More people and regions will benefit from the EU Youth Employment Initiative thanks to amendments voted by the Employment and Social Affairs Committee on Tuesday. This initiative is to give effect to the "youth guarantee", whereby any young person in the EU who has been unemployed for more than four months is to be offered a job, training or an apprenticeship.
Eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development should be the priorities of the post-2015 development agenda, said Development Committee MEPs on Tuesday. Universal health coverage and quality education should be key goals, and gender equality and decent work opportunities should become new ones, they said in a draft resolution, voted Tuesday, on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Most of the new rules tabled by the Commission on truck weights and sizes were welcomed in a debate with Commissioner Siim Kallas on Tuesday. MEPs said these rules would help cut fuel consumption and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. But they remained divided over whether member states should be permitted to allow the use of longer and heavier vehicles (LHVs) in cross-border transport. At Parliament's request, conditions for using LHVs across borders are included in the new rules.
A provisional deal updating the EU customs code to keep pace with IT development was struck by MEPs and Irish EU presidency negotiators on Tuesday. It paves the way for paper-free customs transactions, including fast-track processing for trusted companies.
Property buyers would be better informed about the costs and consequences of taking on a mortgage, better protected from market swings while the contract lasts and better protected if they cannot repay the loan, under a provisional deal struck by Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee MEPs and EU member state representatives on Monday. To become law, this deal must be approved by Parliament as a whole and endorsed by the member states.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the foreign affairs committee on Thursday that: "The most radical elements are not in the majority now" in the Syrian resistance but warned that they could gain control "if the conflict carries on."
In the run-up to the 2014 European Parliament elections, rules on founding and funding EU political parties should be revised to improve their visibility, transparency and effectiveness and enhance the European character of these elections, said the Consitutional Affairs Committee in a negotiating mandate voted on Monday for talks with the Council.
The 2014 European Parliament elections should be held from 22 to 25 May, instead of 5-8 June, says a draft decision backed with an overwhelming majority by the Constitutional Affairs Committee on Monday. This will give the new Parliament more time to prepare for the election of the European Commission President in July 2014.
Holding elections in Mali in July "is going to be difficult", given the large number of displaced people and the adverse climate conditions, but "we have to organise what has become a fragmented society", UN special envoy for the Sahel Romano Prodi told Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs on Monday. He stressed that the French military intervention was "inevitable" but has not solved future non-military dilemmas.
Reimposing visa requirements on nationals of third countries that fail to remove them for EU citizens would be made easier by visa reciprocity rule changes voted in the Civil Liberties Committee on Monday. The EU could also temporarily suspend its visa-free travel rules to halt "substantial and sudden increases" in irregular migrant numbers or unfounded asylum applications, but only as a last resort, MEPs added. But these changes have first to be agreed with EU member states.