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Press Releases 2015

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Political group and committee meetings, in Brussels. Items on the agenda include European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), International Women’s Day (IWD), Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)in Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday and preparations for the 9 – 12 March plenary session in Strasbourg.
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A new draft text on an EU system for the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data, tabled by lead MEP Timothy Kirkhope (ECR, UK), was discussed in the civil liberties committee on Thursday morning.
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Parliament’s newly-established Special Committee on Tax Rulings elected Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR) as its chair at its constituent meeting on Thursday morning. As vice-chairs, the committee elected Bernd Lucke (ECR, DE), Marisa Matias (GUE/NGL, PT) and Eva Joly (Greens/EFA, FR). Rapporteurs will be appointed on 9 March.
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Having reached an agreement on its bailout with other eurozone countries on 20 and 24 February, Greece is also to the forefront of Parliament's proceedings this week. Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem addressed the economic and monetary affairs committee on Tuesday morning, and ECB president Mario Draghi comes to plenary on Wednesday afternoon.
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The European Parliament is working on its position on the EU-US trade deal known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) this week. The international trade committee, which is responsible for drafting the Parliament's position, will discuss recommendations for the first time on Tuesday, while 10 out of the 13 committees that will contribute to the report will also discuss or vote on their opinions this week. MEPs are due to debate and vote on the EP's position before summer.
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Plenary and committee meetings week in Brussels. Among the item on the agenda are:- Greece Chairman of Eurogroup in Economics affairs Committee on Tuesday; PNR; European Fund for Strategic Investments; ETS maket stability reserve; Biofuels; TTIP and EU2016 budget
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To protect the EU against terrorist attacks and yet safeguard citizens’ rights, MEPs advocate de-radicalisation programmes, stepping up checks at Schengen area external borders, and better information exchange among EU member states, in a resolution voted on Wednesday. They urge member states to make faster progress on the Data Protection Package, so that talks could proceed in parallel with those on an EU Passenger Name Record proposal and thus deliver a full set of EU data protection rules.
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Meat used as an ingredient in processed foods, such as lasagne, should be labelled by country of origin as is already the case with bovine fresh meat, said MEPs on Wednesday. They call on the European Commission, which published a report on the issue in late 2013, to come up with legislative proposals in order to rebuild consumer confidence in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and other food fraud cases.
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Draft EU rules to ensure that children suspected or accused of a crime are assisted by a lawyer at all stages of criminal proceedings in any EU country were approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday. MEPs also made sure that children will be individually assessed by qualified staff, can be heard and state their views in a trial and are kept separate from adult inmates, even, in some cases, after they are 18 years old.
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The European Parliament political group leaders have decided to propose a special committee to look into tax rulings by member states. The full House will vote at the next session on the creation of the special committee and on its mandate. The group leaders agreed that Parliament should look into tax rulings but opted for a special committee rather than a committee of inquiry as requested by 192 MEPs. Following the advice of the Parliament's legal service, the group leaders took note that the mandate for a committee of inquiry as proposed by the 192 MEPs was incompatible with the EU Treaty and Parliament's rules of procedure.
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European Parliamentary Week. The EP hosts a two-day meeting with national parliamentarians from all over the EU and MEPs to discuss economic, budgetary and social matters. Political group and committee meeting take place in Brussels. Among the items on the agenda will be Children/legal protection, Syria and the EU budge. US Vice President Joe Biden will have meetings at the European Parliament on Friday.
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Plenary and committee meetings, Brussels: On the agenda next week in the European Parliament will be Economic governance, Money laundering, Anti-terrorism measures, EU fund for strategic investments, and International climate agreement, A ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day will take place on 27 January.
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The Governing Council of the ECB met on Thursday 22 January and decided to expand the asset-purchase programme at a EUR 60-billion/month pace until September 2016, including the purchase of sovereign bonds.
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Meat used as an ingredient in processed foods, such as lasagne, should be labelled by country of origin as is already the case with bovine fresh meat, said Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee MEPs on Wednesday. They call on the European Commission, which published a report on the issue in late 2013, to come up with legislative proposals in order to rebuild consumer confidence in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and other food fraud cases.
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Following the Paris attacks the secretary-general of the Arab League has urged greater cooperation between it and the EU to counter extremism. Addressing Parliament's foreign affairs committee on 20 January Nabil El Araby said "the problems we face now are of universal character and are not confined to one place." He outlined how the Arab world looks upon Europe and said that "the European Union has been to the forefront of all just causes."
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At the start of today's Civil Liberties Committee meeting, the Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) said: In the last Civil Liberties Committee meeting, I already said a few words about the recent attacks in Paris. The immediate attention was of course on catching the terrorists, giving condolences to the victims' families and supporting the freedom of speech. However, in the days that followed, the debate has been broadened towards our actions to fight terrorism and radicalisation.
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The Parliament paid tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Monday at the start of the January plenary. On the legislative side, MEPs approved a proposal to give member states more flexibility to restrict or ban GMOs on their territory, while they also debated the programme of the new Latvian presidency of the Council as well as the outcome of the Italian presidency that ended in December.
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“2013 was a special year regarding the post of the European Ombudsman. Taking over from a long standing and well respected Mr Nikiforos Diamandouros was definitely a great challenge for Ms Emily O'Reilly, but thanks to her experience as an Irish Ombudsman, she started her work very efficiently. Within just a few months, she was able to turn this institution into a more accessible and user friendly one”, said rapporteur Jarosław Wałęsa (EPP, PL).
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The EU must be more united and more coordinated to face new challenges to its security, a majority of MEPs said in Wednesday's debate with Federica Mogherini on the EU's foreign, security and defence policies. Many said, following the Paris terrorist attacks, that internal and external policies must be coherent and called for more cooperation and intelligence- sharing between EU member countries.
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Increasing security, boosting growth, creating jobs, establishing a digital single market: Latvia will have plenty to do at the helm of the Council presidency the coming six months. Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma discussed her country's priorities during a debate in the European Parliament on 14 January. Some MEPs welcomed plans to focus on passenger name record legislation to improve security, while others stressed the importance of investment.
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New legislation to allow EU member states to restrict or ban the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their own territory, even if this is allowed at EU level, was passed by MEPs on Tuesday. The legislation, informally agreed by Parliament and Council in December, was originally tabled in 2010 but was then deadlocked for four years due to disagreement between pro and anti-GMO member states.
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Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said that "Jews in Europe still fear for their safety today. That is something that must frighten us and we need to resist that fear”. Referring to last week’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine, police officers and a Jewish supermarket in Paris, he added that “We need to ensure that this hatred does not become contagious". On 27 January 1945, the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by Soviet soldiers. Established by the Nazis in 1940, it became the largest of the death camps. More than 1,100,000 people lost their lives there. The full text of the President's statement is available at the following link http://www.europarl.europa.eu/the-president/en/
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“Violence with Kalashnikovs will not make us downgrade our European values”, promised Parliament President Martin Schulz, naming the 17 people killed in last week’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket. After a minute’s silence, Parliament’s political groups paid their tributes too. Several saw the outpouring of solidarity demonstrated by millions of citizens across Europe and worldwide as a renaissance and reaffirmation of Europe’s core values.
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Plenary session and committee meetings, will take place in Strasbourg. Among the items on the agenda are Charlie Hebdo, a minute of silence in remembrance of the victims;debate with Newly-elected European Council President Donald Tusk, 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, GMO cultivation, Media freedom in Turkey and Human smuggling in Mediterranean.
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Marco Alberti simply wanted his children to learn more about Europe, but when he took them to Parlamentarium - the EP's visitors centre - he hadn't counted on being welcomed as the one millionth visitor. A delighted Alberti said: "We are trying to explain to our children what Europe is and thought this would be a good opportunity." The centre, hailed by Tripadvisor as one of the top things to do in Brussels, reached the landmark after having been open for just over three years.
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On behalf of the European Parliament, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims of today's terrorist attack in Paris at the offices of the weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. We are profoundly shocked by this heinous crime which is an affront to civilised society and we unreservedly condemn such violence. As Europeans we must never surrender the values which are so close to our hearts and which this act has sought to undermine: the freedom of the press and of expression, tolerance, and mutual respect. This is a moment of profound sadness which requires a dignified and clear response. Whatever our opinions or religious beliefs we must stand strong and united against such violent acts. I call on all citizens to defend together the values we cherish. I also wish a prompt recovery to those injured.
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The European Parliament’s Visitors Centre, the Parlamentarium, will on Wednesday celebrate its millionth visitor since it opened in October 2011. He or she will be welcomed by Mairead McGuinness, Vice-President of the European Parliament, at around 12.00. The Parlamentarium gives adults and children the chance to make a virtual, interactive journey through European integration and experience its impact on the everyday lives of citizens.
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