Commission president José Manuel Barroso called for the EU to become a "federation of nation states" and announced a blueprint for deeper economic and monetary union during his state of the union address at the European Parliament. During September's plenary session MEPs also approved an energy efficiency directive and backed minimum rights for crime victims across the EU. Read about these and other subjects dealt with during the plenary.
MEPs had mixed reactions to Barroso's vision outlined in his state of the union address. They welcomed the call for a stronger EU but stressed the need to better address social issues and commented that his federation proposals should be more ambitious.
On Tuesday 11 September, MEPs approved an energy efficiency directive that would require member states to renovate central government buildings, while energy companies would be obliged to achieve annual energy saving targets.
MEPs hit out at member states for proposing to cut growth and employment boosting policies during a debate on the EU's 2013 budget, saying this would endanger the economic recovery.
The donation of tissues and cells must be voluntary, unpaid and – in most cases – anonymous, in order to avoid the commercialisation of the human body, according to a resolution adopted on Tuesday 11 September.
Under legislation approved by MEPs, stricter limits on the sulphur content of shipping fuels are set to improve the air quality along European coastlines and to reduce the estimated 50,000 premature deaths caused each year by air pollution from ships.
Crime victims should have the same basic rights everywhere in the EU, MEPs stated on Wednesday 12 September. Victims should be entitled to free support services and also undergo an individual assessment of their needs, MEPs said.
MEPs called for a new comprehensive strategic concept for the Union's foreign policy in order for it to be coherent, consistent and effective. They also said that the policy should have sufficient resources when they voted on the topic on Wednesday 12 September.
Democratic legitimacy should be enhanced with regard to the proposed banking union and single supervisory mechanism by fully involving Parliament as a co–legislator, stated a resolution adopted on Thursday 13 September.
Lithuania, Poland and Romania should open or resume independent investigations into allegations that they colluded with the CIA to hold and interrogate terrorism suspects in secret prisons, said MEPs, criticising member states' unwillingness to cooperate.
The EP condemned the politically motivated use of justice in Russia and called the verdict against the members of the punk band Pussy Riot disproportionate.