European Parliament

EU citizens call for Strasbourg to be ditched

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Leaders of a drive to end the European Parliament’s monthly travel to Strasbourg, France for plenary sessions – including MEPs – last week said a petition signed in support by a million citizens across...

The cost of governing Europe is expensive

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While the European Parliament has its headquarters in Brussels, it travels monthly to Strasbourg, France for plenary sessions where members meet in committee, debate, and vote on adoption of reports and proposals.But it is...

How do the MEPs work it all out?

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More than 18,000 documents and 16,000 amendments covering legislation in all areas of the EU have been put before MEPs since July 2004. It isn’t possible to be a specialist in everything, that is...

Who voted for and who voted against?

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With an electronic vote, the exact voting figures are displayed on screens in the room. This system is useful for votes which are contested and absolute majority voting (half plus one of the total...

How do MEPs vote?

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Rule of Thumb: MEPs indicate their approval or rejection Hundreds of hands go up, then back down. Fingers press and then release buttons. Some thumbs turn up and others turn down. That’s how MEPs...

Musharraf calls for help to fight “imported” terrorism

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Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf last week urged the European Union for investment and trade deals to help his country fight terrorism, which he said was “imported” to Pakistan. Musharraf also warned the West that...

Sri Lanka cited for humanitarian crisis

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On September 8, the website www.asiantribune.com reported that highlighting the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka that the European Parliament stressed in its resolution “the need for Government forces engaged in counter-insurgency and domestic...

Move toward a Single European Payment

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A Single European Payments Area (SEPA) took a step forward last week as the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee voted through the Payment Services Directive (PSD.)The directive sets out clear rules giving...

MEPs urge EC to push ahead defence markets

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The European Parliament last week urged the European Commission to press ahead with opening up the internal market in defence to save Europe wasting millions of Euros a year on duplication and protectionism.In this...

Discrimination found against immigrant women

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Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality committee led by MEP Rodi  Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou last week called for action against double discrimination it said was faced by immigrant women. Members said there was twofold discrimination immigrant...

Report on Gay youth cites discrimination

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Groups supporting gay, lesbians and transgender people in Europe last week told the European Parliament that they continue to face discrimination, even within their own families, and urged lawmakers to help them fight it.ILGA-Europe...

The Services Directive splits again the EU

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The Services Directive continues to split the European Union. Readers may recall that the first draft of it, under the name of “Bolkenstein Directive,” split France in two and set off general mistrust in...

Talk isn’t cheap when lawmakers debate

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Watching a European Parliament session as lawmakers debate on the floor may seem like a babble of languages to observers, unless they are wearing ear-sets that can tune into a variety of interpretations. But...

Presidency “Finnish” on jobs

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 Nearly 2,000 European Commission employees may find themselves without jobs if the ambitious plans of the European Council get the go-ahead later this year. The Finnish Presidency which runs from July to December this...

Call to reveal involvement with CIA secret prisons

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Following US President George Bush’s acknowledgement that the CIA has operated secret prisons for terrorism suspects, members of a European Parliament temporary committee investigating claims of such illegal activity in Europe last week called...

Lawmakers want to protect rural areas and islands

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The European Parliament has adopted a report that seeks to protect from overdevelopment rural areas and islands and preserve architectural and cultural heritage of small villages to help prevent flight from the countryside and...

Borrel, MEPs visits Lebanon, cites support

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The President of the European Parliament, Josep Borrell, visited Lebanon last week to convey what he called the solidarity of Members of the European Parliament with the people of Lebanon. “This visit will have...

Sarkozy wants mini-treaty, slams door on Turkey

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French presidential candidate-hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy recently in Brussels presented a “Mini-Treaty” as a way out of the constitutional impasse, created by his own country and the Netherlands, who rejected the EU document. Sarkozy, France’s...

UN, EU urge prevention of deaths by suicide

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Health organisations said last week that mental illness is the leading cause of more than one million suicide deaths a year - a number even higher than the combined fatalities from conflicts and natural...

Stop human trafficking

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Here it is 2006 and even in our supposedly civilised countries of Europe, we are still trying to stop slavery. I am talking about the criminal and sad state of trafficking human beings, especially...

Funding increased to fight domestic violence

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The European Parliament last week gave initial approval to a report on its anti-domestic violence “Daphne” programme which would double funding and calls for a European coordinator for children’s rights. The Parliament called for...

Parliament wants deal on Passenger Name Records

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The European Parliament last week adopted a report calling on the European Council to ensure the US offers adequate protection of European passenger data and that sufficient safeguards are in place. The Council needs...

Wallstrom: “Strasbourg has become a negative symbol”

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European Communications Commissioner Margot Wallstrom last week said that times have changed and that the Strasbourg seat of the European Parliament no longer works as a positive symbol of Franco-German unity.Wallstrom said she knows...

Is this Zero Hour for Europe?

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Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and Europe will be celebrating with a sense of satisfaction that derives from the realisation that this has been a peaceful period. During...

Cars could be taxed on emissions, not registration

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A proposal to abolish car registration tax and replace it with an EU-wide taxation scheme based on CO2 pollution won backing from the European Parliament last week, despite reservations from some lawmakers it could put...

MEP Busuttil welcomes Libya move

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Addressing the plenary of the European Parliament last week, MEP Simon Busuttil welcomed the announcement that Libya was prepared to reconsider its position on its participation in the EU-led sea patrols.Dr Busuttil took the...

WTO: Pick up the ball on Doha without delay

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The negotiations on the WTO - Doha Development Round should be resumed without delay so as to ensure continuity and credibility of the process, MEPs argued last week in Strasbourg. A resolution was adopted...

EU, US on collision course over passenger data

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The European Parliament this week adopted a report calling on the European Council to ensure the US offers adequate protection of European passenger data and that sufficient safeguards are in place. The Council needs...

Bulgarian PM on a mission lobbying for 2007 EU entry

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Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev is a man on a mission. With only three weeks to go before he gets formal notice on whether Bulgaria can join the European Union on January 1, 2007,...

Halonen wants new initiative on Mideast peace

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Finnish President Tarja Halonen on Sept. 5 set out an agenda for stronger European Union efforts to end the Middle East conflict and said Israeli and Palestinian women should be encouraged to work for...

Why the Parliament was Misled?

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In general, there is always a two-fold approach, to see the glass either half-empty or half-full. The case of health, however, makes the exception in which the glass cannot be seen otherwise but half-empty;...

CIA committee to reflect European values, must not be used for USA-bashing

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Following reports in the Washington Post and other media on alleged illegal detentions and transports of prisoners (TDIP) by the CIA in Europe, the European Parliament has established a non-permanent committee on January 18,...

EP calls for release of Bulgarian nurses

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In a letter sent to the Bulgarian Doctors? Union, the Federation of the European Doctors announced that the European Parliament has called on the Libyan Minister of Justice to release the Bulgarian medics held...

Revelations, no illusions

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Simple questions deserve simple answers unless your name is John Attard Montalto. My replies always take the form of an explanation. For instance, when asked what do I do for a living? I answer:...

The new digital era and the Television Without Frontiers directive

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In the beginning of 2006, the European Commission presented in the European Parliament its proposal for the revision of the Television Without Frontiers (TWF) Directive. Aim of this proposal is to update the legal...

Arab and MEPs agree joint declaration on Mideast

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President of the European Parliament Josep Borrell agreed a joint statement on August 9 with the Presidents of the Greek, Egyptian and Tunisian Parliaments on the situation in Lebanon. Condemning the military attacks, and...

Delegation calls for lasting peace in Nepal

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The leader of a European parliamentary delegation visiting Nepal said last Friday the European Union would continue supporting the peace process presently underway in the Himalayan country. Addressing journalists at the end of a...