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This Week's Top Stories from the European Parliament - 13-17 March 2017

17 March 2017, 00:13 CET
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News - European Parliament

  • Press release - Arctic: ban oil drilling and mitigate tensions, urge MEPs
    Thu, 16 Mar 2017 11:44:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Climate change is bringing new environmental and security challenges in the Arctic, as the melting ice cap opens up new navigation and fishing routes, and competition for its natural resources heats up, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. They call for measures to protect the vulnerable Arctic ecosystem, ban oil drilling there and keep it a low-tension and cooperation area.
  • Press release - MEPs welcome 2016 reform efforts in Montenegro
    Thu, 16 Mar 2017 11:34:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Montenegro made further progress in its EU accession negotiations last year, topping the list of the most advanced EU accession countries, but corruption and organised crime remain a serious concern, said MEPs on Thursday. MEPs also highlight Russia's attempts to influence developments in Montenegro, as it pursues Euro-Atlantic integration.
  • Press release - Defence: MEPs urge member states to show political will and join forces
    Thu, 16 Mar 2017 11:28:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Increasing defence cooperation in the EU now depends more upon the political will to make it happen than upon legal considerations, say MEPs in a resolution approved by Parliament on Thursday. They stress that member states can and should use the treaty tools in place to build a truly common defence policy.
  • Press release - Conflict minerals: MEPs secure due diligence obligations for importers
    Thu, 16 Mar 2017 11:21:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : A draft EU regulation to prevent the minerals trade from funding conflict and human rights violations was approved by MEPs on Thursday. This "conflict minerals" law will oblige all but the smallest EU importers of tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold to do "due diligence" checks on their suppliers, and big manufacturers will also have to disclose how they plan to monitor their sources to comply with the rules.
  • Press release - Human rights: Zimbabwe, Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, and Philippines
    Thu, 16 Mar 2017 11:15:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Parliament deplores the arrest of Pastor Evan Mawarire and political violence against human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, calls for the release of Ukrainians illegally detained in Russia and urges the Philippines to release human rights advocate Senator Leila M. De Lima, detained on drug-trafficking charges, in three resolutions voted on Thursday.
  • Article - Infographic: MEPs want to boost European defence by increasing cooperation
    Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:07:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : EU countries could achieve more on defence by pooling resources and coordinating their planning. Billions of euros are wasted every year due to duplication, overcapacity and barriers to procurement. MEPs debated the issue in plenary on 15 March. Defence cooperation is becoming more important because of increasing security challenges in Europe and the US pushing its European partners to invest more in defence.
  • Press release - MEPs commemorate Brussels terror attack victims, stress need to step up security
    Wed, 15 Mar 2017 17:01:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : MEPs examined progress made in fighting terrorism since the 22 March 2016 attacks in Brussels in Wednesday afternoon's "topical debate". They stressed the need to do more to ensure swift and efficient information sharing among member states and improve the interoperability of EU databases, as well as to prevent radicalization and help victims of terrorism.
  • Article - E-democracy: opportunities and risks
    Wed, 15 Mar 2017 14:58:00 GMT
    General : Eight out of 10 Europeans used internet at least once a week last year, according to Eurostat. But although the internet has become a part of everyday life, it is still not being fully used to boost democracy. Could it be a way to put young people in touch with decision-makers? Are the tools safe from hacking? MEPs looks at the risks and opportunities of e-democracy during a plenary debate on Wednesday 15 March.
  • Article - Arctic: MEPs debate strategy to prevent conflicts over polar region heating up
    Wed, 15 Mar 2017 13:30:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : The melting of Arctic ice is unlocking new opportunities in the form of shipping routes and gas and oil stocks, but also increasing tensions and creating risks for the environment. A Parliament report calls for the protection of the Arctic's unique ecosystem and sets out ways to defuse possible tensions. "There is need to avoid the militarisation of the Arctic and respect for international law is essential,"said report co-author Urmas Paet. MEPs debate the report tonight and vote on it tomorrow.
  • Press release - EU security policy debate one year after Brussels terrorist attacks, 15.00 today
    Wed, 15 Mar 2017 13:00:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : MEPs will debate progress on the European security agenda since the 22 March 2016 terrorist attacks in Brussels with EU Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos and Sir Julian King, and Maltese Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg for the Council Presidency, on Wednesday at 15.00. Enhancing information sharing, combatting terrorism financing, preventing radicalisation and strengthening controls at the EU's external borders are key priorities.
  • Press release - Sustainable growth, jobs and security: MEPs adopt 2018 budget priorities
    Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:51:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Growth and jobs, particularly for young people, must remain key EU budget priorities, along with tackling migration and climate change, MEPs say in guidelines, voted on Wednesday, for EU Commission officials preparing the EU's draft 2018 budget. The budget "must be equipped with the tools to enable it to respond to multiple crises simultaneously" and must also address EU citizens' safety and security concerns, they add.
  • Press release - German road toll scheme would breach EU non-discrimination rule, say MEPs
    Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:47:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Germany's planned road toll scheme for private cars would discriminate against foreign drivers, even though changes to it have been accepted by the EU Commission, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Wednesday. They argue that the scheme would breach EU law by allowing German drivers to deduct toll costs from their vehicle tax, even though foreigners cannot do so.
  • Press release - Summit conclusions and future of the EU headline Wednesday's plenary debates
    Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:41:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Lead MEPs from Parliament's political groups reacted on Wednesday to last week's European Council and outlined their priorities ahead of the Rome declaration which will focus on the future of the EU. The majority of MEPs stressed the need for member states to set the EU on a course to tackle the immediate needs of citizens.
  • Press release - Tougher food inspections from farm to fork
    Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:34:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Plans to tighten up official food inspections, from farm to fork, were adopted by Parliament on Wednesday. The new rules, already informally agreed by MEPs and the Council, aims to improve food traceability, combat fraud and restore consumer trust in the integrity of the food chain.
  • Agenda - The Week Ahead 13 – 19 March 2017
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 18:52:00 GMT
    Plenary session and committee meetings in Strasbourg
  • Article - Context: MEPs concerned about consequences of global gag rule
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 16:37:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Several EU countries have decided to raise money for organisations offering sexual health and family planning services after US President Donald Trump decided to reintroduce a rule banning US financing for NGOs providing or promoting abortion to women in developing countries. This policy is often referred to as the global gag rule. Most MEPs criticised the US decision during a debate on 14 March, asking for action from the EU while some insisted on respecting the rights of unborn children.
  • Press release - US "global gag" anti-abortion rule a major setback for women's health, say MEPs
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 16:34:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Political group speakers reacted to President Donald Trump's reinstatement of the "global gag" rule in a debate with EU humanitarian aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides on Tuesday. The executive order, signed on 23 January, obliges US-funded foreign NGOs to certify that they will not perform or actively promote abortion.
  • Article - From farm to fork: strengthening food checks in Europe
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 15:29:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Consumers are entitled to know that the food they buy and eat is safe, however food fraud cases such as the 2013 horsemeat scandal show that is not always the case. On Wednesday 15 March MEPs adopted new rules to tighten up official inspections throughout the food chain. We talked to Austrian S&D member Karin Kadenbach, the MEP responsible for steering the proposal through Parliament, about the benefits of the new legislation.
  • Press release - Waste: boost recycling, cut landfilling and curb food waste, Parliament says
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 12:47:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : The share of waste to be recycled would rise to 70% by 2030, from 44% today, under draft legislation adopted on Tuesday. MEPs also want the "waste package" plans to limit the share of landfilling, which has a big environmental impact, to 5% and to deliver a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030. Parliament will now negotiate with Council of Ministers.
  • Press release - MEPs back mercury pollution curbs, in line with UN Minamata convention
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 12:23:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : New legislation restricting the use of mercury, a persistent pollutant that has adverse effects on the environment and human health, was adopted by Parliament on Tuesday. The bill, already informally agreed with the Council of Ministers, aims to close the gap between existing EU legislation and the United Nations Minamata Convention against mercury pollution.
  • Press release - EU is stuck half way to achieving gender equality, MEPs say
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 12:18:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : The EU and its member states should step up their efforts to achieve equality between women and men. Despite progress on some issues, much remains to be done to reduce pay gaps, remove "glass ceilings" blocking women's careers, remedy their lack of economic independence and improve their work/life balance, say MEPs in a non-legislative resolution voted on Tuesday.
  • Press release - Sanctions against MEP who offended women
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 12:09:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Sanctions of unprecedented severity were announced by EP President Antonio Tajani on Tuesday, against Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke for his unacceptable remarks against women during a plenary debate on the "Gender pay gap" on 1 March.
  • Press release - Parliament approves revised EU gun law to close security loopholes
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 11:39:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : Tighter controls on blank-firing and inadequately deactivated weapons, like those used in the Paris terror attacks, and an obligation for EU member states to have an appropriate monitoring system in place for the issuance or renewal of licences and to exchange information, are among the updates approved by MEPs to the 1991 firearms directive on Tuesday.
  • Press release - Stronger rights for shareholders in EU companies
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 11:35:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : New tools to sharpen big EU firms' focus on their long-run performance, by fostering their shareholders' commitment to it, were approved by Parliament on Tuesday. They will include giving shareholders a say on directors' pay and making it easier for firms to identify their shareholders.
  • Press release - Debate on US "global gag" anti-abortion rule at 15.00 on Tuesday
    Tue, 14 Mar 2017 10:00:00 GMT
    Plenary sessions : MEPs will debate US President Donald Trump's reinstatement of the "global gag" rule, which obliges US-funded foreign NGOs to certify that they will not perform or actively promote abortion, with Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides on Tuesday at 15.00.

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