Things we learnt in plenary: conflict minerals, migration, maternity leave, digital single market
MEPs approved measures to prevent proceeds from conflict minerals being used to fund armed conflicts and called on governments to break the deadlock on plans to harmonise maternity leave across Europe. They also debated measures to tackle irregular migrants coming to the EU during the plenary in Strasbourg on 18-21 May as well as green-lit tougher rules to prevent money laundering. Read on for an overview of the plenary.
EU firms importing minerals such as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold must be certified by the EU to help ensure the income flowing to the producers does not fuel conflicts and human rights abuses, MEPs said in a resolution adopted on Wednesday.
MEPs also called on EU countries to resume negotiations on plans to offer at least 20 weeks of maternity leave. Due to the four-year deadlock, the European Commission is now threatening to withdraw proposals unless an agreement is reached soon.
On 20 May, MEPs discussed measures to tackle the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, including a fairer distribution of asylum seekers among EU countries and more funds for securing external borders.
MEPs approved measures to fight money laundering on Wednesday, including the obligation for member states to keep a central register of information on who owns companies and other legal entities.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán addressed the plenary on Tuesday to discuss with MEPs and the European Commission and Council his government's controversial national consultation on immigration as well as his recent remarks on reintroducing the death penalty.
MEPs debated the political and security crisis in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
During a debate on Tuesday, MEPs broadly welcomed plans by the European Commission to produce a strategy for a digital single market in order to create opportunities for companies in the EU.
In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, MEPs urged the EU to take measures to prevent Xylella fastidiosa bacteria spreading beyond Italy, where it is severely damaging olive trees.
Finnish ALDE member Anneli Jäätteenmäki was elected as the new vice-president of the European Parliament on Wednesday, following the resignation of Finnish ALDE member Olli Rehn, who was elected to the Finnish parliament.
The winners of the EP Facebook video "reporters for a day" competition visited the Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday where they shot material for their own video.