This Week's Top Stories from the European Parliament - 13-17 February 2017
17 February 2017, 01:27 CET
— filed under: European Parliament
- Press release - Robots and artificial intelligence: MEPs call for EU-wide liability rules
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 12:09:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : EU-wide rules are needed for the fast-evolving field of robotics, e.g. to enforce ethical standards or establish liability for accidents involving driverless cars, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday.
- Article - Infographic: how Parliament is addressing the terrorism threat
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:45:00 GMT
General : Europeans becoming radicalised and travelling to fight in Iraq or Syria represent a growing threat to the EU. Most of the recent terrorist attacks in Europe were perpetrated by home-grown terrorists. MEPs adopted on 16 February new rules to ensure stronger checks at the EU's external borders and prevent the preparation of terrorist acts. Check out our infographic for an overview of measures to tackle terrorism Parliament has been working on.
- Press release - Parliament sets out its vision for the future of Europe
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:42:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : If the EU is to boost its capacity to act, restore citizens' trust and make the euro zone economy more resilient to outside shocks, it needs to make full use of the Lisbon Treaty. But to go further, it needs to reform itself more fundamentally. This was the key message of three resolutions exploring the future development of the European Union approved by Parliament on Thursday.
- Press release - Preventing terrorism: clampdown on foreign fighters and lone wolves
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:35:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : To counter the growing threats from "foreign fighters" travelling to conflict zones for terrorist purposes and "lone wolves" planning solo attacks, new EU-wide rules were approved by Parliament on Thursday.
- Press release - Stopping foreign fighters at EU external borders
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:30:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : All EU citizens and third country nationals entering or leaving the EU will be systematically checked against databases, e.g. of lost and stolen documents, under a regulation voted on Thursday. The new rules were agreed by Parliament's negotiators and the Council of Ministers on 5 December 2016.
- Press release - Human rights: Nicaragua, executions in Kuwait and Bahrain, and Guatemala
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:15:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : Parliament voices deep concern about the intimidation and harassment of Francesca Ramirez and other human rights defenders in Nicaragua, deplores the recent use of the death penalty in Kuwait and Bahrain, and strongly condemns the murders of human rights defenders and journalists in Guatemala, in three resolutions voted on Thursday.
- Article - Justin Trudeau: "Trade needs to work for people"
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 10:44:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : "Ceta is not only about commerce, imports and exports, about profits. It aims to improve people's lives," said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while addressing MEPs in Strasbourg on Thursday 16 February, one day after the the European Parliament approved the EU-Canada trade agreement.
- Press release - MEPs call for fast-track approval of low-risk pesticides
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:38:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : Low-risk biological pesticides, including those made from bio-organisms, pheromones or essential oils, could replace conventional ones that are suspected of harming the environment and human health. MEPs wonder why some member states hesitate or refuse to approve them and want the EU Commission to propose a revision of the rules to accelerate the approval process.
- Article - Rise of the robots: Mady Delvaux on why their use should be regulated
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:10:00 GMT
General : From drones to medical equipment, robots are increasingly becoming a part of our everyday life. But although some 1.7 million robots already exist worldwide, their use is still not properly regulated. MEPs debate today a report calling for rules to regulate their use, including creating a separate legal status for robots. They will vote on the report tomorrow.
- Press release - MEPs back plans to cut carbon emission allowances and fund low-carbon innovation
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:08:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : Plans to boost greenhouse-gas emission curbs through the EU carbon market (EU ETS), so as to bring EU climate policy into line with the aims of the Paris agreement, were backed by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs supported the Commission proposal to reduce the number of "carbon credits" (emission allowances) by 2.2% each year, and want to double the capacity of the 2019 market stability reserve (MSR) to absorb the excess of allowances on the market.
- Press release - MEPs urge legal reform in Albania, rule of law for all in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 12:11:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : Albania should step up the pace of judicial reform, as a key to starting EU accession negotiations, while Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) needs to overcome its ethnic and political divisions and remain united throughout the EU membership application evaluation process, said MEPs on Wednesday.
- Press release - CETA: MEPs back EU-Canada trade agreement
Wed, 15 Feb 2017 11:41:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which aims to boost goods and services trade and investment flows, was approved by the European Parliament on Wednesday. The landmark trade deal could apply provisionally from as early as April 2017.
- Article - Ceta: creating opportunities for EU businesses in Canada
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 18:09:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : Negotiated for nearly five years and four months, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada is now ready for the final vote by the European Parliament. After MEPs backed it on Wednesday 15 February, the agreement could already provisionally apply from April. In 2015 EU-Canada trade accounted for more than €60 billion and Ceta is expected to boost this by 20%. Read on and watch our video to find out more about the difference the trade deal could make.
- National angle - Mairead McGuinness elected first Vice President of the European Parliament
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:47:00 GMT
Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness was elected first Vice President of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday January 18th.
- National angle - Discussion at Europe House: "Brexit and Trade"
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:33:00 GMT
Six months after the EU membership referendum in the UK and much uncertainty remains about the shape that the future relationship between the two. One of the biggest questions are now being asked about the type of trade deal the UK will reach with the EU post-Brexit.
- Article - Greece: MEPs say it's time to act on debt crisis
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:07:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : Greece and its debt problem are back on the EU's agenda. A team of EU officials and representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are expected to return to Athens to evaluate whether the country has implemented the latest reforms agreed under the current bailout, a necessary step for further international support. MEPs discussed the situation during a debate on Tuesday 14 February and called for urgent action to help improve the situation.
- Article - Alexander Van der Bellen: "The European idea is worth the effort"
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 12:48:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen gave a passionate speech in favour of the EU at the European Parliament and said the challenges facing Europe could only be tackled together. Van der Bellen was addressing MEPs in Strasbourg on 14 February as part of his first official foreign trip. During the speech he said: "The European idea is great. It is unique. It is worth all the effort."
- Press release - EU job-search aid: €1.8m for 800 former retail workers in the Netherlands
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 12:10:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : EU job search aid worth €1,818,750 for 800 former retail workers in the Netherlands was approved in plenary in a vote on Tuesday. The workers were made redundant by six retail trade companies which recently went bankrupt in the Drenthe and Overijssel provinces. The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) aid still needs to be approved by the Council of Ministers on 17 February.
- Press release - Peace in Ukraine and West Bank debates on Tuesday at 16.00
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 12:00:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : The worsening plight of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels broke the ceasefire and began shelling Ukrainian forces in Avdiivka last week, will be debated by MEPs on Tuesday afternoon with Ian Borg, Maltese Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency, representing EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. This will be followed by another debate on the situation in the West Bank, including settlements.
- Press release - MEPs call for EU-wide protection for whistle-blowers
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:52:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : An "effective and comprehensive European whistle-blower protection programme" should be proposed "immediately" by the EU Commission, urges Parliament in a resolution voted on Tuesday. MEPs deplore the Commission's failure, so far, to deliver any legislative proposals to establish a minimum level of protection for whistle-blowers who help protect the EU budget against fraud
- Press release - Opening – West Bank settlements added to Middle East debate
Mon, 13 Feb 2017 17:06:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : The title of a statement by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on prospects for resuming Middle East peace talks will be changed to "Situation in the West Bank, in particular settlements". An oral question on Germany's revised road toll plan was moved from Thursday to Wednesday afternoon.
- Article - CO2 cuts: finding the right balance between trade and fighting climate change
Mon, 13 Feb 2017 13:25:00 GMT
Plenary sessions : MEPs vote this week on plans to reform the EU's emissions trading system (ETS), a scheme set up to help reduce greenhouse gases, which is not not working as expected. Although the EU is the world's third largest CO2 emitter, it also harbours the most ambitious climate target: to cut emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The plans voted on in Parliament this week should help achieve this target while maintaining Europe's industrial competitiveness.
- Article - Antonio Tajani makes first official visit to Spain as Parliament President
Mon, 13 Feb 2017 13:24:00 GMT
General : Antonio Tajani made his first official visit to Spain as president of the European Parliament on 10 February. During the visit he met several political leaders as well as representatives from civil society and Spanish companies.