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This Week's Top Stories from the European Parliament - 10-14 September 2018

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Health Committee MEPs back plans to boost joint assessment of medicines
ENVI | Today

The new law aims to avoid duplicating national assessments to determine a medicine's added value that help EU countries decide on pricing and reimbursement.

MEPs highlight that there are many barriers to accessing medicine and innovative technologies in the EU, the main ones being the lack of new treatments for certain diseases and the high price of medicines, which in many cases do not have added therapeutic value.


MEPs propose ways to boost plastics recycling
Plenary session | ENVI | Today

They advocate creating a genuine single market for recycled plastics, and propose measures to tackle marine litter.

Incentives to collect marine litter at sea, new EU-wide standards and definitions for biodegradability and compostability, and a complete EU ban on oxo-degradable plastic by 2020 are among the proposals set out in the non-binding draft resolution, adopted on Thursday with 597 votes to 15 and 25 abstentions.

Oxo-degradable plastic does not properly biodegrade, is not compostable and adversely affects how conventional plastic is recycled.

MEPs also advocate a ban on micro-plastics in cosmetics and cleaning products by 2020.


Consumer product quality: Parliament takes aim at dual standards
Plenary session | IMCO | Today

If a firm sells a product EU-wide, but with compositions that differ between countries, it must not label and brand it in a seemingly identical way, as this may mislead consumers, say MEPs.

Various tests and surveys done in several EU member states, mainly in Central and Eastern Europe, have proven that products advertised and sold under the same brand and seemingly identical packaging in fact differ in composition and ingredients, to the detriment of consumers.

Such differences were found not only in foods, such as fish fingers, instant soup, coffee and soft drinks, but often also in non-food products, including detergents, cosmetics, toiletries and products intended for babies.


Superbugs: MEPs advocate further measures to curb use of antibiotics
Plenary session | ENVI | Today

The growing threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria can only be tackled through a "One Health" approach, MEPs said on Wednesday.

In the non-binding resolution, adopted with 589 votes to 12 and 36 abstentions, MEPs stress that the correct and prudent use of antimicrobials is essential to limit antimicrobial resistance (AMR) from emerging in human healthcare, animal husbandry and aquaculture.

The food chain and the environment also need to be taken into account, as they are potential sources of resistant microorganisms, say MEPs.


Parliament in favour of lifting visa requirements for Kosovars
Plenary session | LIBE | Today

Parliament confirmed on Thursday the mandate for negotiations with the Council on the proposal to waive visa requirements for Kosovo's citizens.

MEPs backed, with 420 votes to 186 and 22 abstentions, the decision by the Civil Liberties Committee to start discussions with the ministers on this legislative change.


Human Rights: breaches in Cambodia, Uganda and Myanmar
Plenary session | Today

MEPs condemn arrests and trumped-up charges against opposition politicians and journalists in Cambodia, Uganda and Myanmar.


Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament calls on the EU to act
Plenary session | LIBE | Yesterday

Parliament has asked EU member states to determine, in accordance with Treaty Article 7, whether Hungary is at risk of breaching the EU´s founding values.

This is the first time that Parliament has called on the Council of the EU to act against a member state to prevent a systemic threat to the Union's founding values. These values, which are enshrined in EU Treaty Article 2 and reflected in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, include respect for democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights.


European Parliament speaks out against "killer robots"
Plenary session | AFET | Yesterday

Weapons without meaningful human control over selecting and attacking targets should be banned before it is too late, stressed MEPs on Wednesday.

MEPs note that some countries and industries are reportedly developing lethal autonomous weapon systems, also known as "killer robots", ranging from "missiles capable of selective targeting to learning machines with cognitive skills to decide whom, when and where to fight". It raises fundamental ethical and legal questions of human control, in particular with regard to critical functions such as target selection and engagement, they say.

The resolution stresses that "machines cannot make human-like decisions", because it is humans who remain accountable for life or death decisions.


"America first" policy goes against EU-US partnership, say MEPs
Plenary session | AFET | Yesterday

The US decision to quit key international deals and start a trade war harms EU-US ties; but the EU should not give up on the transatlantic bond, said MEPs on Wednesday.

In a resolution on the state of EU-US relations, approved by 490 votes to 148, with 51 abstentions, MEPs stress that the EU-US relationship is the fundamental guarantor for global stability, but regret that the current US administration has chosen a one-sided "America first" policy, that harms the interests of both the EU and the US and undermines mutual trust.


Chinese investment in EU infrastructure: MEPs urge EU countries to act together
Plenary session | AFET | Yesterday

EU states must unite against China's bids to buy up control of their strategic infrastructure and insist that it respect human rights, said MEPs on Wednesday.

The resolution on the EU-China relations stresses that China is a strategic partner for the EU and that there is huge potential for further cooperation, but not without challenges. MEPs call on EU member states to step up their unity on China's policies and take advantage of the EU's much greater collective bargaining power in order to counteract China's influence.


Parliament adopts its position on digital copyright rules
Plenary session | Yesterday

Parliament adopted its revised negotiating position on copyright rules on Wednesday, adding safeguards to protect small firms and freedom of expression.


New EU rules to thwart money laundering and terrorist financing
Plenary session | ECON | LIBE | Yesterday

MEPs approved new measures to combat terrorist financing, by preventing money laundering and tightening cash flow checks, on Wednesday.

The two laws will make it harder for terrorists and criminals to finance their activities, by closing the loopholes in the current money laundering rules and by making it easier for the authorities to detect and stop suspicious financial flows.


2019 EU Elections will be a battle of values, says Greek PM Tsipras
Plenary session | 11-09-2018

In a heated discussion, Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras debated the future of Europe with MEPs and Commission Vice-President Dombrovskis on Tuesday.


Special measures for Greece: 100% absorption rate
Plenary session | REGI | 11-09-2018

The specific financing measures agreed in 2015 led to the successful completion of projects in Greece, underlined the EP in a vote adopted on Tuesday.


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