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EP News No. 477

Table Of Contents


Plenary Session

MEPs meet in plenary session in Strasbourg from the 14-17 February 2011.

Among the highlights of the agenda:
  • Passenger Rights for bus and coach travellers (debate/vote Tuesday)
  • CO2 van emission (debate/vote Tuesday)
  • Counterfeit drugs (debate Tuesday, vote Wednesday)

Passenger rights for bus and coach travellers
Bus operators and terminals throughout the European Union will soon have to offer their passengers better information, assistance and compensation for delays, thanks to MEPs.

Parliament's vote on Tuesday 15 February will be the final building block in EU rules that already cover air, rail and sea travellers. MEPs were keen to ensure that bus passengers enjoyed similar rights to these other groups.

The new legislation on bus and coach travel will cover cancellations, overbooking and departures delayed for more than two hours on journeys over 250 km. To help disabled travelers MEPs requested strong basic rights for assistance at terminals and stops, including free-of-charge transport of equipment such as wheelchairs.

CO2 van emissions
Parliament will take a step towards introducing cleaner, more fuel-efficient vans on Tuesday when it votes on CO2 limits for new vans in the EU. Rapporteur Martin Callanan MEP (North East, Conservative).

The new rules agreed with Member States include incentives to make highly efficient vehicles as well as penalties for manufacturers that miss the targets.  

Following legislation on car emissions approved two years ago, Parliament is set to give the green light to introduce CO2 limits for new "light commercial vehicles". The targets aim to drive innovation in industry.

Parliament reached agreement with Council for a limit of 175g CO2/km to apply in 2014, which will decrease in phases to 147g CO2/km by 2020. The targets are an average across a manufacturer's fleet.

Vans that emit less than 50g CO2/km will earn carmakers 'supercredits' for a limited time, by counting as more than one vehicle towards the average. The scheme will be phased out by 2017. On the other hand, new vans over the agreed limits will be subject to penalties rising to €95 per gram from 2019.

Protecting patients from counterfeit drugs
Internet sales of medicines are set to be covered by a new EU law designed to prevent counterfeit drugs from entering the legal supply chain. MEPs will vote on the final shape of the law following an agreement reached with the Council just before Christmas.

It is estimated that 1% of medicinal products currently sold to the European public through the legal supply chain are fake and the number is increasing. In other parts of the world more than 30% of the medicines on sale can be fake. In particular, more and more innovative and life-saving drugs are counterfeit.

The draft legislation updates current rules and introduces safety features to guarantee the identification, authenticity and traceability of the medicinal product from the factory to the consumer and includes the regulation of the sale of pharmaceuticals online.

Other issues

Parliament to debate unrest in Egypt - MEPs will hold another debate on the current political situation in Egypt after having debated the political protests in the southern Mediterranean on the 2 February. A resolution will be put to the vote on Thursday.

Hungarian media law under the spotlight - Hungary's new media law will be debated at the European Parliament on Wednesday. The Commission has asked the Hungarian government to clarify certain aspects of the law which entered into force on 1 January this year. A resolution will be put to the vote on Thursday.

Debate on treaty change with Commission President - On Tuesday afternoon MEPs will hear the Commission's opinion on the Treaty changes needed to set up a permanent crisis mechanism for the eurozone. After the Commission has spoken Parliament's leading MEPs on the subject, Elmar Brok (EPP, DE) and Roberto Gualtieri (S&D, IT) and a round of political group speakers, will take the floor.  

For full agenda, please see here.


Further Information

Paola Buonadonna
European Parliament Information Office in the UK
Tel: 020 7227 4300


Diary Dates

1 January 2011-30 June 2011: Hungarian Presidency

European Parliament plenary sessions January-June 2011

7-10 March - Strasbourg
23-24 March - Brussels
4-7 April - Strasbourg
9-12 May - Strasbourg
6-9 June - Strasbourg
22-23 June - Brussels