a brutal street attack in Birstall (UK) on 16 June that she died the same day. He also dedicated the minute’s silence to victims of the LGBTI nightclub shooting in Orlando (USA) on 13 June, and to two police officers stabbed to death in Magnanville (France), also on 13 June.
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The creation of an EU border control system received a first green light from Parliament and Council negotiators on Tuesday night. The cornerstone of the deal is to upgrade today’s Frontex border agency, which, together with national border management authorities, will form a European Border and Coast Guard. It is now up to member states and Parliament as a whole to endorse the agreement.
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The EU's agriculture, a victim of climate change, must also be a part of a solution to mitigate its effects, members of the Agriculture committee told Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete on Tuesday. MEPs called for a fair and well-targeted 2030 emission reduction goals and highlighted the role EU forests play and could play in tackling climate change. Many also stressed EU should focus more on shortening supply chains and avoid imports of products from abroad with high environmental footprint.
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An EU Commission plan to systematically check all EU citizens entering or leaving the EU was endorsed by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Tuesday. Members amended the proposal to enable member states to run targeted checks, as an exception, in the event of lengthy delays and provided that security is not at risk.
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UK referendum. An extraordinary Conference of Presidents (EP President and political group leaders) will meet on Friday morning to discuss the outcome of the UK’s EU membership referendum, followed by press point at 9:30 (PHS ground floor). Later in the day, EP President Martin Schulz will meet European Council President Donald Tusk, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Netherlands Prime-Minister Mark Rutte at the Berlaymont Building, also on the referendum outcome.
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Plans for stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure full compliance and traceability of medical devices, such as breast or hip implants, were backed by Health Committee MEPs on Wednesday. MEPs also approved legislation to tighten up information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices used for example in pregnancy or DNA testing. Both files were informally agreed with the Dutch Presidency of the Council.
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Dutch finance minister and ECOFIN Chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem worries that the way in which the EU Commission applies Stability and Growth Pact rules may not be entirely objective, he told Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee MEPs on Tuesday. At a meeting reviewing the Dutch Presidency of the Council of Economy and Finance Ministers, he said he hoped that on Friday 17 June they would agree a road map for completing the Banking Union with a European Deposit Guarantee Scheme (EDIS).
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If Turkey goes on undermining rule of law principles and stripping Members of the Turkish Parliament of their immunities, then it should not expect to be granted an EU visa-free regime, said Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs on Tuesday in a debate with Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chair of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). They also voiced solidarity with Mr Demirtaş’ efforts to revive the Kurdish peace process talks.
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Should energy and sugary drinks be allowed to claim on their labels that the caffeine in them boosts alertness and concentration? Parliament's public health and food safety committee fears this could affect children and teenagers, who are the main consumers of energy drinks. On Wednesday 15 June, committee members discuss whether to vote against a European Commission proposal allowing this. We talked to Christel Schaldemose, in charge of steering the plans through Parliament, why she opposes it.
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Legal Affairs MEPs have approved new rules on Tuesday on property regimes for international married couples or registered partnerships. They will bring legal clarity in cases of divorce or death and bring an end to parallel and possibly conflicting proceedings in various member states, for instance on property or bank accounts. The rules would apply in 18 EU countries which were willing to join this initiative through an enhanced cooperation.
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Health claims on caffeine. A proposal to veto a Commission draft plan to allow claims that caffeine helps boost alertness and concentration to be made on the labels of sugary drinks, and particularly energy drinks consumed mostly by adolescents, is up for a vote in the Environment and Public Health Committee. (Wednesday)
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The European Parliament agreed to set up an inquiry committee into the “Panama Papers” revelations, of detailed information on offshore companies and their ultimate beneficiaries, in a vote on Wednesday. The committee is to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application by the EU Commission or member states of EU laws on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. It will have 65 members and twelve months to present its report.
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A majority of MEPs welcomed plans to step up cooperation with third countries, particularly in Africa, by increasing public and private investment there to support economic and social development and curb migration flows. But many MEPs also warned against replicating the EU deal with Turkey in Tuesday’s debate with EU Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who presented a proposal for a new “partnership framework with third countries”.
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The new European Commission proposals for a review of the “blue card” scheme for highly-skilled workers from third countries, which should simplify their admission and improve their living conditions, and for an action plan to promote successful integration of migrants within the EU, were debated on in plenary session on Tuesday with Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.
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MEPs urge the EU Commission to put forward proposals against unfair trading practices in the food supply chain, so as to ensure fair earnings for farmers and a wide choice for consumers, in a resolution voted on Tuesday. The aim should be to ensure fair and transparent trade relations among food producers, suppliers and distributors. Fair trading should in turn help to prevent overproduction and food waste, they add.
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Migration compact. A new EU plan to address the root causes of migration will be presented by the EU Commission and debated in plenary on Tuesday afternoon. The “migration compact”, prepared by Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, foresees using EU funds to promote private investment in migrants’ countries of origin, particularly in Africa.
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The European Parliament Conference of Presidents, uniting the EP president and political group leaders, agreed on Thursday 2 June on a mandate for an inquiry committee to look into the so-called Panama Papers, which revealed detailed information on off-shore companies and their ultimate beneficiaries. The proposal by the Conference of Presidents will be voted by Parliament as a whole on 8 June during the plenary session in Strasbourg.
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CoderDojo is among the 50 winners of the European Citizen's Prize 2016 of the European Parliament. Since 2008, the prize has been awarded to citizens or organisations that contributed to promoting better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens or to facilitating cross-border or transnational cooperation within the EU. The winners will receive a medal of honour at an award ceremony in their country and will be invited to a joint event in Brussels in October.
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European Border and Coast Guard: Plans to create a European Border and Coast Guard Agency, bringing together the EU’s Frontex border agency and national border authorities, will be put to a vote in the Civil Liberties Committee. The new agency’s mandate would empower it to intervene at EU external frontiers where urgent action is required, even if the EU countries concerned have not asked for help. (Monday) Press conference by rapporteur Artis Pabriks (EPP, LV) on Tuesday at 09:00.
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Consumers should be given more power in the energy market, say MEPs in a resolution on a "new energy deal for energy consumers", voted on Thursday. They recommend collective buying, household power generation, better price comparison tools for all and making it easier to switch energy providers and tariffs. In a non-binding text, intended as an input to Energy Union legislation to be tabled by the EU Commission, MEPs also call for EU funds for energy efficiency to focus on energy poverty.
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The EU Commission should set up a taskforce to monitor virtual currencies, like Bitcoin, to prevent their being used to launder money or finance terrorism, said Parliament in a non-binding resolution voted on Thursday. The proposal, set out in a resolution drafted by Jakob von Weizsäcker (S&D, DE) suggests that the taskforce, which would be overseen by the Commission, should build expertise in the underlying technology of virtual currencies
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The EU Commission should go on negotiating with the USA to remedy “deficiencies” in proposed “Privacy Shield” protection for EU citizens’ data transferred to the US for commercial purposes, Parliament says in a non-legislative resolution passed on Thursday. In the resolution, passed by 501 votes to 119 with 31 abstentions, MEPs welcome the efforts of the Commission and the US administration to achieve "substantial improvements" in the Privacy Shield compared to the Safe Harbour decision which it is to replace.
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The EU must quickly take further measures to stabilize milk prices and bring relief to struggling dairy farmers, urged MEPs in Thursday's plenary debate with Commissioner Phil Hogan and Dutch deputy farm minister Hans Hoogeveen. These measures should include an EU-wide lid on milk production to boost prices, a more efficient intervention system, to enable the EU to react more swiftly, and balancing the supply chain to enable farmers to earn fair returns, they said.
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EU must be more active in tackling the agriculture crisis and balancing the food supply chain, many MEPs said on Tuesday during the debate with Commissioner Phil Hogan. EU's executive must protect EU farmers in trade negotiations with the United States and Mercosur countries, simplify the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to cut red tape and resist any attempts to re-nationalise the CAP, they insisted.
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For the first time since his accession to the throne in 2013, King Willem-Alexander will address Parliament in a formal sitting on Wednesday, following the opening of the Brussels plenary session at 15.00. The Dutch sovereign paid a visit to Parliament and met with EP President Martin Schulz on 3 November prior to his country's presidency of the European Council.
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In a hurry? Twitter is the fastest way to get updates about decisions taken by the European Parliament. With its 140 character messages, the social network has become the platform of choice for politicians, journalists and other news junkies. But how do you find the best account to follow for you among the nearly 100 official Twitter accounts run by the Parliament? Our interactive and newly updated Twitter map shows the way.
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EU-Turkey deal/Greece. Civil Liberties Committee MEPs will go on a fact-finding mission to Greece to check on the situation at the EU’s external borders and evaluate the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal on refugees. They will travel to the FYROM border to assess the situation there after the closure of the so-called Balkans route, and to Lesvos, to see how asylum applications are processed and visit both open and closed reception facilities. MEPs will also go to Athens to meet representatives of the Greek government, EU and international bodies, as well as NGOs. They will hold a press conference in Athens, on Friday at 10:00. (Wednesday to Friday)
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EU member states should do more to protect victims of human trafficking, especially women, and take gender-specific prevention, assistance and support measures to help them, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. The text points out that EU legislation to protect victims of trafficking is not being properly enforced.
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Country of origin labelling should be made mandatory for meat and milk, MEPs reiterate once again in a non-binding resolution voted on Thursday. Mandatory labelling would help improve consumer confidence in food products by making the food supply chain more transparent, they say.
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The EU’s common rules on minimum parental leave should be better enforced EU-wide, says Parliament in a resolution voted on Thursday. Member states should guarantee working parents the right to take four months off, unpaid, regardless of where and how they are employed, and fathers in particular should be encouraged to apply for it, says the text.
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Harmonised EU entry and residence rules to make it easier and more attractive for people from third countries to study or do research at EU universities were approved by Parliament on Wednesday. The new rules clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs.
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A strong traceability system for all fishery products sold in EU restaurants and shops would help to prevent cases of mislabelling, said MEPs in a resolution approved on Thursday. A sound EU fish labelling policy would in turn boost consumer confidence and the economic development of the EU fishing industry, they added.
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The reimposition of checks at the Schengen area’s internal borders has put one of the greatest and most tangible achievements of the European project at risk, observed most MEPs speaking in a debate with the Commission and the Council on Wednesday. They agreed that, in order to restore the normal functioning of the passport-free zone, the EU’s external borders need to be properly secured.
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The EU’s “Dublin” rules, which determine which country is responsible for processing asylum applications, are not working, said MEPs in Wednesday’s debate on an EU Commission proposal to overhaul them. These rules must be replaced with an efficient asylum system, based on solidarity among EU member states, to enable them to manage applications effectively, they urged.
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Harmonised EU entry and residence rules to make it easier and more attractive for people from third countries to study or do research at EU universities were approved by Parliament on Wednesday. The new rules clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs.
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The EU police agency Europol will soon be able to step up efforts to fight terrorism, cybercrime and other criminal offences and respond faster to threats, thanks to new governance rules approved by Parliament on Wednesday. The new powers come with strong data protection safeguards and democratic oversight tools.
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In a heated debate about the state of play of the Greek macro-economic adjustment programme, the centre-left parties S&D, GUE, Greens/EFA, but also the conservative ECR, warned Greece's creditors and the IMF not to impose more reforms on the country and advocated debt relief. Some MEPs attacked the IMF for being too tough on reforms whereas the centre-right EPP underlined the need for them.
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The EU should make sure that all its requirements are met before granting Turkey visa-free access to the Schengen area, stressed Civil Liberties Committee MEPs in a debate with the EU Commission on Monday. Most MEPs criticised the Commission for proposing a visa waiver for Turkish nationals even though the country has not yet fulfilled all the criteria. Turkey should not be discriminated, but neither should it receive preferential treatment, they agreed.
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The fight for fair taxation in the EU is high on Parliament's agenda following the revelations as a result of LuxLeaks and the Panama papers. At a time when EU countries are struggling to recover from the crisis, MEPs are pushing for greater transparency and an end to tax unfair practices. Read on for our overview of Parliament initiatives.
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The award ceremony will take place at the Vatican on 6 May at 12:00. It will be introduced by “laudatio” speeches by European Parliament President Martin Schulz, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Council President Donald Tusk. On the previous day, the three EU Presidents will take part in a panel debate about the state of the EU, preceded by an address by Italian PM Matteo Renzi.
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Plenary preparations: Political groups will prepare for the 9-12 May plenary session in Strasbourg, where MEPs are to debate the new migration and asylum reform package to be presented by Commission and preparations for the World Humanitarian Summit. The EP will also vote on draft laws giving Europol new powers to fight terrorism and making residence/entry permits easier to obtain for au pairing and students from third countries. Members will also vote recommendations on how to protect women who are victims of human trafficking, improve existing rules on parental leave and help the development of EU mountain regions.
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Domestic workers and carers, most of whom are migrant women, should be given an official status in the EU. Recognizing their work as "real" jobs would discourage exploitation, forced labour and human trafficking, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs recommend establishing easy-to-manage models for legal employer-worker relationships, citing examples in Belgium and France, to end precariousness and undeclared domestic work.
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The implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement on migration, its legal aspects and democratic control were debated by MEPs, First Vice-President of the Commission Frans Timmermans and Dutch Minister for Immigration Klaas Dijkhoff on Thursday morning. MEPs stressed that there must be no bargaining on visa liberalisation criteria.
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It is children who pay the price when EU member states fail to cooperate and protect children’s best interests in legal proceedings such as cross-border parental custody disputes and adoption decisions, Parliament points out in a non-binding resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs want specialised chambers within EU countries' family courts to ensure that transnational cases are processed faster.
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All refugees face great hardship but women and girls are among the most vulnerable of those travelling to the EU in search of protection from war, human rights abuses and deprivation. Because of their gender, they are often the victims of violence and discrimination. On Friday 22 April, European Parliament Vice President Mairead McGuinness (EPP) and Mary Honeyball (UK S & D) hosted a roundtable meeting to discuss the specific needs of women refugees and what more can be done to assist women facing hazardous journeys across the continent. The event was organised jointly with the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
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EU-Turkey deal. The agreement to return migrants and asylum seekers from Greece to Turkey, decided at the EU-Turkey summit on 18 March, will be debated on Thursday morning, with the focus on its legal aspects, implementation and democratic control.
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Turkey must fulfil all requirements established by the EU in order to be granted visa-free access to the Schengen area, stressed Civil Liberties MEPs during a debate on Thursday about the progress made by Ankara in its visa liberalisation roadmap. A majority of MEPs opposed the possibility of relaxing the criteria and called on the Commission to verify with care the Turkish compliance.
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Turkey visa liberalisation. The European Commission report on Turkey’s progress towards meeting EU visa liberalisation requirements will be debated by the Civil Liberties Committee. Parliament would need to agree with the Council to exempt Turkish nationals from EU visa requirements. (Thursday)
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The new directive regulating the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data in the EU for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime was approved by Parliament on Thursday. It will oblige airlines to hand national authorities passengers' data for all flights from third countries to the EU and vice versa.
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Many MEPs speaking in Wednesday’s debate were convinced that the proposed EU law on the use of Passenger Name Records (PNR) will be a useful tool in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. But others voiced serious concerns about the adequacy of privacy safeguards and the proportionality of massive collection of data.
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A large majority of MEPs welcomed the new EU data protection rules in Wednesday’s debate, ahead of the final plenary vote on Thursday. The revised rules aim to give citizens back control of their personal data and to create a high, uniform level of data protection across the EU fit for the digital era. The reform also sets minimum standards on use of data for policing and judicial purposes.
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Given concerns about the carcinogenicity and endocrine disruptive properties of the herbicide glyphosate, used in many farm and garden applications, the EU Commission should renew its marketing approval for just 7 years, instead of 15, and for professional uses only, Parliament says in a resolution voted on Wednesday. MEPs call for an independent review and the publication of all the scientific evidence that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) used to assess glyphosate.
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MEPs urged the EU Commission and member states to step up their efforts to fight tax evasion and money laundering in a Tuesday afternoon debate prompted by the “Panama Papers” revelations about more than 200,000 offshore companies and their secret owners. The EPP group wants representatives of Mossack Fonseca, the company from which the information leaked, and of the Panamanian government, to appear before Parliament’s Special Committee on Taxation II.
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Existing tools and possible new measures to prevent and fight terrorism, protect EU citizens and prosecute perpetrators were discussed on Tuesday with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Dutch Minister of Defence Jeanine Hennis-Plaesschaert for the Council presidency, in the presence of EU Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
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The EU must come up with more decisive actions to deliver relief fast to farmers in the worst-hit sectors, such as dairy and livestock, MEPs told EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan, in Tuesday's debate on the ongoing crisis. They also called for structural reforms to better balance the supply chain, ensure fairer income for farmers and assist them to become more resilient to market shocks.
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A centralised asylum system would allow the EU to better manage flows of migrants and asylum seekers, said the European Parliament on Tuesday. It also asked for safe and legal ways to be found for third country nationals to enter the Union without resorting to human smugglers at the risk of their lives. In a non-binding resolution, MEPs acknowledge the failure of the EU asylum system to cope with ever-rising numbers of migrant arrivals and call for a radical overhaul of the so-called Dublin rules.
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A traineeship at the European Parliament offers a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience in an international and multicultural environment. If you want to become a part of Parliament's day-to-day business, apply for a traineeship before the deadline of 15 May. As a trainee, you will contribute to the Parliament's everyday work and get an insight into the work of an institution that represents everyone in the EU.
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"The European Parliament confirms that seven and six years ago, one of the perpetrators of the Brussels terrorist attacks worked for a period of one month for a cleaning company which was contracted by the European Parliament at the time. As a student, he held a summer holiday job cleaning at the Parliament for one month in 2009 and one month in 2010. Those were the only instances he worked at the Parliament.
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An upcoming proposal to reform the Dublin system must be ambitious and replace the current rules with a common distribution system for all EU member states to ensure fair and smooth processing of asylum claims, Parliament's lead MEP on Dublin and Civil Liberties Committee Chair say.
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The EPIO Dublin and Marian Harkin MEP Rapporteur for the EGF, held a consultation in the offices of the European Parliament at 12-14 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2 today (Friday 1 April) with stakeholders from a cross section of Irish society to examine the operation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund and to look at recommendations to improve it for the future.
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Plenary preparations. Political groups will prepare for the 11-14 April plenary session in Strasbourg. Amongst other topics, MEPs will prepare for debates and votes on a committee proposal for a centralised EU asylum system with national quotas, the progress made by Turkey, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina towards EU membership, the protection of trade secrets, breeding animals and tools to foster mobility in vocational education.
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Argentina. A delegation of MEPs of the Foreign Affairs committee led by chair Elmar Brok will go to Buenos Aires to meet with the recently elected Argentinian President, Mauricio Macri (tbc), Vice-President Gabriela Michetti, as well as with other members of the Argentinian government and representatives of Parliament and civil society. The visit aims to support the new government's efforts to strengthen relations with the European Union. (Tuesday-Wednesday)
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So long as serious concerns remain about the carcinogenicity and endocrine disruptive properties of the herbicide glyphosate, which is used in hundreds of farm, forestry, urban and garden applications, the EU Commission should not renew its authorisation. Instead, it should commission an independent review and disclose all the scientific evidence that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) used to assess glyphosate, said Environment Committee MEPs on Tuesday.
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The European Parliament has raised its alert level in Brussels to orange and heightened security in close cooperation with the Belgian authorities, following the terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday. Staff have been requested to stay inside where they are until further notice. The Parliament remains open, but the visitors' entrance and the Parlamentarium have been closed.
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The European Youth Media Days (EYMD) is one of the biggest events in Europe for young journalists. This year it takes place in Strasbourg between 19 and 21 May. Young journalists aged between 18 and 30 who are interested in applying must do so via the European Youth Press website until midnight of Sunday 20 March 2016.
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MEPs stressed that the current asylum system does not take proper account of the particular migratory pressures faced by member states with EU external borders©UNHCR/Daniel ETTER
The failure to date of the EU asylum system to cope with ever-rising numbers of migrant arrivals calls for a radical overhaul of the so-called Dublin rules, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Wednesday. They propose establishing a central system for collecting and allocating asylum applications. The scheme, which could include a quota for each EU member state, would work on the basis of “hotspots” from which refugees would be distributed.
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Turkey and EU flags.
EU-Turkey cooperation on migration should be uncoupled from the EU accession negotiating process, say Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs in a resolution voted on Tuesday.
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Christian Brothers College, Sidney Hill, Cork with MEP Deirdre Clune
Congratulations to Christian Brothers College, Sidney Hill, Wellington Road, Cork who are this year's Irish national winners of the European Charlemagne Youth Prize. Christian Brothers College is among the 28 projects nominated by national juries in the individual EU member states from which three overall winners will be chosen. The three winning projects will be awarded €5,000, €3,000, and €2,000 respectively. The three winning projects will be selected by the European jury by 7 April 2016.
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Antibiotics
To fight the growing resistance of bacteria to today’s antibiotics, the use of existing antimicrobial drugs should be restricted, and new ones should be developed, said the European Parliament on Thursday. In a vote on draft plans to update an EU law on veterinary medicines, MEPs advocate banning collective and preventive antibiotic treatment of animals, and back measures to stimulate research into new medicines.
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Cigarettes
Under the tobacco deals the four largest tobacco firms together agreed to pay the EU and its member states a total of $2.15 billion, over the lifetime of the agreements, to drop legal proceedings against them to recover duties lost to illegal trade in cigarettes. Companies also agreed actively to combat smuggling and counterfeiting of tobacco products.
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Voting in the European Parliament
MEPs backed new rules on Wednesday to ensure that children who are suspected or accused of a crime get a fair trial. The directive, informally agreed with the Council last December, recognises the right of anyone under 18 to be assisted by a lawyer and to be accompanied by the holder of parental responsibility (or another appropriate adult) through most of the proceedings.
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Commissioner Phil Hogan
Members of the Agriculture committee held a minute of silence on Monday evening for all farmers who committed suicide due to their dire situation arising from the ongoing crisis on agriculture markets.
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Dutch minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
MEPs demanded details on Wednesday of the deal struck by EU leaders with Turkey on the management of migrant and refugee flows, underlining that the international asylum rules must be respected.
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Apples.
Children across the EU should soon get the benefit of better-funded school milk, fruit and vegetable schemes, along with better education on healthy eating.
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Port services
Draft rules designed to boost the efficiency and cut the cost of services supplied at EU maritime ports, such as mooring and towage, were voted by Parliament on Tuesday.
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Cattle
Measures to prevent and halt outbreaks of animal diseases such as avian flu or foot and mouth disease, informally agreed by MEPs and the EU Council of Ministers in June 2015, were endorsed by Parliament on Tuesday.
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Pat Cox
"Ukraine's needs have not diminished but because of the urgency and weight of other events it has found itself displaced for public attention." So says former EP President Pat Cox in an interview ahead of Ukraine Week, a conference on good parliamentary practice and law-making at the European Parliament on 29 February-2 March. Attended by a 40-strong delegation of Ukrainian parliamentarians, the week opens with the presentation of a report on capacity-building by Cox.
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Gare Lux
On the EP agenda this week in Brussels: -Border management and European coast guard, Women refugees and asylum seekers, Press seminar on women refugees, Emission inquiry committee constitutive meeting, Ukraine, FYROM, Plenary preparations, President's agenda, Pre-session press briefing.
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Collage of dog pictures
The European Parliament made the case on Thursday for EU-wide data sharing on the registration of cats and dogs to tackle the illegal trade in pets that are often badly bred and at risk of spreading diseases. Trafficking of pets, including wild and exotic animals, is increasingly linked to organised crime and poses a public health risk, say MEPs.
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Group of young professionals
A law to revamp the European Employment Services (EURES) network with an EU-wide database of job seekers and vacancies was approved by Parliament on Thursday. The aim is to help fight unemployment by better matching labour market supply and demand. Updated rules, already agreed with the Council, will also pay more attention to cross-border regions and young people.
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UK Flag
Leaders of the main political groups in Parliament welcomed a fair EU-UK deal as an offer to the British people to remain in the EU. But it's an "in or out" vote some said, not another phase in the negotiations. During the plenary debate on the outcome of the recent EU summit with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, many UK MEPs voiced arguments for and against EU membership.
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Animal health infographic
Measures to prevent and halt outbreaks of animal diseases such as avian flu or African swine fever, informally agreed by MEPs and the Council in June 2015, were backed by the Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. The draft EU law, on diseases that are transmissible among animals and potentially to humans too, will put more emphasis on prevention and help keep pace with scientific progress.
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MEPs in meeting
Plenary (Wednesday and Thursday); Summit conclusions/UK referendum/Migration. European Semester. Labour mobility. Trade with Tunisia. Tobacco industry. Registration of pet animals. Committees; Refugees/Mogherini. NATO. Transmissible animal diseases. Gun control. Montenegro and FYROM. President’s diary. Press briefing.
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Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem
Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem will strive to strengthen the EU Banking Union, despite recent calls to loosen regulation in response to bank share volatility in in global markets, he told the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Thursday. "There should be no doubt of the European Union's determination to apply these rules", he said in his capacity as Eurogroup President and chair of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN).
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New born baby
The Zika virus has hit the headlines all over the world as people fear it could be linked to microcephaly in babies, which causes them be born with abnormally small heads. On Wednesday Parliament’s public health committee discussed the issue with representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO). After the hearing we talked to Dr Roberto Bertollini, WHO’s chief scientist and EU representative, who assured that Zika was a "mild disease" that we were ready to deal with.
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Cows being tested by vet
To fight the growing resistance of bacteria to today’s antibiotics, the use of existing antimicrobial drugs should be restricted, and new ones should be developed, said Environment and Public Health Committee MEPs on Wednesday. In a vote on draft plans to update an EU law on veterinary medicines, they advocate banning collective and preventive antibiotic treatment of animals, and back measures to stimulate research into new medicines.
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MEP walking near refugee camp
Budgets Committee MEPs welcomed plans for the 3 billion Euro Refugee Facility for Turkey but voiced serious doubts about the proliferation of ad hoc instruments outside the EU budget and concerns whether the member states deliver on their commitments during a discussion with the Commission on the mid-term review of the EU long term spending plan (MFF) which, they believe, is under serious pressure amid the influx of the refugees and migrants to the EU and the geopolitical situation.
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Domestic work graphic
EU recognition of the profession and value of domestic work and care as real work, as well as the introduction of common rules, should eliminate discrimination and tackle precarious and undeclared work, said MEPs from the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee in a non-legislative resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs also called for the protection of migrant women which represent the majority of domestic workers and carers.
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MEPs in meeting
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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European Parliament building in Brussels
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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EP Calendar
Official delegation visits to Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are taking place this week.  In Parliament's calendar, a certain number of weeks are set aside for external parliamentary activities allowing MEPs to undertake activities away from “base”.
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Stop sign and image of woman hiding from attack
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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Women equal men graphic
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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Car exhaust
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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Migrants landing on beach
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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EU and UK flags
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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Corn being injected
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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Man working on roof
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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Mario Draghi speaking at a press conference
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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Michael O'Flaherty
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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MEPs meeting
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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Car emissions test being carried out
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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European Parliament Plenary session
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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Infographic explaining mutual defence clause
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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Baby being fed
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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Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister, speaking to MEPs
"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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Martin Schultz and Donald Tusk speaking
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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Male and female shoes
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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Farming machinery
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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Euro banknotes
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 speaking
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 in committee meeting
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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EU and UK flags
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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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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Graphic with the word taxation
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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Fruit and vegtables
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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