National dialogue among Bahrain's conflicting parties is seen as hopeful by MEPs, despite concerns about ongoing violations of human rights. However, to be truly democratic, this dialogue must also include civil society and the political opposition, MEPs from the Foreign Affairs and Human Rights committees told members of Bahrain parliament (Council of Representatives) on Thursday.
MEPs, their national counterparts and women professionals appealed on Thursday for a stronger gender dimension in all policy-making in response to the economic crisis which, they agreed, hits women harder than men.
Myanmar would "continue tirelessly on the path to peace," President U Thein Sein assured foreign affairs and development MEPs on Tuesday. His government was "absolutely committed to a politically negotiated solution" to end the country's internal divisions, he stressed.. MEPs pressed Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin, also at the meeting, to ensure that democratic reforms were irreversible.
The "horse burger" consumer confidence crisis highlights the EU member states' failure to enforce EU laws on food chain checks and also a lack of dissuasive sanctions against food fraud, said MEPs in a Public Health Committee debate with Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner Tonio Borg on Thursday.
Bankers' annual bonuses must not normally exceed their annual salaries and banks must hold more high quality capital to increase stability in the sector, says a deal reached by European Parliament and Council negotiators on Wednesday evening. The only possible exception, allowing bonuses of up to twice annual salary, would have to be authorised by holders of a half of a bank's shares. MEPs fought for a 1:1 ratio from the outset.
A proposal temporarily to suspend the EU CO2 Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for intercontinental flights, so as to enable International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to agree worldwide measures, was backed by the Environment Committee on Tuesday. MEPs stressed that this exception to the ETS is conditional upon progress at the ICAO and earmarked ETS revenues for efforts to tackle climate change. The ETS will continue to apply to flights between EU airports.
Latvia's top economic brass presented its credentials for joining the Eurozone to the EP Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Tuesday. MEPs' questions focused on the sustainability of Latvia's impressive turnaround, how social policy needs could be better addressed and banking.
Draft rules on tobacco additives and labelling, and the likely effect of updating the EU Tobacco Products Directive on public health, business and tax revenues were examined in an Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee debate with Ireland's Health Minister James Reilly and Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner Tonio Borg on Monday.
If it is to avoid a further loss of global influence, the EU must use its existing foreign policy tools much more efficiently and it must devise a new security strategy, said MEPs on Thursday. They were taking part in a debate with the Swedish and Polish foreign ministers, Carl Bildt and Radosław Sikorski, and the.chairs of the foreign affairs and defence committees of national parliaments.
International Trade Committee MEPs on Thursday strongly backed moves to start talks with the US on the world's biggest-ever trade deal but warned Commissioner Karel De Gucht that hard bargaining would be needed to clinch a deal acceptable to the EU public.