Plenary highlights: Singapore trade, animal transport, road safety 


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MEPs approved a trade deal with Singapore as well plans to screen foreign investment and better protect the victims of road accidents during this week's plenary session.

EU-Singapore trade agreement

Parliament approved the EU-Singapore free trade deal that will remove nearly all tariffs on goods over the next five years.

Screening foreign investment

On Thursday, MEPs voted in favour of setting up the first EU-level tool to screen foreign direct investment to protect strategic sectors such as water, transport, or communications, as well as key technologies.

Road safety

On 13 February, MEPs adopted a proposal to better protect road accident victims. The new rules will guarantee fair compensation for victims, discourage the use of uninsured cars and ensure people from different EU countries are treated the same.

Disaster response

On 12 February, MEPs agreed to an upgrade of the EU’s civil protection mechanism. At the Parliament’s insistence the law also sets up a reserve of resources, such as forest fire-fighting planes, to deploy in case an EU country needs extra means to face a natural disaster.

Animal transport

Long journeys create stress and suffering for farm animals. In a resolution adopted on 14 February, MEPs call for better enforcement of existing rules on animal welfare during transport, stricter checks, tougher penalties and reduced traveling times.

Investment in EU regions

Parliament adopted its position on EU rules for regional development support for the 2021-2027 period. MEPs believe that the current overall level of EU support to regions should be maintained.

Future of Europe debate

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte address Parliament in a debate on the future of Europe. “We must fight for a more supportive and fair Europe. In short, for a more democratic Europe,” he said, presenting his vision for Europe’s future.

Tribute to terrorism victims

On Monday, MEPs named a radio studio at the Parliament after Antonio Megalizzi and Bartosz Orent-Niedzielski, two journalists who were killed in the Strasbourg terrorist attacks on 11 December 2018.

Cannabis for medical use

MEPs called on the EU to come up with an EU-wide policy for the use of medical cannabis.

Cheaper transactions

On 14 February MEPs approved on plans to ensure lower charges on euro payments across the EU and increase transparency on currency conversion fees when a payment involves different currencies. People from everywhere in the EU will benefit from low-cost payment fees that are already a reality for euro zone countries.

Water reuse

On Tuesday MEPs supported plans to facilitate the reuse of treated wastewater for agricultural irrigation. Increased water reuse in farming could help to reduce water scarcity.

Also in Parliament this week

Parliament and Council negotiators reached a deal on copyright rules. Creatives and news publishers will be empowered to negotiate with internet giants such as YouTube, Facebook and Google News, although there are exemptions for start-ups. At the same time, the deal ensures that the internet remains a space for free expression. Features such as memes, gifs and snippets are now more protected than ever before.