When Cyprus applied for financial help from the EU in a bid to sort out its tottering banks, nobody really expected that depositors would be required to share the cost of the bail-out. But that is what happened. The storm of protest that followed was also felt in the European parliament. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, European commissioner Olli Rehn and ECB board member Jörg Asmussen will explain to MEPs what happened exactly . Follow the debates live.
The EU's food programme could soon be expanded to include the provision of clothes and shelter to poor people in the EU, under a proposal being dealt with by Parliament. On 7 May the EP's social affairs committee will discuss a report written by Emer Costello, an Irish member of the S&D group. It is estimated the fund would be able to help two million people each year.
Nearly 20,000 visitors flocked to the European Parliament on Saturday when it opened its doors to the public in honour of Europe Day in May. They not only got to enjoy activities such as trying out the electronic voting system or having their picture taken with a life-size cardboard version of EP president Martin Schulz, but they were also treated to film screenings, an ehibition about the Sakharov Prize and a debate between MEPs about a citizens' Europe.
Financial aid for Cyprus will be discussed this week with Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem; Olli Rehn, commissioner for economic affairs, and Jörg Asmussen, board member of the European Central Bank. MEPs will also have their say on rules for seizing criminal assets and discuss the railway package. They will also hear from NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen about security issues, while EP president Martin Schulz will present the Charlemagne Youth Prize to the winners in Aachen.
Discover another side of the EU and learn more about the Union when the European institutions open their doors to mark Europe Day. This Saturday the European Parliament offers a fun-packed yet informative programme for the whole family in Brussels and Luxembourg. Don't miss the chance to find out more about how the EU works and makes a difference to your life!
The role of journalists as democracy's watchdogs is proving increasingly hazardous. Not only have thousands of them lost their job due to the crisis, but they are also at risk of being arrested, kidnapped or even killed in the line of duty. To ensure the freedom of the press and access to information, Parliament is currently working on new initiatives. As today we mark Freedom of the Press Day, find out about the challenges facing journalism in our infographic.
It takes more than barriers and man power to protect the EU's borders and ensure the free movement of goods, services and people between member states. The EU has developed IT systems to make it easier for member states to exchange vital information. These systems will now be managed by new EU agency eu-Lisa, located in Estonia. Portuguese MEP Carlos Coelho, who visited the agency recently, welcomed that these systems were finally being managed at EU level in the interest of Europe.
Commission proposals to top up the EU's budget for 2013 to cover existing and expected shortfalls will not be enough, warns Giovannia La Via, the MEP in charge of negotiating the 2013 budget on behalf of Parliament. Member states have pre-financed projects, which they should be paid for, but money is running out. The EP insists that all legitimate bills have to be settled. We talked to Mr La Via, an Italian member of the EPP group, about the budgetary difficulties.
Women account for only 30% of Europe's seven million people working in the information and communication technology sector, but boosting their number will be an economic necessity. The sector creates 120,000 new jobs each year and at this rate there will be up to 700,000 unfilled ICT-related vacancies by 2015. Experts discussed how to attract more women during an EP meeting organised by the industry and women's rights committees on the occasion of Girls in ICT Day on 25 April.
Brain diseases cost Europe €798 billion in 2010 and this will go up drastically in the coming years due to the continent's ageing population. By 2025 one in five Europeans will be 65 or over, resulting in more degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease. In May the European Month of the Brain will be held to call attention to brain research and health care issues. A special workshop was held at the EP on 23 April to discuss what could be done about brain disorders.