Firms supplying essential services, e.g. for energy, transport, banking and health, or digital ones, such as search engines and cloud computing, will have to take action to improve their ability to withstand cyber-attacks under new rules approved by Internal Market MEPs on Thursday. These rules, informally agreed by MEPs and Council negotiators on 7 December, were approved by 34 votes to 2. They now need to be endorsed by the Council and the full Parliament.


Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee discussed the motives and the possible consequences of Turkey’s recent attempted coup with Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn and representatives of the European External Action Service on Tuesday morning. MEPs emphasized that to ensure further accession talks, Turkey must stick to democracy, the rule of law and human rights.


MEPs from Economic and Monetary Affairs and Budgets committees backed an extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), in their vote on Monday evening. They stressed however that the EU investment plan should focus on riskier future oriented investments, which would not otherwise happen, preferably in economically weaker EU regions, and in a transparent way.


All but the smallest EU importers of tin, tungsten, tantalum, gold and their ores will have to do "due diligence" checks on their suppliers, and big manufacturers will also have to disclose how they plan to monitor their sources to comply with the rules, under a draft EU regulation on “conflict minerals” agreed by MEPs, ministers and the EU Commission on Tuesday in Strasbourg. It aims to stop the financing of armed groups and human rights abuses through trade in minerals from conflict areas.


The creation of an EU border control system received a first green light from Parliament and Council negotiators on Tuesday night. The cornerstone of the deal is to upgrade today’s Frontex border agency, which, together with national border management authorities, will form a European Border and Coast Guard. It is now up to member states and Parliament as a whole to endorse the agreement.


Evidence of law enforcement shortcomings in EU member states as regards car emissions is set out in the draft report by the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurement in the Automotive Sector (EMIS), published on Monday. The report and draft recommendations were prepared jointly by co-rapporteurs Jens Gieseke (EPP, DE) and Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE, NL). EMIS will have a first public debate on the text on 12 January.


MEPs quizzed six officials of major European banks on the role of offshore tax havens in corporate tax planning at a Special Committee on Tax Rulings II hearing on Monday. MEPs focused on the banks’ role of in facilitating aggressive tax planning for corporate clients. The bank officials said that recently-introduced measures requiring banks them to provide details of their profits and tax bills country by country have helped to promote transparency.


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