Plenary highlights: SOTEU, copyright, rule of law in Hungary, plastics  

 
 

MEPs discussed the challenges facing the EU during the State of the Union debate and approved digital copyright rules and measures to counter money laundering and cut plastic waste.

Delivering his last State of the Union address in Parliament, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on the EU to speak and act as one on the global stage and to defend its democratic values. President Antonio Tajani called for the Parliament to be given the power to initiate legislation, while MEPs debated what the EU should do next.

In a vote on Wednesday, MEPs decided to ask national governments to determine whether Hungary is at risk of breaching the EU’s founding values. This is the first time the Parliament has recommended that Article 7 of the Treaty on the EU be triggered.

Also on Wednesday, Parliament approved its negotiating position for talks with member states on modernising copyright rules to ensure fair pay for artists and journalists, while also safeguarding freedom of expression.

In the ninth of a series of debates on the future of Europe between EU heads of government and MEPs, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called on Europe to put aside its differences and face the populist threat together.

Following a vote by MEPs on Tuesday, Europeans aged between 17 and 30 will now be able to volunteer for the European Solidarity Corps.

With criminality generating up to €100 billion in the EU every year,  MEPs approved new measures to prevent money laundering and tighten cash flow checks on Wednesday.

They also called for better coordination and more funding to fight antimicrobial resistance, including tackling the misuse and overuse of antibiotics.

On Tuesday MEPs proposed a raft of measures aimed at retaining and reintegrating workers who suffer from various chronic conditions or injuries into the workplace.

Two days later, MEPs supported Commission plans to ensure that all plastic packaging is recyclable by 2030 and called for a ban on intentionally added micro-plastics in cosmetics.