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Plenary highlights: refugees, Women's Day, animal diseases

Plenary Session Article - Institutions11-03-2016 - 09:00

MEPs debated the proposed EU-Turkey deal to manage the refugee crisis as well as the way in which European countries have been handling the issue during this week's plenary session in Strasbourg. Women refugees and how to support them better was debated on Tuesday to mark International Women's Day 2016. Read our story for more on this and the other plenary issues debated and voted on by MEPs.

Monday's EU-Turkey summit on refugees was debated by MEPs on Wednesday morning, with many MEPs questioning the tentative deal with Ankara proposed during the summit. MEPs demanded  more details, insisting that in all cases international asylum rules must be respected. They also criticised the Turkish government for its treatment of the press and minorities.

Parliament marked International Women's Day with a debate on the plight of women refugees with Filippo Grandi, UN high commissioner for refugees. MEPs also adopted a resolution calling for violence on the basis of gender  to be recognised as a valid reason for asylum in the EU.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven debated Europe and the refugee crisis with MEPs on Wednesday afternoon. He insisted on the need to protect the EU's borders while upholding European values.

Rules to reduce the cost of services such as towing and mooring in EU ports were adopted on Tuesday with MEPs insisting on greater transparency in how fees for such services are set. Existing arrangements do not need be altered provided they meet minimum standards.

MEPs approved on Tuesday simpler procedures as well as additional funding for schools offering children  free milk and fruit. The scheme is voluntary but must include promoting a healthy diet  and the reduction of food waste.

Most MEPs urged the European Commission not to renew an EU anti-smuggling and anti-counterfeiting deal with Philip Morris International, which expires in July 2016, in a resolution adopted on Wednesday.

On Tuesday MEPs voted in favour of an update of  animal health rules, emphasising prevention to help contain diseases - such as avian flu - that are transmissible among animals and in certain cases can also be passed on to humans.

MEPs approved new rules on Wednesday to ensure that minors suspected of having committed a crime are assisted by a lawyer in all EU countries.

Proposals to restrict the use of antibiotics in farm animals and to ban their preventive use were approved on Thursday. MEPs also backed measures to stimulate research into new medication.

The case of Italian student Giulio Regen , who is thought to have been murdered by security forces in Egypt, was debated on Thursday, MEPs called on Egyptian authorities to carry out an impartial and effective investigation into Regeni's case as well as identify and prosecute those responsible.

Click here for more news from the Parliament.

REF. : 20160308STO17826
Updated: ( 10-03-2016 - 15:50)