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Latest News & Press Releases

Your one-stop-shop for all the latest news from the European Parliament.

2017

In the eyes of a growing number of all EU citizens, belonging to the Union is a good thing. The new Eurobarometer survey also reveals which aspects of EU membership are most important to Britons.
Read more
MEPs removed the last hurdle on the way to full abolition of retail “roaming” surcharges in a vote on Thursday.
Read more
MEPs have approved €71,524,810 in EU aid to repair damage caused by floods in the UK from December 2015 to January 2016, drought and fires in Cyprus from October 2015 to June 2016 and fires on the Portuguese island of Madeira in August 2016, in a vote on Wednesday. The aid comes from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF).
Read more
Uniform rules on the information given in investor prospectuses were approved by Parliament on Wednesday. They aim to protect investors, create a more efficient single capital market and ease small firms’ access to finance.A testing.
Read more
An overwhelming majority of the house (516 votes in favour, 133 against, with 50 abstentions) adopted a resolution officially laying down the European Parliament’s key principles and conditions for its approval of the UK's withdrawal agreement. Any such agreement at the end of UK-EU negotiations will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.
Read more
Stricter rules to ensure that medical devices such as breast or hip implants are traceable and comply with EU patient safety requirements were backed by MEPs on Wednesday. MEPs also approved laws to tighten up information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices, e.g. for pregnancy or DNA testing.
Read more
The fact that diesel cars’ nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are much higher in real driving conditions than in laboratory tests was known to the EU member states and Commission over a decade ago. They should now act swiftly to improve tests and checks on new cars on EU roads, say MEPs in recommendations voted on Tuesday. In a separate vote, MEPs also amended EU “type approval” rules to make environmental and safety testing more independent, with stricter oversight of cars already on the road.
Read more
To counter the impact of unsustainable palm oil production, such as deforestation and habitat degradation, particularly in South-East Asia, the EU should introduce a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market and phase out the use of vegetable oils that drive deforestation by 2020, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Tuesday.
Read more
The UK and the EU will soon start talks to determine the terms of their new relationship and any resulting agreement would have to be approved by the European Parliament. Tomorrow MEPs debate Parliament’s priorities and vote on them afterwards. A key principle will be to ensure that the interests of people are safeguarded . Watch our video for a reminder of the benefits of being an EU citizen.
Read more
The Conference of Presidents endorsed a motion for a resolution drawn up by the leaders of four political groups and the Constitutional Affairs Committee, in which they set out their conditions for a final approval by the European Parliament of any withdrawal agreement with the United Kingdom. The draft resolution will be debated and voted on by the full house next Wednesday.
Read more
The European Parliament's Conference of Presidents will meet to prepare for the April plenary session on Wednesday afternoon, including a response to the expected notification by the UK government that it intends to leave the EU. Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani, political group leaders, point man for the negotiations with the UK Guy Verhofstadt, and Constitutional Affairs Committee chair Danuta Hübner, will discuss the consequences of the UK government’s triggering of Article 50.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
 The truth behind this weekend's stories
Read more
Until the UK leaves the EU, it must obey EU laws on free movement, said a majority of MEPs in a plenary debate with the EU Commission on Wednesday. The EU Commission must ensure that the free movement rights of EU citizens living in the UK are respected, they added. Many speakers also underlined that EU citizens should not be used as ”bargaining chips” in the Brexit negotiations.
Read more
Ever since the Brexit referendum EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals living in other EU countries face uncertainty about their ability to stay where they are. The British government has so far refused to guarantee the rights of EU nationals. Following reports of administrative barriers, MEPs are increasingly concerned that EU citizens’ right to stay in the UK are not being fully respected. They held a debate on the issue on 1 March and will also organise hearings to gather evidence.
Read more
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.
Read more
The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which aims to boost goods and services trade and investment flows, was approved by the International Trade Committee on Tuesday. The full House is to vote on the deal in February.
Read more
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani was congratulated by UK Prime Minister Theresa May on his election as President of the European Parliament in a phone call he received on this afternoon.
Read more
The election of a new European Parliament President began with three-minute speeches by the six candidates, outlining their ideas on how to lead the chamber over the next two and half years. Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE) withdrew his candidature before the vote. MEPs then proceeded to cast their votes in the first round.
Read more
No candidate won the required absolute majority of valid votes cast (342) in the first round of voting in Parliament’s presidential election on Tuesday morning. Of the six candidates, Antonio Tajani (EPP, IT) did best, with 274 votes, ahead of Gianni Pittella (S&D, IT) and Helga Stevens (ECR, BE).
Read more
Antonio Tajani (EPP, IT) won Parliament’s presidential election with 351 votes in a final face-off with Gianni Pittella (S&D, IT), who secured 282 votes.
Read more
One of the greatest questions that surrounds Brexit is how it relates to the current and future residence and citizenship rights for EU nationals. Have there been actual changes in the status of EU nationals since the referendum? Will the rights of EU citizens living in the UK change after Brexit? The European Parliament Information Office in the UK, jointly with UCL European Institute, recently hosted a debate on the matter entitled "Uncertain Future: Rights and Citizenship in post-Brexit Britain".
Read more
In the eyes of a growing number of all EU citizens, belonging to the Union is a good thing. The new Eurobarometer survey also reveals which aspects of EU membership are most important to Britons.
Read more
MEPs removed the last hurdle on the way to full abolition of retail “roaming” surcharges in a vote on Thursday.
Read more
MEPs have approved €71,524,810 in EU aid to repair damage caused by floods in the UK from December 2015 to January 2016, drought and fires in Cyprus from October 2015 to June 2016 and fires on the Portuguese island of Madeira in August 2016, in a vote on Wednesday. The aid comes from the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF).
Read more
Uniform rules on the information given in investor prospectuses were approved by Parliament on Wednesday. They aim to protect investors, create a more efficient single capital market and ease small firms’ access to finance.A testing.
Read more
An overwhelming majority of the house (516 votes in favour, 133 against, with 50 abstentions) adopted a resolution officially laying down the European Parliament’s key principles and conditions for its approval of the UK's withdrawal agreement. Any such agreement at the end of UK-EU negotiations will need to win the approval of the European Parliament.
Read more
Stricter rules to ensure that medical devices such as breast or hip implants are traceable and comply with EU patient safety requirements were backed by MEPs on Wednesday. MEPs also approved laws to tighten up information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices, e.g. for pregnancy or DNA testing.
Read more
The fact that diesel cars’ nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are much higher in real driving conditions than in laboratory tests was known to the EU member states and Commission over a decade ago. They should now act swiftly to improve tests and checks on new cars on EU roads, say MEPs in recommendations voted on Tuesday. In a separate vote, MEPs also amended EU “type approval” rules to make environmental and safety testing more independent, with stricter oversight of cars already on the road.
Read more
To counter the impact of unsustainable palm oil production, such as deforestation and habitat degradation, particularly in South-East Asia, the EU should introduce a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the EU market and phase out the use of vegetable oils that drive deforestation by 2020, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Tuesday.
Read more
The UK and the EU will soon start talks to determine the terms of their new relationship and any resulting agreement would have to be approved by the European Parliament. Tomorrow MEPs debate Parliament’s priorities and vote on them afterwards. A key principle will be to ensure that the interests of people are safeguarded . Watch our video for a reminder of the benefits of being an EU citizen.
Read more
The Conference of Presidents endorsed a motion for a resolution drawn up by the leaders of four political groups and the Constitutional Affairs Committee, in which they set out their conditions for a final approval by the European Parliament of any withdrawal agreement with the United Kingdom. The draft resolution will be debated and voted on by the full house next Wednesday.
Read more
The European Parliament's Conference of Presidents will meet to prepare for the April plenary session on Wednesday afternoon, including a response to the expected notification by the UK government that it intends to leave the EU. Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani, political group leaders, point man for the negotiations with the UK Guy Verhofstadt, and Constitutional Affairs Committee chair Danuta Hübner, will discuss the consequences of the UK government’s triggering of Article 50.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
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.
Read more
 The truth behind this weekend's stories
Read more
Until the UK leaves the EU, it must obey EU laws on free movement, said a majority of MEPs in a plenary debate with the EU Commission on Wednesday. The EU Commission must ensure that the free movement rights of EU citizens living in the UK are respected, they added. Many speakers also underlined that EU citizens should not be used as ”bargaining chips” in the Brexit negotiations.
Read more
Ever since the Brexit referendum EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals living in other EU countries face uncertainty about their ability to stay where they are. The British government has so far refused to guarantee the rights of EU nationals. Following reports of administrative barriers, MEPs are increasingly concerned that EU citizens’ right to stay in the UK are not being fully respected. They held a debate on the issue on 1 March and will also organise hearings to gather evidence.
Read more
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.
Read more
The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which aims to boost goods and services trade and investment flows, was approved by the International Trade Committee on Tuesday. The full House is to vote on the deal in February.
Read more
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani was congratulated by UK Prime Minister Theresa May on his election as President of the European Parliament in a phone call he received on this afternoon.
Read more
The election of a new European Parliament President began with three-minute speeches by the six candidates, outlining their ideas on how to lead the chamber over the next two and half years. Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE) withdrew his candidature before the vote. MEPs then proceeded to cast their votes in the first round.
Read more
No candidate won the required absolute majority of valid votes cast (342) in the first round of voting in Parliament’s presidential election on Tuesday morning. Of the six candidates, Antonio Tajani (EPP, IT) did best, with 274 votes, ahead of Gianni Pittella (S&D, IT) and Helga Stevens (ECR, BE).
Read more
Antonio Tajani (EPP, IT) won Parliament’s presidential election with 351 votes in a final face-off with Gianni Pittella (S&D, IT), who secured 282 votes.
Read more
EU flag with passport
Visa requirements for non-EU nationals will be reintroduced faster when EU countries face irregular migration surges or security risks, under new rules passed by Parliament on Thursday, 15th December.
Read more
collage of UK's  newspapers
A recent piece in the Daily Express might have led you to believe that one of the leading MEPs is not an elected office holder, but an unelected bureaucrat. Our Head of Office, Björn Kjellström, responded to the misleading report by writing to the paper. As we are eagerly awaiting a reply from the Express, we thought we would let you see the letter and the real story behind the headline.
Read more
Sakharov Prize 2016 finalists
Can Dündar and fellow defenders of freedom of thought and expression in Turkey, the Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzemilev, the Yazidi survivors and public advocates Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar are this year's finalists for the Sakharov Prize following a vote by the foreign affairs and development committees on 11 October. The laureate will be selected by the EP President and the political group leaders on 27 October and the award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 14 December.
Read more
Woman with laptop
New rules to enable EU citizens subscribing to services like “Netflix”, that give access to online music, games, films or sporting events, to enjoy this content while abroad in another EU country were approved by the Legal Affairs Committee in a vote on Tuesday.
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Flags of the European Union and Turkey
MEPs want a temporary freeze on EU accession talks with Turkey. In a resolution voted on Thursday, they say Turkey should nonetheless remain “anchored” to the EU. They also pledge to review their position when the "disproportionate repressive measures" under the state of emergency in Turkey are lifted.
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Soldier near to an EU venue
Terrorism, hybrid threats and cyber- and energy insecurity leave EU countries no choice but to step up their security and defence cooperation efforts, thus paving the way to a European Defence Union, say MEPs in a resolution passed on Tuesday. They suggest devoting 2% of GDP to defence, establishing multinational forces and EU headquarters to plan and command crisis management operations, and enabling the EU to act where NATO is unwilling to do so.
Read more
view of air pollution
Plans for more ambitious national caps on emissions of key pollutants by 2030, including NOx, particulates and sulphur dioxide, won the support of MEPs on Wednesday. They had already been informally agreed with the Dutch Presidency of the Council. Air pollution causes about 400,000 premature deaths in the EU per year.
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Lux Prize winner Toni Erdmann
The German-Austrian-Romanian co-production “Toni Erdmann” has won the 2016 European Parliament LUX Prize, President Martin Schulz announced at a ceremony in the Chamber in Strasbourg on Wednesday. The film explores a complex relationship between a father and daughter in contemporary corporate culture.
Read more
euros notes
In the wake of several tax evasion scandals, including the “Panama Papers” revelations, Parliament has backed Council’s position, and given the go ahead, by 590 votes to 32, with 64 abstentions, for tax authorities across Europe to automatically share information about bank account holders.
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
The European Parliament Bureau (its President and Vice-Presidents) has ascertained that a total sum of €500,615.55 from the 2015 expenditure of the European political party ADDE was non-eligible for a grant given by the European Parliament. The ADDE will need to pay back €172,655 and will not receive the remaining 20% of the grant (€248,345) allocated to the party for 2015.
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
What brings EU citizens together is more important than what separates them, say 71% of Europeans, while 53% believe that being an EU member is good for their country, according to Eurobarometer’s latest “Parlemeter” poll, commissioned by the European Parliament and published on Friday.
Read more
COP22
A twelve-strong delegation of MEPs will take part in UN (COP22) climate talks (COP22) in Marrakesh from Monday to Friday. Following the European Parliament’s ratification and the entry into force of the 2015 Paris agreement, these will focus on how to finance and share the efforts needed to keep climate warming well below 2 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.
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The EP President Martin Schulz
Following the result of the US presidential elections, President Schulz made the following statement:
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Event about UK Press coverage on Brexit
In a historic referendum, the majority of British voters decided to leave the European Union. The 23rd of June also marked the end of an intense campaign involving politicians, media and the public. How was the campaign covered in the British media? Were there more pro-Leave voices in the newspapers or pro-Remain ones? Which topics grabbed the editors’ attention? The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford and Prime Research carried out an extensive study into the subject and published a report, which was launched at Europe House in London earlier this autumn.
Read more
The EP President Martin Schulz and the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau.
Ahead of today’s EU-Canada Summit, President Schulz made the following statement:
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Nadia Murad (left) and Lamiya Aji Basharr ©AP Images/ European Union-EP & ©Enric Vives-Rubio/Público
Yazidi survivors and public advocates Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar are this year's joint laureates of the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, following a decision by Parliament President Martin Schulz and the political group leaders on 27 October. The Sakharov award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 14 December.
Read more
A keyboard by a locker
The websites and apps of public administrations, hospitals, courts and other public sector bodies will have to be made accessible to everyone, under new EU-wide rules approved by the European Parliament on Wednesday. The web accessibility directive, already agreed by Parliament and Council, should make it easier for disabled and elderly people to access data and services on the internet, e.g. to file a tax declaration, apply for an allowance, pay fees or enrol at university.
Read more
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
New rules to curb the growing influx into the EU of plant pests, such as olive grove killer Xylella fastidiosa, and better equip member states to tackle their spread, were endorsed by the Parliament on Wednesday. The new regulation introduces preventive and rapid response mechanisms for suspect plant imports, steps up pest surveillance efforts in the EU and requires all member states to draw up outbreak contingency plans.
Read more
LUX Prize logo.
Europe should continue to support film creation and distribution as important tools for our cultural diversity, MEPs and filmmakers underlined on Monday evening in a Lux Prize 10th anniversary debate. Translation and subtitling help to circulate works and promote European values, especially in time of crisis, they added. Film directors Ken Loach, Céline Sciamma and Andrea Segre participated in a very animated debate with Members of the Culture Committee on this occasion.
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The EP President Martin Schulz
Following the events of Thursday afternoon in the European Parliament’s premises in Strasbourg which resulted in an MEP collapsing unconscious and being rushed to hospital, President Schulz made the following statement:
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will travel to Strasbourg on Tuesday to attend the final vote of the European Parliament on whether to grant consent to the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU.
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The EP President Martin Schulz
On Thursday and Friday President Schulz will be in London and will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May, the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn, and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. It will be the first time that President Schulz will be meeting Ms May and Mr Khan. The President will conclude his visit with a lecture at the European Institute of the London School of Economics on Friday afternoon. The lecture will be followed by a questions and answer session.
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Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnas/
A seven-strong delegation from the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee will visit the UK from 21 to 23 September 2016 in the context of the current overhaul of the EU type-approval rules for cars. .
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Debate on the State of the European Union 2016
Populism, unemployment and social injustice are among the key challenges for the EU, said Commission President Juncker in his annual State of the Union speech in the EP on Wednesday. The refugee crisis, Brexit and counter-terrorism were also debated with political groups’ leaders and other MEPs, who put forward their visions of how to address people’s deepest concerns about the future.
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Sir Julian King
Parliament will evaluate Commissioner-designate Sir Julian King for the portfolio of the Security Union during its plenary session in Strasbourg. The Civil Liberties Committee will first hold a public hearing with the candidate on Monday 12 September in the evening. The full House will take a vote on Thursday.
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Guy Verhofstadt
The Conference of Presidents today appointed Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE) as European Parliament point man for Brexit negotiations.
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Debate on the State of the EU.
Two days ahead of the informal meeting of the EU heads of state and government (without the United Kingdom) in Bratislava, the European Parliament will hold the annual debate on the State of the European Union with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg. The debate is likely to focus on migration, jobs, terrorism, Brexit and to address the core demands of EU citizens.
Read more
stairs at the EP.
A recent article on the Daily Express website may have left you believing that the European Parliament is not only "deserted" in the summer but also has the cheek to leave the lights on “burning money”. This isn't true.
Read more
Academics discuss the UK’s historic referendum at Europe House.
The UK’s vote to leave the European Union has brought renewed calls for clarity on the likely consequences for the country in the years ahead, and on 30th of June, just one week after the referendum, Europe House was delighted to host a seminar on this topic in Smith Square with Nuffield College Oxford.
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British European Citizen’s Prize 2016 winners.
The national laureates of the European Citizen’s Prize were honoured at a ceremony held in Westminster today. Since 2008, the European Parliament has selected winners from across the EU who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of cooperation and a better mutual understanding between the citizens of the European Union member states.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
EU countries will have to introduce stronger controls on “blank-firing” guns, to prevent them being converted to fire live ammunition, under Internal Market Committee amendments, voted on Wednesday, to a draft update of the EU firearms directive. The changes approved by MEPs ensure that any firearm which has been converted to firing blanks continues to be covered by EU gun control rules. This closes a legal loophole which became evident in the aftermath of last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) aims to reinforce the management of the EU's external borders as part of wider efforts to stem migratory flows to the EU and protect its external borders.
Read more
View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Firms supplying essential services, e.g. for energy, transport, banking and health, or digital ones, such as search engines and cloud services, will have to improve their ability to withstand cyber-attacks under the first EU-wide rules on cybersecurity, approved by MEPs on Wednesday.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
EU leaders must respond to the UK's vote to leave the EU, by doing more to defend the EU project and to make it more transparent, social and responsive to citizens' concerns. This was a key message that came out of Parliament's Tuesday morning debate with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, on last week's EU summit.
Read more
Bars chart.
The fight against terrorism should be the EU's number one priority followed by action on unemployment, the fight against tax fraud, migration, the protection of external borders and the environment, according to the vast majority of people surveyed in a special Eurobarometer. Those participating were asked if current EU action as mandated by member states on a range of different issues was excessive, adequate, about right or insufficient.
Read more
View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The UK must respect the wish of a majority of its citizens, entirely, fully and as soon as possible, by officially withdrawing from the EU before any new relationship arrangements can be made, says the European Parliament in a resolution voted after an extraordinary plenary debate on Tuesday. MEPs also stress the urgent need for reforms to ensure that the EU lives up to its citizens’ expectations.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
What is the European Parliament’s position on the UK referendum? The European Parliament will hold an extraordinary plenary session on Tuesday 28 June at 9am UK time. The debate will be followed by a vote on a number of draft resolutions concerning the outcome of the referendum. The draft resolutions can be accessed here.
Read more
View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Plans for stricter monitoring and certification procedures to ensure full compliance and traceability of medical devices, such as breast or hip implants, were backed by Health Committee MEPs on Wednesday. MEPs also approved legislation to tighten up information and ethical requirements for diagnostic medical devices used for example in pregnancy or DNA testing. Both files were informally agreed with the Dutch Presidency of the Council.
Read more
office folders.
The EU Commission proposal for an EU anti-tax avoidance directive was welcomed by Parliament in a resolution voted on Wednesday. MEPs nonetheless advocated stricter limits on deductions for interest payments and tougher rules on foreign income. They also called for more transparency for trust funds and foundations, common rules for “patent box” tax reductions on intellectual property earnings, and an EU blacklist of tax havens and sanctions against uncooperative jurisdictions.
Read more
panama papers tags.
The European Parliament agreed to set up an inquiry committee into the “Panama Papers” revelations, of detailed information on offshore companies and their ultimate beneficiaries, in a vote on Wednesday. The committee is to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application by the EU Commission or member states of EU laws on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. It will have 65 members and twelve months to present its report.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
MEPs urge the EU Commission to put forward proposals against unfair trading practices in the food supply chain, so as to ensure fair earnings for farmers and a wide choice for consumers, in a resolution voted on Tuesday. The aim should be to ensure fair and transparent trade relations among food producers, suppliers and distributors. Fair trading should in turn help to prevent overproduction and food waste, they add.
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The European Citizen’s Prize 2016.
Two UK organisations have been honoured today in the 2016 European Citizen’s Prize. Every year a panel of judges chooses laureates from across the member states who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion of cooperation and a better mutual understanding between the citizens of the Member States.
Read more
European Parliament entrance.
The EU Commission should go on negotiating with the USA to remedy “deficiencies” in proposed “Privacy Shield” protection for EU citizens’ data transferred to the US for commercial purposes, Parliament says in a non-legislative resolution passed on Thursday.
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EP meeting room.
Consumers should be given more power in the energy market, say MEPs in a resolution on a "new energy deal for energy consumers", voted on Thursday. They recommend collective buying, household power generation, better price comparison tools for all and making it easier to switch energy providers and tariffs. In a non-binding text, intended as an input to Energy Union legislation to be tabled by the EU Commission, MEPs also call for EU funds for energy efficiency to focus on energy poverty.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
New initiatives to allow consumers and companies to buy and sell products and services online more easily across the EU were welcomed by most MEPs in a debate with Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, on Wednesday. Parliament will co-decide on equal footing with the EU Council of Ministers on the Digital Single Market legislative proposals.
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adult students.
Participants in two adult education groups are showing that every day in life can be a school day if you have the right support to encourage lifelong learning.
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Bars chart.
More than half of young Europeans aged 16-30 feel marginalised in their own country due to the economic crisis, but few want to move abroad because of it, finds the latest Eurobarometer poll, commissioned by the European Parliament and last week. Nevertheless, for almost all respondents it is important to learn about the EU and how its institutions work.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Until China has fulfilled the EU's five criteria for market economy status, its exports to the EU must be treated in a "non-standard" way, say MEPs in a non-legislative resolution passed on Thursday. This non-standard methodology, for use in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations, should assess whether China's costs and prices are market-based, so as to ensure a level playing field for EU industry and defend EU jobs, they add.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The European Commission's proposal for automatic exchange of corporate tax information among national tax authorities was welcomed by Parliament on Thursday as "a positive step in the fight against aggressive corporate tax planning". But MEPs also advocated adding further safeguards in the text to ensure that competition in the single market is not distorted by advantageous national tax deals with multinationals.
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Charlemagne youth prize.
Congratulations are due today for a UK youth group who have been recognised in one of Europe's most prestigious youth awards this evening (Tuesday 3 May).
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European Parliament in Strasbourg .
New EU rules to help firms win legal redress against theft or misuse of their trade secrets were voted by Parliament on Thursday. MEPs ensured that freedom of expression and information will be protected and that the rules will not restrict the work of journalists.
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Computer wires.
New EU data protection rules which aim to give citizens back control of their personal data and create a high, uniform level of data protection across the EU fit for the digital era was given their final approval by MEPs on Thursday. The reform also sets minimum standards on use of data for policing and judicial purposes.
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A view of an airport.
The new directive regulating the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data in the EU for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime was approved by Parliament on Thursday. It will oblige airlines to hand national authorities passengers' data for all flights from third countries to the EU and vice versa.
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European Parliament entrance.
Given concerns about the carcinogenicity and endocrine disruptive properties of the herbicide glyphosate, used in many farm and garden applications, the EU Commission should renew its marketing approval for just 7 years, instead of 15, and for professional uses only, Parliament says in a resolution voted on Wednesday. MEPs call for an independent review and the publication of all the scientific evidence that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) used to assess glyphosate.
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Panama papers tags.
MEPs urged the EU Commission and member states to step up their efforts to fight tax evasion and money laundering in a Tuesday afternoon debate prompted by the “Panama Papers” revelations about more than 200,000 offshore companies and their secret owners.
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European Parliament hall.
Existing tools and possible new measures to prevent and fight terrorism, protect EU citizens and prosecute perpetrators were discussed on Tuesday with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Dutch Minister of Defence, Jeanine Hennis-Plaesschaert for the Council presidency, in the presence of EU Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
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view of a fence.
A centralised asylum system would allow the EU to better manage flows of migrants and asylum seekers, said the European Parliament on Tuesday. It also asked for safe and legal ways to be found for third country nationals to enter the Union without resorting to human smugglers at the risk of their lives.
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© Marie Dorigny Migrantes 003 Press
Policy leaders and practitioners joined together at Europe House in London on 4th March to discuss the refugee crisis and what more Europe can do to assist women facing hazardous journeys across the continent. The seminar aimed to raise awareness ahead of International Women's Day and the publication of an in-depth study of gender and asylum policy for the European Parliament by Mary Honeyball, Labour MEP for London.
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migrants stand in a fence.
The failure to date of the EU asylum system to cope with ever-rising numbers of migrant arrivals calls for a radical overhaul of the so-called Dublin rules, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Wednesday. They propose establishing a central system for collecting and allocating asylum applications. The scheme, which could include a quota for each EU member state, would work on the basis of “hotspots” from which refugees would be distributed.
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farm of pigs.
To fight the growing resistance of bacteria to today’s antibiotics, the use of existing antimicrobial drugs should be restricted, and new ones should be developed, said the European Parliament on Thursday. In a vote on draft plans to update an EU law on veterinary medicines, MEPs advocate banning collective and preventive antibiotic treatment of animals, and back measures to stimulate research into new medicines.
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Plenary room of the EP in Brussels.
A deal among the key EU institutions – Parliament, the Council and the Commission - to improve the planning, quality and transparency of their law-making was endorsed by MEPs on Wednesday. It provides for more democratic long-term planning, a new database of planned EU laws, and more information for the press and public on negotiations among EU institutions.
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Plenary room of the EP in Brussels.
MEPs backed new rules on Wednesday to ensure that children who are suspected or accused of a crime get a fair trial. The directive, informally agreed with the Council last December, recognises the right of anyone under 18 to be assisted by a lawyer and to be accompanied by the holder of parental responsibility (or another appropriate adult) through most of the proceedings.
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Plenary room of the EP in Brussels.
MEPs demanded details on Wednesday of the deal struck by EU leaders with Turkey on the management of migrant and refugee flows, underlining that the international asylum rules must be respected. In a plenary debate with the Council and the Commission, most political group leaders insisted that EU accession negotiations with Turkey and talks on visa liberalisation for Turkish nationals travelling to the EU should not be linked to the refugee issue.
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farm of pigs.
Measures to prevent and halt outbreaks of animal diseases such as avian flu or foot and mouth disease, informally agreed by MEPs and the EU Council of Ministers in June 2015, were endorsed by Parliament on Tuesday. The draft EU law, on diseases that are transmissible among animals, and potentially to humans too, puts fresh emphasis on prevention and should help professionals to keep pace with scientific progress.
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kids having lunch.
Children across the EU should soon get the benefit of better-funded school milk, fruit and vegetable schemes, along with better education on healthy eating. A new draft new law to this end, provisionally agreed with EU ministers in December 2015 and approved by Parliament on Tuesday, will merge today's separate EU school milk and fruit schemes and boost their combined annual budget by €20 million to €250 million a year.
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View of a port.
Draft rules designed to boost the efficiency and cut the cost of services supplied at EU maritime ports, such as mooring and towage, were voted by Parliament on Tuesday. Ensuring transparency in the setting of fees for using port services and infrastructure, and in any public funding that ports receive, should help to prevent price abuse and market distortions and thus boost trade, MEPs say. But current port service arrangements could remain, provided they meet minimum requirements, they add.
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collage of asylum seekers.
A reform of EU migration and asylum policies and procedures needs to include gender-sensitive measures to ensure the safety of women seeking asylum, many of whom travel with young children and other dependents, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Tuesday.
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collage of MEPs.
When people in the UK vote on 23 June on their country’s EU membership, it will have consequences for the whole of Europe. MEPs debated on Wednesday 24 February the possible consequences of the referendum. Most MEPs said the country would be better off in the EU, while others insisted it would benefit from leaving.
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Last week's settlement for the United Kingdom and its consequences for the Union as a whole was debated with Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday 24 February. Speakers discussed various issues such as the UK's role in Europe and the possible consequences of the referendum.
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European Council President Donald Tusk.
Leaders of the main political groups in Parliament welcomed a fair EU-UK deal as an offer to the British people to remain in the EU. But it's an "in or out" vote some said, not another phase in the negotiations. During the plenary debate on the outcome of the recent EU summit with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, many UK MEPs voiced arguments for and against EU membership.
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migrants walk.
Most of the one million-plus migrants and refugees who travelled to the European Union in 2015 came via Turkey. There are now more than 2.5 million refugees in Turkey itself. At the end of November 2015, the EU and Turkey struck a deal to try to control migrant flows into Europe. Turkey in return is to receive an extra €3 billion from the EU budget and member states in order to support refugees in the country.
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migrants walk.
The EU needs to overcome its paralysing fears and divisions and to manage migration and refugee flows effectively, said many MEPs in Tuesday's plenary debate with the Dutch Presidency and the Commission. Protecting the EU's external borders effectively is vital to safeguard the Schengen passport-free area, they observed. Some also called for zero tolerance with racist and violent attacks against migrants and refugees.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Members of the European Parliament will discuss the UK’s upcoming EU referendum tomorrow morning in Strasbourg, during the debate on the preparation to the European Council summit on 18 and 19 February.
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Youngster shows a flag ot the EU.
Do you want to make a positive impact on Europe’s future? Do you have ideas on how to develop a sustainable Europe? If the answer is yes, why don’t you join the second edition of the European Youth Event (EYE2016) from 20 to 21 May?
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baby being fed.
Draft EU rules that would allow baby foods to continue to contain up to three times more sugar than is recommended by the World Health Organisation were vetoed by the European Parliament on Wednesday, as they fail to protect infants and young children against obesity, say MEPs. Instead, they advocate reducing the EU sugar content limit to match the WHO recommendations.
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"Raif Badawi was brave enough to raise his voice and say no to their barbarity. That is why they flogged him," said Ensaf Haidar, the wife of jailed Saudi human rights activist Raif Badawi, accepting the 2015 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on his behalf in Strasbourg on Wednesday 16 December. Badawi was honoured by the European Parliament for his fight for freedom of speech and thought in Saudi Arabia.
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A “strong compromise” on how to ensure a high level of data protection across the EU was agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators in their last round of talks on the data protection package on Tuesday. It is now up to member states to give a green light to the agreement. The two draft laws in the package - a regulation and a directive - are scheduled for a confirmation vote in the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday morning.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Parliament decided to set up a 45 member inquiry committee to investigate breaches of EU rules on car emission tests and alleged failures by EU member states and the European Commission to enforce EU standards. The committee will present an interim report within 6 months, and a final report within 12 months, of starting its work.
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EU leaders meeting on 17 and18 December should support the creation of European border and coast guard and cooperate more closely over counter-terrorism, said MEPs in Wednesday’s debate with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Nicolas Schmit for the Council Presidency. Some MEPs stressed the need to see what could be done to keep the UK in the EU.
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New rules to help businesses obtain legal redress against the theft or misuse of their trade secrets were informally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on Tuesday. MEPs ensured that freedom of expression and information will be protected and that the new rules will not restrict the work of journalists.
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The provisional deal reached by Parliament and Council negotiators last week on an EU directive regulating the use of Passenger Name Record (PNR) data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime was endorsed by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee on Thursday by 38 votes to 19, with 2 abstentions. The draft directive will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole early next year.
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A delegation of 15 MEPs will take part in the UN climate conference in Paris, France, from Monday to Friday. The European Parliament says that the 2015 Protocol must be legally binding and ambitious from the outset, with five-year commitment periods. In a resolution voted in October, MEPs also proposed that a share of revenues from the EU carbon market allowances should be earmarked for climate finance, and that aviation and shipping sectors should initiate measures to curb their emissions.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The work of Parliament’s Special Committee on Tax Rulings will be continued under a new mandate for six months, starting on 2 December. This was decided unanimously at Wednesday’s Conference of Presidents and endorsed by Parliament as a whole, by 561 votes to 69 with 5 abstentions. The committee's work will focus on harmful corporate tax regimes and practices at European and international level.
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A provisional deal on EU rules regulating the use of air passengers' data to fight terrorism and serious crime came within sight at the fifth "trilogue” (three-way talks between Parliament, Council and Commission negotiators) on Wednesday afternoon.
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Interest in EU policies increased recently according to the new Eurobarometer commissioned by the European Parliament and published on Monday 30th November.
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Parliament sets out its ideas on how to make corporate taxes fairer across Europe in a resolution voted on Wednesday. MEPs urge EU member states to agree on mandatory country-by-country reporting by multinationals of profits and taxes, a common consolidated corporate tax base, common definitions for tax terms and more transparency and accountability with regard to their – so far secret - national tax “rulings” for companies.
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President Martin Schulz announced that Mustang had won the 2015 European Parliament LUX Prize for cinema at a ceremony in the Chamber in Strasbourg at noon on Tuesday. Mustang tells the story of five sisters who have been promised to husbands through forced marriages but who, determined to live their own lives, break the yoke of tradition.
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Photo by Paul Hudson
Members of the European Parliament will gather today at 2pm in the plenary chamber for a brief commemorative ceremony in honour of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris and to express solidarity with French citizens and authorities.
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“What does an MEP do?” “Is Wales dependent on the EU budget?” “Why is Britain disenchanted with the EU politics?” Those were only some of the questions the MEPs had to answer during the breakfast meetings organised by the UK European Parliament Information Office in Cardiff. With BBC Wales journalist Jamie Owen as moderator, the series of events aims at providing a meeting point between the public and Welsh MEPs.
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European elections should be fought with formally endorsed, EU-wide lead candidates (“Spitzenkandidaten”) for the Commission presidency, Parliament said on Wednesday in a formal proposal for a change to EU electoral law. It says these candidates should stand for election to the EP themselves, and be formally nominated at least 12 weeks before the elections.
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Raif Badawi is the laureate of this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, following an October 29 decision by EP President Martin Schulz and the political group leaders. Badawi is a blogger from Saudi Arabia currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for insulting Islam on his website promoting social, political and religious debate. The Sakharov award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 16 December.
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EU Commission plans for more ambitious national caps on emissions of six key pollutants, including NOx, particulates and sulphur dioxide, were endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday. Air pollution causes about 400,000 premature deaths in the EU yearly, and the plans could save up to €40bn in air pollution costs by 2030.
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A draft EU law that would enable any EU member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was rejected by the European Parliament on Wednesday. Members are concerned that the law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries.
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Package holidays, consisting of a flight, hotel or car-hire and purchased online for an all-in price or through linked webpages, will get the same protection as packages bought in travel agencies under rules voted by MEPs on Tuesday. MEPs ensured that travellers will have more options to cancel a contract and get clear advance information on who is ultimately responsible if something goes wrong.
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A complete ban on roaming charges for using mobile phones abroad in the EU will take effect in June 2017 and clear rules on the right to internet access will become law following Parliament's final adoption of the new telecoms package on Tuesday.
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Parliament’s Special Committee on Tax Rulings recommended measures to make corporate taxes in the EU fairer and more transparent, after eight months of fact finding, in a vote Monday evening in Strasbourg.
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Following this morning's announcements of the verdicts of Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on the Dutch tax deal with Starbucks and the Luxembourgish tax agreement with Fiat Finance and Trade, key MEPs on taxation issues gave the following statements.
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Sakharov Prize logo.
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, the Democratic Opposition in Venezuela and the Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov are the three finalists for this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. They were chosen in a vote during a meeting of the foreign affairs and development committees and the human rights subcommittee at the European Parliament. The laureate will be decided by Parliament's president and political group leaders on 29 October and the award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 16 December.
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The competition for next year's European Charlemagne Youth Prize was launched on Thursday, 15 October. Now in its ninth year, the prize is awarded to young people who have developed projects to foster understanding between people from different European countries. The deadline for submissions is 25 January 2016.
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Three inspiring Brits have been selected as winners of this year's EU Citizens' Prize, alongside 44 laureates from across the European Union. The prize, which has been run by the European Parliament since 2008, recognises the efforts of EU citizens who promote understanding and co-operation across international borders, integration between EU citizens and the EU values of democracy and human rights.
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Immigration and terrorism are EU citizens’ fastest-growing concerns, according to the latest Eurobarometer poll, commissioned by the European Parliament and published on Wednesday.
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A draft EU law that would enable any member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was opposed by Environment Committee MEPs on Tuesday. Members are concerned that the proposal might prove unworkable and lead to the reintroduction of border controls between pro and anti-GMO countries. The recommendation will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole at the 26-29 October plenary session in Strasbourg.
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Updating EU rules on payment services will cut the cost of paying bills, by enabling new market players to use mobile and online tools to make payments on a client’s behalf, said MEPs voting a law to this end on Thursday. These rules, informally agreed by MEPs and ministers last May, also aim to make online payments safer, by laying down data protection and liability rules for all online payment service providers.
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MEPs debated the unfolding Volkswagen exhaust emissions scandal on Tuesday, on the basis of a parliamentary question. They asked Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska to clarify whether emission test manipulation took place in Europe.
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Goods or substances that may be misused for torture or execution should not be promoted for export, so as to prevent their spread, said the International Trade Committee, voting on Tuesday to strengthen EU “Anti-torture” rules. MEPs want to widen today’s EU ban to include services, e.g. marketing in expos or online catalogues, but also finance, transport and insurance. They also want to ban transit of prohibited goods via the EU and add a “catch-all” clause to allow checks on dubious new ones.
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An emergency proposal to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary among EU member states was backed by Parliament on Thursday. The first temporary emergency rules for relocating an initial 40,000 over two years from Italy and Greece only were approved by Parliament on 9 September.
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Sakharov Prize logo.
The nominations for Parliament´s 2015 Sakharov Prize have been announced on Thursday 10 September. The prize is awarded every year to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression.The nominations will be formally presented on Monday 28 September during a joint meeting of the foreign affairs and development committees and the human rights subcommittee. The winner will be announced in October.
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View of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Parliament backed temporary emergency rules to relocate an initial total of 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states over two years in a vote on Wednesday. In the migration debate on Wednesday, most MEPs welcomed the Commission's new proposals outlined by Juncker in his state of the Union speech, stressing that more contributions to solidarity will be needed.
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Parliament beefed up the Commission’s initial proposal to ban animal cloning to include the cloning of all farm animals, their descendants and products derived from them, including imports into the EU, in a vote on Tuesday.
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Parliament beefed up the Commission’s initial proposal to ban animal cloning to include the cloning of all farm animals, their descendants and products derived from them, including imports into the EU, in a vote on Tuesday.
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Today, at the press conference of the Venice Days (Giornate degli Autori), the First Vice President of the European Parliament Mr Antonio TAJANI and the President of the Committee on Culture and Education, Mrs Silvia Costa, announced the 3 contending films to run for the 2015 LUX Film Prize.
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MEPs will assess how best to spend EU funding for migration measures. The delegation will meet Italian Under-Secretary of State in charge of immigration issues Domenico Manzione, among others, and will also visit migrant reception centres in Pozzallo and Mineo in Sicily.
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Every year the European Parliament together with the European Youth Press co-organise 'European Youth Media Days' - an event for young journalists aged between 18 and 30 from all over Europe.
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A British film maker has the chance to have his work screened in more than 40 cities across Europe after being nominated for the European Parliament's LUX Prize on July 5th.
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An EU-US trade deal must open up US market access for EU firms, but not undermine EU standards, say MEPs in recommendations, voted today, to EU trade negotiators.
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EU-US flag
The European Parliament hosted a two-day seminar on Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Brussels on 12-13 May. .
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EurVoice, the outreach scheme of the European Youth Parliament UK, have won the UK national heat of the European Parliament/CYP competition. This youth project will go forward as the UK's entry in the competition held across all 28 Member States of the European Union.
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All new car models sold in the EU are to be equipped with eCall technology from 31 March 2018 under draft EU rules endorsed by Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee MEPs on Tuesday.This technology uses the 112 emergency number to call rescue services automatically, enabling them to reach crash scenes faster and thus save lives and reduce the severity of injuries.
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The fees that banks charge retailers to process shoppers’ payments will be capped, under uniform EU-wide rules, further to a vote in Parliament on Tuesday. The cap, which will apply to both cross-border and domestic card-based payments, should result in lower costs for card users.
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Recent food fraud cases have made consumers suspicious. A growing number want to know from which country meat in processed food comes.© BELGAIMAGE/EASYFOTOSTOCK/Zoonar_V.Gudovskiy
Meat used as an ingredient in processed foods, such as lasagne, should be labelled by country of origin as is already the case with bovine fresh meat, said MEPs on Wednesday. They call on the European Commission, which published a report on the issue in late 2013, to come up with legislative proposals in order to rebuild consumer confidence in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and other food fraud cases.
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Member states may decide to ban GMO crops on their territory. ©BELGAIMAGE/EASYSTOCKFOTO/S.Bouchard
EU-US negotiations on the TTIP free trade agreement are continuing. The deal which is expected to create new jobs and boost economies on both sides of the Atlantic touches upon sensitive issues, not least rules for the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). On 27 January the international trade and legal affairs committees held a joint public hearing to shed light on the issues at play.
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The fees that banks charge retailers for processing shoppers’ payments would be capped under draft EU rules endorsed by Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee MEPs in a vote on Tuesday. The vote confirms an informal deal struck with the Council in December. The cap would apply to both cross-border and domestic card-based payments and should cut costs for card users.
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The ultimate owners of companies will have to be listed in central registers in EU countries, open both to the authorities and to people with a "legitimate interest", such as journalists, under a Parliament/Council deal endorsed by the Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties committees on Tuesday. The new anti-money laundering directive aims to help to fight money laundering, tax crimes and terrorist financing. New rules to make it easier to trace transfers of funds were also approved.
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MEPs debated plans to use EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) data to fight terrorism. ©BELGAIMAGE/EASYSTOCKFOTO/J.R:Sancke
A draft law that would oblige airlines to hand EU countries the data of passengers entering or leaving the EU, in order to help the authorities to fight serious crime and terrorism, is currently under discussion in the European Parliament. The committee in charge of the so-called EU Passenger Name Record (PNR) proposal is the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.
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MEPs reiterate their concern over the potential impact of food fraud on food safety, consumer confidence and health. ©BELGAIMAGE/EASYPHOTOSTOCK/Zoonar_Mrivserg
Meat used as an ingredient in processed foods, such as lasagne, should be labelled by country of origin as is already the case for bovine fresh meat, said Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee MEPs on Wednesday. They call on the European Commission, which published a report on the issue in late 2013, to come up with legislative proposals in order to rebuild consumer confidence in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and other food fraud cases.
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Parliament must use its influence on framing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) rules to ensure that they serve all EU citizens
The European Parliament must use its influence on framing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) rules to ensure that they serve all EU citizens, not just a few economic players and must therefore insist that the talks are more democratic and more transparent, said trade committee chair, Bernd Lange (S&D, DE), on Wednesday
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Member states may decide to ban GMO crops on their territory. ©BELGAIMAGE/EASYSTOCKFOTO/S.Bouchard
New legislation to allow EU member states to restrict or ban the cultivation of crops containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their own territory, even if this is allowed at EU level, was passed by MEPs on Tuesday. The legislation, informally agreed by Parliament and Council in December, was originally tabled in 2010 but was then deadlocked for four years due to disagreement between pro- and anti-GMO member states.
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A minute of silence in the European Parliament hemicycle to pay triubute to the victims of Paris terrorism attacks  #JeSuisCharlie© EU 2015 - European Parliament
“Violence with Kalashnikovs will not make us downgrade our European values”, promised Parliament President Martin Schulz, naming the 17 people killed in last week’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket. After a minute’s silence, Parliament’s political groups paid their tributes too. Several saw the outpouring of solidarity demonstrated by millions of citizens across Europe and worldwide as a renaissance and reaffirmation of Europe’s core values.
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Jerusalem should be the capital of both states, Palestine and Israël ©BELGA_EYEVINE
The European Parliament supports "in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two state solution, and believes these should go hand in hand with the development of peace talks, which should be advanced", it says in a resolution passed on Wednesday. To support EU diplomatic efforts in the Middle East peace process, it also decided to launch a “Parliamentarians for Peace” initiative to bring together MEPs and MPs from the Israeli and Palestinian parliaments.
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The fees that banks charge retailers to process shoppers’ payments should be capped under uniform rules across in the EU following a deal struck by Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee and Council negotiators on Wednesday. The cap would apply to both cross-border and domestic card-based payments and should result in lower costs for consumers.
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Parliament approved the draft EU budget for 2015 and a top-up of the 2014 one on Wednesday. The budget foresees €145.32 billion in commitments and €141.21 billion in payments for 2015, and an extra €4.25 billion to settle unpaid bills in 2014.
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Image of map
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiators and experts were quizzed on safeguards for labour standards and public services, and how a TTIP deal could help to create high-quality jobs, at a joint public hearing held by the Employment and International Trade committees on Tuesday.
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Pope Francis was warmly applauded by MEPs after his 40-minute address to the plenary © EP
Safeguarding human dignity was a key theme of the formal address delivered by Pope Francis to Members of the European Parliament on Tuesday. Immigration, protecting the environment, and promoting human rights and democracy were among the topics stressed in a speech that enjoined "Europe to rediscover the best of itself".
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MEPs urge all parties to restart stalled Northern Ireland peace talks ©BELGAIMAGE/ZUMAPRESS/A. Widak
The European Parliament called on all parties to join talks to restart the stalled Northern Ireland peace process in a resolution voted on Thursday. MEPs stressed the need to combat low pay and unemployment, so as to halt violent and criminal efforts to undermine the process. Talks broke down in December 2013 due to disputes over issues such as welfare spending, flags and emblems, and parading.
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EP President Martin Schulz hands over to EC President Jean-Claude Juncker
MEPs approved the new college of 27 Commissioners, as presented by its President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday morning. The new Commission now needs to be formally appointed by EU heads of state or government, including David Cameron.
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Denis Mukwege: winner of Sakharov Prize 2014 ©BELGA_ANP COMM_SVEN TORFINN
Denis Mukwege is the laureate of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2014, following today's decision by EP President Martin Schulz and the political group leaders. Mukwege will be invited to Strasbourg on 26 November to receive the award during the plenary session.
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Miguel Pajares, who contracted the deadly Ebola virus, being transported to the hospital upon his arrival in Spain. The Roman Catholic priest later died due to the disease. ©BELGA/AFP PHOTO/SPANISH DEFENSE MINISTRY/INAKI GOMEZ
What started as an Ebola outbreak in West Africa has evolved into a world-wide threat, with the first European case having been reported in Spain. Members of the European Parliament labelled the outbreak "a global security challenge" in a resolution adopted on 18 September and said that the international community has underestimated the crisis. According to the World Health Organization, 4,447 people have already died because of Ebola.
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Jean-Claude Juncker and the candidate commissioners.
The vetting of president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker's team by Parliament's committees commenced on Monday 29 September. 21 of the 27 commissioners-designate have now been heard by MEPs who had the opportunity to quiz the candidates on their competence and expertise for the portfolios assigned to them. Read our summary here of what has happened thus far.
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Sakharov Prizew Nominees Announced
They have different backgrounds - rapper, gynaecologist, religious leader, journalist – but they all share a commitment to defending human rights. The nominations for the Parliament’s 2014 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought are:
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European Parliament President Martin Schulz signs the EU–Ukraine agreement
The signing of agreements is rarely accompanied by applause, shouting and the flashing of victory signs, but this one was years in the making and responsible for a major change in European affairs.
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The European Parliament is a political institution where different ideas on issues are hotly contested. Political groups play an essential role in this clash of ideas, as they bring together like-minded representatives from across Europe, giving them a voice in the decision-making process.
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Today Jean-Claude Juncker, President elect of the European Commission, announced the names of the proposed Commissioners. There are 28 in total, one from each of the Member States, and each has their own portfolio. The British Commissioner is Lord Hill of Oareford who has the newly created Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union portfolio. The next steps are for the European Parliament to have hearings and then vote on the appointment of the proposed Commissioners.
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Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament
The President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz has made the following reaction to the results of the European Council.
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European Parliament Calendar
The European Parliament's short summer recess is over next week, so it's back to business. The Parliament's calendar is colour coded. The colours of the show what's on MEPs' schedule that day. Here we decode it for you!
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Refugee camp in the north of Iraq ©BELGAIMAGE/ZUMAPRESS/D.Honl
Little attention is paid to volunteers, but their tireless and sometimes dangerous work helps to make a difference to the millions of victims of natural and man-made disasters. Every year World Humanitarian Day is held on 19 August to honour the people who dedicate their lives to making a difference. Read on to find out what the EU, the world´s largest humanitarian aid donor, is doing to support their work.
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Archduke Franz Ferdinand inspecting his troops in Sarajevo on 27 June 1914, the day before his assassination. 
©BELGA_AFP_HISTORICAL ARCHIVES OF SARAJEVO
Exactly 100 years ago Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, triggering a conflict that would soon spread throughout Europe and the world and become known as the Great War. “Remembering this lesson is the best way to honour those who fought and died”, EP president Martin Schulz said ahead of the sad anniversary.
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Jean-Claude Juncker elected as President of the European Commission
With 422 votes in favour, the European Parliament elected Jean-Claude Juncker in a secret ballot on 15 July as President of the new European Commission to take office on 1 November 2014 for a five-year term. The minimum number of votes required was 376.
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Jean-Claude Juncker presents programme
"You are the first Parliament to elect the Commission President", said Jean-Claude Juncker in a final debate with Parliament's political group leaders before its vote on his election on Tuesday. MEPs enthusiastically applauded many of Mr Juncker's aims and reassurances.
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Visual Display of 10 finalists
The European Parliament awards an annual "LUX Prize" for European cinema to help promote cinema, make films accessible to larger audiences and encourage debate about values and social issues across Europe. The three finalists will be announced at the end of July.
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MEPs voting during a committee meeting
The numbers of MEPs to sit in Parliament’s twenty committees and two sub-committees for the new legislative term, reflecting the political balance of the House, were approved in a vote on Wednesday. The committee’s membership lists were approved on Thursday.
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MEPs re-elected Martin Schulz as President of the European Parliament on Tuesday morning for another two and a half year term. The 58-year old German MEP will lead Parliament until January 2017. He won 409 out of 612 valid votes cast in the first ballot.
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Syed Kamall MEP
British MEP Syed Kamall is the new head of the European Conservatives and Reformists, the Parliament's third largest political group. Watch our video to learn more about him and his views on the Parliament and European politics.
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Jean Claude Juncker
Acting President of the European Parliament Gianni Pittella made the following statement on the proposal by the European Council today in Brussels of Jean-Claude Juncker to be the next European Commission President:
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(Left) Gianni Pittella shakes hands with Martin Schulz
Martin Schulz has today been elected as group leader of the Socialists and Democrats and steps down as European Parliament President.
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Philippe Lamberts MEP
Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian member of the Green party, is the new co-chairman of the Greens group in the European Parliament alongside Germany's Rebecca Harms. Elected on 11 June, he succeeds Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a Green party member elected in France. Find out more about Lamberts and his political platform in our interview.
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Manfred Weber MEP
Manfred Weber , German member of the CSU party, is the new Chairman of the European People's Party group at the European Parliament. He was elected on 4 June and succeeds French member Joseph Daul (UMP) at the helm of the biggest political group in the EP. Born in 1972 in Lower Bavaria, Manfred Weber is an engineer by training. Watch our video interview.
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Image of Martin Schulz
"Today, we commemorate a remarkable event which was the beginning of the end of a tragic World War. Seventy years ago, the Western Allied armada launched an offensive that helped lead to the defeat of the Third Reich and liberate Europe from horrifying Nazi occupation. This extraordinarily detailed planned military assault went down in history...
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Film holder image
In this short film clip we follow newly elected Members of Parliament as they are walked through their first tasks, reflect on the electoral campaign and think ahead to their work to come.
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Image of winners holding certificates
Our Europe, a Danish travel project, was awarded first prize at the 2014 Charlemagne Youth Prize ceremony in Aachen University on 27 May. The second prize went to the JouwDelft & Co youth congress from The Netherlands and the third to the Employment4U, a training project from Cyprus. The European Charlemagne Youth Prize is awarded annually to projects that foster a shared sense of European identity and integration among young people.
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Europe House, London
In the coming days, millions across the UK will cast their votes in the world's second largest democratic election. With the law-making role of the European Parliament much bigger and turnout traditionally low, engaging with every community and ensuring they can make an informed choice has never been so critical.
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MEP voting
The old European Parliament passed its last laws in April, making a total of over 1,000 in 2009-2014. The new one, elected on 22-25 May, takes office on 1 July. Here is a brief overview of some of Parliament’s work over the past five years and what it will need to do in the next five.
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Jean-Claude Juncker.
Candidates for the presidency of the European Commission went head-to-head in a live TV debate just one week before the European elections.
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© European Union 2014 EP
Quality jobs for European youth, the recognition of informally acquired skills and ending the exploitation of interns and forced mobility were some of the goals the participants at the European Youth Event (EYE) set at the end of three days of discussions in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The around 5000 young people also called for uniform EU election rules, better education about EU affairs and the support of digital innovation.
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The European Youth Event 2014 in Strasbourg on 9-11 May
The moment thousands of young people have waited months for has finally arrived. This weekend the Parliament building in Strasbourg will host the European Youth Event 2014 (EYE 2014), a unique opportunity for the next generation to generate ideas, discuss opinions and set the agenda for tomorrow’s Europe! In addition a mobile app will help participants to get around to the hundreds of performances and workshops being hosted in and out the European Parliament buildings.
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The end of the EP's seventh term will be followed by a presidential debate, election night, the formation of new political groups and the constitution of the new Parliament.
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Draft rules to ensure that harmful psychoactive substances, known as "legal highs", are withdrawn rapidly from the EU market were approved by European Parliament on Thursday. MEPs sought to protect the health and safety of young people from these drugs, whilst ensuring that trade in lower risk substances for industrial and commercial uses is not hindered. Criminals who breach the ban on the most harmful substances could face up to ten years in jail.
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EU countries would have to reduce the use of the most common and most polluting plastic bags by at at least 80% by 2019, under draft rules backed by European Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs recommend using taxes and levies, marketing restrictions or bans. Plastic carrier bag litter is a major environmental problem, known to pollute water bodies and aquatic eco-systems in particular.
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Anyone legally residing in the EU would have the right to open a basic payment account, and no-one could be denied this right on grounds of nationality or place of residence, under a new law passed by European Parliament on Tuesday. This law should also ensure that fees and rules for all payment accounts are transparent and comparable and make it easy to switch to another payment account that offers better terms.
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Capture any aspect where the UK’s membership of the European Union has impacted on the lives of British citizens in a 3-5 minute video. This was the brief we gave to today's journalism students to mark the 40th anniversary of the UK joining the European Community in 1973.
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Some 40,000 cultural objects are illegally removed from EU countries every year and only a handful of them are ever returned. On 10 April, the EP's culture committee votes on an informal deal with governments to update EU legislation to facilitate the return of these objects. Ahead of the vote, we talked to Marie-Christine Vergiat, a French member of the GUE/NGL group who is responsible for steering these plans through Parliament, to ask her how these changes will improve the situation. Since 1993 only 15 return proceeding have been initiated and only seven of them were successful. Why so few and what will change?
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A deal with the EU Council of Ministers on measures to boost sales of EU farm produce within the EU and abroad and to restore consumer confidence in the event of market disruptions was approved by the Agriculture Committee on Monday.
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Beyond the grey bulk of the Isle of Arran, 5,000 kilometres of Atlantic Ocean separate Britain from Northern America. Just a few hundred metres inland in Prestwick, Western Scotland, the Oceanic Area Control Centre (OACC) controls the airspace over the eastern half of the North Atlantic, from the Azores to a boundary with Iceland, getting airline passengers to and from Europe safely. It’s at the forefront of a revolution making flights in Europe shorter, greener and cheaper.
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EU action vis-à-vis Russia in response to recent events in Crimea, its aid to Ukraine and the need to better coordinate EU foreign policy are set to top this Parliament’s last pre-election plenary debate with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Thursday. This debate, starting at 8:30, will be followed by another, with Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas, on the EU’s future strategy towards Iran, against the backdrop of ongoing talks on its nuclear programme.
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“EU-China relations are key for the stability and prosperity of the world economy,” EP President Martin Schulz said, welcoming Chinese president Xi Jinping during his official visit to the European Parliament on 31 March.
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© European Union
"Freedom of expression and information are enshrined in our most basic fundamental rights instruments, be it at EU or at the Council of Europe level. The European Parliament strives to firmly uphold freedom of expression, and the freedom and pluralism of the media within the Union and beyond. As a Member of the Council of Europe and as an EU candidate country, Turkey is no exception. The Said President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz after the ban of Twitter in Turkey.
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© European Union 2013 - EP
Draft truck design rule changes, to allow designers to make it easier for drivers to see pedestrians and cyclists and improve bodywork streamlining to cut pollutant emissions, were backed by Transport Committee MEPs on Tuesday. The rules would allow designs to exceed current maximum length and weight limits in order to improve performance in these areas.
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A common charger should be developed for all mobile phones sold in the EU, to reduce waste, costs and hassle for users, said MEPs voting on an update to EU radio equipment laws on Thursday. This draft has already been informally agreed with the Council of Ministers.
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©Belga/AFP/V.Drachev
Russia must immediately withdraw all its military forces from Ukrainian territory, say MEPs in a resolution passed on Thursday. They condemn its "act of aggression in invading Crimea" as a breach of international law, declare Crimea’s plans to hold a referendum on its accession to Russia to be illegal and warn that Russia’s actions pose a threat to the security of the EU.
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© European Union 2014 - EP
Parliament's consent to the EU-US trade deal "could be endangered" if blanket mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) does not stop, MEPs said on Wednesday, in a resolution wrapping up their six-month inquiry into US mass surveillance schemes. The text also calls on the EU to suspend its bank data deal with the US and the “Safe Harbour agreement” on data privacy. The fight against terrorism can never justify secret and illegal mass surveillance, it adds.
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Holidaymakers putting together their own package holidays from travel services sold on the internet or elsewhere need extra protection, as they are unlikely to get the same all-in cover as those buying from traditional travel agents, say MEPs. A draft law voted on Wednesday aims to ensure that travellers are not stranded if an airline or tour operator goes bankrupt, protect them against sharp price increases or flight time changes and specify their rights in unforeseen circumstances.
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Bite the Ballot, a UK campaigning organisation for getting the youth vote out at elections, have won the UK Charlemagne Youth Prize with their project Inspired Impressions.
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The EU's poorest citizens will continue to get food, basic material assistance and social welfare from the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) from 2014 to 2020, under a deal with Council endorsed by Parliament on Tuesday. MEPs succeeded in maintaining its budget of €3.5 bn. They also secured Council's agreement that the fund will be fully operational immediately.
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Binding rules on search and rescue to clarify how border guards serving in Frontex sea operations should deal with migrants and where they should disembark them were approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday. The rules were informally agreed by Parliament and Council negotiators on 11 February.
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The Ukrainian authorities are about to lose all legitimacy. The current authorities in Ukraine need to make space for a transitional government of national unity and early elections in order to bring back the legitimacy of national authorities. Further bloodshed must be avoided at all costs.
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The European Parliament should withhold its consent to an EU-US trade deal unless it fully respects EU citizens’ data privacy, says an inquiry report on US National Security Agency (NSA) and EU member state surveillance of EU citizens, approved by the Civil Liberties Committee on Wednesday. It adds that data protection rules should be excluded from the trade talks and negotiated separately with the US.
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In the second biggest democratic exercise in the world, 400 million people can cast their vote for a new European Parliament. The 751 MEPs taking up their seats in July will not only set the course of European policies for the next five years but also elect the leader of the EU's executive body, the European Commission President.
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Switzerland risks having to renegotiate its agreements with the EU, warned EP President Martin Schulz after voters backed the introduction of quotas for migrants in a referendum.
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The illicit trade in tobacco products costs EU countries €10 billion a year in lost tax revenues, according to estimates by the European Commission. Experts and MEPs met on 22 January to discuss how to tackle the issue and the role played by major tobacco producers. “The idea that we are winning the battle against smuggling is perhaps not quite true,” said Green Belgian MEP Bart Staes, vice-chair of the budgetary control committee, which helped to organise the hearing.
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Plenary Session week 03 2014 Joint debate - Public procurement
Plans for a tool to allow EU countries to prevent non-EU firms from bidding for public procurement contracts worth €5 million or more unless their home countries reciprocate by allowing EU firms to do likewise were approved by Parliament on Wednesday 15th January.
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Tougher penalties, mandatory destruction of illegal ivory and better training of police and prosecutors are needed to combat trophy hunting and the organised criminal killing of rhinos, elephants and other wildlife for profit, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Wednesday 15th January 2014.
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Reacting to US President Obama's proposed changes to NSA surveillance practices, British MEP Claude Moraes said on Friday, "We need the US authorities to put an end to current discrimination whereby European citizens have lower levels of privacy rights than US citizens, including less privacy protection in US courts. It would have been good to have a more reassuring message on these issues with more clarity on future reform".
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As the 2014 European Parliament elections draw near, so do crucial decisions on 2014-2020 financial matters. The Eurobarometer survey provides insight into Europeans' perceptions on the current economic and social situation as well as upcoming reforms.
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Pakistani campaigner for girls' education Malala Yousafzai is the laureate of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2013, following today's decision of the Conference of Presidents (EP President and political group leaders). She will be invited to receive the award at a ceremony in Strasbourg on 20 November.
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The competition for next year's European Charlemagne Youth Prize was launched on Thursday, 24 October. Now in its seventh year, the prize is awarded to young people who have developed projects to foster understanding between people from different European countries. The deadline for submissions is 20 January 2014.
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Following her election by the European Parliament in July, Emily O'Reilly steps down as Irish Ombudsman and begins work as European Ombudsman on 1 October 2013.
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The official run-up to the 2014 European elections started on 10 September, when the European Parliament launched its awareness and information campaign. This campaign will continue beyond the elections themselves, until the newly-elected Parliament elects the next European Commission President.
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President Schulz awards Citizens Prize to AIRE
During the G8 Speakers meeting in London last week Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament meet with Ed Milliband and made time for a courtesy call on the Houses of Parliament Lord Speaker Baroness D'Souza and Commons Speaker John Bercow MP.
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The European Parliament’s Citizens’ Agora on Youth Unemployment aims to gather young people from all over Europe to discuss the current challenges in Europe’s employment market. Two 18-30 year olds from each EU country will be invited to this conference - one who is employed and one who is unemployed...
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The finalists for this year's LUX Prize have been announced: Belgian film “The Broken Circle Breakdown”, British film “The Selfish Giant” and “Miele”, an Italian and French coproduction, will be battling it out for the top honour. The LUX Prize is awarded by the European Parliament every year to films that promote European cinematography, values and social issues. The winner will be determined by a vote by MEPs.
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