Centrist majority (55%) asks for a stronger, better-financed EU foreign and security policy

In preparation of a key meeting of the EU’s heads of states in June, the Members of the European Parliament asked for better coordination on fighting terrorism, organised crime, cyber-attacks and cope with migration. They have also asked for more funding to support defense capabilities.

The move comes against the background of increased internal and external (Ukraine, Middle-East) security concerns. MEPs express concerns about uncoordinated cuts to the defense budget in most Member States, which is weakening the defense potential of the EU and reducing preparedness to ensure national and European security. Continue Reading

EP centre-right majority backs less legislation to strengthen competitiveness

60% of the MEPs voted in favour of a statement that backed the European Executive’s approach to withdraw from the legislative process those bills that are considered obsolete or that are suspected to add too much administrative burden on the institutions and businesses operating across the EU. This approach received the backing of the centre—right political families, Christian-democrats (EPP), conservatives (ECR), liberals and democrats (ALDE). The majority was formed also with the votes of British UKIP and most of the non-attached MEPs. Continue Reading

Centre-left and Liberal EU Parliamentarians overturn Commission’s proposal on conflict minerals

EU Parliamentarians voted in favour of overturning the Commission’s proposal as well as the one adopted by the INTA Committee and asked for mandatory compliance for “all Union importers” of the so-called “conflict minerals”. The MEPs demand that EU firms processing, importing and using these minerals to manufacture consumer goods such as mobile phones, washing machines, fridges, etc. be certified by the EU to ensure that they do not fuel conflicts and human rights abuses in the conflict areas. Continue Reading

MEPs urge the Member States to renegotiate maternity leave

The MEPs adopted a resolution urging the Member States to resume negotiations to extend minimum period of paid maternity leave. The resolution was adopted with 419 votes in favor, 97 against and 161 abstentions. Click here to see how each MEP voted.

Current EU legislation sets the minimum period of maternity leave at 14 weeks of which 2 are mandatory. In 2008, the Commission proposed a review to current legislation to extend the minimum period at 18 weeks of which 6 are mandatory after birth. Continue Reading

EU Parliamentarians ask concrete proposals for green growth opportunities for SMEs

EU Parliamentarians adopted by a large majority the non-legislative report on green growth and business opportunities for SMEs. This own-initiative report is EP’s response to the Commission’s Green Action Plan for SMEs, an initiative aimed at helping SMEs to take advantage of opportunities offered by the green economy.

The report was adopted by 519 votes in favour, 93 against and 60 abstentions. Notably, the Greens/EFA group was not satisfied with the final outcome of the resolution and voted against. Continue Reading

The British Government’s minority report: UK opposes most frequently in EU Council votes, especially on budget, agriculture and foreign policy

As the UK General Elections are getting close and the EU-UK relations are one of the main topics of the electoral campaign, we looked into the decisions of the Council to see, factually, what exactly divides the UK and the other Member States and to what extent this impacts on EU policy making. Continue Reading

MEPs agree to limit the production of 1st generation biofuels

EU Parliamentarians adopted the long-awaited reform of the fuel quality directive and renewable energy directive aimed at capping the production of biofuels derived from crops (also known as first-generation biofuels) and advancing the shift towards alternative sources, such as waste or residues.

The MEPs adopted the agreement reached with the Council by 531 votes in favour, 132 against and 27 abstentions. All the main four EU political groups backed the compromise: EPP, S&D, ECR and ALDE. Continue Reading

MEPs call for a “European Roma Holocaust Memorial day”

The EU parliamentarians adopted a non-legislative resolution officially recognising the genocide of Roma that took place during World War II and calling for the establishment of a “European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day” dedicated to commemorating the victims of the genocide of Roma.

The resolution was adopted by 554 votes in favour, 13 against and 44 abstentions. Continue Reading

EU Countries failed to fully implement EU Directive from 2011, aimed at tackling sexual child abuse

 

The number of websites related to child pornography is growing and is estimated that 200 images containing child pornography are put into circulation every day. Parliament again shed the light on the issue of paedophilia on the Internet in a resolution voted last Wednesday.

The 677 Members of the Parliament voted on this issue on 11 of March 2015. The main issues voted in the non-binding resolution addressing the sexual exploitation of children and child abuse images, were to embrace the investigation of offences, the prosecution of offenders and the protection of child victims. The resolution was approved by 90 % of MEPs (606) in favour and 4 votes against. 67 members abstained. (Click here to see how MEPs votes). All the political groups voted in favour of the text with the exception of the members of the radical left group GUE/NGL who abstained.

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EU Parliamentarians demand to increase the resources of the EU foreign and security policy

The European Parliament adopted a non-legislative resolution on the annual report on EU Foreign and Security policy. 436 EU parliamentarians voted in favour of the document while 145 opposed it and 64 abstained. (Click here to see how the MEPs voted). The majority backing the report was composed of the grand coalition EPP-S&D-ALDE plus the Greens.

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The report underlines the worsening of the security situation in EU’s neighbourhood. The MEPs believe that the EU has not been able to unleash its full potential to shape the international political and security environment due also to financial limitations and the lack of common policies. Continue Reading