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This Week's Top Stories from the European Parliament - 19-23 Feb 2018

23 February 2018, 11:19 CET
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Making it easier for citizens and businesses to do their paperwork online
IMCO | Yesterday

A single digital gateway would help citizens and firms to access information and administrative procedures online, e.g. to request a birth certificate or register a car.

The proposal sets up a single digital entry point, available in all EU languages and to be integrated in the "Your Europe" portal. It would provide access and links to relevant national and EU websites and webpages, making it easier to find information, forms and assistance for people moving to or doing business in another EU country, but also for those staying at home..


Sweden: €2.13 million in job-search aid for 900 former Ericsson staff
BUDG | Yesterday

900 workers made redundant by telecoms company Ericsson should receive EU aid worth €2,130,400, following a Budgets Committee vote on Thursday.

Since 2014, Ericsson has entirely shut down three factories and closed telecoms hardware production lines at various sites due to restructuring and offshoring of activities. The telecoms business has faced growing competition, especially from Asian companies, and experienced negative growth in its hardware-centric business line and technology upgradation, resulting in fewer people being required. In total 2,388 workers were laid off, 900 of whom will benefit from the proposed measures.


Spain: EUR 720,000 to help 303 former clothing industry employees find new jobs
BUDG | Yesterday

303 workers in Spain, laid off by five apparel manufacturers should receive EU aid worth €720,000, following a Budgets Committee vote on Thursday.

The former employees were made redundant by five firms in the municipality of Ordes in Galicia. Increased imports of textiles and clothing into the EU forced down prices, which caused the manufacturers to produce more offshore in lower-cost, non-EU countries. This in turn led to the closure of various companies in Galicia and lay-offs within the Caramelo, Confecciones Deus, Deus Creaciones, Viriato and Shivshi companies.


Post-2020 EU budget reform must match EU's future ambitions
BUDG | Yesterday

Budget MEPs set out their position for negotiating the next long-term EU budget, which should finance new priorities as well as make up for any shortfall following the UK's departure.

The Committee on Budgets on Thursday adopted two reports on the expenditure and revenue sides of the next multi-annual financial framework (MFF), to apply from 2021.


Consumer protection: EU-wide rules for those sold a defective product
IMCO | Yesterday

MEPs approved a single set of rules to ensure consumers buying online or face-to-face in a local shop obtain the remedies they are entitled to if they purchase a faulty product.

The draft law on the sale of tangible goods aims to break down barriers arising from differences in national contract laws, which hinder cross-border trade. It harmonises certain contractual rights, such as the remedies available to consumers if a product does not perform well or is defective and the ways to use those remedies.

The proposed rules would apply to both online and offline (face-to-face) sales of goods, e.g., whether a consumer buys a household appliance, a toy or a computer via the Internet or over the counter in his/her local store.


New EU corporate tax plan, embracing "digital presence", approved in committee
ECON | Yesterday

Firms would be taxed where they earn their profits under new proposals for a harmonised corporate tax system which also considers their online activities to calculate their tax.

The planned "Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base" (CCCTB), part of a wide-ranging proposal to create a single, clear and fair EU corporate tax regime, was approved by the Economics and Monetary Committee on Wednesday by 38 votes to 11 votes, with 5 abstentions.

A separate, complementary measure which creates the basis for the harmonised corporate tax system -- the Common Corporate Tax Base -- was approved by 39 votes to 12, with 5 abstentions.

Together, the two measures aim to create a tax system for the 21st century global and digital economy.


Energy Union: consumers to have more choice and greater energy security
ITRE | Yesterday

More competition in the electricity market, better information to consumers and small energy producers and plans to tackle shortages during crises are addressed in this energy package.

The Industry and Energy Committee are pushing for rules leading to more efficient competition and prices on the market. MEPs also amended proposals to empower and protect consumers and put in place measures to tackle energy shortages. MEPs also want member states to consider additional payments to capacity providers only as a last resort and under certain conditions.


MEPs support solidarity action by young volunteers
CULT | Yesterday

The "European Solidarity and Voluntary Service" (ESVS) supports young people to volunteer or work in EU-wide solidarity schemes, e.g. on education, health and environment.

The initiative, endorsed by Members of the Culture and Education Committee on Wednesday, will be the main entry-point of solidarity activities within the EU. 341.5 million Euros will be made available between 2018-2020, with 95% financing volunteering and 5% for traineeships and job placements. This will help participants to gain skills and knowledge for their future long-term prospects.


MEPs approve first EU programme dedicated to the defence industry
ITRE | Yesterday

The new European Defence Industrial Development Programme, with a budget of 500 million euros for 2019-2020, was approved by the Industry and Research Committee on Wednesday.

EU financial assistance will cover the development of new and upgraded products to make the EU more independent and enhance its capability in the area of defence. EU countries will work together to pool resources and spend defence budgets more efficiently.


MEPs quiz new Eurogroup President Mario Centeno on Eurozone reforms
OTHERS | Yesterday

Banking union, risk reduction and the transparency of Eurogroup and ECB decisions were among the topics raised by MEPs in a debate with Mário Centeno.

MEPs welcomed new Eurorgroup President Mário Centeno to the first of his regular meetings with the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.


MEPs propose ways to cut cash flows to terrorists
AFET | 21-02-2018

To cut off the flow of funds to terrorists, EU countries must share intelligence more proactively and track transactions more closely, MEPs said on Wednesday.

A key way to fight terrorism is to cut off sources of funding such illicit trade in goods, firearms, oil, drugs, cigarettes and cultural objects, but also slavery and child exploitation, said Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs on Wednesday.

They point out that funding for terrorist groups is supplied not only from outside Europe, but also within it, for example by international non-profit organisations, charities, foundations and networks, acting as a cover for abusive practices.


Animal testing of cosmetics: MEPs call for worldwide ban
ENVI | 20-02-2018

The EU should launch a diplomatic drive for a worldwide ban on the animal testing of cosmetics before 2023, Environment Committee MEPs said on Tuesday.

Within the EU itself, the sale of all animal-tested cosmetics has been banned since 2013.

MEPs point out that this has not prevented the EU cosmetics industry from thriving and providing around two million jobs. However, around 80% of countries worldwide still allow animal testing and the marketing of cosmetics tested on animals. MEPs also note that shortcomings have appeared within the EU system, as some cosmetics are tested on animals outside the EU before being re-tested in the EU using alternative methods and placed on the EU market.


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