This year promises to be another crucial one. The European Parliament will not only be dealing with reforms to help kick-start the economy, but also negotiate with the member states the EU's long-term budget, which will determine what direction it will take until 2020 as well as decide on various legislative proposals that will make a difference to the everyday life of Europeans: from improving passenger rights, to CO2 limits for cars and genetically modified food.
Tackling the crisis tops the agenda. The Council's agreement on a banking union will be further negotiated with the Parliament. There will also be discussions on changes on the governance of the eurozone. The reform of financial services will also continue, including important issues such as credit rating agencies, capital requirements for banks and bankers' bonuses as well as measures to improve the single market. Putting in place democratic control structures will be priority.
EU long-term budget
The Parliament will be negotiating the EU's long-term budget for 2014-2020 with the Council and the Commission. MEPs are committed to safeguarding investment in growth-boosting research and vital transport infrastructure. Once the budget talks have been concluded, then specific parts can be discussed further, such as the common agricultural policy, research, support for poor regions and the Erasmus programme.
MEPs will discuss new CO2 limits for cars to help slow down climate change. They will also look into passenger rights once the Commission proposes an update of existing legislation. A key reform of the rail sector should help revitalise the industry and MEPs will discuss Commission proposals to introduce more competition in the domestic passenger rail market as well as greater independence for operators and owners of infrastructure.
Parliament will amend and vote on new rules on the marketing of tobacco products in order to discourage smoking. MEPs will also delve into plans regarding cloning and genetically modified food. There will also be proposals concerning privacy and date protection, how to boost the presence of women on company boards and further talk on a European asylum policy.