Half of all flights could face delays by 2030 if nothing is done to ease congestion at Europe's busiest airports, according to the European Commission. The airports package launched by the Commission aims to tackle this problem as well as improve services to passengers and aircraft as investment in airport often takes decades from planning to completion. The Parliament's transport committee found out from representatives of the aviation sector on 8 May what they thought of the ambitious plans.
If you have always been interested in the European Parliament and have been wanting to visit it, now you will have the chance. As part of the Europe Day celebrations, the EU's only directly-elected institution will be opening its doors to the public in Brussels on Saturday 12 May and in Strasbourg on Sunday 20 May from 1000 to 1800 CET.
Parliament debated the achievements and above all the challenges facing the EU in the midst of the current crisis on the occasion of Europe Day on 9 May. This is in honour of a historic declaration by French minister Robert Schuman in 1950, which paved the way for the EU. In the debate led by president Martin Schulz, speakers agreed the Union and its common currency are being challenged like never before, with some asking for more Europe and others insisting on less austerity.
In the midst of electoral upheaval, Europe-wide austerity, increasing unemployment and challenges to people's standards of living, never have European issues seemed so close to home for so many people. Parliament's president Martin Schulz will outline his vision of the future of Europe on 9 May, so-called Europe Day. Political group leaders will also have their say when MEPs gather in plenary at 1500 CET on Wednesday.
They might have removed their dictators, but countries affected by last year's Arab Spring now face the arduous process of transforming into free market democracies. The EU has pledged its support, but the question is how to go about it. Italian Liberal-Democrat Niccolò Rinaldi's report sets out a strategy for how the EU could help consolidate democracy and promote stability in Southern Mediterranean countries. MEPs approved the report in plenary on 10 May.
MEPs have a busy agenda for the Brussels mini-plenary on 9-10 May, covering anything from roaming charges, airports, piracy to how to support the Arab Spring countries. They will vote on a deal to cut mobile roaming prices further, a resolution calling on the EU foreign policy high representative to secure the release of hostages being held by pirates as well as on a strategy to support the democratic transition in Arab Spring countries.
MEPs approved the European Commission's 2010 budget spending on 10 May, under the EU's annual budget discharge procedure. They also endorsed the financial management of almost all the other institutions and agencies and the European Development Fund. It was the Parliament's responsability to determine whether the EU spent European taxpayers' money wisely in 2010 in accordance with the rules that govern the implementation of the EU budget.
The EP plays an important role in ensuring other EU institutions behave in a democratic way, but how does it do that? Check out our website's updated supervisory powers section to find out more, for example how it exercises democratic control over the European Commission, including the power to approve and even dismiss the EU executive.
May's first plenary will be held in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday, including a debate on Europe's future to coincide with Europe Day on 9 May. Other topics on the agenda are cheaper roaming charges for mobile phones, new rules for Europe's airports and approving the handling of the EU's 2010 budget. Meanwhile the EP's public health committee will vote on measures against unsafe medicines.
It is likely to be the biggest investment you will ever make, however the economic crisis has shown that buying property is no longer safe as houses. Easy credit conditions up until 2008 fuelled high-risk lending and borrowing practices throughout the EU, which significantly contributed to the current debt crisis. The Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee is scheduled to vote on a proposal that aims to make the market more stable in the third week of May.