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Press_Releases_2014

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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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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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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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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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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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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The European Parliament called for an immediate end to rocket attacks on Israel and to Israeli military action against Gaza in a resolution voted on Thursday The EU foreign policy chief and the member states must do more to support a ceasefire agreement and put an immediate stop to all acts of violence threatening civilians, MEPs said, calling on Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct peace talks.
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The European Parliament called for stronger measures to fight unemployment among young people, including common minimum standards for apprenticeships and decent wages, in a resolution passed on Thursday. EU funding of employment-related programmes should also be increased in future budgets, it added.
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Lithuania should join the euro on 1 January 2015, recommends the European Parliament in a resolution voted on Wednesday. This vote is in line with a European Commission recommendation and political backing from EU heads of state or government at the June EU Council summit. Parliament's recommendation was passed by 545 votes to 116, with 34 abstentions. It "endorses the adoption of the euro by Lithuania on 1 January 2015."
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EU citizens must be better informed of the progress of EU-US talks on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), said MEPs from all political groups debating the issue with EU trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on Tuesday afternoon.
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With 422 votes in favour, the European Parliament elected Jean-Claude Juncker in a secret ballot on 15 July as President of the new European Commission to take office on 1 November 2014 for a five-year term. The minimum number of votes required was 376.
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Parliament to vote on Jean-Claude Juncker for Commission President - MEPs to quiz EU Commission on transatlantic trade talks - Tackling youth unemployment
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Parliament to vote on Jean-Claude Juncker for Commission President - MEPs to quiz EU Commission on transatlantic trade talks - Tackling youth unemployment
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After the election of a President, Vice-Presidents and Quaestors of the European Parliament in Strasbourg last week, parliamentary committees convened on Monday in Brussels to elect chairpersons and their deputies for next two and a half years. Legislative work of the European Parliament is done in 20 standing committees and two sub-committees. Each committee elects a chair and up to 4 vice-chairs.
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10 films, 28 countries, one prize. Every year the European Parliament awards the LUX prize to the best in European cinema. The contenders for this year's Prize have been announced at the 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. Read on to discover which films have are included in this year’s selection. The three finalists will be announced at the end of July.
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Political group meetings will be taking place in Brussels in preparation for the 14-17 July plenary session in Strasbourg and the election of the new President of the European Commission. The constitutive meetings of Parliament's committees are also taking place.
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EU policy making must heed the call for change made in the European elections, said most MEPs’ group leaders in Wednesday’s debate on the outcome of the 26-27 June EU summit. Heads of state were criticised for their “business as usual” attitude at the summit in this, the first debate of the 8th legislature, in the presence of European Council and Commission Presidents Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso.
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MEPs elected Martin Schulz as the new president of the European Parliament. Ireland’s Mairead McGuinness Fine Gael, (EPP) is one of the 14 vice-presidents also elected on Tuesday. Five quaestors, responsible for administrative and financial matters, will be elected on Wednesday 3 July. The president, 14 vice-presidents and five quaestors - together known as the bureau - are all elected for a period of two-and-a-half years.
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MEPs re-elected Martin Schulz as President of the European Parliament on Tuesday morning for another two and a half year term. The 58-year old German MEP will lead Parliament until January 2017. He won 409 out of 612 valid votes cast in the first ballot. Mr Schulz is the first President in the history of the European Parliament to be re-elected for a second two and a half year term.
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - Electing Parliament’s new President - Electing Parliament’s Vice-Presidents and Quaestors - Debate on the outcome of the European summit - Italy to take over EU Presidency from Greece
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Closing the urn: election of the EP President
Before the newly elected Parliament's members casted their votes by secret ballot on Tuesday, 1 July to designate the new President of the House for a two year and a half year term, the four candidates each made a short statement.
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aerial view EP Strasbourg.
The new Parliament will kick off its next term with the election of the President, 14 Vice-Presidents and five Quaestors during the first plenary session taking place this week in Strasbourg from 1-3 July. Parliament will also vote on the numerical size of its committees and on their membership. Also on the agenda this week: MEPs debate the results of the 26-27 European Council and debates on the Italian and Greek EU presidencies.
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©The Council of the European Union
The European elections in May are a turning point for the EU as for the first time all major European parties presented lead candidates for the post of Commission president, acting EP president Gianni told European leaders. In a speech to the European Council on 27 June, he said: “The process of lead candidates has deepened a European-wide debate about European issues,” he said. “And without doubt, via this process the EU has become closer to its citizens, more transparent and more democratic.”
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Gianni Pittella (left) with Martin Schulz
Martin Schulz has today been elected as Group leader of the Socialists and Democrats and steps down as European Parliament President. According to the European Parliament Rules of Procedure (Rule 18) Gianni Pittella, First Vice-President takes over as Acting President of the European Parliament until a new President is elected. The election of a new European Parliament President will take place on 1 July 2014 in Strasbourg during the inaugural plenary session.
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Paulo De Castro, MEP
Talks on a Transatlantic Trade and Partnership (TTIP) agreement are a great opportunity for both the EU and the US, but the European Parliament must be properly involved in them, to ensure that the final deal upholds the EU farming and food standards, protects EU consumers and ensures a level playing field for European farmers, Parliament's Agriculture Committee Chair Paolo De Castro (S&D, IT) said at a meeting with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Tuesday.
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The procedure for adopting the EU's budget for next year kicks off on 11 June when budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski comes to Parliament to present the draft proposal and discuss it with MEPs. The budget can only be adopted if both the Council and the Parliament approve it. The budgets committee meeting starts at 11.00 CET. Watch it live online.
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Elections to the European Parliament took place across Europe from 22-25 May 2014 and in Ireland on 23 May 2014. The newly-elected members of the European Parliament will formally take up their seats on 1 July 2014. The first session of the new Parliament takes place in Strasbourg from 1 to 3 July 2014. This session will be dedicated to the formal constitution of the Parliament, when the new MEPs will elect their President and 14 Vice-presidents.
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The European Parliament Information Office in Ireland together with the European Commission Representation in Ireland and the Institute of International and European Affairs will hold a Conference on the outcome of the European elections on Wednesday 28th May from 10:00am-1:00pm in the Royal Irish Academy, 19 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. Registration required.
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Statement issued by the Conference of Presidents (consisting of the political group leaders and the EP President) who met on Tuesday 27 May to discuss the election of the next President of the Commission prior to an informal dinner of EU Heads of State and Governments later that day.
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Our Europe, a Danish travel project, was awarded first prize at the 2014 Charlemagne Youth Prize ceremony in Aachen University on 27 May. The second prize went to the JouwDelft & Co youth congress from The Netherlands and the third to the Employment4U, a training project from Cyprus. The European Charlemagne Youth Prize is awarded annually to projects that foster a shared sense of European identity and integration among young people. The first prize was awarded by EP Vice-President Anni Podimata, the second by former EP president Hans-Gert Pöttering and the third by Mayor of Aachen Marcel Philip.
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In the next three days 400 million Europeans will have the right to choose who will be in charge in Europe. Voting booths opened in Ireland and the Czech Republic today while voting in the UK and the Netherlands took place yesterday. Go and vote, and then follow all the results on Parliament's official webpage where they will be published as soon as they are available. For all the reactions and live coverage, turn to Parliament's special Elections Night Tumblr account with infographics, videos, pictures, quotes and links.
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The final of the Meath Co. Council inter-schools debating competition was held on Wednesday, 21st May at the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office in Grange, Co. Meath. The finalists this year were Scoil Mhuire, Trim and O’Carolan College, Nobber. The motion "The EU should grant full membership to all European states that wish to join the EU" brought out the best in both teams. The standard was very high and first prize went to O’Carolan College from Nobber. The team of four won the prize of a subsidised trip to Strasbourg for 24 students to represent Ireland at Euroscola on 30th October. The judges this year were Cllr Maria Murphy, Meath County Council, Anne McEvoy-Smyth, European Parliament Office, Dublin and Elisabetta Ravarino-Healy, F.V.O. European Commission, Grange.
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Key media events before, during and after the 22-25 May European elections include a presidential debate, election night and the start of consultations on the election of the President of the European Commission.
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As Parliament gets ready to embark on a new legislative term following the elections on 22-25 May, we take a look back on what has been achieved in the current one. In its seventh term, from 2009 until June this year, the EP has enjoyed greater power than ever before. For the first time it could decide on the full EU budget, as well as on big international trade agreements and nearly all EU legislation, on an equal footing with national governments represented in the EU Council.
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The old European Parliament passed its last laws in April, making a total of over 1,000 in 2009-2014. The new Parliament, elected on 22-25 May, takes office on 1 July. Here is a brief overview of some of Parliament’s work over the past five years and what it will need to do in the next five.
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A debate between candidates for the Presidency of the European Commission, organized by EUROVISION, will take place on May 15 at 21:00 hours (Brussels time) in the Chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels. The debate will take place in front of a live audience over 90 minutes and the show will be presented by Monica Maggioni of RAI News 24 and Irishman Conor McNally, News2day, RTE.
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Together with local organisations and representative organisations, the European Parliament is holding a series of information workshops throughout Ireland on the upcoming European elections. The workshops feature presentations on the elections and will include contributions from local actors and NGOs
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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 are celebrating Europe Day on Friday 9th May with “A Taste of Europe” at EU House Dublin from 12.00 noon. This year to mark the 10th anniversary of the 2004 enlargement, music and dance will be provided by artists from most of the EU10 countries (Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia).
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The European Parliament website is now available in all 24 official languages including Irish. All major sections of the Europarl website are now available as Gaeilge. This includes the Portal, News, MEPs, About Parliament, Plenary, Committees, and Delegations. The mobile version and the visitors' website (Visits, Parlamentarium, House of European History) are also available in Irish language versions. The website's Newsroom is updated daily in Irish and includes top stories and election related content.
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To mark the tenth anniversary of the accession to the European Union of 10 Member States, a conference will be held at the Dublin Castle Conference Centre on Tuesday 6th May 2014. Entitled "Marking 10 Years of the EU’s largest accession: Reflections on the Future Political, Economic and Security Challenges of the European Union", the primary objective of the conference is to create a forum bringing together policy makers, government officials, academics and experts to reflect on the past, enhance the dialogue on the present status of the EU and debate its future direction.
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In the run-up to the 2014 European elections and the European Youth Event (EYE) taking place on 9-11 May in Strasbourg, this survey addresses the five main themes of EYE 2014 i.e. the fight against youth unemployment, the digital revolution, the future of the EU, sustainable development and European values, and takes stock of the views of young Europeans on these themes.
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The European Parliament Office in Ireland in conjunction with Network Ireland will hold an information workshop for current and future entrepreneurs on Tuesday 29 April at 5.30 pm in its offices at 43 Molesworth Street, Dublin. John Perry TD, Minister for Small Business will open the event which will include advice from Enterprise Ireland and case studies of two successful Irish SMEs: Lily O’Brien’s Chocolates and Trilogy Technologies. Booking is advisable. Admission free.
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This event takes place on Wednesday 16 April 2014 from 11:00 am to 1.00 pm in NUI Maynooth. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions, share your thoughts and participate in the discussion before the European Parliament elections take place on 23rd May 2014. The Europe Direct stand will provide advice and information on how to register to vote, eligibility etc. All welcome.
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New EU rules on the information that small investors must be given before they sign a contract were approved by Parliament on Tuesday. This information will be set out in a mandatory, three-page A4 Key Information Document (KID). Before signing a contract, all small (non-professional) investors should be given three-page A4 standard format KIDs to help them to understand and compare packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs), estimate the total cost of their investment as well as be aware of its risk-reward profile.
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Anyone legally residing in the EU would have the right to open a basic payment account, and no-one could be denied this right on grounds of nationality or place of residence, under a new law passed by Parliament on Tuesday. This law should also ensure that fees and rules for all payment accounts are transparent and comparable and make it easy to switch to another payment account that offers better terms.
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Three measures to ensure that banks shoulder the risks of failure rather than relying on taxpayers to bail them out were approved by Parliament on Tuesday. Two deal with restructuring and winding down troubled banks, and the third ensures that banks, not taxpayers, guarantee deposits under €100,000 in the event of a run on a bank.
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Strasbourg ? Highlights include: - World War I centenary - Banks: MEPs seal protection package for taxpayers - Improving protection for workers posted abroad - Keeping pension rights when moving to another EU member States
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The European Parliament in co-operation with Irish Rural Link is hosting a seminar on rural isolation from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm in Jacksons Hotel, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal on Friday, 11 April. The aim of this seminar - with special guest speaker Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, the former RTE sports commentator - is to focus on issues that affect people arising from rural isolation and to seek proposals for new or improved solutions as to how the problem of rural isolation can be alleviated.
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No-one has the answer, but the question is on everyone’s mind. Based on the current state of play of public opinion in the EU member states, the European Parliament and its contractor TNS Opinion propose a weekly projection of seats in the Parliament’s hemicycle.
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The European Parliament Group Leaders and the President of the European Parliament, in the framework of the Conference of Presidents, met today European Council President Herman Van Rompuy to the discuss practical arrangements for electing the next President of the European Commission. A large majority of the EP Political Group Leaders agreed that the next European Commission President must be elected from the "lead candidates" already put forward by the political groups.
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This week committees and political groups are meeting in Brussels. Noise at airports, promotion of farm goods and citizens' initiative on the use of human embryos are just some of the issues on the agenda. Political groups will also be preparing for next week's plenary session in Strasbourg. Read on.
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What will the MEPs be working on during this week's Plenary Session in Brussels ? Highlights include: - Ending tariffs on EU imports from Ukraine - Net neutrality and the end of roaming charges - Pension rights when moving within the EU - Medical devices: Better patient safety - Plans to curb harmful traffic noise
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This week Committee meetings as well as a mini plenary session are taking place in Brussels. Read on to see what's on Parliament's agenda during the week of 31 March-6 April 2014
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This event takes place on Thursday 27 March at 11:15am in WIT (FO2, Main campus, Business School Building) and will be chaired by Mary Mosse, Lecturer in Economics, WIT. There will also be an expert panel with Francis Jacobs, Head of the European Parliament Office in Ireland and Dr. John O'Brennan, Director, European Studies at NUI Maynooth and a Question and Answer session session with the audience.
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On Wednesday 26 March, the European Parliament will host the launch by the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) of their pre-Election promotion campaign – the Women Rising Manifesto. The European Parliament and the NWCI believe more equal representation leads to better decision-making and are promoting actions to ensure gender equality and that women’s voices are being heard. The launch takes place at 9.30 am in the Parliament offices, 43 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. For further information: call (01)8787248 or email louiseg@nwci.ie
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The Regional Development Committee (REGI) of the European Parliament will be visiting Ireland this week when they will hold a series of meetings with Ministers and Members of Dáil Eireann in Dublin before moving to Waterford and Kilkenny for a day and a half of meetings.
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An Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee delegation will meet Members of US Congress, the US Treasury and supervisory authorities in Washington to discuss the role of financial services in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, macro-economic policies and the fight against tax evasion. Read on to see what else is on Parliament's agenda during the week of 24-30 March 2014
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A European Parliament delegation has travelled to Israel to assess the conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons . The cross-party delegation included Emer Costello MEP (Chair, S&D, Ireland), Nicole Kiil-Nielsen MEP (Greens, France), Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE, France) and Jacek Protasiewicz (EPP, Poland) and held meetings in the region on 19 and 20 March 2014.
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Leitrim Peace and Reconciliation Partnership
The national winning entries for the annual European Charlemagne Youth Prize, now in its seventh year, have been announced. Twenty-eight national projects were chosen from 370 projects in total. The competition is open to young people aged between 16 and 30 who have been involved with projects helping to promote understanding between peoples of different European countries. The three final European winners will be announced at an award ceremony in Aachen (Germany) on 27 May 2014.
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In the lead up to the European Parliament Elections 2014, students from universities across the country will debate the motion "This house believes that Ireland's future within the EU is bright" . The event will be chaired by Paddy Smyth, Foreign Policy Editor of the Irish Times. Opposing the motion will be Sean Barrett, Senator and Senior Lecturer in the Economics Department of Trinity College and proposing the motion will be Alan Dukes, former TD and leader of Fine Gael. Starts 7.30 pm. All welcome
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Two Irish MEPs won awards at the MEP Awards 2014 event which was hosted in Brussels on 18 March by the European research, innovation and science commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn: Jim Higgins for Transport and Seán Kelly for the Digital Agenda. This annual event recognising MEPs for their outstanding work over the current legislature is organised by the Parliament Magazine.
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An urgent vote to end or greatly reduce customs duties on EU imports from Ukraine will be taken by the International Trade Committee on Thursday. Read on to see what else is being discussed at Parliament's committee and political group meetings in Brussels during the week of 17-23 March 2014
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The European Parliament in association with four migrant led organisations, AkiDwA, Africa Centre, Forum Polonia and New Community Partnership will hold a seminar on 15 March to develop strategies for mobilising the migrant population to vote. The meeting is being organised in the context of the upcoming European Elections on 23 May. The seminar will take place from 10.00am-3.00pm at the European Parliament Office, 43 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. All welcome.
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The European Charlemagne Youth Prize" aims to encourage the development of European consciousness among young people, as well as their participation in European integration projects. The Prize is awarded to projects undertaken by young people which foster understanding, promote the development of a shared sense of European identity, and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community. "The ECYP" is awarded jointly and annually by the European Parliament and the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen.
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Parliament's March plenary session is taking place this week in Strasbourg. On Monday the Foreign Affairs Committee will discuss the €11 bn. EU aid package to Ukraine ahead of a debate and vote on Wednesday. Also on the agenda NSA inquiry, the Troika performance and Package Travel. Read on for more information.
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International Women's day will be marked in Dublin Castle Conference Centre and the event is already a sell-out! Jointly hosted by the European Parliament Office in Ireland and Network Ireland, a full-house of 150 people will throng to Dublin Castle to hear an excellent panel of speakers including Emer Costello MEP, and speakers from the National Women's Council of Ireland and Concern International, one of Europe's largest development agencies with operations in over 50 countries.
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The Leitrim Peace and Reconciliation Partnership are the Irish national winners of the European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2014. Their project "Embracing Change Programme" focussed on young people in Leitrim and was aimed at establishing meaningful cross-community and cross-border initiatives that would improve trust and tolerance and reduce levels of sectarianism and racism. The Embracing Change Programme will now go forward to be considered with 28 winners from other EU countries for the overall Charlemagne Youth Prize.
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On 4 March from 8.00-10.30 GMT, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament will participate in an interactive event hosted by Emily O'Reilly, the European Ombudsman. This event is being organised ahead of the European elections to give you the citizen a chance to be heard on the type of Europe you want for the coming five years. Also participating will be José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. This event will be webstreamed live.
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Today the MEPs of the Economic Affairs Committee will hear Mario Draghi, in his dual capacity as chair of both the European Central Bank and the European Systemic Risk Board, and discuss issues such as the banking union and inflation. Read on to see what else is being discussed at Parliament's committee and political group meetings in Brussels this week.
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The European Parliament in co-operation with Irish Rural Link is hosting a seminar on rural isolation in Ennis, Co Clare on Friday, 28th February. Phil Prendergast MEP will be in attendance and a special guest speaker is Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, the former RTE sports commentator. The meeting will be held from 9.30 am to 1.30 pm in the West County Hotel, Ennis. The seminar will hear from experts in the field but the main purpose of the meeting is to seek proposals as to how the problem of rural isolation can be alleviated and develop polices to target the problem. Groups and individuals working to alleviate the problem of rural isolation will be in attendance.
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Dundalk Europe Direct Information Centre will host an evening of public dialogue with keynote speaker former Government Minister Mary O’Rourke on Thursday 27th February, focussing on Quality of Life - The "European Way". The event will be chaired by radio presenter Gerry Kelly, LMFM and there will also be a panel of experts including Frankie Watters, Senior Lecturer in Law, DKIT and a representative of the European Parliament Office in Ireland.
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Draft legislation updating the EU Tobacco Directive to make tobacco products less attractive to young people was endorsed by MEPs on Wednesday. This legislation, already informally agreed with EU health ministers, would require all packs to carry picture warnings covering 65% of their surface. E-cigarettes would be regulated, either as medicinal products if they claim to help smokers to quit, or as tobacco products.
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This special European Election event entitled ‘This Time It’s Different – Change Your Quality of Life through the EU Ballot Box’, will take place in the regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny on Tuesday 25th February, 2014 from 12.30-3.30pm as part of a series of events being hosted by Europe Direct Information Centres (EDICs), located in eight public libraries around the country. All welcome.
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"We succeeded in achieving our key aims in the year-long negotiations with the Commission and the Member States – to raise the budget from €2.5 to €3.5 billion, to strengthen the role of anti-poverty organizations in the design, operation and monitoring of the programme and to simplify the administrative procedures. The new FEAD programme that we have now agreed is the first ever specific European initiative that seeks to reach out to people experiencing extreme deprivation, particularly food poverty, homelessness and child poverty, in all Member States." said Parliament's rapporteur for the FEAD, Emer Costello.
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Co-rapporteurs Liem Hoang-Ngoc and Othmar Karas
The EU/ECB/IMF "Troika" helped four EU countries out of the crisis and prevented it from getting worse. But flaws in the way the Troika worked hindered national "ownership" of economic reforms, and compromised transparency and accountability, says an Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee resolution passed on Monday.
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MEPs will discuss and vote a resolution on developments in Ukraine and EU action in response to the violent repression of demonstrations there at next week's plenary session in Strasbourg. Tobacco, confiscating criminal assets and life-saving eCall devices for cars are just some of the other topics on the agenda. Read more.
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Tubbercurry Library Europe Direct Information Centre will host a special event in view of the forthcoming European Elections which will take place in Ireland on 23 May. The event will take place in Tubbercurry Library on Thursday 20th February from 6.00-9.00 pm and will consist of an interview with Mary O’Rourke, a briefing from a representative of the European Parliament Office in Ireland and a panel discussion. Time will be allocated to a question and answer session and light refreshments will also be served on the night. Admission is free. To reserve your place phone 071 9111721 or e-mail: europedirect@sligococo.ie
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European Parliament President Martin Schulz made the following statement on the deadly clashes in Ukraine: "A tragedy is unfolding in Ukraine. The failure of authorities to engage in genuine dialogue has led to renewed violence and deaths of many protesters and police. It is deeply shocking and unacceptable. It requires a strong and urgent action.
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Organisers of the “Right2Water” campaign urged the EU Commission to guarantee access to water and sanitation as a human right, and give a legal undertaking that water services will not be liberalised in the EU, in the first European Parliament debate on a European Citizens’ Initiative in Parliament on Monday. MEPs shared the view that access to water is a basic human right, but some pointed out that rules on providing drinkable water remain the remit of EU member states.
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Parliament's first official hearing for the European Citizens' Initiative, which enables people to ask for new EU legislation, will take place on Monday 17 February from 15.00 to 18.30 CET when the universal right to clean water will be discussed. Read more about what's happening next week in Parliament when Committees and political groups hold their meetings.
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The countdown has started: there are 100 days to go until the first polling stations open for the 2014 European elections. In the second biggest democratic exercise in the world, 400 million people can cast their vote for a new European Parliament. The 751 MEPs taking up their seats in July will not only set the course of European policies for the next five years but also elect the leader of the EU's executive body, the European Commission President. Ireland votes on 23 May to elect 11 representatives to the European Parliament for 2014-2019.
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Mallow Library Europe Direct Information Centre will host a special pre-European Election event in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow on Monday 10 February at 5.30 pm focussing on European lifestyle, and the aims of solidarity, non-discrimination, privacy and equal opportunities in the European context. Admission is free but booking is essential. To reserve a place, phone (086) 0245412 or email: mallow.library@corkcoco.ie.
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Are you a journalist? Would you like to learn more about the European Parliament elections which take place in Ireland on 23 May? If so, you can apply now to take part in our election seminar in Brussels on 26 March. Deadline for applications: 10 February 2014
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New rules to reinforce consumers’ rights when buying a travel package will be voted on by the internal market committee on Tuesday in Brussels. This is just one of the topics on this week's agenda during parliamentary committee week. Other topics include NSA inquiry, Troika inquiry, money laundering... Read more about what's on.
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This special European Election event entitled ‘This Time It’s Different – Change Your Quality of Life through the EU Ballot Box’, will take place in the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran on Thursday 6 February, 2014 from 6.30-9.30pm. Admission is free but booking is essential. To reserve a place, phone 074-9124950 or email eudirect@donegallibrary.ie
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aerial view EP Strasbourg.
Next week the European Parliament holds its monthly plenary session in Strasbourg. Banking union, air passenger rights, financial market fraud are just some of the topics on the agenda. Find out more.
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On the occasion of the International Women's Day 2014 and in the run-up to the European elections in May 2014, the European Parliament, in conjuction with the European Journalism Centre will organise a seminar in Brussels on 4-5 March for 100 journalists from the EU28 Member States. Deadline for applications: Monday 3 February 2014
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Do you want to learn more about the European Union, its relevance to everyday life and its impact on Ireland? Do you have questions on the role of the European Parliament and the upcoming elections which are taking place on 23 May? A series of events being hosted by Europe Direct Information Centres (EDICs), located in eight public libraries around the country, will give you the opportunity. This is the third event in the series and takes place in Westside Library, Galway from 6.00 pm-9.00 pm. Chaired by Páidí Ó Líonaird TG4 with keynote speaker Mary O'Rourke, former Government Minister, there will also be an expert panel which will include a representative of the European Parliament Office in Ireland and Professor Ronan Long, NUIG. Open to the public. Admission free.
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This special European Election event "Post Troika: Where now for Ireland in 2014?" will take place on Monday 27 January at 7.00 pm at the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise. This is the third event in the series and will see keynote speaker Mary O'Rourke, former Government Minister interviewed by Claire O'Brien from Midlands Radio 3. There will also be a panel of experts including a representative of the European Parliament Office in Ireland. This is a free event but booking is essential.
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Troika under scrutiny, emission trading in aviation, fluorinated greenhouse gases... Read more about what's on the agenda this week in Brussels at Parliament's Committee and political group meetings.
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This Wednesday Emer Costello and Mairead McGuinness will take part in the Google Hangout on Ireland and the European Elections. Other participants include SIPTU President Jack O'Connor and a representative from the Irish Bank Federation. Join in from 8.30 am to find out what the EU does for you and to have your say! If you want to participate live during the event, let us know in the comments.
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The European Parliament elections will take place between 22-25 May 2014. To encourage citizens to vote, a series of free events are taking place in the Europe Direct Centres across the country. This is the second event in the series and takes place at 6.15 pm at the offices of Fingal County Council in Blanchardstown, with keynote speaker Mary O'Rourke, former Government Minister and a panel of experts that will include a representative of the European Parliament Office in Ireland.
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Are you 16-30 years old and do you run a project with a European dimension? Or do you know anybody that does? Since 24 October projects promoting Europe among young people have started competing for the seventh Charlemagne Youth Prize. Winning projects will not only benefit from recognition and media coverage, but also from prize money to further develop the initiative. Deadline for applications extended until 10 February 2014
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An EP delegation will visit Ireland on 16-17 January as part of its inquiry on the role and operations of the Troika (ECB, Commission and IMF) with regard to the euro area programme countries. The delegation has visited Portugal on 6-7 January and Cyprus on 10 January and will visit Greece on 29-30 January. The visit includes meetings with ministers, parliamentarians and representatives of civil society.
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aerial view EP Strasbourg.
This week the European Parliament holds its monthly plenary session in Strasbourg. Freedom of movement for EU citizens; Public services: better value for money; CO2 emissions: cleaner vans by 2020 are just some of the topics on the agenda. Find out more.
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Welcome to 2014! This month Greece took over the presidency of the Council of the EU for the next six months, Latvia became the 18th country to adopt the euro, while the European elections will take place in May. This week MEPs meet in committees to investigate Troika operations in bailout countries, vote on funding for asylum and law enforcement measures and debate how to deal with failing banks. In addition political groups are preparing for next week’s plenary.
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Latvia became the 18th member of the eurozone on 1 January, joining the 330 million people who use Europe's single currency -the euro. It is the second Baltic state after Estonia in 2011 to adopt the currency.
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