Creating new EU legislation can get complicated but a new interactive application on the EP website aims to make it easier to understand. The application takes you through the ordinary legislative procedure step by step. Under the procedure proposals are adopted jointly by the European Parliament and national governments sitting in the Council of the European Union and it is used for the vast majority of legislation. Try our new application to become an expert within minutes.
People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (LGBT) continue to experience widespread discrimination and harassment, according to the largest survey ever conducted among the LGBT community in Europe. Nearly half (47%) of LGBT people said they had personally felt discriminated against or harassed on the grounds of sexual orientation in the past year, while one in four (26%) had been attacked or threatened with violence in the last five years. Find out the facts in our infographic.
In this age of smartphones and social media protecting people's privacy has become more important than ever. The European Parliament is currently working on a major overhaul of EU data protection legislation that should ensure Europeans' data are safe online and offline. Follow our seminar on 14-15 May which brings together MEPs, experts and stakeholders and learn more about the issues at stake.
In this age of internet, smartphones and social media, it is very easy to share and search for personal information. Maybe too easy. Your loan application could be rejected because you live in the wrong neighbourhood, photos you publish online may come back to haunt you and supposedly free websites earn their keep by selling and using your personal data. The EU is now working to overhaul its data protection rules to help people stay in control of their private information.
Seizing criminals' assets is a key part of fighting crime, yet only less than 1% of their illgotten gains is confiscated. New rules approved by the EP's justice committe on 7 May aim to make it easier to freeze and confiscate the proceeds of crime across the EU. This will prevent the money being reinvested in organised crime. We discussed the proposal with report author Monica Luisa Macovei, a Romanian member of the EPP group.
The increasing use of drones could lead lead to security and the rule of law being undermined, according to specialists taking part in a joint hearing organised by the human rights and security and defence subcommittees on 25 April. MEPs were especially concerned about drones being used for targeted killings and called for a worldwide debate on the use of unmanned aircraft and the creation of global standards.
"A shield protecting our peaceful fight" - this is how Cuban protest group Ladies in White praised the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which they were awarded in 2005. This week they were finally able to pick the award up in person after Cuban authorities refused for eight years to let these mothers and wives of political prisoners travel to Europe to collect it. Berta Soler, speaking on behalf of the group, answered our questions and those received from EP's Facebook fans.
New rules for dealing with asylum seekers in the EU are being voted on by the EP's civil liberties committee on Wednesday 24 April. It concerns two deals with the Council for a unified EU asylum procedure that would clarify asylum seekers' position, but also give the police access to a database with their fingerprints to help them in the fight against terrorism. In both cases MEPs secured better protection for people seeking sanctuary in the EU.
As the European Ombudsman, Paraskevas Nikiforos Diamandouros is dedicated to helping people who are unsatisfied with the way EU institutions have treated them, so it is no surprise he is always looking for new ways to interact with them. On 23 April he hosted an interactive event called "It's our Europe: Let's get active!" that involved people in Brussels as well as many on Twitter. Mr Diamandouros explained it was important to "talk with citizens and not only about citizens".
Travel to the EU is set to become easier for people from Ukraine and Moldova after MEPs approved plans for visa exemptions for holders of biometric service passports and a simplification of requirements demonstrating the purpose of their journey. EU citizens are already exempt from visa requirements when travelling to these countries. We talked to Claude Moraes and Marian Jean Marinescu, the two MEPs in charge, about why they support these amendments to the existing visa facilitation agreements.