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What's happening in the European Parliament: 7-13 April 2014

European Parliament Brussels
European Parliament Brussels

This week committees and political groups are meeting in Brussels. Noise at airports, promotion of farm goods and citizens' initiative on the use of human embryos are just some of the issues on the agenda.  Political groups will also be preparing for next week's plenary session in Strasbourg.  Read on.

Noise at airports. Transport committeeMEPs will vote on an informal deal with national governments to ensure that national and regional authorities, and not the Commission as was proposed, have the final say when deciding to apply operating restrictions for flights to limit noise at EU airports. These restrictive measures will also have to be taken according to a uniform procedure for the whole EU. (Thursday)

Return of illegally exported cultural objects. Recovering cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of an EU member state after 1993 will become easier and cheaper under new rules informally agreed with Council which will be voted on by the culture and education committee. The Commission estimates that about 8,000 crimes against national heritage are committed and some 40,000 cultural objects are illegally removed each year in the EU. (Thursday)

Promotion of farm goods. Measures to boost sales of farm produce within the EU and abroad will be put to a confirmation vote by the agriculture committee following a provisional deal with the Council. Farmers' organisations will be able to get more financial aid for the promotion of more products, while the EU will be able to act more swiftly to restore consumer confidence in the event of unjustified concerns about the safety of a product. (Monday)

ECB annual report. Economic affairs MEPs will hold a hearing with Vítor Constâncio, European Central Bank Vice President and discuss the ECB's activities in 2013. (Monday)

 Citizens’ initiative on use of human embryos. The ban on financing research and other activities that imply the destruction of human embryos will be the key issue discussed at a hearing organised to follow up a European Citizens’ Initiative. An ECI entitles the public to petition the EU for new legislation, provided the petition is signed by at least one million citizens from at least seven EU countries. (Thursday)

Plenary preparations. Political groups will prepare for the 14-17 April plenary session in Strasbourg, the last one before the European elections in May. It is likely to feature a large number of legislative votes on, inter alia: banking union, including the single resolution mechanism, bank accounts, aid from the European Union Solidarity Fund, product safety, the posting of workers, supplementary pension rights, reducing plastic bags and shipments of waste.

The President's agenda. President Schulz will meet the Belgian Secretary of State John Crombez on Tuesday. On Thursday, he will meet President Miloš Zeman of the Czech Republic in Prague, where on Friday he will also meet Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, Chamber of Deputies’ Speaker Jan Hamáček and Senate President Milan Štěch.